At Least 60 Feral and Outdoor Cats Have Vanished in Astoria

Categories: Astoria, Cats

Photo by Mary Witty
Old Orange, a ginger tomcat who disappeared from a feral cat colony around December 12.
A mystery in Astoria is growing stranger by the day. Caregivers for the neighborhood's feral and outdoor cats report that at least 60 felines have gone missing between early December and now.

"Just for Astoria alone it looks like it's between 66 and 70," says Mary Witty. "Just in this neighborhood."

Witty, who works at NYU, has lived in Astoria for 14 years. She's cared for a colony of feral cats for about five years, seven of them, all of whom were part of a Trap Neuter Return program to keep the city's outdoor cat population down. She set up food and shelters for them in her yard, and most of them slept there every night; several were related to one another.

Then, one morning in December, she realized they'd begun to vanish.

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Astoria Man Caught With Enough Weapons for a Small Army

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Word of advice: do not go shooting your guns off late at night in the middle of the night in Queens. Another word of advice: especially if you have an arsenal that would make the NRA proud hiding in your basement.

Michael Milazzo, a 53-year-old native of Ditmars-Steinway, chose August 26th, a cool Sunday night, to test out a few weapons by shooting them off in the air because, you know, why not? Officials investigating the incident obtained a search warrant soon after and rummaged through the man's house. And they found exactly what they were looking for: a shit load of guns and highly dangerous weapons.

We're talking guns, machetes, mace, brass knuckles, tasers - the whole nine yards here. In other words, 53 counts (one for every year of Milazzo's age!) of criminal weapon possession and a charge of reckless endangerment on behalf of Milazzo for thinking it was safe to shoot off a few rounds in a densely populated area.
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Local Pols Say Federal Government is Getting in the Way of NYC's First Outdoor Film Studio *UPDATED*

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Sam Levin
City Councilman Jimmy Van Brammer with Sen. Chuck Schumer, representatives from Kaufman Studios, and other local elected officials.
New York City is oh so very close to being a better city for film and television than Hollywood -- if the federal government would just get out of the damn way!

At least that was the message today on the corner of 36th Street in Astoria, Queens, where Sen. Chuck Schumer, flanked by relevant neighborhood politicians, called on the National Park Service to stop making it difficult for a local film company to build New York City's first-ever outdoor studio.

This project -- which would convert 36th Street between 34th and 35th avenues into a movie studio lot -- apparently could make all the difference in attracting filmmakers and production companies to New York City, instead of Los Angeles, or Toronto, or New Orleans. That means, you guessed it, lots of jobs and economic development, all on one block in Queens.

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U.S. Census: New York City is Not as Big as Bloomberg Says it is

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via City Planning's official challenge
Map shows change in vacancies over the last decade according to the Census
Sorry, Mike! The city is just not as big as you think it is.

That's according to the U.S. Census Bureau, anyway, which, in very unsurprising news, has announced that it is not revising its official population count for 2010, despite the city's official challenge of the final number.

Every ten years, the Census counts populations across the country, coming up with a new number that determines how different regions are funded and how populations are represented through new districts. The typical song and dance is that city government officials dispute the conclusion, arguing that their city is actually much bigger than the Census determined. This time around, the 2010 Census found the city's population to be 8,175,133, but the city's Department of Planning has argued that the population was closer to 8.4 million as of July 2010.

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Grant Tied to Major Blackout in 2006 Gives Boost to Biking in Queens

via Facebook
Thanks to a devastating blackout six years ago, biking in Queens in 2012 might become a little bit easier.

In 2006, a major electrical power outage hit Western Queens in a damaging nine-day blackout that impacted 174,000 people in the borough.

Six years later, those neighborhoods in Queens are getting rewarded for their troubles. Through an initiative called the "Greening Western Queens Fund," -- an $8 million effort to invest in energy-efficiency and environmental projects in the affected areas -- a fairly diverse group of local organizations are now pushing forward with projects aimed at greening Queens (the borough deserves some love, guys!). The funds are part of a community settlement with Con Edison and are being administered by North Star Fund, a local granting agency.

This month, the organization gave out its second round of grants through this fund, totaling $2 million, to 16 groups.

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Queens Mother and Daughter Shot in the Head in Astoria

An 57-year-old Astoria woman named Olga Borodina Annarumma and her daughter Valeria Lowery, 25 are in the hospital after being shot in the head in their home this morning. The shooting took place shortly before 9 o'clock this morning; one of the women was shot three times (once in the head) and the other woman took one gunshot to the head. They are both listed in extremely critical condition at Elmhurst Hospital. Police have taken in Guerino Annarumma, 52, the mother's estranged husband, for questioning. According to the Daily News, today was the day divorce court proceedings were scheduled to begin.

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Astorians Mourn Departed Bus and Subway Lines, Want to Bring Back the QM22

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Politicians, civic groups, and commuters gathered yesterday by the Astoria-Ditmars subway stop to mark the death-iversary of their dearly departeds: the W train and the QM22 bus line. One year ago, the MTA eliminated the W and V trains and dozens of bus lines, and reduced services throughout the system. We've all felt the pain since -- MIA buses, sweltering long waits on the platforms, having to listen to crazy people go completely aggro. But the folks in Astoria have taken it even more personally. And they want their bus back.

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Batman-Tattooed Guy Goes Missing in Queens

Cody Goudeau
​Cops are looking for a 28-year-old Queens guy with a distinctive "Guapo Batman" tattoo on his right biceps. He's not in trouble; he's missing.

Cody Goudeau was last seen at 1 a.m. January 30 at 25-01 Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria. He lives at 21-63 36th Street. He's described as 5-5, 190 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt, tan sweater and pants, and brown boots.

Tipsters can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or submit tips at or text info to 274637 (CRIMES), entering TIP577.