Tag Archives: new york post

New Queens Courier editor-in-chief takes the helm


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A Rosedale native with 14 years of journalism experience has been appointed editor-in-chief of The Queens Courier.

William J. Gorta, who comes from the New York Post and DNAinfo, stepped into his new role on March 24.

“It’s an honor to return to Queens to edit a great newspaper,” he said. “I’m looking forward to helping transform the paper in the digital age.”

Gorta, 54, will succeed longtime Queens Courier editor Tonia N. Cimino, who gave 11 years to the company and led the department for the last three years.

Gorta spent 11 years at the Post, covering Brooklyn state courts and general assignments. He also worked as night rewrite and crime editor for the daily tabloid.

Before becoming a city scribe, he spent 20 years in the NYPD, serving as the ranking officer on the COMPSTAT development team and retiring in 2000 as a captain.

Gorta earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Writing from Columbia University’s School of General Studies and later graduated from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2001.

The Fulbright Research Fellowship recipient lives on the Upper East Side and has three adult children.

 

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Medicare, money at center of 6th Congressional District mudslinging


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Traditional Medicare could be endangered if the power to decide the fate of the major, federal insurance program falls into the wrong party’s hands, according to a Democratic congressional hopeful.

“Republican plans for Medicare would end guaranteed benefits for our seniors and destroy the traditional Medicare option,” said Assemblymember Grace Meng, who hopes to secure a House seat in November.

The candidate was joined by former Congressmember Liz Holtzman to outline the “stark differences” between the two parties over handling Medicare, during an October 9 press conference outside the Bayside Senior Center.

“Seniors are rightly worried these days about important programs like Medicare being harmed by the misguided policies of the Tea Party Republicans in Washington, D.C.,” said Holtzman, who served in Congress from 1973 to 1981.

Meanwhile, Meng is being taken to task by her Republican rival, Councilmember Dan Halloran, for “ducking” two forums in the last week after having agreed earlier this year to face off with him in a series of five debates. In three out of four candidate nights, Halloran’s camp said the councilmember debated against “an empty chair.”

Halloran said he was “eager to publicly discuss” a recently published New York Post report, which said the councilmember is allegedly being investigated by the Albany district attorney for being over two years behind in filing campaign finance reports for his 2009 City Council run.

According to the Post, Halloran has missed five filing deadlines and owes the state $3,243 in fines and growing interest.

But Halloran’s camp said a State Board of Elections spokesperson was misquoted in the story, having never said the agency was contacted by the district attorney regarding Halloran’s filings.

Halloran had previously condemned Meng for failing to file her personal financial disclosures in May.

Assembly candidate Myungsuk Lee won’t battle Post over claims


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Myungsuk Lee headshotw

An embattled assembly hopeful is backing out of plans to confront the New York Post after the major metro paper exposed alleged prostitution ads in his Korean-language newspaper.

Myungsuk Lee, a 40th Assembly District candidate, was dealt a major blow to his campaign when the Post recently reported his paper, the Korean American Times, had published ads for seemingly legal massage services that ultimately served as guises for prostitution.

“The New York Post wrote an article of my newspaper’s back pages — that there are some illegal massage businesses — but it’s not true,” Lee, 49, said. “If you see my newspaper’s back pages, there are a lot of massage businesses on Northern Boulevard and Union Street. They’re all legal businesses.”

Lee said the lewd classifieds in question are located inside the paper, not on the back pages. The candidate, who has already issued an apology, now told The Courier he’s not sure the four or five small ads are in fact illegal.

“I acknowledged it at the time because I trusted the New York Post reporter,” Lee said. “But I called the massage business the New York Post visited and they said they are just a regular massage business.”

Lee said he had plans to send a letter to the Post to request a sit down with the paper’s higher up editorial officials, but the candidate is now postponing delivering the letter until after the election.

“Personally, I want to send a letter to the Post, but my political consultants advised me not to do it,” he said. “It makes it worse.”

The District Attorney’s office said they were “going to confer with the NYPD’s vice squad on the matter.”

Multiple Korean and Chinese-language newspaper reports said Lee intends to sue the Post for defamation and libel, but the newspaper owner denied that accusation.

Meanwhile, Lee — who is vying for the seat currently held by Assemblymember Grace Meng — said he’s hoping for a civil and positive campaign against fellow Korean-American candidate Ron Kim. Lee said he withdrew petition objections against Kim and asked his opponent to do the same.

“It’s bad in the Korean community to fight each other. It makes it very negative,” Lee said.

Pat McKenna, Kim’s spokesperson, said the Queens County Democratic Party verifies all petitions to make sure they conform to election law requirements in a “routine investigation.”

“It is clear that Myungsuk Lee will say anything to distract voters from the fact that he is under criminal investigation by the Queens District Attorney,” McKenna said. “His increasingly bizarre attacks and statements are simply the reflection of a campaign in turmoil desperately attempting to avoid talking about Myungsuk Lee’s shameful record.”

Congressmember Meeks refutes reports of financial wrongdoing


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

The Courier/photo by Liam La Guerre

A local politician refuted published reports of financial wrongdoing concerning a nonprofit organization to whom he allocated millions in taxpayer money.

