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Volume 15 Issue No. 23 June 6-12, 2014

FACING THE COURT The trial of State Sen. Malcolm Smith, along with former Councilman Dan Halloran, is underway. Smith and Halloran face corruption charges in an alleged scheme to get Smith on the Republican ballot for Mayor last year. By Joe Marvilli ‌ Page 3.


Page 2 PRESS of Southeast Queens June 6-12, 2014

Laurelton Residents Rally Against Cell Tower Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) and concerned Laurelton residents gathered on Merrick Boulevard to voice their concerns against the proposed construction of a Verizon cell tower in the area Wednesday morning. The free-standing tower would be about 58 feet tall and is expected to be built behind a strip of businesses on 229-27 Merrick Blvd. Bess DeBetham, a Community Board 13 member, said she is strongly opposed to the construction of the tower, calling it an “ungodly, unsightly object.” “If the area is congested, we don’t want or need Verizon in the area,” she said. “It is open for growth, but not for a cell tower. We want something that will enhance our commercial strip.” Verizon spokesman David Samberg said the network in the area had a capacity issue and the area was a good location for a potential upgrade for Verizon customers. The goal of the tower is to take the network in the area and turn it from a two-lane highway into a four-lane highway.

crossed. This is a residential area,” he said. “Today, we are here to tell Verizon to hang up their plan. Your cell tower is not welcome in our community.” Some of the residents’ concerns are focused on the lack of communication and potential health problems in the long Councilman Donovan Richards (left) and Dwight John- term. Dwight Johnson, son, president of the Federated Blacks of Laurelton, voiced their concerns about the cell tower Wednesday president of the Federated Blocks of morning. Laurelton, said he is “We take into consideration envi- disappointed Verizon did not consult ronmental concerns, but it has to be residents before moving forward with in the search zone,” Samberg said. their plans. “You do everything to make the most “They never came forward to amount of people comfortable that speak with the community,” he said. you can.” “Many of our people have a lot of Richards said Verizon needs to concerns, a lot of questions. Now abandon their plan, citing a variety of that Verizon has all their ducks in orother matters that the community is der, they want to come to us.” dealing with, such as environmental Samberg said the waves being issues caused by John F. Kennedy In- emitted for the new LTE service, ternational Airport and train traffic. which includes voice and data, are “I think Verizon has their wires sent through radio frequency.

Photo by Jordan Gibbons


“It’s no different than a radio station,” he said. The American Cancer Society’s website states there is very little to be concerned about. “Some people have expressed concern that living, working or going to school near a cell phone tower might increase the risk of cancer or other health problems,” the website states. “At this time, there is very little evidence to support this idea.” Community Board 13 was scheduled to have a public hearing to discuss and vote on the tower Thursday night, after press time. There will be a Verizon representative at the meeting, Samberg said. The official decision for the tower’s construction will be up to the Board of Standards and Appeals so the results of the vote are not binding. If the plan moves forward, residents plan to push for a boycott for Verizon’s services. “Our plea goes out to the BSA,” DeBetham said. “We’re going to rally as much as we must. We’ll ask people to drop Verizon as their carrier.” Reach Reporter Jordan Gibbons at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123, jgibbons@ or @jgibbons2.

Legislators Look To Restructure Library BY JOE MARVILLI

of misconduct, incapacity, neglect or failure of duty. Trustees must either Two bills have been introduced be residents of Queens or operate into the State Legislature to deal a business in the Borough. The bill with the recent problems concerning would create an audit committee to the Queens Library. oversee the library’s finances, creState Sen. Michael Gianaris (D- ate a labor committee, subject it to Astoria) and Assemblyman Jeffrion conflict of interest laws and limit the Aubry (D-Corona) are sponsoring outside employment of key library a bill in their respective staff. chambers that would reAvella’s legislation instructure aspects of the cludes everything in the Queens Library, to make Gianaris/Aubry bill, but sure it cannot misuse pubgoes further in the changlic funds. State Sen. Tony es it wants the library to Avella (D-Bayside) has undergo. It would require introduced his own bill the appointment of a new that goes further in what it Board of Trustees, reducwants to change. ing the number of memThe two pieces of legbers to 11, effective Januislation came out of sevary 2015. It also calls for eral revelations earlier this all three New York library State Sen. year, regarding Queens Michael Gianaris systems to be subject to Library’s chief executive State and City Freedom of officer, Thomas Galante. On top of Information Laws (FOIL). a $392,000 salary, Galante had a Outside employment would be second job as a consultant, earning prohibited for any executive director more than $114,000. The executive and any key library executive personalso spent $140,000 on office reno- nel who receive a salary in excess of vations. $150,000. The trustees would also The Gianaris/Aubry bill would have to hold a yearly public budget decrease the terms of the Board of hearing and provide a 30-day public Trustees from five years to three comment period prior to its adopyears. It would put into effect a pro- tion. cess to remove a trustee in the case Avella said that he reached out

to Borough President Melinda Katz Queens Library and the public budabout his bill, believing that the one get hearings. Avella’s representative she worked on with Aubry and Gia- said the Senator was happy about the naris did not go far enough. addition, but he is still going ahead “I take a look at hers and my with his bill. first reaction was ‘this is nice, but it The Queens Library’s representadoesn’t fix the problem,” he said. tive, Joanne King, said the legislation Katz and Gianaris both said that was unnecessary. their bill has a good chance of pass“The Board of Trustees of the ing before the session ends Queens Library already this month, mentioning has in place many of the that the entire Queens Delpolicies in the proposed egation, minus Avella, and legislation, including polithe City Council supports cies on conflicts of interit and that Avella does not est, an audit committee yet have a sponsor in the and policies on financial Assembly. However, Aveldisclosure for key personla argued that as a member nel,” she said. “We will of the IDC, he is part of move forward to continue the majority with the Reto deliver the best public lipublican Caucus and his brary service to the people State Sen. bill would have a better of Queens, while keeping Tony Avella chance of getting through Queens Library, as a prithe State Senate. vate not-for-profit, appro“Sen. Avella did reach out to me. priately free of undue government That was very kind of him,” Katz and political control.” said. “My issue right now is to get a Earlier this week, the library’s restructuring passed. As far as I can executive vice president, Bridget tell, if you don’t have an assembly Quinn-Carey, testified before the sponsor, it’s not going to become law City Council about the need to inthis year.” crease its funding during a Council However, Katz and Gianaris’ of- budget session. fice said that their bill would be addReach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) ing an amendment to include Avel- 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@queenla’s proposals about FOIL for the, or @JoeMarvilli.

June 6-12, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 3


Smith, Halloran Corruption Trial Underway BY JOE MARVILLI

run on its ticket for an election, despite not being registered with that party. According to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Smith allegedly arranged for $40,000 in cash bribes to go to Tabone and Bronx Republican Chairman Jay Savino, the latter of whom pled guilty to corruption charges last November. Halloran is said to have received $20,500 for helping Smith set up the meetings with Republican leaders. Smith’s attorney, Gerald Shargel, said that if the case dealt with bribery, then “not one dollar was placed in the pocket of Malcolm Smith.” Instead, he called the charges an attempt by the government to entrap the senator, calling him the victim of a sting operation by cooperating witness, Moses Stern, a Rockland County businessman trying to get leniency on his own federal charges. “He wanted that meeting in the hope of making a crime out of no crime,” Shargel said. The attorney for Halloran, Vinoo Varghese, said in his opening statement that the idea of Smith running for mayor came from the former

