Tag Archives: jamaica

Off-duty NYPD cop killed in Jamaica motorcycle crash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

An off-duty Queens NYPD officer was killed while riding his motorcycle in Jamaica Monday, police said.

The accident happened at about 5 p.m. on Linden Boulevard at 158th street.

The cop, identified as 28-year-old Curtis Johnson, was riding his Harley Davidson eastbound down Linden Boulevard when it collided with a Chrysler Concorde as it was trying to make a left turn off of 158th street from the westbound side of Linden Boulevard, officials said.

After crashing into the Chrysler, Johnson was thrown from his seat and the motorcycle struck a second vehicle, a Nissan Altima, which was traveling westbound on Linden Boulevard at 158th Street, cops said.

Johnson, who, according to published reports, worked in Jamaica’s 103rd Precinct, was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police said there have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

 

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Environmental Protection Agency to hold public meetings on PCB removal at schools


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY SARA TOUZARD

Officials announced a public meeting in Jamaica to discuss the city’s proposed citywide remediation plan to remove the potentially toxic Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) from light fixtures and caulk at public schools.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will collect feedback from the community on the remediation plan throughout the five boroughs before making its recommendations at the end of the month.

The meeting in Queens will be held at 6:30 pm. on Thursday at the Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School, located at 160-20 Goethals Ave.

 

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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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Queens Library announces free coding lessons through online tech portal


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Logo courtesy Queens Library


 

Why pay thousands of dollars for coding classes? Just go to the library.

The Queens Library recently announced its users will have access to Treehouse, a free online interactive education platform that teaches programming languages and how to build websites, so members can obtain more skills and qualify for higher paying jobs.

Through Treehouse, library members will be able to learn how to program a website, create an Android app, and get an introduction to Javascript, Rails, iOS and more.

Users need to have a Queens Library card and account, which are free and available to apply for at any library branch or online for anyone who works, owns property, or goes to school in New York.

The library will also host free Treehouse orientation sessions at the end of May and in June at its Flushing branch and at the Central Library in Jamaica. Dates and times are listed below.

Flushing Branch:  May 30 at 3 p.m.; June 6 at 10 a.m.; June 30 at 3 p.m.

Central Branch:  May 31 at 2 p.m.; June 12 at 10 a.m.

Click here to visit the Treehouse portal.

 

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Man dies after Roy Wilkins Park shooting


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

A 24-year-old man is dead after he was shot in the head at Roy Wilkins Park Saturday afternoon, cops said.

The victim, who has yet to be identified by police, was shot about 3 p.m. near Merrick Boulevard and Baisley Boulevard in the Jamaica green space, officials said. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was listed in critical condition, but later succumbed to his injury.

There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing, according to police.

 

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Queens mother-daughter TSA officers help keep passengers safe


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Lois Haynes

Working under the same roof as Mom could make some sons and daughters anxious, but it makes Monique Smith proud.

The 29-year-old Jamaica resident shares the same job, as a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at LaGuardia Airport, with her mother, Lois Haynes.

“I have been at TSA a little longer than my mom, but she has introduced me to a lot of people at the airport,” Smith said. “Plus, my co-workers are a lot nicer when they find out who my mother is. Sometimes they call me ‘Lois Jr.’ and I don’t mind a bit.”

Smith encouraged her mother to apply for the gig not long after she started working at the airport, about five-and-a-half years ago, according to Haynes.

“It’s funny when co-workers first learn that we’re mother/daughter,” the 49-year-old Queens Village resident said.

They once worked the same shift and at the same check point, but now have different hours and are stationed at different locations within the airport.

“It’s been a pleasure” working with her daughter, Haynes said. She is also thankful that her daughter introduced her to a job she enjoys.

As a TSA officer, Haynes work includes screening passengers and luggage, and checking travel documents. Additionally, she is involved with the recertification of officers.

“I am a people person and I also like to mentor,” Haynes said.

When she’s not at the airport, Haynes spends her free time with her daughter going to boutiques and out to eat.

“We have a very close relationship outside of the job,” Haynes said. “She’s my muse, she picks out my clothes, tells me what looks ugly.”

Though the two have different schedules, this Mother’s Day, they both have off from work.

