Tag Archives: Queens News

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 86. Northwest wind 8 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Clear, with a low around 72. West wind around 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: After School Special-Laughing Devil Comedy Club 

Join Jesse Jones as he brings his rowdy comic buddies to this weekly show. After School Special is a show designed to make every week a very special episode. Each Thursday at 8:00 p.m. you will be treated to a mix of alternative comics, mainstream comedians, story tellers and special guests as they hilariously give insight into the life as a stand-up.

Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens man arrested for synagogue crime spree

A man who stole valuable Torah relics from a Kew Gardens Hills synagogue earlier this month was arrested Tuesday and also charged with stealing religious items from two other synagogues in Queens this summer, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced today. Read more: Queens Courier

State rejects charter school application for kids of illegal Chinese immigrants

The state has shot down an application to create a year-round, bilingual charter school in Flushing aimed at the children of illegal Chinese immigrants. Lotus King Weiss, the lead applicant of the Whole Elephant Charter School, posted articles on the elementary school’s website about her being attacked in the U.S. due to her controversial Falun Dafa beliefs. Read more: Daily News

Queens judge sues city after alleged transit cop assault

Stung by the refusal of the Queens district attorney to prosecute the cops he says assaulted him, a state Supreme Court judge today took the first steps to sue the city. Queens Supreme Court Justice Thomas Raffaele walked into the Kew Gardens courthouse on his day off to file the notice of claim against the city, expressing his intention to file a lawsuit for the “untruths” and “slander” he claims was reported by a pair of transit cops to undercut criminal charges. Read more: NY Post

Ryan calls for a U.S. turnaround, led by Romney

Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, whose budget plans have come to define conservative opposition to President Obama’s governing philosophy, accepted the Republican vice-presidential nomination on Wednesday as his party embraced the gamble that the small-government principles he represents have more political payoff than peril. Read more: NY Times

Isaac causing big problems, but proving to be far weaker than Katrina

Hurricane Isaac sidestepped New Orleans on Wednesday, sending the worst of its howling wind and heavy rain into a cluster of rural fishing villages that had few defenses against the slow-moving storm that could bring days of unending rain. Read more: CBS

Mourners say goodbye to man killed outside Empire State Building

Funeral services were held Wednesday for the man shot and killed near the Empire State Building last week. Mourners gathered for a solemn service at Our Lady of Sorrows in White Plains to honor fashion executive Steven Ercolino. Read more: CBS

74-year-old gunman tries to shoot his estranged wife in Staten Island bowling alley

A Staten Island bowling alley was turned into a shooting range Wednesday when a 74-year-old man opened fire on his estranged wife. Armando Tritto squeezed off at least three errant shots at Maureen Tritto, 47, as she was preparing to open the snack bar at Rab’s Country Lanes in Dongan Hills, cops said. Read more: Daily News

New cops join 106th precinct


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

DSC_0321

Fresh out of the academy, 15 newly minted police officers joined the 106th Precinct. The rookie rangers were introduced to the public at the precinct’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 9 by Captain Thomas Pascale. On hand to welcome the recruits was Senator Joseph Addabbo who congratulated Pascale for obtaining extra law enforcement officials. According to Addabbo, the tourist traffic at Resorts World Casino and the relocation of cops to the Rockaways during the summer caused the precinct to garner more assistance.

No More Rotten ‘Apple’


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Alma Realty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens Man Found Guilty In Subway Bomb Plot Trial

The mother of convicted terrorist Adis Medunjanin hurried out of Brooklyn federal court Tuesday afternoon, minutes after her son was found guilty of plotting to blow up parts of the city’s subway during rush hour back in 2009. The jury also found Medunjanin guilty of conspiring to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan after receiving terrorism training from al-Qaida in Pakistan. Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney in charge of the case, said this should send a clear message — terrorists will be caught and prosecuted. Read More: NY1

 

Ray Kelly ‘Still contemplating’ run for mayor

Ray Kelly has given his first public indication that he might indeed be interested in running for mayor. The police commissioner was approached by a reporter at a party last week in Washington and asked point blank if he was open to the idea of trying to succeed Mayor Bloomberg. “I’m still contemplating that,” Kelly responded, according to New York magazine. He had a few other things to say first, which raised the question whether he was really signaling he might make his first run for office. Read More: New York Post


