Tag Archives: jamaica

Suspect wanted in forcible touching of teen at Jamaica subway station

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the NYPD

Police are looking for a man who they say forcibly touched and exposed himself to a 16-year-old girl in Jamaica.

On Aug. 13 at about 7:30 a.m. the victim was walking down the staircase at the Parsons Boulevard and Hillside Avenue subway station when she saw the suspect — described as a Hispanic man in his mid 30s — who reached up her thigh and legs, police said.

The teen screamed and walked away but as she looked back she saw the suspect exposing himself and performing a lewd act, according to cops. The victim was not physically injured.

Police describe the suspect as standing 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighing between 130 and 140 pounds.

He was last seen wearing a dark colored T-shirt with a gray design on it, gray knee-length shorts, and a plain white baseball hat, and was carrying a backpack.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.


NYCHA cleans up wastewater mess in South Jamaica Houses

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Councilman Ruben Will's office

Updated 2:19 p.m.

A problematic sewage pipe that flooded three floors of a Jamaica housing development was flushed out Tuesday by a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) cleaning crew but one resident was forced to remove and clean her damaged belongings.

Ebony Holmes, who has lived in an apartment in South Jamaica Houses for seven years, bore the brunt of the flooding and had water laced with feces and cigarettes spewing out of her toilet and tub on Sunday.

NYCHA employees visited the housing development several times since then to try to clean up the flooding, which also occurred last year, Holmes said. Employees came out on Sunday night and Monday to mop the floors and snake the drain.

“It’s disgusting,” Holmes said. “I told them this is not going to fix the issue.”

According to published reports, a NYCHA crew came back on Tuesday and used a high-power washer to clean up the wastewater and injected enzymes into the pipe, which will eat the sludge collected in the pipe.

Holmes was forced from her home Sunday night while the development was being cleaned and NYCHA set her up in a one-bedroom apartment until her home is cleaned out. In order to fully disinfect her apartment, Holmes was told that she must remove clothing and other damaged items so crews can work.

Holmes requested a new apartment to avoid dealing with flooding again but NYCHA officials told her they do not have an apartment open.

Councilman Ruben Wills, who visited the site after Holmes expressed her frustration to him, commended NYCHA for taking steps to fix the problem, including working to compensate her for damaged possessions.


Jamaica and Flushing commuters sign petition calling for better bus service

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Riders Alliance

More than 2,000 people in Flushing and Jamaica reportedly signed a petition to demand improvements to the bus service along the Q44 bus route, according to a transit advocacy group.

Formed in 2012, the Riders Alliance organizes transit riders to call for better service and to influence transit funding and policy. The organization began collecting signatures for a petition meant to spur city agencies to adopt Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along the Q44 route, specifically on Parsons Boulevard and Main Street.

The Riders Alliance will deliver the petition to the Department of Transportation (DOT), Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and elected officials in Flushing and Jamaica. The DOT is currently studying the implementation of Select Bus Service along the Q44.

Josselyn Atahualpa, the Queens community organizer for Riders Alliance, said that she, along with other Riders Alliance members, began collecting signatures for a petition last October to gauge residents’ interest in the adoption of BRT. Though some community members vocalized opposition to the plan, Atahualpa said most people want to see changes to the route along Jamaica, which was recently named New York’s  neighborhood with the longest commute.

“We support the current proposal that they released in late May,” Atahualpa said. “We just want to see it implemented quickly and on time.”

The Q44, which links Jamaica, Flushing and the Bronx, serves 44,000 riders daily. The plan would add designated bus lanes on Sutphin Boulevard, Archer Avenue and Hillside Avenue in Jamaica. Main Street between Northern Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway in Flushing would also receive designated bus lanes.

As a senior, I don’t drive and I can’t walk long distances,” said Jeanne Majors, who is a Jamaica resident and member of the Riders Alliance. “I often rely on buses, but I’m tired of their unreliability and how overcrowded they’ve become. Buses come late, and older buses are difficult for me to board. I want reliable service and Select Bus Service can provide that.”

