Tag Archives: aggregation

Mosque firebomber faces life in prison for hate crimes


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Mosque firebomber faces life in prison for hate crimes

The Queens pyromaniac who went on a New Year’s Day firebombing spree appeared for his Thursday arraignment looking like he could use a few swigs from the frappucino bottles he used during his hate-filled rampage. Ray Lazier Lengend looked groggy and dazed as he sat slumped in a chair at Bellevue Hospital for an arraignment piped by video feed into Queens Criminal Court. Lengend, 40, responded to Supreme Court Justice Lenora Gerald’s questions with one-word answers, occasionally closing his eyes. Read More: Daily News

Queens Business Owners Call For Litter Crackdown

 Queens residents are facing a big trash problem on Liberty Avenue. There are overflowing garbage cans, garbage bags on the sidewalks, and litter all over the street between the Van Wyck Expressway and Woodhaven Boulevard. “It’s a daily problem,” says one resident. The merchants are paying for it. The Department of Sanitation has ticketed many for not keeping their storefronts clean, but Paul Singh, owner of New Union Turnpike Auto Parts, says tidying up is next to impossible. Read More: NY1

Courier publisher to appear on Geraldo’s radio show on WABC 770AM at 10AM today

The publisher of The Queens Courier, Victoria Schneps-Yunis, will join Geraldo Rivera’s radio program on January 6 to discuss the 40th anniversary of his reports on the deplorable conditions for the children at the Willowbrook State School. It was in 1971 that Schneps, along with members of WORC, the Working Organization for Retarded Children, picketed the school to fight for the rights of Schneps’ daughter Lara and the 5,400 residents at Willowbrook, a Staten Island school for mentally disabled children. The story took off when Rivera, then a reporter for ABC television, reported on the neglect the children at Willowbrook faced. Read More: Queens Courier & Listen to the live stream at 10AM at WABC

Mets Fans Turn Out For Annual Winter Blood Drive

It may be January, but Mets fans headed back to Citi Field Thursday. It was mostly about blood, not baseball, as the team held its annual winter blood drive. Donors received a voucher for tickets to a Mets game in April, as well as a discount at the Mets team store. All of the donations will go to the New York Blood Center. “Particularly this blood drive being just after the first of the year, we are really replenishing diminished supply over the holidays from the past two weeks, holidays and schools being off. So this is a tremendous opportunity for community members to come out and save lives,” said Diana Zaferiou of the New York Blood Center. Read More: NY1

Archbishop Timothy Dolan one of 22 new cardinals named by Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI named 22 new cardinals Friday, including prelates in such key posts as New York and Hong Kong and a large group of Italians holding major Vatican positions. The Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan, and former Archbishop of Baltimore, Edwin O’Brien, were among those named by the pope. Dolan said in a statement today, “Over the Christmas holy days, I finished a new biography of President Kennedy and I recalled his reply to someone who sincerely congratulated him on the honor of the presidency. ‘Thank you,’ John Kennedy replied, ‘but I don’t look at it so much as an honor, but as a call to higher service.’ Read More:  New York Post

‘Jail farewell’ tour

A Queens landlord is a free man after being acquitted of murder yesterday — but his freedom train is making stops at both Rikers Island and an upstate prison. Jailed four years, three months and one week since his 2007 arrest, Michael McLennon, 41, was more than eligible to be sprung immediately on the weapons-possession charge on which he did get convicted. But correctional red tape required that he spend last night in Rikers, and then be bused to Downstate Correctional prison in Fishkill today so his release can be processed, said his lawyer, Tamara Harris. Read More: New York Post

‘Proof’ of robbery

This “brandy bandit” should have saved the celebrating until after the heist. A gun-toting thug was busted Tuesday after detectives traced his fingerprints off a bottle of cheap booze he left outside the T-Mobile store in Queens he allegedly robbed, cops say. Gregory Kennedy, 31, is now accused of pocketing $11,435 from stick-ups at 11 Dunkin’ Donuts, T-Mobile stores and other businesses between October 11 and December 30. On November 25, Kennedy drained a half-pint of Paul Masson Grand Amber while staking out a T-Mobile store on Jamaica Avenue from an unlicensed livery cab, law-enforcement sources said. Read More: New York Post

Ten MS-13 gang members from Flushing indicted for racketeering 

Ten members of the infamous MS-13 gang from Flushing were indicted Thursday on racketeering charges, including violent machete and baseball attacks against rivals, authorities said. “The only people who should be wielding baseball bats in Flushing are Mets, not MS-13,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Federal agents and NYPD detectives arrested eight of the thugs in early morning raids while two others were already incarcerated. The defendants were members of a powerful clique of Mara Salvatrucha 13 wreaking havoc in their Queens neighborhood since 2007, authorities said. Read More: New York Post

Mom remembers daughters killed in Conn. Christmas Day blaze, calls tragedy ‘incomprehensible’


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Mom remembers daughters killed in Conn. Christmas Day blaze, calls tragedy ‘incomprehensible’

 

Calling the Christmas Day fire that killed her three daughters and parents “incomprehensible,” fashion ad exec Madonna Badger told hundreds of people packed in a Fifth Avenue church this morning that she’ll never forget her family. “Why did this happen to my parents and my children and why now? Nothing will bring my babies back,” Badger told mourners during an emotional eulogy at St. Thomas Church. Read More: New York Post

City’s New 911 Call Center Improves Capacity, Maps

 Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday what he called a major milestone when it comes to upgrading the city’s 911 system. Earlier in the day, members of the media were given a tour of the new emergency services call center at the MetroTech Center in Brooklyn. The $2 billion upgrade expands the center’s capacity six-fold, and includes technology that maps a caller’s location instantly. Previously, operators had to go through multiple steps to create a visual location. City officials say the upgrade is crucial as more than half of the calls received come from mobile phones. Read More: NY1

 

Feds announce MS-13 gang takedown in Queens

Federal officials say 10 members of a violent international street gang known as “MS-13” have been charged with racketeering and attempted murder after a lengthy investigation. Members of the group have been accused of at least two attempted murders. Authorities believe they plotted to kill rival gang members. Federal officials say the group marauded in Queens. Officials say they also worked with fellow members throughout the U.S. and the group’s El Salvador headquarters to smuggle gang members over the border. The indictment filed by U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch was unsealed Thursday. Read More: New York Post

 

Nurses protest at Flushing Hospital

Registered nurses at Flushing Hospital Medical Center hit the picket line — demanding contracts for health and pension benefits. Hundreds of nurses gathered outside of the hospital on Parsons Boulevard during their designated break time — from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — today on January 5 to protest after the union and hospital administration reached negotiation stalemates. Read More: Queens Courier

 

WATCH: Casey Anthony speaks out in video diary, doesn’t mention daughter

For the first time, it seems Casey Anthony might be speaking out. The mother acquitted of charges of killing her two-year-old daughter, Caylee, allegedly appears on a video diary that surfaced on the web Thursday morning. The woman, who looks and sounds like Anthony, talks only in general about her well-being and references being kept in an undisclosed location. NBC News reported that they confirmed the video was of Anthony. Read More & Watch: New York Post

 

 

7 arrested, including councilman at NYC protest on worship in schools

 

Several pastors and a New York City councilman have been arrested at a protest against the city’s plans to evict worship services from school buildings. Seven demonstrators, including Councilman Fernando Cabrera, were charged with trespass Thursday. Police say they refused to move from the entrance to the city’s Law Department in Manhattan. The city has told about 60 churches they must stop holding worship services in public schools after Feb. 12. It argues separation of church and state and cites a court decision. In addition, the city Housing Authority says it’s reviewing its policy on renting space to outside groups, including five churches. Read More: New York Post
Hatred fueled Queens man to toss Molotov cocktail at mosque

 

