Tag Archives: local

Obama says same-sex marriage should be legal


| jlane@queenscourier.com


President Obama said Wednesday that he believes same-sex marriage should be legal.

“At a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts in an interview at the White House.

The president’s decision to address the issue directly came after Vice President Joe Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage during an interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday.

[New York Post]

Horse gone wild


| editorial@queenscourier.com


A jittery horse escaped his stable and ran into rush-hour traffic in Queens yesterday morning, striking a car, authorities said.

Blackjack fled from Cedar Lane Stables in Howard Beach at around 8:20 a.m.

He struck a Honda sedan that had been waiting for the light, smashing its windshield.

[New York Post]

No More Rotten ‘Apple’


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Alma Realty

Long Island City’s “Apple Building” – currently eaten to its core – will soon be ripe again.

The edifice, located at 30-30 Northern Boulevard and known for the large sign on its roof – left behind by the Apple Red Tag & Label company when it ceased operations in the 1970s – has been mostly vacant for over a decade and is currently in disarray.

Alma Realty, the building’s developer, is planning to restore and renovate the structure into a retail and commercial complex by this time next year. The developers also aim to raise the building’s square footage from about 180,000 to roughly 270,000 by increasing the number of stories from five to seven. Once completed, the building will include a fitness center, cafeteria and rooftop terrace.

George Valiotis, the Alma Realty project director, anticipates a strong demand in retail in the upcoming years, and believes the site could be very appealing to tech and media firms. Valiotis went on to say that Alma has had preliminary negotiations with several universities about building a campus on the site – complete a culture center, museum, 2,000-seat amphitheatre and dormitory – which he hopes would open in five years.

“We think this is great for L.I.C.,” Valiotis said. “It will create foot traffic for other businesses to open up in the surrounding area. If the building is filled up with offices and there are hundreds of people working there, restaurants, cafes and stores will open in the area. It brings life to an area which for a long time was underutilized. L.I.C. is a great place to live, work and play and if people work there then they will live and play there too.”

According to Valiotis, the exterior work necessary is substantial, and the interior will be based on tenants’ requests. Valiotis said the signature sign on the building’s roof will be restored, but kept in place. Although Alma has yet to receive a building permit, the company has begun fixing violations and performing demolition work. The developers have also applied for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification – a prestigious designation awarded to eco-friendly buildings.

“The Apple Building,” which was erected in 1913, was sold to Alma in 2011. The previous developer intended to build a 19-story dormitory on the site, and the last tenant the building had was a topless bar.

Community leaders have strongly supported the building’s renovation – anticipating that retail and commercial space will compliment the restaurants and shops recently opened in the Queens Plaza area.

Jerry Walsh, president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, expects the area’s economy to improve greatly, and he hopes to hold discussions with Alma regarding the project in the future. Although he would have preferred the city purchase the building to construct a hospital, Walsh says Alma’s plans are a great positive for the neighborhood and residents are pleased.

Best of the Boro Voting is Live: Don’t delay, vote today!


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Cast your vote for the best in Queens’ Family, Education & Recreation.

Hundreds of nominations have poured in to the Best of the Boro’s fourth and final round and now residents can select who stands out above the competition.

With seemingly endless entertainment options, this category allows residents to choose the borough’s best places to relax and enjoy time with your family.
The eclectic category features dozens of subcategories in a wide range of topics including: best batting cage, best pool hall, best shopping center and best movie theater among a host of others.

Also, the scores of elementary, middle and high schools throughout the borough have the opportunity to show off their school spirit as they vie to be named the top school in Queens. Best teacher, public school, private school, high school spirit and university are among the categories to be won.

Voting for your favorites is easy. Simply visit www.queenscourier.com and click on the Best of the Boro logo. There you can choose the best in any or all of the categories.
Voting will remain open until May 18. Hundreds of votes have already been tabulated, so if you want your favorites to have a chance to win, make sure to vote early and often. Residents can vote for their favorites once per day.

The first three rounds have garnered more than 175,000 votes. Keep an eye out around Queens for the Best of the Boro stickers in stores and eateries window — indicating that the borough’s residents chose it as second to none.

To stay up-to-the-minute on the competition like the Best of the Boro page on Facebook and follow @BestOfTheBoro on Twitter.

