Tag Archives: queens village

Two teens arrested in attempted abductions of girls in Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Two suspects wanted in connection to the attempted abductions of several young girls off the streets of Queens have been arrested, police said.

Joshua Wright, 17, and Andrew Ghulam, 16, both of Queens, have been charged with two counts each of attempted unlawful imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment, officials said.

The first victim, an 11 year-old girl, was approached about 4 p.m. Wednesday as she was heading home from school near 111th Avenue and 208 Street in Queens Village.

After she noticed a dark-green SUV, with two men inside of it, slowly following her, the passenger, who was wearing a black mask, exited from the vehicle, and tried to talk to the girl, cops said. She then ran away and the suspects fled in the car.

A short time later, around 113th Avenue and 196th Street, in St. Albans, three girls, a 10-year-old and two 11-year-olds, noticed they were being followed by a green Jeep Cherokee. The driver handed a gun to the passenger then pulled a mask over his face before getting out of the SUV, according to police. The girls then hid behind a parked vehicle as the two men drove by them. The suspects circled back and passed the victims again before leaving the area in their car.

 

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ASPCA hosting adoption event at 105th Precinct in Queens Village


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of ASPCA

The 105th Precinct and ASPCA are teaming up this weekend in Queens Village to help some dogs and cats find a loving home.

This Sunday the public is invited to come and meet adoptable dogs and cats from the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan from 12 to 4 p.m at the precinct’s parking lot, located at 92-08 222nd St.

All adoption fees during the event will be 50 percent off and all available cats and dogs will be spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, vaccinated, behaviorally assessed and provided an ID tag free of charge.

Additionally, adoption counselors from the ASPCA will be on-site to help answer questions about temperament and personality in order to make the best possible match.

Potential adopters should bring one government-issued photo ID (i.e. driver’s license, passport, military ID, or non-driver ID), proof of address and contact information for a personal reference. Adopters must be 21 or older.

 

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DOE withdraws co-location plans


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

From the 49 co-location proposals released last year for schools all around the city, the Department of Education (DOE) has announced it will be withdrawing nine and revising one.

Two plans that have now been withdrawn included opening a K-4 Success Academy charter school in August Martin High School in Jamaica and bringing a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school to Long Island City High School. The rest of the plans involve schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

“The previous administration handed over these proposals – and we have had to review all of them under inflexible deadlines. While the circumstances for each proposal are unique, we identified clear criteria and we followed it,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said. “We were deliberate in our decisions and, under the circumstance we inherited, believe is the best approach.”

In reviewing the proposals, the DOE identified four “core values” that will be used to evaluate co-locations: new elementary schools should not be opened on high school campuses; the new schools must have the resources needed to provide services the students deserve; depending on capital work to make space for the co-location; and seats must not be reduced in District 75, serving special needs students.

The agency also took into consideration deadlines and the impact some of the proposals would have on thousands of families.

“If there is one thing school communities should know, it’s this: we’re going to do things differently,” Fariña said. “Today, we are turning the page on the approach of the past. We are going to listen and be responsive like never before, and that will be reflected in everything we do.”

The Career and Technical Education high school proposed for LIC High School is now planned to be moved to Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan.

“This is a win for all of us in the community, but most of all for the students who only want the resources they deserve to receive a proper education,” State Senator Michael Gianaris said about LIC High School.

The DOE plans to host a meeting for each school community of the proposals that will be implemented. The meeting will help discuss next steps and also allow the DOE to engage with parents and school officials.

Councilmember Mark Weprin said that he is disappointed to learn that the DOE still plans on pursuing its plan to co-locate another school at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village. However, he said he has heard that the DOE will work with the local community to make sure the programs at the school meet the community’s needs.


THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan 

“We want to make Martin Van Buren a destination high school once again,” Weprin said.

 

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Security stepped up at Creedmoor after convicted killer escapes psych facility


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A Queens psychiatric facility has tightened security after a convicted criminal managed to flee the building, according to the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH).

A friend was visiting Raymond Morillo, 33, a patient at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Facility in Queens Village, on January 28, when the two switched clothing and Morillo escaped, police said.

Two days later, Morillo was apprehended in Tennessee.

Raymond Morillo

Morillo served a 14-year prison sentence on a manslaughter charge for a fatal shooting and for assault, but had finished serving his time when he came to Creedmoor, according to published reports.

