Tag Archives: Queens’ Morning Roundup

Liu “Stunned” By Fraud Charges Against His Campaign Treasurer


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Arrest Made In Connection With Queens Synagogue Burglary

Police say tips from the public led them to an arrest in the burglary of a Queens synagogue. Efram Sanders, 28, was arrested Tuesday and was facing burglary, grand larceny and stolen-property charges in connection with the break-in at Congregation Degel Israel in Kew Gardens Hills. More than a dozen items were taken, including silver torah crowns and breastplates, worth thousands of dollars in all. Police say they were able to recover all stolen items except for two silver pointers. Read More: NY1

 

NYPD cop impersonators may have used high-quality masks to pull off check-cashing heist

Three cop impersonators wanted for stealing $200,000 from a Queens check-cashing business may have worn masks that were Hollywood quality, the Daily News has learned. Investigators began to suspect the trio that pulled off the Valentine’s Day caper had worn masks that were far from the average costume-shop props after they got a tip, the sources said. One of the false faces even looked like pro wrestler Bill Goldberg. Read More: Daily News

Liu “Stunned” By Fraud Charges Against His Campaign Treasurer

In a serious blow to City Comptroller John Liu’s 2013 campaign effort, authorities on Tuesday announced the arrest of one of his top campaign aides on fraud charges, and the comptroller said he was shocked by the allegations. The U.S. Attorney’s office says Jenny Hou, 25, seen above right, was taken into custody in connection to what authorities call a scheme to use straw donors to get over the limit campaign contributions to Liu. Read More: NY1

 

Mayor Stands By Released Teacher Rankings As Charter School Data Is Published

Mayor Michael Bloomberg again defended the release of teacher data reports Tuesday as the Department of Education released the same information for charter schools and District 75. Charter school teachers make up a majority of the 334 reports. Their participation was optional but District 75, which serves children with special needs, had to take part for two of the three school years represented. A DOE spokesperson says the reports for the charter and District 75 schools are not comparable to those for city schools. Read More: NY1

 

Hero cop: ‘I don’t know how he didn’t hit me from that range’

The partner of the NYPD cop saved by his gun belt said the stunning sequence was like the scene in “Pulp Fiction” where a gunman opens fire on the main characters at point-blank range and misses with every shot. “We were only a couple feet away. I don’t know how he didn’t hit me from that range,” Thomas Dunne told The Post of alleged shooter Luis Martinez. Dunne’s partner, Thomas Richards, 36, was saved when a round hit the extra clip in his pocket. Read More: New York Post

Elevator guy still on job

The lift mechanic whose botched job resulted in a young ad executive getting crushed to death was still allowed to tinker with the city’s elevators yesterday. Michael Hill arrived at his home in Glen Gardner, NJ, after a long day on the job — wearing a navy blue New York Elevator Operators uniform and covered in grease. Hill was working on the city’s elevators just one day after investigators on Monday released a scathing report, accusing him of overriding the critical elevator safety system that led to Y&R ad exec Suzanne Hart’s gruesome death on Dec. 14. Read More: New York Post

ESPN fallout over crack about Lin


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

ESPN fallout over crack about Lin

ESPN yesterday called an offensive foul on two employees for using a racist term in a headline and story about Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin. A headline writer, whose name was not released, was fired, while anchor Max Bretos was benched for 30 days. The out-of-bounds phrase — “chink in the armor” — referred to Chinese-American Lin’s struggles Friday in the Knicks’ first loss since he made a splash. It appeared as a headline on ESPN’s mobile site Saturday. Read More: New York Post

 

NYC’s Allen Christian School is closing

The well-regarded Allen Christian School is closing after nearly 30 years because of financial difficulties. The announcement was made Tuesday by the Rev. Floyd Flake, who said the decision brought him “great sadness.” The politically influential Queens pastor and former congressman founded the school with his wife, the Rev. Elaine Flake. Public Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said his four children have “fond memories of attending Allen Christian.” Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Knicks talking title after Lin leads them to win over Mavericks

After Jeremy Lin’s nationally televised theatrics were over, after the point guard’s international stardom had reached yet another level, after Jason Kidd said Lin indeed looks like Steve Nash in Phoenix, Tyson Chandler soaked it all in and declared what may have become obvious by now: Lin’s Knicks are a genuine contender for a championship this season. Chandler should know best, having helped the Mavericks to a title eight months ago. Chandler faced Dallas during the Knicks’ 104-97 victory in yesterday’s thrilling Garden matinee, and said he feels his new club is championship-caliber with Lin’s fairy tale, J.R. Smith’s arrival and Carmelo Anthony’s grand return to Linsanity scheduled tonight against the Nets. Read More: New York Post

 

Spit hits fan in teach spat

A veteran Queens math teacher was yanked from the classroom yesterday after a cellphone video posted online showed an apparent confrontation with a student. Department of Education officials said they are investigating 19-year veteran David Pecoraro, a vocal union leader at Beach Channel HS in Far Rockaway, on allegations of corporal punishment. An 80-second video posted on YouTube last week captures the alleged incident but doesn’t provide a clear answer on what the teacher did. Read More: New York Post

Whitney Houston’s dress, ‘Bodyguard’ earrings up for auction

A black velvet dress that belonged to Whitney Houston and a pair of earrings she wore in “The Bodyguard” will be sold to the highest bidder next month. Celebrity auctioneer Darren Julien said Sunday the pieces and other Houston items became available after the singer’s unexpected death on Feb. 11 and will be included among a long-planned sale of Hollywood memorabilia such as Charlie Chaplin’s cane, Clark Gable’s jacket from “Gone With the Wind” and Charlton Heston’s staff from “The Ten Commandments.” Read More: New York Post

 

Transit Officers Catch Alleged Subway Pickpocket In The Act

Two transit offers were on the right train at the right time on Saturday and ended up catching an alleged pickpocket in action. Police say the officers were patrolling a Queens-bound E train early Saturday morning in Manhattan, when 50-year old Manuel Alduey got on an adjoining car at West 4th Street and sat next to a sleeping passenger. Investigators say the officers saw Alduey take the sleeping victim’s wallet and iPhone before getting off at West 23rd Street. The officers followed and arrested Alduey. Alduey is being charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. Read More: NY1

 

Memorial Service For Mets’ Gary Carter To Be Held In Florida

A private memorial service will be held this Friday in Florida for former New York Mets catcher Gary Carter. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking donations be made to the Gary Carter Foundation. Carter, known as “The Kid,” died on Thursday at age 57 after a battle with brain cancer. The Hall of Fame catcher was traded to New York from Montreal in 1985 and spent five seasons in Queens. Carter was a major element of the Mets’ 1986 World Series championship team. Read More: NY1

 

Giants ticker tape set to fly downtown


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Giants ticker tape set to fly downtown

Rabid Big Blue fans will flood the Canyon of Heroes today to watch Eli Manning and the Super Bowl champion Giants march up Broadway — and a lucky 500 will get to attend an exclusive City Hall ceremony afterward. Officials doled out 250 pairs of tickets after holding an online lottery for New York residents. More than 50,000 people had entered. The winners were notified at 2 p.m. and had six hours to rush to Midtown to claim their prize. Read More: New York Post

