Tag Archives: jamaica

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


| 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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Arrest made in 2012 murder of Queens man


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Authorities apprehended a man in Georgia and charged him with murder two years after he allegedly killed a 24-year-old in St. Albans, cops said.

Tracy Johnson, 28, is accused of shooting 24-year-old Shakey Foster-Bay on May 19, 2012 on Galway Avenue, according to officials.

Police said he shot Foster-Bay several times, wounding him in the arm, leg and torso.

The shooting may have resulted from a dispute over a woman, according to the New York Daily News.

Johnson has been charged with second-degree murder, criminal use of a firearm and criminal possession of a weapon, cops said.

 

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FBI raids Assemblyman Scarborough’s home, office: reports


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The home and office of southeast Queens Assemblyman Bill Scarborough were raided by the FBI Wednesday morning, according to published reports.

Scarborough’s Albany office and Queens home were searched as part of an investigation into his travel reimbursements, the New York Post reported.
His district office and an Albany hotel room were also searched, according to the Daily News.

Scarborough, who served in the legislature for more than 20 years, told reporters that officials from the FBI and the office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman seized his cell phone, calendars and “just about everything,” another report said.

“I’m innocent, but I understand the reality,” Scarborough said to a group of reporters, according to Capital New York. “I don’t know what’s going to go on. I am going to talk to a lawyer. This is just stunning to me.”

The Post reported in 2012 that Scarborough claimed per diem payments for spending five consecutive nights in Albany in 2011, but reporters spotted him at a town hall meeting at York College in Jamaica on one of the days he claimed to be in the state capital.

“I may very well have gone to that meeting, turned around and gone back to Albany that night,” he told the paper when they broke the story.

Scarborough said agents hinted there would be other politicians in hot water – and that he might be off the hook – but then the officials appeared to have backed off, Capital New York reported.

“What I was told was there might be indictments and I would not be one of them. When I spoke with people here, they seem to have tempered that statement, so I have no idea,” Scarborough told a reporter, according to the website.

Schneiderman’s office referred callers to the FBI, who did not return a call for comment by press time.

There was no answer at Scarborough’s district office or his Albany office.

 

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Cops seek information in 2010 Jamaica murder of customs officer


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

Police are renewing calls for help in solving the 2010 murder of an off-duty U.S. customs officer who was fatally shot in Jamaica.

Maurice Gordon, 33, had just returned home from a Long Island nightclub in the early morning of June 21, 2010 when he was killed, officials said.

The Elmont, Long Island resident was standing with another person near 118th Avenue, reportedly in front of his mother’s home, when a black SUV pulled up, cops said.

Three men inside the car then allegedly began to shoot at the pair. Gordon, who had his service weapon on him, exchanged gunfire with the shooters, and the suspects fled in an unknown direction, police said.

Gordon was shot once on the right side of his chest and was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later, according to authorities.

Following the murder, cops released a sketch of one of the alleged shooters. He is described as black, 28 to 32 years old, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, with a thin build and black hair.

There is a $22,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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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Man discovered inside garbage bag in Rockaways died from gunshot wound


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The death of a Jamaica man whose body was found inside a garbage bag in the Rockaways Monday has been ruled a homicide, police said.

Quynton Ross, 33, was shot once in the chest, according to the medical examiner.

His body was discovered about 9:50 a.m. on Beach 40th Street between Edgemere Avenue and the boardwalk, officials said.

After Quynton went missing Sunday his family used a cell phone tracking app, which helped lead them to the scene where police found the body, cops said.

 

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Queens man arrested for LI catalytic converter thefts has priors in NYC


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Ahanix1989

The 23-year-old Jamaica man arrested on Long Island last month for stripping three dozen cars of their costly catalytic converters has a lengthy rap sheet in the city, officials said.

Nassau County police charged Dorient G. Reid in February with grand larceny for his eight-month-long raid of body shop and U-Haul parking lots that damaged more than 35 cars and their exhaust systems.

Reid crossed the Queens border to try his luck after the NYPD arrested him last March for allegedly stealing five catalytic converters out of a used auto parts lot in Jamaica, an NYPD spokesperson said.

The apparent repeat offender had nine prior arrests in New York City, including one last year for offering an arresting officer a $500 bribe from his holding cell in Jamaica’s 113th Precinct, according to the NYPD and Queens district attorney’s office.

He faces multiple counts of grand larceny and auto stripping charges in both Nassau and New York City, the police departments said.

Reid will appear in Nassau court on March 28, a spokesperson for the county’s district attorney said. He also awaits a March 25 sentencing in Queens Criminal Court after pleading guilty in the bribery case, according to the borough’s district attorney’s office.

Catalytic converters, which contain precious metals inside, like platinum, have been the target of a costly citywide crime trend that is now on the decline.

