Tag Archives: Reverend Floyd Flake

Queens leaders reflect on Mandela’s world-changing life

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Congressmember Gregory Meeks

The death of former South African President and Nobel Prize Peace winner Nelson Mandela at age 95 last week resonated around the world as people reflected on his legacy.

His impact was felt by local leaders in Queens, some of whom met the influential leader.

Congressmember Gregory Meeks traveled to South Africa to attend Mandela’s memorial, which has held on Tuesday at Johannesburg’s FNB stadium.

“I will always cherish having met Nelson Mandela on several occasions — especially the laughter, stories, and insight he shared with me and other members of a congressional delegation during a wonderful lunch at his home,” said Meeks.

Following the memorial service, Meeks said “it was inspiring to see over 101 head of states come to memorialize a man who changed the course of history through his dedication focus and sacrifice. [And] to know that if one stands on high moral ground you can have people from all over the world come to salute you and aspire to achieve a more equal world no matter your race, religion, ethnicity or wealth.”

Reverend Floyd Flake, a former U.S. congressmember and senior pastor at the Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral of New York in Jamaica, who also had the opportunity to meet Mandela, said “even in his jail time he stayed a force.”

“I think his legacy will be an empowering legacy and the legacy of a person who could have given up but did not” he said.

“The way his life has gone is of such a nature, people of such [different] persuasions, of all races, of all classes have come to love what he represents.”



Constituents, community leaders react to Smith, Halloran arrest

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photos

Those represented by State Senator Malcolm Smith and those by Councilmember Dan Halloran are weighing in on the scandal that alleges the two tried to rig the upcoming mayoral election.

Despite the charges, Smith’s neighbors in St. Albans called the senator a morally sound leader.

“I’ve known the family for years, and they’ve always been good to me,” said a friend, who did not want to be named. “As a neighbor, he’s treated me well and that’s all I know.”

Constituent India Holloway said Smith is held to a higher standard.

“He’s a senator, he knows what’s right,” she said. “He’s supposed to be an upstanding citizen. He represents all of us. What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong, and he should uphold that.”

Residents of northeast Queens, which Halloran represents a bulk of, have mixed reactions to the charges against the councilmember.

Malba Civic Association President Alfredo Centola said he wanted the Queens GOP to push for a Republican candidate to challenge Halloran in a primary for the upcoming District 19 election. Regardless of the charges, Centola, a registered Republican, said he didn’t think the councilmember should drop out of the race.

“I believe in the innocent until proven guilty,” Centola said. “I don’t think [Halloran dropping out] is a fair request at this point. But the GOP needs to save face.”

Smith was elected president of the State Senate in 2010, when the Democrats took the majority of the Chamber for the first time in nearly 45 years. As president, and without a Lieutenant Governor in New York at the time, Smith was in a position to take over the state, had anything happened to then-Governor David Paterson.

The Republican Minority ended up leading a coup to take over the Senate in 2009 when it recruited two freshman Democratic senators, Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada, Jr., to switch allegiances. Smith was able to retain power, however, by forcing the two renegades back to their side of the aisle.

In an ironic twist, Smith announced last year that he would join the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) and effectively helped put a tandem leadership in between the IDC and Republicans.

Now that Smith has been stripped of his IDC roles, a Senate colleague said it would be easier to get legislation on the floor, but, under a tougher Republican leadership, passing issues such as campaign finance reform and reproductive rights would be harder.

Reverend Floyd Flake, senior pastor of the Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral of New York and a former congressmember, who helped launch Smith’s political career, said he was surprised when he heard the news.
“[I was] more than shocked I think,” said Flake.

The former lawmaker added he’s placed several calls to Smith’s home since the arrest and is still waiting to hear back from the embattled senator.

Halloran, who was believed to have been a former cop, but was only a cadet, made an unsuccessful bid as a Republican for the newly-drawn Congressional District 6, but ultimately lost to now-Congressmember Grace Meng.