“Increased identity verification procedures have been put into place at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, which add a separate and distinct layer of verification apart from the identification passes provided at entrances. For security purposes, OMH cannot detail these additional measures,” Ben Rosen, an OMH spokesperson said.

In response to Morillo’s escape, a coalition of more than a dozen civic presidents issued a seven-point plan of action that called for measures, such as a full investigation into the incident, the adoption of a comprehensive security plan for the entire Creedmoor campus that would prevent a similar incident from happening again, and a similar review and assessment of security at nearby Zucker-Hillside Hospital.

Any escaped patient is immediately reported to local law enforcement, Rosen said. It is also OMH policy to undergo a thorough investigation to determine the causes of such occurrences and require appropriate policy changes be made to prevent them from reoccurring.

 

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Police: Three suspected armed robbers tied to two other Queens crimes


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

The three suspects wanted for robbing a Queens Village hair salon at gunpoint last week have been tied to two other store robberies in the borough, police said.

Last Saturday, the trio, each wielding a gun, forced clerks at a 22-06 Hempstead Ave. salon to the back of the store about 7:25 p.m., authorities said. They stole money, cell phones and hair products before fleeing.

Police said the suspects are also responsible for robbing two St. Albans delis, located two blocks from each other.

The first incident took place last Wednesday at 113-27 Farmers Blvd., while the second happened Sunday at 114-25 Farmers Blvd.

Both times, the suspects left with an undetermined amount of money, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). 

 

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Police: Suspects steal cash, phones, hair products during Queens Village salon robbery


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Three suspects are wanted in the armed robbery of a salon in Queens Village, cops said.

On Saturday, the suspects, each carrying a gun, entered the business at 22-06 Hempstead Ave. about 7:25 p.m. and forced the clerks to the rear of the salon, according to the NYPD. The suspects then took money, cell phones and hair products before fleeing.

There were no reported injuries, cops said.

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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Convicted criminal who escaped from Queens psychiatric facility caught in Tennessee


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A convicted killer who escaped from a Queens Village psychiatric facility by swapping clothes with a friend was captured in Memphis, Tenn. Thursday night.

Raymond Morillo, 33, was apprehended about 10:35 p.m. inside a Greyhound Bus terminal by the Memphis Police Department, the NYPD said. He will be held in Tennessee until extradition back to New York.

A friend was visiting Morillo, a patient at Creedmoor Psychiatric Facility, on Winchester Boulevard, Tuesday morning when the two switched clothing and Morillo fled the building, police said. His friend also left the facility.

Morillo served a 14-year prison sentence on a manslaughter charge for a fatal shooting and for assault, but had finished serving his time when he came to Creedmoor, according to published reports.

 

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Man convicted of manslaughter escapes from Queens psychiatric facility


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are searching for a man with a reported violent criminal history who escaped from a Queens psychiatric facility Tuesday.

A friend was visiting Raymond Morillo, 33, a patient at Creedmoor Psychiatric Facility, on Winchester Boulevard, in Queens Village, about 11:30 a.m. when the two swapped clothes and Morillo fled the building, cops said. His friend also left the facility.

Authorities  describe Morillo as 5 feet 11 inches tall, 215 pounds with a tear drop tattoo under his left eye, according to police. He was last seen wearing a black baseball cap, white sweater and tan pants.

Morillo was imprisoned for manslaughter in 1999, and was transferred to the facility from jail in December, according to the New York Post.

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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Clyde Vanel latest to enter race for Malcolm Smith’s Senate seat


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo

The race for State Senator Malcolm Smith’s seat is widening with new contender Clyde Vanel.

Vanel joins attorney Munir Avery to try and snag the Senate seat from Smith, who was arrested last April for corruption charges.

“We have zero representation right now in the Senate,” Vanel said of the 14th Senate District, which comprises of southeast Queens neighborhoods, including Jamaica, Queens Village, Hollis and Cambria Heights.

Vanel, a Cambria Heights native, wants to focus on bringing jobs back to the district and straightening out “Albany’s dysfunction.”

“We need to bring more jobs to our state and economic policy,” he said. “I have owned and run businesses before. I’ve had employees. I’m a business attorney, so I understand the policies and regulations that make it difficult for people to keep small businesses in New York.”

Vanel most recently ran to replace the term-limited Councilmember Leroy Comrie, but fell short by two percent of the votes to current Councilmember Daneek Miller in September’s primary.

Since then, the attorney said he has “been trying to get back on my feet” and expand support in the district for this upcoming election.

