Archive for the tag 'staten island'

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State Senator Diane Savino fumed on Facebook about cyclists, telling her followers that she drives through her district shouting at the two-wheeled menaces to “find a fucking bike lane and get in it.”

The comment from the pol, who represents Brighton Beach, Gravesend, Coney Island and Bath Beach in addition to Staten Island’s north shore, was in response to a labor lobbyist’s post blasting cycling “apologists” following the Central Park collision that left a pedestrian dead. Another follower suggested requiring bike registration and licensing, to which the pol also said she was “intrigued.”

bikelane-savino

The Daily News reports:

Savino said her comments were meant as a joke but she continued to express frustration with bicyclists who don’t obey traffic laws.

“Unfortunately, those who don’t follow the rules of the road create problems as we saw with that terrible tragedy in Central Park,” Savino said.

“Minimally, there’s got to be greater enforcement,” she continued. “And bikers have to take responsibility for what’s happening. They’re moving sometimes at 40 miles an hour. We just went through the whole process of reducing the city speed limit to 25 miles an hour, unless it is otherwise posted. That should apply to bikes as well. We are all in this together.”

The pol also said she had no plans to introduce new bike safety legislation when she returns to Albany.

DNAinfo went to the author of the blog post that sparked the Facebook discussion:

Eben Weiss, who writes the blog, Bike Snob NYC, drew attention to Savino’s comments on Twitter and on his site on Thursday.

“A state senator bragging on Facebook about engaging in acts of road rage is inappropriate, alarming and representative of a disregard for public safety,” Weiss told DNAinfo New York.

“It’s an insult to her constituents. It’s also totally ironic because the conversational thread that inspired her comment is based on a total misreading of comments I made in which I excoriated reckless bicycling.”

savino-district

Savino’s district

It appears cyclists in her district are taking notice. Streetsblog notes that Brooklyn Spoke author Doug Gordon, a constituent of Savino’s, sent an open invitation for the elected official to ride with him and his two children and see what life is like from the saddle.

I ride my children to school almost every day and then head to work. We bike to swim lessons, gymnastics, birthday parties, parks, and to the grocery store. With or without my children, I have been harassed many times by drivers who think New York City’s streets belong solely to them. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing – riding in a bike lane or legally exiting a bike lane to make a turn or avoid an obstruction such as a parked car – there is truly nothing I can do to stop an angry driver who simply doesn’t like bicycles from getting upset with me.

I ask you to kindly join me and my children, along with any other families who would like to come, on a short bike ride. It might be helpful for you to experience what it feels like to bike on New York City streets.

Savino, who lives in Staten Island, is already well-known for her outspoken Facebook posts. In February, for Valentine’s Day, she reminder her colleagues to stop taking photos of their genitals because “no one wants to see your penis pop up in a text message.” She also railed against supporters of indicted Congressman Michael Grimm, who claimed he’s the victim of a conspiracy.

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A Staten Island supporter and fundraiser for embattled Congressman Michael Grimm put out a letter saying the pol’s Democratic opponent, Domenic Recchia, wants to build “low-income housing in our neighborhoods,” spurring accusations of racially charged “fear mongering.”

The New York Post reports:

Staten Island Republican Party vice chair Bill D’Ambrosio wrote a July 9 fundraising letter on Grimm’s behalf claiming that Democrat Dominic Recchia would be a champion of low-income housing in the congressional district that covers mostly-white Staten Island and more racially mixed south Brooklyn.

Recchia’s base is in Brooklyn; Grimm’s is on Staten Island.

“His [Recchia’s] strategy for becoming Staten Island’s congressman relies on using votes from Brooklyn housing projects . . . Staten Islanders should have no doubt that this Brooklyn political hack will sell them out to pay back these votes, and surely build low-income housing in our neighborhoods with his cronies at City Hall,” D’Ambrosio said.

Keep reading to see the full letter, the response from Democrats, and how the Grimm campaign is doubling down on the allegation.

Feliciano and Huerto (Source: Facebook)

Feliciano and Huerta (Source: Facebook)

Police say that 86-year-old Heriberto Pagan of East 15th Street in Midwood shot his grandson, Michael Feliciano, 47, in the face, put a bullet in the head of his grandson’s fiancee, Claritle Huerta, 28, and then got in his car and drove off. Nearby, Pagan stepped out of the car and turned the gun on himself, committing suicide.

