Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Police looking for Queens, Brooklyn commercial robbery suspects


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD is trying to find several suspects wanted for three gunpoint robberies and one attempted robbery in Queens and Brooklyn.

In each incident, the suspects gained entry into the business, displayed firearms and demanded money, according to police.

On March 1 and March 8 they stole cash from two Brooklyn businesses—Caribbean Air Mail located at 7915 Flatlands Avenue, and Faith Variety Store, located at 1586 Rockaway Parkway.

They also robbed a Caribbean Air Mail in Queens, at 221-15 Linden Boulevard on March 6.

On Friday, March 15, the suspects hit another business in the borough, Caribbean Vision, located at 218-83 Hempstead Avenue, but fled without taking anything.

There were no reported injuries in any of these incidents.

Both suspects are described as black males in their 20s.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Arrest in connection to bodies found in Howard Beach brush fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

A Brooklyn man was arrested in connection to the two bodies found in a brush fire in the Spring Park Preserve last week, authorities have announced.

Rogelio Rodriguez, 34, was charged on Tuesday, March 12 with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence.

According to the Queens District Attorney’s Office, Rodriguez is only one of four men involved in the brutal homicide of 22-year-old Rudy Superville and 25-year-old Gary Lopez, both of Brooklyn.

“The defendant is accused of participating in the brutal murder of two men whose bodies were dumped and intentionally set on fire in an attempt to cover up the alleged crime,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

The two men’s bodies were discovered after firefighters put out a blaze around 4:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 6 near the Belt Parkway in Howard Beach. The medical examiner later determined that both victims had been shot several times and had blunt force trauma to the head. Superville had also been stabbed.

A day earlier, inside Rodriguez’s 143 Grove Street residence, he allegedly struck the two victims with a gun and kicked them after they had already been shot by one of the unapprehended suspect. Lopez was shot again by another one of the apprehended suspects, then struck by a third. It’s believed that Superville was also stabbed during that time.

The men may have been killed after a botched drug robbery, according to reports.

In an apparent attempt to cover up the crime, a day after the bodies were dumped, Rodriguez went to Newton Creek in Maspeth and threw seven firearms, including the two of the guns involved in the homicides, into the water.

If convicted, Rodriguez faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

 

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Districting commission files final map for approval


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

The lines have been drawn and they’re staying.

New York City’s Districting Commission filed Monday, March 4 its final map to the City Clerk for approval. The final of three drafts had been submitted to the City Council on February 8, after which the legislature had three weeks to vote or the new districts would automatically be adopted.

And that’s just what happened.

The Commission will now file the map with the Department of Justice, who will have 60 days to ensure the plan is kosher with Section 5 the Voting Rights Act. Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan are all covered under this part of the law to ensure that minority voting rights are ensured and protected.

There are 35 minority districts in the city under the new plan, according to the Districting Commission, in which racial and language minorities are the dominate block in the district. This is a five district increase from the 30 of such created in 2003.

 

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G train to undergo full review by MTA


| hchin@homereporternews.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of State Senator Michael Gianaris

G train riders are one step closer to getting changes and improvements enacted on their subway line.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has agreed to “undertake a Full Line Review of the G train” and the review will be completed by the end of June 2013,” the transit agency announced on Friday, February 22. Residents and politicians signed a petition and rallied in January to pressure the MTA to begin addressing ongoing problems on the train line.

“I am pleased our efforts to push the MTA to improve G train service prompted the agency into action, resulting in today’s announcement of a full-line review to be completed by this June,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris, who has pushed for the MTA’s review along with State Senator Daniel Squadron and several area officials. “The G train is a lifeline for New Yorkers traveling between Queens and Brooklyn, and  I am hopeful the MTA will expeditiously implement much needed improvements so this line can better serve our commuters.”

 

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Bloomberg gives final State of the City address at Barclays Center


| hklein@homereporternews.com

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Ted Levin

It may have been Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s last opportunity to deliver the State of the City address, but one thing was clear, it was no swan song.

Addressing a crowd at downtown Brooklyn’s Barclays Center — arguably the largest development to come to fruition while he occupied City Hall  – the mayor spent a full hour going over the achievements of his nearly 12 years at the helm of the city of New York, and promised to keep pushing forward during the last 320 days of his administration.

There was definitely a feel of theatricality to the entire event, with performances by the Brooklynettes and their junior counterparts.

Thus setting the stage, the mayor primed the pump for both his elaborate recap and his announcements, which ranged from the clearly popular (support for gun control, immigration reform and the DREAM Act – all of which engendered loud applause) to the considerably less so (a long defense of stop and frisk as well as of the city’s position in the protracted school bus strike).