 

Queens Man In Custody Following Wife’s Death

A Queens man whose wife was found dead last week is now in police custody. Sources tell NY1 Jordan Hawes, 32, was picked up by police in Connecticut for driving a stolen car. Sources say he is being held in a psychiatric ward in a Connecticut hospital and has not yet been charged with any crime. His wife, Tara Hawes, 33, was found dead in the couple’s Astoria apartment Thursday night. Investigators say she died of blunt force trauma to the head. Read More: NY1

 

 Former EMS Chief Passes Away After Battling Brain Tumor

The city Fire Department is mourning a longtime Emergency Medical Services chief. John McFarland passed away Monday from complications related to a brain tumor. McFarland began as an EMT in 1983 and served in many positions, including chief of the academy and Queens Borough commander. The father of five is remembered as an advocate for patients who embraced technological advances in the field. Read More: NY1

 

Cemetery workers plunge into open grave

They wound up 6 feet under — and lived to tell about it. Four workers at a Queens cemetery plunged yesterday into a deep grave — on top of a freshly laid casket — leaving one of them injured. Raimundo Rodriguez, 49, had been working in a crew of four on the Harper family plot at the Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village when the freak accident occurred, workers said. The men had been removing the apparatus used to lower caskets into the ground at around 12:50 p.m. when suddenly, all of them “vanished.” Read More: New York Post

 

Dopey rob victim busted

Always tidy up before calling the cops — it’s a lesson that Michael Cokley learned the hard way. Late last year, he called 911 to report a gunpoint home-invasion robbery. As he described the ordeal to them at his Far Rockaway, Queens, apartment, cops smelled the distinctive aroma of marijuana and saw heroin out in the open, police say. After getting a search warrant, the cops allegedly discovered 34 grams of heroin, 91 glassine envelopes, four marijuana grinders and an electronic scale. Read More: New York Post

Bettor days for Aqueduct

Horse betting is up at Aqueduct following the opening of the new racino next door. The total handle on races is up 6.6 last month, compared with January 2011, according to figures compiled by the New York Racing Association. That includes bets made off premises. Wagering increased to $117,842,942 last month from $110,556,714 the prior period — or an increase of more than $7 million. Most of that increase was from off-track betting. The total on-track handle was up 1 percent — to $23,428,941 last month compared to $23,190,785 in the prior period. “We’re pleased with the increase in handle on and off the track,” said NYRA spokesman Dan Silver. Read More: New York Post

Greg Kelly claims ‘flirtatious’ text messages from rape accuser show their rendezvous was consensual and for a ‘sexual purpose,’ sources say


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Greg Kelly claims ‘flirtatious’ text messages from rape accuser show their rendezvous was consensual and for a ‘sexual purpose,’ sources say

The paralegal who says TV host and top-cop son Greg Kelly raped her while she was drunk told cops she got pregnant and had an abortion as a result, NYPD sources said. “Why’d you do that?” she says she angrily demanded in a call to the Fox newsman after the late-night encounter in her downtown Manhattan law office, according to a police source. But Kelly, the popular co-host of “Good Day New York” and the son of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, claims “flirtatious” text messages from the woman show their rendezvous was consensual and for a “sexual purpose,” sources said. “That could be the big key,” one investigator told the Daily News on Thursday. “Unless she taped the phone call, whether this guy gets charged could be determined by the texts.” Read More: Daily News

 

Two Con Ed Workers Rescue Woman From Robbery

Two Consolidated Edison workers are being called heroes after they rescued a woman being robbed in Queens. The two workers were fixing a gas leak near 201st Street and 42nd Avenue in Auburndale when they heard signs of a struggle nearby. They say they discovered a man with a gun assaulting a woman while trying to steal her purse. “As soon as I turned around we saw them, it was a commotion, a lot of yelling, arguing. As soon as we heard that we ran right there, you know. You hear something like that happen and you just run right there. You just go right into mode, you want to help somebody,” said Con Ed worker John McDonnell, seen above left. Read More: NY1

 

Upper East Side woman stalked for 18 years, through six states

Their first and only date was an innocent stroll through Central Park. But when an Upper East Side woman rejected her running-club pal’s bid for an encore, the creep lost his mind and embarked on an 18-year reign of terror — stalking her through six states as she desperately tried to escape his reach. “I was terrified of him,” Linda Arnaud, 45, told The Post of twisted Queens native Moses Shepard, who last week was finally found guilty of federal stalking charges. “He showed up at my place of work. He showed up at my school, at my apartment — he showed up on the subway platform. He stalked me all over New York City.” Read More: New York Post

 

Stabber gets jail

A Queens judge ripped into a teenager convicted of stabbing a neighborhood friend as the attacker was sentenced yesterday to as much time as possible for the senseless crime. Wayne Henderson, 17, was found guilty last month of the attempted murder, assault and disfigurement of Luis Martinez, who was 12 when he was attacked on Jan. 9, 2010. “This is the most vicious crime I’m seen in my 25 years on the bench,” said Judge James Griffin as he sentenced Henderson to the maximum under juvenile-offender guidelines — five to 10 years in prison. Had he been tried as an adult, he could have gotten up to 20 years. Read More: New York Post

NYPD Commissioner’s son being investigated for allegedly raping woman


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

NYPD Commissioner’s son being investigated for allegedly raping woman

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s newsman son, Greg, is being investigated for allegedly raping a woman, law-enforcement sources told The Post early today. The woman filed an official complaint Tuesday against the younger Kelly, claiming the co-host of Fox 5’s “Good Day New York” attacked her last October, the sources said. The allegation is being investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office because of the inherent conflict of interest in an NYPD probe, according to the sources. Greg Kelly’s lawyer, Andrew Lankler, said his client “strenuously denied” the allegation. Read More: New York Post

 

Gotti grandkid in car bust

Carmine Agnello Jr., the grandson of “Dapper Don” John Gotti Sr., was busted by Queens cops yesterday for allegedly driving with a suspended license, police sources said. The Gambino bambino — who starred along with mom Victoria and two brothers on the reality TV show “Growing Up Gotti” — was pulled over at about 3 p.m. for driving a car missing its front license plate and sporting tinted windows, the sources said. After stopping Agnello, officers discovered he allegedly had a suspended license and hauled him in to Jamaica’s 103rd Precinct station house. Read More: New York Post

 

Howard Beach man sentenced for assault of off-duty cop

A Howard Beach man who brutally beat a cop during a gang assault has been sentenced to 18 years in prison. Joseph Meyer, 26, was convicted of first-degree gang assault and other charges for an August 2009 attack on an off-duty police officer during a traffic dispute, according to District Attorney Richard A. Brown. According to trial testimony, Meyer — a construction worker — and several unapprehended others assaulted Officer Damien Bartels while he was off-duty, punching and kicking him multiples times in the head following an early morning traffic dispute in Long Island City. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Queens Teacher is ‘Bloody Vicious’

