Category Archives: Richmond Hill

Liquor Store Owner Charged with Tax Fraud

The chairman and chief executive officer of a Richmond Hill liquor store last week was charged with stealing more than $500,000 in state sales taxes collected at the establishment between 2007 and 2010, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Gurcharan Singh, 33, of Glen Oaks, who owns and operates Raj American Liquor, Inc., on Atlantic Avenue, was released on his own recognizance last Thursday night after he was arraigned on charges of second-degree criminal tax fraud, second-degree grand larceny, … Continue reading

Body Found after Fire Destroys Vacant Richmond Hill House

Firefighters last week discovered the burned body of an unidentified man inside an abandoned Richmond Hill house after extinguishing an early-morning inferno that destroyed the property, according to city Fire Department officials and published reports. The man—believed to be a squatter, according to a New York Daily News report—was found dead in the attic. The cause of last Wednesday’s blaze that gutted what was left of the building on the corner Lefferts Boulevard and 95th Avenue was deemed suspicious. City … Continue reading

Cops Nab Duo in Alleged Armed Mugging; Gun not Recovered

Police on Tuesday nabbed a pair of alleged muggers who robbed a man at gunpoint in Richmond Hill, but the weapon used in the attack has not been recovered, authorities said. Paul Cempeda-Ortiz, 22, and Antonio Ramos, 21, were both charged with second-degree robbery. According to cops, Cempeda-Ortiz and Ramos allegedly approached a man on the corner of 118th Street and 97th Avenue. One of them pulled a black gun on the victim and “forcibly removed” his wallet from his … Continue reading

Jail Protesters Push Message at de Blasio Event

A small but spirited contingent of the South Ozone Park Civic Association West last Thursday afternoon set up a demonstration across the street from Richmond Hill High School, hoping to catch the eye of the Very Important Person who was visiting the 114th Street campus. That VIP? Mayor Bill de Blasio. As they waited on the brisk but clear afternoon for hizzoner to emerge from the building—he toured RHHS and touted its progress as a Renewal School—the community group held … Continue reading

De Blasio Tours Richmond Hill HS, Touts ‘Renewal’ Program

Mayor Bill de Blasio last Thursday paid a visit to Richmond Hill High School, touting its improvement over the past three months as one of nearly 100 Renewal Schools across the city. Last November, de Blasio unveiled the $150 million Renewal Schools program, dedicating new leadership and resources to 94 schools that, like Richmond Hill, have struggled for years. The effort is overseen by Aimee Horowitz, executive superintendent for Renewal Schools. “As a mom, as a teacher, as a principal, and as … Continue reading

New Commanding Officer at 102nd Precinct

There’s a new top cop in the 102nd Precinct. Dep. Inspector Deodat Urprasad last week took over for Dep. Inspector Henry Sautner, who was rotated out to head a detective bureau. “It’s a pleasure and privilege to serve this community,” Urprasad told The Forum on Tuesday in Richmond Hill. The 24-year veteran’s last post was in Patrol Borough Midtown South. Urprasad began his career in Brooklyn North, where he served for 10 years as an officer and sergeant. From there … Continue reading

Program Allows Area Students to Learn From NASA Astronauts

An afterschool initiative in Richmond Hill provides area students with the opportunity to learn about the Final Frontier—from actual National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronauts. Part of the Science and Technology program at the One Stop Richmond Hill Community Center on Jamaica Avenue, children of various grades from neighborhood public and private schools videoconference with astronauts at NASA facilities across the country, learning about everything from astronomy to physics and climate science. “I think it’s a really good program,” said … Continue reading

Addabbo Turns Attention to Woodhaven Ambulance Corps Building Troubles

State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) this week told The Forum that the fight for the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps building continues. Earlier this year, the WRHVAC indicated that, after a Queens Supreme Court judge granted another construction extension to the owner of the partially collapsed building next door to the corps’ Jamaica Avenue headquarters, they would have to cease operating. The latest extension was a troubling development, particularly for the corps, because structural damage and safety concerns … Continue reading

MTA Reopens Stations Along Liberty Avenue

It was a sight for sore south Queens straphanger eyes. On Monday morning, following five months of renovation and rehabilitation, A-train customers regained access to the Manhattan-bound sides of the 104th Street and 88th Street stations along the Liberty Avenue line in Ozone Park. The station renewal program is part of a major $39 million capital project that will see the complete overhaul of five stations along the Liberty Avenue A line, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “For these stations, originally opened in the … Continue reading

Richmond Hill Historical Society Welcomes Author

The Richmond Hill Historical Society last Friday welcomed borough historian and educator Carl Ballenas (r.), who detailed and signed his new book, “Images of America: Kew Gardens,” co-authored with members of the Aquinas Honor Society of the Immaculate Conception School in Jamaica Estates. Pictured with Ballenas are Ryla Pasaoa and Diego Loja, two of the 50 gifted 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade students who each researched a topic for the tome.

Participatory Budget Committee Meets with Ulrich Fiscal Chief

Members of the Participatory Budgeting Committee last Thursday evening met with Gregory Mitchell, City Councilman Eric Ulrich’s (R-Ozone Park) budget director, to review ideas submitted through area civic organizations and Community Board 9 in preparation for budget sessions with city agencies. Community Board 9 Chairman Ralph Gonzalez (l.-r.); Simcha Waisman, vice president, Richmond Hill Block Association; Lisa Gomes, acting district manager, CB 9; Martin Colberg, president, Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association; CB 9 Member J. Richard Smith; and Ed Wendell, president, Woodhaven … Continue reading

Building Collapse, Slow Recovery Cause Volunteer Ambulance Corps to Shutter

The partial collapse of a building on Jamaica Avenue in 2013 has had a devastating domino effect on the Woodhaven community. It seems that the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps, whose headquarters are located in the building next to the affected edifice, will have to close its doors for good. Queens Supreme Court Judge Diccia Pineda-Kirwan has granted a construction extension to the owner of the partially collapsed building that once housed a furniture shop. This is a troubling development, … Continue reading

Community Board 9 DM Search Down to Five Candidates

The Community Board 9 District Manager Search Committee last Thursday evening whittled down the candidate pool to five from 11. These applicants have advanced to the interview stage: Scott Wolff, Lisa Gomes, James McClelland, Beryl Nyack and Joann Ariola. In a meeting at Borough Hall, each member of the 12-person collective gathered around a table and reviewed the applications and resumes of all candidates. In a voting system, the applicants who received the most tallies moved on to the next … Continue reading

Six New Officers Join 106th Precinct

Six rookie officers fresh out of the Police Academy and assigned to the 106th Precinct have already begun working the streets of south central Queens.  State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) recently addressed the officers, noting that “Each year, when the future of our city’s finest graduate the Police Academy and become rookie officers, they are bestowed a badge. This badge shows they are our community’s protectors and allies, and we the public become their priority. Jobs like that are … Continue reading

DA’s Office Will Use Grant Money to Address Automobile Crimes

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown last week announced that his office has successfully secured a significant grant from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services to help combat vehicle theft and insurance fraud. The $556,000 award is part of a $3.7 million grant package that Gov. Andrew Cuomo said will be distributed to 17 agencies and organizations across the state for the purpose of enhancing their efforts in reducing the two crimes. The Queens DA’s Office received the largest grant—with … Continue reading