Showing posts with label New York. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New York. Show all posts

Friday, 9 June 2017

Mayor de Blasio continues defense of Brooklyn workout trips, says it keeps him 'connected to the neighborhood'

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Mayor de Blasio continues defense of Brooklyn workout trips, says it keeps him 'connected to the neighborhood'
 Don’t be fooled by the mansion he’s got — he’s still Billy from the block.

Mayor de Blasio continued his strident defense of his circuitous trips from the Upper East Side to Park Slope for his morning workouts Friday — telling WNYC that he doesn’t want to forget where he came from.

“I don't want to be someone who is seeing the world through the prism of Gracie Mansion,” de Blasio said. “I want to be someone who sees the world through the prism of the neighborhood I come from in Brooklyn, and remembers where I came from and all the people who have been part of life here.”

De Blasio, who actually comes from Cambridge, Mass., routinely visits the YMCA in Park Slope. It’s a few blocks from the rowhouse he once occupied, but 12 miles from the taxpayer manse he now inhabits. Hizzoner, who has eschewed the many gyms closer to his new home, thinks the cardio criticism is unfair.

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“I think this has been really painted in an unfair light,” de Blasio said. “I’m going to do what I think is going to help me be effective and stay connected to the neighborhood I come from.”

“I think this has been really painted in an unfair light,” de Blasio said. “I’m going to do what I think is going to help me be effective and stay connected to the neighborhood I come from.”

The mayor’s grappled with criticism of his fitness routine for years, but recently has come under fire for being chauffeured such a long distance in a caravan of SUVs while urging other New Yorkers to change their own habits to fight climate change.

He insisted New Yorkers don’t care about his gym routine — and again said he needs to take the SUVs, rather than the subway, to the faraway gym for security and efficiency reasons.

“It is literally a 24/7 job. It is, I can’t stop for a moment thinking about this job every hour of every day of every week — as it should be, and I knew that,” de Blasio said. “My obligation is to perform on behalf of the people of New York City, to make good decisions and to get things done for them. I have to do whatever I think is going to allow me to do that.”
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Teen killed, another wounded after Facebook feud sparked shooting in Brooklyn

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Teen killed, another wounded after Facebook feud sparked shooting in Brooklyn
 An escalating Facebook beef left a teen shot dead on a Brooklyn street and his cousin wounded early Friday after an ambush by two gunmen, authorities said.

Kieth Kyser, 17, was shot in the back and leg when the killers opened fire without saying a word as he walked with Karin Samuels, 14, to buy sandwiches at a local deli.

“Oh my God!” screamed a woman on the street. “He’s dead!”

Samuels survived the 1:45 a.m. gunfire with a bullet to the leg, and Kyser’s sister escaped the premeditated attack scared but unscathed.

“We came right around the block, and they came from behind the bushes,” the 18-year-old sister told the Daily News. “They started shooting. They didn’t say nothing.

“I was right there next to (Kieth). They started shooting.”

Kyser, one of seven kids and an aspiring fashion designer, was best friends with his younger cousin, according to family members. The killing occurred just a half-block from the Kyser home.

Police said three teens approached Kyser and the others as they walked along Broadway.

One of the teens reached out as if offering a handshake — and the other two reached for their guns and started blasting, cops said.

Neighbor Debbie Lewis, 57, said she heard as many as nine rapid-fire gunshots giving way to howls of grief in the darkness.

“People were hysterical, crying,” said Lewis, a mother of two. “It sounded really horrible ... From the way it sounded, it seemed like he died right away.”

A bottle of pink Vitamin Water, its contents spilled on the pavement, marked the spot where Kieth was killed. The teen was carrying his favorite drink when the shooting began.

EMTs rushed the two bleeding teens Kings County Hospital, where Kieth died. Family members said Samuels was recovering from his wounds.

Friends told detectives Kieth was feuding with someone on Facebook before he was shot. No details on the cyberspat were immediately released.

Cops nabbed one of the suspected shooters after he tried to hide inside a Broadway bodega about a mile from the killing.

The suspect told workers in the store he had just shot two people and was looking for a place to lay low until the police left.

Cops were questioning the suspect, and charges against him were pending. The man in custody has a dozen prior arrests, including a rape case, and was wanted for a Queens stabbing last September.

“We’re trying to figure out if there’s any video or any witnesses,” said NYPD Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey.

The slain teen’s 21-year-old sister remembered her younger brother as a guy who cared about other people.

