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Green School

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• Nine New York universities, including Columbia, CUNY, NYU, and Pratt, have signed on to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017. This exceeds Bloomberg's PlaNYC goals and should, the mayor says, "make a sizable dent" in the city's carbon footprint. [amNY] • A 15-year-old Connecticut girl who disappeared a year ago was found alive, apparently imprisoned in a secret room of her parents' acquaintances' house. [NYP] • Someone is destroying entire print runs, and harassing the editors, of the city's two Urdu-language weeklies that cater to Pakistani-Americans. This is perhaps an inopportune moment to say it, but how cool is it that we have two Urdu weeklies? [CPJ] • More mayhem: A "strapping" and "burly" (in the Daily News' oddly swooning description) ex-con prowled the 2 train for a week, stealing iPods and gold jewelry plus kissing and exposing himself to women. [NYDN] • And Frank Gehry is going to design a playground in Battery Park, as a "gift to the city." Aw, you shouldn't have! As opposed to Miss Brooklyn, which you really, you know, shouldn't have. [NYT]

Surrender!

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• The fourth suspect in the alleged JFK pipeline plot is in custody. At the urging of a friend, Abdel Nur, 57, walked into a police station in Diego Martin, Trinidad, and turned himself in. [NYDN] • More surrenderings! Former assemblyman Clarence Norman Jr. and former State Supreme Court justice Gerald Garson, the main characters in a protracted judgeships-for-sale investigation, were sentenced yesterday. Both men left a Brooklyn courtroom in handcuffs, although Garson eked out a stay of his sentence. [NYT] • Ready for a $3 subway fare? By 2010, warns the Straphangers Campaign, the unlimited MetroCard will likely be $112 or, if the state coughs up some extra MTA cash, $92. But that's okay, because all our salaries will rise by 50 percent, too — right? Right? [amNY] • Gay marriage: bad for the baby Jesus, great for the economy. A new study by the city comptroller suggests that legalizing same-sex marriage would result in $142 million in economic benefits for NYC. [Crain's NY] • And Carla Katz, the Jersey union leader who's also, awkwardly, Governor Corzine's ex, tells all! In a Post exclusive! To Cindy Adams! Her big revelation: "There's absolutely nothing I have on Jon." [NYP]

Upper West Side Middle-School Search Seeks Weapons, Phones

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As if middle school wasn't filled with enough drama — the cliques! The science projects! — students arriving at M.S. 54, the Booker T. Washington School, on the Upper West Side today were surprised to find cops using metal detectors to check their backpacks for weapons this morning. Was there a reason to be worried? Nope — a 311 operator says these "random, unannounced" visits are "a new safety initiative by the NYC police department." The non-weapon-toting kids weren't concerned about guns; they were worried about their cell phones, which are technically banned from schools and presumably would show up in the search — and, if found, won't be returned till Tuesday. It's one way to put the kibosh on excessive text messaging. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

The Best of Times Is Now

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• Mayor Bloomberg is seeking to boost his proposed property-tax cut to as much as 8.5 percent, says the Post. The goal is to roll back a bit of 2003's infamous 18.5 percent hike, something the City Hall promised to do "in better times." [NYP] • Ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi got the $16 million account to overhaul the 30-year-old "I Love New York" campaign. (Spitzer says, a bit haughtily, that he won't appear in the ads.) Let's hope they do better than Saatchi's recent Kurt Cobain fiasco. [Crain's NY] • Mistaking her for an intruder, a New Haven cop opened fire on his own daughter, who was sneaking into the house after a late date. The girl, 18, has a bullet in her thigh. [NYDN] • Railway boozers, rejoice! The proposal to curb the oh-so-European practice of selling alcohol on Metro-North is pretty much kaput in the face of a commuter outcry. [NYT] • That outcry, however? Could have been just drunken babbling. Almost a thousand LIRR and Metro-North passengers got so trashed on the trains last year they needed medical attention; some 287 were ticketed for booze-fueled shenanigans. [Newsday]

