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QC02092017

4 THE QUEENS COURIER •

4 THE QUEENS COURIER • FEBRUARY 9, 2017 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM High school demands a principal change now BY SUZANNE MONTEVERDI smonteverdi@qns.com/ @smont76 Despite a recent step in the direction of change, the Townsend Harris High School (THHS) community remains uneasy about the permanent principal hiring process and is working to achieve immediate action. After months of reported tension between interim acting principal Rosemarie Jahoda and the Flushing school’s community, PTA Co-President Susan Karlic informed parents at the monthly PTA meeting on Jan. Fresh Meadows teen missing for more than a week BY ROBERT POZARYCKI rpozarycki@qns.com @robbpoz The family of a 15-yearold Fresh Meadows boy who was last seen at home on Monday, Jan. 30, is asking for the public’s help in finding him and bringing him back safe and sound. Skye Azhar, a student at the Veritas Academy in the Flushing High School campus, was last seen at around 8 p.m. on Jan. 30 getting ready for bed at the family home on Utopia Parkway, according to his mother, Kathryn Azhar. He was gone by the time she woke up the next morning, and no one seems to know where he has gone. “It’s a mystery to us,” said Kathryn Azhar. Police said the teenager has no prior history of medical or mental health issues. Kathryn reported her son’s disappearance to the 107th Precinct, where a missing person’s report was filed, as well as to the office of Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. She also made Photo courtesy of Kathryn Azhar Skye Azhar of Fresh Meadows has been missing for several days. several appeals on her Facebook page for assistance in locating her son. Skye Azhar stands 5 foot 6 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds with a thin build, a light complexion and brown eyes and hair. According to police, he may have a mustache and was last seen wearing a black windbreaker, beige sweatpants, a white hooded sweatshirt and gray Nike sneakers. The 107th Precinct Detective Squad is investigating the case. Anyone with information regarding Skye’s whereabouts is urged to call 911 or the 107th Precinct Detective Squad at 718-969-6844. All calls are kept confidential. 19 that the Department of Education’s (DOE) C-30 process to hire a permanent principal would restart as of Feb. 1 — allowing for a fresh pool of candidates to apply for the permanent job. The THHS community expressed immediate relief upon hearing the news, which came on the heels of a student protest, outcry at a Parent Teacher Association meeting, a rally outside of the school and input from the borough president. But, despite this positive development, the community remains anxious; Jahoda has continued to serve as the school’s interim acting principal and remains in the pool of potential candidates for the permanent job. In result, a petition has emerged to name assistant principal Ellen Fee as acting principal, effective immediately. The petition was posted a week ago and has 1,056 supporters — 444 signatures away from its goal. “Ms. Fee is a beloved person at Townsend,” the petition reads. “She is just the exact opposite of Ms. Jahoda. She is warm, friendly, caring and knows how to build relationships with students, families and teachers.” Jahoda’s immediate removal from the interim acting principal position was one in a series of demands unanimously voted upon at a December PTA meeting. The resolution was sent to the DOE. “We need someone who knows and cares for Townsend Harris, and we need this person now,” the petition continues. The petition is slated to be delivered to Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Upon hearing the news that the C-30 process [restarted], the alumni association was very encouraged that progress is being made,” said Selina Lee, co-president of the Townsend Harris Alumni Association. “We are hopeful that the DOE will continue to hear the community’s concerns regarding the current interim acting principal, and the continued request by the community to remove her as an interim while the C-30 process continues.” According to Karlic, current DOE regulations state a permanent principal is appointed within 90 days of the job posting. Applications for the job, which are being collected through the DOE website, will be accepted until 3 p.m. on Feb. 15. Gun violence office launched in LIC BY ANGELA MATUA amatua@qns.com @AngelaMatua Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City has experienced one year with no shootings, and to build on that success, Mayor Bill de Blasio went there on Feb. 3 to announce the creation of the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence. The office will be responsible for implementing “effective, innovative violence intervention strategies” and $22.5 million will be allocated for this office this fiscal year. Annually, the City Council and the administration will direct $16 million to the office. “When I talk to people across this city, it’s clear that New Yorkers in every neighborhood are united in their desire for safe streets,” de Blasio said. “Law enforcement is critical in reducing gun violence, but we also need to change a culture in which conflicts too often escalate to shootings. Today, we are inviting all New Yorkers to become our partners in this fight – Photo via Twitter/Riis Settlement The mayor announced a new Office to Prevent Gun Violence in Long Island City. together, we can make it clear that gun violence has no place in New York City.” The city has the lowest incidence of gun violence in any major U.S. city and 2016 had the fewest shootings in more than 30 years. There were a reported 335 murders in 2016 compared to 352 in 2015. In 2000 that number was 673 and in 1990 there were 2,262 murders in the city. Eric Cumberbatch, the new executive director of the office, will expand on the Cure Violence model currently used by the city. The city deploys teams of messengers mediate conflicts in violence-prone areas and connect high-risk individuals to services that can reduce risk of violence. Queensbridge Houses, the nation’s largest public housing complex, has its own Cure Violence office located at the public housing development Messenger teams will conduct weekly workshops and one-on-one mentoring at Close to Home facilities and two secure detention facilities to help people diffuse conflicts. The NYPD will also hold “open debriefs” in neighborhoods after major “takedowns” like the drug bust in Astoria Houses earlier this year. In addition, the office will also deploy legal services, therapeutic mental health services, and links to employment after these “takedowns.”

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