Tag Archives: St. Albans

St. Albans teen is well-rounded, with aspirations


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Julian Moody, in dress shirt and tie, was preparing for what was possibly his umpteenth piano recital rehearsal. Football season is coming to an end, and he now has time to focus on the two instruments he plays, his karate classes and acquiring his advanced Regents diploma. In his St. Albans home, he looked modestly at his extensive collections of trophies.

“I just like having something to do. I don’t like sitting around the house,” said Moody, 17, a senior at Bayside High School. “I don’t like being bored.”

Bored is a word not frequently found in Moody’s vocabulary. Along with a perfect attendance record, after school he can be found practicing football, the piano, saxophone, karate, Spanish or French.

“I prefer him to be involved in something,” said Moody’s mother, Aura Moody. “He feels like he has to do something to give back to the community. I’m so proud of him.”

Since he was five years old, Moody has been playing the piano. His parents originally put him in classes, and Moody’s love for the keys pushed him through the years. He also dabbles with the clarinet, flute and saxophone.

“But football is my favorite,” he noted.

For the past 12 years, Moody has also excelled athletically, playing basketball as well as football. However, recently switching from lineman to quarterback, Moody has soared through the ranks, leading New York City high schools in touchdowns and passing yards. This year, he was named the All Borough Selection Quarterback by the Queens High School Football Coaches Association.

In early October, Moody suffered a sprain to his shoulder. Following physical therapy sessions to get him back on the field, something clicked, and the young athlete realized that physical therapy was something he wanted to pursue himself.

At school, he takes a physical therapy class, and hopes to study it in college as well.

In 2007, Moody was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and as a result takes insulin shots multiple times a day. Despite having to adjust his lifestyle, he has found a way to balance his condition and still remain the active member of the community that he has become.

Moody hopes that all of his extracurricular activities will enhance his character and make him a better-rounded individual. Aside from his music experience, he is fluent in Spanish, is studying French, is a black belt in karate and a certified karate instructor, has traveled to several different countries and has also worked with local elected officials.

For the past two summers, he has interned at Councilmember Leroy Comrie’s office, and this summer is set to work at Senator Malcolm Smith’s office.

With a schedule as busy as Moody’s, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. But the aspiring physical therapist coasts through the day with a clear head atop his shoulders.

“I’m just the type of person that doesn’t get mad, I stay calm,” he said, and believes it is this quality that allows him to get everything done.

As a high school senior, Moody also has college on the brain. He would like to play football, and has his eye on Albright College in Pennsylvania, CW Post and Southern Connecticut. He hopes to major in music, physical therapy or both.

“If I see good results with what I’m doing, it gives me a good feeling inside,” Moody simply said. “Doing well feels good, but I also think I can do better.”

Queens teen’s book may make it to the big screen


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos by Liam La Guerre

An aspiring teenage author from St. Albans is knocking on Hollywood’s door.

Amir Oliver, 14, received positive feedback from movie executives at the Marriot Marquis on October 20, where he was one of a handful of teen authors among more than 200 invited writers.

Six of the 11 executives gave Oliver’s novel, Shooter, high marks on anonymous review sheets and three asked for a copy of the book for further review as a possible movie. One of the executives wrote that Oliver is “really well spoken and impressive.”

Shooter is about a teenage basketball player with super human ability who is about to turn pro, but has to deal with peer pressure and violence. As Oliver put it, “think Luke Skywalker with a basketball.”

It started as a series of journal entries when he was 11 and blossomed into a full book a year later. Now Oliver plans to turn it into a series of books.

The novel was printed over the summer through Xlibris, an arm of Author Solutions, which specializes in self-publishing. Author Solutions was organizing its second annual Book-to-Screen New York PitchFest and called Oliver.

“My dad was like ‘Eh this guy from Xlibris just called and he’s talking about this movie deal thing,’” Oliver recalled. “It was very exciting, the fact that I heard movie and Shooter in the same sentence without the words coming out of my mouth.”

