Tag Archives: Richmond Hill

Op-Ed: Ensuring the safety of our children


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILMEMBER ELIZABETH CROWLEY

Drivers need to be more conscientious near schools. Just a few days ago, students of I.S. 73 in Maspeth got seriously injured by an out-of-control vehicle. As police investigate this accident, we owe it to those injured students and their classmates to make our streets safer.

Grand Avenue is a very busy street. The vehicular traffic is made worse during school arrival and dismissal time as P.S. 58, I.S. 73 and Maspeth High School are all located within six blocks of each other. I believe it is imperative to implement changes as soon as possible, and on Monday, along with PTA leaders, I met with Queens DOT Commissioner Dalila Hall on site to discuss how to make Grand Avenue safer.

The stretch of Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and I.S. 73 is in need of “Safe Routes to School” program and a slowdown zone where the speed limit is reduced to 20 miles per hour. The safe routes program redesigns streets, which include expanding sidewalks, new lane paintings and improved signal timing, to ease congestion around schools.

Recently, the DOT studied vehicle speeds around all schools in New York City, and they found that 98 percent of vehicles driving around P.S. 58, I.S. 73 and Maspeth High School are going over the speed limit. This is dangerous and simply unacceptable. A comprehensive study by the DOT to change traffic patterns and slow down drivers through its “Safe Routes to School” program would be a major help in reducing congestion around these schools.

There must be constant traffic enforcement by the NYPD and DOT today. I have called on both agencies to ticket trucks that are not making local deliveries, and speeding drivers who are endangering our children must be stopped. New York recently approved speed camera enforcement at 20 schools in the city. Placing one of these cameras at Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and I.S. 73 would certainly slow drivers down once tickets begin arriving in the mail.

Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our children traveling to and from school. I have brought the concerns of the community to DOT, and together, we must demand the DOT prioritize safety on Grand Avenue. Our most vulnerable and precious resource are our children, and we must do everything to keep them safe.

Elizabeth Crowley represents the 30th Council District, covering Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood and Woodhaven

 

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FBI looking for two fugitives wanted in connection to Queens-based drug trafficking ring


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of FBI

The FBI is looking for two fugitives that have been charged in connection to a Queens-based heroin trafficking ring.

Arturo Villa, 37, known as “A-Rock,” and Emmanuel Ramos, 28, known as “Manny,” were allegedly involved with a drug operation called the Flock Organization, which imported and distributed heroin and cocaine in the greater New York City area, using Fresh Start Auto Repair and Tire Sales in Richmond Hill as a base, according to the FBI.

Authorities arrested seven other suspects for their roles in the drug ring last month.

Villa is described as 5’5,” 180 pounds, speaks English and Spanish, and has ties to Ozone Park and Woodhaven, as well as Pittsfield, Mass. and Erie, Pa.

Ramos is 5’8,” 190 pounds, speaks English and Spanish, and has ties to Forest Hills and Brooklyn.

 

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Upstate New York man charged for fatal hit-and-run in Richmond Hill


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A man from upstate New York has been arrested and charged for an alleged hit-and-run that killed a Queens woman.

According to the NYPD, on Friday, at approximately 7 p.m. they responded to a pedestrian struck at 97th Avenue and 117th Street in Richmond Hill. Upon arrival, they found Raj Chohan, 59, of South Richmond Hill, unconscious and unresponsive. The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

A police investigation revealed the victim was walking on 117th Street along parked cars when a grey 2013 Toyota Camry heading northbound, struck her and then fled the scene.

Police later caught the suspect at 115th Street and 101st Avenue. The suspect was identified as Vishwanand Subryan, 23, of Schenectady, New York.

He has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and driving while intoxicated.

 

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Suspects burglarize four Richmond Hill, Woodhaven businesses


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for two suspects they say stole cash from four businesses in Richmond Hill and Woodhaven over the last three weeks.

The pair first hit Tony’s Famous Pizza at 109-18 Jamaica Avenue around midnight on Saturday, August 24, said police. They entered through the rear door and removed cash from the office and an ATM.

A week later, on August 31, at about 12:30 a.m., they entered the Richmond Hill Delicatessen, located at 123-07 Jamaica Avenue, through the rear basement door and removed cash from an ATM.