“He was a good, loving person,” she said. “He cares about everybody that was around him. If you didn't have it, he gave it to you. He loved everyone around him. You could not stay mad at him. All he did was crack jokes every day.”
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New York lottery scammers get prison time for secretly claiming winning tickets for people in debt

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New York lottery scammers get prison time for secretly claiming winning tickets for people in debt
 These lotto winners have a lotto nerve.

Two New Yorkers were tossed behind bars in the state’s first-ever arrests of lottery scammers accused of secretly claiming winning tickets for people who owe child support, back taxes or other debts.

Neil Ferguson, 50, of Manhattan, raked in $273,139 after claiming 91 winning tickets over the same period.

Both were charged with criminal tax fraud after a joint investigation by the state Gaming Commission and the Department of Tax and Finance.

“This is a unique partnership that we formed and one that we’re excited about in that we have a novel way of finding these individuals,” said Lee Park, spokesman for the New York State Gaming Commission.

“We expect there to be more of these cases in the future.”

The arrests were revealed roughly two weeks after a Daily News published an investigation on frequent lottery winners.

Lottery winner just makes deadline to claim $24.1 million
Lottery winner Merle Butler and his wife Patricia Butler display the winning ticket during a press conference in Red Bud, Illinois on April 18, 2012 announcing that the Butlers were winners of $218.6 million during the multi-state Mega Millions lottery.

State law calls for winners of prizes worth at least $600 to settle their child support and tax debts before they’re allowed to collect any money.

Officials say Moran-Barrera and Ferguson acted as corrupt middlemen for shady lotto winners eager to rake in big bucks despite owing money to the state.

The so-called discounters agreed to cash in the winning tickets in exchange for a cut of the prize money. They appeared on investigators’ radars after failing to pay taxes on the winnings, officials said.

“The New York Lottery ensures that claimants who owe child support, back taxes or public assistance obligations first pay what is rightfully owed before collecting any winnings,” said Gweneth Dean, of the state Gaming Commission.

“With the help of our partners in Tax and Finance, we are putting a stop to those who try to circumvent financial obligations through discounting schemes.”

Lawyer Mike Jurena, who represented Moran-Barrera and Ferguson at their arraignments, declined comment.

As part of the investigation, officials also suspended the licenses of seven lotto retailers accused of abetting the scheme.

Six are located in the Bronx; one in Manhattan.
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Pregnant subway stabbing victim lashes out at poet who randomly attacked her: ‘I want this man to die’

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Pregnant subway stabbing victim lashes out at poet who randomly attacked her: ‘I want this man to die’
 It was a crime without reason or rhyme.

A five-months pregnant woman, speaking Friday from her hospital bed, recalled the violent explosion that followed when she accidentally bumped into a deranged Bronx straphanger.

Once-popular Harlem street poet Derrick Wilson simply snapped during the Friday night subway ride, gashing Shaday Tripp in the throat and stabbing her friend Zakia Lewis twice in the arm, cops said.

“When he stabbed me, I started running through the doors on the train saying ‘Somebody call an ambulance!’” the 24-year-old woman said. “I was just holding my neck, and all the blood just came out.

Suspect stabs pregnant woman on Bronx subway train

“I want this man to die,” the mom-to-be continued. “That’s what I feel like. He almost killed me.”

Wilson, 50, has a rap sheet with 15 prior arrests. He was arrested after good Samaritan straphangers grabbed him on the platform in the Prospect Ave. station, said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

Tripp said the Thursday evening incident started innocuously when she accidentally bumped Wilson’s leg. She was sitting on her girlfriend’s lap aboard the crowded uptown No. 2 train when her leg hit his.

“I said, ‘I’m sorry,’” she recalled. “He said, ‘You keep touching me with your leg’ — and started cursing. And after then he stood up ... and he grabbed the knife out of his pocket and stabbed me.”

The knife was wrapped in a rag and stuffed inside the chest pocket of Wilson’s suit.

Wilson, whose works include “Don’t Beat Your Children or They’ll Turn Out Like Me,” was once a well-known Harlem figure, selling his books of poetry in the subways.

Wilson somehow suffered a puncture wound to his neck during the melee.

Lewis, 21, suffered a minor wound and was discharged early Friday.

SEE IT: Man accused in Portland stabbings says he’s ‘not guilty’

Wilson was charged with attempted murder, assault, menacing and weapons possession. Sporting soiled hospital scrubs and a scraggly beard, he stared at his feet and said nothing as he was led Friday to a Bronx Criminal Court arraignment.
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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Former Rep. Michael Grimm's Staten Island property seized for late restitution payments from tax fraud case

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Former Rep. Michael Grimm's Staten Island property seized for late restitution payments from tax fraud case
 There’s a new landlord in town.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors say convicted former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm has stopped making payments on the almost $150,000 judgment against him in his tax fraud case.

