Tag Archives: rosedale

Motorcyclist killed after van strikes group of people in Rosedale


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

POLICE TAPE

A motorcyclist was killed and several people were injured when a van struck a group of people as they were loading the man’s bike into a pickup truck in Rosedale Friday night, police said.

The 24 year-old victim was riding along Rockaway Boulevard near Brookville Boulevard that evening when his motorcycle became disabled. A pickup truck and several people met the motorcyclist to help him out at about 8:20 p.m., and, as they were loading the bike into the parked vehicle, a Chevy van hit the rear of the pickup truck and them, cops said.

Another vehicle driving behind the van then struck the rear of the van.

The motorcyclist, who has yet to be identified by police, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to authorities.

Four of the other people standing on the road and the van’s driver were taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Rosedale author pens YA book on bullying


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Delicia B. Davis

JANAE HUNTER

Stories of children driven to suicide from bullying drove a Queens woman to write a young adult book to teach kids to deal with the trauma, learn how to love and come to peace with themselves.

Delicia Davis, from Rosedale, recently published her first book through Precise Production Group, a company she founded back in 2012. The book, geared at a teen audience, tackles issues such as bullying, drugs, relationships and abuse.

Dear Diary: The Bullying Won’t Stop” follows 14-year-old Patricia Thomas, who has lived a life filled with emotional and physical trauma. Although she is well-off due to an inheritance from her grandparents, she lives with an abusive mother, doesn’t know who her father is, and endures bullying from the kids at her high school. Written in the form of diary entries, readers follow Patricia over the span of a year as she struggles to find her identity and find peace.

“I see news stories every day about kids getting bullied and it makes me sad,” said Davis. “Bullying has become so much more prevalent because of the Internet and social media, and I started thinking, ‘How can we help? How can we stop this?’”

Stories of kids being bullied to the point that they commit suicide are where Davis got the inspiration to write this story. She also said that some of the incidents in the book are loosely based on her own life, but that there are big differences between her and the main character, such as the fact that she, unlike Patricia in the book, has a father figure in her life.

Being a mother of two young boys, Davis said that she always has a listening ear for her sons when they need it, as well as for others who seek her advice.

“I will always give advice and listen to those who need me to. Bullying happens, but people need to know you can’t always overcome things by yourself,” said Davis. “Talk to someone — a parent, a friend, a school counselor — anyone. Or write poetry or your thoughts down in a notebook. Some things you can’t handle on your own. Know that you are not alone.”

 

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New Queens golf group hopes to grow sport in black community


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy the UBGA

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

They’re not specifically looking for the next Tiger Woods, but two golf-loving Queens residents are hoping their new nonprofit can help foster the sport in the black community. 

Vernel Bennett, of Laurelton, and Jacques Leandre, of Rosedale, started the United Black Golfers Association (UBGA) — the first of its kind in Queens, they said — and the group will begin hosting meet-ups on golf courses shortly.

Both Bennett, the president of the nonprofit, and his vice president, Leandre, were convinced to play the sport by others and know there is interest, but the sport isn’t as readily available. The nonprofit seeks to provide opportunities for people to play the game.

“If we were exposed to it, we would love it,” Bennett said about the black community. “But our community is exposed to the typical stuff: a basketball court, a baseball field, a football field …”

Bennett, a retired accountant, started playing golf after his son’s recommendation and a lesson on a cruise about seven years ago. He fell in love with the sport and after competing in tournaments and joining the Roosevelt Golf Association, and he realized the benefits of golfing, including the networking side.

He believes through golf, members of the organization will be able to connect even if there is a generational gap.
The UBGA is co-ed, and accepts anyone over the age of 18. There is a monthly membership fee of $20, after a one-time $100 fee. The UBGA will make group trips to golf courses around the city, Long Island and even New Jersey several times each month. And for beginners there are private lessons available from certified trainers, with group and individual packages.

Since announcing the creation of the association, Leandre said they have gotten a positive response from the community on social media.

“The interest is there, but the engine isn’t. Right now UBGA is going to serve as the vehicle to take people to the golf course,” Leandre said. “It’s about exposing and creating an outlet for people to have a game that will last a lifetime.”

Click here or call 917-300-8310 to apply for membership and more information.

 

 

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Rosedale library to close for nearly $1M renovation


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Queens Library

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

The Queens Library is shutting down its Rosedale branch for a $895,000 renovation, turning a page in its history.

The library branch will close on April 17 for the revitalization of the building, which includes a new heating and air conditioning system as well as new ceilings and lighting.

