Tag Archives: staten island

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

College Point kids may get back on the bus


| mchan@queenscourier.com

school buses3w

A bi-partisan bill could see full school buses pulling away from J.H.S. 194 once again.

Legislation passed by the State Senate and Assembly — that now awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sign-off — would allow seventh and eighth grade students in the city to regain eligibility for school bus service.

In May 2010, the city Department of Education (DOE) announced it would end yellow school bus service for more than 4,000 seventh and eighth grade students throughout the city, as part of a “cost-saving measure.”

Community leaders said the move crippled neighborhoods like College Point, where they said there is no local middle school. Students at J.H.S. 194 in Whitestone, they said, were then forced to travel on city buses to get to and from school — their commute often totaling two hours.

Now, the new law initiated by Senator Andrew Lanza — named “Aniya’s Law,” after a 13-year-old Staten Island girl who was killed last June while crossing an intersection to catch a city bus after school — could restore yellow school bussing to city middle schoolers.

“It’s about time that we see a common sense solution to a ridiculous problem,” said Councilmember Dan Halloran. “The city literally left these kids out in the dark, adding hours to their commute to school.”

In 2010, Staten Island legislators instantly took the issue to state court due to their lack of public transportation services. State Supreme Court Justice John Fusco ruled the decision to eliminate school buses in Staten Island — as well as College Point — was made “without concern for the welfare and safety of the affected students,” according to a December 2010 report.

City officials took that ruling to Federal Court where Fusco’s decision was overturned on the basis that each student throughout the five boroughs must be treated equally. Due to a miscommunication in the DOE, parents and students at J.H.S. 194 were not informed that bus service was cut until 24 hours before the first day of the school year. The message was delivered by phone in an automated message, according to parents.

“Students in College Point were forced to spend up to an hour-and-a-half taking two or three city buses just to get to and from school. We can’t expect junior high school students to make two bus transfers to get to school every morning,” Halloran said. “It’s not safe, and it’s not fair to them. These are 11-year-old kids.”

If the governor approves the bill, the changes are slated take effect this September.

– Additional reporting by Bob Doda

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

At least five killed in shooting at California medical school

At least five people were killed Monday in a shooting at a medical school in Oakland, Calif., officials confirmed. Oakland police have detained a possible suspect in the shooting at Oikos University. According to local news station KTVU-TV, two of the five people were shot in the head. The motive for the shooting was not immediately known. Read More: New York Post

 

Queens jury convicts man of murder and robbery stemming from home invasion

A Queens man was convicted today for masterminding for three home invasions — one of which ended in the murder of a cop’s brother. Francis LaCorte, 29, was found guilty on all 13 charges — including second-degree murder, robbery and conspiracy — for his involvement in the execution-style murder of Gerardo Antoniello, 29, on Sept. 9, 2009. “I hope he’s put away for a very long time and he won’t hurt or kill anyone else’s son, brother or uncle,” said NYPD Sgt. Carmine Antoniello, the victim’s older brother. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Off-Duty School Safety Agent Faces Rape, Weapons Charges

An off-duty school safety agent has been arrested on rape charges in Queens. The New York City Police Department says Tommy Johnson, 28, is also charged with criminal weapons possession, menacing and assault. Police say the incident happened early Monday morning and that the victim is an adult. According to sources, the rape took place inside Johnson’s apartment, and he knew the victim. Read More: NY1

 

 

Woody says Jets would consider ‘Hard Knocks’ again

As if the Jets have not gotten enough attention after trading for Tim Tebow last month, Jets owner Woody Johnson left the door open for the team to be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this summer. There has been speculation that HBO is interested in having the Jets back on its behind-the-scenes show, especially with Tebow now on board. “I’ve heard that,” Johnson said at the grand opening of the NFL Shop at Draft store in Manhattan on Monday. “We have yet to receive a formal invitation. When we do, we’ll take a look at it.” Read More: New York Post

 

 

Man Arraigned In Staten Island Traffic Stop Assault

A man wanted in connection with the assault of a police officer on Staten Island was arraigned Sunday night after being caught by authorities in North Carolina. Police say Dwayne Smith, 27, is back in New York after being picked up at a shopping mall in Charlotte last week. He’s accused of attacking a police officer after being pulled over on February 3 in West Brighton. Read More: NY1

