Soon after the boy went missing, this photo was released. (Courtesy of the NYPD via Daily News)
The nine-hour search for Daniel Ghabra that began Friday afternoon ended on Saturday when the autistic boy was found unharmed in Sheepshead Bay, four miles away from home.
Like Avonte Oquendo, Ghabra is 14 years old with autism and cannot speak properly. The boy went missing from The Good Day Laundromat on 6214 Eleventh Avenue in Dyker Heights, near where he lives with his mother. But unlike Oquendo, Ghabra was safely found on Saturday.
When the Dyker Heights resident first went missing, police quickly released a photo of the boy, according to CBS Local.
A New York Police Department van drove through the neighborhood the night he went missing, according to the Daily News, with a message from Ghabra’s mom.
On Friday night, his mother’s heartbroken voice called out to Daniel from an NYPD Crime Stoppers van touring the neighborhood.
“Daniel, we are looking for you,” she pleaded. “Please come to Mom.”
Grim-faced cops set up a command post near the laundry Friday night and were looking for surveillance video and checking the nearby Fort Hamilton Parkway/62nd St. subway station for any clues.
Details on what led to his safe recovery in Sheepshead Bay were not immediately available.
The New York City Council is pulling out all the stops to halt the spread of social day care centers that rip off Medicaid. The New York Times is reporting that the Council is looking to implement regulation and enforcement in order to weed out the shady centers that lure in healthy seniors in order to reap a windfall in Medicaid benefits.
In April, we first reported on the proliferation of social day care centers, which exploded from just eight programs citywide to 192 in only two years. The facilities arose in the wake of a new law enacted by Governor Andrew Cuomo, which wished to curb Medicaid costs by steering seniors needing expensive in-house or nursing care to the less-costly, community-friendly centers. The centers are supposed to treat patients with severe disabilities and medical problems but instead, many have been tapping healthy seniors to participate, luring them with cash and free groceries. The Times explains how the managed care plans and social centers profit by this practice:
Under the new system, managed care plans get roughly $3,800 a month for each eligible person they enroll in New York City, regardless of what services are provided. The plans contract with the social adult day care centers to provide services to their members. But advocates for the elderly and for people with disabilities have warned state officials that some plans were “cherry-picking” healthy seniors by using the new day care centers as marketing tools, while shunning the people who needed hours of costlier home care.
Joan Pastore, director of Amico, a city senior center in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, said members of the center told her that they were not only signed up by new centers with enticements like $100 in cash and $50 for bringing a friend, but “coached on how to lie to qualify for home care.”
Members of the Council expressed anger at the practices of the managed care plans and the social day care centers.
“It is just outrageous that these pop-up centers are threatening the well-being of our seniors while draining Medicaid resources from legitimate programs for older adults. Increased oversight and regulation of these programs is needed immediately,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told the Times.
In response, the Council has introduced a bill that would impose minimum requirements on the centers, which as of right now, are unregulated. Centers would be limited to treating seniors with impairments, set minimum safety standards and must register with the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The bill would also protect centers that play by the rules and offer robust service to patients with actual disabilities.
Centers that don’t register or ignore the new rules could be fined between $250 to $1,000 a day. Enforcing these new rules won’t be cheap. City officials estimate that it will cost $2 million to police the nearly 200 centers throughout the city.
State Senator Diane Savino is looking to create a statewide bill that is modeled after the Council version.
State Senator Marty Golden and his upstart opponent, Democrat Andrew Gounardes, faced off at a debate last night hosted by the Dyker Heights Civic Association.
The 30-minute debate got heated at points, with Golden and Gounardes occasionally raising their voices and breaking with debate protocol to ask each other questions or attack one another.
Among the issues discussed were gun control, women’s rights including emergency contraceptives for rape victims and fair pay, and education.
Education is how Andrew Gounardes opened the debate, attacking the 10-year incumbent for failing to bring home the bacon for local schools. He claimed Golden has voted 99 percent of the time with the Senate Republican leadership, which he said had been neglecting New York City’s schools, siphoning off funding and ignoring issues of overcapacity in New York City. The Senator responded by calling the claims “pure fantasy” and noted that he had brought funding to local schools, including adding 4,000 seats to the district.
On a separate question about education, Golden received boos for expressing his support for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s handling of the city school system, while Gounardes said the state needed to do a better job ensuring the mayor is fulfilling his obligation to students, which, he said, appears not to be the case given college-readiness rates and school standards.
