Chef Liran Mezan tells West Chelsea to fear not, his new hotspot is not a Meatpacking restaurant at all

There … stays the neighborhood? Fear gripped West Chelsea this week when word spread among local denizens that a popular Meatpacking District chef is opening a new hotspot in the heart of their ’hood this weekend and that it would have a 4 a.m. liquor license. But chef Liran Mezan, a life-long New Yorker who’s spent the past three years as corporate executive chef for Meatpacking District hotspot STK, was shocked and mortified when we asked him to address his new neighbors’ fears. “This is not a Meatpacking restaurant at all!” Mezan said on the eve of quietly opening his new eatery for previews at the corner of 10th Ave. and W. 19th St., where the storied Moran’s tavern operated for more than half a century. “In fact, I think I’ll have to put that in the press release,” he said. Gossip had run amuck in West Chelsea the past couple of weeks on word that Mezan was hosting “VIP” tastings at the corner locale a couple of blocks north of late-night institutions like Avenue and 1Oak, which stay open until 4 a.m. Restaurants above that invisible cutoff around 17th St., like Cook Shop and the old Moran’s, have historically closed their kitchens at midnight and avoided the nightlife scene all together. It didn’t help Mezan in his new venture that while at STK, he famously cooked for a clubby restaurant chain that boasts Meatpacking District outposts as well as ones in Las Vegas, L.A. and Atlanta. Visits from stars like Michael Strahan, Tara Reid and Jessica and Ashlee Simpson drew a paparazzi circus outside at all hours. Mezan says he’s not courting that mess at his new place. “The liquor license will be 4 a.m.,” Mezan confirmed, adding that was no indication his eatery will evolve into a nightclub. “It was transferred from Moran’s and that’s what they had.” Mezan says he’ll open to the public in May, when the Continue Reading

Disabled woman given $10K by Fabco shoe store after she was blocked over fear of her wheelchair dirtying carpet

A Fabco shoe store in Brooklyn has agreed to pay $10,000 to a disabled woman who was barred from entering by an employee who feared the motorized wheelchair might soil the carpet, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch announced Tuesday. The feds took up the cause for Amal Mohamed after she complained about the way she was treated at the store on 86th St. in Bensonhurst where she had gone in May 2013 to buy shoes for herself and her two daughters. An employee told Mohamed that the wheels of the wheelchair were dirty and she did not have a vacuum to clean the carpet, according to the investigation by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevan Cleary. The employee even tried to physically eject Mohamed from the store, but was only prevented from doing so because the wheelchair was too heavy to be moved, authorities said. "Instead of treating Mrs. Mohamed like any other customer, Fabco violated her rights under the American with Disabilities Act," Lynch said. "This settlement serves notice that store owners who fail to respect the rights of individuals with disabilities will be held accountable for their actions.” In addition to the monetary payment to settle the lawsuit, Fabco has agreed to post signs in each of its 51 shoe stores in the metropolitan area welcoming people with disabilities to shop there. The company also will train all of its store managers about their obligations under the federal law that prohibits discrimination against the disabled. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Thousands mourn slain Edmonton police officer Daniel Woodall at funeral: ‘His biggest fear was letting you down’

Thousands of grief-stricken police officers gathered on the streets of Edmonton Wednesday to remember the hero Canadian cop killed in the line of duty last week. The mourning officers traveled from across North America and the United Kingdom to pay their respects and attend a funeral Cst. Daniel Woodall, 35, who was fatally shot while executing a warrant last Monday. "He had my back and I had his. His biggest fear was letting you down," Woodall's former colleague Dave Ainsworth said at the service, according to CBC News. "He had compassion when he needed to and strength when required." Woodall, a married father of two children, died on the scene of the standoff in southwest Edmonton while he and other officers were trying to arrest Norman Raddatz, 42, for criminal harassment. Another Edmonton officer, Sgt. Jason Harley, 38, was shot in the lower back in the same incident, but was treated and released from a hospital, the department said. Woodall was an eight-year veteran of the Edmonton Police Service, which is reeling from the first such tragedy to strike the force in 25 years. "He helped those who were abused or bullied by others and protected those who needed assistance," Police Chief Rod Knecht said at the service. "Dan invested time and effort in many, many Edmontonians. He served faithfully, modestly and proudly." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Huge drop in stop-and-frisk as NYC crime increases raises fear that cops are reluctant to confront criminals

