Tag Archives: queens village

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Partly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers in the morning, then overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. High of 90. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Wednesday night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. Low of 73. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: City View Pharmacy’s Free Yoga in Astoria Park

On Wednesdays at 7 p.m. from now until August 28 stretch with City View Pharmacy’s Free Yoga in Astoria Park, weather permitting. Adults only, all ages and levels of experience, including beginners. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Woman stabbed multiple times in Queens Village attack

A woman was seriously wounded in a vicious knife attack in Queens Village this morning, said police. Read more: The Queens Courier

Stunning charges of severe ticket quota policy rock NYC Dept. of Consumer Affairs

There are stunning charges that a New York City agency charged with policing small businesses has a secret quota system and devastatingly high fines that threaten some establishments with extinction. Read more: CBS New York

Queens pol pushes city to put speed camera at busy intersection

A dangerous Queens intersection near an elementary school may get a lot safer. Read more: New York Daily News 

Latino officers question NYPD’s ‘English-only’ policy

The NYPD is under fire for a policy some say is racist. Read more: ABC New York

New York City to offer free summer meals for kids

City officials have announced that free meals will be made available at more than 1,000 pools, parks and other locations for children under 18 starting Thursday, June 27 through August 30. Read more: ABC New York

High court gay marriage decisions due Wednesday 

The Supreme Court is meeting to deliver opinions in two cases that could dramatically alter the rights of gay people across the United States. Read more: AP

Woman stabbed multiple times in Queens Village attack


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic image

A woman was seriously wounded in a vicious knife attack in Queens Village Tuesday morning, said police.

Cops were called to the scene of the assault at 221st Street near 105th Avenue around 5 a.m. and found the 36-year-old victim with multiple stab wounds to her neck and torso.

She was taken to North Shore University Hospital in critical condition.

Police describe the suspect as a black male. The motivation behind the attack is still unclear as they wait to speak to the victim.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

‘How many victims?’: Community mourns Queens teen found dead after alleged cyber-bullying


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Facebook

A young girl took her own life after she was reportedly cyber-bullied.

“This is a little girl, an angel who’s shouting for help,” said Glenda Molina, mother of Gabrielle Molina, 12. “She wants to have peace.”

Media reports said Molina was bullied by her classmates at I.S. 109 and that on Wednesday, May 22, she hung herself in her bedroom.

“We are deeply saddened by [this] death,” said Principal Karleen Adam-Comrie.

Police have classified the incident as a suicide in the ongoing investigation.

Friends of the girl told the New York Daily News that Molina got into a fistfight with another girl, which was videotaped and posted on YouTube, and that Molina had a history of cutting herself. Her mother told the paper other students called Molina derogatory names.

“How many victims of bullying should come so that nobody gets bullied anymore?” Anastasia Katayeva wrote on a Facebook page dedicated both to Molina’s memory and to ending cyber-bullying.

Others wrote that Molina’s bullies should be brought to justice and the world is a sadder place without her in it.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott visited the Queens Village school after the incident. He also spoke with Molina’s parents. The school has set up a crisis team to offer counseling to students and staff.

The Department of Education did not comment on grounds the incident is a police matter.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens woman charged for intentionally running over, killing boyfriend


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic image

The woman charged with murder for fatally striking a Queens Village man with her car Monday was the victim’s girlfriend and allegedly hit him on purpose, according to the criminal complaint and reports.

Dunasha Payne, 21, is accused of pursuing 23-year-old Kaman Drummond with her Honda Accord while he tried to flee on foot. After following him for several blocks, she struck him with her car, pinning him against a brick pillar near 208th Street and 109th Avenue in Queens Village.

EMS responded to the incident scene around 11:52 p.m., and Drummond was taken to Queens General Hospital where he was pronounced dead, said police.

The two may have been arguing about another woman right before the incident, according to the Daily News.

Payne has been charged with second degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

 

Driver charged with murder after fatally striking Queens Village man


| editorial@queenscourier.com

handcuffs with color web size

A man is dead after he was hit at a Queens Village intersection Monday night.

