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Archive for the 'News & Features' Category

Source: rachelbradley.nyc/Instagram (Click to follow)

Source: rachelbradley.nyc/Instagram (Click to follow)

After a busy week, here’s a chance to catch up on some of the news happening outside of our neighborhood! We’ve pulled together some of our favorite recent stories from our sister sites, as well as some other fascinating pieces that are worth a read this weekend:

The Flatbush Frolic is this Sunday – which means music, rides, and food, food, food. [Ditmas Park Corner]

The remains of Brooklyn man killed in WWII were found, returned and buried at Arlington, 70 years after his death. [Sheepshead Bites]

A new spot is serving up the most unusual tea we’ve ever had. [Park Slope Stoop]

Clinton Hill is getting its own CrossFit gym. [Fort Greene Focus]

Remembering a wedding dress shop whose old sign was recently uncovered. [South Slope News]

Calaveras, a new Mexican restaurant, is already getting glowing reviews from neighbors. [KensingtonBK]

The Park Slope outpost of Luke’s Lobster is opening soon! [PSS]

A huge Statue of Liberty replica is being built in Sheepshead Bay. Why? “Because America. I like it.” [SB]

Should taxpayers still be footing the bill for the Mayor’s Slope home? [SSN]

Red Hook coffee roasters Brewklyn Grind opened their first café. [FGF]

Police addressed anger over tickets being given to pedestrians and bikers in Prospect Park’s Parade Grounds. [DPC]

A neighbor launched a petition to allow biking and walking through the Parade Grounds after sunset. [DPC]

For iconic Brooklyn buildings, is change welcome? [FGF]

Opinion: How The Mainstream Media Marred The West Indian American Day Carnival Parade [NY Daily News]

NYC’s libraries are in shambles. [Capital New York]

A look behind the making of Robert Caro’s momentous Robert Moses biography, “The Power Broker.” [The Daily Beast]

Video: Take a font tour of Brooklyn and Queens. [Gothamist]

The fate of LICH remains uncertain. [CNY]

In governor race, Cuomo won big in districts where turnout was small. [CNY]

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our daily newsletter. If you have any news tips, story ideas, questions or anything else, e-mail us at editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

D LINE

There are no service advisories scheduled at this time.

N LINE

From 12:01am Saturday to 5am Monday, N trains are rerouted via the R in both directions between Canal St and Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr.

R LINE

There are no service advisories scheduled at this time.

F LINE

From 11:45pm Friday to 5am Monday, Coney Island-bound F trains skip 4 Av-9 St, 15 St-Prospect Park, and Fort Hamilton Pkwy.

From 6:45am to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday, Coney Island-bound F trains run express from Church Av to Avenue X.

All times until 5am Monday, Jamaica-bound F trains skip Van Wyck Blvd and Sutphin Blvd.

bodega

A Gravesend man convicted yesterday of the attempted armed robbery of a neighbor is now accused of plotting the key witness’s murder from his jail cell and offering an undercover cop $10,000 to do the deed, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced today.

Joseph Lombardo, 55, who lives on West 5th Street near Avenue P, was hit with a new indictment of conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder just hours after being found guilty of a February 2013 armed robbery.

In that case, Lombardo forced West 2nd Street resident Lyudmila Dushina to knock on the door of her neighbor, Janna Saleh. Saleh was home with her three children, including an 11-year-old daughter. When she answered the door, Lombardo and an unapprehended accomplice forced their way inside. Both he and the accomplice wore ski masks, hoods and gloves. They demanded money.

While the two thugs were distracted, the 11-year-old child called her father, Hussein Saleh, who was working at the family deli around the corner from the apartment. Hussein left the business just in time to witness Lombardo and his accomplice dashing out of the building and pulling of their masks.

Saleh recognized Lombardo, who he knew as “Joe,” a frequent customer at the bodega.

Lombardo was arrested soon after, and locked up at Rikers Island until his trial. From his prison cell, he plotted to avoid conviction by silencing Saleh, the only person who could identify him in court.

Beginning in May 2014, according to prosecutors, Lombardo dogged a fellow inmate to “take care of a witness,” referring to Saleh.

“I don’t care how you do it, I just want him dead,” Lombardo implored the unidentified inmate, according to the district attorney’s office.

The inmate turned him down several times, and eventually ratted him out to investigators.

The inmate set Lombardo up with an undercover detective posing as a hitman, who spoke to the defendant by phone. Lombardo, though, didn’t trust a voice over the line – so he demanded to meet the killer in person. The undercover killer and Lombardo hashed out the murder at Rikers Island’s vistor’s area on August 30, with Lombardo going so far as drawing a map of the deli with instructions on how to access the apartment. He also directed the “killer” to steal cash and cigarettes to make it look like a robbery gone bad, according to investigators.