Haynes, who also has a 15-year-old son, is not exactly sure what her family is planning for Sunday, but she “heard they are going to be making [her] a nice seafood dinner.”

 

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Councilman Ruben Wills arrested on corruption charges


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Updated 2:25 p.m. 

Councilman Ruben Wills was arrested Wednesday after a corruption investigation discovered he allegedly stole public campaign funds and state grant money.

The Queens politician, who represents the 28th District, which includes Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale and South Ozone Park, was indicted on charges of grand larceny, scheme to defraud, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing, according to the indictment.

Jelani Mills, a relative who works for Wills, and allegedly helped him redirect some of the cash, was also indicted Wednesday on charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records.

Wills is accused of stealing from both the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office.

He is charged with redirecting $11,500 in matching funds he received from the CFB during his 2009 City Council campaign–with the help of Mills–to New York 4 Life, a nonprofit Wills started, and using the money for personal purchases, according to court documents. Wills allegedly bought a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag at Macy’s, among other items. 

The councilman had been under investigation by the attorney general for $33,000 in state funds provided through a grant that was unaccounted for after it was given to New York 4 Life, according to published reports and the attorney general’s office.

Those funds were earmarked by former state Sen. Shirley Huntley while Wills was serving as her chief of staff.

New York 4 Life signed a contract with OCFS to receive that money, promising to conduct four public service projects, officials said, but the nonprofit allegedly only came through on one program that cost about $14,000. Wills is accused of pocketing the remaining $19,000 and using it for political and personal expenses, including purchases at Nordstrom’s and Century 21.

Huntley was arrested in a unrelated case in August 2012 and later pleaded guilty for covering up money funneled through a nonprofit she helped establish. It was revealed last May that Huntley had secretly recorded the conversations of seven elected officials, including Wills, while she was still in office at the request of federal prosecutors.

“The City Council takes these troubling allegations from the New York State Attorney General very seriously and will be reviewing them thoroughly, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement. “New Yorkers expect and deserve a government that is ethical and responsible and that is the standard we’re seeking to uphold.”

Wills, who was first elected to the Council in a 2010 special election, has been prohibited from doling out member items, or city funds, to his district, the Queens delegation chair and City Council speaker’s office will now designate them for him, reports and a source said.

He has also agreed to give up his chairmanship of the Council’s subcommittee on drug abuse, according to published reports.

Wills, who did not enter a plea and was released without bail, said Wednesday he had no plans to resign, reports said.

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Man fatally shot in Jamaica over parking spot


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Updated 5:15 p.m. 

A 24-year-old man is dead after he was shot in Jamaica Monday night in a dispute over a parking space police and reports said.

The victim, Darrell Lynch, of Jamaica, was found with a gunshot wound to his left leg on 113th Avenue near Sutphin Boulevard about 7:30 p.m., cops said. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

That evening, Lynch had allegedly gotten into an argument with another man over a parking spot, and when he walking to his car, the man approached Lynch and shot at him, according to New York Daily News.

His mother, who was with her son, then picked up Lynch’s gun, which her son had pulled out and had dropped, and began shooting at the suspect, who then fled, the Daily News said.

There are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing, according to police.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: Showers early, then partly cloudy for the afternoon. High around 75. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low 52. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Universoul Circus

Enjoy a highly interactive combination of circus arts, theater and music that spans genres, including pop, classic R&B, Latin, hip hop, jazz and gospel. Runs through May 18 at Roy Wilkins Park in Jamaica. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Sources: NYC close to contract with teachers union

New York City is close to finalizing a contract with its teacher’s union. That’s according to people familiar with the negotiations. Read more: NBC New York

30 cent surcharge coming for taxi riders

New Yorkers with disabilities frustrated by the lack of accessible taxis in New York City will get a little relief come January 2016. Read more: ABC New York

NY legislature approves 200 speed cameras for NYC, Long Island

More than 200 new speed cameras are coming to New York City and Long Island. Read more: CBS New York/AP

MTA: Helena Williams out as LIRR president

Helena Williams, the first woman president to run the Long Island Rail Road, was fired Wednesday. Read more: am New York

Charter schools in demand among NYC parents

Parental demand for charters continues to far outpace their supply as 70,700 families applied for 21,000 available seats at 198 of the popular alternative schools this fall, the New York City Charter School Center reported. Read more: New York Post

Suspect wanted in brutal stabbing of 15-year-old girl in Jamaica


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for man who they say stabbed a teen so badly that she needed more than 100 stitches.