A deranged Queens man told detectives he attacked a mosque with a Molotov cocktail because “I hate all Muslims and Arabs. They’ve been trying to take over my life for 40 years.” Ray Lazier Lengend’s bizarre confession was revealed today while he was being arraigned under pyschiatric examination at Bellevue Hospital Center. Lengend, 40, dressed in burgundy t-shirt and blue jeans, appeared attentive but disgusted during the brief hearing. In his confession, Lengend described how his New Year’s Day attack began when he drove his Silver Buick to an Amoco Mobil gas station on Hillside Avenue to buy five frappacino glasses to turn into Molotov cocktals. “The store gave me three free,” he said. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Retrial set for March 8 in East Village case of coma-inducing argument over parking spot

A March retrial date has been set for the muscle-bound Brooklyn electrician who punched a woman into a coma when they argued over an East Village parking spot. Oscar Fuller will be retried on felony assault on March 8 in Manhattan Supreme Court for the single punch he landed on the face of 25-year-old Lana Rosas as they argued nose-to-nose on East 14th Street last February. The blow struck the 4-foot-11 Rosas so hard, that according to numerous eyewitness accounts she was briefly airborne before striking the pavement with the back of her head. She was in a coma for nine days and hospitalized for months. Read More: New York Post

 

Suicide girl’s mom rages at her bullies

Tragic Amanda Cummings’ mother and sister used her Facebook page yesterday to lash out at the “evil son of a bitches’’ whose unrelenting bullying drove the Staten Island teen to suicide. Amanda jumped in front of a city bus two days after Christmas when she was dealt the final blow — her 19-year-old boyfriend dumped her. Her tormenters zeroed in on areas where their victim was most vulnerable. They joked that the slim 15-year-old was anorexic, and taunted her about the love triangle she was involved in. “This is to all you evil son of a bitches that picked on, talked about and threatened my baby,” heartbroken mother Cece Weber wrote on her daughter’s Facebook page. Read More: New York Post

Gunman nails cop van, 7 officers escape


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Gunman nails cop van, 7 officers escape

A maniac opened fire on a marked NYPD van outside a gritty Bronx housing project just moments after the cops picked up two officers from foot patrol, The Post has learned. Seven cops in the van, including a sergeant, described the terrifying hail of gunfire as “pings” bouncing off the roof and sides of the van. Amazingly, none of the officers was struck. “They could have been killed,” said a law-enforcement source. “They’re lucky to be alive. It’s a cowardly act.” The bullets started flying at 3:35 a.m. on New Year’s Day outside the Millbrook Houses on East 137th Street in Mott Haven, law-enforcement sources said. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Man stabs 2, then tries to kill self in love-triangle attack in Bronx

A love triangle turned bloody in the Bronx Wednesday when a man stabbed a woman and her male companion and then turned the knife on himself, sources said. The 29-year-old attacker descended on the pair as they walked on Commonwealth Ave. near the Parkchester section about 9 a.m., sources said. After stabbing the man and woman, the assailant tried to kill himself with the knife, sources said. All three were taken to Jacobi Hospital, where the two men were in critical condition and the woman was in stable condition. Read More: Daily News

Mom visits funeral home, site of wake for kids and parents who died in Christmas day inferno

A grief-stricken Madonna Badger walked out of a Manhattan funeral home this morning where a private wake for her three daughters and parents who died in a tragic Christmas Day fire at her Connecticut home is set to be held. Two men accompanied the high-powered fashion advertising exec as she walked out of the Frank E. Campbell funeral home on the Upper East Side. Read More: New York Post

 


Bachmann suspends presidential campaign, Perry tweets he’s staying in race

Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday she was suspending her presidential campaign while Texas Gov. Rick Perry confirms he’s still running. Bachmann made the announcement following her poor showing in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, where she finished in sixth place with only five percent of the vote. Surrounded by family members, including her husband and parents, the Minnesota congresswoman told a press conference, “I will not be continuing” in the race but also vowed to “continue to fight to defeat the president’s agenda of socialism. Read More: New York Post

 

Mom amid the ruins

The live embers that sparked the Christmas Day inferno that killed three little girls were taken out of the fireplace because the children feared they’d injure Santa Claus, investigators revealed yesterday — hours after their grief-stricken mom made a somber return to the tragic scene. High-powered fashion advertising exec Madonna Badger — her face and head wrapped in a long scarf — returned for the first time Monday to the ruins of her $1.7 million Stamford, Conn., home to go through the few belongings not consumed in the blaze that killed her daughters, 10-year-old Lily and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah. Read More: New York Post

 

Bullied teen’s suicide

A Staten Island teen who killed herself by stepping in front of a bus had been tormented for years by bullies and had just been dumped by her boyfriend, relatives said yesterday. Depressed and at the end of her emotional rope, Amanda Cummings, 15, went through with a suicide she had been threatening for years. The kids who made her life miserable were so vicious that they kept up the bullying via Facebook posts as she lay dying. An EMT who saw Amanda take her final step found a suicide note in her clothing that mentioned the boyfriend, saying she couldn’t go on without him. Read More: New York Post
Torre resigns from MLB to pursue Dodgers ownership

Former Yankees manager Joe Torre resigned Wednesday from his executive position within Major League Baseball in order to become part of a group that is looking to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. Torre has served as MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations since February after retiring as manager of the Dodgers in 2010. In his role with MLB, Torre served as Selig’s primary liaison with all 30 teams, dealing with all baseball and on-field matters, the press release stated. “Joe has been an invaluable resource for me and all of us at Major League Baseball this year and has splendidly communicated with our on-field personnel, general managers and the umpires,” MLB Commissioner Bud Selig wrote. Read More: New York Post

 

Gov. Cuomo wants Aqueduct racino to serve as 3.8 million square foot convention center


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

NYC Firebombing Suspect Charged with Hate Crime

A New York man suspected of five New York City fire bombings was arrested today and charged with a hate crime. Ray Lazier Lengend, 40, was charged with one count of arson as a hate crime and four counts of arson in connection with the Sunday attacks that targeted an Islamic center, a Hindu temple, a bodega and two private homes. Lengend was arrested by cops who staked out a vehicle overnight awaiting the return of the vehicle’s owner. According to law enforcement officials, Lengend made statements that appear to implicate him in at least some of the bombings, but stopped short of a confession in the first rounds of interrogation. Detectives, relying on statements from witnesses and grainy surveillance video, determined the suspected bomber drove a late model car with Virginia license plates. Read More: ABC News

Gov. Cuomo wants Aqueduct racino to serve as 3.8 million square foot convention center

Governor Cuomo wants to up the ante on the future of the Aqueduct racino in Queens and make it home to the country’s largest convention center, the Daily News has learned. The planned project will be highlighted as part of the economic development agenda Cuomo will outline in his State of the State address Wednesday, two sources told The News. “The notion is that (Cuomo) is going to put the project on the fast-track to get it done,” one source said. “They need a couple of big economic development initiatives to announce.” Read More: Daily News

Pol, residents demand DOT repair broken curbs

Queens residents have had their hopes for safe sidewalks curbed by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Senator Tony Avella recently united with perturbed residents from northern and eastern Queens – who have suffered with broken curbs in front of their homes for years – to demand the DOT “accelerate” their sidewalk repair program. Read More: Queens Courier

Transit advocates oppose plan to turn defunct railroad into QueensWay park 

A plan to transform an abandoned rail line into a park in southern Queens is generating a lot of buzz, but a group of transit advocates has another vision. They believe the tracks, which have sat idle for five decades, should be reactivated to give southern Queens residents an easier commute to Manhattan. The Long Island Rail Road operated the line, which once ran from Rockaway, up through Ozone Park and Forest Park to Rego Park. It was discontinued in the early 1960s and the property is currently owned by the city. A growing group of supporters is pushing for a High Line-type park to be known as the QueensWay. Read More: Daily News