The trial for State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) and former councilman Dan Halloran is underway. The two accused men made their way to the U.S. District Court in White Plains on June 2 to begin their federal corruption trial, a case that has been more than a year in the making. Joining them in court is co-defendant Vincent Tabone, the former vice chairman of the Queens Republican Party. The first two days of the trial were spent seating a jury, a process that was complicated by legal wrangling. For their opening statements, lawyers for Smith and Halloran argued that neither of their clients had committed any crime. The trial is the culmination of a long road that started in the spring of 2013. Federal agents arrested Smith and Halloran the morning of April 2, 2013, indicting them for attempting to rig the then-upcoming mayoral election. According to the criminal complaint, Smith wanted the Republican Party to give him a Wilson Pakula, an authorization by a political party that allows a candidate to

the trial and said that Halloran’s insanity plea came six months after the deadline for pretrial motions and there was not enough evidence to back it up. In the last pretrial ruling, Karas said the jury would be allowed to hear secretly recorded discussions regarding published State Sen. Dan Halloran reports that link Malcolm Smith Smith to controvercouncilman, as part of an attempt to sies in the award of a casino contract “change the face” of the Republican at Aqueduct racetrack. Party. He also said that rather than Besides the trial, Smith is facing accepting bribes, Halloran was seek- a primary for his seat from former ing political donations. councilman Leroy Comrie, attorney As the trial date approached, Clyde Vanel, attorney Munir Avery Smith and Halloran both asked for and Bernadette Semple. Halloran their trial to be postponed. In Febru- chose not to seek re-election last year ary, Shargel asked U.S. District Judge and his seat went to Councilman Kenneth Karas to delay the trial so Paul Vallone (D-Bayside). Smith could have a “fair election” If convicted, Smith and Halloran this fall. Last month, Halloran tried face up to 45 years in prison, while to use an insanity defense to delay Tabone faces up to a 25-year jail senthe trial, claiming that a 2012 surgery tence. to remove a brain tumor was responReach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) sible for his role in the scheme. 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@queenThe judge denied attempts to delay, or @JoeMarvilli.

Mayor de Blasio Expands Universal Pre-K Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that there will be 10,400 additional full-day pre-kindergarten seats in community-based early childhood centers by September. The Mayor announced more than 500 seats for both Flushing and Jamaica as part of the initiative. The seats were approved by the Panel for Educational Policy. The new sites are posted online at www. and de Blasio asked parents to apply by June 26 to find the best option for their children. Parents were scheduled to receive notification of placements in the public school’s pre-K programs on June 5. The Mayor toured the A to Z Center Too child care facility in Queens Village before the announcement and was impressed with the attentiveness of the children. “It was great to visit the classroom,” he said. “The engagement, the poise, they are right there with it.” Jasmin Farrier, of St. Albans, a

Photo by Jordan Gibbons


full-day pre-K. In September, it will have 74. In all of Queens, there will be an additional 4,500 seats for the new school year and there are now 1,200 public schools and communitybased organizations that offer universal pre-K in New York City. The new sites State Sen. James Sanders spoke about the City’s need added to the proto address education issues at Mayor de Blasio’s press gram must meet the quality standards of conference. the City before they mother of three and PTA vice-pres- open in September and will be suident of PS 118, was on hand for the pervised and supported by the City, announcement after registering her according to Deputy Mayor Richard son, London, 4, at the facility earlier Buery. “There are going to be high-qualithat morning. She found out about ty programs coming to communities the program the night before. “I rushed over immediately,” she across the five boroughs,” he said. said. “Full-day pre-K is essential in “We are trying to reach every parent early child development. The process with an eligible child to make sure they get the message, apply early and was seamless.” A to Z currently has 20 seats for apply often. We want every family to

find the best fit for their child.” There are now universal applications provided by the City that can be found online and work at any center. Parents can apply to as many centers as they want. Public Advocate Letitia James said she was very proud of the progress made so far, but said the most important part is that it is all free. “The benefits of pre-K are immeasurable and innumerable,” she said. “Quality pre-K works. Universal pre-K is a family issue, a middle class issue and a women’s issue.” State Sen. James Sanders (D-Laurelton) was also in attendance and said that the City needs to address the education issue now. “America is falling further and further behind in the education race,” he said. “These youth especially have to be prepared for the next generation. New York City must continue. Whatever is going to happen to America is going to happen here first.” Reach Reportert Jordan Gibbons at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123, jgibbons@ or @jgibbons2.

Page 4 PRESS of Southeast Queens June 6-12, 2014

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


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Reporters: Jordan Gibbons Joe Marvilli Luis Gronda Jackie Strawbridge Art Dept:

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A Queens Tribune Publication © Copyright 2014 Tribco, LLC

Michael Nussbaum Publisher Ria McPherson Comptroller

Editorial Keep Politics Out Of The Library As we detail elsewhere in this issue, the Queens Library system is the subject of two separate bills in the State Senate, calling for reforms to the way the Library does business. While the Senators behind these bills say they are trying to do what is best for the system, and the Borough President’s office calls for reforms and the City Comptroller’s office investigates the books, the Library’s Board of Trustees has publicly stated that its practices are fine, and no reforms are needed. But no one seems to be saying these things to one another. The Queens Library system is one of the best in the world, offering more than just books. Educational and language programs, computer and job training and afterschool events for kids are all offered throughout the Library’s branches. The more political games get played with the proposed reforms, the higher the chances that these programs can be lost. While the continued barking about the needs for reforms makes for a great story, it is time for a sensible end to these public negotiations. It is time for the Queens Library’s Board of Trustees to stop playing defense, for the elected officials calling for reforms to halt their offensive. Instead of going back and forth behind separate closed doors, the two sides need to come together and negotiate a plan that works for all involved – especially the people that rely so heavily on the library for its services. As far as anyone knows, there have been no meetings with all the principle players in this drama. We call on those individuals who say they are protecting the library – the members of the Board of Trustees, the Borough President and members of the Queens delegation in the State Legislature – to meet, not to argue over who is right and who needs to go, but to determine how best to go forward to ensure the future of the Queens Library is protected. The political games need to stop. The time for talking is now.

Letters Fed Up With Status Quo To The Editor:

In a previous issue was a letter from Robert LaRosa questioning why people vote Republican and why the GOP is predicted to make gains this year. Robert, you ought to know that in time, most Americans get fed up with the status quo. When Republicans dominate, after a while people vote them out and turn towards the Democrats. And when Democrats have been in charge, after a while people become dissatisfied and vote Republican. Polls show the major reason why citizens plan to vote for the GOP is dissatisfaction with Obamacare. Both the President and Congress passed the bill, despite opposition from a majority of Americans, not reading the entire bill and exempting themselves from coverage. I think those are sufficient reasons for disapproval. Since implementation, the registration website was disorganized, people have lost coverage, employers have had to dismiss workers to pay for it, premiums have increased and

reports of illegal aliens getting benefits are rampant. Seems like the public has justification for rejection of the bill. Right here in Queens, I know of three employers who let workers go specifically due to Obamacare. In short, Americans felt President Obama and Congress, primarily Democrats, violated the will of the people in passing the bill. Except for hard core Democrats and those far to the left of center, many have objectively placed the blame on the President and his party. Robert, I have been reading your letters for many years. You are not just angry, but harsh and invective in your tone. Anger will get you nowhere. I am a Republican, but in the past have condemned some of them for the same. You will get further with honey than vinegar. And also with facts. I don’t agree with other letter writers who are Democrats either, such as Anthony Pilla. But Anthony backs up his statements with facts, statistics and speaks courteously. Edward Riecks, Howard Beach

Ready, Set, Go: Liu Battles Avella A Personal Perspective BY MARCIA MOXAM COMRIE Most of us realized John Liu wouldn’t be able to stay out of politics after failing to make the cut in last year’s mayoral race; and he proved us right last week. The former councilman and city comptroller has announced that he will challenge State Sen. Tony Avella (DBayside) for the 11th Senate District. It is not going to be a cake walk for either of them. But it should be fun for political junkies to watch. Avella, who served in the City Council with Liu, is known for his hard work on behalf of constituents. He is also known for his commitment to his own ideals, often to the chagrin of colleagues. And therein may be his weakness – if indeed that is a weakness. Avella, the maverick law-

maker, recently left the Senate Democratic Conference to join State Sen. Jeff Klein’s (D-Bronx) splinter group, the Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC). He suddenly became persona nongrata to the Democratic Party in Queens County. It is neither a surprise that Avella joined the IDC nor that the party would be upset with him. Enter the easygoing John Liu whose mayoral bid is still fresh in everyone’s mind. And that’s not a bad thing. He lost the election, but the publicity of being a mainstream candidate in a mayoral race is priceless. John has citywide name recognition so he is certainly not an unknown quantity in the 11th S.D. But here’s the rub: The district is not mostly Asian, which has been Liu’s base since he started running for office. The African-American community has also embraced him. But once again, this base is not a

