Tag Archives: jamaica

Renderings reveal look of new P.S./I.S. 314 school in Jamaica


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy Department of Education


The School Construction Authority posted renderings of P.S./I.S. 314 in Jamaica, giving residents a glimpse into the future of a new school in the neighborhood. 

The school, which will be located on the corner of 164th Street and Hillside Avenue, is just one of many coming to the borough in the next few years to target overcrowding. It was approved by the City Council in 2011.

It will be four stories and approximately 113,092 square feet, according to city filings, and accommodate more than 830 students, from pre-K through the eighth-grade. It is expected to open in September 2015.

Gruzen Samton Architects of IBI Group designed the building, which is shaped like an “L” and organized into two main components: a four-story academic wing with classrooms, offices, a cafeteria and library, and a three-story public assembly wing, which houses the gymnasium and an auditorium.

To see more renderings of the project click here.

 

 

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Jamaica women’s clinic attracts anti-abortion demonstrations


| kmedoff@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Katrina Medoff


Seven patient escorts in white lab coats and 13 anti-abortion demonstrators holding pamphlets and large, graphic posters depicting bloody fetuses stood poised in the rain at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and 147th Place on Saturday, waiting for patients to approach Choices Women’s Medical Clinic.

A patient reached for the side door of the clinic, and everyone snapped into action: two escorts began guiding the woman toward the patient entrance, and a man stepped in front of them.

“Don’t go to Choices, ma’am,” he said. “Don’t go kill the baby, ma’am. Don’t go in there, they kill babies, ma’am. They kill babies, ma’am. Look at that picture,” he said, pointing at one of the signs. “You don’t have to do that.”

The patient stood frozen as pamphlet-wielding women with similar refrains competed for her attention with one of the escorts, who attempted to reassure her and move her forward.

Finally, the woman headed toward the entrance, flanked by the escorts. The man followed, leaning around an escort’s umbrella — used as a makeshift shield — and repeating his plea until the patient was through the clinic door.

Such scenes have been occurring regularly ever since Choices moved to Jamaica two and a half years ago, and a group from Church @ the Rock in Brooklyn started coming to the clinic every Saturday at about 6:45 a.m.

“We call it ‘Saturday mournings’ because babies are being murdered and we’re here to stand up for these babies,” said Pat, 60, a woman from Church @ the Rock, who was holding a sign depicting a latex-gloved hand holding a bloody fetus.

On recent (sunnier) Saturdays, there have been about 20 escorts and 20 demonstrators from Church @ the Rock as well as from Catholic groups, said a volunteer clinic escort leader, 25, from the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women.

“We’ve been here in the ice cold, in the heat of summer,” said Lois Griepp, 62, wife of Pastor Kenneth Griepp of Church @ the Rock.

Choices has had several homes in its 43 years, including Flushing, Rego Park and Long Island City, said Merle Hoffman, president, founder and CEO of the clinic, but demonstrators began coming out “en masse” only after the move to Jamaica, where there is a “dearth of prenatal care.”

“As soon as we moved, these people started coming. In fact, they started demonstrating at the location even before it opened,” said Mary Lou Greenberg, the Choices volunteer escort program director. “I realized that we would need a regular escort program because they would set up their signs so it’s a gauntlet.”

Escorts hail from all over the area, including Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island. One escort from Jersey City wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to arrive at 7 a.m.

Some patients walking into the clinic are getting abortions, according to a Choices administrator, but many visit Choices for other services such as family planning, counseling and gynecological services such as STI testing, breast exams and pap smears.

Hoffman says demonstrators are “bullying, harassing women attempting to walk into the facility,” regardless of their reasons for visiting the clinic — as well as passersby.

One escort, “Chickie,” 60, of Jamaica, says that the demonstrators “intimidate children.”

“You have a woman coming in for a prenatal visit, visibly pregnant, with another child,” Hoffman said, “and one of [the demonstrators] said to the kid, ‘Why is your mommy taking you in there? Don’t you know she’s going in to kill your little brother or sister?’”