He offered $10,000 for the job.

The meeting ended with Lombardo being none the wiser about the setup – until Saleh appeared in court to testify against him. He was found guilty and faces 25 years to life when sentenced in October.

It wasn’t until cuffs were slapped on him again after the conviction that the undercover revealed himself, and the new charges filed. If found guilty, Lombardo faces an additional 25 years to life.

Source: Gentile's office

Source: Gentile’s office

Hey everybody, we’re all gonna get lai– okay, it’s probably not that kind of a party.

Councilman Vincent Gentile is inviting everybody to check out his new digs and enjoy some free treats from local restaurants this Saturday.

The local pol is celebrating the grand opening of his new district office at 8018 5th Avenue, and he wants neighbors from every part of the district to join him.

The party begins at 11am and lasts until 3pm. There will be free food and drinks from local businesses, according to the announcement.

Gentile’s office moved out of 8703 3rd Avenue in late June and into the new location, and they’ve spent the time in between putting on the finishing touches.

You can call the new office at (718) 748-5200 with any questions.

nashaly

UPDATE (12:15pm): Nashaly Perez was found safe and sound at a friend’s house, and has been reunited with her family.

Original post:

Nashaly Perez, the 15-year-old Coney Island girl who went missing from her school on Monday, was a special needs student who was supposed to be under the constant supervision of a full-time paraprofessional.

Perez suffers from attention deficit disorder and behavioral problems, gets easily confused, and also takes anti-hallucinatory medication, according to reports. But despite being assigned a full-time paraprofessional, she managed to sneak out a back door of her school, P.S. 371 in Sunset Park, around lunchtime.

Now the family is saying the school failed to take the situation seriously until police were called.

DNAinfo reports:

[Perez's mother Sandra] Rodriguez found out her daughter was missing when she went to pick up her up early from school at about 1 p.m. on Monday because she had a doctor’s appointment.

The mother said Nashaly’s paraprofessional was standing outside when she arrived at the school and seemed unconcerned and told her “your daughter left school.”

Rodriguez then went to the principal, who she said “seemed surprised” that her daughter was missing.

They then called Nashaly’s homeroom teacher who said she also did not know where the teen was.

Rodriguez said the principal’s staff then “kept working, ignoring her” and told her “they were done with her” and she could go home.

It wasn’t until police arrived that the school even bothered to page Perez over the school’s loudspeakers.

The school’s principal, Joan Antonelli, has been reassigned, the Wall Street Journal adds.

The case is already inviting comparisons to that of 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, an autistic boy who sparked a citywide search when he vanished from his Queens school last year. He, too, was to have full-time supervision while on school grounds and police were not informed for more than an hour after his disappearance. His body was later found in the East River.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, who took the helm of the system this year, promised parents that the matter would be fully investigated.

“Under my watch — I’m going to repeat this again — safety is my first concern. Anyone who doesn’t follow procedures will be judged for that purpose,” Fariña told reporters Wednesday evening. She said there was “no excuse” for the lack of supervision.

Perez was wearing a white bandanna, red blouse, black jeans and red and black sneakers at the time of her disappearance. She is 5’3″ tall and weighs 120lbs.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

Councilman Vincent Gentile requested this week that the MTA drop the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge’s $15 toll on the 50th anniversary of the span’s dedication.

The pol asked the agency to give drivers a free pass on November 21, or least give a significant reduction, to honor the occasion.

According to the New York Post:

“Or at the very least, roll the toll back to 50 cents,” which was the price when the 2½-mile bridge opened in 1964, Gentile told The Post.

“It would be the right thing for the MTA to do, considering all the money motorists have put into the bridge in tolls for decades,” Gentile said. “And it would really be the greatest way to celebrate the 50th anniversary.”

The agency’s response? Thanks for the idea. Now bugger off.

The MTA’s spokesperson said the authority is “legally prevented from” reducing or suspending the toll from a day, saying that a state-bond requirement mandates that the toll is collected in full.

It’s the agency’s latest bridge-related snuff of Gentile, who earlier this month blasted the MTA for planning a spectacularly one-sided celebration of the 50th anniverary. While several events are scheduled to honor the semicentennial, all but one are on Staten Island. The exception is at a museum in downtown Brooklyn; no observances were planned at the bridge’s Brooklyn base in Bay Ridge or Dyker Heights.

d

Gnomiki Day Care at 2221 Ocean Avenue, which was closed due to its history of violations. Its sister site at 2623 Ocean Avenue has been recommended for closure as well. (Source: Google Maps)

The operators of nine child care facilities – seven in Brooklyn and two in Staten Island – were charged last Friday with submitting false documents to the city to cover up a slew of health and safety problems, according to Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation Mark Peters, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, and Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Jr.