Probably the most discussed announcement beforehand was a proposed ban on Styrofoam take-out containers, something that the mayor said he would work on with the City Council. Explaining that the material as “virtually impossible to recycle and never bio-degrades,” Bloomberg contended, “it’s not just terrible for the environment. It’s terrible for taxpayers,” increasing the cost of recycling by some $20 per ton, “because it has to be removed.”

Another major announcement was the administration’s decision to promote electric cars, adding 50 to the city’s fleet of vehicles and pushing for a third of New York’s taxis to be electric by 2020. In addition, Bloomberg said the city would “pilot curbside vehicle chargers that will allow drivers to fill their battery in as little as 30 minutes.” The goal, he said, is to “create up to 10,000 parking spots for electric vehicles over the next seven years.”

The mayor also announced “an executive order waiving all city fees for Sandy-related repair work,” and the creation of a panel to “design eight new high schools based on the most promising college readiness strategies” for students mostly from neighborhoods with high rates of poverty and low rates of college readiness.

“Over the past 11 years,” Bloomberg contended, “we have beaten the odds, and the obstructionists, over and over again, not just here in Brooklyn, but in neighborhoods all across the city.” The result, he said, includes projects such as Barclays Center, as well as a “record low” number of murders and shootings, as well as record low “incarceration rates,” “job growth…exceed[ing] the national average in all five boroughs,” and the addition of 750 acres to the city’s parkland.

But, he added, his administration will not rest on its laurels.

“Our goal,” Bloomberg said, “is not to spend the year cutting ribbons. It’s much bigger than that. Our goal is to advance projects – and start new ones – that will keep our city on the right course for decades to come.”

 

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New photo exhibit shows before and after effects of Sandy


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NPS

Homes and businesses were not the only places that Sandy destroyed.

Gateway National Recreation Area, which encompasses parts of Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Monmouth County, New Jersey, is also still recovering from the storm and has yet to fully reopen.

The effects that Sandy had on the area can now be seen in a new exhibit, “Hurricane Sandy: Before and After,” at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

“These [photos] are snapshots in time. It’s the chance to see a historic event,” said Charles Markis, a park ranger and the exhibit’s curator.

As part of the storm recovery effort, the National Park Service (NPS) Incident Management Team went around the area taking photos to assess the storm damage. The team, one of the largest assembled in NPS history, even had access to aircraft for aerial pictures.

After looking through those photographs, and receiving inquiries from the public on what had happened to Gateway after the storm, Markis saw them as more than a remediation tool.

Using those photos, as well as shots from the NPS already had of the area’s condition before Sandy, both from on the ground and satellite imagery, he put together the “Before and After” exhibit.

He describes the 30 photos, some of which are side-by-side comparisons, as sad, yet interesting and beautiful, and has received a similar response from those who have seen it.

“My point was not to celebrate the disaster but to tell the story of what happened,” said Markis.

The photos show scenes of structural destruction at Jacob Riis Park, boats thrown onto land away from Great Kills Harbor and parking lots buried in sand.

The pictures also illustrate resilience through recovery progress maps, and that’s the ultimate message that visitors should take away from the exhibit.

“While these pictures demonstrate damage, the take-away message should not be one of doom and gloom, but rather one of resilience,” said Gateway superintendent Linda Canzanelli. “There is still a lot of work to do and some things have changed forever. But the park is reopening, the natural areas will rebound and park visitors will be welcomed back.”

 

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Five Queens residents busted for selling dangerous counterfeit toys


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Five Queens residents have been charged with selling counterfeit Chinese toys that posed several safety hazards to children, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced.

“They allegedly retooled their operations many times in order to avoid detection, and despite repeated citations by the authorities, they continued to peddle counterfeit toys featuring Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and other popular children’s characters,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

In addition to violating copyright law, the five that were arrested are also accused of selling toys with a “high lead content and cheap knock offs with substandard parts that break easily and pose a choking hazard.”

These fake versions of toys that featured popular children’s characters, such as Winnie the Pooh, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Spiderman and Mickey Mouse, as well as those from movies, such as Toy Story” and “High School Musical,” were sold, both wholesale and retail, from a storefront and warehouse in Ridgewood, and other locations in Queens and Brooklyn between July 2005 and January 2013.

“When it comes to trademark infringement, don’t mess with Mickey or other American icons,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

 

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WATCH: Runaway goat captured in Brooklyn


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

goat video

A goat was found running around the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn overnight, but was eventually captured by a nearby security guard who was a former goat herder in West Africa, according to media reports.