A Queens teacher last year grabbed and pinched a fifth-grade student’s ear so hard that it started bleeding, an investigation found. But rather than ’fess up and report the injury, Jeanine Stoyer Rivera, a teacher at PS 181 (pictured) tried to cover it up by continually claiming in her disciplinary hearing that she had nothing to do with the vicious act. But even after finding that the veteran teacher’s testimony was “simply not credible,” the hearing officer let Stoyer Rivera off with a $10,000 fine because of her 18 years of service. Now she’s back in the classroom. Read More: New York Post

 

Subway Terror Plot Suspect Pleads Not Guilty To New Charges

A man allegedly involved in a plot to attack the subway system pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a new indictment that links a fourth person to the failed plot. In addition to conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction and providing material support to a terror group, Adis Medunjanin, seen above, is accused of attempting to recruit an unidentified man for jihad in Pakistan. A judge has given prosecutors a week to reveal the man’s identity. Read More: NY1

 

Racino operator donates $100,000 to state pols 

The operator of the Aqueduct racino ponied up $100,000 to state lawmakers amid Gov. Cuomo’s push for full-scale Las Vegas-style gambling in the state. The first-ever donations in New York by Malaysia-based gambling giant Genting come as the company also gears up to build a $4.4 billion convention center at the racino site. The donations are on top of the $1 million in Albany lobbying Genting spent last year. A Genting rep had no comment. Read More: Daily News

Super Bowl Bound: Giants Nip 49ers In OT To Set Up Title Rematch Vs. Patriots


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Super Bowl Bound: Giants Nip 49ers In OT To Set Up Title Rematch Vs. Patriots

For the second time in five seasons, Big Blue is going to the big game. The New York Giants recovered two mishandled San Francisco kick returns, the last one setting up the game-winning field goal in sudden-death overtime, as Big Blue defeated the 49ers 20-17 in Sunday’s NFC Championship to advance to the Super Bowl for the second time since 2008. Sunday’s win sets up a Super Bowl rematch with the New England Patriots, whom the Giants defeated in Super Bowl XLII to claim the franchise’s third Super Bowl title and ruin the Patriots’ pursuit of a perfect season. Read More: NY1

 

 

‘Headless Body in Topless Bar’ killer seeks release from prison

The maniacal murderer who spawned the famous New York Post headline “Headless Body in Topless Bar” is trying to get sprung from prison, The Post has learned. Charles Dingle, 53, will ask a three-person parole panel this week to free him from the upstate Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo. But if his 1983 psychotic rampage and ensuing pathetic prison record are any indication, his chances are questionable. The convict’s infamous blood-drenched spree is considered one of New York’s most notorious crimes. Read More: New York Post

 

‘I tried to stop cop suicide’

The devastated fiancée of the suicidal cop who blew his brains out on the job last week revealed to The Post yesterday how she had desperately tried to talk him out of it in a phone call only seconds before he pulled the trigger. “We weren’t fighting,” insisted Maria Stuart, 28, who was planning to marry NYPD Officer Terrence Dean, 28, on Aug. 18. “All I was trying to do was tell Terrence he needs help.” Stuart said she had admitted to Dean during the frantic Thursday-night call that she had just phoned his Queens precinct house and made vague warnings about a suicidal officer. Read More: New York Post

 

MTA scuttles free-shuttle plan

MTA officials have proven again that they excel — at taking service away from desperate riders. Brass at the cash-strapped agency have incredibly rejected an offer of a free shuttle bus — financed in full by a local lawmaker — for 7-train riders slammed by 11 straight weekends of service outages. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer offered to pay for the $250,000 direct, no-transfer bus from Long Island City to Grand Central while the MTA worked on the signal system under the East River. The money would have come out of his own discretionary funds. Read More: New York Post

 

Two People Injured In Queens House Fire

An investigation is underway into a house fire in Jackson Heights, Queens that injured two people early Sunday. More than 100 firefighters responded to 37-39 90th Street around 1 a.m. and fire officials said two people were pulled from the home. One of the victims is said to be okay, and the other one was taken to Elmhurst Hospital with serious injuries. Read More: NY1

 

Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno Dies

Family members announced that former Penn State coach Joe Paterno died Sunday at age 85, after suffering from complications from lung cancer. A native of Flatbush, Brooklyn, Paterno attended Saint Edmund Elementary School and Brooklyn Preparatory High School and gave up a career in law to coach football. He coached the Nittany Lions for 46 years and won 409 games, more than any other coach in major college football history. Among the former Penn State athletes coached by Paterno is New York Giants offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie, whose team played in Sunday’s National Football Conference Championship game in San Francisco. Read More: NY1

Shock cop suicide


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Shock cop suicide

An NYPD cop fatally shot himself last night while on-duty and interviewing the victim of a Queens car break-in, sources told The Post. The officer, whose name was withheld pending family notification, got into a heated argument on his cellphone with his girlfriend and fired one bullet into his face after the conversation ended at around 11 p.m., the sources said. The cop, a five-year veteran assigned to the 111th Precinct, went with his partner to a house on 211th Street near 85th Avenue in Hollis Hills to talk to a man whose car had been broken into Wednesday. Read More: New York Post

 

Bus teen shot on ‘slay’ line

A 16-year-old boy was shot in the leg yesterday while riding a bus on the Queens line that saw a fatal shooting last month, authorities said. The shooting took place at 3:20 p.m. on the southbound Q111 bus near Seagirt Avenue and Beach 20th Street in Far Rockaway, said an MTA spokesman. Police said the teen has been uncooperative and no arrests have been made. He was treated at Long Island Jewish Hospital After he was shot, the teen approached the driver to report that he had been shot in the leg, according to the MTA spokesman. On Dec 2, Damel Burton, 34, allegedly killed one innocent passenger and wounded another on a crowded Q111 bus in Jamaica. Read More: New York Post

 

Police Shoot Suspect In Attempted Carjacking

Police on Thursday shot a man accused of trying to carjack an elderly driver in Queens. Investigators say the suspect approached his 89-year-old victim while he was parked on Christie Avenue in Corona. The suspect allegedly struck the victim with a gun and then fled the scene. Police gave chase and the suspect later ran into a driveway on 46th Avenue. An officer fired one round at the suspect when he turned to police holding a gun. The weapon turned out to be a BB gun. Read More: NY1

 

Super outlook for Manning

This is when you separate the Mann from the boys. Win one game. Win this game. The hope and dreams of a storied franchise, of a city thirsting for another championship, heaped on one Mann’s shoulders. The Right Mann. The Only Mann Giants fans want for the job. Everyone can see the focus in his eyes, now and forever. He sees 49ers directly in front of him, and that Lombardi Trophy he craves to hoist again in the not-so-distant future. Read More: New York Post

 

