Capital planning still an issue for NYRA

aqueduct racetrack
According to an audit released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) has seemingly failed to prioritize capital projects and formally estimate project costs funded by Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) revenue. Issues with capital planning have been a problem that has plagued the NYRA for years.

“Sound business practices include both long-term and short-term capital project planning, but my auditors discovered that NYRA’s planning was weak,” DiNapoli said, according to Empire State News. “An organization that has recently emerged from bankruptcy protection needs to do a much better job of minding its finances and seeing to its most pressing capital needs.”

The NYRA owns the Aqueduct Racetrack as well as the racetracks in Belmont and Saratoga.

Auditors found that the NYRA lacked details and documentation to support its annual capital plans and failed to provide an overall vision for the organization. Although NYRA officials did agree with the audit’s findings regarding the VLT funds, it did not agree with the audit’s conclusions about long-term and short-term capital planning efforts.


Fall Festival in Rockaway this Sunday

While summer may be over, you can still head to Rockaway to celebrate another popular season – fall! On Sunday, October 11, the community will host the second annual fun-filled Street Fall Festival at Beach 116th Street. There will be live music, a beer garden, food courts, a jump castle and more!



South Ozone Park resident busted for March murder

Credit: Eva Ushe
Credit: Eva Ushe

Police have arrested a second suspect in the March 31 murder of 70-year-old Leta Webb in South Jamaica.

The 19-year-old South Ozone Park resident, Sahel Green, was the second person arrested in connection with the murder. The first suspect, 22-year-old Julian Douglas, was arrested back in April. Prior to the new arrest, Green was already locked up for another crime.

Webb was fatally shot in the face after answering her front door. Her adopted son, 27-year-old Arnold Webb, is in jail for manslaughter. Her relatives believe her killing was a means of retaliation for Arnold’s opposition to a rival gang in prison.


Howard Beach revamps and dedicates “Kiwanis Memorial Triangle”


In Howard Beach last Saturday, Council Member Eric Ulrich and Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski came together to unveil the recently refurbished and planted traffic triangle that is dedicated as “Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach Memorial Triangle.”

The triangle is a tribute to past Kiwanis members who have died and left behind the legacy of their influences and hard work advocating for the Howard Beach community. Ulrich’s office provided the funding for the refurbishment of the triangle.

“This triangle will stand as a testament to the success and hard work of all the members of the Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach both past and present,” Ulrich said. “I am proud to have been able to partner with the Kiwanis Club and the Parks Department to beautify this triangle as a gateway to the Howard Beach community.”

The triangle is located north of the Catholic Charities Peter Striano Building, near the intersection of Cross Bay Boulevard and the ramp to Belt Parkway.

“Though it’s small in size, this newest green-space plays a big role in the community and we’re grateful to our partners at the Howard Beach Kiwanis Club for volunteering their time and efforts to help with its upkeep,” Lewandowski said.


Int’l Martial Arts Competition at Resorts World Casino

Fans of martial arts can come down to Resorts World Casino this Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26 for the 24th Annual Twin Towers Classic International Martial Arts Championship.

For general admission to the martial arts show, tickets cost $10. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for the Muay Thai Challenge War 30. Remember, all guests under the age of 18 must enter through the P6 parking garage entrance only. Tickets cost $40.

For more information, click here.



$200 million allocated to NYRA instead of education

Wikimedia Commons/ Transpoman
Wikimedia Commons/ Transpoman

Even though New York State is supposed to be giving lottery money towards schools and education, a deal made seven years ago has actually made sure that over $200 million was given to the New York Racing Association (NYRA) instead.

The NYRA, which is probably most famous for the Belmont Stakes, owns the Belmont Racetrack, the Saratoga Springs Racetrack and the Aqueduct Racetrack. They filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2008 and after an overwhelming negotiation between the state and the NYRA, the NYRA prevailed.

“As this deal was being made, New York state was in the process of dramatically cutting education, leading to 30,000 job losses — roughly 22,000 in teachers,” Carl Korn, a representative for the union of NYS teachers, told Buzzfeed. “And what is most outrageous is the poorest districts were hit with a disproportionate amount of these cuts.”


Mosquito spraying to take place in south Queens

Just in time for Labor Day barbecues, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder pushed the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to include areas of south Queens in their mosquito spraying to combat breeding and the potential spread of West Nile Virus.

Spraying occurred on September 1 between 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning.

“For too long, families in southern Queens have been forced to endure growing mosquito populations each time summer rolls around,” said Goldfeder in a release. “This plague threatens our quality of life and increases the risk of deadly West Nile virus, especially for families still struggling from Sandy.”

Since Hurricane Sandy, the area has been plagued by frequent flooding and abandoned properties, creating standing water areas that are attractive to mosquitos. Spraying will cover Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach and Lindenwood.

This announcement comes after significant lobbying from Goldfeder, who wrote two letters to the department, citing a frequent nuisance from mosquitoes in the neighborhoods surrounding Jamaica Bay.

Read the full story


Senior affordable housing comes to Rockaway

City officials and developer Arker Companies broke ground on Beach Channel Senior Apartments, a 154 affordable homes for low-income seniors in Far Rockaway last week. The seven-story, mixed-use development is slated to be complete in 2017.

“Two years from this very day, the lives of 150 senior citizens will change and it will change for the better,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, minutes before putting a ceremonial shovel in the ground.

The project is part of the de Blasio administration’s commitment to 10,000 units of affordable senior housing over the next 10 years. The plan – known as the Senior Affordable Rental Apartments Program – is a result of a $350 million investment to serve seniors of little to no income. In this case, the units are reserved for seniors that make less than $36,300 annually, including 46 formerly homeless seniors.

“Our seniors helped build our neighborhoods through thick and thin and we are fighting to make sure they can stay in the communities they love,” de Blasio said. “Beach Channel is the first of many projects we’re undertaking to build and protect affordable homes for our seniors and make sure this remains a city for everyone.”

Read the full story in the Leader-Observer.


Six injured after bus carrying Resorts World Casino customers collides into building

A northbound bus carrying Resorts World Casino customers smashed through the side of a Rego Park building located at 62-87 Woodhaven Blvd on Monday afternoon.

According to a FDNY representative, the incident, which took place around 2:30 p.m., occurred after the bus swerved in order to avoid a collision with an oncoming vehicle making a sharp turn. 
Six people were taken to Jamaica Hospital following the accident, according to authorities from the 112th Precinct. 
Impact from the accident at the back of the building caused most of the bricks and structure in the first and second floors to crumble down. The Department of Buildings came onto the scene to check the building’s structural stability.

Read the full story at the Queens Ledger.