Tag Archives: Springfield Gardens

Two killed, teen injured in Belt Parkway ramp crash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

ambulance

Updated 2:49 p.m.

Two young men were killed and a 14-year-old was hurt Thursday night after their car lost control near the Belt Parkway before slamming into a pole and then a tree, authorities said.

The vehicle, a Mitsubishi Lancer, was apparently speeding westbound on North Conduit Avenue in Springfield Gardens at about 10:45 p.m. when it swerved to overtake another vehicle, according to police. It then tried to swerve back into the left lane and enter the entrance ramp to the Belt Parkway near 181st Street.

The Mitsubishi lost control, drove onto the grass shoulder, striking a light pole and then a tree, cops said.

The driver, 20-year-old D’John Arias, of Corona, was pronounced dead at the scene. His front seat passenger, 19-year-old Karim Carter, of Jamaica, was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased, authorities said.

A 14-year-old boy suffered injuries to his legs and was transported to Long Island Jewish Hospital, where he is listed in stable condition.

The NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad is looking into the crash.

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More West Nile spraying to target Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYC Health Department

Another round of West Nile spraying is set for parts of Queens this week.

The spraying will take place on Thursday, Sept. 18, between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Monday, Sept. 22 during the same hours.

The following neighborhoods are being treated to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease, according to the city’s Health Department:

Parts of Arverne, Bays Water, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Hammels and Somerville (Bordered by Jamaica Bay to the north; Cross Bay Parkway to the west; Atlantic Ocean to the south; and Nassau County Boundary to the east).

Parts of Cambria Heights, Laurelton, Saint Albans and Springfield Gardens (Bordered by 119th Avenue to the north; Farmers Boulevard to the west; Merrick Boulevard to the south; and Belt Parkway and Nassau County Line to the east).

map 2

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

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West Nile detected in Queens resident, four other New Yorkers


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CDC

The season’s first human cases of the West Nile virus have been confirmed in five New York City residents, including one Queens patient, the Health Department said.

Two of the other patients live in Brooklyn, one lives in Staten Island and the fifth lives Manhattan. All five are over the age of 50.

Three of those affected by the virus had to hospitalized.

“The most effective way to reduce mosquitoes in an area is to eliminate standing water, which is where they breed and lay their eggs, and to wear mosquito repellent when you are outdoors,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said. “New Yorkers age 60 and older should be especially careful as they are more likely to develop serious illness if infected.”

The city’s Health Department is continuing to combat the virus by treating areas with rising West Nile virus activity and high mosquito populations.

After spraying several neighborhoods in Queens already this week, the following areas will be treated on Wednesday, Sept.10 between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. the following morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, Sept.11 during the same hours:

Parts of South Jamaica and Springfield Gardens (bordered by 116th Avenue to the north; Sutphin Boulevard, 123rd Avenue and Inwood Street to the west; Belt Parkway to the south; and Rockaway Boulevard, 134 Avenue and Guy R Brewer Boulevard to the east).

Photo courtesy of NYC Health Department

Photo courtesy of NYC Health Department

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

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Jackson Heights mural discourages drunk driving


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

The conversation against drunk driving has taken a colorful turn in Jackson Heights.

A 20-foot by 100-foot family-friendly mural focusing on the prevention of drinking and driving, titled “Hit the Brakes on DWI and Choose the Right Path,” was unveiled on Wednesday at 34-20 Junction Blvd.

The colorful piece, which is on a wall of a Food Bazaar Supermarket and promotes the role of the whole community in preventing DWIs, was completed by 16 teens participating in the Summer Leadership Institute of Groundswell, a local organization dedicated to community public art “advancing social change.”

The group of teens worked as paid apprentices together with co-lead artists Angel Garcia and Olivia Fu over two months during the summer to complete the mural.

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Groundswell worked in partnership with the city Department of Transportation (DOT) and Food Bazaar Supermarket.

“This group has done a really great job making this mural and making this topic really clear and putting it into a positive light, really focusing on the solutions and choices people can make to avoid accidents,” Fu said.

On the mural, the slogan “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” appears in both English and Spanish. The artwork features colorful images and symbols such as the No. 7 train taking passengers away from accidents and a phoenix showing the rising of a community.

To add more context to the mural, the DOT also invited a former DWI offender, who is on probation, to speak with the mural’s project team and share his story and transformation.

