Tag Archives: Local News

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

DOE takes two ‘politically connected’ schools off the chopping block, axes 24 others

The city’s education-policy board voted just before midnight last night to close and then immediately reopen two dozen schools with new names and new staffers in an unprecedented move that could displace more than 1,000 teachers. Two last-minute reprieves were granted yesterday before the vote, and they went to a pair of politically backed schools — Grover Cleveland HS in Queens, which counts state Assembly Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan as an alumna, and Bushwick Community HS in Brooklyn, which garnered several vocal supporters, including Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Read More: New York Post

 

Air man’s dogged pursuit

The Port Authority worker who got down on his hands and knees to try to rescue a canny canine who wandered onto a busy runway at La Guardia airport Wednesday is a cat lover who is allergic to dogs, he lamented. But Paul Malichek, 57, didn’t want to spook Byrdie — a 14-month-old Rhodesian ridgeback who had escaped her travel crate and turned the runway into her own private dog run — so he crawled toward her as jets idled nearby. Read More: New York Post

Occupy Protesters Turn Focus To Mounting U.S. Student Debt

Occupy Wall Street protestors gathered in Union Square in Manhattan on Wednesday to mark the day they say the U.S. student debt reached $1 trillion dollars and to draw attention to what they called the financial sector’s “predatory” student loan market. The Federal Reserve disputes the figure, saying U.S. student debt is currently $870 billion. President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney have called attention to the issue on the campaign trail to try to court the college-age vote. U.S. Senate Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives have proposed separate bills to keep interest rates for poor and middle class students at the current level for another year. Read More: NY1


 

Mother, Sister Of Queens Terror Suspect Testify On His Behalf

The mother and sister of a Queens man accused of plotting a terror attack in the city gave emotional testimony for the defense in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday. Alisa Medunjanin choked back tears as she talked about her brother, Adis, and the raid on their home. She recounted the story of dozens of agents with weapons storming their sixth-floor apartment to arrest her brother. Alisa said she thought her brother had gone to Pakistan to get married. Prosecutors, who wrapped up their arguments earlier Wednesday, said Adis Medunjanin was there receiving Al-Qaida terror training. Read More: NY1


 

Rapper Talib Kweli emcees at St. John’s University

Like any great rapper, Talib Kweli knows how to freestyle. Without any notes or prompts, the Brooklyn native rattled off a first-person history of hip hop music to a captive audience of more than 400 students at St. John’s University on Tuesday. “Hip hop is such a folk thing,” the 36-year-old lyricist told the Daily News. “It speaks directly to the people and the language that they are using right now.” Read More: Daily News

 

While NY Giants sit tight with No. 32 pick, NFC East division rivals Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys load up to challenge Big Blue

 

One of the crucial issues for the Giants as they go through the offseason getting ready to defend their Super Bowl title is whether they indeed have an identity crisis. Are they the Giants who struggled to become the first team to not only win the NFC East with a mediocre 9-7 record but the first team to win the Super Bowl at 9-7? Or are they the team that raised its game to an unimaginable level in the playoffs and beat the Falcons at home in the wild-card game and then the Packers and 49ers on the road — the two best NFC teams in the regular season — before finishing off their incredible run with another Super Bowl victory over the Patriots? Read More: Daily News

 

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Gillibrand Wants Geese Roundup In Wake Of Bird Strikes

In the wake of a pair of recent bird strikes involving planes in the New York area, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is looking to rein in the flying nuisance responsible. She’s proposing a new measure that would make it easier for the Department of Agriculture to round up and kill Canada geese on federal land at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge near Kennedy Airport. Wildlife advocates oppose the idea. The birds can shatter windshields, dent fuselages and ruin engines. Read More: NY1

 

 

Jackson Heights BID Delivers On Promise, Merchants Say

The Jackson Heights shopping strip is looking a lot prettier these days with news trees, benches and cleaner streets. It’s a far cry from what the 82nd Street business improvement district or BID used to look like. Now it’s got a new look, new leadership and a new name. It’s now called the 82nd Street partnership and business owners appear to like it. Retail businesses are members of the BID and many of the store owners had complained to local leaders that under the old Business Improvement District there wasn’t a lot of improvement. Read More: NY1

 

 

Power line from Quebec to Astoria draws mixed reviews

A proposal to create a $2.2 billion power transmission line to bring wind and hydroelectric power from Quebec to Astoria is pitting environmentalists and against each another and creating some unusual alliances. The Champlain Hudson Power Express project would bring up to 1,000 megawatts of Canadian power into the city through a roughly 333-mile underground, and at times underwater, cable. Read More: Daily News

 