Lobbyist Is Expected to Plead Guilty in Corruption Case

Richard J. Lipsky, a prominent New York lobbyist who was charged in the bribery conspiracy case that also ensnared State Senator Carl Kruger, is expected to plead guilty on Wednesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, a person briefed on the matter said Tuesday. Mr. Lipsky’s plea would come just two weeks after Kruger resigned from the Senate and pleaded guilty to corruption charges in the broad conspiracy case that has been seen as reflecting corruption in Albany. Mr. Kruger faces up to 50 years in prison when he is sentenced in April by Judge Jed S. Rakoff. Read More: New York Times

Officials Condemn Queens Firebomb Attacks

Mayor Michael Bloomberg met with religious leaders Tuesday morning in a strong show of support after Molotov cocktails hit an Islamic cultural center, a Hindu house of worship, and two other locations in Queens this weekend. “Whether it was senseless violence or a hate crime will be determined down the road. But in either case we’re just not going to tolerate it in this city. And fortunately the number of incidents like this are very low, but one is one too many,” Bloomberg said. Read More: NY1

TSA: Pre-Check Screenings Coming To JFK

The screening process is getting faster and easier for some passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Federal officials announced Tuesday that the Transportation Security Administration’s Pre-Check Program will be enacted at the airport early this year. Eligible American Airlines passengers as well as members of the Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler programs will go through an expedited screening process which does not require taking off shoes, a jacket or belt. Read More: NY1

 

Four Attacks in Queens With Homemade Firebombs


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Four Attacks in Queens With Homemade Firebombs

A Fire Department official on Monday said it was fortunate that the damage was minimal from a series of arson attacks across eastern Queens on Sunday night that the police were investigating as a possible bias crime against Muslims. No one was hurt in the four attacks, in which homemade firebombs were apparently used. In three of the four attacks, the police said, Molotov cocktails were made with Starbucks bottles. The first attack occurred just before 8 p.m. at a bodega at 179-46 Hillside Avenue. Ten minutes later, another crude firebomb was thrown, this time at the home at 107th Avenue, and the house caught fire. Read More: New York Times

Authorities Release Sketch, Video Of Suspect In Queens Firebomb Attacks

Authorities say the suspect, seen above in surveillance video and a police sketch, is between 25 to 30 years old, about 5-feet-8-inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He was seen driving a light-colored, four-door sedan. Police say the first cocktail was thrown at a bodega on Hillside Avenue in Jamaica around 8 p.m. Sunday and it damaged the store’s counter. Fewer than 10 minutes later, a second call came in about a homemade firebomb being thrown at a house on 107th Avenue. Read More: NY1

MTA Conductor Charged With Assaulting Passenger

An Metropolitan Transportation Authority conductor is charged with assault after police say he punched a passenger on an R train in Queens. Police say Thomas Christopher, 35, hit the passenger, identified by sources as 18-year-old Zaid al-Doori, after arguing with him near the 36th Street station Sunday morning. Published reports say Christopher was upset because al-Doori had put his feet up on the seats. Read More: NY1

Driver In Custody Following Deadly LIE Crash

One person was killed this morning following a fiery accident on a Queens highway, which was possibly fueled by New Year’s Eve drinking. Officials say the accident happened just after 5 a.m. on the Long Island Expressway. Police sources say a car was rear-ended near the Maurice Avenue exit, causing it to flip over and catch on fire. The driver of that car was pronounced dead at the scene. Sources say the driver of the second vehicle was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in police custody. Read More: NY1

37 feet from disaster at JFK

An airline crew’s failure to follow controllers’ instructions caused the scariest runway incident last year at Kennedy Airport, authorities said yesterday. On June 30, the pilots of a Cairo-bound EgyptAir Boeing 777 mistakenly taxied just 37 feet shy of a runway where they would have been in the path of a Lufthansa jet speeding toward takeoff, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Controllers had told them to make a left turn to another taxiway, the FAA said. With seconds to spare, the Lufthansa crew brought the Airbus A340 to a screeching halt, partly by jamming on its brakes so hard that they overheated. Read More: New York Post

Teacher out on her butt

A foulmouthed teacher got her butt fired after she told a group of ninth-graders “they had their brains in their ass,” then tried to bribe a student to save her hide, officials said. The city Department of Education accused Bernadette Camacho, 39, of verbally abusing social-studies students at Hillcrest HS in Queens, according to investigation documents The Post obtained through a Freedom of Information request. But during the hearings that would decide her fate, the teacher tried to coerce a flunking female student to sing her praises in court in exchange for a passing grade, officials said. Read More: New York Post

Stun-of-a-gun gal arrested at JFK

A Chinese national was busted trying to sneak a stun gun through a security checkpoint at Kennedy Airport, the Transportation Security Administration said yesterday. Sihui Xie, 21, was trying to board a flight to Orlando Friday when a TSA screener spotted the pen-sized stun gun tucked in her carry-on bag. At first the item appeared to be a flashlight, but a closer look revealed it to be a stun gun/flashlight hybrid. Port Authority cops arrested the woman and charged her with possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. Read More: New York Post

Actress-threat gal is slapped

A Queens woman was indicted yesterday for allegedly sending threatening e-mails to Oscar-winning French actress Marion Cotillard. Teresa Yuan was charged by a Brooklyn federal grand jury with five counts of transmitting threats to the film star, who won an Academy Award for best actress in 2008 for her role as Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose.” Brooklyn federal prosecutors said Yuan e-mailed a video to the actress’ Internet fan site asking: “Would you be willing to play Russian Roulette? You have only one out of six chances of being shot. You have five out of six chances of living.” Yuan was arrested this past summer by the FBI and arraigned in August. She remains free on bail while awaiting trial, officials said. Read More: New York Post

‘Groper’ caught on camera


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

‘Groper’ caught on camera

Cops say this grinning perv sexually assaulted a young woman walking in Queens — but she bravely turned the tables on her alleged attacker by snapping this picture. The man walked behind the 25-year-old victim and grabbed her butt in front of a Jamaica store at about 11:15 a.m. December 23, authorities said. The woman, who had never seen the man before, quickly snapped a photo of the alleged groper before he fled. Read More: New York Post

Man wanted for robbery in Forest Hills

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating a man wanted for a robbery in Forest Hills. The suspect approached the victim, a 54-year-old woman, from behind, pushing her to the ground near 111-29 78th Avenue, according to police.  Once on the ground the suspect began punching and kicking the victim, police said.  The victim’s pocketbook, containing money, credit cards and papers, was stolen. The victim sustained bruising and pain but was not hospitalized. Read More: Queens Courier

Police officer injured, another man killed in struggle for gun at Long Island Home Depot

A Nassau County police officer was shot and another man was killed Friday during a struggle for the officer’s weapon, said police. Two on-duty officers confronted a man in his 40s driving an Isuzu SUV when the struggle ensued, added Nassau County police. It is not clear if the driver of the SUV shot the officer of if the gun went off during the struggle, said Det. Lt. Kevin Smith. The second officer chased the suspect and apparently shot him twice in the chest, added Smith. Read More: New York Post

Listed Sex Offender Arrested In Brooklyn Teen’s Attack

The New York City Police Department on Thursday announced the arrest of a man who they say posed as a city police officer last week and sexually assaulted a Brooklyn teen. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the suspect is a level-three sex violator who was on parole. Officials say the suspect, Steven Pappas served five years in prison for a similar incident in 1999. He then was convicted of burglary in 2009 and was released from jail earlier this month. Read More: NY1

Police Charge Two People With Several Astoria Burglaries

Police have arrested a man and woman they say are responsible for a rash of burglaries in Astoria. Eldin Ahmetovic, 33, and Yulia Bushuyeva, 32, were arrested last week. There has been a pattern of 12 burglaries all over Astoria dating back to June. Sources say they are being charged in four of them. Ahmetovic posted $50,000 bail. Read More: NY1

Searchers looking in Hudson River after police found personal items on George Washington Bridge

Searchers are looking in the Hudson River near the George Washington Bridge after police found some personal items on a pedestrian walkway. A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police department says officers reported finding an iPad, a pair of shoes and a set of keys on the eastbound walkway of the upper level of the bridge at about 7:30 a.m. Friday. The officers notified harbor search teams. Read More: New York Post

