kingshighway

Oh boy, it was windy out yesterday. How windy was it? Windy enough to rip down the signage of this closed store on Kings Highway and East 16th Street.

Submitted by Abraham V.

Oh, and we’ll have more about this building later. Hint, hint…

Source: InsideSchools.org

Source: InsideSchools.org

A Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences (1830 Shore Boulevard) teacher was arrested by police yesterday for bringing an air rifle and a toy handgun into the building, but others say that she had the school’s permission and was busted for bumping heads with the school’s administration.

Latalladi (via LinkedIn)

Latalladi (via LinkedIn)

English teacher Vilma Latalladi, 53, walked into the school lobby carrying the rifle, a replica Red Ryder made famous in the film A Christmas Story, in her hands. A source tells Sheepshead Bites she approached the security desk and Assistant Principal Michael Weinstein to clear the items for a class demonstration. She was given the green-light, and headed to the elevator with two other teachers.

The phony firearms were intended to be used in a lesson plan. Her husband, Rick Luisi, told the Daily News that they’ve got the documentation to prove that she had clearance.

“She was gonna do a lesson a plan — something about talking about violence with the kids,” husband Rick Luisi said Thursday at their family home in the Rockaways. “My wife could take a staple and make it into a lesson plan.”

… “She cleared it with security, she had already gone through security and was in the classroom when they started to make a big deal about it,” Luisi said. “There’s documentation to prove it.”

After police put the teacher in handcuffs, they brought her to Coney Island Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, and charged her with Prohibited Use of a Weapon and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds, according to the NYPD.

But a teacher at the school told Sheepshead Bites that it’s a whole lot of hullabaloo, and an example of mismanagement by the school’s administrator.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, the long-time teacher at the school told Sheepshead Bites that Latalladi not only had permission, but was also the one to call the cops.

After heading to the classroom with security’s permission, the guard and assistant principal decided to pay Latalladi a visit.

“She called the police because she thought they were harassing her, and they called because they had to,” the source said.

At least 40 police officers arrived on the scene although the school never went into lockdown, the source said. The NYPD would not confirm whether they received the initial call from Latalladi.

The source said the conflict had deep roots in the relationship between Latalladi and the school’s administration.

“They’ve been butting heads for a while,” the source said. “It’s been an ongoing power struggle between the [Latalladi and Weinstein] where she was observed by the AP a few weeks ago and she wrote a letter to the superintendent saying they were harassing her.”

The source said the problems extend far beyond the one teacher, and that the administration has a record of heavy-handed reprisals.

“This administration is like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. If she was allowed to go upstairs and that was acceptable, then why was she was arrested?” the source said. “My feeling about the administration is that it’s generally heavy-handed. If any teacher did something they didn’t like, they can get her arrested? And he ordered a psychiatric evaluation, which I’m not even sure is legal.”

The teacher also griped about how the administration handled the affair afterwards. They sent a letter home to parents describing the incident, but little else.

“There was no meeting called for the staff [yesterday] afternoon, which would have been the right thing to do. You don’t have to give us the dirty details, but basically say we did A, B and C,” the source said. “My concern is that they did not, in my estimation, follow a protocol that was taking everybody’s safety into account.”

Even the source noted, however, that bringing any form of gun into school was not the wisest decision.

“Why would she bring a gun into school? I can’t even imagine what she was thinking,” said the source. “If a kid makes a threatening gesture like pretending his hand is a gun, he can be suspended from school.”

A call to the school’s principal was not returned by publication. We will update this post if we receive a response.

Source: Nathan James/Flickr

Legislation aimed at reducing auto insurance fraud in New York State passed the Senate on Monday, bringing the bill which allows insurance companies to retroactively cancel the policies of fraudsters one step closer to law.

The Senate bill was sponsored by State Senator Marty Golden, who describes it in this press release:

Today the New York State Senate passed S1959A, sponsored by Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn), which allows insurance companies to retroactively cancel policies taken out by people who commit auto fraud. These criminals often take out policies and pay for them with bad checks or stolen credit cards just before they stage accidents. Under current law, insurance companies cannot cancel the policy and policyholders wind up paying for it through higher premiums. This bill would take that burden off honest consumers and therefore lower the insurance rates.

“Auto insurance fraud is costing New Yorkers millions of dollars, and it’s time that fair and honest members of our community stop paying for the crimes of others,” stated Senator Golden. “This legislation will give insurance companies the right to revoke insurance policies for those who try to game the system.”

This measure would bring New York in line with the other large no-fault states and remove any incentives for staged accidents. In fact, only seven other states (AZ, CO, KS, ME, MD, NC and SD) do not allow for retroactive cancellation. Innocent victims of uninsured drivers would be covered under their own policy or the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation.

The bill, which you can read here, now moves onto the Democratic-led Assembly, where it has support from a number of Democrats, including local Assembly members Steven Cymbrowitz and Dov Hikind.

Previous versions of this bill – and two others passed by the Senate to combat auto fraud – died in the Assembly.

Auto fraud continues to be an ongoing issue in Southern Brooklyn. The longest-running and largest auto insurance scam ring in history ended in April 2012, when authorities busted 36 individuals – many of them Southern Brooklyn residents – using anti-Mafia RICO laws. The individuals were accused of exploiting New York’s “no-fault” insurance law, which allows drives and passengers to obtain up to $50,000 for accidents injuries regardless of fault.

Prior to that, another ring was busted in Brooklyn, leading to the arrest of 16 people for allegedly ripping off companies for $400,000 between 2009 and 2011.

