Tag Archives: 9/11

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Monday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then a chance of a thunderstorm and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 72. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain showers in the evening, then partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Low of 52. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Taste of Sunnyside 

At the third annual Taste of Sunnyside, for $25 you can sample Japanese, Mexican, French, Italian, Thai, Filipino, Irish, American Eclectic and other cuisine from local restaurants. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Parents petrified by Skyway Shelter housing homeless men who are convicted sex offenders in South Ozone Park 

Parents are fuming over the presence of homeless men from a nearby shelter, which also houses sex offenders, hanging out near their children’s isolated South Ozone Park school. Read more: New York Daily News

NYPD: Woman killed by Nassau County bus in Queens

A woman is dead after being hit by a Nassau County bus on Saturday night. Read more: CBS New York

MTA to unveil proposals for upcoming fare hike

The MTA is releasing new details Monday about the next fare hike coming down the rails. If the hike is approved as expected, it would be the fourth increase in five years. Read more: ABC New York

Politicians caught collecting Albany per diems when they’re not there

In Albany, politicians can make money in their sleep. Claiming she spent a marathon 12 consecutive days in Albany on “legislative business,” Queens Assemblywoman Vivian Cook pocketed $171 for each reported overnight stay — a total $2,197 in taxpayer money from March 21 to April 1, 2010. Read more: New York Post

Parents concerned that school records could be used to make money

Some city parents have expressed concern that their children’s school records could be used to make money. Read more: CBS New York

Moon rocks, chunks of Mars auctioned in New York

Meteorites from Mars and the biggest piece of the Moon ever offered for sale went on the block on Sunday in New York in what organizers billed as history’s largest meteorite auction, which brought in over $1 million. Read more: Reuters

Sept. 11 Trial rules under scrutiny at Guantanamo

A U.S. military judge is considering broad security rules for the war crimes tribunal of five Guantanamo prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 attacks, including measures to prevent the accused from publicly revealing what happened to them in the CIA’s secret network of overseas prisons. Read more: AP

Mets raise families’ spirits on 9/11

| aaltman@queenscourier.com


That last kiss replays in Carol Gies’s mind constantly.

It was a Tuesday morning, masquerading as any other day. As Ronnie Gies gathered his things and left the house for work at FDNY Squad 228 in Maspeth, he gently kissed his wife goodbye.

They didn’t know it was for the last time.

Ronnie, a dedicated member of the FDNY, lost his life on September 11, 2001 in his effort to rescue others from the collapse of the Twin Towers.

The couple met through Carol’s brother Tommy, who played on a local softball team with Ronnie in their Long Island hometown. The pair began dating in 1979 and was married on September 5, 1981.

Carol said their marriage matched their wedding song — “One in a Million.”

“You couldn’t ask for better,” said Carol. “He was perfect, he really was. Most people said that they never saw a marriage like what we had. It was very rare.”

In 1988, Ronnie became a firefighter.

Even though his profession demanded an intense schedule, Ronnie was an attentive and compassionate father for the couple’s three children – Tommy, Ronnie and Bobby. Carol said he was more like a best friend than a father to the three boys, a fixture in the audience at plays and games. Now that her sons are in their 20s and beginning families of their own, Carol says their father remains a guide for what it is to be a model parent.

“Today I look at them and I see traces of him in them. Each one of them,” she said. “That’s what makes it a little easier every day. There’s a part of him in every one of them.”

Sons Tommy and Ronnie are now firefighters. Bobby recently took his firefighter exam.

Every year on September 11, the family gathers together and goes to see the Mets play. Ronnie was a fan of the team and Carol says it’s the best way to keep everyone’s spirits up while celebrating something her husband loved.

“We try to do something positive,” said Carol. “I’m not the type to go to memorials. I try not to dwell on the negative. This way we celebrate Ronnie’s life.”

This year, the Gies family threw the first pitch at the Mets game on September 11.