SAT taker-for-hire tells ’60 Minutes’ it was easy to cheat

Speaking out for the first time, the Long Island teen who took college-entrance exams for cash told “60 Minutes” that his scandalous scheme couldn’t have been simpler to pull off. “I would say that between the SAT and ACT, the security is uniformly pathetic,” a cocky Sam Eshaghoff says in a segment to air this Sunday. “In the sense that anybody with half a brain could get away with taking the test for anybody else.” Now a student at Emory University, Eshaghoff was arrested in September, and the bust set off a national debate on entrance-exam integrity and trained a harsh light on his tony hometown of Great Neck. Read More: New York Post

Man who ‘killed’ wife took control of life-insurance payout for kids


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Man who ‘killed’ wife took control of life-insurance payout for kids

The man being sued for allegedly murdering his Upper West Side wife surreptitiously took control of the $1.6 million life-insurance-policy payout she’d left behind for their two kids, The Post has learned. Rod Covlin, 39, filed papers in Westchester County Surrogate’s Court in April seeking to be named guardian of the cashed-in Aetna policy that Shele Danishefsky Covlin, a money manager, had left for Anna and Myles. “I am Anna’s father,” an affidavit reads. “I have her best interests at heart, and I am in the best position to determine her current and future needs.” Read More: New York Post

Man posed as a cop during sexual assault

The New York Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating the individuals wanted in connection with a sexual assault and robbery. On Sunday, November 20 at approximately 10:30 p.m., one female victim was posting flyers when she was approached on the street by a burgundy-colored van or SUV with four individuals inside. One suspect — described as a Hispanic male — displayed a business card with a police logo, then told the victim it was illegal to post flyers and asked for her identification, according to police. Read More: Queens Courier

End of an era: Flushing’s Palace Diner closing

The faithful frequenters of Flushing’s Palace Diner will have to find a new haunt once the local landmark serves its last meal after more than three decades in the neighborhood. The diner, which sits along the Long Island Expressway on the corner of Main Street and Horace Harding Expressway and has been a neighborhood mainstay for 35 years, will close its doors for good on Friday, December 30. “Friday is going to be another very emotional day,” said owner George Mantzikos. Read More: Queens Courier

Office Cleaners Rally In Midtown As Strike Threat Remains

Contract negotiations will continue Thursday to try to prevent a strike of more than 20,000 office cleaners in the city, but rallying service employees in Midtown and their supporters pledged on Wednesday to strike if an agreement is not reached by the time the old contract expires. The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, which represents building management, and Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ failed to resolve their differences over wages and benefits in the Sheraton Hotel on Wednesday. Read More: NY1

New State Law To Ban Minors From Local Hookah Bars

Steinway Street between 25th and 28th Avenue in Astoria is Queens’ so-called “Hookah Strip,” where people go to smoke “shisha,” or flavored tobacco, through a water pipe known as hookah. The industry is not well-regulated and the businesses are exempt from the state’s ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, so the owners often create their own rules when it comes to minors. Many places do not allow them inside, but some do. That is about to change under a new state law banning minors from these mostly Middle Eastern establishments that have become popular with other Americans. Read More: NY1

Western Queens parents group: we’ve got two overcrowded schools that need additions built  

A western Queens parents group plans to push the city to build additions at two overcrowded elementary schools where the the lack of space is so severe that students are studying in hallways or in a leaky modular unit. Community Education Council District 30 will present its concerns about Public School 11, in Woodside, and PS 2, in Jackson Heights, to the city on January 6 in its annual recommendations to the School Construction Authority. Read More: Daily News

Astoria realtor to shave off his signature mustache to raise money for autism support group

A respected Queens community leader is attempting to turn the mustache he’s sported for the last 35 years into some cold hard cash for an autism organization. Astoria realtor Paul Halvatzis, 52, of Flushing, is to have his beloved whiskers shaved off on Friday at the Redken Saloon Salon in Astoria in an attempt to raise $35,000 for Quality Services for the Autism Community. The group provides support services to autistic individuals and their families in New York City and Long Island. Read More: Daily News

Counterfeit Cash Smuggler at JFK

A Colombian woman was busted at JFK with nearly $300,000 of counterfeit U.S. currency in her luggage, federal officials said yesterday. Karol Andrea Chilito Solarte, 29, who flew here from Medellin, was arrested on December 15 after Customs and Border Protection officers spotted an unusual thickness at the bottom of her suitcase, a spokesman for the agency said. The oddly shaped suitcase sparked the suspicions of Customs officers — and a closer examination uncovered 46 packages of phony $100 bills totaling almost $300,000, the spokesman said. Read More: New York Post

Weiner mistress claims he wanted to have a threesome with a man


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Weiner mistress claims he wanted to have a threesome with a man

Anthony Weiner wanted to do more than share his crotch shots with women online, his former X-rated chat buddy claims. Traci Nobles, who came forward as one of the New York politician’s sexting partners earlier this year, told Radaronline.com that he wanted to have a threesome — with her and another man. She claimed that he detailed his desires in an explicit chat earlier this year. “I’m not really talking about other chicks … How about with another guy,” he allegedly said, according to the blonde bombshell. “Are you turned on by other guys?” Nobles claims she asked. “Well it depends on the guy, but generally yes,” Weiner allegedly replied. Read More: Daily News

Family still waiting to bury Brooklyn woman burned to death in brutal elevator attack

The body of the Prospect Heights woman burned to death in her apartment building elevator is still awaiting final burial. The family of Deloris Gillespie said that because she was so badly burned in the shocking December 17 attack authorities have not yet officially identified her — leaving her family unable to get a death certificate or proceed with a funeral. Read More: New York Post

Death on tracks

A man was fatally struck last night by a subway train in Washington Heights — and cops are investigating whether he went onto the tracks to relieve himself, police sources said. The victim, whose name wasn’t released, was struck at around 9:20 p.m. at the 191st Street station on the No. 1 line. Read More: New York Post

Knife-wielding thug attacks woman, ransacks Tribeca law firm: cops

A knife-wielding thief barged into a lower Manhattan law firm, shattered the jaw of a female employee, tied her up with a phone charger and ransacked the place, police sources said today. The mayhem started at 3:20 p.m. Monday, when the unidentified man was caught on video strolling into an office tower and talking to a doorman on Broadway near Walker Street. Read More: New York Post

NTSB cites ice in report on NJ crash that killed exec, family

Federal investigators have released a preliminary report on last week’s plane crash in New Jersey that killed five people. The preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report released late Monday draws no conclusions on what caused the December 20 crash. A final report could take a year or more to complete. The single-engine turboprop crashed about 15 minutes after takeoff from Teterboro Airport and was headed to Georgia. The report describes how pilot Jeffrey Buckalew radioed to air traffic controllers that he was experiencing icing and requested to climb to a higher altitude. The plane peaked at 17,900 feet before descending. Read More: New York Post

Husband faces civil suit in death of rich UBS wealth manager Shele Danishefsky Covlin

The Manhattan public administrator has gone where the cops and the DA have not: publicly accusing ex-stock trader Rod Covlin of killing his rich, beautiful wife two years ago. Shele Danishefsky Covlin, 47, a UBS wealth manager, was found dead in her upper West Side bathtub on New Year’s Eve 2009. Her scalp was cut and the death was ruled an accidental fall. Her Orthodox Jewish family refused an autopsy, and she was buried almost immediately, following religious tradition. Read More: Daily News

Court win for kin of World Trade Center cop

A hero cop injured at the Twin Towers on 9/11 died from World Trade Center-related cancer, a state appeals court ruled yesterday. The Appellate Division ruling means Frank Macri’s widow is entitled to accidental-line-of-duty death benefits — and, in fact, he will be listed as having died in the line of duty, said the family’s lawyers, Michael Murray and Christopher McGrath. “I’m at a loss for words,” his widow, Nilda Macri, told The Post. “Frank really deserves this honor. This would’ve meant a lot to him, to know he’s still remembered . . . He was a special, special guy.” Read More: New York Post