The building update was funded from money allocated by Councilman Donovan Richards.

Starting on April 30, a mobile library bus will provide library service in Rosedale every Wednesday.

 

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New Mediterranean and Caribbean fusion restaurant comes to Rosedale


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Following three years of issues, a new fusion restaurant and entertainment venue in Rosedale is open for business.

Pa-Nash, an eatery that focuses on a fusion of Mediterranean and Moroccan cuisine with Caribbean and soul food, had a soft opening earlier this year and will host its grand opening on Friday to formally introduce itself to the community.

The restaurant, which is on 243rd Street, dealt with setbacks such as building renovation issues and obtaining city permits. But earlier this year the restaurant was completed and held a soft opening to gain feedback before its owners officially introduced it to the neighborhood.

“I’m totally ecstatic — it’s like the birth of our child,” said Noel Runcie, a co-owner. “I have two sons and this is like my third child.”

The menu features dishes such as herb-crusted lump crab cakes with chive garlic aioli and toasted coconut, almond-crusted salmon, and pistachio crumbed lamb chops with rosemary syrup and couscous.

In addition to a sit-down area, Pa-Nash also features a 25-foot-long bar with two flat screen televisions and a lounge for live entertainment. Owners plan to have comedy shows, live bands and karaoke nights. So far, owners said, there has been positive feedback for the establishment.

“The community is excited about this kind of establishment being here,” Runcie said. “They don’t have to go in the city.”

 

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Rosedale Jets celebrate successful football season


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

The Rosedale Jets Football Organization celebrated a successful season, including three Super Bowl wins, at its annual awards dinner Sunday night.

The nine-year-old division, the “Nasty 9s,” was among the Super Bowl victors. This win, however, was not their first.

The 21-boy team won the 2012 Super Bowl game and kept the tradition alive this past 2013 season.

“Their intent was to come out here and learn, and follow through from day one to completion,” said head coach Malik Cherry. “The guys played together last year. They already had a bond, and it helped with the transition in moving up to the 9 year olds [division].”

Cherry attributes the team’s undefeated season to teamwork and enthusiasm amongst all of the players.

“When they came to practice, they understood why they were out there,” he said. “They came to practice. They were focused. They had a lot of enthusiasm. They were out there to learn.”

The Nasty 9s defeated the Hempstead Tigers in a 12-0 victory during November’s Super Bowl game which they played in “arctic” conditions. Cherry said the temperature reached 15 degrees that day.

Coaches wrapped the young kids in blankets while they were on the sidelines and utilized all players so others could have a chance to warm up.

Cherry, in his sixth year coaching, said the past season was “one of the best experiences.”

“My past experiences have been good also. The teams always play hard and put their best foot forward and give 100 percent regardless of any loss,” he said. “But to have a combination of the guys winning and playing their A game, this is definitely a good feeling.”

The Jets’ 10-year-old and 12-year-old divisions also celebrated Super Bowl victories. All three teams were given trophies and jackets at the awards dinner on Jan. 19.

“So often, we highlight when things go wrong, and I think we need to find a way to be enthusiastic when things go right,” said Jets President Jacques Leandre. “Being recognized reinforces they’re special, and can and will be successful.”

About 200 football players and cheerleaders, 45 coaches and team moms make up the Rosedale Jets organization. This year, it was recognized as the Nassau County Football League’s Organization of the Year. Officials said the 2013 season was the “best year Rosedale had in all its 52 years.”

 

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Community members share vision for Laurelton, Rosedale library upgrades


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens Library

More room is coming to the Laurelton and Rosedale library branches and officials’ visions for the project is growing.

Councilmember Donovan Richards allocated $3 million for the two Queens Library reading spots to begin expansion and upgrade projects.

The Laurelton branch, currently 8,000 square feet, will double to 16,000 with the addition of a second floor.

“We’re really excited about that,” said Dave Wang, the Laurelton manager. “The community has a very high expectation and standard for the library. A lot of our residents depend on it.”

Wang hopes the additional space will allow the branch to offer more classes to the neighborhood; something that he said has been in demand.

“In Laurelton, there’s no community center. Everyone depends on the library,” he said.

Richards met with community members and library officials last week to discuss the visions for their respective branches.

“He’s been so supportive from the get-go,” said Joanne King of the Queens Library. “It’s really a wonderful thing for us to see.”

Roughly $1.7 million of Richards’ funds will get the Laurelton expansion off the ground, but $9.8 million is still needed for completion, according to library officials.

