Archive for the tag 'midwood'

Local politicians and community advocates pose as Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson accepts his Hero Award from Mark Meyers Appel at the Bridge Community Center grand opening.

Local politicians and community advocates pose as Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson accepts his Hero Award from Mark Meyer Appel at the Bridge Community Center grand opening.

By Lillian Kneopp

New Yorkers are famous for not knowing – much less understanding – their neighbors. But local advocate Mark Meyer Appel wants to change that.

“Our mission is to stop this hate and invest in new ways for our very diverse population to work together to better understand each other and protect our children and families,” Appel said as he welcomed community members and local politicians to the grand opening of The Bridge Community Center (1894 Flatbush Avenue) Sunday evening, October 19.

The center is being opened through the Bridge Multicultural Advocacy Project and the Voice of Justice, a nonprofit organization, as an interactive facility that will host local meetings and community events to bring together the diverse communities in the neighborhood.

Appel, the president of the Voice of Justice, raised $300,000 in private funds to repair the 6,000 square-foot brick building he has long owned at 1894 Flatbush Avenue. Its renovated first floor open studio space, which can fit up to 300 people, will be lent out free of charge to nonprofits and art groups to host events.

The space will also be an art gallery. Leaders hope that communities will visit in order to learn about other arts and cultures – and that these interactions will foster understanding.

“Art breaks down barriers and helps us to uncover and discover that we are all not that different,” explained Public Advocate Letitia James in her speech.

Artists from around the world, including Russian artist Mikhail Turovsky, artist Ebony Thompson, who is originally from Sierra Leone, and Brooklyn native Sophia Domeville, exhibited pieces at the event.

Artist Robert Bery’s work reflected the spirit of the event with a piece featuring flags from around the world sewn together into a single flag.

“We are all under the same flag,” said Bery.

Rodneyse Bichotte, the Democratic nominee running for the 42nd Assembly District, left, host Mark Meyers Appel, center, and Councilman Jumaane Williams dance the hora at the opening of the Bridge Community Center.

Rodneyse Bichotte, the Democratic nominee running for the 42nd Assembly District, left, host Mark Meyer Appel, center, and Councilman Jumaane Williams dance the hora at the opening of the center.

This mentality is what many organizers hope the community center will foster.

“This opens doors to people talking to each other, which is always positive,” Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, the spiritual leader of Linden Heights and the Director of the Rabbinical Alliance of America explained.

Local politicians, Council members and community leaders filled the new center to support the project and enjoy the kosher wine, Haitian food and sushi.

A Haitian jazz band, Buyu Ambroise and the Blues In Red Band, entertained the crowd with traditional Haitian tunes with jazz infusion.

In the spirit of the evening, the band collaborated with a Jewish group for a portion of the evening improvising together. The crowd danced the Hora to their music after symbolically cutting the grand opening ribbon.

Founder of the Bridge Community Center Mark Meyers Appel, center, presents Ezra Fieldlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, left, and District Leader Ed Powell with the Hero's Award.

Founder of the Bridge Community Center Mark Meyer Appel, center, presents Ezra Fieldlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, left, and District Leader Ed Powell with the Hero’s Award.

Local community leaders were honored during the evening as Appel awarded Hero’s Awards to Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; Ezra Friedlander, founder and CEO of The Friedlander Group, a public relations company; and Ed Powell, a Democratic district leader and New York State Committeeman of the Kings County Democratic Party, for their service to the community.

Powell will be partnering with Appel on a task force through the Bridge Community Center that will be working to train local law enforcement.

“When local law enforcement understands civilians are real human beings, not jobs they are responding to – not just 9-11 calls- there will be an opportunity for real justice,” Powell said in his Hero’s Award acceptance speech.

Appel was also awarded for his commitment to the Brooklyn community for opening The Bridge.

Rodneyse Bichotte, the Democratic nominee running to represent the 42nd Assembly District, presented him with a citation from the Brooklyn Borough president, Eric Adams, congratulating him on the opening of the center. He also received a citation from the NY Assembly presented by retiring Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, also of Assembly district 42.

