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Volume 14 Issue No. 52 Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014


PRESS Photos by Ira Cohen

LAST STOP Mayor Mike Bloomberg makes a stop in Jamaica to praise the City’s record-low crime rate. By Natalia Kozikowska … Page 5.

Online at

Page 2 PRESS of Southeast Queens Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014

News Briefs Woman Killed By The M Train

A woman was hit by a Queensbound train on the morning of Dec. 23. She allegedly jumped in front of the M train at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station, on the Ridgewood border, police said. According to authorities, she was in her 30s and was pronounced dead at about 9:30 a.m.

South Jamaica Man Gets 95 Years In Prison

On Dec. 19, the Queens District Attorney Richard Brown sentenced a man from South Jamaica to 95 years in prison for a December 2011 shooting rampage. Brown identified the defendant as Damel Burton, 34, who shot 18-yearold Keith Murell inside his mother’s apartment and then boarded a Q111 bus, where he fatally shot passenger Marvin Gilkes and injured another straphanger. “The defendant’s capacity for causing senseless violence in such a short period of time can only be described as incomprehensible and as having no place in a civilized soci-

ety,” Brown said in a statement. “His actions were both vicious and unprovoked. The sentence imposed by the Court is more than justified in order to punish the defendant and forever protect society.” Burton was convicted earlier this month of two counts of second-degree murder, one count of seconddegree attempted murder, one count first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a four-week jury trial before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Butcher. According to the trial testimony, Burton shot Murrell once in the chest inside the victim’s Foch Boulevard apartment during the afternoon of Dec. 2. After being shot, Murrell fled into his room, closed the door and jumped from the second-story window to a grassy area below. He was later pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital. Thereafter, Burton left the apartment and walked to the Q111 bus stop, where he boarded the bus and shot Gilkes in the back of the head. He also shot Jojuan Lipsey, now 31, in the face. Gilkes was pronounced dead at the scene of the crime and Lipsey was moved to Jamaica Hospital, where he survived the gun shot.

Man Shot In Richmond Hills

On Dec. 22, a man was gunned down at Liberty Ave. and 112th St. in Richmond Hill, after several men tried to jump him, authorities said. The man, identified as Gerrard Edwards, 23, was found with gunshots wounds to his torso at about 3:30 a.m. He was moved to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the police. An investigation is ongoing. Edwards grew up in Richmond Hill.

Man Stabbed In Jamaica

An altercation between two men in front of a bar in Jamaica turned

into a stabbing, authorities say. The two men were last seen in a dispute outside of Euphoria Bar, at 144-05 Jamaica Ave., when the suspect stabbed the 22-year-old several times. He then fled the scene in a black four-door sedan, according to the police. The victim was moved to a local hospital in critical but stable condition. Police are looking for the suspect and anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577TIPS (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.

Brief Us!

Mail your news brief items to: PRESS of Southeast Queens 150-50 14th Rd., Whitestone, NY 11357

Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 3

Presstime BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA On Dec. 23, reps from the Parks Dept. joined Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik to share renderings of the more than $4.5 million worth of improvements coming to the Roy Wilkins Recreation Center. The design includes a new storm drainage system, reflective “cool roofs” to reduce energy consumption, building waterproofing and new multipurpose rooms. The project, which is anticipated to break ground next year, is being funded with $2,518,000 allocated by Comrie and another $2,150,000 allocated by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. According to Jacqueline Boyce, chairperson of the Southern Queens Park Association, the center was in dire need of a new storm drainage system. “This is a wonderful thing for the community and a wonderful thing for folks to share and be a part of. I think one of the things we needed most was the new drainage system,” she said. “We had a lot of flooding and water problems. Once it rained hard or it snowed too hard, we would

get flooded and were unable to operate, so once they get rid of all that water, we can move on to other things.” Boyce is confident that with the new improvements, more residents in Southeast Queens will be able to utilize the facility. “We have many, many people that come into the park and once they understand that the pool will no longer have water problems, that we don’t have to close the doors when it storms outside, they will be coming in and I’m sure it’s going to attract many more people,” she said. Grodenchik, who attended on behalf of Marshall, also believed that the improvements to the Recreation Center were long overdue. “We are delighted that this project is moving forward. This is very special – it is one of the largest parks in the county and the work here is desperately needed,” he said. “It will take a little while, but I think people will see a much improved resource here and that will be wonderful for the hundreds of thousands who use this every year.” For years, Comrie, like the Southern Queens Park Association, has been pushing the City to funnel more

Photo by Natalia Kozikowska

Roy Wilkins Center Gets Funding For Improvements

Patrick McDonough of the NYC Parks Dept. shows Councilman Leroy Comrie and Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik renderings of the more than $4.5 million worth of improvements coming to the Roy Wilkins Recreations Center.

money into the park for improvements. Although he did not intend for the money to originally fund a new storm drainage system, he recognized that there was a real need for it. “I’m glad that this is almost ready to go. As far as the process, it’s been difficult,” he said. “When we put the money in, it wasn’t meant to go to groundwater but it’s been a real issue and it wasn’t going away. I’m glad that the Parks Dept. has come up with an effective way to resolve the problem

so now we can get the park dry.” Comrie added that in his new role as Deputy Borough President come Jan. 1, he will continue to ensure that the parks in his district, and across the City, get the funding they need. “I’m going to be working with Borough President Melinda Katz and trying to keep the same beat that Borough President Marshall had in supporting our facilities,” he said. Reach Reporter Natalia Kozikowska at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or or @nkozikowska.

Bloomberg Touts Education Record In Long Island City BY TRIShA SAKhujA

Photo by Ira Cohen

The students at Bard Early College High School in Long Island City patiently waited for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott on Dec. 20, as the two made their way to Queens during Bloomberg’s farewell visit to the five boroughs. During each visit, the Mayor highlighted where each borough stood in 2001 and where it stands today in key areas. The Bard Early College High School is one of 81 new schools, which opened in 2008 in the Borough, where more than 41,500 new school seats have been added. One of the students to introduce Bloomberg and Walcott to the podium was Omar Ferreira, 17, a resident of Woodhaven and a native of the Dominican Republic, who will graduate from Bard to attend the University of Chicago on a scholarship in the fall. “Once I started taking the courses that Bard offers, I realized I wanted to take physics and mathematics,” Ferreira said. “I don’t think I would

Mayor Michael Bloomberg stopped at Bard Early College high School in Long Island City during his week-long tour of the City. have been able to do it without the amazing range of courses that are offered here.” Bloomberg highlighted the 201213 school year because 67.6 percent of Queens high school students graduated within four years, an increase of 25.3 percent from 2005, when the State started its calculation. He touted that the administration

has built 63 new school buildings in Queens. “The good news today is that people want to go to the public school system,” Bloomberg said. “No matter how quickly we are building seats, we are filling up the demand.” “For the record, I was never lucky enough to go to a school like this,” Bloomberg added. “They didn’t even exist when I was in high school.” After focusing on how well schools in Queens are doing, he spoke of the many accomplishments the administration has made in Queens as a whole. “In New York, we live as a mixture and elsewhere, they live as a mosaic,” he said. According to the Queens Progress report released by the City, overall crime is down by 37.6 percent since 2001. “Crime is a record low in the City,” he said. Since 2002, Bloomberg said 9,000 businesses have been created in Queens. From 2002 through 2012, there was also a nearly 19 percent increase in the number of private employers in

the Borough, according to the report. That also adds to the fact that 52 new hotels in Queens have opened since 2002 – the most of any Borough – with another 14 under development. “There is more to see and do in Queens,” Bloomberg said. “This is the place where the world comes.” Bloomberg said the City has invested in more than 75 cultural projects in Queens. “Queens is stronger than ever,” he said. “I don’t think there is a better place to see that than here in Long Island City, along the waterfront.” Even though access to the waterfront has been cut off for many years, he said the City has been trying to reconnect to the waterfront by developing it. The East River Ferry service has been extended to 2019, Bloomberg said. Bloomberg said the LIC waterfront will be home to the largest affordable housing development project since 1970. It will see 5,000 housing units when the Hunter’s Point South development is complete. Reach Reporter Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, tsakhuja@, or @Tsakhuja13.

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New Champions Crowned At Resorts World


Although the fight did not end in a knockout, Super Bantamweight fighter Nate Green, the only boxer of the night who was not signed to 50 Cent, did give his challenger, Thomas Snow, quite the beating. Green, from New Haven, Conn., (4-0, 1 KOs) knocked down Snow, of Washington, D.C., (16-1, 10 KOs), twice. Snow did survive all six rounds in the ring while being repeatedly hit, but his determination was no match for Green, who won a unanimous sixround decision.

At the first fight of the night, Donte Strayhorn of Cincinnati, Ohio, (3-1) defeated Sam Moura of Altona, NY, (0-2). Strayhorn sealed his victory at 1:34 of the fourth round. Moura did get a few good shots in at Strayhorn, but Strayhorn returned the punches visibly harder than his challenger, knocking Moura down to the floor, unable to recover from the count. Reach Reporter Natalia Kozikowska at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or or @ nkozikowska.

Toy Drive Distribution: On Dec. 19, Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) joined Santa Claus to give out toys to more than 200 autistic children at the Lifeline Center for Child Development in Jamaica. The gifts all came from a toy drive held by Weprin’s office. The kids were thrilled for the chance to meet St. Nick and get a present from him.

Photo by Joe Marvilli

On Dec. 20, rapper 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions sponsored an amateur boxing event at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park. Six new champions were crowned – half of whom won their new regional titles with a knockout in just the first round. The most anticipated match-up of the night ended after just 53 seconds of the first round. Amir Iman of Albany (11-0, 10 KOs) knocked out Sergio Perez of Tijuana (28-15, 19 KOs) with one brutal jab to the face. Iman subsequently walked away with the NABA Jr. Welterweight Regional Title in less than one minute, while a stunned Perez lied motionless on the floor for a few minutes before getting back up. Iman remains undefeated in his weight class, with all but one fight resulting in a knockout. The second most anticipated fight similarly ended in a first round knockout. Joel Diaz Jr. of Los Angeles, Calif., (13-0, 11 KOs) easily defeated opponent Tony Walker of Cincinnati, Ohio, (5-3-1, 3 KOs) with a knockout in just 2:27 of the first round, clinching the Jr. Welterweight Title Belt. The chances seemed grim

for Walker, who fell to the floor in the first minute but managed to get back up. His effort proved to be no match for Diaz who, like Iman, remains undefeated, with all but one fight resulting in a knockout. Much like the last two fights, rookie Ryan Martin of Chattanooga, Tenn. (1-0) effortlessly triumphed over Eric Goodall of Las Vegas, Nev., (1-2) with a knockout in the first round. Martin finished off his opponent in just 1:22, even celebrating his Lightweight Title before Goodall managed to get up from the hit. The fight for the Jr. Middleweight Title proved to be more entertaining and lengthier than the last three fights. Emmanuel DeJesus of Canovanas, Puerto Rico, (8-0, 5 KOs) finished Antonio Fernandes-Chaves of Brockton, Mass., (4-13-2) at 2:59 of the fourth round. The fight was off to a slow start in the first two rounds, with both opponents focused on conserving their energy. Fernandes-Chaves managed to get in a few clean shots in, but was unable to tire DeJesus, who displayed more strength while on the verge of victory in the fourth round. FernandesChaves did beat the count, but could not recover.

Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 5

Bloomberg Touts All-Time Low Crime Rate BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA With just days left before he leaves office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making his rounds across the five boroughs, praising the successes of his administration. On Dec. 26, the Mayor made one of his final stops in Queens, visiting Jamaica’s Neighborhood Opportunity Network to highlight the City’s all-time low crime rate. Under his administration, Bloomberg said, crime in New York City was down by more than 32 percent compared to 2001, despite the added demand of counterterrorism, fewer officers in the ranks and an additional 300,000 to the City’s population. “Over the past 12 years, New York has driven crime down to record levels,” he said. “New Yorkers live in the safest big city in the nation and we should be proud to be national leaders in another respect too, and that is that New York City also continues to butt the national trend of an ever-increasing reliance on prison and jail.” Bloomberg claimed the record low numbers not only reflect the excellent work of the NYPD, but also the City’s ability to help the incarcerated steer clear from a life of

crime upon release from prison. “We think that this is a huge success story and that there is a connection between incarcerating fewer young people and having a lower crime rate. We’ve kept our City safer, is the bottom line, while locking up fewer people,” he said. “All the evidence shows that all too often, repeated spells behind bars can lock inmates into a cycle of poverty and crime, so if we can avoid putting people in that situation, we should be having fewer people out on the streets committing crimes,” he added. He cited City programs like Jamaica’s NeON, which are designed to help young men that are on probation get out of further trouble with the law and get their lives back on track. “The re-arrest rate for NeON probationers who are 16-24 years old, is nearly 23 percent lower then probationers in the same group who aren’t in the NeON program,” he said. “When you send somebody to a place where all they are going to do is learn how to be a worse person, then they are not going to have any role models that you want them have – that’s just not good for society and it’s certainly not good for the individual.”

South Jamaica resident Michael Smith talks about how the City program NeON helped him turn his life around after he was arrested. Pictured to the right of Smth is Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

He added that 90 percent of newly-admitted inmates have been in jail before – an average of nine times each. To further prove his point, Bloomberg invited 24-year-old South Jamaica resident Michael Smith to speak at the press conference. Smith is just one of many young men who have utilized the NeON program to break free of an arrest cycle. “I wasn’t an honest kid. A year ago, I caught a charge [and] I’m not proud of it. I wound up getting probation, met my PO [parole officer] Ms. Campbell, she introduced me to the NeON program,” he said.

“I was a little discouraged, I took a few tests, did what I had to do and I made something of myself.” Smith, who now does demolition for a construction company, said he is proud of all he’s accomplished and credits NeON for his success. “I’m glad I joined this program because it changed my life a lot,” he said. “I go home the other way and when I see my friends, I keep it moving. I just want to do better to take care of my family.” Reach Reporter Natalia Kozikowska at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or or @nkozikowska.

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OF SOUTHEAST QUEENS 150-50 14th Road Whitestone, NY 11357 (voice) (718) 357-7400 fax (718) 357-9417 email The PRESS of Southeast Queens Editor-in-Chief:

Steven J. Ferrari Contributing Editor:

Marcia Moxam Comrie Production Manager:

Shiek Mohamed

Editorial A Tragic Holiday


While many of us celebrate the holidays with friends and family this week, there are some who will spend this week mourning the loss of a young life, struck down well before his time. We send our thoughts and prayers to the family of Noshat Nahian, the eight-year-old student killed in a traffic accident late last week, and we wish that they were not going through the anguish they must be experiencing just one week after the accident. This week, our elected officials in Western Queens reacted to the incident, calling for legislation to enact tougher consequences to those who operate a motor vehicle without a license. Their hearts were surely in the right place, but instead of creating reactionary legislation, we should focus our attention on some of the more dangerous intersections in the City to ensure that children are not putting themselves at risk of a driver – whether they have a license or not. More strict consequences for these illegal actions do not always work as the deterrent that we hope for. Instead, we should focus on creating safe pedestrian passageways for adults and children, to keep those traveling by foot safe.

Queens Today Editor

Regina Vogel


Photo Editor: Ira Cohen

Bloomberg’s Mixed Legacy

Reporters: Natalia Kozikowska Joe Marvilli Luis Gronda Trisha Sakhuja

To The Editor: In re: Bloomberg’s LegacyPRESS of Southeast Queens Dec. 20-26, 2013, while there may be some aspects of Bloomberg’s tenure as Mayor

Art Dept:

Rhonda Leefoon Lianne Procanyn Barbara Townsend Maureen Coppola Advertising Director Alan Goldsher Director of Marketing Advertising Executives Merlene Carnegie Shari Strongin Brenda Jones

A Queens Tribune Publication © Copyright 2013 Tribco, LLC

Michael Nussbaum Publisher Ria McPherson Comptroller

that may leave a laudable legacy, his partnership with 21 term-limited City Council members to overturn twice public-supported term limits, will not be among them. Nor will his abysmal record in support of small business and his contempt for local com-

munity boards. Not only did Bloomberg ignore the overwhelming majority of Community Boards 7 and 3 (48 votes against and 24 in favor) that did not approve the Mets Ball Club and The Related Companies manipulation of the Willets Point project approved in 2008, so as to allow a 1.4 million-square-foot shopping mall at Citi Field, but he also ignored the fact such a mall will wreck havoc on all the small businesses on Northern Boulevard, Roosevelt Avenue, 108th Street and other shopping areas and create enormous traffic problems. He engineered an enormous taxpayer giveaway to multi-billionaires with regard to Willets Point. He refused to accept the fact that a huge shopping mall is a radical change of use from that of a parking lot and required a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure; all for the benefit of big business, which he consistently considers his true constituents. He is forcing the eviction of many small businesses from Willets Point without their having other places to which to relocate. He justified the Willets Point project on the basis the area was a

blight, ignoring the fact it was the City that caused the blight by collecting sewer taxes when there were no sewers and other taxes without dealing with the area’s infrastructure. Perhaps the most egregious of all is his romance with real estate moguls, and his failure to understand small businesses are not only the backbone of our local economy, but unlike big box mall stores whose profits are often posted to head offices located far from New York City, their money stays and is spent in our communities. Bloomberg’s legacy will surely include a lack of care or interest in the poor, the middle class and small businesses and may well exceed those things that could be considered laudable. Benjamin Haber, Flushing

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Reflections On The Holiday Season As I walk across York’s campus this time of year, I love watching our students scurry inside. Most are looking to escape the cold and retreat into warm libraries or sip hot coffees, rigorously preparing for finals. This time of year is among my favorite, and in many ways, much like the weather, it’s strikingly bittersweet. As you may have heard, tragedy befell York College this semester, as we laid to rest Manuel Luna Ceron, a student and friend. There is nothing more painful as a College President than to have to share the news with your students that one of their classmates has died. We all feel the pain of this loss and we have to search in our hearts and minds for new beginnings. This season, York’s campus is teeming with silver linings.

We boast an incredibly diverse student body – our classmates hail from over 100 countries, and many of them are the first in their family to attend college. I’m filled with hope when I reflect on the story of Robert Fernandez, a former undocumented immigrant. After transferring to York College from Union County College and under the guidance Professor Anne Simon and others, through York’s standout Biology program, Robert harnessed a passion for science. He recently received his “green card” while studying for his PhD in Biochemistry at Yale University. Here at York College, we know that other students like Robert have the potential to succeed. We are proud when our students go on to accomplish wonderful things in their lives and careers, and

as educators, we are inspired by their remarkable stories. This year, we were able to watch our alumni give back in such meaningful ways. We listened as Ray Warren, ’76, now an executive at NBC, who co-founded the original York College radio station, WYCR, made a generous contribution to help breathe new life into the updated campus station, We named new members to our Foundation Board, intent on ensuring the doors of York College are always open to students desiring of education, and we chose Michele Chow-Tai ’99 to serve at the helm of the Board. We beamed with pride as Dr. Holger Henke, our assistant provost, was awarded with an Administrative Fulbright Fellowship and Dr. Selena Rodgers, a beloved Social Work

professor, received a Fulbright Fellowship, which she fulfilled in the Republic of Moldova and in South Africa. I am also delighted to add that York was also chosen as a site for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s initiative, Start-Up New York; and I was asked to serve on the transition team for mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. Throughout the holiday season, we reflect upon the past and plan for an even more successful future, finding innovative ways to expand its reach in the community and the world. I’m proud of all that our students, faculty and administration have accomplished this past year, and look forward to exciting new developments in 2014. Marcia Keizs, President, York College

Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 7

Dr. James Muyskens Transformed Queens College BY JOE MARVILLI Queens College has seen a renaissance over the last dozen years, with new programs, new buildings, new technology and a new attitude. At the center of these massive changes has been Dr. James Muyskens, who took over as president of the school in July 2002. Facing many challenges to revitalize the college’s academics, fundraising, culture and student body, Muyskens spearheaded accomplishments like the creation of the college’s first residence hall, the addition of new courses, the hiring of top-tier faculty and the improvement of student outreach. As he wraps up his time as president, Muyskens talked about his time at Queens College, what led him there and his plans for the future. Before Queens College Muyskens was first inspired to get involved in education as a high school student in South Dakota. He had a “superb” math teacher and thought about becoming one himself. Once he got to college though, he did not find math as challenging and switched to philosophy. Besides setting him on a new educational path, Muyskens’ college experiences inspired what he wanted to do at Queens College as president. “I went to a small liberal arts college, had an opportunity to interact with the faculty that were teaching me. I really wanted that here,” he said. “That is one of the truly exciting things about Queens College. We’re big, far bigger than the place I went to as an undergraduate, but when we do student satisfaction surveys, right at the top of the list of things that students are happy about is their ability to interact with faculty.” Getting a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Michigan, Muyskens wound up beginning his career in the CUNY system, at Hunter College. Once there, he fell in love with the mission of CUNY, part of which is to provide high-quality, accessible education to students who may otherwise not have had the chance to attend college. “I actually could have gone to more of an elite type of institution, where the students would be more upper-middle class,” he said. “But to be able to teach students who are the first in their family to go to college and then to make a difference in their lives, that really got me.” After a couple of other jobs, Muyskens was approached by Queens College to become its ninth president. Although he said he was not looking for another job, he was

During Muyskens’ time as Queens College President, he improved the campus by spearheading its first residence hall, making it green-conscious and hiring top-tier faculty.

once again drawn in by CUNY’s and Queens College’s mission as well as the opportunities New York City had to offer. A New Type Of Campus According to Muyskens, he arrived at a campus that looked tired and rundown. He was concerned that some people referred to the school as “just Queens College.” It was this attitude that he set out to change. “We need to make sure people truly have pride in this place,” he said. “That people want to say ‘I work at Queens College’ or ‘I go to Queens College.’” To help create this environment, Muyskens felt that people had to be on-campus and involved in campus activities more often. As a result, Queens College opened its first residence hall, the Summit Apartments, in August 2009. The struggle to make that a reality was one of his biggest battles, but once it opened, the building was a success. “Now the students who are in drama and theater can do productions, and their friends and other students see them. The athletes are watched in their games and their performances,” Muyskens said. Additionally, Muyskens wanted to make sure Queens College fully served the wide array of students that walk through its doors each year. Given that Queens is the most diverse Borough in the world, the president wanted a strong faculty and campus to greet them and expose them to new ideas. Just having a diverse student body is not enough, he said. During Muyskens’ time, Queens College has hired a large number of faculty members who are not only strong teachers and researchers, but also love

instructing the type of students who attend the college. Muyskens said he is proud of programs like LunchTime 2.0, which was developed in the Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding. Students trained to engage other students go to the cafeteria and mix students together, rather than having them only interact with their own ethnic group. “We’re the portal for immigration. If you’re with people from all over the world, you’ll find the person sitting next to you doesn’t hold your beliefs at all. That’s a fantastic place to be if you’re going to figure out what do you believe, what are your values, what do you really think is important,” Muyskens said. Besides becoming more varied during Muyskens’ time, Queens College’s campus has also become more populated. When he arrived, the population was under 15,000 students. Now, that number has grown to about 20,000 students. One of the biggest objectives for Muyskens was to increase low-income student outreach, hoping to give them a chance to achieve in college and make their way up the economic ladder. Washington Monthly’s 2013 college guide ranked Queens College second in its “Best Bang for the Buck” list. “To give them a chance is so exciting. We helped them develop those skills,” Muyskens said. “That’s what higher education really should be. That’s the goal we’ve been working on for the last decade.” Moving With The Times While the college’s student population reflects the demographics of the 21st century, Muyskens has helped the campus itself keep up with present-day technology, environmentalism and job opportunities.

