Tag Archives: Briarwood

Police searching for suspect who left sneaker behind after trying to rape woman in Briarwood    


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police are hoping a lost shoe will help lead them to a suspect who allegedly tried to rape a woman in Briarwood last week.

The suspect approached the 26-year-old victim on Daniels Street near Hoover Avenue at about 8 p.m. on Sept. 24, threw her to the ground and said that he was going to rape her, according to authorities. The woman then fought back and the suspect fled.

Police have released a sketch of the suspect and a photo of the sneaker he left behind at the site of the attempted rape. He is described as Asian, 5 feet 5 inches tall and 140 pounds.

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Health Department to treat areas of Queens against West Nile this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Wednesday, Aug. 6 there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, Aug. 7 during the same hours.

The following neighborhoods are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high mosquito populations, according to the city’s Health Department:

Parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Hollis Hill, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens (Bordered by Long Island Rail Road Track to the north; 219th Street and Springfield Boulevard to the west; Long Island Expressway to the south and Douglaston Parkway to the east)

Parts of Blissville, Sunnyside and west Maspeth (Bordered by Green Point Avenue and 48th Avenue to the north; Van Dam Street to the west; Newtown Creek (Queens-King County Boundary) to the South; 49th Street, 56th Road, 50th Street, Queens Midtown Expressway and 49th Street to the East

Parts of Kew Gardens, Briarwood and Jamaica (Bordered by Grand Central Parkway and Jackie Robinson Parkway to north; Metropolitan Avenue and 118th Street to the west; Long Island Rail Road and Archer Avenue to the south; 14th Place, Jamaica Avenue, 144th Street, 87th Avenue and 150th Street to the east)

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

 

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WATCH: 93-year-old Rockaway man pulls pickup truck with teeth for ‘America’s Got Talent’ Judgement Week


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Eric Liebowitz/NBC


Rockaway strongman Mike “Mighty Atom Jr.” Greenstein proved on national television that he is still young enough to pull a pickup truck with his teeth, but was it enough to get him to the next round of “America’s Got Talent”?

In his second appearance on the NBC reality competition show Tuesday night, the 93-year-old tugged the approximately 5,000-pound vehicle along with his younger brother in the front seat and judges  judges Heidi Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern, and host Nick Cannon in the back.

“I’m here to prove that i’m the world’s greatest strongman—agewise or otherwise,” Greenstein said before performing for the judges.

EMS was standing by in case something happened to Greenstein. Mandel asked him if he was alright after he seemed out of breath following the stunt, but EMS personnel said the second-generation strongman had a good heart rate.

During the show’s season nine premiere on May 27, he used his choppers to pull a 3,500-pound station wagon, with his 84-year-old brother, his brother’s wife and his “lady friend,” inside of it. The feat earned yeses from Klum, Mel B and Mandel, and another audition during Judgement Week.

But Stern turned him down because he felt Greenstein “needed more showmanship.”

That same sentiment may have been felt after his second performance, and on Wednesday’s episode he was not chosen as one of the 47 acts to perform live at Radio City Music Hall.

“It doesn’t disappoint me. I love doing it and I’ll keep on doing it as long as I keep going,” Greenstein said after learning he was cut.

Throughout the Judgement Week auditions, the judges kept expressing that it was a competitive season.

Greenstein was up against several impressive variety acts, some of which made it to live shows, including a man who performs feats of strength, 26-year-old JD Anderson.

If he had gone further in the competition  Greenstein would have liked to have tried to bend iron bars across the bridge of his nose, something he hasn’t done in almost 40 years. But he’s happy to have just honored the legacy of his father, Joseph, the first “Mighty Atom.”

“I got my message across and that was my father’s memory,” he said.

Greenstein was not the only Queens resident to appear on the show this season. Roger “Rogue” Quan, a Briarwood magician who owns Rogue Magic and Funshop in Elmhurst, received four yeses from the judges on the July 1 episode. Though he did not make it onto the Judgement Week episodes and was not selected as one of the finalist for the live shows, Quan is thinking about auditioning for another season.

“I was really disappointed,” Quan said. “I already prepared my next four acts. Maybe I’ll try again next year.”

