Tag Archives: Welcome to Whitestone

EXCLUSIVE: Instagram cyberbullying rocks students at Whitestone’s St. Luke School


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association


Students at St. Luke School in Whitestone are under a cyberbullying attack.

Recently one rogue Instagram account called StLukeIdiots started posting pictures on the social media service of students from the Catholic school, using vulgar descriptions and wishing for some kids’ deaths.

“These kids are all ugly and fat! I’ll be posting the 6th graders that should die..,” the account StLukeidiots said in its description.

The user behind the account has yet to be found, according to Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association Founder Devon Michael O’Connor, who had parents of targeted students reach out to him.

“It’s absolutely disgusting,” O’Connor said. “It’s not nice. It’s cyberbullying. Who knows where this could lead? This needs to stop.”

Welcome to Whitestone posted the Instagram account to its Facebook page on Saturday night, and since then residents and parents have been reporting the account to Instagram administrators to force it to stop.

“Please go on Instagram and report this account: @stlukeidiots. This is cyber bullying and we cannot allow that type of behavior!”, the civic group said on its Facebook page.

While residents and students still don’t know who is controlling the StLukeIdiots account, there has been a friendlier account started called the Stlukebeauties, which has been posting pictures of the students with much nicer descriptions.

The identity of the user behind the Stlukebeauties is also unknown, according to O’Connor, but the account has been posting on StLukeIdiots, asking people to follow it and others have been leaving positive comments to fight the cyberbullying.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Whitestone Bridge art contest winners announced


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre/Drawings courtesy of Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association.


 

 

The winners of the Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association’s Bronx-Whitestone Bridge drawing contest were announced and honored in Councilman Paul Vallone’s office Monday.

More than 300 elementary students entered the art competition, which honored the 75th anniversary of the bridge, but only five were selected as winners.

P.S. 79 fourth-graders Athena Koutsothanasis, Mei Jiang and Joanna Li were winners, as well as P.S. 193 fifth-grader Nicholas Berry and Ellie Choe of P.S. 209.

“It was kind of scary, because I didn’t know if I would get it,” Nicholas said about the contest. “I was really surprised that I was able to win.”

The art competition challenged Whitestone elementary schools students to draw — in any form — a version of the bridge on an 8.5-by-11 sheet of paper. They also had to include a reference to the 75th anniversary in their artwork.

Each winner received a City Council citation from Vallone, a $50 check from Welcome to Whitestone and a $10 gift card from Dunkin’ Donuts.

The winners were judged by Devon Michael O’Connor, founder of Welcome to Whitestone, MTA’s Director of Bridges East Raymond Webb and Vallone.

All of the entries in the contest will be on display in the Queens Library’s Whitestone Branch for the public to view.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

 

 

Star of Queens: Devon Michael O’Connor, president and founder, Welcome To Whitestone


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

image

NIKKI DJOKOVICH

Community Service: In 2011, Devon Michael O’Connor formed the non-profit Welcome To Whitestone Commercial and Residential Civic Association (WTW).  This fourth generation Whitestone resident gave other area residents and local businesses a voice backed by an association that would address their issues and concerns. WTW has formed relationships with other local associations, political leaders and city organizations in order to ensure action on the public’s issues and concerns. The association also promotes and produces family-fun events that benefit the local community.

Background: “This is my home. I’ve played in all the parks, graduated from the local schools and I shop in the local businesses. Now, as a business owner myself, I continue to urge the residents of Whitestone to support their local businesses,” O’Connor said.  To quote a friend of O’Connor’s, “It’s important to keep the unity in community.”

Favorite Memory: O’Connor’s most inspirational and spiritual memory is when he began collecting needed supplies for all who were affected by Sandy. Backed by an immense amount of support from the community, his civic group managed, in under 48 hours, to collect, sort and deliver over 600 large bags of food, clothing and toiletries to several shelters in the Rockaways.

Biggest Challenge: “One of the biggest challenges I faced was overcoming the political opposition I received when forming my civic group,” O’Connor said. He is very grateful for the Whitestone community being so accepting of the various projects that WTW has implemented.