Congressmember Gregory Meeks denied that federal authorities are investigating him for any issues with federal funds he secured for the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC).

Instead, he blasted a local newspaper and national group for targeting Democrats.

“I’ve never been investigated in regards to this investigation,” Meeks said in an appearance on Good Day NY. “I don’t know why the [New York] Post headline says ‘Feds question Meeks.’ I’ve never been questioned.”

Meeks said The New York Post and the National Legal Policy Center (NLPC), a group dedicated to promoting ethics, are actually in “cahoots” and come up with “ridiculous stories” in an attempt to take down Democrats.

“They are going after President [Barack] Obama,” Meeks explained.

Recently, the NLPC has reported on corruption stories involving various Democratic leaders, but the group said it reports objectively.

“We’re not out to get anybody, we’re a non partisan organization,” Carl Horowitz, a project manager of NLPC, said. “We don’t play party favorites.”

Horowitz added, “We don’t particularly care what the race or the party system is. We do believe the smaller the government is the less opportunity for corruption.”

The reported allegations of Meeks stem from a New York Post exclusive article, which said the U.S. Attorney’s Office issued a subpoena to the GJDC.

A representative of the organization confirmed the subpoena was received about six months ago and the GJDC complied with the federal office’s requests. However, the group said they were not the target of the subpoena and the federal office did not inform them who was.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not identify the target of the investigation to the GJDC,” said spokesperson Fred Winters. “Greater Jamaica cooperated fully at that time. It was for documentation. They [the GJDC] turned over everything that the U.S. Attorney is looking for.”

Robert Nardoza of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Eastern District refused to comment on the target of the subpoena.

Meeks has worked closely with the GJDC on several projects to develop areas in Jamaica. He has helped secure some of their grants.

One of these projects includes $9.2 million to transform an LIRR underpass from a dark corridor to a lit shopping arcade.

The project was completed about a month ago and tenants have yet to move into the shops because of minor problems with the buildings, which contractors have to finish first.

“You can’t move people into a site which they are still working on,” Winters said. “Greater Jamaica has made arrangements with two cultural intuitional groups [BroLab and chashama] to occupy it when it’s available.”

Meeks helped the GJDC get $21 million in tax credits to complete housing, retail shops and a hotel near the Jamaica LIRR area, according to the Post article.

The Post’s piece also reported that Greater Jamaica failed to develop a building it purchased from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey for $2.7 million since 2004, and has until August 20 to locate a developer or the Port Authority would retake the building.

“The Port Authority has given the GJDC more time to develop a site that been troublesome for some time now,” Winters confirmed. “The economy and finances for funding new development have been very difficult. We just put out a new request for proposals.”

Meeks has had a history with the Post, which published reports of his alleged corruption concerning a charity to help Hurricane Katrina victims in 2010, and an unreported $40,000 he borrowed from a friend in 2007.

But Meeks said he has been cleared of charges in those investigations.

“There have been no reports by the city and Port Authority about missing money,” Meeks said. “We all are focused on trying to make sure that Greater Jamaica does what it’s been doing and that is creating opportunities and development, especially commercial development, for the people.”

Connecticut dad busted in Queens with $70K worth of cocaine in his car — along with his 13-year-old son: police


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Two police officers collared a Connecticut man who was driving in Queens Sunday with his 13-year-old son — and about $70,000 worth of cocaine inside his car, cops said.

Police officers Vincent Siraco and Michael Sardone were on foot patrol on Jamaica Avenue near 165th Street in Jamaica at about 1:55 p.m. when they noticed a 2007 Honda Accord with heavily tinted windows, cops said.

The two cops smelled marijuana after they motioned for the driver — Silvestre Mahon — to pull over, cops said.

[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]

‘Beats’ headphone thefts on the rise throughout NYC


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The city’s thugs have a new favorite to go with their stolen iPhones—stolen Dr. Dre headphones. The legendary rapper’s pricey, high-tech headphones, called “Beats by Dr. Dre,” are the new rage among bandits because they’re seen as “status symbols,” a police source said. Although they have yet to dethrone the iPhone as thieves’ top target, the headphones — which retail for $300 to $500 — are being snatched from kids at an alarming rate since the latest model hit the market around Christmas. Read More: New York Post

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| jlane@queenscourier.com

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Liu’s former campaign treasurer pleads not guilty to fraud

The lawyer for New York City Comptroller John Liu says his client may seek to be tried separately from her codefendant. Attorney Gerald Lefcourt notified a judge of the possibility Tuesday as his client, Jia ‘Jenny’ Hou , pleaded not guilty to fraud charges. Her name was added last week to an indictment returned against a New Jersey man. The man was arrested several months ago on charges he conspired to funnel illegal contributions donated by an undercover FBI agent posing as a businessman. He too pleaded not guilty Tuesday. Read More: New York Post

 