Kaman Drummond, 23, was struck at 208th Street near 109th Avenue around 11:52 p.m., said police. He was taken to Queens General Hospital and pronounced dead.

The woman driving the vehicle involved in the accident, 21-year-old Dunasha Payne, was taken into custody at the scene and later charged with second degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon,  according to police.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Star of Queens: Suzanne Windland, volunteer coordinator, Services Now for Adult Persons


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Windland

COMMUNITY SERVICE: As volunteer coordinator for Services Now for Adult Persons , Inc (SNAP), Suzanne Windland makes sure that the seniors of eastern Queens are not left alone. Windland finds volunteers of all ages to visit the elderly homebound for one hour a week, assisting them with food shopping, household tasks or simply just spending time playing games.

“They’re there to be a friend,” Windland said. “It has made an amazing impact on so many seniors. It’s an easy way for those with busy schedules who want to give back to be able to.”

SNAP has been working from its location in Queens Village for the past 25 years. The group also provides Meals on Wheels for the homebound, bereavement services, as well as offering meals and classes at the center.

JOB/BACKGROUND: In her spare time, Windland works as a Zumba instructor for people of all ages.

She has also been heavily involved with the local Parent Teacher Associations at the schools her three daughters attended, all of whom graduated from the NYC public school system.

INSPIRATION: Windland says she gets the immediate gratification from the seniors who volunteers visit and are an inspiration to continue the work of SNAP. She says this is something that extends to the volunteers themselves, as they receive joy in knowing they have helped.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Windland remembers one instance in which an elderly person who painted was paired up with a volunteer who also painted.

Before having a visitor, the senior was lonely and did not paint as much. After having the visits, the two would paint together.

“The paintings that came out of that partnership were amazing,” said Windland.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Windland says the hardest challenge is finding volunteers who are able to take public transportation to the seniors’ homes. “Sometimes it takes the volunteers up to an hour to get to the home. That’s why I’m ecstatic when someone says they have a car.”                             

-BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Cops collar shotgun robbery suspect


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The man suspected in four armed robberies in Queens has been arrested, said police.

Corey King, 23, of Queens Village, is charged with four counts of robbery for holding up three delis and a dry cleaner in March and April.

During each incident, the suspect entered the store with a shotgun, struck an employee in the face with the weapon, then fled with cash.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Missing Queens woman’s car found abandoned on Gilgo Beach


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a missing Queens Village woman whose car and personal belongings were found deserted by Gilgo Beach on Long Island.

Natasha Jugo, 31, was reported missing on Sunday, March 17, after cops found her 2009 Toyota Prius abandoned on the beach.

She was last seen leaving her home on Saturday, March 16 at 4:30 p.m. in a black robe, pink pajama pants, a gray hooded sweatshirt, a black coat and black boots, police said.

The case is said to have no ties to the 2010-2011 suspected Gilgo Beach serial killings.

Jugo is 5’7” tall and weighs 120 pounds. She has brown eyes and blonde hair.

Her family did not immediately comment.

Anyone with information is asked to call 800-577-TIPS.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Queens Village high school students paint over the past


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan

Students at a struggling Queens Village high school are painting over their past, one locker at a time.

Historical figures, sprawled across obsolete lockers at Martin Van Buren High School, have become symbolic of the new face of the changing school, students and administration said.

“We’re basically trying to paint a picture of a whole new Van Buren,” said art teacher Antonio Montalvo. “We want to create a more welcoming, lighter learning environment. We’re trying to improve.”

Van Buren found itself in the public eye last year when local leaders and parents rallied to replace former principal Marilyn Shevell. Morale plummeted under her leadership, they said, while Van Buren worsened in progress reports. Shevell retired last June after taking over in 2002, education officials said. Since then, interim acting principal Sam Sochet said the school has risen to the challenge of improving.

“Van Buren, at one time, was one of the top schools in the city,” Sochet said. “It has fallen on some harder times recently, and so we’re looking to rediscover the greatness that it used to have and maybe go beyond it.”