A dramatic drop in stop-and-frisk encounters has emboldened criminals and made cops more reluctant to take proactive police action, even as murders and shootings are on the rise in the city. The frightening message — echoed by police supervisors and union leaders — comes as stop-and-frisk encounters are on pace to plunge by 42% this year, with 20,000 fewer street stops. There were 11,652 stops across the city through June 3 — projecting to roughly 28,000 for the year, records obtained by the Daily News show. As the number of stops fell, the number of murders spiked 19.5% during the first five months of the year, the number of people shot is up 9.2% and the number of shooting incidents jumped 9%. “What you’re seeing now are the perps carrying their guns because they’re not afraid to carry them,” said Ed Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association. “We’ve created an atmosphere where we’ve handcuffed the police. We are sitting back, taking a less proactive approach.” EDITORIAL: COPS MUST BE COPS Mullins said the city’s criminal element has been operating without fear while cops have been somewhat neutered in the last two years — and he wasn’t the only one to raise the issue. “Based on this year’s drop . . . absent any other factor, you have to ask the question: Are the cops now reluctant to engage?” wondered one high-ranking police source. Critics of the NYPD told The News there was no correlation between the two sets of numbers — while stop-and-frisk supporters said the lower frisk numbers led to the higher crime figures. City cops, citing increased scrutiny from the NYPD’s inspector general, the state attorney general and City Hall, say the cutback on stops is about self-preservation. “Everyone is afraid to make stops,” Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton slams Republicans for ‘fear mongering’ over voting rights

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton tore into Republicans over voting rights on Thursday, delivering her harshest words for her potential opponents and calling them out by name for the first time since she became a candidate. Clinton denounced Republicans for their ”fear mongering” about “the phantom epidemic of election fraud” to push for limits early voting in a number of states, listing efforts by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to make it harder to vote. “What's happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people and young people from one end of our country to the other,” she told students at Texas Southern University, a historically black college in Houston. “All of these problems with voting just didn't happen by accident. And it is just wrong. It's wrong to try to prevent, undermine, inhibit Americans' rights to vote,” she continued before calling for universal automatic voter registration for all Americans and expanded early voting. The speech comes following years of GOP efforts to roll back early voting, impose stringent voter identification laws and put up other hurdles to register and turn out to vote. Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and other states have cut down early voting in recent years at the behest of the Republican lawmakers who run those states. She also took aim at the Supreme Court, warning that the Voting Rights Act’s “heart has been ripped out” by a 2013 decision that blocked one of its key enforcement measures. “We need a Supreme Court that cares more about the right to vote for a person than the right to buy an election of a corporation,” she declared. Legislation to fix the VRA has stalled out in the Republican-controlled Congress. Clinton pushed not only to undo those efforts but significantly Continue Reading

Dozens of migrant children feared dead after rubber boat deflates in Mediterranean Sea

CATANIA, Sicily — Dramatic footage emerged Tuesday of a Mediterranean Sea rescue showing migrants on a sinking rubber boat desperately clambering up ropes and a ladder from a cargo ship that came to their aid. Five bodies were recovered and survivors reported many others drowned. The video was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press from a crew member of the cargo ship Zeran, which rescued two migrant boats over the weekend. The footage shows migrants jumping off their deflating dinghy to catch life preservers tossed into the water by Zeran crew members. Other migrants empty jerry cans of gasoline to use as floats. A crew member is heard begging them to keep calm, saying "Easy! Easy!" Five bodies were recovered and were brought ashore Tuesday along with the survivors to the port in Catania, Sicily. Save the Children said survivors had reported "dozens" of people died in the rescue Sunday between Libya and Sicily. Giovanna di Benedetto of the aid group Save the Children said the exact toll wasn't known but that survivors, in their first interviews with aid groups, reported several people fell into the sea and couldn't swim. The weekend saw a dramatic increase in rescues as smugglers in Libya took advantage of calm seas and warm weather to send thousands of would-be refugees out into the Mediterranean in overloaded rubber boats and fishing vessels. The coast guard reported that nearly 7,000 people were rescued in the three days ending Sunday. The deaths come on top of the estimated 800 migrants who are believed to have drowned last month when their boat capsized off Libya with hundreds of passengers locked in the hold by smugglers. A few days earlier, a further 400 people were feared drowned in another capsizing. After the deaths, the European Union held an emergency summit and agreed to contribute more boats and patrol aircraft to Mediterranean rescue efforts. Even with the increased EU response, Continue Reading

‘Fear the Walking Dead’ teaser trailer shows L.A. not exactly prepared for zombie apocalypse

The City of Angels is going straight to hell. AMC debuted the first teaser trailer for the upcoming series, "Fear the Walking Dead," during Sunday night's season finale of its hit zombie drama. And with just 15 seconds of footage, it's become apparent that the new spin-off series will give fans of "The Walking Dead" plenty of the franchise's trademark feeling of dread. "Good morning, Los Angeles!" says a cheery radio DJ in a voiceover at the start of the 15-second trailer. "Hope you got your flu shot!" But of course, longtime "Walking Dead" fans know that stars Cliff Curtis ("Missing"), Kim Dickens ("Sons of Anarchy," "Gone Girl") and Frank Dillane ("Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince") will be plagued by bigger problems than microbes. Cue the trailer's money shot of a zombie limping its way down a dimly lit tunnel. Little is known about the "Fear the Walking Dead" except that it comes from the same brain trust as AMC's flagship hit, with executive producers Robert Kirkman, Gale Ann Hurd, Greg Nicotero and David Alpert shuffling aboard. Since the new series isn't directly based on Kirkman's comic books, even long-term fanboys have no idea what lays in store for Los Angeles, where even a little rain is enough to cause mass panic. And while it takes place in the same post-apocalyptic United States where "The Walking Dead" unfolds, there is little prospect of a crossover since Rick Grimes and company are running for their lives on the East Coast. AMC execs are already confident enough in the new series to green-light two seasons of the show before a single episode has even aired. The six-episode first season will debut this summer. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Mother of Bronx shooting victim says she fears for her life knowing son’s killer is still free

The killer of Rosanna Grullon’s 14-year-old son remains on the street, with the terrified Bronx mom left to wonder when the shooter will come gunning for her — or her two sons. Baby-faced Christopher Duran was hit with 16 bullets outside the family’s Bronx apartment last month, dying in the arms of his older brother Christian in what cops believe was a gang-related shooting. Grullon, 38, said there was a beef between her middle son and a boy she knew only as Jeremiah. The other youth had already threatened to kill the single mom and Christian. “I don’t feel safe as long as he’s out there,” Grullon told the Daily News. “God knows what goes through his mind. I don’t leave the house. We live in fear. He kills without mercy.” Though police have identified suspects Travis Bloch, 25, and Jeremiah (Jay) Thomas, 16, no arrests have been made in the cold-blooded May 22 killing. Police have identified suspects Jeremiah (Jay) Thomas (l.) and Travis Bloch (r.), but no arrests have been made. Grullon said she’s now taken the protection of Christian, 17, and her 12-year-old son into her own hands. She sent the older boy to the West Coast, and she’s keeping the youngster out of school — and harm’s way.  “I knew he’d be killed if he stayed here," she said of Christian." My 12-year-old ... I don’t feel safe with him going to school.” When not fretting over her surviving sons, Grullon ponders her own mortality: “The killer knows where I live. I feel afraid. He came to my house to kill (my son).” The investigation into Christopher’s murder — he was killed on his morning walk to school — comes as city cops acknowledged a nearly 20% spike in homicides in the first five months of 2015. Sources said the victim was an associate of the Continue Reading