Large Majority Of City Council Votes For Living Wage Bill

The legislation requires companies getting a million dollars or more in city subsidies to pay their workers at least $10 an hour. “We live in city where the gap between the rich and poor has widened more than any other city,” said Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron. “We talk about government subsidies, one of my colleagues said that this is a bill we can build on. And that’s what I’m terrified of, you will build on this bill,” said Queens Councilman Dan Halloran. Read More: NY1

 

Queens Democrats facing challenges from inside and outside the party ranks

Several Democratic state senators from Queens could face challenges this year from forces both inside and outside their party. Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich announced this week that he will take on Democrat Joseph Addabbo Jr. for his 15th Senate District seat. And Councilman James Sanders Jr., a Democrat, is mulling a primary challenge to Shirley Huntley for her 10th Senate District seat in southeast Queens. Ulrich, a rising star in the Republican Party, could give Addabbo a tough race in his own backyard. Read More: Daily News

 

Queens construction contractors to pay $500,000 for shortchanging workers

A husband and wife team of Queens construction contractors have agreed to pay $500,000 after state investigators caught them shortchanging workers on public job sites. In a settlement with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Jitendra and Sarita Hirani agreed to pay restitution to 11 workers, the News has learned. “There are strict rules when taxpayer dollars are used to pay private companies for public projects, but this company violated those rules, and now they will pay the price,” Schneiderman said in a statement. Read More: Daily News


Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

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

Health Exchange will make insurance more accessible


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The governor issued an executive order recently establishing a statewide health insurance exchange after the state legislature failed to pass the bill last year.
Governor Andrew Cuomo established the New York Health Benefit Exchange on Thursday, April 12 saying, “The bottom line is that creating this health exchange will lower the cost of health insurance for small businesses, local governments and individual New Yorkers across the state.”

The statewide health care exchange will allow individuals and businesses to purchase health insurance through a state marketplace, and will comply with President Barack Obama’s health care plan. If a state did not institute one by January 2014, it would be enrolled in the federal program.

More than 2.7 million New Yorkers are uninsured, costing the state and local governments more than $600 million per year — this adds an additional $800 in premiums to a family’s average cost every year, the governor’s office said.

“The sky-high cost of insurance in New York is driving businesses out of the state and preventing lower income New Yorkers from being able to afford needed coverage,” Cuomo said. “Establishing the health exchange will bring true competition into the health care marketplace, driving costs down across the state.”

Twelve other states have established health insurance exchanges since the president enacted the Affordable Care Act in March 2010; two of the dozen states’ exchanges were also instituted through an executive order.

The Democratic-controlled Assembly passed the New York Health Benefit Exchange in June, but the Republican-controlled Senate did not vote on the measure prior to the ending of the year’s legislative session.

The exchange will be created within the state’s Health Department as opposed to as a separate entity, as was originally proposed in the legislation.

“During these tough economic times, access to quality, affordable health care is more important than ever,” said Karen Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action of New York. “By creating New York’s Health Insurance Exchange, over 1 million people who don’t have health coverage will.”

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Bench bombers not afraid of the big shots

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

La Guardia security knife scare

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

Local DAs Push For Home Visiting Program To Prevent Child Abuse

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

 

Activists Rally To Keep Flushing High School Open

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

 

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

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

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

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

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Maniac went for cop-killer bullets: police

The crazed gunman who wounded four Brooklyn cops was reaching for another rifle loaded with more powerful, armor-piercing bullets to inflict deadly injuries just before he was stopped, officials said yesterday. “If he would have been able to grab that gun, this would have been a lot more tragic. It would have been in God’s hands,” said a police official familiar with the case. “It’s apparent [the suspect] wanted to shoot it out with cops and go out in a blaze of glory.’’ Read More: New York Post

Cuomo at all-time high in latest poll; Bam and Gillibrand strong

Gov. Cuomo’s job approval has hit an all-time high while President Obama and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are cruising toward re-election in deep blue New York this year, according to a new poll out today. The Siena College survey found New York voters divided over Obamacare and the potential legalization of casino gambling but strongly supportive of expanding the state’s DNA databank and rolling back pension benefits for new public employees. Read More: New York Post

Liu’s legal bills outweigh donations

Embattled city Comptroller John Liu’s campaign treasury “is turning into a legal-defense fund.”

