Yearly Archives: 2012

2012: A year in pictures


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Breezy Point Sandy

JANUARY

Fire bomber charged in hate crime: Ray Lazier Lengend, 40, confessed to a string of five fire bombings, four in Queens and one on Long Island. No one was injured in the attacks and Lengend was charged with a hate crime.

Queens native named Obama chief of staff: Forest Hills native Jacob Lew, an orthodox Jew, was named President Barack Obama’s chief of staff in a ceremony at the White House on January 14. Lew, 56, grew up on Yellowstone Boulevard and graduated from Forest Hills High School in 1972.

Worst landlords named: A list released by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio named the 50 worst landlords throughout the city, including 15 with dozens of properties in Queens. The dishonor roll, based on complaints and violations over the past year, was compiled to warn residents searching for apartments.

Flushing nurses protest: About 200 registered nurses at Flushing Hospital rallied outside the facility after their contracts expired in December. The nurses protested for better healthcare, pay and pension benefits.

FEBRUARY

Giants win Super Bowl: For the second time in five years, the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Eli Manning was named MVP of the Giants 21-17 victory.

Con Ed heroes: Four Con Edison employees — John Kane, John McDonnell, Michael Santeramo and Anthony Farmighetti — rushed to the aid of the victim of a violent purse snatching in Bayside before chasing after the suspect.

NY goes Lin-sane: New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin took New York and Madison Square Garden by storm after entering the team’s starting lineup in February. Lin-sanity took over the city as the unheralded, undrafted Harvard graduate played like an MVP and helped lead the Knicks to the playoffs.

FreshDirect heads to Bronx: FreshDirect, an online fresh food grocer, announced they will move their operations from Long Island City and leave the borough for larger facilities in the Bronx, taking with them 2,000 Queens jobs.

MARCH

Heejun Han on ‘American Idol’: Flushing-native Heejun Han sang his way into the hearts of millions of Americans each week on the hit singing competition. Han made it all the way to the top nine before being eliminated.

Peninsula Hospital closure announced: Bankruptcy and instability at Far Rockaway’s Peninsula Hospital forced the medical center to close its doors leaving the peninsula with just one hospital, St. John’s Episcopal.

FedEx moves to LIC: FedEx announced plans to open a new, 14,000-square-foot FedEx Ground distribution center costing $56 million on Borden Avenue in LIC. The facility will be larger and contain more automated package sorting systems than the existing station in Maspeth, allowing the company to better serve the area.

Woodhaven drug ring busted by FBI: A drug ring headquartered in Woodhaven known as the Perez Organization was busted by the FBI for allegedly distributing over 20 kilograms of heroin, possessing a street value of around $2.75 million, to drug dealers in Queens and Long Island.

APRIL

Driver arrested after leaving toddler on empty school bus: A private bus driver was arrested on April 12 after she left her vehicle unattended in Corona with a toddler still aboard. Police broke a window on the bus and removed two-year-old Samantha Bustamante, who they believe was left alone for roughly 15 minutes. Bustamante — who was in good physical condition, according to EMS — was taken back to the 110th Precinct, where she was reunited with her mother. The bus driver, 62-year-old Ana Garcia, was charged with failure to exercise control of a minor.

Hero firefighter saves woman: Firefighter James Goelz became a hero when he made his first on-the-job rescue, saving an elderly, unconscious woman from her Lindenwood apartment, which became a blazing inferno on April 6.

Kung fu fighter thwarts sex assault: Good Samaritan Mike Novak thwarted a sexual assault in Sunnyside on April 8, when he ran to the aid of his female neighbor, who was being groped by a man in the bushes down the block from his house. The 54-year-old kung fu fighter chased the perp away, then pulled the victim out of the bush and stayed by her side until authorities arrived.

MAY

Historic carousel spins once more: The Forest Park Carousel held its grand reopening on May 26 after nearly four years of being shuttered. Hundreds of visitors, both children and adults, were able to take another spin on the historic, century-old merry-go-round.

Bayside cop arrested after heroin bust: Bayside cop Devon Daniels was arrested on May 15 for his role in allegedly aiding drug dealers. The 30 year old, who was assigned to the 111th Precinct, allegedly communicated with the leader of a Jamaica-based heroin distribution organization on numerous occasions to ask for money and to borrow vehicles, authorities said.