Like speed dating for authors, Oliver had two minutes with each of the executives to explain the ins-and-out of his book and how he imagined it as a movie.

Oliver, a freshman at LaGuardia High School, aspires to be an actor, director and screenwriter. The event gave him a head start on his dream.

“It was interesting to just stand there and see all these adults looking at me like I’m crazy,” Oliver said. “Being a high school kid and doing something like this it feels like it gives me the upper hand.”

The executives will bring the ideas back to their companies and analyze the books before contacting authors, a process that could take up to nine months, according to a representative from Author Solutions.

Nearly 400 authors have been contacted after the four previous PitchFests around the nation, according to Author Solutions. Recently, comedian George Lopez’s company, Travieso Productions, agreed to pick up author Humberto Garcia’s book, Mustang Miracle.

This PitchFest had 102 requests for more information on 62 different books. A bonus of this year’s PitchFest was that Katie Kinder and Dr. Earle Williams, the two authors who executives talked about the most, will have a chance to pitch their ideas directly to former NBC anchor Meredith Vieria, who is looking for ideas for her film company, Meredith Vieria Productions.

In last year’s New York PitchFest, Natasha Carrharris, 13, was one of the two people selected by executives for the bonus pitch with Paula Wagner, who has been a top agent, studio head, and production partner of Tom Cruise.

“They actually do surprisingly well most of the time because they are still in school and take instructions well,” Megan Leiter, a senior event coordinator for Author Solutions, said about kids at the PitchFest. Leiter added that they usually only have about four to six candidates under 18, out of 150 participants at each pitch fest.

But Oliver’s position came as no surprise to his dad.

“This is something I saw him being able to do if he was able to utilize his talent and grow,” Robert Oliver said.

Robert taught his son how to play the piano and compose music at an early age. Since then the teen has starred in junior high school plays, acted at the Black Spectrum Theatre in Jamaica and writes screenplays in his spare time.

Only time will tell whether or not a Hollywood company will contact Amir for a deal with his novel, but he isn’t too worried.

“I’ll be fine with it, because I’m going to LaGuardia and I’m trying to get myself to audition for Broadway,” Oliver said. “Either way I feel I’m moving closer towards my dream.”

Man pulls gun on gas line; looting in Far Rockaway


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The city’s fight for fuel and pursuit of resources has led to the arrest of one St. Albans man, who allegedly whipped out a gun to cut a long gas line, and the collaring of several looters in the Rockaways, authorities said.

Sean Bailey, 35, was cuffed shortly after he pointed a pistol at a driver who complained when he zipped ahead in his white 2010 BMW to the front of a lengthy line for gas at a station located at the intersection of Astoria Boulevard and 43rd Street on Thursday, November 1, said the district attorney.

“If you don’t pull back, you’re not getting gas tonight,” Bailey allegedly said to a 29-year-old motorist during the early morning dispute, according to a criminal complaint.

Cops later found a loaded .25 caliber Phoenix Raven pistol in Bailey’s left boot at the ankle after his arrest at around 3 a.m., officials said.

He is charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree menacing and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, the district attorney said.

Fifteen individuals have also been charged with burglarizing and looting various Far Rockaway businesses — including liquor, clothing stores and a Radio Shack — post superstorm Sandy, said the district attorney. They all face felony charges of third-degree burglary, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison, authorities said.

“As the city and many of its residents continue to recover from Hurricane Sandy, there were others who allegedly used the storm and the chaos that followed as cover to commit crimes,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “What they have learned is that my office and other public and law enforcement officials have a zero tolerance policy for those who would exploit a natural disaster for their own gain.”

Twin brothers from Jamaica have also been apprehended after they allegedly stole a U-Haul truck and smashed it through the gate of a Queens Village motorcycle shop located on Jamaica Avenue, said authorities.

Anthony and Sean Martin, both 24, — and an identified number of unapprehended males — allegedly waited outside the U-Haul building, located at 185-11 Merrick Boulevard, on October 30 until the facility closed down at around 7 p.m. before they went into the office and took the keys to a truck, according to a criminal complaint.

