Gianaris receives perfect score from Environmental Advocates Action

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A leading environmental group gave a local Sunnyside representative a perfect score in their annual report card.

Earlier this week, Environmental Advocates Action gave State Senator Michael Gianaris a ‘100’ for helping shepherd environmental legislation in Albany.

Last year, the state legislature enacted the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions, improves resiliency efforts, ensures local job creation through energy transition and controls the regressive impacts of climate change mitigation.

“When the environment needs protecting, Senator Gianaris is always there,” said Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of EAA. “He shows up and does the work–that is clearly reflected in his perfect score.

“We are grateful for his continued efforts to make New York a national environmental leader.”

Sunnyside Restaurant Week runs from October 21 to 28

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The 8th annual Sunnyside Restaurant Week will run from October 21 to October 28, and will feature a total of 46 different restaurants throughout Sunnyside and Woodside.

Each participating restaurant will offer a special $25, three-course dinner menu. Some will have lunch specials or other iterations of the $25 deal.

Find all of the menus and participating restaurants on the Sunnyside Shines website here.

This year, given the dining restrictions from the pandemic, some restaurants will have outdoor dining available, while others will offer the deals via delivery and/or takeout.

Jaime-Faye Bean, executive director of Sunnyside Shines, also asked diners to order directly from the restaurants when possible.

There will also be a Sunnyside Restaurant Week online contest for a $250 gift certificate to the participating restaurant of choice. Learn more on Sunnyside Shines’s websites, Facebook or Instagram pages.

Get your bikes ready for Spoketacular! Family Fun Ride to the East River

Lou Lodati Playground. Image via Google Maps.
Lou Lodati Playground. Image via Google Maps.

Get your bikes ready for The “Spoketacular! Family Fun Ride to the East River” this Sunday!

The family-friendly event, set for October 25 at 11 a.m., will kick off in two places, Sunnyside and Astoria. Sunnyside riders will meet at Lou Lodati Playground, while the Astoria group will meet at Hallets Cove Playground.

Riders will meet in two groups, escorted by volunteer marshals, and ride down the protected bike lanes on Skillman Avenue and Vernon Boulevard, respectively.

The two groups will then converge in Queensbridge Park, where they will trick-or-treat and receive candy and surprises. It will also act as a celebration of safe and sustainable streets.

The event was inspired by the success of the May and October 2019 Family Rides, and the inaugural ride in 2018.

All riders must bring a bicycle in good working order. All children 14 and under are required to bring and wear a helmet. All participants must also wear face masks and social distance.

The event was organized by Transportation Alternatives’ Queens Volunteer Committee.

Learn more about the “Spoketacular! Family Fun Ride to East River” here.

Woodside on the Move co-hosts school supply drive

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With schools officially reopened at least partially, local groups are helping students get ready for the new year.

Last week, Woodside on the Move teamed up with Mount Sinai Queens and State Senator Michael Gianaris for a school supply drive.

“COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis,” the state senator said, “but Queens has risen to the challenge and our neighbors have answered the call of those in need.”

Michael Vaz, executive director of Woodside on the Move, joined Gianaris and Caryn Schwab, executive director of Mount Sinai Queens, at the drive.

“Working with a school age population is challenging in these unique times,” he said, “but through partnership with Senator Michael Gianaris and Mount Sinai, we are ensuring that all young people in our community have the school supplies they need to succeed.”

Elite Palace busted for hosting wedding with nearly 300 guests

Elite Palace. Screen shot via Google Maps.
Elite Palace. Screen shot via Google Maps.

A wedding venue bordering Woodside, Elmhurst and Maspeth was shut down last Friday night for hosting an event with nearly 300 guests inside, according to reports.

Elite Palace, located at 69-02 Garfield Avenue, was allegedly hosting an indoor wedding, where attendees did not wear face masks or practice social distancing.

Reports say that city sheriffs were notified from an anonymous person, and they arrived on Friday night to shut down the party.

The venue manager and owner were given summonses, and face fines, according to reports.

