Tag Archives: Andrew Cuomo

Con Ed, union reach deal, end lock out


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Thunderstorms threatening New York City helped Con Edison and its workers strike a tentative deal ending a month long lock out.

After a temporary deal was struck earlier in the day to send some workers back to the job, Con Ed, Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a tentative agreement on a new four-year deal.

“We would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his support and guidance in helping Con Edison and the leadership of UWUA Local 1-2 reach a tentative agreement that is fair and equitable for our employees and customers,” Con Ed said in a statement.  “We look forward to our union employees returning to work. We appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in the talks to reach this agreement.”

All electrical operations workers are to head to work immediately, the union’s website said, with all other employees to return for their next regular shift.

Electric operations workers were to return to work to assist with potential power restoration resulting from approaching storms before the deal was reached.

“Our people are certainly not going to let down New York City if there is an emergency,” said John Melia, spokesperson for Local 1-2.

But now any problems that arise during the potentially dangerous storms will have a fully staffed Con Ed to handle them.

Approximately 8,500 workers have been locked out since the beginning of July. Over that time, 5,000 management personnel have maintained the system.

 

Update: Cuomo signs bill banning tanning for children under 17


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Queens teenagers who want glowing, bronze skin may soon have no choice but to burn at the beach.

The New York State Senate and Assembly recently passed legislation to outlaw the use of indoor tanning parlors for teens 16 and under, to help protect the kids from the dangers of skin cancer from ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitting devices.

The bills were delivered to Governor Andrew Cuomo on July 6, and became law on July 16 with his signature.  The law takes effect in 30 days.

“Exposure to UV radiation can be extremely harmful, particularly for younger people, and this new law will help protect teenagers from the heightened risk of skin cancer that can come from using indoor tanning devices,” Cuomo said. “This legislation recognizes that many tanning salons are small businesses facing economic challenges, however, protecting our children must always be our first priority. I thank Senator Fuschillo and Assemblymember Weisenberg for their hard work on this legislation.”

“Research has shown that indoor UV tanning can significantly increase the chances of developing skin cancer and that the rays produced by indoor tanning machines are far more intense than those produced by the sun,” said Senator Charles Fuschillo, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. “This legislation would help protect children from something that could cause them serious harm later in life.”

The bills, S2917 and S3083, strengthen the state’s current law, which prohibits tanning for kids under the age of 14 and allows teens between ages 14 through 17 to receive indoor treatment with parental consent.

The law would also require 17 year olds to show parental consent to tanning salons.

Indoor tanning before age 30 increases a person’s chances of getting cancer by 75 percent, according to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

UV emitting tanning devices are classified by the IARC in the highest level of cancer risk, placing them in the same category as asbestos and cigarette smoke.

“Melanoma as you may already know is the most dangerous and deadly form of skin cancer,” said Dr. Carol Huang, a dermatologist at Queens Crossing Dermatology in Flushing. “If detected early, it can be effectively treated, but if discovered late, it can metastasize. A ban on teenage tanning would be beneficial to their health.”

Local officials are also behind the bill, praising its foresight.

“The law will attempt to reduce total lifetime exposure to concentrated UV light and cut associated risks,” said Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi, who sits on the Health Committee and supported the measure.

The original draft of the bill was intended to outlaw tanning for all teens under 18, but was altered to accommodate small business.

“Small salons thought if we went up to 18 it would be detrimental to business,” a representative of Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said. “We view this change as a reasonable compromise.”

However, tanning companies aren’t buying lawmakers’ approach to sizzle their business. The Indoor Tanning Association is rallying support to shut the proposed changes down, as well as others like it around the nation.

“I don’t see why it’s so necessary, we are regulated already,” said Vanessa Staffa, director of operations in Queens for Beach Bum Tanning — a popular chain that owns six locations in the borough. “There are still going to be people going to the beach or online and purchasing home units, irresponsibly, because there will be nobody to regulate them.”

James Oliver, CEO of Beach Bum Tanning, added that indoor tanning should be a personal or at least parental decision and not taken away from the government.

But a local teen disagreed.

“It’s fair,” said Whitestone resident Taylor Lamacchia. “Sixteen-year-olds don’t know what’s best for them. If their friends are tanning they will also tan.