Gruesome murder in Bayside home: A Bayside woman was found dead in her basement with lacerations to her neck after the man she lived with allegedly killed her, set fire to their shared home and tried to hang himself in the couple’s bedroom closet. The gruesome scene occurred on May 23, claiming the life of Eun Hee Sin, 57, and sending a 56-year-old unidentified Asian man to the hospital, where he was said to be in stable condition.

JUNE

Queens kid places third in national spelling bee: Bayside Hills whiz kid Arvind Mahankali won third place at the televised Scripps National Spelling Bee for the second consecutive year. The 12 year old’s spellbinding run ended when he misspelled “schwannoma,” a German name-based word that means a type of cancer. Mahankali, a seventh grader from J.H.S. 74, took home $7,500.

First no-hitter for Mets: Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history on June 1, when the New York team won 8-0 over the St. Louis Cardinals. Santana walked five and struck out eight.

Willets Point development details announced: Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced specifics of the Willets Point project, which includes retail space, a hotel and quicker access to the Van Wyck Expressway. More than 12,000 construction jobs and 7,000 permanent jobs would come from the proposed Willets Point renovation, he said, which is expected to bring $4.2 billion in economic activity over the next 30 years. A new component, Willets West, was also designated from a portion of the Citi Field parking lot to become one-million square feet of space for retail, entertainment and dining.

JULY

Con Ed lockout: As temperatures across the city spiked, Con Edison locked out more than 8,000 workers over heated  contract talks — leaving 5,000 managers responsible for maintaining electric, gas and steam service  for the company’s 3.2 million customers. The power giant blamed the stalemate on leaders of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 1-2 — the union representing roughly 8,000 Con Edison employees — who refused to accept its offer to extend their members’ contract for two  weeks. After a major push to end negotiations from Governor Andrew Cuomo, locked-out Con Ed  workers returned to their posts following a tentative agreement between the utility provider and representatives from the UWUA Local 1-2, ending the month-long stalemate.

Former pol arrested: Former Queens Assemblymember Jimmy Meng, the father of newly appointed Congressmember Grace Meng, was arrested on a federal wire fraud charge for allegedly attempting to scam $80,000 in cash from a state court defendant. Meng allegedly promised the defendant — who sought the former elected official’s help after being charged with state tax crimes — that his sentence would be reduced to one year if he paid prosecutors $20,000 each in bribes, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. Federal prosecutors said Meng offered to act as the middle man, instructing the individual to conceal and deliver the $80,000 payout in a fruit basket. The government investigation, however, uncovered no evidence the past politician even contacted prosecutors, and officials said Meng planned to keep the bribe money for himself.

Soda ban: Tensions fizzed over when locals expressed their distaste for the city’s proposed ban on large, sugary beverages at a public hearing on July 24.  “Will the government be telling me when to go to bed next?” asked Councilmember Dan Halloran. “Or how big my steak should be? How many potato chips I can eat? After all, it’s all in the name of my health. And clearly the government knows what’s best for me.” The soda ban will halt the sale of sugary bottled and fountain drinks, such as teas, sodas and sports drinks, of more than 16 ounces in every store and restaurant with letter grades, movie theaters, sports venues, delis and food trucks and carts. Diet sodas, calorie-free drinks, and drinks with at least 50 percent milk are exempted from the regulation.

Summer crime wave:  As temperatures soared, so did crime rates. And Queens did not remain bulletproof. Between July 4 and July 7, four deaths occurred throughout the borough, one man critically wounded and an MTA cop suffered a sight-threatening injury. On early Saturday, July 7, three men were fatally shot, and a fourth wounded, in Jamaica. Police said there were two shooters — one of whom fired 63 rounds from an AK-47. This was one of several shootings or stabbings to take place over what was considered the Fourth of July weekend. Councilmember Peter Vallone, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said this spike in citywide crime was due to a decrease in the amount of on-duty cops and a spike in criminals — mainly due to budget cuts. These factors — along with soaring temperatures — were causing a higherthan-normal spike in crimes, Vallone said.