If elected, he said he would “be loyal to the Democratic Party,” criticizing Smith for associating with the Independent Democratic Conference, a bipartisan legislative branch. He also hopes to find alternative ways to bringing in revenue outside of raising taxes.

“We have to be more creative with respect to how do we generate revenue from the government, and how do we do more with less,” he said.

He added he will soon be releasing a plan of ideas on how to do so.

“I’m the best person that is currently in the race now,” he said. “The thing is, I’m not running against Malcom Smith, I’m running for the seat. The plan of attack is to just stand on the issues.”

 

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Retired correction officer fatally shot in Queens Village


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Updated Monday, Jan. 13, 4:55 p.m. 

A 50-year-old retired correction officer is dead after he was shot in Queens Village Friday morning following a domestic dispute with two other correction officers, according to published reports and police.

The shooting occurred about 4:30 a.m. at 108th Avenue near 227th Street, the NYPD said.

The victim, identified by police as Jeffrey Ragland, of Jamaica, was taken to Long Island Jewish Hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest and pronounced dead, cops said.

Ragland, who formerly worked for the Department of Correction, was killed following an argument with two current correction officers, according to published reports.

Sources told the New York Post the dispute involved a “love triangle” between Ragland, his estranged girlfriend and her new boyfriend, and it was the boyfriend who pulled the trigger.

Police said Friday a man and a woman were currently in custody.

As of the Monday afternoon, police said no charges had been brought in the homicide, but the investigation is still ongoing.

According to the New York Daily News, the boyfriend told police that he shot Ragland in self defense, only after Ragland pulled a gun on him.

 

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30-year-old shot to death in Queens Village


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A man was found fatally shot in Queens Village Wednesday night, cops said.

Officers discovered 30-year-old Earl Jackson inside of 212-20 Jamaica Ave. about 10:50 pm. with a gunshot wound to the back of the head and the torso, according to the NYPD.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, cops said.

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

 

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A taste of Portugal


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by  Sheila Diamond

A few blocks east of the Cross Island Parkway, Mateus offers a taste of Portugal.

Entry is through the bar, which I noticed was well stocked with more than 100 different bottles of wine from all over the world but most from Portugal.

Hosted by Ilidio Chaves, the dining room is modest in size with a party room further in the rear.

Tastefully decorated, the ambient sound level allows easy conversation across the table — a wonderful change from so many so called “in” dining spots where you have to either yell across the table or keep silent because no one can hear you.

Attentive service starts right away. The wait staff is pleasant and knowledgeable, answering cuisine questions with an ease that makes selecting your meal a delight.

Beverage service is moderately priced with a bottle of Portuguese Dao wine available for $15 and mixed drinks at equally affordable prices.

Appetizers such as Mussels with green sauce and parsley were delicious, and broiled calamari was just so light and tender I will not go back to fried again.

Salad is more than ample for the table and very fresh. Two of us ordered the 1 ½ pound lobster with broccoli and snow peas and they arrived with oysters, shrimp and clams on the plate so beautifully presented that we had to take a picture of it.

Another order was for Picanah steak, which came in two large pieces that were cooked to perfection and served with beans and rice. We had to put part of it aside because we couldn’t eat it all. A constant favorite of mine is the grilled pork chop, which arrived with a light glaze, tender and juicy.

Almond cake with caramel sauce dessert recommended by the staff was joined by red velvet cake, both of which really topped off the evening.

All this for less than $90 per couple including tip. In our opinion, Mateus is a great value. Try it, you’ll love it.

Mateus Restaurant & Bar
222-05 Jamaica Avenue, Queens Village
718-464-4522
Open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m.
Sunday until 8 p.m.

SHEILA DIAMOND


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Record numbers, heightened security at NYC Marathon


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of New York Road Runners

The safest place in the country may have been the route of the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday.

NYPD officers trolled the race, guarding runners and spectators alike, because of terrorism concerns caused by the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year, in which three people died and hundreds were injured.

A record 50,740 runners from around the world competed in this year’s ING Marathon, which was cancelled last year due to tremendous damage by Superstorm Sandy.

“My point of view is you can’t live like that,” said Joseph Gordon, a Queens Village resident who ran the marathon for the first time. “Living in New York it’s dangerous just to step outside my house. The NYRR [New York Road Runners] did a good job being careful and improving security.”

The marathon, which travels 26.2 miles around the five boroughs, featured more police officers along the course than previous years, some with bomb-sniffing dogs. Officers also checked spectators’ bags at certain locations, among various other reported counter-terrorism tactics.