Judge clears crane magnate James Lomma of manslaughter in deaths

Manhattan crane czar James Lomma was acquitted Thursday of the deaths of two hardhats who were killed when one of his giant machines collapsed on them. Lomma, who was charged with manslaughter in the deadly May 2008 accident at an E. 91st St. construction site, sat stoically as Judge Daniel Conviser handed down his verdict in Manhattan Supreme Court. Lomma faced up to 15 years in prison for the deaths of Donald Leo, 30, and Ramadan Kurtaj, 27. The two were killed when the crane cab plunged 200 feet down into the street. Read More: Daily News

 

Knicks’ Lin beats Lakers’ Bryant in NBA jersey sales

Jeremy Lin outsold Kobe Bryant in official jersey sales over the past year, the NBA revealed Thursday, despite the Knicks phenom only emerging to prominence in February. Fans rushed to get the former undrafted D-Leaguer’s name on their back at an unprecedented rate when “Linsanity” took hold little more than two months ago as his breakthrough performances captured global attention. The mass demand meant only Bulls guard Derrick Rose sold more jerseys than Lin last year. It is the first time the Chicago star, who was boosted by last season’s MVP title, has topped the annual list. Read More: New York Post

Camera catches prostitute accused of stealing $500K worth of diamonds

This is the savvy prostitute who allegedly swiped half a million dollars worth of uncut diamonds from a hapless gem trader — caught on surveillance video as she made her barefoot getaway from a Manhattan hotel, police say. Erika Cooper, 34 — a k a Bianca Williams — is now the target of an NYPD manhunt for allegedly pulling off the April 17 heist at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, where she waited until her john Kurt Kaiser fell asleep before she fled with his loot. Her big mistake was giving Kaiser her real phone number, which cops have used to identify her and dig up mug shots from an earlier prostitution bust, a police source said. Read More: New York Post

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Search for Etan Patz ends with no remains or blood found in SoHo basement

The massive basement dig in search of missing SoHo boy Etan Patz ended with no human remains or blood found below a neighborhood building targeted by investigators, law enforcement sources said today. FBI agents, assisted by NYPD cops, had been blasting through cement below 127B Prince St. since Thursday morning, but indefinitely suspended their excavation last night with little to show. The walls had no trace of blood, according to field tests conducted at the site, law enforcement sources told The Post. And it appeared that no human bones were in the cement, sources said. Read More: New York Post

‘Poor’ Meeks parties rich

Gregory Meeks, one of the poorest members of Congress, continues to party like a 1 percenter. The Queens Democrat scored coveted Super Bowl tickets in February, weeks after living it up in Las Vegas. The good times were paid for by his campaign and political action committees, which footed the bill for plane fare, hotels, meals and tickets. He used campaign funds to snag $19,000 worth of Super Bowl ducats, buying them from television networks, ticket brokers and the NFL, according to his recently released campaign filing. Read More: New York Post

 

Surveillance video eyed for clues into Queens man’s death outside Midtown club

Investigators don’t believe there was any criminality in the mysterious death of a Queens welder outside a Midtown club early Saturday, law-enforcement sources said. Michael Lin, 27, fell down a flight of stairs at District 36, on West 36th Street near Fifth Avenue, police believe. Waitresses smoking outside on a 3 a.m. break noticed that he was bleeding profusely from the mouth. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Read More: New York Post

Sources: Former Gov. Paterson Joining MTA Board

The next stop for former New York Governor David Paterson’s long career is on the MTA board. Sources tell NY1 Governor Andrew Cuomo is set to name Paterson to the seat vacated by Nancy Shevell. Shevell resigned back in January shortly after marrying Paul McCartney. Since leaving the governor’s office at the end of 2010, Paterson has hosted a daily radio talk show on WOR. Read More: NY1

 

 

Supreme Court Will Not Hear NYC Rent Laws Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will not hear an appeal aimed at tossing the city’s rent stabilization laws. The high court refused to hear an appeal from Manhattan couple James and Jeanne Harmon who lost earlier attempts to get the laws thrown out. The couple inherited a building on the Upper West Side but they say rent stabilization laws force them to rent some apartments at 59 percent below market price. They argue that the government has illegally taken their property by giving tenants lifetime tenure with succession rights. A federal judge and the second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have both thrown out their lawsuit. Read More: NY1

 

EAU de MO! Yankee legend Mariano Rivera to pitch team fragrance

THE YANKEES’ closer and a two-time All-Star are going to bat for the Bronx Bombers’ official fragrance — and the new partnership smells like a winner. All-time Major League saves leader Mariano Rivera and star center fielder Curtis Granderson have signed on as “brand ambassadors” for the Yanks’ fragrant elixir. The two Bombers will be making public appearances all season to promote “New York Yankees” for men and “New York Yankees for Her,” which went on sale this month. Read More: Daily News

New York City looking for actors to play homeless people in public service announcement

