Tag Archives: laurelton

Laurelton shooting leaves one dead, another injured


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Updated Tuesday, May 27, 11:35 a.m.

A 20-year-old was killed outside his Laurelton home Monday in a shooting that left another man injured, police said.

The two men were shot at about 2:35 a.m. at 137th Avenue near 219th Street, cops said.

The victim, identified by police as Dowayne Henry, suffered a gunshot wound to the head and abdomen, and was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. A second man, 25, was shot in the back and taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

Both shooting victims are believed to have no criminal records, reports said. Henry was a hard-working man, with two jobs, who had aspirations of going back to college and playing basketball, according to the New York Daily News.

Police are still looking for the gunman, who was wearing a gray hoodie, the Daily News also reported.

 

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Suspect wanted for rooftop break-in at Laurelton 99 cent store


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man stole $2,600 from a Laurelton store last weekend by breaking in through the roof, police said.

The burglary took place about 4:45 a.m., after the business, 99 Cent Dream Store at 229-12 Merrick Blvd., was closed, cops said.

After cutting a hole in the store’s roof, the burglar took the cash and fled, according to officials.

Police described the suspect as a black man with a light complexion and 25 to 30 years old. He was last seen wearing a light-colored sweatshirt, light-colored camouflage pants, light sneakers, and was carrying a book bag.

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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New Queens golf group hopes to grow sport in black community


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy the UBGA

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

They’re not specifically looking for the next Tiger Woods, but two golf-loving Queens residents are hoping their new nonprofit can help foster the sport in the black community. 

Vernel Bennett, of Laurelton, and Jacques Leandre, of Rosedale, started the United Black Golfers Association (UBGA) — the first of its kind in Queens, they said — and the group will begin hosting meet-ups on golf courses shortly.

Both Bennett, the president of the nonprofit, and his vice president, Leandre, were convinced to play the sport by others and know there is interest, but the sport isn’t as readily available. The nonprofit seeks to provide opportunities for people to play the game.

“If we were exposed to it, we would love it,” Bennett said about the black community. “But our community is exposed to the typical stuff: a basketball court, a baseball field, a football field …”

Bennett, a retired accountant, started playing golf after his son’s recommendation and a lesson on a cruise about seven years ago. He fell in love with the sport and after competing in tournaments and joining the Roosevelt Golf Association, and he realized the benefits of golfing, including the networking side.

He believes through golf, members of the organization will be able to connect even if there is a generational gap.
The UBGA is co-ed, and accepts anyone over the age of 18. There is a monthly membership fee of $20, after a one-time $100 fee. The UBGA will make group trips to golf courses around the city, Long Island and even New Jersey several times each month. And for beginners there are private lessons available from certified trainers, with group and individual packages.

Since announcing the creation of the association, Leandre said they have gotten a positive response from the community on social media.

“The interest is there, but the engine isn’t. Right now UBGA is going to serve as the vehicle to take people to the golf course,” Leandre said. “It’s about exposing and creating an outlet for people to have a game that will last a lifetime.”

Click here or call 917-300-8310 to apply for membership and more information.

 

 

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Laurelton barbershop owner stabs teen to death with scissors: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A Laurelton barbershop owner used scissors to fatally stab a 19-year-old during a fight over a pair of headphones, police said.

Carl Richardson, 19, came to the 227-14 Merrick Blvd. business about 2 p.m. Thursday to collect money from 34-year-old Cedric Simpson, the shop’s co-owner, who had purchased the headphones from the teen, cops said.

The two began arguing over the debt and Simpson stabbed Richardson three times with the scissors—twice in the chest and once in the neck, the NYPD said.

Richardson, a Springfield Gardens resident, was taken to Franklin Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to officials.

Simpson was taken into custody at the scene and charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

 

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Cops looking for man in connection to Laurelton shooting


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are searching for a man who allegedly exchanged fire with another shooter in Laurelton  last month.

The suspect, who goes by the nickname “Tony Ray Ray,” unloaded his gun while on Merrick Boulevard near 231st Street about 4:45 a.m. on Feb. 11, cops said.

No one was injured in the shooting, according to officials.

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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Southeast Queens schools to receive yearly $2.5M grant


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Richards

Eleven southeast Queens schools are the recipients of an annual technology grant in the name of a civil rights legend.

Councilmember Donovan Richards created the Nelson Mandela Technology Grant through which he will be contributing $2.5 million yearly to his district’s schools to “help fill any financial gaps to ensure our youth have access to the best resources available.”

“I have always believed it is essential our youth have access to the best technology available,” Richards said. “We can no longer focus on competing locally and must prepare future generations to compete on an international level.”