AUGUST

Sikh temple shooting: The August 5 shooting at an Oak Creek, Wisconsin gurdwara that killed six and wounded four struck close to home for the tens of thousands of Sikhs in Queens. Of the at least 300,000 Sikhs in the United States, between 30,000 to 40,000 live in New York City, with the bulk residing in Queens. Elected officials and religious leaders gathered at the Sikh Cultural Society — where thousands of Sikhs congregate weekly — the day after the shooting rampage inside the Wisconsin Sikh Temple to offer condolences to the community and show support. Shooter Wade Michael Page, an army veteran and alleged white supremacist, was killed at the scene. Post-9/11, the country experienced a large spike in hate crimes against Sikhs, said Amardeep Singh, director of programs at the Sikh Coalition. While incidents have slowed in recent years, Singh said discrimination in schools and the work place still persists.

Fire at home under construction: More than 100 firefighters from 33 units responded to the three-alarm blaze on Tuesday, August 14, at a Douglaston home, which was under renovations. The 39-12 Douglaston Parkway dwelling received 44 complaints since March 2008 from callers saying the ongoing construction work being done at the site exceeded the scope of the approved permit, according to the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB). No one was in the house at the time, and no one was severely injured, an official said. While all complaints made against the home were listed as closed, homeowner David Wei Huang was pinned for two violations from the DOB and 17 from the Environmental Control Board (ECB). Of those violations, nine were still outstanding, according to the DOB, and were related to the ongoing construction. Huang was issued a $2,500 fi ne when construction at the site was found not to be in compliance with approved plans and another $1,200 for failing to safeguard the public and his property. There were other violations for working with an expired permit, the DOB said.

Huntley surrenders: State Senator Shirley Huntley pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying business records and tampering with evidence in the first degree, which are felonies, and conspiracy in the fifth degree, a misdemeanor, after officials said she covered up the funneling of nearly $30,000 in state funds to a non-profit she helped establish. Huntley turned herself in to the State Attorney General’s regional office on Monday, August 27, and was arraigned later that day. Voters gave Huntley the boot in September, when she decisively lost the Democratic primary to challenger James Sanders Jr., who was elected to the 10th District seat in November.

 SEPTEMBER

Rare tornado strikes Breezy Point: A tornado struck Breezy Point during a late summer down pour on Saturday, September 8. The twister damaged parts of the Breezy Point Surf Club, but many were thankful the club had been mostly closed up by that point. “We’re lucky the storm hit this weekend and not last weekend,” Councilmember Eric Ulrich said, who surveyed the damage in the area shortly after the storm. “Because last weekend the Surf Club was filled with people.”

“Look!” campaign promotes safety: A Department of Transportation (DOT) campaign to promote safety when texters crossed the street was launched in September. The program includes a sign that reads “LOOK!” in crosswalks throughout the city, to remind pedestrians to proceed with caution. “New Yorkers are driven to distraction with their smart phones, and the simple act of looking can prevent thousands of crashes and injuries every year,” said DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “LOOK! is a message to all New Yorkers that safety is in the eye of the beholder and everyone needs to keep an eye out for each other on our streets.”

Ulrich wins primary: Councilmember Eric Ulrich defeated Forest Hills lawyer Juan Reyes in a Senate District 15 Republican Primary on September 13. In the weeks leading up to the election, the Reyes campaign sent out a string of mailers attacking Ulrich’s reputation in the City Council and made anti-gay statements. Ulrich would go on to unsuccessfully challenge incumbent State Senator Joseph Addabbo in the general election. The race became one of the most contested in Queens.

Serial arsonist is nabbed: A suspect wanted for setting 13 fi res in Flushing and Murray Hill during a three-week period was arraigned on September 15. Thien K. Dinh, 43, was charged with two counts of second-degree arson, four counts of third-degree arson, 13 counts of fi rst-degree reckless endangerment and thirddegree burglary. Dinh admitted to the crimes, which included a fire at 143-01 45th Avenue near Bowne Street on August 20 that gutted adjacent businesses and totaled the four-story multiple family dwelling.

OCTOBER

Four Richmond Hill High grads die in crash: Four teenagers from South Ozone Park and Richmond Hill were killed in the morning hours of October 8, when the car they were riding in careened off the Southern State Parkway and threw them from the vehicle. The driver, Joseph Beer, 17, survived the crash and only had a learner’s permit, authorities said. The teen was later indicted by the Nassau County District Attorney on a slew of charges that included allegations he was high at the time of the crash.