CLICK HERE to Start Voting

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens couple found dead in apparent murder suicide

A man and woman were shot to death last night in their Queens home in what cops called an apparent murder-suicide — and one of the two children in the house at the time made the horrifying discovery, neighbors said. The victims, whose names were withheld, were found around 11: 30 p.m. in the home on Dillon Street in South Jamaica, cops said. In the house were the couple’s 2-year-old son and his 16-year-old stepsister. The teenager’s 18-year-old sister was out at the time. Read More: New York Post

 

GOP hopeful that Police Commissioner Kelly will run for mayor

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is being courted by a top state Republican to run for mayor next year — and the city’s top cop is open to the idea, sources told The Post. Kelly, who has come under fire for the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk and Muslim-surveillance policies, could use the City Hall post to continue driving down crime and fighting local terrorism “for another four or eight years,’’ said former state GOP Chairman William Powers, who heads the party’s newly created statewide “advisory committee.’’ Read More: New York Post

 

Fearless squirrels invade Queens co-op

They are marauding gangs of troublemakers who set fire to cars, cut electrical wires and cause power outages, evading capture by scaling walls and climbing trees. But while the Queens co-op residents being terrorized by the daredevil vandals say they know exactly who their tormentors are, they insist that they’re helpless in stopping the crime wave — because the suspects are sex-happy squirrels. Read More: New York Post

 

Residents Help Clean Rockaway Beach For The Summer Season

While it’s not summertime yet, the unseasonably warm temperatures this week got dozens of local residents to make sure Rockaway Beach is ready to make a positive first impression this season. Read More: NY1

 

Queens man arrested for breaking into Diddy’s East Hampton mansion, eating his food and wearing rapper’s clothes

A Queens resident’s unwelcome visit to Diddy’s East Hampton mansion on April 1 was no joke. Quamine T. Taylor was arrested at the rapper’s residence after cops say he entered through an unlocked basement door, and treated himself to a nearly day-long feast fit for a music mogul, according to the East Hampton Star. Read More: Daily News

 

Rookie police officer arrested after assaulting fiancee in his Queens home

A rookie NYPD cop was arrested in Queens Saturday for assaulting his fiancée, officials said. Off-duty Officer Alexandru Baiasu, 27, was arrested about 10:50 p.m. at his Rego Park home after attacking his 31-year-old fiancée during an argument, cops said. Baiasu, who was newly assigned to the Police Academy, was charged with assault and harassment, officials said. Read More: Daily News

 

NY Jets’ Tim Tebow attends Yankees-Angels game, sits with Dwyane Wade and gets booed by fans

Tim Tebow made the scene at the Stadium for Sunday night’s 11-5 win over the Angels. The newest Jet, who is due to attend workouts with the team on Monday, sat on the third-base side next to the Angels dugout with a Yankees cap on and, at one point, engaged in an animated conversation with Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat. When the Stadium video board showed Tebow, he received equal parts boos and cheers. Read More: Daily News

MTA Service Update for Good Friday and Start of Passover on April 6


| jlane@queenscourier.com


The New York City Subway and the Staten Island Railway will operate on a regular weekday schedule throughout Friday, April 6, Good Friday and the start of Passover. However, there will be some adjustments to MTA services as noted below.

 

New York City Buses

 

New York City Transit and MTA Bus Company buses will operate their regular weekday hours of service and travel paths with minor scheduling adjustments on some routes. There will be no Limited-Stop bus service in Staten Island on the S81, S84, S86, S90, S91, S92, S94, S96 and S98.  There is no Limited-Stop bus service in Queens on the Q6, Q21, Q25 and Q65.

 

Long Island Rail Road

 

The LIRR will operate a regular weekday schedule with nine additional eastbound trains from Penn Station, between 2:08 PM and 3:48 PM, for customers leaving work early in observance of Passover and Good Friday, April 6. There will be three additional trains on the Babylon Branch, three on the Port Jefferson Branch, two on the Port Washington Branch, and one on the Far Rockaway Branch.

 

For details, see the attached press release from the LIRR.

 

Metro-North Railroad

 

Metro-North will operate a regular weekday schedule, even though ridership is expected to be down a third from a normal Friday, so there is plenty of capacity for people who want to leave New York early. There is, however, one service change.