The DOT is planning to hold community meetings to discuss the proposed SBS service this fall but not all residents are on board with the plan. Yvonne Reddick, district manager for Community Board 12, said the Q44 along Jamaica has a short wait time and other bus services, such as the Q4 that runs through Jamaica and Cambria Heights and the Q41 that runs through Jamaica and 164 Avenue in Howard Beach, could benefit from SBS.

“I have monitored that Q44 that comes through Jamaica,” Reddick said. “That bus is the best bus that comes through Jamaica and I said that to the MTA. The longest you may wait for that Q44 is something like 3 minutes.”

Reddick said the Q4, which runs along Merrick Boulevard, has some of the longest wait times; she blamed part of the problem on the abundance of dollar vans that speed up and down the boulevard “like we’re in the wild west.”


Queens International Night Market to move to Jamaica starting in September

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook/Queens International Night Market

After a successful season in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the Queens International Night Market will bring its mix of merchandise, art, food and performances to Jamaica on Sept. 5.

The market, which debuted in April, had to relocate because of the U.S. Open slated to take place from Aug. 31 through Sept. 13 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

John Wang, the market organizer, secured the new location at a parking lot on 168th street between 90th and Jamaica avenues. The fair takes place on Saturdays from 6 p.m. to midnight and offers patrons more than 50 choices for food, art, merchandise and musical and dance performances until Oct. 31.

“The move will give us the chance to play an important role in the transformation of Downtown Jamaica,” Wang said in a Facebook post. “It is a great opportunity to expand our reach and continue our mission of creating a shared community space that can foster social change and positively impact neighborhoods by highlighting cultures and celebrating diversity all across Queens and NYC.”

The food options at the market represent the diversity of the borough and attendees can pick up Brazilian, Caribbean, Romanian, Hungarian and Burmese cuisine among others, purchase jewelry and other crafts from local vendors and listen to music from groups like the Au Privave Jazz Quartet.

Many of the vendors at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park location will also be present in Jamaica but Wang is looking to add local vendors to the market. The Greater Jamaica Development Corporation will offer attendees discounted parking across the street.


Burlington Coat Factory to open in Jamaica

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons/Scott Schrantz


Burlington Coat Factory is coming to Jamaica, and it’s going to be huge.

The national clothing retail chain will be opening a store in a 150,000-square-foot planned retail complex located on Jamaica Avenue between Union Hall and 160th streets, according to published reports.

The store will take up 70,000 square feet and will spread across all three buildings, including parts of the second, third and fourth floors.

According to DNAinfo, the buildings in question include the former headquarters of the Jamaica Savings Bank, which was located in a landmarked Beaux-Arts building; another historic building constructed in 1927; and a building that has been vacant for several years.

The store, which is set to open in the spring of 2017, will join Burlington’s two current Queens locations in Rego Park and Glen Oaks.


BP Katz secures $32 million for Queens parks

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced Tuesday that she allocated $32 million of her Fiscal Year 2016 discretionary capital funds for construction, renovations and upgrades across 37 public parks in Queens.

Queens has a total of 7,273 acres of parkland within its border, covering more land mass than any other borough at over 10 percent. According to Katz, the capital investment intends to help enhance parks to be better enjoyed year-round by millions of children, seniors and families.

“Parks are the jewels of our neighborhoods,” Katz said. “Part of what defines Queens’ trademark quality of life – especially for the 2.3 million residents throughout our diverse communities – is the ample access to beautiful public parks and open space.”

The funds will be used for a wide variety of upgrades for parks across the borough, such as constructing dog runs and picnic areas, renovating pre-existing structures and planting greenery.

The preservation of the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park received the most funding with a total of $3 million. Two additional projects were also funded in the same park, including a $2 million renovation of the asphalt field at the World’s Fair Playground and a $480,000 replacement of the aviary mesh and marsh bridge at the Queens Zoo.