Mets games have become an annual tradition for many families who lost loved ones in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Tuesday’s Children, an organization that provides support to the children of victims of 9/11, frequently brings kids to meet and chat with some of their most admired players.

“For families on a day like today when its Tuesday, September 11 and there’s not a cloud in the sky just like it was 11 years ago, to not have to think about what happened to them all day long and instead go to a game on a beautiful evening like tonight and be with the Mets who have become like a second family to all our family members is just incredible,” said Tuesday’s Children spokesperson Terry Sears.

Eleven-year-old Matthew, who also lost his father Michael in the attacks, was looking forward to hanging out with his favorite player, pitcher R.A. Dickey.

“It feels good to be here,” said Matthew. “I think it will cheer everyone up who’s here. It’s a very sad day in American history but it’s nice that they make everybody happy.”

Accompanied by mom Michelle, the pair agreed it was a good way to commemorate their loved one, adding they are considering make Mets games a new tradition on September 11.

Juliette Candela, a member of Tuesday’s Children, was nominated by the group to sing the National Anthem at the start of the game. The 18-year-old from New Jersey, whose father John was killed on September 11, 2001, was excited for the opportunity to sing the song, saying it was an honor and something she had always dreamed of.

“The song is really important for this country,” she said. “I feel like I’m singing this song in honor of my dad.”

Residents hold 9/11 vigil at Juniper Valley Park

| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

With the Twin Tower tribute lights in the background, hundreds of Queens residents gathered holding candles to honor those who died in the attacks on September 11.

The candlelight vigil at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village featured poems, prayer and music on the 11th anniversary of the attacks.

Click here to see all the pictures from the night.

9/11 first responders suffer mental, physical anguish

| aaltman@queenscourier.com


Alex Sanchez remembers the bang.

It thundered through lower Manhattan, said Sanchez, who at first thought the sound was a truck crashing into a building. The Harlem resident, who at the time worked as a janitor for New York University, heard the clamor as he walked a co-worker to 100 Centre Street for a hearing. It wasn’t until he moved further south that he discovered the real source of the noise.

“We thought it was an accident,” he said, recalling peering up at the smoldering North Tower. “Then we saw the second plane hit and that’s when all hell broke loose.”

The men and women who gave of their time, their efforts — of themselves — following the attacks on September, 11 2001, will be forever regarded as heroes, from the firefighters who extinguished flames and searched for survivors under the rubble to the police officers who directed people out of the area and to safety.

Sanchez, a first responder at Ground Zero, sifted through debris and cleaned up scraps of the Twin Towers that covered the city’s streets.

Every day following the attacks, Sanchez, along with 800 other workers, removed clutter from the former site of the World Trade Center. While the labor was strenuous, Sanchez said morale and compassion drove their efforts.

“Everyone was more than eager to go in on a daily basis,” he said.

A main portion of their work involved cleaning ventilation units. Sanchez said inside the building’s hull there was so much dust you couldn’t see anything. As he crawled through the vent system, he was outfitted with gloves, goggles, a PVAC suit and a hospital mask.

Sanchez founded United We Stand, a group that assists undocumented workers who assisted after the 9/11 attacks and have subsequently experienced health issues stemming from inhaling dust, fumes and smoke. Sanchez said he now suffers from chronic asthma and upper airway obstruction and has developed nodules in his lungs. He is now on permanent disability.

The catastrophic event brought Sanchez close to others affected by September 11, including spouses and children who lost loved ones. According to him, many who perished were not granted proper funerals, something he believes the city is accountable for.

Sanchez said events following the attacks have negatively influenced his view of the city.

“In a country like ours, it’s really sad that people’s lives are put in jeopardy,” said Sanchez. “We’ve become a test tube for disaster.”

Glen Klein was in the middle of a cup of coffee when he got a call from a friend, exclaiming that a plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. It wasn’t until he turned on his television and saw the second plane collide that the event seemed real.

Klein, a former member of the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit (ESU), immediately drove to his outfit — the 109th Precinct — gathered supplies and fellow officers, and headed downtown.