 

There will be an additional early afternoon super express on the Hudson Line, departing Grand Central Terminal at 3:25 PM and stopping only at Beacon, New Hamburg and Poughkeepsie. The 6:12 PM express from New York that is normally due Poughkeepsie at 7:43 PM, will not operate.

 

MTA Bridges and Tunnels

 

All temporary roadway closures will be lifted by 1 PM on Friday April 6, in anticipation of an early rush-hour period.

 

 

SPECIAL TRAFFIC ADVISORY

 

Two Lanes Closed On The Queens To Manhattan Ramp At RFK Bridge Beginning 10 A.M. Thurs., April 5th Through 5 A.M. Fri. April 6th 

 

Two of three lanes on the Queens to Manhattan ramp of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge will be closed to traffic beginning 10 a.m. Thurs., April 5th through 5 a.m. on Fri., April 6th while roadway repairs are completed. One lane will remain open.

 

Motorists are advised that they may experience delays. All work is dependent on good weather.

 

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Ex-NAACP big rips Al & Jesse for handling of Trayvon Martin shooting

The furor over the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin is being “exploited” by the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to “racially divide the country,” a civil-rights leader charged yesterday. Martin’s “family should be outraged at the fact that they’re using this child as the bait to inflame racial passions,” the Rev. C.L. Bryant, a former NAACP leader, said of the 17-year-old hoodie-wearing black youth who was shot dead by a mixed white-Latino neighborhood-watch volunteer. Read More: New York Post

Shooter’s claim to police: Trayvon Martin pounced on me

Trayvon Martin was the real aggressor in his deadly encounter with George Zimmerman — punching the neighborhood-watch volunteer, slamming his head on the sidewalk and grabbing for his gun, according to Zimmerman’s account to detectives. The 28-year-old cop wannabe painted himself as the victim in the fatal brawl, telling investigators he was returning to his SUV and trying to call 911 when the unarmed 17-year-old approached him from behind and threw the first punch, according to published reports. Read More: New York Post

Bell cop duo out — but get to keep pensions

Two veteran cops ousted from the NYPD for their roles in the Sean Bell killing turned in their retirement papers yesterday. Detectives Marc Cooper and Michael Oliver walked into One Police Plaza to sign their paperwork. They left without comment — but with their lucrative pensions still in place. The forced retirements came after an internal NYPD trial determined the detectives acted improperly when they and fellow officers gunned down the unarmed Bell in a 50-bullet fusillade the night before his wedding in 2006. Read More: New York Post

 

Intruders shoot man in UWS apartment

An Upper West Side man was shot yesterday during an attempted robbery in his apartment, cops said. The 20-year-old victim said in a 911 call that he let two men into his building on West 100th Street near Riverside Drive believing they were deliverymen, and they attempted to rob him in his fifth-floor, blasting him in the leg, according to an FDNY spokesperson and police sources. Police are investigating his claims. Read More: New York Post

DOE Releases List Of Schools With PCB Leaks, Critics Want Better Clean-Up Efforts

Hundreds of city schools in the five boroughs are contaminated with PCB, a toxic material that can cause serious health problems, and hundreds more school may also have the substance. Department of Education officials say they are working as hard as it can to fix the problem but critics say it’s not hard enough. NY1′s Education reporter Lindsey Christ filed the following exclusive report. Read More: NY1

 

State Health Department To Shut Down Queens’ Peninsula Hospital

Peninsula Hospital Center will close for good, following months of efforts to keep the failing hospital in Queens open. The State Department of Health said Monday that Peninsula Hospital officials will be required to submit a closure plan. According to the Queens borough president, up to 1,000 jobs are on the way out. Its closure will leave the 100,000 residents of the Rockaways with only one hospital. Health officials shut down Peninsula’s laboratory last month after it failed an inspection. The hospital in Edgemere was also barred from admitting new patients until issues were resolved. Without revenue from patients, the hospital is unable to run daily operations. Read More: NY1

 

 

Dawa Lama, mom who dumped newborn in trash, pleads guilty to manslaughter

A Queens mom who dumped her newborn daughter in a hospital trash can out of fear her mother would learn of her pregnancy pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge Monday. Dawa Lama, 23, faces 10 years in prison as part of a plea deal worked out with Queens prosecutors. During a court appearance, Queens Supreme Court Justice Lenora Gerald told Lama that she’ll be deported to her native Nepal once she finishes her sentence. Read More: Daily News

 

Peninsula Hospital to close permanently


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Peninsula Hospital to permanently shut down

Peninsula Hospital Center will permanently close, bringing to an end a chaotic chapter in its life marked by six months in bankruptcy and a failed rescue attempt by an investor that had no experience in running a hospital.

