Tag Archives: Richmond Hill

Fumes from chemistry lab in Richmond Hill school send 21 students to area hospitals


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

A science experiment that went wrong sent 21 students from Holy Child Jesus Catholic Academy in Richmond Hill to area hospitals earlier Thursday morning after fumes filled a chemistry lab, officials said.

The students at the pre-K to 8 school were sent for medical treatment at area hospitals as a precaution and any injuries were reported as minor, according to the FDNY.

The emergency call came in from the school, located at 111-02 86th Ave., to the FDNY at about 9:40 a.m. Fire dispatchers immediately deployed a hazmat unit and emergency medical services to the school.

According to a statement on the school’s website posted by a school official this afternoon: “During class 6-1′s science class, smoke and fumes resulted from an experiment. As a precaution, 21 students were taken to two local hospitals.” The students were currently being released to their parents from those hospitals.

The statement also said that “the teacher immediately evacuated the room and, as a precaution, all students in the old school were relocated to the gymnasium.”

School officials noted that the FDNY and EMS later cleared the room and the building was declared safe. The school continued with its regular dismissal time and after-school activities were not affected.

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Councilman Wills once again indicted on corruption charges


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

File photo

Councilman Ruben Wills is racking up quite a rap sheet.

The city councilman, who had already been indicted, was indicted again on Tuesday for charges alleging that he filed false financial disclosure reports. He pleaded not guilty.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Comptroller Thomas Di Napoli charged Wills with allegedly filing false documents about his finances to the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board. Elected officials in New York City must file these documents for public scrutiny and to guard against any potential conflicts between their personal and city business.

“Submitting false documents to the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board is a serious crime,” Schneiderman said.  “My office’s partnership with the comptroller is designed to combat corruption in the public sector, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the public trust is not undercut by public servants who are not truthful in their disclosures.”

Schneiderman and DiNapoli charged Wills with five counts of the class E felony of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. Schneiderman and DiNapoli claim that from 2011 to 2013 Wills purposely omitted certain financial dealings. If convicted, Wills faces up to four years in prison.

And the history between the state attorney and Wills goes back to 2014.

Back in May 2014, Wills, who represents the 28th District, which includes Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale and South Ozone Park, was indicted on charges by Schneiderman for allegedly stealing public campaign funds and using the cash for a Louis Vuitton handbag and shopping sprees at Nordstrom, Century 21 and other locales. He’s also accused of taking a $33,000 member item from since-convicted former state Sen. Shirley Huntley for his fake charity but pocketing most of it. Those charges are pending.

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Developmentally disabled Queens woman who went missing in early December returns home


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A developmentally disabled Richmond Hill woman who went missing in Jamaica last year has returned home seven weeks after she disappeared, according to one of the centers where she receives services.

Bibi Kadim, 37, was last seen on Dec. 5 when she went out for lunch while she was at the Queens Centers for Progress (QCP). She was scheduled for a medical clinic appointment that afternoon, but had canceled the appointment, according to QCP.

Her worried parents, who say Kadim has a childlike mentality and needs daily medication, had not heard from her for weeks. But on Sunday their daughter came home to them. Further details on where she was during the time she was missing were not disclosed.

Staff of QCP and The Shield Institute in Bayside, where she also receives services, said she is looking forward to resuming her usual activities at their centers.

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City council funds new roof for library in Richmond Hill


| slicata@queenscourier.com

The Courier/Photos by Salvatore Licata

Libraries have often been considered temples of knowledge. But for the last several years, a public library in Richmond Hill was looking a bit more like an ancient ruin.

But thanks to the efforts of Councilmen Ruben Wills and Eric Ulrich, a renovation project will help to keep the Richmond Hill Library open by replacing its crumbling roof.

“I am a true believer in education and know how important it is to have a place for our children and adults to come and learn,” said Wills, who has allocated over $1 million to libraries in his district since he took office.

The Richmond Hill branch of the Queens Library, located at 103-34 Lefferts Blvd., was the recipient of an $885,000 roof makeover as cracks and leaks have plagued the location for quite some time. The city’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) did the construction.

The library hosts all types of activates for children and adults that would not be possible without a roof.

