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16 THE QUEENS COURIER • MAY 18, 2017 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM New bookstore coming to Kew Gardens BY ANGELA MATUA amatua@qns.com / @AngelaMatua Aft er raising more than $70,000 from Queens residents who were hungry for a bookstore once several Barnes & Noble locations closed, the women behind the Queens Bookshop Initiative have fi nally found a permanent home. Vina Castillo, Natalie Noboa and Holly Nikodem, employees at the former Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills, announced on May 12 that aft er months of searching, the trio has found a storefront on Leff erts Boulevard in Kew Gardens. “Aft er an extensive, and at times grueling, search … we have fi nally found the storefront for our bookstore!” they wrote on their Kickstarter page. “We have fallen completely in love with our cozy new place right on Leff erts Blvd and we hope you will love it just as much.” Th e new store will be located at 81-63 Leff erts Blvd., according to Nikodem, who said the group looked at 10 to 15 places before they decided on this location. Th ey have not offi cially released the name of the shop yet. Now that they have found a location, the group will have to furnish the shop and order books. Th ey are asking for artists to help design a logo and a mural for the kid’s section. You can send your ideas to infoatthequeensbookshop.com. “All of you have been so supportive and encouraging and we couldn’t have gotten this far without you,” the Kickstarter page said. Nikodem said she expects it would take about two months to build out the store and anticipates opening some time in August “if there are no bumps in the road.” Th e bookshop will feature new releases, classic titles and books from local authors. Th e group will also focus on having a strong children’s section to promote literacy and will host events including author Photo courtesy of Shutterstock signings, poetry readings, children’s story times and craft ing workshops. Queens residents were disappointed when Barnes & Noble locations in Fresh Meadows, Bayside and Forest Hills closed down. Currently, the only bookstore selling new books in the borough is Th e Astoria Bookshop. Last week, Book Culture, a shop that has locations in Manhattan, announced it would be opening up a location in Long Island City sometime before Th anksgiving. Two high schools in Flushing join ‘Community Schools’ program BY ROBERT POZARYCKI rpozarycki@qns.com / @robbpoz Flushing and John Bowne High Schools are among 69 public academic institutions across the city that will be joining the Department of Education’s (DOE) “Community Schools” initiative when the new school year starts this September. Each of the new “Community Schools” will partner with various community based organizations (CBO) to better address the needs of its students through expanded learning programs and other initiatives designed to boost family engagement and promote students’ social and emotional development. Th e designation comes with a major funding commitment through the 21st Century Community Learning Center, as the 69 schools will receive a combined $25.5 million in annual grants for up to fi ve years. On Th ursday, May 11, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña stressed that the Community Schools program is an investment designed to bring a more equal and higher quality of education for all students while also going beyond the classroom to ensure that every student and their families have what they need to live full and healthy lives. Flushing and John Bowne High Schools are perhaps the most prominent — and most crowded — Queens academic institutions slated to become Community Schools. With 3,566 students, John Bowne currently has a four-year graduation rate of 74 percent, but is struggling to have its students ready for college and the workforce, according to the DOE’s School Quality Snapshot for 2015-16. Just 33 percent of graduates met CUNY college readiness standards, and 54 percent of all of its high school graduates enrolled in a college or got a job within six months of receiving their diplomas. Th e situation is slightly worse at Flushing High School, which has 1,812 students and a four-year graduation rate of 63 percent. Its School Quality Snapshot for 2015-16 found that only 18 percent of graduates met CUNY college-readiness standards and 44 percent of all graduates enrolled in college or got a job shortly aft er graduation. Borough-wide, 43 percent of Queens public high school graduates meet college readiness standards, and 58 percent of high school graduates enrolled in college or got a job within six months of graduating. As Community Schools, John Bowne and Flushing would have “expanded learning time, health and wellness services, enhanced family and community engagement and targeted attendance improvement strategies,” according to the Mayor’s Offi ce. Each Community School will have a dedicated director, shared leadership and greater data tracking abilities to combat negative school trends such as truancy. Community Schools may also off er services including health centers, vision screenings, food pantries and adult education. Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS The Waterpointe site, located at 151-45 Sixth Rd. Concerns still linger over Waterpointe construction BY SUZANNE MONTEVERDI smonteverdi@qns.com @smont76 Community members bristled when they heard the latest updates on a highly contested Whitestone development site. Previously an industrial zone, the 18-acre site at 151-45 Sixth Rd. known as Waterpointe has been a hot topic in the neighborhood for a number of years. According to a report by Community Board 7 member Joseph Sweeney at the May 8 meeting, the board is still waiting on a deed restriction from developers to ensure that the space be limited to 52 single-family homes for both current and future owners. Th e board fi rst requested the deed restriction from the developers in November 2015. “Th is is an important matter for board 7, especially the people within Whitestone,” Sweeney said. Edgestone Group LLC, the site’s current owner, purchased the land in 2012 for $11 million. Th e developers originally sought to build 97 two-family townhouse homes and nine additional single-family houses at the site, but changed their plans aft er community outcry. According to the most recent information provided to the community board by the developers, plans include a total of 52 single-family homes and a two-acre waterfront park. Homes would cost between $1.4 and $1.6 million and an air-monitor alarm system would be installed in each home due to the site’s E-designation, indicating the potential for hazardous materials at the site. Still, the board is concerned that plans could change. “Th e committee is concerned that there’s still a possibility the property could be sold to a diff erent developer,” Sweeney said. “And that new owner can, under present zoning, build 107 two family homes.”


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