At the centers, which served about 400 children, investigators said they found a long list of egregious conditions, including rat droppings, poison, a mountain of trash, and a fire alarm falling off the wall, the Daily News reported. Additionally, the DOI said they discovered owners had submitted fake educational degrees, forged medical records, and falsified letters stating employees had been trained in child abuse identification.

The city recently closed four of the centers:

  • Gnomiki Day Care, Inc., 2221 Ocean Avenue, closed due to the site’s violation history, city officials said.
  • Next to Home, 1123 Flatbush Avenue, was shuttered due to a city Department of Buildings vacate order issued in response to multiple DOB and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene violations.
  • Next to Home, 1159 Flatbush Avenue was closed because investigators said the program had been operating under an expired DOB certificate of occupancy.
  • One of a Kind Child Care, 6318 Amboy Road, Staten Island, ended operations after DOHMH petitioned to revoke the permit.

At the remaining five sites:

  • Next to Home, 5566 Kings Highway, was “never leased and never provided services to children,” the DOI said
  • ABC Little Star, 2345 85th Street, is still operating and city officials said DOHMH inspected it this week, finding no new violations.
  • Gnomiki Day Care, Inc., Group Family Day Care, 2623 Ocean Avenue, has been recommended for closure.
  • Next to Home, 353 Ocean Avenue, closed after the owner stopped operations, city officials said.
  • One of a Kind Child Care, a group family daycare operating at 6306 Amboy Road in Staten Island, is operating, but the owner that was arrested will be excluded from the program, officials said.

The site owners who were arrested were:

  • Viktoriya Federovich, 38, of Brooklyn, was the owner of Gnomiki Day Care, Inc. She was charged with presenting fraudulent documents to the city, including two Certificates of Completion for Identification and Reporting of Child Abuse and Maltreatment for an assistant teacher and a volunteer, the DOI said.
  • Elena Kaplan, 53, of Brooklyn, was the owner ABC Little Star Day Care, and, according to the DOI’s investigation, she allegedly submitted a number of false documents to the city, including a a fake public school teacher certificate for herself and state Nurses Association Certificates of Completion for various members of the staff confirming they had received training in identifying child abuse, when, in fact, they allegedly had not, the city officials said.
  • Owen Larman, 41, of Brooklyn, a convicted felon who was found guilty of operating a $12 million mortgage fraud scheme in 2007 and who was also charged in this case with stealing close to $60,000 in public funds. He was the owner and operator of Next to Home Child Care, which provided services at three locations in the borough. Next to Home also obtained a registration to operate a fourth child care program at 5566 Kings Highway, but the DOI said this site did not actually provide any services.
  • Gina Schiavo, 44, of Staten Island, was the owner of One of a King Child Care. According to the DOI, she allegedly introduced an individual to a DOHMH inspector under another teacher’s name and fraudulently provided documents with the name and qualifications of the teacher. When the inspector questioned the individual about her identity, Schiavo allegedly admitted that the individual was using another person’s name.

“These defendants forged and falsified documents in order to cover up safety risks and steal money intended for actual child care, as charged,” Peters said in a prepared statement. “Our investigations underscore the importance of continuing to vigorously police the integrity of the city’s child care systems, an effort that is very much continuing.”

In his statement to the press, Thompson too issued harsh words for the defendants.

“Each day parents throughout the city count on child care providers to protect the safety of their children,” he said. “It is disgraceful that greedy operators would circumvent safety provisions for their own benefit. Our parents and children deserve better and that’s why we worked so closely with the Department of Investigation on these cases.”

grimm2

Embattled Congressman Michael Grimm is holding a lead, though just barely, against Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia, according to a new poll from NY1 / Capital New York/ Siena.

Grimm, who faces an embarrassing 20-count indictment on tax evasion and perjury charges, hold a four-point lead on Recchia among likely voters, with a 44-40 split. The poll’s margin of error is 4 percent, according to Capital New York.

The outlet reports:

“To see an incumbent six points below 50, that’s not a good sign,” said Steve Greenberg, a pollster for Siena College.

Grimm has the support of 73 percent of Republicans, and 27 percent of Democrats, and leads among independents, 47-33.

But 54 percent of voters said Grimm’s indictment makes them less likely to vote for the second-term congressman, including 39 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of voters who said they’re currently supporting Grimm.