The state Department of Health shut down the laboratory of the Far Rockaway hospital on Feb, 23, an action that sealed Peninsula’s fate. With no revenue from patient admissions for the past month, Peninsula no longer has sufficient working capital to stay open. Its affiliated nursing home will not shut down.

Read more: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20120326/HEALTH_CARE/120329909#ixzz1qFmOrWDD

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cops roust Occupy crowd from Union Square

Cops shut down Union Square and kicked out a large crowd of Occupy Wall Street protesters last night, arresting one demonstrator just days after larger clashes at the group’s former encampment downtown. Police surrounded the historic park with metal barricades just after midnight, citing a longstanding — but apparently often unenforced — rule that the park be closed in the overnight hours, as a crowd of more than 100 taunted officers. Read More: New York Post

 

Feds say Queens super wanted to sell guns to terror group Hezbollah

A Queens super attempted to sell guns to the terror group Hezbollah because he “long dreamed of making big money” as an arms dealer, a Manhattan federal prosecutors charged Monday. Patrick Nayyar was thwarted only because the man he arranged the deal with was an FBI informant, prosecutor Stephen Ritchin told jurors. Read More: Daily News
 

Two die in bloody day of violence in Brooklyn

Two people were killed and three others wounded during a wave of violence in Brooklyn yesterday. A gunman shot a 21-year-old man several times at the Ingersoll Houses in Fort Greene at about 8:20 p.m. — possibly for retribution for a shooting in the housing development two years ago. About an hour earlier, an 18-year-old woman was shot in East New York, authorities said. She was in stable condition. Read More: New York Post

 

Bullets fly in chase

A suspected car thief led cops on a wild, Hollywood-style chase through the streets of Brooklyn yesterday, dodging roadblocks and gunfire before he was finally cornered. Officials said patrol officers from the 75th Precinct stopped a black Mercedes-Benz on Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York shortly before 9:30 a.m. because they suspected the car was stolen. Read More: New York Post

 

Police Arrest Suspect In Fatal Staten Island Stabbing

A suspect wanted in the deadly stabbing of a Staten Island groom-to-be over the weekend was in police custody on Tuesday. Redinel Dervishaj, a 35-year-old waiter, was picked up by U.S. Marshals at his aunt’s house in a suburb of Chicago, according to sources. Antonio Lacertosa, 27, was stabbed in the torso early Saturday morning outside the Espana Restaurant in Annadale. Investigators say Lacertosa was celebrating his engagement to his high school sweetheart at the restaurant. Read More: NY1

 

Liu backs $$ gal

Embattled city Comptroller John Liu sprang to the defense of his indicted campaign treasurer and defiantly insisted his staff did everything it could to make sure donations were legal, despite federal charges against the treasurer and a key fund-raiser. “I don’t believe it’s our campaign’s responsibility or any campaign’s responsibility to verify the home address, to verify the work address, to essentially run a credit check on any donor,” Liu said in response to allegations that his campaign made use of straw donors who funneled illegal contributions from wealthy individuals into the campaign. “Do we operate differently than other campaigns? Absolutely not.” Read More: New York Post

 

Cop rips punk in hero brother’s gun death

The police-officer brother of a Queens man fatally shot defending his father from a crew of housebreakers stared down the thug who set up the robbery yesterday, calling him a “drug addict, coward, savage.” Geraldo Antoniello was shot in the head Sept. 9, 2009, by one of four punks savagely beating his dad, the owner of a popular pizzeria in Howard Beach. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Brooklyn Gym Teacher Charged With Groping Student

A Brooklyn physical education teacher was arrested and awaiting arraignment Tuesday on charges he inappropriately touched one of his teenage students. Police say Esran Boothe, 49, is charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse in the third degree. The city Department of Education says Boothe was re-assigned from his position at the Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment on Classon Avenue in Crown Heights and is now on administrative leave. Read More: NY1

