PO Johnson gets Cop of the Month Award for collaring perp who held 19-year-old woman for three days


Police officer Yolanda Johnson from the 100 Precinct (right) gets Cop of the Month Award from 100 Precinct Community Council President Joe Young and precinct commanding officer, Captain Janice Holmes.

Early in June, Police Officer Yolanda Johnson and her partner were in the field, conducting home visits when they were called to respond to a call for a family dispute, where the caller said that her daughter, 19, was being held against her will.

Johnson, assigned to the 100 Precinct, went to the location, but was denied entry by a man inside the home. When the man came to the window and said that he was not opening the door or coming outside to talk with the cops, the patrol officers called the patrol supervisor, who ordered emergency medical service personnel and the elite Emergency Service Unit to the scene.

Johnson realized that there was an order of protection against the barricaded man, who police identified as Tashond Herring, who had a previous arrest for possession of a firearm.

When Herring went out a back window, injuring himself, Johnson and officers from ESU went through neighbor’s homes, finding him hiding nearby.

The daughter told police that she had been held for three days against her will and had been constantly assaulted.

For her actions, Johnson was awarded the precinct’s Cop of the Month Award for June.

The award was presented by precinct commanding officer, Captain Janice Holmes, Joe Young, the president of the community council and Lieutenant Jose Mercado, the precinct’s new special operations lieutenant.

Holmes reported that there had been a spate of bike thefts in the west end, mostly bikes that were not secured. Thirty-one bikes were reported stolen this summer, and 12 arrests have been made for bicycle theft.


Sanders announces nearly $13 million in Far Rockaway transit improvements; promises community participation


State Senator James Sanders Jr. stands in front of the Mott Avenue A-Train station on Wednesday afternoon, announcing a large grant of money to improve the Far Rockaway transit hub.


The check is not in the mail, but in the hands of local activists.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. has an all-purpose statement when addressing money that he has obtained for his community.

“If it’s about you, without you, then it’s not for you.”

What he is saying is that the community has to be involved in spending and earning the money that comes to them from government.

A case in point is $12.94 million in state funding that has been allocated for transportation improvements to Far Rockaway, and Sanders introduced the money with a press conference in front of the Mott Avenue A-Train station on Wednesday afternoon.

“We have to make sure that the money coming into the community through this program is spent first on Rockaway workers and by Rockaway companies,” he said. “What good is a new store if you can’t afford to shop there?”

“As someone who has taken public transportation for most of my life, I understand how important it is to have a fast, reliable way to get to work, school or important appointments,” he added. “This capital investment in our public transportation and surrounding pedestrian areas will bring much needed changes to Far Rockaway, which has long been a transportation desert.”

The reconstruction project will create open spaces to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility while  stimulating economic development,” he concluded. “It will include the addition of a new pedestrian plaza and the expansion of the Parks Department Green Street on Central and Mott Avenues.”


NY Riveters get some exciting new players, many stars returning for second season


Ashley Johnston is one of the returning stars

poses for a portrait during the USOC Portrait Shoot on April 27, 2013 in West Hollywood, California.

Amanda Kessel, who played for the United States Olympic team promises to be a high scorer this coming season.

BY Lauren Schwach

onrockaway.com Beat Reporter

Hello Riveters fans! You might have heard, but a few new people have signed with the Riveters for their second season! Some new people including Amanda Kessel, who has won a silver medal in the Olympics and is on the U.S. national team. You might know her brother, Phil Kessel. He plays for the U.S. men’s national team. He just won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Phil was once asked in an interview who the best hockey player in the family was, and he admitted it was Amanda!

The Riveters returning this season will be Ashley Johnston, Kiira Dosdall, Madison Packer, Morgan Fritz-Ward, Bray Ketchum, and Janine Weber!

Here is some info about our returning Riveters (Oldies):


Ashley Johnston, also known as Stretch, was team captain the inaugural season. She earned her nickname, Stretch, by being the tallest player in the NWHL the first season. She is a defenseman, attended Union college, and is from Burlington, Ontario. She managed to be a five sport athlete in high school. She played rugby, cross country, basketball, soccer, and obviously hockey.