Rosedale will receive $1 million, but will still need $6.3 million, King said. The branch’s square footage will expand from 6,000 to 9,400.

Branch officials were able to share their hopes for teen and children spaces at last week’s meeting.

“This is only the beginning, but it’s a very big help,” Wang said.

 

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Primary guide: City Council District 31


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

31

As the clock ticks closer to city primaries on Tuesday, September 10, The Courier would like to provide you, the reader and the voter, with a fair, detailed guide of who is running. Here is a list of the City Council District 31 primary candidates (Rosedale, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, the Rockaways), who they are, what they stand for and what they want to continue to do if they go on to the general election in November.

Name: Ricardo Brown

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Accountant, CPA

Personal Info: Brown, a Costa Rican native, went to Hillcrest High School and SUNY Old Westbury. He is currently a member of the Springfield Gardens Rosedale Community Association.

Platform/Issues: Brown believes some of the most important issues to address in this race is modernizing the district’s educational system, rebuilding Sandy-affected areas and providing youth, senior and veteran services.

If elected, he hopes to enhance education amongst his constituents, create a greater collaboration between the community and police, start a civilian patrol team in various sections of the district, support the growing need for social services in Far Rockaway and increase the Department of Environmental Protection’s efforts to clean up drainage and reduce flooding.

Name: Michael R. Duncan

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: Owner & manager of Jamaica Breeze Restaurant

Personal Information: Duncan was born in Kingston, Jamaica and immigrated to New York in 1978. Afterwards, he attended Baruch College, CUNY, graduating with a BBA in accounting. After moving to Rosedale, he saw the need to revitalize the Rosedale Soccer Club which had been allowed to fall apart. He got involved and eventually became the president.

As a result of his tireless commitment to the public school system, Duncan has been elected PTA president at P.S. 195, J.H.S. 231 and Springfield Gardens High School. Duncan was the one who led the fight against the construction of the “hot sheets” motel across the street from Springfield Gardens High School.

From 2007 to 2009, Michael Duncan was the Chief of staff of District 31. Currently, he owns and manages the Jamaica Breeze Restaurant on Merrick Boulevard whereby he created 12 new jobs in the community.

Duncan is a community activist and has always put the community first. This is why he has volunteered in the school system, revitalized the soccer club and was the force behind Christmas in the Rockaways to bring cheer to the Sandy victims.

Name: Donovan Richards

Party: Democrat

Current Occupation: City Councilmember of the 31st District

Personal Information: From childhood, Richards has been committed to public service both at home and abroad. He served as a missionary in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on behalf of his St. Albans Congregational Church highlighting this as turning point in his understanding of what it means to serve the community. Although he admits initially he had no interest in politics, a tragic series of events changed his mind. In March 2003 his childhood friend Darnell Patterson was fatally shot in front of his home. Richards decided he wouldn’t let Darnell die in vain. Councilmember James Sanders Jr. held a meeting regarding gun violence in the community. His testimony and outspokenness at this forum caught the attention of Sanders and he later joined his staff November 2003.

Platform/Issues: Richards was elected to his current seat through a March 2013 special election, and since has fought against the closure of daycares, after-school programs and firehouses. He additionally brought home nearly $10 million in capital and expense funding over six months, and allocated $3 million to expand district libraries. He also recently negotiated with the Bloomberg administration to bring a Workforce Center to the district and voted to overturn the mayor’s veto on stop and frisk and to create an inspector general to oversee the NYPD.

If elected again in September, Richards will continue to focus on education, jobs and affordable housing. He was endorsed by the UFT, SEIU 1199, DC 37, Communication Workers of America and 32BJ.

 

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Queens has most immigrant seniors in city: report


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Queens has the largest number of immigrant seniors in the city, with Flushing leading the list of neighborhoods, according to a new report.

The borough is home to about 162,000 foreign-born people over the age of 65, says a study by the Center for an Urban Future. The report shows more than 25,000 live in Flushing.

“Immigrants are critical to Queens,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the New York-based think tank.

“They’ve driven a lot of the economic growth in the borough,” he said. “They make up almost half of the population in Queens. It’s important that they can grow old in the city.”

Droves of immigrants, mostly from Asia, first made their way to Flushing in the 1970s, Bowles said.

Since then, many more have moved from Manhattan’s Chinatown to the northern Queens neighborhood for a more affordable way of life that is surrounded by immigrant services. In the last decade, more than 8,000 immigrant seniors have settled in Flushing, according to the report.

“They want to live in Flushing because it’s more convenient for them in terms of language barriers,” said Kathy Liu, program director for the Flushing YMCA’s New Americans Welcome Center. “It’s one of the neighborhoods which allow immigrants to go to different agencies to help them in their language.”

