An early morning fire broke out in Ozone Park, injuring five residents and two firefighters.
Officials said the fire began around 3:17 a.m. at 103-28 105th Street. The fire erupted on a deck and proceeded to spread throughout the first floor of a two-story private home. A neighbor banged on the door to wake the residents of the home and then called 911. At about 3:25 a.m., the blaze escalated to a second alarm. Firefighters managed to control the fire around 4:27 a.m.
The five residents were taken to North Shore University Hospital for minor injuries. One of the two injured firefighters was also taken to the hospital.
Someone torched a soon-to-be-closed Lutheran Church in Ozone Park this week.
Early Monday morning, around 2 a.m., an arsonist broke into Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church at 85-15 101st Avenue and lit a fire within the church’s community center. While working a double shift, Nathaniel Rodriguez, the custodian, noticed something amiss when he was across the street taking trash out. When he returned to the church, he saw that the hallway’s linoleum floors were charred and the gas burners in the kitchen had been turned on. A can of Easy-Off was on top of the stove, which shows that the arsonist wanted to create more chaos.
The arsonist used old church records to start the fire, some records going back as far as 1884. Church offices were also ransacked.
Church council president John Naudus couldn’t believe the amount of historical records, such as wedding and funeral information, that could have been destroyed.
“It’s a real kick in the teeth,” Naudus said.
The church closed its doors this week. In the future, they are planning to join with St. Luke’s Luthern Church in Woodhaven and St. Philip Evangelical Church in Brooklyn to form one mega church, All Saints Lutheran Church.
“Maybe someone didn’t like the fact we were closing,” said Rodriguez.
The much opposed Close to Home program is being audited by City Comptroller Scott Stringer.
Although there is no word on how long the audit will last or what its looking into, news of the audit still comes to good news for city neighborhoods.
The Close to Home program, orchestrated by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), hopes to move juvenile delinquents from upstate facilities to buildings around the city in an effort to bring them closer to their families as well as have them re-introduced into society.
There has been a loud outcry from both South Ozone Park and Queens Village in an effort to dismiss the juvenile facilities from popping up in the areas. Last week, Stringer rejected the contract for the South Ozone Park facility due to “inconsistencies.”
Due to property value decreases as well as safety concerns, members of both communities hope that Stringer’s audit will be a step towards shutting down both facility plans.
This past Tuesday, police officers from the 106th Precinct made an arrest in Ozone Park after discovering 100 cases of fireworks with an estimated value of $100,000.
After the precinct’s Field Intelligence Officers noticed something awry, they managed to obtain a search warrant. The police found the cases within a garage belonging to a 30-year-old man who was then arrested for unlawful dealing with fireworks. The fireworks ranged from “Thunder of Orion” to “Tank” and “Cosmic Clash.”
“With the Fourth of July upon us, everyone enjoys the holiday and the professionally organized fireworks displays that are a part of the holiday tradition but illegal fireworks are dangerous not only to the people discharging them but also to the people who reside in the areas where these fireworks are being set off illegally,” said Captain John Ganley. “We strongly urge our community partners who become aware of illegal fireworks displays to report these incidents to the police department.”
On June 23, actor Dick Van Patten died in Santa Monica, California at the age of 86. The famed actor starred in hit movies and shows like “Freaky Friday,” “Eight is Enough,” “Spaceballs” and “Robin Hood, Men in Tights.”
Van Patten was also a huge horse racing fan. A native New Yorker, he spent a lot of time at Aqueduct Racetrack with his father growing up. The racetrack fueled his passion for the sport. Van Patten ended up purchasing his first Thoroughbreds in 1946 at the age of 18. When he move to California, he eventually had his own small stables and a number of horses trained by Bill Spawr.
His publicist Jeffrey Ballard once spoke to TMZ saying, “the only time Dick Van Patten runs is down the stretch at the racetrack when his horses are winning.”
On June 10, 1944, in front of a crowd nearing 26,000 people, there was a dead heat tie for first place at Aqueduct Racetrack. Horses Brownie, Bossuet and Wait a Bit were ridden by Eddie Guerin, Jimmy Stout and Gayle Smith. The crowd was first split as to who actually won the race, but with the help of a clear magic-eye camera, it was determined that each horse crossed the line at the same time.
After sharing Yankee Stadium this season and an earlier proposal to build a stadium near the ballpark, its turn out that New York City F.C. won’t be playing in the Bronx next season.
In fact, the soccer team is looking for a new location and that may include the Aqueduct Racetrack.
Aqueduct has over 200 acres of land, so the stadium could possibly be built there. There are pros to the addition, such as the creation of jobs, while there are also some severe negatives. Traffic and public safety could become a problem, especially with Resorts World Casino nearby.
The Aqueduct isn’t the first Queens location that the club has considered. There were plans to build the stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, but the idea was opposed by local organizations and the New York Mets.
No word on whether or not the plans to move the team to the Aqueduct will be successful. Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.’s office and Resorts World Casino will discuss the plans some more within the next few months.
Senator Joe Addabbo continues to push for full-fledged casinos in New York State after a recent poll from Siena College revealed that fifty-seven percent of New Yorkers support a constitutional amendment to allow non-Indian casinos to be build in New York while only 36 percent opposed the initiative.
Another poll issued by Quinnipac University also revealed that 56 percent of New Yorkers support full casino gaming, similar to that at Atlantic City and Las Vegas.
“Rather than see the money keep going to Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indian casinos upstate, in this stagnant economy, I believe we must start the process, including public input, for the expansion of VLT racinos into full casino gaming to increase our revenues,” Addabbo said in a statement.