FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.queenscourier.com FEBRUARY 28, 2013 • THE QUEENS COURIER 3 ‘American Idol’ Season 12: QUEENS NATI VE IMPRESSES BY ADJANI SHAH AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA email@example.com What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But for one Queens singer, what happens in Vegas may catapult her onto the national music scene. Tenna Torres, 28, from Jamaica, is an “American Idol” semifi nalist for Season 12. A graduate at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the school that inspired the movie “Fame,” Torres has been working as a promotional model. The pop singer and songwriter hopes that her “Idol” appearances will lead to a record contract. One dream, however, already came true for Torres when she auditioned for her musical idol, Mariah Carey, one of this season’s judges. “I’ve been listening to Carey since I was fi ve years old,” she said in her pre-audition introduction. She even went to Camp Mariah and sang for her when she was 13, which Carey instantly remembered as she looked through Torres’ pictures. Belting out “You’ve Got A Friend” by Carole King, Torres not only impressed Carey with her singing skills, but the other judges too, including fellow Queens native Nicki Minaj, and was unanimously voted through to Hollywood week. After surviving the voting round in California, Torres went to Las Vegas with 19 other female and 20 other male contestants to compete in a “sudden death round,” where over two weeks, the singers are narrowed down to fi ve women and fi ve men. Once she made the top 40, Torres was able to “redeem herself,” as she put it an interview video on Idol’s website, after she only made it to the top 60 during season 11. Torres was able to take her redemption one step further last week when she was chosen to advance to the top 20. Once again impressing the judges, she sang Natasha Bedingfield’s “Soulmate.” “Something about your tone reminds me of the 1980s R&B singers, said Minaj. “There’s no tone like that right now in the business.” Agreeing with Minaj, Carey gave her another stellar critique, causing Torres to tear up a little when her idol said to her: “You were just naturally giving a beautiful, pure performance.” Photo: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright / FOX EXCLUSIVE CARE TO REGISTER Many day care centers operate under the radar BY MELISSA CHAN firstname.lastname@example.org A little known law may be keeping some Queens day care centers from operating legally, The Courier has learned. Permits from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), a certifi cate of occupancy from the Department of Buildings and a fi re inspection pass are needed for city child care providers who fall under certain categories. These include those who look after three or more kids unrelated to them either in a private home or institution for more than three hours a day, on a regular basis. But a less familiar rule requires these centers also give written notifi cation to local precincts and fi re departments within fi ve days of receiving certifi cations, the agencies said. “The day care centers are kind of off our radar. For safety reasons, we’d like to know where they are,” said Special Operations Lieutenant Daniel Heffernan of the 111th Precinct. According to Heffernan, about 26 centers in the Bayside-based precinct are legally licensed with the city. The precinct’s list is still being updated, but only eight were registered with police as of press time. “We know there are others out there who have not reported to us,” Heffernan said. Gary Poggiali, the precinct’s community affairs offi cer, said he suspects businesses that are providing underthe radar services in their private homes are trying to make an extra buck in a bad economy. “There are people who don’t realize they have to contact us,” he said. “They’ll think, ‘I’m a stay-at-home mom. I’m taking care of two kids. Why don’t I take care of four and make money?’ But we have to know what’s going on in our community.” The Courier reached out to several Craigslist ads that were offering day care services for multiple children in private Queens homes. A woman running an at-home center in East Elmhurst said she was “working on” obtaining a permit but was still watching many children without it at the time of the call. She said the certifi cation was “coming any day now” and added she would spike up prices when it arrived. According to a DOHMH spokesperson, the department inspects centers it receives complaints about within 24 hours and shuts down those found to be running improperly. But home-based providers are regulated by the state, not the city. There are 472 permitted child care centers in the borough, the spokesperson said. It was unclear how many were also registered with the NYPD and FDNY. The process to do so is simple, police said. It involves fi lling out a short form and providing a copy of the city permit at a local precinct. Heffernan said enforcement became stricter after a California daycare shooting in 1999 killed one person and injured fi ve others, including three kids. A two-month old baby girl was also reportedly found dead in an alleged illegal day care in Elmhurst in November 2012. “This is a very big safety issue,” Heffernan said. “If you’re a parent, would you want to put your kids in a place that’s unlicensed? I wouldn’t.” Cuts to developmentally disabled ‘devastating’ BY DENISE ROMANO & MAGGIE HAYES email@example.com Carol Goldstein doesn’t know where to turn. With the threat of budget cuts looming, she fears her autistic son will not get the services he so desperately needs. Her son, and those living with developmental disabilities will be “devastated” by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget cuts, say activists. Advocates have been sending letters and holding protests to stop the cuts, which some say will reverse years of progress. The proposed cuts, effective April 1, will strike $240 million from the Offi ce of People with Developmental Disabilities’ (OPWDD) budget: Cuomo’s cuts taking $120 million, and the other half that is traditionally matched by the state, according to Peter Smergut, CEO of Life’s WORC. “This is going to have a dire consequence,” said Smergut. “The repercussions are going to have an impact on the people that we support every day.” “It makes me feel devastated. It kills me,” said Goldstein, of Bayside. Life’s WORC, along with over 600 organizations citywide, aims to provide disabled individuals with services that facilitate an independent and productive lifestyle; now, the groups are deciding where to make cuts. Additionally, federal funding that comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would slash $1.1 billion from total Medicaid funding sent to the state, which includes funding for OPWDD as well as other state agencies, amounting to “the largest funding cuts ever” according to the Coalition of Families for Direct Support Staff in Services for People with Developmental Disabilities, which has sent out an alert to supporters, contending, “Our services would be decimated.” “Our family has been in New York for three generation, and now the state can’t take him?” said Goldstein. “Where does my child go?” Smergut noted that there is not a lot of bureaucratic fat in his organization. “Where are our cuts supposed to come from?” he asked. “It’s people doing people work. It’s extremely frustrating.” Additionally, OPWDD funding was not exclusively for people with developmental disorders, but for all kinds of other safety programs, according to Smergut, such as programs for drug and alcohol abuse. “At the end of the day, all of our consumers are going to end up without the kind of support that they traditionally had,” he said.
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