During his tenure, Halloran made waves in his first year by accusing the Department of Sanitation of a work slowdown during the 2010 Blizzard that crippled the city for days. An inquiry by the Department of Investigation, however, turned up no organized slowdown of work.

Halloran, reportedly facing financial difficulties because of his 2010 divorce, his mortgage and a 2005 promissory note to the woman from whom he bought his house, has been endorsed for his re-election by several fire and police unions, including the Police Captains Endowment Association (PCEA). Roy Richter, president of PCEA, said the union hasn’t decided whether or not to revoke its backing.

— With Additional Reporting by Maggie Hayes



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Tuesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then overcast. High of 46. Winds from the North at 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain after midnight. Low of 36. Winds from the ENE at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: 3rd Annual Queens World Film Festival

The 3rd Annual Queens World Film Festival, which brings together international and local filmmakers, will take place from March 5 – March 10 and feature 104 films, with 19 works from Queens. The films include shorts and feature lengths, documentaries, animation, fantasies, LGBT, “regular ol’ boy meets girl” and many more. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Midweek storm threatens tri-state with snow, wind, coastal flooding

A storm is threatening the tri-state Thursday, with two weather models showing two different outcomes for our area. Read more: NBC New York

A Drone? A really big bird? A UFO? What did Alitalia pilot see near JFK?

A mystery in the sky over New York City on Monday got one commercial airline pilot’s attention. Read more: CBS New York

Rev. Floyd Flake endorses Melinda Katz for Queens Borough President

Influential Queens pastor Floyd Flake has thrown his support behind Democratic borough president hopeful Melinda Katz, the Daily News has learned. Read more: New York Daily News

Tot’s killer is caged

An angry judge threw the book at a brutal Queens father yesterday, sentencing him to 5 to 15 years in jail for the violent shaking death of his infant daughter. Read more: New York Post

Arverne by the Sea residents say beach bathrooms are a bad call

Years before surfers and foodies rediscovered Rockaway and made it a hip place to visit, a group of homeowners took a chance. Read more: New York Daily News 

Napolitano: Airports feel impact from spending cuts

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Monday cautioned airline passengers to get to the airport extra early because U.S. spending cuts have already led to long lines at some security checkpoints, and said the coming furloughs will only make the situation worse. Read more: Reuters 


Allen Christian School to close

| mchan@queenscourier.com

When one door closes, another one opens.

The story of one school in southeast Queens is coming to an end, according to the institution’s founder, who said financial hardships were at fault — but the site will not remain vacant for long.

Founder Reverend Floyd Flake — who is also the pastor of the Greater Allen African Methodist Episcopal Cathedral in Jamaica — said the Allen Christian School in Jamaica will shut its doors at the end of the current school year. However, he said school officials are determined to see the building become the home of “a quality middle school that will continue to serve the neighborhood for many years to come.”

“This is one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever made in my life,” said Flake, who started the school 30 years ago with his wife, Elaine. “It’s like losing part of your being. It has brought great sadness to me and those who’ve had the privilege of getting an excellent education in this Christian school.”

More than 560 students — ranging from pre-kindergarten though eighth grade — will need to find new facilities. But officials hope Allen Christian’s sad ending may mean another school’s new beginning.

The Eagle Academy for Young Men of Southeast Queens will inhabit the empty nest come September, which officials say will dramatically increase the ability to serve the community.

“Moving into a larger facility will allow Eagle Academy to build upon its existing model of improving educational outcomes for our young men of color,” said David Banks, president and CEO of The Eagle Academy Foundation.

The academy currently enrolls sixth and seventh graders from southeast Queens. However, Banks said they share a building with “a much larger” I.S. 59.

Now, officials say the Eagle’s new spacious school — located at 171-10 Linden Boulevard — will allow for specialized classrooms, science labs, technology, art studio, athletics, music classes — and possibly even increased enrollment until the school reaches its full size, serving almost 600 inner city young men.