“Getting the roof was just so important to us,” said David Booker, the community library manager. “This isn’t only a place for education but a place for people to come and feel safe when learning.”

library

Booker said the library branch hosts homework help sessions, computer classes, science projects and arts and crafts, among its many other amenities. It has a separate computer kiosk section and back room closed off from the rest of the library for classes.

Assemblyman David Weprin, who is also a staunch advocate of the Queens Library system, said he was happy to see the city’s money go toward such a crucial project. He described the diversity that he saw in the room and said it showed the true strength of Queens.

“I’ve been very involved with funding in what I think is the best library system in the country, if not the world,” Weprin said. “The diversity of Richmond Hill is present in here and our strength is in that diversity.”

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Video released in fatal Richmond Hill shooting


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police have released video footage in the hope of identifying two suspects in a deadly Richmond Hill shooting on Tuesday afternoon.

Derek Quattlebaum, of Brooklyn, was found at Van Wyck Expressway and Atlantic Avenue at about 3 p.m. with gunshot wounds to his head, torso and limbs, cops said. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, but did not survive.

Two men approached Quattlebaum at a BP gas station, located on the intersection where he was gunned down, according to police.

Video footage shows two people running into a car at the station. The two suspects were driving a 2003 blue Audi A6 with the Vermont license plate GHF-306.


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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Developmentally disabled Queens woman missing for more than a month


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A Richmond Hill woman who is developmentally disabled and needs daily medication has been missing since early December, according to one of the centers where she receives services.

Bibi Kadim, 37, was last seen on Dec. 5. That day, Kadim had gone for lunch in the Jamaica neighborhood where Queens Centers for Progress (QCP), a place she goes for services, is located.

After she did not return from lunch, the staff called her mother. She told them that her daughter was scheduled for a medical clinic appointment that afternoon, but that Kadim had canceled, according to QCP.

Her parents, who live with Kadim in their home, have not heard from their daughter since she went missing.

The Shield Institute in Bayside, where Kadim also receives services, has known her for nearly 18 years. The center describes her as a very friendly individual who can communicate her wants and needs verbally. But, according to her parents, she has a child-like mentality.

She is also diabetic and needs daily medication and therefore is “at great risk,” according to QCP.

“We are obviously very concerned that Bibi has been missing for this length of time,” said Charles Houston, CEO of QCP said in a statement. “QCP and The Shield Institute are working with the family and police to bring Bibi home.”

Kadim is 5 feet 5 inches tall and 194 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pink hoodie, navy blue jacket, blue jeans 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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Man shot in Richmond Hill robbery: NYPD


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A robber shot a man in Richmond Hill earlier this week before jumping into a getaway car with his accomplice and taking off with the victim’s necklace, cops said.

Two men exited a silver-colored vehicle parked near 129th Street and Atlantic Avenue about 3:15 a.m. on Monday, came up to the victim and said, “Give it up,” according to police. One of the suspects then snatched a chain from the victim’s neck, took out a semiautomatic handgun and fired, striking the victim three times in the chest and leg.

The suspects then ran back to the waiting car, where a third man was in the driver’s seat, and they drove off southbound along 129th Street, police said.

The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

Police have released video footage of the suspects and describe them as black men in their mid-20s, about 6 feet tall and 170 pounds.

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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Police investigating deadly Richmond Hill shooting


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

PoliceCarLightsHC0708_L_300_C_Y-624x414

A 28-year-old man died after he was shot several times in Richmond Hill Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Derek Quattlebaum, of Brooklyn, was found at the Van Wyck Expressway and Atlantic Avenue about 3 p.m. with gunshot wounds to his head, torso and limbs, cops said. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, but did not survive.

There have been no arrests.

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Pre-K to replace coin arcade game warehouse in Richmond Hill


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Kalmon Dolgin Associates

There will be no more games at this former warehouse, because class is almost in session.

The School Construction Authority signed a 10-year lease for a one-story Richmond Hill building, and it plans to create space for a pre-kindergarten at the site, which was formerly a warehouse for arcade vending machine supplier Bay Coin Distributors.

The arcade business is moving its operations blocks away to a smaller location, according to real estate firm Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates, which handled the transaction.