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to green Queens locomotives

Two fuel-efficient locomotives will roll through Queens in 2013 with technology designed to reduce pollution and lower costs for local businesses that use freight trains to move goods. With a $2 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, two conventional locomotives will be overhauled to use low-emissions diesel technology, the city Economic Development Corp. announced last week. Read More: Daily News

Ex-‘Saturday Night Live’ writer Joe Bodolai found dead after hotel room suicide

Former “Saturday Night Live” writer Joseph Bodolai has committed suicide in a Hollywood hotel room, the Los Angeles coroner’s office said Tuesday. Coroner’s office spokesman Craig Harvey said room service staff found the body of the 63-year-old Bodolai at 1:30 p.m. Monday in a room at Hollywood’s Re-Tan Hotel. He checked into the hotel December 19. Harvey said Bodolai drank a mixture of Gatorade and antifreeze. The death, first reported by celebrity website TMZ, has been ruled a suicide. Read More: Daily News

Winning $206M Mega Millions jackpot ticket sold at Long Island grocery store

One Long Island lottery player received a belated holiday gift Tuesday, but it was worth the wait: a $206 million jackpot. The winner nailed the five numbers picked in Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing — 23, 32, 33, 39 and 43 — along with the “Mega Ball” of 8, the lottery said on its website. The winner has not yet come forward, said Christy Calicchia, director of communications for New York Lottery. Three other New Yorkers picked the first five numbers — but not the Mega Ball — and won $250,000 each. The lone jackpot-winning ticket was sold at a King Kullen supermarket in Middle Island. Read More: Daily News

Teen’s Alleged Assaulter Pretended To Be A Police Officer


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Teen’s Alleged Assaulter Pretended To Be A Police Officer

Police were searching late Tuesday for a man who allegedly pretended to be a police officer and sexually assaulted a teenage boy he met in a subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn last week. Investigators say the man approached a 15-year-old boy at the 53rd Street and Fourth Avenue station around 9:30 a.m. Friday, after the teen threw an empty bag of potato chips on the ground. Authorities said the teen claimed the man displayed what looked like a police shield and told the boy to get into his white van. They say the suspect drove to 92nd Street and Dahlgren Place in Bay Ridge, where he sexually assaulted the boy. Read More: NY1

The mistakes that took 5 lives

Two fatal mistakes may have cost the lives of the three little girls and their grandparents who died Christmas morning when a century-old Victorian mansion went up in flames and turned into a death trap. Fire marshals in Stamford, Connecticut, said the owner’s boyfriend, contractor Michael Borcino, put still-smoldering embers from a yule log into some kind of a bag — and then left it leaning against an outside rear wall of the $1.7 million house. The marshals said the embers had not been doused with water. On the other side of the wall was a mud room. Read More: New York Post

Flushing neighborhood mourns closing of Palace Diner, a local mainstay since 1976

The Palace Diner, a Flushing mainstay that served as a cozy gathering place for local residents and politicians alike, is shutting its doors for good on Friday. “I’ve had a good run, it’s time,” said owner George Mantzikos. “I’ve been fortunate to have good customers and good employees.” The diner, known for its Greek specialties, fresh fish and chops, will be replaced by an “upscale Chinese restaurant,” he said. Read More: Daily News

Ozone Park unites for fallen officer Peter Figoski

In light of the fact that four of the five men nabbed as suspects in the tragic, shooting death of fallen officer Peter Figoski are from Ozone Park, elected officials and residents of the community banded together to raise money and spirits for Figoski’s family. “We wanted to do something in this community to show that those criminals are not a reflection of the people in this neighborhood. There are good, solid people in this community,” said Matt Turner of the Make a Difference Christmas Effort. The Make a Difference Christmas Effort — which hosted a benefit on December 22 at St. Mary Gate of Heaven School — raised $5,000 for the wife and four daughters Figoski leaves behind. Read More: Queens Courier

Rent-stabilized Jamaica tenants sue landlord;  they say he boosted rents to force  them out  

More than 40 longtime Jamaica tenants are suing their landlord for charging them large lump sums for building improvements they claim were never adequately made, in an effort to force them out of their homes. Residents of 90-36 149th Street, which is owned by Zara Realty Holding Corp., said their rent shot up thousands of dollars this year after the state approved a hike for rent-stabilized tenants. It was granted because Zara claimed to have installed a new roof and repaired the building’s brick exterior. But landlords are only allowed to raise rents 6 percent annually for rent-stabilized tenants, according to the tenants’ lawyers — not ask for one bulk payment. Read More: Daily News

Group wants to preserve ‘historic’ Elmhurst library

Over 106 years, some structures become staples of their communities. This is the sentiment one Elmhurst civic association has expressed regarding the neighborhood’s historic library, which is set to be torn down and replaced with a larger, more modern facility. Members of the Newtown Civic Association are puzzled by Queens Library’s decision to destroy the community “landmark,” which opened in 1906 and is one of the last remaining libraries built with funding from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Read More: Queens Courier

Madonna Badger spared details of fire that killed her 3 daughters & parents


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Madonna Badger spared details of fire that killed her 3 daughters & parents

The marketing executive whose three daughters and parents died in a Christmas morning fire was spared the horrific details of the tragedy, her brother said Tuesday. Madonna Badger was “as devastated as you could imagine,” Wade Johnson said. “Like any mother and child would be. She’s largely unaware of many of the details … She’s resting.” Badger, who escaped the inferno at her Connecticut mansion, wasn’t told that her father died trying to save one of his granddaughters. Their bodies were found just inches apart on either side of an open window amid the rubble. Read More: Daily News

 

Off-duty firefighter saves elderly couple from blaze on Staten Island

An elderly Staten Island couple and their beloved pet cat were rescued from the balcony of their burning apartment by an off-duty firefighter driving home on Christmas night. Steven Carl, a seven-year FDNY veteran, was heading back to his South Beach residence on Sunday after celebrating the holiday at his parents’ home when he spotted flames at 11:45 p.m. above the roofline not far from his block. With his wife and their two kids in the car, Carl followed the trail of black smoke to Atlantic Avenue and discovered a two-family home engulfed in flames. Read More: New York Post

Tidal crime wave hits Rockaways

The Rockaways are getting rocked by crime! Felonies in the 100th Precinct in Queens, which blankets Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel and other western areas of the peninsula, have gone through the roof, according to the latest police statistics. Burglaries have jumped 144 percent, from 54 last year to 132 this year. Felony assaults have soared 66 percent, from 78 to 130. Robberies have gone up 31 percent, from 63 to 83. Grand larcenies are up 26 percent over last year. The crime wave is so pervasive that a local deli is even offering pamphlets that warn customers, “Do You Feel Safe and Secure? We Hope You Do … But Maybe You Shouldn’t!” Read More: New York Post

 

Knicks claim former Harvard guard Lin

The Knicks have claimed former Harvard PG Jeremy Lin off waivers, according to a league source. Lin spent his rookie year in Oakland, but was waived by the Warriors, and new coach Mark Jackson, on Dec. 9. The Rockets picked Lin up, but waived him Sunday to clear roster space in order to sign Samuel Dalembert. Lin, 23, was undrafted out of Harvard but appeared in 29 games for the Warriors as a rookie last season, averaging 2.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest. Read More: New York Post

 

Registration open for Golden Gloves

The crown jewel for boxing aficionados, the Daily News Golden Gloves, is increasing its reach and accepting jabs from a wider population. For the first time in Golden Gloves history, the tournament will be open to all entries from the state of New York when registration opens for 2012. “After 85 years of world-class competition, it’s about time that we expand the reach of the Daily News Golden Gloves to include all of New York,” said Gloves director Brian Adams. “As the oldest and largest boxing tournaments in the world, we want to set a positive example for the youth of New York state, not just those representing the metropolitan area. It’s a chance to follow in the footsteps of the many boxing greats that got their start in the Daily News Golden Gloves.” Read More: Queens Courier

