Tag Archives: Jimmy Van Bramer

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 10/20/2011: Suspected groper released from custody


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Former JetBlue flight attendant sentenced to one year of probation

A fed-up flight attendant whose spectacular exit down an emergency chute made him a national sensation completed his court-ordered treatment program Wednesday and was sentenced to a year of probation. Steven Slater avoided jail time for his stunt when he pleaded guilty to attempted criminal mischief and agreed to undergo counseling and substance abuse treatment. Read More: CBS News

 

Suspected groper released from custody

Police arrested Joshua Flecha, of Queens, on charges of forcible touching and sexual abuse. Flecha was picked out of a lineup in connection with the May 7 incident, but authorities say the woman could not say for certain he was the suspect and police released him Wednesday. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Ex-George Washington Bridge employee pleads guilty to toll theft

A former toll collector at the George Washington Bridge admitted Wednesday that she stole $500 in toll funds to support her prescription-drug abuse. Debbie Rembert, 41, of Queens,  admitted in court that she partly concealed the thefts by falsely reporting that trucks passed through her tollbooth but then turned around and did not cross the bridge or pay the toll. Read More: NJ.gov

 

 

Councilmember Van Bramer Announces Plans To Improve Queens Libraries

City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer announced at the Queens Library of Woodside on Wednesday his plans to fund library improvements, including a teen center, in the 26th District. Watch the video: NY1

 

Man found dead in bathtub in Woodside

Detectives are investigating the death of a Queens man who was found in his bathtub Wednesday with what police described as two puncture wounds to his head. The 62-year-old Woodside man was discovered Wednesday morning after a friend became concerned when he could not reach him, police sources said. Read More: Daily News

 

Astoria Post Office saved

Following months of apprehension regarding the fate of the post office, the United States Postal Service (USPS) recently announced that Grand Station was removed from a list of branches targeted for potential closure. Read More: Queens Courier

Queens gripped by fear of gropers


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Women across Queens have been gripped by a fear of gropers.

For the past month, female residents of Sunnyside and Woodside have been looking over their shoulders for a predator on pedals.

The neighboring communities are the most recent areas to experience repeated sexual attacks on women by men on bicycles.

Beginning September 15, five women and one 12-year-old girl have reported being groped from behind by a man riding a black mountain bike. The pervert has been described as Hispanic and between the ages of 30 and 40.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer joined local elected officials on October 17 on 46th Street and Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside in order to alert the public of the predator’s existence.

“Sunnyside and Woodside are safe neighborhoods but one assault against women is one too many,” said Van Bramer. “We will track down this cowardly criminal and make sure he is punished and put away. We must be vigilant as a community as the 108th Precinct pursues leads in the case.”

The first attack occurred on the morning of September 15, and the most recent incident happened at 8 a.m. on October 7 on 39th Avenue and 46th Street. The suspect reportedly strikes in the same general vicinity, with incidents usually occurring only a few blocks apart, say police.

A full-scale investigation by the NYPD and 108th Precinct is already underway. Police are asking for the public’s assistance in catching the criminal, and a surveillance video, which was taken October 6 and depicts the suspect riding his bicycle down the street, has been released.

“The women of our community should not have to walk through our neighborhoods in fear of being attacked,” said Congressmember Joseph Crowley. “I urge everyone to take a good look at the surveillance tape and contact the authorities if you recognize the suspect, as well as report any suspicious activity.”

Other areas of Queens have also experienced repeated sexual assaults on women in recent months.

According to a law enforcement source, the 114th Precinct arrested a suspect on a bicycle on the morning of October 18 after he reportedly groped a woman at Broadway and 31st Street in Astoria. The police have included the suspect in three lineups to determine whether he is part of a larger pattern of sexual assaults, but have thus far been unable to link him to any other incidents, the source said.

