PA police seek shooter who killed Rockaway resident in Keystone State

Police in Pennsylvania are seeking Dominic Ray, who killed a Rockaway man in Wilks-Barre in October.

The shooting took place in front of this public housing unit .

Published reports in the Wilkes-Barre (Pennsylvania) Citizen’s Voice say that police in that city are looking for a man who shot and killed a Far Rockaway man in a city housing complex in October.

Pennsylvania police sources identify the wanted man as Dominic Ray, 24, of Wilkes-Barre, who allegedly killed Rockaway resident Victor Grandy, 32.

Police say that the two men were arguing in front of the Sherman Hills housing Complex when Ray pulled a gun and shot Grandy, killing him on the spot.

Ray lived in Sherman Hills. No Rockaway address was available for Grandy, but police said that he lived for a short time in the Pennsylvania city.

Judge upholds firing of PS 106 principal late to school 178 times over two years

PS 106 principal Marcella Sills, shown at a hearing, was fired for being late 178 times over two school years. Her firing was upheld this week by a judge because she filed her reinstatement petition too late for consideration.

Public School 106 on Beach 35 Street has been serving Rockaway students since before World War II. DOE charged that Sills was late often and did not purchase the materials necessary for teachers to address the curriculum.

After being late to work 178 times over two school years, Marcella Sills was late one last time – and it may have cost her any chance of regaining her job as principal of PS 106 in Edgemere.

Last week, a judge tossed out Sills’ reinstatement because, according to state law, she filed it too late.

Sills was removed by Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña in 2014, after a series of published reports in both daily and local papers detailing her tardiness and her spending practices. There were also complaints that Sills did not respond adequately to parent concerns and was imperious with her staff and failed to supply the materials needed by the teachers to adequately support the curriculum.

Sills’ was cited for being late 178 times between September 2012 and January 2014.

Despite that, Sills filed for reinstatement, arguing in court papers that there was no established start and end time for city principals. Failing any written guidelines that required her to be present at the beginning of the school day, she said that she could not be punished for being late.

But a Manhattan judge reminded her this week that timeliness is not negotiable when it comes to the court system.

Sills, who earned $128,000 a year, was officially fired from the Department of Education on Jan. 22 of this year, after an administrative hearing, and had 10 days to submit her petition. But, true to form, she took her time.

“Petitioner commenced this proceeding on April 19, 2016, over two months after the 10-day limitations period had expired, and this proceeding is time-barred,” wrote Manhattan Judge Manuel Mendez in junking her petition.

Sills worked for the DOE for roughly 16 years and was appointed principal at PS 106 in 2005.

But she was ultimately buried under a total of 15 charges for offenses committed during the 2013 and 2014 school years.

In addition to her lateness, Sills was cited for hindering the investigation against her and for having “subjected the NYCDOE to widespread negative publicity, ridicule and notoriety” and misusing her position “for personal benefit,” according to Mendez’s ruling.

After a 22-day hearing, an arbitrator found her conduct “too extreme to support any penalty other than discharge.”

According to the published reports, the campus had no Common Core textbooks, no physical-education or art classes, no proper nurse’s office and no special-education staffers.

Instead of actual instruction, kids were herded into the school auditorium where they “watched more movies than Siskel and Ebert,” a whistleblower told The New York Post at the time


Police now treating unconscious PS 253 student as a crime, possibly a bullying and assault case

Eight-year-old Daniel Martinez was found unconscious in a room at PS 253 in Far Rockaway. Parents charge that assault was mishandled by school, police were not notified until two days later when mom called detectives from hospital room.

PS 253 is a kindergarten to grade five school on Central Avenue in Far Rockaway.

Police detectives from the 101 Precinct have shifted their focus in the case of an 8-year-old special needs student who was found unconscious at PS 253 in Far Rockaway on December 14.

Originally, police sources said that they were treating the case as an “aided” – an accident rather than a crime.