So now the law will be collecting the rent at the Staten Island place Grimm owns.

Court papers filed Tuesday said Grimm had so far paid $10,250 on his restitution to the IRS, but it’s been more than 30 days since a payment was made.

The government asked Judge Pamela Chen to authorize a writ of continuing garnishment on the New Springville property, and Chen granted it Tuesday. Though the writ is addressed to any and all tenants, public records indicate Grimm also lives there.

Grimm’s lawyer, Daniel Rashbaum, declined to comment Thursday. A spokesman for the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office also declined to comment.

Grimm, 47, represented Staten Island and a part of Brooklyn as a Republican from 2011 to 2015. In 2014, the feds indicted the pol, once an FBI agent, on multiple charges.

He won reelection — despite being under indictment — and gave up his seat after pleading guilty.

Grimm copped to helping prepare a false tax return. When he pleaded guilty, he admitted to concealing more than $900,000 in receipts from Healthalicious, a Manhattan restaurant he owned.

Chen sentenced to eight months of prison in July 2015.
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Man claims he was beaten at Manhattan Airbnb birthday party because he’s black

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Man claims he was beaten at Manhattan Airbnb birthday party because he’s black
 A birthday bash turned into a melee at a Manhattan Airbnb, where the N-word flew as freely as the glass from a bottle broken over the head of a guest who said prejudiced party poopers attacked him.

Armani Murrell went to a Chelsea loft for his girlfriend’s 21st birthday party on May 17, but before he could even get in the door, he and several friends — including the guest of honor — were told “we don’t want your kind here” by several people who called them “ f-----g n-----s.”

Before the attack ended, Murrell, 22, was smashed on the head with a glass bottle and arrested, along with his alleged assailant, a Manhattan restaurant owner who unwittingly rented the spacious apartment to a group of black partygoers and their mixed-race and Asian friends.

Now, Murrell wants the alleged attack on him classified as a hate crime, saying his group was denied entry into the apartment they rented, and then assaulted because they were black.

“They were immediately aggressive as we were going up the stairs,” said Murrell, who arrived around 10 p.m. to join guests who were already at the party. “He said ‘Move you f-----g n-----s. We don’t want your kind here. Get out.’ ”
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The alleged bias brawl happened inside an Airbnb apartment at this building on W. 20th St. in Manhattan.

Murrell said he almost fell down the stairs after getting pushed. While he tried to get his balance, he said, he was bashed in the head with a bottle.

“Of course, I believe this was racial,” Murrell said. “As soon as he realized we were black, he definitely had a problem. He right away said, ‘You guys are not welcomed here,’ and said racial slurs.”

At the other end of the wine bottle, according to police and witnesses, was McKenzie Foster, 25, a real estate agent and restaurant owner who collected $975 for the one-night rental.

While Marco Lanuto, 22, was shoving Murrell and spewing racial epithets at the W. 20th St. loft, Foster struck Murrell in the head with the bottle, Murrell said.
https://www.facebook.com/mckenzie.foster.100/photos?pnref=lhc
McKenzie Foster is a real estate agent who collected the $975 for Murrell's one-night rental. Foster is accused of bashing Murrell in the head with a bottle.

Guests who were already at the party were thrown out of the apartment, Murrell said, including a woman Lanuto yanked out of the bathroom while she was still on the toilet.

Lanuto, who was not arrested, declined to comment. Both Murrell and Foster were arrested. Murrell was charged with misdemeanor assault. Foster’s assault charge was classified as a felony.

Also charged with misdemeanor assault was Helena Amare, 21, whose birthday party was ruined. Amare said she had sent an Asian friend to pick up the apartment key because she was busy with last-minute party details.

Foster told cops the couple attacked her, and that she was cut on the finger during the fight.

She was trying to evict the party guests because the renters had broken the terms of agreement. But Murrell’s lawyer, Ron Kuby, speculated that there was another problem.

“It seems from what I’ve learned so far is that they were OK with a small group of Asians-Americans, but they were not OK with a small group of black people,” Kuby said. “I don’t know what triggered them, who called to say, ‘There’s a bunch of black people in Chelsea, we must do something,’ but the racism is culpable.”

Kuby said Murrell, whose injury required 25 stitches, is a victim, and that Lanuto should have been arrested.