Knicks shattered over Amar’e injury

Steve Novak was crushed about Knicks teammate Amar’e Stoudemire’s lacerated left hand, explaining he thinks Stoudemire never realized the danger when he punched the glass case of a fire extinguisher after last night’s Game 2 loss to the Heat. “I feel awful for [Stoudemire] because he plays with emotion,” Novak told The Post. “And you’re walking in a hallway, and I don’t think he ever thought for a second that it was going to be glass, that it was going to shatter.” Novak said he “was right behind [Stoudemire],” though he cautioned, “but I didn’t actually see his hand. Read More: New York Post
Department of Education Outlines Social Media Policy For Teachers

The city has introduced its first guidelines for the use of social media by teachers. The Department of Education says teachers should refuse friend requests from students on their personal accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter. They’re also being warned that their activity may be monitored and should have no expectation of privacy. Teachers will be given training sessions on the new guidelines. Education officials may also ask parents to sign consent forms before their children participate in social media activities or post their work online. Read More: NY1

 

 

Rent Guidelines Board Holds Preliminary Vote Tonight

Tenants and building owners will once again be squabbling over annual rent hikes for the city’s rent-regulated apartments as the Rent Guidelines Board holds a preliminary vote this evening at Cooper Union. Last year, the board hiked rents 3.75 percent on one-year leases and 7.25 percent on two-year leases. Tonight’s meeting is open to the public, but officials say any noisemakers that can be used to disrupt the proceedings are prohibited. Tenants rights groups and Occupy Wall Street demonstrators plan to hold a protest outside the meeting. The board’s final vote is on June 21. Read More: NY1

 

Cops probe death of baby girl on Staten Island

Police are investigating the death of baby girl on Staten Island, NYPD sources said Tuesday. Six-month-old Genesis Monge wasn’t breathing and had a 105-degree fever when her foster mother called 911 just past 10:15 p.m. Monday, sources said. Genesis was rushed from her home on Steuben St. to Staten Island University Hospital North, where doctors told police she had marks consistent with past trauma, sources said. Genesis died at 11:15 p.m. Read More: Daily News

 

Google knew Street View collected emails, passwords, personal information from millions worldwide

Google Street View had an eye on more than just city streets — it also once collected emails, passwords, Internet search histories, medical records and more from millions of people around the world, new documents show. An FCC report released Friday reveals Google spent over two years between 2008 and 2010 quietly capturing a mountain of personal information by tapping into unsecured wireless networks through its Street View cars, which drive around capturing snapshots to populate the search giant’s massive map database. Read More: Daily News

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| 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

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| 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

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| 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

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| 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

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| 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

JetBlue pilot indicted for flight disruption

A JetBlue Airways pilot accused of disrupting a Las Vegas-bound flight when he left the cockpit screaming about religion and terrorists has been indicted. Court documents posted Thursday show Clayton F. Osbon has been indicted on one count of interference of a flight crew. It’s the same charge he’s been held on since short after the March 27 incident. A secretary for Osbon’s attorney, Dean Roper, says he declines to comment. Read More: New York Post

Queens Library to become first in New York to lend preloaded e-readers

The Queens Library is becoming the first library in the New York public library system to lend e-readers. Under the pilot program, 50 Nooks will be available for check out at the library’s Central Library in Jamaica, starting on Thursday. According to the Wall Street Journal, each e-reader will be preloaded with 25 e-books in one of five categories: children’s literature, young adult books, mystery, romance and best sellers. Each device also will be loaded with 50 works of classic literature. Read More: New York Post

Armed Suspect Killed, Three Wounded In Manhattan Pharmacy Shooting

The New York City Police Department says an armed suspect was shot and killed this morning during an attempted robbery at an East Harlem pharmacy. Investigators are looking for at least one other suspect. Police say they got a report around 11 a.m. of a man with a gun inside the pharmacy on the corner of First Avenue and East 119th Street. The Fire Department says three others were hurt. Read More: NY1

 

World Financial Center evacuated after suspicious package found 

A grenade found in the mail at 2 World Financial Center sparked the evacuations of hundreds of workers who were let back in after it was determined to be just a novelty item, police said. The phony grenade that caused the panic was mounted on a plaque with a sign reading “Complaint Dept. Pull Pin,” cops said. The FedEx package was being scanned by workers from Brookfield Properties when they spotted the object through an X-ray image about 11 a.m. Thursday, the sources said. Daily News
Police: Armed Pair Targeting Cell Phone Stores In Brooklyn, Queens

Police are on the hunt for two men wanted for a string of armed robberies at cell phone stores in Brooklyn and Queens. Police say the men held up two stores in Prospect Park South and one in Richmond Hill. In each incident, the suspects showed a gun and made off with cash. The robberies happened March 26 at a Metro PCS store on Church Avenue; March 30 at a Mobile Wireless Champs store on Liberty Avenue in Queens; and at another Metro PCS store on Flatbush Avenue last Wednesday. Read More: NY1

One person critically injured after early-morning fire rips through Queens apartment


| jlane@queenscourier.com

An early morning fire ripped through a Queens apartment, leaving one person clinging to life, fire officials said.

The blaze broke out on the fourth floor of a six-story building at 153-25 88th Street in Lindenwood at 7:32 a.m., officials said.

One victim went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/queens_person_critically_injured_MLDboGY1QPj6HqqgZOyBLM#ixzz1rH8UL3gi