Liu’s campaign has spent more than $100,000 on lawyers and legal fees so far this year — more than he raised in campaign contributions. Liu only raised $82,305 from Jan. 1 through March 25. And the new report shows that Liu spent more than twice what he raised during the period — $162,354.92. The anemic fund-raising and ballooning legal bills come as Liu and his campaign operation face a federal criminal probe of their fund-raising activities. Read More: New York Post

Smoking banned in New York State Parks in New York City

In announcing the ban Monday, state officials said it was done to make state parks consistent with their city-run counterparts, where smoking was outlawed last year. Smoking will also be banned near pools and playgrounds at all other state parks outside of the city, as officials look to create “fresh-air” zones for parkgoers. Read More: Daily News


 

Park Officials Plan To Fix Up Vandalized Far Rockaway Playground By Summer

With the damages totalling more than $100,000, many Far Rockaway residents feared the city would halt construction on the Beach 29th playground, but the Parks Department says it will soon be back on schedule. “The contractor has been there a few times the manufacturer, we located the parts that we need, they’re now on order,” said Queens Park Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “We hope to be back in line and open the playground sometime during the summer.” Read More: NY1

 

 

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly fights the good fight in New York City’s long war against guns

This time it was 3301 Nostrand Ave. in the first moments of Easter Sunday, four Emergency Service Unit cops, cops as good as any Ray Kelly has, coming through the door of Apartment 6-K, all being shot by a “very bad dude” — Kelly’s words — named Nakwon Foxworth. Another bad dude in the City of New York with guns, one gun at least from the shoot-happy South. Read More: Daily News

 


 

Ire at home ‘free’ tenant

Queens landlord Debra Samuels says her only tenant hasn’t paid the $1,590 rent in more than a year — putting her two-family home in jeopardy. “We haven’t received a penny since February 2011 and she’s upstairs chilling, living free.” Samuels said. “I don’t see any resolution to this thing.” The cash crunch has put Samuels and her husband, who run a restaurant together, behind on their mortgage for the two-family Far Rockaway home.  Read More: New York Post

 

Catholic Charities boardmember quits over Cardinal Dolan’s stance on gay rights

Angered by Cardinal Dolan’s stance on gay rights, a member of the junior board of the city’s Catholic Charities revealed Saturday he has resigned. Joseph Amodeo quit after Dolan took umbrage at a letter from a group that works with homeless lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender youths. Read More: Daily News

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Mega Millions jackpot jumps to $640M ahead of drawing

The record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot has risen again today — to a whopping $640 million! During Tuesday night’s drawing, the jackpot was $363 million, but grew several times over the past week as more and more people purchased tickets ahead of tonight’s 11 p.m. drawing, WABC/Channel 7 reported. There has not been a winner since the Jan. 24 drawing. The previous record for the 42-state Mega Millions jackpot was $390 million in 2007, which was split by two winners in New Jersey and Georgia. Read More: New York Post

Breach hits card processor Global Payments; MasterCard, Visa customers affected

Global Payments Inc., which processes credit cards and debit cards for banks and merchants, has been hit by a security breach that has put some 50,000 cardholders at risk, according to people with knowledge of the situation. The full extent of the breach couldn’t be determined, one of the people said. It wasn’t immediately clear if cardholders have been hit by fraudulent transactions. Representatives of Global Payments, based in Atlanta, couldn’t be reached for comment. Read More: New York Post

Lin out for Knicks with sore left knee, could return Tuesday

Knicks interim head coach Mike Woodson made an ominous remark at the Friday morning shootaround when announcing starting point guard Jeremy Lin will miss his third straight game because of a sore left knee. Woodson lumped Lin with Amar’e Stoudemire in not giving any assurance Lin will return anytime soon. Despite Woodson’s remark, Lin is hoping to play on the Knicks’ next road trip, either Tuesday at Indiana or Thursday at Orlando. Read More: New York Post