Having Queens College on the cutting edge of new technology meant hiring faculty who were involved with research and development at that level, an objective Muyskens pushed forward. One of the faculty members, Andrew Rosenberg, worked on improving the speech synthesis quality for Watson, the IBM computer that competed on “Jeopardy.” Another faculty member is working on technology to help those who are blind. While using YouTube and other widely-available technology for projects is a basic example of what most students are doing, Muyskens said that many classes are really diving into what today’s innovations can do for their studies. “We’ve done all sorts of experimenting with technology. Virtually all of our classes are going to be using technology in some way. They’re trying all sorts of things in the classroom,” he said. “This is an area where it’s changing so fast, it’s hard to keep up.” Queens College is also using advancements made in the last decade to create a green-conscious school. It has made significant changes in terms of its environmentally-friendly policies and development. “One of our strategic goals is to be an example for our students for what you have to be like for a sustainable future,” Muyskens added. When the Summit residence hall was completed, it met the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements for gold certification. LEED buildings are ranked on a scale of 100 points, with platinum certification being the only ranking above gold. The structures are judged on five categories: sustainable sites, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, water efficiency and indoor environmental quality. Muyskens spent a large portion of his last year as president in Queens Hall, rather than in the President’s Office at Kiely Hall. That building is undergoing renovations to improve its energy-efficiency. The work will install new walls and replace inefficient ventilators, heating and cooling systems with less-draining alternatives. “We’re renovating that space to be truly energy-efficient, to have the right kind of multiple pane windows and all those things,” Muyskens said. “Everyone’s paying a certain price for this in terms of convenience. But when it’s finished, it will be a visible symbol of our commitment to energy conservation.” As impressive as all the improve(Continued on page 8)

Page 8 PRESS of Southeast Queens Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014

Dr. James Muyskens Transformed Queens College (Continued from page 7) ments to the campus are, the focus of a student body’s everyday life is the curriculum. With the world caught up in a decade of change, Muyskens added courses to reflect the job opportunities of today and tomorrow. The president updated the school’s general education class offerings, as well as adding new programs in business administration, neuroscience, graphic design, bioinformatics and computer science. Muyskens said that these fields are growing and have continually brought a fresh feel to Queens College, in terms of what students can learn and what the new faculty members can bring to the school altogether. “We’re always asking ourselves what will really serve students best in the 21st century,” he said. “A curriculum has to be dynamic. It has to change and it changes from two ways. It changes from looking at the future. It also changes as you hire new faculty.” Of course, Queens College is more than just an undergraduate campus. Due to nationwide changes in education, the number of teachers who are getting jobs has dropped. This has led to a decrease in the number of teachers coming back to get Master’s Degrees at Queens College. To combat this, Muyskens has diversified the school’s offerings at the graduate level, adding degree courses in Fine Arts, business, risk management and more. The campus is also home to PS 499 and Townsend Harris High School. According to Muyskens, the former has been a huge advantage for education students and the latter has high school students taking college level courses, boosting its profile. Cultural Education At Queens College, learning does not end once class is over. The campus is full of events, programs and extracurricular activities that offer top-tier entertainment as well as unique learning opportunities. As part of Muyskens’ objective to create a true melting pot, Queens College launched two programs that celebrate the diversity of the college, the Borough and the planet. Education Abroad gives students the chance to go out into the world, studying in different countries such as Germany, Greece, Italy, Oman and Japan, for up to a year. Students that cannot make such a trip are not left out of the loop either. Every year, Queens College celebrates a different country with its “Year Of…” program. Using the ex-

Muyskens led a cultural revitalization at Queens College through projects like Education Abroad, “Year Of...” and the Kupferberg Center for the Arts. He also pushed forward on a massive fundraising campaign that has raised millions of dollars. pertise of people on campus, the program gives students a year-long crash course on life in countries like India, China, Turkey and Brazil, this year’s selection. The program permeates the entire campus, from dance to art to music and even sports. There were cricket games last year on campus and soccer this year. “Here’s an idea whose time has come. It’s been that way ever since, just real enthusiasm,” Muyskens said. The president has worked to make sure that Queens College’s cultural offerings spread beyond the walls of the campus. With the massive work done on the Kupferberg Center of the Arts as the centerpiece, the college has worked to attract A-list talent to its now state-of-the-art facilities, such as LeFrak Concert Hall. From recent headliners like Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby and Cyndi Lauper to student productions of musicals like “South Pacific,” the Kupferberg Center has become a draw to the City as a whole, with packed houses for all of its shows. Given all the work that Muyskens has put into making Queens College’s cultural scene bloom, he was happy that he got a chance to participate in a performance during his last month as president. He read “Twas The Night Before Christmas” at Colden Auditorium, with the Boston Pops backing him. “Oh, it was so much fun. We worked so hard on the arts, it’s sort of fitting for me in my last month here to be able to stand up there with

the Boston Pops behind me, supporting my narration,” he said. Fundraising and Research All of the renovations, expansions and creations that Muyskens spearheaded would not have been possible without the funds to support them. Therefore, the president had to push forward on a massive fundraising campaign. Fortunately, the alumni of Queens College have been very supportive over the last decade. Muyskens said the school completed its first campaign of $100 million and is close to completing a second campaign of $150 million. “If you can say, look what we’re doing here, we transform students’ lives. We can be the cultural hub of the Borough of Queens. We have faculty here that are second to none. Then people want to give,” he said. Besides fundraising, Queens College has also made strides to get more research grants, another field where Muyskens wants the school to be a major player. While they used to bring in about $10 million in grants, that number is now around $25 million. Muyskens attributed this to the faculty recruiting that the college has done, as many are either involved heavily in research or they know how to get grants. Muyskens’ Future While Muyskens spent a lot of time looking back and talking about all of his achievements at Queens College, he also addressed his future.

He plans to do some consulting, to use his experiences to help new presidents in a confidential manner. Next fall though, he will begin working as a university professor for CUNY. Although he was still figuring out which school he will teach at, Muyskens was excited by the prospect. “That’s the dream job. It gives me an opportunity to be in the classroom,” he said. “I can do the thing I love most, which is teaching. But I won’t have the 24/7 grind of managing a huge institution like this.” Although he did teach on-andoff during his years as president at Queens College, he said he was not able to fully dedicate himself to just being a professor, as the responsibilities of his presidency always called to him. “Any problem that happens on campus involves the president. If the heating and cooling system is out in a building, the president has to be involved. If something horrible happens, the president has to stand before the press to deal with it,” he said. “You can be teaching a class and then be distracted.” Muyskens added that he plans to give the new president, who has yet to be selected, plenty of space, but he hopes to be invited back for openings and dedications. His advice for his successor? He or she should love the mission of CUNY and be ready to take advantage of all the exciting changes happening in Queens. “What we have now, with this incredible mix of people, people doing very well from different ethnic groups, working together. That’s the future. We just got there first,” he said. “A new president should really find that exciting and want to be a leader in figuring out how we can best live with this rich worldwide diversity.” Having overcome numerous challenges, Muyskens leaves Queens College with many large-scale projects accomplished. Although he said there is always time to do more, he is happy with how much the college has been able to achieve during his time as president. “Opportunities always come along. You don’t even know they’re coming and you want to take advantage of them. We developed a strategic plan for 2008 to 2013. It had rather ambitious goals like the residence hall, like the Kupferberg Center, like developing some of the departments,” he said. “The amazing thing is we did it. We really did it.” Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@, or @Joey788.

Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 9

Officials, Friends Honor James Muyskens We can expect no more of a college president than the contributions made by Jim Muyskens to Queens College. During his tenure, he has led the college to make great strides forward in many areas. I want to pay tribute to him for his leadership role in building the profile, impact and sustainability of the arts both for students and for the community at large. His commitment was such that my wife, Selma, and I agreed to make a contribution to help Jim and the arts leaders on campus realize their vision and build a strong foundation so that long after he leaves his position as president, the arts will maintain their position as a vital component of the college. The entire Kupferberg family salutes Jim for all his contributions, his leadership and his warm and welcoming way of sharing opportunities for us all to contribute to the success of this important public college. Max Kupferberg Max Kupferberg, along with his late wife, Selma, gave a sizeable donation to Queens College in 2006, allowing for the renovations to the Colden Auditorium, LeFrak Concert Hall, Goldstein Theatre and Godwin-Ternbach Museum, collectively known now as the Kupferberg Center. As an alumnus and enthusiastic supporter of Queens College, I am very proud to hear that Dr. James Muyskens is being chosen as the PRESS of Southeast Queens “Person of the Year,” after his many years of service as president. His dedication to the students and alumni of Queens College has been unmatched. In his 12 years, he has accomplished many things that benefited our school, such as increasing alumni involvement and developing the campus facilities. The college has been praised by many national publications for these and other achievements. As stated in the New York Times, under his leadership, Queens College has become one of the best values in American education. Queens continues to attract some of the finest students worldwide and has some of the best faculty and administrators in the country. I have had the privilege of meeting President Muyskens on many occasions and being a guest in his home during alumni receptions for the Dead End Boys Fraternity. His efforts to reach out to the alumni of influential organizations have motivated many to reconnect with the college. This simple step has reminded us what a great school Queens College is and how far it has come. Dr. Muyskens has done a won-

derful job utilizing the alumni and allowing them to continue to be a vital part of our Alma Mater. President Muyskens is leaving Queens College a very fine institution from which we have all benefited tremendously from. I look forward to seeing Queens College provide opportunities to a whole new generation of students from around the world. It has been a great privilege and pleasure to know and assist President Muyskens and I wish him the best of luck in his retirement. Paul Giovinco From the day he started as Queens College President, Dr. Jim Muyskens reflected a natural leadership quality. His tall stance and engaging demeanor subtly commanded attention. But as if he could figuratively grow taller, his vision for the school captured attention. He strengthened relations in the business community, built student residences and developed an entrepreneurial center where world-renowned business leaders became mentors. He embraced, studied and celebrated the ethnic diversity of the student body, alumni and the community. Queens College is not just an incredible CUNY school, but an international institution because of Dr. Muyskens’ foresight. Carol Conslato Carol Conslato is the director of Public Affairs for Con Edison and is responsible for community and government relations in Queens. When James Muyskens officially steps down as president of Queens College of The City University of New York at the end of December, he will leave behind a legacy of accomplishment and performance to be appreciated, admired, and applauded. As a proud QC alumnus (Class of 1976, Bachelor’s degree; Class of 1986, Master’s degree), I am grateful to Jim for all that he did in the past dozen years to bring much added value to the degrees earned by our proud graduates. Jim will be long remembered for working to increase the ranks of full-time faculty while enhancing student services at every possible level. As the late former Chancellor and former Queens College President Joseph S. Murphy said, “The true quality of a higher education institution is the quality of its faculty.” The recruitment and retention of great teacher/scholars were very much priorities of President Muyskens. As an administrator with the

