Tag Archives: Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill Sikh community marks anniversary of Wisconsin temple shooting

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Zachary Kraehling


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.”



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.”




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.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


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.



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.


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.



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.




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.



Star of Queens: Kris Gounden

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

star of queens


COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: As immigrants from countries such as Guyana, Trinidad and others in the West Indies come to New York, they often find themselves in a state of culture shock. Many have few resources to work with and lack the ability to keep in contact with their families back home.

Kris Gounden works to get these people in place in the Ozone Park/Richmond Hill area.

Gounden does not work with a formal volunteer organization, rather, he says, he’s just working with the few resources and manpower that he has to help those in the community.

Gounden said he’s not looking to publicize his service to the community and has previously never spoken to the media about these efforts.

BACKGROUND: Gounden was born and raised in the Ozone Park/Richmond Hill area. As a full-time job, Gounden works as the director at Line Air Airlines Inc.

INSPIRATION: Gounden spoke of his father, who started this type of community service back in the 1970s. “I’m just continuing the work that he started off with,” Gounden said.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Gounden remembered a time when one of his neighbors, who he said was of Irish descent, was sick and he took care of her and her house. “At one point I was actually her legal guardian,” he said. Gounden said he enjoys this memory because it shows how people of different cultures and ethnicities can work together.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Gounden sees the lack of formal support from local politicians as a major roadblock to helping the people of his community. He said often it’s up to the citizens to stick together to work on the problems of their community.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 48. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday Night: Clear. Low of 36. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Indians in the Caribbean

A photographic exhibition of arts, culture and nation building (1900-1950) at the Rajkumari Cultural Center in Richmond Hill, Indians in the Caribbean shows the life of arts and culture, scholarship and commerce, politics and civics in countries like Guyana, Suriname and Caribbean Islands like Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Rockaway beaches to open Memorial Day weekend: officials
Residents in the Sandy-ravaged Rockaways packed into a community board meeting Tuesday night to discuss the future of their wrecked boardwalk. Read more: NBC New York

Park advocates slam U.S. Tennis Association expansion plan

Park advocates aren’t showing much love to a plan for a $500 million expansion of a premiere tennis center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Read more: New York Daily News

Cuomo to press for wider curbs on gun access

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, pushing New York to become the first state to enact major new gun laws in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., plans on Wednesday to propose one of the country’s most restrictive bans on assault weapons. Read more: New York Times 

Quinn brushes off report that Bloomberg is eyeing other mayoral candidates

For some time now, it was unquestioned that New York City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn would have the backing of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But that’s not a sure thing, according to a report. Read more: CBS New York 

More anti-Muslim ads go up in NYC subways

The group that equated Muslim radicals with savages in advertisements last year has put up another set of provocative ads in dozens of New York City subway stations. Read more: Wall Street Journal 

Brooklyn Nets player questioned in Philly sex assault claim

Philadelphia police are investigating reports of a sexual assault that may have involved a Brooklyn Nets team member. Read more: NY1 

2012 was hottest year on record in U.S., climate agency says

The year 2012 was the warmest on record for the contiguous United States, beating the previous record by a full degree in temperature, a government climate agency said on Tuesday. Read more: Reuters

25 years for fatal shooting outside Richmond Hill bar

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

The Ozone Park man who fatally shot a 19-year-old nearly three years ago was sentenced on Tuesday, January 8 to 25 years to life in prison.

Miguel Viruet, 37, was convicted on second-degree charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon last month for the May, 5 2010 shooting of Christian O’Hara outside Scooby’s Bar on Atlantic Avenue in Richmond Hill.

“Today’s sentence is a measure of justice for an innocent young man whose life was tragically cut short,” said District Attorney Richard Brown in a statement. “It also underscores our need to be vigilant in keeping illegal guns off of the streets of our county and out of the hands of those intent on violently attacking others. Violence such as this will not be tolerated on the streets of Queens County.”