 

Conn. mayor: Fire that killed 5 not foul play

A Christmas Day fire that killed three children and their grandparents was a tragic accident related to a fireplace in the home, not the result of foul play, the mayor said Tuesday. Investigators were expected to reveal the cause of the fire later Tuesday, but Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia told The Associated Press described the cause as “fireplace-related.” He could not provide more details. “The preliminary information is it was just a tragic accident,” he said, adding that foul play had been ruled out. Neighbors said they were awakened by screams shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday and rushed outside to help but could do nothing as flames devoured the large Victorian home. Read More: New York Post

 

Bronx tot dead, dad under arrest after fight with girl’s mother

Police say a 3-month-old Bronx girl is dead and her father is under arrest following an altercation with the child’s mother and grandmother. Police said Tuesday that 20-year-old Kevin Palmer was arrested on assault charges after a physical confrontation with the 19-year-old mother of his child and her 43-year-old mother. Neither woman received major injuries. Read More: New York Post

 

Public Advocate Releases City’s Worst Landlords Watch List

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio on Tuesday released his latest list of what he says are the worst landlords and buildings in the city. Some 358 buildings are on the list, owned by 317 landlords. “1071 Home Corp” ranks at the top of the list, with 753 hazardous violations and five buildings on de Blasio’s “watch list”. Three of the top five landlords have buildings in the Bronx, and two have buildings in Brooklyn. Read More: NY1

 

Straphangers Stranded In December Blizzard File Suit

A group of passengers is suing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority one year after they were stranded on an A train in Queens during the post-Christmas blizzard. About 25 people trapped for eight hours on the A train are named as plaintiffs in the suit. They were left without heat, water or food when the train got stuck in several feet of snow between Aqueduct and Rockaway Boulevard. New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast told the City Council earlier this month MTA officials “forgot” about the train. Read More: NY1

 

New dirt on pervy UWS super

Shocking, newly released court documents describe the ordeals of alleged victims of a former Upper West Side building super accused of pressuring cash-strapped female tenants to pay their rent with sexual favors. “He told me to take my clothes off really slowly so that he could watch,” one of the women said in a deposition about William “Billy” Barnason. “He had sex with me for about probably a minute . . . He slapped me on the ass and said, ‘Now we’re even.’ ’’ The woman and her roommate were allowed to move into another apartment the next day, owned by the same elderly landlord, Stanley Katz. Read More: New York Post

 

Al Qaeda in Iraq says it was behind Baghdad blasts

An al Qaeda front group in Iraq has claimed responsibility for the wave of attacks that ripped through markets, cafes and government buildings in Baghdad on a single day last week, killing 69 people and raising new worries about the country’s path. The coordinated attacks struck a dozen mostly Shiite neighborhoods on Thursday in the first major bloodshed since U.S. troops completed a full withdrawal this month after nearly nine years of war. They also coincided with a government crisis that has again strained ties between Iraq’s Sunnis and Shiites to the breaking point, tearing at the same fault line that nearly pushed Iraq into all-out civil war several years ago. Read More: New York Post

Motorist dies of apparent suicide while driving on the Throgs Neck Bridge


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Motorist dies of apparent suicide while driving on the Throgs Neck Bridge

A 36-year-old man killed himself with a shot to the head while driving on the Throgs Neck Bridge on Monday night, police said. The man was heading northbound from Queens toward the Bronx in a 1999 Chevy Silverado when he took his own life just before he arrived at the tollbooth, cops said. After the driver pulled the trigger at 7:11 p.m., police said, the man’s silver pickup truck slammed into another car and then careened into a tollbooth entrance. Read More: Daily News

‘Junk-justice radar’ on high alert in Queens district attorney’s office conviction of Tejpal Singh

This is last week and two court officers lead convicted murderer Tejpal Singh into the Queens courtroom of the Honorable Michael B. Aloise, a courtroom jammed with Sikh men in turbans. They uncuff him at the defense table. Aloise oddly stands through loud arguments from high-powered defense attorney Stephen G. Murphy, who charges that in Singh’s case, the Queens district attorney’s office has convicted yet another in a parade of innocent people. Read More: Daily News

Sex suspect takes plunge

A depraved sicko nearly plunged to his death from a fourth-floor window after sexually attacking a young woman in her Queens apartment building, police sources said yesterday. Gustavo Avila, 20, was listed in critical condition at Elmhurst Hospital following Wednesday’s incident on 83rd Street in Jackson Heights, sources said. Read More: New York Post

Long Island man arrested in killing of young mom and her 2-year-old son

A Long Island man has been arrested for killing his one-time love interest and her 2-year-old son, whose little body was found in a freezer, police said. Jerry Lewis, 24, repeatedly stabbed Shakeela Planter, 21, on the morning of December 18 inside the North Bay Shore apartment they had been sharing, police said. Lewis did not spare Planter’s son, Jaiden Planter, police said. He beat the toddler, stuffed his body into a plastic bag and stashed him in his mother’s freezer, police said. Read More: Daily News

Miracle survivors

A Queens family of six driving upstate for the holidays “miraculously” survived a frightening accident that sent their SUV tumbling off the highway and launched the youngest of the clan out of the car. Although his entire family was hospitalized after the early-morning wreck yesterday near the town of Bethlehem, 42-year-old dad Eli Rowe sounded grateful that things didn’t turn out worse. He said their 2010 Mercedes veered off the rain-soaked New York Thruway and flipped over multiple times as they were headed from Flushing to Lake George for a family getaway. Read More: New York Post

Shoppers take it all back

With Christmas finally over, throngs of sale-crazy shoppers flocked to stores across New York yesterday in hopes of correcting Kris Kringle’s little mistakes and ringing in 2012 with huge savings. “It’s crazy how chaotic it is,” said Alex, a 27-year-old college student who was exchanging a $230 sweater for a $200 button-down shirt at Saks Fifth Avenue. He declined to give his last name in an apparent bid to spare the gift giver’s feelings. The Saks sale — in which many posh items at the high-end store were slashed up to 70 percent — led to “lots of pushing and shoving,” said one witness. Read More: New York Post

‘Double-dater’ teacher

Gerard Cassidy, a physical-education instructor at a Queens middle school, was caught in a love triangle and fired for having an “inappropriate relationship” with an ex-student — while dating her mom, The Post has learned. Cassidy, 44, who taught at MS 137 America’s School of Heroes in Ozone Park, lost a fight for his $83,600-a-year job even though the 16-year-old student recanted her claim that she had sex with the teacher, according to city Department of Education documents and court records. The age of consent in New York is 17. Cassidy denied any wrongdoing. Read More: New York Post

Comptroller: Last Year’s Christmas Blizzard Cost City About $2M In Settlements

The city is still paying the price for its sluggish response to the major blizzard from exactly one year ago, in the form of liability claims. The City Comptroller’s office says it has paid out nearly $2 million in liability claims so far, and there may be more to come. The biggest settlement so far was $150,000 for a man who fell in an icy parking lot that was not shoveled properly by the city. Another $100,000 thousand went to a Brooklyn cemetery where headstones were damaged by a falling fence after snow had been dumped against it. Read More: NY1

Felonies Sharply Increase This Year In The Rockaways

Even as police report that crime rates remain mostly flat around the city, statistics show felonies have spiked in parts of the Rockaways section of Queens. Burglaries in the 100th precinct, covering Broad Channel, Breezy Point and Belle Harbor, are up 144 percent this year. Felony assaults have jumped 66 percent, robberies are up 31 percent and grand larcenies 26 percent over last year. Residents in Belle Harbor who spoke with NY1 said they are aware of the increased crime in the area, but generally still feel safe. Read More: NY1

Elmhurst Fire Sends Two To The Hospital

Investigators say two people were hurt when a fire broke out inside the Martinique Plaza residential complex in Elmhurst on Sunday morning. The two victims were taken to Elmhurst Hospital, and two others with minor injuries were evaluated at the scene. The fire started on the second floor of the building, but firefighters put it out before it spread to other floors. Read More: NY1

