Kids, families volunteer to clean up Baisley Pond Park


Dozens of kids and their families came out to Baisley Pond Park over the weekend as part of “It’s My Park” Day, a citywide effort hosted by NYC Parks and the City Parks Foundation to clean up parks across the five boroughs.

Volunteers picked up trash, planted flowers and repainted benches as part of the effort. Community organizations also raked leaves, painted fences and hosted children’s activities to prepare for the upcoming season of events.

The following organizations attended the “It’s My Park” Day cleanup: 149th Street Block Association, Talent Youth Development Education and Entertainment, Southeast Queens Chamber of Commerce.




Ozone Park man sentenced for 2013 shooting of cop


An Ozone Park man convicting of shooting an off-duty police officer in 2013 was sentenced has been sentenced to 59 1/3 to 66 1/3 years to life in prison this week.

According to Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown, Jose L. Bernazard, 42, whose last known address was on 88 Street in Queens, tried to gain entrance to the Jamaica home of Christina Rodriguez on Sunday, June 2013, at around 10 p.m.

When Rodriguez refused his entry, Bernazard then allegedly climbed through a window according to trial testimony. Once inside, he reportedly began to assault her and her 10-month old son.

Hearing their cries for help, off-duty police officer Joseph Koch, 28 at the time, went to their aid. He reportedly had his police shield clipped to his waist band in plain view.

As Bernazard and Kock struggled during the confrontation, Bernazard allegedly grabbed Koch’s gun and shot him in the hand. Bernazard was also struck by a bullet during the struggle.

All four individuals were taken to the hospital from the scene to be treated for their injuries.

Brown said a subsequent investigation revealed that Bernazard had stalked Ms. Rodriguez between January 26, 2012, and June 16, 2013, during which time he assaulted Ms. Rodriguez on three separate occasions prior to the June 16, 2013, incident.

“The defendant is a clear danger to the woman he had briefly dated, her son and to the general public,” said Brown. “This individual showed a total disregard for the judicial system. He broke into the home of his former girlfriend, assaulted both her and her young son and repeatedly ignored lawful mandates to stay away from her. And when he continued to harass and stalk her and a police officer intervened attempting to effect his arrest, the defendant shot him. In this case, a lengthy prison term was more than warranted and the defendant will likely spend the rest of his days behind bars.”

A jury convicted Bernazard on April 18, 2016, of second-degree attempted murder, second- and third-degree assault, first-degree attempted assault, first degree burglary, aggravated criminal contempt, second-degree criminal contempt, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation,second-degree criminal trespass, fourth-degree criminal mischief and first-degree stalking following a three and one-half week trial.


Police looking for South Ozone Park robbery suspects

1403-16 106 Pct 4-23-16 photo of individual #21403-16 106 Pct 4-23-16 photo of individual #1Police are looking for two individuals depicted in surveillance photos in connection with a robbery of a Metro PCS in South Ozone Park last month.

According to police, on Friday, April 22, at about 8 p.m., two individuals entered the store at 105-12 Rockaway Boulevard through the front door then knocked the wall down to gain entry. The suspects then removed approximately $300 and fled the scene.

Both individuals are described as white males.


New playground coming to Rochdale Village school


Photo Courtesy: Office of Councilman Ruben Wills

Playtime for students at a Rochdale middle school is about to become more fun.

City officials and community leaders broke ground on a new playground at Catherine and Count Basie Middle School 72, located at 133-25 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., last Tuesday afternoon.

The ceremony kicked off reconstruction for the $2.5 million project, which is expected to finish by next April.

“A playground is a vital element of a child’s education. If it’s neglected, not only will it decay, but our young men and women’s minds and bodies will do the same,” said Councilman Ruben Wills. “The playground at Catherine and Count Basie had been lacking in upkeep for more than a decade, and its dilapidated condition came to attract attention from negative influences.”

The redesigned playground will come with a slew of new features and amenities, including a synthetic field with a 3-track lane, outdoor classroom and amphitheater and interchangeable basketball and volleyball court.


