FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.qns.com juLY 14, 2016 • The Queens Courier 3 Give blood and win Mets tickets If you’re a baseball fan, here’s your chance to step up to the plate and earn free New York Mets tickets for donating blood in Bayside this summer. Assemblyman Edward C. Braustein is sponsoring the fourth annual Summer Blood Drive on Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center. Donors are encouraged to head over to the outdoor mall, located at 212-45 26th Ave., from 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and spread the gift of life. “Each blood donation helps to save up to three lives,” Braunstein said. “A blood shortage emergency has been declared in New York City and our hospitals are in need of your assistance, so I hope you will take the time to share this lifesaving gift.” All donors will be rewarded with an electronic voucher for two tickets to watch the Mets play at Citi Field in Flushing. Furthermore, the first 100 donors will receive a certificate for a free pint of soup from Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers, courtesy of its Pint for a Pint program. Donors can also snack on free pastries provided by Panera Bread, water courtesy of Stop & Shop, and other beverages sponsored by Assemblyman Braunstein. For more information on this blood drive, contact Assemblyman Braunstein’s office at 718-357-3588. Brianna Ellis Astoria health gurus merging & expanding Simply Fit Astoria has enjoyed almost six years of success and Simply Cycle Astoria has been up and running for three. Now the studios under the same owner, Lisa Eskenazi, will be merging and expanding into full 4,000-square-foot, brand-new studio. The specific date of the grand opening has not been finalized yet, but it is expected to be around mid- September. The new and improved studio will be located at 37-20 Astoria Boulevard South, right next to the current location of Simply Fit Astoria. The facility will house separate rooms for fitness and cycling, private rooms for group and personal training, as well as lockers, showers and more. In addition, Simply Fit will be expanding its class schedule and updating its packages. The team will be adding more morning classes, and the new packages will offer combo packs to provide an array of both fitness and cycling classes. Once the opening date has been decided, there will be a grand opening party to celebrate the new studio. The party will offer free sample classes that will be open to the public. There will also be giveaways and live music, and guests can meet all of the Simply Fit instructors and staff. Candace Higgins THE COURIER/Photo by Robert Pozarycki This home on the tree-lined block of 45th Road in Bayside was the home of an illegal sports gambling ring, prosecutors said. Beaten-up Bayside home was a den for illegal betting BY RO BER T POZARYCKI email@example.com/@robbpoz All bets are off for five men indicted for allegedly operating an illegal sports wagering ring out of a rundown home in Bayside, prosecutors announced on Tuesday. The alleged ringleader, Flushing’s Theodore Simon, 77, was named along with three Bayside men — Frank Nista, 64; James Greene, 70; and Russell Bellaterra, 69 — and Rockville Centre resident Jason Levine, 45, in the 14-count indictment charging them with operating the racket that took in an estimated $750,000 in illegal bets annually. According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, the case was cracked through a 2 1/2 year investigation by the NYPD Organized Crime Investigation Division and others in the law enforcement community. The probe included physical surveillance, intelligence gathering and court-authorized eavesdropping in which hundreds of hours of incriminating conversations among the suspects were recorded. Prosecutors said the Bayside betting ring operated out of a home located at 211-11 45th Rd. owned by Greene, who was paid monthly rent and owned two landlines that were used in the bookmaking operation. The gray-shingled structure is largely hidden behind a tall weathered wooden fence up to eight feet tall, with “posted” signs warning trespassers to keep out. Large piles of papers are visible from the first-floor windows. Simon acted as the head bookmaker, while Nista — who was previously indicted in April for his alleged role in another illegal sports booking operation — was on site at the 45th Road wire room managing operations, according to the indictment. Bellatera and Levine allegedly manned the phone lines, processed all bets, collected debts and shipped money to the coconspirators. The investigation resulted in court-authorized raids at the 45th Road home and other locations connected to the ring, in which cash, gambling records and items used in the illegal operation were recovered. “As alleged, these individuals were running an illegal sports gambling wire room out of a location in Queens and hedged their bets thinking that their illegal activity would remain hidden from the eyes of the law,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a statement Tuesday. Brown added that the Bayside bust was the latest hit in his office’s ongoing war on illegal gambling in Queens, adding his belief that the cases “put a significant dent in illegal gambling nationwide and have saved individuals across the country millions of dollars in gambling losses.” All five indicted suspects were charged with enterprise corruption, first-degree promoting gambling and fifth-degree conspiracy. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years behind bars.
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