Tag Archives: Richmond Hill

Community Board 9 district manager announces retirement


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre

After three and a half decades of service Mary Ann Carey is stepping down from her position as District Manager of Community Board 9, which covers Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens, Ozone Park and Woodhaven.

“In my thirty-five years of service to this great city with very little exceptions, I loved every minute,” Carey wrote in her resignation letter earlier this month. “I have overseen many projects too numerous to mention here and worked with four Borough Presidents, dozens of legislators, commissioners, District Managers and their staff.”

Current Chairman Ralph Gonzalez congratulated Carey, who began her work as District Manager when Ed Koch was mayor, on her retirement and said it would be hard to imagine anyone who can fill her shoes.

“She has done so much for the community, and for so long,” he said. “She can be proud of the legacy she’s leaving at Community Board 9. I know that many people in Queens and on the Board join me in thanking Mary Ann for her years of dedication.”

The process to search for the next District Manager will start at the next community board meeting.

 

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Police looking for man who exposed himself on Queens-bound E train


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD


A straphanger exposed himself to a woman on an E train as it was approaching a stop in Richmond Hill on Tuesday morning, cops said.

The Queens-bound train was about to enter the station around 10:30 a.m. when the 48-year-old woman noticed the man sitting in front of her and committing the lewd act, police said. After arriving at the Jamaica-Van Wyck stop, the man fled.

Police describe the suspect as black, about 35 to 40 years old and around 5 feet 8 inches tall. He was last seen wearing a black hat, and a black and white spotted button-down shirt.

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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Lefferts branch of Queens Library to temporarily close for roof installation


| editorial@queenscourier.com

BENJAMIN FANG

The books at the Lefferts library will soon have a new cover.

The branch, located at 103-84 Lefferts Blvd. in Richmond Hill, is temporarily closing, starting at the end of business on July 26, to install a new roof. The facility expects to reopen by the end of September.

Residents are advised to use the three closest Queens Library locations: 118-14 Hillside Ave. in Richmond Hill, 92-24 Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park and 128-16 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park.

During the closure, limited service will also be provided by a mobile library.

 

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Two arrested in beating death of 55-year-old man in Woodhaven


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image


Two men have been arrested after they robbed and beat a 55-year-old man to death in Woodhaven last week, police said.

Cops discovered Nazmul Islam, of Richmond Hill, unconscious and unresponsive on the sidewalk near 76th Street and Atlantic Avenue at about 4:30 a.m. on July 9, authorities said.

The duo struck Islam repeatedly on his head and body before taking his money, according to police. Islam was pronounced dead at the scene.

There were no apparent signs of trauma on his body, cops said, and the medical examiner later ruled his death a homicide

Carlos Genno, 22, of Ozone Park, and Nestor Rodriguez, 20, of Woodhaven, have been charged with murder and robbery, authorities said.

 

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Police looking for Richmond Hill serial burglar


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy NYPD

Cops are looking for a serial burglar who has broken into at least three Richmond Hill apartments within the last month and stolen thousands of dollars in cash and property.

The suspect’s latest burglary occurred on May 6 at about 11:30 a.m. near Jamaica Avenue and 113th Street, authorities said. He entered the apartment and removed $1,000, a laptop, two watches and a Samsung tablet.

A week earlier, on May 2, the suspect entered a residence near Jamaica Avenue and 108th Street at about 9 a.m. and took $2,000, a wedding band and comic books, cops said.

Police also said the suspect broke into an apartment near Jamaica Avenue and 123rd street at 8:50 a.m. on April 24 and stole two watches, a necklace and earrings.

None of the victims were home during the robberies, 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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Councilman Ruben Wills arrested on corruption charges


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Updated 2:25 p.m. 

Councilman Ruben Wills was arrested Wednesday after a corruption investigation discovered he allegedly stole public campaign funds and state grant money.

The Queens politician, who represents the 28th District, which includes Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale and South Ozone Park, was indicted on charges of grand larceny, scheme to defraud, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing, according to the indictment.

Jelani Mills, a relative who works for Wills, and allegedly helped him redirect some of the cash, was also indicted Wednesday on charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records.

Wills is accused of stealing from both the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office.

He is charged with redirecting $11,500 in matching funds he received from the CFB during his 2009 City Council campaign–with the help of Mills–to New York 4 Life, a nonprofit Wills started, and using the money for personal purchases, according to court documents. Wills allegedly bought a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag at Macy’s, among other items. 

The councilman had been under investigation by the attorney general for $33,000 in state funds provided through a grant that was unaccounted for after it was given to New York 4 Life, according to published reports and the attorney general’s office.

Those funds were earmarked by former state Sen. Shirley Huntley while Wills was serving as her chief of staff.

