FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM DECEMBER 26, 2019 • YEAR IN REVIEW • THE QUEENS COURIER 25
year in review
The top stories from August 2019
BY JENNA BAGCAL
MASPETH FAMILY FEARS MISSING
TEENAGE GIRL WAS LURED TO
LONDON BY OLDER MAN
On Aug. 27, the police investigated the case of a missing
Maspeth teen who had allegedly left the country to
Europe. Th e family of 16-year-old Victoria Grabowski
said that they had last seen her on Aug. 24. Grabowski’s
uncle said that the girl’s parents discovered texts on
her cellphone between herself and an older man from
London. Th e texts revealed that Grabowski had plans to
leave via JFK airport and meet the man.
Th e chats showed that the young Grabowski was keenly
interested in London and had intentions to move there.
Her uncle, Arkadiusz Grabowski, said that his niece paid
for the ticket in cash though her parents did not know
where she got the funds. Grabowski, a Polish citizen, used
her Polish passport to board the fl ight.
Th e texts between the teen and the British man were
part of a group chat that included other individuals. Th e
girl’s family could not say how old the other participants
Her parents hired a private investigator to assist in
the case. At the time, the NYPD could not confi rm that
Grabowski had boarded the fl ight.
FOUR DOZEN SCHOOLS IN EVERY
CORNER OF QUEENS FOUND
TO HAVE LEAD PAINT DURING
Th e Department of Education found that 48 schools
across Queens had deteriorating lead paint on the premises.
Th e agency found that within the schools, paint was
found in a total of 139 classrooms. DOE is legally required
to check buildings that were built before 1978. During the
August inspection, DOE checked nearly 800 built before
1985 which serves students six years old and over.
P.S. 9, a special needs school in Maspeth, was tested
positive for lead paint. In the past, P.S. 9 was the subject
of criticism due to its poor building conditions. Critics,
including parents and Councilman Robert Holden,
described the conditions as “deplorable.”
In his piece for the New York Post, Holden highlighted
the peeling paint, lone bathroom and “woefully inadequate
kitchen and cafeteria.” At the time of the inspection,
P.S. 9 was undergoing renovations but Holden
believed that the money should go toward building a
new structure for P.S. 9 instead of pouring money into
the existing structure.
Other neighborhoods with schools tested positive for
lead paint included East Elmhurst, Woodside, Queens
Village, Corona, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Jamaica,
Ridgewood, Long Island City, Bayside and Whitestone.
AFTER 32 ARE SICKENED
WITH BACTERIAL INFECTION
LINKED TO WATER OUTLETS
Th e Health Department investigated a playground at
Flushing Meadows Corona Park aft er a bacterial infection
sickened nearly three dozen people. Several individuals
reported symptoms aft er becoming exposed to
the Playground for All Children’s spray shower and other
water features in the park. Th e Health Department identifi
ed the bacteria as shigella which features symptoms
like diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.
A Parks Department spokesperson confi rmed that they,
along with the Health Department, cleaned the park on
July 20. Th ey also cleaned and disinfected all of the spray
showers throughout Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Once a person is infected by the shigella bacteria they
develop shigellosis, an infection that aff ects the intestines.
It is fairly common, especially among children. Th e
germ is spread by eating or drinking contaminated food
or water but can also be contracted by coming into direct
contact with an infected person.
In addition to milder symptoms, those with shigellosis
may show traces of blood or mucous in the stool. Th e
Health Department said that some individuals may show
no symptoms at all. To prevent the spread of this disease,
the agency said that people should wash their hands oft en
in soap and warm running water.
FLUSHING STORE OWNER PREPARES
TO FIGHT BACK AGAINST POSSIBLE
OPENING OF LIQUOR STORE CHAIN
Th e owners of Marpat Wines and Liquors in Flushing
expressed fear of shutting down if Total Wine & More,
a chain of nearly 200 stores, opened up across the street.
Marpat, located at 3112 Farrington St., has operated in the
community for 53 years. Owner Frank Mortagua said that he
was prepared to push back against the superstore if necessary.
On Aug. 19, Mortagua and other business owners in
the community received a letter from Total Wine & More
applicant Michelle Trone. Th e entrepreneur wrote that
she wanted to open the wine and spirits store at 30-02
Whitestone Expy., a storefront previously occupied by
Toys R Us. In her letter, Trone said that her selection would
include “over 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits and 2,500 beers.”
Also known as the “Walmart of liquor,” Total Wine &
More was denied a liquor license to open a 21,000 square
foot store near White Plains last December. 25 state lawmakers
signed an opposition letter and at a three-hour
hearing, the New York State Liquor Authority said that
“Westchester is already oversaturated with liquor shops.”
Joey Demarco, who has been working at Marpat for
the past 16 years, met with eight other liquor stores in
September. Demarco added that they also planned to get
QUEENS DA PRIMARY FINALLY
RESOLVED AS CABÁN CONCEDES
TO KATZ FOLLOWING SIX
WEEK BALLOT STRUGGLE
Following over a month of ballot recounts, Tiff any
Cabán conceded to Queens District Attorney elect
Melinda Katz on Aug. 6. Th e public defender delivered
her concession speech at Katch in Astoria in front
of the voters who supported her during her entire campaign.
During her speech, Cabán said that her campaign
“changed the conversation around criminal justice
reform,” made the next district attorney end cash bail and
pushed for the decriminalization of sex workers.
Cabán entered the race in January along with a fi eld
of seven candidates. She won the support of Elizabeth
Warren and Bernie Sanders and also garnered fi nancial
support from people across the country.
Katz thanked Cabán for conceding and thanked her for
“bringing closure to this long and hard-fought race.” She
claimed that primaries “accentuate diff erences between
more traditional Democrats and progressives rather than
bringing them together.” Katz added that though they
may diff er in some ways, all the candidates wanted a safe
Queens where all citizens are treated equally.
Photo: Mark Hallum/QNS
Photo courtesy of NYPD
Photo by Carlotta Mohamed/QNS
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Tdorante10