 

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LIC comedy club founder hosting new Fox stand-up show


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Adam Teixeira

A Queens native and founder of a Long Island City comedy club is bringing his years of experience producing laughs to a new show on Fox next month.

Steve Hofstetter, 34, who is in the process of selling the Laughing Devil Comedy Club on Vernon Boulevard to concentrate on his TV endeavor, is the host and executive producer of “Laughs,” a highlight reel show for stand-up comics.

Hofstetter started doing stand-up comedy at 13 years old to impress a girl. Though he failed to get the girl, he found a life-long passion for humor.

After college, he started performing in and producing stand-up shows, eventually making a full-time career out of comedy.

In late 2011, he opened the Laughing Devil Comedy Club when he realized there were no comedy clubs in Queens.

“Why not support the community that you actually live in,” the former Long Island City resident said.

A writing opportunity led him to move to L.A. about a year and half ago, and he and the Laughing Devil’s co-owner decided to put their business up for sale last summer. But Hofstetter ultimately decided to buy out his partner.

With “Laughs” set to premiere for a 13-week test run on August 2, he is now finalizing the club’s sale to the team behind The Stand, a Manhattan comedy club, which has been running Laughing Devil for the past couple of months, he said.

“I can’t imagine a bigger opportunity,” Hofstetter said about the show. “It’s one of those things where you think you’ve made it but you aren’t sure yet.”

Each week, “Laughs” will feature stand-up comics from around the country, compiled from clips sent to the show and showcases set up by comedy clubs. As host, Hofstetter introduces the clips to a live audience at The Laughing Derby in Louisville, Kentucky, one of three comedy clubs of which he is a managing partner, and provides humorous commentary. Each clip will include the comic’s Twitter handle and where to see the person live.

“This is going to be catch-your-breath funny,” Hofstetter said. “We are really going to introduce the world to some great comics.”

To mark the show’s debut, there will be a red-carpet premiere party at the Laugh Factory in L.A.
Hofstetter remembers growing up in Briarwood and watching “Comic Strip Live” on Fox, which was taped live from the Laugh Factory.

“It’s a wonderful way to go full circle,” he said.

“Laughs” will premiere on Saturday, August 2, in select cities, including in New York at midnight on Fox, and Sunday, August 3, on My9 at 11 p.m.

 

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Queens natives start ‘non-touristy’ food tour of borough


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Richard Mumith

The founders of a new walking food tour, which is making its start in Long Island City, are looking to prove that Queens is the “king of the boroughs.”

Queens natives Richard Mumith and Sergey Kadinsky started the company Locals Finds Queens Food Tours to share their love for the diverse borough and bring tourists across the East River.

“We essentially started up for the tourists but now a lot of natives are becoming part of it too,” Mumith said. “We now want Queens locals to really see what is in their backyard.”

The three-hour tours, which began July 13 and take place every Sunday, look to combine the history, culture and food of the borough in what Mumith calls a “non-touristy ‘off the beaten’ experience.”

Every Sunday eight participants, who are told the meeting point after purchasing tickets, get together and sample food from six local Long Island City establishments, while also being given a tour by Kadinsky, who is a licensed tour guide, on the history and present details on the western Queens neighborhood.

The stops of the tour include Manducatis Rustica, Woodbines Craft Kitchen, Sweetleaf, Alobar, Rockaway Brewing Company and Sage General Store.

Mumith said the tours are starting in Long Island City because it is close to Manhattan and also has an “amazing industrial manufacturing history and artistic presence.”

“We’re really here to create a relationship with the communities,” Mumith said.

However, Mumith hopes to expand the tours into full weekends in Long Island City and later move them further into other Queens neighborhood such as Astoria and Flushing.

“We’re here to stay. We’re here to do all the great borough of Queens and each neighborhood presents something unique,” he said.

The Briarwood resident is even challenging the other four boroughs to try and beat the diversity and distinct cuisines offered in Queens.

“What people don’t know, when it comes to the culinary scene, Queens is the king of the boroughs,” Mumith said.