Griepp counters that women visiting Choices for prenatal care is “great,” but that “this particular clinic, if you go to their website … the first tab they have after their homepage is ‘Abortion.’”

One Choices administrator stressed that the clinic is affiliated with adoption agencies across the nation and with organizations that offer parenting classes, offering women resources no matter what decision they make when pregnant.

Some patients feel the need to tell the demonstrators why they are at the clinic in the hope that demonstrators will leave them alone, even though they would not need to explain why they were visiting any other medical facility, said Esther Priegue, director of social services at Choices.

Nearby businesses say they are affected by the demonstrators. Rigo Mendez, 30, of Corona, manager of Smilen Brothers Market across the street from the clinic, says that customers are deterred by the graphic signs nearby.

“In the morning, when the customers come in, they always complain about the pictures,” Mendez said.“They want to come and eat breakfast and they see the pictures and they say, ‘[Why don’t] you guys tell them to move?’ Business is going down on Saturdays.”

And a cashier at Popular Varieties & Gifts, located next door to the clinic, said, “When they’re outside, less people come in because sometimes the posters that they’re holding up, people are disgusted, they look away and don’t see the store. Or [the customers] are followed because [the demonstrators] all assume that they’re going to the clinic or something.”

The issue of demonstrators outside of abortion clinics is front and center not only in Queens but across the nation after a June Supreme Court decision that ruled that Massachusetts’ 35-foot buffer zone law restricted free speech. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. pointed to New York City’s laws that forbid obstructing access to a clinic or following or harassing patients within 15 feet of a clinic, according to a recent article in the New York Times.

But in Jamaica, it seems that issues of harassment, intimidation, actively impeding patients and free speech are not often clear-cut, and that it’s difficult to tell when a line is crossed.

“It can be so very nebulous at times,” Chickie said.

Howard Beach restaurant hosts movie shoot


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE QUEENS COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

Howard Beach is going Hollywood.

A scene from a feature-length film named “Where Hearts Lie” was shot at Lenny’s Clam Bar on Cross Bay Boulevard on Monday.

At Lenny’s, the film crew was shooting the first date scene between the two lead characters. It took about three hours to shoot the scene, which included about 25 extras and the two main characters. It was a perfect local spot to film this scene, according to Peter Iengo, producer of the film.

“I love this location because there is so much history here,” said Iengo, who mentioned the actual clam bar may be featured in the movie. “It’s a great spot to shoot this scene.”

The movie is about a young up-and-coming real estate entrepreneur from East New York who is trying to gain support for the projects he is working on after he took over the real estate business from his father, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

He meets a young women while he is working on his projects, falls in love and has a child not knowing that his spouse is mentally unstable. Once he sees her instability he wants to break away and fights for the custody of his child, which becomes the main plot of the movie.

Only two scenes are filmed in Queens, one at Lenny’s and one at the Elixir Lounge in Jamaica. The rest will be filmed in Brooklyn and the total filming period is about three weeks. Hollywood stars Clifton Powell, from movies like “Next Friday” and “Ray,” and Malik Yuba, from “Cool Runnings,” make guest appearances in the film as well.

Once the post-production is finished, the film team will send the finished product to films festivals and shop it around to distribution companies.

 

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Health Department to treat areas of Queens against West Nile this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Wednesday, Aug. 6 there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, Aug. 7 during the same hours.

The following neighborhoods are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high mosquito populations, according to the city’s Health Department:

Parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Hollis Hill, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens (Bordered by Long Island Rail Road Track to the north; 219th Street and Springfield Boulevard to the west; Long Island Expressway to the south and Douglaston Parkway to the east)

Parts of Blissville, Sunnyside and west Maspeth (Bordered by Green Point Avenue and 48th Avenue to the north; Van Dam Street to the west; Newtown Creek (Queens-King County Boundary) to the South; 49th Street, 56th Road, 50th Street, Queens Midtown Expressway and 49th Street to the East

Parts of Kew Gardens, Briarwood and Jamaica (Bordered by Grand Central Parkway and Jackie Robinson Parkway to north; Metropolitan Avenue and 118th Street to the west; Long Island Rail Road and Archer Avenue to the south; 14th Place, Jamaica Avenue, 144th Street, 87th Avenue and 150th Street to the east)

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

 

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Second arrest made in fatal Queens bus shooting of teen


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

Updated 2:27 p.m.