 

Far Rockaway Playground Under Construction Receives Major Damage

Looking at the broken plastic, mangled metal and bent iron at the Beach 29th street playground in Far Rockaway, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said the facility’s June opening might be delayed and the damage will cost the city tens of thousands of dollars. “We know that we lost a number of the slides, the platforms, some of the fencing, the climbing apparatuses have been damaged,” said Lewandowski. Parks Department officials said an excavator did the damage. The contractor says someone cut through a nearby chain link fence to get onto the property. Read More: NY1

Six people indicted on charges related to kidnapping and sex trafficking of 15-year-old girl


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Six people indicted on charges related to kidnapping and sex trafficking of 15-year-old girl

Five men and one woman have been indicted in New York City on charges relating to the kidnapping and sex trafficking of a 15-year-old runaway. Prosecutors say the girl was picked up in Brooklyn on Feb. 6, taken to a house in Ozone Park, Queens and told she could not leave. Read More: New York Post

Boy, 12, in Harlem ‘cart-shove’ gets 6 months in group home

A troubled 12-year-old who sent a shopping cart hurtling onto a woman from a fourth-floor mall walkway was sentenced Thursday to at least six months in a therapeutic group home, with a judge calling his problems grave but not insurmountable. Biting his lip and hugging an uncle before being led out of court, the boy headed for up to 16 months in the residential program, closing a case that spurred soul-searching about out-of-control children. Read More: New York Post

 

Morgan Stanley puts broker allegedly tied to UES ‘madam’ on leave, source says

The Morgan Stanley broker who has been identified as the possible financial backer of an online prostitution business with the accused Upper East Side madam has been placed on administrative leave, a source told FOX Business Thursday. David Walker, who works in the firm’s wealth management unit, will remain on leave until an investigation is concluded, the source said. The firm will wait until the investigation is finished before taking any further action. Read More: New York Post

Attorney General Holder Finds Reports On NYPD Muslim Surveillance Programs “Disturbing”

Speaking at a Senate hearing today, Attorney General Eric Holder said he found some reports about the New York City Police Department’s surveillance of Muslim communities throughout the Northeast to be “disturbing.” Holder said he empathized with Governor Chris Christie after it was revealed the NYPD was keeping track of mosques and Muslim student groups in New Jersey. The NYPD has come under fire for the practice and now the Justice Department says it is reviewing the matter. Read More: NY1

 

Teen Smoking Rates Drop But Surgeon General Wants More Efforts To Combat Youth Tobacco Use

Fewer teens in the United States are smoking, but the U.S. Surgeon General wants more done to combat the addiction among young people. Government data shows the country’s rate of high school smokers has dropped to 19.5 percent. This is the surgeon general’s first report on youth smoking since 1994, when over 27 percent of high school-aged teens were smoking, but the rate of decline has slowed. The city Department of Health notes that teen smoking rates have dropped even more dramatically in the five boroughs, from 17.6 percent in 2001 to only 7.2 percent in 2010. Read More: NY1

“Suspicious” Four-Alarm Fire Destroys Business


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

“Suspicious” Four-Alarm Fire Destroys Brooklyn Business

Investigators are looking into what they are calling a suspicious four-alarm fire in Brooklyn that gutted one business and injured at least one person. The New York City Fire Department says flames broke out around 4:15 a.m. and quickly spread inside a one story commercial building located at 1716 West 6th Street in Gravesend. At one point, firefighters were ordered out of the building as flames filled the entire structure, causing the roof to collapse. Witnesses at the scene tell NY1 the building houses Dalmazio event planners, a family-owned business that’s been around for at least 10 years. Read More: NY1

 

Local Muslim Leaders Discuss NYPD Surveillance With Police Commissioner Kelly

Amid ongoing tensions over the New York City Police Department’s monitoring of Muslim communities in the Northeast, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly met Tuesday with local Muslim leaders who praised the surveillance programs’ effects on security. Saying to represent all five boroughs, the half-dozen Muslims who met with Kelly said the police commissioner plans to further reach out to local Muslims and will visit mosques across the city. Read More: NY1

 

 