Lamacchia, 18, who has been tanning frequently since she was 16 to improve her appearance, added, “Parents want to be their children’s friends so they take them tanning at a young age to help them fit in, but they are truly putting their children at risk.”

Stabbed MTA officer John Barnett released from hospital


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Mike Stavisky

MTA officer John Barnett, who fended off an attacker that stabbed him in the eye, was released from the hospital last night.

Despite an injury that could potentially take sight from one of his eyes, Barnett was able to fire four shots into his attacker, who police say assailed the veteran transit cop for no reason, at the Jamaica LIRR station.

Barnett, who has served the MTA for almost 13 years, was attacked by a knife-weilding Edgar Owens on Wednesday, July 4 when Owens confronted the officer, and proceeded to stab him in the eye. After repeated warnings, the officer shot at Owens four times — hitting him thrice, MTA officials said.

Both were brought to Jamaica Hospital, where Owens was later pronounced dead, officials said.

Barnett was released last night, though no prognosis was made on his eye’s recovery.

Had the stabbing been one inch deeper, it would have made contact with Barnett’s brain, an MTA spokesperson.

Service was not interrupted during the investigation, except for some temporarily-blocked staircases.

MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota rushed to Jamaica Hospital after hearing about the altercation, according to an MTA release.

Lhota said that hopes were high for Barnett and commended him for his bravery.

“The entire MTA family is praying for Officer Barnett to make a full recovery,” Lhota said. “He did exactly what we expect of all of our officers: In a split second, confronted with a violent individual who posed a threat to everyone around him, he took action without regard to his personal safety. We are all in awe of his bravery.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo also called Barnett and likewise recognized his heroics in the statement.

“Today we are reminded once again of the bravery and sacrifice of our men and women in law enforcement, and the many dangers that accompany the important job of keeping our state’s residents safe,” Cuomo said. “We applaud Officer Barnett’s bravery and pray for a full recovery.”

Barnett served one year with the NYPD before moving over to the MTA in 1999, according to the MTA. He has also served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as an officer in the Naval Reserves.

‘Landmark’ tax relief on the way for co-op and condo owners


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Co-op and condo owners left in the lurch after state lawmakers originally closed the year’s session without passing key pieces of legislation will not be forsaken for long, officials pledged.

The Assembly, Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo have reached an agreement on “landmark” tax relief legislation that will be signed into law later this year when legislators return to Albany, according to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“In the short term, the city has issued tax bills for the current fiscal year based on the current tax abatement rates,” Silver said. “When the legislation is signed into law as promised by the governor, we anticipate that the new lower rates will be effective retroactive to July 1.”

Co-op and condo community leaders said the state Legislature left them “high and dry” last week after lawmakers adjourned the session without extending the city’s J-51 program and its tax abatement program. A bill that would put a halt to skyrocketing property tax valuations was also not addressed by the end of the session, they said.

The J-51 program gives owners partial property tax exemptions for capital improvements, and the abatement reduces the difference in property taxes paid by Class 2 co-op and condo properties and one-, two- and three-family homes in Class 1 — which are assessed at a lower percentage of market value.

Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, said residents would pay up to an additional $1,200 a year in maintenance costs without the abatement. Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village Owners, Inc., also counted his potential losses, saying his community would lose out on about $1 million.

But local elected officials said co-op owners need not worry about tax increases in the near future. The abatement, which expired June 30, will be continued until the State Legislature reconvenes later this year to pass a new plan, they said.

Assemblymember Ed Braunstein said it was “highly likely” the legislature would also pass his bill, which would increase abatements for middle class co-op owners from 17.5 percent to 25 percent this year and over 28 percent in three years.

“Co-op owners should be encouraged that relief is right around the corner,” Braunstein said.

Meanwhile, co-op and condo community leaders said they remain hopeful for a more permanent, long-term fix on annual valuation spikes.

According to a summary report released by the Department of Finance (DOF) this year, taxes are expected to rise by 7.5 percent for co-op owners and 9.6 percent for condo owners across the city, while owners of single-family homes will see an increase of 2.8 percent. Last year, officials said, some co-op and condo valuations saw astronomical increases as high as 147 percent.