Bray Ketchum was one of the top scorers in the first inaugural season of the NWHL. She is a forward, attended Yale University, and is from Greenwich, Connecticut. Bray finished her career as a Yale bulldog with 41 goals and 43 assists. She attended the 2009 open Olympic tryouts. During her senior year, she played lacrosse and scored a hat trick in her final game. She also majored in American studies. You can read more about Bray Ketchum in my interview with her on this website.


Janine Weber attended Providence College, is a forward, and is from Innsbruck, Austria. She was the very first player in history to sign a contract with the NWHL. She originally went to the Connecticut Whale training camp but then ended up with New York. The hockey teams she played for include the Boston Blades in the CWHL. (2014-2015). She played for Providence all through college. She has also been playing for the Austria National team. (2008-2015.)


Kiira Dosdall plays defense, attended Colgate University, and is from Fairfield, Connecticut. All of Kiira’s family attended Colgate. Her father was the captain of the Colgate men’s hockey team. She majored in sociology and anthropology. During her career, she played 134 games, scoring 26 goals and 52 assists. Also, during her sophomore year, she earned the co-most valuable defensive player award.


Madison Packer is a forward, attended Wisconsin University, and is from Detroit, Michigan. She majored in English and her favorite sport, (other than hockey,) is lacrosse. She started playing hockey when she was only five years old! During her career at Wisconsin, she scored a total of 46 goals and 58 assists. She enjoys music and boating. Packer has two brothers and one sister. She was voted Rookie of the Year in 2010 by her teammates.


Morgan Fritz-ward is one of many on the Riveters to a twin. Jenny Scrivens, (#30,) also has a twin sister. Morgan is a forward, attended Quinnipiac University, and is from Mason City, Iowa. There are a few people in the NWHL that played with Morgan on the Quinnipiac Bobcats. Including Chelsea Laden, (former goalie for the Riveters,#78,)and Shiann Darkangelo (Boston Pride#27.)

Here is some information about our new Riveters: (Newbies)


Amanda Kessel is a forward from the University of Minnesota. She is part of the U.S. national team. Her brother, Phil Kessel, has played in the NHL. Most of Amanda’s family plays hockey. Amanda also has a brother, Blake, who plays hockey. She is a two-time silver medalist and a two-time gold medalist in the Olympics. During her junior year alone, she managed to score 44 goals and have 56 assists.


Alexa Gruschow attended RPI, is a forward, and is from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. She majored in biology. During her college career, she played in 109 games, scored 36 goals, and made 40 assists. During her senior year, she scored a hat trick against New Hampshire, score four power play goals, and scored one shorthanded goal.


Courtney Burke plays defense, attended Wisconsin, and is from Albany, N.Y. She started playing hockey when she was only six years old. She shoots left. She majored at Wisconsin in life sciences communication. During her entire career at Wisconsin, she played in over 1000 games, scored over 40 goals, and over 70 assists. Courtney has had many honors including the 2016 NCAA Second All-American team.


Jamie Leonoff is a goalie, is from Montreal, Canada, and attended Yale University. She played in the NWHL the inaugural season with the Connecticut Whale. Jamie Leonoff was selected for the 2015 ECAC All-Academic team. Leonoff has also done charity work. She volunteers for the Habitat for Humanity. She also enjoys spending time with the less fortunate children in South America.


Kaleigh Fratkin plays defense, attended Boston University, and is from Burnaby, Canada. She shoots right and played for the Boston Blades in the CWHL. Last season, she played with the Connecticut Whale in the NWHL. Also last year, she participated in the first outdoor women’s pro game. During her career at Boston, she played in about 151 games, scored about 31 goals, and about 57 assists. You can read more about Kaleigh Fratkin on my interview with her on this website.