Now, however, after speaking with the boy’s family and with others involved with the case, they are treating it as a possible case of bullying and assault.

The 8-year-old boy, identified by police as Daniel Martinez, suffered a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage at the school last week. He reportedly woke up from his drug-induced coma Monday and immediately expressed fears about returning to school.

“All he keeps saying is that he doesn’t want to go to school. He looks so afraid,” the family’s pastor Danilo Merida told the Daily News.

Martinez spent the last six days under powerful sedation after he was knocked unconscious during an incident police are now investigating for possible ties to bullying.

Daniel’s parents told the News on Monday they’re considering legal action. They believe school staffers are hiding information about the incident and failed to act quickly enough when Daniel first started vomiting blood.

“All the teachers know what happened, but they’re covering it up,” his mother, Sandra Martinez told a News reporter in an emotional phone interview from her son’s hospital bedside.

“The school said that it was an accident…it was not an accident,” the boy’s distraught dad Jose Martinez, 38, said at the family’s home.

The family later heard from a friend that another student had been transferred to PS 253 due to bullying behavior at his last school, and was suspected in this incident as well, Jonathan said.

An official incident report from the school said that Daniel hit his head at 10:55 a.m., but EMS wasn’t notified until 11:30 a.m.

“He was laying there for 20 minutes. He was unconscious but throwing up blood,” Jonathan told The News.

“A lot of friends were trying to help him, and the security just said, ‘No, he’s alright,’” Jonathan claimed.

A source with the Department of Education said Monday that “school staff followed protocol and EMS immediately responded.”

According to the incident report, the other student “ran into” Daniel “by accident, knocking him down.”

“Daniel was escorted to the nurse’s office,” the report said. “He started vomiting and sweating profusely and fell unconscious for approximately 20 minutes.”

When the report was first entered at 12:36 p.m. last Wednesday, it said Daniel was unconscious when EMS transported him to Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

It was updated later on to say that he had regained consciousness in the ambulance.

Detectives from the 101 Squad and the Special Victims Unit are reportedly involved in the investigation.


Firefighters brave cold, wind for more than an hour to extinguish ‘suspicious’ Arverne fire.

The fire gutted the abandoned stores on Beach Channel Drive at beach 53 Street on Sunday night. More than 125 firefighters took longer than a hour to extinguish the fire under cold and windy conditions.

Firefighters speak with an EMT at the site. Nobody was injured as a result of the fire. All fire photos by Theresa Racine.

The fire was declared “all-hands,” bringing more than two dozen apparatus to the fire.

A suspicious Arverne fire drew more than 125 firefighters and 25 fire units to Beach Channel Drive and Beach 53 Street on Sunday evening.

Fire officials say that the first call came in to the 911 emergency system at 5:33 p.m. on December 18 for a smoky fire on Beach Channel Drive. First units on scene quickly called a Signal 10-75, denoting an All-Hands fire, bringing units from all over the peninsula.

The fire turned out to be in a small strip mall at 5309 Beach Channel Drive, a commercial building in which all of the stores have been long abandoned with plans to rehab and reopen them.

At 5:41 p.m., fire officials called for additional engines and a tower ladder. At that time, they called the fire “heavy.”

Shortly after that call, officials declared the fire “suspicious in nature,” and asked for fire marshals to respond. Local sources say that squatters were reportedly living in the abandoned stores and had used a fire to keep warm on the cold and windy night.

The fire was declared under control at 6:53 p.m., more than an hour after the first call came in to 911.

Officials said that it was a difficult fire to fight because of the weather conditions.

There were no injuries associated with the fire.



Mystery grows over injured Far Rockaway PS 253 student, who remains with serious injures at LIJ


Published reports and police sources say that an eight-year-old special needs student was seriously injured at PS 253 in Far Rockaway. Questions remain as to whether or not school made the proper notifications of an assault to parents and police officials. The child was found on Wednesday and police were not notified until the child’s mother called police on Friday.

