Tag Archives: Far Rockaway

National Guardsman guilty in murder of girlfriend


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

He went from hero to felon.

A National Guardsman and Iraq war veteran has been convicted of second-degree murder for punching, drowning and ultimately killing his girlfriend on the beaches of Far Rockaway.

David Lynch, 33, served two tours in Iraq and was a reservist in the New York National Guard at the time of the November 2010 killing. He was convicted on Thursday, March 21.

“The defendant was trained to defend the weak and protect the innocent,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “In this case, he went against everything he was taught.”

According to trial testimony, Lynch brutally beat and drowned Althea Lewis, 45, of Springfield Gardens. In the early morning, Lynch and Lewis were on the beach having an argument. Lynch punched and bit Lewis on her head and face, threw her in the water and dragged her out by her feet, causing her head to be submerged.

Police discovered her clothed body on the beach with four puncture wounds on her face, later revealed to be from Lynch’s Army ring. The cuts were so deep that cops initially thought Lewis was shot. Ultimately, she died as a result of blunt force injury to her head and submersion in water.

“[Lynch’s] actions have irreparably shattered a family by robbing them of a loved one,” said Brown. “Conviction warrants imposition of a maximum prison sentence to punish him and protect society.”

The Supreme Court set sentencing for Monday, April 29. Lynch faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

 

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Far Rockaway residents still receiving Verizon bills despite no service since Sandy


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

It’s been five months since 77-year-old Arquilla Heard has been able to make a phone call.

Since Sandy, the Far Rockaway resident — and many of her neighbors in the Ocean Bay Houses — have had no cell phone service from Verizon.

Heard has received monthly phone bills since the storm, some reaching nearly $200. Despite not having service, she paid November’s bill, but has since refused to make payments.

“Maybe I have my own wires crossed, but to bill people without service seems negligent to me,” said Councilmember Donovan Richards. “For my seniors and my youth who may have had an emergency and no phone to dial out, this is a crime.”

“I don’t have the money to keep paying bills,” said Heard. “I need my phone. It’s a necessity.”

On Monday, March 25, Richards held a press conference outside the Ocean Bay Houses demanding that Heard and others in her predicament receive a six-month credit for the services they have not received since October, as well as an additional three-month credit for the inconvenience.

“It’s a crying shame that Verizon is so insensitive that they would still send bills to people’s mailboxes,” he said.
Since the storm, the community has been left without an explanation about service or billing, and although phone booths have been put up, many don’t work, according to residents.

Verizon, however, said it has offered customers free wireless devices for their telephone service. They have also restored service to nearly 6,200 Rockaway customers since the storm. They are working closely with the New York City Housing Authority to fully restore all service.

“Sandy severely damaged Verizon’s network serving all of Rockaway, including [the Ocean Bay Houses]. By the end of this month, we will begin restoring service to all those who live in the complex from 54th to 59th Streets on our brand new state-of-the-art fiber optic network. We are now working with the housing authority to gain access to the apartments from 51st to 53rd Street,” said a Verizon spokesperson.

Gian Jones lives in Bayswater and was without his Verizon FiOS service for about a month. He too continued to receive bills, but snagged a rebate after repeatedly calling the company.

“There might be some technical issues [with service lines] that we don’t know about,” he said. “But it took continuously calling them and fighting them to see a credit. There’s no reason why Rockaway residents should be paying a bill. At the very least, service should be suspended.”

Residents also noted that not only is there a lack of phone service, but Verizon power lines remain hanging from poles to this day.

“You can walk into the hanging wires,” said Felicia Johnson, Rockaway resident and Community Board 14 member.

“Verizon has really just neglected the community at large.”

“If you can send me a bill, why can’t you send me a letter saying, ‘This is where we are, this is what we’re going to do,’” she added.

Richards asks that any resident with phone service problems get in touch with his office.