“Groundswell youth had a memorable summer job experience, participating in the completion of something meaningful for the community and becoming an essential part of this family-friendly mural on road safety awareness,” said Amy Sananman, Groundswell founder and executive director. “Our youth muralists are eager to share their leaning with the broader community, including real life strategies for DWI deference.”

One the youth artists, Springfield Gardens resident De-Jean Rose, 18, said he had fun during the summer completing the mural and hopes that the community gets the message behind the piece.

“It’s a sensitive topic and throughout the whole summer we got the chance to elaborate more on the topic and note the seriousness,” Rose said. “It was a good experience, everybody was like family and the lead artists were very helpful. It was a good experience overall.”

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Wanted cocaine smuggler nabbed in Springfield Gardens shootout with U.S. marshals: reports


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DEA

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

In a scene straight from an action movie, U.S. marshals serving a warrant at a home in Springfield Gardens exchanged shots with their suspect late Tuesday night, according to published reports.

Marshals surrounded the house at 144th Drive and 175th Street at about 11 p.m. and broke down the door with a battering ram, reports said. The suspect was wearing a bulletproof vest and was the first to open fire. The marshals returned fire and the suspect was wounded in his left hand. Witnesses told the New York Daily News that after being injured, the suspect threw his gun outside his apartment and surrendered to the marshals.

The suspect, Oswald Lewis, was wanted by the DEA for cocaine smuggling and by the NYPD for a stabbing in Brooklyn, according to published reports, and had been on the run for more than two decades.

The shootout terrified the residents in the neighboring houses, with one witness telling the New York Post that it was like a movie. “It was so surreal,” she said.

The suspect was taken to Jamaica Hospital for treatment, reports said. None of the marshals or NYPD cops acting as backup were hurt.

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Man kills brother, wounds mother in Springfield Gardens stabbing: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Updated 4:15 p.m.

A 27-year-old man killed his brother and injured his mother in a stabbing at their Springfield Gardens home Wednesday night before turning the knife on himself, according to police.

The incident happened about 6:40 p.m. during a dispute at the family’s residence on 176th Street near Farmers Boulevard, officials said.

Cops said the suspect, Tony Glover, first stabbed his 46-year-old mother several times in the torso, then stabbed his brother, 25-year-old Victor Johnson, in the torso. He then stabbed himself in the leg.

The two victims were taken to Jamaica Hospital, where Johnson was pronounced dead and his mother was listed in stable condition, officials said.

Glover was placed in police custody and also taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he is listed in stable conditions. He was later charged with second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon, according to cops.

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Ex-bookkeeper busted for embezzling $485K from Queens special needs school


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

handcuffs-with-color-web-size11

A woman has been charged for embezzling from the Springfield Gardens special needs school where she worked as a bookkeeper for more than a decade, District Attorney Richard Brown said Thursday.

Donna Joyce, a 58-year-old Long Island resident, is accused of stealing more than $485,000 from the Martin De Porres School, which moved to Elmont, Long Island in 2012.

Joyce worked as a bookkeeper at Martin De Porres from 2001 to 2012, and, as part of her job, issued and signed checks, and made entries in the school’s business records, according to Brown.

After discovering financial irregularities in the school’s finance office, Martin De Porres Executive Director Edward Dana said he fired Joyce and notified authorities.

“We also acted quickly to replace the entire financial staff and implement strict new financial controls. Moving forward, we have full confidence in the integrity of our new system,” he said.

From January 2007 to August 2012, Joyce used funds meant for school expenses to pay personal expenses, such as her credit card accounts, the district attorney said. She allegedly embezzled the money by making false entries in the school’s business records to make it seem like the checks were being issued for school expenses.

“As a nonprofit organization, the Martin De Porres School relies heavily on government aid and private donations to provide tuition-free education to scores of children from grade two through grade eleven,” Brown said. “In an atmosphere of such giving, it is disheartening to see someone, such as the defendant, allegedly use her position of fiscal responsibility to siphon off hundreds of thousands of dollars in school funds for her own personal use.”

Joyce is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records, according to prosecutors. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

 

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Cabbies arrested after fight at JFK


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Port Authority police

Two livery cab drivers were arrested after a man accused one of them of trying to stab him as the three fought at  John F. Kennedy International Airport Monday afternoon, Port Authority police said.