Cop, driver killed in deadly rampage: An ex-con fatally shot Nassau County police officer Arthur Lopez near the Cross Island Parkway before fleeing on Tuesday, October 23. Darrell Fuller, 33, then took off and carjacked Raymond Facey, who was shot and killed. The incident resulted in a manhunt throughout southeast Queens searching for the perp, who was later found with a bullet wound in his shoulder. He was then taken to Jamaica Hospital before being transferred to Nassau County to be charged.

Cannibal cop: NYPD officer Gilberto Valle was nabbed for plotting to kidnap and eat more at least 100 women. The six-year veteran, who lived in Forest Hills, was charged with accessing the federal National Crime Information Center database to gain information without authorization, and agreeing to kidnap a woman to sell her to an individual for no less than $5,000, according to court documents.

Sandy strikes seaside south: Superstorm Sandy shut down much of Queens beginning on Monday, October 29 and carrying into the next day. Damage was felt, at different levels, throughout the borough. Trees came down on to houses in the northeast, in one case killing a man; parts of Long Island City’s water front arose and flooded several buildings. Rockaway and Howard Beach were some of the hardest hit areas however. The channel in Howard Beach poured on to Cross Bay Boulevard and knocked out some businesses for weeks. In Rockaway, the ocean poured over and met with Jamaica Bay.

NOVEMBER

Breezy Point residents search for hope: During Superstorm Sandy, the majority of Breezy Point homes received extensive water damage, and 111 homes burned to the ground after an electrical fire sparked. Residents, left at a loss, tried to receive as much relief as possible from organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Red Cross, and many more. Kieren Burke was one of many who lost his home in the fire, and he spent some time searching for anything left behind — namely his wife’s wedding ring. Burke spent the storm in his parents’ house nearby, and ran outside once he saw the blazes engulf the streets, but he was only able to save a few things before his home was gone.

Obama visits New York after Sandy: Alongside New York’s most prominent officials, President Obama surveyed damage in the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy. The President arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Thursday, November 15, and was greeted by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan. He then surveyed the damage to the Rockaway peninsula by air, and went through Staten Island on foot.

The Kings of Queens: Over 400 guests gathered at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to mingle at one of the largest networking events in the borough and honor this year’s “Kings of Queens.” The fifth annual Queens Courier event, held on Thursday, November 15 featured special honoree, Steven Lacy, Fox 5 news anchor, and honored dozens of top businessmen throughout Queens.

DECEMBER

Boardwalk future: Sandy ripped mercilessly through the Rockaways, destroying an iconic haven enjoyed by all: the boardwalk. The community came together and urged that their boardwalk be rebuilt better than ever before, so no storm can ever do this again. Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded with a new plan, hopefully to be in place by next summer. Wooden planks will be a thing of the past, and a concrete boardwalk will be put into place. Locals, although pleased, still asked for sea walls to further protect their home.

Bayside murders: A Bayside man was named in an indictment charging him with two separate counts of second-degree murder. Gregory Cucchiara, 36, was charged for beating his mother over the head before submerging her in water, and another 15 months later when he smothered his father to death. He was being held at Rikers Island, and faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

Sunnyside vigil: A mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut hit home for Sunnyside residents. Little Benjamin Wheeler, 6, originally from Sunnyside, was shot and killed during the unspeakable tragedy. Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook, selfl essly gave her life to the shooter while trying to save as many students as she could. Her life was also remembered at the vigil by her stepsister, who resides in Sunnyside. The massacre was the second deadliest shooting in our nation’s history, killing 26 people, 20 of who were children.

Queensway closer to reality


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Because of a state-secured grant, the much debated Queensway project is one step closer to getting off the ground.

The Trust for Park Land has received $467,000 from Governor Andrew Cuomo to study the feasibility of a three-and-a-half mile greenway on what once was the Rockaway Beach LIRR line.

This study would look at the plethora of things that go into converting the abandoned rail line into parkland, including engineering requirements, the environmental impact of the project and community feedback. Because more homes have been built around the tracks since service stopped in 1963, any use of the land would require studies to see how it will affect residents.

Friends of the Queensway, an advocacy group for the nature space, say it’s the first step in making the five-year-old dream come true.

“This is tremendous,” said Friends of the Queensway member Andrea Crawford. “This is what we’ve been waiting for.”

The walkway, expected to be double the size of Manhattan’s High Line, would celebrate the culture and diversity of Queens, Crawford said. If approved, it would run through neighborhoods such as Forest Hills, Woodhaven and Richmond Hill.