New York 4 Life signed a contract with OCFS to receive that money, promising to conduct four public service projects, officials said, but the nonprofit allegedly only came through on one program that cost about $14,000. Wills is accused of pocketing the remaining $19,000 and using it for political and personal expenses, including purchases at Nordstrom’s and Century 21.

Huntley was arrested in a unrelated case in August 2012 and later pleaded guilty for covering up money funneled through a nonprofit she helped establish. It was revealed last May that Huntley had secretly recorded the conversations of seven elected officials, including Wills, while she was still in office at the request of federal prosecutors.

“The City Council takes these troubling allegations from the New York State Attorney General very seriously and will be reviewing them thoroughly, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement. “New Yorkers expect and deserve a government that is ethical and responsible and that is the standard we’re seeking to uphold.”

Wills, who was first elected to the Council in a 2010 special election, has been prohibited from doling out member items, or city funds, to his district, the Queens delegation chair and City Council speaker’s office will now designate them for him, reports and a source said.

He has also agreed to give up his chairmanship of the Council’s subcommittee on drug abuse, according to published reports.

Wills, who did not enter a plea and was released without bail, said Wednesday he had no plans to resign, reports said.

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Queens man who went missing from Manhattan hospital found safe


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy NYPD

A Richmond Hill man who wandered off from a Manhattan hospital earlier this week has been found safe, police said.

Israel Jardinez, 24, was left seen at Mount Sinai Hospital, on East 102 Street, just before 6 p.m. Monday, officials said.

According to WABC, Jardinez has the mental capacity of a child and went missing while at the hospital for a doctor’s appointment.

Police said he was found Saturday in good condition and has been reunited with his family.

 

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Cops looking for Queens man who went missing from Manhattan hospital


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a Queens man who went missing from a Manhattan hospital Monday.

Israel Jardinez, a 24-year-old Richmond Hill resident, was last seen at Mount Sinai Hospital, on East 102 Street, about 5:45 p.m. on April 7, the NYPD said.

He is developmentally disabled and has the mental capacity of a child, WABC and CBS New York reported. According to WABC, Jardinez wandered off from the hospital while at a doctor’s appointment.

Jardinez is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall and 220 pounds, and has a partially closed left eye.  He was last seen wearing a black jacket with a “Mi-Raza” logo, tan pants, a black and white hoody and sneakers.

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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Honda Accords, Nissan Maximas targets of tire and rim thefts: 102nd Precinct


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

In the past two to three months, police from the 102nd Precinct, representing Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and north Ozone Park,  have seen an increase in rims and tires being stolen from late model Honda Accords and Nissan Maximas.

In high-theft areas, cops said to etch the Vehicle Identification Number on windows, doors, fenders and trunk lids to make it difficult for thieves to market any stolen car parts.

Cops advise drivers to always roll up windows and lock the car, no matter where it is parked, and also remove valuables and GPS mounts. They also recommend parking in front of houses that have cameras.

For more information, contact Crime Prevention Officer Quwella Brown, quwella.brown@nypd.org or 718-805-3217.

 

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Driver charged for deadly hit-and-run in Richmond Hill


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A man has been arrested after he struck a 73-year-old woman with his car in Richmond Hill before fleeing the scene, police said.

Kaneez Hussein was walking in the middle of Jamaica Avenue near 131st Street about 6:30 a.m. Thursday when she fell and was hit by a Nissan Altima, the NYPD said. She was just a couple of blocks from her home when the accident took place.

The driver, identified by police as 27-year-old Bladimer Alvarez Sorto, then fled in his car, cops said.

Hussein was taken to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Alvarez Sorto was later arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident and unlicensed operator, according to police.

 

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Queens man charged in NYC’s first murder of 2014


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man has been arrested for the fatal Jamaica shooting that was the first homicide of the year, police said.

Cops found Julio Mora, 22, of Richmond Hill, inside of a 113th Avenue residence near Sutphin Boulevard about 1:15 a.m. on Jan. 1 with a gunshot wound to the chest, the NYPD said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sheldon Smith, 26, who police had been searching for in connection to Mora’s murder since Jan. 2, has been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, cops said.

 

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Local precincts hosting seminar to combat 53 percent increase in domestic violence crimes


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Domestic violence crimes have increased over 50 percent in south Queens and cops are reaching out to bring awareness to the community.

“There are laws we obey. There is a population out there that you cannot prey upon, including your family,” said Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, commanding office of the 106th Precinct.

The precinct is teaming up with the neighboring 102nd Precinct to host a seminar on domestic violence awareness on Thursday, Feb. 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Fair Field Pavilion, 131-10 101st Ave. in Richmond Hill.

The seminar is “open to anybody who wants to come,” Schiff said, and will feature guest speakers from the district attorney’s office, mayor’s office, social workers and psychologists.

