Retired police officer charged with assault for firing a gun in a restaurant

A retired police officer who allegedly fired a gun inside a sushi restaurant in Howard Beach this week during a verbal dispute with another patron has been charged with assault.

According to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz’s office, the stray shot hit an innocent bystander.

“This kind of gun violence is unacceptable, particularly when the shooter is alleged to be a retired member of service,” Katz said.

The defendant, identified as 52-year-old Dwayne Chandler of Staten Island, was arraigned on Wednesday morning in Queens Criminal Court.

If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

The victim who was shot was taken to an area hospital, and currently has no sensation in his legs, Katz’s office said. He is also unable to move his toes, which was a result of the bullet that pierced his back.


Khaleel Anderson on track to win open Assembly seat

Khaleel Anderson, a community activist and organizer, is on pace to become one of the youngest legislators in the New York State Assembly.

At just 23 years old, Anderson is a member of Community Board 14, the Far Rockaway NAACP and helped found the Rockaway Youth Task Force.

He ran for the open Assembly seat in District 31, which was vacated by former Assemblywoman Michele Titus, with the backing of influential progressive groups like the Working Families Party, Rockaway Revolution and True Blue NY.

In Tuesday’s primary, with 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Anderson received 2,888 votes, or 38 percent of the vote.

Richard David is in second place.

Five other candidates sought the open seat, including community activist Richard David, who is in second place with 2,113 votes, or 28 percent.

However, the race is not over yet. Tens of thousands of absentee ballots have to be counted, which could decide the fate of this and many other primary races this year.

For the 5th Congressional District, longtime Rep. Gregory Meeks overwhelmingly won with 34,413 votes, or 78 percent.

Progressive challenger Shaniyat Chowdhury received 9,336 votes, or 21 percent.

Meanwhile, in the race for Queens borough president, Councilman Donovan Richards has emerged on top with 41,915 votes, roughly 37 percent.

Trailing him are former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, with 28 percent, Councilman Costa Constantinides, with 15 percent, Anthony Miranda, with 14 percent, and Dao Yin, with 4 percent.

This race will also be decided by absentee ballots.



Ulrich appointments five women to community boards

Raquel Olivares, center, was appointed by Councilman Eric Ulrich, far right.

Councilman Eric Ulrich has announced the appointment of five women to community boards representing parts of southern Queens, including Broad Channel and Ozone Park.

For Community Board 9, Marilyn Custodio, Sister Catherine Feeney, Raquel Olivares and Alexandria Sumpter-Delves have been appointed.

Custodio is principal at PS 97 The Forest Park School; Sister Feeny is executive director of the School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center; Olivares is executive director of the Woodhaven BID; and Sumpter-Delves is director of the youth workforce division at Queens Community House.

For Community Board 14, Joanne Fogarty, former president of the Rockaway Point Association, has been appointed.

All community board members are appointed by the borough president, with half recommended by City Council members.


Borough president announces appointments to community board

Community Board 10 meets monthly at the Old Mill Yacht Club in Howard Beach.

Acting Borough President Sharon Lee appointed 339 people to serve in Queens’s 14 community boards on Tuesday.

Of the 399 appointees, 76 are first-time members who have never served on the board, but have shown a commitment and understanding to the community’s needs.

The two-year term for these appointees run from May 31, 2020 to March 31, 2022.

The office received 595 applications, including 252 from applicants who had never served on a community board. More than 340 were from those who were reapplying at the end of their 2020 term.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee announced in late March that community board members whose terms end on March 31 would continue for an additional 60 days.

Here are Borough President Lee’s appointments for the 2020-2022 term for Community Board 10, which serves South Ozone Park:

  • Mohamed Amin
  • Luis Amorium
  • James Caruso
  • Anthony Cosentino
  • Frank Dardani
  • Anoop Dhanpat
  • Irene Dimoh
  • Geoffrey Duldulao
  • John Fazio
  • Edna Fraylom
  • Peter Granickas
  • Romeo Hitall
  • Pierre Kishun
  • Phillip Lynch, Jr.
  • Dorothy Mitchell
  • Cynthia Marie Mocombe
  • Fazlurrahman Mohamed
  • Jose Quijano
  • Raja G.S. Rathour
  • Nellie Santiago
  • Asheley Siewnarine
  • Jody Stahl
  • Marilyn Vecchio
  • Linda Walker

Community leaders distribute coffee and bagels to essential workers

This morning, local community leaders Jeremy Bucaria, Mike Scala, Torey Schnupp and others distributed 60 bagels and four boxes of coffee to essential workers at the Lindenwood Shopping Center in Howard Beach.