A minimum $50,000 will go to each of Richards’ 11 district schools, including P.S. 123 in Jamaica, P.S. 156 in Laurelton and Excelsior Preparatory High School in Springfield Gardens.

Richards presented the donation at the M.S. 355 and M.S. 356 Springfield Gardens campus Monday. He said he’s proud to provide the funds and could give more than $50,000 where needed.

Springfield Gardens’ I.S. 231 will receive $500,000 this fiscal year to upgrade its playground, and Richards said he is additionally allocating funds for schools still recovering from Sandy.

“As long as I am councilman, I will do my best to provide for our youth wherever there are gaps,” he said.

Richards is following in the footsteps of his predecessor, now State Senator James Sanders, who contributed about $2 million for 10 years to fulfill the district’s schools’ technology needs.

 

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Community members share vision for Laurelton, Rosedale library upgrades


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens Library

More room is coming to the Laurelton and Rosedale library branches and officials’ visions for the project is growing.

Councilmember Donovan Richards allocated $3 million for the two Queens Library reading spots to begin expansion and upgrade projects.

The Laurelton branch, currently 8,000 square feet, will double to 16,000 with the addition of a second floor.

“We’re really excited about that,” said Dave Wang, the Laurelton manager. “The community has a very high expectation and standard for the library. A lot of our residents depend on it.”

Wang hopes the additional space will allow the branch to offer more classes to the neighborhood; something that he said has been in demand.

“In Laurelton, there’s no community center. Everyone depends on the library,” he said.

Richards met with community members and library officials last week to discuss the visions for their respective branches.

“He’s been so supportive from the get-go,” said Joanne King of the Queens Library. “It’s really a wonderful thing for us to see.”

Roughly $1.7 million of Richards’ funds will get the Laurelton expansion off the ground, but $9.8 million is still needed for completion, according to library officials.

Rosedale will receive $1 million, but will still need $6.3 million, King said. The branch’s square footage will expand from 6,000 to 9,400.

Branch officials were able to share their hopes for teen and children spaces at last week’s meeting.

“This is only the beginning, but it’s a very big help,” Wang said.

 

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Primary guide: City Council District 31


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

31

As the clock ticks closer to city primaries on Tuesday, September 10, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running. Here is a list of the City Council District 31 primary candidates (Rosedale, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, the Rockaways), who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

Name: Ricardo Brown

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Accountant, CPA

Personal Info: Brown, a Costa Rican native, went to Hillcrest High School and SUNY Old Westbury. He is currently a member of the Springfield Gardens Rosedale Community Association.

Platform/Issues: Brown believes some of the most important issues to address in this race is modernizing the district’s educational system, rebuilding Sandy-affected areas and providing youth, senior and veteran services.

If elected, he hopes to enhance education amongst his constituents, create a greater collaboration between the community and police, start a civilian patrol team in various sections of the district, support the growing need for social services in Far Rockaway and increase the Department of Environmental Protection’s efforts to clean up drainage and reduce flooding.

Name: Michael R. Duncan

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Owner & manager of Jamaica Breeze Restaurant

Personal Information: Duncan was born in Kingston, Jamaica and immigrated to New York in 1978. Afterwards, he attended Baruch College, CUNY, graduating with a BBA in accounting. After moving to Rosedale, he saw the need to revitalize the Rosedale Soccer Club which had been allowed to fall apart. He got involved and eventually became the president.

As a result of his tireless commitment to the public school system, Duncan has been elected PTA president at P.S. 195, J.H.S. 231 and Springfield Gardens High School. Duncan was the one who led the fight against the construction of the “hot sheets” motel across the street from Springfield Gardens High School.

From 2007 to 2009, Michael Duncan was the Chief of staff of District 31. Currently, he owns and manages the Jamaica Breeze Restaurant on Merrick Boulevard whereby he created 12 new jobs in the community.

Duncan is a community activist and has always put the community first. This is why he has volunteered in the school system, revitalized the soccer club and was the force behind Christmas in the Rockaways to bring cheer to the Sandy victims.

Name: Donovan Richards

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: City Councilmember of the 31st District

Personal Information: From childhood, Richards has been committed to public service both at home and abroad. He served as a missionary in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on behalf of his St. Albans Congregational Church highlighting this as turning point in his understanding of what it means to serve the community. Although he admits initially he had no interest in politics, a tragic series of events changed his mind. In March 2003 his childhood friend Darnell Patterson was fatally shot in front of his home. Richards decided he wouldn’t let Darnell die in vain. Councilmember James Sanders Jr. held a meeting regarding gun violence in the community. His testimony and outspokenness at this forum caught the attention of Sanders and he later joined his staff November 2003.