After several police officers tried to catch the animal, Seydou Ndiaye, who was at his job at Interfaith Medical Center, was able to grab the goat by the horns.

“I told them ‘Do not harm the animal, it’s an easy animal, it’s very friendly but it just was a little scared,” Ndiaye told CBS New York.

 The goat, which reportedly may have escaped from a nearby slaughterhouse, was taken to the ASPCA.

Video: NBC New York

 

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Former Councilmember Sal Albanese kicks off mayoral campaign


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Albanese for Mayor 2013

Former Councilmember Sal Albanese, who recently announced he’s running for mayor as an independent Democrat, has high hopes for improving public safety and the city’s education system.

Albanese, who represented mostly Bay Ridge for 14 years, said he was building a campaign based on voter needs and not special interest groups.

“We’re building a grass-roots campaign around the city,” Albanese, 63, told The Courier. “I want to get to City Hall with a broad base of support.”

Albanese spent 11 years as a teacher and said he would partner with education colleges throughout the city and strengthen the student-teacher program if elected mayor.

Albanese said he would hire 3,800 new police .officers for patrols in the outer boroughs where crime might be ignored or under-reported. “If you have nobody on patrol…these things can drive people out of neighborhoods,” he said.

For Queens, Albanese said he would focus on ensuring continued development is done properly, and the borough recovers and rebuilds after Sandy.

All options and effects should be explored before officially jumping on a project such as the proposed Major League Soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. “[It] could really be a positive thing,” he said. “But we have to balance that with the parkland.”

Despite a lengthy term on the council, Albanese has not been in public office for about 15 years and is running in a primary against many Democratic incumbents. Some opponents include: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson.

On the Republican front:

Less than a week after his announcement, and after a long-expected endorsement, Republican Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis picked up the backing of the Queens GOP on Friday, February 1.

“John Catsimatidis has the right experience as an independent businessman to lead New York and solve our city’s problems with common sense,” said party chair Phil Ragusa in a statement. The grocery store magnet is one of only a handful of candidates whose career hasn’t been in public service. Upon his endorsement, Catsimatidis noted his father worked as a bus boy at Riccardo’s in Astoria.

“I am very pleased to accept the Queens County Republican Party’s official endorsement,” Catsimatidis said. “My father who came over from the old country when I was just six months of age worked hard for our family and taught me the value of hard work and because he worked hard we never knew we were poor.”

 

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NYPD releases stop-and-frisk stats


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

File photo

For the first time, the NYPD has released 2011 data regarding the controversial procedure of stop-and-frisk.

Among those stopped-and-frisked in 2011, 87 percent were either black or Hispanic, according to the report. Of the 685,724 stops made citywide, 53 percent were black while 34 percent were Hispanic. Only 9 percent of those stopped-and-frisked were white, while 4 percent were Asian.

The most common crime suspected was weapons possession, which accounted for 26 percent of all stops.

According to the report, Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct, comprising East New York and Cypress Hills, had the highest number of stops in the city, with more than 31,000, of which 97 percent of which were either black or Hispanic. The 73rd Precinct in Brooklyn, covering Brownsville, was the next highest with 25,167 stops, 98 percent of which involved minorities.

Queens’ 115th Precinct of East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights ranked third with 18,156 stops. Nearly 93 percent of those stopped were minorities.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), which fought to have stop-and-frisk statistics released last year, claims the system is a form of racial profiling, adding that the practice has not reduced the number of people who fall victim to shootings. In 2002, there were 1,892 victims of gunfire and 97,296 stops. In 2011, there were 1,821 victims of gunfire but a record 685,724 stops.

 

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Man tries to take 30 pounds of pot from doctor


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

The reefer is greener at the doctor’s office.

A Brooklyn man was arrested Friday afternoon for trying to take 30 pounds of pot from a South Richmond Hill’s doctor’s office, police said.

Marlon Morris, 41, was charged with criminal possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct after he allegedly attempted to pick up a package of hash that was delivered by UPS to Dr. Devicka Persaud’s medical office on Liberty Avenue at 4:50 p.m. on February 1, said cops.

Staff at Persaud’s family medicine practice did not immediately comment.

College Point Catholic school shutting its doors


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The final bell will soon ring for a Catholic elementary school in College Point, officials said.

St. Fidelis School, at 124-06 14th Avenue, will close its doors for good in June after more than a century of serving the community, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, which oversees Queens.