Testing, Testing

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• Eliot Spitzer doesn't just want DNA samples from all convicts and parolees. He also wants automatic HIV tests for all rape suspects, in a bill that's dividing Albany, where some Democrats see testing "by virtue of indictment" as a slippery slope. [NYT] • Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is quickly turning into a tiny local version of Tom DeLay: First came the strategic purge of a community board, now he's in hot water for accepting a free cruise on Queen Mary 2 after lobbying Cunard to dock the ship in Red Hook. [NYP] • Accounting assistant could be a pretty lucrative job, provided you're ready to (a) steal and (b) go to jail. Eileen Koranteng, for instance, parlayed said gig at Riverdale Country School into both a $500,000 windfall and fifteen years behind bars if convicted. • Chuck Schumer has Lyme disease! The senator is receiving treatments after he was bitten by a deer tick in the Hudson Valley. In an odd coincidence — this is not a joke — he's proposed a $100 million research grant to study the disease. [WNBC] • And in a first that doesn't bode well for the future of the Postal Service, Saks Fifth Avenue's shoe department got its own Zip Code: 10222-SHOE. Nice PR move, but we're not sure Saks is ready to embrace the yo-mama-so-fat- she-has-her-own-Zip-Code jokes. [amNY]

2,750

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• The city's medical examiner has, for the first time, directly tied a death to 9/11 dust, thus making Felicia Dunn-Jones the 2,750th victim of the attack. The decision's potential impact is, obviously, enormous. [NYDN] • Yesterday's human chain around Stuy Town, apart from serving up a mini-flashback to Hands Across America, had a specific purpose: to repeal the law that allows landlords to deregulate apartments once the rent hits $2,000. [Metro NY] • The city is closing its high schools for pregnant girls, sixties inventions now beset with "abysmal test scores [and] poor attendance" (in one hair-raising example, a quilting class was being passed off as geometry). [NYT] • After facing suits for a few knee-jerk post-9/11 arrests, the city reached a deal with the New York Civil Liberties Union to stop pestering photographers and filmmakers operating handheld cameras on the street. No permit is now needed. [amNY] • And an infamous distributor of pirated Web content has been sentenced to five years for a real-world crime of, well, blowing up a portable toilet. It's like when they got Al Capone on tax charges, except not. [NYP]

Braunstein Convicted

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Our faith in the jury system is bolstered more each day. This just in from the AP:
A jury needed less than four hours to convict Peter Braunstein in a case that provided a daily window in the bizarre world of a man whose life seemed to grow ever more unstable after he lost his girlfriend and his job in the magazine business.
NYC Fake Firefighter Convicted [AP via NYT] Related: Sex and the City: The Horror Movie [NYM]

NYPD Blues: Low Pay for Recruits Will Hamper Anti-Crime Efforts, Shockingly

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It was a great plan. Two-thirds of each Academy graduating class would be dispatched by the NYPD to crime hot spots throughout the city, giving the rookies a trial by fire without draining manpower from better-controlled areas. It was called Operation Impact, and it was a centerpiece of a strategy that has pushed crime down 30 percent in New York's worst neighborhoods. And now it's not going to happen anymore, because the city pays its rookie police officers $25,100 a year, and there are simply not enough suckers. The next Academy class, budgeted for 2,800 people, will be lucky to have 800 enroll. Yesterday, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly drew this grim picture before the City Council before suggesting that the city negotiate with the police union separately (as opposed to lumping the cops with the rest of municipal workers). However, the Daily News reports, the mayor's not sold on the idea. So it seems the only hope now is for joining the force to become a new vogue among New York's rich. Condé Nast manages to fill all its editorial-assistant slots with similar wages, after all. It's a Crime! [NYDN]