Construction worker falls off Throgs Neck Bridge

Rescuers are searching for a construction worker who plunged into the waters under the Throgs Neck Bridge, officials said. The worker, employed by Nuco Construction, was on a platform repairing the bridge, when it suddenly tipped over at 8 a.m., authorities said. Workers initially spotted the victim but he later disappeared from view. NYPD, FDNY and Coast Guard divers are at the scene. Read More: New York Post

Police say turnstile-jumper at 14th Street PATH station had loaded gun

Police in New York City say a man arrested for jumping the turnstile at a PATH train station had gun loaded with hollow-point bullets. Port Authority spokesman Al Della Fave says Port Authority officers Matt Vogelman and Pat Carroll were on duty at the 14th Street station around 4:30 a.m. Friday when they saw a man jumping the turnstile. The officers noticed a bulge in the man’s waistband. Police say the man tried to flee but the officers grabbed him. Read More: New York Post

12-year-old Bronx boy says teacher taped him to chair for 20 minutes

A 12-year-old boy says his teacher taped him to a chair for 20 minutes during class at a New York school.

Irel Jones said he was taking a test at the I.S. 339 school in The Bronx last Friday when another student started asking him for answers, and he got out of his seat. The boy said the teacher asked him to sit — then duct-taped him to his chair for 20 minutes as punishment, MyFoxNY.com reported. Read More: New York Post

Super Bowl ring of truth

A Big Blue bench warmer jumped off sides yesterday, prematurely flashing pictures of what he and his Giants teammates may soon be wearing for their Super Bowl XLVI win. Linebacker Clint Sintim, who missed the entire season on injured reserve, risked going on permanent reserve after he tweeted images of the hardware. The ring’s design is supposed to be a secret until a May 16 gala at Tiffany’s.

Sintim, a second-round 2009 pick from Virginia, posted the picture with the caption “sneak preview!” Read More: New York Post

Girl, 5, drowns in Brooklyn

Police are investigating the apparent drowning death of a 5-year-old girl in Brooklyn last night, sources said. Cops found the child unconscious after receiving a 911 call at around 7 p.m. She was pronounced dead soon after arrival at Brookdale Hospital, sources said. The unidentified girl’s 25-year-old baby-sitter was taken in for questioning at the 81st Precinct station house, the sources said. Police were working to determine if the death was due to an accident or a medical issue, or if criminality was involved. Read More: New York Post

Albany Lawmakers Approve Budget Bills On Time

Members of the New York State Senate and Assembly voted today on final budget bills, marking the second year in a row a budget has been delivered to Governor Cuomo’s desk before the April 1 deadline. The spending plan totals $132.6 billion dollars. Speaking to reporters at the capitol, Governor Andrew Cuomo placed great emphasis on the successes in education reform, specifically mentioning the deal on state teacher evaluations, which is part of his budget. Read More: NY1

 

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Teen Accused Of Vandalizing Queens Playground

The teenager police believe was responsible for vandalizing a playground in Far Rockaway, Queens was arrested Thursday. Allan Swafford, 17, was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, criminal mischief and burglary. Much of the new equipment in the new Far Rockaway park was broken. The damage will cost the city tens of thousands of dollars and the June opening might now be delayed. Read More: NY1

 

Queens motels shut down, employees arrested in prostitution sting

Two Queens motels were shut down this week after five employees were busted by cops for their alleged involvement in a prostitution ring. Desk clerks Harripersa Ramjattan, Bhaskar Chanika, Wojuech D. Sady, Atm Raham and Masum Chowdhury at the Kew Motor Inn and Par Central Motor Inn, both located in Kew Gardens, were charged for promoting prostitution, falsifying business records, commercial bribe receiving and permitting prostitution. Read More: New York Post

 

Demonstrators Want Police Officer Arrested For Shooting Unarmed Bronx Teen

A rally was held by a Bronx police precinct Thursday night, as advocates demanded that the police officer who killed unarmed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham last month should be arrested and face criminal charges. Ramarley Graham, 18, was shot last month by Police Officer Richard Haste, who along with several narcotics agents chased the teen into his house on East 229th Street in Wakefield after an alleged drug deal. Read More: NY1

 