A Brooklyn teenager has been charged with the murder of a 14-year-old girl who was gunned down on a Queens bus last year, officials said.

Shamel Capers, 16, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of second-degree murder, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment in the deadly shooting of D’aja Robinson, according to the district attorney’s office.

Robinson was shot in the head after boarding a Q6 bus near Sutphin and Rockaway boulevards in Jamaica on May 18, 2013. She was on her way from a sweet 16 party when she was killed.

Prosecutors said Robinson was not the intended target when Capers fired multiple times into the bus.

About a month after the shooting, Kevin McClinton, 22, was also arrested on second-degree murder and other charges in the death of Robinson. He is accused of taking the gun from Capers and continuing to fire into the bus, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

McClinton, who had a court appearance Wednesday, is currently being held without bail. His case is set for trial on Sept. 22, prosecutors said. Capers is also being held without bail and is due back in court on Aug. 13.


Sandy rebuilding summit sees huge turnout


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE QUEENS COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

An energized crowd of about 1,000 people gathered for a Faith in New York summit at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Jamaica on Tuesday to learn about the progress and priorities of Hurricane Sandy rebuilding.

“This is a time for us to remember what was promised,” said the Rev.  Floyd Flake, pastor of the Greater Allen A.M.E. and a former Queens congressman. “Our people should not still be suffering the way they are, 21 months after the storm.”

Much of the meeting focused on families in Far Rockaway where suffering from Sandy is still the most prevalent issue, according to residents.  Many people are still suffering from leaking roofs, mold, no heat and no jobs as a result of the storm.

Amy Peterson, director of the Housing Recovery Office under Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other city officials listened to these concerned residents and assured them that things are changing.

“We are committed to working with all of you,” she said. “We are going to eliminate the red tape from Build it Back and everyone who has applied for it will get the support they need.”

Peterson said that since the de Blasio administration came to office, rebuilding is on the rise. But she said the fight is nowhere near over. Her office promised 500 checks to Sandy-affected homeowners by Labor Day. As of this week, 457 checks have gone out. She said that once Labor Day comes and they hit their goal, a new one will be made.

This was welcome news to Sandy survivors like Aracelis and Erik Cabrera who are still displaced from the storm.

“We applied for Build it Back but are still waiting to find out if we will receive the funds we desperately need,” Aracelis said as she wiped  tears from her eyes. “We are glad that Mayor de Blasio is focused on fixing Build it Back so that families like ours can rebuild our lives and our home.”

Peterson said that within the next 60 days she would host a large job fair that will prioritize those people who were affected by the storm. When advocates for rebuilding asked Peterson whether they can have a meeting with de Blasio himself about the recovery effort she chuckled but gave a reassuring answer.

“Well, I don’t know his [de Blasio's] schedule,” she said. “But yes, we will try to work it out.”

Source: Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget

 

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Volunteers help preserve historic Queens cemetery


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Green-Wood Historic Fund

SALVATORE LICATA

Prospect Cemetery, the oldest burial ground in Queens, held its annual preservation program on Tuesday with the help of local organizations.

Members of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Historic Fund, along with eight French and American volunteers and interns, helped repair some of the Jamaica burial ground by erecting toppled headstones, leveling bases and securing the tombstones to the bases.

“It’s wonderful to have Green-Wood’s help in our cemetery revitalization initiative,” said Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. “The conservancy and our partners have made great strides in recent years to preserve and conserve the important cultural resource.”

Prospect Cemetery, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006, was a colonial burial ground when it first opened, with tombstones dating back to 1668. It is the resting place of some of Queens’ most prominent families with such names as Van Wyck, Sutphin and Brinkerhoff. The cemetery is owned by the city’s Parks Department which has been making preservation strides for the site for the last 15 years.

