Tag Archives: American Airlines

Port Authority orders airlines to raise wages, give paid holiday to airport workers


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

Airport workers have won a battle for justice.

Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Director Patrick Foye has ordered the CEOs of Delta, JetBlue, American and United airlines to immediately raise wages and make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a paid holiday for the 8,000 contracted workers at John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports.

Foye sent a letter to the four CEOs telling them to grant an immediate $1 an hour raise to workers making $9 or less, recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday and work towards “providing an improved wage and benefits package to the thousands of hard-working men and women at the airports.”

The announcement comes a week after close to 1,000 workers, elected officials and clergy members blocked a bridge leading to LaGuardia Airport on Martin Luther King Jr. Day during an act of civil disobedience demanding “economic justice.”

“Pat Foye’s letter is a promising step forward and marks the first real progress we have made in lifting thousands of contracted airport workers out of poverty,” said Hector Figueroa, president of SEIU 32 BJ, a union representing most of the airport workers. “We have gotten to this point due to the courage of the contracted airport workers and their willingness to take action – including being arrested for civil disobedience at LaGuardia Airport on MLK Day along with Congressmember Charles Rangel and many others.”

During the day of civil disobedience, more than 30 people were arrested, including city and state elected officials, and workers.

“It’s good that someone is finally listening to us and responding,” said Wendy Arellano, a LaGuardia Airport cabin cleaner. “This is a good plan. It’ll be better when we have good benefits, security and the peace of mind that a good contract gives you. But, for now, getting us up to 10 dollars and 10 cents is a real start.”

Figueroa said that the work will still continue to “bring contracted airport workers the dignity and respect they deserve,” and also help these workers get out of the path to poverty and succeed in gaining economic justice.

 

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Flight 587: Marking 12 years since the tragedy


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes

Twelve years ago, Flight 587 crashed and took the lives of hundreds. Today, loved ones left behind said the pain never goes away.

“The time passes, but the pain is still there in your heart,” said Anne Espinal, who gathered with others at the flight memorial site on Tuesday.

Espinal lost her mother in the crash. She had just turned 50 three days before.

“It’s like losing your best friend,” Espinal said, holding back tears.

She came together with dozens of others on a snowy day of remembrance, carrying brightly colored flowers and tissues as the names of the 265 victims were read.

On November 12, 2001 Flight 587 took off from John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport and began its trip to the Dominican Republic. It crashed in the Belle Harbor neighborhood shortly after takeoff, and stands as one of the country’s deadliest aviation incidents.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined the crowd of family and friends as they placed flowers near the names of their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends.

“Coming here every year is good support,” Espinal said. “It makes me feel really good. I feel like she’s here now. I know she’s watching me.”

 

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Airline merger leaves travelers wondering how they will be affected


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of  US Airways

American Airlines and US Airways agreed on a merger last week that will create the world’s biggest airline and bring the number of major U.S. carriers down to four.

The new airline will still be called American Airlines but will be run by US Airways CEO Doug Parker. On the new airline’s website promoting “the new American is arriving,” the companies ensure their customers will enjoy all the connections they have come to depend on – plus many more as the two entities come together.

According to the website, the larger new American Airlines will have more than 6,700 daily flights to 336 locations in 56 countries worldwide. Also, the airline hopes to “offer flights to more destinations, improved schedule options and worldwide connectivity through the oneworld Alliance.”

The new American Airlines will have the greatest service in the central regions and across the East Coast of the United States, with an extended presence and solid network in the west.

With news of the merger, frequent flyers are left wondering how their future travels will be affected and how their frequent flyer miles and points will translate over.

“Some of the frequent flyers have voiced some dismay over some of the routes that will be changed and now can’t fly their usual routes or from their usual airport,” said Dave Ma, 22, student from Flushing who was recently part of a flyer talk forum.

Although some flyers are worried prices will soar due to less competition, others are confident this merger will bring the new airline’s rates down.

“This union will allow the larger airline to take all the routes and it’s probably better for the customers since there will be less competition. They can charge less than other airlines and I think in the end it will affect other airlines, not flyers of American Airlines or US Airways,” said Diana Beck, 21.

Both airlines acknowledged the full merger will take at least 18 months.

