Tawana Brawley, her mother Glenda and the Rev. Al Sharpton enter a Queens courthouse.
Five homeowners charged with the 1987 arson of a City-run boarder-baby home in Auburndale heard incriminating testimony from prosecution witnesses at the State Supreme Court in Long Island City. Philip and Rita Amato, Michael Scotto, Ugo Serone and James Raffi had lost a lawsuit filed against the City to block the conversion of the home to a shelter for babies who had been neglected, abused or abandoned in hospitals….
South Queens Congressman Floyd Flake was under tight police protection after receiving death threats against his life. One staff member said the general consensus as far as motive was the drug battle raging in Flake’s district for the past two years….
The much criticized CUNY Law School made the news again in June when about 50 of the 137 graduates turned their backs on Queens College President Shirley Strum Kenny during graduation ceremonies to protest her refusal to give tenure to two professors. Queens Borough President Claire Shulman walked out of the ceremony when the “Internationale,” the Soviet Union’s national anthem under Joseph Stalin’s dictatorship, was sung by the students. Only 30 percent of the 1987 graduating class passed the New York State Bar Examination, compared to a statewide passing rate of 73 percent…. Illegal gambling in Queens was directly responsible for a second death in three years when a would-be robbery led to the murder of Richard Rubin at the Young Israel of New Hyde Park Synagogue in Little Neck. Gambling sessions had been held at the temple for over a decade, according the police….
A Tribune exclusive article revealed an illegal gambling operation being held at the Bellerose Jewish Center. A spokesman for District Attorney John Santucci’s office warned that “those who conduct illegal gambling, no matter how small, run the risk of being arrested.” Operations at the center ceased after the Tribune article appeared….
The American Museum of the Moving Image was dedicated on Sept. 10. The $15 million, 50,000 square-foot facility adjacent to the Historic Kaufman Astoria Studios was expected to attract more than 250,000 international visitors during its inaugural year….
Jon Lester , 18, the first of three defendants sentenced in the manslaughter and assault convictions in the Howard Beach racial attack, received the maximum 10-to-30 year prison term. Jason Ladone, 17, the youngest of the defendants, received two consecutive terms of up to seven-and-one-half years for manslaughter and assault charges. Scott Kern, 19, was sentenced to two consecutive terms of three to nine years for manslaughter and assault….Efforts were started to resuscitate the Queens Theatre in the Park by the Department of Cultural Affairs. The 475-seat theater space, minimally utilized since 1985, had been troubled by debt.….
A century-old historic windmill outside the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston was destroyed by a fire, which was looked into by the arson squad for suspicious origins….
Queens Supreme Court Judge Lawrence Finnegan removed himself from the case of John German, the former executive director of the Flushing Boys Club. German pleaded guilty in 1987 to 87 counts of sexual molestation of three boys. Finnegan was pressured to withdraw after it was revealed that he had worked out a deal with the defendant. Under the plea deal, German would have been allowed to speak nationwide about child molestation instead of going to prison, and the judge allegedly played an active role in lining up speaking engagements for German.
Finnegan also allegedly went to Brooklyn Federal Judge Charles Sitton, requesting a reduction of German’s four-year sentence for taking a 15-year-old boy to Mexico to have sex with him. State Supreme Court Kenneth Browne replaced Finnegan in the case….
In April, the Tribune featured an in-depth story on AIDS in Queens and featured some startling statistics. One out of every 700 men in the borough had been diagnosed with the disease, while the statistics for Queens women were one in every 5,366. One out of every 98 infants was born test positive for the HIV antibody, according to a study….
John German was sentenced to four-to-12-years in prison after pleading guilty to 82 counts of sex abuse…Ebenezer Baptist Church in Flushing was the center of attention when Glenda Brawley sought sanctuary from authorities after ignoring a grand jury subpoena. Brawley was found in contempt of court after failing to testify on the alleged racial and sexual attack on her 16-year-old daughter, Tawana. She was fined $250 and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Marsha Schrager Ander
After the Tribune, Marsha produced Newsweek on Air (a co-production of Newsweek magazine and the Associated Press), worked as an editor and reporter at the Record Newspaper group for several years and was a reporter in Staten Island at the Staten Island Advance.
The days at the Queens Tribune and Mirror were a cherished time in my journalistic career. As a recent college graduate, I was armed with a map of Queens, telephone book to hunt for contacts and a cluttered storefront to work from. Mike Schenkler was at the helm.
It was a time when smoking inside an office was commonplace, and pasting up a paper was a literal term. When I began telephones had cords, you checked spelling with a dictionary and photos were developed in a dark room.
I remember buying a small electric typewriter for the office because I didn’t want to work on the manual one they gave me. The year was 1986 at the Queens Tribune.
There were no computers, cell phones; let alone ones that took pictures, movies or hooked up to the Internet. Everything moved slower. There was no way to e-mail stories or travel down the information super highway. The only highway I traveled was the Long Island Expressway to the office on Kissena Boulevard.
Many experienced reporters began at this paper, and bylines around the country belong to those who started in these humble beginnings.
Schenkler knew the way to write a story was never through the obvious angle. His keen judgment guided me to dig deeper, and helped us to continue to gather recognition from Queens residents, the journalistic community and award committees.
The Tribune shaped my ability to cover a national story from a local angle. Covering the murder of Michael Griffith in Howard Beach, and the subsequent cries of racism were a maturing experience for me. My initial naïveté of a small-town reporter at a weekly paper grew into a mission for truth. I retraced the steps of the murder, followed up local scuttlebutt, was present when they dug up the sewers searching for an alleged knife and sat in the courtroom when the verdicts were read. It was all very enlightening.
This was our backyard, and we covered this story in depth with consideration to our neighbors. We were able to dig deeper and find better sources than some of the high-powered, highly paid journalists of that time.
What great fun in 2005 to look back at yellowing clips and see Queens under Mayor Ed Koch’s reign. Tempers ran hot over such topics as “border babies,” race relations, JFK’s proposed “people mover,” and the garbage barge. AIDS was beginning to legitimize itself as an epidemic. We covered Nazi hate mail in the area, continued flooding in Hamilton Beach, and strikes by gravediggers at Flushing Cemetery.
Seventeen years after my departure from the Tribune, I still am in contact with Mike Schenkler. I wouldn’t surprise me at all if this informed, unpretentious and hard working publisher is still guiding the paper for the next 25 years. Congratulations to all those who have shaped this fixture among the Queens community.