IS 141 student wins Veterans Day essay contest

image006Seventh grade student Anastasia Tsakonas from IS 141 in Astoria received top honors in Congressman Joe Crowley’s annual Veterans Day essay competition.

In the contest, middle school students are asked to write about what it means to commemorate Veterans Day. Nearly 300 students submitted entries.

“As we pause each year to pay tribute to our veterans and their families, our annual essay competition gives our youth an opportunity to express their appreciation and a platform to share that gratitude beyond their dinner tables, classrooms and communities,” Crowley said.

The congressman presented Anastasia with a framed copy of her essay, which was entered into the Congressional Record.

Runners up for the contest are also seventh graders from IS 141: Zainab Hamid and Irena Marsalek. They received certificates of congressional recognition.

Here’s an excerpt from Anastasia’s essay:

“Veterans Day is our reminder that we need to honor and celebrate all the men and women who have served or are currently serving in our military. It takes a lot of courage and strength to enter the military and purposely leave behind everything you love.”

Life-Size BQX Prototype Unveiled

On Monday, the prototype for a new potential mode of transportation connecting Brooklyn and Queens was revealed.

The model Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar was unveiled at the New Lab technology space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The rail line would run 14 miles along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront from Astoria to Sunset Park.

Ya-Ting Liu, executive director of Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector, advocated for the new line saying, “Now is the moment to move forward with this transformative project to connect hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, including over 40,000 public housing residents, to jobs, education, healthcare and recreation along the route.” 

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams believes this train will solve the lack of north-south transportation between the two boroughs. “Everyone is on board, for the most part, with the concept that we need better transportation from waterfront to inland,” he said.

Despite these benefits, some concerns among residents still exist, such as the lack of fare integration with the MTA and the risk of overdevelopment on the waterfront.

The project could be completed as early as 2024.

Astoria resident Kyle Scheafer, McClancy Standout, Signs letter of intent to play ball at Marshall University

Msgr. McClancy student-athlete Kyle Scheafer, from Astoria, was the center of attention Wednesday at a college signing ceremony at the East Elmhurst High School. Playing division 1 baseball is a dream for millions of kids around the country, but today it became reality to a young man who apparently has was much promise on the filed as off.

The McClancy baseball standout participates in the honors program at McClancy as well. He played his travel baseball under coach Greg Modica with the Midville Dodgers. At McClancy he was voted 2nd team all-city and signed a letter of intent to play ball at ‘Division 1’ Marshall University.

“The top priority for our athletes is to excel in the classroom,” said McClancy’s director of admissions and varsity baseball coach, Nick Melito, as he introduced Kyle with his family to the crowd of 100 at the event. “Not only is Kyle a role models on the field but he excels in school. So he makes us proud on the field and in the classroom,” he said.

Kyle, his coaches and family at McClancy Wednesday.

Kyle, his coaches and family at McClancy Wednesday.

Constantinides re-elected to City Council

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Costa Constantinides will be Astoria’s councilman for four more years.

In yesterday’s general election, Constantinides won in a landslide over “Dive In” party candidate Kathleen Springer, who ran on restoring and reviving the Astoria Diving Pool.

According to the unofficial early returns on the Board of Elections website, Constantinides took home 16,915 votes out of 18,199 total votes. That comes out to 92.94 percent.

Breaking it down by party, the incumbent won 14,722 on the Democratic ticket, and another 2,193 votes on the Working Families line.

Springer collected 1,186 votes, good for 6.52 percent.

Constantinides, a stalwart for environmental protection, has fought for issues like cleaner power plants and lowering the asthma rate. In Astoria, he has funded improvements for parks, new technology in schools and more cleaning services for major commercial corridors.

Astoria pol backs “Fair Fix” plan

Costa_PB_2 copyCouncilman Costa Constantinides is among 27 council members who have announced their support for Mayor de Blasio’s Fair Fix proposal.

The plan would increase taxes on the city’s wealthiest to raise $800 million annually to fix the crumbling subway and bus system. It would also pay for half-fare MetroCards for 800,000 low-income New Yorkers.

“The MTA has allowed our subways to go without long-term infrastructure improvements that would alleviate delays, maintain signals and improve the train tracks. We need a fully-funded, on-time and functional subway system,” Constantinides said. “A tax increase on the top 1 percent of the city’s wealthiest residents would help improve income inequality by paying for this dedicated revenue stream and for half-priced fares for low-income New Yorkers. We deserve better than an MTA with no accountability to improve our commutes.”

Fair Fix would need to get through Governor Cuomo’s Albany, which seems unlikely considering the governor is pushing congestion pricing, which the mayor opposes. Let’s not forget that the mayor and governor can’t seem to get along, and are in a constant political fight to top one another.

But with 27 supporters from the City Council, Mayor de Blasio’s plan appears to be picking up momentum.

Time will tell which plan will prevail. Either way, New York City commuters are just hoping that a solution comes soon.

Maspeth Federal Savings Awards Heroes Basketball League Champions

Last Sunday, two Heroes Championship teams were crowned at the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens in Astoria.

Maspeth Federal Savings Bank awarded custom MVP trophies and basketballs to the championship teams.

“Supporting this summer’s Heroes Basketball League and other programs that bring the community and our youth together is important to Maspeth Federal Savings and has been for 70 years.” – Christina Zanca, VP & Marketing Director of MFS

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Western Conference Champions, One Eleven

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Western Conference MVP, David Burgos

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Eastern Conference Champions, CM3 Elite

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Eastern Conference MPV, Jahleel Gary

Fall leaf collection is back!

IMG_1799 copyIt’s (finally) fall again, so you know what that means. Fall leaf collection is back!

The Department of Sanitation is turning your leaves into compost for New York City’s street trees and community gardens, rather than letting the leaves rot in a landfill. Did we mention that’s not the best for the environment?

Certain neighborhoods across the city will receive special DSNY leaf collection services, including Community Board 1 in Astoria.

Leaves can be set out in either a part lawn and leaf bag (see above)  or in an open, unlined container. Please don’t use plastic bags!

Collection will be after 4 p.m. on these days:

  • Saturday, November 18
  • Saturday, December 2