Streets near PS 163 are now one-ways

Two streets near PS 163 in Kew Gardens Hills have been converted into one-ways, making them safer for all users.

The city has turned 159th and 160th streets, previously two-way streets, into one-ways earlier this week.

Officials say this will make pedestrian crossings safer and easier to predict for schoolchildren and cars.

“This is a long time coming and will help ease the dangerous traffic conditions that our community contends with on a daily basis,” says principal Francine Marsaggi. “I believe that these changes will allow for smoother and safer transitions during our morning ingress and our afternoon dismissal.”

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Summer blood drive – donors get free Mets tickets!

Blood Drive 2018

The 6th annual Summer Blood Drive on Thursday, August 9 will come with a special gift: an electronic voucher for two Mets tickets!

The blood drive, from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m., will take place at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center at 212th Street and 26th Avenue.

ALSO, the first 100 people who donate a pint of blood will also receive a certificate for a free pint of soup from Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers.

For more information, email braunsteine@nyassembly.gov or call 718-357-3588.

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Greenmarket to start again at Maple Playground

Screen shot via Google Maps

Screen shot via Google Maps

Back for its third season, the Flushing Greenmarket is launching at Maple Playground tomorrow at 11 a.m.

Run by GrowNYC, the greenmarket is open every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from July 11 to November 22.

Why go? The Department of Health is hosting nutrition education workshops and cooking demonstrations in English, Chinese and Spanish.

Every participant over 18 years old will receive a $2 Health Bucks coupon that can be used for buying fruits and vegetables.

If you have food scraps, the greenmarket will also take them until 1 p.m. The collection will be taken to Queens Botanical Garden to be turned into compost.

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Flushing Library celebrates 20 years

Screen shot via Google Maps

Screen shot via Google Maps

The best library in the world turns 20 this year, and to mark the occasion, it’s getting a huge infusion of funding.

Over the weekend, the Iris & Junming Le Foundation donated $135,000 to the branch. The funding was announced at a re-dedication ceremony.

Flushing Library, located at 41-17 Main Street, was first built in 1998. It was instantly recognized as an architectural landmark for future libraries.

It was designed by the firm Polshek and Partners, now known as Ennead, according to Queens Library. This building was the fourth Flushing branch to occupy the triangle space since the late 1800s.

Today, Flushing Library has more than 1.7 million visitors, who come for more than books. They come to attend programs, use computers, and access other important resources, including a circulation of 1 million materials.

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Changes to H-1B Visa Extensions May Affect Flushing Workers

It is safe to say that the the world renowned 1964 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Park started the transformation of Flushing, NY into the foreign national workers paradise that it is today. With that said, H-1B laws are more important than ever to local employers and workers alike.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is reportedly considering new regulations that would limit the ability of H-1B workers who are in the lawful permanent residence (LPR) process to obtain an extension of their H-1B status beyond the usual six-year limit of authorized stay. The reported proposal, which arises from President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, could impact thousands of H-1B workers and their families, many of whom have been waiting in line for a green card for years. Under current law, the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21) has two provisions, section 104(c) and section 106(a), which enable DHS to grant an H-1B extension to an H-1B worker who has reached the six-year limit if certain milestones in the LPR process have been met. These two provisions are summarized below: H-1B EXTENSION BEYOND SIX-YEAR LIMITATION UNDER AC21 Provision Section 104(c) Section 106(a) Requirements for an H-1B Extension beyond the Sixth-Year Enables a three-year H-1B extension beyond the six-year maximum period if an H-1B worker: (i) has an approved employment-based immigrant visa petition (I-140 petition) under the EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 visa category, and (ii) is eligible to be granted lawful permanent resident status but for per country limits on visa availability. Enables a one-year H-1B extension beyond the six-year maximum period if: (i) 365 days or more have passed since the filing of a labor certification application on the H-1B worker’s behalf, or (ii) 365 days or more have passed since the filing of an I-140 petition. AILA Doc. No. 18010437. (Posted 1/4/18) Relevant Statutory Language Section 104(c) provides that the DHS Secretary (formerly the Attorney General) “may grant” such an extension to an eligible H-1B worker who meets the requirements of this section until the adjustment of status application has been adjudicated. Section 106(a) provides that the maximum six-year limit “shall not apply” to an H-1B worker who meets the requirements of this section and that the DHS Secretary “shall extend” the stay in one-year increments until such time as a final decision is made on the H-1B worker’s adjustment of status application. DHS is reportedly looking at whether it can stop approving H-1B extensions for H-1B workers who meet the requirements of section 104(c), by reinterpreting the “may grant” language as discretionary, and therefore that DHS may, but is not required to, approve such H-1B extensions. Notably, as outlined above, section 106(a) of AC21 provides that the maximum six-year period of H-1B status “shall not apply” to H-1B workers who qualify for an H-1B extension under section 106(a) and that the DHS Secretary “shall extend” the stay of H-1B workers who meet the requirements in one-year increments until such time as a final decision is made on the H-1B worker’s adjustment of status application. This provision, with its use of the word “shall,” should be read as mandatory, and thus DHS would be required to approve the extension for those H-1B workers who met the requirements of section 106(a). As such, H-1B workers who could potentially be impacted by the reported proposed changes to AC21 section 104(c) should be able to continue to extend their H-1B status under section 106(a) of AC21, provided they have met the required milestones in the LPR process. This is even true for H-1B workers who initially did not meet the requirements of section 106(a) but who now, through the passage of time, qualify for the one-year extension. To date, DHS has not issued a proposed regulation or formal announcement regarding its intention to change its long-standing practice in adjudicating H-1B extensions under AC21. For DHS to implement such a change, it would need to issue a proposed regulation and follow the notice and comment rule-making procedures set forth in the Administrative Procedure Act. That could take months. Any policy change before that could be subject to litigation. Moreover, any final rule could also be subject to litigation.

Flushing residents and blog readers are welcomed to call or visit Prizant Law (A Queens Immigration Lawyer) if they suspect that any changes in the law can have even the slightest effect on their business or employees.

Laws For Queens Immigrants

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Bid on a vacation to support the Queens Theatre

Vacation at Hoperock. (Photo: Bidding For Good)

Vacation at Hoperock. (Photo: Bidding For Good)

You can spend a week on the beach and help the Queens Theatre at the same time.

Queens Theatre is hosting an auction to help raise money for its programs. Those who are interested can bid for a week-long stay in Hoperock, a 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom vacation home located at Shelter Harbor in Rhode Island.

With 3,000-square feet, this Pacific ranch-style home features open living spaces, gorgeous outdoor patios and full deck, all modern appliances, brand new central air conditioning and plenty of parking. The home can fit as many as 12 people.

The home is just minutes away from Watch Hill and Weekapaug Beach, one of New England’s longest stretches of private white sand beach.

The auction winner will receive beach passes to Weekapaug with door-to-door free shuttle service.

For more information and to place a bid, visit Bidding For Good. The online auction ends Wednesday, June 27, at 8pm.

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Elevator work at Flushing LIRR progressing

IMG_2919

It’s taken the MTA a long time to install elevators at the Flushing LIRR station.

Last September, officials said the work would be done by “early 2018.” Well, it’s already the summer solstice, and work is still going.

Don’t get us wrong. The $24.6 million overhaul is much-needed, and will finally make the station ADA-compliant.

But let’s get this project done so the riders can get what they deserve.

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