Eliot Spitzer Wants Your DNA

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One of the more interesting ideas coming out of the Spitzer-era Albany is the former A.G.'s keen interest in a massive DNA database as the tool for fighting crime. Right now, New York State has DNA info from 250,000 criminals on file; the first part of Spitzer's proposal would increase that total by 20 percent by giving the ol' cotton swab to every prisoner, parolee, and probationer. Phase Two would involve harvesting DNA from just about anyone convicted of anything, including misdemeanors. Much like Bloomberg and his congestion-pricing initiative, the governor seems to be looking to London for inspiration. Great Britain, which swabs all arrestees, has the world's most extensive DNA database with over four million samples on hand (that's 6 percent of the Isles' population, including some children under 16). It seems to be working there, too — Gotham Gazette has collared some impressive stats on DNA-related convictions and exonerations. But, still, if Alberto Gonzales were behind this plan, wouldn't we all be a little terrified right about now? The Move to Expand DNA Testing [Gotham Gazette]

A Bad Day for Daniel Goldstein*

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• The key lawsuit seeking to block Atlantic Yards has been dismissed on a technicality. A group of tenants facing eminent-domain relocation failed to convince a judge they weren't offered comparable housing. [NYP] • Mark Green, the new president and one of the marquee voices of Air America, interviewed Michael Bloomberg for the network's big relaunch next week; the ex-rivals were reportedly quite chummy, trading bad puns and agreeing on most of Bloomberg's mayoral policies. [NYT] • This is exactly what the torturously slow dismantling of the Deutsche Bank building was supposed to prevent: A fifteen-foot-long pipe fell 35 stories from the half-stripped skyscraper, plunging into a neighboring firehouse and sending two firefighters to the hospital. [NYDN] • Bail for the domestic-enslaving Long Island couple was set at $2.5 million for the wife and $1 million for the husband; meanwhile, a raid on the mansion is said to have uncovered the instruments of torture, which include knives and a rolling pin. [Newsday] • And, a bomb scare shook up an elementary school in the Putnam County town of Kent after a suspicious and fragrant package was delivered to the building. But not to fear: After a Hazmat team and bomb squad got involved, an X-ray revealed it was twelve pounds of marijuana. [WNBC] * Or maybe not a bad day at all. As explained here, we totally misread this news.

Mike, Trumps, Rudy

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• No particular surprise here, but it's still pleasant to report: Despite not actually running, Bloomberg handily topped Giuliani in a Daily News presidential poll. Some 46 percent of New Yorkers pick Mike over Rudy, who gets 29 percent. [NYDN] • Not fans of Bloomberg: the Virginia Citizens Defense League. It's planning to hold a gun giveaway — in a government building — to raise money for two dealers sued by Bloomie. [WNBC] • New York may start collecting DNA from just about all convicts in all crimes: Eliot Spitzer's proposing mandatory sampling of all prisoners, parolees, registered sex offenders, and future cons. The program's also supposed to make exonerating the wrongly jailed a snap. [NYT] • The Post trumpets the "return of the Mafia." An exclusive story claims that Sicilian mobsters are making a major comeback across the organized-crime landscape, especially with the Gambino brothers out of jail. About 28 Godfather references follow. [NYP] • And, more Trumps! Donald Jr. and his wife Vanessa had a baby girl over the weekend, Kai "It's Danish" Madison Trump; the Donald, who may not even be done siring his own progeny, thus becomes a grandfather. That is all. [amNY]

Mike '10!