 

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Queens’ Morning


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then clear. High of 43. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the West in the afternoon. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 37. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Much Ado About Nothing

On opening night of Much Ado About Nothing at The Secret Theatre in LIC, patrons receive chocolates, a rose and two glasses of pink bubbly in a two-for-$30 deal. Show runs from February 14 to March 2. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Bloomberg to propose more electric  car parking, Styrofoam ban

On the eve of his State of the City address, Mayor Michael Bloomberg had a new ban in store, as well as a parking proposal that might drive some New Yorkers crazy. Read more: CBS New York

NYS audit finds MTA is sitting on $90M

A New York State audit finds that the MTA overlooked over $90 million sitting in various bank accounts. Read more: Fox New York

Queens officials request meeting with FAA to discuss noise created by new flight patterns

Queens elected officials are urging the FAA to redesign flight patterns to curb aircraft noise around its two airports. Read more: New York Daily News

Rebuilt Rockaway beaches need more than a big dose of sand, locals say

There’s a whole lot of sand coming to storm-ravaged Rockaway Beach this year, but locals are worried it’s not enough to stave off another attack from Mother Nature. Read more: New York Daily News

DOE to allow students to transfer out of public schools getting phased out

Department Of Education officials announced Wednesday that they will allow families to transfer their children out of 61 public schools deemed by city officials to be failing. Read more: NY1

American Airlines, US Airways announce $11 billion merger

American Airlines and US Airways say they’re merging in a deal they value at $11 billion, creating the world’s biggest airline. Read more: ABC New York

 

Loved ones mark 11th anniversary of Flight 587 crash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Flickr/NYC Mayor's Office

As Queens still recovers from Sandy, those who lost loved ones from the Flight 587 crash gathered to mark the 11th anniversary of the tragedy Monday.

On November 12, 2001, the American Airlines flight to the Dominican Republic crashed over Belle Harbor shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing 260 aboard and five on the ground.

The  service, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke, was held at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in the Bronx instead of at the memorial in Rockaway Park, because the area is still damaged from the superstorm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 61. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 55. Winds from the SSE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: The Platinum Band

The Platinum Band is once again performing on the Resorts World Casino New York City’s Bar 360 Stage. The band, which boasts a heavy rotation of reggae music, takes you back to an era of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Students sickened after pepper spray is released in Queens school

One student was hospitalized, and 10 more had to be sent home, after pepper spray was discharged in a school lunchroom in South Ozone Park, Queens. Read more: CBS New York

Makeover for Queens traffic hub is underway

Pedestrian plazas and a gleaming stainless steel elevator are coming to Queens Blvd. and the Van Wyck Expressway but completion of the massive Kew Garden Interchange project is still years away. Read more: New York Daily News

Baggage handler who smuggled cocaine in planes is sentenced to life

An airline baggage handler who was convicted of trafficking millions of dollars’ worth of drugs in the bellies of commercial jets was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday, putting an emphatic stamp on a case that revealed rampant theft and corruption by some airline employees. Read more: New York Times

Union officials ask Queens district attorney for fair investigation of cop in fatal shooting of unarmed man on Grand Central Parkway

Union officals for the NYPD detective who shot an unarmed man to death on the Grand Central Parkway met Tuesday with the Queens district attorney to ask for a fair and impartial investigation. Read more: New York Daily News

NYC cabbie suspended after tossing passenger

A New York City cab driver has had his license suspended after a hearing in which he was shown on video shoving and pushing a passenger out of his cab. Read more: NBC New York

Face to face: Obama, Romney in crackling debate

An aggressive President Barack Obama accused challenger Mitt Romney of peddling a “sketchy deal” to fix the U.S. economy and playing politics with the deadly terrorist attack in Libya in a Tuesday night debate crackling with energy and emotion just three weeks before the election. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then a chance of rain in the afternoon. Fog early. High of 79. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain. Fog overnight. Low of 68. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT of the DAY: Hammer, Chisel, Drill: Noguchi’s Studio Practice

Hammer, Chisel, Drill: Noguchi’s Studio Practice opens today at The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City. The exhibit explores the working process of Japanese-American artist  Isamu Noguchi during his five studio periods from the 1940s until his death in 1988. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens teacher scolded for student-inmate cards