An art inclusion class, led by Montalvo, chose scientists Albert Einstein and Alexander Fleming, psychologist Carl Jung and former United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to represent the search for greatness, Sochet said. The project team of 30 students took two months to paint a mural of their caricatures across nearly 90 lockers on the school’s second floor.

“They’re old figures, but they do represent people who worked really hard, people who broke traditional thinking, who really thought outside the box,” Sochet said. “And that’s the idea. These are examples of what the human spirit is capable of.”

The display also promotes Van Buren’s newest college-ready science programs or “majors” for incoming freshmen, said Sanjay Patel, the school’s director of specialized programs.

Graduating middle school applicants can apply to Van Buren’s revamped engineering program, which features the school’s robotics team, or its pre-med, law and forensics, or computer technology programs, Patel said.

“There are a lot of careers available in these areas, and we’re trying to prepare students,” said Assistant Principal Cathy Kross.

Van Buren received a “C” in the Department of Education’s most recent progress report, which is based on student progress toward graduation, performance on standardized tests, coursework and student attendance. The school improved a full letter grade from last year’s “D.”

“The change is happening, although sometimes it’s very difficult to detect,” Sochet said.

Junior Jeshu Dastidar, a first-time honor roll student this year, said the school’s new environment has revived his passion for learning.

“In the last two years, school really wasn’t really in my interest,” said Dastidar, 16. “But this year, the first day I went to class, I was feeling this rhythm. Something was in the air. The school has changed. Grades have gone up tremendously for me personally.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Striking school bus drivers stand by their demands


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER / Photo by Alexa Altman

Maria Gentile has driven a school bus for more than 34 years. She knows the name of every student she carries along her route, through Bayside, Douglaston and Oakland Gardens. She’s witnessed the first and last days of school for countless families. When she drops a child off at home, she doesn’t drive away until they’ve made it safely inside.

“Safety is first with the children,” said Gentile, who gathered with dozens of other striking drivers outside a bus depot in Jamaica. Two weeks into the citywide school bus strike, drivers remain firmly behind their demands, calling specifically for job security.

“We just want to keep our jobs. That’s it,” said bus driver Jessica Saltos of Queens Village. “We’re not looking for a raise, healthcare, a pension, nothing at all. We want to keep working. That’s it.”

According to Gentile, drivers are fighting to retain the Employee Protection Provision (EPP), an amendment added in 1979 that guarantees drivers will retain routes, regardless of which company oversees the bid.

Strikers believe Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to instate makeshift drivers could be hazardous for the thousands of children who take buses to school. Certification, which normally takes roughly a year and includes drug testing, fingerprinting and hours of training, will take less than 24 hours for fill-in drivers.

“If the mayor wants to put a child in a vehicle with a driver who has no experience, what does that say?” said Gentile. “They’re going to rush to the school and throw the kid off the bus because they don’t care.”

The substitute bus drivers are set to make $14 an hour, a wage many drivers agreed doesn’t promote job longevity or dedication.

“[Bloomberg] is putting the almighty dollar above children’s safety,” said a driver.

On Monday, January 28, representatives from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 met with a mediator, Justice Milton Mollen, to discuss drivers’ concerns. While city officials did not attend the meeting, Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello said Bloomberg’s involvement in arbitration is “necessary to move towards a resolution and end this strike.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then rain showers in the afternoon. Fog early. High of 54. Breezy. Winds from the South at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Wednesday night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. Fog overnight. Low of 45. Windy. Winds from the SSW at 20 to 35 mph with gusts to 55 mph. Chance of rain 100% with rainfall amounts near 1.1 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Women’s Business Center Power Networking Event

Every entrepreneur will need a strong support team to be successful. At the Women’s Business Center Power Networking Event meet professional women with experience in supporting thriving entrepreneurs and the key roles they play in every stage of business. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Obama signs $50.5B Sandy aid bill

