Tag Archives: woodhaven

Honda Accords, Nissan Maximas targets of tire and rim thefts: 102nd Precinct


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

In the past two to three months, police from the 102nd Precinct, representing Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and north Ozone Park,  have seen an increase in rims and tires being stolen from late model Honda Accords and Nissan Maximas.

In high-theft areas, cops said to etch the Vehicle Identification Number on windows, doors, fenders and trunk lids to make it difficult for thieves to market any stolen car parts.

Cops advise drivers to always roll up windows and lock the car, no matter where it is parked, and also remove valuables and GPS mounts. They also recommend parking in front of houses that have cameras.

For more information, contact Crime Prevention Officer Quwella Brown, quwella.brown@nypd.org or 718-805-3217.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Police searching for suspect in series of Queens rooftop break-ins


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A suspect has been burglarizing multiple Queens businesses over the last two months by breaking in through the roof or air conditioning vent, the NYPD said.

The thefts all took place between Dec. 14 and Feb. 20 in the Woodhaven, JamaicaSouth Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and South Ozone Park sections of the borough.

In each of the seven burglaries, the suspect stole cash, ranging from $100 to $5,000. The suspect also swiped lotto tickets and calling cards during some of the thefts.

Police have released a video from the latest incident.

The burglary took place about 11 p.m. Thursday at the Pioneer Supermarket at 90-01 Jamaica Ave. in Woodhaven, according to the NYPD.

A thousand dollars in cash and approximately $600 worth of phone cards went missing from the supermarket after the suspect broke in through the roof, police said.

Last week cops also released a photo of the suspect, who was allegedly caught burglarizing businesses in South Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park on Jan. 31 and Feb. 5 by cutting a hole in their roofs.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Cops: $1,600 in cash, merchandise stolen from Woodhaven supermarket


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

A thousand dollars in cash and approximately $600 worth of phone cards went missing from a Woodhaven supermarket following an overnight burglary, police said.

The theft took place about 11 p.m. Thursday at the Pioneer Supermarket at 90-01 Jamaica Ave. , according to the NYPD.

Police said the suspect was able to get into the business by breaking in through the roof.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Ambulance Corp slaps neighbor with $13M lawsuit


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter / @FDNY

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corp recently filed a lawsuit against the collapsed building next door’s owners to the tune of $13 million in damages and lost rent.

Owned by 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC, the deteriorating building, which was an abandoned furniture store, crumbled on April 12 last year, leaving a hole in the roof and damaging the adjoining ambulance corp structure.

“That building next door, because of the negligence of that corporation and others, is a danger to society,” said Angelo A. DiGiangi, general counsel of Community Advocacy Center, which is representing the volunteer ambulance organization pro bono in collaboration with CUNY Law School. “The building looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If this building continues the way that it is, my client will lose its building.”

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center rented space from the volunteer ambulance group, but had to move to a temporary location—American Legion Post 118—after the structure was determined unsafe by the city’s Buildings Department.

Nearly a year later, the collapsed building still has a gaping hole and mold, elected officials said.

After much pushing by local politicians, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC recently paid off $3,200 in fines it owed to the Department of Buildings and hired an architect, according to the agency. However, the building still has eight open ECB violations and a total of $33,000 in fines, $20,000 due in Department of Buildings civil penalties for work without a permit and $7,500 due in  civil penalties for failure to correct hazardous violations, according to the Buildings Department.

“It’s disgusting that it took so long to get to this point,” Assemblymember Mike Miller said. “Seniors have been suffering and they want to be back in the ambulance corp. This is their home.”

The owner of the property could not be reached for comment.

Despite the recent positive movement, elected officials are still unsure of when the owner will actually repair the building.

“I need for work to be done on the building. That would be positive. Paying the fines does nothing for seniors or the Woodhaven – Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corp,” State Senator Joseph Addabbo said. “With that gaping hole in the roof, with the snow and ice, that building is only going to get worse.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Star of Queens: Martin Colberg, president, Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

star

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Martin Colberg is the president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA), a civic association that addresses problems in the community of Woodhaven.

