Longtime Whitestone children’s librarian Susan Scatena passes away

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Queens Public Library lost a well-respected and beloved member of their Whitestone branch last week.

QPL announced on January 23 that longtime children’s librarian Susan Scatena, also known as “Miss Susan,” passed away suddenly earlier this month.

Scatena organized an annual children’s summer reading contest for the past 14 years to get kids to read during their vacation.

If they reached the collective goal of reading 2,000 books, she did a “special stunt,” according to QPL, including sitting in a vat of spaghetti, kissing a frog, reading to an alligator, eating a plate of green eggs and ham, and more.

“During the 18 years she served the Whitestone community, Susan became an institution because of her creativity, thoughtfulness and total devotion to children,” QPL President and CEO Dennis Walcott said.

“She was a remarkable librarian who was beloved by many people in the community, within the QPL system and beyond,” he added. “We are deeply saddened by her passing and will miss her a great deal.”

Miss Susan began her career as a teacher, and later joined QPL in 1981. She has also worked at Poppenhusen and the Mitchell-Linden branches before moving to Whitestone in 2002.

Born on June 14, 1958, Scatena was raised in nearby College Point. She attended Monsignor Scanlan High School in the Bronx, received a bachelor’s degree in early eduction and a master’s degree in library science at Queens College.

Among her accolades was the prestigious James Patterson PageTurner Award in 2006 for her efforts to get kids to love reading.

Scatena volunteered in her spare time with organizations like the Village Light Opera Group, the New York Caledonian Club and the New York Scottish Pipes and Drums.

She is survived by her partner, Rick Stanley of Flushing, and their cat, Dewey.

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Queens bus network redesign workshop in Flushing

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The MTA is redesigning the entire bus network in Queens, and they want the public to chime in on the changes.

Specifically, the redesign will result in fewer turns, fewer bus miles and better, more direct connections to subways.

There will be longer distances between bus stops and straighter paths for each route.

You can see examples of the changes in the map above for northeast Queens, a transit-starved area that relies heavily on buses to get around.

The new routes will run along highly-used thoroughfares like Northern Boulevard, Francis Lewis Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway. Most of the routes run east-west, but a few will go north-south, connecting to southeast Queens.

To get a better sense of how your current bus line will be rerouted, check out the MTA’s route profiles here.

As part of their effort to solicit feedback from the public, the MTA is hosting a series of public workshops with tabletop maps for attendees to pinpoint their routes.

Flushing Library will host a workshop tonight from 6 to 8 p.m.

If you’re a regular bus rider and your commute will be changed by the redesign, be sure to attend the workshop to give your feedback on the proposed routes.

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AAFE to host Queens Borough President candidate forum today

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Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) is hosting a nonpartisan forum for Queens borough president candidates tonight at the Glow Community Center, located at One Flushing (133-29 41st Avenue) from 6 to 9 p.m.

The forum is co-hosted by other Asian American groups, including APA VOICE, a coalition of 20 nonprofits dedicated to voter engagement and education.

It will be moderated by veteran journalist Ti-Hua Chang. Translations will be provided in Mandarin, Korean and Bengali.

Although eight candidates previously agreed to participate, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer just announced this morning he is dropping out of the race, so seven candidates are expected to attend.

Sign up for the free event by visiting the link here.

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Rep. Grace Meng hosts supply drive for Puerto Rico

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From January 15 until February 5, Congresswoman Grace Meng is hosting an emergency supply drive to help the people of Puerto Rico following the devastating earthquake that recently struck the island.

Meng is collecting basic necessities such as water, first aid kits, flashlights, non-perishable foods, batteries, baby formula, diapers and feminine hygiene products.

Supplies can be dropped off at her Flushing district office at 40-13 159th Street, Suite C. Drop-off hours at Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico have been devastated by the earthquakes that have hit the island, and my heart aches for all who have been impacted,” Meng said. “Even more heartbreaking is that these earthquakes have struck as many residents continue to recover from Hurricane Maria.”

“We must not sit by and allow our fellow Americans to suffer,” she added. “We must assist them in their time of need.”

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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.

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APEC opens new temporary headquarters

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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.

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Center for Women of New York names new president and CEO

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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.

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