Dollar Van Driver Charged with Killing Rival

A Far Rockaway man last Thursday night was ordered held without bail after being arraigned on charges that he fatally shot a rival unlicensed dollar van driver on Rockaway Beach Boulevard last Tuesday, according to Queens District Richard Brown. Fabian Sullivan, 38, has been charged with second-degree murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence. According to court documents, Sullivan got into an argument on the morning of Jan. 20, with Leon Brown, 38. Sullivan allegedly … Continue reading

Jamaica Man Charged in Brutal Beating of Off-Duty Cop

A Jamaica man last week was charged with severely beating an off-duty police officer in a St. Albans supermarket parking lot following an alleged minor dispute minutes earlier in the store that involved the his girlfriend, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Tommie D. Williams, 27, was arraigned last Friday on multiple counts of second-degree assault and second-degree harassment for the Jan. 19 incident. According to the charges, a 42-year-old off-duty city cop was shopping at the Pathmark supermarket … Continue reading

Springfield Gardens Dad Kills Wife, Daughter and Mother-in-Law

A Springfield Gardens community was still reeling this week from last Saturday’s triple-murder/suicide that also left a fourth victim fighting for her life. According to police and published reports, Jonathon Walker, 34, shot to death his wife, Shantai Hale, 31; her mother, Viola Warren, 62; and his daughter, 7-year-old Kayla Walker, inside their 148th Avenue home early Saturday morning. Walker’s older daughter, Christina, 12, was also shot in the head like her family members, but managed to survive, even calling … Continue reading

GOP Councilmembers Reintroduce Looter Legislation

The three Republican members of the City Council last week reintroduced legislation that would create civil penalties for looters and fraudsters during a local state of emergency. Councilmen Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and Steven Matteo (R-Staten Island), and Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio (R-Staten Island) reintroduced the bill which would create a $50,000 civil penalty atop criminal penalties that already exist for anyone who commits a property or fraud related crime in an area that’s under mandatory evacuation orders. After Superstorm Sandy, … Continue reading

Participatory Budget Committee Meets with Ulrich Fiscal Chief

Members of the Participatory Budgeting Committee last Thursday evening met with Gregory Mitchell, City Councilman Eric Ulrich’s (R-Ozone Park) budget director, to review ideas submitted through area civic organizations and Community Board 9 in preparation for budget sessions with city agencies. Community Board 9 Chairman Ralph Gonzalez (l.-r.); Simcha Waisman, vice president, Richmond Hill Block Association; Lisa Gomes, acting district manager, CB 9; Martin Colberg, president, Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association; CB 9 Member J. Richard Smith; and Ed Wendell, president, Woodhaven … Continue reading

Number of Guns Detected at Borough Airport Checkpoints Dipped in 2014

While the national numbers saw a significant increase, the amount of firearms detected last year by Transportation Security Administration staff at borough airports actually dropped slightly. In 2014, authorities caught five firearms at John F. Kennedy International Airport checkpoints, down from 10 in 2013. At LaGuardia Airport, two guns were detected all of last year, compared to four in 2013. In fact, the seven airports in the New York City/New Jersey region saw a decrease in the number of firearms … Continue reading

MTA Board Approves Fare and Toll Hike

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board last Thursday voted to increase fares and tolls by 4 percent over the next two years, with the hike scheduled to take effect on March 22. The board approved increasing the base fare for the subway and bus by 25 cents to $2.75, while also more than doubling the bonus amount added to MetroCard purchases of at least one roundtrip. The combination of the increased fare and the increased bonus, an MTA spokesman said, creates … Continue reading

Delivery Driver Car Jacked, Pistol Whipped in Howard Beach

Cops this week were still hunting an unknown assailant who pistol whipped, robbed and carjacked a an area diner’s delivery driver last Friday night on a residential block in Howard Beach, according to a police spokeswoman. Officers responded to the call on 99th Street near 159th Avenue around 8:15 p.m., and upon arrival found the injured 51-year-old victim, who indicated that a man had displayed a handgun, demanded all of his money, then hit the victim in the head with … Continue reading

Gov. Cuomo Details Ambitious Empire State ‘Opportunity Agenda’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week outlined his sweeping “2015 Opportunity Agenda” in Albany. Delivered at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Cuomo said his ambitious 66-proposal plan “is designed to restore economic opportunity, improve and reform our education system, and restore the public’s confidence and trust in our justice system. This plan is a bold and comprehensive package of legislative reforms, state actions, and public investments that will increase opportunity for all New Yorkers and keep the state moving forward.” … Continue reading

Editorial: Snowpocalypse Forecasts End with a Flurry

It’s hard to believe in the weather. Or rather, the weather reports, which are so important to so many people, and which have become so elaborate and newsworthy that they seem to be the entity known as “THE WEATHER” itself. This week, that very weather consumed and cut through primetime programming with reckless abandon. We went to bed on Monday night (thankfully, The Bachelor was left intact) haunted by numerous emergency reports and press conferences featuring mayors and governors warning … Continue reading

Even with Aid from FEMA Program, Dramatic Drop in Flood Insurance Rates Extremely Unlikely: City

Responding to a report in last week’s Forum detailing a federal program that could help reduce flood insurance rates in affected areas of the city, the de Blasio administration characterized possible dramatic discounts as extremely unlikely. Last week, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, calling on him to enroll the city in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System to help reduce flood insurance premiums for thousands of families. Communities enrolled in … Continue reading

Assembly Leadership in Limbo After Silver Cuffed in Corruption Probe

As the smoke began to dissipate this week in the state Legislature, Assembly Democrats—those still standing, at least—were left with the gargantuan tasks of removing their embattled leader, and filling the void he leaves in his wake. The power vacuum in the Lower House was prompted last Thursday by the arrest of long-standing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) following a federal fraud and corruption probe charging one of Albany’s “Three Men in a Room” with using his official position to … Continue reading

Focus on Families Shapes Katz’s First State of the Borough Address

If it’s good for our families, it’s good for Queens. It’s not only the motto at Borough Hall, according to Borough President Melinda Katz, but also the foundation on which Katz built her inaugural State of the Borough address, which she delivered last Thursday morning at Queens College. “My parents believed that Queens held all the elements of any great city, and that no one should need to cross a bridge or tunnel to experience arts, culture, fine dining or … Continue reading

Borough Dodges Blizzard Bullet

Most of the borough this week was spared Mother Nature’s wintry wrath as a blizzard once projected to dump feet of snow on the city actually left an average amount of the white stuff. Over the weekend and into Monday, meteorologists and elected officials grimly warned of the potentially historic storm bearing down on the northeast. With accumulations forecasted in the 2- to 3-foot range, and possible wind gusts up to 65 miles per hour, Gov. Cuomo on Monday afternoon … Continue reading

Baldeo Sentencing Delayed by ‘Continued Self-Hospitalization’

Albert Baldeo, the Ozone Park attorney, activist and candidate for public office who was convicted in August of seven counts of obstructing justice in a campaign-related case, was supposed to have been sentenced on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Federal Courthouse in Manhattan. However, as Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, detailed in a Jan. 25 letter to presiding Judge Paul Crotty, the sentencing has been delayed numerous times for what Bharara … Continue reading