Tag Archives: florida

Suspect charged in deadly 2013 Richmond Hill shooting


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police have arrested a Florida man for the murder of a 23-year-old in Richmond Hill last December.

Gerrard Edwards was near Liberty Avenue and 112th Street at about 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 22 when he was shot, cops said. He was killed after he got into a dispute with a group of men while out with some friends and was then jumped and shot several times in the chest, according to published reports.

Edwards, a Richmond Hill resident, was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

This October, police released information on a suspect wanted in the shooting, 31-year-old David Haridat.

The NYPD said on Tuesday that Haridat, a Miami resident, had been arrested and charged with Edwards’ murder.

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Former Community Board 2 district manager Dolores Rizzotto passes away


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Rizzotto family

Dolores Rizzotto, former district manager of Community Board 2 for more than 15 years, died Thursday after a battle with cancer, according to CB2 chair Joseph Conley.

Rizzotto, who chaired CB2 for more than 15 years, was 70.

“Dolores served the City of New York in many capacities but none so important as her role in our community as district manager,” Conley said. “Dolores worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for so many. Dolores will be sorely missed for her wisdom, compassion, sense of humor and leadership. Dolores was a true friend to all and an expert in helping so many.”

Rizzotto, a lifelong Corona resident who recently moved to Florida, retired in 2006 from CB2, which serves Long Island City, Woodside and Sunnyside. Rizzotto would travel back and forth between Queens and Florida visiting family and friends.

She is survived by her two sons, Michael and Robert, and two grandchildren, Anthony and Thomas.

A wake will be held at Edward Guida Funeral Home, located at 47-20 104th St. in Corona. Visitations hours will be Sept. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m., and Sept. 19 from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral mass will be on Sept. 20 at 10:45 a.m. at St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church, located at 104-05 49th Ave. Rizzotto will be buried at Mount Saint Mary Cemetery in Flushing.

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Queens native explores borough in new children’s book


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Illustrations © Rick Sanders

Demetra Tsavaris-Lecourezos is taking young readers on a journey around the world with the first magical stop in Queens.

Tsavaris-Lecourezos, who was born in Jackson Heights and raised in Woodside, is the author of a new children’s book and series titled “Young World Travelers and the Magical Crystal Globe,” where a group of kids from Florida are transported to any time period they want, wherever they want.

The first book of the series debuted Sunday at the World’s Fair Anniversary Festival. It takes these young world travelers back in time to experience the site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, the Queens County Farm, before it was a museum, and a Civil War fort in Fort Totten.

“You pick up books in the bookstore and you are learning about the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building, but never about the structures in Queens,” Tsavaris-Lecourezos said.

The concept of the “Young World Travelers” series began nine years ago when Tsavaris-Lecourezos gave birth to her daughter Katerina, the year after marrying her high school sweetheart. Together with her husband, Constantinos (Gus) P. Lecourezos she began to come up an initial concept of writing a movie script that would be educational for children and revolve around traveling to Greece.

After realizing the large costs that involved turning the script into a film, Tsavaris-Lecourezos decided to create a children’s book. She wrote four books in total with the characters traveling to places in Egypt, England, Greece and New York.

In 2009, her husband passed away and Tsavaris-Lecourezos moved to Tarpon Springs, Florida with her daughter.

At the end of last year a friend suggested she take her concept to a publisher and when Tsavaris-Lecourezos approached publisher thewordverve inc. her ideas were accepted.

“It was all falling into place, I had no idea,” she said. “I’m rolling with it and I’m really excited.”

The “Young World Travelers” series is dedicated to Tsavaris-Lecourezos’ husband and mother. In the book the children receive a magical crystal globe, which allows them to time travel, from Mrs. Eva, who was named and inspired by Tsavaris-Lecourezos’ mother.

The 43-page book’s illustrator Rick Sanders is also a Queens native. Though Tsavaris-Lecourezos and him first met through thewordverve, they were coincidentally born in the same hospital.

During the World’s Fair Anniversary Festival, Tsavaris-Lecourezos held two readings to share the book with visitors of all ages.

“I was so honored to have been invited to such an event,” she said. “It was amazing and an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to debut my book there.”

To preorder “Young World Travelers and the Magical Crystal Globe,” click here.

 

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Newly formed JetBlue Foundation gives $25K grants to two Queens schools


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of JetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airways has given aviation students an extra push to fly above and beyond.

JetBlue, with a mission to inspire humanity beyond air travel, announced the launch of the JetBlue Foundation Tuesday. This company-sponsored foundation was created to encourage and advance aviation-related education by sparking interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

“The sky is literally the limit for aviation students,” said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue Foundation board of directors president. “Through the JetBlue Foundation, we will continue our efforts to put aviation on the map as a career choice for students of all ages and backgrounds. As a leader in the aviation space, we believe it is our responsibility to give back by making an investment in the future of this industry.”

The announcement took place at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s JetBlue state-of-the-art T5 terminal, where students got a behind the scenes tour of the terminal.

The newly formed foundation will give three $25,000 grants this year to schools and educational alliance, two in Queens and one in Florida, with a focus on STEM and aviation-related programs aimed towards underserved groups and communities.

“Inspiration starts here. Encouraging education in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and advocating for the future of aviation is how we will make a difference for our industry,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue Foundation executive director. “These are the areas where we need more passion and focus to carry our industry forward.”

The two 2013 JetBlue Foundation grant receivers from Queens are Aviation High School in Long Island City and CUNY Aviation Institute at York College in Jamaica.

Aviation High School, the country’s largest public aeronautical high school with over 2,300 students primarily from underrepresented groups, will use the money to introduce an Aviation Welding Improvement Plan. This plan will guarantee students have resources to earn a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification as an aircraft maintenance technician. The school would purchase advanced technologies and materials needed to prepare students.