On Monday, the suspects stole cash from an ATM and register at Lizmelis Grocery in Woodhaven around 10:30 p.m. by entering a hole in the wall in an adjacent unoccupied commercial establishment, said cops.

The following day, the two allegedly entered El Cran Canario Restaurant, located at 111-17 Jamaica Avenue, through a rear window and removed cash from an ATM and register.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or submit their tips by texting 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577 or by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website.

 

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Op-Ed: Simple measures for park safety


| oped@queenscourier.com

Late last week, the NYPD revealed that the suspect being sought in the late August attack of a 69-year old jogger in Forest Park is allegedly responsible for five previous attacks in and around the 538-acre park. Police presence has been increased with a temporary command center being set up at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Park Lane South in Richmond Hill.

But this is a temporary measure, one that we’ve seen before. And in a few weeks it will be decided that the resources are needed elsewhere and it’ll be back to business as usual. Back in the 1970s, Assemblymember Frederick D. Schmidt called on the city to make Forest Park a separate police precinct – it’s an idea worth reconsidering.

The 102nd Precinct is currently responsible for Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill East, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, and the northern part of Ozone Park. The precinct includes a number of busy commercial districts (including Queens Boulevard, 101st Avenue and Jamaica Avenue) and several major roadways. That’s a large area, made even larger by the need to also patrol Forest Park.

A small precinct, or substation, with officers trained on and equipped with all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for regular patrolling of the many trails within the park, would make it safer for all who use it. Even a shopping mall has its own security base – why not one of our city’s largest public attractions?

In other words, if it’s such a necessary step after a woman is attacked, why not make it permanent in an effort to prevent future attacks?

Apart from an increase in police, the city needs to do a better job of keeping the streetlights in and around Forest Park in proper working condition. We have been reporting major outages in well-trafficked areas and there does not appear to be any sense of urgency to get them repaired.

During the early morning hours on Forest Park Drive, we have seen people walking or jogging carrying flashlights, meaning the lights have been out long enough for people to learn that they need to come prepared.

Ultimately, there is no one to blame for these attacks apart from the sick animal that commits them. He will be caught, though whatever punishment he receives will never be enough. But that does not mean we can’t take precautions so as not to give this animal any tactical advantages.

Whenever possible, try not to run or walk alone. Reach out to friends and neighbors; try to make it a social activity that can be enjoyed as a group. Avoid isolated trails; remember that you do not have to go deep into the park to be alone and that just because you can see a main road from the woods does not mean that people traveling on that road can see you.

Forest Park is a wonderful place that hosts many thousand residents and visitors each year. Let’s all do everything we can to make it the safest experience possible.

Edward K. Wendell
President
Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association


Video via YouTube/Edward Wendell

 

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Suspects rob, punch victim in Richmond Hill


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are asking for your help in locating two suspects who are wanted in connection with a violent robbery.

On Monday, July 29, in the vicinity of Jamaica Avenue and 134th Street, the victim, a 59-year-old man, was approached by the suspects who demanded money.

The victim handed over his cash and the suspects demanded more, but when the victim said he did not have any, he was punched in the face, causing him to fall and hit his head.

The suspects fled with the cash and the victim’s cell phone. The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in stable condition.

Suspect number one is described as a black male in his 20s, five feet nine inches to five feet 1o inches tall, and was last seen wearing a black skull cap, black T-shirt and black pants.

The second suspect is also a black man in his 20s, five feet nine inches to five feet 1o inches tall,  and was last seen wearing dark pants and a 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 Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Richmond Hill Sikh community marks anniversary of Wisconsin temple shooting


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Zachary Kraehling

ZACHARY KRAEHLING AND MAGGIE HAYES

Mourners gathered for a candlelight vigil at the Sikh Cultural Society in Richmond Hill to remember the shooting attack on a Wisconsin Sikh temple just a year ago.

Wade Michael Page, who has been called a white supremacist, walked into the temple as worshippers prepared for Sunday services and opened fire. Six people were killed.

Assemblymember David Weprin stood with the Richmond Hill Sikh community and said, “You are not mourning alone” and that all Americans continue to be “enriched” by the nation’s religious diversity.

