Tag Archives: Oakland Gardens

Two women accused of abusing young exchange students at Little Neck tutoring academy


| editorial@queenscourier.com

BENJAMIN FANG

They were supposed to care for the international exchange students, but instead were caught punishing them.

Two women, Sun Kyung Park, 33, and Min Kyung “Pamela” Chea, 34, have been charged with endangering the welfare of four Korean abroad students in a private tutoring academy in Little Neck, prosecutors said.

The women are accused of forcing the children, ages nine through 11, to do physically abusive activities. One student had to hold six to eight books above his head for extended periods of time and was struck repeatedly with a spiral notebook, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

They also allegedly withheld food and water and limited the boys’ usage of the bathroom.

The discipline was a result of the students misbehaving, getting a bad grade on a test or being too loud, according to Brown.

“The young victims in this case came to the United States from Korea without their parents who paid considerable sums of money to send their children abroad to learn English and obtain an education,” Brown said.  “The defendants had an obligation to provide a safe environment for the students and keep them from harm – which they are accused of failing to fulfill in this case by being unable to distinguish between acceptable discipline and physical and mental abuse.”

Chea is the students’ legal guardian while Park is an employee of the educational center, Crown Tutoring Academy, located at 248-12 Northern Blvd. Crown Tutoring is owned by Chea’s husband.

Park, from Oakland Gardens, is charged with assault and endangering the welfare, and could face up to seven years of prison if convicted, prosecutors said. Chea, a Little Neck resident, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and attempted assault, and may be looking at up to one year in jail.

Both women are currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court.

 

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


| 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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Charges expected in hazing death of Baruch College student


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy New York Daily News

Charges are expected in the death of a Baruch College student from Queens who was killed in a fraternity hazing ritual last year, according to published reports.

Chun “Michael” Deng, a 19-year-old from Oakland Gardens, died from head injuries during an unsanctioned Pi Delta Psi event in Pennsylvania in December.

Authorities are expected to file charges against most of the around 30 Baruch students that were on the trip, the New York Times first reported.

Deng, a freshman at the school, was reportedly one of several pledges who were forced to wear weighted bags and navigate a path through a yard, while being repeatedly knocked to the ground.

His death was ruled a homicide in February, as a result of blunt-force head trauma.

The charges are likely to include homicide, which in Pennsylvania cover everything from involuntary manslaughter to premeditated murder, reports said. The students could also be charged with hazing, a misdemeanor, according to the New York Times.

Following Deng’s death, the national Pi Delta Psi organization severed ties with the Baruch colony and suspended its national new member outreach.

 

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Long Island Expressway crash kills one


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A 22-year-old man died after his car struck a wall as he was exiting the Long Island Expressway early Thursday morning, cops said.

The victim, Aaron Jung Hay Wu, of Oakland Gardens, was attempting to merge onto the Clearview Expressway, at Exit 27, about 3:50 a.m. when the accident occurred, officials said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation is ongoing, according to police.

 

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Rep. Meng works to bring family members of teen crash victims to US


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo by Vic Nicastro

Family members of the two teens killed last month in a tragic car crash are working with Congressmember Grace Meng to fly from China to Queens to grieve.

Meng is trying to secure visas for Jiahao Liang’s mother and sister and Jennifer Gao’s grandmother and aunt.

The two died Feb. 18, when their car swerved off the Long Island Expressway, near Kissena Boulevard, and wrapped around a tree.

Their relatives await a March 11 interview from the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. Meng said she intervened with the American Consulate in China after a friend of both families reached out to her for help.

“The death of these two teenagers is a terrible and horrible tragedy, and our hearts go out to their family and friends,” she said. “We will assist them with whatever needs they may have during this difficult time.”

Liang, 19, of Flushing, who drove the car and his passenger Gao, 16, of Oakland Gardens, were cremated about two weeks ago, Meng said.