In his testimony, Viruet said he received a call just before 4 a.m. on May 5 from his brother who was outside the bar and said he was punched in the face. Viruet said he drove to the bar with two others and spoke to the bouncer, asking who punched his brother. The bouncer told Viruet that his brother was drunk, had been punched outside the bar and not allowed back in.

After driving away, Viruet walked back to the bar later and, from across the street, fired about nine shots at a crowd of people standing outside of the establishment. O’Hara was fatally hit in the lower torso.




Man shot early Sunday; second fatal shooting in Queens over weekend

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photos by Robert Stridiron

A man was shot multiple times and killed early Sunday outside of the Flavor Lounge on Hillside Avenue – becoming the second fatal shooting in Queens over the weekend.

Police said they found Kwasi Olatunji, 36, outside of the establishment around 3:30 a.m. with several gunshot wounds to the torso. EMS transported Olatunji to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A second victim, 27, was taken to the hospital for a stab wound to the leg. The stab victim is in stable condition, police said.

The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.


Central and southern Queens to receive water main upgrade

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DEP

A $14 million upgrade to replace the borough’s aging water system will soon flow into portions of central and southern Queens, authorities said.

About 13 miles of new ductile iron water mains will be installed to replace old unlined cast ones in Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill and Far Rockaway, according to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Design and Construction (DDC).

The infrastructure improvement project is expected to improve water quality, pressure and distribution in residential and commercial areas of the neighborhoods by retiring mains that are over 60 years old, the DEP said.

“Public health and the future growth of New York City are contingent on having an adequate supply of high quality water,” DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland said. “By installing nearly 13 miles of new water mains, we will ensure adequate water pressure for firefighting, basic sanitation and clean drinking water for these Queens neighborhoods for decades to come.”

The new water mains will be installed in locations near Union Turnpike, Queens Boulevard, Kew Garden Road, Park Lane South, Myrtle Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue, Hillside Avenue, Jamaica Avenue and Beach 9th Street.

Construction will be done in phases, beginning March 2013, with expected completion in 2015.

Richmond Hill program will alleviate litter

| mhayes@queenscourier.com


City officials, local merchants and the community are coming together in Richmond Hill to kick-start a program set to beautify the streets.

“We can only do so much, [residents] can only do so much, but together we can do a lot more,” said Iggy Terranova of the New York City Department of Sanitation (DOS).

Councilmember Ruben Wills has teamed up with the DOS, the Wildcat Service Corporation and local business owners to create a commercial corridor cleanup program in response to the illegal dumping and chronic littering around the area.

“Our merchants are stepping up and our community is coming together for advocacy,” said Wills at a press conference on Friday, November 30.

Through the 2011-2012 fiscal year, Wills’ office was able to secure the funds necessary to create such a program, which allowed the DOS to increase its pickups to three days a week, and the Wildcat Service Corporation to pick up along the commercial corridor on another two.

The Wildcat Corporation is a nonprofit organization that provides resources for New Yorkers to become economically independent, according to their website. They have joined the cleanup effort, organizing representatives to assist in litter clearing.

“Problem areas,” such as those along Liberty Avenue and Hutch Boulevard, have been made priorities.

“It’s a citywide problem,” said Terranova. “Litter is everywhere, and it’s not going anywhere unless people take responsibility for it.”

The DOS recommends simple fixes to the litter problem: keep your own area clean, regularly sweep the sidewalk, have your own sanitation receptacle and turn in an illegal dumper.

If the litter is not eliminated around a storefront, owners risk a $100 fine for the mess. This is also applicable to those caught improperly disposing of their trash.

The program also includes the DOS’s “Adopt-a-Basket Program,” in which any person, group, store operator or building manager actually claims a sanitation receptacle and is responsible for monitoring its usage. When the basket is three-quarters full, the adopter will be expected to remove the trash in a bag and leave it next to the basket for the DOS to service. A new liner will be placed in the basket as needed.

Councilmember Letitia James, Sanitation Committee chair, believes that the relationships being made between city and local organizations with local merchants should be valued going forward.

“At a time when everyone is focusing on Sandy recovery and there’s a deficit in the city budget, we need to look towards public-private partnerships,” she said.