 

Sweets shop is big ‘hit’

There’s a new iceman working at John Gotti’s old social club in Queens — but he serves up sweet, frosty treats instead of gangland murders. Businessman John Conza last month opened Uncle Louie G’s — part of a chain of Italian ice and ice-cream parlors — in the space where the Teflon Don once held court, the former Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park. The site is where the Mafioso made his bones and blasted his way from obscurity to the front pages. Now, its hits are icy flavors such as Soprano Spumoni, FDNY Cherry and NYPD Blue, instead of contracts on union officials and rival gangsters. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Queens Institute Looks To Crack Autism Code

Behind the walls of a former Catholic school in College Point, Queens, miracles often happen for children who have autism. The New York Child Learning Institute is the only program in New York State that is modeled after Princeton’s renowned Children Development Intervention Program. Read More: NY1

 

JetBlue pilot Clayton Osbon out of hospital — and into courtroom

The JetBlue pilot who went on a wild rant about terrorism and religion during a Las Vegas-bound flight was out of the hospital on Monday to make his first court appearance. Federal prosecutors asked that Clayton Osbon be held without bond at the early morning meeting, but the judge isn’t expected to rule on that until Thursday. Osbon, 49, is charged with interfering with a flight crew for his bizarre unraveling on Flight 191 last Tuesday. Read More: Daily News

Geraldo Rivera personally apologizes to parents of Trayvon Martin for ‘hoodie’ comment

Geraldo Rivera personally apologized to  Trayvon Martin’s parents Sunday night for saying that children shouldn’t wear hoodies because “Trayvon’s hoodie killed him as surely as George Zimmerman did.” “Thank you for the apology. Your apology is accepted,” Trayvon’s father Tracy Martin told Rivera on Fox on Sunday night. Tracy Martin said that at the time of the incident it was raining and Trayvon was just covering himself up. Read More: Daily News

Police involved in Sean Bell shooting get canned


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup2

Police involved in Sean Bell shooting get canned

The cops that gunned down Sean Bell, the Queens man killed on his wedding day in a 50-shot fusillade, will be drummed out of the department, the NYPD said Friday.

Detective Gescard Isnora, who fired the shot that touched off the senseless 2006 killing, was found to have violated department guidelines by shooting his weapon while undercover. He will be fired and will not get a pension or health benefits.

Read More: The Daily News

 

College student killed by L train after drunken man attacked him and pushed him onto tracks

A LaGuardia Community College student was killed by a Brooklyn subway train Friday, after a boozed-up straphanger started a fight and the the tussle spilled onto the tracks.

JoshuaBasin, 20, was riding an eastbound L train to go to his girlfriend’s house in Long Island when a drunken man began berating him and his two friends before theBedford Ave.stop inWilliamsburg, sources and a friend said.

Read More: The New York Daily News

 

Whistleblowing NYPD sergeant had a hand in crime spike in Queens precinct: sources

A whistleblowing NYPD sergeant had a hand in the monstrous spike in crime that plagued a Queens precinct last year when his scrutiny of fellow cops’ official reports prompted them to properly classify a wave of felony complaints, law-enforcement sources said yesterday.

For doing his job, Sgt. Robert Borrelli was banished to an abysmal night shift at Central Booking in the basement of theSouth Bronxcriminal courthouse, the sources said.

Read More: The New York Post

 

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall’s daughter works at Aqueduct racino

As the gaming giant behind the Aqueduct racino pushes its lawmaker allies for a shot at full casino gambling, Genting’s hire of one employee in particular is coming under scrutiny from watchdogs.

That employee, Agnes Marshall, is the daughter of Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, an influential force inQueensDemocratic politics. Helen Marshall could be a valuable ally for Genting given its long-term ambitions, which include a convention center and the conversion of its racino to a full-fledged casino, watchdogs said.

Read More: The Daily News

 

Lawyer: Redinel Dervishaj acted in self-defense in fatal stabbing of groom-to-be Antonio Lacertosa

One day after aStaten Island groom-to-be was laid to rest, a lawyer for his accused killer claimed his client had acted in self-defense.