‘Qaeda’ subway plotter No. 4

Federal prosecutors have revealed that there was a fourth man in the United States connected to a 2009 al Qaeda-sanctioned plot to blow up subway lines in New York City. Officials last week quietly revised the indictment against one of the conspirators, Adis Medunjanin, alleging that he — along with former high school classmates Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay — tried to recruit someone identified only as “John Doe” to travel to Pakistan “to wage violent jihad.” It’s the first time prosecutors indicated there was a fourth person in the United States linked to what may have been the most legitimate terror plot since 9/11. Now Medunjanin’s attorney, Robert Gottlieb, wants Brooklyn federal prosecutors to unveil the identity of the mystery man before he turns up as a possible witness at a trial set for March. Read More: New York Post

 

Parody video ‘S—t New Yorkers Say’ by blogger Eliot Glazer goes viral — and he doesn’t go to Queens

 

Out of left field

Pieces of Citi Field history — all three years of it — are on sale to the highest bidder. In a decidedly odd online auction, the cash-strapped Mets are hawking seven separate chunks of the padded barrier, that’s been guarded by such “old-time” Amazin’s legends as Daniel Murphy and Jason Bay. Flushing faithful with a few thousand bucks in their pockets can get their hands on markers celebrating their favorite corporate sponsors and championship teams. Mets VP Jay Horwitz insisted the sale isn’t a cash grab, just a routine auction prompted by the team’s left-field redesign. Read More: New York Post

TSA apologizes to elderly women for strip search at Kennedy Airport


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

TSA apologizes to elderly women for strip search at Kennedy Airport

In an about-face, the feds have admitted wrongdoing in the cases of two elderly women who say they were strip-searched at Kennedy Airport by overzealous screeners. Federal officials had initially insisted that all “screening procedures were followed” after Ruth Sherman, 89, and Lenore Zimmerman, 85, went public with separate accounts of humiliating strip searches. But in a letter obtained by the Daily News, the Homeland Security Department acknowledges that screeners violated standard practice in their treatment of the ailing octogenarians last November. Read More: Daily News

Governor Cuomo’s public pension bomb

Gov. Cuomo lobbed a political grenade at New York’s powerful public-employee unions yesterday, proposing a radical pension overhaul for future city and state workers as part of his $132.5 billion state budget plan. Cuomo said the plan would save New York City $30 billion in pension costs over 30 years, while saving $83 billion for the state and local governments outside the city over the same period. “We can no longer sustain the current pension system,” Cuomo said, citing a projected 185 percent treasury-busting increase in pension costs from 2009 to 2015 if nothing is done. Read More: New York Post

Bayside mourns beloved father of six

When Lawrence Hilsdorf was laid to rest, an entire community cried. The 55-year-old, affectionately known as “Larry,” was more than just a Bayside resident – he was a neighborhood icon, and his roots in the community ran deep. He went to Sacred Heart, then Bayside High School, before settling to raise his own family in the area. The father of six boys – Charlie, 25, James, 20, twins Billy and Bobby, 18, Patrick, 15, and Jack, 13 – Larry put his life on the line as a police officer beginning in 1981, first with the Queens North Task Force, and then with the 114th Precinct in Astoria. Read More: Queens Courier

Hunt for cruise victims on hold as wreckage shifts

Italian rescue workers suspended operations Wednesday after a stricken cruise ship shifted slightly on the rocks near the Tuscan coast, creating deep concerns about the safety of divers and firefighters searching for the 22 people still missing. The $450 million Costa Concordia cruise ship had more than 4,200 passengers and crew on board when it slammed into the reef Friday off the tiny Italian island of Giglio after the captain made an unauthorized maneuver. The bodies of five adult passengers — four men and one woman, all wearing lifejackets — were discovered in the wreckage Tuesday, raising the death toll to 11. Their nationalities were not immediately released. Read More: New York Post

Giants passing game could slip against 49ers if weather is bad

There is zero percent chance the Giants will be able to operate their high-flying passing attack at peak efficiency Sunday against the 49ers in the NFC Championship. Anyone who thinks they can is all wet. The cohesive, rugged, old-school (think defense first) 49ers would be a challenge no matter where and no matter what the conditions, but looming up ahead is the true test whether or not the Giants are an all-weather team. After a rousing 37-20 Divisional beatdown of the defending champion Packers in the cold at Lambeau Field, go figure that a trip to northern California could be fraught with soggy peril for the Giants. Read More: New York Post

Wikipedia goes dark in protest of anti-piracy legislation

Free online knowledge site Wikipedia has gone dark as part of a protest over legislation in the US Congress intended to crack down on online piracy. The English version of the online encyclopedia shut down at midnight Tuesday ET. The website will be inaccessible for 24 hours to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate version, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). It was replaced with a message that read, “Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge.” “For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the US Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia,” it went on. Read More: New York Post

Residents Protest Jackson Heights Supermarket

Some Jackson Heights residents and elected officials have declared the Trade Fair store on 37th Avenue a blight on the neighborhood and are rallying for it to clean up its act. Read More & Watch the Video: NY1

Two Correction Officers Sentenced In Connection With 2008 Rikers Assaults

After reaching a plea deal with the Bronx district attorney’s office, former Correction Officers Michael McKie and Khalid Nelson learned their fates Tuesday in State Supreme Court in the Bronx. City investigators said the pair were among officers at Rikers Island running an intimidation campaign known as “the program,” and they had ordered teenage inmates to beat up others to maintain discipline in the adolescent unit. McKie, seen above left, who pleaded guilty to assault, was sentenced to two years in state prison. Nelson, seen above right, who pleaded guilty to attempted assault, was sentenced to one year. Read More: NY1

Queens hotel fire rescue


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens hotel fire rescue

Firefighters fought their way through heavy smoke and shooting flames yesterday to rescue a man with no pulse from a burning Queens motel and bring him back to life. The victim was in a third-floor room at the Conduit Motor Inn in South Ozone Park at around 4 p.m. when members of Engine 302 and Ladder 155 arrived on scene. Firefighter John Summerville crawled into the room to stay beneath the smoke. “I found him face down by the window. The situation was like an inferno,” Summerville said. After reaching the victim, described as being in his 40s, Summerville pulled him out and put him in an ambulance, where another member of Engine 302 began performing CPR and got a pulse back. Read More: New York Post

Cuomo Turns His Budget Focus To Public Pensions, Education System

Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting ready to reveal his budget proposal for the new fiscal year on Tuesday. Although the governor would not share many details of the expected $130 billion plan in advance, he touted on Monday a brighter picture looking forward. “The good work that we did last year is actually going to pay dividends this year,” said Cuomo. “So, from just a budget point of view, where we had a true crisis last year, we had a $10 billion deficit, we had chaos. We have a much better budget situation on the numbers.” “We got a good start last year, moving in a better and a new direction. Took about a 90-degree turn,” said Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco of Schenectady. Read More: NY1

Astoria Houses kids now have ‘Promise’

More than 1,600 underprivileged children have been “granted” the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Local elected officials and community leaders gathered on January 13 to announce that a $500,000 Promise Neighborhood planning grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) had been procured for the children of the Astoria Houses. Read More: Queens Courier