“There’s a hundred and something languages spoken within a mile of the Queensway,” she said. “So that’s what makes this so exciting. It really represents Queens.”

Others, however, have different ideas on what the land could be used for, particularly transportation for south and central Queens. A new Rockaway LIRR line would connect south Queens to the rest of the borough via mass transit, ease traffic problems and streamline a significantly long commute to Manhattan.

Either project would potentially run right through the middle of Forest Park as well.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, who has pushed for a new Rockaway Beach LIRR, thinks this new study should include a look at new transportation options as well. Goldfeder said he is working with rail advocates to ensure transportation is included in the study.

“I am opposed to any plan, or any study, that would exclude the opportunity and possibility of transportation via rail line,” he said. “I’m working with transportation and rail advocates that will work with the Trust for Public Land and do a rail feasibility study at the same time.”

Some just want the strip of land to be cleaned up and maintained.

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) has not taken a position on either side, but instead thinks the city should address the years of neglect. Either project would misuse state funds and be disruptive to residents living around the area — effectively ruining the character of the neighborhood, said WRBA President Ed Wendell.

“We heard from our residents; they’re dead-set against either plan,” Wendell said.

Central and southern Queens to receive water main upgrade


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DEP

A $14 million upgrade to replace the borough’s aging water system will soon flow into portions of central and southern Queens, authorities said.

About 13 miles of new ductile iron water mains will be installed to replace old unlined cast ones in Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill and Far Rockaway, according to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Design and Construction (DDC).

The infrastructure improvement project is expected to improve water quality, pressure and distribution in residential and commercial areas of the neighborhoods by retiring mains that are over 60 years old, the DEP said.

“Public health and the future growth of New York City are contingent on having an adequate supply of high quality water,” DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland said. “By installing nearly 13 miles of new water mains, we will ensure adequate water pressure for firefighting, basic sanitation and clean drinking water for these Queens neighborhoods for decades to come.”

The new water mains will be installed in locations near Union Turnpike, Queens Boulevard, Kew Garden Road, Park Lane South, Myrtle Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue, Hillside Avenue, Jamaica Avenue and Beach 9th Street.

Construction will be done in phases, beginning March 2013, with expected completion in 2015.

Arrest in AK-47 killing of Queens teen


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Authorities have arrested two men for the shooting death of a Far Rockaway teen this weekend.

Dashawn Deverow, 21, of Rockaway Park and Jamane Yarbroughm, 16, of Arverne, have been charged with the murder of 17-year-old Xavier Granville, said police. Deverow was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon.

On Saturday December 29, at about 12:30 a.m., the killers, wearing masks and carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and a .45-caliber pistol, shot Granville after a late night party in Far Rockaway as he was heading home, the Daily News reported.

According to police, authorities found Granville in front of 249 Beach 15th Street with a gunshot wound to the head, and pronounced him dead at the scene.

Indicted former park administrator Estelle Cooper dies


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Estelle Cooper, the longtime administrator of Flushing  Meadows-Corona Park who was  alleged to have stolen $50,000 from an organization she  established, died on Saturday,  December 29. She was a 82.  Cooper, who was accused of  taking money from her conservatory group, Unisphere Inc.,  oversaw the borough’s largest  park for nearly two decades before stepping down in January  2011.

In 2003, she helped establish Unisphere Inc., a 501(c) (3) organization that worked on  sprucing up and restoring the  park. It was through this organization that Cooper was accused  of misspending funds — mainly  through ATM withdrawals that  were not accounted for when  the conservancy’s 2010 taxes were done.

Rumors that Cooper would  be indicted for wrongful spending started swarming in June  of 2012. These were confirmed  when she was arraigned on  Tuesday, July 17 at the Queens Supreme Court. She was charged  with second- and third-degree  counts of grand larceny, and if convicted, she could have faced  up to 15 years in prison. She was  due back in court in February.

Despite the charges and allegations in the last few months  of her life, Cooper will also be  remembered for her dedication  to the park she oversaw since  the 1990s.  Mike Balsamo, speaking for  all of Cooper’s family, said the  late park administrator would  be missed and remembered for the years of service she gave to Flushing Meadows.

“While we mourn the loss of  a barrier-breaker,” he said, “We  also celebrate the life of a dedicated public servant and hope that Estelle’s 50-year legacy to  civic service offers an example  to young people around the  world that hard work can truly  make dreams come true. We ask  that you share in understanding  and kindly respect our privacy,  as we continue through one of  the hardest moments our family  will face.”

