Ridgewood man arrested as alleged co-leader of illegal prescription pill ring

A 45-year-old Ridgewood man and six others were arrested for their participation in a multi-million prescription forgery ring, law enforcement agents announced this week.

According to the New York division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, 45-year-old Ridgewood man Joseph Bivona and 53-year-old Steven Keller of Valley Stream, are accused of employing drug runners to fill forged prescriptions of oxycodone at pharmacies throughout Brooklyn and Queens.

During the course of the scheme, authorities said, runners were directed to fill over 930 prescriptions for oxycodone. Ultimately it resulted in over 160,000 pills on the street with a street value of nearly $3 million.

“It is alleged that Bivona and Keller schemed to profit off of other people’s addictions by pushing diverted oxycodone onto New York City’s black market since 2011,” DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James Hunt said. “Evident by today’s arrests, law enforcement is committed to identifying prescription drug rings whose crimes contribute to opioid misuse within our communities.”

The DEA further alleged that Bivona and Keller employed family members to fill prescriptions, using the name of an Astoria doctor.

A list of the charges is below:

Work to begin next week on Ridgewood high rise

A rendering of the finished project, from the developer.

Work on a controversial 17-story, mixed-use apartment building with 129 apartments, medical and commercial officers and ground floor retail at 350 St. Nicholas Ave., will begin on February 1.

The developer, AB Capstone Builders notified local residents in a letter, as required, 10 days prior to work.

The letter says there may be some traffic and parking impacts at times. Regular work hours will be Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., but weekend and evening hours may be required at times.

Despite that opposition from the tenants and affordability advocates, the property’s developer, can proceed with this development as of right. The site, just a block away from the Myrtle-Wyckoff Transit hub, is zoned for a high-rise, high-density development.

Traffic changes coming to Ridgewood

As the New York City Department of Transportation embarks on the replacement of the Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue bridge, motorists should be aware of an important traffic change.

60th Lane will change direction from northbound (Metropolitan Avenue to Eliot Avenue) to southbound (Eliot Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue.  A temporary traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of 60th Lane and Metropolitan Avenue.

The DOT said that traffic control agents will be posted 24 hours a day, seven days a week at this and other locations in the area to assist drivers in navigating the work.

The change will be in place for approximately one year, until January 31, 2018.

Community Liaison Nancy Catapano is available to provide information about this project at 718-869-1428 or FreshPondMetroBridgeDeck2017@gmail.com.

Support a new publication at Topos Book Store

Topos Book Store in Ridgewood is hosting an evening of poetry and music on January 26 to raise money for Third Brook, a quarterly online publication for art and insight. The night features the following lineup:

Rowan Alexa – Music
Mallory Gonzalez – Poetry
Amy Wilson – Essay
Lauren Piper – Music
Michael Dutka – Translation/poetry
Dylan Angell – Short stories
Lorry Kitka – Poetry

Topos Book Store is located at 788 Woodward Avenue. The even starts at 7 p.m. and will feature vegan treats to go along with the performances.

If you can’t attend the evening of performance, you can still support the publication. 

Ridgewood man seeks volunteers for garden


The Ridgewood Garden on the corner of Cypress Hills Street and Otto Road is seeking for volunteers.

Ridgewood’s George Negoescu spent years creating the Garden, but as a man in his 70s, he’s finding it difficult to maintain throughout the winter.

According to Gail Grabowski on the Glendale Civic Association Facebook, they are applying for an NYC Neighborhood Grant, but will still be seeking volunteers. She posted:

Having a core volunteer group which George and I call Friends of Ridgewood Garden will improve our chances of being awarded the Neighborhood Grant, so please consider helping out if you can. Also, George has always considered Ridgewood Garden our garden, not his, and wants to thank all those who go out of their way to leave the garden as neat and clean as they found it.

If interested, you can reach Grabowski through a GoFundMe page for the garden.