Exactly three months to day that the storm hit the tri-state area, President Obama signed a $50.5 billion Sandy aid bill. Read more: Queens Courier

Death of autistic man at Queens Village mental health facility last summer ruled a homicide

The death of an autistic man last summer after he was restrained by guards at a Queens Village mental health facility has been ruled a homicide by the city Medical Examiner. Read more: New York Daily News

Water main break leaves 7 basements flooded in Queens

A water main break left seven basements flooded in eastern Queens Tuesday evening. Read more: CBS New York

Queens couple fights Russian ban on American adoptions

A Queens couple, fighting the Russian government to adopt a 1-year-old boy, has joined the chorus of prospective parents and elected officials calling for the repeal of Russia’s ban on American adoptions. Read more: NBC New York

Departure of one of Rockaway’s NYPD top brass rankles civic leaders

Local activists are irate over the exit of a top law enforcement official in the Rockaways who helped shepherd the community through the chaos caused by Superstorm Sandy. Read more: New York Daily News

Gun rights advocates fight against new law signed by Cuomo

A gun advocacy group took the first step Tuesday to legally halting the newly-signed gun laws for New York state. Read more: CBS New York

Amid questions, Senate begins hearings on gun control

Six weeks after the massacre of 26 people at a Connecticut school ignited new calls to fight gun-related violence, the issue reaches the U.S. Congress on Wednesday amid questions about whether lawmakers will be able to agree on significant legislation. Read more: Reuters

 

Queens native wins Nobel Prize


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Alvin Roth

Alvin Roth, one of the two winners of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, is a Queens native and graduate of Martin Van Buren High School, the New York Post reported.

The Harvard professor, 60, who reportedly has accepted a position at Stanford University, won for his work on how to match different agents, such as  students with schools and human organ donors with transplant patients, as efficiently as possible.

“I didn’t become an economist until rather late in life,” said Roth in an interview with Nobelprize.org.

“The kinds of things that I found myself interested in, trying to understand and trying to make things work better were things that involved people and that meant economics.” he added.

 

Board of Elections leaves Bengali off ballot


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Translators and appropriate documents will be at voting stations with large Bengali populations this November, a Board of Elections (BOE) official said, after it was announced the language would not be an option on this year’s ballots, much to the chagrin of officials and residents.

The BOE’s vendor, Election Systems & Software LLC (ES&S), had “significant technical difficulties” changing its voting system, said BOE spokesperson Valerie Vasquez. BOE staff met with ES&S and determined the changes — and the needed for state certification — would not be feasible by this November, she said. The vendor is continuing to work on making the changes ready for elections in 2013.

Ballots are required, under the federal Voting Rights Act, to have the native languages of an area’s population where five percent of eligible voters have below average English skills. Census data released last year showed an increasing number of Bengali residents in the borough and thus required by law to be used on ballots in select areas.

Other prominently spoken languages in the borough, including Spanish, Chinese and Korean, will not be affected by the difficulties, Vasques said.

Materials and personnel will be provided to Bengali-speaking voters, she said, to remedy the difficulties some may face when casting their ballots.

“The Board has taken important steps to address the language community’s needs until ballot placement can be achieved, and continues to reach out to community representatives through an established working group,” she said. “Steps planned include a translated candidate name list for use by voters, as well as a sample ballot poster for the November general election, together with translated posters, other written materials and signage.”

This is not enough to some, however, as politicians and community members spoke out soon after the announcement, demanding something be done to ensure the legal requirements are enacted.

“Data released a year ago told us what we already knew in our area of Queens County – that a significant segment of the population speaks Bengali (also known as Bangla), Punjabi, and Hindi,” Assemblymember David Weprin said. “It is not enough to provide interpreters or translated materials. Asian-Indians in Queens are covered under the provisions of the Voting Rights Act and anything less than full compliance is an injustice.”

Queens has a number of South Asian populations that will be affected by these changes, including Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Queens Village and Jackson Heights.

Vishnu Mahadeo, a Richmond Hill advocate originally from Guyana, said in the past the BOE had not taken responsibility to help Bengali voters.

