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Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and New York City Department of Investigation (NYC DOI) Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn today announced the arrest of a nonprofit executive accused of pocketing taxpayer dollars intended for public services and capital improvements in New York City. A multi-agency joint investigation, including NYC DOI and two federal agencies, exposed the theft of approximately $373,000 in public funds provided by New York State, the New York City Council, and federal earmark grants.
Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio today announced his appointment of William J. Bratton to serve as New York City’s next Police Commissioner.
In selecting Bratton to lead the New York Police Department, de Blasio emphasized his commitment to proactive policing to protect New Yorkers, while simultaneously respecting their civil liberties.
Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz has tapped a long-time associate and a former rival for key positions in Borough Hall come January.
Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), who dropped out of the borough president race this past summer, will serve as deputy borough president, a job that traditionally has included supervision of the borough’s community boards.
Plans to develop the right of way of the old Rockaway Beach Long Island Rail Road line are moving forward in all directions.
While the urban parks advocacy group The Trust for Public Land conducts its feasibility study for the proposal to build a High Line-type park on the old rail line between Rego Park and Ozone Park, Queens College is now joining in, planning a study next year on both that plan and a competing one to reactivate train service between Rego Park and the Rockaway Peninsula.
It seems as if you can’t be a key player for the St. John’s Red Storm unless head coach Steve Lavin has suspended you for at least one game for mysteriously violating team rules. Last year guard D’Angelo Harrison missed the last few games of the regular season, along with St. John’s futile appearance in the postseason NIT. Earlier this season center Chris Obepka was suspended for a pair of exhibition games for unsaid infractions.
This past Friday night it was hyped rookie guard Rysheed Jordan’s turn to sit out a game for unspecified bad deeds. Jordan, a big-time Philadelphia high school star, was supposed to be the best recruit to come to St. John’s since Lavin became head coach four years ago. Lavin and the St. John’s Sports Information Department decided before this season started that the media would not be able to interview him until January 2014 at the earliest. Obviously putting Rysheed in a cocoon has not been the foolproof plan that the St. John’s coaching staff thought it would be. At press time, Lavin did not indicate when Jordan would be reinstated.
The Knockdown Center’s application for a place of assembly permit for 5,000 persons has been turned down by the Buildings Department, Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano told the board during its Nov. 13 meeting.
“I sat down with them early on,” Giordano said. “I was really taken aback when [the Knockdown Center’s operators] said to me that they were looking for a permit to have that many people assemble there.”
It was in 2008 that Hiram Monserrate won the Senate seat for the 13th District in Western Queens unopposed. It was also the year that led to his downfall.
On Dec. 19, Monserrate’s then-girlfriend, Karla Giraldo, showed up at North Shore-LIJ Medical Center needing 40 stitches for cuts to her left eye. According to doctors, she claimed that Monserrate had slashed her face in anger, leading to his arrest. He pleaded not guilty to three counts of second-degree assault and three counts of third-degree assault.
On Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 6 p.m. in the International High School at Prospect Heights, the Department of Education’s Panel on Educational Policy voted on all co-location proposals. Martin Van Buren High School, IS 59, August Martin High School, PS 40, JHS 226, MS 72 and the Corona Arts and Sciences Academy are the schools in Queens facing co-location.
Last week, the DOE called off its plans to co-locate a new elementary school in the building of PS 1 after parents, teachers and elected officials spoke at the hearing against the proposal. At the Martin Van Buren High School co-location hearing on Oct. 23, state Sen. Tony Avella, Councilman Mark Weprin and I — along with parents, teachers, civic leaders, students and community members — urged the department to hold off on its plans to co-locate a new school in the building. However, the DOE has ignored our request for a meeting and is instead pushing through with the proposal.
The Young Adult Borough Center at John Adams High School received a $100,000 check this week from the city, allocated by Councilman Ruben Wills.
Operated by the city Department of Education and Queens Community House, the program works with young adults, ages 17 to 21, who desire to pursue their high school diploma and develop their career and employment skills. It is one of 23 YABC sites in New York City high schools and caters to students from all over the borough.
A dance instructor who worked in an afterschool program at a St. Albans charter school was arrested Thursday on charges stemming from an alleged sexual relationship with a 13-year-old female student.
On any particular day, whether I’m working, getting a cup of coffee, shopping or having dinner in the district, people detail their experiences involving Superstorm Sandy in many different ways. A year later, many still get tears in their eyes, others remain frustrated about the lack of progress, while some see it as a chance to make improvements and some are optimistic about community improvements. One storm, a year later, still causes many emotions.
While we can’t control the weather, we can take steps to control the level of our preparedness and what direction our government takes in addressing the next storm. We’ve learned a lot from Sandy, and I would urge my constituents to think ahead and make sure they have detailed emergency
plans in place: Know how to contact one another in case of an emergency; have adequate supplies of canned goods, medicines, batteries, flashlights and water on hand; know what to do to help secure your homes and properties to minimize risks during a storm. Useful hurricane preparedness information may be found at this New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website: http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/event/hurricane-safety.cfm.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a timely bill passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law in July by Gov. Cuomo went into effect last month, authorizing “funding of mapping incidence of breast cancer from the Breast Cancer Research and Education Fund to qualified research institutions, organizations or agencies.”
In what seems to some to be a never-ending fight, parents of schoolchildren in IS 59 in Springfield Gardens are once again preparing to fend off the co-location of another school in their Ridgedale Street building.
This time the Department of Education is proposing to establish a Success Academy charter school in the building next September.
The massive search for missing Rego Park 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo continues, but the legal side of the case is just beginning.
Avonte’s family, represented by attorney David Perecman, has filed a lawsuit against the City of New York after the 14-year-old autistic, nonverbal teenager ran out of his Long Island City school and went missing on Oct. 4. A search of “unprecedented proportions” has continued for over a week, with authorities notably combing through every subway station.
A Flushing man, his wife and their son have been charged with second-degree reckless endangerment for allegedly turning their two-family house into a 15-room hotel that catered to Asian tourists. Their next door neighbor, meanwhile, has been charged with illegally possessing untaxed cigarettes out of his house.
The announcement was made last Friday by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri and Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.
There’s no question that most Whitestone residents oppose a high school on the former Cresthaven Country Club property, but there is controversy over last week’s rally at the site.
Although the event was organized by Kim Cody, president of the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association, emails and literature were sent out from the Paul Vallone campaign. Vallone is the Democratic candidate running for the 19th City Council seat being vacated by Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), who is not seeking re-election after being indicted on federal bribery charges.