Disgraced ex-soccer bigwig Chuck Blazer has FIFA president Sepp Blatter in fear of U.S. prosecution

The man who strikes fear in the hearts of Sepp Blatter and other FIFA executives lies seriously ill in a New York area hospital, breathing with the aid of a respirator, his body ravaged by cancer and the resulting treatments. Chuck Blazer’s health problems leave him unable to actively cooperate with the U.S. federal agents and prosecutors who continue their investigation into corruption at the highest levels of international soccer, where the sport’s power brokers are currently jockeying for influence in advance of FIFA’s presidential election, in which Blatter faces several challengers. However, Blazer, the once larger-than-life FIFA executive committee member, has provided the feds with enough information into the shadowy financing of international soccer to keep Blatter, the FIFA boss, from coming to the United States, presumably aware that he could be pulled into the ongoing federal criminal probe Blazer has aided based out of the Eastern District of New York. RELATED: SOCCER RAT! HOW EX-U.S. SOCCER EXEC CHUCK BLAZER BECAME AN FBI INFORMANT According to ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap, Blatter seems not to have entered the U.S. since 2011 (ostensibly for fear of possible arrest by U.S. authorities investigating the case). FIFA did not answer multiple queries on the subject, according to Schaap. Schaap’s reporting is part of a E:60 documentary that first aired Tuesday night about Blatter, who has maintained a grip on world soccer despite accusations that he oversees a system riddled by corruption and backroom dealing. Blatter’s avoidance of U.S. soil coincides with the time period when Blazer, who also was the secretary general of the powerful North American and Caribbean soccer federation known as CONCACAF, became a cooperating witness for the investigation. As the Daily News first reported in November, Blazer opted to inform on his FIFA friends after federal agents confronted him outside his Trump Tower apartment in Continue Reading

Ohio town fears a serial killer is on the loose after 4 women found dead, 2 still missing

Residents of an Ohio town are living on edge amid fears a serial killer could be on the loose after the disappearance and deaths of multiple women. Over the last 13 months, five women have gone missing in the town of Chillicothe, about 50 miles south of Columbus, with just three of their bodies found as of Wednesday. That's not including a 38-year-old mother of four who was found shot to death late last month, leading to a suspect being taken into custody on unrelated charges, police said. All of the women share similar backgrounds which include drug abuse and prostitution, police and family say, while almost all of the bodies found were also in or near bodies of water. "I don't want to come out and say 'yes, we have a serial killer,' but it's a small community that we live in ... and the number of females who have come up missing, and then the bodies that we've found, that's quite a bit for our community," Staff Lt. Mike Preston of the Ross County Sheriff's Department told The Washington Post. The chilling mystery began in May of 2014 when Charlotte Trego, a 27-year-old mother of two and heroin addict, was reported missing by her mother, police said. From left: Tameka Lynch, 30, was discovered dead of an overdose on a creek sandbar in May 2014. Shasta Himelrick, 20, was found dead in the Scioto River several weeks after reported missing. As of Wednesday a $1,000 reward remains offered for her return. Just five days later, the body of missing 30-year-old mother of three, Tameka Lynch, was discovered on a Paint Creek sandbar by a kayaker, police said. An autopsy found that she overdosed on cocaine, amphetamines and alcohol, according to local reports. Like local officials, her mother says her death is suspicious. "She was already dead when she was put in the water," Angela Robinson told the Huffington Post. There was a six-month break before 37-year-old Wanda Lemons, a mother of five, Continue Reading