“With its rich 346-year-old history and picturesque tombstones, Prospect Cemetery is an important part of the New York landscape,” said Richard Moylan, president of Green-Wood. “Green-Wood is proud to reach across the borough and contribute to Prospect’s ongoing preservation work.”


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Shoplifter attacks security guards with ice pick at kid’s store: police


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD


A man caught shoplifting at a Jamaica children’s clothing store attacked two security guards with an ice pick before fleeing, cops said.

The suspect was trying to leave Cookie’s Kids on Jamaica Avenue with the stolen merchandise at about 6 p.m. on Monday when he set off a security alarm at the door, police said.

As a store security guard was trying to restrain him, the suspect pulled out an ice pick and struck him in the lip, authorities said. When another security guard came to help, the suspect stabbed him in the arm with the pick, then fled the store.

Both guards did not need to be hospitalized, cops said.

Police describe the suspect as black, 26 to 30 years old, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall and 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt with a design on the front, camouflage hat, orange glasses and two chains around his neck.

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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Toddler, mom hurt after stroller falls onto Jamaica subway tracks


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A pair of quick-thinking maintenance workers saved a mother and her young child at a Jamaica subway station Monday morning when the two-year-old’s stroller tumbled onto the tracks, cops said.

The 39-year-old mother was throwing away some trash on the Parsons Boulevard and Archer Avenue station’s eastbound E train platform around 11:15 a.m. when the stroller fell, according to police.

She jumped onto the tracks to try and save the girl, and sprained her ankle.

Two maintenance workers was then able to pull the child and her mother to safety, officials said.

The two-year-old suffered minor bruising to her eye. Both the toddler and mother were taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in stable condition, police said.

 

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Activist dishes dirt on Jamaica garbage


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Joe

JANAE HUNTER

When Joe Moretti moved to Jamaica, Queens, back in November of 2010, New York City was about to experience one of the worst blizzards in its history. As more than a foot of snow covered the streets and sidewalks of his new neighborhood, Moretti was unable to see what really lay beneath. It wasn’t until the snow started melting months later when he saw that the piles of snow covered up piles of garbage.

“There was a vacant lot next to my building that always had a bunch of garbage all over the sidewalks around it and people would keep putting more. I started taking pictures and sending them to the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and 3-1-1 because I wanted it cleaned up,” said Moretti, who has now been living in Jamaica for almost four years. “As I started walking all around Jamaica, I kept seeing more and more garbage, so more pictures and more reporting to the [DSNY].”

Moretti even took to YouTube, and posted music videos about it. While the videos garnered some media attention, Moretti wanted to get even more attention on the problem.

“I thought, ‘How can I crank this up some notches?’” Moretti said.

And that is when “Clean Up Jamaica Queens” was born. “Clean Up Jamaica Queens” is a blog Moretti started in 2013 to highlight the worst problems in the area: garbage strewn in to vacant lots, sidewalks and streets. He uses harsh language and writes in a tone that many might find offensive, but at the end of the day, he gets his point across.

“That has helped to bring attention to this major problem in Jamaica. Everyone is now talking about the garbage problem, whether they are offended by what I say or not. People are starting to do something. At the end of the day we all want the same thing: a cleaner, safer and better community, I just happen to do it in a loud and different way,” Moretti said.

He posts pictures that he takes around the neighborhood and writes a few choice words for some of Jamaica’s elected officials.

“Our leaders have been completely useless on this issue and have failed to do anything. They need to make sure that all the laws on the books such as littering, uncovered garbage cans and household garbage in public garbage cans are enforced,” he said. “People here feel they can do whatever they want because there are no consequences. It truly is the Wild Wild West of Queens.”

The blog is not all negative though. While its main focus is to bring attention to Jamaica’s garbage problem, Moretti also takes the time to talk about the good.

“The best thing [about Jamaica] would be the inside of the former Loews Valencia Wonder Theater (now the Tabernacle of Prayer Church) on Jamaica Avenue, which is completely intact and the only one in NYC that has been preserved. It is one of the most beautiful places you will ever see,” said Moretti. “The homes in the Addesleigh Park section of Jamaica are also gorgeous. At one time many of the jazz greats lived there back in the days. People think Jamaica is all crap, but there are some beautiful homes here and especially in that section.”

