Tag Archives: Hollis

Suspect wanted in connection to 21 Queens, Bronx commercial break-ins


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted in connection with a string of citywide commercial burglaries.

In a total of 21 incidents, starting in June in Rosedale and most recently occurring on Oct. 20 in the Bronx, at least one suspect broke into commercial establishments via the roof, side or rear doors, or ventilation ducts while the business were closed, according authorities. Money from the cash register and broken-into ATMs, as well as miscellaneous items, such as cigarettes, were taken during the thefts.

In Queens, the burglaries have occurred in Laurelton, Broad Channel, Jamaica, Astoria, Queens Village, Bayside, Hollis, Glen Oaks, College Point, Richmond Hill and Flushing. The other break-ins all happened in the Bronx.

The NYPD has released surveillance photos of the male suspect wanted in an incident on Sept. 12 in Richmond Hill. During this burglary, at about 8 p.m. the suspect entered 88-24 Van Wyck Expressway via the roof, damaged the security system but did not remove any property, police said.

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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Hollis apartment complex sells for $17 million


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Hollis Garden Realty Corp. sold its housing complex in the neighborhood for nearly $17.1 million, according to city records filed on Thursday.

Portia Properties is the buyer of the buildings, which are located throughout 186th and 185th streets between 104th and Henderson avenues.

The Hollis Garden complex is composed of 214 apartments in two-unit buildings, which were built in 1949 and 1950, city records show. The buildings stand out from other houses in the area because of noticeable green awnings above the doors.

Residents were informed their homes were under new management before the sale was filed in city records.

Portia Properties did not return a call for comment.

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Hollis library closing temporarily


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Library

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO 

The Queens Library’s Hollis branch, at 202-05 Hillside Ave., will be closing temporarily, starting at the end of business on Sept. 12, for a new roof installation.

The library will re-open at the end of the renovation period, which is expected to be in November.

In the meantime, there will be limited service through a mobile library every Monday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. In addition, customers are encouraged to use any of Queens Library’s other locations. The closest branches are located in Queens Village (94-11 217 St.), Hillcrest (187-05 Union Tpke.), and Windsor Park (79-50 Bell Blvd.).

For additional information, visit www.queenslibrary.org.

 

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Free lunches for kids to be distributed at Queens libraries this summer


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre

BY PAULINA TAM

Twenty-two Queens Library locations, in partnership with the city’s Department of Education (DOE), will be distributing free summer meals to children and teens 18 years and under starting June 27 to August 29.

Bagged lunches will be served every Monday through Friday between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. and each will generally include a fresh sandwich, fruit, milk and sometimes a salad, according to library spokeswoman Joanne King.

“The library is an open public space and we want to attract people to come to the library,” King said. “While they’re here they can have free access to other programs. The Queens Library also has a very robust summer reading program and we want to encourage people to get involved with that so they can be better prepared for the academic program in the fall.”

There is no application, qualification or ID necessary to receive a free meal. Children and teens are recommended to arrive early to get lunches, while supplies last. The Queens Library is just one of many agencies collaborating with the DOE, and interested parties could call 311 to get a full list of participating locations.

Listed below are the participating Queens Library locations:

312 Beach 54 St., Arverne

14-01 Astoria Blvd., Astoria

117-11 Sutphin Blvd., Baisley Park

218-13 Linden Blvd., Cambria Heights

1637 Central Ave., Far Rockaway

41-17 Main St., Flushing

202-05 Hillside Ave., Hollis

89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica

134-26 225th St., Laurelton

98-30 57th Ave., Lefrak City

37-44 21st St., Long Island City

40-20 Broadway (at Steinway Street), Long Island City

92-24 Rockaway Blvd., Ozone Park

158-21 Jewel Ave., Pomonok (Flushing)

103-34 Lefferts Blvd., Richmond Hill

169-09 137th Ave., Rochdale Village

116-15 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Park

204-01 Hollis Ave., South Hollis

108-41 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., South Jamaica

43-06 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside

85-41 Forest Pkwy., Woodhaven

54-22 Skillman Ave., Woodside

 

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Cops: Hollis bank robbery suspects steal $3,200


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Two men robbed a Hollis bank Saturday afternoon, taking off with $3,200, police said.

The suspects entered the TD Bank at Hillside Avenue near 188th Street about 12:15 p.m., demanded money from the teller and fled with the cash, according to officials.

Police describe both suspects as black males and 25 to 30 years old. The first suspect is about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall and the second is approximately 6 feet tall.