Along with 300 other members of the ESU, Klein searched through debris for bodies. In their efforts, 14 ESU officers went missing.

“For the first six days, we thought we would find them alive,” said Klein. “If anyone’s going to survive, I thought it would be our guys.”

None of the missing officers were found alive.

Klein retired in 2003 after he began to feel both the physical and mental effects from 9/11. The 16-year-veteran of the ESU suffered precancerous polyps, GERD, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal issues and post-traumatic stress disorder. He said he receives assistance from the World Trade Center Health Program.

Klein is now the vice president of the “FealGood Foundation,” a group that advocates for 9/11 first responders who suffer from subsequent illnesses. He said assisting others acts as personal therapy and connects him with what he loved about being a police officer — helping people.

Army pays tribute at Fort Totten to those lost

| Phertling@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo Phil Hertling

They gathered to pay tribute to those who stood — and fell — defending our freedom.

Soldiers of the United States Army Reserve gathered at Fort Totten’s annual September 11 memorial on Saturday morning, September 8, to remember six first responders lost in the terror attacks.

“Those of us who wear the uniform, for generations, have always tried to honor and remember our heroes,” said Major General Richard Colt, who was the commanding general of the 77th in 2001. “And even though the six soldiers who we honor today were not wearing the Army uniform, when they died, they epitomized the values that the Fire Department of New York puts into their men and women.”

The six men that gave their lives — Captain Michael Mullan, Captain Mark Whitford, Warrant Officer Ronald Bucca, Sergeant Shawn Powell, Staff Sergeant Frederick Ill and Lieutenant Colonel William Pohlmann — were part of the 77th Regional Support Command, renamed the 77th Regional Readiness Command in 2003, according to Master Sergeant Minnie Hawkins, who led the service before a few hundred Army personnel. Five were New York City firefighters and the other, a volunteer firefighter in Ardsley, New York.

“Even though their loved ones are gone, we are here to support them. They’re gone but not forgotten,” said Sergeant First Class Eric Thompson. Mullan, of New York City Ladder 12, and Whitford, of Manhattan’s Engine Company 23, died while operating rescue missions at the Towers. Bucca was assigned as fire marshal to Manhattan Command. He was the first fire marshal killed in the line of duty with the Fire Department of New York, authorities said.

Powell was a firefighter for Engine Company 207. Frederick was a fire captain with Ladder 2 in Manhattan. He gained fame in 1999 for saving a man from an oncoming subway train. Pohlmann worked as an attorney and had an office in the World Trade Center. He was also the engine company president of the Ardsley Volunteer Fire Department.

“They stopped what they did, ran into a building and tried to help others,” Sergeant First Class Kevin Wilson said. “It just shows how we are as people. We come together as Americans.”


Agreement reached to complete 9/11 museum

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

On the eve of  September 11, governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, and Mayor Micheal Bloomberg announced that an agreement had been reached to continue construction of the National September 11 Museum.

“This agreement ensures that it will be restarted very soon and will not stop until the museum is completed. The museum is important to the families of those who died on 9/11 – they’ve contributed photos and memories of their lost loved ones, who deserve a thoughtful tribute. The museum is important to the historical record and will preserve materials and artifacts of great significance that tell the story of what happened on that terrible day,” said Bloomberg.

According to published reports, construction on the museum at the World Trade Center site was stopped because of financial disputes between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center site, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum’ s foundation.

“By ensuring that no additional public funds are spent to complete the Memorial and Museum, today’s agreement puts in place a critical and long overdue safeguard to finally protect toll payers and taxpayers from bearing further costs, and, at the same time, put the project on a path for completion,” said Cuomo.

Before the delay, the museum was set to open on the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks.


OpEd: 9/11 forever changed history

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


In slightly more than an hour 11 years ago nearly 3,000 lives were tragically cut far too short. More than 3,000 families were instantly redirected, mourning the loss of their loved ones while wondering how they would navigate their futures without them.