Tickets for the tours are $56 for adults and $42 for children 12 and under. The price of tickets include the tour, which begins every Sunday at 11 a.m., food tastings and an exclusive brochure featuring a map of the neighborhood, list of attractions, other restaurant recommendations and list of things to do.

For more information visit foodsofqueensny.com or call 800-656-0713.

 

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Mini-documentary features ‘remarkable stories’ from Queens magic shop


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Michael “Six” Muldoon


America already knows he’s “Got Talent.” A new mini-documentary is now showing how one Queens magician has helped a pair of local tricksters and countless others through his shop.

“The Magic Man,” a six-minute film recently released on YouTube as part of Bacardi’s The Untameable Series, features Rogue Magic and Funshop on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst.

The store is owned by 35-year-old Briarwood magician Roger “Rogue” Quan who appeared on the July 1 episode of “America’s Got Talent,” and also owns Rogue Magic Bar & Theatre in Rego Park.

Quan opened the store in 2000, and in addition to selling tricks, the business became like a sanctuary for local youngsters.

“I pushed these kids. If they needed money, needed a place to stay,” Quan said, he helped them out. “I created another family and they helped me out.”

Two of those people’s stories are the focus of “The Magic Man” — Ridgewood resident Michael “Six” Muldoon and Brooklyn native Devonte Rosero.

Both men have made careers out of magic after dealing with personal struggles.

At a young age, Muldoon, now 25, coped with having a sixth finger and weight issues. His Maspeth house burned downed when he was 11 and his parents separated around that time.

Muldoon found magic at about age 13, and bought his first trick from Quan’s store.

“It kind of became an addiction after that,” said Muldoon, who eventually started working at the shop.

Quan not only helped give Muldoon the confidence he needed, but also his stage name — ”Six.”

“He gave us a place to connect, to be open, to find ourselves,” Muldoon said.

After Muldoon nearly died from a ruptured spleen at 18, and was looking to give back, Rosero, who had just met the founder of Magicians Without Borders, suggested that Muldoon work with the organization.

Today, the two are still involved with the group, which travels to more than 30 countries “using magic to entertain, educate and empower.”

They also both started System 6 Magic, a company that produces playing cards and DVDs, and have each become accomplished performers and entrepreneurs.

Though he became interested in magic at an early age, in his teen years Rosero, now 24, started associating with local street gangs.

After landing in the hospital, Rosero received a call from Quan, whose shop he used to go to four or five years earlier, urging him to try out for a magic competition, he recalls in “The Magic Man.”

“If Rouge had not called me, I would be in jail or dead,” Rosero said.

The mini-documentary is not the first time Quan’s magic shop and some of the people it’s helped have been captured on film.

A full-length documentary called “The Magic Men,” featuring Rosero and another local magician, Miles Thorn, was screened at the Woodstock Film Festival in 2013. The film’s producer is trying to get it distributed for full release in New York City, according to Quan. He believes it may have been the reason the filmmakers behind the Bacardi piece came calling.

The aim of the Bacardi series is to tell “remarkable stories of irrepressible spirits from around the world.”

Some of that spirit is summed up in how Quan answers the question about why he does what he does in the documentary.

“Why do I do it? Because I want people to believe. That’s what magic’s all about.”

 

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WATCH: Queens magician performs staple gun Russian roulette on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ wows judges


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/NBC


Queens magician Roger “Rogue” Quan took his chances with one out of four loaded staple guns on “America’s Got Talent” Tuesday night and four out of four judges loved it.

The Briarwood resident and owner of  Rogue Magic and Funshop in Elmhurst performed his staple gun Russian roulette routine on the July 1 episode.

Judge Mel B acted as an assistant, loading one industrial staple gun and shuffling it with three empty ones in a bag. Then, using her “woman’s intuition” she had to pick the three empty ones out of the bag and fire each of them at his temple.

“Do not trust me,” Mel B said as she was about to choose the third gun.

But Quan did trust her, and it was empty. Then, with the fourth gun, he stapled a photo of himself into a piece of wood.

The “dangerous magic” trick as Quan described it rendered Mel B and fellow judges Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern nervous during the performance and impressed at the finish.

