Tag Archives: Hollis

Hollis car dealership charged with sales tax theft


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

A father and son are accused of illegally pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from their Hollis car dealerships.

Yunas Khan, 52, and his son Tabraiz Khan, 27, head Horse Power Sales on Jamaica Avenue and Car Palace on 183rd Street. They are charged with $500,000 in state sales tax theft for allegedly under-reporting sales and neglecting to turn over sales tax to the state, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

“Sales taxes are meant for the public treasury, not the pockets of businessmen,” Brown said.

By defrauding the state government of “such a significant sum of revenue, money that could have been used for any number of valuable public purposes, the defendants are alleged to have made every New Yorker a victim,” Brown said.

Between 2007 and 2010, Horse Power Sales allegedly reported taxable sales at roughly $2 million, with a tax liability of about $200,000. However, a state DMV review shows sales at just over $8 million, resulting in a tax liability of about $700,000.

The Khans allegedly collected the missing nearly $500,000 and similarly pocketed roughly $75,000 from Car Palace sales.

The two from Melville, Long Island face varying counts of grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, falsifying business records and scheme to defraud. The dealerships are additionally charged with the same counts.

They are currently being held, pending arraignment in criminal court.

“The defendants have shown a callous disregard for the tax laws, stealing from their customers and the state of New York, alike,” said Thomas Mattox, the New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance.

 

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Hollis teen earns his wings as Eagle Scout


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo by Carrie Johnson

It took seven years and an endless amount of determination, but Keyonne Zaire Session is now an Eagle Scout.

The 18-year-old from Hollis earned the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America and was recognized in a National Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony on August 17 in Glen Cove, Long Island.

“It’s probably one of the most prestigious awards I’ve ever received in my life,” he said. “I feel like I’m added into a selective group of individuals.”

To gain the coveted title, a scout must earn 21 merit badges as well as organize, lead and complete an extensive service project.

Session — a member of the St. Alban the Martyr Episcopal Church, Troop 267 — created a memorial garden to honor Brian James Hom, a classmate and friend, who died two years ago in a car crash.

The garden is meant for anybody who has lost a loved one to come and reflect, he said.

Session was also the first recipient of the Brian James Hom Scholarship Award, which honors students who lives by Brian’s motto of “I am the me I choose to be.”

“I do it because I love the feeling that other people get when they realize other people are helping them. That feeling, the happiness they experience, it gives me such a fulfillment in my life,” said Session, the troop’s fifth Eagle Scout.

His mother, Nicolle, said she admires her son’s proactive nature and passion for equality.

“I’m very proud of what he’s done,” she said. “He’s always sticking up for the right thing. When you hear these different things from people, it makes you say as a mother, ‘I’ve done my job. I’ve done the job I set out to do.’”

Session graduated this year from Friends Academy, where he played on the varsity football team, performed in his school’s winter plays and served as treasurer for the Diversity Club.

He will be attending Wesleyan University in Connecticut this fall and studying psychology.

He said he hopes other youngsters will choose to become a Boy Scout.

“It’s extremely worth it,” Session said. “It’s taught me life lessons, like how to be a good person and role model, and the people I’ve met have been phenomenal.”

 

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Queens man faces seven years for child pornography charges


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Hollis man has been arrested on multiple charges of child pornography after authorities allegedly found incriminating videos on his laptop.

“This defendant is alleged to have had more than a dozen disturbing videos of children being sexually abused on his computer. These cruel acts cannot and will not be tolerated in a civilized society,” said District Attorney Richard Brown.

Eduardo Medina, 35, has been charged with possessing a sexual performance by a child and promoting a sexual performance by a child, according to the district attorney’s office.

During a search of his 196th Street apartment Wednesday night, police recovered his laptop computer, various external storage media and a cell phone.  According to the charges, 14 videos of children, approximately six to twelve years old, depicted in a sexual manner or performing sexual acts, were allegedly recovered on his laptop. Those videos were supposedly downloaded onto the laptop on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 28.

Medina faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

 

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Police seek suspects in Hollis store robbery


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo and video courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD is looking for two men wanted in connection to a store robbery in Hollis.

The pair allegedly entered the Family Deli and Grill on Jamaica Avenue around 11 p.m. Friday, August 16 and one of the suspects displayed a gun and demanded cash, said police. The other suspect removed two cigarette cartons and the two fled with the money and cigarettes.