The reach of September 11 went well past the East and Hudson Rivers. The same terribly historic hour also propelled our nation’s armed forces into battle in two separate countries, causing the loss of thousands more of this country’s youth and future leaders.

During that same hour, thousands of firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, correction officers and emergency personnel converged onto the World Trade Center site in order to save their fellow Americans, hoping their skills and training could save the life of even one person.

Soon after the Twin Towers collapsed, first responders realized that they would not save their peers, but that their skills would be needed in an entirely different mission: recovery. They would be joined in this mission during the hours, days, weeks and months following the attacks by tens of thousands of their brothers and sisters in the construction trades, communication industry and volunteers. The goal was not limited to the recovery of the personal effects of those lost, but the recovery of this country from one of its darkest moments. Over the next year the combined efforts of first responders enabled families to find closure in the burials of their loved ones by those who removed the debris from the World Trade Center site and provided these services with an unmatched dignity, professionalism and heroism.

Eleven years after the attack, thousands of first responders now suffer from physical impairments as a result of their work “on the pile” and the surrounding impact zone. Despite being assured by leaders in our nation’s capital that the air at the World Trade Center site was safe to breathe, we now know that this was wholly inaccurate. We now understand that the air at Ground Zero was actually filled with a toxic mixture, and that it could take years to reveal the deadly effects. Additionally, thousands of responders continue to suffer from the psychological impact of what they personally witnessed during their efforts on behalf of this nation. Unprepared for the gruesome war-like discoveries potentially lurking under any pile of debris, responders continue to visualize these horrific scenes daily. An hour 11 years ago is relived nearly 24 hours a day by many.

Today, the FealGood Foundation (FGF) aims to assist these first responders in any way we can, from financial assistance to placing them in the hands of competent legal counsel, from psychological support to assistance enrolling in medical treatment facilities. We have assisted in getting the Zadroga Bill passed so that responders have proper medical care and compensation for the injuries they have sustained.

But our work isn’t over. Virtually every day a new responder reaches out to the FGF for assistance of some kind. We have, in fact, gotten busier over the past two years. As long as any first responder needs assistance, the FGF will be there to help. The unfortunate reality is that the FGF was created out of that same fateful hour; we wish its existence had never been necessary but are proud to provide the services.

Little more than one hour is all it took to forever change the course of the lives of thousands and thousands of people. On this 11th anniversary we honor those lost and all those still profoundly affected.

John Feal is the founder of the FealGood Foundation.

9/11 anniversary events around Queens

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

New York Hospital Queens
There will be a 9/11 remembrance service with moments of silence and a salute at New York Hospital Queens Emergency Services Memorial Site located at Booth Memorial Avenue near the Emergency Room entrance from 8:40 a.m. to 10:35 a.m. on September 11.

Remsen Memorial Park
There will be a candlelight ceremony at Remson Memorial park at Alderton Street at 6:30 p.m. on September 11. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held at American Legion Hall, 107-15 Metropolitan Avenue.

Bayside Hills
The Bayside Hills Civic Association will be holding a 9/11 observance on Horace Harding Expressway and Bell Boulevard at 7:00 p.m. on September 11.

Juniper Valley Park
There will be a candlelight vigil at Juniper Valley Park, between 77th and 78th streets, at 7:30 p.m. on September 11. Bring a candle and chair.

Astoria Heights
The United Community Civic Association together with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is having a 9/11 memorial candlelight vigil at McManus Memorial Park at 81st Street and Grand Central Parkway at 7:30 p.m. on September 12.