But most importantly it left them wanting more.

“I haven’t seen anything like it. I thought you were fantastic. I want to see more of you,” Klum said.

“You entertained us. It was a great presentation. After seeing that I can’t wait to see you again and that’s how this works,” Stern said.

“It was the most fulfilling moment of my performing career,” Quan told The Queens Courier.

Quan is now slated to appear on Judgment Week later this month, where it will be decided which 48 acts will compete in the live show.

 

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Queens magician to perform on ‘America’s Got Talent’


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/NBC / Below photos courtesy of Roger “Rogue” Quan


Will Briarwood resident Roger “Rogue” Quan be able to work his magic on the “America’s Got Talent” judges this Tuesday night?

The 35-year-old owner of Rogue Magic and Funshop in Elmhurst will appear on the July 1 episode where he will perform a “dangerous magic” act.

Quan is not only aiming for the reality competition’s $1 million prize, but also hopes the show will help him become a world-known performer.

His passion for magic started when he was 6 years old and saw David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear.

“After that I guess I got bit by the magic bug,” Quan said.

He was soon asking his family to buy him magic tricks, reading books on the art and started performing for whoever wanted to watch, even charging for the shows.

Growing up in Queens, where he lived in Jackson Heights most of his life, magic was just a hobby for Quan.

Following college, the art major had several jobs, but “nothing made me totally happy but performing,” he said.

Quan then took to the streets to sell magic tricks out of a backpack and perform. He later moved the operation to his parent’s home, where people would also come to learn from him.

But Quan knew he needed a proper space and in 2000 found a Rego Park bookstore that had a counter he could use for his burgeoning business. After seven months, the store had to close down, and he decided it was time for his own store. But it wasn’t easy to find someone who would rent to a young man with a magic shop.

He eventually found an affordable space at his current location at 85-08 Queens Blvd., and opened his store in August 2000.

“I was like the king of Queens,” Quan said, describing his business when it first started.

With the Internet and competition from other stores, business is much tougher for his magic shop today, he admits.

“As technology progresses people have seen the bigger things in the world, and magic is pushed aside. It is hard to really impress people nowadays.”

In addition to selling magic tricks, magic performance DVDs, spy equipment and costumes, his store also provides magic classes, entertainers for hire, and has magic and comedy shows.  But he is now trying to transition the business into more of a magic school.

He also has another venture, the Rogue Magic Bar, which opened inside of Panda Asian Bistro in Rego Park this March. The bar, which is about “bringing Vegas to Queens,” features magically-served drinks, magic shows and other entertainment.

As Quan tries to promote his businesses, he is trying to boost his magic career, and “America’s Got Talent” could be his way to do it.

Friends and family were telling him to try out for the show for a long time, but a tweet from the show, saying they were looking for unique talent like him, finally persuaded him to go for it.

“I’m not a very competitive person,” he said.

Quan does everything from close-up to stage magic, including card tricks and illusions with levitation, but excels at magic that has an element of danger to it, which he performed for “America’s Got Talent” judges  Heidi Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern.

“I really enjoy the danger magic because of the way people react. It’s priceless,” Quan said.

Quan is not the first Queens resident to appear on “America’s Got Talent” this season.

Mike “Mighty Atom Jr.” Greenstein , a 93-year-old Rockaway man, performed his strongman act on the season nine premiere last month, where he earned three out of four yeses from the judges.

To see how Quan did on the July 1 episode of “America’s Got Talent,” click here

 

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Briarwood’s P.S. 117 hosts flawless graduation following fears


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


P.S. 117’s graduation ceremony on Wednesday made the grade.

Nearly 170 graduating fifth-graders were in danger of losing caps and gowns, yearbooks and a senior prom, which are usually sponsored by the Briarwood school’s PTA, because the Department of Education is investigating $30,000 missing from the accounts of the school’s Parent Teacher Association. While the investigation is ongoing, the organization is not allowed to fundraise and is barred from all financial dealings.

But after The Courier reported the situation, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Briarwood Latchkey Generation Facebook group combined to contribute $7,000 to save the school’s end of year ceremony and give the students the graduation experience they were expecting.