big part of that senate district. What he does have going for him – aside from name recognition – is that he is a fierce campaigner and his war chest puts Avella’s to shame. And yet, Avella could also turn the tables and make that war chest an issue. Two members of Liu’s old campaign staff were found guilty in a “straw donor” scandal and to date no investigation has completely cleared Liu. It remains an unfortunate spot on an otherwise admirable tenure in the Council and the Comptroller’s office. This scandal is part of the reason he lost the mayoral primary last year. Campaign Finance held back more than $3 million in matching funds from him. It was sad to watch. But he remains a beloved figure in the Asian community and elsewhere. Cliché as it may sound, John Liu transcends ethnicity. And with all that he

has going for him, he could give Avella a run for his limited funds. Many thought Liu was going to challenge State Sen. Toby Stavisky, whose Flushing area district is now predominantly Asian. But Liu is not interested in running as ‘the Asian candidate.” He simply wants to be able to serve as the better lawmaker, in his and many other people’s opinion. Public service done with integrity is an honorable calling. Both Liu and Avella have done well by their constituents and will battle each other for the right to keep doing exactly that. I for one am looking forward to the rumble between these two fascinating candidates. Who knows what they are doing. People will find that one is easygoing and one has more of a prickly personality. Avella will give as good as he gets. This should be fun to watch.

June 6-12, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 5

Page 6 PRESS of Southeast Queens June 6-12, 2014


Business Achievement

Mookie Speaks Mets legend Mookie Wilson made an appearance at LaGuardia Community College to speak with students at the LaGuardia African Heritage 2014’s Sports and Race in America program, held in LaGuardia’s Little Theater.

Photo by Walter Karling

Mediation Citation The PRESS of Southeast Queens honored a number of Small Businesses throughout the Borough during the second Small Business Achievement Awards, held at Queens College on May 20. Among the businesses honored by Publisher Michael Nussbaum were Continental Pharmacy, Absolutely Trophies, GMD Industries, Kanta Electric and Pa’lante Green Cleaning.

Photo by Walter Karling

Introducing the Commish

The Rev. Floyd Flake introduced Police Commissioner Bill Bratton at a recent meeting of the Greater Jamaica Development Corp.

Assemblyman William Scarborough presented a citation to Gerald Carter, Remediation Specialist with the Parodneck Foundation, who has spent every Thursday at Scarborough’s District Office helping Southeast Queens homeowners with loan mediation. Scarborough commended Carter for his hard work helping hundreds of homeowners falling behind on mortgage payments prevent foreclosure and stay in their homes, as well as often saving them a lot of money with reduced interest rates and principal reductions and deferments.

New Interns

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown recently announced that 80 law school and college students are participating in the Queens District Attorney’s Office’s annual 10-week 2014 Volunteer Summer Internship Program.

June 6-12, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 7

Small Business Going Strong In Queens Small businesses in Queens are experiencing great successes, though challenges lie ahead, experts say. Both Comptroller Scott Stringer and the Queens Economic Development Corporation said that the small business market is operating strongly in Queens at the moment, having recovered significantly from the recent Great Recession. However, the impact from Superstorm Sandy, the lack of housing and a need for more infrastructure are all problems that have to be solved to keep business booming. According to Rob MacKay, director of public relations, marketing and tourism at the QEDC, there are about 45,000 small businesses in the Borough, with many of them centered in different economic hubs. These hubs - Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing, Jackson Heights and Jamaica - are doing well and continue to be flourishing neighborhoods. Some new economic centers are popping up too, such as Ridgewood, which is picking up the spillover from Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn. Areas hit hard by Superstorm Sandy at the end of 2012 are still struggling, but recovery funds have started flowing towards those communities, setting them up for an improved standing this year. “The Rockaways is still in recovery mode, but this year is going to be much better than last year. The money actually came through that was promised to them by the govern-

MacKay agreed that ment,” MacKay said. Queens’ diversity is one According to Stringer, of its greatest strengths, who spoke at the PRESS giving the market a level of Southeast Queens Small of variety not found anyBusiness Achievement where else. Awards breakfast on May “We have so many dif20, the focus of the econoferent tastes, people with my for today and the future different ethnic backlies in high-tech and in the grounds. You can almost City’s immigrant commualways find a market,” he nity. said. Just like New York used One of the biggest to conduct most of its busichallenges the City faces, ness at the port and then in Stringer said, is the lack manufacturing, its path forof affordable housing. ward is in computing, proDue to rent deregulation, gramming and high technolthe number of apartments ogy, a field that has been that small business ownbooming in Long Island ers can afford to live in is City for the last decade. dwindling. The Comptrol“When you become a ler said this trend has to programmer or coder, the be reversed if Queens is first job pay scale you have is a $60,000-$70,000 per Comptroller Scott Stringer speaks at the PRESS of South- to remain as a powerful year job,” Stringer said. east Queens Small Business Achievement Awards breakfast economic home for small business. “Today, young people want on May 20. “If we’re going to to be around a table in build our small businessshared office space, with a laptop and an iPad, and they want to the City keep up with the rest of the es and our communities, we can’t invent and they want to be creative.” world, Stringer called for additional just have a city for the very, very Although Silicon Valley still leads broadband infrastructure throughout wealthy with enclaves for the very, the nation in software development, the five boroughs. Improving connec- very poor and nothing in between,” the Comptroller argued that New tivity will help small businesses work he said. “We’re going to lose so York has the creativity that is pushing with others and grow into medium- many of our diverse entrepreneurs sized businesses. He added that in the from around the world. That goes high-tech businesses forward. “You know why they need us in digital era, any small business could counter to the New York experiNew York City? Our young people become an international company, es- ence. If we keep the kids we already have here, what city is posed to be represent the creativity, the media, pecially in such a diverse city. “We speak 170 different languages global? It’s us.” the marketing, the special sauce that Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) drives a lot of these businesses,” he from 200 countries. Suddenly, our diversity has become our true strength,” 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@queensaid., or @JoeMarvilli. To make sure that Queens and Stringer said. Photo by Walter Karling


Outlook For Queens Businesses Is Positive than were lost during the recession. There are almost 500,000 available private sector jobs, a record high for the borough. Queens, New York is unlike As fiduciary of the $176 billion any other place in the country. It New York State Common Retireis the single most diversely popu- ment Fund (Fund), I am always on lated county in the United States. the lookout for new and exciting opOf the 2.3 million portunities to invest in residents who call New York State-based Queens home, nearly “there is still work businesses that are half are immigrants to do in Queens as looking to grow and from more than 120 the recovery process expand in our state. countries around the Keeping the pencontinues, but the world. This blend of sion fund healthy cultures has helped outlook is positive.” and strong in order – Thomas DiNapoli to provide a secure remake Queens the success story it is today. tirement for the more My office recently than one million memreleased a report on the Queens econ- bers of the New York State and Local omy, highlighting the borough’s resil- Retirement System is a first priority. iency. The report shows that Queens But when we can make smart investhas rebounded strongly from the re- ments in New York’s businesses, it’s cession. More jobs have been added a win for the Fund and a win for New

York’s local communities. We’ve found some good opportunities in Queens. The Fund’s InState Private Equity Program has invested millions in Queens businesses - helping them stay and expand in New York. And, through our partnership with State Comptroller thomas DiNapoli speaks during the the New York Busi- Small Business Achievement Awards breakfast on May ness Development 20 at Queens College. Program, we’ve loaned millions to small businesses tive. I encourage business owners in Queens for working capital, equip- in Queens to visit our website www. ment or real property. to learn more about There is still work to do in the programs available to help their Queens as the recovery process business grow and keep the borough continues, but the outlook is posi- of Queens strong. Photo by Walter Karling


Page 8 PRESS of Southeast Queens June 6-12, 2014

Police Blotter 106th Precinct


The NYPD is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating two suspects, one male and one female, wanted in connection to a robbery. At 3:20 p.m. on May 27, in the vicinity of 153rd Avenue and 88th Street, the victim, a 73-year-old female, was walking on the sidewalk with a cart of groceries when an unknown female approached her from behind and took the victim’s pocketbook from the cart. The pocketbook contained $100, a trac cell phone and assorted personal items. An unknown male then punched the victim in the face, causing her to fall to the ground. The victim sustained a laceration to her ear and abrasions to her arm. The victim was transported to Jamaica hospital and treated for her injuries. The suspects are described as a thin-build Black female, approximately 18-years-old, last seen wearing a vest, and a thin-build Black male,

approximately 18-years-old, last seen wearing dark clothing and tan cargo shorts. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-tips, visit www. or text tips to 274637(CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls are confidential.

ing black masks, black jackets and blue jeans. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-tips, visit www. or text tips to 274637(CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls are confidential.