Amid the artwork and awards, community members celebrated coming together to learn to better understand each other.

Appel marked the whole evening as a turning point for the community saying, “Today in Flatbush, Brooklyn, we are extinguishing the flames of evil and lighting the flames of hope.”

peter-v

A 34-year-old man is reported missing by his family after he left his East 12th Street home yesterday afternoon.

Peter Voytseichovsky left his home near Kings Highway at approximately 4:50pm. He was wearing black jeans, a blue sports jacket and bronze dress shoes.

He didn’t return home that evening, and police are now turning to the public for help in the search.

Voytseichovsky weights approximately 150lbs and is 5’11″.

Anyone with information in regards to this missing person 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 at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

70 Pct Suspect Knife 1Rafael Laureano, 51, who owned Spartan Health Club (1166 Coney Island Avenue), died when he was hit by a bullet from police officers who were firing at a knife-wielding man who had attacked Laureano and his girlfriend at an Ocean Parkway apartment Monday night, the city medical examiner said.

The city medical examiner’s office told us that Laureano died from a “perforating gunshot wound of the back.”

Katarzyna Russo had been with her two young children at her apartment at 820 Ocean Parkway when Francisco Carvajal, 47, reportedly showed up to the home around 7:20pm and began threatening her, pushing his way into her apartment with a knife, according to the NYPD and other published reports.

The New York Times reported that Russo called Laureano for help, and Laureano fought with Carvajal, who was armed with two knives, while Russo locked herself and her two children in the bathroom for safety.

When police arrived, after responding to a 911 call about a woman being attacked by a knife, they encountered both Carvajal and Laureano, the NYPD said. Three officers opened fire on Carvajal after he wouldn’t drop his weapon and began rushing at them, the Daily News reported.

“After ordering the suspect to drop the knife multiple times, police discharged their firearms, striking the armed individual,” the NYPD said in a statement to the media. “The 47-year-old male was pronounced DOA at the scene.”

Police fired a total of 18 bullets, hitting Carvajal nine times, the Daily News said. During the hail of gunfire, Laureano was also hit.

“It appears (Laureano) was inadvertently shot by a police bullet,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis told the Daily News. “It was very close quarters. (Carvajal) was coming at the officers with a knife and they had to fire.”

Our thoughts go out to Laureano’s family and friends.

Litvin gives “pro” legal tips, discussing how the banks are out to rip you off.

Gennady Litvin / Source: About.me

Gennady Litvin / Source: About.me

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing a local law firm and its namesake attorney, accusing them of running a fraudulent mortgage rescue scheme that ripped off financially vulnerable homeowners facing foreclosure.

The attorney general filed suit in New York County Supreme Court yesterday against Midwood-based Litvin Law Firm and Miami-based Litvin, Torrens & Associates, as well as their principal attorney, Gennady Litvin.

Litvin Law Firm is located at 1716 Coney Island Avenue, and Litvin lives in Brooklyn. The firm’s website claims it can provide “foreclosure defense in 31 states across the US,” as does Litvin’s About.me page. Their YouTube page has a handful of testimonial videos from satisfied clients, as well as legal tips from Litvin himself. And radio and TV ads touted connections to “state attorney generals and the federal government.”

But it was all a sham, according to the attorney general.

One of the testimonial videos, claiming that Litvin’s firm successfully eliminated her mortgage in Alabama – even though Litvin was not permitted to practice in Alabama.

The suit claims that the law firms targeted struggling homeowners, then billed them monthly fees ranging from $595 to $750 each for services they would not – and often could not – offer.

Using third-party marketers, the firms picked up clients from across the nation, claiming that they would have a “custom made attorney defense team” that provided “a level of service that usually is only enjoyed by large corporate clients.” They said they’d do “forensic loan audits” to find errors in their mortgage documents and defend against foreclosure, winning concessions from lenders.

In reality, they only had offices in two states and were not permitted to provide foreclosure defense in many of the places where they enrolled clients. Homeowners in most cases never spoke to an attorney, never received representation, and never saw the benefit of the hundreds or thousands of dollars paid to the firms. Most wound up negotiating with lenders on their own, according to the attorney general.