 

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Bill proposed in honor of Baruch student who died in frat hazing ritual


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy New York Daily News

Following the fraternity hazing death of a 19-year-old Queens man, a local politician is proposing a law that could prevent a similar tragedy.

Assemblymember David Weprin introduced a bill on Sunday, known as Michael Deng’s law, that would ban all physical conduct and activities by fraternities during initiation or affiliation ceremonies. Anyone who takes part in these activities would be guilty of hazing in the first degree, according to Weprin.

The bill honors Baruch College freshman Chun “Michael” Deng. The teen, who was from Oakland Gardens, died from head injuries during an unsanctioned Pi Delta Psi event in Pennsylvania in December, according to authorities and the fraternity’s National Executive President Andy Meng.

Deng was reportedly one of several pledges on the trip who was forced to wear weighted bags and navigate a path through a yard, while being repeatedly knocked to the ground.

Earlier this month, his death was ruled a homicide.

 

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John Messer ‘seriously considering’ another State Senate run


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

John Messer is mulling over another State Senate run, he told The Courier.

“I am dedicated to this community, which is why I have been driven towards public service and am seriously considering a run for New York State Senate,” he said.

It would be the Oakland Gardens attorney’s third try at defeating incumbent State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who has held the seat for nearly 15 years.

Most recently, Messer lost a contentious two-way Democratic primary to Stavisky in 2012. 

The heated race was waged principally on negative campaign attacks. Stavisky won 58 percent of the vote.

But Messer said he has not lost momentum since then.

“I believe now, more than ever, that this is a community I want to represent,” said the 43-year-old small business owner. “If anything, it’s a stronger feeling.”

“There are things you to look at before you decide to run — finances, family,” Messer said. “We’ll make a decision soon.”

Mike Murphy, a Senate Democratic spokesperson, said Stavisky has been a “vocal ally” for middle class families and recalled Messer’s previous losses.

“She enjoys wide support from all corners of her diverse district and has now defeated Mr. Messer twice despite the fact that he has spent over $1 million,” Murphy said. “The voters of the district see Mr. Messer for what he is — a Republican surrogate.”

The district encompasses parts of Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Bayside, Oakland Gardens, Rego Park, Elmhurst, Forest Hills and Jackson Heights.

 

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Death of Baruch student who died in frat ritual ruled homicide


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy New York Daily News

MELISSA CHAN AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

Updated 4:15 p.m.

The death of a 19-year-old Baruch College student from Queens who was killed in a fraternity hazing ritual has been ruled a homicide, the Luzerne County Coroner Office confirmed Friday.

Chun “Michael” Deng, a freshman at the school, passed away on Dec. 9 from head injuries during an unsanctioned Pi Delta Psi event in Pennsylvania, according to authorities and the fraternity’s National Executive President Andy Meng.

Deng died from blunt-force head trauma, the coroner office said.

Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief Harry Lewis plans on meeting with the Monroe County district attorney’s office next week to to discuss the coroner’s findings and the next steps in the case, NBC News reported.

Deng, of Oakland Gardens, was one of four pledges who traveled to the Poconos with more than 30 fraternity members the weekend before his death, the district attorney said.

The blindfolded pledges were reportedly forced to wear weighted bags and navigate a path through a yard, while being repeatedly knocked to the ground.

Following the incident, the national Pi Delta Psi organization severed ties with the Baruch colony and suspended its national new member outreach, according to a statement.

Sources in different chapters of the fraternity told The Courier that versions of the ritual are still being carried out, even though it has been banned for at least 10 years due to its dangerous nature.

Pi Delta Psi, a fast growing Asian-interest society, has 20 chapters in the country and four colonies, including Baruch, according to its website.

 

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Community Board 11 to lose longtime leader, elect new chair


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Community Board 11 will lose a longtime leader and elect a new chair next month.

The Queens board will bid farewell to Jerry Iannece, who is term-limited due to the board’s bylaws. An election to replace him will take place March 3.

“It was an awesome ride,” said Iannece, whose term ends March 31. “It was exciting, exhilarating. It’s been a labor of love in many ways.”