When the city Homeless Services Department went looking for people to play the homeless in a public service announcement, it put out a casting call — for actors. Bureaucrats prepping for the agency’s first such announcement in three years sounded like Broadway producers in a Casting.com ad, asking for “real people types.” Advocates for the homeless were quick to bash the idea of paying stand-ins for the real deal. Read More: Daily News

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Trayvon shooter Zimmerman walks out of jail on $150K bond

George Zimmerman, the neighborhood-watch volunteer who shot and killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, has been sprung from jail. Zimmerman, wearing a beige jacket and jeans and carrying a large brown bag, walked out of the John E. Polk Correctional Facility at midnight on $150,000 bond. He ignored shouted questions from the half- dozen reporters waiting outside, where he was met by five cars — a white BMW SUV and four green and white Town Cars belonging to the Sheriff’s Department. Read More: New York Post

 

Queens bridge shops sue city over crashes

Two Queens shops shuttered after out-of-control cars plowed into their storefronts not once but twice — and within just nine days of each other — have filed a $1 million lawsuit, blaming a 59th Street Bridge exit ramp. Espinal Caribbean Restaurant II had been open four years in Long Island City when the first crash happened in March 2011. “It was a major setback and years of work evaporated,’’ owner Tony Espinal said. “But then the second crash! “And then the third crash!” he said, referring to yet another in which a car sped toward the shops, only to be stopped by scaffolding erected after the earlier accidents. Read More: New York Post

 

Flood Watch In Effect As Spring Nor’easter Soaks City

New Yorkers are getting plenty of use out of their raincoats and umbrellas as a spring Nor’Easter continues to whip up some serious precipitation. A flood watch remains in effect through Monday morning for the entire city as up to three inches of rain could fall in some parts. Meteorologists say the worst of the storm will likely arrive early in the overnight hours and could bring wind gusts between 30 and 40 miles per hour. As of early Sunday evening, no major flooding had been reported. The city’s flash flood plan was activated on Thursday and crews began cleaning catch basins last week. Read More: NY1

 

 City Earth Day Events Take On Different Shades Of Green

New Yorkers gathered for events to “green” up the city all day Sunday as part of Earth Day 2012. In addition to the first annual Harlem Earth Day being held, there were also plantings and discussions on green development in Morningside Park, Marcus Garvey Park and Central Park. The first-ever Earth Day on the High Line featured a giant salad preparation and the chance to meet one-on-one with the elevated park’s gardeners. The performance art piece was the brain child of artist Alison Knowles, who first did the performance 50 years ago. Read More: NY1

 

 

Mystery grows in death of Michael Lin, 27-year-old clubgoer who died early Saturday

New details emerged Sunday about what happened to a 27-year-old Queens man who suffered fatal injuries while at a midtown club early Saturday. Michael Lin appeared to have had a broken jaw and bruises on his body when cops found him outside Koreatown hotspot District 36 about 3 a.m. Saturday, police said previously. He died at Bellevue Medical Center an hour later. Investigators now believe Lin had tried to leave the W. 36th St. party joint to smoke a cigarette, using a second-floor emergency exit, police sources said. Read More: Daily News

Hammer-armed rapist arrested: cops

A Queens teenager has been arrested for attacking two women in Brooklyn in which he used a hammer to threaten them, police said Friday. Anthony Moore, 19, of Queens Village, allegedly raped an 18-year-old after threatening her with a hammer and forcing her to a desolate spot in Brownsville about 12:40 a.m. on April 9, cops said. Later that day, around 11 a.m., Moore approached a 22-year-old woman near Stone Ave. and tried to threaten her with a hammer, but she fought him off, cops said. Read More: Daily News

Is Ridgewood set to get a new school?


| jlane@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos

Kids in a crowded Queens neighborhood will have more room to expand their minds when a new school opens in Ridgewood — though they will have to wait three years.
More than 100 parents attended a public hearing on Tuesday, April 10 held by Community Board 5’s education committee at P.S. 305 on Seneca Avenue, across the street from the proposed site for the new school.

The hearing was held to discuss the building of a new 444-seat, state-of-the-art school and the School Construction Authority (SCA) was on hand to answer questions about the proposed structure.

The site – the St. Aloysius school building which closed last year, has not yet been purchased – but the SCA — which handles the planning, designing and construction of new schools — is in talks with the church to buy the property.

After purchase, an environmental analysis must be done before the school is demolished and a new building constructed. The goal — which the SCA labeled “aggressive” — is to have the school opened by September, 2015.

Parents of children at P.S. 305 are hoping that the new school would be an extension of the school which currently only goes up to the third grade. Twice the school has asked to be expanded to fifth grade, but has been denied. Currently, children graduate to P.S. 81 for fourth and fifth grades before going to a third school for sixth through eighth grades.