As a result the race proceeded safely and featured fierce competition, dominated by Kenyan runners.

In the men’s race, Geoffrey Mutai defended his NYC Marathon 2011 crown with another win. He finished with an official time of 2:08:24. Priscah Jeptoo won the women’s division with a time of 2:25:07.

Gordon said the return of the race brings the city a little bit closer to normalcy.

“I think it’s really important to New York, the fact that it’s in all the boroughs and a lot of people were affected [by Sandy],” he said. “It’s not something that New York needs, but that the people of New York needed. It’s like a morale booster.”

 

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More speak out against plans to put new school inside Martin Van Buren


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

More opponents have stepped up to fight the city and its plans to put an early college inside Martin Van Buren High School.

“We’re finally climbing out of this rut we were dug into by the DOE,” said junior Sharon Kaur. “Our voices should be heard.”

About 40 speakers signed up at an October 23 public hearing to discuss the six-year Early College and Career Technical Education (CTE) High School program proposed inside the struggling Queens Village school.

Most were teachers and students against the Department of Education’s (DOE) plans.

“There’s no room intellectually and physically for another school,” said Frank Suriano, a social studies teacher. “It’s total nonsense. It’s got to stop.”

But some, including leaders from nine of the largest civic associations in eastern Queens, supported plans they say would “fast track” positive changes.

The new school is modeled after a P-Tech design that has been lauded by President Barack Obama. It would give students a chance to get a free Queensborough Community College associate’s degree while in high school, education officials said.

The early college would also focus on computer science and business technology and give students “real-world work experience” through internships, according to the DOE.

“Across the city, we’ve transformed the landscape with our new school options — and we’ve been nationally recognized by President Obama for our visionary offerings,” said DOE spokesperson Harry Hartfield.

However, Sanjay Patel, director of specialized programs at Van Buren, said the school already has CUNY partnerships and college-ready science programs in the engineering, pre-med, law, forensics and computer technology fields.

“This is a huge step forward toward the transformation and rise of our school,” he said.

Students in the early college program would also have to complete internships and take off-site classes at QCC, Patel and city officials said.

“We have ours right here,” Patel said. “I want the CTE to see what we’re doing.”

The new school would open next fall if the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) approves the plans October 30.

 

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Students, lawmakers rally against Martin Van Buren High School co-location


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Queens lawmakers and dozens of students carrying picket signs rallied last week against the city’s plans to put another school inside the storied yet struggling Martin Van Buren High School.

“We’ve been fighting so hard,” said Councilmember Mark Weprin. “We’ve made a lot of progress, but in the dead of night, in secret, they put a colocation in the school.”

The city’s Department of Education (DOE) has proposed adding a new early college within the Queens Village school to serve grades nine to 14.

Education officials said the Early College and Career Technical Education High School would give students a chance to get a free associate’s degree while in high school.

It would focus on computer science and business technology and give students “real-world work experience” through internships and focus on career readiness, the DOE said.

But students are unwilling to share the already congested 230-17 Hillside Avenue building.

“It’s already crowded as it is,” said Gaitree Boojraj, 16, the school’s junior president. “We don’t need more people in this school.”

The new school would also undo progress Van Buren has made since Principal Sam Sochet took over last June, said Queens legislators, who held another rally in July.

“[Sochet’s] been turning the school around,” said State Senator Tony Avella. “The students are getting the type of education they need. Then, we get a knife in the back. We’re not accepting this. We are not going to let this happen. We’re going to fight until the bitter end.”

Van Buren has improved a full letter grade from a “D” to a “C” under its new leadership, the latest city progress report shows.

“It’s not about one person. It’s about an entire community,” said James Vasquez, the UFT district representative for Queens high schools.

But the community seems to be split.

Leaders from nine of the largest civic associations in eastern Queens, representing thousands zoned to Van Buren, said they supported co-location plans that would “fast track” positive changes.

The early college would “be the catalyst needed” to restore Van Buren’s prior high academic standards, said Mike Castellano, president of Lost Community Civic Association.

More than a decade of decline, the group said, is too much for one principal to quickly fix.

The school would also give its graduating students two years of tuition-free education at Queensborough Community College, the civic leaders said.

“This is a win-win for students, parents and the community, and a huge attraction that will finally begin to raise the four percent local community participation rate,” said Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village. “This is a blueprint for success.”

The city will hold a public hearing Wednesday to discuss the plans at the school at 6 p.m.

 

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