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Tuesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then mostly cloudy. High of 75. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 61. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: 9/11 anniversary events in Queens

To commemorate the eleventh anniversary of September 11, there are several remembrance events around the borough Tuesday evening.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYPD seek suspect in attack on woman in Queens

The NYPD is seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect in connection with an attempted sexual attack in Queens. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Trial begins for man suspected of stealing two police guns from precinct

Two officers who had their guns stolen from the 103rd precinct in Queens last year took the stand in State Supreme Court on Monday to tell the court what happened, but could not say how. Read more: NY1

Ethnic politics in the mix in crowded Assembly primary in Flushing

The scramble to replace Assemblywoman Grace Meng has produced a crowded primary, charged with ethnic politics and intrigue. Read more: New York Daily News

School bus nightmare for Queens child

The new school year has meant four mornings of frustration for Shanie Fryer and her 3 year old daughter Annaya. The child’s bus has either shown-up hours late or not at all. Read more: ABC New York

Cuomo, Bloomberg, Christie reach a deal to end the impasse that has stalled construction of the 9-11 museum

The dispute that has all but halted construction on the 9-11 museum was resolved on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the terror attacks. Read more: New York Daily News

New York is lagging as seas and risks rise, critics warn

With a 520-mile-long coast lined largely by teeming roads and fragile infrastructure, New York City is gingerly facing up to the intertwined threats posed by rising seas and ever-more-severe storm flooding. Read more: New York Times

For Sept. 11 anniversary, a turning point passed?

Is it time for a different kind of Sept. 11? Victims’ families and others were poised to gather and grieve Tuesday at ground zero, the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pa., for the first time after the emotional turning point of last year’s 10th anniversary. Read more: AP


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Wednesday: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers, then thunderstorms in the afternoon. High of 81. Winds from the SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 0.4 in. possible. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 75. Winds from the West at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT of the DAY: Alobar’s Tomato Festival

All this week, Long Island City restaurant Alobar is honoring the harvest season with a rotating menu of tomato dishes supporting local farms at $30 per person for two courses and a cocktail or glass of wine. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Seven Queens schools slated for closure re-open this week

After months of uncertainty, many teachers at seven Queens high schools previously slated for closure are going back to work. Read more: New York Daily News 

Internet currency exchange biz owner gets jail for tax conviction

The owner of an Internet currency exchange business is going to prison on a tax conviction. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the two-year sentence today for Ilya Boruch of Forest Hills, Queens. Read more: New York Post

 School in Queens to serve “brunch”

he thought of having lunch, or as the principal of IS25 calls it “brunch,” at 9:45 in the morning is not going over well. Come Thursday, many students at the middle school in Auburndale, Queens will feast on roast chicken, rice and pinto beans, just two hours after their day. Read more: ABC New York

Juniper Valley Park plagued by trash, vandalism and under-aged drinking, civic leaders say

Underage boozing, vandalism and mounds of trash have plagued Juniper Valley Park all summer due to lack of Parks Enforcement Patrol officers, civic leaders say. Read more: New York Daily News

With City Council redistricting looming, activists unveil “Unity Map”

Activists are trying to protect the city’s minority groups as the City Council district lines are about to be redrawn. Minority advocate groups unveiled their so-called Unity Map Tuesday. Read more: NY1

Ed Koch being treated for anemia at New York Presbyterian

Former mayor Ed Koch was being treated at New York Presbyterian on the Upper West Side and will remain hospitalized for a few days after undergoing a blood transfusion, officials said Tuesday night. Read more: CBS New York

Airlines to face trial over 9/11

The AMR Corporation’s American Airlines and United Continental Holdings must face a federal trial over negligence claims tied to the hijacking of jetliners used in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. Read more: New York Times

Mrs. Obama: Husband knows what struggle means

Democrats are using one of Barack Obama’s strong suits, that voters believe he understands the problems of ordinary people, to trump his weakest suit, the economy. Read more: AP

No Changes At Area Airports Expected In Wake Of Foiled Bomb Plot

| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security say there are no plans to change security procedures at airports here in the city or beyond amid news federal intelligence officials foiled a new al-Qaeda underwear bomb plot against U.S.-bound aircraft.

U.S. officials say an attack was to have taken place around the time of the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Officials say the non-metallic device was a more sophisticated version of the one used by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in his failed Christmas Day attempt in 2009.