The 2013 year-end statistics showed a 53 percent increase in domestic violence assaults in the 106th Precinct, Schiff said.

The NYPD expanded the definition of domestic violence to include all couples, spousal or not, as well as long-term roommates.

“The definition has expanded, so have the crimes,” Schiff said. “That contributes to the increase.”

During the seminar and also through efforts to curtail the crime, police will educate victims, mainly women and children, and detail how they respond to domestic violence reports, including the initial response and possible remedies for the situation.

Cops will also seek out aggressors and “educate them.”

“We want them to know this is what can happen to you should you lay hands on your family,” Schiff said.

 

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Nine arrested after massive cockfighting operation busted in Queens, Brooklyn


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

handcuffs-with-color-web-size

Thousands of roosters were recovered and dozens of people were taken into custody after officials busted “Operation Angry Birds” wide open.

Throughout the weekend, city and state officials busted a Richmond Hill cockfighting ring, a Brooklyn pet store housing 50 birds and a farm storing as many as 3,000 roosters for future fighting. Nine felony arrests were made.

“Cockfighting is a cruel, abusive and barbaric practice that tortures animals, endangers the health and safety of the public and is known to facilitate other crimes,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) spearheaded the raids.

After 10 p.m. Saturday, city and state officials raided a Richmond Hill cockfighting event on Jamaica Avenue, according to a police source.

Birds were bred, trained, plied with performance-enhancing drugs, had razor-sharp gaffs attached in place of their natural spurs and were locked in a small pen where they would fight to the death.

“No animal should be forced to fight to the death for human entertainment and profit,” said ASPCA President and CEO Matthew Bershadker.

The ring had operated bi-monthly since at least May, according to Schneiderman. Wagers of up to $10,000 were made on various fights.

At that same time, investigators discovered 50 roosters, in poor condition and showing physical signs of having been altered for fighting, underneath the Brooklyn pet shop. The owner, Jeremias Nieves, 74, was arrested and charged with a felony.

The three-county-wide raid ended north of the city in Plattekill, where officials raided a 90-acre farm, and the ASPCA recovered as many as 3,000 fighting birds.

The farm had been unregistered since 2010 but operated under the guise of a live poultry farm. Thousands of makeshift cages were hid in the center of the property.

Manager Manuel Cruz, 60, and farm hand Jesus Cruz, 37, were arrested and arraigned. The farm allegedly charged rent to board, feed and care for the roosters that were bred and ultimately trained for fighting all around the tri-state area and up to Massachusetts.

The multi-faceted bust is the largest cockfighting takedown in New York State history and is among the largest in national history. The ASPCA established a temporary, undisclosed location to care for the recovered birds.

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Cops: Video catches suspects stealing tools from Richmond Hill garage


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for three suspects who burglarized a Richmond Hill garage last month, according to the NYPD.

On Jan. 22, at about 3 a.m., the burglars broke the lock of a garage door of a private home and once inside, took drills and electric saws, then fled, police 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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Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Ambulance Corp slaps neighbor with $13M lawsuit


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter / @FDNY

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corp recently filed a lawsuit against the collapsed building next door’s owners to the tune of $13 million in damages and lost rent.

Owned by 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC, the deteriorating building, which was an abandoned furniture store, crumbled on April 12 last year, leaving a hole in the roof and damaging the adjoining ambulance corp structure.

“That building next door, because of the negligence of that corporation and others, is a danger to society,” said Angelo A. DiGiangi, general counsel of Community Advocacy Center, which is representing the volunteer ambulance organization pro bono in collaboration with CUNY Law School. “The building looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If this building continues the way that it is, my client will lose its building.”

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center rented space from the volunteer ambulance group, but had to move to a temporary location—American Legion Post 118—after the structure was determined unsafe by the city’s Buildings Department.

Nearly a year later, the collapsed building still has a gaping hole and mold, elected officials said.

After much pushing by local politicians, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC recently paid off $3,200 in fines it owed to the Department of Buildings and hired an architect, according to the agency. However, the building still has eight open ECB violations and a total of $33,000 in fines, $20,000 due in Department of Buildings civil penalties for work without a permit and $7,500 due in  civil penalties for failure to correct hazardous violations, according to the Buildings Department.

“It’s disgusting that it took so long to get to this point,” Assemblymember Mike Miller said. “Seniors have been suffering and they want to be back in the ambulance corp. This is their home.”

The owner of the property could not be reached for comment.

Despite the recent positive movement, elected officials are still unsure of when the owner will actually repair the building.

“I need for work to be done on the building. That would be positive. Paying the fines does nothing for seniors or the Woodhaven – Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corp,” State Senator Joseph Addabbo said. “With that gaping hole in the roof, with the snow and ice, that building is only going to get worse.”

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