Inspiration: O’Connor is inspired by individuals that understand that the future is a direct result of what is done in the present. Also by the people who are able to find solutions to the problems that others may have given up on. “If your goals are for the purpose of benefiting others in a positive way, the word ‘can’t’ is not an option,” says O’Connor.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Hundreds show up to sign petition opposing Whitestone school site


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Devon O'Connor, president of Welcome To Whitestone Civic Association

CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO

Hundreds came out to Whitestone Saturday afternoon to sign a petition asking the city’s School Construction Authority (SCA) to propose alternate sites for a high school.

Residents, after hearing rumors of a school coming to an abandoned six-acre along 150th Street and 5th Avenue, said they were upset they weren’t involved in the decision process.

The lot would not be appropriate for a school because there are no major streets and no public transportation nearby, said City Council District 19 candidate Paul Vallone.

“We must be the voice that is heard and considered first when it comes to new construction in our neighborhoods,” he said following the petition signing.

According to Vallone, almost 600 petition signatures have been collected.

Vallone, upset by the lack of information, gathered with community leaders and residents on Wednesday to speak out against the SCA’s “unilateral site selection powers,” present them with other sites for the school, and let the SCA know the community wants to be involved.

According to State Senator Tony Avella, the Department of Education (DOE) said there is no official proposal to bring a school to that location.

“I stand with the community to not use this site for the school, but [Wednesday's] rally seems premature,” said Avella. “There’s no proposal. It’s all just rumor.”

DOE spokesperson David Pena said there has been no official decision made to place a school at the Whitestone site.

Anyone who wasn’t able to sign the petition Saturday can sign an online petition. A paper copy can also be picked up at Vallone’s campaign office at 25-59 Francis Lewis Boulevard.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Residents push for safer Whitestone intersection


| mchan@queenscourier.com

accident photow

Frustrations are mounting in Whitestone, where residents are calling on city officials to inspect an accident-prone intersection, located half a block away from a local elementary school, after they said they witnessed a summer of crashes.

“I’ve seen cars smashed up over there,” said Devon O’Connor, president of the Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association. “It’s only a matter of time before a kid gets hit or something worse happens.”

The intersection in question is located at the corner of 11th Avenue and 154th Street, near P.S. 193. A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) said there have been no injuries reported there between 2006 and 2010 — the most recent year for which data is available. Before that, there was only one crash in 1996, which resulted in one injury, according to crashstat.org.

But O’Connor said there have been at least four collisions there during this past summer alone.

“It’s just a horrible situation. It’s always been like that,” O’Connor said. “It’s definitely something that needs to be looked at and looked into.”

There are currently two stop signs for vehicles going east and westbound, but residents say cars constantly parked illegally in a “No Standing” zone impair the vision of drivers trying to go straight on 11th Avenue or make a right turn. Having to slowly inch up halfway into the intersection, they say, makes them sitting ducks for speeding cars zooming down 154th Street.

Last spring, 11th Avenue between 152nd and 154th Streets, where P.S. 193 is located, was converted into a one-way eastbound street. The one-way, O’Connor said, also forces all nearby school traffic to hit the dicey intersection.

“When you stop at the corner, you have to crawl up. You can’t see anything,” said grandparent Nancy Palazzo, 54. “I’m very cautious when I get to that corner, especially if I have kids in the car.”

Parent Robert Moravec, 41, said the single stop sign does not cut it.

“When people can’t see with the cars parked there, they edge half their cars out to see. It’s waiting for a fatality. Without a doubt, it’s dangerous,” he said.

The DOT plans to review requests received from local elected officials, calling for an intersection study, an agency spokesperson said. Meanwhile, O’Connor said he has gathered 150 signatures from local business owners, school personnel and concerned parents who are in favor of a four-way stop or a traffic light.

State Senator Tony Avella said he has been pushing the DOT to take action on this intersection for years dating back to his tenure in the city council, to no avail.

A senate bill he introduced, after the agency repeatedly denied his requests, if passed, would require the DOT to provide a detailed written report of its findings after completing studies. It would also create an appeals process, the senator said, for community members to fight decisions the agency makes on whether or not a traffic control device is warranted.

“When the DOT does a study, they basically tell you ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but they never really tell you why,” Avella said. “The visibility at that intersection is terrible. There are really bad traffic conditions. I’ve never understood why the DOT has not approved, at the very least, an all-way stop.”