Platform/Issues: Richards was elected to his current seat through a March 2013 special election, and since has fought against the closure of daycares, after-school programs and firehouses. He additionally brought home nearly $10 million in capital and expense funding over six months, and allocated $3 million to expand district libraries. He also recently negotiated with the Bloomberg administration to bring a Workforce Center to the district and voted to overturn the mayor’s veto on stop and frisk and to create an inspector general to oversee the NYPD.

If elected again in September, Richards will continue to focus on education, jobs and affordable housing. He was endorsed by the UFT, SEIU 1199, DC 37, Communication Workers of America and 32BJ.

 

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West Nile spraying in Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

On Thursday, August 22 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 8:15 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Monday, August 26, during the same hours.

Parts of  Auburndale, Murray Hill, Pomonok and Queensboro Hill (Bordered by: Northern Boulevard, Sanford Avenue, 156th Street, 46th Avenue, and Holly Avenue to the north; Kissena Boulevard to the west; Long Island Expressway to the south; and Fresh Meadow Lane and Auburndale Lane to the east).

Parts of  Cambria Heights, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens and Saint Albans (Bordered by Linden Boulevard to the north; 170th Street, Ring Place, 171st Street to the west; 125th Ave, Merrick Boulevard, 223rd Street and 130th Avenue to the south; and Francis  Lewis Boulevard, 121st Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard to the east).

For the sprayings, the Health Department will 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.

Libraries get funding to expand


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Maggie Hayes

Ten-year-old Darius Barnes was upset when he learned his local Laurelton library might be closing.

“I didn’t want it to close,” he said. “The library has helped me.”

Barnes goes to the library after school, where he has been able to do homework and projects, as well as take courses in Mandarin with the site’s manager, Dave Wang.

When the budget for the 2014 Fiscal Year was initially proposed, library funding was set for across-the-board cuts. Ultimately, the cuts put the Rosedale and Laurelton libraries at risk of closure. The community and the City Council responded and were able to take the cuts out of the budget altogether.

Additionally, Councilmember Donovan Richards allocated nearly $3 million in extra funding to expand his district’s libraries.

“This library is my second home,” said Ruth Wright, 11, at the Laurelton site.

Wright, just as Barnes, visits the library after school and said not only has it given her a place to do homework, but also has given her the opportunity to meet new friends.

“Cutting funding to our libraries is the same as cutting funding to our youth,” Richards said.

Libraries are the central parts of the neighborhoods, he said, and these allocated funds will kick off a long-term project of expanding and improving the Laurelton, Rosedale and Rockaway libraries.

“Learning is the key. That’s what this library is about,” said Dwight Johnson, president of the Federated Blocks of Laurelton. “This is what we need in our community.”

Richards’ goal is to allocate $3 million a year for district libraries. He said the Rosedale library will take $7 million to fully expand and complete and $11 million for Laurelton.

“The idea is to give young adults a safe place where they can congregate and grow, with the latest technologies – this gives them a reason to stay in the libraries and off the streets,” he said.

City Council replacement to be decided in special election today


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Pesach Osina

Decision day has arrived, and one of eight candidates for southeast Queens’ 31st District will sit upon the City Council.

The council hopefuls hit the ground running just over a month ago when James Sanders vacated his seat and moved to the Senate. The campaign stretch, although short, has been heated.

Michael Duncan, Marie Adam-Ovide, Saywalah Kesselly, Jacques Leandre, Selvena Brooks, Donovan Richards, Allan Jennings and Pesach Osina were put up against each other in several public forums, testing their knowledge of the district neighborhoods and their ideas for the future.

The Daily News reported that in a nonpartisan special election such as this one, political observers note that merely a few hundred votes could determine a winner.

Donovan Richards, Sanders’ former chief-of-staff, received the veteran pol’s support, as well as 18 union endorsements and support from 60 community leaders, according to his Facebook page. Additionally, his campaign war chest came in first, and raised nearly $130,000.

Residents in communities such as Springfield Gardens and Laurelton are concerned with area flooding, and hope their new councilmember can make progress in eliminating the issue. Many people also want to see improvement in the school system and a decrease in home foreclosures.

Photo courtesy of Selvena Brooks 

 

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Candidates vie for Sanders’ City Council seat in special election


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Candidates 15th district

A vacant seat has been left in the 31st Council District by James Sanders’ ascent to the State Senate, and more than one candidate hopes to slide into the spot.

A special election is set to be held on February 19 for the coveted Council seat, covering parts of Springfield Gardens, Laurelton and Rosedale. The race has attracted several different candidates thus far, many of whom have hit the campaign trail running.