Radio’s Lynn Samuels dies at 69

Lynn Samuels, longtime doyenne of New York’s talk-radio airwaves, died of a heart attack over the weekend. She was 69. An unabashed liberal, Samuels mixed searing political commentary with humor, sarcasm and at times profane observations about living in the Big Apple, attracting a loyal following over more than three decades on the air. Broadcast on SiriusXM satellite radio from her Woodside apartment, her distinctive voice — raspy with elongated vowels — instantly established her as a native New Yorker. Read More: New York Post

Queens killer who tore out woman’s heart and lungs gets sentenced up to 29 years


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens killer who tore out woman’s heart and lungs gets sentenced up to 29 years

A depraved killer who beat and choked a Queens woman to death before carving out her heart and lungs was sentenced to up to 29 years in prison Wednesday. Huang Chen, dressed in a lime-green jail jumpsuit, turned down Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter when asked if he had anything to say. Buchter wasn’t as reticent.The judge faulted the justice system for failing to protect Qian Wu, 46, after she took out six restraining orders against Chen, following repeated episodes of harassment. Read More: Daily News

Safe Space in Jamaica to expand services for LGBT youth in southeast Queens

A safe haven for hundreds of lesbian and gay youth in Queens will reach more students thanks to a new grant. Safe Space NYC, a nonprofit group that works with southeast Queens youth, is adding two new full-time staff members and expanding its clinical services for LGBT youth with support from a one-year grant of $120,000. “LGBT young people are in this community and they need community support,” said Cassie Aguilera, an outreach coordinator for Safe Space. “They come here because they feel they can be themselves.” The financial boost comes from the New York Community Trust, which has helped fund the Safe Space for decades. The grant supports a new youth specialist and a new social worker. Read More: Daily News

Suspects sought for a dozen robberies in Long Island City

Police are seeking a man and woman wanted in connection with 12 robberies — 11 of which have occurred over the past month. Most of the incidents have occurred between the morning and evening — during school and work hours — with the thieves entering through a window or door. Read More: Queens Courier

Hail, yea! Pols reach deal to bring street hails to outer boroughs

After months of negotiations and gridlock, the street hail bill finally received the green light. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday, December 20 an agreement had been reached to bring street hails to all five boroughs. The deal came just one day before the Wednesday, December 21 deadline. Read More: Queens Courier

NY man charged with attempted murder of NYPD cops

A New York City man suspected of firing at two police officers while wearing a disguise has been charged with attempted murder. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says 53-year-old Antonio Olmeda opened fire on two patrolmen as they tried to question him on December 2. They were uninjured. Prosecutors say Olmeda was wearing a trench coat, fedora, fake beard and glasses at the time. He refused to take his hands out of his pockets when asked by officers, and instead pulled out a gun and fired twice. He fled, shedding his disguise. Read More: Wall Street Journal

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s wife gives birth to baby boy

After a year filled with ridicule and scandal, disgraced former Congressmember Anthony Weiner finally has something he can feel proud about — a new baby boy. Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, gave birth to the wee Democrat yesterday, 10 days before the New Year’s Eve due date, The Post has learned. Jordan Zane Weiner checked in at just over 7 pounds, a source said. The Post first reported in September that the couple was having a boy, months after Weiner’s political career crashed and burned in an embarrassing sexting scandal that forced him to resign from Congress. Read More: New York Post

Korean NYers Say Leader’s Death Presents New Worries, Hope

As news of Kim Jong Il’s death continues to spread, all eyes in New York’s Korean-American community are fixed on the peninsula. Read More & Watch the Video: NY1

Heroes back in New York City

They’ve traded Baghdad for Bayside. A cheery and teary group of reserve soldiers finally made it back to New York yesterday, ending their service in Iraq safe and sound. “I’ve been away for almost a year, and I’m so excited to be back with my family for Christmas and New Year’s,” said Sgt. Waseefa Baksh, 22, of Queens. “We were in Bahgdad for 11 months,” said Baksh, as she and other members of the 316th Sustainment Command were discharged at Fort Totten in Bayside. Read More: New York Post

Slay-suicide horror in Maspeth


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Slay-suicide horror in Maspeth

A woman died yesterday after her boyfriend slashed her throat in their Maspeth apartment, stabbed her stepson, then jumped in front of an LIRR train, authorities said. Maureen Biermann, 43, died at Wyckoff Heights Hospital. Her attacker, James Peck, 33, died on the tracks. Biermann’s stepson, 22, was in stable condition. Read More: Daily News

No deals for cop ‘killers

Brooklyn’s top prosecutor yesterday said he won’t even think about cutting plea deals with the five thugs accused of murdering cop Peter Figoski. “There will be a trial,” District Attorney Charles Hynes vowed. “We want the public to understand that the murder of a police officer is as serious as any crime we’ve ever had. In cases like this, there’s no indication of a plea deal — ever.” Read More: New York Post

Queens pair sentenced in Virginia for bank fraud

Two New York residents have been sentenced in Virginia for their roles in a scheme to fraudulently tap into home equity lines of credit and credit card accounts. U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride says 41-year old Joan Marsh of Queens was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison. Thirty-year-old Ayodele Adewale Onasanya of Queens was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison. A federal jury convicted Marsh in September on a dozen conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering counts. Onasanya pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  Read More: Wall Street Journal

A mission born from a cause

Fifteen-year-old Carly Rose Nieves is turning ordinary people into heroes, one pint of blood at a time. For the second year in a row, the Middle Village teen — and her team of family members and friends — organized a blood drive and bone marrow registry at Christ the King (CTK) Regional High School. The December 17 event brought in 75 pints of blood and 10 new bone marrow donors for the New York Blood Center. Read More: Queens Courier

After Resigning, Tearful Senator Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes

In the annals of municipal corruption in New York City, the themes of graft, greed and betrayal have been familiar running mates from one century to the next, accompanying the fall of the Tammany boss William Tweed in the 1870s, the resignation of the popular mayor James J. Walker in 1932, and the bribes, appetites and suicide of Donald R. Manes, a former Queens borough president, in 1986. But the denouement of the political career of State Senator Carl Kruger, who pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges on Tuesday, goes beyond that story line, encompassing tales of romance and perhaps even sacrifice, and laying bare one of the more bizarre domestic tableaux — even by New York standards — ever uncovered by F.B.I. wiretaps. Read More: New York Times

Aqueduct racino construction workers exposed to hazards including lead, feds say

Construction workers toiled virtually around the clock to get Queens’ glitzy gaming hub operational, but federal officials are now charging that contractors cut corners when it came to safety. Five companies skirted regulations during construction of the Aqueduct racino this summer and exposed employees to hazardous conditions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Monday. Read More: Daily News

Five Remaining MLB Free Agents Who Can Help the New York Mets: Fan’s Take

The New York Mets need all the help they can get. Unfortunately, they aren’t willing to pay much to get it. All indications are that the financially-challenged Mets will stay away from free agent solutions for 2012 as they look to cut payroll. However, these five overlooked free agents may come at a discount, tempting Mets general manager Sandy Alderson to give them a call. It may be worth it. Read More: Yahoo Sports

Deal Struck to Broaden Taxi Service in the City

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo struck a deal with the Bloomberg administration on Tuesday that would expand taxi service in New York by allowing livery cabs to be hailed on the street in parts of the city traditionally underserved by yellow cabs. The agreement, which Cuomo is poised to sign into law on Wednesday and which ends months of fractious negotiations, would also create 2,000 more wheelchair-accessible yellow cabs. The auction of those medallions is expected to raise at least $1 billion for the city. Read More: New York Times

Alleged cop killer gets into Rikers Island brawl with guards


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Alleged cop killer gets into Rikers Island brawl with guards