BACKGROUND: Colberg grew up in the Woodhaven and Richmond Hill areas, and has been in Woodhaven for the past 10 years.  Four years ago, Colberg attended his first WRBA meeting, and found the ideas of the association very interesting, saying “I was excited to put some more time and effort into my community.”

GOALS: Colberg has recently been named the new president of the WRBA, and is also the first Latino president, since the start of the association, 42 years ago. Colberg believes this to be a great representation of the growth and diversity in the neighborhood.

According to Colberg, his goal in the coming year will be to continue to get others involved in helping their community.

“I definitely want to concentrate on outreach, among other things in the coming year, just to get more numbers in our membership,” he said.

Colberg wants to concentrate on getting the younger generation involved in their community, hoping he can partner with schools or create a program, so that younger people can realize that they are needed.

BEST MEMORY:  One of Colberg’s best memories was watching his community come together to help those in need after Superstorm Sandy.

“It was such an eye-opening experience to watch so many members of the community put so much money, time and effort into helping those in need,” he said. Colberg recalled keeping the office open for a full week, as a drop-off station, and watching people come multiple times to give their time or make donations of clothes, food or money.

“I remember people getting to their last quarter tank of gas and still making one more trip to the Rockaways to help out.”

INSPIRATION: Colberg’s drive is just seeing others in his neighborhood get involved, saying, “in the fast-paced world that we are in, not a lot of people have that extra time to put into helping their community, but when they do show up, I feel like I have to help out as well.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: As the new president of the WRBA, his biggest challenge is yet to come.  Looking forward, he feels his challenge would just be to gain more exposure and get more people involved, which he believes he can accomplish by the end of the year.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

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.

 

Follow on Twitter @liamlaguerre 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Star of Queens: Jessame Hannus, Transportation Alternatives Queens Activist Committee co-chair; Biking Public Project co-founder


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

DSC_0408

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Jessame Hannus is the co-chair of Transportation Alternatives (TA) Queens Activist Committee and a co-founder of the Biking Public Project.

BACKGROUND: By night Hannus is an activist, but by day she works as an insurance broker. “I have no training in urban planning, but have long been fascinated with the correlation between planning community, what makes a healthy neighborhood or shopping district, and how environment contributes to that. I grew up in a fairly suburban community with the amazing good fortune to have free public transportation and moved from there to Los Angeles and then New York,” said Hannus. “I have never actually owned a car! Even in LA I took the city bus.”

FAVORITE MEMORY: “Getting involved with TA Queens Committee really changed my life. I got to know a truly phenomenal community of caring and committed people who I now call friends,” said Hannus. Being part of the committee has allowed Hannus to be empowered to become a better public speaker and organizer.

One of Hannus’ favorite events was the “Around the World in Dumplings” ride she led last January. During the ride the group sampled cuisine from eight different countries in a seven-mile ride, and each stop Hannus gave the group some information about ongoing activism in the immediate neighborhood. “I loved being able to share my love of food, the culture of Queens and spread the word about community involvement in a way that was fun,” she said.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: According to Hannus, the biggest challenge with complete streets advocating in Queens is explaining the concept to those who are not looped in to the urban planning community. “Time and time again I encounter people who cannot envision a way things could be better. It can be disheartening and discouraging, so I can only imagine how the DOT [Department of Transportation] and City Planning feel when they encounter this sentiment time and time again when presenting their proposals to community,” said Hannus.

INSPIRATION: Living in many neighborhoods in New York City, Hannus encountered a whole new set of transportation challenges when she moved to Rego Park. “Sandwiched between Woodhaven and Queens Boulevard, I quickly discovered that finding safe bike routes would be very difficult. I found TA because I was looking for people to ride with to help me navigate this confusing and dangerous streetscape.”