Miye D’Oench is a forward, attended Harvard University, and her hometown is New York, N.Y. She majored in Social Studies. She enjoys skiing and has a black belt in Seido karate. D’Oench shoots right. Her junior year, she played in 35 games, scored 19 goals, and had 18 assists. Than before that, during her sophomore year, she played in 34 games, scored 21 goals, and had 18 assists. You can read more about Miye D’Oench in my interview with her on this website


Michelle Picard went to Harvard University, plays defense, and is from Taunton, Massachusetts. She majored in Anthropology. She scored 8 goals and had 45 assists in her college career. Picard enjoys hiking and camping. She was captain of the U.S. National Women’s Under-18 team in 2011. She was a 2010 Harvard Book Club recipient.


Milica McMillen attended Minnesota University, plays defense, and is from St. Paul Minnesota. Her major was Studies in Cinema and Media Culture. She played in one hundred forty nine games, scored forty four goals, and made seventy six assists. She ranked second with seven power play goals in her senior year of college.


Rebecca Russo attended Boston University, is a forward, and is from Westport, Connecticut. She played in 144 games, scored 50 goals, and made 60 assists during her career at Boston. Attended the National camp all 4 years of High School. She also played for the U.S. Under 18 team in the 2011 summer series.


Sojung Shin attended St. Francis Xavier University, is a goalie, and is from Seoul, South Korea. At college, she recorded 37 wins and a 1.46 goal average. She medaled in 7 IIHF World Championships and she represented Korea in 5 Asian Games. Sojung hopes to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, her home country.


Tatiana Rafter attended the University of British Columbia, is a forward, and is from Winnipeg, Canada. She won a gold medal in the 2013 Winter Universiade. In the inaugural season, she played for the Buffalo Beauts and made it to the Isobel Cup Finals. She also was awarded the 2014 First Team Canada West All Star.

I hope you enjoyed my Oldies and Newbies story. I’ll see you all for the 2016-17 NWHL season!







Cop assigned to 101 Precinct found drunk, passed out on a Brooklyn street, gun in plain view

101 Precinct

Police Officer Mark Kelly, who was found drunk and passed out on a Brooklyn street, was assigned to the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway.

An off-duty cop assigned to the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway was allegedly found passed out drunk outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with a loaded gun in plain sight, apparently after watching a World Wrestling Entertainment event.

Police sources identified the suspended police officer as Mark Kelly.

Those sources say that Kelly was spotted stretched out on a sidewalk in front of the Brooklyn arena at 11:30 p.m. Monday.

Kelly was lying on the street at Fourth Avenue and Atlantic Avenue with a gun visible in his waistband when a passer-by called 911, saying he may be a cop, according to the sources.

Cops believe he had just come from WWE’s Monday Night Raw at the Barclays Center.

Kelly was suspended on Tuesday, according to police spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie, according to the New York Post.

“The incident is under internal review,” she added.

Kelly was taken by ambulance to Methodist Hospital to dry out, according to police sources.

Rockaway Beach pizza shop owner busted for growing pot in his back room


Whitney Aycock in his pizza restaurant, Whit’s End on Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Cops say they spotted a marijuana plant in the back room and that Aycock added to his problems by resisting arrest and cursing at the cops.

pizza sign

A local provided this photo, which he said is a sign that was in the restaurant’s window the day after Aycock’s arrest.

A popular pizza owner was busted on August 20 for growing pot in his Beach 97 Street restaurant and then exacerbated his problems with the law by screaming and cursing at cops, flailing his arms and whipping his customers up to act against the arresting officers, according to court papers provided to onrockaway.com by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Brown identified the arrested man as Whitney P. Aycock, 43, the owner of Whit’s End on Rockaway Beach Boulevard at Beach 97 Street.

According to the court papers, two patrol cops from the 100 Precinct, Sergeant Bill Ates and Police Officer Timothy Terillion went into the pizza place at about midnight on Saturday night.

The two cops said that they spotted what looked like a marijuana plant in the back room, stating to the court that, as trained and experienced police officers, they recognized it right off.

When Aycock was questioned about the plant, however, he first said that the plant was lemon verbena — “those are herbs,” he said. Later, he said that the plants were really “cat nip,” that he had picked up the plant on the Nassau Expressway.