“She claims she was cut on the finger during the fight,” Kuby said of Foster. “But she was cut because she used the bottle to hit him and it broke.”
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Queens woman, 22, dies after drunken off-duty cop slams into her car

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Queens woman, 22, dies after drunken off-duty cop slams into her car
 A 22-year-old woman died Monday, a day after an allegedly drunk off-duty cop rear-ended her car on the Van Wyck Expressway authorities said.

Vanessa Raghubar was returning from her sister’s birthday celebration Sunday at about 4 a.m. when Officer Neville Smith, 32, crashed his 2010 Mercedes-Benz into her Honda, cops said.

The collision sent Raghubar’s car into a tree and a light pole, critically injuring her and her two passengers.

Rescuers rushed the woman to Jamaica Hospital, along with her sister Maria Raghubar, 21, and her sister’s boyfriend, Justin Harricharran, 20, officials said.
Queens woman, 22, dies after drunken off-duty cop slams into her car
Vanessa Raghubar was studying psychology at York College, and was set to graduate in June, her family members said.

“She had a great future ahead of her,” said her mother, Janice Perry. “We need justice. He needs to face the consequences for what he did. He did this to two innocent girls.”

Smith, a detective assigned to the 48th Precinct was charged Sunday with vehicular assault, assault, driving while intoxicated and refusal to take a Breathalyzer test. Upgraded charges are expected.

He remained hospitalized Monday, and has yet to be arraigned in Queens Criminal Court, officials said.

Raghubar’s devastated aunt, Esther Mongul, who raised The woman as her own child, said Maria, who was in critical condition, has not been told about her sister’s death.

“She was the most understanding, giving, loving person. She never asked for anything for herself,” Mongul said. “She took care of me and my 92-year-old mother. Now I'm lost and all alone.”

Vanessa Raghubar signed up as an organ donor when she renewed her driver’s license, her aunt said.

Maria Raghubar has undergone four surgeries, Mongul said. Her pelvis was shattered, her bladder shredded and her arm broken.
Queens woman, 22, dies after drunken off-duty cop slams into her car
“He was a cop and he was drunk. We want justice. He was supposed to protect us, not kill us,” Mongul said. “I'm heartbroken. I never thought when she left home Saturday she would never come back to me.”
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Two tipsy jail officers arrested after leaving accident scene, waving gun at motorist

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Two tipsy jail officers arrested after leaving accident scene, waving gun at motorist
 Two tipsy off-duty correction officers were arrested within two minutes of each other after one waved his gun at a motorist in Brooklyn and the other left the scene of an accident in the Bronx early Sunday, police said.

Waldy Montalvo, 38, was double parked on Berry St. near S. First St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when another vehicle pulled up behind him, cops said.

Montalvo, who police say had been drinking, told the driver behind him to get lost.

When the driver refused, Montalvo whipped out a gun and said, “You better move your vehicle,” according to cops.

Montalvo was arrested at 4:36 a.m. for menacing, criminal possession of a weapon and driving under the influence of alcohol, officials said.

Meanwhile, Alex Lopez, 40, who police also say had been drinking, was busted at 4:38 a.m when he returned to the scene of an accident he had fled hours earlier and was recognized by a witness, cops said.

Nobody was hurt in the crash near Stillwell and Palmer Aves. in Co-Op City, police said, but it caused property damage.

Lopez was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident, officials said.

Both men are city correction officers, police said.
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State finds renters earning $100G or more living in subsidized Manhattan apartments

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State finds renters earning $100G or more living in subsidized Manhattan apartments
 When David Sans applied for a $722-a-month two-bedroom in a luxury Manhattan apartment tower that includes taxpayer-subsidized affordable units, he claimed a full-time salary of $24,745.

At the time, however, records Sans filed as a registered stockbroker listed him working full-time for securities firms as an investment banker specializing in health care companies.

When he came up for recertification to continue living in his ninth floor low-rent aerie, he now provided a 2012 tax form showing his income had suddenly jumped to $238,000.

The next year, Sans — who added a second job as a top executive at Mount Sinai Hospital three months after snagging his low-income apartment — reported an income of $456,502.

Sans’ sweet housing deal surfaced in an audit released last week by state Controller Thomas DiNapoli that looked at how tenants with six-figure incomes are able to obtain “affordable” apartments subsidized by the public.

DiNapoli found that as of December 2015, 160 tenants living in affordable units in New York City were making $100,000 or more, with eight making $250,000 or more.