Several other projects on the list will also receive more than 1 million dollars in funding, including $2 million to upgrade to existing benches and equipment in Jamaica’s Norelli Hargreaves Park, $1.5 million to upgrade the running track and athletic court at Baisley Pond Park in Jamaica, $1.5 million to renovate the baseball fields at Glen Oaks Playground and $1.3 million to construct a meditation garden and upgrade Rachel Carson Playground in Kissena Corridor Park of Flushing.


Jamaica man charged in check depositing scheme: DA

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via FlickrCreativeCommons/TaxCredits.net

A Jamaica man and a Long Island woman have been busted for a scam that included depositing fake checks and then withdrawing cash before the checks bounced, prosecutors announced.

Milton Robinson, 27, of 110th Avenue, and Shaquanaisa Morris, 24, of Freeport are both charged with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property in the scam.

“The man and woman charged in this scheme allegedly victimized not only the banks where the account was held, but also individuals, who are now on the hook for the cash essentially stolen from the bank. Even after the culprits have been prosecuted, the victims will face years of financial adversity and fallout from the alleged scam.” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

According to the charges, Morris shared a joint checking account at Citi Bank with the victim. That account averaged a daily balance of less than $10, but on July 30, 2014, two withdrawals were allegedly made for $986 from a Chase Bank ATM in Queens. Less than 15 minutes later, a $976 money order was purchased with Morris’ debit card from a check cashing business, prosecutors said, and that money order was then cashed about 25 minutes later at a different check cashing place.

Video surveillance allegedly shows Morris and Robinson using her debit card to make the cash withdrawals at an ATM, and shows Morris purchasing the money order.

The six checks deposited into the Citibank account were allegedly drawn from a non-existing account at a different bank.

The next day, according to the district attorney, Morris deposited a check at an ATM at 6:12 a.m. made out to her and drawn from the account of a second victim for $1,400. Video surveillance allegedly shows Morris, with Robinson, withdrawing $1,000 from a different ATM at 6:20 a.m. and at 6:24 a.m. making another cash withdrawal for $1,200. But the second victim said she did not write the check and does not know Morris or Robinson.

Morris was arraigned on Aug. 6 and released on her own own recognizance. Robinson was arraigned the following day and currently being held on $30,000 bail. If convicted, both defendants face up to seven years in prison.


New makeup studio in South Jamaica hopes to make customers feel like royalty

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Instagram/Vanitee_Suite

High school friends and longtime Jamaica residents Shanda Evans and Madegine Gauthier have created a makeup studio that embodies Marie Antoinette-era decor and the hustle of rapper Lil’ Kim.

Vanitee Suite, which opened on July 29 on 157-11 Rockaway Blvd., is a full-service makeup studio offering makeovers, facials, nail services, henna, eyebrow threading, eyelash extensions, teeth whitening and classes to teach customers the appropriate makeup to wear for job interviews.

“We just decided that we wanted to bring something different to our neighborhood and something with class that kind of represented woman of all walks of life, how to help them enhance their beauty outside and inside,” Gauthier said.

Gauthier, a nurse and fashion designer who owns a daycare in Jamaica was approached by Evans, a Geico claims examiner, to open the makeup studio in May. Though Gauthier said she already had several responsibilities, she could not pass up the opportunity to work with her friend.

Gauthier and Evans have their own line of lipsticks and lip glosses that they use called Vanitee Cosmetics and are also looking to provide classes to the community on a number of topics like back-to-school makeup tips for teenagers and business tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Prices range from $15 for lash extensions to $35 for acrylic nails and Gauthier says they keep prices “reasonable” for the middle-class neighborhood. Vanitee Suite also provides birthday specials and two-for-one specials to its customers, and a Ladies Night is scheduled every Friday for community members to meet the owners and six makeup artists at the studio.

The walls are painted mint green, Gauthier said, to evoke a sense of calm. The chairs, which are also mint green, are adorned with gold trim to make customers feel like “royalty.”