The Parks Department issued  a statement that expressed sorrow for Cooper’s passing and  sent its condolences to her
family.

“The Parks Department was  saddened to hear of Estelle  Cooper’s passing,” the statement read. “We extend our deepest sympathies to her family during this difficult time.”

 

 

 

 

Woman charged with DWI in death of pregnant passenger


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The woman behind the wheel of a car that flipped into a shallow marsh off of Jamaica Bay leaving a pregnant Queens woman dead has been charged with driving under the influence and without a license, according to the NYPD and media reports.

Denise Finley 32, of Arverne, was heading southbound on Brookville Boulevard in the Rosedale section of Queens around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday when she lost control of the 2000 Ford she was driving, overturning the vehicle into the water off of the roadway, said police.

Her passenger, Dominique Jamison, 25, of Far Rockaway, was removed from the car and taken to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

There were reportedly four other individuals in the vehicle at the time of the accident, three of which were injured.

Finley was taken into custody at the scene and later charged that day.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 19F. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 20%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of snow and a chance of rain, then a chance of snow after midnight. Low of 32F with a windchill as low as 25. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Resorts World New Year’s Eve Bash

Ring in 2013 at Resorts World Casino’s New Year’s Eve Bash from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., where there will be live music, champagne and giveaways. Click here for more info or check out more New Year’s Eve events in Queens

Driver charged with DWI in fatal Queens crash

The driver of a car that overturned into the marshy waters near John F. Kennedy International Airport early Sunday morning, killing a 25-year-old woman, has been arrested. Read more: NBC New York

2 charged with teen’s murder in Far Rockaway

Two suspects were charged Sunday in connection with a shooting this weekend that left a 17-year-old boy dead outside a low-income housing development in Far Rockaway. Read more: CBS New York

Psychiatric test ordered for subway shove suspect

A woman accused of pushing a man to his death in front of a subway train told police she did so because she blamed Muslims for the Sept. 11 attacks, and because “I thought it would be cool,” prosecutors said at a court hearing. Read more: ABC New York/AP

President Obama’s determined to get a gun-control law in place early in his second term

President Obama called the Newtown school massacre “the worst day” of his presidency as he reiterated Sunday his determination to sign a gun-control bill into law early in his second term. Read more: New York Daily News

Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital Sunday after the discovery of a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month. Read more: AP

Fiscal cliff: Biden, McConnell make major progress

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden made major progress toward a year-end tax bill overnight. Read more: Politico

New Year’s Eve fashion on a budget


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

fashion

Skirt (Papaya): $10.99

Sequin top (Papaya ): $15.99

Fur Vest (Papaya):  $19.99

Booties (Afaze): $38.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket (H&M):  $79.95

Slacks (H&M): $34.99

Shirt (J.C. Penney): $20

Bow Tie (J.C. Penney): $20

Shoes (J.C. Penney): $50

 

 

 

 

 

Dress (H&M): $14.95

Booties (Afaze): $38

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket (H&M): $79.50

Vest (H&M): $29.95

Shirt (J.C. Penney): $45

Slacks (H&M): $34.95

Tie (J.C. Penney): $20

Shoes (J.C. Penney): $80

St. Albans teen is well-rounded, with aspirations


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Julian Moody, in dress shirt and tie, was preparing for what was possibly his umpteenth piano recital rehearsal. Football season is coming to an end, and he now has time to focus on the two instruments he plays, his karate classes and acquiring his advanced Regents diploma. In his St. Albans home, he looked modestly at his extensive collections of trophies.

“I just like having something to do. I don’t like sitting around the house,” said Moody, 17, a senior at Bayside High School. “I don’t like being bored.”

Bored is a word not frequently found in Moody’s vocabulary. Along with a perfect attendance record, after school he can be found practicing football, the piano, saxophone, karate, Spanish or French.

“I prefer him to be involved in something,” said Moody’s mother, Aura Moody. “He feels like he has to do something to give back to the community. I’m so proud of him.”

Since he was five years old, Moody has been playing the piano. His parents originally put him in classes, and Moody’s love for the keys pushed him through the years. He also dabbles with the clarinet, flute and saxophone.

“But football is my favorite,” he noted.