CUNY system, I was afforded many opportunities to work closely with and observe Jim at work on behalf of the well-being of Queens College. Here are a few examples. From the very beginning of Jim’s presidency, he was eager to establish a residence hall on campus. Part of positioning Queens College to enhance its ability to compete for the best and brightest students anywhere meant providing some appropriate student housing capacity. This required careful consultation and communication with elected officials and community leaders. Together with CUNY Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning and Management Iris Weinshall, we made key rounds together, supporting and building on the work of Jim and his senior administrative team in developing plans for a facility consistent with the campus needs. Today, “The Summit” residence hall serves students with distinction and purpose, enhancing campus life and permanently strengthening the college’s image in the higher education marketplace. Jim also assiduously focused on assuring Queens College’s place in competing for national distinction. During his tenure, Queens College consistently improved its market position in external rankings, the most recent of which was featured in a front page fall 2013 New York Times story (above the fold) in which it was reported that Queens College was ranked second in the nation in the 2013 “Best Bang for the Buck” All Schools category published by Washington Monthly. This should not come as a surprise to those familiar with a college that has produced five Goldwater Scholars, six National Science Foundation Fellows, seven Fulbright Scholars, and four New York City Urban Fellows during the past 10 years. I worked especially closely with Jim in support of obtaining funding from several sources to augment the great work of the Louis Armstrong House Museum, administered by Queens College. We made many rounds to piece together support from City, State, federal and private partners. Plans are now being realized to establish a new education center. In addition, Jim has put in place the seeds for the first Louis Armstrong International Music Festival — just one example

of many in considering the enormous contribution that the college continues to make through creative and vibrant cultural initiatives. Jim’s record is longer and wider and deeper than the examples of achievement I cited. The great news is that he will continue to teach within the CUNY system. Thank you, Jim, for all you have done to further enhance the value of a Queens College degree for all alumni everywhere. Jay Hershenson Jay Hershenson is CUNY’s Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Secretary, Board of Trustees, Queens College Class of ’76 and ’86. What does one do when President Muyskens challenges you to write a cultural vision statement to determine how “Queens College can be the best arts center for Queens?” One does it, but not alone. I assembled a team of arts and community advocates both on-campus and off, and we prepared that vision statement for him, though our vision was one that would truly stretch the capacity of the college to fulfill. And, I wasn’t the least bit surprised that President Muyskens would accept the challenge and pave a path for us to achieve the goal. The vision statement is for Queens College to “lead a cultural Renaissance in the Borough of Queens through collaborations with sister arts organizations, community, civic and other non-profits as well as faith-based organizations which would allow every resident to be engaged in cultural programs and activities.” President Muyskens valued the broad impact this could have in terms of Queens College providing programs not only on its campus – the largest cultural complex in the Borough of Queens, but also in the multitude of neighborhoods in Queens where our students and their families live and work. President Muyskens is a leader. He appreciates that leadership means putting oneself in a challenging position and engaging folks to meet the challenge to provide benefits and opportunities to constituents by doing so. Every day we look at how we can be the “best arts center for Queens,” and know that by aspiring to this goal, we come one step closer to fulfilling the college’s motto, and one President Muyskens embraces with passion, commitment and integrity, “we learn so as to serve.” Jeffrey Rosenstock Jeffrey Rosenstock is the assistant vice president, external and governmental relations, at Queens College.


Page 10 PRESS of Southeast Queens Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014

Queens College - The Muyskens Years Queens College President Dr. James Muyskens spent the last dozen years at the college, transforming the educational institution. Here, take a look at some of the changes to Queens College Muyskens spearheaded in his time at the school. Remsen Hall

Goldstein Theatre Colden Auditorium

The Summit Apartments

Outdoor Dining Hall

Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 11

Police Blotter gation, police later arrested the following individuals: Devonnee Wilkerson, 32, of South Jamaica, was charged with kidnapping: abduction resulting in death, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Malik Wilkerson, 33, of South Jamaica, was charged with assault and kidnapping: abduction resulting in death.

102nd Precinct Burglary Police are asking the public’s assistance locating a male wanted in connection with a burglary that occurred at approximately 6 a.m. on Dec. 14, inside of Grand 99 Cents Store, located at 85-08 Jamaica Ave., within the confines of the 102nd Precinct. The suspect entered the location through the roof, pried open the cash registers and removed an unknown amount of currency. Video is available online.

110th Precinct Robbery The NYPD is asking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating the following suspect wanted in connection with a commercial robbery within the confines of the 110th Precinct. At 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 15, the suspect entered ATN Financial Services, a check-cashing business located at 94-72 Corona Ave., Corona, and squirted lighter fluid throughout the location. The suspect displayed a lighter and demanded cash. The employee at the location complied and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. No injuries were reported at this incident.

103rd Precinct Homicide Arrest On Dec. 20, police arrested two individuals in regards to an incident on Dec. 3, where a 38-year-old woman, identified as Sheryl Outerbridge, died at Jamaica Hospital after sustaining injuries. The medical examiner later ruled the death a homicide due to the blunt force trauma to the head and body. As a result of an ongoing investi-

A surveillance video of the suspect and the incident is available online.

Homicide At 5:52 a.m. on Dec. 21, in front of 96-06 Roosevelt Ave., Corona, police responded to a call of a man stabbed. Upon arrival, police observed the victim, identified as Furman Herrera-Martinez, of Corona, unconscious and unresponsive with stab wounds to the chest and arm. EMS responded and transported the victim to Elmhurst General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The investigation is ongoing.

114th Precinct Wanted For Questioning The NYPD has released the name of a suspect wanted in connection with the Feb. 2 death of Francisco Leal, who was discovered with a gunshot wound to the chest during an incident within the confines of the 114th Precinct. Police have released the name of the suspect, identified as Lawrence Scott, a 28-year-old Hispanic male.

He is described as 5-foot-6 inches tall and weighing 210 lbs.

115th Precinct Forcible Touching The NYPD is asking the public’s assistance identifying the following suspect wanted for forcible touching, in transit, within the confines of the 115th Precinct. At 3:38 p.m. on Dec. 10, a 21-yearold female was riding the 7 train headed towards Flushing Main Street when the suspect rubbed up against her and grabbed her buttocks. The suspect fled the train at Flushing Main Street. The suspect is a white male, 5-foot10 and weighing 200 lbs.

City Employee Arrested At 8:35 a.m. on Dec. 21, Wendy Margarin, 40, an off-duty NYPD traffic agent, was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, criminal mischief and harassment.


Borough Beat

Bill Would Penalize unlicensed Drivers The Western Queens community has gathered to mourn yet again, after a child was killed in Woodside last week, the fourth child to die because of automobile accidents this year alone. Just days after a crash involving a truck driver with a suspended license took the life of eight- year-old Noshat Nahian, State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) introduced legislation that would make it a felony for drivers to drive with suspended licenses and kill or seriously injure someone in the process. On Dec. 20, Nahian was hit and killed by a truck while walking to Gwendoline Alleyne PS 152 with his 11-year-old sister, at 61st St. and Northern Blvd., in Woodside. On Dec. 23, Gianaris gathered with local elected officials, Paul White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, and other community groups at the crosswalk where Nahian’s life was taken away. Gianaris also proposed the immediate impoundment of the license plate of a vehicle being operated by someone with a suspended license. Since drivers like the one involved in the recent tragedy are charged

Photo by Trisha sakhuja

By TRisHA sAkHujA

streets, including Northern Boulevard, must be safe and livable and no child should ever die simply trying to cross the street on his way to school. “With the implementation of this bill, we will be able to prevent countless fatal collisions that have claimed the lives of innocent victims like 8-year-old Noshat Nashian in Woodside,” Van Bramer said. White said from 2007 to 2011, no less than 180 New Yorkers died by drivers with suspended licenses. “We as a City, as a State, as a sojust days after an eight-year-old boy died in Woodside when a truck driver with ciety, finally recognize this problem a suspended license hit him, state sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) proposed for what it is, which is the number a legislation that would make it a felony for drivers to drive with suspended li- one killer of children in New York City,” White said. censes and kill or seriously injure someone in the process. White said because of the fear some with only a misdemeanor, Gianaris Elmhurst) said before another trag- live in about reckless driving, “we are said he is hopeful that these bills will edy occurs, the City needs a compre- not able to walk and enjoy our City.” Through this legislation, we would become law and help prevent more hensive street safety plan. “Speed cameras and other tech- be saving lives, preventing injuries tragedies like this one. “Nothing is more important than nologies, as well as school crossing and giving our kids the freedom they protecting our children and this tragic guards, need to be included,” he said. need, White added. “This is a long over due common accident is a stark reminder that we “And we need vigorous enforcement must redouble our efforts to make our of existing traffic laws and to create sense legislative change that would streets safer, including bringing chron- new, smart laws such as the one Sen- finally make the punishment fit the crime when it comes to lawless drivically reckless drivers to justice,” he ator Gianaris is proposing.” said. “A little boy is dead because this Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer ing in New York City,” he said. Reach Reporter Trisha Sakhuja at driver was still on the road despite re- (D-Sunnyside) said the investigation is ongoing as to exactly how (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, tsakhuja@ peated unsafe driving violations.” State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East this occurred, but he understands all, or @Tsakhuja13.

Page 12 PRESS of Southeast Queens Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014


astoria Resident Shines Light On Hospice Care By TRiSHa SakHuja An Astoria resident’s one-woman show offers a passionate insider’s view of hospice care. Taren Sterry works as the manager of volunteer training for the notfor-profit Visiting Nurse Service of New York Hospice Care, the largest provider of hospice services in New York City, but she is also a writer, performer and teacher, who has entertained countless families, nurses and hospice care field workers with her one-woman show, “180 Days.” Sterry said the show is the true story of her first six months working in hospice care and what led to her career with VNSNY. After working in hospice care for 11 years, Sterry launched a funny - yet dramatic and uplifting one-woman show that has been touring the country at various conferences and hospice programs since 2008. It also serves as an educational and inspirational piece for the hospice care workers.