Bank robbery

The NYPD is asking for the public’s assistance in locating two male suspects wanted in connection with a robbery. At 11:30 p.m. on April 24, two suspects approached a male victim, 47, on 115th Street from a silver Dodge mini-van. They demanded his money, property and keys to his vehicle, a 2014 black Range Rover. One of the suspects produced a black firearm. The suspects fled with the victim’s watch, $500, iPhone, credit cards and vehicle. No injuries were reported. The suspects are described as two Hispanic adult males last seen wear-

108th Precinct

The NYPD is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a male suspect wanted in connection to a bank robbery. At 3:30 p.m. on May 27, a suspect entered HSBC Bank located at 22-15 43 Ave., approached a bank teller, passed a demand note and fled the bank with $4,262. No injuries were reported and no weapon was involved. The suspect is described as a heavy build Hispanic Male, 30- to 35-years-old, 6’0” and 230 lbs. with a mustache. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-tips, visit www. or text tips to 274637(CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls are confidential.

112th Precinct


The NYPD is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating two suspects wanted in connection to two burglaries. At 2:52 a.m. on May 28, the two suspects entered a dental office located at 94-24 63rd Drive and fled with no proceeds. At 3:18 a.m., the suspects entered Petland Discounts, located at 94-18 63rd Drive, where they removed birds and bird cages. These items were later recovered. The suspects were both described as white males, 17 to 20 years old, approximately 5’8 to 5’11 tall, and were both seen wearing a light colored t-shirt. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-tips, visit www. or text tips to 274637(CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls are confidential.

Borough Beat

education chair Opposes Junior rOtc By Jackie StrawBridge Councilman Daniel Dromm (DJackson Heights), chair of the City Council Education Committee, said last week at a City Hall hearing that he opposes Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs in high schools. JROTC was founded through the National Defense Act of 1916. Its mission today is to teach subjects such as physical fitness, critical and creative thinking and effective communication. “Although they’re prohibited from directly recruiting, the whole glorification of war is what I object to,” Dromm said. “If it were for adults, it’d be different. But these [programs] are for children.” JROTC is not designed to function as a recruitment tool, although it offers enlistment incentives, such as advanced enlistment rank. JROTC students – referred to as cadets – can also receive an award for recruiting classmates into JROTC. Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows has one of the largest JROTC programs in the nation. According to Lt. Col. Albert Lahood, senior army instructor with Francis Lewis JROTC, very few of his cadets go into the military after graduation.

“how does the City Council and the NYC Dept. of Education justify the display of facsimile guns and weapons in school assemblies, parades, drills and school events when there is a regulation of zero tolerance for such weapons in schools?” Lahood described JROTC not as a militaristic endeavor, Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows but as a means to build better has one of the largest JrOtc programs in the students. “We provide students a nation. good grounding for success This year, of the 123 graduating ca- in whatever they do,” Lahood said, dets at Francis Lewis, seven will enlist. adding that for the two years he has Funding for JROTC comes jointly been at Francis Lewis, JROTC had a from the City and the Federal govern- 100 percent graduation rate. ment. The curriculum is designed by “From things as simple as time the military, and covers public speak- management, to what I personally ing, American History, geography and think is one of the most important, is first aid, among many other topics. self-motivation and to break that cycle Cadets might also participate in pro- of procrastination,” Lahood added. grams ranging from community service Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushtrips and science camps to rappelling, ing), who represents the district where drill formation and air rifle competitions. Francis Lewis lies, said, “the JROTC Prohibited JROTC training includes live program...provides these young people firing of rifles and tactical training, such with a career option to explore. Not as patrolling and ambushing. only does JROTC training serve to preBarbara Harris is a former City pare future leaders for a possible career public school teacher. In a letter with the greatest military the world has released through her organization, ever seen, but it also teaches valuable Granny Peace Brigade, she asked, life skills, teamwork and a sense of

discipline that can be employed in any aspect of that person’s young life.” For Dromm, a major problem with JROTC is that “oftentimes these students come from lower income communities that don’t see any other alternatives to getting out of poverty or into college without these types of programs, and that’s what’s unfortunate.” “We should have similar programs for students that promote peace and offer them scholarships, rather than have this type of program in our high schools,” Dromm added. As of press time, the Dept. of Education could not confirm what percentage of City JROTC cadets are minority students. Dromm said he has observed JROTC programs in action in Staten Island and at Francis Lewis High School, although he has had no direct contact with JROTC instructors. “I have no relationship with the military,” he said. Alongside Francis Lewis, three other Queens high schools offer JROTC: Long Island City High School and Aviation High School in Long Island City and John Bowne High School in Flushing. Reach Reporter Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, jstrawbridge@ or @JNStrawbridge.

June 6-12, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 9


Gail Kim rises as Tna Wrestling star By Luis Gronda TNA Wrestling star Gail Kim has established herself as one of the most prominent woman wrestlers in the industry today. From her time in the WWE, to becoming the first and longest reigning Knockouts champion in TNA, Kim has accomplished her dream of becoming a wrestler. According to Kim, or Gail Kim-Irvine outside the squared circle, she has been a big wrestling fan since she was a kid. While attending college in her native Toronto, Canada, she decided to eschew her college education and instead train to be in the wrestling business. Kim-Irvine trained under well-known wrestling trainer Ron Hutchinson, who has taught other Canadian wrestlers like Edge, Christian and Trish Stratus. She made her wrestling debut in 2000 and eventually started at the WWE in

2002, after spending time at Ohio Valley Wrestling, which was essentially their minor league system prior to promotion to the main organization. She is now on her second stint in TNA, also making two trips to the WWE. Kim-Irvine describes the difference between the two organizations as “night and day,” saying TNA allows her to showcase her in-ring talent rather than focus solely on her beauty. “For someone like me, my talent lays out in the ring,” she said in an interview with the PRESS. Three wrestlers in particular have served as big influences in her career, according to Kim-Irvine. The first is Nora Benshoof, better known as Molly Holly in the wrestling world. KimIrvine said she recognized her talents and introduced her to WWE officials that eventually gave her the first big break of her career.

Corfu Grill up For Citi Field Contest By JoE MarViLLi A local favorite is in the running to have its own concession stand at Citi Field. Corfu Grill is one of three restaurants nominated for the Citi Small Business Call Ups program, which will present a City restaurant with the chance to highlight its food during the second half of the Mets’ 2014 season at Citi Field. The fans are voting on the three eateries, with the winner getting their own spot alongside some of the stadium’s culinary brands. “Citi Small Business Call Ups is a unique opportunity to leverage our valued relationship with the New York Mets, create a one-of-a-kind platform for one of our small business clients to market their business and bring the rich flavors and culture of New York into Citi Field,” Robert Kleiber, Head of Small Business at Citi Field, said. Competing against Corfu Grill, a Greek restaurant located in Forest Hills, are Ceetay, a Thai and Asian fusion restaurant in the Bronx, and Lady M Confections, a Manhattanbased venue that offers cakes and confectionary delights. Whichever establishment gets the most votes by June 6 will start its run at Citi Field on July 5, serving fans until the last game of the regular season on Sept. 28. The owner of Corfu Grill, Georgios Aspiotis, was thrilled to be one of the finalists selected by Citi

Field for the contest. “I feel great. I’m feeling very proud about my business,” he said. “I will do my best for the customers of Citi Field to be satisfied and enjoy great meals.” The 10-year-old restaurant has a wide variety of Greek specialties, such as Moussaka, Souvlaki, pasticcio, seafood and more. They also have a number of brunch options, desserts, pasta plates, hot and cold appetizers and traditional American meals. Catering is also available. Aspiotis said that popular items like chicken kebabs, gyros, salads and Greek yogurt would be served at Citi Field if the restaurant wins. As of press time, Corfu Grill had a commanding lead, garnering 46 percent of the vote, with the other two restaurants hovering in the 20s. Aspiotis said he was confident in his restaurant’s victory. “I’m the winner. It’s a done deal. See you at Citi Field,” he said. The voting opened on May 23 and will continue until June 6, with the online ballot found at citicallups. Anyone can vote daily until the contest wraps up. The winner will be announced on July 5. Corfu Grill is located at 70-17 Austin St., Forest Hills. For more on the eatery, call (718) 263-6263 or visit Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125,, or @JoeMarvilli.