A pair of audits released this year by the city comptroller’s office found the DOF at fault for causing upheavals in condo and co-op property values — a determining factor in property taxes — when it changed its formula for calculating them in fiscal year 2011-12.

Still, a proposed “8/30” valuation cap — which would have limited property tax increases to 8 percent per year or 30 percent over five years — was not passed, and Friedrich said he does not expect a solution to be reached for another year.

“I am optimistic, but actions do speak louder than words,” he said.

Senator Peralta says Willets Point perfect for convention center


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Courting of Willets Point as a potential site for what could be the nation’s largest convention center – and a major booster for New York City’s economy – has begun, with an open letter from State Senator Jose Peralta to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

In the letter, Peralta notes that he supported the governor’s original announcement in January to build a convention center at Aqueduct.

He goes on to say that although it was unfortunate that current talks have fallen through, there are still options in north Queens.

“Fortunately, there is another viable venue in Queens that, I hope you will agree, has numerous significant advantages over other locations reportedly under consideration elsewhere in the city,” he writes. “That site is Willets Point.”

Peralta says the area that is currently the Iron Triangle would be ideal as it is close to Citi Field, the National Tennis Center and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

“I hope you will give Willets Point the serious consideration its many advantages warrant and look forward to a meaningful discussion of the site’s merits,” Peralta writes.

Matilda Cuomo signs her book in Howard Beach


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Matilda Raffa Cuomo said she wants her book, “The Person Who Changed My Life,” to help those who may feel down on their luck, so they know they are not alone.

The mother of Governor Andrew Cuomo and wife of former governor Mario Cuomo appeared at the office of Scott Baron & Associates, P.C. in Howard Beach on Thursday, May 31 to sign copies of her book, which is in its third edition. This updated version features stories from Dr. Mehmet Oz and former President Bill Clinton — among several others. All proceeds from book sales will go to Mentoring USA, the program Cuomo founded and chairs.

“It’s a handy device to have for people who are down on themselves or feeling neglect or rejection,” Cuomo said of her book’s goal. “It’s unbelievable how a mentor can pick you up and give you the self-confidence and the sense of well-being that you never thought you had.”

Cuomo, a teacher by profession, began Mentoring USA in 1995 to guide children lacking a positive figure in their lives. Born from an initiative when Cuomo was New York State’s first lady, the original program was statewide and school-based; after Mario Cuomo lost the 1994 election, her son Andrew urged her to revive the program and take it nationwide. In 1999, her daughter Madeline suggested she compile a book of people’s stories and how a mentor guided each to success.

Cuomo said she brought a philosophy from teaching with her into the program. Her three pillars for success for a child are: the home, the school and the community. All of these, she said, must stay strong in order for a child to succeed.

“It’s an honor to have the current first mom and former first lady of New York State here today,” said Baron. “Her message of mentoring is very appropriate as an example of being a fine American.”

Cuomo calls for decriminalization of marijuana possession


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced plans to urge lawmakers to decriminalize the public possession of small amounts of marijuana in New York.

Private possession of marijuana is currently a violation and Cuomo said this change would bring consistency and fairness to the law.

Carrying less than 25 grams of marijuana in public would become a violation punishable by a maximum fine of $100 rather than a class B misdemeanor. Smoking and selling the drug in public would remain a crime.

The governor said that more than 60 percent of the people arrested for possession of marijuana were young and 94 percent were minorities.

“The effect of a criminal conviction of a young person can alter the trajectory of their entire life,” Cuomo said at the press conference in Albany.

It was also largely a city issue with 94 percent of the arrests coming within the five boroughs.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a statement today in support of changing the law.

Last year, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly issued a directive to his officers to issue violations, rather than misdemeanors, for small amounts of marijuana that come into open view during a search.

“The governor’s proposal today is consistent with the commissioner’s directive, and strikes the right balance by ensuring that the NYPD will continue to have the tools it needs to maintain public safety — including making arrests for selling or smoking marijuana,” Bloomberg said.