As he noted, once a tenant qualifies, they can’t be removed from this housing if their income goes up over time.

The DiNapoli audit outlines the Sans case without naming Sans, although public records make clear he was the tenant in question.

In Sans’ situation, he changed his story several times as questions arose about his eligibility, but as of last week, he remained living in the same luxury tower on 11th Ave. in Chelsea — called the Ohm — in a slightly smaller apartment.

The Ohm was built with a tax break called 421-a — a sweetener that allowed the builder, Douglaston Development, to avoid paying property taxes for 20 years in exchange for agreeing to make 20% of the apartments “affordable.”

The other 80% go for market rate, and in this case, two bedrooms inside the Ohm rented this week for $4,000 a month.
Investment banker David Sans (left) claimed to have a salary of $24,745 to qualify for a taxpayer-subsidized, $722-a-month apartment.

Only low income applicants are eligible for the “affordable” apartments, and they must provide evidence of their income to qualify.

In Sans’ case, that evidence was a copy of a 2011 tax form claiming a $24,000 salary provided by Sans — not an official transcript provided by the IRS. Under the 421-a rules, a transcript is not required.

In his May 2012 application, Sans at first claimed he was single, then when he was told his income was too high for a one-person occupancy, he produced two “dependents” — a teenage niece and nephew.

He provided no proof that they were attending school in New York City, however, and when pressed for their Social Security numbers, produced numbers that investigators later discovered actually belonged to a 65-year-old man in California and a 9-year-old girl in Iowa.

At the time he claimed to be making $24,000, he was a registered stockbroker and listed his employment history with the oversight Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

FINRA records show that from 2007 through 2013, Sans claimed he worked without a gap for five separate security brokerages.

Sans moved into his ninth floor two-bedroom in May 2012. Concerns about his application first arose in October 2014 during a routine review by the state agency that oversees 421-a, the Housing and Community Renewal Division.

HCR noted that the building operators, Clinton Management, provided “no verifications on file for the checking account, savings account and stocks and bonds” listed on Sans’ initial application. They also noted that on his 2011 tax form, he filed as “single,” but on his 2012 form, he was filing jointly with a wife.

In response to the state, Sans produced a sworn statement now claiming that his niece had moved out three months after he moved into the Ohm, and that his nephew never lived there.

He also admitted that he was married at the time he’d filed for the apartment, but that he and his wife were separated. He asked to be transferred to a smaller apartment.

State officials allowed him to move to the smaller apartment.

On Saturday, Sans gave The News yet another version of events, stating that at the time he applied for the apartment, “I was unemployed. I qualified. I had my own business. All this is false. I got this apartment way before I started working.”

He declined to discuss the Social Security numbers he’d provided for his niece and nephew or his job history registered with FINRA.

“The system works this way,” he said. “The system doesn’t say when you make more money, you have to leave. It doesn’t. It’s not designed like that. It’s designed to help people that don’t make money. So if I don’t make money within a period of time — what am I going to do when I do make money? Just leave?”

Neither the state nor the management company ever checked Sans’ FINRA filing listing him as an investment banker at the time he was claiming a $24,000 salary to qualify for the apartment.

State Controller DiNapoli said the state should have done more due diligence during its review.

Housing Division spokeswoman Catie Marshall defended the agency’s handling of Sans’ case.

“In 2014, when (the division) discovered that the tenant provided misleading information in order to rent the apartment, we flagged this fact for the management company, and as required, they acted swiftly to correct the situation. ”

Clinton Management declined to discuss Sans’ case, citing confidentiality rules.
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Bronx school officials look for student who posted suicide note on Facebook over bullying, rejection from colleges

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Bronx school officials look for student who posted suicide note on Facebook over bullying, rejection from colleges
 A student's death wish posted on an anonymous Facebook page has high school officials frantically searching for a senior who threatened to commit suicide on the last day of class.

A writer who was devastated after being rejected by top colleges wrote the post on the elite Bronx High School of Science’s “Confessions” page Sunday.

“I hated my high school life. I hated getting bullied and I hated how I used to have friends just because I was considered smart,” the troubling post begins. “And in the end, I’m nothing to those people because I didn’t make it into the nation’s most coveted colleges.”

The heartrending plea continues: “And now as a soon to be graduated senior, I have little to no real friends and I’m a disappointment. I have made up my mind to put it all to an end on the last day of school.”

Students who responded to the despondent missive begged the writer to get help and consider the positive aspects of life.