The Department of Education (DOE) said it will not have any details on what grades the school will house until the purchase is finalized.
A representative from Councilmember Diana Reyna’s office was on hand and applauded the DOE for addressing the issue of overcrowding in Ridgewood.
“The new primary elementary school at the former St. Aloysius site shows that the SCA and DOE have been listening to the community and have heard the need for the creation of more elementary school spots,” said the spokesperson.

The building will be built to accommodate children from any grades, kindergarten through 8th grade, said Pat Grayson, chair of CB5’s education committee.
At CB5’s monthly meeting the next day, board members approved the construction of the school building.

Final Chapter For Flushing?


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The Courier/Photo by Melissa Chan

Local leaders rallied to save Flushing High School before the city closes the book on the storied 137-year-old institution.

Elected officials and education advocates gathered in front of the school to protest a possible Turnaround — which would mean replacing half of the teachers and reopening the school under a new name.

“Closing Flushing High School seems to me to be one of the most short-sighted decisions that the city has ever made because graduation rates are improving,” said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky at the protest on April 16. “Over the last six years, they’ve come up. It’s starting to work. Flushing High School has been slowly reversing the trend.”
Stavisky, who worked as a substitute teacher at the school before her election to the State Senate, said Flushing High School is home to many students who do not speak English as their first language, which she said may be attributed to the school’s low success rate.

“If a child comes into this building speaking no English and, instead of graduating in four years, he graduates in five years — that child should be commended. [He should] not have a finger pointed at him like he’s bringing the school down,” said Dermot Smyth, a United Federation of Teachers (UFT) representative.

DOE spokesperson Frank Thomas said Flushing High School received a “D” on its most recent progress report, with an “F” on the student performance section. He also said graduation rates at schools serving similar populations are significantly higher than at Flushing.

According to Thomas, the DOE cannot afford to let underperforming schools linger while a teacher evaluation deal is hammered out and implemented. He said the

Turnaround plan keeps the best parts of the existing school, including its highest quality faculty, while creating a new program, new school culture and a different and better environment for students.

Flushing High School’s first public hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m. after The Courier went to press. A meeting to introduce next year’s new school principal — Magdalen Radovich — will be held on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m.

 

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Red Sox troubles, Yankees rivalry highlight Fenway anniversary

They’ll kick off the weekend with a party here, a mass gathering this afternoon to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. All sorts of dignitaries will be on site, and the stubborn Yankees even have agreed to wear throwback uniforms in honor of this remarkable structure. How ironic for Red Sox Nation, though, that at a time it is honoring its building, its foundation — the team that occupies Fenway — seems quite shaky. Read More: New York Post

Delta jet lands at JFK with smoking engine after bird hit

A Delta jet slammed into birds as it took off from Kennedy Airport yesterday — and had to make an emergency landing back at JFK with one of its engines on fire. As smoke filled the cabin and horrified passengers feared for their lives, the pilots — whose names weren’t revealed — coolly landed the damaged craft at 3:25 p.m. without injury to any of the 179 passengers and crew aboard, a Delta spokesman said. Read More: New York Post

 

Most New Yorkers Feel Pain At The Gas Pump

The gas fumes are not the only thing making drivers sick to their stomach; it’s the cost of filling up. “Let’s just say that I’m going into the supermarket and I can’t afford to buy as much as I usually would,” said one New Yorker. “Credit card bills, gas and food, and I don’t know which is worse,” said another. “I’m in the car business down here and it’s all everybody is talking about,” said a third. Read More: NY1

 

Terrorist: Queens Defendant Could Not Make Bombs But Still Wanted To Attack City Subways

The admitted mastermind behind a plot to blow up crowded city subway trains took the stand again on Wednesday in the trial of his high school classmate. As Adis Medunjanin’s terror trial in Brooklyn federal court continued on Wednesday, the defense began its cross-examination of Zazi. Zazi gave intricate details to the defense of how he traveled to Pakistan and learned how to make bombs from al-Qaeda members. Read More: NY1

 

 

Dead Queens teen was restrained by school staff: cops

A Queens teenager died suddenly Thursday after he was restrained by staff at a school for emotionally and developmentally troubled kids, police and students said. Corey Foster, 16, of Jamacia, was hauled off of a basketball court at the Biondi Education Center at the Leake & Watts facility in Yonkers Wednesday night and went into cardiac arrest as he was being removed, witnesses said. Read More: Daily News
Rockaway stretch turns into racetrack for rogue drivers 

Benard Pelzer spends his afternoons shepherding children across the street. But what was once a routine task has become a risky proposition as a lawless stretch of Rockaway roadway has turned into a perilous speedway, the crossing guard and several residents said. The section of Rockaway Beach Blvd. between Beach 73rd and Beach 79th Sts. isn’t governed by any signs or traffic lights, leaving pedestrians to jog across the street as motorists far exceed the speed limit, residents said. Read More: Daily News

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

Class in session: City to get 54 new schools, two in Queens


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Spring may signify new beginnings, but schools will be “bloom”ing this fall.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott on April 17 to announce the opening of 54 new schools across the city for the 2012-2013 school year. The new schools – 30 of which will be run by the district, along with 24 charters – will serve more than 7,000 students from kindergarten through high school next year, and over 21,000 kids when they grow to full size.