 

Afternoon Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup2

Passenger plane crashes in Nigeria’s largest city

A passenger plane crashed into a two-story building in Nigeria’s largest city of Lagos on Sunday, officials said. Read more: USA Today

Man Wanted For Attempted Child Kidnapping In Queens

Police are searching for a man they say tried to kidnap a young boy last week in St. Albans. Authorities say Mark Synclair, 33, tried to grab the seven-year-old child outside P.S. 192 on Tuesday morning. Read more: NY1

Cuomo’s $4 Billion Plan for Project in Queens Falls Apart

A $4 billion plan announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to create the country’s largest convention center and a casino in Queens has fallen apart, the governor acknowledged on Friday. Read more: NY Times

Die-hard Mets fan arrested after running onto field following Santana’s no-hitter

A front-row seat at Citi Field: $315. Getting arrested for storming the pitcher’s mound: a possible $1,000 fine and a year in jail. Being a part of Mets history: priceless. Rafael Diaz, 32, lived the dream of every fanatic Friday night when he bolted past security to join the joyous huddle of Amazin’s congratulating pitcher Johan Santana moments after he succeeded in putting in the books the team’s first-ever no-hitter. Read more: NY Post

Three-Car LIE Crash Kills Two In Queens

Two people are dead and a child is injured after a three-car crash on the Long Island Expressway in Queens. Investigators say a yellow taxi cab was traveling westbound on the LIE near 66th Street in Maspeth when it slammed into the rear of a Porsche at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday. Read more: NY1

Queens jury clears former NYPD narcotics detective charged with planting drugs on bar patrons

A Queens jury has cleared a former NYPD narcotics detective charged with planting drugs on innocent victims. Adolph Osback was acquitted of multiple charges of falsifying police reports, perjury and official misconduct after jurors deliberated for only 90 minutes Wednesday, his attorney Damien Brown said. Read more: Daily News

Updated “I Love NY” logo is heartless


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

New York’s iconic “I Love NY” campaign is now heartless.

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced an update to the memorable “I Love NY” campaign featuring different New York-centric items replacing the logo’s heart.

“This campaign reinvents one of our state’s great assets — the ‘I Love NY’ icon — which is known the world over as one of the most successful advertising symbols ever,” Cuomo said. “This campaign brings that icon to life in order to highlight all of the things people love about New York.”

Among the objects standing in place of the heart are thoroughbreds, wine glasses and Niagara Falls.

The “I Love NY” logo was originally created in the mid-70s by Milton Glaser.

Glaser recently told the New York Post that he was contacted to be part of the new ad campaign only after significant work had been done.

“I saw one that said, ‘I Pizza NY.’ I don’t get it,” Glaser told the Post.

Residents can remake the logo with what they adore about New York online at www.iloveny.com or submit@followyourheartny.com. Select drawings may be used to replace the heart in “I Love NY” in new ads focused on New York’s many different experiences in future campaigns.

The new ads are part of a $5 million tourism marketing campaign. The “I Love NY” ad campaign is expected to expand to feature other tourism seasons in the future.

Health Exchange will make insurance more accessible


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The governor issued an executive order recently establishing a statewide health insurance exchange after the state legislature failed to pass the bill last year.
Governor Andrew Cuomo established the New York Health Benefit Exchange on Thursday, April 12 saying, “The bottom line is that creating this health exchange will lower the cost of health insurance for small businesses, local governments and individual New Yorkers across the state.”

The statewide health care exchange will allow individuals and businesses to purchase health insurance through a state marketplace, and will comply with President Barack Obama’s health care plan. If a state did not institute one by January 2014, it would be enrolled in the federal program.

More than 2.7 million New Yorkers are uninsured, costing the state and local governments more than $600 million per year — this adds an additional $800 in premiums to a family’s average cost every year, the governor’s office said.

“The sky-high cost of insurance in New York is driving businesses out of the state and preventing lower income New Yorkers from being able to afford needed coverage,” Cuomo said. “Establishing the health exchange will bring true competition into the health care marketplace, driving costs down across the state.”

Twelve other states have established health insurance exchanges since the president enacted the Affordable Care Act in March 2010; two of the dozen states’ exchanges were also instituted through an executive order.

The Democratic-controlled Assembly passed the New York Health Benefit Exchange in June, but the Republican-controlled Senate did not vote on the measure prior to the ending of the year’s legislative session.