“Don’t commit suicide for something like that,” wrote a person who aimed to cheer the author of the suicidal post by showing their common ground — and one stark difference. “I only have like 2 or 3 close friends and I used to be bullied all the time. I’m pretty much you except with a much lower GPA ??. You got plenty to live for.”

A letter sent home to Bronx Science families from Principal Jean Donahue on Tuesday said school officials have mobilized counselors to search for the student, in addition to contacting police.

“We are utilizing all available resources to determine this person’s identity and ensure they get the help needed,” the letter said.

Bronx Science’s Confessions has garnered more than 6,400 “likes” since it was created in October 2013, but it has become a forum for suicidal students in recent months.

The school also grabbed headlines in October when the Daily News reported on a student-run Facebook fight club at the school.

Michelle Carter is charged with manslaughter for sending her boyfriend text messages encouraging him to kill himself.

Education Department spokeswoman Toya Holness said school officials are prepared to help troubled students.

“The committed educators at the school are doing exactly as they should when any student expresses concerning thoughts: immediately reaching out, providing mental health resources and notifying families,” Holness said.

Bronx Science students said kids were talking about the online suicide threat and they hoped for the best for the depressed writer.

“Considering our community, the post is real. Anybody could be feeling anything round here,” said one freshman who asked to remain anonymous.

“It’s harder to get into the top colleges than it used to be. I understand where he is coming from,” said another student who didn’t want to be identified but supposed the writer was male. “I’m glad the school is trying to find him and help him.”
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State lawmakers to honor NYPD hero Steven McDonald with street rename

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State lawmakers to honor NYPD hero Steven McDonald with street rename
 ALBANY - State lawmakers on Wednesday paid tribute to the life of hero NYPD Detective Steven McDonald.

With McDonald’s wife and son in attendance, the state Senate passed a resolution honoring McDonald and then approved a bill renaming a portion of the Southern State Parkway in Long Island after the detective who died in January.

"This is a fitting tribute to a true hero and community servant who showed us all what it means to be an exemplary human being,” said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County).

McDonald was a second-year rookie when a 15-year-old gunman shot him three times as he patrolled Central Park in 1986. He was left paralyzed from the neck down.

Exported.;
McDonald was a second-year rookie when a 15-year-old gunman shot him three times as he patrolled Central Park in 1986. He was left paralyzed from the neck down.

Despite his life-changing injuries, McDonald publicly forgave the shooter.

“With the memorial highway designation, residents and visitors to our region would forever be reminded of Detective McDonald's sacrifices, his lessons of forgiveness, and the strength of his family and community in supporting him," Flanagan said.
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Hammer-wielding man who said he fatally beat girlfriend, her daughter for being ‘witches’ found guilty

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Hammer-wielding man who said he fatally beat girlfriend, her daughter for being ‘witches’ found guilty
 A deranged Queens man was convicted Wednesday of killing his girlfriend and her daughter because he thought they were witches.

After a nearly two-week trial, a jury on Wednesday found Carlos Alberto Amarillo, 48, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder for the horrific January 2014 crime.

Amarillo used a claw hammer to slaughter Estrella Castaneda, 56, and her daughter, Lina, 25, in their East Elmhurst home on Jan. 29, 2014.

He called 911 and declared, “Two females are dead, they were assassinated, hurry they are dead. I killed them because they are witches, I want the police to kill me. I killed them with a hammer,” according to prosecutors.

When cops showed up at the 87th St. home near 24th Ave., shortly after midnight, they found Amarillo, carrying a Bible, screaming, “I killed them! I killed them!”
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Bodies are removed from the scene of a double homicide where two women were apparently bludgeoned to death at 24-10 87 St. in Queens.

Inside, police found a bloodbath.
Hammer-wielding man who said he fatally beat girlfriend, her daughter for being ‘witches’ found guilty

Estrella Castaneda was face-up on a bed in a front bedroom, with a pillow over her face, blood seeped into the linen and splattered on the wall behind her. Investigators found the rubber grip of a hammer next to her body.

Cops found Lina Castaneda in a rear bedroom, face-down in her bed, next to a bloody hammer.

Her young daughter, was unharmed, just feet away.

“Thankfully, the little girl, just seven years old at the time, was not harmed during these deadly attacks,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “She will, however, be forever impacted by the absence of both her mother and grandmother in her life.”

Amarillo told cops he thought the victims were casting voodoo hexes on him, prosecutors said.

He mounted an insanity defense at trial.

“The jury spoke,” said his lawyer, Anthony Battisti. “They heard the evidence and decided.”