Druggists’ cure for anxiety: a pistol

Your friendly neighborhood pharmacist will soon be locked and loaded. Rattled druggists from Long Island to the city are increasingly applying for gun permits following a spate of fatal robberies by armed thugs desperate to score highly addictive painkillers. “I’m applying for a pistol permit because of this,’’ said Todd Svec, 48, a pharmacist and owner of the Arlo Drug store in Massapequa Park, LI. “I will feel safer if I have one.’’  Svec’s wife is also a pharmacist at the store — and his four daughters work there. He pointed out that Charlie’s Family Pharmacy in Seaford, LI, where on New Year’s Eve a pill-popping ex-con attempted a stickup that left the thug and an off-duty federal agent dead “is just two miles from here.”  Read More: New York Post

Baby born on PATH train between NJ & NYC

Next stop, maternity ward! A woman went into labor on a New York-bound PATH train yesterday, and her baby took the express track — he was born before the train even pulled in to its Manhattan terminal. When Rabita Sarkar and her husband, Aditya Saurabh, left their Harrison, NJ, home they were still planning their unborn child’s exciting future. But by the time their train rumbled into Manhattan’s 33rd Street station, they were a new family, complete with a baby boy and a train car full of honorary uncles and aunts. “He came in a very dramatic fashion,” the smiling new mom told The Post from her bed at Roosevelt Hospital. Read More: New York Post

One more time, vengeance shall be Giants’

The Giants wanted another shot at the 49ers, wanted the stakes higher than they were in November. Now they have it, and it doesn’t bother them in the least that the game is in San Francisco, because they would play this one, the one that is the Golden Gateway to Glory, on the moon. Jim Harbaugh has restored the pride to a storied franchise, and 60 minutes from the Super Bowl means the Giants will be expecting a hostile environment Sunday night — and possibly a rainy one as well — at Candlestick Park. “I can care less about how hostile it is, it’s a game,” Antrel Rolle said. “When you’re home, you want to bring ’em to their feet. When you’re away, you want to bring ’em to their knees, and that’s the way I look at it.” Read More: New York Post

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announces blackout to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress

Wikipedia will black out the English language version of its website Wednesday to protest anti-piracy legislation under consideration in Congress, the foundation behind the popular community-based online encyclopedia said in a statement Monday night. The website will go dark for 24 hours in an unprecedented move that brings added muscle to a growing base of critics of the legislation. Wikipedia is considered one of the Internet’s most popular websites, with millions of visitors daily. “If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States,” the Wikimedia foundation said. Read More: Daily News

Queens man kills wife in front of daughter


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens man kills wife in front of daughter

A Queens man fatally slit his estranged wife’s throat in front of her terrified young daughter — and was nabbed after cops tracked his bloody trail for three blocks, law-enforcement sources said today. “My stepfather stabbed my mom,” the stricken 9-year-old daughter of victim Diane Sharma told cops at their home on 117th Street in Jamaica. Sources said Sharma, a 32-year-old mother of three whose two younger children also were at home at the time, had had an order of protection against her Ukrainian husband. The man, who was not immediately identified, had been arrested Sept. 2 for allegedly assaulting and choking his wife, who then took out the restraint against him. Read More: New York Post

Perv pol lands Queens lobbyist gig

Disgraced ex-Councilman Dennis Gallagher now works with a Queens consultant who’s under attack for trying to strong-arm GOP candidates into hiring him, The Post has learned. Gallagher, who stepped down in 2008 after pleading guilty to sexual-abuse charges stemming from accusations that he raped a woman in his Middle Village office, is listed on a city government database as an “additional lobbyist” with GSP Consulting, a Sunnyside-based firm run by Jay Golub, a dentist. Gallagher, a Republican, confirmed that he does consulting work with Golub and that he’s done consulting for Councilman Peter Koo (R-Queens) but said he hasn’t done any work for Republicans in Queens “on a paid basis.” Read More: New York Post

Gas kills 2 in Queens

A man and his father were found dead from an apparent carbon monoxide poisoning at their Queens home yesterday. Aaron Chen, 29, and Kuo-Kuang Chen, 66, were found at their home on 101st Avenue in Ozone Park after the father didn’t show up to babysit his 12-year-old granddaughter. “He doted on her,” said his daughter, Marien Chen. Fearing the worst, she went to their house to check on them. “I crawled through the window. I was thinking, ‘please let them be OK.’ “My father was in his bed and my brother was lying on the floor. It looked like he was trying to get out,” Chen, 33, said. Read More: New York Post

Vallone Helps Astoria Clean Up Its Own “Flatiron Building”

A Queens lawmaker is behind an effort to spruce up the borough’s mini version of the Flatiron Building. Sitting at the intersection of Astoria Boulevard, 21st Street and 27th Avenue, historians say the triangle-shaped building was once the commercial center of Astoria. In recent years, the century-old neighborhood landmark had fallen into disrepair and been covered with graffiti. Last summer, Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. started working with the NYPD and the New Hampshire owners of the building to wipe away the graffiti and repaint the property. Read More: NY1

Dead Body Discovered On Queens Beach

Police are investigating after a body was found on a Queens beach. Officers were called to the shoreline near Beach 17th Street in Far Rockaway just before 8 a.m. Saturday. When the officers arrived, they found a woman unconscious and unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials say it appears the woman was in her 40s. Read More: NY1

TSA Collected Nearly $47,000 In Loose Change At JFK In 2011

The Transportation Security Administration is raking in some pretty pennies. TSA officials say agents collected more than $409,000 in loose change left by airline passengers last year. John F. Kennedy International Airport netted the most amount of money with nearly $47,000 left behind. TSA officials say says most of the money comes from people rushing through security or foreign travelers who don’t want to take it home with them. Read More: NY1

Cruise ship disaster death toll hits 6; Captain blamed for ‘judgment errors’ in Costa Concordia tragedy

The captain of the capsized Costa Concordia “seems to have made judgment errors with grave consequences,” the owners of the boat said Sunday — and prosecutors say he may purposely have sailed close to shore to greet a friend with a blast of the ship’s horn. Captain Francesco Schettino drove the 10-story ship into the rocky Tuscan island of Giglio, ripping a catastrophic 160-foot gash in its hull that sent the boat tumbling onto its side. At least six people were killed. “There was someone in particular that wanted to be signalled from the ship,” said prosecutor Franco Verusio. “We are looking into the possible responsibility of other people in this hazardous maneuver,” he told Italian TV. Read More: Daily News

City heroin ring smashed by arrests after yearlong probe, authorities say

Well-to-do suburbanites turned the Long Island Expressway into “Heroin Highway,” copping highs at bargain prices from pushers in Brooklyn and Queens, prosecutors said Friday. A yearlong investigation led to the arrest over the past week of eight alleged members of a drug ring who arranged for the sale of high-quality South American heroin at hotels, diners and electronic stores in Brooklyn and Queens, authorities said. More than 120 other suspects — most from eastern Long Island — have been nabbed over the past year traveling into the city to buy up heroin at a discount. All the buyers used the drug themselves, and some also resold the smack to pals, authorities said. Read More: Daily News

Queens School Bus Accident Injures Six


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens School Bus Accident Injures Six