Rey Mysterio Jr. was the inspiration for her high-flying wrestling style that she uses in the ring today, she said. While she precluded it as a bit of a sore subject, Kim-Irvine said Chris Benoit also inspired her during his career. She emulated his microphone style and his ability to cut good promos in the ring. Benoit was a former WWE and WCW superstar who killed his wife and son and then committed suicide in 2007. The wrestling lifestyle does not leave time for other activities, KimIrvine said, although it is something she was expecting when she got into the business. “This is the way I know life,” she said. “It’s hard to schedule or plan ahead.” Kim-Irvine and her husband, celebrity chef Robert Irvine, do manage to see each other whenever the opportunity arises, she said. As for what is left in her wrestling career, she is not sure when retirement will come, but she said when it comes time to hang up the boots, she would like to become a trainer and help young wrestlers get their career started. “One thing I’ve always said is that I

Gail Kim will appear with Tna Wrestling at the Grand Ballroom in Manhattan this summer. want to retire when I’m on top,” KimIrvine said. TNA will host their very first event in New York City, taping three IMPACT episodes on June 25-27 at the Grand Ballroom in Manhattan. The company recently scheduled three more IMPACT tapings at the same venue, scheduled for August 5-7. Reach Reporter Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127,, or @luisgronda.

indo-Caribbean Federation To Celebrate East indian arrival day The Indo-Caribbean Federation will celebrate its 29th Annual East Indian Arrival Day on June 8 at Smokey Park in Richmond Hill. The ancestors of East Indians left the shores of India 176 years ago to seek a better life in the Caribbean. Although the ancestors faced unimaginable hardships, they were comforted in their traditions and morals. Through oppression, the ancestors held to their faiths and beliefs with steadfastness. The adversities they faced did not stop them from passing their rich heritage and culture to their children. From a strong work ethic, to the respect of the elderly, Indo-Caribbean’s ancestors have instilled great values that have continued for generations and have survived through time and the modernization of the Indo-Caribbean community. East Indian Arrival Day is a day for Indians to reflect and celebrate the sacrifices and sufferings the ancestors endured to make certain that their culture thrived. Indo-Caribbean culture is an integral part of America’s rich cultural diversity and the community contributes to the economic, cultural and social life of the metro area. Arrival day is celebrated annually

to honor the triumph and survival of the ancestors who made the travel those many years ago. Many children take part in an Indian dance, singing and wearing traditional clothing in honor of this day. The annual congregation demonstrates the richness and beauty of the East Indian culture. This year’s Arrival Day celebration will begin at 1 p.m. and conclude at 7 p.m. Prominent artistes will display their talents. All are invited to come out to cheer the artistes and show appreciation to the organizers for celebrating their ancestors’ contributions. The East Indian pride will be shown through an array of dancing, singing, music, a fashion show and a special appearance by the Nirvana Humanitarian Foundation doing a skit about the ancestors’ living conditions in the Caribbean.

Page 10 PRESS of Southeast Queens June 6-12, 2014

Queens today

FRIdaY 6/6

Playground. The workshop runs from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $60, with another $15 for each additional sibling. Scholarships are available. For more information or to request a scholarship form, call (718) 699-0005 ext. 341 or email

SaTURdaY 6/7

musIc WItH A BoW


Head to Crocheron Park at 8 p.m. for a free screening of Disney’s “Brave.” Princess Merida, determined to make her own path, defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, she must rely on her bravery and archery skills to undo a beastly curse. The film will be shown by 35th Avenue and the Cross Island Parkway in the park.

Grammy-nominated recording artist, violin soloist, concertmaster, chamber musician and teacher Dale Stuckenbruck will demonstrate instruments that are played with a bow, including a singing saw. He will appear at the Flushing Library from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The library is located at 41-17 Main St.

LIttLE rED’s HooD

CityParks PuppetMobile presents “Little Red’s Hood,” a retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” at Bowne Park. Little Red is a smart, young city slicker who is too focused on her smartphone to notice her surroundings. Wulfric is a misunderstood wolf with a sweet tooth. When Little Red travels from New York City to the country to deliver some cupcakes to her Grandma, she encounters a colorful cast of characters as Wulfric the Wolf tries to head her off at the pass. The free show starts at noon.

FAmILy scIEncE ADvEnturEs

Discover and explore classic summer activities with a science twist at the New York Hall of Science. Children and parents can engage in exciting, hands-on outdoor activities, including water play, mud painting and experimenting in the Science

PArAnormAL InvEstIGAtIon

The Bayside Historical Society’s Seekers Club is holding a paranormal investigation at the Lawrence Cemetery at noon. Join the Seekers Club as they guide you through a live investigation, explaining the tools and techniques used to discover paranormal activity. The event costs $10 for the general audience, $8 for BHS members. Reserve your spot by calling (718) 352-1548.

outDoor ExHIBIt

Flux Factory and LIC Community Garden present “Nightlight,” an interactive outdoor installation exploring the power of light in creating a safe public space within the City. The installation spans


DEsIGn LAB oPEns Celebrate the opening of the Design Lab, a new permanent exhibition at the New York Hall of Science. Made up of five distinct pods, this exhibit will allow visitors to engage in activities, experiments and challenges that provide a deeper understanding of engineering and the design process. It is free with NYSCI admission. the entire garden and is powered exclusively by solar energy. The installation runs every evening in June – its opening party will be held Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (347) 669-1406.

communIty HEALtH FAIr

Mount Sinai Hospital and United Community Civic Association add some weekend fun to a health screening program this weekend in Astoria. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Most Precious Blood Church in Astoria, their annual community health fair offers free health screenings, refreshments and giveaways, as well as face painting, clowns and a bouncy castle for kids. For more information, visit

SUNdaY 6/8

KIDs Art In tHE PArK

The 6th annual Kew Gardens Kids Art in the Park will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Kew Gardens Cinemas Park. Children of all ages are invited to a fun-filled day of mural painting, arts and crafts and creative activities. The main attraction of the free event is a large-scale group mural kids can work on. Kew Gardens Cinemas Park is located on Austin Street, off Lefferts Boulevard.

monumEnts AnD mEmory

Renowned architectural historian John Kriskiewicz will lead a tour for the 75th and 50th anniversaries of the World’s Fairs in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The tour

uncertain political times. For information, call Coffeed at (718) 606-1299 and learn about the film at www. will look at the extant structures of the 1964 World’s Fair, such as the Unisphere, the Port Authority Heliport, Westinghouse Time Capsules and Wallace Harrison’s Hall of Science/Space Park. The tour is free and open to all. It runs from 4 to 6 p.m.

sHort FILms From JErusALEm

Emanuel United Church of Christ will celebrate its 75th Anniversary in the current building with a special mass, followed by a barbecue on 91st Avenue, right outside the church building. Emanuel is located on the corner of 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. It will begin at 9:45 a.m. and run until about 1 p.m.