There is a growing mystery centering on a possible assault of an 8-year-old boy with special needs, who is fighting for his life after being critically injured inside his Queens school.

 What is known is that the incident happened at P.S. 253, located at 1307 Central Avenue in Far Rockaway.

An ABC-TV (Channel 7) report said that a 911 call from school was placed Wednesday morning for an injured child. When EMS arrived, they found 8-year-old Daniel Martinez unconscious.

He was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, suffering from a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage, the report said.

While the Department of Education said that the school notified the parent immediately on Wednesday, when the child was found unconscious in the building, police sources told that they first learned of the incident when Martinez’s mother called 911 from the Nassau County hospital on Friday to report the past assault.

Detectives from the 101 Precinct responded to the hospital and spoke to the boy’s mother. She told them that her son had been assaulted at PS 253, but citywide police sources would only say that there is an active police investigation underway and that the case is being treated as an “aided” case at the moment, generally meaning that officials are not sure whether or not criminality is involved. Sources say the police investigation is trying to determine if the injury is due to an accident or a vicious assault, although the victim’s mother told them that it was an assault that injured her son.

The Department of Education released a statement to ABC news late on Friday stating: “This is an extremely troubling incident, and the principal and school staff have been providing the family with ongoing support during this difficult time. We are looking into what transpired and will ensure that it is swiftly addressed.”

According to the Department of Education’s Website, PS 253 has 460 students in grades pre-Kindergarten to five, including many special needs children.

The Website “Great Schools,” which rates the city’s schools, said that “Safety is a big concern in this school.” The school is rated a three out of a possible ten in academic standing by the website.

The hospital declined to comment for this story, citing privacy issues under the HIPPA Law.

Martinez’s family was not available for comment.




Gun thug plugs two shots at boardwalk at Beach 98 Street


Police found two shell casings at Beach 98 Street and Shore  Front Parkway on Wednesday afternoon.

Police in the 100 Precinct are looking for a gun thug who plugged at least two shots at the boardwalk at Beach 98 Street on Wednesday afternoon.

Police say that, on December 14, at approximately 2:00 p.m., there were gun shots fired towards the boardwalk from Beach 98 Street and Shore Front Parkway.

Soures say that the suspect fired the shots and jumped into a black SUV with tinted windows and fled the scene.

The suspect is described as a Male Black or Hispanic, approximately 18 years of age, and six feet tall.

When last seen, he was wearing a purple and black hooded sweatshirt.

Two 9mm shell casings were recovered at the scene. No injuries or property damage was reported. This incident is currently being investigated by the 100 Precinct Detective Squad.

Anyone with information in regards to this, can call Crime Stoppers 1800-577-TIPS(8477) or the 100 Precinct Detective Squad at 718-318-4223.

Permits filed with city for new botique hotel on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 108 Street


The new hotel would take up all the land between Beach 108 and Beach 109 Streets and between Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Mickey Carton Way (the Old Rockaway Beach Boulevard).


The original artists rendering shows a four story building, but NIMBY is reporting that the building will be six stories. Parking would be below the hotel.

For the past decade or so, visitors coming to Rockaway for a wedding or other affair, or even for a visit to the beach were told that there were no hotels in Rockaway suitable for even a short visit. Those travelling to Rockaway were often sent to hotels at Kennedy Airport or on Rockaway Turnpike in Nassau County.

Now, however, Rockaway Beach is about to get a boutique hotel designed by famous Wythe Hotel architect Morris Adjmi.

New building applications were filed Tuesday for the six-story project at 108-20 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, between 108 and 109 Streets, where Irish saloons and the famous McGuire’s Bar once stood.

According to the development Website NY NIMBY, the building would reach 86 feet high and hold 61 rooms, including seven extended-stay suites.

 It would replace a long-shuttered bar and apartment building and a stretch of vacant lots, which front the whole block when assembled as one site. The development would have 38,673 square feet of hotel and retail space and 9,416 square feet of residential space. When hotels have a residential portion, it usually isn’t apartments. Instead, those “residential” suites allow travelers to stay longer than 30 days.

