Tag Archives: Forest Hills High School

Last surviving Ramones member, Ridgewood resident dies


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

The last surviving original member of the punk-rock band The Ramones, Tommy Ramone, died at his Ridgewood home Friday, according to published reports. He was 65 years old.

The drummer, whose real name was Thomas Erdelyi, had reportedly been in hospice and battling bile duct cancer.

Erdelyi was originally from Hungary and raised in Forest Hills, where he attended Forest Hills High School with the band’s other three founding members, Dee Dee (Douglas Colvin), Johnny (John Cummings) and Joey (Jeffrey Hyman) Ramone.

He performed on the band’s first three albums and was later replaced by drummer Marky (Marc Bell) Ramone. He then went on to concentrate on producing, reports said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens students bridge the generation gap using makeovers


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of GlamourGals and by William Mebane

Using makeup and nail polish, hundreds of Queens teens are bridging the gap between two generations.

Nearly 185 high school students in the borough have joined in a nonprofit’s cause to provide friendship and free makeovers to women living in senior homes.

The after-school leadership program, GlamourGals Foundation, Inc., has spread to 83 chapters in the country, including seven high schools in Queens.

“We’re bringing together two fragile populations,” said Kavita Mehra, vice president of GlamourGals. “Our volunteers come back to us and constantly share what they’ve learned from the seniors and their experiences.

We’re building compassionate, young leaders who are making a positive difference in their community.”

The teens visit local nursing homes and senior centers at least once a month for community service credit, Mehra said. They give hand massages, file down and paint nails, and apply foundation, blush and lipstick using clean, hypoallergenic materials supplied by the organization.

“What young woman doesn’t love nail polish and what older woman doesn’t love to be pampered? It’s a great way to start a conversation,” Mehra said. “It’s something about the human touch that can break immediate barriers.”

Eghosa Asemota, 19, a former Queens chapter president, said the program transformed her life after a traumatic car accident left a scar on her face.

“Before I joined GlamourGals, I was a quiet girl. I walked with my head down,” said the Ozone Park resident. “The more I visited nursing homes, the bolder I got. I was able to build that confidence again.”

Asemota, now a sophomore at Adelphi University, led the chapter at Thomas A. Edison High School, which boasts nearly 100 volunteers, in her senior year. The seniors, she said, became her own family.

“My grandparents live in Nigeria. I don’t necessarily get to speak with them a lot. Having these elderly women filled the void of a special grandmother,” she said. “I was able to give them a purpose, and they gave me a purpose.”

GlamourGals was established 13 years ago. Since then, its programs have spread to the Academy of American Studies, Thomas A. Edison, Townsend Harris, Robert F. Kennedy, Forest Hills, Flushing, and Cardozo high schools in Queens.

The organization also awards a select group of volunteers yearly with $1,000 scholarships and paid fellowships.

“We help them develop their fullest potential, and for the elderly, we demonstrate that they are not forgotten,” Mehra said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens native Jack Lew confirmed as treasury secretary


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of State

Jack Lew, who President Obama nominated for treasury secretary in January, was confirmed for the position by the Senate in a 71-26 vote Wednesday.

A Queen native and Forest Hills High School graduate, Lew served as the president’s chief of staff for the last year and previously was the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Lew, who is replacing Timothy Geithner, is the second person to head the U.S. Treasury under the Obama administration.

“At this critical time for our economy and our country, there is no one more qualified for this position than Jack.  As my chief of staff, Jack was by my side as we confronted our nation’s toughest challenges. His reputation as a master of fiscal issues who can work with leaders on both sides of the aisle has already helped him succeed in some of the toughest jobs in Washington.  And I will continue to rely on his advice and sound judgment as we work to create good, middle-class jobs, provide more people with the skills those jobs require, and ensure every hardworking American can earn a decent living,” the president said in a statement following Lew’s confirmation.

‘Harlem Shake’ causes stir among Queens students


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube

A viral video craze has shaken Queens.

The “Harlem Shake” Internet sensation led to the arrest of one Forest Hills High School teen last week after he organized a “senior prank” that jammed the school lobby with students trying to get in on the fad, cops said.