“We wanted to do something that is just a place where a woman could come and leave her problems at the door,” Gauthier said. “We want them to feel royal. We want them to feel like kings and queens when they are here. Just to get away from everyday life, everyday hustle and bustle.”

Gauthier said she and Evans hope to expand the makeup studio, turning the business into a franchise to allow makeup artists to run their own studios.

“We’re just happy to have the establishment within our own community and we hope to get as much community support as possible,” Gauthier said.


Laurelton man killed in Jamaica collision

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

A 21-year-old man lost his life early Saturday morning when the car he was riding in crashed into another vehicle, according to police.

At about 2:15 a.m. police from the 105th Precinct responded to a call of a vehicle accident at the intersection of South Conduit Avenue and 177th Street in Jamaica, authorities said.

The officers found four injured people at the collision site.

According to police, a Land Rover was traveling eastbound on South Conduit Avenue when it collided with the driver side of a Nissan Rouge that was stopped at 177th Street. The first car then slid into a third vehicle which was parked and unoccupied; both cars sustained severe damage.

All victims were taken to Jamaica Hospital, according to cops. The driver of the Land Rover, a 20-year-old man, is listed in stable condition while his passenger, 21-year-old Lamont Smart Jr. of Laurelton, sustained severe injuries to his torso and was pronounced dead.

The driver of the second car, a 46-year-old man, and his 50-year-old female passenger are both listed in stable condition with minor injuries.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.


Jamaica coach pleads guilty to producing, sharing child porn

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com



A 43-year-old basketball coach from Jamaica pleaded guilty on Tuesday to taking and sharing pictures of young children involved in sexual acts, prosecutors announced.

Robert Walker, 43, of 164th Street pleaded guilty on Tuesday to first-degree disseminating indecent material to minors before Queens Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt, who said she will sentence the defendant to 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years in prison. Walker will also be required to register as a sex offender.

According to the charges, on April 22, 2014, Walker communicated with a 15-year-old boy via OoVoo, a video chat and instant messaging software. Walker ordered the boy to strip naked, pose during a video link, and send him naked pictures.

An examination of the defendant’s electronic devices also revealed 27 images of children, some as young as 8, performing sexual acts with adult men.

In addition, Walker confessed to conducting workouts with teens under the age of 16, during which he would have them remove their clothes and he would take pictures of them. Three more victims, 14- and 15-year-olds who played on the basketball team Walker coached, were discovered during searches of the defendant’s Facebook and OoVoo accounts. The three had also been manipulated to strip naked and pose during video chats, and on one occasion, in person.

“The defendant has now admitted to taking advantage of his position as a non-affiliated basketball coach to instruct teenage boys to undress and send nude photographs of themselves to him for his sexual gratification,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. “The victims will undoubtedly be scarred for life as a result of this man’s manipulative actions.”


PHOTOS: Queens residents enjoy a fun ‘Night Out’ with New York’s Finest

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Promoting greater harmony between police and the people they serve, Tuesday’s National Night Out Against Crime brought thousands of Queens residents out to venues across the “World’s Borough” for family-friendly activities.

From Astoria to the Rockaway Peninsula, each Night Out event included free games and activities for children of all ages as well as refreshments, live music and other entertainment. Residents also had the opportunity to meet with the officers who serve their community and learn more about the NYPD’s various crime prevention programs.

Local elected officials, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, attended each gathering and presented proclamations to the precinct commanders. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who made the rounds at Night Out events across the city, stopped by the 113th Precinct’s Night Out in Springfield Gardens.

The National Night Out Against Crime, founded by the National Association of Town Watch, aims to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities. Millions of people across the U.S. and Canada were estimated to have participated in Night Out events Tuesday evening.


Alleged Queens gang members busted in undercover gun, drug sale operation

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Eight purported street gang members from Queens have been charged after peddling guns and drugs during undercover buys, prosecutors announced.

“Illegal firearms that flood our streets pose a serious and deadly threat to public safety and the distribution of illegal drugs is a plague on our society. For those arrested, the message could not be clearer: law enforcement has no tolerance for those involved in the weapons and drug trade,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement Tuesday.

