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A still from the video. The cop in center, in a grey hoodie, is the officer who is now on desk duty.

A still from the video. The cop in center, in a grey hoodie, is the officer who is now on desk duty.

An undercover cop had his badge and gun confiscated and has been put on desk duty after a video surfaced showing him kicking another cop in the head and punching a suspect in the face at Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue subway station.

DNAinfo reports:

The incident in Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue station, which officials say occurred sometime in January, began when two NYPD Transit officers stopped a suspected farebeater.

Officers exchanged words with the suspect and then struggled with him as they began to place him under arrest. Then several other officers from the nearby 60th Precinct rushed into the station via an emergency door — including a burly plainclothes officer dressed in a sweatshirt, jeans and heavy construction boots, according to the video.

The plainclothes officer walked up to the scrum, paused and then reared back with one leg, letting his boot fly into the back of the head of a hat-wearing police officer wrestling with the suspect. The kick had enough force that the sound can be heard on the recording above the din.

After accidentally hitting his colleague, he then piled on the alleged farebeater, reeled back and slugged him in the face.

The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson are investigating the incident.

St. Ephram's school (Source: Google Maps)

St. Ephram’s school (Source: Google Maps)

Hailed as a “miracle workor,” Madeline Scotto, a teacher at Dyker Heights’ St. Eprhem’s elementary school, turned 100 years old on October 16, and the community honored her with a special mass and reception on Sunday.

DNAinfo reports:

She climbs the stairs to her classroom, where she works to prepare students for the math bee. She pores over photocopied worksheets with complicated problems, coaching kids on how to stay calm on stage while multiplying and dividing in their head.

… “Last year I thought, ‘This can’t be, that I’m going to be 100.’ I sat down and did the math actually. I thought, I could not trust my mind. This I had to put paper to pencil — I couldn’t believe it myself.

“It just kind of happened. I guess I’m very lucky.”

Scotto graduated from the school she now works in in 1928, when Dyker Heights was mostly farmland. She came to work there accidentally, when the nun slated to teach a class was injured in a bus accident on her way to the job. The church asked congregants if anybody could help, and with encouragement from her mother, Scotto began helping students in 1954, at the age of 40.

“I came over and then they wouldn’t let me go,” she said.

The profile has more on Scotto’s remarkable life and career.

The teacher was honored on Sunday with a special mass at the church, located at Fort Hamilton Parkway and Bay Ridge Parkway. It was a packed house, filled with current and former students, friends and four generations of her family. She was honored by local pols including State Senator Marty Golden and City Councilman Vincent Gentile, according to a separate DNAinfo article.

Scotto thanks many of her colleagues, but saved her most abundant gratitude for the parents.

“I want you to enjoy it, as much as you have brought joy to me,” she said. “My life has been very rich. Thank you.”

Happy birthday to Ms. Scotto!

via Citizens Committee for New York City
Does your area have a project that needs some love — maybe a vacant lot that needs cleaning up, a street that needs more trees planted, walls that need graffiti removed? Show your love for your block by applying for a $1,000 grant to transform and beautify it.

The Love Your Block Grant from the Citizens Committee for New York City and NYC Service provides offers resident-led volunteer groups the chance to receive a grant of up to $1,000, as well as access to city services from the Departments of Transportation, Parks and Recreation, and Sanitation.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The applicant has to be a volunteer-led group (can be long-established, or even in the process of forming), no individuals, for-profit projects, businesses, etc.
  • The project should strengthen your community — they’re looking for things that address important community concerns, contribute to building stronger communities through neighbors working together, and result in concrete and sustainable improvements.
  • The project should be able to be carried out between April and June 2015.
  • In your application, you have to provide a budget totaling up to $1,000, and indicate which city services your group is requesting.
  • Applications are due Friday, November 7 at 11:59pm.

Any questions? Contact Imani Brown at 212-822-9567 or ibrown@citizensnyc.org.

Photo via Citizens Committee for New York City

An example of Diwali decorations. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended Thursday, October 23, for Diwali. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

You can check out the rest of the 2014 parking calendar here.

Diwali is a Hindu festival that signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair. The five-day event culminates with the new moon. In the days leading up to it, the approximately 80,000 Hindus in the New York metropolitan area will clean and decorate their homes, light lamps and candles, before gorging on a family feast and exchanging gifts.

It sounds like fun, and this editor is accepting invitations.

coney-island-summit

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson will be in Coney Island tomorrow night to hear residents’ concerns about safety and the justice system.

The summit is open to any and all Brooklyn residents, and will be a town-hall style, allowing attendees to ask questions of the borough’s top prosecutor and share their concerns. It’s the second such event Thompson has done, following one in Brownsville over the summer.

The meeting will take place at Liberation Diploma Plus High School, 2865 West 19th Street. It begins at 6:30pm and lasts until 9pm.

grimm

The trial of Congressman Michael Grimm, facing tax fraud allegations and other charges, has been postponed until February 2. At a hearing on the postponement, prosecutors hinted that some of the charges could be split from the indictment and prosecuted in a separate trial.

