Tag Archives: Simcha Waisman

Police arrest a Queens Parks Department manager for sexual abuse of a minor

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rene Herrera

A Woodhaven resident and long-time Parks Department employee was arrested on Sunday and charged with three counts of sexual abuse of an underage family member, stemming from his alleged actions five years ago.

Rene Herrera, 57, who oversees such green spaces as Juniper Valley Park, sexually abused an 11-year-old female relative on three separate occasions in 2008, cops said.

The mother of the girl, who is now 16, reported the incidents to the police on Saturday, December 28. Police have not released specific details of the alleged abuse.

Herrera has worked with the Parks Department for about 25 years, according to the Juniper Park Civic Association (JPCA), and became a regional manager in 2002. He is married and has three children.

People that worked with Herrera said that he is a good person.

“I’ve worked with him on many projects. I’ve known him for a long time, he’s a team player,” said Simcha Waisman, vice president of the Richmond Hill Block Association. “From 2008 to now? Something is wrong with that.”

And Herrera has been very helpful and reliable in managing the parks in his districts, according to JPCA.

“He has been efficient and responsive to any issues we may have, always attempting to solve any problems that are reported to him,” said Lorraine Sciulli of JPCA. “He is readily available by phone if we have the need to get in touch with him quickly. He has always been cooperative and helpful to the JPCA.”

Herrera has been suspended without pay, according to a Parks Department spokesperson.


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One Stop Richmond Hill Community Center low on funds

| ChristopherBrito@queenscourier.com

Houston, we have a problem.

The One Stop Richmond Hill Community Center, which boasts an educational relationship with NASA, is failing to receive the necessary funding to continue its programs, sources said.

Simcha Waisman, president of One Stop for six years and an active resident of Richmond Hill for the last 35, said that the community center is having trouble gathering basic funds to maintain its activities.

“[There have been] Budget cuts, and ever since the elected officials who handle the budget changed, it also changed the priority of where the money should go,” said Waisman.

Despite having received a $10,000 grant from Walmart to carry on with its annual summer camp that focuses on space technology and scientific endeavors, the center had to cut the time frame of the camp from five to two weeks because of financial difficulties. The program costs around $30,000 and is only able run until July 26.

With the exception of teachers, most of the people who work at the community center are unpaid, willing volunteers. The people who are going to suffer most, according to Waisman, are the children and the community because the community center won’t be able to facilitate videoconferencing, Mommy & Me, and other beneficial programs like their food pantry.

For now, the One Stop Richmond Hill Community Center is depending on donations.

“I understand people need money for something else, but we need to pay for electricity, air conditioning and the teachers,” Waisman said, “We are here to serve the community, the people and the children. That’s our goal always. I knock on every door I know to get funding, but I’m going to have to give up the program if I can’t get the money.”