Redinel Dervishaj, 35, was arraigned Friday on murder charges in the stabbing of Antonio Lacertosa, 27, during a brawl following the victim’s engagement party. The reputed Albanian gangster, who was caught at a relative’s home inIllinoisthree days ago, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail.

Read More: The Daily News

 

Syrian troops stormed northwestern town: activists

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian troops backed by tanks stormed a northwestern town on Saturday in the latest of a series of pushes by regime forces into rebel-held areas, but faced strong resistance from defending army defectors, activists said.

The British-Based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees said the troops entered Saraqeb from the north and were advancing amid heavy shelling.

Read More: The Daily News

NYPD detectives crack 30-year-old unsolved murder of Holocaust survivor who fled Poland

A fingerprint left on a ransacked jewelry box helped cops crack the case of a Holocaust survivor who was strangled in his Queens apartment nearly 32 years ago.
The arrest of a convicted robber for Cecil Schiff’s brutal murder stunned a former neighbor who was close to the victim’s widow, Gertrude, and lived in their Flushing building.
Read More: The Daily News

 

Obama puts Trayvon in a ‘son’ light

WASHINGTON— President Obama yesterday cast a national spotlight on the racially charged killing of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, telling the nation, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

Taking a rare personal tack, Obama took on the wrenchingFloridacase during an unrelated Rose Garden ceremony — stopping unexpectedly to answer a reporter’s question about the shooting.

Read More: The New York Post

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| 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

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Whitney Houston’s death was ‘complicated by chronic cocaine use and heart disease,’ coroner’s office says

Whitney Houston was a chronic cocaine user who had the drug in her system when she drowned in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub, confirming that her long battle with drug addiction caused her demise, officials said Thursday. An autopsy report on the superstar singer released by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said she had mixed illegal and prescription drugs before she was found lifeless in the tub. The official cause of death was accidental drowning “and effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use,” the coroner’s office said. Read More: Daily News

Cheating Manhattan corporate lawyer exposed after ‘assault’ on gal pal

A married Manhattan corporate lawyer’s double life came crashing down after he was arrested for smacking his mistress in the face and threatening to kill her, according to court papers. Steven Guynn, who has handled billion-dollar deals involving big-bucks clients around the world, allegedly punched gal pal Jeannette Schaefer after flying into a rage over breakfast last week in the tony New Canaan, Conn., home he shares with his wife. Read More: New York Post

 

Despite differences, devout Tebow and X-rated Ryan share passion for winning

There has never been a pairing of head coach and quarterback like this, not even Weeb Ewbank and Broadway Joe Namath, not even Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, not even Walt Michaels and Doug Flutie with the USFL Generals. Read More: New York Post

 

Kim Kardashian flour-bombed at LA promo event for perfume line

Kim Kardashian was flour-bombed in Los Angeles on Thursday night as she attended a promotion for her new perfume — with alarmed staff calling in the fire department to investigate. The reality starlet was walking the red carpet at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, promoting the scent True Reflection, when she was showered in a white powder. Read More: New York Post

 

Labor-loving Quinn will pass wage bill

A pro-union bill that would boost salaries for thousands of privately hired workers to minimum rates set by the city is slated to pass the City Council next week as Speaker Christine Quinn courts organized labor for her likely 2013 mayoral bid, The Post has learned. Quinn told her Democratic members in a closed-door meeting this week she plans to move the controversial “prevailing wage” legislation at the council meeting on Wednesday, sources said. Read More: New York Post

Early-morning fire damages Manhattan home; one firefighter injured

Dozens of city firefighters spent the early morning battling a Manhattan house fire. The fire started at about 3 a.m., along West 217th Street in Inwood. Police at the scene said the house was burning blue when they arrived — and it took firefighters nearly two hours to get the fire under control. One firefighter was injured from a fall, and his condition is unknown. But officials at the scene said no one in the house was injured. Read More: New York Post

 

2 bodies found on eastern Long Island, 1 in area where corpse discovered last month