The third-party marketers have already been taken to task by the Federal Trade Commission, agreeing to a permanent ban on mortgage and debt relief services and paying $3.6 million to pay back duped clients.

The Litvin Law Firm was given the boot from practicing in Rhode Island in January after that state’s attorney general found he was offering mortgage foreclosure assistance despite not being licensed in that state.

The attorney general is on the lookout for possible victims of Litvin’s scheme. If you believe you were a victim of the Litvin Law Firm; Litvin, Torrens & Associates; or any of its affiliated marketers, or if you believe you were a victim of another mortgage fraud, please file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. Complaint forms are available here. You may also call the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-771-7755.

Schneiderman’s office is also reminding beleaguered homeowners of the free services available through the Home Owner Protection Program (HOPP), which uses funds from the National Mortgage Settlement to fund legal services and housing counseling across New York to provide foreclosure prevention services. Consumers can call 855-HOME-456 for help.

bodega

Allif News & Grocery, where the winning ticket was sold. (Source: Google Maps)

Midwood’s Allif News & Grocery sold a winning lottery ticket last week, netting the unidentified winner $2 million.

The 1821 Avenue M bodega sold the Powerplay ticket on Wednesday, September 24. Though not the jackpot, the winner did match five white balls from the drawing.

Vos Iz Neias reports that the winnings have not yet been claimed as of Sunday. The winner has 365 days to claim his winnings.

The full $228.5 million jackpot was won by a customer of a California market. Eight others won $1 million, and a California resident nabbed $1.2 million.

Police shot and killed a 47-year-old man who they said was wielding a knife he would not drop upon the officers’ arrival at an apartment at 820 Ocean Parkway Monday night, when they were responding to a 911 call of a man assaulting a woman, the NYPD said.

The NYPD did not identify the 47-year-old man, though the New York Daily News said the individual was Francisco Carvajal. Carvajal reportedly arrived at his girlfriend’s Ocean Parkway apartment around 7:20pm Monday evening and was threatening her and another man, Rafael Laureano, 51, with two knives, the Daily News reported.

The NYPD said Laureano too was hit by police fire, and he also died Monday night, though it hasn’t been determined if he died because of the police fire or because of a stab wound.

The two young children of the woman, Kataryzna Russo, were also at the apartment at the time.

70 Pct Suspect Knife 1Police said this was one of the knives used during the attack. Photo via NYPD.

Police said when they arrived at the apartment, Carvajal would not put down his weapon.

“After ordering the suspect to drop the knife multiple times, police discharged their firearms, striking the armed individual,” the NYPD said in a statement to the media. “The 47-year-old male was pronounced DOA at the scene.”

Laureano was removed to Maimonides Hospital, where he was pronounced DOA, police said.

The NYPD said “a 35-year-old female, as well as her two children, ages six and seven, were in the apartment at the time of the incident, and were unharmed.”

“The female and her children locked themselves in the apartment’s bathroom as the suspect, armed with two knives, attempted to gain entry,” police said.

The Daily News reported that after Carvajal, who was a body builder, busted into the apartment, Russo, “fearing the muscular man’s anger,” locked herself in the bathroom.

From the Daily News:

But Carvajal busted down the door, a knife in each hand, cop sources said.

Russo wrestled one knife away from Carvajal and stabbed him in the chest, the sources said.

Enraged, Carvajal turned his attention on Russo’s new love interest, and Laureano then fled the apartment, the sources said. Russo’s children also escaped the apartment, likely at their mother’s urging, and thus missed the horror that would follow.

Laureano returned to the apartment a short time later, and was banging on the door in an effort to get back inside. He was seen pounding on the door when police were called.

When police arrived, Laureano and Carvajal “were close together as the latter was lunging at both Laureano and the cops,” which is when the two were both hit by police fire, the Daily News said.

The investigation into this is ongoing, and the city medical examiner will conduct an autopsy on Laureano to determine his cause of death, the NYPD said.

Photo via Life Saver.

At least this low-life is making it easy for the cops.