Of the 54 schools, two will be in Queens – Wave Preparatory School, an elementary school in District 27, will replace P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott, located at 535 Briar Place in Far Rockaway, and Central Queens Academy Charter School will open in District 24.

Including those slated to open this fall, 589 new schools have now been created in the five boroughs since 2002.

“Our children deserve great schools, our parents deserve great options, and our administration is committed to delivering them to families in every neighborhood in the five boroughs,” Bloomberg said. “The 54 new schools that will open next year reflect our commitment to children and parents, and they will build on the successful records established by the hundreds of new small schools we have already created. These new schools, including our new Academy for Software Engineering, which will train students not just in the language of computers but also in the language of innovation, will help prepare our students to succeed in the new global economy.”

According to the mayor’s office, evidence has indicated that new schools rank higher on parent satisfaction surveys than other schools across the city and perform better on state math and reading exams and graduate students at considerably higher rates than schools they replace. New schools also serve similar percentages of black and Latino students, English language learners and students with disabilities compared to the schools they replace.

Many of the new schools opened during the Bloomberg administration have followed the model of smaller schools – a strategy MDRC, a nonpartisan education and social policy research group, says “markedly improves graduation rates for a large population of low-income, disadvantaged students of color.”

“As we’ve seen over the past decade, new schools have changed thousands of lives in New York City for the better, helping more students graduate and prepare for college and careers,” Walcott said. “I want to thank all 54 new school principals, who have taken the bold step of building a new school community and offering families high quality options. Every child and every neighborhood deserve a great school, and we are proud to continue a strategy that has delivered just that for the past 10 years.”

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

6 months for yeshiva perv

A yeshiva student admitted yesterday to inappropriately touching two 8-year-old girls to whom he was giving private religious instruction. Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter sentenced Hillel Selznicek, 25, to six months in prison, calling him a “wolf in sheep’s clothing’’ who “betrayed their trust in the most disgusting way.’’

Read More: New York Post

 

Weiner a jerk before crotchgate, craved media attention: book

Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner was behaving like a jerk long before the world got a glimpse of his crotch. A new book offering an inside look at the US House of Representatives depicts Weiner as a desperately ambitious loudmouth who berated his staff and would do or say anything for TV airtime. Weiner “would enter his office in the Rayburn Building screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘Why the f–k am I not on MSNBC?!’” journalist Robert Draper wrote in “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the US House of Representatives.” Read More: New York Post

 

Rapper guilty in ’93 slay

Former Bad Boy rapper G. Dep was convicted yesterday of a decades-old murder — a cold-case East Harlem shooting that was solved only when he walked into a station house two years ago and turned himself in, to square himself with God. The 37-year-old father of three now faces the mandatory minimum sentence for murder — 15 years. “I told him to not regret his decision and that God won’t abandon him,” said his lawyer, Anthony Ricco. “Trevell Coleman is a very courageous person,” he added, using the rapper’s given name. Read More: New York Post


Delta Flight With Blown Tire Able To Land Safely At JFK

John F. Kennedy International Airport had a nerve-wracking scene Wednesday as a Delta flight from Paris with a blown tire tried to land. A Delta spokesman says Flight 185 to New York blew the tire while taking off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in France. The crew was not sure if the tire was blown when the plane was airborne. The spokesman said air traffic controllers with binoculars were able to see the deflated tire during a fly-by before the landing at JFK. Tire debris was also found on the runway. Read More: NY1

 

NYPD’s Transit Patrol Dogs Now Train In Long Island City

The NYPD’s Transit K9 Unit has moved to Long Island City, Queens from Downtown Brooklyn, and MTA officials say part of the reason is so the new facility can be in the center of the city’s mass transit system. Read More: NY1

 

Sudan diplomat’s wife is shot, wounded by stray bullet in Queens

The wife of a Sudanese diplomat was struck by a stray bullet in Queens while she was with two of her young children, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Wednesday. The tots miraculously escaped injury. The violence unfolded as Mawahad Elbahi, 31, was carrying her year-old son and her 3-year-old daughter at her side on 31st Drive in Astoria Tuesday afternoon. They were waiting for her 5-year-old son to be dropped off by his school bus when bullets started to fly. Read More: Daily News

 

Queens kindergarten waiting lists up at zoned schools

The number of incoming Queens kindergartners who were wait-listed to get into their zoned public schools rose this year, according to city data. About 950 of the borough’s prospective kindergartners were on waiting lists. The longest in the borough was at Public School 307 in Corona where 109 were on the list — making it the city’s third-largest wait. The number of new Queens kindergartners waiting for seats is up roughly 7% over last year. Read More: Daily News

Woman killed in Auburndale Fire


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

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A 63-year-old woman perished in the blaze that consumed her Auburndale home.