Video surveillance allegedly shows the perps later approaching New York Motorcycle, at 222-02 Jamaica Avenue, at around 12:30 a.m. and repeatedly using the truck to back up and smash into the gate until the vehicle lodged itself inside the building, the complaint said. The males then entered the shop before fleeing the scene empty-handed, the district attorney said.

The brothers were arrested approximately one hour later when driver Anthony Martin was stopped at an intersection for failing to signal a turn, said authorities. They both face charges of third-degree burglary, second-degree criminal mischief, third and fourth-degree grand larceny, possession of burglar’s tools and a seven-year prison sentence.

“As I have stated before,” said Brown, “such lawlessness will be vigorously prosecuted by my office and we will seek the appropriate punishment befitting the crime.”

Arrest in Queens shooting of NFL player’s brother


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A man has been arrested for the attempted murder of the older brother of Kevin Ogletree, a Queens native who currently plays for the Dallas Cowboys, said the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Lonnie Miller was arrested on Sunday for shooting and seriously injuring Calvin Ogletree in the head in St. Albans on January 6.

Miller, who was charged with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon, was arraigned yesterday and held without bail, according to the DA’s office.

His next court appearance is October 1.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: Shape up NYC: Zumba on the beach

Zumba is a fusion of Latin, International and popular music dance themes creating a dynamic, exciting, effective fitness system! The routines feature aerobic, fitness interval training with a combination of fast and slow rhythms that tone and sculpt the body with easy to follow dance steps.

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

 Queens man charged with groping a sleeping  18-year-old on JetBlue flight 

A Queens man charged with sexually assaulting a male passenger sleeping next to him on a JetBlue flight was released Monday on $100,000 bail and ordered to undergo a mental examination. Othniel Polanco was caught red-handed fondling the 18-year-old victim’s genitals by a passenger who was sitting two seats over and witnessed the lewd act, authorities said. Read more: [New York Daily News]

It’s lockdown mode for drivers who don’t pay their fines 

The smartboot program, which keeps ticket scofflaws’ cars in place until the driver pays up, was rolled out in southern Queens on Monday. Under the program, parking enforcement company Paylock is authorized by a city deputy sheriff to attach a bright yellow wheel clamp to the cars of drivers who owe more than $350 in unpaid parking, red light camera and bus lane violations. The program was instituted in parts of Brooklyn last month. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Congressman Meeks meets with families of children lost to gun violence 

Following a rise in violent crimes in southeast Queens, Congressman Gregory Meeks sat down on Monday with the families members of children who have been murdered within the district. Read more: [NY1] 

Woodside leaders, pols propose cheaper BID option for small businesses 

Woodside leaders want to give business owners a taste of BID-lite. The community board and pols in Woodside recently proposed a cheaper model for a business improvement district that they hope will speed the BID’s instatement. However, detractors said the plan will drag businesses into unneeded expenses. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

National Pastimes: Queens women take top spots in local netball league 

At first glance, it may seem like a group of women in St. Albans, Queens are playing basketball, but there’s no backboard and there’s no dribbling. They are playing netball, a game many of these women learned growing up in the Caribbean. Read more: [NY1] 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Qns. state Assembly candidate profits from prostitution ads in his newspaper

A Queens state Assembly candidate who publishes a Korean-language newspaper is profiting from ads for a prostitution ring on the paper’s back pages, The Post has learned. Myungsuk Lee, 49, the owner of the Korean American Times, is one of several Democrats vying for an open seat in the newly created 40th District. He trumpets his accomplishments on the paper’s front pages — while the back pages run ads for massage services that serve as covers for prostitution, sex workers said. Read more: [New York Post] 

Rockaway residents worry beach is getting trashy 

Lauren O’Connor lives near the shore in Rockaway. But trying to get to the sand with her toddler daughter is no easy feat. Once she gets there, the trash on the beach adds insult to injury. “There’s no ramp anymore so I have to somehow get this big wagon down the stairs,” said O’Connor. “Then I get down here and it’s filthy. I have to clean it up.” Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Former Congressman Weiner reportedly eyes political comeback 