Three short films from the Israeli Sam Spiegel Film School will be discussed. Two brothers on the West Bank set out with their grandfather’s old cart to peddle roasted beans and run into the realities of their everyday lives; a young man reluctantly goes back to his kibbutz to help his father, after years of estrangement; a middle aged Palestinian man kidnaps an Israeli soldier, yet struggles between his conscience – and his desire for revenge for the humiliation of himself and his wife. The discussion will begin at 12:30. The Central Queens Y is located at 67-09 108th Street in Forest Hills.

coFFEE concErt


AnnIvErsAry cELEBrAtIon

Come celebrate the two-year anniversary of Norma’s Coffee in Ridgewood. There will be a group of musicians that normally play at other Queens venues, hanging out and playing Norma’s. The day-long event will begin at 8 a.m. Norma’s is located at 59-02 Catalpa Ave.

moNdaY 6/9 FILm scrEEnInG At coFFEED

LIC’s neighborhood locally sourced ecocafe Coffeed, located on Northern Boulevard downstairs from the Brooklyn Grance rooftop farm, will be hosting a film screening on Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The film tells stories of creative solutions to


Target Margin Theater concludes the 2013-14 season and their two-year exploration of Yiddish Theater with the summer 2014 TMT Lab: Yiddish Version at the Secret Theater. TMT’s Lab offers a sampler of works from the canon of Yiddish theater and literature, to remind us all how diverse and sophisticated Yiddish culture was, and how great its loss. All performances are in English. Tickets are $15. For more information, call (718) 392-0722.

Got EvEnts?

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

June 6-12, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 11


South Jamaica Rapper Standing Out On His Own BY JORDAN GIBBONS A lifelong South Jamaica resident, Donald Patterson, 28, has been honing his craft since the young age of 11. Taking the stage name X-YLE, he said he wants to stand out on his own with his songwriting ability and not get lost in the common themes found in the mainstream hip hop scene. His music displays influences from DMX’s deep and emotional persona, Nas’ storytelling ability and Busta Rhymes’ animated and energetic characteristics. “My way of doing things reminds you of that era,” he said. “My balance is finding a way of fusing that past era of hip hop with modern day hip hop.” He prides himself in telling stories through his music, not boasting about crimes and accomplishments in the streets. “I don’t talk about what everyone else is talking about,” he said. Last October, he was signed to a

one-year contract with BMH/Island Def Jam. The contract opened a few doors for him and provided him with some positive feedback, he said. He has been at several Hot 97 events in Brooklyn. He has performed at the Static Lounge in Astoria prior to its recent rebranding and has also done a children’s after-school program in Flushing. His next big event will be opening up for The Spotlight Music Showcase: Hot 97 Edition at the Nuyorican Poets Café in Manhattan on June 29. Other artists being featured that evening are Fred the Godson and Ron Browz. X-YLE has honed his craft by performing at shows for Violator, Street Sweepers, Bad Boy, G-Unit, Interscope Records, Def Jam Records and The Source Magazine. He prides himself in his ability to control the audience with his crowd interaction, slick delivery and demeanor. His latest album, “Thoughts of a New Yorker,” will be released in July and features what he said was his fa-

vorite song he has written so far, “Deep Prayer.” “It wraps everything I’m feeling as far as not getting support from the community,” he said. “People want you to conform and want you to go a certain way.” He is also CEO of his own record company, Frontlyne, which currently has four other artists: Two hip hop and two R&B artists. X-YLE has many goals for his hip hop career and his current plan is centered on the longevity of his career. When all is said and done, he wants to leave a legacy where he is respected for what he brought to the hip hop genre. “My main drive is to be remembered in history,” he said. “I want to be historic. I want to be one of those who go down as someone who was true to the art.” Reach Reporter Jordan Gib- South Jamaica rapper X-YLE is looking bons at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123, forward to the release of his latest album, or @ “Thoughts of a New Yorker,” in July. jgibbons2.

People Local residents received academic honors for the spring 2014 semester at Berkeley College. They include: President’s List Jamaica: Kern Alcindor, Mamoudou Diallo, Ndukwe Eleanya, Lorrain Vaughn. Queens Village: Sabrina Tulsee. Rosedale: Ethan Joseph. South Ozone Park: Salome Shivrattan. South Richmond Hill: Andy Delgado. Dean’s List Cambria Heights: Abdulhameed Darhan, Maleika Phillips. Hollis: Myesha Perez, Victoria Walters. Jamaica: Sabrina Alishayeva, Jonathan Allen, Chiandra Barnhill, Carl Bosquet, Justyn Brown, Maria Buri, Rudyard Burke, Thomas Charles, Zijian Chen, Kirk Douglas, Joshua Dunn, Glenn Law, Candace Mitchell, Sean Persaud, Valerie Reed, Sophia Shand, Jose Tejada, Jennifer Umana, Alma Ynoa. Queens Village: Terri GoodenMiller. Rosedale: Natalee Beaufort, Marlon Elliot, Phillisa Ellis-Montgomery. South Ozone Park: Ginero Gordon, Kevin Layne, Aliyah Mohammed, Narissa Persaud.

South Richmond Hill: Manider Kaur, Sharon Mohan, Deneeta Nanan, Melissa Rivera, Hawattie Sancler, Jonathan Silva. Springfield Gardens: Romel Roachford. St. Albans: Fatima Hall, Patrice Nathan, Mikell Richards. Marlone Benedict of Queens Village was named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2014 semester at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C. Denzel Quincy McLarty of Jamaica graduated with a major in physics and a minor in economics during spring 2014 commencement ceremonies at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Randy Neckles of Springfield Gardens received a Bachelor of Arts degree during spring 2014 commencement ceremonies at Providence College in Rhode Island. U.S. Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Timothy A. Chan graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values,

physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Chan is the son of Gaitree and Sharma Chan of South Ozone Park. Jonathan Ghansiam of Hollis was named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2014 semester at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. Angelo Hunt of Rosedale graduated from the Westminster School during spring 2014 commencement ceremonies in Simsbury, Conn. Raphael Walcott of Springfield Gardens was named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2014 semester at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass. Daniel Recker of Rosedale and Nathan Thomas of Jamaica were named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2014 semester at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. The 14th annual Forest Hills Festival will take place from noon to 6 p.m. June 8, rain or shine, on Austin Street, between 69th Road and 72nd Road. The free event will showcase 150 vendors and stores, along with kid’s rides, food and live music.

For information, call (719) 268-6565 or email Upcoming events at the Howard Beach Senior Center include: Emergency Preparedness For Seniors with Christine Kraft, 10:30 a.m. June 10. Fantastic Fiber with Cassie Plummer, 10:30 a.m. June 12. Getting Your Energy Back With Nutrition, 10:30 a.m. June 24. Stretching, Balancing and Aerobics with Lisa Garcia, 1:15-2 p.m. Fridays. The Howard Beach Senior Center is located at 155-55 Crossbay Blvd., Howard Beach. For information, call (718) 738-8100. U.S. Air National Guard Airman David Chan graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San AntonioLackland, San Antonio, Texas. The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Chan is the husband of Jessica Hyun of Forest Hills. Christina Rukki of Forest Hills received a degree in estudios hispanicos, cum laude, during spring 2014 commencement ceremonies at St. Lawrence University in Canton.

Page 12 PRESS of Southeast Queens June 6-12, 2014


Muslim Center Rises From Humble Beginnings BY JORDAN GIBBONS In 1983, the Jamaica Muslim Center opened in a living room. Since then, it has moved to a basement, a house and is now the fully constructed Masjid Al Mamoor, which includes a Mosque, a school, a place for religious gatherings and eating facilities. The Mosque offers regular prayers five times a day, as well as seminars and lectures on the celebration of the Islamic calendar. They also have lectures and Quaranic classes seven days a week. The Mosque holds annual interfaith dialogues with other denominations, such as Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism. “We discuss the misconceptions among other religions, all nonviolent and nonhatred,” Akhter Hussain, general secretary, said. “We open our doors for them and they open their doors for us. We build a community

to have tolerance for each other.” The weekend Islamic school has more than 250 students who are taught by qualified teachers, providing education on the Quran, Islamic studies and traditions. There are currently 18 classes and 19 teachers. The Al Mamoor School is chartered under the New York State Board of Education curriculum and currently goes from pre-kindergarten to 8th grade. Every year, the board of education grants them one more grade. Next year, 9th grade will be added when they move to a new complex. The school’s structure is similar to a Catholic school’s, with one hour of religion and the rest of the day for general studies. Al Mamoor recently expanded the facility by adding a new building at Parsons Boulevard to move its educational programs over from the current school. “We teach our students how to

deal with parents, neighbors with religious values,” Hussain said. “Be a good Muslim, be a good human.” The center raises funds through their congregates to help local community projects and centers, assist with funeral expenses locally and provide the means to fund burials from the U.S. back to the country of origin. They also raise funds for victims of catastrophic events such as Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, the Thailand Tsunami and various floods and earthquakes. They also hold two fundraising dinners each year: one during Ramadan and one in October. This year, the Ramadan fundraising dinner will be held on July 12. On June 14, the center is sponsoring a program with nonprofit Stop the Hunger. At 3 p.m., 150 volunteers will package food that is being shipped from Pennsylvania. They are making 30,000 packages of food that