The victim, Joanne Brown, was found dead at the scene on Sunday, April 15. Her cousin, who Brown lived with, 59-year-old John Rebecchi, escaped.
Neighbor Sandra Villafane was one of the first people to see the fire. Up late on the computer, Villafane said she heard loud crackling noises and screams.

“Joanne! Joanne! [Rebecchi] was screaming her name,” said Villafane.

Villafane, who lives two houses over with her boyfriend, said that Rebecchi refused to leave his property. He stood by the wrought iron fence that surrounds his home and watched the fire in shock. After some coaxing, she said, she was able to get him to sit down and drink a glass of water.

At 4:39 a.m., firefighters responded to the call at the two-story private dwelling located at 45-08 189th Street. According to the FDNY, when units arrived they saw there was heavy fire on the first floor of the home.

Yu Jin Lee, who lives directly across the street, woke up on Sunday morning when she thought she heard her car alarm. Her three-year-old had also entered the room to wake her, Lee guessed because she was startled by the noise.
As soon as she looked outside, she said, she saw a column of flames.

“It was shocking,” she said. “All I kept thinking was ‘What do I have to do?’”
The fire was under control by 5:20 a.m. No firefighters were injured during the incident.

Neither Villafane nor Lee said they had any contact with Brown. Lee said she would occasionally see her smoking outside and Villafane said she and Rebecchi would exchange pleasantries every so often.
The cause of the fire is accidental electrical issues, possibly involving an extension cord, according to the FDNY.

 

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Bench bombers not afraid of the big shots

Here’s the thing to remember about J.R. Smith: Whenever you think he’s as cold as Buffalo in January … well, he knows that. Whenever you wonder if he’s ever going to make another shot — or if he’s ever going to take another good shot — he’s asking himself the same thing, only with even choicer language. “You always have to remember something,” Smith said last night. “In basketball you aren’t going to make every shot.” He paused a beat. Read More: New York Post

La Guardia security knife scare

A Manhattan woman carried a switchblade knife through a La Guardia Airport checkpoint yesterday — after a TSA agent spotted it in her purse as she passed through an X-ray machine, police sources told The Post. The incredible screw-up by the Transportation Security Administration happened at 10:05 a.m. as Kelly Polonus, 24, headed to her Charlotte, NC-bound flight, the sources said. When TSA Agent Michael Sanchez saw the weapon, he told a colleague to search her bags. Read More: New York Post

Local DAs Push For Home Visiting Program To Prevent Child Abuse

The district attorneys of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island launched Monday a statewide campaign against child abuse. A report released by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes found at least 77,000 children in the state suffered abuse and neglect in 2010, and 114 of those children died. The study also found abuse survivors are 30 percent more likely to become violent criminals and more likely to abuse their own children. According to the report, voluntary home visiting services can reduce abuse and neglect by as much as 50 percent. Read More: NY1

 

Activists Rally To Keep Flushing High School Open

The NAACP and One Flushing Community Economic Development Center gathered with local political leaders at Flushing High School on Monday to call on the mayor and the Department of Education to keep the Queens school open. Read More: NY1

 

Subway restaurants have been closed for health violations more than any other chain in the city

Some Subway sandwich shops may want to change their slogan from “eat fresh.” The chain’s outlets were shuttered more often by city health inspectors than any other major franchise, a Daily News analysis of Health Department data found. And while it was unclear if Jared’s fabled weight loss was due to an upset stomach, Subway stores were shut down a whopping 55 times in the last five years. Read More: Daily News

Video shows teens playing ‘chicken’ with subway trains, risking their lives

Teenagers playing chicken with subway trains aren’t showing pluck — just stupidity, an MTA spokesman said Tuesday. “Playing on or near subway tracks is one of the most dangerous things anyone can do,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Charles Seaton said. Seaton made the comments after a YouTube video surfaced showing a group of kids at the No. 3 line’s Kingston Ave. station jumping to the tracks and then climbing back to the platform as a train pulls in. Read More: Daily News

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| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

NYPD Officer Critically Wounded By East Harlem Suspect

A city police officer is in critical condition this afternoon after being stabbed in the head by an alleged emotionally disturbed man in East Harlem, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly confirmed this afternoon. It happened around 10:30 a.m near the corner of 107th Street and Third Avenue. Commissioner Kelly says Officer Eder Loor, who is assigned to the 23rd Precinct, was responding to a 911 call made by the mother of the suspect – identified as Terrance Hale – over concerns he needed to be taken to the hospital. Kelly says when Officer Loor and his partner went to meet Hale’s mother inside their building, Hale emerged from the elevator in the lobby. Read More: NY1