“I consciously moved to New York to study death and dying and I unconsciously moved to New York to do theater,” she said. Since Sterry combined her theater and hospice work, it has given her the opportunity to share the message of hospice in the comedy world and also share the comedy in the hospice world. “We don’t have to just be hospice workers; I can be a teacher, a counselor, an actor and many things,” she added. The show ties difficult subject matters like death and dying with poignant humor by narrating it through Sterry’s most memorable hospice patients, while artistically explaining why the idea that hospice is a depressing and taboo topic is an outdated myth. “The show is my story,” Sterry said. “It is entertaining and it can teach people about what hospice is.” While “180 Days” is designed to speak to hospice workers, teaching

Elvis impersonators, Michael Bolton at Queensborough By jOE MaRViLLi Whether it is top-notch impressions or the real thing, the Queensborough Performing Arts Center is starting 2014 on the right foot. The first 2014 event at the theater, found on the campus of Queensborough Community College, is “The Elvis Bash,” celebrating the King’s birthday with some of the best Presley impersonators in the business. That is not all though. In February, Grammy-award winning singer and songwriter Michael Bolton will perform a concert at the center. “Blue Suede Shoes – The Elvis Bash” will take place on Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. Performers Scot Bruce and Mike Albert will take on different aspects of the career of the King of Rock. Bruce will dazzle audiences with his takes on Elvis’ early hits and Hollywood career. The impressionist looks so much like Presley that Martin Guitars presented him with a replica of the guitar they made for Elvis. Albert has the voice, the look and the jumpsuits of Elvis’ later period, throwing reverence and passion into every note he sings. Tickets for the performances of two different Elvis impersonators cost $40. Speaking of passion, Bolton will

perform a concert on Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. The singer, songwriter and social activist is well-known for hits including “When A Man Loves A Woman,” “How Can We Be Lovers” and “Go The Distance,” the latter of which is featured on the soundtrack to the Disney film, “Hercules.” The singer recently became a viral sensation with his appearance alongside rap comedy group The Lonely Island, on “Captain Jack Sparrow.” Tickets for Bolton range between $55 and $65. “We’re always trying to reach as many people in the community through our programming as we can,” Susan Agin, managing and artistic director for QPAC, said. “We decided to celebrate Elvis’ birthday with two of the most sought-after impersonators in the country. We are thrilled that Michael Bolton has [agreed] to help us celebrate the presidential holidays in February.” The Queensborough Performing Arts Center is located at 222-05 56th Ave., Bayside. To buy tickets or for more information, call the box office at (718) 631-6311 or visit www.qcc. Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@, or @Joey788.

Taren Sterry

them how to embrace working in this unusual field and helping spark much needed conversations among family and friends about end-of-life care, there are also many funny moments during the show, Sterry said. “We let them know, it’s really okay to laugh because they think they shouldn’t laugh at such a serious matter,” she said. “But in truth, comedy is a very appropriate coping mechanism when we are dealing with such heavy issues.”

Sterry, who plays 20 different characters during her show with no costume changes, said “I get to share my story with thousands and thousands of people, and more importantly, I get to share the stories of my patients and my own family.” As for how she wants people to feel after watching the show, Sterry said “It really is up to the audience and each individual to interpret it and relate it to their personal experiences.” Next year, Sterry said she plans to write her memoir and continue to perform her one-woman show anywhere around the country. For more information about the “180 Days” show, visit For more information on how to become a hospice care volunteer through VNSNY, visit Reach Reporter Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, tsakhuja@, or @Tsakhuja13.

Red Storm Look To Second Half In early November, just days before the start of the season, Red Storm Head Coach Steve Lavin said “this is a team, by mid-January, early February, I expect to be clicking and hitting on all cylinders.” The offense arrived as an early holiday present for Lavin, with a 96-87 win over Youngstown State last Saturday. It was the third time in the last four games that St. John’s scored more than 80 points. The Red Storm are now 8-3, with just one game to go before conference play starts. One big reason is the return of D’Angelo Harrison. After missing the end of last season due to a suspension, Harrison has been the scoring leader in eight games this season. “He’s as gifted an offensive player as I’ve coached,” said Lavin after the team’s first win of the season, against Wagner. “He has a knack for scoring and can put points up in a variety of ways.” Harrison set the school record for three-pointers on Saturday, passing Willie Shaw, who connected on 151 between 2000 and 2003. Even the individual milestone fits in with

more of a team-effort this year. “It’s good to have it and hopefully I hold onto it for awhile, but I couldn’t have done it without these guys,” Harrison said, acknowledging his teammates. Sir’Dominic Pointer said that “over the last two years, we depended on two people to score the ball.” Twice when Harrison did not lead the team in scoring, it has been Phil Greene IV. Chris Obekpa has anchored the defense, leading the NCAA with almost five blocks per game. It’s an impressive encore for the big man who set St. John’s and Big East freshman records with 133 blocks last season. St. John’s seems to have the balance between talent and maturity that at times has been absent, and look to prove their coach’s prediction of peaking later in the year correct. “Steve Lavin put together a really athletic and talented team,” said Monmouth Head Coach King Rice, whose Hawks were a Red Storm casualty. “Later in the season, they are going to be better.” - David Russell

Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 13


FRIDAY 12/27


The Museum of Moving Image is screening the granddaddy of contemporary crime films, “The Godfather” at 7 p.m. Starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, the film remains one of Hollywood’s greatest works of modern storytelling. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, he makes a gripping film from the first frame to the last. The Museum is located at 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria.


The Central Queens Y in Forest Hills is open to all Y members and their guests for a Saturday night event. The community center will offer activities like a swimming pool, a gym and exercise equipment for all to use, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Each of the events is divided up into men only, women only and co-ed. For more information, call the Health and Fitness department at the Queens Y at (718) 2685011 ext. 500.

SUNDAY 12/29


Join the fun for an hour long session of terrarium building. The class will help your child create their own mini living world. They supply the materials and your child supplies his or her imagination. The class is $40, which includes soil, plants, toys for decor- fairies/ holiday decor/ animals, crystals/pebbles/rocks, container- glass or wood, instruction, care cards and a gift box. The class will take place at 23-07 24th Ave., Astoria, from noon until 1 p.m.


KTU 103.5 will host a weekend kickoff party at Resorts World Casino. Two hours of music mixed by Bartel and DJ Tommy Nappi will be heard live at the Casino and on the radio on KTU. You can also compete for RW gift cards. The party will begin at 10 p.m. and end at midnight. The casino is located at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd.,South Ozone Park.

Need a good laugh after Christmas and before the year ends? Join the fun at the Laughing Devil Comedy Club, located at 47-38 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City. The show starts at 8 p.m. and it will showcase the best comics that the City has to offer with a rotating cast with a healthy mix of celebrities and the next-big-thing. There is always something new, and you never know who is going to drop by.

SUNDAY 12/22


Parallel Exit, the premiere physical theatre company in New York City, will present “Exit Stage Left” at Queens Theatre. This speed-of-light comedy looks back to the days of vaudeville, with the five-person team putting on a performance that ranges from tap dance to live music to slapstick comedy. This holiday event will run at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and repeats on Dec. 28 and 29. Tickets are $25, with a family four-pack costing $80. Visit or call (718) 760-0064 to purchase tickets. Queens Theatre is located at 14 United Nations Avenue South. 1 a.m. The Attic Lounge is located at 44-25 Douglaston Pkwy.


Little Makers will present a rocket-building workshop at the New York Hall of Science, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Build and launch a high-flying rocket and create colorful splatter painting fireworks. There is an $8 materials fee per family, with paid general admission. For more information, call (718) 699-0005.



The Douglaston Manor will hold a New Year’s Eve party from 7:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. There will be a cocktail hour, a hot and cold buffet, an open bar and a four-course dinner. There will be a DJ on hand to provide music and a champagne toast to kick off the New Year. Tickets are $125 per person. Call (718) 224-8787 for reservations. The manor is located at 6320 Commonwealth Blvd.

including Tom Cowell, Kyle Ayers, Leighann Lord, John Moses, Scott Sharp, Danny Palmer and Kareem Green – to ring in the New Year. The club will hold two shows, at 8 and 10:30 p.m., with a cost of $65, which includes an appetizer or dessert and two drinks. For information, visit www.laughingdevil. com.


Award-winning Americana singer D.B. Rielly will ring in the New Year at Rest-au-Rant, 30-01 35th Ave., Long Island City, starting at 9 p.m. Admission is $10. For information, visit

cocktail hour with lobster, clams, appetizers and more. Tickets for the event cost $240. The party will start at 7:30 p.m. and end at around 2:30 a.m. For more information about the event, please call (718) 843-5055 or email Russo’s on the Bay is located at 162-45 Cross Bay Blvd., Howard Beach.



New Year’s Eve!



End the year right at the Z Hotel, located at 11-01 43rd Ave. in Long Island City. The night includes an open buffet and open bar for $125 with a live DJ. Please contact Z NYC Hotel for pricing. Reservations are required for New Year’s Eve packages and bottle service. For reservations and additional information, contact the hotel directly.


The Attic Lounge will spend New Year’s Eve with eight bands going up against each other in a Battle of the Bands competition. Each band will have 30 minutes to perform, with prizes for the top three. Attendees will choose the winner. There is a $10 cover that comes with one draft drink ticket. If you pay $30, you get an open bar for draft beers from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. If you pay $50, you will get an open bar for call cocktails from 10 p.m. to


The Laughing Devil Comedy Club in Long Island City will feature famous headliners –


Ring in the 2014 at Terrace on the Park. This New Year’s Eve celebration will run from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. The party will include a cocktail hour, dinner, music by Bravo Sounds and a live Times Square simulcast. Tickets cost $125 per person. All tickets must be pre-purchased. To do so, call (718) 592-5000. Terrace on the Park is located at 111th Street and 52nd Avenue.


Spend New Year’s Eve at Russo’s on The Bay in Howard Beach. There will be live entertainment with a DJ and live Latin music. There will also be an open bar and


The Queens College Knights men’s basketball team will face Le Moyne College at a home game at 7 p.m. This is the only game where Queens College and the Syracuse-based college will face each other in the regular season.


Send all information to or mail to: 150-50 14th Rd., Whitestone, NY 11357

Page 14 PRESS of Southeast Queens Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014

Queens Today Section editor: reGinA VoGeL

Send announcements for your club or organization’s events at least tWo weeks in advance to “Queens today” editor, Queens tribune, 150-50 14 road, Whitestone nY 11357. Send faxes to 357-9417, c/o regina or email to queenstoday@ Yearly schedules and advanced notices welcome!

EDUCATION EMPLOY BARRIERS Friday, December 27 central library. register. KNIT & CROCHET Fridays Fresh Meadows library at 11. CHESS CLUB Fridays at 3:30 at the Auburndale library and 4 at the Woodside library. BRIDGE Mondays except holidays 12-4 at Pride of Judea in douglaston. Lesson & play $10. Partners arranged. 423-6200. ADULT CHESS Mondays and Thursdays Queens Village library at 5:30. CHESS Tuesdays rosedale library at 4. SMALL BUSINESS Tuesdays Small Business Workshop at the central library. register. WATERCOLOR Wednesdays all techniques and subjects at the national Art League.969-1128. CODEACADEMY Thursday, January 2 central library. register. MOCK INTERVIEWS Thursday, January 2 central library. register. IMPROVE SPANISH Thursday, January 2 central library. register. LEARN CHINESE Thursdays north Forest Park library at 6.