NYC stores ready to ditch synthetic pot in wake of state ban

Mohamed Alzokri, who runs A&M Candy on Amsterdam Ave. and 89th St., said the prohibition is the excuse he needed to pull the popular money-maker off his shelves “It’s not good for health. They should take it off the market,” he said, but added, “Everybody asks for it when they come in.” After a Daily News investigation on the fake weed often called K2 or Spice, the state health commissioner ordered a ban on its sale or distribution. Letters were sent to county health departments, which must put sellers on notice that they could face civil action if they don’t ditch the dangerous drug. Read More: Daily News

 

Deliberations To Begin In Handyman’s Murder Trial

Deliberations are set to begin Friday in the trial of a handyman accused of killing a Manhattan building cleaner and hiding her body in an air-conditioning duct. A lawyer for Joseph Pabon says officials rushed to judgement when they charged Pabon with smothering 46-year-old Eridania Rodriguez in 2009. But during his summation Thursday, the prosecutor in the case argued the evidence proves Pabon’s guilt. Read More: NY1

 

Mega Millions jackpot grows again, reaches $540M

The Mega Millions jackpot just got bigger — $40 million bigger to be exact. The record lottery jackpot climbed to a staggering $540 million this afternoon, officials said. Since Tuesday’s drawing, when no winning tickets were sold, the jackpot has grown twice — from $363 million to $500 million to $540 amount. The $500 million was already the largest in history for a multistate game. Read More: New York Post

New security plan in works for problem-plagued Village McD’s

The owner of the problem-plagued Greenwich Village McDonald’s met last night with police brass and political reps to hash out plans to improve safety and security, The Post has learned. Some of the ideas floated were the hiring of off-duty NYPD officers to act as guards, giving police remote Internet access to the eatery’s surveillance cameras, and cordoning off seating after a certain hour to prevent customers from lingering, Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo of the Sixth Precinct told concerned residents at a community meeting. Read More: New York Post

Teen survives five-story elevator fall at Bronx apartment

A teen miraculously survived a five-story plunge inside a broken elevator at a Bronx apartment building last night, authorities and witnesses said. Kenneth Lacen, 17, had boarded the elevator on the fifth floor of the building on Woodycrest Avenue near Yankee Stadium at around 9 p.m. when it suddenly went into a terrifying free fall and crashed in the basement, authorities and witnesses told The Post. Read More: New York Post

Spike Lee settles for retweeting wrong address

An elderly couple has reached a settlement with Spike Lee after the pair said they had to leave their Florida home after the director help spread a Twitter posting listing their address as that of the man who shot an unarmed teen. The couple’s attorney, Matt Morgan, announced the settlement Thursday. Morgan says Lee called them to apologize for retweeting their address. Specifics of the settlement weren’t disclosed. Read More: New York Post

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Jailed Queens man who says he didn’t commit murder wins retrial

A Queens man who spent eight of his 38 years in jail for a murder he says he didn’t commit won a retrial Wednesday. Tejpal Singh’s murder conviction was set aside by Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise after two key witnesses recanted their claim that he gunned down 19-year-old Kamaljit Singh in 1996. During five weeks of hearings Tejpal’s attorney, Stephen Murphy, grilled Ramjit “Rocky” Singh, who claimed at Tejpal’s trial that he was the drive-by shooter. Read More: New York Post

 

Former Yankees pitcher Pavano victim of extortion attempt, family says

Former Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano was the victim of an extortion attempt in which a former classmate tried to get money and an SUV from the right-hander by threatening to reveal information about his personal life, Pavano’s family claims. Read More: New York Post

 

300-pound hero flight passenger said he had no choice when he took down crazy captain

David Gonzalez boarded a plane to Las Vegas on Tuesday morning and managed to do something that very, very few people have ever done. Gonzalez put the pilot in a choke hold while the aircraft was in midair. But Gonzalez, of Henryville, Pa., said he had no other choice. The pilot was acting so erratically that the plane’s crew asked for passengers’ help to subdue him, the Pocono Record reported Thursday. Gonzalez, a former New York City corrections officer, reflected on his experience aboard JetBlue Flight 191. He said he was happy no one got hurt and that he was trying to deal as best he could with being thrust overnight into the national media spotlight. Read More: New York Post