 

 

New Yorkers Rush To Meet Tax Deadline Today

After two extra days, the deadline for New Yorkers to file their tax return or request an extension has arrived. While most people have already filed, those who have not have until midnight to get their returns postmarked. Taxpayers got a reprieve from the traditional April 15 deadline, because it fell on a Sunday. Then the deadline was pushed back an extra day because of a local holiday in Washington. Some procrastinators got an early start at the main post office in Midtown this morning. “It’s the excitement of waiting for the last day. No, cause you have to send in money so no need to pay it in advance. Pay it the last possible day,” said one New Yorker. Read More: NY1

 

WTC hero dies in 3-alarm B’klyn blazeB’klyn blaze strikes down 9/11 vet
An FDNY lieutenant hailed for his courage on 9/11 died yesterday battling a stubborn blaze in a sprawling commercial building in Brooklyn. The fallen Bravest, father of two Rich Nappi, 47, was overcome by the heat and collapsed while fighting the three-alarm fire at 930 Flushing Ave. in Bushwick at around 3:30 p.m., officials said. His comrades ripped off his heavy gear in a desperate bid to save him from the apparent heart attack. “Lieutenant Nappi overheated, suffered exhaustion and collapsed. He was rushed here to Woodhull Hospital, but despite the best efforts of medical personnel, he eventually died,” a grim-faced Mayor Bloomberg said. Read More: New York Post

Three injured after taxi slams into East Side hotel

Three people suffered minor injuries when a taxi collided with a truck on the East Side of Manhattan early Tuesday morning, according to police. The impact at Lexington and E 48th St. sent the cab into the Radisson Hotel. The drivers of the taxi and the tractor trailer are blaming each other for running a red light, according to a Fox 5 News report from the scene. No one was seriously injured. Read More: New York Post

Richard Hovan, ex-teacher at pricey Riverdale Country School in Bronx, indicted for bedding student

An Ivy League math whiz who taught at a prestigious Bronx prep school was busted for bedding one of his female students, authorities said. Ex-Riverdale Country School instructor Richard Hovan, 30, was indicted Monday in Manhattan Criminal Court on two felony counts of criminal sex act and endangering the welfare of a child. Read More: Daily News

Housing markets in Queens and the Bronx heat up as economy stabilizes

Queens and the Bronx are making a comeback. Home sales rose in the double digits in both boroughs during the first quarter of the year, as competitive prices and low interest rates brought buyers back to the table, according to a report from the Real Estate Board of New York. “These are areas with a lot of middle-income housing where low interest rates really make a difference,” REBNY senior vice president Mike Slattery said. Read More: Daily News

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| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Hip, hip, hoo-Ray! GOP going all out to have Kelly run

Republican leaders are going to make a full-court press to convince Ray Kelly to run for mayor at a meeting on Staten Island early next month — and the city’s top cop will be there to hear them out. Former Borough President Guy Molinari said Kelly has agreed to join him and various elected officials, including City Council members James Oddo and Vincent Ignizio, for a luncheon that will be both social and political. “We would like to see him think more seriously about running for top office,” said Molinari, one of Kelly’s biggest boosters for more than two decades. Read More: New York Post

‘Committed’ to evil: Buddy tells of subway bomb plot

An admitted al Qaeda devotee from Queens chillingly testified yesterday that his high-school buddy was ready to blow himself up in a terrorist plot on New York’s subway system aimed at causing maximum carnage. Adis Medunjanin, 28, “was committed” to the evil plot in 2009, said admitted co-conspirator Zarein Ahmedzay in Brooklyn federal court on the first day of Medunjanin’s terrorism trial. “He was to be one of the suicide bombers.” Read More: New York Post

Mets clubhouse thief barred forever

A former Mets clubhouse manager who stole more than $2.2 million worth of autographed uniforms, bats, and other memorabilia was sentenced to five years’ probation yesterday — and barred for life from Citi Field and all other team facilities. Charlie Samuels, 55, must also make $50,581 in restitution payments, a Queens Supreme Court judge ordered. “The defendant had a dream job any Mets fan would die for — and he blew it,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Read More: New York Post

Millions In Phony Money Orders Seized At JFK

Millions of dollars in counterfeit money orders and checks are now in the hands of authorities after being seized at JFK airport. Customs and Border Protection Officers say the orders and checks arrived in packages from Ghana and one from Nigeria on March 23. Authorities say they totaled more than $6.7 million. Read More: NY1

 

Holocaust Survivors, Former GIs Share Their Experiences With Queens Students

A group of students, Holocaust survivors and their rescuers gathered in Queens Monday for the start of an international education program and to talk about their experiences. The March of the Living brings Jewish teens from all over the world to Poland on Holocaust Memorial Day, to march from two concentration camps, from Auschwitz to Birkenau. Read More: NY1