The first suspect, who had the gun, was wearing a red bandana over his face. The second suspect was wearing a black ski mask over his face and was carrying a backpack.

Police have released a photo of the first suspect and a video of both men wanted in the robbery.

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

 

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Bill would disperse homeless shelters evenly throughout each borough


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Queens shelters may soon be finding new homes.

Councilmembers Ruben Wills and Leroy Comrie started work in 2011 on a bill that would disperse homeless shelters evenly throughout each borough. Wills said research revealed that Community Board (CB) 12 contains 10 of the 18 shelters in all of Queens. CB 12 includes Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans, Springfield Gardens, Baisley Park, Rochdale Village and South Jamaica.

“The DHS [Department of Homeless Services] is clustering all of these shelters,” Wills said. “All of these undesirable land uses are in certain community boards. We perceived that to be a huge problem.”

Under the bill, Wills and Comrie proposed limiting the number of shelters in any community board to one-third of the borough’s total.

Wills said placing shelters in one specific type of community, such as CB 12, is not in response to any increase in the homeless population.

“It is not fair that southeast Queens has the majority of homeless shelters in the borough,” Comrie said.

For the existing shelters, Wills suggested they make relocation plans so they and their residents are prepared to move when any site’s lease expires. He said it was important to put shelters in areas with convenient transportation.

The council pair proposed an additional bill under which the DHS would determine whether any shelter resident is a sex offender. If so, the department would notify the local community board, councilmember and police precinct. The department would also conduct mental health and criminal background assessments on all adults entering shelters. If passed, the bill will go into effect on January 1, 2014.

 

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Report: Five Queens schools falling apart


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of SEIU Local 32BJ

Some city schools need a major makeover, according to a building inspections report released by the school cleaners’ union.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ issued a report on the 20 schools in the worst condition after tallying scores from the city’s annual school inspections. Out of about 1,500 schools citywide, five Queens schools made the list of top offenders.

In all five schools, SEIU 32BJ found crumbling interiors as well as toxins on tiles and in the air.

“It’s hazardous material that we’re talking about removing from our schools immediately,” said Gene Syzmanski, the union’s schools division director.

I.S. 238 in Hollis climbed the charts to second worst on the list. One school cleaner said the building needs wide-ranging fixes.

“The water valves need to be repaired,” he said. “Every classroom has a stain from leaks. I feel bad when I see the building like this.”

The cleaner, who withheld his name from publication, said he wants to fix everything in a state of disrepair.

But he added that the head custodian will not cooperate.

“When I tell him something is broken, he says leave it,” the cleaner explained. “He said to me, ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s not your problem.’”

The man said roughly 2,000 lights throughout the building are not working, many door handles are broken and bathrooms are “falling apart.”

I.S. 72 in Jamaica came in as the seventh worst school. Other Queens schools on the list included the Cynthia Jenkins School in Jamaica, P.S. 86, also in Jamaica, and Richmond Hill High School.

The report also said schools in the city’s poorest neighborhoods were in the worst condition.

“I’ve visited many schools,” Syzmanski said. “In the more affluent neighborhoods, the schools were immaculate.”

The Department of Education (DOE) said it spends more than $3 billion in building improvements under its capital plan and any serious maintenance-related complaints are “addressed immediately, as are simple, easy fixes.”

“We consistently provide a clean, safe and healthy learning and working environment in our 1,260 school buildings every day,” a DOE spokesperson said.

Local 32BJ said the priority was to remove everything containing hazardous material, such as asbestos on tiles.

“This stuff needs to be removed as soon as possible for the benefit of the children and everybody who works for the schools,” said Syzmanski.

 

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Queens nurse arrested for giving unauthorized meds to patients


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of the Attorney General

A Hollis nurse has been arrested for playing doctor.

James Williams, 59, worked as a registered nurse at the Hillside Manor Adult Day Care Center, where he allegedly took it upon himself to diagnose and medicate his patients without the consult of a doctor, according to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

“Nurses at adult day care centers are trusted to protect their patients, not to expose them to potential harm,” said Schneiderman.

After making his own diagnosis for several day care participants, Williams would call in prescriptions to local pharmacies under the guise they were ordered by a doctor, when in fact they were not, according to the charges. As a nurse, Williams is not appropriately trained or licensed to make such calls.