Cocaine found inside sock at JFK

JFK Cocaine Body Carry 002

A man traveling from Santiago, Dominican Republican, tried to smuggle cocaine through his sock and laptop bag, but was caught by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.

Angelo Fernandez, a U.S. Citizen, flew into John F. Kennedy Airport on April 29. During his exam, CBP officers noticed that the inside panels of his computer bag felt unusually thick and that the bag was heavier than normal when empty.

When Fernandez was searched in a private room, officers felt a “rigid object” in his groin area. They pulled out a sock with 100 pellets. Officers probed the pellets, which produced a white powder that tested positive for cocaine.

His laptop bag was also probed, revealing the white powder.

Fernandez was arrested for importing a controlled substance and was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations. The approximate value of the cocaine he carried totaled $160,000.

Fernandez now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges.



Wanted for questioning: man police say tried to rob Ozone Park bank

1196-16 Robbery 106Pct PHOTOPolice are looking for a man they say tried to rob a bank in Ozone Park yesterday.

According to police, at around 1:20 p.m., the suspect pictured to the right entered a Chase Bank location at 103-48 Lefferts Boulevard and passed a note demanding money. When the teller walked away, the man fled the scene without any cash.

The individual wanted for questioning is described as a Black male who was last seen wearing a black jacket.



Wave Crest senior goes missing

An old photo of Alfred Hatfield.

An old photo of Alfred Hatfield.

Police are looking for a man who disappeared in Wave Crest.

Alfred Hatfield, from 431 Beach 20 Street, was last seen on Tuesday at approximately 11 p.m. He was caught on camera leaving his residence, a senior living facility, according to authorities.

Cops describe Hatfield as 5’10”, 230 pounds, light complexion, heavy build, short, gray hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a tan jacket, white-striped shirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information about this missing person is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM.

Video surveillance captured him leaving his senior living facility.

Video surveillance captured him leaving his senior living facility.



Queens libraries among finalists for annual award

Flickr/Stewart Butterfield

Flickr/Stewart Butterfield

Three Queens libraries, including the Arverne Library and the Far Rockaway Library, are among the ten finalists for the third annual NYC Neighborhood Library Award.

The award recognizes libraries that are the “unsung heroes” of their communities. The top five winners will receive a $20,000 prize, while the remaining five will each get $10,000.

“Arverne Library goes out of their way to make us feel comfortable and the kids love going there after school,” said John, a neighborhood resident. “It means a lot to us that we can send our kids somewhere we feel they are safe and the staff knows them.”

Betty, a Far Rockaway resident, said after Hurricane Sandy, the library became a “beam of light” for the public.

“We held meetings there, we looked for jobs there, we consoled each other there, we used the internet and so many more things that others took for granted,” she said. “Since Hurricane Sandy, it has become more relevant because the employees embraced the public and a “Work Force Center” had been established at this site.”

The Glen Oaks Library rounded out the finalists from Queens.


Police look for suspect in Jamaica shooting


Authorities are looking for 20-year-old Brandon Ford, who is wanted in connection to a shooting that occurred on Friday, March 11.

Police say that at approximately 9:18 a.m., in front of of 150-15 Yates Road in Jamaica, Ford approached a 19-year-old man from behind and shot him once in the back of the neck. Ford then fled Yates Road, and the victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he is in critical condition.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or submit tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM.


Resorts World to have major gaming expansion


Resorts World Casino will install 1,000 new video lottery terminals (VLTs), according to Ozone Park Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder.

Goldfeder said the 2016 state budget, which passed last Friday in Albany, includes language authorizing the State Gaming Commission to license new VLTs at the casino. By adding 1,000 new terminals to the 5,000 already at Resorts World, the facility’s gaming capacity will increase by almost 20 percent.

“The revenues generated at Aqueduct provide hundreds of millions in funding for our local schools, and drive economic development throughout Queens,” Goldfeder said. “The addition of 1,000 new gaming slots is a major victory for our families that will ensure the casino and the racetrack’s success for years to come.”

No deadline was given for the installation of the VLTs, but the budget gives incentives to add new slots as soon as possible, Goldfeder said.