“Common decency is needed,” he said. “My residents cannot afford to not have phone service for another day.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Partly cloudy with rain showers. High of 48. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 36. Winds from the NW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Ashley Garrett – Slate House

Acumen Project Space is proud to present Ashley Garrett’s solo exhibition Slate House. Garrett’s new body of work explores uncanny qualities in common household objects. Growing up in a small rural town in Northeastern Pennsylvania, a slate mining town with its now silenced quarry holes and obsolete tools, her work is infused with a sense of still contemplation and memory. These paintings and drawings reflect that stillness and weight and objects take on a totemic-like power when pressured through Garrett’s imagination. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. Exhibition ends April 7. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Far Rockaway residents and officials call Verizon tone deaf to prolonged phone outage

A group of Rockaway residents without phone service since Superstorm Sandy say the only open line of communication has been the monthly bills. Read more: New York Daily News

Vulcan Society wants FDNY EMT fired following series of ‘racist’ tweets

A veteran of the FDNY has been suspended and the association representing black emergency medical technicians and firefighters says he should be fired. Read more: CBS New York

NY cuts cancer programs in state budget

New York is cutting funding for cancer screenings for the uninsured along with programs to curb teen smoking in a state budget that expands spending to help the Buffalo Bills and Hollywood. Read more: NBC New York

Poll strike at drones

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans — 79 percent — oppose drone strikes on US soil, but they are much more accepting of doing it abroad, a Gallup poll released yesterday found. Read more: New York Post

Italy high court overturns Amanda Knox acquittal

Italy’s highest criminal court on Tuesday overturned Amanda Knox’s acquittal in the slaying of her British roommate and ordered a new trial, prolonging a case that has become a cause celebre in the United States. Read more: ABC New York/AP

Supreme Court takes up gay marriage

The Supreme Court is wading into the fight over same-sex marriage at a time when public opinion is shifting rapidly in favor of permitting gay and lesbian couples to wed, but 40 states don’t allow it. Read more: Fox New York/AP

 

Group of women wanted for assault, robbery in Far Rockaway


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for six women wanted for allegedly assaulting, then stealing electronics from two female victims in Far Rockaway.

On Wednesday, January 16, around 4:20 p.m., the group of women approached the victims at the rear of 32-11 Beach Channel Drive. The suspects then assaulted them and fled with one victim’s cell phone and the other one’s iPod.  Neither of the victims were seriously injured.

Anyone with information in regards to this homicide is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at  800-577-TIPS, or submit tips at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or text their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

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One family’s struggle in wake of bus drivers’ strike


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

Crystal Blount refuses to let her son be one of those left behind.

One week after school bus drivers abandoned their routes, as panicked parents scrambled for solutions, the Far Rockaway mom bundled up her disabled son Nehemiah, trekking more than an hour from her south Queens home to her son’s school, United Cerebral Palsy of Nassau County, in Roosevelt, Long Island.

It’s a small sacrifice for the smiley little boy she calls “pumpkin patch,” known by friends and classmates as Nemo.

In many neighborhoods, parents leaned on livery cabs and public transit when drivers announced they would be halting service in the five boroughs. In Far Rockaway, where the main transit nerve has yet to be restored since Sandy, students were left completely stranded.

In the battle between city government and contracted employees, those suffering the most are seemingly the children, particularly the most vulnerable ones. Unable to take public transit, disabled students rely heavily on school buses and receive more than an education from their schools, attending speech, occupational and feeding therapies along with daily classes. Missing one can wreck a routine and delay progress.

“It’s a setback,” Crystal said. “When a child such as Nemo misses school, it’s a routine broken. What about the next disabled child? A lot of disabled kids can’t get on a car or bus. They didn’t even think of disabled children. And that’s horrible.”

At its peak, attendance among disabled children dropped by nearly 34 percent during the strike, according to the Department of Education (DOE).

Born premature, Nemo spent his first 18 months of life in a hospital. While at age six, Nemo is non-ambulatory, non-verbal and legally blind, working with physical therapists and speech experts have afforded him the ability to react to sounds, light and noise.

“It’s very difficult,” Crystal said. “There’s always a lot to do in the morning.”

Before school, Crystal uses a suction machine to clear out Nemo’s nose, occasionally assisted by a nurse. Thanks to a phone call from Congressmember Gregory Meeks’ office, Nemo is finally getting his first real wheelchair, after fighting with the insurance company for over a year.

“You’ve got to fight tooth and nail to get anything,” she said. “What about the next person who doesn’t have a voice?”

Nemo suffers occasional seizures, often in the first 10 minutes of sleep. Crystal doesn’t like to call them seizures in front of Nemo, so she calls them “S’s”.