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner is reportedly engineering a political comeback, as he still has more than $4 million in his campaign coffers. Sources tell the New York Post that Weiner is considering a run for mayor or public advocate next year. Read more: [NY1] 

Social Security snafu traps Queens woman 

A Queens septuagenarian became entangled in a bureaucratic snafu after an agency deemed her incapable of handling her own money. The unwelcome surprise tarnished her golden years, she says, and should be a cautionary tale for fellow seniors. Forest Hills resident Beverely Byrne said her Social Security check was mistakenly given to the city Human Resource Administration to manage in May under incorrect pretenses. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Mayor: NYCLU does not “do anything” to end need for stop-and-frisks 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg continued to vigorously defend the city’s Stop & Frisk policy during a visit to a church in St. Albans, Queens on Sunday. Speaking at the Greater Allen Cathedral, the mayor said the policy has a proven track record and has recovered thousands of illegal guns over the past decade. Read more: [NY1] 

UPDATE: Con Ed reinstates health insurance for locked-out workers; negotiations to resume Monday 

Consolidated Edison of New York has reinstated health insurance for 8,500 locked-out New York utility workers. A Con Ed spokesman said on Sunday that negotiations with the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 will resume on Monday, as another heat wave is expected to hit New York City. Read more: [1010wins] 

Queens communities facing brownouts


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Several Queens communities face a voltage reduction from Con Edison due to electrical equipment problems.

The 100 degree heat has many residents blasting air conditioners to stay cool.

Con Ed said the neighborhoods affected will have a 5 percent voltage reduction.  This was done in an effort to prevent a significant outage, a spokesperson from the company said.

There are about 20 individual  outages in Queens right now according to Con Edison’s outage map.

The reduction will occur in Bellerose, Cambria Heights, Floral Park, Forest Hills, Glendale, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Jamaica, Jamaica Hills, Laurelton, Middle Village, Queens Village, South Jamaica, Springfield Gardens and St. Albans.

Con Edison asked customers in these areas to conserve electricity and turn off nonessential electric equipment, such as TVs, computers, air conditioners, washers, dryers, and microwaves.

To report power outages or service problems visit www.conEd.com or call 800-75-CONED (6633). When reporting an outage, customers should have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power.

 

Afternoon Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup2

Passenger plane crashes in Nigeria’s largest city

A passenger plane crashed into a two-story building in Nigeria’s largest city of Lagos on Sunday, officials said. Read more: USA Today

Man Wanted For Attempted Child Kidnapping In Queens

Police are searching for a man they say tried to kidnap a young boy last week in St. Albans. Authorities say Mark Synclair, 33, tried to grab the seven-year-old child outside P.S. 192 on Tuesday morning. Read more: NY1

Cuomo’s $4 Billion Plan for Project in Queens Falls Apart

A $4 billion plan announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to create the country’s largest convention center and a casino in Queens has fallen apart, the governor acknowledged on Friday. Read more: NY Times

Die-hard Mets fan arrested after running onto field following Santana’s no-hitter

A front-row seat at Citi Field: $315. Getting arrested for storming the pitcher’s mound: a possible $1,000 fine and a year in jail. Being a part of Mets history: priceless. Rafael Diaz, 32, lived the dream of every fanatic Friday night when he bolted past security to join the joyous huddle of Amazin’s congratulating pitcher Johan Santana moments after he succeeded in putting in the books the team’s first-ever no-hitter. Read more: NY Post

Three-Car LIE Crash Kills Two In Queens

Two people are dead and a child is injured after a three-car crash on the Long Island Expressway in Queens. Investigators say a yellow taxi cab was traveling westbound on the LIE near 66th Street in Maspeth when it slammed into the rear of a Porsche at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday. Read more: NY1

Queens jury clears former NYPD narcotics detective charged with planting drugs on bar patrons

A Queens jury has cleared a former NYPD narcotics detective charged with planting drugs on innocent victims. Adolph Osback was acquitted of multiple charges of falsifying police reports, perjury and official misconduct after jurors deliberated for only 90 minutes Wednesday, his attorney Damien Brown said. Read more: Daily News

Dry spell: DEP pilot project to help relieve flooding


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

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Just when Jamaica resident Lurline Williams thought the possibility of ending area flooding had dried up, a new pilot project brought a deluge of optimism. According to Assemblymember William Scarborough, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) plans to install two reverse seepage basins along Linden Boulevard, one at 155th Street and one at 165th Street. There will also be a basin placed at the well located at Station 24 in St. Albans.