Arnis Mehmetaj, 17, invited some 500 students on Facebook to jump in on the “Shake” recording during school hours, police said. Arresting officers said a large crowd formed inside the school, “causing annoyance and alarm,” shortly before noon on Friday, February 15.

The popular YouTube video features abrupt cuts to multiple people dancing convulsively for about 15 seconds.

Mehmetaj was charged with disorderly conduct and creating a hazardous condition, police said. He was taken to a local precinct following the fracas.

The teen was reportedly suspended for five days, but a spokesperson for the Department of Education (DOE) said suspensions of specific students could not be confirmed, but that several students were “disciplined.”Mehmetaj received a “desk appearance ticket,” the NYPD said, meaning he did not go to central booking on the day of the arrest and will face a judge in court at a later date.

Meanwhile, a group of St. John’s University (SJU) students are hoping their “Harlem Shake” efforts aid a charitable cause.

Some 50 students have hit the web to promote the university’s annual Relay for Life cancer research fundraiser.

A man wearing a purple body suit dances solo in the school’s D’Angelo Center ballroom for the first 15 seconds of the video before a huge crowd joins in on the rave. The 39 second video features a horse costume, a twirling pink umbrella and a student gyrating on top of a desk.

“I’ve seen the news. I think that people really didn’t have any other motive to do it rather than to join in on the fun. They’re just doing it to create a viral video,” said junior Oscar Diaz, SJU’s student government vice president. “Here our efforts were dedicated to a good cause.”

Sophomore Sulaiman Alam, 19, said he was “intrigued” by the Internet phenomenon and decided to take the reins on the project.

“I spent hours looking at video after video on YouTube,” the Bronx pharmacy major said. “It went uphill from there.”

Relay for Life is a global movement powered by the American Cancer Society. The university’s signature event is set to take place on April 19 at 8000 Utopia Parkway.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Mostly cloudy. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 14F. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 15 mph shifting to the East in the afternoon. Friday night: Overcast with a chance of snow and a chance of rain after midnight. Low of 34 with a windchill as low as 28F. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 60%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Black History Month Celebration of the African and Latin Influence on Jazz

On February 22 at 8 p.m., there will be a Black History Month Celebration of the African and Latin Influence on Jazz at the York College Performing Arts Center featuring the band 23rd Son with special guests Camille Thurman and Catarina dos Santos. Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Councilman wants parking meter rules suspended for all holidays

When alternate side of the street parking rules are suspended on holidays in New York city, drivers still have to pay the meter. Read more: Fox New York

Chaotic ‘Harlem Shake’ at Queens high school leads to arrest of student

A Harlem Shake flash mob has left a Queens teenager with a court date. Read more: CBS New York

Arrest in threats towards Cuomo and Bloomberg

Police have accused a man of making death threats on Facebook against the governor of New York, the mayor of New York City and several members of Congress. Read more: ABC New York

NYC to crack down on food delivery cyclists

New York City is preparing to crack down on bicycle delivery drivers who ride unsafely through the streets while on the job. Read more: NBC New York

Parks Department displays first plans for new Rockaway Boardwalk Buildings

The Parks Department offered Rockaway residents a first look at new buildings planned along the area’s boardwalk, which was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. Read more: NY1

Quinn proposes lower fines for street food vendors

Mayor Bloomberg says it is one of the stupidest things he has ever heard. He’s talking about a plan to lower fines on food vendors on city streets. Read more: ABC New York

Three die in shooting, fiery crash on Las Vegas Strip

Three people died in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip early on Thursday when one or more gunmen in a Range Rover sport utility vehicle opened fire on a Maserati, killing the driver and touching off a fiery multi-car crash. Read more: Reuters

Obama names Queens native Jack Lew as treasury secretary


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of U.S. Department of State

Queens is coming to the cabinet.

President Obama officially nominated his chief of staff, Queens native Jacob “Jack” Lew, for secretary of the treasury Thursday.

“As a kid growing up in Queens, I had dreams of making a difference in the world,” said Lew at the nomination announcement.

The 57–year-old, who resided on Yellowstone Boulevard and graduated from Forest Hills High School, has been the president’s chief of staff for the last year and previously was the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

“If confirmed, I look forward to joining the Treasury Department, whose people are legendary for their skill and knowledge. It’s a team that I’ve collaborated with closely over many years and have come to respect greatly,” said Lew.

