Morning Buzz | Signs of Trouble Preceded Attacks

Perhaps this groundhog was on to something. There will be sunshine and highs of 50 Monday. Enjoy it, maybe with a Valentine.

More details are emerging about the life and motives of Maksim Gelman, 23, the Brooklyn man accused of stabbing four people to death and attacking several others over the weekend. The manhunt for Mr. Gelman ended Saturday, when he was arrested on a No. 3 train near Times Square after being subdued by a victim. Mr. Gelman has an extensive rap sheet, including crack cocaine possession and graffiti writing. Those who know him recall strange acts of violence and intimidation and an obsession over a woman, Yelena Bulchenko, whom Mr. Gelman allegedly waited hours for in her home and stabbed to death in the streets when she arrived. [NYT]

Victims of the stabbing spree also spoke out, rehashing their random but life-threatening encounters with Mr. Gelman. Fitz Fullerton, 55, said he was ambushed while driving his livery cab and got into a wrestling match while the car was still in gear. Sheldon Pottinger, 25, said he managed to escape his own car after Mr. Gelman attacked him outside a church in Brooklyn. And on Saturday, it was Mr. Gelman’s attack of Joseph Lozito, 40, that ended the spree, according to the authorities. Mr. Gelman assaulted Mr. Lozito the subway, the authorities said, and, after Mr. Lozito subdued him, officers in the car made the arrest. “I’m glad I wasn’t No. 5 — I’m glad he didn’t kill anyone else,” Mr. Lozito said.

After his arrest, Mr. Gelman was met with jeers outside a police precinct house in Sheepshead Bay, where he lives. He yelled that it was “a setup,” and he exchanged barbs with the crowd that had gathered. [Daily News] (Also: The Daily News, The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal.)

Government & Politics

In a landmark move, the state court system will bar its elected judges from hearing cases involving lawyers who contributed to their campaigns. The decision will be announced tomorrow and will address questions of corruption and a lack of integrity in the state’s higher courts. It is believed to be the strictest such law in the country. [NYT]

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s private flight records — he does not disclose travel information publicly — have been revealed. Those still mad about his absence during the December snowstorm should read with caution. [Wall Street Journal]

Mr. Bloomberg may have angered the city’s Irish with some caustic remarks last week, but Irish pub owners are sparing him the worst punishment. Mr. Bloomberg will be welcomed in Irish bars on St. Patrick’s Day. Phew. [Daily News] (Also see The New York Post.)

A police captain convicted of misdemeanor assault in 2007 for hitting a female subordinate was fired, but he will retain his pension. [New York Post]

Valentine’s Day

For those without a date on Valentine’s Day fear not, it could be worse. Much worse. For instance, being stood up by your date and becoming horribly ill after eating a whole box of chocolates worse. That, among other Valentine’s horror stories, submitted by City Room readers. [NYT]

But it’s not all bad. Some people, like a Queens couple, Myra, 90, and Michael Long, 93, stay together for 72 years, with nary a chocolate-induced illness to show for it. “Never go to sleep without kissing goodnight,” Mr. Long said. Take notes, people. []

Fourteen couples will embrace the day by getting married at the Empire State Building. [Daily News]

People & Neighborhoods

The next time you visit your local Kennedy Fried Chicken joint, take some time to acknowledge the long history and ongoing battle over the ubiquitous, derivative and duplicated chain steeped in Afghan-American tradition. Or just dig in. But there is a long history, and now the self-proclaimed originator of Kennedy Fried Chicken (or at least the trademark holder), an Afghan immigrant named Abdul Haye, is on a quest to stamp out the brand’s many impersonators, who do not plan to back down. [NYT]

Following the recent uprisings in Tunisia, a time to celebrate for the Tunisian Cultural Center in Midtown Manhattan has turned to anger, after the Tunisian Embassy ordered the government-financed center to close, supposedly under orders from the interim regime. [NYT]

Schools

In a world of political corruption and Wall Street greed, there are still those with ethics. And they are in high school, participating in one of the few scholastic “ethics bowls” in the country.[NYT]

Housing & Economy

Harlem’s Apollo Theater is looking to expand, with a commercial complex next door to its 125th Street location. [Wall Street Journal]

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