The assault happened about 2:45 p.m. Monday in Jamaica near 169th Street and 111th Avenue, according to officials.

The suspect, who police identified as 20-year-old Supreme Moye, stabbed the 15-year-old victim in the face, neck, back and hands before fleeing, cops said. The girl was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center for treatment.

Moye is described as 5 feet 10 inches and 165 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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Missing 83-year-old Queens man found dead in Long Island


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

An elderly Jamaica man missing since this weekend was discovered dead in a Long Island body of water Wednesday, police said.

William Braxton, 83, was last seen leaving his 173rd Street residence about noon Saturday, the NYPD said.

His body was found about 3 p.m. yesterday in Inwood, a Five Towns hamlet, located just over the Queens County border, according to police.

The medical examiner is still investigating a cause of death.

 

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Drag racers busted in Maspeth


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

SOPHIA ROSENBAUM

Cops slammed the brakes on illegal drag racing after an early-morning bust Sunday in Maspeth led to six men facing possible jail time, authorities said.

Dozens of spectators crowded the streets at about 1:15 a.m. to watch the men drag race down Laurel Hill Boulevard between 48th and 58th streets, eventually leading to police blocking off the area.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is hoping that these arrests will discourage other drag-racing enthusiasts from taking to the streets.

“These arrests send a clear message that disregarding the safety and welfare of Queens residents will not be tolerated,” Bratton said in a statement.

The defendants — Michael Rivera, 21, of Manhattan; Shawn Marr, 19, of Uniondale; Michael James, 25, of Brooklyn; Antonio Nolesco, 23, of Manhattan; Edgar Lozano, 26, of Jamaica; and Edward Henry, 21, of St. Albans — were currently awaiting arraignment in Queens County Court, as of late Monday, on charges of second-degree reckless endangerment, vehicle and traffic violations and reckless driving.

“Drag racing poses a serious threat to public safety,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “Such illegal speed contests have no place on the streets of our city.”

Brown said defendants Rivera, Marr, James and Nolesco were allegedly drivers in the drag races while Lozano and Henry were allegedly starters for several of the races. The drivers’ cars and smartphones were seized as part of the ongoing investigation.

 

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Man pleads guilty to sexually abusing two seven-year-old girls in South Ozone Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man arrested last May for sexually abusing two young South Ozone Park girls pleaded guilty to the crimes Monday, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

“The defendant has admitted to being a sexual predator and, as such, he has proven himself to be a threat to children and a clear and present danger to society in general,” Brown said. “Today’s plea ensures that he is punished for his crimes and spares his young victims of having to relive their nightmarish experience at trial.”

Lee Samuel, 26, whose last known address was in the Jamaica section of Queens, pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse, according to prosecutors. Sentencing is scheduled for May 5, at which time he will receive 14 years in prison and 20 years post-release supervision.

The hunt for a suspect had the South Ozone Park area on edge last spring after it was reported that a man had sexual contact with two seven-year-old girls.

The separate incidents happened within just hours of and approximately two miles away from each other on May 1, 2013, officials said.

In pleading guilty, said Brown, Samuel admitted that he approached the first victim as she was tying her shoe on the sidewalk and touched her on her buttocks.

Several hours later Samuel came up to his second victim and pretended that he wanted to play a game with her, Brown said. Samuel then exposed himself to the girl and engaged in a sexual act with her.

 

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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.”

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Police: Drive-by shooting kills teen, injures second in Jamaica


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic image

A drive-by shooting in Jamaica Sunday afternoon left a 17-year-old dead and another teen wounded, cops said.

The victims were standing on Lakewood Avenue about 3:20 p.m. when a vehicle pulled up and gunfire erupted from the passenger side, officials said. The car, described as a blue sedan, then fled, police said.

Khalil Bowlin was hit once in the torso and taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to cops.

The second victim, an 18-year-old man, suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and was transported to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

Police are still looking for the shooter.

 

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