A fellow nurse and program director at Hillside Manor informed the attorney general’s office of at least three participants that Williams was treating. Telephone prescription records show the Williams ordering medication over the course of a year under the names of various doctors.

Williams used doctors’ names including Dr. Satish Deshpande and Dr. Annupria Itteera, who both said they did not authorize the nurse to prescribe any of the medications he called for.

The prescriptions ordered include zolpidem (the generic of Ambien), a controlled substance, and oxycodone, a narcotic drug. Although there were no reports of any harm to his patients, there was a “substantial risk posed,” said the attorney general, and that no day care participant should have taken these substances without the proper authorization.

Williams was charged with unauthorized practice of a profession, falsifying business records, willful violation of health laws, criminal possession of a controlled substance and petit larceny, all for which he faces up to four years imprisonment.

Neither Hillside Manor nor Williams’ lawyer returned calls for comment as of press time.

 

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Hollis co-op goes smoke-free


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens Smoke Free Partnership

Queens could be going smoke free, one apartment at a time.

The Queens Smoke-Free Partnership has converted 220 apartment homes into smoke-free zones and is furthering its work throughout the borough through various initiatives.

“Smoke-free housing is very up and coming,” said Yvette Buckner, the Queens borough manager at the Partnership. “We’re helping to formalize a policy and make Queens a healthier place.”

The Hilltop Village Cooperative in Hollis is one of the new smoke-free sites. Melvin Doby, board president of Cooperative Building 1 at Hilltop Village, sees the new initiative as a movement towards better health and one in which residents need to compromise.

Before the smoke-free space was implemented, Doby went out and spoke with his shareholders in Building 1. He admitted that some people had issues, but regardless, the motion passed with a significant majority vote.

“People say, ‘It’s infringing on our rights, our liberties,’ but when you signed on the dotted line, you signed [to] play well with others,” he said. “It’s a shared space. Our apartments are not air-tight. Second-hand smoke is a problem.”

After the building was made smoke free, designated smoking areas were put in place around the vicinity. Doby said that the co-op has a large elderly population, many of whom rely daily on oxygen tanks. If smokers are free to roam as they please around the property, Doby said it could be a great health concern.

“It’s just something to accommodate everyone,” he added. “It’s also a common courtesy.”

Within the next year, the Partnership plans to work with the Queens Co-op and Condo Association and the Queens Civic Congress to create more smoke-free units.

Aside from smoke-free housing, the Partnership is working on limiting tobacco marketing and exposure to youth and working in conjunction with community groups and youth organizations.

“We’re trying to keep them healthy where they live, work and play,” said Buckner.

 

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Police search for suspects in 15 Queens armed robberies


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD is looking for two men wanted in a string of commercial gunpoint robberies around Queens.

During each incident, the suspects, wearing masks and displaying firearms, entered the location and removed cash and property, said police. No one was injured during any of the robberies.

The first incident occurred on November 29 at a Gulf gas station at 131-07 Farmers Boulevard in Jamaica, and the most recent one was on Sunday, at the Hillside Mobile Gas Station on 165-01 Hillside Avenue, also in Jamaica.

All of the robberies occurred in the late afternoon to early evening and, in addition to Jamaica, took place in Hollis, Flushing, Woodside and Springfield Gardens.

The suspects are described as black or Hispanic males. Suspect one was  wearing dark clothing, glasses, a Yankees baseball hat and a partial mask. Suspect two was wearing a black leather jacket, dark clothing, a black face mask and a black skull cap.

Authorities are also trying to identify an individual wanted for questioning in regards to the use of a credit card reported stolen during one of the robberies.

That incident took place on Tuesday, January 15, at around 6:30 p.m., at the Great Big Supermarket on 222-16 144th Avenue in Springfield Gardens.

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 WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 


A video of suspect one.

 

A video of suspect two.

This suspect is wanted for questioning in regards to the use of a credit card reported stolen during one of the robberies at the Great Big Supermarket on 222-16 144th Avenue on January 15.

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Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 40. Northwest wind 13 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 30. Northwest wind 5 to 9 mph becoming light north after midnight.