CUNY Aviation Institute at York College will use the grant to develop a course to create an FAA-approved Aircraft Dispatcher Certification program, making the college the first New York public education institution to offer this program.

In order to continue building lasting relationships with the schools, the JetBlue Foundation will also provide aviation-focused educational programs with in-kind support, internships and mentoring from crew members.

“Since JetBlue’s beginnings, the airline set its sights on inspiring humanity beyond air travel, not only for our customers and crewmembers but the various communities we serve,” said Geraghty. “One way we have done this is by showing support for STEM programs. We recognize our responsibility to the world below our wingers – to make it better and inspire others to do the same.”

 

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Kids chat with deep-sea expert


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Joan Bachert

Richmond Hill kids dove into the fascinating world of marine biology when they videoconferenced with an expert from the SeaTrek Mote Marine Laboratory, located in Sarasota, Florida.

Kasey Gaylord, a SeaTrek coordinator and educator, hosted the April 24 conference and showed the children what dinner time is like in the shark tank at the aquarium.

The future deep-sea explorers learned about different species of sharks such as the sandbar shark, nurse shark and black nose shark, as well as other sea animals such as barracudas and sting rays.

Kids got the chance to see how sharks feast and how the experts train them to behave during feeding time. The children’s interests were peaked, and they “fished” for more information during the conference’s question-and-answer session.

Solidarity and Seeking Justice


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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BY COUNCILMEMBER LEROY COMRIE

Since the tragedy in Sanford, Florida that took the life of Trayvon Martin, we have seen an outcry of public support for the Martin family and a strong call for justice. Many residents informed me that they wanted to express their outrage and frustration because what is happening in Sanford is also happening all over the entire country. They wanted to know what they could do to help.

I was proud to co-sponsor the “March for Justice” this past weekend with the Commission on Social Action (COSA) to educate our youth on their rights and to bring the community together. I did not hesitate when Vivian McMillian, president of the 113th Precinct Community Council, contacted me about hosting the march. We wanted to inform, empower and encourage our community to ensure that all our residents are aware of the information available to protect themselves. We also wanted to send a message of solidarity and show our desire to see justice done in the Trayvon Martin case, and in other cases involving youth and gun violence.

That over 1,000 people participated on a rainy day demonstrated that people were determined to send a message that George Zimmerman, who shot Trayvon Martin, should be arrested immediately, and that our community is tired of seeing injustice in the legal system towards minority groups.

On the night of February 26, Trayvon Martin was going home to watch basketball, just like many other teenagers do. He encountered George Zimmerman, a self-appointed “captain” of a community watch group who was carrying a gun. As we have seen and heard from the tapes that have been released from the Sanford Police Department, we know Zimmerman was told not to follow Martin, and while Zimmerman is claiming there was an altercation, he was the one able to walk away without any help or visible injuries.

Zimmerman does not represent the majority of New Yorkers or Americans who have friends from different backgrounds and cultures that have come together with their individual skills and knowledge to make the United States the greatest country in the world. Zimmerman is an example of the reasons why there is still much more work to be done to eliminate racism and profiling in every form and push back with all our voices when injustice occurs. The fact that Zimmerman is still free is sending a dangerous message that a child’s life is not valued by those who are in position to ensure they succeed or fail.

We need to give our children the confidence, knowledge, and skills necessary to be leaders. Whether wearing a suit and tie or casually dressed in a hoodie, a young person should be able to walk the streets without fear for his or her life. There needs to be a renewed focus on providing alternative recreational, cultural and educational activities throughout all communities to keep our children positively engaged.

As long as I am in public office I will continue to ensure our government helps empower people and does not restrict individual liberties. We need everyone to make a conscious effort to become educated and participate in their community in a positive way. However, you do not have to be a member of the city council or any other political body in order to make a positive impact on another person’s life. The real impact starts at home. Parents need to be actively involved in their children’s lives by turning off the television and asking their children if they’ve done their homework. Community residents can get involved by participating in civic service events, by volunteering in their neighborhoods or at their places of worship. All of these activities can help create opportunities to help our young people reject the negative forces that are always trying to endanger their safety and well-being.

The “March for Justice” was a great example of a positive action to show that as we continue to seek justice for Trayvon Martin, we must remember that it is up to all of us to make sure tragedies like this don’t happen again.

 

Councilmembers don hoodies for Trayvon Martin


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of William Alatriste

Members of the city council donned hoodies and stood on the steps of City Hall recently in a show of support to the family Trayvon Martin in the wake of the teen’s death.

Around the country, residents — from lawmakers to citizens — have worn hooded sweatshirts to bring awareness to the shooting of the unarmed Florida teen who was wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman, who was released by authorities, told police he acted in self-defense.

“Trayvon Martin’s killing last month is a horrific tragedy that has yet to be adequately investigated. Trayvon’s family deserves justice, and the country needs to know the full truth of what happened on the night of February 26 as well as in any investigation that followed in the weeks since,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “We fully support the Department of Justice’s decision to investigate this case.”

The city council passed a resolution condemning the “senseless shooting” of Martin and the subsequent investigation.

The resolution said the council “expresses deep sympathy for the Martin family, and calls for a full and impartial investigation holding those responsible to account as well as an examination of “Stand Your Ground” laws nationwide and the role they play in the spread of illegal guns on New York City’s streets.”

“We feel the deepest sorrow for Trayvon’s family’s loss and want them to know they have our sympathy, prayers and full support,” Quinn said. “We also express our solidarity with all those who have voiced their shock, dismay and outrage about Trayvon’s murder.”