“I don’t want to see him go because it’s working out really well for me to have him here in the White House. But my loss will be the nation’s gain,” said the president.

“Having Lew on your team is the equivalent as a coach of having the luxury of putting somebody at almost any position and knowing he will do well,” Obama added.

Assuming he is confirmed, Lew will replace Timothy Geithner, who has been treasury secretary since the beginning of Obama’s first term.

“I know him as a man of exceptional judgment, calm under pressure, with an extraordinary record of accomplishment and experience over decades spent at the center of American economic policy,” Geithner said about Lew this afternoon.

Although Lew has the experience and support to take on the position, his signature may not be ready for the job.

As secretary of the treasury, Lew’s John Hancock will appear on paper money, which may be a problem since it is reportedly illegible.

At the announcement the president joked about his sloppy signature: “Jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency should he be confirmed as secretary of the treasury.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 48. Winds from the NW at 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 36. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Urinetown: The Musical

Winner of three Tony awards and one of the most uproariously funny musicals in recent years, Urinetown is a hilarious tale of greed, corruption, love and revolution in a time when water is worth its weight in gold. In a Gotham-like city, a terrible water shortage, caused by a 20-year drought, has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. Performances start Thursday, January 10 and continue through Saturday, January 26 at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Crane collapses in Long Island City, injuring seven

Seven workers suffered minor injuries when a crane collapsed at a Long Island City building site. Read more: Queens Courier

Cuomo takes aim at guns, Sandy relief during State of the State address

Governor Andrew Cuomo has vowed New York will become the nation’s leader in gun safety laws in wake of recent shootings. Read more: Queens Courier

Seastreak Wall Street Ferry saw other problems before crash

The Seastreak Wall Street ferry that crashed in Lower Manhattan Wednesday has had a few minor incidents in recent years. Read more: CBS New York

Cheating teacher the answer man: probe

A Queens elementary- school teacher brazenly helped fourth-graders cheat on the state’s high-stakes English exams, even though there was a second proctor in the room, investigators found. Read more: New York Post

Breezy Point couple surprised with newly renovated home after it was destroyed by Sandy

An octogenarian Queens couple whose house was ravaged by Superstorm Sandy received a surprise gift on Wednesday — a brand new home. Read more: New York Daily News

Report: Queens Native Will Likely Head Up Treasury Dept.

President Barack Obama is reportedly set to tap a native New Yorker to serve as the new head of the United States Treasury Department. Read more: NY1

NYC firm hit hard on 9/11 gives $10M in Sandy aid

The New York City brokerage firm that lost 658 employees in the Sept. 11 terror attacks announced that it will “adopt” 19 schools in communities hit hard by Superstorm Sandy and will give each family in those schools $1,000 to spend as they see fit. Read more: AP

Moe Harkless drafted by Philadelphia 76ers


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of St. John's University

After more than three months of waiting and debating, Moe Harkless is in the NBA.

The 6-foot-8 small forward who spent only one year playing at St. John’s was selected 15th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers – becoming the first Red Storm player in 12 years to be a first-round pick.

The Jamaica, Queens native joins other Red Storm alumni like Erick Barkley and Ron Artest to go in the first round. The highest draft pick in St. John’s history was Sonny Dove, who in 1967 was selected fourth-overall by the Detroit Pistons. The most recent draft pick produced by the school was Omar Cook, who went in the second round of the 2001 draft and now plays for the Montenegrin National Basketball Team.

Harkless was named the Big East Rookie of the Year while at St. John’s, where he flourished as a small forward and found his game on a team comprised mainly of freshman. When Harkless declared on March 19 that he would enter the draft, however, his size and experience were criticized.

Should the small forward see playing time this upcoming season, there is a good chance he’ll go against Charlotte Bobcats head coach and former St. John’s assistant coach Mike Dunlap — who coached Harkless during his single season in the NCAA, while Head Coach Steve Lavin was recovering from prostate cancer surgery.

When Harkless announced in March that he was entering the draft, he acknowledged that Lavin’s on-court absence this season was a factor in deciding to go to the next level. Regardless, Harkless said this week that he and Lavin had become more friends than player and coach.