“We must have zero tolerance for the recent rash of groping incidents in our neighborhoods,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, who has introduced legislation that would make the groping of a child a felony requiring mandatory jail time. “In addition to the passage of my bill that would increase penalties for gropers, we must band together as a community to keep our streets safe and free from sexual predators.”

This past summer, 45 women shared their experiences of being groped by male bicycle riders on a blog for Astoria residents. The posts drew the attention of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who teamed with the 114th Precinct to investigate the incidents. Two suspects were eventually arrested and identified by multiple victims as their attackers.

“It concerns me very much,” said Anne Marie Culhane, an Astoria resident, referring to the gropings in her community last summer. “I have a 17-year-old daughter that walks around the neighborhood, so I’m scared for her more than myself. I told her she’s not allowed to walk around alone and if she sees anyone on a bike to go the other way. It’s scary because this guy can do it and you can’t stop him if he’s on a bike and you’re on foot.”

With incidents of sexual assault rising across the five boroughs, the police are on a city-wide groper hunt.

Joshua Flecha, a 32-year-old Astoria resident, was arrested in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn on Monday, October 17 at 2:30 a.m. lurking down the street with his pants unzipped and a pornographic video playing on his cell phone.

Flecha, who was carrying marijuana at the time of his arrest, has been charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse after a woman identified him as the man who attacked her in the Seventh Avenue “F” train station on May 7. He was included in several lineups, but has not yet been charged in relation to any other incidents.

Sunnyside and Woodside concerned over sex attacks


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

For the past month, women in Sunnyside and Woodside have been looking over their shoulders for a predator on pedals.

With incidents of sexual assault rising across the five boroughs, the neighboring communities are the most recent areas to experience repeated sexual attacks on women.

Beginning September 15, five women and one 12-year-old girl have reported being groped from behind by a man riding a black mountain bicycle. The pervert has been described as a Hispanic male between the ages of 30 and 40.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer joined local elected officials on October 17 on 46th Street and Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside in order to alert the public of the predator’s existence.

“Sunnyside and Woodside are safe neighborhoods but one assault against women is one too many,” said Van Bramer. “We will track down this cowardly criminal and make sure he is punished and put away. We must be vigilant as a community as the 108th Precinct pursues leads in the case, and I will do all I can to assist the NYPD in getting this sexual predator off our streets.”

The first attack occurred on the morning of September 15, and the most recent incident happened at 8 a.m. on October 7 on 39th Avenue and 46th Street. The suspect reportedly strikes in the same general vicinity, with incidents usually occurring only a few blocks apart, say police.

“We must have zero tolerance for the recent rash of groping incidents in our neighborhoods,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, who has introduced legislation that would make the groping of a child a felony requiring mandatory jail time. “In addition to the passage of my bill that would increase penalties for gropers, we must band together as a community to keep our streets safe and free from sexual predators.”

A full-scale investigation by the NYPD and 108th Precinct is already underway. Police are asking for the public’s assistance in catching the criminal, and a surveillance video, which was taken October 6 and depicts the suspect riding his bicycle down the street, has been released.

“The women of our community should not have to walk through our neighborhoods in fear of being attacked,” said Congressmember Joseph Crowley. “I urge everyone to take a good look at the surveillance tape and contact the authorities if you recognize the suspect, as well as report any suspicious activity. This is a time when our community can work together to help ensure our family, friends and neighbors are safe and to help bring the person responsible for these attacks to justice.”

Long Island City DOG RUN fetches upgrades


| amanning@queenscourier.com

Tails are wagging as renovations are underway at the Vernon Boulevard Dog Run in Long Island City. Major improvements are being made to enhance the look and safety of the dog run.
Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Catherine Nolan, and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer partnered with the New York State Department of Parks and Dog Owner Group Long Island City (DOG LIC), a local advocacy group, last year to bring about their vision of a refurbished dog run.

All of the elected officials pointed to LIC’s ever-growing population as one of the main factors that pushed the renovation of the park.
“This new dog run will provide a much needed service for the many dog owners in the growing and vibrant neighborhood of Long Island City,” said Van Bramer.