“You shouldn’t be talking to me,” he yelled. “If it’s anything that not supposed to be, then you should be speaking to the people who sold it to me.”

According to the criminal complaint, Terrillion tried to handcuff Aycock, who “flailed his arms and twisted his body in an attempt to avoid being handcuffed.”

Terrillion added that Aycock screamed and cursed at him, “causing the patrons in the office to gather around the cops, curse and throw obscenities at them.”

A crowd gathered in front of the popular restaurant that is one of the anchors of what are called the new “hipster” restaurants on that strip of Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

The cops added that the crowd surrounded the police car that Aycock was sitting in.

Aycock was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on charges of unlicensed growing of cannabis, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

His return date is set for early next month.

Korean star, Sojung Shin is new Riveter’s Goalie

Sojung Shin

Korean goalie Sojung Shin will move from the Korean women’s hockey team to the Riveters this season.

The big conversation starter for New York Riveters fans these days is the news about the new goaltender. Her name is Sojung Shin. She is the second Riveters goaltender from Asia, second to Nana Fujimoto.

She is from Seoul, South Korea and attended St.Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia,Canada.

Shin has a lot of accomplishments. To name a few, during her time at college, Sojung Shin had 37 wins and a 1.46 goal average. She also was in the qualification for the 2014 Winter Olympics, and she represented South Korea five of the Asian Games. Last, she medaled in seven IIHF World Championships.

She hopes to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, her home country.

Shin has agreed to a $13,500 contract with the New York Riveters for the upcoming 2016-2017 season

From the New York Riveters Press Release:

“I heard the NWHL was one of the best leagues in the world.” says Shin. “I think the NWHL would give me a chance to develop for the 2018 Olympics. I’m honored to be part of the New York Riveters team and excited to play in the NWHL next season!”

Rebecca Ruegsegger, the Riveters new goalie coach, just happens to be the South Korean National Team Goaltending Consultant.

“Sojung is a talented goaltender and a great teammate.” says Ruegsegger.

Sojung Shin is a great goaltender and the Riveters fans are excited for her to be a part of our team!


Beach campfire program proves successful at Riis Park

Campfire 1 campfire 3

campfire 4 campfire 5

Campfire 2

By Theresa M Racine

Special to onrockaway.com

The summer is winding down but Campfire Fridays are still heating at Jacob Riis Park, but hurry on down, because there are only two more campfire events left this season.

Campfire Friday are presented by the National Park Service’s local Gateway National Recreation Area team of rangers.

The parks service has always hosted the campfires on the beach, but they were scheduled only on certain holidays.

Since the inception of the Beach Bizarre, which attracted a lot of people, officials have brought some professional musicians and have more of a contained fire, which is provided by the local fire department, and to make the campfires a part of the regular program.

One of the factors the officials added was a singer, Lorena Leigh, who is from Fort Worth, Texas, and who leads the fun-filled songs at the beach, who is assisted by her friends for two hours, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday. Beachgoers say that this is a perfect way to unwind after a long work week…at the beach, at sunset, around a fire.

Leigh currently resides in Rockaway Beach, where she performs her jams around the peninsula solo, as an acoustic trio or with the 5-piece “Lorena Leigh Band”.

The song list included songs from the 70’s to current hits.

Children gathered around to her sing to Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” which is popular right now.

Lorena said that she wants to add to her song list and will do her best to accommodate the audience and what they want to hear. The event attracts many parents with their children who love to eat the s’mores provided by the park service.

Parks officials say that the plan is to increase the number of campfires next year to two nights a week, most likely Friday and Saturday.



Utility says that ‘Green’ energy solutions too expensive for Rockaway, urge traditional power cable instead

Bayswater plant

Most Rockaway residents don’t know that the Bayswater Peaking Facility exists in the eastern end of the peninsula. Plans to upgrade the aging plant have been put on hold by the state’s demand for ‘Green” energy solutions, but utility officials say those solutions are way too expensive.

The Rockaway peninsula is what experts call a “Power Pocket.”