Amarillo faces life in prison without parole when he’s sentenced on July 6.
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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Man claims he's the son of Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, files petition for DNA sample

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Man claims he's the son of Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, files petition for DNA sample
 He should live like a prince — and says he has the genes to prove it.

A man claiming to be the son of a former Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia filed a petition Tuesday asking New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center to turn over his deceased dad's royal tissue sample.

Talal Bin Sultan Bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud claims in papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court that all he needs is a DNA test to show he's one of Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud's children. Prince Sultan served as crown prince from 2005 to 2011, the year that he died. He was at least 80 when he died. He reportedly had 32 children by multiple wives. His fortune was estimated to be anywhere from $1.2 billion to $270 billion.

After Prince Sultan died of cancer at New York Presbyterian, the hospital preserved some of his DNA as part of its normal routine, according to papers.

Abdul-Aziz writes that the results of the DNA test are critical to a paternity case he will file in Lebanon.

In papers, he claims his royal dad and Syrian mother, Hanaa Faek El Mghayzel, married in 1982. Abduz-Aziz was born two years later.

His parents later divorced and the mother returned to Syria in 1996, papers read.

Hospital protocol requires a judge issue an order before releasing a tissue sample.

Calls to an attorney for Abdul-Aziz and the hospital were not returned.
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Orthodox ritual of swinging and slaying chickens can continue on city streets, appeals court rules

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Orthodox ritual of swinging and slaying chickens can continue on city streets, appeals court rules
 An ultra-Orthodox ritual involving the twirling and slaughtering of tens of thousands of chickens can continue on public streets despite the ruffled feathers of animal rights advocates and Brooklyn residents, an appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The 3-2 ruling by the Appellate Division First Department in Manhattan upholds a lower court decision that declined to block the pre-Yom Kippur slaughter, Kaporos, that involves swinging the chickens three times overhead while saying a prayer that asks God to transfer sins to the bird. The chicken's throat is then slit in accordance with kosher laws.

The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos and 19 Brooklynites living near the ritual sued in 2015, seeking to compel the NYPD and city Health Department to enforce animal cruelty and sanitation laws. They said as many as 50,000 chickens suffer for days in packed crates before being sloppily sliced and then discarded in the street, creating an unsafe open-air slaughterhouse. The annual ritual is often accompanied by protests.

Justice Judith Gische wrote for the majority that the plaintiffs were not just seeking to compel authorities to enforce the law, but to compel an outcome they desired.

"The plaintiffs are really challenging the core decision by law enforcement not to arrest or take other legal action," Gische wrote.

"Although they may be upsetting to nonadherents of such practice, the United State Supreme Court has recognized animal sacrifice as a religious sacrament," the ruling read.

In a dissent, Justice Ellen Gesmer wrote that authorities couldn't ignore animal cruelty laws.

"It is not at all clear that the alleged treatment of poultry in the days leading up to Kaporos, or in improper slaughter, is justifiable," Gesmer wrote.

"(Authorities) have, at a minimum, an obligation to determine whether or not a reported violation has occurred."

The attorney for the Alliance, Nora Constance Marino, vowed to appeal to the state's highest court.

"A 3-2 vote on the appellate level is not very common and leaves the door open to proceed further," she said.

A Law Department spokesman praised the ruling.

"The decision was legally correct. The Court agreed the laws provide government officials with discretion as to their enforcement," the spokesman said.
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This is the biggest lie told in New York City each day to the largest number of people

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This is the biggest lie told in New York City each day to the largest number of people
 The MTA has been caught lying again to trapped straphangers.

Hundreds of riders stuck inside a steamy, stifling hot F train stalled at the Broadway-Lafayette St. station Monday evening were left in the dark — literally and figuratively — about their dangerous commute.

“First, we were told it was train traffic ahead of us (we all know that lie all too well),” commuter Michael Sciaraffo wrote in a Facebook post detailing his transit horror story. “As we waited with no further communication, people started getting very worried.”

“Train traffic ahead of us” is an announcement that train conductors overuse, brushing off riders clamoring for more detailed information.

Turns out, the F train’s problems were actually much worse — train equipment malfunctioned, causing the train to lose power around 6:20 p.m. That meant no air conditioning and no lights.

Sciaraffo wrote that it “felt like 120 degree heat.”

“Beads of sweat began rolling down people's faces,” he wrote. “We started to tell everyone to open the side windows and open the doors the three inches we could pry it open to, with books, to get the cross ventilation from the passing trains.”
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Monday, 5 June 2017

Boy, 5, shot in the head in the Bronx

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Boy, 5, shot in the head in the Bronx
 A 5-year-old boy was shot in the head and critically wounded Monday, police said.