The school will take up the entire warehouse building at 132-10 Jamaica Ave., which has 12,400 square feet of space, and will seat 100 students when completed.

The site had an asking price of $30 per square foot.

Construction has already begun to transform the building into the new school, a representative for the real estate firm said.

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Two arrested in deadly Christmas shooting in Richmond Hill


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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Police have arrested two men in a Christmas Day shooting that killed a 20-year-old Jamaica man.

Abu Quick, 23, of the Bronx, and Jamar Alexander, 25, of Queens, have both been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of weapon in the death of James Bryant, cops said.

Bryant was found with a gunshot wound to the neck near 126th Street and 89th Avenue in Richmond Hill about 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 25, police said. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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20-year-old Jamaica man shot to death on Christmas


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

CrimeSceneTapeHC1010_L_300_C_R-624x416

Police are investigating the shooting death of a 20-year-old man in Richmond Hill on Christmas Day.

The victim James Bryant, of Jamaica, was found with a gunshot wound to the neck near 126th Street and 89th Avenue about 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Bryant was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police are looking for as many as three suspects involved in the shooting, according to published reports.

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Five humongous Queens homes listing under $1M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Multiple Listing Service and PropertyShark

While new apartments in Queens are getting smaller so developers can maximize profits, the borough still has a treasure trove of spacious gems in older homes that offer prospective owners the best bang for their buck.

For many, size does matter, so here are five single-family homes with enough space for parents, the kids, grandma and maybe even a crazy uncle or two, and each are under $1 million.

59-35 Menahan St., Ridgewood

This property has seven bedrooms and three bathrooms and was originally built in 1920, according to its listing. It sits on a lot of 5,137 square feet, which has a two-car garage and a private driveway. There is a finished basement and a laundry room as well. The broker is Peter Caruso of Caruso & Boughton Realty, and the asking price is $945,000.

 

105-42 133rd St., Richmond Hill

If you thought that last price was low, this Richmond Hill seven-bedroom home is listed for $649,999. This three-story detached colonial home has three bathrooms and a recreational room in the basement, according to the listing. The residence uses about half of its 5,084-square-foot lot space. Raias Khan of Century 21 is the broker of record.

 

168-04 35th Ave., Flushing

Just in case seven bedrooms wasn’t enough, this three-story colonial-style single-family Flushing home offers eight bedrooms and three full bathrooms, according to the listing. Blocks away from the Auburndale LIRR station, the house is located on a corner property and has 3,087 square feet of space. The residence features a finished basement, which includes a laundry room. It also has a one-car garage. The asking price is $958,000. En Ja Chung of Promise Realty is the broker.

 

88-52 195th Pl., Hollis

Those looking for style with a bargain price may have found it with this large single-family home. The three-story Hollis residence features a formal dining room and living room with French pocket doors, according to its listing. It has seven bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms in 3,400 square feet of space. There is a two-car garage on the property as well. Emmanuel Babayev of Charles Rutenberg Realty is the broker.

 

11-43 Beach 9th St., Far Rockaway

Access to transportation, a huge house, spacious lot and a bargain price — this home may have it all. This three-story residence sits on a nearly 8,000-square-foot lot and has about 3,500 square feet of living space, according to its listing. The asking price is $879,000. It has seven bedrooms, two bathrooms and a private driveway. The broker is Ann Bienstock of Five Towns Miller Realty.

Rockaway property

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New pastor coming to St. Helen’s in Howard Beach


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

St. Helen’s Catholic Parish is getting ready to welcome a new pastor to their church.

Father Francis Colamaria will be coming to the Howard Beach parish on Jan. 31, taking over for its current pastor, Msgr. LoPinto. Colamaria is currently the administrative director and priest at Holy Child Jesus Parish in Richmond Hill and is excited about the change.

“Though I will miss Holy Child Jesus, I am really looking forward to serving the people of Howard Beach,” he said. “Msgr. LoPinto did a tremendous job of making new renovations to the church and school, which is great because now I can focus more on the spiritual portion.”

Colamaria, 39, has been a priest since 2001. He started at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ozone Park and remained there until 2007. After that, he moved on to St. Ephrem’s in Brooklyn for a year and was also the chaplain at Xaverian High School. He is now the deputy chief chaplain of the MTA and has been at Holy Child Jesus since 2008.