Constant stimulation, usually provided by a bus matron on the way to school, is an integral part of Nemo’s growth. For Christmas, Santa brought him a blue and green Furby that sings and chortles to Nemo while he lies on the couch as Crystal completes morning tasks. He titters as the toy wiggles and lets out a triumphant “la la la!” In the car on the way to school, Crystal sings to her son.

“A, B, C, D, E, F, G,” she sings, keeping her eyes on the road.

“A, B, C, D, E, F, G,” she sings again, this time holding the “G” for an extended note.

Nemo coos from the backseat.

“That always makes him laugh,” she said.

Crystal feels disabled children have been left without transportation options. The Access-A-Ride vans, commonly thought to cater to all disabled students, require parents to ride with children and they will only go to schools inside the five boroughs. On the highway, Crystal spots a yellow cab topped with a “School Bus” sign. There are no vehicles like that in the Rockaways, she says.

Both Crystal and Nemo’s father Gladstone work for the city’s Department of Correction. Crystal works during the day while Gladstone runs the midnight to 8:30 a.m. shift. Now responsible for picking Nemo up at school, Gladstone fits a small nap into the middle of his day before heading out to his son’s school.

“And the end of the day, we’ve got to take care of him,” she said. “And he’s the love of my life.”

 

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Mother of boy who brought gun to Queens school arraigned, bail set at $35K


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The mother of the seven-year-old who brought a .22 caliber pistol and flare gun to his Far Rockaway school Thursday morning has been arraigned with a bail set at $35,000, said the Queens DA’s office.

“The defendant faces serious criminal charges,” said District Attorney Richard Brown. “It is disturbing to think of what could have potentially occurred in this case if authorities had not found out about the handgun when they did.”

In addition to weapon and child endangerment charges, Deborah Farley, 53, was also arrested for unlawful possession of marijuana.

According to the criminal complaint, Farley went to the principal’s office at Wave Preparatory Elementary School Thursday morning to allegedly to pick up her son for a dental appointment.

A short time later, she returned to the principal’s office and said that her son might have given a gun to a friend at the school and that one of her sons had put the gun inside her seven-year-old’s book bag.

After searching the friend’s bag, the principal found an orange and black flare gun.

A .22 caliber firearm, a full magazine with 10 .22 caliber rounds of ammunition and a clear bag containing 14 .22 caliber rounds of ammunition was found inside her son’s bag.

Farley told police that she had bought the .22 caliber gun in June or July for protection because of the people who hung around her stairwell when she came home at night.

She also allegedly admitted that she put the .22 caliber firearm and flare gun in her son’s book bag Wednesday night.

After realizing that the guns were still in her son’s bag, she went to the school around 10 a.m., and, lying, said that he had a dentist appointment.

Once outside the school, Farley checked the bag and her son told her that he had given the flare gun to a friend. At that point, she returned to the school and told the principal what had happened.

Following the incident, police searched Farley’s Far Rockaway residence, where they found four rounds of .22 caliber ammunition in a cardboard box in a bedroom in one apartment and seven small bags of marijuana from bedrooms in a second apartment.


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Mother arrested after firearm found at Queens school


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD has arrested a woman in connection to a Thursday morning incident at a Far Rockaway elementary school where a .22 caliber pistol was discovered in a student’s book bag, said police.

The seven-year-old’s mother, Deborah Farley, 53, of Far Rockaway, has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of a weapon.

According to NBC New York, after the boy’s mother dropped him off at Wave Preparatory Academy, she allegedly returned later to take her son to a doctor’s appointment. When she came back with him to the school, the gun was discovered and police were called.

Authorities confiscated the weapon and the school was reportedly put on lockdown.

While investigating the incident, police also found a flare gun that the same child brought into the school,  said the NYPD.

 

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Gun found in 7-year-old’s book bag at Queens school


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A .22 caliber pistol was discovered in a student’s book bag at a Far Rockaway elementary school Thursday morning, said police.

According to NBC New York, after the 7-year-old’s mother dropped him off at Wave Preparatory Academy, she allegedly returned later to take her son to a doctor’s appointment. When she came back with him to the school, the gun was discovered and police were called.

Authorities confiscated the weapon and the school was reportedly put on lockdown.

While investigating the incident, police also found a flare gun that the same child brought into the school,  said the NYPD.

Initial reports stated that the firearm was loaded, but NY1 later reported that there were no bullets in the gun, but some were found in the book bag.