EVENT of the WEEKEND: Jazz Night at New York’s Legendary Metropolitan Room

The incomparable Stix Bones will be hosting two Jazz Nights during December at the renowned Metropolitan Room in NYC. Jazz Night is a seventy-five minute performance highlighting music from the forefathers of Jazz such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie, and original compositions by drummer Stix Bones. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Man dead after train push horror in Queens

A man was killed tonight after a woman pushed him into the path of an oncoming train in Queens, police sources said. The tragedy occurred at the elevated 40th Street station, near Queens Boulevard, in Sunnyside at around 8 p.m., sources added. Read more: NY Post

Sandy Hook funeral-fund scam outrages, feds charge Nouel Alba

The innocent blood spilled on the floors of a Connecticut elementary school was still warm when a Bronx woman hatched a sick scam to profit off the tragedy. Nouel Alba, 37, was busted after allegedly posing as an aunt of 6-year-old Noah Pozner — one of 20 children massacred inside Sandy Hook Elementary School — to collect money for the child’s “funeral fund,” authorities said. Read more: Daily News

Official: Endangered whale beached in Queens dead

A 60-foot whale was found dead on Thursday after getting stranded on a beach in a coastal enclave of New York City that was ravaged by Superstorm Sandy. The animal — part of an endangered species known as finback or fin whales — was severely emaciated but clinging to life when it was discovered Wednesday stranded on the bay side of Breezy Point. Volunteer firefighters sprayed water on the whale as it sat halfway out of the water. Read more: NY Post

Wednesday storm causes more issues for residents of two Jamaica homes

Wednesday’s storm caused more problems for some Jamaica residents whose homes were severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Natasha Francis and her two kids are staying with family and friends. She said Hurricane Sandy damaged her roof, and now there’s water everywhere. Read more: NY1

2 armed robbers terrorize Queens shopkeepers

Cops say two men have been very busy this holiday season from terrorizing six Queens shopkeepers. On December 5th, Nisha Sharvo was minding her business behind the back pharmacy counter of Quick Script Drugs in Hollis, when on her security monitors she watched the men hold up the front counter and order staff and customers to the floor while robbing them – all before making a beeline for Sharvo. Read more: ABC Local

 

More West Nile spraying in Queens Thursday


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

On Thursday, September 13 there will be another round of West Nile spraying in Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the 1,993 cases of the disease that have been reported so far this year is the highest number reported to CDC through the first week in September since 1999, when it was first detected in the U.S.

The spraying will take place from 7:30 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday morning in the following parts of Queens:

Middle Village, Maspeth, Rego Park and Ridgewood, bordered by Grand Avenue, Long Island Expressway and Queens Boulevard to the north; Fresh Pond Road to the west; Metropolitan Avenue to the south; and 80th Street, Farmville Avenue, Woodhaven Boulevard and 63rd Road to the East.

Parts of Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Hollis, Holliswood, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills and Oakland Gardens, bordered by Long Island Expressway to the north; 188th Street, 80th Drive, Utopia Parkway, Homelawn Street and 169th Street
to the west; 90th Avenue, 191st Street and Hillside Ave to the South; and Hollis Hills Terrace, Richland Ave and 210th Street to the east.

Parts of Pomonok, Auburndale, Flushing and Bayside, bordered by 33rd to the north; 162nd Street, Laburnum Avenue, Kissena Boulevard to the west; Booth Memorial Boulevard, Utopia Parkway and 48th Avenue to the south; and Clearview
Expressway to the east.

The pesticide being used, Anvil 10 + 10, poses no health risks when used properly, but the Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

• Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.

• Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.

• Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using again.

• Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

Residents are also advised to take steps to reduce the number of mosquitoes around a home or property, including eliminating standing water in yards. In addition, New Yorkers are urged to:

• Dispose of used tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers in which water collects;

• Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors. Make sure roof gutters drain properly and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall;

• Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use and change the water in bird baths twice a week;

• Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds; and

• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs, and drain water from pool covers.

Suspect wanted for 11 armed robberies in Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

11 robberies

The NYPD is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a man wanted for committing 11 gunpoint robberies in various areas of Queens.

Darren Hicks, 28, first robbed a Pepsi delivery truck driver in front of the J&C Grocery store at 110-02 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard in Jamaica around 2:50 p.m. on July 3. He committed 10 more robberies throughout July and early August, holding up other delivery truck drivers and several businesses.