“St. Fidelis School will be fully operational until the last day of school, continuing to provide a quality education,” said Monsignor Denis Heron, an administrator at the school. “We place our trust in God and ask His guidance as we move into the future. We ask your understanding and cooperation.”

The nursery through eighth grade institution faced declining enrollment and increased operating costs, officials said in a statement.

Enrollment at St. Fidelis dropped to 144 students this year from 242 five years ago, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn said. Parish schools in Brooklyn and Queens, who serve kindergarten through eighth grades, are identified as “at-risk” of closing when enrollment falls below 225 students.

Diocese officials also said the parish, which opened in 1857, does not have “the financial resources to bridge the gap” between the $3,400 tuition per student and the actual $6,119 per-pupil costs.

Neighboring parishes will take in students from St. Fidelis, according to Thomas Chadzutko, superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Plans are also underway, Chadzutko said, to place faculty members seeking teaching jobs at another Catholic school in Brooklyn or Queens on priority lists.

 

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Service disruptions on ‘N,’ ‘Q,’ ‘R’ lines this week


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA / Patrick Cashin

Starting tonight, there will be service disruptions on the “N,” “Q” and “R” trains between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m, as part of the MTA’s Fastrack maintenance program. The changes will last until Friday, February 1.

There will only be “N” service in Brooklyn and Queens, and the line will operate in two sections between Ditmars Boulevard and Queensboro Plaza, and between Stillwell Avenue and Jay Street-MetroTech.

After DeKalb Avenue, “Q” Manhattan-bound trains will run on the “D” line to 47-50th Streets, then to the 57 Street “F” station. Coney Island-bound “Q” trains will originate at the 57th Street “F” station then run via the “D” train to Brooklyn. Regular Coney Island-bound service resumes at DeKalb Avenue.

“R” train service will end early in Manhattan and Queens, with the last 95th Street-bound “R” train leaving 71st Avenue, and the last 71st Avenue-bound train leaving 95 Street at about 9:20 p.m. In Brooklyn, shuttle service between 36 Street and 95 Street will start early.

For alternative subway service during these disruptions, click here.

 

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Pols call for review of ‘G’ train performance


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of State Senator Michael Gianaris

An important transit option for Queens and Brooklyn, local politicians are calling for the MTA to review the “G” line and its numerous service issues.

The train, which travels from Long Island City to Kensington, Brooklyn, and is the only subway line that doesn’t go through Manhattan, was extended recently to Church Avenue.

But that change didn’t remedy other issues, such as frequency of trains, communication with riders about service changes and disruptions, and the lack of free out-of system transfers.

These complaints were highlighted in a recent petition campaign by the Riders Alliance, and in a letter to the MTA’s interim president, Thomas Prendergast.

Sent by State Senators Daniel Squadron and Martin Malavé Dilan, the letter asked for a full performance review of the “G” line, as the MTA did with the “F” and “L” trains.

The request is also supported by over a dozen other politicians and transit advocates.

“Constant service disruptions, a lack of service change notifications and increased commuter expenses due to limited free transfers make clear that the MTA treats the G train like the ugly duckling of the MTA system,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris, who attended the Rally For a Better G Train held in Williamsburg yesterday. “It should provide commuters with direct, convenient access between Queens and Brooklyn, rather than forcing travel through Manhattan to get from one borough to the other.”

“The G Train is critical to residents and businesses throughout Brooklyn and a key connection for the growing number of workers commuting between Brooklyn and Queens. Everything possible should be done to ensure this important subway line keeps pace with the thriving communities it serves,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

 

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Five charged in Queens gun arsenal, marijuana bust


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Five men and women, ranging in age from 17 to 62, have been arrested after police found multiple firearms and marijuana at their Jamaica home.

According to the NYPD, on January 15, members of the Queens Narcotics unit and 73rd Precinct in Brooklyn entered 145-09 133rd Avenue with a search warrant. Inside, they discovered an AK-47 assault rifle, a 9mm semi-auto pistol, a 357 revolver, 399 rounds of ammunition for those weapons, an ammunition drum capable of holding 75 rounds, a bullet proof vest and marijuana.

Leroy Lyking, 62, Deborah Lyking, 57, Deja Taitt, 17, Dawn Taitt, 38 and Troy Taitt, 38, have been charged with criminal possession of a machine gun, criminal possession of a loaded firearm, criminal possession of three or more firearms, criminal possession of an assault rifle, criminal possession of an ammo clip, criminal use of drug paraphernalia and criminal possession of marijuana.

 

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