New WIC center to help families in Ridgewood

A new state-of-the art facility will provide low-income and immigrant families with access to healthy foods, breastfeeding support and education around healthy parenting and pregnancies.

The facility, located at the corner of Madison Street and Myrtle Avenue, is run by Public Health Services, the state’s largest provider of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Previously, families utilizing WIC were served by a center on Onderdonk Avenue, but the approximately 1,700 clients outgrew the space.

“Unfortunately, we were not in the friendliest and most welcome site,” said Zach Hennessey, vice president of Programs and Services for Public Health Solutions. “We have created here an environment that is empowering, welcoming, spacious and bright.”

According to Hennessey, woman who participate in WIC have healthier pregnancies. Their children go on to have better diets, lower risk of childhood obesity, and regular source of medical care.

The facility will also offer mothers and their children access to health insurance enrollment and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), all co-located at the same address.

Public Health Solutions CEO Lisa David explained that in addition to helping families access healthy foods, they will also offer a full range of healthcare education on topics like childhood diabetes and when to take a kid to the dentist.

“There’s educational components to this,” she explained. “It not only helps reduce the risk of childhood obesity, it really helps coalesce the family.”

“We had a very small space before so this will allow us to truly expand the number of people we can serve,” she added.

With the Trump administration looking to cut WIC funding by $200 million, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez said the federal government needs to see the center as an investment in the longterm health of the community.

“This is what we call human capital,” she said. “The money that we invest is well spent.”

Meet President John Adams (sort of) this weekend

President John Adams (as portrayed by George Baker) will be at the historic Vander-Ende Onderdonk House this weekend. The second president will present his views of the nation, history and family life in a humorous and inspiring speech.

The event will take place from 1-2:30 p.m. at Vander-Ende Onderdonk House,  1820 Flushing Ave.

See more information on the Facebook event. 


Crowley announces participatory budgeting results

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley announced the winners of this year’s participatory budgeting in Council District 30. The top vote getters and the amount they received are:

 • Tech improvements for District 30 Schools ($480,000) 1,627 votes;

• Glendale library computer and furniture upgrades ($40,000) 1,155 votes;

• Exercise equipment for Juniper Valley Park ($300,000) 1,056 votes;

• Bathroom renovations for P.S. 71 ($190,000) 797 votes.

“I am thrilled by the feedback we received during Participatory Budgeting and the final projects the community decided on. Our schools, libraries and parks are the lifeblood of our communities and these improvements will benefit people of all ages,” Crowley said. “Thank you to everyone who voted, volunteered and helped see this process through until the very end. Together, we can build a stronger community.”

In total, over 2,000 people voted at one of the polling sites and 326 voted online.

Ridgewood community garden opens for the spring

The Ridgewood Community Garden, now located at Grover Cleveland High School – Metropolitan Avenue between Armory Court and Tonsor Street – is hosting a spring opening celebration this Sunday form 11 am.m to 2 p.m.

Members of the community are invited to be a part of the green space to learn, socialize and enjoy the outdoors. From the event’s Facebook page:

– See the subirrigated planter prepared by GCHS students. We’ll be filling the bed with soil and transplanting veggie seedlings!
– Prepare and sow patches of wildflowers and sunflowers.
– Hat and Plant sale fundraiser
– Banner hanging
– Assemble our new wheelbarrow
– Transplant border plants

Get involved, bring a friend, and come see the great progress made on transforming the space. We’ll have some tools and gloves on hand, but feel free to bring your own shovels, trowels, or gloves along… the more the merrier.

For more information, visit the event on Facebook or read about how the garden came to be in the Glendale Register. 

Community group offering beginner Spanish classes

The Ridgewood-based community group Woodbine is hosting an 12-week introductory Spanish course for beginners. The classes will begin on Wednesday, March 15 from 7-9 p.m., at 1882 Woodbine St.

In our first class we will provide a textbook, for a small $10 donation to cover printing costs. Our class’s success depends on each individual’s commitment, and we ask students to attend regularly, arrive on time, and be prepared to actively participate. You can access a syllabus that outlines guidelines and a course calendar here:

Our instructor has taught foreign languages for more than a decade, and has experience teaching Spanish, French, and English for adults as well as high school and university students.

To find out more about the class, visit Woodbine on Facebook.

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.

Ridgewood elementary school seeks donations for playground equipment

The vacant space in the school yard that the PTA is looking to transform.

The vacant space in the school yard that the PTA is looking to transform.

Ridgewood’s PS 290Q A.C.E. Academy for Scholars, located at 55-20 Metropolitan Ave., is looking for donations to help purchase an Imagination Playground starter kit.

The GoFundMe, started by Katarzyna Okula, the PTA president at PS 290Q, is looking to raise $6,000 for the play set. At press time they’ve raised $1,095.

“Our school building was constructed in 2014 but the planners only built a small playground structure behind the school which is suited for use by our 4 year old scholars,” Okula said. “Our large front yard is asphalt and empty.”

Imagination Playground is an innovative project that uses blocks to transform empty spaces into play spaces. Kids can make imaginary places like houses, cities and then use their imagination to enjoy the space they created.

“We are asking community members, like you, for a charitable donation in order to purchase a basic starter set for our scholars,”Okula added. “Because this equipment is portable, we are also intending to use it indoors during the winter months as well.”