Each pump is expected to remove two million gallons of ground water per day, according to Scarborough, who said the cost of the project is as yet unclear.
“I’m so happy,” said Williams. “I hope this helps solve [the flooding problems.] We’ve been dealing with this for so long.”

Williams, who has lived on 165th Street for the past 44 years, has experienced devastating water damage to her Jamaica home. Unaware of flooding issues when she first purchased the house, Williams poured countless dollars into fixing rotting wood and eradicating mold. In 2008, Williams gutted her entire basement after a particularly terrible flood.

President of the Jamaica Block Association, Mannie Brown, lives across the street from Williams and is thrilled over the progress.
“I feel good that they’re finally doing something,” said Brown. “It’s been an ongoing fight. This is a relief for the whole block.”

“Progress has been made and we are cautiously optimistic,” said Scarborough. “We’ve had disappointment before. Reaching this point is a testament to the fact that all officials in southeast Queens came together.”

Rising water levels in southeast Queens have been a problem since 1996, when the area’s local water supplier, Jamaica Water Supply, was overtaken by the DEP, the agency that provides water for all of New York City.

According to Scarborough, instead of taking water from one of the 69 previously-present underground wells in the area, the DEP brought in water from other sources, causing the ground water level to rise. The standing water is now almost at surface level.

Roughly 10 years ago, the DEP realized there was widespread flooding. It then directed its attention to cleaning up the well at Station 24 in St. Albans, tainted, said

Scarborough, by chemical runoff from a dry cleaner across the street, as well as implementing new technology to pump and purify the water at Station 6 in Jamaica, which was expected to deliver between six and 10 million gallons of water per day.

In 2005, the project was abandoned because of the cost, according to Scarborough.

In a hearing with the City Council Environmental Protection Committee on September 24, 2007, Former DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd testified that the water had risen over 30 feet between 1996 and 2007, Scarborough told The Courier.

The DEP could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Parents call for P.S. 118 principal’s ouster


| chudson@queenscourier.com

Visit P.S. 118 in St. Albans most afternoons and you’ll find what you’d expect: rambunctious school kids chattering as they stream from the building, parents waiting, with varying degrees Of patience, to pick up their sons and daughters. But Fridays are a different story.

On Fridays what you find are a small but dedicated group of protesters calling for the ouster of Cynthia Ofori-Feaster, principal of the elementary school since 2009. Holding signs and chanting, “Save our children, Feaster must go!,” concerned parents and students have made a weekly appointment of their protest, with some going as far as rearranging their work schedules in order to attend regularly.

Several parents echo the same litany of charges against Feaster: she allegedly locked school bathrooms and turned off the water supply; she closed the school’s computer lab; a teacher’s aide was fired over the public address system; students are often left unsupervised in the school yard, with more than one parent citing that their children were injured as a result.

“It’s an endless cycle,” said Stacy Paupaw, who has two sons in the school, while wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the “Feaster Must Go!” slogan. “The teachers in here are scared. They can’t even do their jobs because they’re frustrated. They used to come in happy. Now it’s like they can’t wait to clock out.”

PTA President Jasmin Farrier has been organizing the protests since January. According to Farrier, an investigation into the situation at P.S. 118 is currently underway by the Department of Education’s Office of Special Investigation (OSI). An OSI rep stated that their office does not speak to the media.