The incident happened at approximately 6:15 p.m. on Friday in Rosebank, Staten Island.

Feliciano, the only survivor, was listed in critical condition after the incident, but granted the Daily News an interview over the weekend.

Feliciano, tears in his eyes and a bandage over his right cheek, spoke to Huerta on the phone minutes before all hell broke loose. She told him that Pagan was at the house on Virginia Ave. in Rosebank.

She called me and told me that he was there and he wanted to talk to me,” Feliciano told The News in an exclusive interview. “I said, ‘I just got off the bus. I’ll be right there. I love you.’”

… “She gave me the love that I’m never going to get back from anybody,” he said.

They met three years ago in rehab. He was first attracted to her smile.

“That smile just melted me,” he said. “She was the perfect woman for me.”

The couple’s 4-month-old son was in the home where his mother was killed. He wasn’t injured.

Authorities believe the root of the incident was the slow pace of eviction proceedings. The home Feliciano and his fiancee lived in was owned by his mother, Pagan’s daughter. Pagan believed the couple was taking advantage of her, and he and other family members struggled to give them the boot.

But just hours before the shooting, a judge had signed off on a warrant to evict Feliciano and his fiancee, reports SILive.

Court records show that Pagan’s daughter, Mildred Feliciano, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and was staying with relatives in Puerto Rico at the time of Friday’s shooting, filed a holdover petition to evict her son, Michael, 47, and his 28-year-old fiancee on Aug. 21, 2013. The parties appeared in Staten Island Civil Court on Sept. 12, 2013, and entered into an agreement that Feliciano and Ms. Huerta would be out of the house by the end of the year.

On Christmas Eve, Michael Feliciano, citing the loss of his job and the birth of his son, Uriel, one month earlier, applied for and was granted an extension that would allow him and his fiancee to remain in the house until Jan. 25, records show. But when Jan. 25 rolled around, Feliciano and Ms. Huerta were still living in the house. Feliciano applied for another extension on Jan. 30, but was denied because the request was deemed “premature,” since a marshal had not yet been issued a warrant of eviction, a court clerk said.

… The warrant was ultimately properly requested and reviewed on March 27, the day before the shooting, and signed by Judge Kimberley Moser on the day of the shooting.

It was officially issued to New York City marshall Steven Powell on Monday, with its execution stayed through April 2.

[Pagan's attorney on the eviction] Tribiano said eviction petitioners are typically notified shortly after a warrant is issued, but he couldn’t be sure whether Heriberto Pagan knew the judge had signed off on the warrant before he confronted his grandson and his grandson’s fiancee on Friday.

Tribiano said that he did not know why Pagan wanted the couple out, but noted that they did not have a lease.

News 12 reports that Pagan lived in the Midwood home for more than 30 years.

 The woman who has lived with him for many years says he was friendly and a great man, but did have some issues with his grandson. She says Pagan told her that he was going to Staten Island, and never came back.

Neighbors of Pagan’s grandson say he was friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand.

Source: Brian Hedden via Bay Ridge Odyssey

Source: Brian Hedden via Bay Ridge Odyssey

Republican Congressman Michael Grimm is asking the federal government to earmark $600 million for the Build it Back program, the housing recovery project designed to help Superstorm Sandy victims, and take control over Sandy funds out of the hands of of local authorities, reports SILive.

While the money is already on its way as part of a larger package, Grimm wants the government to earmark that amount specifically for Build it Back and not permit New York City or state authorities any flexibility with the funds.

“The City of New York needs to take a better look at how they’re allocating their resources. It’s not their money to just allocate as they see fit. This is the people of Staten Island’s money — that was the intent of Congress. And they need to be stewards to that money,” Grimm said.

Thus far, the billions in federal aid money flowing into city coffers has come in the form of Community Development Block Grants (CDBGs) and has allowed the city to be flexible in the way it spends it. In a letter to Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Grimm advocated that the city needs an additional $600 million just for housing alone, and that the city should have no say in how this cash is spent.

“I don’t have faith that the city will do the right thing for the people that I represent in Staten Island,” Grimm said.

Source: Redfishingboat (Mick-O) via Flickr

Source: Redfishingboat (Mick-O) via Flickr

The scourge of prescription painkiller abuse across the country continues to rise, and the mayor’s office and the NYPD are instituting a new pilot program in an effort to prevent fatal overdoses. Politicker is reporting that cops in Staten Island, where prescription painkiller abuse is the worst in the city, will be armed with anti-overdose medication to administer to people who are overdosing.