Then, after a number of years involved in the advocacy, a friend of Hannus, spurred by the lack of representation of minorities and working cyclists in the advocacy movement, started the idea for a group to address that lack. The Biking Public was created.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Cops looking for two suspects in Queens burglary spree


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Two suspects wanted in a September burglary of a Woodhaven bodega have been tied to eight more burglaries throughout the borough, police said.

The thefts date back to August 8, with the most recent incident taking place on November 26, police said.

Businesses the suspects targeted included Stop1 and Jamao Coffee Shop 7 in Jamaica, the Richmond Hill Deli and El Cran Canario Restaurant in Richmond Hill, Darbar’s Chicken & Ribs in South Richmond Hill, East Town restaurant in Maspeth and a Dunkin’ Donuts in Whitestone, according to the NYPD.

After breaking into the businesses the suspects stole cash, ranging from $30 to approximately $4,580, or possibly more. During some of the burglaries, the pair allegedly took merchandise, including scratch off lottery tickets, beer and cigarettes, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Video catches suspect breaking into Woodhaven 99 cents store


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A man looking for more than a bargain broke into a Woodhaven 99 cents store Saturday, taking off with the business’ cash, police said.

The suspect entered the Grand 99 Cents Store, at 85-08 Jamaica Ave., about 6 a.m. by going through the roof, then once inside pried open the cash registers and stole the money, according to the NYPD.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Police looking for suspect in deadly Woodhaven hit-and-run


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Updated December 7, 3:57 p.m.

Police are looking for a suspect who fatally struck a man in Woodhaven Friday morning.

The victim, 35-year-old Yunior Antonio Perez Rodriguez, of Brooklyn, was struck by a car around 3:15 a.m. while attempting to cross Woodhaven Boulevard at Jamaica Avenue, said cops.

Rodriguez sustained severe trauma and was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police said they are looking for the driver, who was possibly driving a white Honda sedan and did not remain on the scene.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Wife, band remember musician killed in Howard Beach car crash


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo Facebook

Jim Sinisi’s wife said the world is “a dimmer place” now that her husband is not in it.

“He was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of person,” said Susan Sinisi of her husband, a musician in the band Wordy Bums.

Only two weeks shy of his 38th birthday, Jim was driving in Howard Beach on Saturday, November 30, just before 1 a.m., when James Celauro, 23, of Ozone Park, crashed into him on 159th Avenue and 98th Street.

Celauro, who cops say had been drinking, is charged with vehicular manslaughter and DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, police said.

Susan had gone to sleep for the night in their Glendale home and was awakened at 3:05 a.m. by a phone call from a nurse at Jamaica Hospital.

“They told me Jimmy had been in a fairly significant car crash,” she said. “It was like my temperature dropped, my insides turned toxic and I couldn’t stop shaking.”

Susan and her mother-in-law went to the hospital, holding hands all the way.

“And I’m praying. I don’t go to church too much, but I’m praying to God that Jimmy is just physically broken,” she said. “I would wait on him hand and foot and take care of him until he was mended. I felt like so much of who is he is, is his intellect and his soul and how he writes.”

Photo courtesy of Susan Sinisi

Jim was with friends in Lindenwood before the crash, his wife said.

“He was the essence of Queens,” said Rjae Izm, Wordy Bums drummer.

Susan said her husband, a native of Woodhaven, was a “crazy, poetic, fiery, beautiful artist.”

“He was just never, ever dull,” she said. “Always fun to be with, super creative and super into creating. He was brilliant.”

Now, Wordy Bums, for which Susan sings back-up, wants to take on the projects that their fallen bandmate left unfinished.

“Jim was the nucleus, the catalyst, the engine. The Wordy Bums can never be the same without such an integral part of this machine,” the band said in a Facebook post. “We are truly blessed to have shared the stage with him and witness true talent.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Green cabs could be coming to south Queens


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of TLC

Green cabs could now be driving down south in the borough.

A representative from the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) will be making a stop at the next Community Board (CB) 10 meeting on Thursday, December 5 to explain the new Boro Taxi procedures, rules, and the program’s presence in the region moving forward.