The victim told police that during an altercation between the cabbies and himself outside of Terminal 8 about 4:30 p.m., one of the men, Wayne Walker, 41, started to chase and threaten him with a knife.

After officers at the scene told the other driver, Junior Rowe, 30, to stop, he allegedly escaped in his Ford Taurus. Rowe almost struck the officers as he sped off, police said.

When Rowe was forced to stop in traffic, he was removed from his car and arrested by police, according to officials.

The weapon, described in detail by the victim, was allegedly found on the floor of Walker’s car. He was also arrested, police said.

No one was injured during the incident and no flights were delayed.

Rowe, of Woodhaven, was charged with attempted assault on a police officer, menacing, reckless endangerment, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, police said. Walker, a Springfield Gardens resident, was charged with menacing, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

 

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Queens Girl Scout cookie champ ready to hand out sweet treats


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DeAnne Lorde

This Queens Girl Scout is one smart cookie.

Springfield Gardens seventh-grader Najah Lorde more than doubled her cookie sales from last year to become the top seller in the city with 2,833 boxes.

Najah, 12, has been selling cookies since she joined the Girl Scouts in second grade, but didn’t surpass the 1,000 mark until 2013 when she sold 1,111 boxes.

That year, she was bested by Upper West Side resident Olivia Cranshaw by about 700 boxes.

Cranshaw set a goal of selling over 2,000 this year. She exceeded that number by 141, but Najah had the right ingredients for a win.

“I was running and screaming all over the house,” Najah said, describing the moment she found out she was the cookie champ.

Each Girl Scout that sells over 1,000 boxes receives all the prizes offered, including a Nintendo Wii and Sephora gift card.

“If you are the top seller you just win bragging rights,” Najah said.

“She’s very competitive, Najah’s father Donovan Lorde said. “She was very determined when the sale started.”

Najah, a member of Troop 4287, claimed she had no special strategy, but her father said she did have a plan, she just didn’t realize it.

He said she made a list of the people she wanted to call and even took his and his wife’s phones to look for potential buyers. Using her networking skills, the preteen urged her contacts to reach out to others.

The Girl Scout said she received a lot of support from family. She also sold the baked goods at her school, Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy in Douglaston, her church, the Greater Allen Cathedral of New York, and her parents’ workplace, SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

“When we tallied up the numbers and we saw 2,833, we were like ‘wow that is a lot of boxes,’” Donovan said.

“To a certain degree we were surprised by the number, but we weren’t surprised that she did it,” he added.

Najah is aiming for another win next year by selling at least 3,000 boxes.

Though her father is supportive of her ambitions, he admits the goal makes him somewhat “afraid.”

This Saturday, the boxes are set to arrive and they will need to figure out how to store, transport and hand out all those cookies.

“We are going to need a very big vehicle to pick up the boxes,” Donovan said.

 

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Southeast Queens schools to receive yearly $2.5M grant


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Richards

Eleven southeast Queens schools are the recipients of an annual technology grant in the name of a civil rights legend.

Councilmember Donovan Richards created the Nelson Mandela Technology Grant through which he will be contributing $2.5 million yearly to his district’s schools to “help fill any financial gaps to ensure our youth have access to the best resources available.”

“I have always believed it is essential our youth have access to the best technology available,” Richards said. “We can no longer focus on competing locally and must prepare future generations to compete on an international level.”

A minimum $50,000 will go to each of Richards’ 11 district schools, including P.S. 123 in Jamaica, P.S. 156 in Laurelton and Excelsior Preparatory High School in Springfield Gardens.

Richards presented the donation at the M.S. 355 and M.S. 356 Springfield Gardens campus Monday. He said he’s proud to provide the funds and could give more than $50,000 where needed.

Springfield Gardens’ I.S. 231 will receive $500,000 this fiscal year to upgrade its playground, and Richards said he is additionally allocating funds for schools still recovering from Sandy.

“As long as I am councilman, I will do my best to provide for our youth wherever there are gaps,” he said.

Richards is following in the footsteps of his predecessor, now State Senator James Sanders, who contributed about $2 million for 10 years to fulfill the district’s schools’ technology needs.

 

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Springfield Gardens celebrates the holiday season


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of Councilmember Donovan Richards

The holiday spirit is alive in Springfield Gardens.