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• Mayor Bloomberg says he may run for governor in 2010. The reasoning: He is allegedly angry at Spitzer for trying to "run the city," so he may as well wrest the state from him. Does this mean people will finally stop bugging Mike to run for president in '08? [NYP] • We told you the Giuliani campaign is going to be filled with moments like this, and, boy, does the man deliver: Just as Rudy got comfortable saying he "hates abortion" on the trail, out pop his donations to Planned Parenthood — six of them, all made while he was mayor. [amNY] • The Daily News drops an interesting statistic: There are 250,820 fugitives currently on the lam in the state of New York. Of course, almost a quarter of them are "various drug offenders," which calls into question our drug laws rather than their lackadaisical enforcement. [NYDN] • In a wire item none of our local papers deemed fit to print, the AP reports a faulty pipe that has spewed millions of gallons of sewage into the Hudson is finally fixed. We knew our Hudson River Raw Tea tasted a little off this past weekend. [WHDH] • And Christopher Hitchens's evening at the Public Library last night, in support of his atheist screed God Is Not Great, was originally billed as a debate with You, the audience (how Web 2.0!). Then how did he end up debating the Reverend Al Sharpton — and, God, why? [Empire Zone/NYT]

Fairest of the Fair, She Is

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• In a turnaround from yesterday, Miss America will testify as a witness in the eleven court cases she helped build by playing a 14-year-old in a televised Long Island sex-sting op. [WNBC] • The Mets fan who used a powerful flashlight to blind a Braves pitcher has been sentenced to fifteen days behind bars — and a lifetime ban from Shea Stadium — after pleading guilty to "interfering with a sporting event." [NYP] • Speaking of the Mets, Citi Field now has its own Daniel Goldstein: One (and perhaps the only) inhabitant of Willets Point's "Iron Triangle," 74-year-old Joe Ardizzone, is refusing to relocate and make way for the stadium. [amNY] • After losing half his blood and breaking a bunch of bones in an SUV crash, New Jersey governor Jon Corzine requested yesterday to be fined for not wearing a seat belt. Today, he is exactly $46 dollars poorer and, presumably, happier. [NYT] • Here's someone who won't be requesting a ticket: A Queens burglary suspect, fleeing from cops in a stolen SUV, rammed into a bus carrying disabled students. Oh, yes, the apartment he burglarized? A police officer's. [NYDN]

Après le Deluge

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• Nor'easter weekend scorecard: 400 flights canceled, 1,500 homes left without power on Long Island, and 3,200 National Guard troops dispatched to the flooded areas. [amNY] • New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, injured in a car crash Thursday, remains under sedation at Cooper University Hospital. Corzine broke his left femur, collarbone, sternum, many ribs, and a vertebra. His prospects are good, however, after additional surgery yesterday. [NYT] • Terrible rain and wind didn't stop 200 anti-Ratner activists from making it to a rally protesting planned demolitions at the Atlantic Yards site. The developer is taking out several buildings to create a seven-acre, 1,600-car "temporary" parking lot. [MetroNY] • It's creepy enough that the New York socialite Toni Grossi-Abrams was murdered in Panama and her charred body found in a suitcase. Now the prime suspect in the case is a thrill-seeking Pennsylvania mother whose ex-husband "wouldn't put nothing past her." [NYDN] • And in more Americans-abroad mischief, a Beacon School teacher is in trouble after taking his history class to Cuba for a spring-break trip. Cuba is still illegal for Americans to travel to, of course, and students face a $65,000 fine each. The principal claims, unconvincingly, that she hasn't heard about the trip. [NYP]

Imus Scandal Claims Another Casualty

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• New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine is in critical condition, and on a breathing tube, after a serious car crash sustained on his way to moderate Don Imus's meeting with Rutgers basketball players. Early reports say an out-of-control driver caused Corzine's car to swerve and hit a guardrail. Richard Codey is acting governor for the moment. [NYT] • It took a mere day for the other shoe to drop: CBS has fired Don Imus after about 30 years (and countless slurs) on the air. And now the talk-radio world is a safe and happy place again, of course. [NYP] • Turns out New York City is not just a ravenous consumer of bootleg DVDs but also a major factory of them, so videotaping films off the screen, which used to get you fined a measly $250, is now a misdemeanor with jail time attached. [IHT] • More scary housing stats: There have been 554 foreclosure auctions in New York City between January and March, up 56.5 percent from last year's fourth quarter, as folks begin defaulting on loans. [Prime Newswire] • And Governor Schwarzenegger — he of the Hummer fleet — is in New York teaching us about the environment. Okay, fine, California did pass a groundbreaking emission-reduction law and refuses to buy coal-derived electricity. Still: annoying. [NY Metro]

Good News: A Murder a Day!