For the past 12 years, Moody has also excelled athletically, playing basketball as well as football. However, recently switching from lineman to quarterback, Moody has soared through the ranks, leading New York City high schools in touchdowns and passing yards. This year, he was named the All Borough Selection Quarterback by the Queens High School Football Coaches Association.

In early October, Moody suffered a sprain to his shoulder. Following physical therapy sessions to get him back on the field, something clicked, and the young athlete realized that physical therapy was something he wanted to pursue himself.

At school, he takes a physical therapy class, and hopes to study it in college as well.

In 2007, Moody was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and as a result takes insulin shots multiple times a day. Despite having to adjust his lifestyle, he has found a way to balance his condition and still remain the active member of the community that he has become.

Moody hopes that all of his extracurricular activities will enhance his character and make him a better-rounded individual. Aside from his music experience, he is fluent in Spanish, is studying French, is a black belt in karate and a certified karate instructor, has traveled to several different countries and has also worked with local elected officials.

For the past two summers, he has interned at Councilmember Leroy Comrie’s office, and this summer is set to work at Senator Malcolm Smith’s office.

With a schedule as busy as Moody’s, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. But the aspiring physical therapist coasts through the day with a clear head atop his shoulders.

“I’m just the type of person that doesn’t get mad, I stay calm,” he said, and believes it is this quality that allows him to get everything done.

As a high school senior, Moody also has college on the brain. He would like to play football, and has his eye on Albright College in Pennsylvania, CW Post and Southern Connecticut. He hopes to major in music, physical therapy or both.

“If I see good results with what I’m doing, it gives me a good feeling inside,” Moody simply said. “Doing well feels good, but I also think I can do better.”

Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Crazed subway ‘pusher’ says she did so because she thought victim was Muslim

The crazed woman who shoved a Queens immigrant to his gruesome death in front of a subway train told cops yesterday that she did so because she thought he was a Muslim, authorities said. Read more: NY Post

Teen shot and killed in Far Rockaway by two masked men armed with AK-47, pistol

A Queens mom who hoped to see her teen son become a marine biologist instead saw him Saturday in the morgue. Xavier Granville, 17, was gunned down by a pair of ski-masked gunmen — one toting an AK-47 assault rifle — after a late-night party in Far Rockaway, police sources said. Read more: Daily News

One woman dies following watery crash near JFK Airport

Fire officials say a woman died this in the hospital this morning after a car carrying her and five others submerged in water near John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens. The accident happened around 4:30 a.m. at Rockaway Boulevard and Brookville Boulevard near the southeast corner of John F. Kennedy Airport. Read more: NY1

Hurricane said to feed crime surge in storm-soaked South Queens precincts

Queens residents in Sandy-ravaged neighborhoods were victim to both Mother Nature and cold-hearted thieves this past year. The lastest NYPD crime stats show a soaring uptick in robberies and grand larcenies throughout the storm-battered Rockaways and Howard Beach neighborhoods. Read more: Daily News

Schumer wants House to vote on Sandy aid bill

Senator Charles Schumer called on leaders in the House of Representatives on Saturday to allow the $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy aid package to come to the floor for a vote. The Senate passed the measure by a 61-33 vote on Friday, with 12 Republicans supporting the measure. Read more: NY1

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

MTA considers installing sliding doors to prevent deaths, injuries

The MTA will reconsider installing sliding doors on some subway platforms to prevent riders from getting killed or injured by trains, a top official told the Daily News. Fifty-four people this year have met their bloody ends on the tracks — a five-year high at more than one per week — according to preliminary figures released by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Read more: Daily News

Whale that washed ashore and died in Queens could pose health threat

The whale that washed up on a beach in the Rockaways and died could potentially pose a threat to humans. Members of the New York State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said there is a possibility that the whale could carry diseases that could be potentially harmful to people. Read more: Queens Courier

Young boy killed by truck in apparent hit-and-run in Jackson Heights

Tragically, little Miguel Torres never got to eat his last snack. The 11-year-old Queens boy was fatally struck by a truck Friday morning moments after he bought a Sprite and Pop Tarts at a corner store, police and witnesses said. Read more: Daily News

Teen killed at Queens house party

A 17-year-old boy died after being shot in the head outside of a Queens house party. The NYPD says the party was just breaking up and the boy was apparently drunk and milling about the property. Read more: My Fox NY

Congressional leaders hopeful as fiscal cliff deadline nears

Even though the top four Congressional leaders left their White House meeting with the president separately and silently on Friday, they cast the hour-long encounter in a positive light back at the Capitol. Read more: NPR

 

Cops release sketch of suspect in subway push death


| brennison@queenscourier.com

DCPI

A man was killed after being pushed in front of an approaching No. 7 train in Sunnyside last night, the second incident of its kind in New York City this month.