That means the peninsula is connected to the power grid through only one source. Because Rockaway has an ocean on one side and a bay on the other, there is no way to connect to the grid horizontally without running a line under the bay.

There is a substation at Beach 109 Street and, though few know it exists, an archaic “Peaking Station” that generates electricity when excess generation is needed in the far reaches of Bayswater, right on the bay and the Nassau County boarder.

For years, company officials at LIPA, PSE&GLI and even Florida Light and Power, have made plans to modernize the Bayswater plant, but those plans never came to fruition.

Now there is a new state law that requires utilities to upgrade the aging infrastructure with new “green” methods such as micro-grids and solar energy rather than simply running new power cables into an area.

Sounds good, but officials say that modernizing two sections of the LIPA electric grid, including Bayswater, with green-energy technologies would have cost up to six times more than a traditional underground cable, according to a PSEG analysis of the options.

PSEG Long Island last year reviewed proposals to deal with power gaps in Glenwood Landing and Bayswater, to meet new reliability requirements. Normally, a utility would turn to a high-voltage power cable to address the gap.

But the state’s new Reforming the Energy Vision initiative called for utilities to solve grid challenges with new technologies, including smart grids, remote-controlled thermostats that help reduce peak power use, and solar and wind power.

After months of analysis, however, PSEG found the costs were just too high.

According to PSEG, a new high-voltage transmission line in the Glenwood Landing area would cost ratepayers around $30 million a year. Green-energy plans proposed as part of the bidding request would have cost $22 million to $42 million more each year.

In Bayswater, the cost differences are even greater. A cable from East Garden City to Valley Stream for the Rockaway peninsula is estimated to cost $22 million a year. But green energy plans offered as part of the bidding request would have cost $45 million to $117 million more, PSEG found.

“After a review of all of the proposals and a thorough analysis of the options to ensure the future reliability of the system for our customers in the Rockaway and Glenwood areas, the most reliable and economical path forward is for two underground transmission lines to serve the area,” said PSEG spokesman Jeff Weir.

PSEG presented its findings to LIPA, which decided that the “most economical option was to proceed with the transmission solution in each area and not to accept any of the proposals.”

According to Newsday, however, environmental groups have been pushing the utility to green-energy alternatives, citing the state’s recent commitment to garner 50 percent of energy needs from green sources by 2030. A significant portion of that energy would be nuclear, after the state Public Service Commission recently passed a Clean Energy Standard that subsidizes three nuclear plants, including Nine Mile Point near Oswego on Lake Ontario, in which LIPA owns an 18 percent stake.

PSEG in 2014 offered two aggressive plans for what had previously been called Utility 2.0, an initiative that would have led the state in offering green technologies as an alternative to traditional grid solutions. PSEG had proposed investing some $345 million in green-energy enhancements to avoid, for instance, having to construct a new power plant.

But the Utility 2.0 plan was dropped in the 2015 rate-case plan that would have paid for it, and LIPA and PSEG instead pledged to make two new requests for proposals for their contribution to the state’s REV initiative.

The two bid requests, one for the South Fork and the other for Western Nassau, including Glenwood Landing and Rockaway, entertained dozens of proposals over the past year.

But those proposals have been in limbo since New York State last month canceled a LIPA board meeting scheduled for a vote on the proposal, according to Newsday.


In obsession with diversity and ‘justice,’ city council ends requirement that cabbies know English; Ulrich votes no

By Howard Schwach

Commentary from onrockaway.com

epa01153643 Pedestrians hail a yellow taxi at the intersection of Ninth Avenue and 57th Street in New York City USA, 22 October 2007. The New York City Taxi Workers Alliance began it's walkout earlier in the day at five a.m. protesting new rules requiring drivers to install global positioning systems and credit card machines in their cars. EPA/PETER FOLEY

There you are, riding in a New York City cab on the West Side Highway.

Up ahead, you spot a flashing electric sign that says, “Roadway collapse, exit at next off ramp!”

Yet your driver keeps going straight ahead, apparently ignoring the dire warning until you, the cab and the driver disappear into a large hole in the roadway.


Because your driver cannot read, write or speak English.

