After all your money is spent, your belly full and the family all fizzled out from the season...Kwanzaa begins! The African Poetry Theater (APT) held its annual Kwanzaa festival at the Rochdale Village Community Center. While many believe that the passing of John Watusi Branch, who led the organization for years, meant APT died as well, that is far from the truth. Like any sudden passing, priorities had to shift to ensure program and events continued. “John took on a lot,” said APT Board Member Andre Kaalund. “Everyone had to step up”. Andre explained that APT is going through a “rebirth” and APT is proceeding forward. Before Watusi’s passing, New York City had allocated funds to refurbish the APT site. Plans are underway now to move ahead with the reconstruction which will begi
What actions are elected officials going to take, why are public dollars being used for private development and why does Bluestone Developers get favor from the Mayor’s office over tax paying residents of Southeast Queens, the largest voting block in the country. Those were the lingering question after a last minute meeting was called to update residents on the status of Hollis Avenue Development between 202nd and 204th Avenue. The latest update, the site was to be developed into a homeless shelter. Residents protested weekly ending an ambush at Senator Leroy Comrie’s office for an update. Residents wanted senior and affordable housing, they believed the area is oversaturated with supportive housing.
On Tuesday, October 20, 2015 candidates for the 29th Assembly District met for their second debate. Alicia Hyndman, Democrat, and Scherie Murray, Republican and on the Reform Party Line, squared off in their hopes of becoming the next Assembly member for the district. In a debate that started exceedingly late while the candidates attended another function, the Republican candidate failed to convince the crowd in this Democratic stronghold why she should be their new Assembly member. That didn’t mean the front-running candidate was gaining the hearts and convincing the minds of those present. “There is something missing,” said a debate attendee, who asked to remain nameless, of candidate Alicia Hyndman. While Alicia is thoughtful, versed on community issues, most voters express
October 10, 2015 is a significant day! It was 20 years on October 16, 1995, that the National of Islam was host to the Million Man March on Washington. African American men from across the nation gathered at the Mall in Washington DC in a show of unity, brotherhood and to place the Black issues on the nation's agenda. Critical issues were unemployment, the effects of negative stereotyping and poverty. There were concerns about gaps in health care, over incarceration rates and aggressive law enforcement practices. Twenty years later, October 10 marks the next generation in this ongoing commitment. In the shadow Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Tamar Rice and many other high profile cases of unarmed African American males dying at the hands of police officer issues of law enforceme
The 113th Precinct received a beautification from its cops and kids. Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) from the 113th Precinct teamed up with NYPD Explorers to clean up graffiti in various spots throughout the precinct. Locations included areas along Francis Lews Boulevard and 109th, Rockaway Boulevard at 142nd and Linden Boulevard at 172nd. NCOs work in shifts where part of their time is allocated to community connection efforts with residents, businesses and the like.
Last year, the AirTrain Jazz Festival welcomed commuters traveling through the AirTrain Jamaica Station. In the same manner that travelers are warmly greeted with music when de-boarding planes in the Caribbean, this jazz festival offered the same welcoming tone. This year the festival is expanding from its eight week run to thirty weeks! The series will also move performances from the evening house to late afternoon/evening. Promoters have put out a call for jazz bands that want to be a part of the lineup. Last years festival took the opportunity to showcase area talent. The hope is that additional local bands will answer the call. The festival is successful at capturing the attention of commuters at they move through the station. Many pause their travels to enjoy the m
Assemblyman William Scarborough, District 29, stepped down from his position after pleading guilty to state and federal felony charges of grand larceny in the misuse of travel funds over a four year period. This November, the election to install a new Assembly member will take place. Three ladies are vying for the seat. Alicia Hyndman, Scherie Murray and Terryl Ebony are in a lackluster campaign that has left many residents disappointed with a shortage of candidates, crying ‘voter suppression’ and dismayed with a repeat of the same old thing from the same old guard. After it was confirmed that Scarborough was stepping down, there was a buzz in the community that there would be many potential candidates tossing their hat into the ring. The number was rumored to be upwards of 11 i
Local Serena Williams hopefuls will soon get an opportunity to train for the next grand slam both day and night. Plans were unveiled for the new and improved Brookville Park which will include upgrades to its tennis courts, synthetic playing field and picnic areas on September 22nd. The tennis courts will receive new lighting to allow for evening hour playing and events. The turf field will include bleachers along the 50 yard line and wide paths for accessibility ease. Picnic area upgrades will include the addition of eight tables, four hot coal stations and five barbecue grills. An upgrade to Brookville Park's reading and chess areas, which was a winner of the 2015 Participatory Budgeting Project which allocated $1 million to spend in the District, will be addressed in a la
New York City Department of Probation in conjunction with the Food Bank of New York City celebrated the opening of NeOn Nutrition Kitchen at its Jamaica Avenue Center. NeOn Nutrition Kitchen (Jamaica NeON) is the NYC Department of Probations’ in house food pantry. Staff noticed that clients were food insecure and, as a result, were trying to help fill those needs independently. With a clientele that is 85% male, solving food insecurity issues isn’t as simple as sending individuals to the local pantry. The stigma surrounding such in community visits is higher for males who, unlike women, overcome any personal stigma as they are fulfilling their roles as primary caregivers. Clients can visit the pantry while they are at the center visiting for other reasons. Parole officers can ass