Sunando Sen was pushed as the Flushing-bound train approached the 40th Street station at approximately 8 p.m.

As the train pulled into the station, the suspect rose from a nearby bench and shoved the man, who did not notice her, witnesses said.

The suspect fled out of the station after pushing the victim and was caught on surveillance near the train. There are no security cameras in the station, a situation Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said he will push to change.

“It does strike me that in a post-9/11 world that there are no cameras at any stop,” Van Bramer said.

She is described as Hispanic, 5-feet-5-inches tall, weighing 190 pounds. She was last seen wearing a blue, gray and white jacket and Nike sneakers. Police are offering a $12,000 reward for capture.

The suspect reportedly was seen mumbling and pacing on the platform before shoving the man.

Ki-Suk Han, 58, of Elmhurst, was killed on December 3 when he was pushed in front of a Q train at the 49th Street-Seventh Avenue station.  Suspect Naeem Davis was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

- Additional reporting by Maggie Hayes

UPDATE: Whale that washed ashore and died in Queens could pose health threat


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo Twitter/@PointBreezeFD

A beached whale that washed up in Breezy Point this morning, may be near death, the New York Times reported Wednesday afternoon.

According to police, the whale was found alive around 10:40 a.m. at Beach 216th Street and Palmer Drive.

NYPD and FDNY personnel, including members of the Point Breeze Volunteer Fire Department, were spraying water on it to keep it alive until the Riverhead Foundation arrived to help the stranded whale.

But it may have been too late to save it.

The Times said that experts may need to euthanize the emaciated fin whale, which is estimated to be about 60 feet long and 60 or 80 tons.

UPDATE:

The whale that washed up on a beach in the Rockaways and died could potentially pose a threat to humans.

Members of the New York State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said there is a possibility that the whale could carry diseases that could be potentially harmful to people. A necropsy will be conducted on the whale sometime in the next few days to determine the cause of the animal’s death.

According to a report from Discovery News, whales can suffer from influenza, most likely by catching germs spread by bird waste. However, the risk of the disease being passed to humans is low.

New York City bracing for snow this weekend


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

After avoiding accumulation in Wednesday’s nor’easter, New York City is bracing for several inches of snow to coat the area this weekend.

Two to four inches of snow is expected in the city, according to the National Weather Service, with the snowfall to begin after 9 a.m. before tapering off later in the day.

In preparation for the storm, the DSNY has issued a snow alert and plows and salt spreaders are ready for tomorrow morning if needed.

The storm is moving north and is expected to drop several inches of snow on Philadelphia before making its way to the city.

Over the Christmas holiday, a nor’easter struck the Midwest, killing more than a dozen residents and dumping almost two feet of snow some places. New York City avoided snow and only experienced high winds and rain.

MTA launches subway app with real-time countdown clocks


| brennison@queenscourier.com

via screenshot

The MTA has taken some of the guess work out of catching trains with a newly-launched app.

The app, named MTA Subway Time and currently only available on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches, will allow straphangers to know precisely when trains are expected to arrive at stations. For now, the service is available on seven lines, the No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and S trains.

“This is what generations of dreamers and futurists have waited for. The ability to get subway arrival time at street level is here,” said MTA Chair and CEO Joseph Lhota. “The days of rushing to a subway station only to find yourself waiting motionless in a state of uncertainty are coming to an end. Now, you can know from the comfort of your home or office whether to hasten to the station, or grab a cup of coffee as part of a leisurely walk.”

The app allows users to click on any of the 156 stations to see when the next train will be at the station. The app is synchronized with the mta.info website displaying planned service changes and real-time service disruptions.

The L train is expected to be added to the app within a year and the No. 7 line in the coming years. The other 15 subway lines signaling system must be upgraded before it can be added to the system, though the MTA is exploring other ways of providing real-time arrival time through other means.

The app is still in a test mode and the MTA is looking for feedback from users.

An app for Android and Blackberry users is expected in the near future.