Mahadeo, who heads the Richmond Hill Economic Development Council and is a coordinator with the BOE, said he has tried in the past to get interpreters hired for Bengali residents, predominately in South Ozone Park, and for Punjabi and Hindi residents in Ozone Park and Richmond Hill.

The problem Mahadeo says he’s run into, however, is a miscommunication between the BOE and the community. Many residents have been under the impression that citizenship is required to work for the BOE. All that is required, Mahadeo said, is proficiency in a language and permanent residency.

Weprin, who pushed for multi-lingual ballots in the Legislature, expressed disappointment the language would not be available to Bengali-speaking voters.

“Our practice should be to provide ballots in the languages of the Asian Indian communities to encourage voter participation, not fall short of our promises to accommodate these populations,” Weprin said. “This is a very important election and voter suppression simply can not be tolerated in our Democracy.”

Bengali ballots should be released for elections, Weprin said, or other options needed to be taken.

“We must stay on top of this issue and demand this mandate be implemented,” he said. “Otherwise we will have to consider other options to ensure the Board of Elections complies with this law.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 88. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 66. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Zumba on the Beach

This is the last chance of the summer to take an evening Zumba class at Rockaway Beach. This free Shape Up NYC class is a fusion of Latin, International and popular music dance that features aerobic, fitness interval training with a combination of fast and slow rhythms that tone and sculpt the body with easy to follow dance steps. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

LIRR worker fatally electrocuted in Queens

A Long Island Rail Road worker is dead after he came in contact with the third rail near the Queens Village station.The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says service was temporarily suspended around the area after the accident Monday morning. Read more: AP/Wall Street Journal

Drama brewing over axed arts program in Glendale

Encore! A coalition of parents, teachers and students are rallying behind a displaced Queens drama teacher to ensure this isn’t his curtain call. Theater teacher Evan Behlivanis, 31, was told in late July that his nine-year tenure at Public School/Intermediate School 119 in Glendale was coming to an end due to budget constraints. Read more:  New York Daily News

Tennis fans brave soggy start to U.S. Open

The U.S. Open is back up and running in Queens with scores of eager fans ready for action following a three hour and 15-minute rain delay earlier today. About 700,000 fans are expected to visit Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the 20-day tournament. Read more: NY1

City has just one Parks Enforcement Patrol officer for all of Queens, union charges

The ranks of city Parks Enforcement Patrol officers are so thin that only one officer is available to patrol all Queens parks this summer, union officials charged. Read more: New York Daily News

New Yorkers want to throw Department Of Sanitation policy in the trash

New Yorkers are crying foul over a sanitation policy that they say needs to be trashed. “I think it’s crazy that without a warning or anything, it should have been a warning. Unless they’re trying to make money, which is what I think,” Raymond Jansson of Whitestone, Queens told CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez on Monday night. Read more: CBS New York

Tropical Storm Isaac takes aim at New Orleans

Tropical Storm Isaac had nearly reached hurricane strength as it bore down on the U.S. Gulf Coast on Tuesday and appeared to be taking direct aim at New Orleans, almost seven years to the day since the Crescent City was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Read more: Reuters

Republican National Convention enlists first Sikh speaker

An American Sikh is scheduled to speak Wednesday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., the first time the party has invited a Sikh to speak at a national convention. Read more: New York Times

 

 

Queens man charged in attempted murder of three police officers


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

641139733

Police arrested a man Tuesday and charged him with the attempted murder of three cops in Queens, said the NYPD.

According to authorities, Jeffrey Contreras, 23, of Queens Village, was also charged with three counts each of assaulting a police officer, aggravated vehicular assault, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon and resisting arrest.

In the early morning of August 17, near 92nd Road and 222nd Street in Queens Village, three officers were attempting to arrest the suspect when he jumped into a car and struck them with his vehicle, injuring the men.

They were immediately transferred to North Shore Manhasset Hospital in stable condition. As of Saturday, two of the officers have been released from the hospital.