De Blasio Boots ICE From Rikers

Mayor Bill de Blasio travelled to Astoria on Friday and before a large crowd, signed Introductions 486A and 487A, bills that will dramatically reduce the measures of cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement practices. Introduction 486A mandates that the NYC Department of Correction will no longer honor requests by ICE to detain an individual for up to 48 hours beyond a scheduled release unless 1) ICE provides a judicial warrant as to probable cause and 2) the … Continue reading

Howard Beach Woman Marks 104th Birthday

As the Bee Gees’ smash-hit “Stayin’ Alive” blared from the speakers, and revelers danced in the dining hall at Catholic Charities Howard Beach Senior Center on Tuesday afternoon, the guest of honor beamed with pride, nestled in her throne—tiara and all—along the near wall, surrounded by family and friends. This was Catherine Lumetta’s day. Her 104th birthday. “I feel very happy and very lucky to have wonderful friends and a beautiful family,” said Lumetta, a mother of five children, grandmother … Continue reading

Tolls, Subway Fares to Increase 4 percent Over Next Two Years

While it might be a modest escalation, get ready to pay more to travel in and out of the five boroughs. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority this week unveiled proposals to increase fares and tolls by 4 percent over the next two years. According to the MTA, despite rising operational costs, the agency’s budget discipline and increased ridership allow it to limit fare and toll increases to the equivalent of 2 percent a year. Two alternative subway and bus fare structures … Continue reading

Monsignor LoPinto Named CEO of Catholic Charities

The Rev. Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, Vicar for Human Services for Catholic Charities of Brooklyn, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and related agencies. The appointment comes as Robert Siebel, who served in that capacity for 11 years and with Catholic Charities for 41, retires. Monsignor LoPinto has been the pastor at St. Helen Roman Catholic Church in Howard Beach for six years and is stepping down to focus on his work with Catholic Charities. He … Continue reading

TSA Displays Cache of Weapons Caught at JFK Checkpoints

In one tiny room on the fourth floor of Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, they ran the gamut—from silly (a bottle of cologne disguised as a hand-grenade; a plastic chainsaw covered in fake blood) to scary (a razor-sharp, shiny hatchet) and everything in between. What do they all have in common? These are items that the Transportation Security Administration has confiscated at JFK’s checkpoints. According to the TSA, five to seven guns per day are detected at … Continue reading

Miracle on 91st Street

It was Dec. 5, 1988, a cold, blustery night in Howard Beach, and 23-year-old Joseph Parenti was driving along 162nd Avenue on his way home. Meanwhile, a man had stolen a car on Cross Bay Boulevard and was hurtling down 91st Street at breakneck speed, pursued by an independent car-service driver who had witnessed the vehicle theft. At the intersection, the stolen vehicle collided with Parenti’s, in that moment changing his life forever. Private security officers were the first to … Continue reading

Ridgewood Couple Charged with Serial ‘Stroller Trolling’

A married couple has been charged with being serial pickpockets after allegedly targeting more than a dozen unsuspecting female shoppers with baby strollers at borough retail outlets between August and November of this year, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Luis Chango, 45, and Rosa Jerez, 37, of Ridgewood, were arraigned Monday night on criminal complaints charging each of them with multiple counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth- and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree identity theft, endangering … Continue reading

Latest DOI Report Rips Rikers Island Security

The city Department of Investigation last week issued a scathing report revealing more lapses in security screening protocols on Rikers Island, and recommendations generated from previous reports that were not consistently followed in practice. One of the more egregious lapses, the report detailed, occurred last month, when a DOI investigator posing as a Department of Correction guard was able to smuggle various forms of contraband—including drugs and alcohol—through six jail facilities. DOI estimates that a DOC employee could make approximately … Continue reading

Reckless Driver Facing Murder Charges

A Laurelton man was awaiting arraignment this week on murder, assault, and other charges for allegedly ramming his car into a crowd of people following a fight at a baby shower. Last Saturday, Kevin Weekes, 21, allegedly engaged in a dispute with others at a baby shower being held at a catering hall on Merrick Boulevard.  Weekes then drove his car into a crowd of people on the sidewalk, killing one man and injuring two women.  The deceased man, Kevin … Continue reading

Ulrich and Levin Announce Veterans Food Drive

The City Council announced this week kicked off a food drive in partnership with the Food Bank for New York City to collect non-perishable items and donate them to select local pantries and soup kitchens that serve veterans. The council-wide program will run from Nov. 10 through Nov. 20, with participating councilmembers collecting the food at their district offices. Roughly 30 percent of city veterans rely on emergency food supplies, according to FBNYC research. Other studies conducted nationally by the … Continue reading

Katz Honors Borough Veterans for Continued Service

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz last Thursday honored three borough veterans for their continued advocacy on behalf of the nation’s military service members. Katz presented official citations to John Rowan, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and Dr-Fritz Fils-Aime, founder and president of the Haitian American Veterans Foundation during Borough Hall’s inaugural Veterans Day Observance Ceremony. World War II hero and veterans advocate Rocco Moretto was also honored on Thursday, but could not attend due to health issues. “It’s … Continue reading

Bronx Man Charged with Robbing Elderly Man of Casino Winnings

A Bronx man on Saturday was ordered held on $40,000 bail after he was arraigned on charges that he robbed an 88-year-old borough resident of the money he had just won at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Gregory Hillman, 57, has been charged with one count of second-degree robbery, three counts of second-degree assault (including one for assaulting a person over 65 years of age) and one count of fourth-degree grand … Continue reading

Judge Tears into Baby Killer, Hands Down 45-Year Sentence

A borough Supreme Court justice last Friday unleashed an epic diatribe against an admitted baby killer as he sentenced the Jamaica man to 45 years in prison for the January stabbing deaths of his wife and two young daughters. Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 29, pleaded guilty in October to three counts of first-degree manslaughter after confessing to repeatedly stabbing his wife, Deisy Garcia, 21, and daughters Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yoselin Mejia, 1, with a kitchen knife inside their Sutphin Boulevard apartment, … Continue reading

Woodhaven Volunteers Clean Colonial-Era Cemetery

    If it’s the second Saturday of the month, then it’s time to grab gloves and garbage bags and head over to the cemetery at 96th Street and 86th Avenue. That’s what nearly two-dozen volunteers with the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society did last Saturday as they beautified another section of historic colonial-era Wyckoff-Snedicker Family Cemetery. Students and civic leaders also uncovered more headstones, adding pieces to the larger puzzle that is the burial ground. “Our hope is that … Continue reading

De Blasio, Bratton Detail New Lenient Marijuana Policy

After consulting with all five city district attorneys, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, and the courts, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton this week rolled out a change in the NYPD’s marijuana policy. According to Bratton, beginning next week, the new protocol allows police officers to issue criminal-court summonses, in lieu of arrest, to people found in possession of a small amount of marijuana, 25 grams or less, in a public place open to public view—that is not … Continue reading