“He cannot afford to lose a fifth of his voters right now,” said Greenberg.

… A near-majority of likely voters—49 percent—said they view Grimm unfavorably, compared to 39 percent who said they had a favorable opinion of him. Those opinions were split along party lines, with 60 percent of Republicans holding a favorable opinion of Grimm, and 30 percent unfavorable—numbers that were reversed among Democrats.

Predictably, Grimm is performing better in Staten Island, where the majority of the district’s voters live, while Recchia is outperforming the incumbent in Brooklyn, which the Democrat represented in the City Council.

Notably, nearly half of the district’s voters said they know little or nothing about Recchia.

To see the full results of the poll, look here, and also check out Capital’s analysis.

Grimm faces criminal charges for tax evasion, fraud, conspiracy and illegal hiring practice, all in connection to an Upper East Side restaurant he once owned. The pol has denied wrongdoing.

Long before those charges, the congressman was dogged by probes of his fundraising for the 2010 campaign. While no charges were filed against the pol, two associates including an ex-girlfriend face charges.

His trial is scheduled for after the November elections.

Jamaica F Train

Local leaders are putting pressure on the MTA to restore express service on the F train in Brooklyn, last experienced by commuters in 1987, while the MTA remains a bit iffy on the issue.

In a letter sent to MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast today, a bipartisan group of 14 city, state, and federal leaders said that the “benefits of restoring the F train express service in Brooklyn would be felt throughout the borough with decreased travel time to Manhattan, decreased delays along the entire line, and a better quality of life for all subway riders in our communities.”

To that end, they’d like to see limited northbound F express service restored in the mornings and southbound F express service in the evenings, saying this could also help ease crowding caused by an increase in ridership over the past year at 19 of the 22 Brooklyn F stops.

The MTA has been studying the possibility, but says that track work on the Culver Viaduct would have to be completed before they could do it — and they don’t have an end date for that, reports AM New York. Additionally, there are other challenges to restoring express service — track space for when the rails merge between the Bergen St and Jay St stops, as well as figuring out how riders at different stations will be impacted by the change.

“The largest volumes are getting on at some of the stations closer in anyway,” MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told AM New York. “How much savings is there really? That’s why we’re doing the study, to find out.”

2009 review of the F line that State Senator Daniel Squadron created with the MTA cited those issues, and added that express service “would require additional trains and cars; such a service increase would increase operating costs.”

The elected officials who sent the letter are Borough President Eric Adams; Representatives Hakeem Jeffries, Jerrold Nadler, and Michael Grimm; State Senators Martin Golden, Diane Savino, and Squadron; Assembly Members James Brennan, Steven Cymbrowitz, William Colton, and Joan Millman; and Council Members Stephen Levin, David Greenfield, and Mark Treyger.

They all believe the benefits outweigh the costs — what do you think, do we need express service back on the F?

missingThe search for a missing 73-year-old woman may have come to a tragic end, with a body believed to be Crucita “Lucy” Alvarado found on the roof of a Coney Island building nearly a month after she went missing.

Police found a decomposing body on the roof of 2930 West 30th Street last Thursday. The corpse was so decomposed the first responders could not identify it, or even determine its gender.

The medical examiner is still working to identify the body and the cause of death as of this morning, but investigators believe it to be that of Alvarado, an Alzheimer’s sufferer who went missing August 12. Alvarado lived around the corner from the West 30th Street building between Surf Avenue and Mermaid Avenue, where the body was found.

The corpse was wearing black sweatpants and a dark-hooded sweatshirt, the same clothing Alvarado was last seen wearing, amNY reports.

The body was found by a maintenance worker just after 10am, police said.

Since Alvarado went missing last month, family members and friends have plastered the Southern Brooklyn area with fliers of the missing woman.

“It’s been hell, day in and day out, nights and weekends,” Pedro Delvalle, Alvarado’s son-in-law, told the Post.

Councilman Mark Treyger, who said his office has been assisting the family in their search, released the following statement after the discovery was made.

“I am very sad to hear this terrible news, especially knowing how many loved ones have been searching for Lucy and praying for her return over the past few weeks. I send my truly heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Alvarado and will continue pray for them and assist them in any way possible,” Treyger said. “Nobody should ever face the type of ordeal that Mrs. Alvarado’s family and friends endured over the past month. Thank you to everyone who cared enough to look out for Mrs. Alvarado and help spread word of her disappearance. We must come together now as a community to be there for this family as they grieve their loss, and work as a city to find ways to help prevent this from happening to any other families.”

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