A bar and restaurant would fill the first two floors, followed by six stories of hotel rooms, and a “bar/flex space” on the seventh floor.

The original plans tendered to the community board included a large catering facility, but that idea seems to have gone by the ways.

These plans call for a slightly larger project than the ones the developers presented to the local community board nearly two years ago. The developers, In Good Company Hospitality Group and JBS Project Management, told Community Board 14 that they hoped to build a four-story hotel with 30 to 50 rooms.

The two firms purchased the 19,436-square-foot assemblage for a combined $4.6 million last month.

Terence Tubridy, who heads In Good Company, bought half the site from his uncle Tim Tubridy. Tim ran Tubridy’s Bar on Beach 109 Street until it closed in 1989.

His father is the famous restauranteur and raconteur Dan Tubridy, who once owned and operated Pier 92, now the Bungalow Bar.

Terence imagined the hotel would be ideal lodging for travelers visiting the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, surfers, or folks visiting family in Rockaway, Tubridy reported to the community board when the idea for the project was first generated.


Dayton Beach Park shareholder says stories of problems at complex are true, driven by money, conversion plan


There have been many published stories recently about warehoused apartments and fiscal irregularities at Dayton Beach Park

There have been a number of published reports about shenanigans at Dayton Beach Park, a multi-building Mitchell-Lama housing development in Rockaway Beach, primarily on the news site, DNAInfo, penned by local reporter Katie Honan.

Those reports have written of warehoused apartments, Department of Investigation raids and fiscal wrongdoing on the part of the current president and board of directors.

The development has been problematic of years, what with staff firings, employee strife and demonstrations and charges of cronyism, board wrongdoings and even charges of physical threats against the president and board members.

As with everything else, money seems to be at the root of all of the problems. While the housing complex was built under the 1950’s Mitchell Lama Law designed to bring middle class subsidized housing to those who needed it.

Back in 1955, when the flight to the suburbs was going full blast and many city neighborhoods were deteriorating from lack of money and municipal attention, the Mitchell-Lama bill, named after State Sen. McNeil Mitchell and New York Assemblyman Alfred Lama, was signed into law.

The purpose of the program was to encourage the building of moderate-income housing, to keep more middle-class families within the state’s cities, and to help stabilize city neighborhoods. And the program worked — scores of Mitchell-Lama buildings (some 270 developments with nearly 140,000 apartments) were constructed throughout the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and provided housing for lower- and middle-income families. The projects developed under this program received real estate tax breaks and low interest loans and mortgages in return for keeping rents and purchase and resale prices far below market value for a period of time. After this period the co-op corporation could opt out of the program. Some say one of the real reasons for Mitchell-Lama in the first place was so that these buildings could stabilize borderline areas–clearing the way for the private real estate market to step in.

Many of the neighborhoods where Mitchell-Lama buildings were built have seen a dramatic increase in real estate prices, especially in neighborhoods that have become “upscale” making “buying out” of the program more attractive than ever to many. If and when a Mitchell-Lama or a similar co-op does go private, those who own apartments can potentially sell them at market rates. If you paid $12,000 for your apartment, and are now seeing apartments all around you selling for $500,000 or $1 million or more, that’s a powerful incentive for many people.

Today, according to the Mitchell-Lama Residents Coalition, there are about 130 city-sponsored Mitchell-Lama developments, under the jurisdiction of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD); and approximately 94 state-sponsored Mitchell-Lamas, under the jurisdiction of the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). They range from the Bronx’s giant Co-op City, with 35 buildings and 15,372 units, to Williamsburg’s Northside Gardens, with just 41 units. To date more than 50 Mitchell-Lama city and state-sponsored rental developments have bought out, and according to HPD, 20 more are currently pending. Dayton Beach Park, along with the other “Dayton” Mitchell Lama projects in Rockaway, is sponsored by the city’s HPD.