The Christmas tree in Springfield Park lit up for the season on Wednesday, December 11 with residents and community leaders watching.

“This is a great event for the whole family,” said Councilmember Donovan Richards, who hosted the tree lighting along with the Parks Department, Friends of Brookville Park, Storm Rydaz and the Student’s Real Friends Network.

Holiday music played as children took photos with Santa and shared in the community Christmas celebration.

Holiday trees throughout the southeast community are lighting up. The Brookville Park tree was lit on Saturday, December 7.

 

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Pedestrian struck and killed in Springfield Gardens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Updated Monday, December 2 12:08 p.m.

A man is dead after he was hit by a car on Rockaway Boulevard Tuesday morning.

The victim was crossing the roadway at Farmers Boulevard around 6:15 a.m. when a Subaru Impreza traveling eastbound on Rockaway Boulevard struck the man, said police.

He was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was deceased.

The driver remained on the scene of the accident and the investigation is ongoing, said cops.

The victim, 24-year-old Erik Johnson, was on his way to work when he was struck, according to Alicia Tucker, godmother to one of his two daughters, ages three and one.

A candlelight vigil will be held for Johnson Tuesday night at 5 p.m. at Farmers Boulevard and Rockaway Boulevard, where the accident took place, said Tucker.

There is also a fundraiser for the memorial and funeral services for Johnson. Donations can be made online at http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/flying-angel/111896#sthash.r4ctuwA5.dpuf.

 

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Majority of Queens schools score well on progress reports


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The majority of Queens schools scored high on the Department of Education’s (DOE) recently released progress reports.

Out of the 62 Queens high schools that were issued 2012-2013 progress reports, 31 earned As, 16 Bs, 6 Cs, 5 Ds and 4 Fs.

The highest scoring institution was Long Island City’s Academy for Careers in Television and Film, which just moved into a new building at the beginning of this school year. It received an overall score of 100.9.

Flushing High School, Pan American International High School in Elmhurst, Frederick Douglass Academy VI High School in Far Rockaway and August Martin High School in Jamaica earned overall failing grades.

Progress reports were issued for 239 Queens elementary and middle schools. Fifty-eight of them earned As, 97 Bs, 74 Cs, nine Ds and only one, Springfield Gardens’ Community Voices Middle School, failed.

Waterside School for Leadership in Rockaway was the highest ranking Queens middle school, with an overall score of 90.3, and P.S. 203 Oakland Gardens was the top-rated elementary school in the borough, with an overall score of 86.5.

Across the city, the DOE found public school performance “remained consistent, with 87 percent of schools maintaining their grade or moving one grade compared to last year.”

The reports are based on students’ progress, performance, attendance and surveys of parents, students and teachers. High school progress reports also measure college and career readiness.

According to the DOE, more students are graduating from high school ready for college and careers.

The reports found that the four-year college readiness rate is up nearly 3 points since last year.

“The most important job of our schools is ensuring students are on track to succeed in college and their careers,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. “These results are further evidence that the hard work of our teachers and principals is paying off.”

This year’s school progress reports were the last ones issued during Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure.

They could see some changes when they are issued under the Bill de Blasio administration.

“While Mayor-elect de Blasio supports making overall school progress reports available to parents, he would eliminate letter grades of schools which offer little real insight to parents and are not a reliable indicator of how schools are actually performing,” his spokesperson Lis Smith said.

To find a specific school’s progress report, visit http://schools.nyc.gov/ProgressReport.

 

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Queens elementary school teacher sentenced to 35 years for sexually abusing students


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Queens elementary school teacher who was convicted of sexually abusing five of his students has been sentenced to 35 years in prison, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

In June, Simon Watts, 42, of St. Albans, was found guilty of sexual abuse, sexual conduct against a child, forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child, said prosecutors.

According to trial testimony, said Brown, the crimes took place while Watts was working as a third- and fourth-grade teacher at P.S. 15 Jackie Robinson in Springfield Gardens between September 2007 and March 2010.

During that time, he abused four females and one male, ranging between eight and 10 years old.

 

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29-year-old fatally shot in Springfield Gardens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A 29-year-old man is dead after he was shot multiple times in Springfield Gardens Saturday.

Cops found the victim in front of 184-09 140th Avenue around 1:30 a.m. with five gunshot wounds to the body, said police. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

There are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

 

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