Channel 4 booting anchorwoman Sue Simmons after 32 years

After more than three decades, WNBC/Channel 4 is tossing anchorwoman Sue Simmons overboard. Last week, the station gave her the bad news that her contract would not be renewed — and come June, she’s history. Simmons, who has won four Emmys since starting at Channel 4 in 1980 and is the top-paid anchorwoman at any local station in the country, would happily have stayed. It was entirely NBC’s decision to break up the city’s best-known local anchor pair, Simmons and Chuck Scarborough. Read More: New York Post

Call girl says Manhattan ‘madam’s’ law-enforcement sources tipped her off about busts

A call girl who once worked for Manhattan “Madam” Anna Gristina said her boss had well-placed law-enforcement sources tipping her off about upcoming brothel busts, which is how the operation remained up and running for so long. Irma Nici, who has previously claimed to have slept with David Beckham and Eliot Spitzer, worked for Gristina for six months in 2002 and told The Post that the mother of four “laughed” when other escort services went down. Read More: New York Post

Gun-toting teen busted after fatally shooting man in Queens


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Gun-toting teen busted after fatally shooting man in Queens

A gun-toting punk was busted moments after fatally blasting a man in the chest in Queens today, police said. Police officers raced to the scene after hearing gunfire break out at 12:30 a.m. in Jamaica, police said. They found the armed 19-year-old suspect standing over the wounded victim, who was lying motionless in front of 107-11 159 Street. Read More: New York Post

 

Bronx ADA fired from her job pleads guilty to DUI, gets no jail time

The Bronx prosecutor who was allegedly driving drunk and later lost her job in the DA’s office accepted a deal in the case this morning and pleaded guilty to DUI, saying she is “deeply sorry” for her actions. Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Troiano, who was fired Jan. 13, pleaded guilty in Bronx Supreme Court and will get no jail time. Read More: New York Post

Man Pulled From East Harlem Trench Collapse

The New York City Fire Department says one person has been pulled from the ground following a trench collapse in East Harlem this morning. It happened around 11:30 a.m. near a commercial building under construction located at 122nd Street near Park Avenue. The man’s condition was not immediately known. NY1 has a crew at the scene and will have more information as it becomes available. Read More: NY1

NYC man faces sentencing in homegrown terror case

Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for a New York City-born man convicted last year of traveling to the Middle East to avenge abuse of Muslims. Betim Kaziu is due back in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday afternoon for sentencing. A jury found Kaziu guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. He also was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and other charges. Read More: New York Post

Banker charged with cabby stabbing put on leave

Morgan Stanley is putting Manhattan investment banker W. Bryan Jennings, who was charged with stabbing a cab driver over a late-night fare, on a leave of absence, The Post has learned. Jennings is co-head of North American fixed-income capital markets at the New York investment bank. Sources said the bank is waiting to see how the matter is resolved before reinstating Jennings. Read More: New York Post

Liu fund raiser’s ‘cruel’ fate


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Liu fund raiser’s ‘cruel’ fate

A day after she was slapped with federal fraud charges for alleged illegal fund-raising on behalf of John Liu’s mayoral campaign, Jia “Jenny” Hou described New York as a “cruel city” and questioned who can be trusted. In a missive on her Chinese social-networking page, Hou, 25, told friends that she’s OK — despite facing a maximum of 60 years behind bars if convicted on a slew of charges. Read More: New York Post

One teen, two others shot on Jamaica Avenue

One teenager and two 20-year-olds were shot on Jamaica Avenue in what was according to witnesses, likely gang-related activity. The shootings took place outside a Jamaica Avenue Wendy’s this afternoon at approximately 3 p.m. Two victims were shot in the leg, with one taking a bullet to the arm. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Governor’s Proposed Convention Center May Fall Flat, Skeptics Say

Some key stakeholders are sounding off as the debate heats up over Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to build the country’s largest convention center in Queens. Since the governor announced the plan in his State of the State Address in early January that he wanted to build a massive convention center at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens and dismantle the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan there has been a lot of skepticism about the proposal. Key players and policy shapers are divided. At a breakfast forum hosted by Crain’s New York Business Thursday, concerns were raised about the true cost of the center, its proposed location, and whether it would be successful. Read More: NY1

 

 