ENTERTAINEMENT OPEN HOUSE Thursday, Friday and Saturday, December 26, 27, 28 12-4. Free. Queens county Farm Museum, 73-50 Little neck Parkway, Floral Park. 347-FArM. HOLIDAY HOUSE TOUR Through December 31 tours at the Louis Armstrong House Museum. 478-8274. OPEN MIC Friday, December 27 Lefferts library at 4. GAME FRIDAYS F r i d a y, D e c e m b e r 2 7 rosedale library at 4. EXIT STAGE LEFT Friday-Sunday, December 27-29 2 and 7 at Queens theatre in the Park. 7600064 ticket info. NU URBAN CAFÉ Fridays live jazz and r&b 9-midnight. Free. 188-36 Linden Blvd., St. Albans. 917-817-8653. GAME DAY Fridays 4:30 Woodhaven library.

ENTERTAINEMENT CAREGIVERS SUPPORT do you provide care to a family member, friend or neighbor? could you use some help yourself? 2685960, ext. 226. SHAPE UP NYC Friday, December 27 richmond Hill library at 5:30. ZUMBA F r i d a y, D e c e m b e r 2 7 rosedale library at 6. FALL FITNESS Saturday, December 28 cambria Heights. 646-4761294. SITTING EXERCISE Monday, December 30 in cambria Heights. 646476-1294. METASTATIC BREAST Mondays 1:30-3:00 at Adelphi School of Social Work. 516-877-4314. YOUNG BREAST Mondays young women with breast cancer meet 7-8:30 at Adelphi School

MEETINGS KNITTING CLUB Friday, December 27 Glen oaks library at 11. KNIT & CROCHET Monday, December 30 douglaston library at 4. QUILTING CLUB Mondays Alley Pond environmental center 2:30. $5. 229-4000. SCRABBLE CLUB Tuesday, December 31 Glen oaks librar y at 2 and east Flushing library at 3:30. KNIT & CROCHET Tuesday, December 31

GAME PLAYERS CLUB Fridays 2 Hillcrest library. BINGO Tuesdays 7:15 American Martyrs church in Bayside. 464-4582. Tuesdays 7:15 (doors open 6) rego Park Jewish center. 459-1000. $3 admission includes 12 games. SCRABBLE Tuesdays Fresh Meadows library at 2 and east Flushing library at 3:30. CHESS Tuesdays 4 rosedale library. LIVE JAZZ Wednesdays (except 3 rd We d n e s d ay o f m o n t h ) creative Jazz organization presents live jazz at the American Legion Post, 204-03 Linden Blvd., cambria Heights 6:30-10:00. $7 members, $10 others, $2 musicians. KWANZAA FILM Thursday, January 2 “the Black candle” shown at 4:30 at the Laurelton library.

Windsor Park library at 2. CHESS CLUB Tuesdays Windsor Park library at 5:30 and Howard Beach library at 4. 7:30. 969-2448. SPRING/ROSEDALE T h u r s d ay, J a n u a r y 2 Springfield/rosedale community Action Association meets at St. Peter ’s Lut h e ra n c h u rc h , 2 2 4 - 1 0 147 th Avenue, Brookville at 7:30. WRITING CLUB Thursdays Peninsula library at noon.

of Social Work. 516-8774314. HEALTH CARE CHANGE Thursday, January 2 McGoldrick library at 1:30. ONGOING GROUPS ANGER MANAGEMENT Wednesdays and Saturdays classes, individual, family, couples therapy in Briarwood. 374-6765. SUPPORT GROUPS Alcohol, drugs, domestic violence, martial issues, depression, anxiet y, phobia, etc. Woodside clinic. 779-1234. DOMESTIC VIOL. 24 hour domestic Violence Hotline. 657-0424. PSYCHOLOGICAL CTR individual and group counseling, family and couple therapy and more. 5700500 sliding scale. WAITANKUNG Sundays 2 - 5 . to t a l body workout. Flushing Hospital/Medical center. Free. Jimmy 7-10pm 347-2156. SCHIZO. ANON. Sundays in rego Park. 896-3400. TAI CHI Mondays and Thursdays 11-12 at the cardiac Health center in Fresh Meadows. 670-1695. $5. VBARRE BAR Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays VBarre Bar Met hod class for total body sculpting at nYSc in Whitetone. 917-7164678. YOGA Wednesdays at the nYHQ cardiac Health center. 670-1695. 5:30. $10.

TEENS & KIDS QUEENS LIBRARIES check local libraries for toddler, pre-school, youth and teen programs. OPEN MIC TEENS Friday, December 27 Lefferts library at 4. GAME FRIDAY F r i d a y, D e c e m b e r 2 7 rosedale library at 4. CHESS CLUB Friday, December 27 Laurelton library at 3. BOOK BUDDIES Friday, December 27 Bayside library at 4. TEEN HAPPY HOUR Friday December 27 Flushing library at 4. FRIDAY FUN Friday, December 27 Sunnyside library at 4:30. WII FRIDAYS Friday, December 27 Hollis library at 5. CRAFTS Fridays ozone Park library at 3, Briarwood and east Flushing at 4, Pomonok library at 4:30. STORYTIME Fridays Hollis library at 11:15. CRAFT CLUB Fridays Peninsula and ozone Park library at 3. GAME DAY Fridays Queens Village library at 3:30. CHESS CLUBS Fridays Auburndale library at 3:30 and Windsor Park. register. CHESS CLUB Saturdays Flushing library at 2. HOMEWORK HELP Saturday, December 28 Bayside library at 10. PICTURE BOOK

Saturday, December 28 ridgewood librar y at 10:30. FAMILY MOVIE Monday, December 30 South ozone Park library at 5:45. BOARD GAMES Friday, December 27 cambria Heights library at 4. Grades 3-6. TEEN ZONE Mondays-Fridays Queens Village library at 3. WII GAMES Mondays and Fridays McGoldrick library at 5:30. LEARN TO CROCHET Tuesday, December 31 rochdale library at 5. LANYARD CLUB Tuesday, December 31 richmond Hill library at 4. TEEN LAPTOPS Tuesdays and Wednesdays Hollis library at 3. CHESS CLUB Tuesdays Howard Beach library at 4. ORIGAMI Tuesdays richmond Hill library t 5. ARTS & CRAFTS Tuesdays north Hills library at 2:15. NATURE KIDS Tuesdays Sunnyside library at 3 and Woodside library at 4:15. GAME DAY We d n e s d a y s H o w a r d Beach library at 4. CHESS CLUB Wednesdays Queens Village library at 3:30. GAME DAY Thursday, January 2 McGoldrick library at 5:30. NATURE KIDS

Thursday, January 2 Astoria library at 3:15. HW HELP Thursday, January 2 teens tutored at the central library at 3. TEEN ZONE T h u r s d ay, J a n u a r y 2 Queens Village library at 3:30. FASHION MAVENS Thursday, January 2 central library at 4:30 13-18 years old. EXPLORE NATURE Thursday, January 2 Steinway library at 11:15. CRAFT TIME Thursday, January 2 Howard Beach library at 3:30. CIRCLE OF FRIENDS Thursday, January 2 Glen oaks library at 11:30. HW HELP Thursday, January 2 Bayside, Laurelton and McGoldrick library at 3:30. LEARN CHESS Thursday, January 2 rochdale Village library at 4. ARTS & CRAFTS Thursday, January 2 Auburndale library at 4:30. TUTORING Thursday, January 2 Auburndale library at 4:30. DRAMA POSSE Thursday, January 2 4:30 H i l l c r e s t l i b r a r y. A g e s 8-14. CREATIVE WRITING Thursday, January 2 Auburndale library at 5. Ages 8-12. STORYTIME Thursdays Hollis library at 11:30. CRAFTS Thursdays Pomonok library at 4:30.

EXHIBIT LIBRARIANS Through January 3 five contemporary photographers document the librarians of rosenthal library. Queens college Art center. SENOR SATCHMO Through March 31 Louis Armstrong in South America at the Armstrong House Museum in corona. 4788274. DOLL MUSEUM Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 12:304:30 the Maria rose doll Museum, 187-11 Linden Blvd., St. Albans. 276-3454. “candace Queen Warriors.” $2.50 youth, $3.50 seniors, $5 adults. www.mariarose. biz. 917-817-8653. QUEENS HISTORICAL Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays Queens Historical Society at Kingsland Homestead, 144-35 37th Avenue, Flushing. 939-0647, ext. 17. $3 seniors and students, $5 adults.

BAYSIDE HISTORICAL Tuesday-Sunday Bayside Historical Societ y, 3521548. 11-4. $3 donation. LOUIS ARMSTRONG Guided tours at the corona museum. $8 adults, $6 seniors, students, groups. 478-8274. ANTHROPOLOGY the Anthropology Museum of the People of new York and the Armenian cultural educational resource center Gallery at Queens college. 428-5650. LI ARCHIVES L aGuardia and Wagner Archives display various exhibits exploring the history of nYc. LaGuardia community college. 4825709. Free. ALLEY POND CTR. Variet y of exhibits and a chance to see nature upclose in the mini-zoo and aquarium. 229-4000. KING MANOR Pre-Hampton 19th century

get-away Village, Jamaica Village, at King Manor Museum, in the middle of King Park. $2 adults, $1 children. By appointment only. 2060545. ONDERDONK Self-guided tours of the national landmark building, built circa 1709. School programs, craft courses, horticultural activities and h i sto r i c a l s l i d e s h ow s . Greater ridgewood Historical Society, 1820 Flushing Avenue, ridgewood. 456-1776. BOWNE HOUSE original 17th, 18th and 19th century furnishings. 37-01 Bowne Street, Flushing. 359-0528. $4 adults, $3 seniors, $2 students BOTANICAL GARDEN 38 acre garden provides recreation, formal and informal educational opportunities. Queens Botanical Gardens, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing. 886-3880.

Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 15


Goodwill Helps Locals Find Employment BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA When one thinks of Goodwill, they generally think of the thrift shops associated with the nonprofit, but the organization does much more. In addition to its clothing store, Goodwill Industries provides job training, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who face barriers in trying to find a job. Since 1915, the nonprofit has served the Greater New York and Northern New Jersey area and in March of this year, Goodwill Industries, which is largely funded by the Human Resources Administration in New York City, opened its first facility in Jamaica, serving a community with one of the highest unemployment rates in the Borough. According to Luis Aucapina, resource coordinator for the Back to Work program at Goodwill, the nonprofit has helped more than 6,220 residents of Jamaica find employment. Many of those residents, he said, encountered a number of barriers which Goodwill aims to rectify. Although the nonprofit has a centralized focus to serve residents on welfare, Goodwill Industries also has

Goodwill partnered with Cornell to teach its clients the fundamentals of food preparation and food nutrition, assisting them with job placement. Pictured is Goodwill’s graduating class. a number of programs to help locals with other disabilities. These programs evaluate participants’ abilities, teach what is expected at work, offer on-the-job training in office skills and computers, place and support people in new positions. “A lot of people come in and look for a job and it’s not that easy because they’re homeless, they don’t have food, they have a criminal record, they don’t have a cell phone or they don’t have clothing,” Aucapina

said. “These are the simple things that prevent them from getting employed. But after we take care of that, it’s good to see them come back in a better situation.” One of the biggest barriers that Aucapina said he has noticed while working at the Jamaica location is homelessness. “People are either getting rejected from the shelters, they are not qualifying, or the shelter situation is horrifying so they prefer to be in the

street,” he said. “It makes it hard to keep their hygiene up so it makes it hard to find a job. Without hygiene, and if they are not dressed properly, job coaches can’t send them out.” So, to help the unemployed and underemployed residents overcome these types of barriers, Goodwill Industries partners with a number of local schools and businesses. It is Aucapina’s job to direct Goodwill’s clients to resources in the community. “For me, I really enjoy working with the resources and connecting clients to helping them with the barriers that they have,” he said. “You’d be surprised. People don’t even know these companies exist so when we are able to connect the companies and bring them to Goodwill, we send our clients to their sites and it opens up a whole bunch of doors.” Goodwill Jamaica is located at 109-20 Union Hall St., Jamaica. For information, call (718) 523-0801. For information about Goodwill Industries or about the services it provides, visit www.goodwillnynj. org. Reach Reporter Natalia Kozikowska at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or or @nkozikowska.

People Sean Hintzen of Rosedale and other freshmen engineering students at SUNY Institute of Technology took part in a competition introducing them to the concepts of “Rube Goldberg machines,” a popular gag in pop culture and the media, especially comic strips. The assignment for engineering student groups was to use materials that could be found in an average household to create a device that would use seven to eight steps to knock a ping pong ball into a goal. Students used dominoes, toy cars, string, plastic cups, balloons--even a plastic toy dinosaur. Army National Guard Pvt. Keno McAlpin has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga. During the nine weeks of training, the soldier received training in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, and Army history, core values and traditions. Additional training in-

cluded development of basic combat skills and battlefield operations and tactics, and experiencing use of various weapons and weapons defenses available to the infantry crewman. McAlpin is the son of Dennise and Michael McAlpin of Cambria Heights and is a 2006 graduate of Springfield Garden High School. Aria Rodney of Jamaica was named to the Honor Roll for the fall 2013 trimester at Chapel Hill-Chancy Hall School in Waltham, Mass. Aria received high honors, which requires a GPA of 3.6 or higher. Queens Community for Cultural Judaism will present “The Two-State Solution – Illusion?” a dialogue discussion at 2 p.m. Jan. 4 at the UUCQ building, on Ash Avenue at the corner of 149th Street, Flushing. Free for first-time attendees, $5 for others. For information, call (718) 380-5362. Municipal Credit Union has begun accepting applications for its 2014

scholarships. The credit union will award $66,000 in scholarship grants in 2014: eight memorial scholarship grants of $5,000 each and 13 grants of $2,000 each. Eligibility for the MCU scholarships is open to an MCU member, a child or a grandchild of a member in good standing. Selection is based on academic performance, extracurricular and community activities, letters of recommendation, and an essay expressing personal goals. Applications are available at MCU’s Queens branches at 13466 Springfield Blvd. in Springfield Gardens, and 90-15 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, on MCU’s website, www., and also at any MCU branch. The deadline for completed applications to be submitted is Jan. 31, 2014. The Queens-based Hip-to-Hip Theatre Company recently announced that Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe has joined the company’s Board of Directors. Sidibe made her acting debut in the 2009

film, “Precious,” and can currently be seen on the third season of the cable TV show “American Horror Story.” The Central Queens YM & YWHA will offer its winter 2014 series of Tai Chi classes beginning Jan. 6-7 with two classes. A series of 14 classes for senior adults begin Jan. 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Cost is $56 for CQY members and $105 for the general public ages 65 and older. A series of 14 classes for adults begins Jan. 7 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Cost is $168 for members and $210 for the general public. The Central Queens Y is located at 67-09 108th St., Forest Hills. For information, call Robin Budnetz at (718) 268-5011, Ext. 5011 or email

Send photo with background and contact information to: PRESS of Southeast Queens 150-50 14th Rd., Whitestone, NY 11357

Page 16 PRESS of Southeast Queens Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014


Keeping Christmas Alive After Dec. 25 BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA Though Christmas Day has come and gone yet again, religious leaders continue to stress the importance of maintaining the Christmas spirit of love, long after Dec. 25. To ensure that the meaning of the holiday is truly embraced, the reverends of Southeast Queens are encouraging Christians to continue to give back and praise Jesus year-round. Pastor Kelly Riggins of Christ Church International in Jamaica said that many times, Christians seem to forget about the importance of the holiday and what it is meant to signify, especially after Christmas is over.

“We should have a new birth every day, not just on Christmas. We need to recognize that the star has been born in us and so we can celebrate Christmas, and the birth of Christ, every day,” she said. “People really do forget about Christmas when it’s over. They go on with their lives – the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and they just forget about the Word. But everyday is a new day of opportunity, a purpose and a fulfillment.” “Just remember the birth of Christ,” she added. “It’s not about when He was born, but that He was born, and because He was born, we can be reborn.” Much like Riggins, the Rev. Charles

WORD “And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.” - Luke 1:35

Norris of Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Jamaica believes that all too often, Christians forget about the true meaning and values of Christmas. “This is the time of the year where we should really try to keep Christ in Christmas,” he said. “People are forgetting about whose holiday it is – and it’s a holiday that we share the life and the birth of our Lord Savior Jesus Christ.” Norris said he feels that Christmas, nowadays, is too commercialized and as a result, the most important messages to remember during the holiday season are swept under the rug, falling secondary to presents and material possessions. “All of us like to receive presents, but it’s a time of giving. My question to you is, what are you going to give Jesus on his birthday?” he asked. “We have to try and remember what the reason for the season is and that reason is Jesus Christ.” “Once the holiday is over, they forget about what has happened and it’s unfortunate,” he added. “If we re-

member Jesus Christ throughout the entire year, how much better would we be? We have to keep remembering our Savior throughout the entire year. He gave His life for us.” The Rev. David Kayode, a minister at Maranatha Baptist Church in Brooklyn and long-time resident of South Jamaica, echoed Norris’ sentiments, stressing the importance of sharing God’s love 365 days a year. “We have God’s love all the time, so we should show God love all the time – not just on Christmas,” Kayode said. “Christmas is much too commercialized, but Christmas is not just one day. Christmas is all yearround and not just one day.” “We should continue to celebrate Christmas beyond one day,” he encouraged. “We should continue to give. The way we can spread the Good News of Jesus beyond one day is by doing good onto one another and treating others the way we want to be treated.” Reach Reporter Natalia Kozikowska at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or or @nkozikowska.


Queens College

College’s National rankings On The rise BY TrIShA SAKhujA Faculty and staff credit Dr. James Muyskens with raising the level of academics at Queens College, through increased scholarships and diversified faculty. According to the 2014 edition of the U.S. News & World Report - America’s Best Colleges, Queens College ranks among the top 10 public universities in its category, “Best Universities–Master’s (North).” Recently, Washington Monthly ranked Queens College number one in New York and number two in the nation for giving students an education that is known as the “Best Bang for the Buck.” Elizabeth Hendrey, Queens College’s acting provost and vice president of academic affairs, said the president’s leadership in terms of the direction the college is taking is extremely important. “Admission standards have risen

significantly and the college ranking has increased,” she said. Muyskens said the College has seen a drop in individuals pursuing a Master’s, but “we have been rapidly diversifying our offerings at the graduate level, developing really spectacular programs like a Master of Fine Arts or another Master’s in Business, risk management.” Aside from diversifying the graduate level programs, Hendrey said, “The president has really helped us put through new system of general education.” “It was his vision that the college should have a really strong foundation in liberal arts for all students,” she said. As for expanding the Honors Program, Hendrey said that has been one of the president’s priorities. Hendrey said Queens College is the only CUNY institution in the Borough to participate in the Macaulay Honors College, which

supports gifted students with full tuition and other benefits. In addition, the college also offers a Freshman Honors Program and it has designed a Transfer Honors Program with scholarships exclusively for transfer students. “[The president] is not only open to starting new programs, but he’s very active and asking us to do that,” Hendrey said. Academic achievements tie very well with the new faculty Muyskens was able to add to the college. Richard Bodnar, dean of research and graduate studies said, as for receiving grants and faculty awards, the college was modest in 2002, but by 2007, the college raised $12 million in external grants and awards, which placed the college among the top four CUNY schools. “In the last five years of his tenure, we have moved from $12 million to $28 million,” he said. “Because of Jim Muyskens’ lead-

ership, the number of faculty who receive awards is much higher now,” Bodnar said. “Not only did Muyskens replace almost half of our faculty over his tenure, but also he replaced them with high-class faculty.” By raising more in external grants and faculty scholarships, Bodnar said “it allows the faculty and the students to do world class research.” “In any given semester, we have well over 600 students participating in research projects that end up in national presentations and publications,” he added. When it comes to Muyskens’ legacy, Hendrey said his legacy will be the new faculty he has hired over his tenure. “They will be here for many years to come, so they will educate students for generations and that legacy is the most important one,” she said. Reach Reporter Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, tsakhuja@, or @Tsakhuja13.

Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 17

What’s Up DEC. 27 Winter Party

DEC. 29 Kwanzaa Celebration

Celebrate the winter season from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Children’s Library Discovery Center, where there will be face painting, twisting balloons, a bubble show and much more for children ages 3-8. Tickets will be distributed in the center 30 minutes before the free program. Space is limited; first come, first served. The Children’s Library Discovery Center is located at the Queens Library’s Central branch.

The Afrikan Poetry Theatre, in conjunction with Queens Borough President Helen Marshall’s office, is pleased to present a two-day special Kwanzaa celebration at Afrikan Poetry Theatre - “UJAMAA & NIA.” The activities will center around children and will include African dance, storytelling, poetry, free fruit, free gifts, toys and a candle lighting ceremony. This event runs through Dec. 30, lasting from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day. Come early each day, as seating very limited for this free event. For vendor information, call (718) 5233312, ext. 10. The theater is located at 176-03 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica. For more information, call (718) 5233312.

JAC’S Holiday Music With financial support from the Queens Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Jamaica Arts Council is launching JAC’s Holiday Music – an effort that will bring eight evenings of live holiday music to the mezzanine level of the Jamaica Center subway station. Each night will present a different artist/group and will begin at 5:30 p.m. and end by 7:15 p.m. For Friday, singer Fayola Rigault will perform. For more information, call (718) 657-2605.

“Collide” The Kevin Tate Dance Theater in the Jamaica Performing Arts Center will present “Collide,” an Arturo, Motts & Co. dance showcase. This performance, which runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., will be in memory of Beatrice Mackie. Standing room only tickets are $15. Balcony seating and a pre-show VIP reception is available for $20. JPAC is located at 153-10 Jamaica Ave. For more information, call (718) 618-6170.