“We became more friends as the season went on especially as he wasn’t coaching it was easier for me and him to have a relationship and I think we’ll be friends for a long time,” Harkless said.

After spending nearly his entire, young career playing in the tri-state area – three high school years at Forest Hills, his senior year at South Kent in Connecticut and a season in Jamaica – Harkless said leaving New York would be a change, but is ready to go anywhere the game takes him.

“It’d be different but it would definitely be a good experience and I’d be excited to go wherever,” he said.

Harkless said New York basketball players had not diminished in prominence; rather, this draft shows that New York still has a strong basketball presence.

“A lot of people say that New York basketball has fallen off and I think this indicates it hasn’t,” he said. “This definitely puts New York back on the map.”

 

Queens’ Jacob Lew named Obama’s chief of staff


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Hail to the chief and hail to his Queens-raised chief of staff.

Forest Hills native Jacob Lew, an orthodox Jew, was named President Barack Obama’s chief of staff in a ceremony at the White House on January 14. Lew had been serving as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and now replaces William Daley, who will concentrate his efforts on the president’s re-election campaign.

Lew, 56, grew up on Yellowstone Boulevard and graduated from Forest Hills High School in 1972, where he returned last year to give a commencement speech. And in that speech, Lew said that growing up in Queens set him on the path to the White House.

“In each generation, people come to our five boroughs in search of a better life. They study hard and go to public high schools like Forest Hills. And by never accepting limits and always believing that there’s nothing they can’t do, they find themselves at the top of our biggest companies, filling concert halls and theaters, and – yes – sitting in the Oval Office advising presidents.”

After high school, Lew graduated from Harvard in 1978 and Georgetown University Law Center in 1983. He has two grown children with his wife Ruth and owns a home in Riverdale, the Bronx.

He is a former deputy secretary of state under Secretary Hilary Clinton and had previously served as OMB director for President Bill Clinton, where he helped design Americorps, the national service program. Before moving to the executive branch he worked for former House Speaker Tip O’Neill and Senator Paul Wellstone.

In a statement issued by the White House, President Barack Obama said that Lew, who prefers to be called Jack, has figured prominently in the president’s decision-making process for a number of years.

“Before he served at OMB for me, Jack spent two years running the extremely complex and challenging budget and operations process for Secretary Clinton at the State Department, where his portfolio also included managing the civilian operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the president said. “And over the last year, he has weighed in on many of the major foreign policy decisions that we’ve made.”

Maurice Harkless named to Big East’s Honor Roll


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Harkless2w

One of the borough’s top hoops stars is continuing his athletic success under the bright lights of college basketball.

Maurice Harkless, a former star forward at Forest Hills High School, was named to the Big East Conference’s Weekly Honor Roll on January 2 for his high-flying efforts in St. John’s games against Providence and Connecticut.

The freshman swingman averaged 24.0 points per game and 9.5 rebounds during a 1-1 week in conference play for the Red Storm. Harkless shot 67.9 percent from the field (19-for-24), 50 percent from long range (3-for-6) and 87.5 percent from the free throw line (7-of-8) to go along with five assists, five steals and two blocks.

Harkless also entered the record books against Providence with a 32 point performance – the most ever by a freshman making his Big East debut. In the 91-67 victory, Harkless went 14-for-17 from the field, 2-for-3 from long range and had 13 rebounds for his fourth double-double in a five-game span. He also dished out four assists, picked four steals and blocked two shots.

In St. John’s game against UConn, Harkless contributed 16 points (5-of-11 field goals, 5-of-5 free throws) and grabbed six rebounds in a 83-69 loss on December 31.

Harkless’ team-best scoring average of 15.7 points per game ranks 14th among all Big East players, his team-leading 8.3 rebounds per game is tied for fifth, his 46.2 field goal percentage is 11th and his 1.6 blocked shots rates 10th in the league.

Becoming the first recruit of the Steve Lavin regime at St. John’s University, he committed to play for the Red Storm in 2011. Harkless had previously made a verbal commitment to play for the University of Connecticut (UConn), but later re-opened his recruiting.

After announcing that he had chosen UConn over Kentucky, he chose to re-examine his options after Lavin joined St. John’s. Programs throughout the country courted him, including the likes of Oregon, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Arizona, Florida, Rutgers and Maryland.