Moments before slugging a 73-year-old man in the face and robbing him of his wallet, a perp gave authorities a clear view of his face when he stared into a surveillance camera that captured both suspect and victim.

The thug was filmed entering the elevator of an apartment building on East 13th Street between Avenue O and Avenue P on Wednesday, September 17, at noon. Both he and the victim got on at the same time. As they arrived on the fourth floor, the suspect punched the septuagenarian in the face, rifled through his pants and made off with his wallet.

The victim suffered a laceration when he fell to the ground. He was taken to a local hospital, and was treated and released.

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.

Borough President Adams was joined by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and other legislative colleagues in making the announcement.

Borough President Adams was joined by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and other legislative colleagues in making the announcement. (Source: Adams’ office)

Several local schools are receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars each for repairs, upgrades and improvements as part of a $3.1 million allocation by Borough President Eric Adams to education institutions across the borough.

The beep today unveiled 16 school-related capital projects that will benefit from the allocation, which was packed into the city’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

“If you look around Downtown Brooklyn, something new is rising up every day and this is an exciting time for the borough and this area, as education and schools represent the vibrant energies of what’s coming up at this time,” said Borough President Adams. “This budget spans the far reaches of the borough; from Metrotech to Midwood and from Bed-Stuy to Bath Beach, we are leaving no school behind. Our goal is education, education, and education.”

The allocations are largely for technology upgrades, although some schools are receiving it for more general improvements.

Schools in our area are slated to receive the following:

  • $350,000 to James Madison High School for upgrades to the school’s library and media centers;
  • $225,000 for improvements to the library at Sheepshead Bay High School;
  • $200,000 for classroom technology purchases at Joseph B. Cavallaro I.S. 281;
  • $100,000 for classroom technology purchases at P.S. 169;

Local elected officials joined Adams during the announcement this morning to celebrate the funding.

“School libraries and media centers are essential to the success of today’s high school students,” said Assemblymember Helene Weinstein. “I thank Brooklyn Borough President Adams for this funding, which will enhance these services at Sheepshead and James Madison High Schools, and allow students to reach even greater heights.”

“Investing in education is the best investment we can make for the future of our state and country,” said Assemblymember William Colton. “These capital improvements will help bring much-needed technological advancements to our local Brooklyn schools that will better our children. This $200,000 capital grant for I.S. 281 will allow for the school to make technology improvements, including by purchasing smartboards and computer laptops, that will benefit our students by enhancing their learning experience, and provide valuable resources for our educators.”

robberyA 57-year-old blind man walking with a white cane was robbed in broad daylight on Tuesday, and the thief made off with credit cards and approximately $1,000 in cash.

The suspect followed the man down Ocean Avenue near Bay Avenue in Midwood, unknowingly passing by security cameras that filmed him pacing the victim while walking with a mountain bike.

At approximately 2:50pm, the suspect grabbed the man’s arm, removed his wallet from his rear pants pocket and fled in an unknown direction. The wallet contained credit cards and the cash.

The suspect is described as a black man wearing a black shirt, gray shorts and black sneakers.

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.

Local pols are joining forces to host the “Pre-Labor Day Summer Senior Concert” tomorrow, August 27 at Amersfort Park, located on Avenue I between East 38 Street and East 39 Street. The concert will run from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., sponsored by Councilman Jumaane Williams, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Golden Crust, Chef’s Choice, caribBEING, Millenium Development, Emblem Health, and Sesame Flyers.

Free and open to the public, the concert will feature musical performances by East Flatbush Village Performers, Remsen Zumba Dancers, the IET Band, and the Sesame Flyers Steel Pan Orchestra. Each year, this concert has been a way to thank elders of the 45th District.

“Our elders are the backbone and the brain trust of this community,” Williams stated in a press release. “This concert is but one expression of how much we care and how committed we are to their well-being. It’s even better that we were able to do so with the music of our shared Caribbean heritage, a heritage that fills my Grenadian heart with deep pride.”

For more information about the concert, contact Farah Louis, director of community outreach for Williams at (718) 629-2900.

We apologize for the totally inappropriate video, but we just couldn’t resist.

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