COMMUNITY NEWS - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the April 1998 Juniper Berry Magazine

COMMUNITY NEWS

Peter Polonski

King Henry Makes the Law

Up until now, the City Council was the legislative body- together with the mayor – that makes laws for the City of New York. But maybe the Council should step aside and let a Mayoral appointee take a shot at it. NYC Parks Commissioner Henry Hug a Tree Stern, aka King Henry, aka Starquest, has apparently done just that. NYC law requires that all dogs be on a leash at all times in public spaces. Commissioner Stern has, for several years, made his own law. He allows dogs to go unleashed between the hours 9pm – 9am. It may seem harmless to some but consider that in Juniper Valley Park, several hundred school children are on their way to school at P.S.49 (on Juniper Boulevard South and 80th Street). Also there is a curfew at 9pm in most city parks, including Juniper. Perhaps Commissioner Stern is not aware of this.

Assemblyman Seminerio and Councilman Ognibene have promised to look into the matter.

Water Rate Hike Kept a Secret

City Council Members Walter L. McCaffrey and Madaline Provenzano publicly criticized the New York City Water Board for failing to disclose to property owners in New York City their plan to hike water rates more than 25% over the next five years. They learned this information after obtaining a copy of the Water Board's Fiscal Year 1998 Revenue Bond Prospectus.

The Council Members complained that while the Water Board provides this information about future rates to prospective bondholders, the public is left in the dark. Annually, the Board notifies the public of proposed rates for tho upcoming year and conducts a hearing to solicit public comment. Never in its history, however has the Water Board told the public of projected rates over five years. This information is contained only within the bond prospectus.

McCaffrey said, "we understand the complexities of our water system and the importance of delivering a clean and safe product for the public. We support that objective and are aware that to accomplish these goals it sometimes requires rates to go Up. But by not disclosing this information, it undercuts public support. Secrecy breeds skepticism. If those increases are necessary, the Water Board needs to make its case openly."

McCaffrey and Provenzano are recommending that with the next water bills, the Board should make a commitment to disclose the proposed increases over the next five years.

Since July 1, 1986. metered water rates have increased 65% in New York City. Eight times in the past twelve years, property owners have seen a rise in the price they pay for water. If the five year projected rates come to fruition, it will mean that by 2003 homeowners will pay 90% more for water than they did in 1986.

Despite the increases, the Council Members contend that the quality of customer service remains poor. Each week, new water bill problems continue to flow into their offices. "Fearing they will lose their homes, senior citizens have come to my office with checkbooks in hand, ready to pay erroneous bills amounting to thousands of dollars." said McCaffrey. It is truly disturbing."

The Water Board will be holding public hearings on their proposed 4.3% rate hike for this year, set to take affect July 1, 1998. Hearings will be conducted in each of the five boroughs. The Juniper Park Civic Association is planning a petition to protest the rate hikes. Residents are urged to attend the next JPCA Town Meeting, April 30th- 7:45pm at Our Lady of Hope Auditorium.

Red Means Go on Grand

At practically every changing light in our community, some thoughtless driver will run the red light. The JPCA together with our sister organization COMET (Citizens of Maspeth & Elmhurst Together) has been asking the 104th Precinct to address the problem. Well it seems that the 104th Precinct does not have the manpower to effectively deal with the situation In the past two years, red light jumper have been responsible for several pedestrian and motorist deaths and injuries. in Maspeth and Middle Village. The 104th Precinct is woefully undermanned, the community is woefully underprotected. The beat goes on.

3:20pm Saturday, April 18 – We stood on the corner of Grand Avenue and 69th Street, one of the most hazardous intersections in the community, for 10 minutes and witnessed seven cars jump red lights in that span. In top photo car (arrow) approaches corner with light clearly red, picks up speed and races through intersection.

Shusterich's Green Project Expands Beyond Pullis

Juniper Park's super volunteer, Ed Shusterich, a Parks Warden, continues his mission of beauty in Juniper Valley Park. Starting in the Pullis Cemetery, which was neglected and overgrown with weeds, Ed and Juniper volunteer, Joseph Mangunjaya have for several years dedicated most of their free time into making the colonial cemetery one of the most picturesque spots in Middle Village.

About 25 new trees have been planted with the help of the Councilman Tom Ognibene, Acting Queens Parks Commissioner Richard Murphy, Bill Calabrese, Principal Supervisor of the Greenhouse in Forest Park; Tom Russo, Queens Forestry; Andy Ingoglia, Supervisor; and Artie Sarrantonio of the Street Tree Planting Division of Parks. IBM also contributed a $1,000 community beautification grant through the Juniper Park Civic Association. Dan Austin, President and CEO of Lutheran All -Faiths Cemetery, has also helped tremendously with the ongoing greening project. Several residents have donated plants, shrubs and flowers that has transformed the upper section of Juniper into a botanical garden.

Thanks to these fine people the area is now dotted with trees of such variety as: Evergreens, Flowering Apple, Flowering Cherry, White Birch, and Oak.

The space is ideal for passive recreation or for a quiet break from noise and our concrete world.

The cemetery, one of only a handful in Queens, was created in 1846 by Thomas Pullis, owner of a small farm in Middle Village. Pullis bought the farm in 1828 as one of the first settlers in the area. When Pullis died in 1854 his will specified that the family cemetery must never be sold and he instructed his sons to build a wall around the site.

Pete Colors Our World

On the southside of 80th Street, Juniper Park Civic Association Executive Board member, volunteer, and Park Warden, Pete Polonski has added his usual touch of green around the upper playground and parkhouse. His color display of flowers includes bright red tulips that line paths and play equipment. Pete has been brightening Juniper for over a decade and is the JPCA's eyes and ears in the park. Pete is also the JPCA's Parks Committee Chair. But Pete is also part of a volunteer team. His wife Mary has been at his side up in Juniper also helping with the beatification project.

Clean-Up Day at Juniper

The annual parks clean-up day will be held on Saturday, April 25th. St. Margaret's Boy Scouts are heading the list of volunteers as well as members of the Juniper Park Civic Association. Volunteers are to meet and sign-up at the Pullis Cemetery (located on Juniper Blvd. North & 81st St.) at 10:00am. Silver Barn Farms will supply refreshments for the volunteers.

OLH Students Help Out in Park

Eighth grade students from Our Lady of Hope School cleaned up Juniper Valley Park on Monday, April 20th. About 16 students, who will be graduating in June, cleaned the park as part of community service credit. Any school wishing to perform community service can call the Juniper Park Civic Association at (718) 651-5865.