“This community is about love of country and spirituality,” said one man. “The goal is prayer. God’s name is love, and without love there is nothing.”

 

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MLB to donate $250K to Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Major League Baseball stepped up to the plate for south Queens.

The league announced it will donate $250,000 to build an all-star teen center in the new wing of the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens as part of its $5 million legacy project.

The Boys & Girls Club is currently undergoing an $11.5 million capital project transformation, with the first phase the completion of the left wing.

In a topping off ceremony on Friday, July 12, public officials, Mets and MLB administrators and Boys and Girls Club members signed a white beam that was hoisted and inserted on top of the new wing, which is currently scheduled to be finished in December.

“The club has served more than 500,000 children in its 57-year existence,” said Borough President Helen Marshall, who was able to contribute nearly half of the money needed for the renovations. “I am thrilled that this new building will become a second home to thousands of additional children in the surrounding neighborhoods.”

The teen center will be a 3,000-square-foot space decorated in Mets orange and blue. It will include a technology lab, a college lab, classroom space, a lounge and a viewing balcony overlooking the new gymnasium. The center will serve high school students in Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Howard Beach and Jamaica.

“While other clubs have gone extinct, this boys and girls club has become a beacon of hope,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo.

The Boys and Girls Club was one of many projects in Queens and New York City chosen by the Mets and MLB as part of their legacy programs.

“The Mets and baseball targeted programs that provide great service for New York City, that have worked successfully in the past with both the Mets and Major League Baseball and that are best suited to create lasting benefits and to make a real difference in the lives of deserving New Yorkers,” said David Cohen, executive vice president of the Mets.

After the new wing is erected, the club will begin phase two of the transformation and renovate the old wing. Phase two is slated to begin in April of next year, according to Carol Simon, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Joseph Ferrara, chairman emeritus, who has been a part of the club for nearly 45 years. “I always envisioned that I would rebuild this club better.”

 

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Police search for suspect in Richmond Hill attempted rape


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

The police are searching for a suspect wanted in connection to an alleged attempted rape in Richmond Hill.

According to the NYPD, on Friday, July 5, at approximately 3:15 a.m., the 21-year-old victim was walking near 115th Street and 85th Avenue when she was approached by the suspect who grabbed her from behind, threw her onto the floor and attempted to rape her. Upon seeing a car pass in the street the suspect fled the area.

The police describe the suspect as a Hispanic male, 5’9″ tall, 180 pounds and with a medium complexion.

The NYPD has released a video of the suspect.

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.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then a chance of a thunderstorm and rain in the afternoon. High of 72. Winds from the ESE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain. Low of 66. Winds from the SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 1.0 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: New York State Museum Week

Step into a fascinating world of art, photography, history, science, pop-culture and more during New York State Museum Week, June 10th to 16th. Museum Week is seven exciting days of special events, activities, promotional offers and discounts at participating museums throughout the state. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Gunman shoots man in face inside parked Mercedes in Queens drive-by

A passenger in a luxury SUV was shot in the face during what detectives believe was an attempted hit in Queens on Sunday, sources and witnesses said. Read more: New York Daily News

City Council to review 911 system after delays in response times

The death of 4-year-old Ariel Russo is renewing criticism of New York City’s 911 system. Read more: Fox New York 

Fewer than half in New York City pass 2012 road test, an alarming drop

Fewer than half of the city’s would-be drivers passed the road test last year, an alarming drop, new state records reveal. Read more: New York Daily News

Lawmakers: Lack of labor protections allows for abuse of child models

New York state lawmakers joined former child models Sunday to release a report detailing the lack of labor protections for children who work as models. Read more: CBS New York

NSA contractor risks steep jail time for data leak

The man who gave classified documents to reporters, making public two sweeping U.S. surveillance programs and touching off a national debate on privacy versus security, has revealed his own identity. Read more: AP

‘Kinky Boots’ wins 2013 Tony Award for best musical

The feel-good musical “Kinky Boots,” with songs by pop star and Broadway newcomer Cyndi Lauper, strutted away with a leading six 2013 Tony Awards on Sunday, including best musical, best original score and best leading man. Read more: AP

Suspects throw Molotov cocktails into Richmond Hill yard


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Authorities are looking for several suspects wanted in a Richmond Hill arson.