A mangled school bus across from a just as badly damaged car was the resulting wreckage from an accident in Queens Thursday, a testament to how close the collision came to being deadly. A driver of a Nissan Altima struck a bus on Glassboro Avenue and Liverpool Street in Jamaica. “It ran the stop sign right there and basically t-boned the school bus, and it was like a deflection,” said one witness. “Almost hit little children crossing the street,” said another. “It’s wild around here.” The Nissan driver missed the children, but the bus driver lost control and struck a 59-year-old woman, pinning her between the bus and the house. Read More: NY1

TSA agent busted in laptop ‘lift’

A federal TSA screener at La Guardia Airport was arrested for allegedly swiping a pricey laptop from a college student at a security gate. “He’s supposed to be protecting our country, but this shows his true intent,” fumed alleged victim Conley Averett, 21, who attends Parsons School of Design. Now-fired TSA screener Edwin Rosario, 27, was charged Tuesday with grand larceny and possession of stolen property for taking Averett’s $1,300 computer Dec. 19 as Averett hopped a Delta flight to Detroit and left it behind, authorities said. Read More: New York Post

Cops kill armed Brooklyn man; girlfriend says victim was investigating break-in at his home

Police shot and killed an armed man whose girlfriend said had gone outside in his pajamas to check on a possible break-in at his Brooklyn home Thursday night. Dwayne Browne, 27, was shot once in the chest about 10:40 p.m. outside 943 Schenck Ave. in East New York and died at Brookdale Hospital at 11:46 p.m., police said. “The officers told me they had to shoot him,” said his girlfriend, who gave only her first name, Juanita. “They kept calling him the shooter. The officer said, ‘I’m sorry. It was one of us. But he wouldn’t put the gun down.’’ Read More: Daily News

Mayor Michael Bloomberg makes his State of the City speech

Mayor Michael Bloomberg made his State of the City highlighting ambitious plans to continue his overhaul of the “broken system” he faced when he entered office. Before the mayor made his way to the podium a short video was played chronicling his “journey” to get to this year’s speech.  Along the way he poked fun at himself — he danced to Lady Gaga who helped him ring in the new year with a kiss — and issues he has fought for over the years, including bike lanes and taxis in the outer boroughs.  It also featured former Mayor Ed Koch welcoming motorists to “his” bridge, the former Queensboro Bridge. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Track Work To Halt 7 Train Service On Weekends

Beginning the weekend of January 21, 7 trains will not run between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square. Riders can rely on the N train and take a free shuttle bus to the stops not being serviced. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority maintains the shutdown is absolutely necessary to make long-needed infrastructure repairs and upgrades. Community leaders say any steps have to be taken as quickly as possible and argue the line is a crucial way through several neighborhoods that are not serviced by any other trains. Read More: NY1

 

Glock of the ‘walk’: Wrist slap for Tea Partier’s La Guardia gun

A Tea Party activist busted at La Guardia Airport trying to place his California-licensed handgun into checked baggage got off with a disorderly-conduct charge yesterday. Mark Meckler’s no-jail deal comes as city district attorneys are grappling with a growing number of otherwise law-abiding gun owners who accidentally run afoul of New York’s strict gun-control regulations. “Apparently, this happens to hundreds of people per year in New York City,” Meckler, co-founder of the influential Tea Party Patriots, fumed on his Web site after court today. Read More: New York Post

City Worker Pleads Not Guilty To Hate Crime Charges In Connection With Parks HQ Noose

A Parks Department worker pleaded not guilty Thursday after he was arrested on hate crime charges and accused of a hanging a doll by a noose in the department’s Bronx headquarters. Fariz Ahmemulic, 28, was arrested Wednesday after two fellow employees said he told them he had put it up. He was charged with multiple counts, including aggravated harassment as a hate crime. The arraignment came after the doll was found last month near the working space of an African American employee. Ahmemulic said he had nothing to do with the incident. Read More: NY1

Bronx Man Arraigned On Assault Charges In Connection With Fatal Parking Lot Fight

As Andre Muller walked out of State Supreme Court in the Bronx on Thursday, his predicament shows just how quickly a situation can get out of control, changing lives forever. In June, Muller was fighting with two attendants at a Bronx parking lot. His son, Isayah Muller, was stabbed to death when he jumped into the fight. At his latest court appearance, Andre Muller pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault and possession of a weapon, which was the shovel he used during the fight. “There’s is no doubt that Mr. Muller, my client, should have retreated from the location,” said defense lawyer Lawrence Fredella. “There is also no doubt that he was threatened before taking any physical action.” Read More: NY1

Scam fam sent off to prison


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Scam fam sent off to prison

A seething Queens judge walloped three members of a crooked Richmond Hill family yesterday, sending them upstate to serve a combined 418 years for a brazen immigration and real-estate scam. The mom, dad and daughter — dubbed “The Ramsundar Gang” by Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder — paid a shocking price for defrauding 19 families of $1.8 million over six years. Holder said his harsh sentences are nothing compared to the street justice the Ramsundar family would have faced back in their native Trinidad. Read More: New York Post

Body of man found in garbage pile fire outside Furniture Zone store

A man’s charred body was discovered in a burning pile of garbage in Brooklyn Thursday morning, police said. Firefighters who were called to a blaze on Hendrickson Street in Marine Park shortly before 4 a.m. made the grisly discovery. The body, believed to be that of a white male, was lying on top of several boxes and had been burned beyond recognition, sources said. The fire erupted at the side of a Furniture Zone store in an area frequented by vagrants, according to a taxi stand manager who works in the area. Read More: Daily News

Queens Residents Brace For 7 Train Disruptions

It’s going to be a long winter for the several thousand western Queens residents who rely on the 7 train to get around town on the weekends come January 23. That’s when an 11-week service shutdown begins, which means no trains on Saturdays and Sundays until the spring. “This is not a neighborhood that has five different places where you can use instead. We’re very isolated there,” said Queens resident Moitri Savard. The MTA says the work is essential to make critical infrastructure improvements and upgrade tracks and switches. It also needs to clean the tracks of muck it says have accumulated over the years. Read More: NY1

Elevators in building where Manhattan ad exec died had numerous problems

Elevator problems were an epidemic at the building where a Manhattan ad executive died in a horrific accident last month, newly revealed Buildings Department records show. City inspectors wrote 11 violations against 13 elevators at 285 Madison Avenue in the immediate aftermath of the December 14 tragedy that killed Suzanne Hart, 41, the public records show. Investigators are still trying to determine the exact cause of the malfunction that killed the Brooklyn resident. The elevator that killed Hart so far has only been cited for a paperwork problem — it was among several elevators in the building that lacked a “certificate of compliance” with Buildings rules, the records show. Read More: New York Post

Pedestrian hit on FDR

A taxi passenger was struck by a minivan on the FDR last night after he impatiently hopped out of the cab in heavy traffic and darted across the roadway, police sources said. The unidentified victim was headed northbound near East 105th Street at around 11:30 p.m. when his cab hit congestion, the sources said. He left the vehicle and was struck in a southbound lane by a Toyota minivan. The victim was rushed to Metropolitan Hospital in unknown condition. Read More: New York Post