Betty Braton, CB 10 chair, said the outer-borough cabs coming to the community could either be a benefit or a disadvantage depending on “how it rolls out.”

“I would believe on the positive side, it provides a safer way in the outer boroughs for people to do street hails,” she said. “On the downside, we already have an existing problem with livery cabs parking. I would think it would become problematic if the green cabs decide to take up parking spaces or just cruise constantly in the transit hubs.”

Boro Taxis, similar to livery cabs, are affiliated with a base and may take dispatch, flat-fare calls. However, similar to city yellow cabs, they can also make metered, hailed pick-ups.

Currently licensed livery bases apply for an opportunity to affiliate the street-hail liveries, which is then processed and approved by the TLC. Two sites in South Ozone Park already got the green light for green cabs, according to the TLC.

Resident Jesus Garay made a request on the Boro Taxis’ website for a base at the cross section of Woodhaven Boulevard and Rockaway Boulevard, so cabs could serve Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Bayside students thank soldiers from home


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan

Three soldiers from Queens and Long Island got a hero’s welcome Monday when they paid a visit to a Bayside school.

Students from P.S. 130 welcomed the trio of military men on November 25 with armfuls of letters and a homemade flag with each child’s handprint, thanking them for their service.

Working with a nonprofit, volunteer corporation called Operation Gratitude, the youngsters wrote 150 letters and collected 126 pounds of candy and 150 toothbrushes to be sent to deployed military men and women.

This is the third year the school has helped the initiative.

“It means a great deal to me and other soldiers, serving overseas,” said Master Sgt. Robert Frame, one of three guests. “There are very tough times in combat, and it’s easy to kind of get lost in the challenges and rigors of war. When you receive letters from all these kids, from schools back home, it really lets you know what it is you’re fighting for.”

Frame, 33 of Albertson, Long Island has been in the Army for 15 years, having served two tours in Iraq. He is in charge of cadet operations at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point.

Frame fielded question after question from the curious bunch. Then two Queens Navy recruiters — Rocky Ramdyal and Wubin Emerson Liao — showed their captivated audience a life vest that inflates upon impact.

Ramdyal, an aviation electronics technician, is entering his 16th year with the Navy. The Woodhaven native, last stationed in Hawaii, became a recruiter in downtown Flushing last year.

Liao of Elmhurst, also a recruiter, is a logistics specialist, serving nearly six years with the Navy. He did a four-year tour of duty in Japan before returning home.

“Getting letters from students means a lot more than getting letters from your parents, who know what you’re doing,” Ramdyal said. “When you’re in a war zone area, when you see that letter saying, ‘thank you,’ it means a lot because it’s like our job isn’t going unnoticed.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Woodhaven Boulevard safety still in flux


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The city’s five-year study on Woodhaven Boulevard safety improvements show some solutions worked better than others.

The thoroughfare, which connects Middle Village, Woodhaven and Ozone Park, among others, is one of the most trafficked in the borough and is prone to many accidents, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

DOT officials collected feedback from residents and community leaders on the results of the study at a meeting on November 21.

“They have been very cooperative. They have accepted feedback, and they are trying to do the best that they can,” said Community Board 5 Chair Vincent Arcuri Jr. “I think we need to concentrate on the areas that seem that they’ll never be resolved and come up with out-of-the box solutions.”

Within the last three years, the DOT has implemented some ideas to reduce accidents on Woodhaven Boulevard, like extending sidewalks and medians in the stretch from Queens Boulevard to 62nd Road, which gave pedestrians more space.

The DOT also made the southbound traffic on the service road at the intersection of Union Turnpike and Woodhaven Boulevard a “must turn right” lane in 2011. In 2012, they shrunk the two lanes of the service road into one because it was too narrow.

These solutions had varying results.

Woodhaven Boulevard from Queens Boulevard to 62nd Road had a total of 293 crashes from 2011 to 2012, up from an average of 254 accidents per year before the solutions were implemented, according to NYPD data.

However, accidents at Union Turnpike and Woodhaven Boulevard have decreased 29 percent to an average of 64 from 90 per year, according to the same data.