According to prosecutors, seven of those arrested were alleged members of the Trinitarios, “a violent New York-based Dominican street gang,” and the eighth defendant is a reputed member of MS-13, another “violent street gang primarily composed of Central Americans.”

The buys, which took place in Queens between November 2012 and June 2014, included a total of 14 guns, with ammunition in some cases, and cocaine, MDPV and marijuana, according to the district attorney’s office. During that time, the members were unknowingly selling to NYPD operatives.

In one case, Lucas Singh, 30, of College Point, allegedly sold an undercover agent a defaced cut-down rifle along with 50 rounds of ammunition on July 30, 2013, for $850. He is also accused of selling another undercover operative a defaced .357 magnum revolver and a .32-caliber semi-automatic Kel-Tec pistol with ammunition for $1,200 on June 4. A week later, Singh sold the same operative a .38-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver, and a .380 semi-automatic Kel-Tec pistol with 12 rounds of ammunition for $1,200.

The remaining defendants were identified as Eddie Cruz, 28 and Clase Wellington, 26, both of Glendale; Marcello Esquival, 26, of Jackson Heights; Francisco Gil, 25, Carlos Rosario-Mejia, 30, and Reginald Rosa, 25, all of Jamaica; and Angel Sanchez, 23, of Woodhaven.

They are variously charged with criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal sale of marijuana.


Jamaica Flux to transform public spaces

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of JCAL

Jamaica storefronts, sidewalks, parks and vacant lots will be transformed by 19 artists as part of “Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2016,” a public art project organized and presented by the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL).

The project, which is curated by Heng Gil Han and Kalia Brooks across downtown Jamaica, was previously mounted in 2004, 2007 and 2010. Next year’s project focuses on emphasizing public engagement and contemporary art as a vehicle to examine and discuss solutions to critical issues in the community, according to a press release.

The 19 artists were chosen by a selection panel of nine people, including JCAL Executive Director Cathy Hung.

“[Jamaica Flux] could not have come at a better time, with the public sector focusing on downtown Jamaica revitalization and tourism,” Hung said. “Through this effort, Jamaica faces a number of critical challenges that can benefit from artists’ creative ways of thinking. It has been my priority since I resumed the role of executive director that JCAL provide artists with resources to use art as a vehicle to examine critical issues in the community and to combat negative public perception.”

The commissioned artists will visit the neighborhood to investigate the sites that will be home to their art and this research will be the basis for their public artwork. Artist will explore topics such as the urban conditions of Jamaica, public interaction and engagement, community empowerment, environmental concerns and wellness.

The project will serve several purposes including giving artists resources to produce experimental art in public spaces, aiding community members in combating negative public perceptions of southeast Queens through art, and acting as a forum to discuss meaningful community involvement.


Borough president secures millions for south Queens library renovations

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Library

Three public libraries in southern Queens will receive much-needed improvements through $9.5 million in funding that Queens Borough President Melinda Katz secured, it was announced on Monday morning.

Katz agreed to allocate $3.8 million to expand the Arverne branch in the Rockaways as well as another $3.5 million toward interior renovations at the Baisley Park location. The borough president will also provide $2.2 million for facade and multipurpose renovations at the St. Albans branch.

Each project, however, is in the design phase, and the start of actual work remains many months away, according to a Queens Library spokesperson. The expansion at Arverne “will begin in approximately 2.5 years” and construction will be completed “approximately four years from now.”

Queens Library will add more than 2,000 square feet at the Arverne location (312 Beach 54th St.) to create an expanded teen area and computer center as well as providing additional program space. The extension will be erected in a side yard on the site of a modular building the library has used since the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The project at Baisley Park (117-11 Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica) will be “a total interior renovation,” including revamped adult and children’s areas, a new teen and computer center and a new public space in the library’s interior atrium, according to the library. Construction is scheduled to take place “in approximately 18 months” and wrap up “2.5 years from now,” with the branch closed to the public for much of that period.

