Person robbed at gunpoint near Juniper Park

A gunpoint robbery took place on the night of November 9 in Middle Village near Juniper Valley Park.
Officer Michael Berish of the 104th Precinct shared details of the incident at last week’s Community Board 5 meeting, as well as a meeting of 104COP/G-COP in Glendale.
He said two people met near the park on Lutheran Avenue with the agreement that the victim would test drive a vehicle he might buy from the suspect. Instead, the suspect pulled out a gun and demanded cash, stole it, and then drove off in the car.
“It is a robbery pattern that is taking place going around the city,” Berish said. “We’ve seen it throughout all of Queens North in all of the precincts, as well as some of Brooklyn North.”
At the CB5 meeting, Berish also shared crime statistics for the whole precinct. Over the last 28-day period, the 104th Precinct has seen a 3 percent decrease in overall crime, with a 30 percent downward trend for robberies specifically.
This did not add up for Patrick Trinchese, who has lived in the neighborhood for 43 years.
“Growing up in this neighborhood, to sit here and say crime is going down is absurd to me,” he said. “I want to know whether they’re going down in number and they’re shifting in severity. This was always a good area for grand theft auto and grand larceny, but it seems that there’s more violent crimes.”
Berish said there has been a “slight uptick” in violent crime throughout the precinct. In a two-year time span the precinct has seen an increase of 1.6 percent, but over the last five years there has been a decrease of 1.6 percent.
A Middle Village resident who has lived in the area for over 20 years said he wasn’t aware of the recent robbery, but isn’t surprised it occurred.
“A lot has changed in the neighborhood over time,” said the resident, who asked that his name be withheld. “About 10 years back is when it really started to get bad. It used to be once a month that the cops would come by, now every other day I hear sirens, so it really would not surprise me at all if there was a gunpoint robbery right here.”

Two months later, relief efforts from Ida continue

Roughly two months ago, Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc in Queens and New York City at large, flooding basements that in some instances left people dead.
Ragendra Shiuprasad, a resident on 183rd street in Hollis, had his basement destroyed due to the record rainfall. He estimates it will cost $50,000 to repair
The Showing Hearts Foundation, working in tandem several local groups and organizations and the 103rd Precinct, hosted a day of action in Hollis for residents still trying to recover from the storm.
“A lot of the residents here still need need PPE, food, and coats,” said the group’s founder, David Tanis. “We came together with the partnership of Resorts World Casino, which provided us with some resources to purchase heaters and cleaning supplies to make sure the residents here are supported.”
Jocelynn Ricard, senior manager of the Community of Faith Initiative, provided information on contractor needs and the group’s thrift store, which has inexpensive furniture items.
“We are also here to give out a limited amount of grants to the residents who have the most needs from the storm,” said Ricard.
Ricard’s group also partnered with Mattress Firm a couple of weeks ago to give away mattresses.
“Once it got televised, there were a number of people coming who didn’t necessarily have the same needs as others” Ricard said. “So this time we’re being more cautious at first, better identifying the needs and then distributing the grants.”

‘Momnibus’ aims to improve maternal health among minorities

Calling out a stark discrepancy in nationwide maternal care, Senator Chuck Schumer visited Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn to stress the importance of the Black Maternal Health “Momnibus” Act.
Speaking alongside the Olori Sisterhood, Schumer outlined a two-pronged plan to combat what he calls one of the greatest health crises the country faces.
Black and Native American women in the U.S. are three times more likely to die than white women from pregnancy-related causes, and black babies are twice as likely to die than white babies, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While 700 pregnancy deaths occur per year, two-thirds of them are considered preventable.
In New York City, black women have an eight times greater risk of pregnancy-related death than white women. They were also three times more likely than their white counterparts to experience severe maternal morbidity, which can include blood clots, kidney failure, stroke or heart attack.
“That should make every American hang their head in shame,” said Schumer. “We have to change it.”
Schumer says the Momnibus Act, tucked into the Build Back Better legislation, grows and diversifies the perinatal workforce, aiding hospitals with federally sponsored training on how to reduce maternal mortality.
A handful of community-based organizations will be funded under the legislation as well, Schumer added.
“It will expand on existing health legislation and address impacts of COVID and climate change on maternal health as well,” he said last week.
Additionally, Schumer and elected officials on hand called for permanent enhancements to Medicaid coverage for new mothers, including providing one year of postpartum coverage, up from the current 60 days required by federal law.
A temporary version of this policy was already passed as part of the American Rescue Plan, and Schumer says he hopes the yearlong postpartum coverage iwill be permanent. The senator is also pushing for Medicaid coverage for midwives and doulas.
“The Momnibus will deliberately address the needs of women, especially Black, Hispanic and Native women, who are more likely to live in poor health and die younger,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. “These disparities are not inevitable, there are ways to reduce and even eliminate these disparities.”
Funding for access to no-cost drop-in childcare for pregnant and postpartum women will be included in the legislation, Clarke said. Grant opportunities will also be available to community-based organizations and public health departments to address the needs of each community.
“We must never forget that the time is always now to improve women’s lives, especially those unfairly and historically impacted by neglect and deliberate mistreatment,” she said.
India Sneed, the wife of Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, spoke of her own personal birth experience, which she said included being subjected to an unnecessary C-section.
Last summer, Sneed suffered a miscarriage and was told she had cervical cancer. Now five months pregnant, Sneed recalled her emotional experience.
“Being ignored after a miscarriage, when my partner and I needed mental health resources, being pointed towards a hysterectomy after I routinely expressed interest in having more children, and being dismissed with respect to my request for fertility treatments, my story is not a unique one,” said Sneed. “It’s pretty routine to the Black community.”

Coney Island groups continue Thanksgiving tradition

On November 24, the Coney Island Gospel Assembly will once again partner with the Alliance for Coney Island and Gargiulo’s Restaurant, La Tombola Restaurant, and Luna Park to host its annual community Thanksgiving meal distribution.
“It is an honor to continue our tradition of over 60 years of serving Coney Island’s neediest,” said Pastor Constance Hulla. “The pandemic has made this event even more important, and we are glad to bring Coney Islanders a hot homemade meal for the holiday.”
With the generous donation of 100 turkeys from the Amazin’ Mets Foundation and the help of nearly three-dozen volunteers, over 1,000 ready-made Thanksgiving meals to-go will be distributed from La Tombola at 2102 Boardwalk West from noon to 3 p.m.
All food is on a first-come basis and attendees are encouraged to arrive early.
“Thanksgiving has always been a special day for me and my family,” said Nino Russo, co-owner of Gargiulo’s and La Tombola. “The Coney Island Gospel Assembly has taught us how to share all our gifts and extend them to our neighbors.”
In addition to curbside pick-up, Coney Island Gospel Assembly will also deliver family-portioned meals to anyone living in the 11224 zip code that is homebound or without transportation.
Other Sponsors include A&J Produce, Brooklyn Cyclones, Coney Island Starbucks, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, iStar, Kings Highway Bakery, Liberty Coca-Cola, Luna Park, PCS Security and the Rotary Club of Verrazano.
“Feeding those who need a meal for Thanksgiving is a tradition,” said Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of the Alliance for Coney Island. “We encourage anyone who might need a meal to attend and grab a delicious Thanksgiving meal.”

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