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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JFK baggage handlers accused of taking checks, money orders from mail


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Five John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) baggage handlers, including two Queens men, allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of checks and money orders that were being sent through overseas mail, officials announced Friday.

The men are accused of taking the money orders and checks, which were bound for Japan, China, Korea, and other places, and depositing them into their own bank accounts. They also allegedly swiped credit cards and used them to buy iPad minis and other electronics from “Best Buy” kiosks at the airport, according to officials.

“Included among the items allegedly stolen from the mail were money orders mailed by a member of the armed services and in another instance, checks intended for child support,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Following multiple reports of thefts of credit cards, money orders and checks from U.S. mail, specifically mail being handled by Ground Services International baggage handlers at JFK, a joint investigation was launched by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Port Authority Police Department, according to the district attorney.

The investigation found that between July and February, the five accused baggage handlers allegedly took the checks and money orders, which ranged from $100 to $1,000, and stole the credit cards and used them to make the kiosk purchases. The thefts allegedly totaled more than $27,000, Brown said.

Anthony Austin, 26, of Hollis, Ariel Weaver, 20, of South Ozone Park, and Brooklyn residents Michael Williams, 29, Alexander Fluellen, 29, and Samuel Wright, 31, were arraigned Thursday in Queens Criminal Court on separate criminal complaints in which they are variously charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny and forgery, according to prosecutors.

Fluellen, Wright and Weaver were released without bail and Austin was held on $5,000 bail. Williams is being held pending arraignment.

 

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Firefighters battle two-alarm Hollis blazes


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of FDNY

Two separate two-alarm fires broke out within an hour of each other in Hollis Tuesday night, the FDNY said.

More than 100 firefighters and 25 units were called to a blaze at a home on 191st  Street near 109th Avenue, about 10:30 p.m.

On a night where temperatures dipped into the single digits, the fire was caused by a space heater, starting on the second floor and spreading throughout the house, according to the FDNY.

One person who was inside at the time of the fire escaped without injuries. No one else was hurt in the blaze, fire officials said. It was under control by 11:40 p.m.

A vacant home on 198th  Street near 104th Avenue in Hollis caught fire about 11:30 pm., the FDNY said.

Twenty-five units and around 100 firefighters were also called to the two-alarm blaze.

The fire, which was contained to the home’s basement and first floor, was under control by 1:15 a.m.  No one was injured, fire officials said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

 

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Hollis car dealership charged with sales tax theft


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

A father and son are accused of illegally pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from their Hollis car dealerships.

Yunas Khan, 52, and his son Tabraiz Khan, 27, head Horse Power Sales on Jamaica Avenue and Car Palace on 183rd Street. They are charged with $500,000 in state sales tax theft for allegedly under-reporting sales and neglecting to turn over sales tax to the state, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

“Sales taxes are meant for the public treasury, not the pockets of businessmen,” Brown said.

By defrauding the state government of “such a significant sum of revenue, money that could have been used for any number of valuable public purposes, the defendants are alleged to have made every New Yorker a victim,” Brown said.

Between 2007 and 2010, Horse Power Sales allegedly reported taxable sales at roughly $2 million, with a tax liability of about $200,000. However, a state DMV review shows sales at just over $8 million, resulting in a tax liability of about $700,000.

The Khans allegedly collected the missing nearly $500,000 and similarly pocketed roughly $75,000 from Car Palace sales.

The two from Melville, Long Island face varying counts of grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, falsifying business records and scheme to defraud. The dealerships are additionally charged with the same counts.

They are currently being held, pending arraignment in criminal court.

“The defendants have shown a callous disregard for the tax laws, stealing from their customers and the state of New York, alike,” said Thomas Mattox, the New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance.

 

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Hollis teen earns his wings as Eagle Scout


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo by Carrie Johnson

It took seven years and an endless amount of determination, but Keyonne Zaire Session is now an Eagle Scout.

The 18-year-old from Hollis earned the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America and was recognized in a National Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony on August 17 in Glen Cove, Long Island.

“It’s probably one of the most prestigious awards I’ve ever received in my life,” he said. “I feel like I’m added into a selective group of individuals.”

To gain the coveted title, a scout must earn 21 merit badges as well as organize, lead and complete an extensive service project.

Session — a member of the St. Alban the Martyr Episcopal Church, Troop 267 — created a memorial garden to honor Brian James Hom, a classmate and friend, who died two years ago in a car crash.

The garden is meant for anybody who has lost a loved one to come and reflect, he said.

Session was also the first recipient of the Brian James Hom Scholarship Award, which honors students who lives by Brian’s motto of “I am the me I choose to be.”