Iannece was first appointed as board chair in 2002, stepping down in 2007 due to term limits. He returned to take back the board’s helm in 2009.

Under his leadership, Community Board 11 was at the forefront of a $125 million ravine improvement project at Oakland Lake. The massive upgrade, which was more than 10 years in the making, fixed a flooding problem in Bayside Hills.

“It saved Oakland Lake, and it saved the ecosystem,” Iannece said. “It’s sort of a textbook case of how a civic can identify a problem, employ their resources and get a problem solved.”

But after a roller coaster, decade-long tenure — and multiple failed bids for political office — the civic leader plans to step down for good.

“It’s an exhausting, full-time job without pay. I think my time as chair of Community Board 11 has come to an end,” said Iannece, who most recently ran for City Council in 2009 and suffered a devastating defeat in his bid for state Assembly in 2012.

“Running for office for a few years took a lot out of me,” the attorney said. “It just wasn’t meant to be, but it’s OK.”

Board members will nominate and then vote in a new chair at the end of the March 3 meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m. at 46-35 Oceania St. in Bayside.

The board covers Auburndale, Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Hollis Hills and Oakland Gardens.

“I think it’s always good to have fresh blood, to have someone with new ideas,” Iannece said. “We’ll find somebody that’s more than capable of filling my shoes and doing a great job.”

 

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P.S. 46 celebrates Blue Ribbon Award


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Students at P.S. 46 were blue, but for good reason, on Friday.

At an early-morning ceremony on Jan. 17 students, teachers, parents and elected officials celebrated P.S. 46’s designation as a Blue Ribbon School.

The Oakland Gardens school was one of 286 in the nation honored by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) with the Blue Ribbon Award in 2013. This award recognizes schools where students are performing at very high academic levels.

“P.S. 46 is a very special place” said Councilmember Mark Weprin.

The ceremony was filled with dancing, singing, and even a performance by the school’s drama club titled, “The search for the National Blue Ribbon Award.”

“This award adds a dimension to us,” said Marsha Goldberg, principal. “We are a microcosm of what society should be. I feel like I’m on top of the world.”

City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who attended the event and spoke to the crowd, said “this award shows the potential for students in the entire city.”

Goldberg remained humble even when giving her final remarks on receiving such a prestigious award.

“I believe we can do better, I believe we will do better, and I truly believe that our best days are yet to come,” she said.

 

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‘Snow day’ at Juniper Valley Park Saturday


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Updated 4:00 p.m.

Just because Mother Nature has dropped a few inches of snow, doesn’t mean you can’t put on your snow boots, get the sled and, go out and have some fun.

Keeping in mind to stay safe and bundle up, the Department of Parks and Recreation has declared an official snow day for Saturday, January 4 at five parks across the city. The snow day will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In Queens, the Parks Department will hold a snow day at Juniper Valley Park, at 78th Street and Juniper Valley North in Middle Village. During the snow day, free organized activities include supervised safe sledding, snowman building contests, best snow angel contests, friendly snowball fights, music, and complimentary hot chocolate.

For more information, please call 311 or visit the Parks Department website for updates.

Even though Juniper Park will be the only park in the borough to include free activities in the case of a snow day, here are other local parks you can visit for some fun in the snow and suggestions for sledding spots, courtesy of the city’s Parks Department. But remember to stay warm and be safe!

Astoria Park, Astoria, 19th Street between Shore Boulevard off Ditmars Boulevard

Bowne Park, Flushing, Small hillside on the 155th Street side of the park

Cunningham Park, Oakland Gardens

Crocheron Park, Bayside, 35th Avenue opposite Golden Pond

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Forest Park, Mary Whelan Playground at 79th Street and Park Lane South

Hermon A. Macneil Park, College Point

lower Highland Park, Jamaica Avenue & Elton Street

Kissena Park, Flushing, Eastside of Lake: enter Metcalf and 164th Street

 

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Op-ed: Support programs that boost our economy


| oped@queenscourier.com

ASSEMBLYMEMBER NILY ROZIC

One by one, each student marched his way up to the front of the room to receive certificates of completion, each with a sense of accomplishment and hopefulness. One by one, each member of the cohort recounting stories of the past couple of weeks that gave them a second chance.