A teacher has received a warning letter from the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board for assigning her fifth graders to write Christmas cards to an inmate. Read more: NBC New York

School sends home bixsexual Queens student who wears ‘I enjoy vagina’ T-shirt

A Queens high school sent a student home Tuesday, saying her “I enjoy vagina” T-shirt was a distraction — but the bisexual teen says administrators are trouncing her free speech. Read more: New York Daily News

American Airlines: Improperly installed clamps to blame for loose seats

The American Airlines seat scare has expanded to a third flight. Some have suspected sabotage, but on Tuesday surfaced a new theory on what’s causing the loose seats. CBS New York

L.I. Police catch alligator in parking lot

A runaway alligator — now in the hands of animal officials on Long Island. Police were called to a Pathmark parking lot on Grand Avenue in Baldwin just before 8:00pm Tuesday night, where the 3-foot gator was spotted running loose. Read more: ABC New York

New York’s proposed council map is called unfair to minority groups

East Harlem would be split in two, and represented by two New York City Council members, including one from the Bronx. Two neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens with fast-growing Asian-American populations would be quartered, making it much more likely that the areas would continue to lack Asian-American elected voices.  Read more: New York Times

First debate sets up moment of high-risk theater

President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney come face to face for the first time in this presidential campaign Wednesday night for a nationally televised debate that will give millions of Americans a chance to size up two fierce competitors in a moment of high-risk theater. Read more: AP

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then rain in the afternoon. High of 73. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Tuesday night: Overcast with rain, then a chance of rain after midnight. Fog overnight. Low of 64. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT of the DAY: An Evening with Don Francisco, Celebrating 50 Years of Sábado Gigante

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with Don Francisco —a.k.a. Mario Kreutzberger. In a rare New York appearance, the variety show host will participate in an intimate discussion with a special guest moderator and show a selection of unforgettable clips from his Saturday night show’s 50-year history presented by Univisión. Sábado Gigante is the longest-running variety show in television history, and Don Francisco has been there from the beginning, hosting more than 2,600 episodes. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Girl struck by stray bullet while doing homework returns home for rally

A Queens community is saying enough is enough to gun violence after a teenager was shot while doing homework. Read more: CBS New  York

College student starts petition for Metro-North stop in Queens

A college student from Queens has launched a petition urging the MTA to open a Metro-North station in Queens. Quinnipiac University sophomore Ali Fadil, 18, of Whitestone, began collecting signatures about two weeks ago after he learned the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was looking at running trains on Metro-North’s New Haven line through western Queens. Read more: New York Daily News

Queens men get 6 1/2 years for role in fatal 2010 stabbing

Two Queens men were thrown in prison today for their role in the death of a good Samaritan who came to the aid of a transgender man the pair were bothering. Read more: New York Post

Second American Airlines flight returns to JFK after row of seats comes loose

Planes have been grounded and the feds are now investigating American Airlines. The Federal Aviation Administration is probing two separate instances of rows of airplane seats dislodging in mid-air. Read more: CBS New York

New Brooklyn arena serves as a test: Will fans accept smaller sodas?

At the amenity-laden Barclays Center in Brooklyn, hungry concertgoers can dine on fresh-from-Maine lobster rolls, gourmet barbecue brisket and slices of cheesecake from Junior’s on nearby Flatbush Avenue. Read more: New York Times

Candidates prep for debates; No. 2s campaign

The presidential candidates are leaving the heavy lifting of campaigning to their running mates Tuesday as they spend one more day preparing for their first debate, scheduled for Wednesday night. Read more: ABC New York/AP

 

Planes searched at JFK following hijack threat


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Two planes at JFK Airport were searched this afternoon following a possible terrorist threat, said multiple media reports.

Though the Port Authority could not confirm anything, recent footage from Fox 5 New York showed the two planes, reportedly an American Airlines flight from San Francisco and a Finnair plane originating from Helsinki, isolated on the runway with police, emergency and other vehicles nearby.

Around 3 p.m., Port Authority Police allegedly received an anonymous phone call claiming that “hijackers were hiding in the wheel wells of the plane and were wearing gas masks,” the New York Post reported.

Both Fox 5 and the Post said that similar hijacking threats were made to other national airports.

After the planes were investigated, they were allowed to head to the terminal around 5 p.m.