In recent months, there have been plans to revitalize and beautify Jamaica. Earlier this month, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz revealed plans to install dozens of light posts along Jamaica Avenue to encourage nightlife. The Sutphin Boulevard Improvement District plans to replace awnings in front of businesses, and a new department store on Jamaica Avenue is in the works. All of these changes are great, Moretti said, but pointless if the trash issue is not handled first.

“If you are not going to clean up the area and take care of the garbage problem, all those things are just the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig. I mean, what good does it do to put new signs or awnings up, when the community is filled with garbage?

How about cleaning it up first?” Moretti said.

As long as he continues to live in Jamaica, Moretti said he will continue to post on his blog and continue to shine light on the problems.

“There is this bizarre part of me that gets off in taking on the powers to be here in Jamaica. It’s an adrenaline rush,” said Moretti. “Will it ever be what it once was? Probably not. But it can be great in a different way.”

 

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Stabbing victim walks into Jamaica McDonald’s with knife in back


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


A stabbing victim walked into a Jamaica McDonald’s Tuesday morning with the weapon still in his back, according to published reports.

The 53-year-old man was crossing Sutphin Boulevard, about a couple of blocks from the fast food joint at 91st Avenue around 9:45 a.m. when he was stabbed, police said.

Shocked witnesses reported seeing the man come into the McDonald’s with the knife sticking out of his back and speaking on his cell phone, reports said.

“I’m pretty sure he was on the phone talking to somebody in his family or a loved one or something, he was talking to them and telling them it might be the last time he’s speaking to them,” witness Tromaine Yancey told CBS 2.

“He was cool and calm. But you could tell he was shaken up,” Michel Green, told the New York Post. “I went to pull the knife out, but someone said, ‘No, no! It might have hit an artery!’ ”

The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was treated and later released the same day, cops said.

There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

 

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Jamaica nursing home celebrates more than a dozen centennial residents


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

This week, the Chapin Home for the Aging will have more than a dozen residents who are a century or more old. And to celebrate the occasion the administrators are going to hold a birthday for all of them on Wednesday.

“In all my years of working at nursing homes I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Kathleen Ferrara, the recreational director of Chapin Home. “They’re so unique and such a special group.”

The Jamaica nursing home, which started out as a women’s home in the 19th and much of the 20th century, can hold up to 220 elders. On Tuesday, one of the residents turns 100, giving the nursing home 13 residents who are at least 100. Many of them have some degree of dementia, according to Ferrara, but for the most part they are very lucid for people who have lived for so long.

Ferrara is in charge of making sure that the residents stay active and keep busy with carious recreational activities. The group of centennials occupy themselves in a variety of ways from playing bingo to playing bowling on the Wii.

Mildred Gent is the oldest of the centennial cohort and in October she will be 107. Gent’s lived in the nursing home since 2010 and lived in Greenwich Village where she worked as a clerk during the 1920s and 30s and into WWII.

Gent doesn’t pay much attention to the modern world and when asked about the Internet she said, “It’s a lot of bunk,” using a term that is as old as she is.

The youngest to join the group of ultra-elders is Mary Nuccio, who turns 100 on June 24. Born in 1914, Nuccio has witnessed three generations of her family develop. Her great-grandchild starts college in the fall.

“This is pretty rare in my family,” she said about her age. “I’m going to be 100. Everything is broken but not my mind.”

During WWII, Nuccio and her husband James, who is now deceased, left their Astoria home to live in the Nebraskan city of Omaha, where James served as an MP at an Italian prison war camp.

In her spare time, Nuccio likes to play bowling on the Wii. Her bowling partner and fellow resident Carol Martin complained that Nuccio is very good at the game.

“I’m very determined,” Nuccio, who is around 5 feet, said. “I don’t like to be dependent on anybody. I’m very independent.”

As Nuccio played on a game console that is less than a decade old, resident Jimmy Key sat outside enjoying the warm weather.