Last week, students enjoyed the senior prom and they will receive glossy yearbooks.

 

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City begins $15M Briarwood water main replacement project


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy the Department of Design and Construction


Briarwood’s pipe dreams have been answered.

Officials from the Department of Design Construction recently began construction of a $15 million water main project that will replace nearly century-old pipes in Briarwood, and explained the plan to residents on Thursday in a community meeting.

The project stretches from 84th Road and 164th Street and will end at Hillside Avenue and Queens Blvd. The city’s water pipes, which have been in place since the 1920s according to a DDC representative, will be replaced with larger new ones, accommodating for the population growth in the last century.

“It’s very significant if you consider the fact that you have an increasing population coming into all Queens communities,” Seymour Schwartz, president of the Briarwood Community Association said. “And the fact is that our basic services cannot easily cope with the increases.”

The current pipes, some which are six inches in diameter and others that are eight inches, will be expanded to eight and 12-inch pipes respectively. The expanded diameter will also allow the opportunity to increase water pressure, DDC officials said.

Work on the pipes started a few weeks ago and will continue until November 2015. Workers will remove and replace pipes one block at a time during the year.

While pipes are being changed on a block, the water for that block will be turned off from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m., and residents and business owners will be notified 24 hours in advance. Officials said it should take between one to three days to complete a block. Despite the nuisance, residents were excited for the upgrade.

“It’s not that terrible,” Schwartz said. “Basically it’s shut off for one day for each person. When it’s all over, it’ll be good.”

 

 

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Suspect wanted in hammer attack robberies charged


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Updated Tuesday, May 13 7:05 a.m.

The hammer-wielding robber wanted in three attacks, including an assault on a woman in Queens, has been charged in connection to the two of the incidents, police said.

Anthony Coward, 28, who police identified as the suspect in the robberies over the weekend, allegedly approached a 23-year-old man and struck him in the head with a hammer on May 4, at about 11:00 a.m., at the Rockaway Avenue A/C subway station at Fulton Street in Brooklyn. He then continued to beat the rest of his body with the hammer before he fled with the victim’s wallet, police said. The victim was taken to Brookdale Hospital and released.

He then approached a 32-year-old man, who was trying to buy a MetroCard at the same Rockaway Avenue subway station in Brooklyn at about 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, and struck him on the head with a hammer and demanded money, cops said. Once the victim handed over the money, Coward fled. The victim was taken to Brookdale Hospital and released.

Coward has been charged with robbery in both of the Brooklyn attacks, according to police.

In another attack that is believed to be connected to the other incidents, a 26-year-old reportedly pregnant woman was robbed and assaulted on the morning of March 5 on Pershing Crescent in Briarwood, cops said. The suspect came up to her from behind and struck her on the head with a silver hammer and fled with her handbag. The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition. The investigation is still ongoing into that robbery, officials said.

 

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Police identify suspect in hammer attack robberies


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the NYPD

The NYPD has identified the suspect they say robbed and attacked his victims with a hammer in Queens and Brooklyn.

Anthony Coward, 28, approached his first victim, a 26-year-old reportedly pregnant woman, on March 5 at about 7 a.m. in front of 138-49 Pershing Crescent in Briarwood, cops said. Coward allegedly came up to her from behind and struck her on the head with a silver hammer and fled with her handbag. The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition, according to police.

On May 4, at about 11:00 a.m., at the Rockaway Avenue A/C subway station at Fulton Street in Brooklyn, Coward approached a 23-year-old man and struck him in the head with a hammer and then went on to strike the man’s body, before he fled with the victim’s wallet, police said. The man was taken to Brookdale Hospital and released.

Then on May 7 at about 9:20 a.m. Coward approached a 32-year-old man, who was trying to buy a MetroCard at the same Rockaway Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, and struck him on the head with a hammer and demanded money, cops said. Once the victim handed over the money, Coward fled. The victim was taken to Brookdale Hospital and released.

Police describe Coward as black, 6 feet 1 inches tall, with black hair and brown eyes, and 160 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Parents of P.S. 117 students seeking donations to fund school’s graduation


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Parents at P.S. 117 in Briarwood are asking for donations so their children can have the full graduation experience. 

