Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church hit with graffiti

Screen shot from Current News/NET-TV video.

Screen shot from Current News/NET-TV video.

The Diocese of Brooklyn released surveillance video earlier this week of graffiti vandalism that on both the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church and Catholic Academy in Bayside.

The church walls were tagged with “MS-13,” while the academy school doors were marked with “MS,” the diocese says.

Monsignor Machalski, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church, said he was relieved the damage to the church wasn’t more significant.

“To the perpetrator, I would encourage them to find something more constructive to do with their time and energy, because the time they wasted on doing something like this, could be spent doing something good,” he said.

The parish will install security cameras in the entranceway, in addition to cameras at the school entrance.

The incident is being investigated by the 111th Precinct and the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force.


APEC opens new temporary headquarters

APEC Ribbon Cutting 3

On Monday, hundreds of residents and elected officials attended the grand opening of the temporary headquarters of the Alley Pond Environmental Center.

The center has moved to 224-75 76th Avenue in Oakland Gardens while its building on Northern Boulevard in Douglaston/Little Neck is being renovated and expanded. That project will take about two years to complete.

The large crowd at the grand opening enjoyed fruit smoothies, vegetarian Bengali cuisine, interactions with animals and an array of activities.

Attendees included Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, Councilman Paul Vallone, Councilman Barry Grodenchik, District Attorney Melinda Katz and Acting Borough President Sharon Lee.

APEC, a nonprofit environmental education organization, educates children and adults, protects and preserves Alley Pond Park.


Center for Women of New York names new president and CEO


After the passing of the legendary Ann Jawin on December 31, 2019, the Center for Women of New York has found her successor.

CWNY’s board of directors has appointed Victoria Pilotti, Ed.D., as the new president and CEO of the organization, effective immediately.

She will have large shoes to fill, as Jawin served in the role since the center was founded in 1987.

CWNY also announced that Ann Jawin’s granddaughter, Alixandra Jawin, has been named to the Board of Trustees.

“We are determined to continue to build upon Ann Jawin’s legacy of making the world safe and more equitable for women,” Dr. Pilotti said.

CWNY provides services including career counseling, legal assistance and job training.


“Valentines for Vets” gift drive is back

Val for Vets Flyer 2020

With the turn of the calendar into the new decade comes another “Valentines for Vets” gift drive.

The 24th annual drive, hosted by Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and the Law Offices of Ann-Margaret Carrozza, is running until Wednesday, February 12.

The drive is collecting the following items to be donated to the hospitalized and disabled veterans at the St. Albans VA Community Living Center and the NYS Veterans’ Home in St. Albans:

  • Cards
  • Candy
  • Playing cards
  • Puzzles
  • Shaving cream
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Pajamas
  • Robes
  • Slippers
  • Socks

“For the last 24 years, these donations have brightened the days of thousands of veterans by showing that we care about them and appreciate their sacrifices,” Carrozza says. “It would mean a great deal to our hospitalized heroes if you would choose to be their valentine by donating to our gift drive.”

You can drop off gifts at:

  • Braunstein’s office: 213-33 39th Avenue, Suite 238
  • Carrozza’s law office: 213-38 40th Avenue
  • Community Board 11: 46-21 Little Neck Parkway

Hundreds donated to 9th annual Holiday Gift Drive

Gift Drive 2019 - VA Hospital

Nineteen schools, several senior and civic organizations, and hundreds of local residents contributed to Assemblyman Ed Braunstein’s 9th annual Holiday Gift Drive for veterans and hospitalized children.

Generous community members donated thousands of new toys and hundreds of items for vets, such as new clothing, candy, toiletries and puzzles.

“It is very heartwarming to witness the amazing generosity of northeast Queens residents who have continued to bring holiday cheer to those in need year after year,” Braunstein said.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to our community and our local schools for making these gift drivers such a success.”

Gift Drive 2019 - Belt Family Santa

The following institutions and/or charitable programs received toys:

  • 4 Kids in Need drive for homeless families
  • QSAC Day School of Whitestone
  • QSAC Preschool & Early Childhood Center of Douglaston
  • Queens Chronicle’s 25th annual toy drive
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Sacred Heart Church Toy Drive
  • St. Mary’s Hospital for Children
  • Transition Domestic Violence Center
  • United States Army for children of deployed military personnel from Fort Totten and other reserve bases

These schools and community organizations contributed to the drive:

  • Bayside Village Business Improvement District
  • Beech Hills Shareholders
  • Benjamin N. Cardozo High School
  • Bridge View Nursing Home
  • Deepdale CARES NORC
  • Friends of Fort Totten Parks
  • Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Academy
  • IS 25
  • Jefferson Democratic Club
  • MS 158
  • MS 294
  • PS 32
  • PS 41
  • PS 98
  • PS 107
  • PS 115
  • PS 159
  • PS 169
  • PS 184
  • PS 203
  • PS 209
  • PS 221
  • PS 811
  • Queens Public Library at Bayside
  • Queensboro Hill Community Church
  • The Summit School Upper School
  • Vincent’s Opticians
  • The William Spyropoulos Greek-American Day School.



Whitestone street to be co-named for WWII veteran

Cpl John Hchugh

It’s official: 156th Street between 14th Avenue and Cryders Lane in Whitestone will officially be co-named “CPL. John McHugh Way.”

McHugh, born on March 6, 1924, was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in the First Infantry Division in World War II.

He fought in the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.

He would later receive the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the European Theater of Operations Ribbon, two Presidential Unit Citations and more.

McHugh was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame in 2014, and was honored at the Little Neck – Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.

He passed away on July 21, 2019 at the age of 95.

He lived in Whitestone for over 25 years, which makes the street co-naming a fitting tribute.

The official ceremony for the co-naming will take place in the spring.


Queens County Farm secures new space

Barry and Queens Farm

The only remaining farm in New York City is moving to a bigger plot of land.

Last week, Councilman Barry Grodenchik announced that the Queens County Farm has secured a lease agreement for 1.6 acres. It will take over a space owned by the New York State Office of Mental Health.

“This additional land will allow the farm to increase crop production by more than 30 percent,” Grodenchik says.

According to Queens County Farm Museum executive director Jennifer Walden Weprin, the land leased to them by the state was part of the farm’s original footprint dating back to¬†1697.

The farm hosts an average of 400,000 visitors annually, and has welcomed more than 10 million visitors since it was established in 1975.

“This expansion supports the farm’s planned growth and will enable us to broaden our reach so we can serve more people in need of fresh produce in our communities,” Weprin says.