At St. Albans (191-05 Linden Blvd.), Queens Library will repair the exterior masonry and create a new entrance while also reconfiguring the circulation area, installing self checkout equipment, renovating the multipurpose room and upgrading technology. Construction will start “in about 18 months to two years,” depending on the completion of designs, and renovations will end “approximately three months from now.”

As with the Baisley Park branch, the St. Albans location will also be closed for a period during construction. Queens Library will create “interim service plans” to accommodate customers affected by the closures at each location.

Funding for the three projects make up more than two-thirds of the combined $14 million that Katz allocated to Queens Library for capital improvements. Other projects that the borough president is financially supporting include the installation of a second elevator at the Flushing library ($2.75 million), roof replacement at the Ozone Park branch ($800,000) and new security cameras at the Bay Terrace, Douglaston/Little Neck, East Flushing, Rosedale, South Ozone Park, Steinway and Woodhaven locations (a combined $618,000).

“The millions of families who rely on the Queens Library services deserve nothing less than a world-class system,” Katz said in a press release on Monday. “This capital allocation will help ensure the Queens Library branches remain up-to-date and better able to serve its educational purpose as a community hub of learning, literacy and culture.”

In thanking Katz for the allocation, Queens Library board of trustees Chairman Carl S. Koerner said the funding “will allow the library to substantially upgrade its infrastructure, providing a better environment for library customers.”


Jamaica residents rally for more affordable housing, inclusion in area development boom

| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angela Matua

Jamaica residents gathered at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York on Wednesday to demand that the city and developers capitalizing on the available space in the area “build it right.”

The rally, which began at the church and ended at a proposed mixed-use development on 168th Street, was meant to educate people about the current state of development in southeast Queens and provide a background on the rezoning that led to a construction boom.

“We are simply demanding that local electeds and city officials use their membership to assure that the coming development in this area prioritizes deeply affordable housing, to make sure that we have protections for existing tenants and to make sure that we have family sustaining union careers for local residents in this neighborhood,” said Andrew Wilkes, pastor of social justice and young adults for the church.

Minister Helen Broady spoke on the 2007 rezoning of 368 blocks in Jamaica and the recently announced Jamaica Now plan, a $153 million action plan that aims to create more than 3,000 units of housing, 500,000 square feet of commercial space and 800 new hotel rooms in the next five years.

A special inclusionary housing program incentivizes developers to build affordable housing around downtown Jamaica and Hillside Avenue, but only 20 percent of the units in the designated area are required to be affordable.

Broady argued that the 20 percent of affordable housing may not actually be affordable for  Jamaica residents. The area median income (AMI) in New York City is determined by taking the average of median income of all five boroughs and several suburban counties. Developers can rent out their units to people making the maximum income level allowed.

For a family of three looking to rent in Jamaica’s inclusionary zone, the maximum AMI is capped at $62,150, according to the Department of City Planning. In Community Board 12, which includes Jamaica, the AMI for a family of three is about $50,000.

“We are not here to say don’t develop, but to say build it right,” Broady said.

Jobs were also a topic of discussion Wednesday night, as 400 construction jobs and 80 permanent jobs are estimated to be generated through the 168th Street development. Broady said that though developers are required to hire locally, that requirement is not enforced. She also pointed out that a salary of $11.50 per hour, a “living wage” for construction workers mandated by the city for this project, would not allow local residents to afford rent.

Ricardo Louis, a southeast Queens resident for 20 years, said he should be included in any plans to build in his community.

“If you’re going to come to my neighborhood and build in my area, why can’t I be a part of it?” Louis said.

Members of the District Council 9 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades came to show their support as well as Andy Lane, a representative from Councilman I. Daneek Miller’s office who read a statement from the councilman.

“As chair of the civil service and labor committee, one that is dedicated to economic development and community, we are committed to responsible development. This includes continuing to host MWE forums that provide opportunities for local businesses, good jobs through project labor agreements and developers and creating careers, not just jobs,” according to Miller’s statement.