During a hearing on Tuesday, Grimm’s defense landed a minor victory, winning the postponement from an early December date until February 2 so that they can review materials. Prosecutors turned over approximately 100 hours of recorded conversations, including 10 hours conducted in a foreign language. The defense team said they’d need extra time to review them because, “I’d be sitting at my desk for two full working weeks,” said defense lawyer Jeffrey Neiman, according to the Staten Island Advance.

The judge also denied Grimm’s legal team’s request earlier this month for information from the prosecution that they thought would prove the investigation was the result of a political witch hunt and professional vendettas. That included knowing the involvement of particular FBI investigators and the role played by a prosecutor now running as a Democratic candidate for State Assembly.

The judge found the claims without merit, calling it “unsupported and random speculation.” The New York Times reports:

Prosecutors pointed out that there were 10 other cases involving cash payrolls to avoid taxes from 2012 to 2014, making it hard for Mr. Grimm to argue that he alone was selected. Mr. Kaminsky, they said, never acted with improper motive and was only one of several prosecutors involved in the investigation. As for the idea that the office chose Mr. Grimm for his politics, the other elected officials the office prosecuted in the last four years were Democrats, prosecutors said.

The judge is still mulling a motion to dismiss three perjury-related charges on the basis of jurisdictional issues. Because it pertained to his Manhattan-based restaurant, the defense argues that charges should have been filed in the Southern District of New York, not the Eastern District, which is where he’s being prosecuted.

The Advance notes:

Prosecutors conceded the jurisdictional issue, but Judge Pamela Chen stopped short of dismissing those three counts without prejudice Tuesday, as Grimm’s defense team is still seeking to dismiss the entire case, perjury charges and all, arguing “selective and vindictive prosecution.”

“In effect, the venue motion is really a separation motion of the perjury and obstruction counts, effectively resulting in two trials for the price of one,” Gatta said. “We’re happy to oblige the defendant if he wants two trials.”

waldbaums

A spotless Waldbaums parking lot sat silently in the dark Autumn evening. The grocery chain, which nests at 18th Avenue and New Utrecht, has become the subject of complaints for trash build-up on its property.

At its October 7 meeting, Community Board 11 members reported grievances due to litter at the Waldbaums parking lot at 8121 New Utrecht Avenue.

District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia said that at an earlier local merchants’ meeting held on September 15, Bensonhurst business owners discussed the onslaught of trash surrounding the lot.

“Nobody wants to shop and look at garbage,” Elias-Pavia said.

Since the establishment is private property, the Department of Sanitation cannot be held responsible for maintaining the refuse. Therefore, the board hopes to ensure close monitoring of the establishment to promote upkeep of the lot.

Elias-Pavia, who added that she personally walks around the neighborhood as often as twice a day, promised to keep an eye on the situation.

“It’s not just about improper disposal. It’s about education as well,” Elias-Pavia said. “We need to teach both residents and store owners about proper sanitation practices.”

Elias-Pavia added that since the 18th Avenue strip is both commercially and residentially populated, the occasional litter might be coming from overhead apartment dwellers who don’t properly dispose of trash.

Still, on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday early evenings that Bensonhurst Bean visited the site, the parking lot appeared to be spotless. There was no idle garbage, aside from the overflowing clothing donation bins and a few tied trash bags behind 18 Hipot, a neighboring Chinese hot pot-style restaurant.

Sal, an assistant manager at Waldbaums who asked us not to use his last name, said that the supermarket chain has been working with an external waste disposal company to take care of the garbage.

“Look outside and tell me if you see any trash,” Sal said.

Community Board 11, which meets monthly at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, serves as a local channel to the government of New York City, and tackles city agency and hyperlocal quality of life issues.

Should the litter-problem return, don’t hesitate to call 311 or phone Community Board 11 at (718) 266-8800. You can also let us know in the comments or by emailing nberke [at] bensonhurstbean [dot] com.

Source: Senator Golden's offices

Source: Senator Golden’s offices

The following is a press release from the offices of State Senator Marty Golden:

State Senator Martin J. Golden, the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, today is announcing that he has introduced legislation that will allow the email of a person who has passed away to be accessed by the executor of their estate.

The bill, S. 6176, has been introduced in the wake of growing concerns as more and more New Yorkers decide to handle their bills and finances electronically. As a result, individuals designated to settle an estate upon a person’s passing, require the information contained in new e-mail messages, and documents stored in email folders.

Senator Marty Golden stated, “As we continue to encourage people to go green and pay their bills on line, we must be cognizant of the fact that when a person passes away, many of their records are stored and managed through their email account. I look forward to working with my colleagues to create this important law in New York State. I believe this will assist in the difficult work of getting an estate’s affairs in order for we all realize that the despite one’s passing, e-mails of bills and statements do continue.”