Photo by Roman Kruglov / Roman.K Photography

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send them to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

newvisions

Kudos to the kids from the New Visions Charter School for Advanced Math & Science III, one of the publicly-funded charter schools that moved into the Sheepshead Bay High School campus (3000 Avenue X) last fall. These kids took to the streets around the school last week, cleaning sidewalks and removing several garbage bags of debris and litter.

Here’s what the school’s COO Geri Molloy wrote to us:

Last Tuesday, March 18 2014 the entire New Visions Advanced Math and Science III community left our campus and went into the neighborhood to clean up. Armed with gloves and garbage, Scholars and staff collected over 60 bags of garbage from around the neighborhood.

Way to go!

sb_heart911HEART 9/11, a disaster response organization dedicated to facilitating physical and emotional recovery after traumatic events, is offering an eight-week Resilience Boot Camp course for residents of Gerritsen Beach and the surrounding area who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The program, which is free of charge, will teach mindfulness and stress reduction skills to better manage traumatic situations and improve resilience.

Weekly sessions will take place at the Gerritsen Beach Fire Department “Vollies,” 52 Seba Avenue, every Thursday from March 27 to May 22, 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Once trained, community members will be able to offer the program in their own community to others on an on-going basis.

“With the number of natural disasters on the rise, this is an important step to creating permanent improvements in the psychological health of individuals, families and communities impacted by disaster,” said Dr. Leo Flanagan, HEART 9/11’s, director of Community Resilience.

Resilience Boot Camp’s benefits to participants include:

  • Increased well-being and happiness
  • Ability to set and achieve goals that are important to you
  • Reduce feelings of stress and negativity
  • Recovery from cognitive, emotional, and social impacts of traumatic events
  • Improved behavioral and physical health post-disaster

To register for Resilience Boot Camp, email katiechace@heart911.org or call (862) 902-5471 extension 101. For more information, visit www.heart911.org.

Photo of the suspect, via Brooklyn News

Photo of the suspect, via Brooklyn News

A 30-year-old woman was beaten and robbed in broad daylight in Brighton Beach on Saturday, and cops are seeking the public’s help in tracking down the perpetrator.

The woman was knocked down from behind, punched in the face, and robbed of her cellphone on Saturday at approximately 2:15 p.m. The assault occurred near Brighton 8th Street and Ocean View Avenue.

The suspect is described as a 15- to 20-year-old black male, last seen wearing a red vest and gray hoodie. He is of medium build with close-cropped hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (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) then enter TIP577.

[via New York Post and Brooklyn News Corp]

fallingtrees

A neighbor living near Bedford Avenue and Avenue V woke to this scene today. A tree limb that weighs several hundred pounds had tumbled down from where it had loomed over his car when he parked the night before. He was lucky – it was a light grazing, and he called police to file a report, according to our tipster Marina K.

It’s a scene we see all over the neighborhood when winds are strong. And they’re pretty strong right now; in fact, we’re currently under a National Weather Service advisory warning of strong, gusty winds reaching up to 50 miles per hour. The advisory lasts until 6:00 p.m. today.

The problem is worse in the flood zone, where the salty waters or Superstorm Sandy have dried up root systems and weakened trees. We’ve seen precarious conditions on, and received lots of complaints about, tree-lined blocks in Manhattan Beach, Plumb Beach and Sheepshead Bay.

Be careful out there. Keep your eyes on the tree line, and try not to park under larger limbs. If you do, make sure to check on your car well before you have to go to work – you might find yourself calling in late to deal with the aftermath.

Councilman Mark Treyger is pushing new legislation that would require snow plows to have flashing lights and a make beeping noises, following the plow-related deaths of two Brooklynites this winter.

The two victims were killed by plows within two weeks of each other. On February 3, an elderly man was struck and killed by a plow in Brighton Beach in front of the Oceana complex. On February 13, a pregnant 36-year-old woman was killed by a plow clearing out the parking lot of a Borough Park market.

Treyger’s bill, first reported on by the Daily News, will require plows to have lights and “a loud, distinctive noise” to let pedestrians know when a plow is approaching.

“You’re dealing with low visibility,” he told the paper. “If we can buy a few seconds for these pedestrians to give them time to react, this could save a life.”

The new regulations, however, would not have prevented the two deaths cited. Both were killed by private CAT-style vehicles repurposed for snow removal. Treyger’s bill only affects Department of Sanitation snow plows, and other plows contracted by the city.

The new rules might have helped the man who was knocked off his feet by a tsunami of snow created by a speeding Sanitation truck in February. The man, walking on Coney Island Avenue, was knocked down and injured by a wave of snow that also broke the windows of a nearby storefront, and he is now mulling a lawsuit against the city. He said he never saw the truck coming.

UPDATE (March 28, 2014): Councilman Treyger’s office got in touch to note an error int he Daily News version. In actuality, there are two bills on the table, extending this new regulation to privately-operated plows as well. See the statement below:

Councilman Mark Treyger (D – Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Seagate, Gravesend) announces new legislation to require all vehicles engaged in the removal of snow on roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and pedestrian walkways to be outfitted with flashing lights and audible warning systems. This legislation, which follows the recent deaths of three pedestrians who were stuck and killed by snowplows in Brooklyn, would apply to plows operated by the City of New York and privately owned plows.

“Snowplows are vehicles we deploy during times of emergency” asserts Treyger. “We should be treating them like emergency vehicles. Furthermore, during a snowstorm, you’re dealing with low visibility and it is easy for pedestrians to be blindsided. This is precisely what happened to Min Lin, a pregnant mother, who was killed in Sunset Park this past winter. Anything we can do to buy a few seconds forpedestrians and give them time to react could save lives. The state of Ohio has already passed a similar bill and it’s high time New York City caught up on this important issue.”

Photo by Allan Shweky

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send them to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.