The child was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital in a private vehicle and then transferred to Columbia-Presbyterian Center.

He was shot, at about 5 p.m., on Washington Ave., near E. 167th St. in the Morrisania section of the Bronx.

The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately clear, but police were looking for a man in a white T-shirt who ran down Washington Ave. after the shooting.

It’s believed he may have been aiming at another man on the block, and unintentionally struck the 5-year-old boy.

No arrests had been made, police said.
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Staten Island man was so drunk he couldn't take sobriety test, cops say

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Staten Island man was so drunk he couldn't take sobriety test, cops say
 Port Authority cops arrested a 350-pound man who allegedly was so drunk he couldn’t take a field sobriety test after he smashed his car on a State Island road, officials said.

Officer Ed Benenati spotted Michael Barletti, 41, of Staten Island sitting on the curb next to a mangled car at Goethals Rd. North and Western Ave. near the Goethals Bridge into New Jersey at about 8 p.m. on Thursday. He had borrowed the car from a friend, the PAPD alleged.

Benenati tried to making Barletti do the sobriety test, but he was too intoxicated to stand and keep his balance. There was an open container of alcohol in the 2017 Ford Fusion, officials said.

Barletti later asked for a lawyer and agreed to undergo the breathalyzer test. He blew a .20, which is more than twice the legal limit, according to the PAPD.

Barletti suffered minor cuts in the crash. He was charged with driving under the influence and having an open alcohol container in the car, police said.

The car was towed and impounded, cops claim.
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Columbia student struck by hit-and-run driver on Upper West Side fighting for his life

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Columbia student struck by hit-and-run driver on Upper West Side fighting for his life
 A Columbia University student who was struck by a hit-and-run driver on the Upper West Side was fighting for his life Monday, cops said.

The victim, who is in his late teens or early 20s, was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital with severe head trauma after an unidentified car hit him near Columbia University's Woodbridge Hall dorm early Monday, police said.

The college student was on Riverside Drive crossing at 115th St. in the crosswalk when the northbound vehicle slammed into him around 12:25 a.m., police said.

The victim's name has not been released.

In a separate incident in the Bronx 90 minutes earlier, a dark-colored sedan hit a 53-year-old man on the corner of E. Tremont Ave. and Purdy St. in Parkchester after the man emerged from between two parked cars in the middle of the block, cops said.

The impact left the pedestrian with head trauma and two broken legs, police said. Medics took him to Jacobi Medical Center where he is in stable condition Monday.

Cops have not made any arrests in either crash.
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Two people critically injured in hit-and-run incidents in the Bronx, Manhattan

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Two people critically injured in hit-and-run incidents in the Bronx, Manhattan
 Two pedestrians were critically hurt by hit-and-run drivers in the Bronx and Manhattan within 90 minutes of each other, officials said.

At about 11 p.m. Sunday, a dark-colored sedan slammed into a 53-year-old man on the corner of E. Tremont Ave. and Purdy St. in Parkchester, cops said.

The impact left the man with head trauma and two broken legs, police said.

Medics took him to Jacobi Medical Center in critical but stable condition, cops said.


Just after 12:25 a.m., a vehicle hit a pedestrian on Riverside Drive by W. 115th St. -- near Columbia University’s Wood bridge Hall dorm, cops said.

Medics took the pedestrian to St. Luke’s Hospital in critical condition, an FDNY spokesman said.

Cops have made no arrests in either crash.
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Man found fatally shot behind Bronx home

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Man found fatally shot behind Bronx home
 A man was shot to death on a Bronx street, officials said Sunday.

Police found Melshawn Cook, 24, behind a house on Wheeler Ave. near Westchester Ave. in Soundview around 9:45 p.m. Saturday, officials said.

Cook, who lived about a mile away in Foxhurst, was shot once in the right side of his chest, cops said.

Medics rushed him to Jacobi Medical Center, where he died, according to authorities.

Cops had not made any arrest arrests by early Monday.

On May 31, firefighters responding to an apartment blaze of Gleason Ave. near Castle Hill Ave. in Parkchester found 54-year-old Noel Farrow dead inside. He had been shot in the head.

The fire was intentionally set, and surveillance footage recorded a man walking into the building about the time when the fire started — then walking out with a bag about 10 minutes later. Police have not made any arrests in the case.
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