The statistics surrounding prescription pill abuse are alarming. Politicker reported that between 2000 and 2011, overdose deaths linked to prescription painkillers skyrocketed 267 percent, with 190 dying in 2012 alone. The new pilot program is starting in Staten Island because overdoses from the result of prescription painkillers are three times higher than other boroughs. Bloomberg explained the simple of idea behind the program:

We’re trying to give some police officers an antidote for overdose because the cops show up and somebody’s OD’ed … before a doctor can get there or an EMT,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who announced the plans on his weekly radio sit-down with WOR’s John Gambling. “Sometimes,” he added, “people can die.”…

“They’ve become a substitute for narcotics and it is an enormous problem,” he said, noting cases where people have held up drug stores or held up people leaving drug stores in search of pills.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly agreed that arming officers with naloxene, a nasal spray that serves as an anti-overdosing agent, might go a long way to save lives.

“Equipping officers to administer naloxene to overdose victims may mean the difference between life or death for individuals addicted to prescription painkillers.”

Politicker also noted that this latest initiative is part of the city’s greater effort to battle prescription painkiller abuse:

The new program is part of a larger effort by the city, which has been awarded the first grant of its kind from the Department of Justice to continue cracking down on the pills. The city also announced today that 35 hospitals have now adopted the voluntary restrictions limiting the number of opioid painkillers their emergency rooms can prescribe.

Bloomberg’s effort to curtail hospitals from offering too many painkillers was met with controversy as critics worried that it would punish poor and uninsured patients who use the emergency room as their primary care center. Bloomberg countered these arguments in an earlier Politicker report:

“The city hospitals we control, so … we’re going to do it and we’re urging all of the other hospitals to do it, voluntary guidelines. Somebody said, oh, somebody wrote, ‘Oh then maybe there won’t be enough painkillers for the poor who use the emergency rooms as their primary care doctor,’” the mayor said on his weekly radio show with John Gambling. “Number one, there’s no evidence of that. Number two, supposing it is really true, so you didn’t get enough painkillers and you did have to suffer a little bit. The other side of the coin is people are dying and there’s nothing perfect … There’s nothing that you can possibly do where somebody isn’t going to suffer, and it’s always the same group [claiming], ‘Everybody is heartless.’ Come on, this is a very big problem.”…

“We talk about drugs, heroin and crack and marijuana, this is one of the big outbursts–and it’s a lot worse around the country than it is here. It’s kids and adults getting painkillers and using them for entertainment purposes, or whatever field of purposes, as opposed to what they are designed for,” he explained. “If you break a leg, you’re going to be in pain, nothing wrong with getting something that reduces the pain. But if you get 20 days worth of pills and you only need them three days, there’s 17 days sitting there. Invariably some of the kids are going to find them, or you’re going to take them and get you addicted.”

gateway cleanup thesca org via dailynews

Teens from the Student Conservation Association. (Source: thesca.org via nydailynews.com)

Teenagers, banded together in the Student Conservation Association (SCA), picked up shovels and handcarts and began cleaning up Jamaica Bay and other parts of the Gateway National Recreational Area. The New York Daily News is reporting that the volunteer teens have been spending their precious summer vacation days making a difference for the environment with some hard work.

The SCA, founded in 1957, is a nonprofit group that culls teenagers looking to join conservation efforts across the country. The latest effort had teens work in an area devastated by Superstorm Sandy as part of the Sandy Project.

The Daily News described the length and nature of the project, as well as the reaction of the teens involved thus far:

The Sandy Project started July 8 and will end Aug. 15. The 50 students have been working 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays, and wrapping up each week with environmental lessons on Friday.

“We encourage them to see more of the parks and beautiful places around the city,” said [Diane] Stanley. “They have been to several talks about conservation and sustainability, and we also sent them to the Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Aquarium and Botanical Garden.”

Students have also been working on clean-up crews at Sandy Hook, N.J., and Staten Island.

“There was no lack of interest from the students,” Stanley said. “In fact, we had to turn some people down. To be able to get pay to do positive work after a hurricane from which many of them suffered the consequences, was something really special.”