That scenario is not far from the truth of what could happen under a new City Council law that allows cab drivers to be licensed without understanding the predominate language in the city in which the work.

Hail a yellow taxi in New York City, and there is a good chance the driver is from another country. Passengers are regularly exposed to a range of languages that span the globe. Diversity is valuable, but now when it concerns safety.

It can sometimes be maddening for riders who feel that drivers do not understand where they want to go. Don’t you have to speak English, some wonder, to drive a taxi here?

Thanks to the city council, the answer to that vital question is now a loud and resounding “No!”

Last Friday, new rules went into effect eliminating the requirement that taxi drivers take an English proficiency exam. Now, the test for a taxi license is available in several languages, to accommodate non-English speakers.

The sponsors of a City Council bill to remove the English test argued that the requirement was a barrier for would-be drivers from immigrant communities who were looking for work. But the shift has prompted concerns over whether communication between taxi drivers and passengers could become even more difficult.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who sponsored the bill and is himself a former livery driver, told the New York Times that the legislation was intended to level the playing field so yellow-taxi and Uber drivers faced the same licensing requirements. Thousands of people, he said, now drive for companies like Uber and Lyft, another app-based service.

“They don’t have any language requirement, and no one has complained that they can’t communicate with them,” Mr. Rodriguez, a Democrat who represents northern Manhattan, said.

A spokesman for the mayor, Austin Finan, told the Times that the taxi commission and the mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs were developing an educational program for drivers to teach them industry-specific English. Ending the test would not do harm to the “safe and reliable customer service” in the industry, he said.

“The new legislation recognized the reality of an industry that has long been supported by the city’s hardworking immigrant community,” Finan said in a statement. “We do not want to prevent that community from access to jobs to support themselves and their families.”

According to the Times article, many New Yorkers are skeptical at best about the new rules set by the Progressive council.

“If you’re in New York, you must speak English,” David Hernandez, 26, a cook who lives in Queens, said on a recent afternoon, noting that he already had problems communicating with some taxi drivers. “This is an English-speaking country.”

The change, one of several significant revisions to taxi regulations in New York, was approved by the Council in April and signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The shift comes as drivers-for-hire in London are facing the opposite demand: a new English test requirement for drivers from non-English-speaking countries, prompting a rebuke by the private car service Uber.

In New York City, Uber drivers have not been required to take the English exam, a disparity officials were seeking to remedy as many yellow taxi drivers have left to work for the app-based service.

At a taxi school in Queens on Friday, even some students who were studying for the taxi exam and do not speak English as their first language conceded they thought the English test had been necessary.

“You have to communicate with the customer,” Pasang Sherpa, 40, told the Times reporter as the students reviewed methods of finding a cross street. “You’re not working in a kitchen. You’re driving a cab; you’re dealing with the public.”

The new cabbie rules are another example of a progressive body gone overboard in its drive for diversity and “justice.”

By any stretch of common sense, the new rules are nonsensical. There are just so many times that any driver needs to speak English to understand his or her surroundings and the dangers inherent in the area through which they are driving.

Signs that use illustrations rather than words help, as do GPS devices, but drivers, especially those who drive others for hire, have to know the language.

No amount of political correctness and obsession with diversity and fairness will change that.

Three councilmembers voted against the proposal: Councilmembers Eric Ulrich, who represents Rockaway, King and Borelli.



Tenth shooting victim of 2016 in Mott Avenue gunplay

1502 mott ave

The shooting victim was standing in front of 15-02 Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway, just a block from the 101 Precinct House (top, left).

Another shooting incident in Far Rockaway early on Monday evening, the tenth in the 101 Precinct this year, a drop of five from last year at this time.

Police sources say that an unidentified 25-year-old man was standing in front of the Crossways Apartments at 1502 Mott Avenue – just a block from the 101 Precinct House – when he heard shots and felt pain in his leg.

He looked down and saw that he was shot once in the left leg.

He told police that he did not see his assailant.

He called police and was transported to Jamaica Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Detectives from the 101 Precinct Squad are investigating.

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