This Morning’s Headlines

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens jurors lead city in no-shows

Looks like Queens needs a boroughwide civics class. More than one-third, or 35 percent, of Queens residents ignore their jury-duty notices — the highest in the five boroughs. “We’re dealing with thousands of people, and we just don’t have the staff,” said Queens County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, who acts as the commissioner of jurors. In fact, Pheffer, a former assemblywoman, said the office stopped bothering to impose fines as it upgrades its jury-selection system. Read More: New York Post

Queens deli destroyed by early morning fire, explosion

A Queens deli was destroyed by an overnight fire — and an explosion at the store could be felt two blocks away. The fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. at the corner of Hempstead Avenue and 220th Street. Firefighters used ladder trucks to spray the building, as the fire was too strong to fight from the inside. The business, Deli Grocery & Grill, is relatively new — only about two months old. No injuries were reported, and there’s no word on the cause of the fire. Read More: New York Post


Deliberations To Begin This Week In Queens Terror Trial

A jury could start deliberations as early as Monday in the case of a Queens man accused of plotting to blow up the city’s subways. Adis Medunjanin is accused of conspiring with admitted terrorist Najibullah Zazi to detonate suicide bombs on Manhattan subway lines in 2009. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and receiving terrorist training from al-Qaida. Medunjanin faces life in prison if convicted on conspiracy and terror charges. Read More: NY1


Hundreds Of Union Job Applicants Camp Out In Woodside

Hundreds of applicants vying for a job with the ironworkers’ union waited outside the union’s office in Woodside, Queens for nearly a week, leaving some neighbors upset about the camp-out. Read More: NY1

Historic Forest Park Greenhouse gets $3.8 million upgrade, replacing century-old structures with high-tech ones

The historic Forest Park Greenhouse, which grows plants and flowers that liven up concrete stretches in Queens and Brooklyn, is moving beyond its early 20th century roots. A section of the greenhouse has just undergone a $3.8 million reconstruction that will increase its capacity and make it more environmentally-friendly. The first stage of the renovation focused on two of the houses that were built in 1905 and designed by greenhouse experts of the time, Lord and Burnham. Read More: Daily News


1 WTC to vault past Empire State Building today and become tallest tower in city

ONE WORLD Trade Center is set to eclipse the Empire State Building as New York’s tallest building Monday afternoon, officials said. As long as the weather cooperates, the tower will surpass the 1,250-foot Empire State Building at 2 p.m. on its way to a final height of 1,776 feet. “It’s wonderful,” Mayor Bloomberg said Sunday. “It’s taken a long time. This is probably the most complex construction site in any place ever. I think what we’ve shown is that democracy works.” Read More: Daily News

This Morning’s Headlines

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

New crane horror: Worker dies in W. Side collapse at subway pit

A construction worker was killed and three of his colleagues were injured last night when a crane collapsed at the No. 7 train subway-extension construction site on the West Side, authorities said. The accident occurred at around 7:20 p.m. at West 34th Street and 11th Avenue when two pieces of the crane — 80- and 40-foot sections — became dislodged and fell into the below-ground site and onto the workers, officials said. Read More: New York Post

French Academic Found Dead In His Midtown Hotel Room

Police were investigating late Tuesday the death of prominent French academic found inside a Midtown hotel room. Richard Descoings, 54, was discovered in his bed at the Michelangelo Hotel on Tuesday afternoon. Investigators say hotel security went to his room after he did not check out. Sources say Descoings was found naked and his computer and phone were thrown from the seventh floor window. They also say police are looking for people who may have come into his room during the overnight hours. Read More: NY1


Off-Duty School Safety Agent Awaits Arraignment On Rape, Weapons Charges

An off-duty school safety agent was awaiting arraignment Monday after being arrested on rape charges in Queens. The New York City Police Department says Tommy Johnson, 28, is also charged with criminal weapons possession, menacing and assault. Sources say Johnson raped his ex-girlfriend in Brooklyn over the weekendJohnson currently lives in Ridgewood, Queens, where neighbors say he resides with his mother. Read More: NY1