One thing Colamaria is looking forward to is being able to work with the school more closely as he feels Catholic education is very important for children to learn.

“Catholic education provides morals, responsibility and creates love of family and life, which is sometimes lacking in this world,” he said. “It creates a good environment for our children and is one of the best products we have as a church.”

During his time at his current parish, Colamaria has run annual Oktoberfests and huge block parties and made a connection between the parish and school. He is looking forward to bringing some of his new ideas to St. Helen’s and learning from the retired Msgr. Pfeiffer, who he says is “a seasoned veteran.”

LoPinto will be moving on to become the head of Catholic Charities once Colamaria takes over. He said the people of Howard Beach have been through a lot, especially when dealing with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, but he knows that their spirits have been unchanged.

“The people of Howard Beach are good people,” Colamaria noted. “It is a great environment and I look forward to learning more about it.”

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Four busted for drifting at Flushing Meadows Corona Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

CarDashboardH0507_M_150_B_R

They may have been “Fast and Furious,” but four daredevil drivers ripping through a Queens park weren’t fast enough to escape from the police.

Four men were arrested for what officials describe as “movie-style stunt” performances in a parking lot at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, according to the district attorney’s office.

“Cars are not toys. Driving at high speeds and intentionally skidding a roughly 3,000-pound vehicle, especially where spectators are gathered, is dangerous and can result in tragedy,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “Following a number of noise complaints from neighborhood residents, the police responded and shut down this illegal and potentially deadly activity. The vehicles have been seized and the drivers have been charged.”

The men used modified vehicles for drifting, a style of driving made popular by the “The Fast and the Furious” movies that combines high speeds and dangerous turns.

Spectators would watch these stunts, where the cars would sometimes allegedly strike other vehicles and stationary objects in the park’s parking lot, the district attorney said.

The four were busted after area residents called 311 to complain about the excessive noise. In total, 66 calls were received, and none have been logged in the neighborhood in the more than five weeks since the men were arrested.

Kareem Ali, 26, and Michael Mahabir, 27, both of Richmond Hill, Joel Santiago, 36, of Maspeth, and Darren Tang, 24, of Manhattan, were arraigned on Oct. 26 on charges of reckless endangerment, reckless driving, speed contests and races and failure to comply with directions, prosecutors said. Ali is also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The men, who face up to a year in jail if convicted, were released on their own recognizance.

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Clean streets initiative extended in southeast Queens


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilman Ruben Wills

A successful street-cleaning program in southeast Queens has been extended through May of 2015, officials said.

Commercial corridors in the neighborhoods have long been eyesores due to the accumulation of litter and trash.

But since the Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods, Strong Communities (CSS) initiative started in April, this has changed.

“The restoration and revitalization of our community depends on our collective efforts to keep our streets clean and promote safe neighborhoods by having a sense of pride and respect for our area,” state Sen. James Sanders Jr. said. “Through the Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods, Strong Communities initiative, we have an opportunity to improve our community and ensure our children grow up in a safe and clean environment.”

The CSS program is a citywide initiative to hammer down on illegal dumpers. It increased fines for those people who illegally dump their garbage and others who use the city garbage cans for residential and commercial trash.

Along with these initiatives, commercial corridors throughout Richmond Hill and other neighborhoods in Queens had periodic clean-ups from the nonprofit organization Wildcat.

The clean-up by Wildcat, in connection with the DNSY, became a popular component of the initiative, according to Councilman Ruben Wills, and the city has expanded the organization’s role and extended its contract.

With the expansion, Wildcat will now clean commercial corridors on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The organization will also help with snow and leaf removal, as well as removing garbage and other debris from vacant lots and abandoned homes.

Wildcat is a nonprofit organization that provides jobs for underemployed or formerly incarcerated residents of the city.

Wills commended them for the work they have done throughout his district and is looking forward to the continued partnership, but said it is not only on the organization to keep the streets of the neighborhood clean.

“[Wildcat] alone cannot shoulder the load of preserving the cleanliness of our neighborhoods,” Wills noted. “That responsibility also lies with us as citizens, and we all must do our share.”

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