The incident comes just a day after President Obama introduced legislation to reduce gun violence in the wake of recent devastating shootings, including the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.

On Tuesday Governor Cuomo also signed legislation to make New York gun laws the strictest in the country.


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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High of 52. Winds from the SW at 10 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Overcast in the evening, then clear. Low of 37. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Best Flicks of 2012

This seven-film series at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, opens with The Deep Blue Sea, the portrayal of a woman who abandons her passionless marriage to a wealthy barrister to enter a torrid affair with a troubled former Royal Air Force pilot. Other films in the series include The Turin Horse, Neighboring Sounds, This Is Not a Film, Moonrise Kingdom, Cosmopolis and In Another Country. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Students return to Far Rockaway school damaged by Sandy

Students returned to classes Monday at The Bay School in the Far Rockaway section of Queens for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. Read more: NY1

Elected officials review Queens library system’s slow recovery from Sandy

The Queens Library was not spared by Hurricane Sandy and now the system is trying to recover from $7.5 million in damage caused by the storm, including 100,000 books damaged in four branches in the Rockaways. Read more: NY1

2 women critical after carbon monoxide incident

Two women were critical after being overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning during an apparent boiler leak in a home in Queens. Read more: ABC New York

Teachers union blasts Bloomberg for NRA comments

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is under fire for radio remarks in which he compared the teachers union to the National Rifle Association. Read more: ABC New York

“Dating Game Killer” gets 25 years to life for NYC slayings

A California serial killer and one-time contestant on “The Dating Game” was sentenced Monday to another 25 years to life for killing two women in New York in the 1970s. Read more: NBC New York

Flu outbreak in 2013 expected to be among the worst in decade, CDC warns

This year’s flu outbreak is one of the worst in 10 years, according to experts — and a quick glance around your half-empty office.Read more: New York Daily News

Giffords, Kelly launch gun control initiative

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband launched an initiative aimed at curbing gun violence on Tuesday, the second anniversary of the Tucson shooting that killed six people and left her critically injured. Read more: AP

Parker Jewish weathers Superstorm Sandy


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Throughout Sandy and its aftermath, the residents, patients and staff of the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation remained safe and comfortable, and programs and services went on as scheduled.

“The dedication of Parker’s staff, combined with years of careful emergency planning and preparedness drills [empowered] Parker, literally, to weather the storm,” said Michael N. Rosenblut, President and CEO.

Outside of the New Hyde Park facility, Parker also responded to requests for assistance in areas of New York City and Nassau County, and cared for evacuees from Brooklyn’s Shore View Nursing Home, Far Rockaway’s St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and Long Beach’s Komanoff Center for Geriatric and Rehabilitation Medicine.

Aside from patient care, Parker also published and disseminated regular information bulletins and established a 24-hour hotline to update the surrounding communities on services related to the storm. Also, similar to Hurricane Irene, Parker’s medical transportation division, Lakeville Ambulette Transportation, LLC, and its staff provided key assistance to many displaced by the storm.

Additionally, Parker’s gift shop became an official Community Voting Center to facilitate voting for the November presidential elections, not only for its own residents and patients, but also for evacuees who were being cared for at Parker, and for community residents whose polling locations were impacted by the storm.

Central and southern Queens to receive water main upgrade


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DEP

A $14 million upgrade to replace the borough’s aging water system will soon flow into portions of central and southern Queens, authorities said.

About 13 miles of new ductile iron water mains will be installed to replace old unlined cast ones in Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill and Far Rockaway, according to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Design and Construction (DDC).

The infrastructure improvement project is expected to improve water quality, pressure and distribution in residential and commercial areas of the neighborhoods by retiring mains that are over 60 years old, the DEP said.

“Public health and the future growth of New York City are contingent on having an adequate supply of high quality water,” DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland said. “By installing nearly 13 miles of new water mains, we will ensure adequate water pressure for firefighting, basic sanitation and clean drinking water for these Queens neighborhoods for decades to come.”

The new water mains will be installed in locations near Union Turnpike, Queens Boulevard, Kew Garden Road, Park Lane South, Myrtle Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue, Hillside Avenue, Jamaica Avenue and Beach 9th Street.

Construction will be done in phases, beginning March 2013, with expected completion in 2015.

Arrest in AK-47 killing of Queens teen


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Authorities have arrested two men for the shooting death of a Far Rockaway teen this weekend.