 

Rezone plan for Richmond Hill and Woodhaven get thumbs down from some merchants 

A city plan to rezone parts of Richmond Hill and Woodhaven is getting a thumbs down from some local business leaders who say it’s too restrictive. “The new census data is showing the community has increased so why are we talking about down-zoning,” said Vishnu Mahadeo, president of the Richmond Hill Economic Development Corp. “I have signed petitions from people who oppose this. They did not know this would happen when they bought their property.” Read More: Daily News

 

 

Upstate widow accused of violating law with ‘slave’ maid
A wealthy upstate widow allegedly turned her multimillion-dollar mansion into a “forced labor” camp where her helpless immigrant maid worked 17-hour days for years while sleeping in a closet. Annie George, whose real-estate mogul husband, Mathai, died in a 2009 plane crash, allegedly made the woman cook meals, clean the 30,000-square-foot estate and care for the family’s six children, according to a federal criminal complaint. Read More: New York Post

Grandmother, four young children killed in house fire


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Grandmother, four young children killed in house fire

Four children aged between two and 12 were killed along with their grandmother Thursday morning in a fiery blaze at a New Jersey home, according to reports out today. The fire broke out at a large house on Clinton Avenue in South Plainfield just before 3.30 a.m. Relatives told 1010 WINS that seven children, their mother and their grandmother were in the house at the time of the fire. The mother, two of her sons, aged eight and 15, and her baby daughter managed to escape the blaze. The teen boy reportedly managed to grab his baby sister and save her from the fire. Read More: New York Post

‘Seinfeld’ actor Daniel von Bargen critical after shooting himself in apparent suicide attempt

“Seinfeld” actor Daniel von Bargen was in critical condition Wednesday after shooting himself in the head in an apparent failed suicide attempt. Paramedics went to the 61-year-old actor’s Cincinnati, Ohio, apartment Monday after he called 911, saying, “I’ve shot myself in the head … and I need help,” TMZ.com reports. “I was supposed to go to the hospital and I didn’t want to,” he is heard saying on the 911 tape, explaining he is diabetic. “They were supposed to amputate at least a few toes.” Read More: Daily News

 

Sacha Baron Cohen may not be barred from Oscars ceremony, but ‘The Dictator’ costume is

Sacha Baron Cohen may not be banned from the Oscars after all. The comic actor, who is in trouble with the Academy over rumors that he may show up on the red carpet as the title character from his upcoming movie “The Dictator,” may be allowed to attend the star-studded awards ceremony if he promises to show up only as himself, an Academy spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. Read More: Daily News

Two US troops killed by Afghan soldier amid Koran protests

Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s appeal for calm failed to quell nationwide protests over the burning of copies of the Koran earlier this week at a US military base, as anti-American demonstrations spread to new cities Thursday and for the first time led to American casualties. Hours after the Taliban issued a public appeal Thursday for Afghans to attack foreign-military bases in retaliation over the Koran burning, an Afghan soldier opened fire at a US base in eastern Afghanistan, killing two coalition soldiers, according to Afghan and US officials. Read More: New York Post
Knives and headless doll found in locker owned by Madonna’s LA stalker

Knives, a headless doll and videos of young kids were among the creepy possessions found in a California storage locker that once belonged to Madonna’s stalker Robert Dewey Hoskins, KCAL-TV reported. Hoskins, 54, who was convicted of stalking the pop star in 1996 and recently tried to escape the psychiatric hospital he is currently being held in, kept his possessions in a storage facility in Long Beach until he missed his rent payments and his belongings were sold. Read More: New York Post
Cops nab gang member who fired gun into crowd, wounded teen

Plainclothes cops collared a teenaged gang member who wounded a 14-year-old boy after firing shots into a crowd of people in Queens early this morning, authorities said today. Christopher Chinloy, 17, was spotted by the cops firing a gun in front of a Rockaway Beach grocery store just after midnight, police said. The veteran cops, Sergeant Craig Bier and Officer Donnell Myers, were on their way back to their command in the Queens gang unit when they heard the gun fire on Beach Channel Drive, cops said. Read More: New York Post

Ex-Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels pleads guilty to theft, ordered to pay $50K


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Ex-Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels pleads guilty to theft, ordered to pay $50K