New arrests at Zuccotti

A gang of Occupy Wall Street protesters skulked back to the park yesterday, racking up three arrests. The 2:20 a.m. arrests came about seven hours after cops took down barricades that were erected when the group was evicted from the park on November 15. All three were charged with trespassing, and two were also hit with resisting arrest. Read More: New York Post

St. John’s loses to Marquette

For all the freshman mistakes and youthful inconsistency, St. John’s has played hard this season, rarely had its effort called into question. But last night it wasn’t so much questioned as flat-out criticized, the Red Storm folding in the second half of an 83-64 beating at the hands of No. 24 Marquette. The bowed heads and slumped shoulders and palpable frustration told the tale. The Red Storm (8-8, 2-3 Big East) have lost all six of their games against ranked teams, and with a chance at a breakthrough, what it got was a breakdown. It let Marquette shoot 67.7 percent to turn a second-half lead into a blowout loss. Read More: New York Post

Cab Driver Charged With Raping Passenger May Be Linked To Second Attack


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cab Driver Charged With Raping Passenger May Be Linked To Second Attack

Police have arrested a yellow cab driver who they say raped a passenger at knifepoint in Brooklyn last spring, and sources say he may be charged with a second attack that took place in the fall. Gurmeet Singh, 40, of Queens was arrested on Monday and now faces charges including rape, robbery, assault and sex abuse. Police say Singh picked up a 26-year-old woman on May 6 in Williamsburg and allegedly attacked her in the back seat of the cab. The woman, who had been drinking and fell asleep in the cab, woke up during the assault and found she had a knife to her throat. She was then abandoned in Downtown Manhattan, where she contacted police. Read More: NY1

Mayor’s plan to limit booze sales

First, Mayor Bloomberg went after smoking in public places. Then trans-fats, salt and sugary drinks. Now Bloomberg — known for sipping fine wine and downing a cold beer from time to time — wants to crack down on alcohol sales to curb excessive drinking, according to a provocative planning document obtained by The Post. The city Health Department’s far-reaching Partnership for a Healthier New York City initiatives proposes to slash the number of establishments in the city that sell booze. Community “transformation” grants provided under President Obama’s health-care law would help bankroll the effort. Read More: New York Post

JFK Terminal 4 expansion on schedule

After a smooth takeoff, the $1.2 billion project to expand a terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIAT) is on track — with no foreseeable delays to its arrival destination date. Improvements to Terminal 4 — the Delta Airlines terminal, which officials say serves 10 million international passengers a year — have been underway for the past year. Upon completion in May 2013, fliers can expect to see a new mechanized baggage screening system — which officials say will expedite the process — a centralized security system on the terminal’s new fourth floor, as well as nine additional gates and a 1,500 linear foot passenger bridge to connect Terminals 2 and 4. Read More: Queens Courier

Beyoncé & Jay-Z’s $1.5M in ‘Blue’ gifts

What to get the baby that has everything — even more. Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s baby girl, Blue, has been lavished with more than $1.5 million in gifts, from a golden rocking horse to a “fantasy” crib fit for Cinderella. Blue Ivy Carter — the music world’s smallest diva — left Lenox Hill Hospital yesterday in the arms of her famous parents for home, where she’ll enjoy the priciest swag this side of Buckingham Palace. When she gets bigger, baby Blue will rock on a solid-gold, handmade horse from Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka that Jay-Z bought for $600,000. Read More: New York Post

Sparano to replace Schottenheimer as Jets offensive coordinator

Jets fans won’t have offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to kick around anymore. The Jets announced last night Schottenheimer informed them he would not return for next season. It seems unlikely he would just walk away from the two years and $3.2 million left on his contract, so it appears the two sides worked out an agreement for him to walk away instead of getting fired. Former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, according to a source, will replace Schottenheimer.  Read More: New York Post

Genovese wiseguy Anthony Romanello lucks out, cops to gambling rap with feds 

A Genovese geezer hit the daily double Tuesday, pleading guilty to illegal gambling and winning permission from a federal judge to hang out with a mobbed-up pal who runs the famed Parkside Restaurant in Queens. Reputed capo Anthony (Rom) Romanello, 74, got lucky when a cooperating witness for the feds had a heart attack over the weekend while prosecutors were prepping him for the gangster’s trial, which was to begin this week. Read More: Daily News

Cabdriver busted in ‘rape’


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cabdriver busted in ‘rape’

Cops arrested a cabby yesterday for allegedly raping a young passenger in his taxi at knifepoint after she left a Williamsburg bar. Gurmeet Singh, 40, picked up the 26-year-old woman on May 6, and she asked to be taken to her Manhattan building, cops said. After the intoxicated woman fell asleep, Singh, pulled over, bound the victim’s hands with a scarf and began raping her, cops said. Singh, who lives in Jamaica, then took the woman’s cellphone and cash and pushed her out of the cab, cops said. Read More: New York Post

Quid pro quo at Big A convention site

A biggest-in-the-nation convention center would mean a bigger racino at Aqueduct. Governor Cuomo said yesterday the Genting Group will seek more gaming machines at the racino it runs at Aqueduct Racetrack as the Malaysian-based gaming giant pours $4 billion into what would be the country’s largest convention center there. A bigger racino would mean renegotiating the state’s cut from video-lottery-machine revenues, Cuomo said on Albany’s Talk 1300 AM radio. A source said that would mean more money for the state from expanded operations but a smaller percentage of the take, although Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said it’s too early to say, with discussions ongoing. Read More: New York Post

DOE Announces Two More Charter Schools Will Close

Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Charter High School is out-of-control. But it’s not the students — it’s the leadership, which has spent millions on consultants and real estate and refused to follow ethics rules. Since charter schools are independently run, there’s not much the Department of Education can do, except close them down. Officials say that is what they plan to do at the end of the school year. Williamsburg Charter High will be just the third city charter school to have its charter revoked in the middle of a five-year-term, but it won’t be the only charter to close this June. Read More: New York Post

For Comptroller’s Allies, a Day Without an Award Is a Rarity

In New York City, most city officials, a couple times a month, honor community organizations with special suitable-for-framing commendations, praising them for “distinguished leadership” or “dedicated service.”  Then there is John C. Liu. Since his election to the city comptroller position in 2009, Mr. Liu has showered people and groups with official commendations, handing out more than 760 — with nearly one-quarter of the recipients connected to his political campaign, according to an analysis conducted by The New York Times. Read More: New York Times

Wrist slap for elder con

A Queens social worker who posed as a relative to steal $220,000 from an 85-year-old man in her care got off with just five years’ probation yesterday. Jennifer Robinson, 37, of Cambria Heights, had faced up to 15 years in prison. But Queens Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho took it easy on Robinson. In 2009, she listed herself as a niece of the late Walter Witko, a dementia patient, to steal his assets, proseuctors said. Read More: New York Post