The last two robberies occurred on August 2 within about a 30 minute period. Around 11:30 a.m. the suspect robbed a driver unloading his truck outside the Key Food Supermarket at 213-22 Jamaica Avenue in Queens Village, then held up another delivery man while he was in his truck in front of the Rite Aid drugstore at 222-14 Linden Boulevard in Cambria Heights.

Robberies also occurred in the Rosedale, Hollis and Saint Albans areas of Queens.

The suspect is described as approximately 5 feet 1o inches tall and 150 to 180 pounds. In several of the incidents, including the last one on Linden Boulevard, he fled in a white sedan, possibly a Honda Accord or Ford Focus.

Anyone with information in regard to this suspect or any of the listed incidents is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.  All calls are strictly confidential.

Queens communities facing brownouts


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Several Queens communities face a voltage reduction from Con Edison due to electrical equipment problems.

The 100 degree heat has many residents blasting air conditioners to stay cool.

Con Ed said the neighborhoods affected will have a 5 percent voltage reduction.  This was done in an effort to prevent a significant outage, a spokesperson from the company said.

There are about 20 individual  outages in Queens right now according to Con Edison’s outage map.

The reduction will occur in Bellerose, Cambria Heights, Floral Park, Forest Hills, Glendale, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Jamaica, Jamaica Hills, Laurelton, Middle Village, Queens Village, South Jamaica, Springfield Gardens and St. Albans.

Con Edison asked customers in these areas to conserve electricity and turn off nonessential electric equipment, such as TVs, computers, air conditioners, washers, dryers, and microwaves.

To report power outages or service problems visit www.conEd.com or call 800-75-CONED (6633). When reporting an outage, customers should have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power.

 

Plainclothes officer shoots man in Queens Village


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup2

Plainclothes officer shoots man in Queens Village

A plainclothes officer shot a man who pointed a gun at him inQueensVillageyesterday, law enforcement sources said.

The 30-year-old man was wanted in connection with a shooting that took place earlier this month and his gun was recovered at the scene, cops said.

A spokesman for the Fire Department — which transported the shot suspect to NorthShoreHospital— said he had been shot in the back.

Read More: New York Post

 

Trayvon Martin case: George Zimmerman’s lawyers work to get him released

All eyes were on Sanford, Fla., on Saturday as accused murderer George Zimmerman’s attorney made arrangements to get his client out of jail.

Attorney Mark O’Mara, who is representing the neighborhood watch volunteer accused of gunning down 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, spent about an hour in a courtroom and didn’t speak to reporters when he left.

Zimmerman was set to be released on $150,000 bail.

Read More: Daily News
Colombian authorities investigating whether women in Secret Service scandal were underage
Colombian authorities are probing whether any of the women involved in the prostitution scandal that’s cost six Secret Service agents their jobs were underage, according to a new report.

Investigators from the Colombian attorney general’s office have talked to employees of the Hotel Caribe, where the agents were staying, and have questioned the taxi driver who drove home Dania Suarez, the hooker at the center of the scandal, a Colombian government official told McClatchy Newspapers.

Read More: New York Post

 

Man dies after being found bleeding in stairwell of midtown nightclub

A 27-year-old man died early Saturday, just hours after he was found bleeding in the stairwell of a sleek midtown nightclub, police sources said.

A waitress found the unidentified man slouched on the stairs near a second-floor entrance inside District 36 onW. 36th St.nearFifth Ave.about 3 a.m., the sources said.

The man, who was bleeding from his mouth and was missing several teeth, was taken outside, where police found him a few minutes later, sources said.

Read More: Daily News

 

Etan Patz case: Identifying remains are ‘do-able’ say experts

Identifying the long-lost remains of little Etan Patz is “do-able” — if any human remains are ever found in the SoHo site, according to one expert.

Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, speaking at the building where investigators were digging for the boy’s body, cited advances in DNA study as one reason for optimism in identification if anything is found.

Read More: Daily News

 

Hundreds of thousands may lose Internet in July: FBI
For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections this summer.

Unknown to most of them, their problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world. In a highly unusual response, the FBI set up a safety net months ago using government computers to prevent Internet disruptions for those infected users. But that system is to be shut down.

Read More: Daily News
Elex ‘bribe’ staffer is out

A city Board of Elections employee caught on tape soliciting a $25,000 “finder’s fee” from a voting-machine company three years ago has resigned, The Post has learned.