 

Off-duty cop driving wrong way killed in fiery crash in Bronx

An off-duty Mount Vernon cop, driving the wrong way on the New England Thruway, was killed in a fiery crash when he slammed head-on into a tractor-trailer in the Bronx early this morning, authorities said. Reginald Velez, 29, was driving south in the northbound center lane in his Lexus sedan near exit 11 when he plowed into the rig at about 2:35 a.m., officials said. The Lexus immediately burst into flames. Read More: New York Post

 

Cop accidentally shoots woman during Brooklyn drug raid, sources say

A police officer accidentally discharged his weapon during a drug raid in Brooklyn and struck a woman – leaving her in critical condition, police sources said. Brooklyn South Narcotics officers were searching a third floor apartment in a building on Clarendon Road near Nostrand Avenue when an officer’s gun accidentally went off and shot through the floor, striking a 25-year-old woman in the residence below. Read More: New York Post

 

Ex-club owner turns down no-jail plea for Manhattan bar brawl with Prince of Monaco

Royal jaw-buster Adam Hock turned down a no-jail plea in a Manhattan courtroom today — insisting he’ll go to trial to prove he was the victim of “international bar brawlers” in his flashy February fight with the Prince of Monaco. “We have information that these four individuals are known bar brawlers,” Hock’s new lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, insisted after a brief court appearance today, referring to Prince Pierre Casiraghi and the three royal pals Hock is charged with also decking. Read More: New York Post

 

Jamaica Dumping Ground Gets A Clean Sweep

The fence and graffiti are still there, but at least one problem is gone — the mounds of trash that filled this illegal dumping site along the Van Wyck Expressway in Jamaica, Queens. On Wednesday, sanitation workers spent nearly six hours cleaning the well-known dumping ground after NY1 called them about the problem. “It was sick to look at, you know,” said resident Mo Ali. “It’s like our place, you know. It’s getting back to normal.” Read More: NY1

 

Two Hospitalized Following Van Wyck Service Road Accident

Several people were injured Wednesday in a three car pile-up on the Van Wyck service road in South Jamaica, Queens. The accident happened near Linden Boulevard around noon Wednesday. Firefighters used the “jaws of life” to remove one of the passengers, as the rear of the car hung on a bent street sign. One witness said the driver was unresponsive with his foot still on the pedal, spinning the car’s wheels. Read More: NY1

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| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Crews Battle Lower East Side High-Rise Fire

Members of the New York City Fire Department at this hour are battling a high-rise fire on the Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Heavy smoke is pouring out of the top floors of 89 Columbia Street. So far, no injuries have been reported. A cause is not yet known. Read More: NY1

 

Queens couple busted after allegedly locking up and abusing disabled woman, taking her money for over a year

A Queens couple was arrested for locking a partially paralyzed woman in a room from hell for more than a year, denied her food and a took advantage of her financially, said prosecutors. Patrick Donovan, 42 and Mae Washington, 63, were charged for convincing Maureen Murray, 58, to move out of her assisted living facility to save her some money, but instead of giving her a safe place to live they abused her and out of fear, she gave them power of attorney over her finances. Read More: New York Post

Jury announces it is deadlocked on rape chargers against ex-cop Michael Pena

On its fifth day of deliberations, a Manhattan jury has deadlocked on the question of whether drunken, now-ex-cop Michael Pena actually raped a terrified schoolteacher during a random gunpoint attack in Inwood last summer. “It’s a deadlock note,” defense lawyer Ephraim Savitt told reporters shortly after noon. The trial judge, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers, has already repeatedly admonished the jury to keep trying, and is expected to release them due to their note. Read More: New York Post

Zimmerman ‘distraught’ over Trayvon shooting: report

The Florida man who blew away an unarmed black teen is “distraught” over the incident and has been praying non-stop for the victim, according to a close family friend. Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman has been in hiding ever since he gunned down defenseless Trayvon Martin, 17, on the streets of a gated community in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26. The killing has touched off a heated national dialogue on guns, Florida’s self-defense laws, race and hooded sweatshirts. Read More: New York Post