Recently, to stop the flow of Mitchell-Lama projects from going private and to keep the apartments affordable to middle class New Yorkers, the city proposed a new program called Article XI Conversion, adopted in 2011, which allows a transfer from the HPD program to something called the Housing Development Fund. That fund has been used successfully to convert abandoned buildings and the like. While the city sees this as a compromise that would allow the owners of the apartment to increase their equity in their apartment when they are ready to sell their apartments, a Mitchell-Lama advocacy group, Cooperators United for Mitchell Lama, says that it will make the apartments “unaffordable for the people who want to continue to live in them and to families on the waiting list,” some who whom have been waiting for years for an apartment to open up.

At the present time, the group says, there are 41 “warehoused” apartments at Dayton Beach Park despite the fact that the waiting list is lengthy.

One shareholder agreed to speak on the record, but asked that her name remain anonymous because she is afraid of retaliation from the present president and board of directors.

“All of the charges made recently are true,” she said. “The 41 apartments are being warehoused because the board wants the control of their votes when it comes time to vote on conversion to Article XI. If nobody owns the apartment, the board controls the vote for those 41 apartments.”

She adds that some of the apartments have been empty for more than two years and that the board keeps saying that the apartments are “under repair” and will be sold when the repairs have been made. She calls that a “joke.”

In any vote, each apartment in the complex gets one vote, she explained. Having those 40 or 50 extra votes could well make the difference between passing and failing.

She opposes the plan because she has been living there for two decades and plans to stay, so she will not benefit from the plan, but her monthly costs would escalate.

She says that she does not know whether the contention that some insiders have been quietly and secretly buying the empty apartments so that they can be resold for big money if the conversion goes through is true or not.

“The apartments don’t belong to them or to anybody else, as far as we know,” she said, “but there must be some reason why the board is warehousing them.”

Cooperators United for Mitchell-Lama held a meeting at the complex two weeks ago that was heavily attended.

“There are a lot of elderly people who went to the meeting, because they don’ understand what’s going on,” she said. “They are afraid they will get hurt financially, or that they will lose the apartments they have lived in for decades.”

A few weeks ago, the Department of Investigation raided the office and took out boxes of papers, according to DNAInfo.

The woman who spoke with believes that the DOI and HPD are in bed together with the president and the board, and will do nothing to get to the bottom of the charges.

“People would cheer if they took the president out in handcuffs,” she said. “Everybody here is just fed up.”

Christmas Tree lighting ceremony for Beach 116 Street

tree-5 tree-7

tree-1 tree-2

tree-7 tree-8


All photos from Beach 116 Street Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony by Theresa Racine.

For as long as anybody can remember, there has been a Menorah lighting for Chanukah and a Tree lighting for Christmas each year on Beach 116 Street. For many years, when there was a Chamber of Commerce, that group hosted both ceremonies.

Later, the Menorah Lighting was sponsored by three local synagogues and the Tree Lighting by the Beach 116 Street Partnership.

Now under new leadership, the partnership offered no hope of a tree lighting this year, and it was undertaken by two local residents.

The ceremony took place on Friday night, December 9 across from the firehouse.

And, while it was cold, hundreds showed up and were entertained by a local school chorus and with holiday cheer.


Cops seek man who broke into truck, removed tools


Detectives from the 101 Precinct are looking for Luis Rojas, who is wanted for burglary in Far Rockaway.

Detectives from the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway are looking for a man who used a shim to open a truck door and took some tolls from the truck.

Police say that on Wednesday, October 19, between 5 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. a man, identified by police as Luis Rojas, a 41-year-old male Hispanic used an unknown object to open a side window of a truck, which was parked in the vicinity Caffrey Avenue. 

Once inside, the suspect removed a weed whacker and hedge trimmer. The individual fled the location in an unknown direction.

Rojas is described by police as 5’4″, 135 lbs., light complexion, brown eyes, with a shaved head.

 Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782)

The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.


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