 

 

JFK workers busted in mini liquor theft ring


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens DA's Office

Eighteen former and current JFK workers were arrested in connection with the theft of more than 100,000 mini liquor bottles at the airport over the last five months, the Queens District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

The airport employees also stole duty-free items, including cigarette cartons, perfume and larger bottles of booze. In total, the retail value of the lifted goods is estimated at $750,000.

Three of the workers arrested were security guards and 15 were truck drivers for LSG Sky Chefs, the food and beverage subsidiary for American Airlines. Instead of transporting unsold mini liquor bottles from planes to a storage facility in the airport, they would steal them.

Earlier this year, the Port Authority Inspector General’s Office learned that Sky Chefs employees might be stealing liquor at JFK, and launched a joint uncover investigation with the District Attorney’s Airport Investigations Unit, leading to today’s arrests.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

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

Deadly St. Albans ‘DWI’ crash


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

4 Accused in Theft of Aid Meant for Nonprofit

In 2006, a Queens state senator, Shirley L. Huntley, set up a nonprofit group called Parent Workshop that was intended to help parents navigate the inner workings of New York City’s school system. Then she began funneling state aid to the group, whose executives had close ties to her. But the money never helped a single family in the school system, prosecutors said Wednesday. They said four people with ties to Parent Workshop were involved in the theft of nearly $30,000 in state aid that Ms. Huntley had secured. Read More: New York Times

 

[UPDATE] Cops hunt Long Island City rape suspects

Police are looking for three suspects in connection with the ambush and rape of a woman in Long Island City. According to police, the 20-year-old victim — who is from the neighborhood — was walking along Vernon Boulevard and 10th Street in L.I.C. at approximately 3:45 a.m. on Sunday, December 4 when she was grabbed by two of the suspects and dragged to a nearby parking lot. There, she was held down between parked cars and raped by a third man. Read More: Queens Courier

 

What Would Judy Say?

Judge Judy Sheindlin answers your questions about problems that trouble you most. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Kids meet former Mets’ hurler John Franco

Thirteen-year-old Joseph Santana stood in line wearing an oversized striped Mets jersey, clutching a cobalt blue baseball cap. He bobbed excitedly as the line grew shorter, anticipating his turn. When he reached the front of the line, he thrust the cap at former Mets relief pitcher John Franco, who scribbled his signature in black Sharpie marker across the brim. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Riders on the Q111 bus uneasy about their safety after fatal shooting 

Rattled riders on the Queens bus line where a gunman shot two passengers last week said they are scared that violence may erupt again. After Demel Burton, 34, went on a shooting spree on the Q111 on Friday, straphangers said it underscored the fact that bus drivers can’t protect them. Read More: Daily News

Alec Baldwin apologizes to American Airlines passengers for plane outburst, but not to flight attendant

 

Actor Alec Baldwin apologized Wednesday to fellow passengers for the cell phone inspired tirade that got him bounced from an American Airlines flight. But the Hollywood hothead remains enraged with airline staff. “I learned a valuable lesson,” he said in a Huffington Post article. “I’ve learned to keep my phone off when the 1950s gym teacher is on duty.” Baldwin claimed that the incident was triggered after “one employee singled me out to put my phone away” while the delayed flight was waiting at the gate. Read More: Daily News

Deadly St. Albans ‘DWI’ crash

An allegedly boozed-up driver was arrested after he slammed into two cars in Queens yesterday, killing a 21-year-old man, cops said. Curtis Dean, 25, was cruising south in an Infiniti on 201st Street in St. Albans when he smashed into a Ford sedan just after 5 a.m., sending the Ford into a resident’s yard, cops said.Three victims were taken to Jamaica Hospital, including a passenger in the Ford who died there. Dean also allegedly plowed into a parked SUV. He was hit with a slew of charges, including manslaughter and DWI. Read More: New York Post

 

Remembering John Lennon: On the Anniversary of His Death, 5 Iconic Moments (Video) via the Hollywood Reporter

Department of Transportation To Investigate Dangerous Queens Intersection

It’s almost like a game of chicken. Drivers speed through the stop sign on Vleigh Place in an attempt to beat cars with the right of way on 72nd Avenue. And while most make it through the intersection without a problem, neighborhood residents say they have witnessed a lot of accidents. “There have been about four accidents in the past maybe month and a half. People fly past the stop sign like it doesn’t exist,” said one resident. Read More: NY1