For future improvements, the DOT plans to change the service road on both sides on Woodhaven Boulevard between Atlantic Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard into one lane of traffic and one parking lane. Currently, from one parking lane and two narrow lanes for traffic.

The department is also planning to create a dedicated bus lane on the northbound side, from the Belt Parkway to Liberty Avenue.

Some people felt more could be done on Woodhaven Boulevard. Not everyone at the meeting believed the solutions were assured to reduce accidents.

“The solutions are, in my opinion, theoretical,” said Community board 9 Chair Jim Cocovillo. “On paper, they are designed to work, but you know as well as I do that many times they don’t.”

After analyzing feedback from the community, the DOT will begin preparing to make the improvements for next year and continue to monitor the troubled thoroughfare.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Op-ed: Proposals for QueensWay project


| oped@queenscourier.com

ASSEMBLYMEMBER MIKE MILLER

I want to take a moment to address the QueensWay project, a proposed public greenway that will transform the Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Beach Branch, which was abandoned over 50 years ago. Specifically, the former railroad extends 3.5 miles from Rego Park and Forest Hills down to Ozone Park. This proposed project is one of great concern to many residents in certain areas of the rail line due to its potential negative impact on the local residents.

Certain sections of the proposed QueensWay, specifically the area of the rail line that runs parallel to 98th Street in Woodhaven, will be adjacent to the backyards of nearly 200 homeowners. Although I have been informed by the Friends of QueensWay that they plan to build the QueensWay completely gated around the entrances and make it inaccessible at night, local residents should not be the ones burdened with the cost of building a more secure fence around their backyards to ensure the privacy and safety of their home.

To find additional evidence of the resident’s safety concern, you do not have to look any further than several incidents that have occurred in and around the vicinity of Forest Park in recent years. I echo the sentiments of residents by asking how can we expect the local precincts to carry the additional responsibility of patrolling and responding to incidents on the proposed QueensWay when our precincts are already being spread too thin within our district as it is? Many of the residents on 98th Street are okay with the rail line being underutilized and prefer it stay that way. I also agree that the rail line from Park Lane South down to Atlantic Avenue be left untouched as to not interfere with the quality of life of the local residents.

Further, as per the suggestion of the MTA in its 20-year plan, the rail line from Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Boulevard should be left as is and eventually be used as a connection for an express line connection into Manhattan.

After carefully balancing the potential positive impact of the QueensWay versus the potential negative impact on certain local residents, I recommend that:

1) The QueensWay be built only on the part of the rail line that stretches from Rego Park to Park Lane South

2) The rail line from Park Lane South to Atlantic Avenue be left untouched as to not interfere with the quality of life of local residents; and

3) The rail line from Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Boulevard also be left untouched, so it can eventually be used by the MTA as an express line connection into Manhattan

In regards to maintenance of the QueensWay, it must be said that this proposed project should not at all be compared to The High Line public greenway in Manhattan. I remain unconvinced that The QueensWay when built from Rego Park to Park Lane South could achieve anywhere close to the level of corporate membership, sponsorship, and support the High Line in Manhattan has based solely on the lack of surrounding businesses in the area and the lower level of tourism that attracts the private funding necessary to maintain a public greenway. Without a consistent level of support and sponsorship from local businesses in addition to private funding, I fear that the QueensWay will eventually become an eyesore for local residents when funding for maintenance becomes an issue.

Additionally, I am interested to know whether Queens-based companies and local businesses will be the ones who are given the contracts to build out this proposed project. I believe that if the QueensWay is going to be built for the benefit of Queens residents and if it will positively impact Queens’ local businesses, then why are there currently no Queens-based companies being sought for the contracts even in the early stages of this project? I can only see a positive impact on the economy of Queens if our own borough’s businesses benefit from building the QueensWay.

Michael G. Miller represents the 38th Assembly District, which includes the neighborhoods of Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale. He was elected in September of 2009 in the Special Election called by Governor David Paterson.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES