Tag Archives: teacher

Street to be co-named for Bayside teacher who died from cancer


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


Former P.S. 41 science teacher Geri Cilmi’s motto to her students in the Bayside school was “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.”

So when she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007, instead of fretting about it, Cilmi took all the necessary treatment and fought the disease with a smile, her husband, Tom, said.

“She was fantastic,” he said. “[Doctors] were amazed at her attitude and everything was just hunky-dory.”

But the cancer attacked strong in 2011 and Cilmi, a mother of one and beloved public school teacher of four decades, died that May. To honor her memory and achievements, a former student, Thomas Fennell, requested a street be co-named and Community Board 11 approved it. Family and friends will gather on June 20 as Councilman Paul Vallone unveils the new Mrs. Geri Cilmi Place at 214th Lane behind the school.

Cilmi began teaching in 1967 as a substitute teacher in Brooklyn elementary schools. When she shifted to P.S. 41 in 1989 she became a full-time science teacher. She retired in 2008.

Photo courtesy Thomas Cilmi 

During her time at P.S. 41, Cilmi was loved by colleagues and students for her extraordinary effort as a teacher. Cilmi hosted science nights in the school, where parents and students were able to do a variety of experiments. She applied for numerous grants for the school, including one from NASA for a weather station. She also set up the school’s garden. She was vice president of the Elementary School Science Association (ESSA) and made various science presentations for children.

“She was one of those people that were a natural teacher,” said second grade teacher Diane DiBlasi, who worked with Cilmi at P.S. 41 for two decades. “She opened up the world to so many children in a positive way.”

Outside of teaching, Cilmi was a bright woman who loved to dance and a devoted mother who raised her son to be a Harvard University-educated doctor. She listened to The Beatles and Elvis Presley, and loved to draw. Cilmi desired to write a children’s book, but never had the chance.

Tom will be present at the ceremony and believes his wife deserves the honor.

“It gives me the feeling that she really accomplished something,” he said. “She touched a lot of people and an awful lot of children.”

 

 

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Queens teacher accused of sexual encounter with second student


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File Photo

A Queens teacher busted for having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student was arrested again for sexually abusing another teen boy at the Ridgewood high school where she worked, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Joy Morsi, 39, a physical education teacher at Grover Cleveland High School, was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual act and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

The Massapequa, Long Island resident is accused of engaging in sexual acts with the second victim, also a 16-year-old student, inside the school on Saturday morning, the district attorney said.

She allegedly had sex with the first student in the basement and other areas of the school during their relationship, according to Brown.

Morsi was charged Tuesday with 20 counts of third-degree rape, 20 counts of third-degree criminal sexual act and one count of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with that case, officials said.

The victim is a wrestler at the school, according to the Daily News, and the relationship started in June of last year.  The relationship continued until recently when the victim told authorities about the affair two weeks ago after Morsi became jealous that he was taking a girl to prom, the Daily News reported.

Prosecutors said Morsi, who pleaded not guilty to the new charges, enticed another student  not long after the first relationship ended, according to the Daily News.

Morsi was again held on $25,000 bail on Wednesday, and is set to return to court on June 23.

 

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Queens teacher arrested for allegedly having sex with student


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Updated 5 p.m.

A teacher at Grover Cleveland High School is accused of raping a 16-year-old student numerous times in a yearlong relationship, according to officials.

Joy Morsi, 39, of Massapequa, Long Island, was arrested on Monday and charged the next day with 20 counts of third-degree rape, 20 counts of third-degree criminal sexual act and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, officials said. If convicted, Morsi could be sent to prison for four years. She did not give a statement at her Tuesday arraignment.

“We find these claims disturbing and reprehensible and she will remain reassigned — far from any student and the school — pending a criminal investigation,” said Department of Education spokesman David Pena. “We will work closely with the school to ensure they are given any needed support.”

The victim is a wrestler at the Ridgewood school, according to the Daily News, and the relationship started on June 10, 2013, when Morsi lured the student into a secluded closet and exposed herself to the teen. She also allegedly sent the student emails asking if he was a virgin.

Things continued until recently when the victim told authorities about the affair two weeks ago after Morsi became jealous that he was taking a girl to prom, the Daily News reported.

Morsi had sex with the student in the basement and other areas of the school during their relationship, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

“This case is particularly disturbing because the defendant is a teacher and schools should be safe havens for children,” Brown said. “Instead, this defendant is accused of sexually preying upon one of her students during rendezvous all over the school.”

Morsi’s next court date is June 23 and her bail is set at $25,000.

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Detective posing as 14-year-old girl busts Queens teacher in online sex sting: DA


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

handcuffs-with-color-web-size11

Updated 5:55 p.m.

A Queens teacher was arrested Wednesday after having sexually explicit online conversations with a 14-year-old girl who turned out to be an uncover NYPD detective, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Monsur Khan, 30, has been charged with attempted rape, attempted criminal sexual act, attempted dissemination of indecent material to minors, attempted endangering the welfare and resisting arrest, prosecutors said. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.

The Forest Hills resident began speaking with the undercover detective, who he believed to be a 14-year-old Queens girl, starting in February, according to the district attorney. On several occasions, Khan allegedly sent instant messages to the officer that were graphic and sexual in nature. He also asked to meet the teen, and arranged to see her Wednesday afternoon, Brown said.

He instead was meeting with the undercover officer and was busted by police, according to the district attorney. The teacher allegedly admitted to cops that he thought he was chatting with a 14-year-old girl and had sexual conversations with her, which included future plans to have sex with her in a hotel.

Khan, who has been a science teacher at Jamaica’s Hillside Arts & Letters Academy since September 2011, has been reassigned away from the school, according to a Department of Education spokesman.

 

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Former Queens teacher pleads guilty to rape of student


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the New York Daily News

A Queens middle school teacher charged with statutory rape has pleaded guilty and is expected to be sentenced to six months in jail as part of a plea deal, officials said.

Daniel Reilly, 36, admitted to having sex multiple times at his Forest Hills home with a 14-year-old girl he used to teach, said District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

“As a teacher and an adult, the defendant was in a position of power to know better,” Brown said. “Children should be able to remain children.”

Reilly, a former sixth grade English teacher at I.S. 237, pleaded guilty to second-degree rape. He was also charged in April with committing a second-degree criminal sexual act, endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree sexual abuse.

Those charges were dropped as part of a plea deal, a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office said.

The bargain was also meant to spare the victim from testifying.

Reilly, a married father, will be sentenced on July 22 to six months in jail and 10 years’ probation, according to Brown. He faced up to seven years in prison at the time of his arraignment.

He will also have to give up his teaching license, register on the state’s sex offender registry and take a sex offender reform program.

“This case should serve as a clear and unmistakable warning that law enforcement is prepared under any circumstances to apprehend and prosecute sexual predators who betray and defile youngsters,” Brown said.

The relationship between Reilly and the teen, which began last August, surfaced when her sister found sexually explicit text messages on her phone, the district attorney said.

Reilly, who made close to $62,000 a year, resigned last week from the Flushing school where he worked for six years, a Department of Education spokesperson said.

 

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Outrage over teacher’s alleged sex romp with student


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the New York Daily News

The Queens middle school teacher charged with statutory rape was a popular, fun educator who shared details about his personal life with his class, students said.

“He was actually a really cool teacher,” said a former student. “He was funny. He joked around with us a lot.”

Daniel Reilly, a sixth grade English teacher at I.S. 237, is accused of having sex multiple times since last November with a 14-year-old girl he used to teach, authorities said.

The 36-year-old married father from Forest Hills was charged with rape, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse at his arraignment on Tuesday, April 9, according to the district attorney.

“This case is particularly disturbing,” said District Attorney Richard Brown. “Schools should be safe havens for children. Instead, this defendant is accused of sexually preying upon one of his former students and rendezvousing with her at his residence.”

A criminal complaint details several incidents in which Reilly and the victim lay naked in bed together and engaged in sexual activities in his home.

I.S. 237 in Flushing where Reilly is a sixth grade English teacher. (THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan)

The relationship, which allegedly continued for more than nine months, surfaced when the victim’s sister found sexually explicit text messages on her phone, Brown said.

Reilly was arrested on April 8 at 8 p.m. in Forest Hills, said cops.

The educator, who makes close to $62,000 a year, has taught at the Flushing school for six years, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Education said. He was immediately reassigned out of the school, and there were no prior investigations.

Reilly posted bail for $30,000, according to the district attorney. The educator is ordered to return to court on May 6. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.

Students said Reilly was open with his personal life, telling his class how “goofy” he was in high school as well as his time in the U.S. Navy.

Reilly is also a new father, according to teens who knew him, and welcomed a baby daughter to the world last year.

“That’s pretty unacceptable,” said Mike Chen, whose 14-year-old son attends the school. “Something like that is every parent’s nightmare.”

Reilly’s wife and mother-in-law leave court with his lawyer. (Photo: NY Daily News)

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: “West Side Story” at St. Albans Park

Winner of 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture, this classic musical set among the tenements of New York City finds star-crossed lovers Maria and Tony caught in the midst of a turf war between rival street gangs. Written by Ernest Lehman, Arthur Laurents, and others. Directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise.

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

Flushing church’s act of kindness backfires

Leaders of a local Christian church are bemoaning an act of kindness after spending $2,000 in legal fees and close to two years to try to evict a pair of stubborn squatters they say have no plans to leave. The Queensboro Hill Community Church of Flushing opened its doors to two homeless women and their dog a year-and-a-half ago when church officials found the down-on-their-luck duo sleeping on a mat in a 4×8 room in the basement, said Joe Illigasch, who has close ties with the church. Read more: Queens Courier

Flash floods catch New Yorkers by surprise

A line of heavy showers that passed through parts of the city this afternoon has left some streets under water and some homeowners reporting flooded basements. The heavy rainfall temporarily shut down parts of the Grand Central Parkway, Van Wyck Expressway, as well as sections of the Clearview and Long Island Expressways. Read more: NY1

Senator Schumer wants a ‘Nerd Bus’ to connect high-tech hubs in Brooklyn and Queens

New York’s senior senator is calling for a “Nerd Bus” that would link up high tech hubs in Brooklyn and Queens with Roosevelt Island — and help some of the city’s brightest bulbs get around town. Read more: NY Daily News

Queens teacher shines in swimming at Transplant Games

Gutsy Queens teacher Alison Cain earned four swimming medals last weekend at an Olympic-style event for U.S. transplant patients — a feel-good triumph that was part medical, part miracle. Read more: NY Daily News

 

Queens teacher charged with molesting three additional students


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Three more accusations have been levied against a former Queens teacher accused of molesting two boys earlier this year.

Wilbert Cortez, 49, was charged in February with sexually abusing two young boys on multiple occasions at P.S. 174 in Rego Park. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced yesterday that Cortez has been charged with molesting three other male students between 2007 and 2011.

“These are serious accusations in which a school teacher — who should serve as a role model to students — is instead accused of using his position to gain access to children for his own gratification,” Brown said. “Schools should be safe havens where students are protected from harm.”

Cortez was a computer teacher before being removed from the classroom.

A city investigation in 2000 found that Cortez had shown “a pattern of inappropriate conduct” at a school in Brooklyn. The report concluded that the teacher slapped two students on the buttocks on several occasion. A letter of discipline was placed in Cortez’s file — however, six months later he was transferred to P.S. 174.

Cortez was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, one count of second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to the district attorney’s office. He is due in court on June 11.

—Additional reporting by Steve Mosco

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

Elmont substitute teacher accused of having sex with 15-year-old girl


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Elmont substitute teacher accused of having sex with 15-year-old girl

A substitute school teacher is facing charges she had an illegal sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female student at a Long Island high school. Kaitlin Grant of Elmont was arrested Friday. The 23-year-old woman is charged with criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a child. She is scheduled to be arraigned later Friday. The name of her attorney was not known. Read More: New York Post

‘Madam’s’ bodyguard once worked as an NYPD detective

A former NYPD cop who spent a decade working with the Manhattan DA’s office also acted as a bodyguard for the alleged high-end Upper East Side brothel boss now being prosecuted by that same district attorney’s office, sources told The Post today. Ex-cop Selwyn “Sly” Francis appeared in a photograph published today in The Post grinning broadly as accused madam Anna Gristina sat cozily on his lap with her arm slung over his broad shoulder. Read More: New York Post

Notorious B.I.G. remembered: Rapper’s music still lives on 15 years after his death

Can it really be 15 years since the brutal murder of Brooklyn’s own Christopher Wallace (aka The Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls)? March 9 marks the sad day when one of the most narratively attuned rappers of all time lost his life at age 24. It only makes it worse that his slaying remains unsolved. Of course, his voluminous stories live on. Read More: Daily News

 

NYPD Reportedly Monitored Muslim New Yorkers Based On Their Religion

New reported information shows that the New York City Police Department has been monitoring people based specifically on their religion. According to documents obtained by the Associated Press, the NYPD kept secret files on businesses owned by second- and third-generation Americans, specifically because they were Muslims. The AP says the department’s secretive Demographics Unit was assigned to investigate the area’s Syrian population in 2007 – but excluded Syrian Jews and Christians from monitoring. Read More: NY1

 

Bloomberg defends Jets QB Sanchez, rejects plea for Peyton

Mayor Bloomberg is playing defense for Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. The mayor today rejected a plea from a caller to his radio show to help the Jets recruit free agent quarterback Peyton Manning to Gang Green. “We have a Manning playing for the Giants,” the mayor said, referring to Peyton’s brother, Eli. Read More: New York Post

Mom charged with daughter’s death blasts plans to allow son, 6, to testify

A monster mom charged with murdering her 4-year-old daughter railed Friday against prosecutors’ plans to have her young son serve as a star witness when the trial opens next month. Carlotta Brett-Pierce blew up in court as a Brooklyn judge considered whether the 6-year-old boy, Tymel, will have to testify via closed-circuit – or face his mother in person for the first time since the Sept. 2010 death of his sister, Marchella Brett-Pierce. Read More: New York Post

Queens Teaching Aide Charged With Sexual Abuse Of Six Female Students


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens Teaching Aide Charged With Sexual Abuse Of Six Female Students

A full-time paraprofessional working in an art class at P.S. 52 in Springfield Gardens, Queens has been arrested and charged with sexual conduct with six female students. Brett Picou, 30, who worked as a teacher’s aide and a substitute at P.S. 52 since 2008, was awaiting arraignment Thursday on seven counts of first-degree sexual abuse, seven counts of forcible touching, one count of second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and six counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Read More: NY1

 

11 people, including 3 kids, escape from house fires in Queens and Manhattan

Eleven people, including three children, escaped two separate blazes in Queens and downtown Manhattan early Thursday — and one may have been the result of a firebomb. The first fire ignited in a Rockaway Blvd. apartment in South Jamaica just before 3 a.m., and the flames trapped the residents inside their homes. Witnesses later told fire investigators that a Molotov cocktail was tossed near the apartment, setting the home ablaze, sources said. Six people on the second floor suffered minor injuries along with three firefighters who were taken to Jamaica Hospital Center for evaluation, officials said. Read More: Daily News

 

Disgraced former Governor returning to national politics with fund-raiser

The Love Gov is climbing back into bed — with lawmakers. For the first time since a tawdry hooker scandal trashed his political career, Eliot Spitzer is holding a fund-raiser for a politician looking to make a national splash. The former governor is hosting the event at his Fifth Avenue home for Washington state gubernatorial hopeful Jay Inslee on March 5. Inslee, currently a Democrat in the House of Representatives, shares many of Spitzer’s left-leaning political stances. Insiders believe Spitzer’s soiree shows he’s trying to become a political mover and shaker once again — this time as a national kingmaker. Read More: New York Post

 

Not-so-Finest moment as cop caught napping on F train

A hero cop has been disciplined for catching Z’s on the F rain while armed and in uniform. Officer Matthew Sobota, 43, was caught snoozing on the subway by a straphanger, who snapped photos with his cell phone camera and emailed them to NYPD brass. “I thought maybe a teenager could take (Sobota’s) gun and sell it or use it. I felt like it was a potentially unsafe thing,” said Martin Bisi, 51, of Brooklyn, who took the photos of the sleepy cop on Feb. 16. Read More: Daily News

 

Knicks lose to Heat; Lin plays poorly

Jeremy Lin finally met his match last night, and it was ugly. In by far his worst performance during this 12-game surreal surge, Lin fell apart under the South Beach spotlight and the Knicks caved with him in a disappointing 102-88 loss to the mighty Heat last night at rabid AmericanAirlines Arena. “He can’t be Peter Pan every night,’’ Mike D’Antoni said. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and point guard Mario Chalmers made sure Linsanity calmed down as the Heat (27-7) won their eighth straight game by 12 or more points — one short of an NBA record. Read More: New York Post
19K taxi drivers accused of ripping off passengers won’t face charges

It was one of the biggest scandals in the taxi industry’s history, but nearly 90 percent of the 21,819 cabbies accused of ripping off passengers with inflated fares will get off scot-free, The Post has learned. In a stunning move, the Taxi & Limousine Commission is giving a free ride to 19,515 yellow-cab drivers caught setting their meters to the higher, out-of-town rate while traveling around the city. Overall, officials estimated that unwary passengers were fleeced for $1.1 million between 2008 and 2010. Of that, $238,854 in overcharges was attributed to the cabbies who will escape penalties. Read More: New York Post

Jimmy Fallon sings ode to Knicks guard Jeremy Lin on Late Night

Jeremy Lin’s game has spoken so loudly that comic Jimmy Fallon performed a Pearl Jam parody to honor the Knicks point guard. With a scraggly wig on his head, Fallon sang a tribute to the Harvard grad to the tune of the band’s 1992 hit “Jeremy.” “At home, shooting free throws and three point shots, waiting for a job/name not yet a pun/Carmelo injury,” he croons. “Came out of nowhere like an Asian Tebow.” Read More: Daily News

 

5 injured in Long Island house fire

Authorities on Long Island are investigating an early morning house fire in which five people were injured. Nassau County arson bomb squad detectives say the fire broke out at the Levittown house on Prentice Lane at 12:30 a.m. today. The four occupants — a 46-year-old woman and three 11-year-old children — managed to get out of the house quickly. They suffered smoke inhalation and were transported to a hospital for treatment. Read More: New York Post

ESPN fallout over crack about Lin


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

ESPN fallout over crack about Lin

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

 

NYC’s Allen Christian School is closing

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

 

Knicks talking title after Lin leads them to win over Mavericks

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

 

Spit hits fan in teach spat

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

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

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

 

Transit Officers Catch Alleged Subway Pickpocket In The Act

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

 

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

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

 

Detective who killed thug in shootout says it was ‘just instinct’


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Detective who killed thug in shootout says it was ‘just instinct’

The NYPD detective who shot and killed a thug in a Harlem subway station yesterday, despite being shot in the arm, said today that he simply reacted. “It was just instinct more than anything,” Queens Detective Kevin Herlihy told The Post. Herlihy said “it’s very fortunate, [I'm] very lucky” to have survived the shootout. Read More: New York Post

Subway-push victim relives horror at trial

First, the stranger on the platform met her eyes with “a crazy stare.” Then, as the uptown train barreled into the Broadway and 28th Street station, fashion exec Ute Linhart felt two hands push her hard from behind — a New York City nightmare come to life — so forcefully, she flew off her feet. “I felt the hard push from behind,” Linhart told a Manhattan Supreme Court jury yesterday, testifying against José Rojas, 26, who is fighting attempted-murder charges by insisting he’d merely had too much to drink that day and bumped the woman by accident. Read More: New York Post

Queens teacher allegedly sent students’ info to felon boyfriend in holiday pen-pal assignment

A bone-headed Queens elementary school teacher had her students write holiday cards with their names and addresses on them to her beau — a locked-up felon, investigators charged. The Office of Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon today recommended that PS 143 fifth-grade teacher Melissa Dean get canned for acting as though the “pen” in pen-pals stood for penitentiary. Read More: New York Post

 

Gelman gets addt’l 25 years for slashing Manhattan subway rider at end of crime spree

A man already sentenced to 200 years in prison for killing four people in a stabbing and carjacking rampage in New York City has received an additional 25 years. Maksim Gelman was sentenced Wednesday for slashing a Manhattan subway passenger at the end of the bloody crime spree. In court, Gelman interrupted and taunted the victim. Joseph Lozito told Gelman he has “hell to look forward to.” Read More: New York Post

 

Hit-and-run driver slams into taxi, injures 2: cops

A reckless hit-and-run driver slammed into a taxi early this morning, seriously injuring the cabbie and a passenger inside, police said. The accident occurred while BMW driver Gilberto Morales, 20, was allegedly speeding up Third Avenue in the East Village with his buddy Brandon Evans, 21, in the passenger seat, cops said. Morales blew through a red light near East 13th Street and plowed into the taxi at 3:36 a.m., cops said. The cowardly motorist stopped the BMW, and after seeing the damage, fled the scene on foot with Evans, cops said. Read More: New York Post

Ex-Marine rips NY’s ‘illogical’ gun law

Getting prosecuted under New York’s gun laws is a nonsensical crapshoot, where gangsters get their cases expunged and thugs can turn in illegal weapons for $200 — but a weapon that’s legally registered elsewhere can brand a citizen as a criminal for life. That’s the view of a retired Marine who is facing criminal charges after unwittingly trying to check his Indiana-registered handgun at the Empire State building, according to the latest court filings in the case. Read More: New York Post

 

Hit-run kills Brooklyn man

An elderly man was killed last night in a horrific hit-and-run accident in Brooklyn, police said. Jean Jeanniot, 71, was crossing the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and East 26th Street in Flatbush when a car hit him at about 6:10 p.m., authorities said. Another car then hit and dragged Jeanniot, but that driver stayed on the scene, cops said. “Someone hit him one way, then another guy drove over him and he was dragged out,” said Robert Sapp, of nearby Lindell’s Beauty and Barber Supplies. “It’s a horrible intersection, it’s very dangerous.” Jeanniot was rushed to Kings County Hospital, where he died. Read More: New York Post

Motorist dies of apparent suicide while driving on the Throgs Neck Bridge


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Motorist dies of apparent suicide while driving on the Throgs Neck Bridge

A 36-year-old man killed himself with a shot to the head while driving on the Throgs Neck Bridge on Monday night, police said. The man was heading northbound from Queens toward the Bronx in a 1999 Chevy Silverado when he took his own life just before he arrived at the tollbooth, cops said. After the driver pulled the trigger at 7:11 p.m., police said, the man’s silver pickup truck slammed into another car and then careened into a tollbooth entrance. Read More: Daily News

‘Junk-justice radar’ on high alert in Queens district attorney’s office conviction of Tejpal Singh

This is last week and two court officers lead convicted murderer Tejpal Singh into the Queens courtroom of the Honorable Michael B. Aloise, a courtroom jammed with Sikh men in turbans. They uncuff him at the defense table. Aloise oddly stands through loud arguments from high-powered defense attorney Stephen G. Murphy, who charges that in Singh’s case, the Queens district attorney’s office has convicted yet another in a parade of innocent people. Read More: Daily News

Sex suspect takes plunge

A depraved sicko nearly plunged to his death from a fourth-floor window after sexually attacking a young woman in her Queens apartment building, police sources said yesterday. Gustavo Avila, 20, was listed in critical condition at Elmhurst Hospital following Wednesday’s incident on 83rd Street in Jackson Heights, sources said. Read More: New York Post

Long Island man arrested in killing of young mom and her 2-year-old son

A Long Island man has been arrested for killing his one-time love interest and her 2-year-old son, whose little body was found in a freezer, police said. Jerry Lewis, 24, repeatedly stabbed Shakeela Planter, 21, on the morning of December 18 inside the North Bay Shore apartment they had been sharing, police said. Lewis did not spare Planter’s son, Jaiden Planter, police said. He beat the toddler, stuffed his body into a plastic bag and stashed him in his mother’s freezer, police said. Read More: Daily News

Miracle survivors

A Queens family of six driving upstate for the holidays “miraculously” survived a frightening accident that sent their SUV tumbling off the highway and launched the youngest of the clan out of the car. Although his entire family was hospitalized after the early-morning wreck yesterday near the town of Bethlehem, 42-year-old dad Eli Rowe sounded grateful that things didn’t turn out worse. He said their 2010 Mercedes veered off the rain-soaked New York Thruway and flipped over multiple times as they were headed from Flushing to Lake George for a family getaway. Read More: New York Post

Shoppers take it all back

With Christmas finally over, throngs of sale-crazy shoppers flocked to stores across New York yesterday in hopes of correcting Kris Kringle’s little mistakes and ringing in 2012 with huge savings. “It’s crazy how chaotic it is,” said Alex, a 27-year-old college student who was exchanging a $230 sweater for a $200 button-down shirt at Saks Fifth Avenue. He declined to give his last name in an apparent bid to spare the gift giver’s feelings. The Saks sale — in which many posh items at the high-end store were slashed up to 70 percent — led to “lots of pushing and shoving,” said one witness. Read More: New York Post

‘Double-dater’ teacher

Gerard Cassidy, a physical-education instructor at a Queens middle school, was caught in a love triangle and fired for having an “inappropriate relationship” with an ex-student — while dating her mom, The Post has learned. Cassidy, 44, who taught at MS 137 America’s School of Heroes in Ozone Park, lost a fight for his $83,600-a-year job even though the 16-year-old student recanted her claim that she had sex with the teacher, according to city Department of Education documents and court records. The age of consent in New York is 17. Cassidy denied any wrongdoing. Read More: New York Post

Comptroller: Last Year’s Christmas Blizzard Cost City About $2M In Settlements

The city is still paying the price for its sluggish response to the major blizzard from exactly one year ago, in the form of liability claims. The City Comptroller’s office says it has paid out nearly $2 million in liability claims so far, and there may be more to come. The biggest settlement so far was $150,000 for a man who fell in an icy parking lot that was not shoveled properly by the city. Another $100,000 thousand went to a Brooklyn cemetery where headstones were damaged by a falling fence after snow had been dumped against it. Read More: NY1

Felonies Sharply Increase This Year In The Rockaways

Even as police report that crime rates remain mostly flat around the city, statistics show felonies have spiked in parts of the Rockaways section of Queens. Burglaries in the 100th precinct, covering Broad Channel, Breezy Point and Belle Harbor, are up 144 percent this year. Felony assaults have jumped 66 percent, robberies are up 31 percent and grand larcenies 26 percent over last year. Residents in Belle Harbor who spoke with NY1 said they are aware of the increased crime in the area, but generally still feel safe. Read More: NY1

Elmhurst Fire Sends Two To The Hospital

Investigators say two people were hurt when a fire broke out inside the Martinique Plaza residential complex in Elmhurst on Sunday morning. The two victims were taken to Elmhurst Hospital, and two others with minor injuries were evaluated at the scene. The fire started on the second floor of the building, but firefighters put it out before it spread to other floors. Read More: NY1

Radio’s Lynn Samuels dies at 69

Lynn Samuels, longtime doyenne of New York’s talk-radio airwaves, died of a heart attack over the weekend. She was 69. An unabashed liberal, Samuels mixed searing political commentary with humor, sarcasm and at times profane observations about living in the Big Apple, attracting a loyal following over more than three decades on the air. Broadcast on SiriusXM satellite radio from her Woodside apartment, her distinctive voice — raspy with elongated vowels — instantly established her as a native New Yorker. Read More: New York Post

District Attorney says Queens teacher had sex with student, 13


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

District Attorney says Queens teacher had sex with student, 13

Prosecutors say a New York City public school teacher is being charged with rape for a sexual relationship with a student that began when she was just 13. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says 44-year-old Charles Oross engaged in a sexual relationship with the teen from January 2009 to April 2010. The district attorney said the encounters happened at the school, Intermediate School 238 in Queens, and in Oross’ car. Oross, of East Islip, N.Y., was awaiting arraignment Thursday. No information about an attorney was immediately available. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Tea Party big Mark Meckler pinched for gun possession at LaGuardia Airport Thursday 

A co-founder of an influential Tea Party group was arrested at LaGuardia Airport Thursday for illegally trying to bring a pistol and ammunition aboard a plane, authorities said. Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots had a Glock 27 pistol and 19 bullets in a locked gun box — but he didn’t have a New York State permit for the firepower, which he told authorities he needs because he gets threats. Meckler, 49, handed the gun box to a Delta Airlines ticket agent around 5 a.m. Thursday, Queens prosecutors said. It was discovered during a pre-flight check. Read More: Daily News

 

NYPD cadet arrested for allegedly stealing this mother’s credit card in a $13 million ID theft ring in Queens 

An NYPD cadet was arrested Wednesday for stealing his mother’s credit card as part of a $13 million identity theft ring, authorities said. Raymond Gumti, 23, is accused of taking his mom’s TD Bank card and PIN numbers and using them to create a counterfeit credit card. He put the phony card in the name of another defendant who was indicted as a shopper in the scheme and racked up nearly $13,000 in unauthorized charges at stores like Apple, Louis Vuitton and Bloomingdales, a spokesman for the Queen’s District Attorney’s Office said. Read More: Daily News

 

Santa was really a Rotarian

Santa Claus rang his sleigh bells loudly as he combed the halls of the Queens Centers for Progress (QCP) Children’s Center. Followed closely by Frosty the Snowman, the pair peeked inside various rooms, searching for children. Toys in hand, they entered one at the end of the hallway — to an eruption of delighted squeals. Read More: Queens Courier

 

More Liu Donors Said to Be Examined in Fund-Raising Inquiry

The federal inquiry into the campaign finances of New York City’s comptroller, John C. Liu, a possible mayoral candidate in 2013, appears to be widening, with people knowledgeable about the matter saying Thursday that there has been an increased focus on seeking information from his supporters in the Chinese-American business community. In recent weeks, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation have delivered subpoenas seeking a broad range of records and other information to a growing circle of Mr. Liu’s more generous donors, said the people knowledgeable about the matter, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. Read More: New York Times

 

Councilman Van Bramer Volunteers At LIC Food Pantry

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and his constituents reached out to help the St. Raphael’s Parish food pantry Thursday. Read More: NY1

 

Cop-slay judge bails

The Brooklyn judge who unleashed a violent ex-con weeks before he allegedly killed a cop was a no-show at work yesterday — the day after Mayor Bloomberg ripped into her for a bail bungle. Judge Evelyn Laporte was nowhere to be seen in Brooklyn Criminal Court as several City Council members denounced her ill-fated decision to spring Lamont Pride without bail after his arrest last month on drug charges. There was a warrant for his arrest in North Carolina for an August shooting when he was busted on Nov.3 in New York for crack and pot possession — but Laporte ignored prosecutors’ pleas for $2,500 bail. Pride, 27, is accused of gunning down Officer Peter Figoski during a Brooklyn home invasion on Monday. Read More: New York Post

 

Kid shoots off finger

The 11-year-old son of a Staten Island school teacher shot off a portion of his finger yesterday while playing with his father’s illegal gun, police said. The West Brighton youth was home alone with his 8-year-old brother in the basement of their single- family home when the gun went off at 2:40 p.m., according to law-enforcement sources. Michael Bilotto, a Department of Environmental Protection construction worker, was taken into custody for possession of an unlicensed handgun, police said. Read More: New York Post

 

Cop slay getaway driver’s lame defense: I drove thugs in exchange for gas money

The getaway driver charged with four others in the slaying of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski admits he knew the accused triggerman was carrying a gun before the botched robbery that led to the Brooklyn cop’s murder. In an exclusive jailhouse interview with the Daily News, Michael Velez, 21, said he looked over to Lamont Pride, who was sitting in the passenger seat and saw the weapon. Velez said he was stunned — and even more so when Pride, 27, put his finger on the trigger of 9-mm. Ruger. Read More: Daily News

 

Hiram Monserrate’s 2009 assault conviction upheld on appeal 

A state appeals court on Thursday upheld disgraced lawmaker Hiram Monserrate’s 2009 assault conviction for roughing up his girlfriend in the lobby of his Queens apartment building three years ago. The four-judge panel dismissed the former Queens pol’s claim that prosecutors failed to prove a key element of the assault charge — that girlfriend Karla Giraldo endured “substantial pain” from a physical attack. Read More: Daily News