Sticky-fingered ex-Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels dodged prison today by admitting he lined his pockets after swiping and selling millions of dollars worth of signed team hats, jerseys and other souvenirs. Samuels, 52, who was banned for life from CitiField and the Mets’ spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla, was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to repay about $50,000 in back taxes and restitution to the team and Queens DA’s office. Read More: New York Post

 

Cops arrest man in horrific New Jersey hit-and-run murder

A 26-year-old New Jersey man was arrested today for allegedly murdering his girlfriend by repeatedly running over her with his car in Fort Lee, NJ, yesterday after she attempted to break up with him, authorities said. Charles J. Ann, of Fort Lee, was busted in Queens, where he fled, authorities said. He’s being held in Queens Criminal Court on $3 million cash bail for allegedly killing Aena Hong, 25, also of Fort Lee. He was charged with first-degree murder. Read More: New York Post

 

Assemblywoman Grace Meng roasts Boston Market over racial remarks 

Assemblywoman Grace Meng said employees of a Boston Market in Flushing repeatedly referred to her as “la china” during a January visit to the chain restaurant. “Whether they were trying to be racist or not — it’s not appopriate,” said Meng (D-Flushing). “I was the only customer in there.” Meng, who has a basic knowledge of Spanish, confronted the workers after paying for her dinner, but they only shrugged. Read More: Daily News

Strauss-Kahn detained by French police over prostitution ring

French police detained former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn for questioning Tuesday over allegations he took part in orgies in Paris and Washington with prostitutes paid for by businessmen. The 62-year-old former Socialist senior lawmaker, who until last year was seen as the front-runner to replace Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France, had been summoned as a witness but prosecutors said he is now a suspect. Read More: New York Post

 

Eagle Academy to move into Allen Christian School

The city is giving a successful all-boys school with strong political ties its own building in southeast Queens, while moving a less-connected high school out of its own space and into a building occupied by a middle school. The Department of Education plans to sign a lease to put the Eagle Academy for Young Men into the Allen Christian School, in Jamaica, within the next few weeks, an agency official said. Read More: Daily News

Rihanna and Chris Brown record two suggestive songs together

Ill-fated exes Rihanna and Chris Brown are back together — a least in the studio. Three years after a lovers’ quarrel turned physical, leaving Rihanna in the hospital and Brown pleading guilty to assault charges, the former couple has teamed up for two new remixes. While Rihanna lends her voice to Brown’s “Turn Up the Music,” the Barbadian pop star invited Brown to sing on her explicit track, “Birthday Cake.” The lyrics of both songs appear to imply that the two might have rekindled their romance. Read More: New York Post

 

Anonymous hackers could disrupt US power grid, official warns

The director of the National Security Agency warned that the hacking group Anonymous could have the ability within the next year or two to bring about a limited power outage in the US through a cyber attack. Gen. Keith Alexander, the agency’s director, provided his assessment in meetings at the White House and in other private sessions, according to people familiar with the gatherings. While he has not publicly expressed his concerns about the potential for Anonymous to disrupt power supplies, he has warned publicly about an emerging ability by cyber attackers to disable or even damage computer networks. Read More: New York Post

 

Famous masterpiece ‘The Scream’ to fetch $80M at New York auction

A version of Edvard Munch’s famous masterpiece “The Scream” is expected to fetch more than $80 million at a New York auction, Sotheby’s announced Tuesday. The work, which is one of four versions of the composition and the only one still in private hands, dates from 1895 and is owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen whose father Thomas was a friend, neighbor and customer of the artist. “The haunting composition stands as the visual embodiment of modern anxiety and existential dread, referenced by everyone from Andy Warhol to The Simpsons,” the auctioneer said in a statement. Read More: New York Post

 

Trial starts for owner of E. Side’s killer crane

Long decades of ethnic violence, genocide and religious repression in their native Kosovo could not crush the family of Ramadan Kurtaj. Instead, it took the freakish horror of one moment — a massive tower crane plummeting out of the Manhattan sky. “How? How can this happen in the United States?” Kurtaj’s heartbroken father, Uka, said yesterday, red-faced and sobbing on the eve of trial for the millionaire crane magnate charged with manslaughter in the East 91st Street crane collapse of 2008. Read More: New York Post