8 THE QUEENS COURIER • APRIL 5, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Mayor touts new school during Jackson Heights town hall
BY ANGELA MATUA
firstname.lastname@example.org / @AngelaMatua
Mayor Bill de Blasio hosted his 52nd
town hall meeting on March 28 where
he announced new construction projects,
additional services and answered questions
from Jackson Heights residents.
Among the new projects announced
at the town hall at I.S. 145, which was
co-hosted by Councilman Daniel Dromm,
was a new 476-seat middle school scheduled
to open in Sept. 2020. Officials broke
ground on P.S. 398 last June.
The five-story, 65,000-square-foot
building will include a rooftop garden,
art and music classrooms, a library and
more. School District 30, which encompasses
Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson
Heights, Long Island City, Sunnyside and
Woodside, is one of the most overcrowded
school districts in the city.
“This is a community where there’s
a real need for new school space,” the
P.S. 69, which is located at 77-02 37th
Ave., has had roof issues and residents
have asked for speedier repairs.
“There’s been a concern about the roof
and a desire to speed up repair of the roof,”
he said. “I want to show you government in
action. The repairs will begin next week and
will be done by the end of April.”
De Blasio also announced that the
upgraded Travers Park 76-9 34th Ave. will
open in Sept. 19 and that design work has
been completed for an upgraded Jackson
Heights library. Nearly $11 million has
been allocated to improve the library.
The grand opening of the new, permanent
Diversity Plaza will take place this July and
$30 million will be poured into Elmhurst
Hospital’s emergency department. The hospital’s
trauma center is the eighth-busiest
trauma center in the country, he said.
Residents have also called for additional
garbage pickups along busy thoroughfares
in Jackson Heights. The Department of
Sanitation began making an extra Friday
pickup at 37th and Roosevelt Avenues
and garbage pickup along Broadway has
increased from five days a week to seven
days a week.
By this November, the Department
of Transportation will install additional
lighting underneath the elevated 7
line from 71st through 81st streets along
Roosevelt Avenue, he said.
De Blasio also announced that after
safety concerns were voiced, a new traffic
agent will be placed at the intersection of
73rd Street and 37th Avenue.
Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
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Mayor Bill de Blasio held a town hall in Jackson Heights on March 28.
Bayside cops and crossing guard recognized for community work
BY SUZANNE MONTEVERDI
email@example.com / @smont76
Three officers and one community
member were recognized for going
above and beyond the call of duty at the
Bayside-based 111th Precinct.
On April 3, Captain John Hall, the precinct’s
new commanding officer, commended
officers Ryan Bonti and David
Castellano and sergeant Eric Panni for
making standout arrests in February and
March. School crossing guard Patricia
McGuirk was also recognized for her dedicated
According to the captain, Bonti, who
is assigned to the precinct’s Anti-Crime
Unit, was on duty on Feb. 18 at around
4 a.m. when he responded to a 911 call
of two males observed breaking into a
U.S. Postal Service mailbox at Springfield
Boulevard and Kingsbury Avenue.
When Bonti arrived to the scene, he
observed one of the perpetrators with a
large quantity of mail and a string in his
hand: “a pretty good clue” that the suspect
was mail fishing. In the act, thieves looking
to steal mail will attach objects dipped
in a sticky substance to a string, drop them
into a mailbox and “fish” the mail out.
After a brief pursuit on foot, Bonti cuffed
both perpetrators involved in the theft. One
of the perpetrators was also a known gang
member, the commanding officer noted.
“Mail fishing is a big issue. It’s a burgeoning
issue in Queens North and it
tends to happen towards the end of the
month,” Hall said. “The checks found
in their possession had approximately
$3,000 in value; but this incident probably
would have resulted in several grand larcenies
throughout the city, depending on
where they cashed these checks.”
Police officer David Castellano and sergeant
Eric Panni, recipients of the March
Cop of Month Award, were working the
day shift on March 1 when they received
a report of a knifepoint robbery at the
Great Wall Restaurant at 200th Street
and 32nd Avenue. The suspect in question
brandished a knife and demanded
an employee open the cash register. He
then grabbed $180 in cash and fled the
scene in a car.
About an hour later, the officers
observed an individual matching the suspect’s
description speeding in his vehicle
on 28th Avenue and 202 Street. After
a car stop, they identified him as the perpetrator
and arrested him at the scene.
The suspect was identified by authorities
as 27-year-old Christopher Weiss of
“It was pretty good heads-up policing
and good police work to keep looking for
a perp an hour after an incident had actually
occurred,” Hall said. “This is the kind
of tenacity and work ethic we want from
our police officers.”
Finally, a community service award was
given to school crossing guard Patricia
On March 13, McGuirk was at her
post at Francis Lewis Boulevard and 53rd
Avenue near P.S. 162 following a nor’easter
when she was seen shoveling slush
from a crosswalk so that students could
cross safely. The moment was captured
on camera by a bystander, who shared the
moment via Twitter.
The commanding officer took note of
“This is not something that we ask our
school crossing guards to do, but it’s
something that many of them take on
themselves,” Hall said. “It’s out of a commitment
for the safety of our kids.”
Police officer David Castellano and sergeant Eric Panni receive the March Cop of the Month award in Bayside