Bucaria, a local activist who coordinated the event, said he wanted to show gratitude to people serving the community.

“I wanted to show my children the importance of celebrating local heroes and volunteering to serve others,” he said.

The bagels and coffee were donated by All American Bagel, located at 82-41 153rd Avenue.

The group greeted staff with cheers and signs thanking them for their service.

“These workers are beyond essential,” Scala said. “They can’t work from home like some of us.

“They’re out here everyday making sure we have everything we need. Today was about giving a little something back to them.”


Assembly candidate gets key endorsement

Richard David, a candidate for State Assembly in District 31 in southeast Queens, has picked up an endorsement from Congressman Gregory Meeks.

David, a local activist and district leader, is seeking the Democratic nomination against five other candidates.

The seat was vacated by former Assemblywoman Michelle Titus, who was elected a civil court judge this year. Titus served in the Assembly since 2002.


Meeks, who chairs the Queens County Democratic Party, formerly held the Assembly seat in District 31.

David has also been endorsed by the Alliance of South Asian American Labor, Stonewall Democratic Club, Muslim Democratic Club, National Association of Social Workers PAC, US Cricket Umpires Association, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, New American Voters Association and the Queens Democratic Party.


Retro Fitness donates products to Jamaica Hospital

Last week, Retro Fitness donated over $3,000 worth of products to frontline health care workers at Jamaica Hospital.

In response to the pandemic, the gym franchise has frozen all memberships, offered free daily workouts and helped the elderly with grocery shopping. It also decided to give back to the community.

Working with Europe Sports Products, Retro Fitness donated more than 230 cases of protein drinks, snacks and energy drinks, including brands like Muscle Milk, American Body Builder, Optimum Nutrition and Cytosport.

The products were isolate for four days prior to delivery and sprayed with disinfectant to ensure they were sanitized.

The Retro Fitness area manager and franchise owner say they were inspired after losing two members of their own club communities.

“At Retro Fitness, we are dedicated to our communities, especially those affected where our franchisees and members live and work, and stand in solidarity with those on the front lines keeping us safe” said Andrew Alfano, CEO of Retro Fitness.


Ulrich closes district office due to coronavirus outbreak

File photo

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the City Council has suspended all office walk-ins, meetings and hearings.

That means starting March 16, Councilman Eric Ulrich has closed his district offices. Staff will be working from home, and calls will be forwarded to Ulrich and senior staff.

Constituents will be assisted through email and social media platforms.

Here is a list of Ulrich’s staff and contact information:

  • Councilman Eric Ulrich:
  • Chief of staff – Kevin Tschirhart:
  • Scheduler, community liaison – Jenna Donohue:
  • Deputy chief of staff, community liaison – Robby Schwach:
  • Deputy chief of staff – Ciara Donley:
  • Budget director – Matthew Pecorino:
  • Legislative director, community liaison – Marjorie Coello:
  • Community liaison – Pietro Ruggero:
  • Community liaison – Nazia Ahmed:

“I cannot stress how serious the situation has become,” Ulrich said. “This is a serious public health emergency.

“People should not go about business as usual,” he added. “I am very concerned about community spread and urge my constituents to take extra precaution and to stay indoors whenever possible.”


JACL suspends public programming through April 2

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning (JACL) is suspending public programming through April 2.

That includes these public programs:

  • March 20: Omar Edwards – VAUDE/A Toast to the Boogie (workshop and performance
  • March 26: School Assembly
  • April 1: School Assembly

New dates for these programs will be determined at a later date.

JACL’s School of the Arts will also be temporarily suspended, with classes scheduled to resume on Saturday, April 4.

The spring semester will be extended to June 27 to ensure a window of safety for students while maintaining 12 classes for the semester.

For questions, contact Leonard Jacobs, JACL deputy director, at 718-658-7400 ext. 115.


Property tax info session in Howard Beach

The NYC Department of Finance and Councilman Eric Ulrich are co-sponsoring a property tax information session at the Howard Beach Library on Wednesday, March 1 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The open enrollment event will help local homeowners get much-needed property tax relief.

Representatives from DOF will be there to educate and help eligible residents enroll in various property tax exemptions.

Homeowners who are currently receiving SCHE (Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption) or DHE (Disabled Homeowners’ Exemption) can also submit their renewal applications.

Homeowners must renew their property tax exemptions by March 15, or their property taxes could increase significantly.

The deadline to appeal property tax assessments is March 16.