Sanders’ former chief-of-staff, Donovan Richards, is considered the front runner, according to multiple media reports. Richards has received endorsements from not only his former boss, but also from the City Council’s Progressive Caucus and the Working Families Party. He worked in the City Council for ten years under Sanders (pictured right), and is now looking to acquire his own seat.

In order to be eligible to run, all candidates must file with the Board of Elections (BOE) by January 15.

Valerie Vazquez, a BOE spokesperson, said that as of press time, Allan Jennings, a former City Councilmember, and Selvena Brooks, who has worked in the State Senate, have filed to run.

Brooks filed her candidacy under the party name “Rebuild Now,” referencing not only rebuilding post-Sandy, but also rebuilding the education system, local economy and neighborhoods.

Marie Adam-Ovide, the district manager of Community Board 8, has been expected to announce her candidacy, as is Earnest Flowers, former chief-of-staff of Assemblymember William Scarborough. Flowers boasts a reputation of making his promises a reality, and having “quantifiable work.”

“The reason why we don’t get a lot of things done is because no one puts anything down on paper, so no one can be held accountable,” said Flowers. “Everything I do is transparent.”

Flowers recently held a fundraising event for his campaign in his home, where he spoke to a crowd of roughly 60 about his passion for the community.

Many others are rumored to join the race, and will face each other on Thursday, February 7 at the 31st District Candidates’ Night. Members of the community will join the candidates in Laurelton at St. Luke’s

Cathedral where they will be given the opportunity to ask the Council hopefuls questions regarding their positions.

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Four schools in Queens on the chopping block


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

schools

Four Queens schools are on the chopping block after receiving poor marks on the Department of Education’s (DOE) progress reports.

The four — I.S. 59, J.H.S 8, P.S. 140 and P.S./M.S. 156 — are from a list of roughly 40 borough schools that received low grades. Their fate was finalized after the department reviewed grades; past performance; quality reviews; plans already underway to improve the school; leadership performance and district and community needs. The four are part of a group of 36 schools citywide.

“We have begun conversations with 36 schools that we have identified as struggling. These are difficult conversations, but it’s important to have this dialogue and hold our schools to the highest of standards,” said DOE Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg. “The goal of these discussions is to gain a better understanding of what’s happening at these schools and give them the opportunity to talk about the challenges they face, the strategies and interventions already underway, and what strategies or interventions will be most meaningful to the school as they move forward.”

Conversations between the struggling schools and the DOE will continue, and within the coming weeks will be set for closure, or given a chance at redemption.

West Nile spraying in Queens today


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Days after the first human case of West Nile virus was identified, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced they will spray larvicide in three Queens neighborhoods.

A Staten Island man was the first confirmed human case of the West Nile virus this year, after 11 were diagnosed with the virus a year ago.

“This first human case of West Nile virus this season provides a vital reminder to protect ourselves against mosquito bites,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner. “Eliminating standing water from your property will help prevent mosquitoes from multiplying. Wearing mosquito repellent when you are outdoors, and long sleeves and pants in the morning and evening will reduce your risk of infection. New Yorkers age 50 and older should be especially careful as they are more likely to become seriously ill, and in rare instances die, if infected.”

Twenty pools of standing water have tested positive for the virus in Queens.

The Health Department will spray parts of Rosedale, Brookville, Laurelton, Springfield Park and Brookville Park beginning on July 31 at 8:15 a.m. The application of the larvicide will last until 6 a.m. the next day.

The area being sprayed is bordered by Francis Lewis Boulevard and 130th Avenue to the north; the Belt Parkway, Farmers Boulevard and Guy R Brewer Boulevard to the west; Rockaway Boulevard to the south and Hook Creek Boulevard, Hook Creek and the Nassau County border to the east.

The pesticide being used, Anvil 10 + 10, poses no health risks when used properly, but 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.

 

Queens communities facing brownouts


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Several Queens communities face a voltage reduction from Con Edison due to electrical equipment problems.

The 100 degree heat has many residents blasting air conditioners to stay cool.

Con Ed said the neighborhoods affected will have a 5 percent voltage reduction.  This was done in an effort to prevent a significant outage, a spokesperson from the company said.

There are about 20 individual  outages in Queens right now according to Con Edison’s outage map.

The reduction will occur in Bellerose, Cambria Heights, Floral Park, Forest Hills, Glendale, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Jamaica, Jamaica Hills, Laurelton, Middle Village, Queens Village, South Jamaica, Springfield Gardens and St. Albans.

Con Edison asked customers in these areas to conserve electricity and turn off nonessential electric equipment, such as TVs, computers, air conditioners, washers, dryers, and microwaves.

To report power outages or service problems visit www.conEd.com or call 800-75-CONED (6633). When reporting an outage, customers should have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power.