Woman Dies Following Cooking Accident In Jackson Heights Home

A woman died Monday following an apparent cooking accident in her apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens. The New York City Fire Department says they responded to a 911 call Monday morning for a woman in cardiac arrest. Fire officials believe the woman was severely burned when her sleeve caught on fire while cooking. They say she then went into the hallway, where she went into cardiac arrest. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Read More: NY1


Key approval is won for Willets Point project

The city has won a key approval for its massive Willets Point redevelopment, dealing a blow to local property owners who hoped to delay or even halt the project. The Federal Highway Administration ruled that ramps proposed for the Van Wyck Expressway would have “no significant impact” on the surrounding area, according to a letter sent to the state Department of Transportation late last month and released Monday by city officials. Read More: Crain’s New York Business


NYPD investigating image on Al Qaeda forums as possible threat to New York City

A graphic featuring the New York skyline and posted on terrorism websites blares a chilling message in bold letters: “Al Qaeda coming soon again in New York.” The NYPD and the FBI are scrambling to locate the source of the message and trying to figure out whether it’s a credible threat or a sick taunt. The 3-D images spotted on Al Qaeda Internet forums Monday show the letters scrawled across a city street, as a father and son stroll by in amazement. Read More: Daily News


Authorities still looking for motive in Oakland shooting rampage at small Christian college that left seven dead

One wounded woman cowered in the bushes after the gunman opened fire on the campus of a small Christian university. One student hid in a locked classroom as the shooter banged on the door. Another heard the shots and ran to safety. All within an hour Monday, police said, a 43-year-old former student named One L. Goh walked into Oikos University, and began a rampage that left seven people dead and three people wounded, trapped some in the building and forced others to flee for their lives. Read More: Daily News



‘Rape’ victim dad’s anguish

Don’t let your daughters move to New York City. That’s the heart-wrenching advice of the father of a city schoolteacher who is still devastated after being sexually assaulted at gunpoint by an off-duty cop last summer. “It’s a dangerous city,” said the dad, whose name and location are being withheld to protect the identity of his 25-year-old daughter. “When things like this happen, it just makes you think twice,” the dad told The Post from his small, out-of-state farm. Read More: New York Post



Handyman Convicted Of Murder Of Manhattan Building Cleaner

A handyman accused of killing a Manhattan building cleaner and hiding her body in an air-conditioning duct was convicted of second-degree murder Monday. After deliberating for two days, jurors also found Joseph Pabon, 27, guilty of first-degree kidnapping. Prosecutors say Pabon smothered 46-year-old Eridania Rodriguez with industrial tape in July 2009. Read More: NY1


Boy, 10, shot in Williamsburg

A 10-year-old boy was hit by a stray bullet in Williamsburg late last night, police said. The child was with his father below the elevated subway tracks on Broadway near the Hewes Street station at around 10:55 p.m., when teens down the block began arguing, cops and witnesses said. “Ten or 15 people [were] fighting. I called 911 when I heard the gunshots, two or three shots,” said Baruch Bing, 23, who lives near the shooting scene. Read More: New York Post

Koch endorses Queens House pol

Ed Koch’s legendary clout with Jewish voters is about to be tested again. Hoping to repeat his kingmaker role from a closely watched congressional race six months ago, the outspoken ex-mayor yesterday threw his support behind Assemblyman Rory Lancman in a three-way race for the Democratic Party nomination in Queens’ 6th Congressional District. He called Assemblywoman Grace Meng and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley “first rate” but said he preferred Lancman’s position on Israel. Read More: New York Post

Prosecutors want ‘Millionaire Madam’ lawyers to zip it 

A Manhattan judge is weighing prosecutors’ demand to bar lawyers for accused “Millionaire Madam” Anna Gristina from publicly discussing some of the most sensational evidence in the case. Gristina, a 44-year-old soccer mom who is being held on $2 million bail, was not in court Monday as officials asked for a “protective order” to keep their evidence secret. Read More: Daily News