The restorations, which will only close the park for approximately two weeks, include more than doubling the space of the dog run from 4,000 to 10,000 square feet. A new gravel surface will make it more suitable for dogs to run, and large and small dogs will have separate fenced-off areas in which to play. After an active day at the park, owners and their dogs will be able to refresh themselves at the drinking fountains being installed.
New light fixtures, covered trash cans and railings surrounding existing trees will not only protect the safety of the dogs, but also maintain the aesthetics of the dog run. Shade structures will also be added by mid-October.

“As more young families move to LIC, it is important that neighborhood amenities keep up with the positive changes taking place throughout the community, said Gianaris. “The refurbishment of this dog run is a reflection of LIC’s development as a hospitable, animal-loving community.”

“We expect the community of dogs and dog owners to run and play off-leash for many years to come,” said Rose Harvey, Department of Parks Commissioner, adding that these renovations will make vast improvements to the popular dog run, and are anticipated to benefit residents for a long time.

Kids, community help create dream playground in Sunnyside


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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The dream of every child is to allow his imagination to run wild while creating his own unique playground.

The students of P.S. 199 are having their dreams come true.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer visited the school, located at 39-20 48th Avenue in Sunnyside, on October 3 to commence his Noonan Park Community Design Initiative. The councilmember has currently secured $600,000 to revitalize the park, which is used by many students from P.S. 199.

In order to truly harmonize the remodeled playground with the neighborhood, Van Bramer is requesting input from all the people who call Sunnyside home.

Beginning October 3 and ending on October 31, suggestion boxes will be present in the Sunnyside Library and at Van Bramer’s district office, providing community members the opportunity to contribute their unique ideas to the design of the playground. Suggestions can also be made by calling the councilmember’s office or emailing jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov.

“The community deserves to have a voice in how their playground looks,” said Van Bramer, who is the first elected official to ask the neighborhood’s residents for their opinions regarding the design of a public space. “The children in the community have wonderful imaginations, and exercising their ideas artistically is a great way to express their vision.”

At the kick-off event, children shared their ideas by submitting drawings and essays depicting their visions of what the playground should look like. The proposal to improve Noonan was originally presented to the councilmember by fourth graders at P.S. 199’s career day last year.

According to Anthony Inzerillo, principal of P.S. 199, the most popular student suggestions are additional swings, lower basketball hoops to allow younger children to play, new playground equipment and an increase in the number of water sprinklers.

Some children also requested tributes to Thomas P. Noonan Jr., the park’s namesake and a United States Marine who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism he displayed while serving during the Vietnam War.

“The renovations to the playground are a welcome addition to the community, and I am grateful that Councilmember Van Bramer requested our students’ input into the design,” said Inzerillo. “I am so proud of the students, because they preserved the memory of Thomas Noonan, and not only did they incorporate their own ideas, but they spoke to neighbors, friends and other people and they incorporated their input into the design as well. The nice thing is that they are going to have ownership over the park. I think they will take much better care of it and respect it, because they had input into the design. They will have a sense of pride.”

Smart students at I.S. 204 will learn on smart boards


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

In today’s evolving world, advancements in education come hand-in-hand with technological innovations, and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer is assuring that the students of I.S. 204 are not left behind.

The councilmember attended I.S. 204’s first PTA meeting of the year on September 27 and announced that he is allocating $50,000 of his capital funding to improving technology at the school, including providing each classroom with a new smart board.

Through Van Bramer’s efforts, I.S. 204, located at 36-41 28th Street in Long Island City, also received $40,000 over the past two years to fund its Cultural After School Adventure program with the Intrepid Museum.

“I.S. 204 is a vital school in the community of Dutch Kills and Long Island City,” said the councilmember. “The students deserve to have a nurturing environment, rigorous coursework and current technology that will give them the skills to transition smoothly into high school and be a productive member of society. I am pleased to have been able to provide these resources.”