Prior to her election in June of 2011, Farrier had what she described as a “good rapport” with Feaster, and ran for the position in hopes that she could help ease tensions between the principal and the school community. Upon her election, and with her executive board accompanying her, Farrier had a meeting with the principal that left her confident that the PTA and Feaster could work together in a positive way moving forward. “We were ecstatic,” Farrier said.

But according to Farrier, the day after her election she attend a meeting of the School Leadership Team, a mandated body within each city school composed of parents and staff that has responsibility for creating the school’s Comprehensive Education Plan. Teachers at the meeting were “livid” over having been cut out of the crafting of the CEP, which per Chancellor’s regulation must be developed using a “consensus-based decision-making process.”

When addressing teachers’ concerns to Feaster, Farrier alleges the principal “called the teachers upstairs and began to scream at them as if they were animals.” Farrier was “blown away.” Since then, the relationship between Farrier and the principal has deteriorated.

Parent Kisha Noel recently quit her job in management in order to become more actively involved in her son’s school community. Invited to join the PTA by Farrier, Noel learned of the Learning Leaders School Volunteer Program. It was only after completing her requisite training that Noel learned P.S. 118′s participation in the program was suspended by the principal.

Now Noel is committed to showing up each week to advocate for the parents’ goal: the removal of Feaster.

“I strongly believe that with her removal a change will come about. But because of what she’s instated and embedded in there for these three years, it will be a long time before we can clean it out,” she said.

Calls to P.S. 118 for comment went unanswered.

Brother of Cowboys receiver Kevin Ogletree shot


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Police say the older brother of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree is currently hospitalized and in critical condition after he was shot in the head by an unidentified gunman.

Calvin Ogletree, 25, was shot on January 6 at approximately 3 p.m. near 200-02 Linden Boulevard in St. Albans. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, and police say it appears unlikely he will survive.

While a motive is not yet clear, police currently believe the shooting was the result of a dispute. Authorities also suspect more than one person may have been involved in the incident.

No arrests have been made, but the suspect has been described as a black male.

According to the Daily News, the man’s uncle, Mark Ross, said the 24-year-old, third-year receiver is at his brother’s bedside.

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

Brother of Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree shot in Queens


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Brother of Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree shot in Queens

The older brother of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree was clinging to life Saturday, a day after he was shot in the head during a dispute in Queens, sources told the Daily News. Calvin Ogletree, 25, was standing in front of his luxury car rental shop on Linden Blvd. near 200th St. in St. Albans when two men approached him about 3 p.m., police sources said. Investigators believe the three men were arguing over money, when at least one of the two suspects pulled out a gun and fired — sending a bullet into Ogletree’s head, police sources said. Read More: Daily News

 

New super painkiller Zohydro is more dangerously  potent than Vicodin: narcs and docs 

Drug companies are cooking up a potent new painkiller that New York narcs and addiction experts say could unleash the worst pill-popping plague since Oxycontin hit the streets. A single extended-release capsule will contain up to 10 times the amount of hydrocodone — a potentially addictive opiate — as the lowest-dose Vicodin pill. One manufacturer on the verge of asking the feds to approve a formulation it calls Zohydro says it’s “safer and more convenient” for treatment of chronic pain. But law enforcement officials and drug experts worry it will open a new front in the war against prescription drug abuse. Read More: Daily News

 

NY Giants smother the Atlanta Falcons in 24-2 wild card rout as Big Blue advances to face Green Bay Packers 

The Giants spent the regular season riding the waves of the most explosive offense in franchise history. But the first round of the playoffs it was the defense that made the biggest splash. They turned back the clock with a dominating performance as they smothered the Atlanta Falcons, 24-2, in a wild-card playoff game at the Meadowlands on Sunday afternoon. The Giants’ defense pitched a shutout – the only Falcons scoring was a second-quarter safety – as they won a playoff game at home for the first time in nearly 11 years. Read More: Daily News

 