The suspects, who were caught on video during the May 24 incident, threw two Molotov Cocktails into the yard of a home around 12 a.m. then fled, said police.

There were no reported injuries.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident 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.

 

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25th Annual Phagwah Parade: A colorful welcome to spring


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Nirmal Singh & Adjani Shah

The streets of Richmond Hill were colored red, green and purple as the West Indian community celebrated Holi, a significant Hindu holiday that welcomes spring. Also known as Phagwah, the 25th Annual Parade took place on Saturday, March 30.

Residents lined up along Liberty Avenue to see the variety of floats and the colored powder filling the air.  The parade made its way towards Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto Park, where everyone gathered for a cultural show that included singing and dancing. The celebrations welcomed everyone from different races, religions, and ages to have fun and become one in the colors.

“It’s lots of fun for the kids; they enjoy it,” Rajmatee Ramdhanie, mother of three, said.

For Sarika Persaud, celebrating Holi is also a way to make herself a better person.

“It means letting go of tendencies and opening myself up to compassion and being one with other people,” she said.

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One killed, one injured in attack on Jamaica Avenue


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Police are investigating a Richmond Hill attack that left one man dead and another injured.

According to the NYPD, on Wednesday, March 6, around 3:30 p.m., authorities responded to a 9-1-1 call of a male stabbed on Jamaica Avenue near 127th Street. Upon arrival, officers discovered an unidentified man in his thirties who was stabbed in the back, and another victim, a 17-year-old male, who was hit in the shoulder with a rock.

EMS responded and transported the stabbing victim to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The second victim refused medical attention at the scene.

An initial investigation determined that the victims were walking in front of 126-19 Jamaica Avenue, the location where they were found by police, when a group of males attacked them. The investigation is still ongoing.

 

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Two charged with murder, kidnapping for deadly South Richmond Hill fire


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Authorities have arrested and charged two men in conjunction with the South Richmond Hill fire that revealed one man bound and shot.

Jason St. Hill, 17, and Stephen Peters, 22, of Richmond Hill were arrested on Thursday, February 28. Both were charged with kidnapping, arson, murder, burglary, robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and stolen property, according to police.

The victim, Azeem Ali, 43, was found unconscious and unresponsive after firefighters extinguished the blaze on 95th Avenue early the morning of Sunday, February 24. Ali reportedly was tied by his hands and feet, and shot once in the head. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

 

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Queens small businesses burdened by fines, says de Blasio


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio's Flickr

Queens small businesses are suffering because of excessive fines from city agencies, while Manhattan is left practically untouched, according to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

Fine revenue from the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and Department of Health (DOH) on Queens businesses has risen by $54 million between fiscal years 2002 and 2012, de Blasio said at a Tuesday, February 25 press conference. The public advocate alleged the city had continued to inconsistently fine business in the outer boroughs, particularly Queens, to drive revenue for the city in what he called “shocking, clear patterns.” It was from disproportionate fines on small businesses, he said, that the city had continued to make money as part of budgetary plans.

“It’s time to stop balancing the city budget on the backs of small business,” he said.

The announcement is part of a push by the public advocate’s office to show the discrepancy between how Manhattan businesses were treated in comparison to other areas of the city.

Richmond Hill, where de Blasio delivered his address, was one of the hardest hit areas in the city, he said. Because many of these business owners work long hours, and more than the traditional five days, going to court and fighting fines is nearly impossible for them.

Vishnu Mahadeo, president of the Richmond Hill Economic Development Council, said the city had consistently picked on the immigrant communities.

Andy Jarbandhn, a business owner on Liberty Avenue, said he had gotten hammered with fines from DCA on matters he had never been informed of. Jarbandhn said he had racked up thousands of dollars in fines because of issues he tried to remedy — only to be hit with a follow-up fine.

“It seems we’re being led down a dark alley where we have no idea what the rules are,” he said.

The data provided by de Blasio’s office shows a major spike in fine revenue beginning with the economic downturn from 2007 to 2008. The public advocate said these “ill-gotten gains” were to balance the city budget at the expense of uninformed business owners.

 

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