Long Island City Residents Urged To Stay Alert After Parking Lot Attack

Police say a woman in Queens was attacked by three men and raped earlier this week, and now residents and local leaders are urging others to stay alert. Watch the Video: NY1

Atomic Bomb Survivors Visit Flushing International High School

Survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings visited the Flushing International High School to speak with students Wednesday. Watch the Video: NY1

Lame defense: Graffiti suspect: I’m crippled

An ex-cop standing trial on charges that he had revived his youthful graffiti-vandal compulsion was walking with a limp and appeared to be incapable of the dexterity required for the avocation, the arresting officer testified yesterday. Steven Weinberg admits that he once was the infamous “Neo” who, during the height of the city’s 1980s graffiti scourge, “bombed” trains and trestles with his bubble-lettered signature. But his lawyer, Patrick Broderick, said Weinberg, with an injured leg, couldn’t possibly make the climb required recently to spray-paint his tag on an overpass. Read More: New York Post

 

American continues to fly, despite Chapter 11


| mchan@queenscourier.com

American Airlines — and its parent company AMR Corporation — have filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but the company said it is still operating normal flight schedules, as well as honoring tickets and refunds.

“This was a difficult decision, but it is the necessary and right path for us to take – and take now – to become a more efficient, financially stronger and competitive airline,” said AMR President Thomas Horton, who is also the company’s newly-appointed chairperson and CEO. “We have met our challenges head on, taking all possible action to secure our long-term position.”

AMR filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on November 29.

The Chapter 11 process enables the company to continue conducting normal business operations while they restructure their debt, costs and other obligations. According to the U.S. Courts, Chapter 11 debtors usually seek debt relief by proposing a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time.

According to a statement released by the company, AMR has $4.1 billion in unrestricted cash and short-term investments to ensure uninterrupted supply of goods and services during the proceedings. The money allotted will go toward fully maintaining AAdvantage frequent flyer and other customer service programs, ensuring all AAdvantage miles and elites status earned by members remain secure and intact, providing employee wages, healthcare coverage, vacation and other benefits without interruption and paying suppliers for goods and services received during the reorganization process.

AMR will be filing monthly operating reports with the Bankruptcy Court and also plans to post monthly operating reports on the Investor Relations section of their website, AA.com.

“Our very substantial cost disadvantage compared to our larger competitors, all of which restructured their costs and debt through Chapter 11, has become increasingly untenable given the accelerating impact of global economic uncertainty and resulting revenue instability, volatile and rising fuel prices and intensifying competitive challenges,” Horton said.

Competitors Delta, United, Continental and US Airways have all previously filed for Chapter 11 reorganizations.

“But as we have made clear with increasing urgency in recent weeks, we must address our cost structure, including labor costs, to enable us to capitalize on [our] foundational strengths and secure our future,” said Horton.

For more information, visit AA.com/restructuring.

Dr. Conrad Murray gets 4 years in jail for Michael Jackson death


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Comedian Patrice O’Neal Dead at 41

Comedian Patrice O’Neal died Tuesday morning … as a result of a stroke he suffered back in October…This according to his friends at the “Opie and Anthony” radio show. O’Neal had been a staple in the comedy world for years — and performed at the “Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen” back in September. O’Neal was a regular guest on the “Opie and Anthony” radio show – and appeared on several TV shows such as “Chappelle Show,” “The Office,” and “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn.” Opie just tweeted, “Yes it’s true that our pal Patrice O’Neal has passed away. The funniest and best thinker I’ve ever known PERIOD.” Read More: TMZ

American Airlines Has Normal Flights After Parent Company Files For Bankruptcy

American Airlines says its normal flight schedule will go on after filing for bankruptcy protection. AMR, the struggling carrier’s parent company, filed for Chapter 11 protection today. It also replaced American Airlines CEO Gerard Arpey with the company’s president, Thomas Horton. The airline says the move will help cut debt caused by high-jet fuel prices and labor problems. Travelers should not be affected for now, but the reorganization could lead to a reduced flight schedule and job cuts. American is the the third largest airline in the country and is the first major airline to file for bankruptcy since Delta in 2005. Read More: NY1