Dashawn Deverow, 21, of Rockaway Park and Jamane Yarbroughm, 16, of Arverne, have been charged with the murder of 17-year-old Xavier Granville, said police. Deverow was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon.

On Saturday December 29, at about 12:30 a.m., the killers, wearing masks and carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and a .45-caliber pistol, shot Granville after a late night party in Far Rockaway as he was heading home, the Daily News reported.

According to police, authorities found Granville in front of 249 Beach 15th Street with a gunshot wound to the head, and pronounced him dead at the scene.

Woman charged with DWI in death of pregnant passenger


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The woman behind the wheel of a car that flipped into a shallow marsh off of Jamaica Bay leaving a pregnant Queens woman dead has been charged with driving under the influence and without a license, according to the NYPD and media reports.

Denise Finley 32, of Arverne, was heading southbound on Brookville Boulevard in the Rosedale section of Queens around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday when she lost control of the 2000 Ford she was driving, overturning the vehicle into the water off of the roadway, said police.

Her passenger, Dominique Jamison, 25, of Far Rockaway, was removed from the car and taken to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

There were reportedly four other individuals in the vehicle at the time of the accident, three of which were injured.

Finley was taken into custody at the scene and later charged that day.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 19F. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 20%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of snow and a chance of rain, then a chance of snow after midnight. Low of 32F with a windchill as low as 25. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Resorts World New Year’s Eve Bash

Ring in 2013 at Resorts World Casino’s New Year’s Eve Bash from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., where there will be live music, champagne and giveaways. Click here for more info or check out more New Year’s Eve events in Queens

Driver charged with DWI in fatal Queens crash

The driver of a car that overturned into the marshy waters near John F. Kennedy International Airport early Sunday morning, killing a 25-year-old woman, has been arrested. Read more: NBC New York

2 charged with teen’s murder in Far Rockaway

Two suspects were charged Sunday in connection with a shooting this weekend that left a 17-year-old boy dead outside a low-income housing development in Far Rockaway. Read more: CBS New York

Psychiatric test ordered for subway shove suspect

A woman accused of pushing a man to his death in front of a subway train told police she did so because she blamed Muslims for the Sept. 11 attacks, and because “I thought it would be cool,” prosecutors said at a court hearing. Read more: ABC New York/AP

President Obama’s determined to get a gun-control law in place early in his second term

President Obama called the Newtown school massacre “the worst day” of his presidency as he reiterated Sunday his determination to sign a gun-control bill into law early in his second term. Read more: New York Daily News

Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital Sunday after the discovery of a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month. Read more: AP

Fiscal cliff: Biden, McConnell make major progress

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden made major progress toward a year-end tax bill overnight. Read more: Politico

Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Crazed subway ‘pusher’ says she did so because she thought victim was Muslim

The crazed woman who shoved a Queens immigrant to his gruesome death in front of a subway train told cops yesterday that she did so because she thought he was a Muslim, authorities said. Read more: NY Post

Teen shot and killed in Far Rockaway by two masked men armed with AK-47, pistol

A Queens mom who hoped to see her teen son become a marine biologist instead saw him Saturday in the morgue. Xavier Granville, 17, was gunned down by a pair of ski-masked gunmen — one toting an AK-47 assault rifle — after a late-night party in Far Rockaway, police sources said. Read more: Daily News

One woman dies following watery crash near JFK Airport

Fire officials say a woman died this in the hospital this morning after a car carrying her and five others submerged in water near John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens. The accident happened around 4:30 a.m. at Rockaway Boulevard and Brookville Boulevard near the southeast corner of John F. Kennedy Airport. Read more: NY1

Hurricane said to feed crime surge in storm-soaked South Queens precincts

Queens residents in Sandy-ravaged neighborhoods were victim to both Mother Nature and cold-hearted thieves this past year. The lastest NYPD crime stats show a soaring uptick in robberies and grand larcenies throughout the storm-battered Rockaways and Howard Beach neighborhoods. Read more: Daily News

Schumer wants House to vote on Sandy aid bill

Senator Charles Schumer called on leaders in the House of Representatives on Saturday to allow the $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy aid package to come to the floor for a vote. The Senate passed the measure by a 61-33 vote on Friday, with 12 Republicans supporting the measure. Read more: NY1