Knicks say Stoudemire won’t need surgery; out 2-4 weeks

The Knicks have given a timetable for Amar’e Stoudemire, and they expect their star forward to return in 2-4 weeks from the bulging disk in his back. After a second opinion agreed with the Knicks original diagnosis, Stoudemire will undergo non-surgical treatment that will include an epidural steroid injection for the injury he suffered in the win over the Pistons on Saturday. The Knicks also announced that Jeremy Lin would not play on Wednesday against the Magic because of soreness in his left knee. It is the second straight game the point guard will miss. Read More: New York Post

 

Knicks’ Lin meets ex-ESPN worker who wrote offensive headline

Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin sat down to lunch with the ESPN employee who was fired last month for posting the infamous “Chink in the Armor” headline on the network’s website. According to Newsday, Lin ate with 28-year-old Anthony Federico Tuesday on the team’s off day. Though the Knicks said Wednesday Lin does not want to publicly discuss the meeting, Federico effusively praised the Asian-American star, calling him “a wonderful, humble person.” Read More: New York Post

Mega Millions soars to record $476M jackpot

The Mega Millions jackpot soared to a record $476 million ahead of Friday’s drawing after no one claimed the grand prize Tuesday night. No one has managed to match all six numbers in the multi-state lottery game since January 24, when a Georgia woman collected the $72 million prize. The near half-billion figure dwarfs the previous $390 million record, which was split in 2007 by two winners who bought tickets in Georgia and New Jersey. Read More: New York Post

Nike sues Reebok over ‘unauthorized’ Tebow gear

A trademark suit made public today charges Reebok with illegally cashing in on Tebowmania by peddling unauthorized Jets gear bearing the name of the team’s new celebrity quarterback. Nike, which signed Tim Tebow to an exclusive licensing deal in 2010, says Reebok did an end run around around that agreement to capitalize on the “vociferous demand for Tebow Jets products.” Reebok is allegedly “in the process of shipping large volumes of Tebow-identified apparel products” that are expected to hit stores this week. Read More: New York Post

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| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Man dies from gunshot wounds after jumping into stranger’s car

A mortally wounded man who was shot multiple times in Queens, turned to a random stranger parking nearby for help, but after the horrified woman dashed away, the bleeding victim briefly hopped into her car only to crash after succumbing to his injuries, police sources said. Read More: New York Post

 

Teen Charged In Fatal Shooting At Queens Housing Complex

Police have made an arrest in the shooting death of a Queens man over the weekend. Lacorey Johnson, 19, is charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon. Officers answering a call about an assault at the Astoria Houses Sunday afternoon found Tysheen Davis, 23, in a building lobby with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. “I was coming out to the store and then I seen what happened. But like I said, we’ve got to do more loving and caring for each other and stop all of this shooting gang-banging,” said one Astoria Houses resident. Read More: NY1

 

Ex-DA’s hubby Al Pirro threatens workers in ‘restaurant rage’

Al Pirro — the estranged hubby of former Westchester DA Jeanine Pirro — went berserk at a tony Scarsdale restaurant over the weekend, throwing a punch at a waiter and drunkenly threatening to bump off the entire staff, sources told The Post. “You don’t know who the f–k we are! I’m going to have you all killed!’’ Al Pirro allegedly screamed during the Saturday-night fracas, the sources said yesterday. Read More: New York Post

 

Mob turncoat admits to 8 murders during testimony against 2 Colombo thugs

A mob turncoat copped to killing eight people, in a bloody prelude to his explosive testimony today against two former Colombo hoodlums. Made man-turned-cooperating witness Dino “Big Dino” Calabro nonchalantly admitted to those slayings during the federal murder and racketeering trials of Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli, 59, and Dino “Little Dino” Saracino, 39. Read More: New York Post

 

Brooklyn child seriously injured by city bus

A child is in serious condition after being struck by a city bus in Williamsburg today, authorities said. The young girl was struck on the corner of Lorimer Street and Marcy Avenue by a B48 bus at 9:37 a.m., said a spokeswoman for the MTA. Read More: New York Post

 