Two bodies have been discovered within 24 hours on eastern Long Island, including a woman’s corpse found dumped in a wooded area where a body turned up last month. Suffolk County cops said they have no evidence linking the victims to the 10 bodies that have been found since December 2010 in Gilgo Beach, a suspected dumping ground of a serial killer. A jogger found a female corpse about 4 p.m. Wednesday in Manorville Hills County Park. Read More: Daily News
Staten Island stabbing suspect to be arraigned today on murder charges

The man suspected of fatally stabbing a Staten Island groom-to-be at his engagement party will be arraigned today on charges of murder and weapons possession, authorities said. 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 yesterday. Read More: New York Post

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cops roust Occupy crowd from Union Square

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

 

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

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

Two die in bloody day of violence in Brooklyn

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

 

Bullets fly in chase

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

 

Police Arrest Suspect In Fatal Staten Island Stabbing

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

 

Liu backs $$ gal

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

 

Cop rips punk in hero brother’s gun death

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

 

 

Brooklyn Gym Teacher Charged With Groping Student

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

 

Far Rockaway Playground Under Construction Receives Major Damage

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

Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

NYPD officers save man from oncoming train after he faints on subway tracks

A Manhattan man felt the luck of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day when a trio of NYPD’s finest saved him from an on-coming train after he fainted onto the tracks at Grand Central Station, police said. Surrounded by dozens of straphangers awaiting the next train, William Soto, 46, fell onto the southbound 6 tracks around 10:15 a.m. Saturday, police said. A good Samaritan who saw Soto collapse ran up the station stairs to summon help. Read More: Daily News

 

Police Identify Suspect In Fatal Staten Island Stabbing

Police have zeroed in on a suspect in connection with a deadly stabbing outside a Staten Island restaurant over the weekend. Sources say investigators have identified the man as Redinel Dervishaj, 35. Authorities say he has a prior record of violent crime. Antonio Lacertosa, 27, was stabbed in the torso early Saturday morning outside the Espana Restaurant in Annadale. Investigators say he was celebrating his engagement to his high school sweetheart at the restaurant. Read More: NY1

 

Workers Prep City Ballfields For Opening Day

As New Yorkers mark the first day of spring, the city’s Parks Department is busy prepping its fields for the upcoming little league season. Before the plates are laid out in city parks, crews are making sure the diamonds, bleachers, fences and fields are all in good shape. Parks workers in Queens are preparing 174 fields for the upcoming season. Much of their work includes inspecting fields and fence lines, painting benches, removing leafs and leveling the dirt on the infield. Read More: NY1

 

Peyton, Broncos agree to five-year, $96 million deal

Peyton Manning agreed to a five-year, $96 million deal Tuesday with the Denver Broncos, the NFL Network reported. The four-time MVP will be introduced as the team’s new starting quarterback at a 3:00pm ET press conference. The sides are reportedly still finalizing the details of the contract, but the soon-to-be 36-year-old is likely to make an annual salary of about $19 million. Read More: New York Post

 

Ex-Marine busted at Empire State Building with gun makes plea deal, gets no jail

The ex-Marine busted for trying to check his Indiana-registered gun at the Empire State Building got a no-jail, misdemeanor deal today. “I definitely did not know it was illegal to bring a gun into New York City,” Ryan Jerome, 29, of West Bend, said after pleading guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court. Read More: New York Post

 

Researchers mount new mission to solve Amelia Earhart mystery

Scientists on Tuesday announced a new phase in the search to resolve the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, saying fresh evidence from a remote Pacific island may hold clues to the fate of the renowned U.S. pilot who vanished in 1937 while attempting to circle the globe. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined scientists and aviation archaeologists to unveil the expedition, which will set out from Honolulu in July to probe underwater areas around the Phoenix Islands in Kiribati where they believe Earhart may have crashed 75 years ago. Read More: New York Post

 

Reading, writing & Rikers! City Education Department staffers arrested 14 times in 2012

A disturbing number of city teachers has moved from the schoolhouse to the courthouse this year. City Education Department staffers have been arrested at least 14 times in 2012, alarming parents and leading to changes in policy. The bevy of teachers, substitutes and aides has been busted this year for crimes ranging from sex abuse and assault to stealing subway art and keying a car. And the year is just three months old. Read More: Daily News

This Morning’s Top Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens woman shot to death on her porch

A mother of two was gunned down in a hail of bullets outside her Queens home early yesterday after a vengeful woman she bumped into in a nearby nightclub called in a hit squad, law-enforcement sources said. Sandra Bajnath, 39, was with her husband, Anthony Tika, 38, and their friend Sean Seepaul, 26, at Food Hut Restaurant and Bar when Bajnath accidentally bumped into the unidentified woman at around 3:30 a.m., the sources said. Read More: New York Post

 

Shocking video reveals hero teen’s brave stand to stop pals’ attack

He’s a teenage hero in one of the city’s most horrific pranks-gone-bad. In chilling video obtained exclusively by The Post, 14-year-old Achilles Baskin of Harlem is seen frantically trying to stop two twisted pals from pushing a shopping cart off a third-floor parking garage onto Manhattan mom Marion Hedges below — an act of bravery that he says still haunts him today. Read More & Watch the Video: New York Post

 

Police hunting Occupy Wall Street cop-kill tweeter

The NYPD is investigating an apparent Occupy Wall Street protester who made threats on Twitter Saturday about killing cops. “We won’t make a difference if we don’t kill a cop or 2,” someone with the Twitter handle Smackema1 posted at about 11:40 p.m. to Ustream, which showed footage of the Zuccotti Park protests in Manhattan. Read More: New York Post

 

Lively Queens House Party Ends With Collapsed Floor

Neighbors yesterday said they weren’t shocked when the third floor of a Queens home suddenly gave way and turned into a giant slide — sending as many as 100 teens attending a 13-year-old’s birthday party tumbling down. Miraculously, no one died, and only one person was seriously hurt — the older sister of the birthday boy. She’s expected to be OK. Read More: New York Post

 

Rep. Bob Turner blames Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and President Obama for high gasoline prices

Rep. Bob Turner opened his primary fight for the New York Republican Senate nomination with a familiar target — President Obama. The Republican hopeful perched in front of a Manhattan gas station Sunday and blasted Obama for blocking the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and for the price of gas in the city, which now tops $4 a gallon. Read More: Daily News

 

Liu chooses & biz ‘abuses’

Comptroller John Liu has awarded $6 million in contracts to manage city pension funds to a firm under investigation by New York federal and state prosecutors over claims it ripped off millions from public-employee pension systems around the world, The Post has learned.Boston-based State Street Corp. has faced litigation from state governments in Washington and California, as well as the United Kingdom, dating back to 2009 — each alleging the company fraudulently overbilled their retirement funds during so-called “foreign exchange” trades. Read More: New York Post

 

Police Investigate Fatal Stabbing Of Engaged Staten Island Man

Authorities are investigating after a Staten Island man was stabbed to death on Saturday just hours after his engagement party. Antonio Lacertosa, 27, of Staten Island was stabbed in the torso early Saturday morning, outside the Espana Restaurant in Annadale. The engagement party was held at another location before the group headed to Espana. Read More: NY1

 

Teacher Jonathan Polayes has avoided being fired despite years of accusations of misconduct

He’s been repeatedly accused of groping girls and making lewd comments about their breasts, thighs and bottoms — but the city just can’t get rid of this Teflon teacher. Jonathan Polayes, 60, a 22-year veteran of city schools, was one of the eight staffers singled out Thursday following Chancellor Dennis Walcott’s review of all misconduct cases since 2000. Read More: Daily News

 

Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and NY Knicks seem to be buying into interim coach Mike Woodson’s plan

The Knicks already have won three straight convincing games since Mike Woodson was promoted to replace Mike D’Antoni after D’Antoni resigned last Wednesday. Now, it’s time to see if they can take advantage of a key five-game segment and really start making a move up the Eastern Conference ladder. Read More: Daily News

Madonna Badger spared details of fire that killed her 3 daughters & parents


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Madonna Badger spared details of fire that killed her 3 daughters & parents

The marketing executive whose three daughters and parents died in a Christmas morning fire was spared the horrific details of the tragedy, her brother said Tuesday. Madonna Badger was “as devastated as you could imagine,” Wade Johnson said. “Like any mother and child would be. She’s largely unaware of many of the details … She’s resting.” Badger, who escaped the inferno at her Connecticut mansion, wasn’t told that her father died trying to save one of his granddaughters. Their bodies were found just inches apart on either side of an open window amid the rubble. Read More: Daily News

 

Off-duty firefighter saves elderly couple from blaze on Staten Island

An elderly Staten Island couple and their beloved pet cat were rescued from the balcony of their burning apartment by an off-duty firefighter driving home on Christmas night. Steven Carl, a seven-year FDNY veteran, was heading back to his South Beach residence on Sunday after celebrating the holiday at his parents’ home when he spotted flames at 11:45 p.m. above the roofline not far from his block. With his wife and their two kids in the car, Carl followed the trail of black smoke to Atlantic Avenue and discovered a two-family home engulfed in flames. Read More: New York Post

Tidal crime wave hits Rockaways

The Rockaways are getting rocked by crime! Felonies in the 100th Precinct in Queens, which blankets Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel and other western areas of the peninsula, have gone through the roof, according to the latest police statistics. Burglaries have jumped 144 percent, from 54 last year to 132 this year. Felony assaults have soared 66 percent, from 78 to 130. Robberies have gone up 31 percent, from 63 to 83. Grand larcenies are up 26 percent over last year. The crime wave is so pervasive that a local deli is even offering pamphlets that warn customers, “Do You Feel Safe and Secure? We Hope You Do … But Maybe You Shouldn’t!” Read More: New York Post

 

Knicks claim former Harvard guard Lin

The Knicks have claimed former Harvard PG Jeremy Lin off waivers, according to a league source. Lin spent his rookie year in Oakland, but was waived by the Warriors, and new coach Mark Jackson, on Dec. 9. The Rockets picked Lin up, but waived him Sunday to clear roster space in order to sign Samuel Dalembert. Lin, 23, was undrafted out of Harvard but appeared in 29 games for the Warriors as a rookie last season, averaging 2.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest. Read More: New York Post

 

Registration open for Golden Gloves

The crown jewel for boxing aficionados, the Daily News Golden Gloves, is increasing its reach and accepting jabs from a wider population. For the first time in Golden Gloves history, the tournament will be open to all entries from the state of New York when registration opens for 2012. “After 85 years of world-class competition, it’s about time that we expand the reach of the Daily News Golden Gloves to include all of New York,” said Gloves director Brian Adams. “As the oldest and largest boxing tournaments in the world, we want to set a positive example for the youth of New York state, not just those representing the metropolitan area. It’s a chance to follow in the footsteps of the many boxing greats that got their start in the Daily News Golden Gloves.” Read More: Queens Courier

 

Conn. mayor: Fire that killed 5 not foul play

A Christmas Day fire that killed three children and their grandparents was a tragic accident related to a fireplace in the home, not the result of foul play, the mayor said Tuesday. Investigators were expected to reveal the cause of the fire later Tuesday, but Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia told The Associated Press described the cause as “fireplace-related.” He could not provide more details. “The preliminary information is it was just a tragic accident,” he said, adding that foul play had been ruled out. Neighbors said they were awakened by screams shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday and rushed outside to help but could do nothing as flames devoured the large Victorian home. Read More: New York Post

 

Bronx tot dead, dad under arrest after fight with girl’s mother

Police say a 3-month-old Bronx girl is dead and her father is under arrest following an altercation with the child’s mother and grandmother. Police said Tuesday that 20-year-old Kevin Palmer was arrested on assault charges after a physical confrontation with the 19-year-old mother of his child and her 43-year-old mother. Neither woman received major injuries. Read More: New York Post

 

Public Advocate Releases City’s Worst Landlords Watch List

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio on Tuesday released his latest list of what he says are the worst landlords and buildings in the city. Some 358 buildings are on the list, owned by 317 landlords. “1071 Home Corp” ranks at the top of the list, with 753 hazardous violations and five buildings on de Blasio’s “watch list”. Three of the top five landlords have buildings in the Bronx, and two have buildings in Brooklyn. Read More: NY1

 