In January, police arrested two men in Flushing for allegedly sawing nearly $5,000 worth of devices off eight trucks in a U-Haul storage lot at 36-30 College Point Boulevard, Crime Prevention Officer Anthony Lo Verme of the 109th Precinct said.

Since the collar, there have been no new converter thefts in the 109th Precinct, which covers downtown Flushing and upwards to Whitestone, according to Lo Verme.

Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta of the 111th Precinct — who reported a spike at the end of last year — believes the arrest will wipe out the crime around Bayside.

“We’re hoping that eliminates the problem here,” he said, “and I suspect it will.”

 

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Addabbo sends list of bus problems to MTA


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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A local legislator is hoping to put the brakes on bus problems in the region he represents.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo recently sent a list of complaints from constituents to the MTA about bus service on nearly 10 lines, including some that travel through the subway scarce neighborhoods of Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village, hoping the agency can resolve the issues.

The note includes problems such as buses frequently arriving 20 or more minutes behind schedule, multiple buses bunching together and buses passing by commuters with “not in service” signs. The lines include the Q18, Q11/Q21, Q54, Q55, Q67, Q38 and Q29.

“As we negotiate our state budget funding and administrative decisions, we must realize that these resources must be allocated rationally and efficiently,” Addabbo said. “Acknowledging that the MTA provides a critical service and that state resources are not infinite, we must impress upon the MTA to improve service for my constituents given the resources it has.”

Last month, The Courier revealed exclusively that the MTA plans to reduce overall service in April of the Q54, which riders in Middle Village and Glendale depend on to connect to subway lines in Jamaica and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

During weekday “PM peak” hours—from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.—the Q54 will run every six minutes and 30 seconds, instead of every five minutes, according to the MTA’s January Transit & Bus Committee Meeting. During the evening schedule, which follows “PM peak” hours, the Q54 will run every 20 minutes instead of every 15.

 

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Star of Queens: Laura Schmitt, co-president, Benjamin. N. Cardozo High School PTA


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Laura Schmitt

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Laura Schmitt is co-president of the Benjamin. N. Cardozo High School PTA.

BACKGROUND:  Schmitt grew up in Brooklyn, and now lives in Jamaica.  She is a mother of five — four boys and one girl. Her youngest daughter will be graduating from Cardozo this spring.

Schmitt is a retired dentist, and has been on various PTAs over the past 22 years.  She has been the co-president of the Cardozo PTA for the past two.

“I mostly do this for the children who don’t have parents who are actively involved,” Schmitt said. “There are a lot of children that need a voice, and that’s where I come in.”

GOALS: Currently, Schmitt is working with the PTA to raise funds to purchase a system called Parchment. This will enable students to send out all of their college application materials online and keep better track of the process.

“We have students that are not only the best in the city, but the best in the nation,” said Schmitt.   She believes that these students deserve to be provided with the tools that will keep them competitive. Another goal Schmitt and the PTA at Cardozo have is to implement the use of a transparent online grading system which she believes will better inform parents.

“Not every parent has the opportunity to go to the school for answers and some don’t know the right questions to ask,” said Schmitt.

She explains that this system is proactive in providing the information parents need.  The PTA will also have a tentative date of June 14 for a flea market to raise funds for these goals. If you are interested in being a vendor, you can contact them at Benjamincardozohspta@yahoo.com.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Schmitt’s fondest memory was being asked to speak at last year’s graduation ceremony. She explains that being asked to give a graduation speech was recognition of all of that was accomplished. Schmitt remembers feeling a special warmth for each one of the children as they came up to receive their degrees.

This year she was invited to speak again and the PTA co-president said this time is even more special because her daughter will be graduating. “She is my youngest child and it will be the culmination of my 22 years of continuous service on PTAs,” said Schmitt.

INSPIRATION: Her first inspirations for getting involved in the educational needs of children were her mother and mother in-law, who are both retired teachers. She remembers them always telling her “if you want a job done; give it to a busy person.”

“I guess having been a full-time dentist raising five children at that time made me that person,” said Schmitt.

Moreover, her co-president, Evette Ennis, whom she describes to be a caring mother with an endless supply of ideas, energy and professionalism, continues to be an inspiration to Schmitt.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Schmitt explains that although Cardozo is one of the top high schools in the city, with an excellent staff of teachers and principals, budget cuts are having an impact on the school.

“Classes are being cut and everything that has made our school great is in jeopardy,” said Schmitt.  She explained that it has been a tremendous challenge to get the community, politicians and the parents to speak up, get involved, donate, or advocate for the needs of the children.

 

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Jamaica man arrested in connection to 2012 shooting death


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Police have arrested and charged a man with murder in connection to the 2012 shooting death of 22-year-old Sydney London.

London was found dead in the driver’s seat of his car, with a gunshot wound to the right side of his torso, near Ring Place and 118th Avenue, on April 11, 2012, police said.

Police charged 30-year-old Sekwan Carter, of Jamaica, Friday with murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

 

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