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You can be forgiven for catching a whiff of Dinkins-era New York around the city lately: cops shooting civilians; psychos shooting cops; homelessness hitting record numbers, with more guaranteed to come as banks move in on the overmortgaged lower middle class. It may come as a surprise, then, that the most gruesome barometer of a big city's health — the murder rate — keeps dropping. The NYPD is reporting a mere 84 homicides from the beginning of the year through last Sunday, which makes for exactly one murder a day. The same period in 2006 claimed 117 victims, or 28 percent more.

What the Bell?

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• This shouldn't necessarily sway anyone's opinion about the Sean Bell shooting, but it's, um, interesting: A drug dealer tells the police he was once shot by Bell. Cops call the story credible (shocker). [NYDN] • Wesley Autrey, the Subway Superman, gains a Subway Lex Luthor in lawyer Diane Kleiman. Kleiman and her partner have allegedly swindled Autrey into a deal that would give them half of whatever he gets (book advance, speaking fees, etc.). [NYP] • Jacob the Jeweler is heading to the courtroom on some serious charges: helping launder $270 million in drug money for a Detroit-based crime ring. Now that's cred. [AP via amNY] • JPMorgan Chase has released a twelve-page assessment that itemizes Brooke Astor's fortune: $41 million in real estate, $23.5 million in stocks, and $816 in the bank. [NYT] • And the day's Headless Body Award (it's our new, ad-hoc headline-pun prize) goes to Metro New York, for running the gamut from the awesome "Marky Marksman" (a Shooter review) to the god-awful "An Indie-sent Proposal" (a SXSW feature). [MetroNY]

The British Are Coming!

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• Remember Steven Johnson, the freak who terrorized Bar Veloce in 2002, splashing kerosene on patrons? Well, he just got 240 years in prison. Yeah, we don't know what took five years, either. [NYP] • Renaming corners, part one: A coalition of local businesses, backed by no less than Virgin Airways, is campaigning to call a slice of the West Village "Little Britain." The stage-one strategy apparently involves sub–Benny Hill humor. ("What's one more queen in the Village?") [MetroNY] • Renaming corners, part two: Elaine Orbach may yet get the intersection of 53rd and Eighth named after her late husband, Jerry. After striking out with the grumpy Community Board 5, she found fans on Board 4 — which controls the west side of the same avenue. [NYT] • In a high-tech twist on a classic, a married couple is suing a Park Avenue clinic for allegedly inseminating the wife with the wrong man's sperm: The father is white, the mother Dominican, the baby black. [NYDN] • And New York has joined more than twenty states moving their presidential primaries up to February 5. With any luck, Assemblyman Keith Wright's coinage for the occasion — "Super-Duper Tuesday" — won't get any kind of traction in the media. Oh, crap, we just did it. [NYT]

Nothing's Safe on the Upper East Side

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A lost-wallet study is not exactly a pinnacle of scientific research — you drop some wallets around a city, measure the rate of return, then make some piece-of-cake assumptions about society's moral fiber: People suck! In this case, however, the results yielded by a Barnard College study are too perfect not to mention. Students dropped 132 wallets in Chelsea, Crown Heights, the Upper East Side, Harlem, City Hall, and the Bronx. Only two wallets disappeared completely; the others were returned or ignored. And — get this — the two that were picked up and not returned were on the Upper East Side. They disappeared from blocks with a median family income of $126,000 a year. Inside each wallet? A MetroCard, a business card, and four whole dollars. Finder's Keepers? Not in New York [Barnard College]