Avonte Oquendo's Mother Warned School He "Liked to Run," Requested One-on-One Supervision, Report Shows

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Image via Facebook
A missing person flyer made by Avonte's family.
The search for missing autistic boy Avonte Oquendo came to a heartbreaking end in January, when his remains were found near Powell Cove Boulevard in Queens. A new report released yesterday by the agency in charge of investigating New York City's public schools shows several blunders in Avonte's care and supervision. The most serious -- the one that's likely to come up in the lawsuit she is pursuing against the city -- is that Avonte's mother, Vanessa Fontaine, warned his teacher at his Long Island City special education program that Avonte was likely to run. She requested one-on-one supervision for the boy, which the program at Riverview School, also known as P 277, did not provide. In addition, Avonte's teacher didn't inform school administrators that he was likely to try to leave the building.

According to their report, the Special Commissioner of Investigation for New York City Schools (SCI), headed by Commissioner Richard J. Condon, got involved with Avonte's case on October 7, 2013, four days after he was reported missing, after the NYPD was already searching for the boy.

SCI investigators met with Principal Susan McNulty and Assistant Principal Angela Pomo, who told them that Riverview shares a campus with two other schools, a middle school and a high school, the Academy for Careers in Television and Film. They told SCI investigators that as soon as Avonte was noticed to be missing, at 12:45 p.m., they asked the high school principal, Edgar Rodriguez, who's in charge of the building, to put the entire building on "soft lockdown" so a better search could be conducted. Rodriguez refused, on the grounds that it would "alarm" his students.

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Four Loko Promises Attorney General It Will No Longer Be Quite So Loco

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Image via Free Loko.
This would presumably fall under the category of banned user-generated content.
Surely each and every one of you remember where you were on the bleak day back in 2010 when insanely caffeinated, insanely alcoholic energy drink Four Loko was banned in New York. Pushed by Senator Chuck Schumer, who called Four Loko a "toxic and dangerous brew," the State Liquor Authority stopped allowing the caffeinated version of the drink to be sold here; New York was one of four states to do so.

But the youth of America still wanted Four Loko, probably because, in the sage words of one shopkeeper interviewed by NYU paper The Local, "It makes you crazy," or because, as the "Save Four Loko" Facebook page put it, "It makes your dick wet." (The Local found that nearly a year after the ban took effect, some bodegas were still selling the caffeinated version of the drink.)

So the attorneys general of 20 states, along with the city attorney of San Francisco, decided to band together and sue Phusion Projects, LLC, the Chicago-based maker of Four Loko. That suit was settled yesterday, after Phusion promised to keep caffeine, underage people and Santa out of the making and marketing of the drink.

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Massive Fire Ravages Seaside Park, New Jersey Boardwalk, Rebuilt After Sandy

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Image via NBC New York

A fire has destroyed much of the iconic Seaside Park boardwalk in New Jersey, including large portions of the Funtown Pier amusement park. Around 11 p.m. last night, after nine hours of work by fire crews, the blaze was declared officially contained. Overnight, it destroyed some 40 to 50 businesses, many of them rebuilt after widespread devastation during Hurricane Sandy. Councilwoman Nancy Koury told the Associated Press the fire had caused millions of dollars in damage. In a press conference near the boardwalk, looking shocked and sooty, Governor Chris Christie said, "I feel like I want to throw up."

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Protesters Will Dump Vodka In Front of the Russian Consulate in Protest of the New "Homosexual Propaganda" Law

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Facebook/Rusa.LGBT
The Russian Consulate is about to stink like rubbing alcohol. Today at noon, protesters will gather in front the Russian Consulate in New York and dump Russian-made vodka into gutters in protest of Moscow's June 11 passage of a law banning "homosexual propaganda." The law effectively outlaws outward any expression of homosexuality, coming just short of criminalizing gay sexuality in general. So, college freshmen and people without taste buds, take to your parents' liquor cabinets and frat house basements, grab the nearest bottle of Russian Standard, and head to 9 East 91st Street. They need you.

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On the Eve of Citibike, Remembering the City's Ghost Bikers

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Sydney Brownstone
Ghost bike memorial riders in Queens Plaza.
It's a bright, cool Sunday afternoon, and jammed car lines are radiating from Queens Plaza. The N, Q, and 7 trains rattle above intersections. But on the corner of Jackson Avenue and Queens Boulevard, several dozen cyclists have stopped to place flowers in the spokes of a bicycle that's been spray-painted white. The cyclists ignore the terse horn honks; the sign they install on top of the bike is a dedication to cyclists whose deaths didn't make the news.

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Upstate Woman Witnesses Soldier Husband's Death During Skype Chat

Categories: Sad Things
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Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed that flags be flown at half-mast following the death of a New York soldier killed in Afghanistan on Monday. Adding to the tragedy, the soldier's wife apparently witnessed her husband's death as the two were chatting on Skype.

The governor's office says Captain Bruce K. Clark, 43, died in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan while serving as an Army medic supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Clark, who lives in Spencerport -- a suburb of Rochester -- was assigned to A Company, Troop Command, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, in El Paso, Texas.



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Remember That Time You Taught Me What "Less Than Three" Meant?: A Totally Platonic <3 Letter to @thisisjendoll

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‚ÄčIt is Jen Doll's last day today. We feel things. We read things Jen once wrote. We wrote this.

Oh, Jen. It seems like just yesterday you were starting at the Voice. You had just been another unemployed daughter living in the East Village. We listened with rapt attention over the cubicle wall as Foster tried to coach you on how to get 100 twitter followers. And look at you now, @thisisjendoll: two years later you have 2,455 tweeps, not to mention your name on 3,433 blog posts, on three cover stories in the paper, and on a 30-year mortgage (in Brooklyn, no less)!

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R.I.P., Uncle Chichi, You Old Dog

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Uncle Chichi, circa 2000 (via Facebook)
According to the New York Times, there is a sad bit of information to impart today. Uncle Chichi, a West Village toy poodle who may have been 24, 25, or 26 years old, who had been battling cancer (sadface), and who was unquestionably adored and adorable, has passed over to the Rainbow Bridge. Inspiring public figures often generate controversy, and as such, there is some debate over Chichi's age, and whether he was actually the world's oldest living dog.

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Manhattan DA Launches Criminal Investigation into Elevator Tragedy at 285 Madison

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Yesterday DNAinfo reported that the December 14 death of Young & Rubicam executive Suzanne Hart in an elevator at 285 Madison Avenue might have been prevented "if elevator repairmen had not violated city rules by rushing the lift back into service without the required O.K. from the Department of Buildings." According to sources, Transel Elevator Inc. did not follow through with the mandatory notification to the DOB following their work on the elevator -- that notification would have led to an independent inspection of the elevator, and, presumably, could have caught the glitch that led to Hart's death before the elevator was boarded by passengers.

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Woman Who Jumped from Williamsburg Bridge Identified, Expected to Survive

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The Honda Ridgeline, via @quinner250
There's a bit of news to follow up to yesterday's breaking story that a woman had jumped from the Williamsburg Bridge and landed, 20 to 30 feet below, and alive, on the windshield of an NYPD cop's Honda Ridgeline truck parked on Pitt Street. The woman has been identified as Jenna Marie Filippi, 34, of Queens. Yesterday afternoon she was rushed to Bellevue with multiple traumas. She is expected to survive.

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