Alleged cop killer Lamont Pride got into a fight with two jail guards after the ex-con refused to undergo a routine search, authorities said today. Pride, 27, has been charged in the murder of Officer Peter Figoski after he allegedly shot the cop in the face last week during a robbery attempt in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. Authorities told The Post that Pride, who has been at Rikers Island since his arrest on Dec. 12, was undergoing a medical exam Monday when he refused to cooperate with a routine search. Read More: New York Post

 

Mystery Donor Named In Cornell Tech Campus Bid

The person who made an anonymous $350 million donation to Cornell University for an applied sciences campus in the city has been identified. Billionaire philanthropist and Cornell alumnus Charles Feeney granted the money to the upstate university. Feeney made his fortune by building duty free airport shops before anybody had even heard of duty free shops. Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday announced that Cornell and Israel’s Technion Institute won the city’s competition to build the campus on Roosevelt Island. The mayor says the plan was chosen because of the its scale and the schools’ reputations for science breakthroughs and entrepreneurship. Read More: NY1

 

Five Suspects To Be Arraigned In Shooting Death Of NYPD Officer

One day after a city police officer shot and killed in the line of duty was laid to rest, the five men charged in his death are due in court. Lamont Pride, Kevin Santos, Ariel Tejada, Nelson Moralez, and Michael Velez are all expected to be arraigned on their indictments later today. They appeared in court Friday but did not enter any pleas. All five are charged with murder in the death of Officer Peter Figoski, 47. Speaking to reporters today, law enforcement officials said no mercy will be shown towards the accused men and that there is no chance of a plea bargain. Read More: NY1

 

Raising the stakes: Resorts World unveils VIP casino

High-rollers now have a space of their own at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park. Following a grand opening that drew more than 65,000 visitors, the casino at Aqueduct Racino unveiled the remaining two floors of its new facility on December 16 – showing off high-priced amenities and big payoff games. The new features include 2,514 additional Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Electronic Table Games (ETG) at the Fifth Avenue Casino, bringing the grand total to 5,000 machines. The casino also gave visitors a sneak peak at two new 250-seat fine dining restaurants with private dining rooms and balconies featuring panoramic views of the racetrack. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Small plane crashes near Rt. 287 in NJ, 3 feared dead: report

Multiple fatalities were feared Tuesday after a small plane crashed on a New Jersey highway. Local television footage showed what appeared to be the charred remnants of the aircraft alongside Route 287 near Harding, N.J. The heavily-traveled roadway was closed in both directions. Harding Township police chief Kevin Gaffney told FOX News Channel that there were multiple fatalities. It was not immediately known how many people were on board the plane. State Police Trooper Christopher Kay says there is a report of three possible deaths. Read More: New York Post

 

Paroled American Berenson arrives in US

Paroled American Lori Berenson, who stirred international controversy when she was convicted of aiding Peruvian guerrillas, arrived in the United States Tuesday morning for her first visit home since Peruvian authorities arrested her in 1995. Lori Berenson’s plane touched down at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey around 7:35 a.m. The 42-year-old, dressed in black and a black-and-gray sweater vest, was surrounded by Port Authority officers. Her mother Rhoda Berenson, who was waiting in the general arrivals area, sprinted over to her daughter after police escorted Berenson through an area of customs where airport officials check suspicious bags. Read More: New York Post

 

Force of 20,000 in final salute to hero cop Figoski

He had been a cop for 22 years, but it was only after his death that Peter Figoski’s four daughters realized what that truly meant. “We now feel connected to a side of our dad we rarely saw at home — he put us aside from his duties as a police officer and always put us first,’’ the grief-stricken girls said in a heartbreaking statement read at their father’s funeral yesterday. “When a hero falls, an angel rises. Rest in peace, Daddy.’’ Read More: New York Post

 

Kim Jong Il body displayed, North Korea media hail son

The body of North Korea’s long-time ruler Kim Jong Il was laid out in a memorial palace Tuesday as weeping mourners filled public plazas and state media fed a budding personality cult around his third son, hailing him as “born of heaven.” Indicating that the leadership transition in the communist dynasty is on track, Kim Jong Un — Kim’s youngest known son and successor — visited the body with top military and Workers’ Party officials and held what state media called a “solemn ceremony” in the capital, Pyongyang, as the country mourned. Read More: New York Post

 

Firefighter hurt in booze-fueled 2003 brawl at Staten Island firehouse not entitled to line-of-duty payouts 

 The state’s highest court Tuesday rejected a former firefighter’s bid for full disability benefits for injuries sustained in an infamous 2003 firehouse brawl. Robert Walsh, who was injured in the booze-fueled melee on Staten Island, was not entitled to more lucrative line-of-duty benefits because his injuries were not related to his job, the Court of Appeals ruled, upholding lower court decisions. Read More: Daily News


Man shot in Queens while sitting in car, then drives it into house in Jamaica


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Man shot in Queens while sitting in car, then drives it into house in Jamaica 

A 50-year-old man was shot while he was sitting in his car Monday and then drove it into a Queens house three blocks away, cops said. The man, whose name was not released, was in the driver’s seat of a Nissan Altima at 172nd St. and Hillside Ave. when he was blasted in the groin around 5:40 p.m., police and fire officials said. He then started driving and slammed the sedan into a house on a residential Jamaica street at the corner of 171st St. and 89th Ave. Read More: Daily News

 

Arrest made in attempted shooting of officers

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the arrest of Antonio Olmeda, age 53 of  Manhattan, in the attempted shooting of two New York City police officers on December 2nd in Jackson Heights, Queens. “Our officers miraculously escaped injury when their assailant fired at extremely close range, narrowly missing them,” Commissioner Kelly said. “Olmeda’s arrest was bittersweet in that it came this morning as the family of Police Officer Peter Figoski prepared for his funeral.” Read More: Queens Courier

 

Suspect cleared amid cop’s lie

A Queens man was acquitted of gun charges yesterday — after prosecutors admitted they withheld evidence involving phony police testimony. Prosecutors told jurors that Deon Davis, 21, placed a loaded weapon on the ground in front of a cop, then escaped by squeezing through a fence, only to be nabbed a few blocks away. They didn’t say arresting Officer Ronald Martiny had admitted to the prosecution that his description of the alleged escape wasn’t true, that there was no fence. Not only did prosecutors fail to mention the “mistake” to the defense, but when Martiny took the stand, he repeated the lie. Read More: New York Post
Trash Can Tickets In Queens

A Queens man is very upset after trying to put his trash out for collection and ending up with a ticket. He, and others, are getting snared in an enforcement of a law that few people even know exists. The scrooge award goes to the New York City Sanitation Department for the $100 tickets. Read More: Fox News

Smart Move: Cornell University coming to Roosevelt Island

Just days after the upstate Ivy League school received a $350 million gift from an anonymous donor, Cornell University was selected as the winning bid to bring an applied science school to the city. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Cornell University President David Skorton and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology President Peretz Lavie announced a partnership on Monday, December 19 to build a two-million-square-foot applied science and engineering campus on Roosevelt Island as part of the Applied Sciences NYC initiative. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Francisco Signs Amazin’ $12 Million Deal

Pitching reliever Frank Francisco has signed a $12 million, two-year deal to play with the New York Mets. Francisco played 54 games with the Toronto Blue Jays last season with 17 saves on the mound. The 32-year-old right-hander has 368 strikeouts in his seven year career with Toronto and Texas. Read More: NY1

Queens Community Board Renews Push For High Line-Style Park

An effort is now under way to bring a park similar to Manhattan’s High Line to a stretch of the old Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road. Read More: NY1

Queens judge’s landmark decision in Howard Beach case still reverberates today

Critics said this Queens judge was setting the Constitution back 200 years. One lawyer wondered if an infamous Nazi war criminal was on trial whether Jews would be allowed to sit in judgment. “If you were Adolf Eichmann, would you want a Jew on the jury?” lawyer Ronald Rubinstein observed. Little did they know that Justice Thomas Demakos — by insuring black participation on the Howard Beach jury — had a clear view of the future. Read More: Daily News