It was the workforce development initiative of the Queens Botanical Garden and LaGuardia Community College that made these second chances possible.

Unlike some traditional programs that lack strong ties to industry, workforce development programs often accelerate job creation because workers acquire precisely the kind of skills businesses need to expand. Today, examples like those of the Green Jobs Training Program include sustainable landscape design and maintenance, waste management, and other similar green practices.

More recently, the Robin Hood Foundation provided funding to create a workforce development program run by AAFE and One Flushing to recruit and assist those ready to enter the workforce. It is a welcome partnership that will enhance the growth and success of our local Flushing community.

Beyond that New York needs to implement creative ways to retain the talent we have. This year, I sponsored legislation that was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo making New York a national leader in workforce development and job training. I have also introduced legislation supported by Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer that would continue our economic growth and create quality jobs by investing in our engineering workforce. The financial aid program for engineering students who commit to staying in the city for five years after graduation is a smart investment to bolster an innovation economy and prepare our workforce for the 21st century.

This year’s budget also focused on workforce development and new industries in every community. Cuomo pushed for programs including innovative “Hot Spot” incubators, the Venture Capital Fund, and job linkage initiatives that push our state’s ideas, create new businesses, and train our workforce for jobs of tomorrow.

Queens is one of the most diverse counties in the entire country and it needs a government that can embrace and harness that to power its economic engine. We need to keep creating ways to support programs that boost our economy. The task for our next administration will be to help more of the city’s workforce develop the skills to obtain jobs—and more importantly careers—in sectors that are growing and expanding.

That is what I am determined to champion to do in next year’s legislative session—to be a champion of minority-owned and women-owned small businesses, provide resources to assist local businesses flourish, and forge better partnerships between private and public entities. There has never been a better time to support these pathways and programs that ultimately help our most critical economic resource–our workforce.

Assemblymember Nily Rozic represents New York’s 25th District, which spans the northeast portion of Queens, including the communities of Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside, and Douglaston.

 

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Fraternity hazing ritual that killed Baruch freshman from Queens was banned


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy New York Daily News

The fraternity hazing ritual that claimed the life of a 19-year-old pledge from Queens last week was banned before the tragic death, according to the brotherhood’s national headquarters.

Chun “Michael” Deng, a Baruch College freshman, died Dec. 9 from head injuries during an unsanctioned Pi Delta Psi event in Pennsylvania, according to authorities and the fraternity’s National Executive President Andy Meng.

Deng, of Oakland Gardens, was one of four pledges who went away to the Poconos last weekend with more than 30 fraternity members, the Monroe County district attorney said.

The blindfolded pledges were reportedly forced to wear weighted bags and navigate a path through a yard, while being repeatedly knocked to the ground.

“I just got to know him,” said Julio Hewu, a Pi Delta Psi fraternity brother at Baruch. “He was good guy.”

Deng died from blunt-force head trauma, the Luzerne County Coroner Office’s said, after he was put on life support at Wilkes-Barre Hospital.

The national Pi Delta Psi organization has since severed ties with the Baruch colony and suspended its national new member outreach, according to a statement.

“Michael will be greatly missed,” said Meng, who is from Queens. “We continue to cooperate with the proper entities and ask all individual members involved to come forward in aiding the investigation.”

Various versions of the ritual are still being carried out, even though it has been banned for at least 10 years due to its dangerous nature, sources in different chapters of the fraternity told The Courier.

“The way it was originally performed and how I experienced it, I’m not surprised that it killed somebody,” said a Pi Delta Psi alumnus, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I can’t say for sure how it was performed in this deadly incident, but the results are tragic and I pray for Deng’s family.”