The center is a one-stop shop for non-English speakers and one of many locations where immigrants can receive for free literacy, citizen preparation, job readiness and computer classes year-round. The facility sees natives from China, Korea and even France, Liu said.

The Flushing branch of the Queens Library, which offers similar services, is the most heavily used branch in the state, said Queens Library spokesperson Joanne King.

Still, the report shows immigrant seniors face a number of challenges, including a higher poverty rate. They are also less likely to receive government benefits.

“Many don’t qualify for retirement or housing benefits,” Liu said. “With rent so high in this area, they find it very difficult to live with the savings they brought from their own country.”

According to the report, Flushing has the highest concentration of poor seniors. More than half of all Korean seniors in the city who are below the federal poverty line live in Flushing, the study found.

The Rockaways had the second largest group of poor immigrant seniors, 3,154 people.

“Immigrant adults have all of those traditional challenges, but then they have additional ones because of language barriers or a lack of familiarity with programs and services that are available,” Bowles said. “I don’t see this as a problem necessarily, but as a challenge that New York City policy makers have to plan for.”

Some other highlights:

  • Bellerose, Rosedale, Forest Hills and Rego Park, trailing slightly behind Flushing, also made the list.
  • Howard Beach and South Ozone Park had the largest change in their immigrant senior population. They saw a 112 percent jump, which amounts to nearly 5,000 seniors.
  •  Over the last decade, the number of immigrant seniors in Queens increased by 42,000, while the number of native-born seniors dropped by nearly 41,000.



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Libraries get funding to expand


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Maggie Hayes

Ten-year-old Darius Barnes was upset when he learned his local Laurelton library might be closing.

“I didn’t want it to close,” he said. “The library has helped me.”

Barnes goes to the library after school, where he has been able to do homework and projects, as well as take courses in Mandarin with the site’s manager, Dave Wang.

When the budget for the 2014 Fiscal Year was initially proposed, library funding was set for across-the-board cuts. Ultimately, the cuts put the Rosedale and Laurelton libraries at risk of closure. The community and the City Council responded and were able to take the cuts out of the budget altogether.

Additionally, Councilmember Donovan Richards allocated nearly $3 million in extra funding to expand his district’s libraries.

“This library is my second home,” said Ruth Wright, 11, at the Laurelton site.

Wright, just as Barnes, visits the library after school and said not only has it given her a place to do homework, but also has given her the opportunity to meet new friends.

“Cutting funding to our libraries is the same as cutting funding to our youth,” Richards said.

Libraries are the central parts of the neighborhoods, he said, and these allocated funds will kick off a long-term project of expanding and improving the Laurelton, Rosedale and Rockaway libraries.

“Learning is the key. That’s what this library is about,” said Dwight Johnson, president of the Federated Blocks of Laurelton. “This is what we need in our community.”

Richards’ goal is to allocate $3 million a year for district libraries. He said the Rosedale library will take $7 million to fully expand and complete and $11 million for Laurelton.

“The idea is to give young adults a safe place where they can congregate and grow, with the latest technologies – this gives them a reason to stay in the libraries and off the streets,” he said.

Teen arrested in fatal stabbing of 18-year-old in Jamaica


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

A Queens teen died from a stab wound in Jamaica.

A 17-year-old has been arrested for the murder of a Rosedale teen who was stabbed in Jamaica Saturday night, police said.

Andrew Benitez, of Jamaica, has been charged with second-degree homicide in connection to the death of 18-year-old Aaron Jefferson as well as criminal possession of a weapon.

Jefferson was found unconscious June 22 with a stab wound in his back outside an apartment complex at 148-25 89 Avenue around 10:20 p.m., cops said.

He was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital.

 

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Suspect nabbed in brutal killing of cab driver


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Chinedum Agwu

Nearly a week after the Brooklyn slaying of cab driver Uro Orji Ama, a man has been arrested in connection to his death.

Shamel Allen, 28, has been charged with manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

“We are just going to let the law take its course,” said Agwu Agwu, Uro’s half brother following the news of the arrest. “Making sure that these kids are secure that’s my primary concern.”

Uro’s five children, ranging in age from 13 to 24, are in the midst of moving from Brooklyn to Rosedale to live with close relatives.

Cops found Ama, 54, in his 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis after responding to a traffic accident in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 13, police said.

Ama was dropping off a man and a woman when the man stabbed him through the right eye with an umbrella, piercing Ama’s brain. The cab driver lost control of his car and crashed into parked vehicles.