Ten states already have similar laws including Delaware, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Connecticut. Nine states are working towards creating such a law in their states including New York and New Jersey.

The arsenal of ID theft equipment recovered in the bust.

The arsenal of ID theft equipment recovered in the bust.

Sergeant Christopher Dixon and Officers Joseph Lavelle were making their usual rounds in the 62nd Precinct when they saw two men fidgeting with an ATM machine at TD Bank. What would have been a minor criminal mischief charge turned into a huge bust with hundreds of phony banking cards and identity theft technology seized.

Dixon and Lavelle were passing by the bank at 1630 Shore Parkway at 1:30am on October 15. They spotted Elvin Pineda, 25, and Luis Fernandez, 28, in the ATM using tools to remove parts of the machine.

They immediately cuffed the duo. On Fernandez, they found three counterfeit credit cards when he was searched.

The two were brought back to the precinct, where the command’s Field Intelligence Officer, Sergeant Jeremy Berson, and Sergeant Dennis Chan of the Financial Crimes Task Force began grilling the suspects.

cops

They spilled the beans, telling cops they were removing parts of the machine to ship them to China to be duplicated with skimmer devices attached. Skimmer devices record an ATM or credit card’s data when it’s swiped through, and can be secretly installed over ATM machinery.

Pineda then spilled some more, saying he had more equipment at his Bay 47th Street home.

When officers searched the house they found an arsenal of identity theft and bank fraud equipment. The haul included:

  • two embossers
  • two re-encoders
  • a laminator
  • two color printers
  • a tipper machine
  • six laptops
  • 127 blank Capital One credit cards
  • 76 blank American Express credit cards
  • 338 blank Citibank cards
  • 200 blank credit cards
  • 41 forged New York and out-of-state driver’s licenses
  • A trove of computers, flash drives and other equipment

Blank credit cards can be encoded with the data obtained from skimmers, duplicating a credit or debit card, while items like the laminator could be used to create fake IDs.

Pineda was charged with criminal possession of a forgery device, possession of a forged instrument and possession of a skimmer device. Fernandez was charged with grand larceny, identity theft and possession of a forged instrument.

They both were also slapped with a criminal mischief charge for tinkering with the TD Bank ATM machine.

corner media logoWe’re hiring our first full-time Account Executive to help serve existing advertisers and find new ones. Please check out the job description below, and if you think you’re the right fit for our team, send an introduction email and a resume to Liena Zagare at liena@cornernewsmedia.com.

Account Executive at Corner Media

Corner Media is looking for an entrepreneurial, experienced, passionate, and committed account executive to help build and professionalize our growing business.

We are Brooklyn’s leading local publisher, focused on hyperlocal journalism with integrity and heart. We are a network of seven sites stretching from Sheepshead Bay to Fort Greene, with deep roots in our communities, a full-time staff, and a mission of building a sustainable model for local media. This position will report to and work closely with the Publisher.

The ideal candidate will have experience and relationships in digital advertising and marketing in Brooklyn, New York, and will genuinely believe in our mission of doing great journalism in the communities we cover. This person will sell both display advertising and sponsored content, with a focus on large local institutions and regional advertisers, and will also work to ensure that campaigns satisfy our clients and stay true to our commitment to our readers. She or he will have a track record of success, knowledge of the market, and an entrepreneurial spirit that will allow her to shape our products, build new relationships, and begin generating revenue quickly.

This job is based in Brooklyn and can work out of our office in Ditmas Park. We offer competitive compensation and commissions, as well as the satisfaction of helping to build a lasting local institution.

Responsibilities

  • Prospect for new business, pitch advertisers, and make sales
  • Focus on larger — five- and six-figure — buys, and on shaping products around that scale
  • Create clear and compelling sales material
  • Generate and traffic insertion orders
  • Manage all aspects of relationships with clients
  • Serve as a channel for client feedback to publisher
  • Hit or exceed quarterly sales targets

Requirements

  • Digital sales or marketing experience
  • Understanding of and relationships in the Brooklyn marketing community
  • Experience negotiating, structuring, and closing complex five-figure insertion orders
  • Genuine passion for hyperlocal media, and ability to explain its importance to potential clients

About Corner Media

Corner Media is founded on the belief that local news can be run as a sustainable business through careful growth, and a relationship of trust with local readers and advertisers. Corner Media offers readers unvarnished news from people who really care about their neighborhoods. Its seven sites —  Park Slope Stoop, South Slope News, Ditmas Park Corner, KensingtonBK, Fort Greene Focus, Sheepshead Bites, and Bensonhurst Bean — have deep reach into key Brooklyn neighborhoods. Corner Media provides advertisers a platform and email and social channels that connect with Brooklyn communities, and offers both sponsored content and display advertising.

Corner Media is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other classification prescribed by applicable law.