Ladies Aide Society hosts harvest festival & flea market

By Stephanie Meditz

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The Harvest Festival included various fresh vegetables.

The Ladies Aide Society of Trinity-St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Maspeth rang in the new season with its annual Harvest Festival and Flea Market.

Each year, members of the society compile old books, interesting knick knacks, fresh vegetables and even homemade baked goods to raise money for people in need.

The society, which has been around for over 100 years, held its first Harvest Festival since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the members, Sue Cron, said that the society still had items left over from the last Flea Market two years ago to sell.

“We usually ask our members [for donations]…you’re doing your spring cleaning, if it’s in good shape,” she said. “And then pass the word out to your family.”

Cron also commented on the high quality of many of the goods sold at the Flea Market, including new backpacks.

“Our members are very good. They’re very generous,” she said. “We’re very fortunate, we have a good group of people…we have friends of the church that are very good and give donations.”

Co-president Carole Wildenberger mans the raffle table.

Carole Wildenberger, co-president of the Ladies Aide Society, found many goods to sell during her recent move from Maspeth.

“That’s how we usually get all of our donations and things. People are moving or, we have an older congregation, they start downsizing, and they have a lot of good stuff,” she said.

Wildenberger was excited to resume the Flea Market after two years and finally celebrate with the community.

“We wanted to try to get started again, of course it’s kind of hard now with the inflation,” she said. “I think we need to get [people’s] mind off things, so I figured we’d go ahead with it.”

Wildenberger is also thrilled with her new role as co-president and proud to lead a group of women so dedicated to community service.

“We’ve always been lucky. We have a wonderful team of women,” she said. “All hard workers, all dedicate themselves…it’s fun, we get together and we have fun. A lot of work, but it’s fun. I enjoy doing it.”

In addition to its annual Flea Market, the society does everything it can to help Trinity-St. Andrews Church and the Maspeth community.

“Basically, whatever we raise, we have money there for when the church needs something. Ladies Aide will contribute that money to a certain amount,” Wildenberger said. “If we know anybody needs something, we’ll try to do something…basically, for anything that the church needs, we’re the only association that’s left that still donates.”

Upon learning that a family in the community was struggling, the society brought Thanksgiving food items to the church for the pastor to give to the family.

The society also donates the food left over from the Flea Market.

“What we don’t sell with the vegetables, we always take over to Sacred Heart because they have the food pantry,” Cron said.

The Ladies Aide Society will hold its annual Spring Auction on Apr. 29.

Ozone Park RBA calls for change after 4 shot in London Planetree Park

By Alicia Venter 

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Four men were shot near London Planetree Park on Tuesday, Sept. 27. The park is located between 88 and 89th Streets on Atlantic Avenue. 

The Ozone Park Resident Block Association has issued a statement regarding the shooting, calling the catastrophe “a day of horror that many of these kids will never shake from their memories.”

“We are fed up with the current state of affairs in our community,” the statement read. “Anything goes, and it seems to be getting worse over time. This park was the scene of a very chaotic shooting where families, women, children, and teenagers were running for their lives. What was once a tranquil neighborhood has now become the OK Corral.”

The association wants money allocated by elected officials for at least two NYPD ARGUS CCTV camera surveillance systems to be fitted in each park.

These cameras would help deter crime and allow the NYPD to identify perpetrators of any crime.

They also request a round table discussion with elected officials to revisit their budgets and discuss other issues in the community. 

The Ozone Park Resident Block Association uses their Facebook to update the community hourly on what is happening in the community. For more information about what is happening in the community, visit

Queens man indicted in fatal stabbing of FDNY EMS worker in Astoria

By Alicia Venter

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A man has been indicted for the fatal stabbing of FDNY EMS worker Alison Russo-Elling on Sept. 29, who was posthumously promoted to the rank of Captain. 

Peter Zisopoulos, 34, has been charged with murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz on Thursday, Oct. 6. 

According to the charges, the defendant approached the victim — who had been with FDNY for 25 years — near EMS Station 49 while she was in uniform and on-duty while walking down 20th Ave. between 41st St. and Steinway St. Zisopoulos lived on 20th Ave, only a short distance away from where he allegedly attacked Russo-Elling.

Allegedly, Zisopoulos knocked her to the ground without provocation and stabbed her repeatedly before fleeing the scene.

The fatal stabbing was caught on video surveillance. 

After the attack, Zisopoulos ran to a nearby residential building where he barricaded himself into his third-floor apartment. NYPD’s hostage negotiating team and emergency service unit were able to talk the suspect out of the building, where he surrendered himself without further altercation.

Zisopoulos was arraigned via video on OCt. 6 via video from Bellevue Hospital. His court date is Nov. 29, 2022. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.


Porcelli: The Other Side of Education (10/6)

CTE Shop Class: Now It’s High-Tech

By Mike Porcelli

Last weekend my mission to restore trade education in our schools included a road-trip to Warren, Michigan, where I attended electric vehicle training at the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) at Macomb Community College, home of one of the finest automotive education programs.

CAAT is part of a network funded by the National Science Foundation to ensure that the workforce of the future includes people with the skills needed to maintain ever-changing technologies.

The workforce development part of the presentations included many of the ideas espoused here each week regarding the need for schools to match their instruction to the talents and abilities of students and produce graduates with the skills needed by industry.

CAAT works with high schools and colleges to promote programs that produce graduates with the needed combination of skills. They also bring talent exploration programs to middle and grade schools to help young students understand the types of careers that match their natural talents – another constant theme here. They do this by providing funding to improve and disseminate programs that prepare students for jobs in advanced automotive technology.

The idea that such programs are sorely needed was dramatically illustrated by the event’s keynote speaker, Carla Bailo, CEO of the Center for Automotive Research, a think-tank helping to design the future of the automotive industry.

Bailo became a leading industry engineer and executive despite her high school counselors’ determination that she should become a journalist or politician.

Against the advice of her school’s “experts,” who told her that “girls like her don’t need science classes,” she enrolled in chemistry, where the teacher recognized her natural aptitude and advised her to study engineering, something she never considered to that point.

She credits that teacher’s astute recognition of her potential, with setting her on a path to become one of the most successful engineers in the auto industry, and a role-model for young women in STEM careers everywhere.

Sadly, Bailo regrets her son lacked accurate guidance from his high school, and his college major was not suited to his natural talents, causing him to later learn a trade that did fit his talents.

Each of the other speakers spoke about various CAAT-sponsored programs that help schools improve their assessment of students and help guide them into their best academic and career paths.

Bailo summed up the essential objective of CAAT, and this column, by saying: “The education establishment must change to accurately assess students’ abilities and provide instruction matched to them, thereby maximizing their individual potential.”

Go to: to see how local schools can implement CAAT’s and Carla’s recommendations.

Every school MUST meet this goal. Insist that they do!

Academic & Trade Education are Two Sides of a Coin. This column explores the impact of CTE programs on students, society, and the economy.

Mike Porcelli: life-long mechanic, adjunct professor, and host of Autolab Radio, is committed to restoring trade education in schools before it’s too late. 

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