Headlines From Around the Web

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens man indicted for New Year’s Day fire-bomb spree

A Queens man has been indicted on state and federal charges for a fire-bombing spree that targeted an Islamic mosque, a Hindu temple, a convenience store and three homes over several hours on New Year’s Day, authorities announced today. Accused fire-bug, Ray Lazier Lengend, also known as Suraj Poonai, already was in jail after being arrested within days for all but one of those incidents, which spanned Queens and Long Island. Read More: New York Post


Federal Judges Approve State’s New Congressional Districts

A three-judge panel in Brooklyn federal court has approved a map for New York’s new congressional districts that was proposed by a federal magistrate earlier this month. Due to population changes around the country, New York is set to lose two members of Congress this year, going from 29 seats in the House of Representatives to 27. The map drawn by federal magistrate Roanne Mann keeps most of the current districts, but one change is a new Queens district that is almost 40 percent Asian-American. Read More: NY1


Peyton near deal with Broncos

Peyton Manning wants to play for the Denver Broncos in Act II of his outstanding career. A person briefed on negotiations said the NFL’s only four-time MVP called Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams and told him that he had picked the Broncos. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter. Read More: New York Post


Shopping cart victim says she wishes boys who hurt her ‘well’

A Manhattan charity worker who was nearly killed by a shopping cart pushed over a garage railing by teenage punks in October spoke publicly for the first time today — expressing compassion for the pranksters who dropped the cart on her head. Marion Hedges, during a walk outside her Upper East Side apartment, said she hasn’t received an apology from the evil-doers. Read More: New York Post


12 injured in Brooklyn bus accident

Twelve people were injured in a bus accident in Brooklyn today, fire officials said. The collision occurred shortly after 10 a.m. after a car blew through a red light on Avenue J and rammed into a B11 bus, said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. At least three of the dozen people injured were passengers on the bus, Ortiz said. The victims were taken to Lutheran Medical Center and Kings County Hospital. Read More: New York Post


‘Shakedown’ rabbi loses appeal

A Manhattan appeals court today upheld the conviction of a crooked Brooklyn rabbi for trying to shake down billionaire Steve Cohen’s hedge fund with phony allegations of inside trading. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected Rabbi Milton Balkany’s claim that jurors should have been allowed to consider if he was entrapped, saying “Balkany failed to present any evidence that the government ‘induced’ him to commit the crimes charged.” Read More: New York Post


Tennessee woman gets no-jail deal after trying to check gun at 9/11 Memorial

A registered nurse and fourth-year med student got a no-jail, misdemeanor deal today for the Tennessee-registered gun she tried to check at the 9/11 Memorial in December. Manhattan prosecutors this morning dropped the felony gun possession charges Meredith Graves had originally been slammed with — charges carrying a mandatory minimum of 3 1/2 years prison. Read More: New York Post

Elite unit rescues U.S. hostage from pirates in daring night-time raid into Somalian base

| jlane@queenscourier.com


U.S. special forces swooped into Somalia this morning to rescue an American woman and a Danish man after a shootout with pirates holding them hostage that left nine captors dead.  Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, were freed and are unharmed at a safe location following their kidnap from Galkayo in the Galmudug region of Somalia last October. Nine Somali pirates were killed and five captured during a brutal gun battle after the mission at 2am on Wednesday to save the two hostages, who had been working for the Danish De-mining Group. The sensational mission was carried out by SEAL Team Six, who were already famous for killing former Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden last May in Abbottabad, Pakistan, ten years after 9/11.

The two hostages had been working in northern Somalia for the DDG, whose experts have been clearing mines and unexploded ordnance in conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East.  Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal said the poor health of one hostage had led the U.S. to take action and said the rescue operation did not necessarily pave the way for further copycat missions. People involved with the hostages said that Ms Buchanan had been suffering from a possible kidney infection. Both of them are now ‘on their way to be reunited with their families’


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