In a very heavy southern accent—reminiscent of blues singers like Lead Belly—that Ferrara said most people can’t understand, he said he was from Nashville, Tenn.

“I’m country boy,” Key said. “I’m over 100 years old. I’m so old, I don’t remember how old I am.”

 

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Man charged with murder in shooting of 15-year-old girl in Jamaica


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

handcuffs-with-color-web-size111

Updated 3:57 p.m.

SALVATORE LICATA

A 20-year-old man has been charged with the fatal shooting of his 15-year-old girlfriend inside a Jamaica home Wednesday night after he first told police she had committed suicide, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Cops discovered Alexis Anderson with a gunshot wound to the head inside a residence on 106th Road near 180th Street at about 11:45 p.m. on June 18 and she was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

Police previously said the residence, which is abandoned, was a squatter location that was also used as a drug den.

Amin Abdullah, 20, was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon, police said. The June 19 arrest came after a medical examiner deemed Anderson’s death as a homicide.

“The defendant is accused of taking the life of a young girl who had her whole life ahead of her,” Brown said. “This case is another unfortunate example of the senseless gun violence that seems to more and more permeate our society.”

According to Brown, a witness saw Abdullah and Anderson get into a verbal argument on Wednesday in front of a room on the second floor of the 177-38 106th St. residence. The witness, who then went to separate room, said between 11 and 11:43 p.m. they heard a noise that sounded like a pop.

Abdullah then allegedly went into the witness’ room and together with the witness went back to the front room where the witness saw Anderson laying on the floor with what appeared to be blood on her head, Brown said.

According to the district attorney, Abdullah allegedly first told detectives that Anderson shot herself but later admitted he had shot her in the head with a revolver.

Abdullah is currently being held pending arraignment in Queens Criminal Curt and if convicted he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

 

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15-year-old girl found fatally shot inside Jamaica home


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Updated 4:25 p.m.

A teenage girl was found dead inside a Jamaica home Wednesday night after suffering a gunshot wound to the head, cops said.

Officers, responding to a call of a person shot, discovered the 15-year-old, identified by police as Alexis Anderson, inside a residence on 106th Street near 180th Street about 11:45 p.m., officials said. Anderson was pronounced dead at the scene.

There are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

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Benjamin Cardozo HS to graduate first black valedictorian


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


Shanelle Davis remembers that her parents instilled in her the importance of education so much that as a child wherever she went during the summer, she had to have a book.

“‘Shanelle, take up a book,’” she recalled her parents saying. “Education was stressed in our house. I had to get good grades.”

Her parents, both from the island of Jamaica, couldn’t afford a college education, but were determined that Davis, 17, would be the first in the family to earn a higher degree.

Since then, Davis has consistently achieved high grades through the years and all that time studying has accomplished more than her parents could have foreseen. Davis will be the first black valedictorian of Benjamin Cardozo H.S., and the cherry on top is she will attend Harvard University starting in the fall.

“Even though the valedictorian itself is an honor because not many people get to be the top student in their class, this is an incredible honor, because I’ve made history,” Davis said.

Davis, a resident of Jamaica, Queens, not only studied hard, but she also took part in various clubs and activities to prepare for the next level.

She took seven Advanced Placement classes, is a member of the school’s National Honor Society and the Gateway Pre-College Education program.

She’s involved in academic enrichment organization Legal Outreach, through which she has participated in debates and interned at law firms in New York City. She has also helped struggling elementary and middle school students prepare for state exams through Future Educators of New York. And besides academics, Davis has been on Cardozo’s track team since sophomore year.

“I had to give up a lot for studying, but I feel like it was worth it in the end,” she said.

Davis is entering Harvard undecided, but plans to use her early semesters to figure out what field she wants to study. What she doesn’t have to think about though, is money.

She will attend the university without paying a dime thanks to a partial scholarship from Harvard as well as outside awards, including the Milken scholarship, the Ron Brown scholarship, and scholarships from the United Federation of Teachers, the National Association of University Women and the YMCA.

“We are living out [my parents’] dream and mine without paying anything,” Davis said.

 

 

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