Cops arrived at the scene and rushed Ama to Brookdale University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, authorities said.

There was no information about the woman witnesses saw.

 

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Family mourns devoted father killed in his own cab


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Chinedum Agwu

He came to the U.S. in search of the American Dream, but his brutal murder has left his family living a nightmare.

Nigerian cab driver Uro Orji Ama died after being stabbed in the eye with an umbrella shortly before Father’s Day weekend.

Cops found Ama in his 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis after responding to a traffic accident in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 13, police said.

Now his five children, ranging in age from 13 to 24, are in the midst of moving from Brooklyn to Rosedale to live with close relatives. Their mother is still in Nigeria.

“There are moments where [one of the children] will shout, ‘Daddy! Why did this happen?’” said Chinedum Agwu, Ama’s sister-in-law.

A few months ago, Ama, who was 54, brought the last of his children to the U.S. in the hope of providing for a better life.

Ama was known to work odd jobs even when he was in Nigeria in order to give his children a standard of living he had never known.

“Everything he did was [for] his kids,” Agwu, 30, said. “He wanted to lay the foundation for them to grow on. Each time you called him, he was at work or going to work.”

Ama was dropping off a man and a woman when the man stabbed him through the right eye with an umbrella, piercing Ama’s brain. The cab driver lost control of his car and crashed into parked vehicles. The motive for the stabbing is unknown at this time.

Cops arrived at the scene and rushed Ama to Brookdale University Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, authorities said.

The NYPD is offering a $12,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects, while the

New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers is offering an additional $5,000 reward.

Ama’s body will be sent back to Nigeria to be buried. His family is still working to schedule a wake in New York.

 

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Parents, officials demand DOT action following accident near little league field


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Alec MacFarlen, a seven-year-old from Rosedale, was crossing the street near his little league field when he was hit by a speeding car on Monday, April 22.

Although McFarlen survived, locals have had enough.

The community has requested a traffic advisory on 147th Avenue between Brookville Boulevard and 232nd Street for years. But community members claim the Department of Transportation (DOT) never followed up.

Rosedale Little League President Bernie Brown said she and other parents have petitioned DOT since 2006 to put “any sort of traffic advisory” on the stretch of road that she calls dangerous.

“These cars will not let people cross the street,” Brown said. “There are parks on both sides of the street. This is an area filled with children.”

Brown said that when she got the call that McFarlen had been hit, she ran to the spot of the accident. She said the little leaguer had blood coming from his forehead and dripping down his face. Brown added that the youngster had to get four stitches on his head and still has scrapes on his face as well as a bruised ribcage.

“Even as an adult, you can’t cross the street,” said Councilmember Donovan Richards. “It’s nearly impossible.”

Still, there were no fatalities in the area or any surrounding intersection from 2007 to 2011, the most recent years for which data are available. One pedestrian injury was reported at Brookville Boulevard and 147th Avenue in 2010.

Richards and Brown said DOT representatives have been to the area to survey the traffic, but that they come during off-hours. According to Brown, during baseball season the intersection is at its busiest Monday through Friday from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

A DOT spokesperson said representatives have been in touch with Richards and the little league about their concerns. The agency plans to re-examine the area to see if there are additional ways to enhance safety for everyone using the street.

The DOT studied the location for a traffic-control device and speed bump in 2009 and 2012, respectively, but the location did not meet the guidelines for installation, according to the spokesperson.

While DOT abides by federal rules, Richards suggested the city “reign in control” of the transportation organization as a possible solution.

“They’re going by federal regulations and we don’t have the pull we need to have them do better,” Richards said. “It’s really disturbing.”

Along with writing letters to DOT, Brown and parents have recently started to file complaints with 3-1-1 about the dearth of traffic devices.

“Set up a blinking yellow light, set up a ‘Children At Play’ sign,” she said. “We’re trying to do a sports program that will keep children off the streets and help mentor them. These kids need an outlet to get rid of some of their stress.”

“Thank god that this little boy—seven years old—has a strong body,” she continued. “He probably will heal, but this will be something he’ll remember for the rest of his life.”

 

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Body found floating near Idlewild Park Preserve


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via Google Maps

Police are investigating a dead woman’s body that was discovered near the Idlewild Park Preserve this morning.

Officers found the unidentified person, who authorities describe as a black female in her 20s, around 1o:30 a.m. floating in the water off of Craft Avenue and Huxley Street in Rosedale. EMS arrived and pronounced her dead.

The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

 

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