Stop the Hunger will distribute. The center will also hold a press conference with local politicians today at 1:45 p.m. to address a recent decision by the City Dept. of Transportation to convert traffic in a one-way direction in front of the mosque. This measure is expected to reduce traffic and increase pedestrian safety. There has also been an increased police presence in the area to decrease crime, especially during Ramadan when there are more visitors to the center. “Local police are very active with us,” Hussain said. “Police are always there. You can see crime is going down thanks to the group effort of the community, local politicians and the police.” The Jamaica Muslim Center is located at 85-37 168th St. Call (718) 739-3182 for more information. Reach Reporter Jordan Gibbons at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123, jgibbons@ or @jgibbons2.


Campus Magnet Complex

Two Brothers; Two Valedictorians At Campus Magnet She noted his activities Program. He has taken in the theater club, para College Now course ticipation in the school’s in linguistics and is now concert and marching enrolled in one for poband and his role in the litical science at Queens student government as College. He loves heavy a College Summit Peer metal and rock but reLeader. spects genres of music Principal Rosemarie such as blues, country O’Mard said that Alexanand classical. He plays der has gained a high dethe guitar and likes to gree of confidence over skateboard. He plans to the years and has earned take part in the Summer the respect of staff and Youth Program this year students. He never comand then attend Mercy promised his ideals, is College with a partial dedicated, smart and has honors scholarship. integrity. She congratuSchool Counselor and lated him on his accom- Matthew and Alexander Ramroop were both named Valedictori- College Advisor Elaine plishments. Bancone said Matthew ans at the Campus Magnet Complex in Cambria Heights. Matthew finished with is hardworking, orgaa 94.9 GPA and is internized, responsible and ested in a music business career. He as an intern in the Black Spectrum has leadership qualities. She said he hopes to have a band and become a Theatre working with children. He is mature and well-liked by his peers record producer. He is a member of has also been an active member on and adults in school. the National Society of High School the varsity bowling team, the poetry Principal Delfyett-White said MatScholars, volunteers in the princi- club and the French club. thew is a wonderful student, always In the summer of 2012, he went to willing to help and is often sought pal’s office daily, volunteers as a tutor after school for freshmen in the a Law and CSI Forum in Maryland out by his classmates for assistance World Leaders Program and served and later attended a Queens Science with their school work. Photo by Bob Harris

Alexander and Matthew Ramroop were both named Valedictorian for 2014 in their high schools at the Campus Magnet Complex in Cambria Heights. Alexander received the honor for the Humanities and the Arts High School and Matthew for the Law, Government and Community Service High School. Both students are receiving Advanced Regents diplomas. Alexander finished with a 93.8 GPA and is interested in fashion design. He is a member of the school’s HA! Theater Company and has performed in the school plays “Fame” and “Cheaper by the Dozen.” He is in the College Summit program in his school and he took part in 21st Century Video Production at Queensborough Community College, where he also takes enrichment courses on weekends through the Project Prize program. Miranda Smalls, college advisor and College Summit advisor, credits Alex with an incredible, motivational drive, the ability to take on multiple tasks simultaneously and the ability to produce high quality results.

June 6-12, 2014 PRESS of Southeast Queens Page 13

What’s Up June 6 eHnC Community Partnership Meeting The party will be held at CityRib BBQ, located at 89-04 Parsons Blvd., Jamaica.

The EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care Partner invites all interested in joining the group to come to its partnership meeting. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care Center, located at 206-20 Linden Blvd., Cambria Heights. For more information, call (866) 539-0999.

June 7 Cash for Guns

Aviation/ Community Job Fair Queens Borough President, Melinda Katz presents her first annual Job fair. The fair will start at 10 a.m. at Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd, Kew Gardens. For more information, call (718) 2863000. All attending the fair are encouraged to dress in business attire, have copies of resumes, copies and originals of their I.D. and Social Security Card. Qualified applicants must be at least 18 years or older with a High School diploma, have a flexible work schedule that includes weekends & holidays, be able to provide a 10 year history of employment, unemployment and education and pass drugscreening, finger-printing and a 10 year background check.

Frozen Frozen will be shown at Rochdale Park from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The park is located at Guy R. Brewer Boulevard between 130th Avenue and 137th Avenue. For more information, call (718) 206-2068.

First Fridays Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning presents First Fridays in Downtown Jamaica. Enjoy great music, drinks, networking and great art with other young urban professionals (25+) who work, shop, live and dine in the downtown Jamaica area. Business casual attire encouraged. The event starts at 7 p.m. at Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, located at 161-04 Jamaica Ave. Jamaica. Admission is $5 for those with Business Cards or Student IDs and $10 for those without. Doors open at 6 p.m. For more information, call (718) 658-7400.

AJJ entertainment’s upscale Party All are invited to join AJJ Entertainment at its free Upscale Party, hosted by Andre, Jamal and Justin. Doors open at 11 p.m. Trendy attire encouraged. Hats, boots and athletic wear are discouraged. For more information or to RSVP, email ajjent13@

Turn in a weapon and receive a $200 bank card for the return of operable handguns and assault rifles and $20 bank card for the return of rifles and shotguns. Guns must be placed in a plastic or paper bag. Unlimited guns can be submitted but payment for three guns will be received. The drop off site for the guns is Majority Baptist Church, located at 115-21 Farmers Blvd., Jamaica. The drop offsite will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No current or retired Law Enforcement Guns. For more information, call 311.

Sarcoidosis Support Group Have Sarcoidosis? Come to a free support group meeting. The group will meet at 10 a.m. at the EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care Center, located at 206-20 Linden Blvd., Cambria Heights. For more information, call (866) 539-0999.

Juneteenth Celebration Gifts from Deez Hands presents its annual Juneteenth Commemoration in honor of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas in 1865. The commemoration will begin at 11 a.m. and will feature a lecture by Hidden Colors and The Dogon People, the Aquaman Music Ministry, Barbara Haskins-Scott. There will be a reading corner and Precious Promise, the Christian Clown for the children entertainment. The Anita Herring Community Service award will be presented. Dinner will be served by Deez Family of helpers. General admission is $25, $20 in advance. The commemoration will be held at Gifts from Deez Hands Rosedale Showroom, located at 255-44 147th Rd., Rosedale. For more information, call (718) 978-7798.

Awards Luncheon The Women’s Industrial Service League presents its scholarship and awards luncheon honoring outstanding senior citizens and high school graduating seniors. The cost of admission is $50 in advance and $55 at the door. The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. at Antun’s, located at 9643 Springfield Blvd., Queens Village. For more information, call Rev. Mary Beamon at (718) 949-5802 or Lois Menyweather at (718) 464-7818 or (646) 284-1689.

Family Fun Day Councilman Donovan Richards invites families to a Family Fun Day. Enjoy music, snacks, and a ton of games. The event will begin at 12 p.m. at Springfield Park, located at 146-02 Springfield Blvd., Jamaica. For more information call (718) 527-4356.

Summer Fitness Workout Join EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care for a cardio workout this Saturday. The workout will focus on using strength training to build muscle. All are encouraged to notify their doctors about the class before coming. The class will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 at EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care Center, located at 206-20 Linden Blvd., Cambria Heights. For more information or to RSVP, call (866) 539-0999.