Eyes on Meeks’ shady house sale

A watchdog group is asking federal prosecutors to examine a real-estate deal involving Rep. Gregory Meeks. The Queens Democrat sold his Far Rockaway home in 2006 to a buyer with dubious qualifications who used a lawyer later convicted in a multimillion-dollar mortgage-fraud scheme, according to the National Legal and Policy Center. The Virginia-based group contends that buyer Cecil Lloyd had an income of just $9,895 the year he bought the house for $402,800. Lloyd and Evelyn Miller secured two mortgages from IndyMac Bank to buy the home at 660 Grassmere Terrace. They financed 100 percent of the purchase price, city records show. Read More: New York Post

 

‘Extort’ slap at GOP’s Queens kingmakers

City Councilman Eric Ulrich is demanding an investigation into claims that Queens GOP leaders milked candidates “for financial gain.” His call comes amid mounting criticism of the county party from prominent Republicans, including former Rep. Rick Lazio, Rep. Bob Turner and ex-Councilman and party honcho Thomas Ognibene. “The District Attorney’s Office or the US Attorney’s Office should look into these issues because they’re deeply troubling,” Ulrich said. “These con artists have been playing this game for far too long.” Read More: New York Post

 

Brooklyn Man Allegedly Kills Friend In Knife Fight

The hunt is on for a man police say stabbed his friend to death during a knife fight in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn. Law enforcement sources say they are looking for Keylester Williams, seen above. Police say the suspect and 22-year-old Marcquel McDuffy were drinking together Friday night in Vinegar Hill. Sources say the two men started play-fighting, but it turned deadly when Williams allegedly stabbed McDuffy in the chest. The victim’s younger brother, Keon White, told NY1 that McDuffy and Williams had known each other for about four years and were very close. Read More: NY1

Deadly St. Albans ‘DWI’ crash


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

4 Accused in Theft of Aid Meant for Nonprofit

In 2006, a Queens state senator, Shirley L. Huntley, set up a nonprofit group called Parent Workshop that was intended to help parents navigate the inner workings of New York City’s school system. Then she began funneling state aid to the group, whose executives had close ties to her. But the money never helped a single family in the school system, prosecutors said Wednesday. They said four people with ties to Parent Workshop were involved in the theft of nearly $30,000 in state aid that Ms. Huntley had secured. Read More: New York Times

 

[UPDATE] Cops hunt Long Island City rape suspects

Police are looking for three suspects in connection with the ambush and rape of a woman in Long Island City. According to police, the 20-year-old victim — who is from the neighborhood — was walking along Vernon Boulevard and 10th Street in L.I.C. at approximately 3:45 a.m. on Sunday, December 4 when she was grabbed by two of the suspects and dragged to a nearby parking lot. There, she was held down between parked cars and raped by a third man. Read More: Queens Courier

 

What Would Judy Say?

Judge Judy Sheindlin answers your questions about problems that trouble you most. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Kids meet former Mets’ hurler John Franco

Thirteen-year-old Joseph Santana stood in line wearing an oversized striped Mets jersey, clutching a cobalt blue baseball cap. He bobbed excitedly as the line grew shorter, anticipating his turn. When he reached the front of the line, he thrust the cap at former Mets relief pitcher John Franco, who scribbled his signature in black Sharpie marker across the brim. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Riders on the Q111 bus uneasy about their safety after fatal shooting 

Rattled riders on the Queens bus line where a gunman shot two passengers last week said they are scared that violence may erupt again. After Demel Burton, 34, went on a shooting spree on the Q111 on Friday, straphangers said it underscored the fact that bus drivers can’t protect them. Read More: Daily News

Alec Baldwin apologizes to American Airlines passengers for plane outburst, but not to flight attendant

 

Actor Alec Baldwin apologized Wednesday to fellow passengers for the cell phone inspired tirade that got him bounced from an American Airlines flight. But the Hollywood hothead remains enraged with airline staff. “I learned a valuable lesson,” he said in a Huffington Post article. “I’ve learned to keep my phone off when the 1950s gym teacher is on duty.” Baldwin claimed that the incident was triggered after “one employee singled me out to put my phone away” while the delayed flight was waiting at the gate. Read More: Daily News