Open Mic Bring, read or display your books, films, videos, songs, plays, dance, poetry and arts, whether published or unpublished, to Lefferts Library, located at 103-34 Lefferts Blvd. All ages are welcome to watch and participate. The open mic runs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

DEC. 28 JAC’S Holiday Music With financial support from the Queens Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Jamaica Arts Council is launching JAC’s Holiday Music – an effort that will bring eight evenings of live holiday music to the mezzanine level of the Jamaica Center subway station. Each night will present a different artist/group and will begin at 5:30 p.m. and end by 7:15 p.m. For Saturday, singer Tiff Salmon will perform. For more information, call (718) 657-2605.

DEC. 29 “The Lone Ranger” Queens Central Library will present a free screening of “The Lone Ranger,” from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Native American spirit warrior Tonto recounts the untold tale of how man of law John Reid was transformed into a legend of justice. Directed by Gore Verbinski, the film stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer.

DEC. 30 Christine Campbell Artist and educator Christine Campbell will tell stories and sings songs inspired by Kwanzaa at Queens Central Library in auditorium level C. This program is for children ages 6-12 and will run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Audience participation is encouraged.

JAC’S Holiday Music With financial support from the Queens Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Jamaica Arts Council is launching JAC’s Holiday Music – an effort that will bring eight evenings of live holiday music to the mezzanine level of the Jamaica Center subway station. Each night will present a different artist/group and will begin at 5:30 p.m. and end by 7:15 p.m. For Monday, singer Monique Bomba will perform. For more information, call (718) 657-2605.

DEC. 31 New Year’s Eve Celebration All are cordially invited to join the Cambria Heights Civic Association for its first annual New Year’s Eve Celebration. Come on out for what promises to be an evening to remember. For tickets or more

information, call (347) 631-4272, (917) 270-6617, or (917) 922-4136. Tickets are $50. The celebration will be held at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce is located at 157-11 Rockaway Blvd., Jamaica.

Job Search Strategies This free workshop at Central Library will cover what you need to start a job search, general and career-specific websites, how to safely find and apply for jobs online, how to create an account at a major job-search website, how to post and email your resume; and appropriate ways to follow up after applying online. Preregistration is required online at The class code is JR190. For further information, please visit the Job Information Center or call (718) 990-8625.

ONGOING: Coat Drive The Greater Fellowship Church will host an ongoing coat drive. The church is now accepting coats for the entire family. It is requested you donate a jacket in new or clean and mint condition. The church is located at 106-01 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Jamaica. For more information about the coat drive, call (718) 523-7309 or email the church at gkfocm@gmail. com.

Homework Help The Laurelton Library will provide free homework help for children in grades 1-6. The library offers after school homework assistance in math, writing and other subjects. The program runs every day after school, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., except holidays. The library is located at 134-26 225th St., Laurelton. For more information, call (718) 5282822 or visit branch/Laurelton.

Learn How To Play Chess Every Thursday, the Rochdale Village Library will offer a free program to learn chess for kids and teens. The program is open to beginners, advanced players and everyone else in between. The program is held from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Rochdale Village Library is located at 169-09 137th Ave.

Overcoming Barriers To Employment Every Friday, the Queens Central Library in Jamaica helps residents experiencing barriers to employ-

ment. A Job Information Center case manager is available on Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to discuss potential problems you may have regarding child care, housing, immigration, degree evaluation, healthcare, goal and career planning, former incarceration, education and training and more. To schedule an appointment, call (718) 480-4222 or stop by the Job Information Center. No registration is required and the service is free.

Forestdale STYA Youth Mentor Forestdale, Inc., an organization with a great history of supporting families in need and committed to empowering children in foster care and in the local community, is launching a new mentoring program in January 2014. This new program, called “Future Prep: Successfully Transitioning Youth to Adolescence,” or STYA, is designed to attract community-minded people who may not be able to commit to foster parenting, but nevertheless want to make a significant investment in the lives of children and their better future. We are looking for mentors (18 or older) to work with children ages 9-12 for one year. Starting in January, there will be four 10-week sessions throughout the year, each running for three hours on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The program will take place at the Hollis Community Center at 203-09 Hollis Ave. This is an excellent opportunity to truly make a difference is someone’s life, build meaningful relationships and be part of an enthusiastic, compassionate and supportive environment, in addition to a great learning experience with the opportunity to learn about a multitude of issues facing underprivileged youth in New York City today. For additional information, contact Mirzya Syed, Youth Volunteer Coordinator, at Msyed@ or (718) 263-0740, ext. 365.

Employment Assistance Are you experiencing barriers to employment? A Job Information Center Case manager is available on Fridays, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., to discuss potential problems you may have regarding child care, housing, immigration, degree evaluation, healthcare, goal and career planning, former incarceration, education and training and more. To schedule an appointment, call (718) 480-4222 or stop by the Job Information Center at Queens Central Library.

Committee Chairs Found Under the Tree

It seems as though a certain new Mayor has been playing Santa Claus in order to get his preferred City Council Speaker. According to sources close to the situation, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has promised a number of committee leadership posts to City Council members in order to guarantee that Melissa Mark-Viverito is named Speaker come Jan. 8. The Mayor-elect has been playing a game of power politics, and with his victory in November, he is seeking to reap the spoils by getting his choice for the Council’s top position. While members of the Progressive Caucus and MarkViverito herself have declared victory, our sources say that the decision is far from final, and there could be some backlash against the tactics the caucus has been using. Both the Mayor and the leaders of the Progressive Caucus have been pressuring Council members to join them, threatening to take away prized committee assignments if they don't comply. Sources say the Progressive Caucus was originally split, 12-9, between Mark-Viverito and Dan Garodnick, with Garodnick getting the support of County Leadership. That's when the calls started, with the Progressive Caucus telling Council members that they had the votes, and that if a Council member pushed back, those committees would be gone. "If you're not with them, you're not getting a committee," QConf was told. Among the promises made to the Queens delegation, Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) would be named Majority Leader. Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Wood-

side) would head up the Finance Committee and Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) would get the Education Committee. Daneek Miller and Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton)were also reportedly promised committee slots, although specifics were unknown as of press time. "The other three we know, because they were openly talking about it," a source said. Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich (ROzone Park) was also reportedly promised a committee chairmanship in exchange for his support of Mark-Viverito. Sources within the real estate industry, who supported Ulrich in his most recent election battle, have expressed disappointment with Ulrich. The sources say that they feel betrayed, since Ulrich promised he would stand against the Progressive Caucus, but instead went back on his word for a promised chairmanship. QConf was also told that David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) was offered the Land Use Committee as a means of swaying Brooklyn. While many expect MarkViverito to win the Speaker seat on Jan. 8, it's possible the Progressive Caucus could experience some backlash. Not all the 21 members of the caucus seemed pleased with the way business was being done. Sources say that Mark-Viverito's supporters have been double- and triple-counting votes, intimating that the selfappointed Speaker-elect may not have the votes she says she does. There's still two weeks before the City Council sits down to officially choose a new Speaker. The next few days could be an interesting one within the City's political sphere.

Flip Flops In The Cold

For three days last week, a rugged looking Councilman Ruben Wills went undercover as a homeless man. Reports claim a ‘humbled’ Wills went undercover to advocate for the population that is often ignored and to identify the biggest problems with City homeless shelters. One year ago, Wills sang a different tune, arguing the biggest "problem" with City shelters are that they are in his district. In a 2012 interview with this publication, Wills adamantly fought against the Skyview Men’s Shelter. “You can’t give one community all of the undesirable land uses, especially if you don’t give that community the same formula for things we need,” Wills said. Seems like Wills sees things a little differently now…



Page 18 PRESS of Southeast Queens Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014

Artists OF QUEENs

Silbin Sandovar

Got Talent?

Email editor@ for inclusion in a future edition. QConf is edited by: Steven J. Ferrari Contributors: Luis Gronda, Natalia Kozikowska, Joe Marvilli, Marcia Moxom Comrie, Michael Nussbaum, Trisha Sakhuja, Michael Schenkler.

Look for us on Twitter: @QueensTrib And Like Us on Facebook QueensTrib

Slowpokes Roasted

With the New Year around the corner, the New York Public Interest Group is letting us know which buses to avoid in 2014. Last week, NYPIRG announced its annual Pokey Awards, for slowest local bus route in the City. While two Manhattan bus lines the M42 and the M50 at 3.4 m.p.h. - "won" the competition, NYPIRG also recognized the slowest route in the other boroughs. In Queens, that went to the Q58, between Ridgewood and Flushing Main Street, with an average of 7 m.p.h. When it comes to unreliable service, Queens did much better. The worst offender was the Q85, from Jamaica to Valley Stream, at 21 percent, a much better rate than the "winners" from the other boroughs. We may complain about the lack of bus service we have here in Queens, but at least the buses seem to run better than their counterparts in other Boroughs.

Gustavo Rodriguez's stage name, Silbin Sandovar, truly is a one-of-a-kind handle. Trust him, he's checked. “I just kept making up and typing ridiculous names into Google search until I found one that yielded zero results,” he said. “I wanted a stage name/ pen name that had no one else could try to claim.” His name is not the only unique thing about Sandovar. The Sunnyside guitarist/songwriter knows how to play guitar both forwards and backwards. He learned to play with his brother's acoustic guitar, but since he was left-handed, he had to learn to play with the strings upside-down. “I couldn't go re-stringing it on him. So I just figured it out that way,” Sandovar said. “I had no idea it would freak out guitar players the way it does. It's my little gimmick, I suppose.” While that technique makes him stand out to a crowd, it is the songs that keep people coming back. With a voice that can be both fragile and powerful and a style that can range from folk to country and even a little blues, Sandovar is one of those musicians who brings something for nearly everyone. Sandovar has also been around the block a few times. The 41-year-old did not dive into music seriously until he was in his mid-30s. Although he has always been creative, it is only recently that he has been able to dedicate himself fully to his craft. “For many years, I did what I loved on the side but for the last four years or so, I've been making my living doing only what I love,” he said. “It's not an extravagant living by any

means, but my rent is paid on time every month and no credit cards are maxed out.” That living has steadily been getting better and better for Sandovar. In the few years he has been on the scene, he has written songs for Shane MacGowan of The Pogues, toured in Europe and opened for Gordon Gano of The Violent Femmes. He even sings the theme song for the IFC show, “Maron.” “I believe I'm still getting better at what I'm doing. I hope I always feel that way,” he said. “I just hope they keep inviting me to the party. Hell, I'll throw my own party if I have to!” Besides his own work, Sandovar also plays with guitarist Brian Meece, who he met at a Long Island City bar called Dominie's Hoek. The two of them got on personally and musically, and created Brian and Silbin and Friends. Rachel Swaner, Neil Nunziato, Dan Kendall, Anthony Rizzo and Aram Bajakian are some of their fellow musicians that perform with them. “We're pretty different in a lot of ways but good things always seem to happen when we get on a stage or spend time in a recording studio,” Sandovar said. “The crew we play with are all wonderful people we all picked up along the way. It only could have happened in Queens.” For the future, Sandovar just wants to keep writing, recording and creating, both in music and other creative mediums. If he can get a story going, then that is where you will find him. “I already have my hands in a lot of things at the moment. I just need to keep stirring the pot,” he said.


Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 2, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 19






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