Obama Healthcare Challenge Begins In Supreme Court

As the U.S. Supreme Court wades into the constitutional challenge to President Barack Obama’s controversial health care overhaul, demonstrators are making some noise outside the court. Many of the protesters this morning carried signs calling on the court to uphold the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” passed by Congress in 2010. It aims to provide health insurance to more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Read More: NY1

 

Jets’ New Backup QB Tebow Addresses Media

Tebowmania reached new heights today as the New York Jets introduced their new quarterback at a press conference in Florham Park, N.J. The Jets traded draft picks to the Broncos for Tebow, who led Denver to the playoffs last year but lost his job when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning. Read More: NY1

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| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Yankees’ Joba could be out for year after injury: report

Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain will be out indefinitely after suffering a “very significant,” possibly season-ending injury to his right ankle Thursday after jumping on a “trampoline of sorts” at a play center. GM Brian Cashman said Friday that Chamberlain fell while playing with his son and has an open dislocation of the ankle, meaning the bone broke through the skin. Chamberlain’s son, Karter, was uninjured. Read More: New York Post

‘The Hunger Games’ earns $19.74M at midnight screenings

“The Hunger Games” has already raked in $19.74 million from midnight screenings, according to Lionsgate. The movie now has the biggest non-sequel midnight opening of all time, according to reports. The highly-anticipated film adaptation of the best-selling novel earned more at midnight than “The Dark Knight” did in the summer of 2008. That film opened with $18.5 million at midnight before earning $158 million for the second-highest opening weekend of all time. Read More: New York Post

Burned firefighter heads home

A Brooklyn firefighter who suffered severe burns on the job is heading home after spending three months in the burn center at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Robert Wiedmann suffered burns to 54 percent of his body, including his head, face and back in a December 19 fire in Crown Heights. Wiedmann left the hospital Friday morning in a limo with a police escort. Read More: New York Post

 

Staten Island stabbing suspect arraigned on murder charges, remanded into custody

The man suspected of fatally stabbing a Staten Island groom-to-be at his engagement party was charged today with second-degree murder and remanded into custody. Redinel Dervishaj, 35, allegedly plunged a butcher’s knife into the chest of bricklayer Anthony Lacertosa, 27, during an early-morning melee last Saturday in front of the Espana Restaurant. Dervishaj was nabbed Tuesday hiding out at his aunt’s home in Illinois, police said. He waived extradition and was returned to Staten Island. Read More: New York Post
Police Identify So-Called “Vaseline Bandit”

Investigators with the New York City Police Department have identified the so-called “Vaseline Bandit”. Investigators want to speak with Luis Gonzalez in connection with 14 burglaries in upper Manhattan dating back to September. Police say he covers the peephole on doors with petroleum jelly to obstruct the view, giving himself time to get away if someone encounters him at the door. Police say he’s stolen jewelry, money and electronics. Read More: NY1

 

Police: Man Sexually Abused Two Girls In Brooklyn Laundromat

Police are looking for a man who sexually abused two teenage girls and exposed himself to a third in Brooklyn over the weekend. Investigators say the suspect went into a laundromat located at 481 Knickerbocker Avenue Sunday night and abused two girls, ages 13 and 15. The man then went to another laundromat where authorities say he exposed himself to another 13-year-old girl. Read More: NY1

 

Cops shoot, injure disturbed woman in Bronx after she throws knives at them

A suicidal woman was shot and wounded by police in the Bronx on Friday after she started tossing knives at the officers, sources told the Daily News. The 42-year-old chucked the blades at the cops after they walked into her Lasalle Ave. apartment in Middletown and found her stabbing herself in the stomach shortly before 10 a.m., the sources said. One officer fired at least two times in response, striking the woman in her leg, a source said. Read More: Daily News

Assemblymember Grace Meng of Queens to run for retiring Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s seat


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Assemblywoman Grace Meng of Queens to run for retiring Congressman Gary Ackerman’s seat

Queens Democrats have chosen state Assemblywoman Grace Meng of Queens to run for retiring Congressman Gary Ackerman’s seat, according to two sources close to the party.Potential candidates met with party elders Sunday to make their pitch to run in the redrawn 6th Congressional District, which would be more than 37% Asian.“She is a smart choice for this new district and a strong candidate,” said one source briefed on the meeting.

Read more: Daily News