Deadly St. Albans ‘DWI’ crash

An allegedly boozed-up driver was arrested after he slammed into two cars in Queens yesterday, killing a 21-year-old man, cops said. Curtis Dean, 25, was cruising south in an Infiniti on 201st Street in St. Albans when he smashed into a Ford sedan just after 5 a.m., sending the Ford into a resident’s yard, cops said.Three victims were taken to Jamaica Hospital, including a passenger in the Ford who died there. Dean also allegedly plowed into a parked SUV. He was hit with a slew of charges, including manslaughter and DWI. Read More: New York Post

 

Remembering John Lennon: On the Anniversary of His Death, 5 Iconic Moments (Video) via the Hollywood Reporter

Department of Transportation To Investigate Dangerous Queens Intersection

It’s almost like a game of chicken. Drivers speed through the stop sign on Vleigh Place in an attempt to beat cars with the right of way on 72nd Avenue. And while most make it through the intersection without a problem, neighborhood residents say they have witnessed a lot of accidents. “There have been about four accidents in the past maybe month and a half. People fly past the stop sign like it doesn’t exist,” said one resident. Read More: NY1

Long Island City Residents Urged To Stay Alert After Parking Lot Attack

Police say a woman in Queens was attacked by three men and raped earlier this week, and now residents and local leaders are urging others to stay alert. Watch the Video: NY1

Atomic Bomb Survivors Visit Flushing International High School

Survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings visited the Flushing International High School to speak with students Wednesday. Watch the Video: NY1

Lame defense: Graffiti suspect: I’m crippled

An ex-cop standing trial on charges that he had revived his youthful graffiti-vandal compulsion was walking with a limp and appeared to be incapable of the dexterity required for the avocation, the arresting officer testified yesterday. Steven Weinberg admits that he once was the infamous “Neo” who, during the height of the city’s 1980s graffiti scourge, “bombed” trains and trestles with his bubble-lettered signature. But his lawyer, Patrick Broderick, said Weinberg, with an injured leg, couldn’t possibly make the climb required recently to spray-paint his tag on an overpass. Read More: New York Post

 

Rising water levels in southeast Queens still a problem


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Assemblymember William Scarborough.

Mold spores several inches in diameter cover the walls of homes in St. Albans. In Jamaica, hoses running from basements constantly drain the filthy water that has leaked inside.

The level of standing water underground in southeast Queens is rising and washing away the quality of life for many residents, damaging their homes and potentially their health, according to local politicians.

Assemblymember William Scarborough hosted a meeting to discuss the issue at The Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Corner in St. Albans on Thursday, November 10. Officials offered attendees the opportunity to submit a form describing the extent of damage done to their homes by rising water. Over 200 forms were collected.

“We’re seeking to motivate the community because this has got to be solved,” said Scarborough.

Rising water levels in southeast Queens have been a problem since 1996, when the area’s local water supplier, Jamaica Water Supply, was overtaken by the Department of Environmental Preservation (DEP). Southeast Queens was the last area of the city to be acquired by the DEP, the organization that provides water for all of New York City.

According to Scarborough, instead of taking water from one of the 69 previously present underground wells in the area, the DEP brought in water from other sources, causing the ground water level to rise. The standing water is now almost at surface level.

“The city had to know there would be a consequence,” said Scarborough.

About 10 years ago, the DEP realized there was widespread flooding.

The DEP then directed their attention to cleaning up the well at Station 24 in St. Albans, which became toxic due to chemical runoff from a dry cleaner across the street, as well as implementing new technology to pump and purify the water at Station 6, which was expected to deliver between six and 10 million gallons of water per day.
Scarborough alleges that without notice, the project was abandoned in 2005 because of the cost, and the water rose even further.

In a hearing with the City Council Environmental Protection Committee on September 24, 2007, Former DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd testified that the water had risen over 30 feet between 1996 and 2007, Scarborough told The Courier.

“Our whole effort now is to get the DEP to provide a solution,” said Scarborough, who noted that he hopes the organization that was supposed to better the lives of residents in southeast Queens will return to finish the job it started.