Sunnyside Library has reopened with limited services

Sunnyside Library. Screen shot via Google Maps.
Sunnyside Library. Screen shot via Google Maps.

Queens Public Library reopened seven additional branches across the borough on Monday. Those branches are:

  • Arverne Library
  • Auburndale Library
  • Forest Hills Library
  • Fresh Meadows Library
  • Hillcrest Library
  • Langston Hughes Library
  • Sunnyside Library

The reopened branches offer limited “to-go” service six days a week.

With the seven reopenings, QPL now has 22 locations across Queens open to the public for pickups in a designated area of each building.

The branches will also accept returns at their exterior return machines.

The hours for each reopened branch are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday (closed between 1 to 2 p.m. for cleaning); 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday; 12 to 7 p.m. on Thursday (closed between 3 to 4 p.m. for cleaning).

All staff and visitors are required to wear a mask and practical physical distancing. Hand sanitizer is available at all open branches.

At this time, there is no on-site public programs, browsing, meeting room availability, seating, public computers or in-person reference service.

In addition, there will be no fines or fees on any library materials checked out this year until January 4, 2021 at the earliest.

Woodside woman charged with hate crime for throwing bottle at Black jogger

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Lorena Delaguna, 53, has been charged with attempted assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment for throwing a bottle at a passing Black jogger, District Attorney Melinda Katz announced.

Delaguna was also seen on video calling the jogger the n-word in an incident that dated back to August 17 in Woodside.

“Crimes like this, which are fueled by hate, are in a special category for a reason,” Katz said. “No one should have to endure being called a vile slur or being attacked simply because of the color of their skin, their religion, or who they love.”

Delaguna returns to Queens Criminal Court on Friday, and if convicted, could face up to seven years in prison.

Delaguna threw a glass bottle at the jogger, which missed and shattered, splashing liquid on the victim. She not only used the n-word, but also told the jogger to “go back to Africa.”

The jogger tried to get away from Delaguna, who followed her at least a block while yelling and threatening her.

Team AOC to co-host virtual ICE workshop

Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., the campaign of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will co-host a workshop to educate and empower the community on their rights while engaging with ICE.

The #AbolishICE: Know Your Rights and Resisting ICE workshop will be led by Luba Cortes from Make the Road NY, Genia Blaser from Immigrant Defense Project, and Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, the Democratic nominee for Assembly District 34.

This is the third workshop in a series of events hosted by the campaign. Previous ones included topics like organizing a childcare collective and an eviction defense workshop.

The event will be streamed live on AOC’s Facebook page and YouTube.

Sunnyside Community Services distributes face masks in Woodside

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Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Community Services

Sunnyside Community Services is doing its part to serve the community during COVID-19.

Earlier this month, SCSNY set up a table outside the 61st Street Woodside station to pass out free face masks and information to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The effort was part of COVID-Free Queens, an awareness campaign led by Public Health Solutions.

Since July, SCSNY has distributed more than 3,500 free face masks throughout Sunnyside and Woodside.

Queens man sentenced to 12 years for rape in Sunnyside

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Matthew Luna, a 27-year-old man from Long Island City, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for pursuing and raping a woman after she got off a bus in Sunnyside in February 2019.

Luna pleaded guilty in January to rape in the first degree. He was given 12 years in prison, followed by 10 years’ post release supervision.

He also has to register as a sex offender.

“It was a vicious, violent act that should never happen on our streets,” Queens District Melinda Katz said. “My office will vigorously prosecute those who violate and victimize others.”

Luna boarded a city bus on the night of February 15, where he spotted the victim, a 20-year-old woman. He followed her when she exited the bus near 54th Street and Skillman Avenue.

He approached her and asked for directions to a nearby subway station. Luna then kept talking to her, telling her she was pretty and asking for a hug.

The victim then started backing away, and Luna grabbed her arms, struck her, shoved her against a parked car, ripped her clothes off from the wait down and sexually assaulted her.

He then threw her to the ground and raped her.

The victim was taken to a local hospital and treated for her injuries. After photos and a video circulated in the media, Luna surrendered himself to the police just three days later.