Officials said Stephen Graves, a $66,392-a-year systems analyst, submitted his letter of resignation Tuesday.

He also intends to take a leave of absence from his post as first vice chairman of the Queens GOP.

Read More: New York Post

 

Hollis community leaders aim to take back abandoned buildings

Hollis community leaders aim to take back abandoned buildings

Next to the scores of children enjoying recess atRenaissanceMiddle School’s playground is a brick wasteland that stretches for two blocks in Hollis.

In most of the dilapidated buildings — on one side ofHollis Ave.between202nd St.and204th St.— the windows are boarded up, shattered or cracked. Some have crumbling front steps. Others have walls cracked to their foundation. Weeds have taken over lawns and sidewalks, and trash is strewn in the back yards.

Read More: Daily News

JFK bird-strike ‘soar’ point

Wildlife strikes are up atKennedyAirportover the last three years as bureaucrats debate how to protect planes from birds at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge next door.

FAA data show Kennedy planes smacked into birds, rabbits and other wildlife 257 times in 2011, a 17 percent increase over 2010 and a 55 percent increase over 2009.

In the most recent incident at Kennedy, birds crippled the right engine of a Los Angeles-bound Delta jet as it took off Thursday, endangering the lives of 179 passengers and crew.

Read More: New York Post

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

TLC Holds Final Vote On Plan Allowing Livery Cab Hails

The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission is set to vote today on the five-borough taxi plan which, if passed, would allow livery cabs to pick up street hails in Upper Manhattan and the other four boroughs. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill in December allowing the city to issue up to 18,000 permits for livery cabs that can pick up street hails. Now the TLC will hold a hearing and vote on new rules meant to cover livery hail cabs, traditional livery cars and yellow taxis. Read More: NY1

 

Report: City Steps Up Enforcement Of Parks Smoking Ban

After mostly looking the other way, city parks officers have been stepping up enforcement of the smoking ban in city parks. According to the Wall Street Journal, officers have handed out 108 summonses so far this year for smoking at parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas. That’s compared to just 84 tickets that were issued in the first eight months of the ban. Violators face a $50 fine. The ban was originally billed as a self-enforcing law. Read More: NY1

 

FBI agents search Manhattan apartment for remains of Etan Patz

A team of investigators was tearing up an empty SoHo basement Thursday morning in a hunt for the remains of long-missing 6-year-old Etan Patz. The joint FBI/NYPD team, which began searching around 8:30 a.m., was reinvestigating the cold case that has captivated the nation for the last 33 years, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne. “Information that was known at the time is being re-examined,” Browne said. “It does involve a suspect. They’re looking to see if they find any remains.” Read More: Daily News
Hollis community leaders aim to take back abandoned buildings

Next to the scores of children enjoying recess at Renaissance Middle School’s playground is a brick wasteland that stretches for two blocks in Hollis. In most of the dilapidated buildings — on one side of Hollis Ave. between 202nd St. and 204th St. — the windows are boarded up, shattered or cracked. Some have crumbling front steps. Others have walls cracked to their foundation. Weeds have taken over lawns and sidewalks, and trash is strewn in the back yards. If it looks desolate and deserted, that’s because they’ve been abandoned for 16 years, said community leaders, who have tried in vain to buy the buildings from the landlord, Rita Stark. Read More: Daily News
Secret Service pre-planned party at Colombian Hotel

Secret Service agents did their own sexy advance work — booking a hotel party space for prostitutes in Colombia before hitting the town to scout local pros, according to a new report.President Obama’s men made reservations for a party room, big enough to hold 30 people, at at the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, and then hit a local brothel, ABC News reported today. The boom-boom room bombshell shows that disgraced agents were getting the lay of the land, in advance to long night of fun. Read More: New York Post

Parents of young girls sexually assaulted by Yeshiva tutor lash out at perv

The parents of two young girls who were sexually assaulted by their religious tutor, lashed out this morning at the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” they allowed in their homes as a judge tossed the pervert in jail. Yeshiva student Hillel Selznick, 25, of Flushing, admitted to Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter that he inappropriately touched the two fourth graders over the course of a year during private religious lessons inside their Kew Gardens Hills homes. Read More: New York Post