 

Brooklyn state Sen. Eric Adams wants transit workers to be armed with Tasers

Here’s a stunning idea — arming transit workers with Tasers so they can zap bad guys who menace them. It’s the brainchild of state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn), who wants bus drivers, subway conductors and other transit workers to be able to protect themselves and passengers from crazy riders, criminals and even would-be terrorists. Read More: Daily News

 

Ex-CEO pours salt into Peninsula Hospital’s wounds 

Peninsula’s former CEO Robert Levine is seeking more than $1.2 million from the Far Rockaway facility in bankruptcy court, the Daily News has learned. The figure is part of three separate claims filed by Levine in October, which demand $800,400 for severance pay and more than $427,000 for termination of contract, documents show. Levine made an unceremonious exit from Peninsula in September, but didn’t stay unemployed for long. He was appointed chief operating officer at Flushing Hospital Medical Center two months later, angering long-time employees at Peninsula who were dealing with the aftermath of Levine’s tenure at the helm. Read More: Daily News

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| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens couple found dead by son, 2, in apparent murder-suicide

A man is believed to have shot and killed his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself –leaving their two-year-old son to make the grisly discovery inside their bedroom, sources said. The apparent murder-suicide took place in the family’s South Jamaica home on Dillon Street yesterday. Roxanne Lambert, 41, and her partner, whose name has not been released, were found dead with gunshot wounds to the head at 11:30 p.m., sources said. Lambert’s 16-year-old son was also home when the tragedy unfolded. Relatives said the couple had a rocky relationship and were often heard arguing. Read More: New York Post

 

Brangelina to tie knot in France

They won’t be America’s sweethearts much longer. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie plan to tie the knot at their sprawling estate in France this summer — and then live in England for at least the next two years, according to published reports yesterday. The famed Tinseltown couple has spent the last six months quietly planning to hold a lavish wedding ceremony at their manse near the village of Correns, in the south of France, London’s Daily Star reported. They’ll reportedly exchange vows in a pre-Roman chapel on the grounds. Read More: New York Post

Accused subway plotter in court on terror charges

A New Yorker accused of helping plan one of the most chilling terror plots in the US since 9-11, is in court today to stand trial on a wide range of criminal charges. Adis Medunjanin and other former school classmates launched a scheme to carry out suicide bomb attacks in New York City’s subways, federal prosecutors plan to argue in Brooklyn federal court. In preparation for the strikes, Medunjanin – along with alleged fellow-plotters Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay – journeyed to Pakistan to undergo bomb-making instruction at an al Qaeda terror training camp in a tribal region abutting that nation’s frontier with Afghanistan, officials say. Read More: New York Post

Jury Selection Begins In Clemens Perjury Retrial

Jury selection begins today in Washington in the perjury retrial of former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens. His first trial ended in a mistrial last summer after only two days of testimony because the prosecution introduced inadmissible evidence. The seven-time Cy Young award winner is accused of of lying to Congress in 2008 while lawmakers were investigating steroid use in baseball. He faces three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress. Read More: NY1

 

Coachella 2012: Tupac hologram joins Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre onstage at music festival

Late rapper Tupac Shakur resurrected onto the Coachella stage this past Sunday night to perform a few of his hit songs alongside music maven Snoop Dogg, to the shock and disbelief of the music festival’s 75,000 fans. “What up, Coachella?!” the bare-chested Tupac hologram greeted a roaring crowd, before joining Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre on classic single “Hail Mary.” The faux Shakur wore acid-wash jeans and Timberland boots circa 1995, just around the time he was shot dead on September 13, 1996, at the young age of 25. Read More: Daily News

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo does not want a high-profile role at 2012 Democratic National Convention

Despite having his eye on a 2016 presidential run, Gov. Cuomo wants no part of a high-profile role at this year’s Democratic National Convention, insiders say. While Cuomo will attend the convention in September in Charlotte, N.C., those close to him say he doesn’t want President Obama to consider him for a major speaking slot — though it’s not certain he would even be asked. Cuomo has learned from the example of his father, a former three-term New York governor. Mario Cuomo, like his son is now, was in his second year as governor when he was picked to deliver the keynote address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Three in elite NYPD anti-gun unit accused of treating black suspects like ‘animals’

Top supervisors of an elite NYPD anti-gun unit allegedly handled white suspects with kid gloves while treating blacks like “animals” deserving of a bullet to the head, the Daily News has learned. The explosive charges appear in sworn depositions from three members of the firearms suppression unit: two current NYPD detectives and a retired first-grade detective. Their testimony, part of a federal discrimination lawsuit, details how Capt. James Coan and Lt. Daniel Davin created a hostile environment for both their black detectives and suspected minority-group gun traffickers, said the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Eric Sanders. Read More: Daily News