NJ Assembly’s GOP leader dies at Statehouse

As the long and busy final day of New Jersey’s legislative session was coming to a close, most lawmakers were preparing to head home for a few hours of sleep before the new session got under way. But in a matter of moments, everything changed. The Assembly and state Senate members, along with their aides and other staffers, stood stunned as they learned that Assembly Republican leader Alex DeCroce had collapsed and died around 11 p.m. Monday in a men’s room at the Statehouse. They had been working with the 75-year-old lawmaker all evening as the Legislature wrapped up its session with a flurry of last-minute bills, and one of his final acts as the GOP leader was to accuse Democrats of casting votes for an absent member. Read More: New York Post

Drunk in Staten Island train mishap made WTC movie

The drunken passenger pulled from the Staten Island Railway tracks by a good Samaritan — who was critically injured himself during the rescue — is an independent filmmaker who made the first movie about the 9/11 attacks, sources said yesterday. Jonathan M. Parisen, 40, of East Orange, NJ, wrote, produced and directed “Stairwell: Trapped in the World Trade Center” in 2002, and more recently was working on a flick called “Terrobot” about a giant robot that attacks New York City. Parisen was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespass for going on the tracks to retrieve his shoes at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, authorities said yesterday. Read More: New York Post

New Jay-Z tune a real ‘pop’ track

It’s a hip-hop homage to his favorite new girl. First-time pop Jay-Z yesterday released a touching new tune for baby daughter Blue Ivy Carter that features her newborn cries — and also reveals the heartbreak he and songstress wife Beyoncé suffered over a previous miscarriage. Read More: New York Post and Listen Below

Glory – Jay-Z feat. Blue Ivy Carter by Warhol2011

Good Samaritan critically injured rescuing drunk man from subway tracks


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Good Samaritan critically injured rescuing drunk man from subway tracks

A good Samaritan trying to help a drunken man off the Staten Island Railway tracks was hit by a train and critically injured Sunday, officials said. Steven Santiago, 39, came across a drunk who had jumped onto the tracks to retrieve his lost shoe in the New Dorp station about 1:30 a.m., relatives and cops said. When the drunk couldn’t get back onto the platform, Santiago jumped down to help him, officials said. “He is a great man who risked his life to save someone he doesn’t even know,” said the hero’s stunned brother Edwin Santiago, 42. A Tottenville-bound train barreled into the station with both men still on the tracks. The drunk somehow avoided being hit, but Steven Santiago was taken to Staten Island University Hospital North in critical condition after the train slammed into his head, police said. Read More: Daily News

Dallas Cowboys receiver Kevin Ogletree sits at bedside of brother who was shot in Queens

Dallas Cowboys player Kevin Ogletree was holding vigil Sunday at his big brother’s hospital bedside in Queens — praying he would survive being shot in the head by a pair of bicycling gunmen, a relative said. Calvin Ogletree, 25, remained in critical condition at Jamaica Hospital Sunday night, a day after he was shot in front of his luxury car rental shop on Linden Boulevard in St. Albans. “He’s a good kid; he has a good heart,” Calvin Ogletree’s uncle, Mark Ross, told the Daily News. Read More: Daily News

Worry on Whitestone waterfront; impending sale of 13-acre parcel sparks overdevelopment concerns 

A 13-acre property in Whitestone is up for grabs — the largest single parcel of land for sale in Queens — and it’s attracting the attention of developers but also causing concern among community leaders. The former industrial site, located at 151-45 6th Road, was re-zoned for 52 one-family homes in 2008. The waterfront property comes with an additional five acres that is submerged underwater. Local leaders worried about overdevelopment in the community said they are concerned that a new owner could build many more homes or even multi-family dwellings. Read More: Daily News

Queens Broker Is Accused of Bringing Immigrants’ Ruin

For years, a self-made real estate magnate named Edul Ahmad personified the collective dreams of Richmond Hill, which is populated by many immigrants from Guyana, in South America. Ahmad drove a yellow Lamborghini, sponsored a cricket team and held white-glove parties at a lavish banquet hall that he owned. At a prominent intersection near the border of Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park, his smiling face looked down from a large billboard that promoted his real estate services. Many residents responded, taking out high-risk mortgages that they were told they could readily afford. In July, it all came crashing down. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Mr. Ahmad, charging him with masterminding a $50 million mortgage fraud that seemed to exemplify a nationwide phenomenon of celebrated immigrant brokers who were accused of preying on their own. Read More: New York Times

Straphangers Cope With Major MTA Weekend Repairs

With the Metropolitan Transportation Authority doing maintenance and construction this weekend, 17 of the city’s 22 subway lines — the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A, C, D, E, F, G, J, N, Q, R and S lines — are experiencing some type service disruption. For many, it was confusing, annoying and downright frustrating. Some Q train riders in Downtown Brooklyn said on Saturday night that they had it with all the weekend service disruptions. “You got to get off at one particular point in Brooklyn, switch to the bus, get back on another train and it’s not the train that we need. It’s crazy,” said one rider. Read More: NY1

Fallout over failed Queens center

A longtime board member of a politically connected Queens nonprofit resigned yesterday after The Post reported that his publicly funded group owed the Port Authority $2.7 million over its stalled plan to create a new business center. The sudden resignation of Greater Jamaica Development Corp. board member Cruz Russell, whose $173,000-a-year day job is with the PA, came as the bistate agency announced an exhaustive review of its dealings with the nonprofit over the ailing JFK Corporate Square project. Read More: New York Post

New York coalition presents redisticting maps to boost Asian-American, Latino and African-American representation

A coalition of Asian-American, Latino and African-American groups has released a new set of redistricting maps it believes will give the city’s large ethnic populations a greater voice in future elections. The so-called Unity Maps are just one proposal being sent to state lawmakers as they decide how Senate, Assembly and congressional districts in the city should be redrawn to reflect changes in the 2010 Census. A state task force is slated to release its redistricting proposal in the next week or so. Read More: Daily News

Beyonce’s hospital mates baby-bumped

Pushy parents Beyoncé and Jay-Z installed bulletproof glass and burly bodyguards at the Upper East Side hospital where their diva daughter was just born — and even booted worried moms and dads out of the neonatal intensive-care unit. The fuming other parents at Lenox Hill Hospital said they were essentially put on “lockdown” so that the pampered songstress and her party could come and go as they pleased. “They just used the hospital like it was their own and nobody else mattered,” blasted new dad Neil Coulon, who said his efforts to see his premature, newborn twins in the neonatal ICU were disrupted at least four times by the arrival of Beyoncé and her tiny rap princess, Blue Ivy Carter, over the weekend. Read More: New York Post

Liu kicked in arrears

Embattled Comptroller John Liu, the city’s chief fiscal officer, is an accused deadbeat. Con Edison and the state Tax Department have taken separate legal action against his campaign committee, People for John Liu, for allegedly failing to pay nearly $1,500 in outstanding bills and taxes, The Post has learned. Con Ed is suing in Brooklyn Civil Court for about $500 in unpaid electric bills and has sicced a collection agency on him. The delinquency covers energy usage from a campaign office that Liu rented at 1424 Fulton Street in 2008 and 2009 when he was running for his current job, records show. Con Ed filed its initial suit October 14, 2009. A second suit was filed June 25, 2010, after the bills remained unpaid. Read More: New York Post