Straphangers Stranded In December Blizzard File Suit

A group of passengers is suing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority one year after they were stranded on an A train in Queens during the post-Christmas blizzard. About 25 people trapped for eight hours on the A train are named as plaintiffs in the suit. They were left without heat, water or food when the train got stuck in several feet of snow between Aqueduct and Rockaway Boulevard. New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast told the City Council earlier this month MTA officials “forgot” about the train. Read More: NY1

 

New dirt on pervy UWS super

Shocking, newly released court documents describe the ordeals of alleged victims of a former Upper West Side building super accused of pressuring cash-strapped female tenants to pay their rent with sexual favors. “He told me to take my clothes off really slowly so that he could watch,” one of the women said in a deposition about William “Billy” Barnason. “He had sex with me for about probably a minute . . . He slapped me on the ass and said, ‘Now we’re even.’ ’’ The woman and her roommate were allowed to move into another apartment the next day, owned by the same elderly landlord, Stanley Katz. Read More: New York Post

 

Al Qaeda in Iraq says it was behind Baghdad blasts

An al Qaeda front group in Iraq has claimed responsibility for the wave of attacks that ripped through markets, cafes and government buildings in Baghdad on a single day last week, killing 69 people and raising new worries about the country’s path. The coordinated attacks struck a dozen mostly Shiite neighborhoods on Thursday in the first major bloodshed since U.S. troops completed a full withdrawal this month after nearly nine years of war. They also coincided with a government crisis that has again strained ties between Iraq’s Sunnis and Shiites to the breaking point, tearing at the same fault line that nearly pushed Iraq into all-out civil war several years ago. Read More: New York Post

NYPD officer Peter Figoski shot & killed by robber in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

NYPD officer Peter Figoski shot & killed by robber in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn

A city police officer was shot in the face and killed while responding to a call of a robbery in Brooklyn early Monday, authorities said. Officer Peter Figoski was hit once as he stood at the bottom of a staircase that led from the street to a basement apartment at 25 Pine Street in Cypress Hills. “The officer interrupted a burglary-robbery in progress,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD’s top spokesman. “It looks like the gunman may have surprised the officer. As the officer entered the location, he was shot by the gunman.” The tragic incident occurred about 2:15 a.m. Figoski was rushed to Jamaica Hospital but could not be saved. Read More: Daily News

Long Island City bank robber panicked after he fired his gun at the ceiling 

The FBI is hunting for a gun-toting bank robber, who was caught on camera after he fired a shot into the ceiling of a Queens bank to prove he meant business but left without a cent. The bandit, dressed in a dark colored cap, dark framed glasses and a dark jacket and black leather gloves, walked into the HSBC bank on 43rd Avenue near 22nd Street in Long Island City, shortly before 9 a.m. on Wednesday, said authorities.  Read More: Daily News

Ex-Officer Kills His Wife, a State Tax Agent, in Queens, the Police Say

A state tax agent who specialized in investigating the trafficking of illegal cigarettes was shot to death by her husband, a former New York police officer, the authorities said on Sunday. The body of the investigator, Tracey Young, 42, was discovered by the police and paramedics shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday in her apartment on the eighth floor of 143-41 84th Drive, in Briarwood. She had been shot several times in the head and torso, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Read More: New York Times

TSA Passenger Advocates Sought By New York Lawmakers

Two New York lawmakers have called for a passenger advocate at airports to immediately act on complaints by passengers over security screenings. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and state Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens want the Transportation Security Administration to create the position at all airports. The proposal, released Sunday, was prompted by an elderly woman’s recent claims that she was strip searched by security officials at Kennedy Airport, which the TSA denies, saying it doesn’t conduct strip searches. Others have since made similar claims. Read More: Huffington Post

Meeks’ money man eyes plea deal

A Queens businessman who once gave Congressmember Gregory Meeks $40,000 is negotiating a plea deal with federal authorities in Brooklyn, according to court records obtained by The Post. The “extensive plea negotiations” are scheduled to stretch into the end of February, leaving some to wonder if Meeks pal and Guyanese-born developer Edul Ahmad is helping the feds with other targets. “That’s a lot of time to negotiate a plea,” said a New York criminal lawyer not connected with the case. “The feds must think there are bigger fish they can catch.” Read More: New York Post