They started a crowd funding page on giveforward.com, hoping to raise about $4,500, which is needed so the nearly 170  graduating fifth-graders can receive caps and gowns, yearbooks and a senior prom.

The graduation items and senior dance are usually sponsored by the school’s PTA. However, because the Department of Education is investigating $30,000 missing from the accounts of the school’s PTA—which The Courier first reported earlier this month—the current PTA is barred from fundraising and any other financial dealings, officials said.

Parents are organizing the school dance and the buying of the yearbook, and caps and gowns by themselves. They have received more than $1,000 already.

To donate, click here.

 

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Briarwood man fatally shot in Ozone Park


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A 20-year-old man was fatally shot in Ozone Park Saturday morning, according to the NYPD.

Cops found Briarwood resident Branden Santiago unconscious at about 5 a.m. in the vicinity of 103rd Avenue and 108th Street, police said.

Santiago was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. After further investigation, Santiago was found to have sustained two gunshot wounds to his head, according to cops.

Police have made no arrests at this time and the investigation is still ongoing.

 

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EXCLUSIVE: P.S. 117 PTA missing $30K, graduation ruined for students


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Nearly 170 graduating students of P.S. 117 in Briarwood may not receive their caps and gowns and may miss out on senior events at the end of their elementary school experience because $30,000 is missing from the accounts of the school’s PTA, The Courier has learned.

The Department of Education (DOE) has launched a probe into the missing money, and the current PTA is barred from fundraising and any other financial dealings, officials said.

Parents learned earlier this year there may not be a senior dance, a school yearbook or graduation regalia because those items were all funded by the now-penniless parent teacher organization.

“I feel hurt, because it’s not right that our kids don’t get these things,” said Nicole Lopez, a parent from Jamaica whose son, Justice, is in the graduating class. “Other kids got them and they take them for granted, but it’s a memory and memories last forever.”

Graduating seniors will receive T-shirts and go on a senior trip, for which parents are required to pay
$65 per child to offset costs. They will also have a graduation ceremony with awards, but without wearing traditional garbs.

The school’s principal, Paula Cunningham, refused to comment on the situation and directed calls to the DOE. The DOE confirmed the audit, but wouldn’t answer further questions.

“This  matter is currently under review  internally, we are  unable to  provide additional  information at  this time due to the pendency of the ongoing investigation,” a DOE spokesman wrote in an email.

During a recent meeting at the  school led by the  new PTA  leadership,  Cunningham  told   parents  that   her hands are  tied  in  the  situation, even  as  parents suggested  increasing senior dues  to cover  the nearly  $6,000 needed to make the  graduation special.

The  dance is  estimated to  cost about $2,000, the yearbook could be  about $1,650 and  caps  and  gowns would be $13.50 per student, or more  than $2,200 total, according to parents’ estimates.

“We  as  a building, as  a school, are  allowed to  have one  fundraiser for  the  entire year.  That  fundraiser was supposed to be for the entire school,” Cunningham said. “We  don’t  have  funds that  we  can  spend on  caps  and gowns. We  don’t  have  funds that  we  can  spend on  a prom. We sent  out  letters explaining that  the  PTA paid for things that  cost  a lot of money.”

Parents and  students are  outraged and  they  feel their kids  are  being  thrown under the  “school” bus  because not  much is being  done to remedy the  situation.

“I think [the  school is] being  selfish and  that  they just want to do what they  want, and  they  aren’t  thinking of the  kids,”  Lopez said.

Dozens of parents have  begun to hold weekly  senior committee meetings, sacrificing time  on  busy  weekday nights to  figure  out  how  raise  the  necessary money to create a yearbook and  senior dance.

But time is against them:  the “Moving Up Ceremony” is scheduled for June  25.

While  parents are  scrambling, kids  are  hoping they don’t  lose  out  of their  full graduation celebration after years  of hard work.

“I want to  be  able  to  remember fifth  grade,” Justice said,  “because it’s the  only  year [in elementary school] that  I’m actually going  to be able  to graduate.”

Follow me @liamlaguerre

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