Tag Archives: jamaica

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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Police arrest St. Albans teen for firing gun in Jamaica


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy NYPD


Cops arrested a fleeing 19-year-old shooter who fired two rounds at a group of people in Jamaica.

Michael Jones of St. Albans got into a verbal dispute with the group around 11:20 p.m. on Saturday near Merrick Boulevard and 119th Avenue, police said.

Jones pulled out a gun from his waist and started to shoot the people, cops said. No one was injured, according to officials.

Officers that were driving nearby jumped out of an unmarked car and chased Jones, who threw away his gun before he fled, authorities said.

Jones was caught and arrested around Merrick and Baisley boulevards. He was charged with weapon possession, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest, according to police.

The incident was the second shooting that occurred on Merrick Boulevard on Saturday. A 35-year-old man was shot dead on Saturday morning inside Edge Bar and Lounge on the boulevard, cops said.

Police did not reveal whether the incidents are connected.

 

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Man shot and killed inside Edge Bar and Lounge in Jamaica: cops


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Updated Monday, June 16 8:50 a.m.

A 35-year-old man was shot dead on Saturday morning in Jamaica, according to police.

The victim, Timothy Tripp, was shot at about 2:40 a.m. inside Edge Bar and Lounge on Merrick Boulevard, cops said.

EMS pronounced Tripp, who had a gunshot wound to his head and torso, dead at the scene, officials said. There are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

 

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Teens graduate from LIC watchmaker program


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

A group of city high school students is using time to their advantage.

Luxury watch retailer Tourneau recognized seven students, the third group of kids to complete the company’s Watchmaker Program, during a graduation ceremony Thursday at its headquarters within the Falchi Building in Long Island City.

During the eight-week “Art of Watchmaking” program, students are given the opportunity to learn the skills needed to possibly begin a career as professional watchmakers.

The Tourneau Watchmaker Program was started last year by Terry Irby, a third generation watchmaker and Tourneau’s technical director. With more than 600 watches in need of repair coming into the western Queens site, an aging staff and the number of American watchmakers dropping almost 90 percent since the 1950s, Irby was keen to get the younger generation involved in the trade.

“Watchmaking is a skill that most often stays in families, because it takes a long time to learn,” said Irby. “As a kid, I loved it – I couldn’t wait to help my father. Now, my career is about passing those sills on. These students can take what they learn with them and support their families.”

The company has since collaborated with Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day School, which in partnership with Comprehensive Development Inc. (CDI) selects students at the school to take part in the program.

Before entering the program, each student is interviewed by Irby who tests their skill and gets a look at their interest in watchmaking. Once accepted, students learn the history and mechanics of watches, take apart watches, examine every piece and then reassemble watches and clocks.

“What we’re looking for are real opportunities for students to be exposed to the world of work and hopefully learn some skills,” said Margaret Aylward , associate executive director for CDI. “The idea is that at least it hooks them in in a way that keeps them engaged and learning.”

Two Queens students were among the graduates during the June 12 ceremony. Ayushi Pant, 18, who was born in Nepal and about four months ago moved to the United States and now lives in Jamaica, and 19-year-old Frank Kwarteng from Corona, both received diplomas and white lab coats for completing the program.

“I really feel blessed and really happy,” Pant said. “I like taking things apart and putting them back. Patience is one of the most important things of being a watchmaker. I learned how to be patient, how to solve problems and not panic. This is how we’re going to succeed in the end.”

Some of the graduates will take the skills they learned and apply it to their future careers, while others will continue their work with Tourneau being accepted into full-time internships.

“I want to try to continue watchmaking and see how far I could go with it,” Kwarteng said. “It’s the best program. I learned a lot about watches and I never thought I would get into watches like this.”

The next group of students are expected to begin the Watchmaker Program in the fall.

 

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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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