Their work has already helped Rocky Point Marsh, Jacob Riis and Frank Charles Park in Howard Beach, among other areas in Jamaica Bay and other damaged areas in the city.

Great job to all the teenagers involved and keep up the good work.

Source: ragesoss/Flickr

Following the news of Wednesday’s $3.4 million prescription drug bust, the Drug Enforcement Agency and NYPD announced another area bust yesterday afternoon involving 11 members of a drug ring that trafficked in prescription painkillers and cocaine in Sheepshead Bay and Staten Island.

After picking up three suspects earlier this year, and aided by a nine-month wiretap investigation, authorities unraveled a multi-tier prescription drug and cocaine ring that tied together three separate conspiracies across the two boroughs. Among the 11 arrested, five were residents of the Sheepshead Bay area, and one was supplied by the same allegedly crooked doctor picked up in this week’s other big bust.

“This poly drug trafficking confederation operated like a variety store, selling any type of illicit drug they could get their hands on. The joint task force infiltrated their ranks in order to put them out of business,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian Crowell.

Keep reading to find out how the ring operated, and who was busted.

Just as we came upon the sixth month anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, a unique arts organization has covered Gerritsen Beach with dozens of stars to bring hope and inspiration to the children of the disaster stricken neighborhood.

See a gallery of all the stars, photographed by local photographer Lisanne Anderson.

Photo By Erica Sherman

People have been waiting a long time to see the the $60 billion promised by Congress last January. The first round of money dispersal is finally coming in the form of a $1.77 billion Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery fund (CDBG-DR) and the city wants the public’s opinion on the best way to dole it out, according to a city press release.

A report by YNN asked Staten Islanders stricken with Sandy woes for their opinions and most agreed that the first people that should be helped are the ones who got hit the worst.

“I want to see that aid get actually to the families that need it,” Tom Seery, whose home was damaged, told YNN.

Other residents wanted to see the money go to help people revamp and raise their homes to meet the new expanded flood zone regulations that will cause insurance premiums to skyrocket.

[Rudy Mienert's] home is only about four feet above sea level, well below the new Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines, which require homes in the newly expanded flood zone to be built to 13 feet.

That means Mienert will be forced to pay steep premiums for flood insurance. So, he said that the money should go to help people like him, who can’t afford to raise their homes or pay more for insurance.

“Who’s going to fund it?” Mienert said. “Basically, all these houses, you can’t afford that, that kind of insurance or that kind of structure, revamping. You have to raise your house.”

The deadline to submit comments to the city is 11:59 p.m. April 4. Once received, the comments will be incorporated into the final Action Plan A that will be submitted to the federal government.
You can submit comments on the city’s plan to disperse the first round of federal funding by clicking here.
Here at Sheepshead Bites, we were wondering where our readers think the first $1.77 billion should go. If you plan on submitting comments to the city, please post them here so we can all see if there is a consensus. Thanks!

Charges of discrimination were hurled by organizers attempting to plan a Russian festival in Staten Island earlier this month. The event, which has since been canceled, was met with stiff opposition from locals, who according to DNAinfo, did not want to see the event happen.

Anna Pekerman, CEO of Russian radio station Danu Radio, based here in Sheepshead Bay, was hoping to run the event on September 9 in the Midland Beach parking lot, but withdrew her request in the face of what she called discrimination. Pressure against the event stems from a similar 2007 Russian-based festival that upset neighbors due to unruly crowd behavior brought on by illegal drinking.

Pekerman, who had nothing to do with the 2007 event, isn’t buying it.

“They said that there were problems there, they had a lot of complaints based [on] that event. I’m very upset that they’re lumping all Russian people together,” she said.

According to the Parks Department, who is in charge of approving large public events, they had worked closely with Pekerman, outlining the rules and regulations, but “the event organizer did not want to comply with these rules and decided to cancel the event. Parks did not deny any permits,” said Parks Department spokeswoman Tara Kiernen.

Pekerman wasn’t convinced that the issue was a bureaucratic one, but rather pressure from the local community to resist another Russian-themed celebration. In recent years, Staten Islanders also voted down a planned Russian Community Center to be built on an empty lot.

The Staten Island Advance quoted local resident Joanne Bennetii at a 2009 civic meeting to discuss the proposed construction, “This is just going to be another damn Russian thing.”

Even with the requisite funding in place, and support from the local politicians, the project couldn’t overcome the community’s opposition.

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