City might close Cypress Hills Collegiate Prep

Less than six years after opening its doors, a small school opened by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration might be on its way to closure. Cypress Hills Collegiate Prep (CHCP), which shares space in the Franklin K. Lane building with three other schools on Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn, received some bad news along with a “D” on its annual progress report – the city might move to close the school after only two graduating classes. Read More: Queens Courier

Iranian protesters storm British embassy

Dozens of hardline student protesters stormed the British Embassy and another British compound in Tehran Tuesday, destroying papers, reportedly setting the Union Jack flag afire and even carrying off a portrait of the Queen while staff fled to safety. Read More: New York Post

Richmond Hill family convicted of defrauding innocent victims

Three members of a Richmond Hill family have been convicted of defrauding 19 individuals, mostly members of the borough’s West Indies community, out of more than $1.8 million over a nearly six-year period by promising to assist them in obtaining “federally seized” properties in Florida and Queens at cheap prices or to assist them in gaining legal status in this country. Read More: Queens Courier

Dr. Conrad Murray gets 4 years in jail for Michael Jackson death
The disgraced doctor whose “medicine madness” killed Michael Jackson was sentenced to the maximum term of four years behind bars and a tongue-lashing Tuesday. Dr. Conrad Murray, 58, was branded a callous, reckless liar who violated his Hippocratic oath and left the King of Pop to die alone in his own bed by the judge. Read More: Daily News

Queens home sales & property values keep sliding at faster rate than rest of city
Queens homeowners are feeling the pain of the housing slump. The volume of home sales in the borough fell by 9% in the third quarter, compared with the same period last year, according to a report from NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. The decline exceeded the drop in home sales citywide, which measured 4%. Queens also stood out when it came to declining property values. Prices in the borough have depreciated 30% from their peak levels, which were reached in the fourth quarter of 2006. Read More: Daily News

War of words between Flushing Councilman and Police Department

Antoinette Carona buried her only son on what would have been his 22nd birthday earlier this month. Carona has lived in a self-described “hell” as she waits for the killer of her son, Alex Botero, to be caught. Botero was shot execution style in an elevator of the James A. Bland Houses in Flushing on Halloween night. More than 40 residents of the Bland Houses and nearby Latimer Gardens attended a community meeting on Nov. 15 to express their concerns over safety in the area. But there was one very important element missing: The police. Not a single representative from the 109th Precinct attended, City Councilman Peter Koo said, sparking a war of words between the lawmaker and NYPD. Read More: Daily News

Civic group starts new push to get historic Forest Park Carousel landmark status 

Concerned about the fate of the Forest Park Carousel, which has been shuttered since 2008, civic leaders have launched a new effort to win the historic amusement landmark status. The city has been unable to find an operator for the hand-carved wooden carousel, crafted by Daniel Carl Muller more than 100 years ago. Read More: Daily News

 

Soldiers reunited with four-legged friends


| mchan@queenscourier.com

dogweb

Trading in sand for grass, they now have a stamp in their passports and a new home in America.

Rio, Beethoven, Gus, Liberty and Charlie were among the 14 stray dogs from Afghanistan anxiously waiting, with wagging tails, to be reunited with their now official owners — U.S. soldiers who befriended and “adopted” the pooches while serving halfway around the world.

On Wednesday, November 16, the tarmac of JFK Airport saw a heartwarming event, as soldiers and pups embraced with hugs, kisses and slobbery licks.

The project, “Operation American Reunite,” was led by a group called Nowzad Dogs — the first and only dog rescue organization serving stray animals in Afghanistan. With the help of American Airlines, American Dog Rescue, and Cathy Kangas, CEO of PRAI Beauty, the four-legged friends were first transported by a freight operation from Kabul, Afghanistan, to Dubai, and then to London.

From there, American Airlines Cargo flew them to JFK, where more than a dozen soldiers — who were also flown in from their respective hometowns across the country — anticipated taking home their furry companions.

Each dog was taken to a veterinarian prior to the reunion.

The troop members had taken in the pups while serving in Afghanistan, but had to leave them behind when their deployments ended. According to reports, the soldiers said the canines were unwavering companions who helped ease the stresses of war and homesickness.