“I do it because I love the feeling that other people get when they realize other people are helping them. That feeling, the happiness they experience, it gives me such a fulfillment in my life,” said Session, the troop’s fifth Eagle Scout.

His mother, Nicolle, said she admires her son’s proactive nature and passion for equality.

“I’m very proud of what he’s done,” she said. “He’s always sticking up for the right thing. When you hear these different things from people, it makes you say as a mother, ‘I’ve done my job. I’ve done the job I set out to do.’”

Session graduated this year from Friends Academy, where he played on the varsity football team, performed in his school’s winter plays and served as treasurer for the Diversity Club.

He will be attending Wesleyan University in Connecticut this fall and studying psychology.

He said he hopes other youngsters will choose to become a Boy Scout.

“It’s extremely worth it,” Session said. “It’s taught me life lessons, like how to be a good person and role model, and the people I’ve met have been phenomenal.”

 

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Queens man faces seven years for child pornography charges


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Hollis man has been arrested on multiple charges of child pornography after authorities allegedly found incriminating videos on his laptop.

“This defendant is alleged to have had more than a dozen disturbing videos of children being sexually abused on his computer. These cruel acts cannot and will not be tolerated in a civilized society,” said District Attorney Richard Brown.

Eduardo Medina, 35, has been charged with possessing a sexual performance by a child and promoting a sexual performance by a child, according to the district attorney’s office.

During a search of his 196th Street apartment Wednesday night, police recovered his laptop computer, various external storage media and a cell phone.  According to the charges, 14 videos of children, approximately six to twelve years old, depicted in a sexual manner or performing sexual acts, were allegedly recovered on his laptop. Those videos were supposedly downloaded onto the laptop on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 28.

Medina faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

 

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Police seek suspects in Hollis store robbery


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo and video courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD is looking for two men wanted in connection to a store robbery in Hollis.

The pair allegedly entered the Family Deli and Grill on Jamaica Avenue around 11 p.m. Friday, August 16 and one of the suspects displayed a gun and demanded cash, said police. The other suspect removed two cigarette cartons and the two fled with the money and cigarettes.

The first suspect, who had the gun, was wearing a red bandana over his face. The second suspect was wearing a black ski mask over his face and was carrying a backpack.

Police have released a photo of the first suspect and a video of both men wanted in the robbery.

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

 

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Bill would disperse homeless shelters evenly throughout each borough


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Queens shelters may soon be finding new homes.

Councilmembers Ruben Wills and Leroy Comrie started work in 2011 on a bill that would disperse homeless shelters evenly throughout each borough. Wills said research revealed that Community Board (CB) 12 contains 10 of the 18 shelters in all of Queens. CB 12 includes Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans, Springfield Gardens, Baisley Park, Rochdale Village and South Jamaica.

“The DHS [Department of Homeless Services] is clustering all of these shelters,” Wills said. “All of these undesirable land uses are in certain community boards. We perceived that to be a huge problem.”

Under the bill, Wills and Comrie proposed limiting the number of shelters in any community board to one-third of the borough’s total.

Wills said placing shelters in one specific type of community, such as CB 12, is not in response to any increase in the homeless population.

“It is not fair that southeast Queens has the majority of homeless shelters in the borough,” Comrie said.

For the existing shelters, Wills suggested they make relocation plans so they and their residents are prepared to move when any site’s lease expires. He said it was important to put shelters in areas with convenient transportation.

The council pair proposed an additional bill under which the DHS would determine whether any shelter resident is a sex offender. If so, the department would notify the local community board, councilmember and police precinct. The department would also conduct mental health and criminal background assessments on all adults entering shelters. If passed, the bill will go into effect on January 1, 2014.

 

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Report: Five Queens schools falling apart


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of SEIU Local 32BJ

Some city schools need a major makeover, according to a building inspections report released by the school cleaners’ union.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ issued a report on the 20 schools in the worst condition after tallying scores from the city’s annual school inspections. Out of about 1,500 schools citywide, five Queens schools made the list of top offenders.

In all five schools, SEIU 32BJ found crumbling interiors as well as toxins on tiles and in the air.

“It’s hazardous material that we’re talking about removing from our schools immediately,” said Gene Syzmanski, the union’s schools division director.

I.S. 238 in Hollis climbed the charts to second worst on the list. One school cleaner said the building needs wide-ranging fixes.

“The water valves need to be repaired,” he said. “Every classroom has a stain from leaks. I feel bad when I see the building like this.”