The crowd appeared to overwhelmingly support Senator Golden, many sporting Golden and GOP stickers – but Gounardes also brought a contingent of supporters who cheered him on. Both appeared to have “plants” in the crowd – or people who posed questions that exposed the weakness of their opponent.
One of those questions came from a female Gounardes supporter, who asked Golden if he supported Missouri Congressman Todd Akin’s statements that rape victims should not have access to emergency contraceptives. It seemed Golden was pretending not to hear the question, and then rephrased it as “Should [rape victims] get emergency services immediately upon rape? Yes, they should.”
Gounardes won a round of applause for immediately shooting back that Golden had voted three times against a bill that would provide contraceptives to rape victims.
The insurgent opponent also won accolades when Golden made a few verbal stumbles, such as suggesting that New Yorkers can’t afford to provide equal pay to women and that importing oil and gas from Canada qualified as energy independence.
Golden, for his part, effectively presented his opponent as rabidly anti-gun and portrayed his own record on gun safety as a more effective and moderate approach. He also scored points by aligning Gounardes’ view on renewable energy investments with that of the Obama Administration, which has recently taken flak for providing $90 billion in breaks for green energy industries with little return shown on the investment.
Watch the debate above – it will likely be the most expansive, interesting and exciting to happen this year in Southern Brooklyn.
State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn), in response to a tragic hit and run last evening on the streets of his Brooklyn district, is calling for the State Assembly to pass S2918/A3350, which would increase the penalties for drivers who leave the scene of an accident without stopping and/or reporting it from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Class E Felony.
Last evening, an hit and run happened in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Senator Golden’s district, that claimed the life of a Brooklyn man. It was just yesterday afternoon that the New York State Senate approved S. 2918, introduced by Senator Marty Golden.
This legislation would also increase penalties from a Class E Felony to a Class D Felony for repeat offenders and hit and run drivers who injure others. Drivers who flee from the scene of an accident where someone was killed would face Class C Felony charges under the proposed law.
Senator Marty Golden stated, “On the day the State Senate approved legislation to toughen the penalties against those who leave the scene of an accident, another life was lost at the hands of a hit and run driver in my district. It is time that New York State gets serious about making sure that reckless drivers, who take innocent lives and destroy families, face the strictest penalties.”
Golden continued,“Each day that the New York State Assembly fails to act on this legislation, is another day where New Yorkers all across this State are walking, jogging, and riding their bikes in danger. I urge New Yorkers to contact their Assembly representative and ask them to make this the year that the Empire State stands up against hit and runs.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Amjad Barakat and I trust that the New York City Police Department will conduct a full investigation of this accident,” concluded Golden.
This legislation was passed by the State Senate last year but failed in the State Assembly. Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) is the Assembly sponsor.
It seems like just yesterday that Senator Marty Golden’s office had a meeting to discuss the issues affecting our area. Hey, wait, it was just yesterday. Oh, that was the Town Hall Meeting on Education. The next Town Hall Meeting will cover Public Safety issues in NY Senate District 22 and will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, November 19.
While this meeting may not be geared specifically to Sheepshead Bay and the Precinct representatives will be coming from the 68th, not the 61st, it’s still a great idea for residents of Sheepshead Bay to stay informed about what is going on in the neighboring areas of Senate District 22.
This meeting is being hosted in part by the Dyker Heights Civic Association (DHCA) and I’m sure there are things we can learn from them – especially, about how they keep their beautiful mile-wide neighborhood safe, clean, and protected from excess overpopulation and development. By the looks of the NASA Photo linked to on the Dyker Heights Wikipedia information page – so well-referenced and put together by Christian Zaino – there are also chunks of green space there (courtesy of the Dyker Beach Golf Course and the Belt Parkway Park, Promenade & Bike Path). Compared to our South Brooklyn neighbor, Sheepshead Bay looks like a veritable wasteland on that map. Or maybe in a couple of years, we’ll be inviting DHCA to visit our own little green oasis on Brigham Street.
Here are the details:
Town Hall Meeting on Public Safety
Date: Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Knights of Columbus, located at 1305 86th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11228
Hosted by: Senator Marty Golden and the Dyker Heights Civic Association
Contact: Senator Golden’s office (718) 238-6044