Lying lawyer slapped

A Queens lawyer has been suspended for six months for falsely accusing a New Jersey state trooper of using anti-Semitic slurs against him, according to a ruling released yesterday. Attorney Elliott Dear said he made up the outrageous allegations in hopes of getting out of a speeding ticket. Court papers say the unidentified trooper pulled over Dear, an orthodox Jew, for going 84 in a 55-mph zone while driving with his wife in 2007. Read More: New York Post

Hero FDNY captain rescues badly-burned grandpa from burning Queens building

A badly-burned Queens grandfather was pulled from his smoke-choked bedroom early Saturday after his desperate son screamed at firefighters to rescue the trapped man. “My father! My father!” howled Patrick Bryan, 32, as the FDNY reached his burning Flushing apartment at 2:12 a.m. Bryan, his wife and their 5-year-old daughter escaped from the two-story apartment building — but 64-year-old Patrick James Rohan was lying unconscious in a rear bedroom. Read More: Daily News

Kew Gardens Fire Injures Four, Cause Unknown

Fire officials are looking into what sparked a fire Saturday that left four people injured in Queens. The New York City Fire Department says it broke out around 2 a.m. in the kitchen on the top floor of a two-story apartment building located at 147-19 75th Road in Kew Gardens. Family members say residents were forced to escape from a second story window. Read More: NY1

Queens Man Charged With Murdering Former Roommate

A Queens man was arraigned Saturday on charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the shooting death of a man on Staten Island. Armand Skrine, 34, is being held without bail. On Thursday, police responded to a call of shots fired on Steuben Street in Park Hill. There they found David Williams, 30, on the seventh floor of his building with multiple gunshot wounds. Read More: NY1

Drug mill on residential street shut down, $400,000 of “Blackberry” heroin off the streets


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

TLC Recruits College Students In Driver Refusal Crackdown

The Taxi and Limousine Commission has come up with a resourceful way to crack down on drivers who refuse fares. They have recruited college students to help nab drivers who don’t want to take people to their destinations. So far more than 360 drivers have been hit with $500 fines as a result of the stings. Since September, the students have hailed more than 1,300 cabs with drivers refusing to take them to either Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens or Upper Manhattan about 27 percent of the time. Drivers who spoke with NY1 say they’re being unfairly trapped. Read More: NY1

 

Staten Island Ferry workers are sued over sexual harrassment by former worker Jennette Suarez

 

She used to swab the decks of the Staten Island Ferry but now Jennette Suarez wants to wipe the floors with her former male co-workers, who she says turned the fleet into sexually-charged floating frat houses. Read More: Daily News

 

What Would Judy Say?™

Judge Judy Sheindlin answers your questions about problems that trouble you most. Queens Courier Exclusive

 

Bronx drug mill on residential street shut down, $400,000 of “Blackberry” heroin off the streets 

Two NYPD “Operation Clean Halls” signs are posted in the lobby of a well-kept Cruger Ave. building where an apartment was used to package “Blackberry” heroin in glassine envelopes stamped with a likeness of the popular smartphone . Nearly $400,000 worth of heroin was seized and six pushers arrested this week after a two-month investigation brought down two drug mills in the tree-lined Pelham Parkway section, leaving residents shocked and scared. Read More: Daily News

 

Renewed hopes for a High Line-like greenway in Queens 

Encouraged by the success of the High Line in Manhattan, a group of Queens park advocates are rebooting a proposal to rehabilitate an abandoned rail line into a greenway. The old Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, which went out of service almost 50 years ago, stretches from Rego Park to Ozone Park, cutting a swath through Forest Park. Read More: Daily News

 

Judge says let’s swear in witnesses and get to truth in challenge of Tejpal Singh’s 1996 murder conviction

A Queens judge indicated Thursday he’ll have to swear in witnesses to resolve a serious challenge to the murder conviction of a Sikh man now serving 25-years-to-life for a 1996 drive-by shooting. Queens Supreme Court Justice Judge Michael Aloise said the issues raised by attorneys for Tejpal Singh must be resolved at a hearing where witnesses are questioned under oath. Aloise implied that a hearing would be necessary after lawyers for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown filed papers defending the original conviction and attacking the effort to free Singh. Read More: Daily News