Jamaica Collections 2014 Jamaica Center BID’s red carpet event returns with “The Jamaica Collections: Epicenter of Style.” Enjoy an amazing lineup of trendsetting designer fashion presentations and entertainment in NYC’s largest urban fashion district. General admission is $10. The event will begin at 7 p.m. at Jamaica Performing Arts Center, located at 153-10 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica. For more information, call (718) 618-6170 or email

Voter Registration Drive Jamaica Branch NAACP will host a rally to inform and assist community members eligible to register to vote. The focus will be on the importance of mid-term elections and there will be announcement of the community voter registration project. The rally will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Jamaica Branch NAACP Office, located at 1826 Linden Blvd. St. Albans. For more information, call Leroy Gadsden at (718) 723-3653.

King’s Gala The King of Kings Foundation presents the King’s Gala. The black tie event will raise funds to build stronger, safer and closer communities. Enjoy an open bar, five course meals and entertainment. The Gala will start at 8 p.m. at Floral Terrace, located at 250 Jericho Turnpike, Floral Park. The general admission is $150. For more information, call (718) 712-7684.

June 8 Charter Day Celebration Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Epsilon Pi Omega chapter presents its 64th Annual Community Charter

Day Program. The Chapter will award 43 deserving college-bound Queens Students with academic scholarships. This year’s keynote speaker is esteemed professor, author and entrepreneur Dr. Lindamichelle Baron. The AKA will also honor Ms. Vanessa Sparks as the “Community Leader of the Year.” The event will begin at 4 p.m. at St. John’s University D’ Angelo Center, 4th Floor, located at 8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica. For more information, call (718) 990-2000.

June 10 Addisleigh Park Civic Organization Meeting Residents of Addisleigh Park are invited to gather for the Addisleigh Park Civic Organization meeting. The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center, located at 172-17 Linden Blvd., Jamaica. For more information, visit

June 12 Meditation Made easy Learn how to meditate in a few simple steps. Meditation can help create a feeling of calmness, ease and quiet inner knowing. The class will begin at 2 p.m. at the EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care Center, located at 206-20 Linden Blvd, Cambria Heights. For more information or to RSVP, call (866) 539-0999.

Council Member Miller’s Participatory Budgeting Info Session Community members residing in New York City Council District ages 14 and above are invited to come propose ideas, projects, and make decisions with the City budget. For more information, call (718) 776-3700. To rsvp, call Jessica Douglas at (718) 776-3700 or email jdouglas@council. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Maranatha Center, located at 112-50 Springfield Blvd., Queens.

June 14 Property Management 101 All new and existing property owners are encouraged to attend a free workshop on property management. Topics include responsibilities of a homeowner, tenancy pros and cons, property management assistance and financial assistance options. The workshop will start at 10 a.m. at The Community Bridge Home, located at 120-50 Springfield Blvd. RSVP at economicdevelopment@ if you plan to attend. Breakfast will be served.

Page 14 PRESS of Southeast Queens June 6-12, 2014

'Baby Vanel' Looking For Signatures

No Slowing Down At Slow Zone Despite fanfare over the new arterial slow zone along Queens Boulevard – aka the Boulevard of Death, where 23 people have died since 2008 – it turns out zero actual reforms will hit the speed limit on the rough thoroughfare. While a handful of Queens streets will have their speed limits lowered from 30 miles per hour to 25, Queens Boulevard’s will stick at 30, where it’s been since 2001. Slow zone signs will go up encouraging drivers to hit the

brakes, but not mandating it. “Our engineers felt like 30 was really the right speed for that street,” Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said, according to published reports. We here at QConf wonder: Right for what? Right for whom? Meanwhile, at Vision Zero safety workshops across the Borough, residents continue to coat maps of their neighborhoods with stickers, marking areas that need improvement.

Halloran's 'Induciae' It’s always humorous when one event randomly relates to ongoing news in Queens. A Queens resident was eliminated from the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition last week for misspelling a word that a troubled former councilman is trying to do in his case. S a i Vi s h u d h i C h a n drasekhar, a 12-year-old from Flushing, misspelled the word “Induciae,” which is a delay allowed for the performance of a legal obligation. It appears that former councilman Dan Halloran is attempting to call for his own induciae.

Last week, the troubled ex-elected official attempted to stall the case against him, which went to trial this week, by pleading for insanity. Halloran was arrested last year in relation to a corruption case that attempted to put State Sen. Malcolm Smith on the mayoral ballot. Halloran’s attorney said in a letter that because the former councilman underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor, he did not realize the consequences of his actions. The trial began this past Monday, in what will surely be one of several court hearings for that trial.

of “Baby Vanel” seen here. While the incumbent is on trial this week, Vanel has some tough competition, as former Councilman Leroy Comrie has thrown his hat in the ring, along with Munir Avery and Bernadette Semple. Here at QConf, we’re hoping that the other candidates pushing for a spot in the September primary also release their baby pictures. To the cutest baby go the spoils!



You never know what kind of email you’ll get during an election cycle. Take, for example, this email from Clyde Vanel, who is looking for assistance in obtaining signatures to get on the ballot to run against State Sen. Malcolm Smith in the 14th State Senate District Primary: “Baby Vanel is praying for your assistance. I need your help collecting petition signatures in order to qualify as a candidate for NYS Senate,” the email read. It was accompanied by the photo

QConf is edited by: Steven J. Ferrari Contributors: Bruce Adler, Jordan Gibbons, Luis Gronda, Joe Marvilli, Marcia Moxom Comrie, Michael Nussbaum, Michael Schenkler, Jackie Strawbridge.

Follow us on Twitter: @QueensTrib Like us on Facebook QueensTrib We want to feature you! E-mail editor@ for inclusion in a future edition.

50 Cent Is Bringing Backup To Citi Field The New York Mets announced that 50 Cent will be joined by the rest of G-Unit for his post-game concert on Saturday, June 14. Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Young Buck, Kidd Kidd and other special guests may be serving as reinforcements to protect 50 from any verbal insults that get tossed in his direction for his abysmal attempt at a first pitch before the Mets game on May 25. Hopefully for 50’s sake, the insults will be a good 15 feet off the mark, just like his epically bad first (and most likely last) pitch.

Musicians OF QuEEns

Chris Shamkin

For some people, the decision to become a musician is an epiphany, when they know in an instant what they want to do. For others, the process is gradual. Music becomes engrained in their everyday lives and they discover that it is the path for them. Chris Shamkin’s journey to a music career was the latter. “I love to write and perform. In my heart, there’s no better form of expression. I’m not sure if there was really one moment where I said, ‘I’m going to be a song writer,’” he said. “My parents had this gigantic record collection from the 60s and 70s and listening to music was a daily pastime in our house. I remember picking up my dad’s guitar and thinking, ‘I love this.’” Shamkin’s music is simple, using just voice and an acoustic guitar to weave warm melodies and relatable lyrics. It is gentle, but always keeps the listener's attention. For the Long Island City musician, a song can evolve from anything in his life, slowly growing until it is complete. “It’s ever-evolving. I might sit on an idea for a year, or until I see a whole story take form,” Shamkin said. “The music soon follows, but that’s where I love to experiment with different rhythms and chords, or instrumentation. By the end of the process, the song may be miles from where it started.” The songs are also varied, not relying on the same tricks for each number, a lesson Shamkin learned during his time in Japan, where he heard a lot of excellent music. “I learned to listen to and

play with as many different artists, and as regularly as I could find,” he said. “Variety broadens the palette and avoids stylistic dead ends.” Shamkin also formed the band Wooden Nickel, after hosting an open mic in Millerton, NY. It was there that he met singer-songwriter Lance Middlebrook. The two musicians hit it off and formed a duo, adding bassist John Matthews and drummer Ken Hafford to round out the band. Wooden Nickel keeps the feather-light touch of Shamkin’s solo work, though the addition of a rhythm section and a country tinge creates a strong separation between the two projects. “Things get more organic and fixed in place when playing with other artists and instruments. Sometimes, an open mind is the best attitude when adding other perspectives to the mash,” he said. In addition to being a musician, Shamkin has been teaching incarcerated young men between the ages of 16 and 18 years old for the last four years. “I’m deeply affected by the honesty of someone not afraid to burst into song or rhyme about their stories and situations,” he said. “It’s therapeutic in a way, almost like being able to laugh in the face of hardship.” Shakim plans to record a new album this summer and will perform at LIC Bar on Sept. 14. For more information on his music, visit www. or chrisshamkin.





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