The cleaner, who withheld his name from publication, said he wants to fix everything in a state of disrepair.

But he added that the head custodian will not cooperate.

“When I tell him something is broken, he says leave it,” the cleaner explained. “He said to me, ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s not your problem.’”

The man said roughly 2,000 lights throughout the building are not working, many door handles are broken and bathrooms are “falling apart.”

I.S. 72 in Jamaica came in as the seventh worst school. Other Queens schools on the list included the Cynthia Jenkins School in Jamaica, P.S. 86, also in Jamaica, and Richmond Hill High School.

The report also said schools in the city’s poorest neighborhoods were in the worst condition.

“I’ve visited many schools,” Syzmanski said. “In the more affluent neighborhoods, the schools were immaculate.”

The Department of Education (DOE) said it spends more than $3 billion in building improvements under its capital plan and any serious maintenance-related complaints are “addressed immediately, as are simple, easy fixes.”

“We consistently provide a clean, safe and healthy learning and working environment in our 1,260 school buildings every day,” a DOE spokesperson said.

Local 32BJ said the priority was to remove everything containing hazardous material, such as asbestos on tiles.

“This stuff needs to be removed as soon as possible for the benefit of the children and everybody who works for the schools,” said Syzmanski.

 

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Queens nurse arrested for giving unauthorized meds to patients


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of the Attorney General

A Hollis nurse has been arrested for playing doctor.

James Williams, 59, worked as a registered nurse at the Hillside Manor Adult Day Care Center, where he allegedly took it upon himself to diagnose and medicate his patients without the consult of a doctor, according to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

“Nurses at adult day care centers are trusted to protect their patients, not to expose them to potential harm,” said Schneiderman.

After making his own diagnosis for several day care participants, Williams would call in prescriptions to local pharmacies under the guise they were ordered by a doctor, when in fact they were not, according to the charges. As a nurse, Williams is not appropriately trained or licensed to make such calls.

A fellow nurse and program director at Hillside Manor informed the attorney general’s office of at least three participants that Williams was treating. Telephone prescription records show the Williams ordering medication over the course of a year under the names of various doctors.

Williams used doctors’ names including Dr. Satish Deshpande and Dr. Annupria Itteera, who both said they did not authorize the nurse to prescribe any of the medications he called for.

The prescriptions ordered include zolpidem (the generic of Ambien), a controlled substance, and oxycodone, a narcotic drug. Although there were no reports of any harm to his patients, there was a “substantial risk posed,” said the attorney general, and that no day care participant should have taken these substances without the proper authorization.

Williams was charged with unauthorized practice of a profession, falsifying business records, willful violation of health laws, criminal possession of a controlled substance and petit larceny, all for which he faces up to four years imprisonment.

Neither Hillside Manor nor Williams’ lawyer returned calls for comment as of press time.

 

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Hollis co-op goes smoke-free


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens Smoke Free Partnership

Queens could be going smoke free, one apartment at a time.

The Queens Smoke-Free Partnership has converted 220 apartment homes into smoke-free zones and is furthering its work throughout the borough through various initiatives.

“Smoke-free housing is very up and coming,” said Yvette Buckner, the Queens borough manager at the Partnership. “We’re helping to formalize a policy and make Queens a healthier place.”

The Hilltop Village Cooperative in Hollis is one of the new smoke-free sites. Melvin Doby, board president of Cooperative Building 1 at Hilltop Village, sees the new initiative as a movement towards better health and one in which residents need to compromise.

Before the smoke-free space was implemented, Doby went out and spoke with his shareholders in Building 1. He admitted that some people had issues, but regardless, the motion passed with a significant majority vote.

“People say, ‘It’s infringing on our rights, our liberties,’ but when you signed on the dotted line, you signed [to] play well with others,” he said. “It’s a shared space. Our apartments are not air-tight. Second-hand smoke is a problem.”

After the building was made smoke free, designated smoking areas were put in place around the vicinity. Doby said that the co-op has a large elderly population, many of whom rely daily on oxygen tanks. If smokers are free to roam as they please around the property, Doby said it could be a great health concern.

“It’s just something to accommodate everyone,” he added. “It’s also a common courtesy.”

Within the next year, the Partnership plans to work with the Queens Co-op and Condo Association and the Queens Civic Congress to create more smoke-free units.

Aside from smoke-free housing, the Partnership is working on limiting tobacco marketing and exposure to youth and working in conjunction with community groups and youth organizations.

“We’re trying to keep them healthy where they live, work and play,” said Buckner.

 

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