“I also pray for the brothers involved in the incident,” the source said, “as I’m sure their intentions were good and they are going through the most terrifying moments of their life to have to live with this.”

Another former fraternity brother said the specific ritual has caused broken legs and concussions.

“It’s really sad, but I’m not shocked,” he said. “It was only a matter of time before this happened.”

Baruch College said in a statement it had no knowledge of the event. The fraternity was not approved to rush a pledge class.

“Michael’s death is a deeply painful reminder that no individual should ever be put into a position where his or her personal safety is in jeopardy,” the college said.

Pi Delta Psi, a fast growing Asian-interest society, has 20 chapters in the country and four colonies, including Baruch, according to its website.

An investigation into Deng’s death is ongoing, the Monroe County Police Department said. The district attorney expects to file charges, according to the Associated Press.
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Oakland Gardens resident from Baruch College dies in fraternity pledge ritual


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jim.henderson

A  Baruch College freshman from Oakland Gardens died Monday after he was severely injured in a fraternity hazing ritual in Pennsylvania, cops said.

Chun “Michael” Deng, 19, was one of four pledges who were staying with more than 30 members of the national fraternity Pi Delta Psi in a home in the Poconos over the weekend, police said.

Deng suffered “major brain trauma” while participating in a hazing ritual on Sunday morning where pledges wear weighted bags and are blindfolded then are forced to navigate a path while they are repeatedly knocked to the ground, according to NBC News.

Deng was brought to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital in critical condition and he was unresponsive, authorities said.

Deng was studying finance at Baruch. He attended the Bronx High School of Science, the New York Times said.

The Monroe County District Attorney David Christine said charges will be filed in the fraternity ritual death of Deng, but he won’t decide which charges to file until police complete their investigation, according to published reports.

 

Additional reporting by Liam La Guerre 

 

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EXCLUSIVE: City eyes two more northeast Queens school sites


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The city’s School Construction Authority (SCA) is looking for more than an acre of Queens land to build a new high school, The Courier has learned.

The SCA has allocated funds for the future institution, poised to alleviate Queens high school congestion, but is still scouring the borough for a site slightly larger than an acre to build it on, according to SCA Director of External Affairs Mary Leas.

“We’d love to find a nice, big site for a high school,” Leas said. “Over an acre would be best. It’s not easy to find a site that size. Then when we do, we really want to investigate it and see if we could make it work. An acre is a lot of property in the city.”

The SCA briefed Community District Education Council 26 (CDEC) Thursday on its proposed $12 billion capital budget for 2015 to 2019, which includes the new high school.

A Department of Education spokesperson told The Courier the city is eyeing a site in Whitestone that “has not been identified.”

Residents in the area, in September, said they saw SCA scouts surveying the vacant Whitestone Jewels Property at 150-33 6th Avenue. The six-acre site is in the midst of a foreclosure action by OneWest Bank.

State Senator Tony Avella said the location is not “viable” for a school, due to lack of infrastructure and public transportation options.

“The city would have to put in sewers and water mains. It would be a transportation nightmare for parents and students,” he said.

The authority ruled out a Little Neck school site — long suggested by the CDEC — due to its “remote” location near 58-20 Little Neck Parkway, on the border of Long Island.

“It’s very hard to site a high school in a community,” Leas said. “Just even looking at a site could cause quite a flurry of activity amongst communities that don’t want the high schools.”

The SCA’s preliminary five-year plan also includes building a 465-seat elementary school in either Oakland Gardens or Fresh Meadows.

Partial funds have been set aside for the potential elementary school, but the SCA has not found a site yet, according to Monica Gutierrez, an SCA community relations manager.

The City Council last week passed a controversial plan to build a pre-kindergarten through fifth grade school at 210-11 48th Avenue in Bayside. According to the SCA, it will likely take about three years to open. Its design process, which has not yet begun, is expected to be finalized in about a year.

The SCA gave the presentation to seek feedback from the school district that encompasses Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck.

To suggest site locations to the city, email sites@nycsca.org.

 

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