The exchange will be created within the state’s Health Department as opposed to as a separate entity, as was originally proposed in the legislation.

“During these tough economic times, access to quality, affordable health care is more important than ever,” said Karen Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action of New York. “By creating New York’s Health Insurance Exchange, over 1 million people who don’t have health coverage will.”

New York’s first full gaming legislature passed


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

Full casino gaming could be in the cards for NYS, as the first round of legislation, in favor of expanding the state’s regulations, was passed by both houses.

Senator Joseph Addabbo, a member of the Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, released a statement following the announcement of the legislature’s passing. Although Addabbo was absent for this process on protest, he supported the passage of New York State Gaming legislation.

“It is a step closer to having our residents vote on a referendum that could bring full gaming to the state,” said Addabbo. “It is a step closer for my constituents to have thousands of additional job opportunities at Resorts World. It is a step closer for our local communities, businesses, along with city and state governments to realize a greater potential for revenue growth.”

While Addabbo applauds this move forward, he advises that future maneuvers be done cautiously, utilizing community participation.

“I am an advocate for community input on these issues and feel most people would want their voices heard before any plans are implemented,” said Addabbo. “I look forward to working for my constituents and hearing their concerns on this issue.”

Stefan Friedman, a spokesperson from Resorts World Casino, says the passing of this legislature is a “significant step” towards full commercial gaming.

According to Friedman, laws to legalize full gaming have gone through the first round of negotiations several times in the past, but were halted before completely approved. Friedman claimed that in order for it to become legalized, two separate legislatures need to be approved – the second of which will not be decided on until 2013.

Friedman said Resorts World is eager to expand its operations if enhanced gaming is allowed. He estimates the expansion will create hundreds of additional jobs and garner millions in additional revenue – funds that are currently being spent out of state in nearby spots like Atlantic City, New Jersey where table gaming is available.

According to Friedman, between $3.1 billion to $5 billion leaves the state every year for entertainment and gaming in cites outside NYS.

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Actor George Clooney and father arrested at Sudanese embassy in Washington

Actor George Clooney was arrested along with his father and several members of Congress outside the Sudanese Embassy Friday as they protested the country’s blockade of food and aid. Clooney, who most recently starred in “The Descendants,” and his fellow protesters were warned three times not to cross a police line outside the building on Washington’s Embassy Row. Read More: New York Post

 

Trial Resumes For Off-Duty Officer Charged In Inwood Rape

Testimony resumes today in the trial of an off-duty police officer accused of raping a Manhattan teacher. Opening remarks began yesterday in the trial of Michael Pena, 27. He’s pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and sexual assault. Prosecutors say Pena asked the 25-year-old woman for directions in Inwood in the early morning hours of August 19. They say he then threatened her with his service weapon, forced her into a courtyard and raped her. Read More: NY1

 

Yankees sign Pettitte to contract

The Yankees on Friday re-signed Andy Pettitte to a minor-league contract with the likelihood he will return to pitch in the majors. The deal is for one-year, $2.5 million. Pettitte, who attended spring training as a special instructor, got the itch to return and the sides agreed on Thursday night. Read More: New York Post

Dharun Ravi guilty of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, other counts in Rutgers spying case

An ex-Rutgers student was convicted Friday of bias intimidation and 14 other charges for using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate’s dorm-room trysts with another man. Dharun Ravi, 20, sat stoically as the jury returned its damning verdict in a case that caused a national furor when the outed roommate jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge. Read More: Daily News

Man stabbed in the eye with fork in Chelsea diner; suspect arrested

A man was stabbed in the eye with a fork during an argument at a Chelsea diner early Friday, police said. The suspect was arrested at the scene, the Good Stuff Diner on West 14th St., where a man was killed in a dispute over a debt in 2010. Friday’s violence happened just before 5 a.m. Read More: Daily News

Cuomo Signs New Pension Deal Into Law

Governor Andrew Cuomo put his executive pen to paper today on a new state pension reform deal. Cuomo signed the legislation surrounded by mayors and county executives from around the state. The deal for pension reform was reached in marathon sessions of the legislature late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. It creates a new Tier VI in the state pension plan, requires new hires to contribute more to their plans, and raises the retirement age from 62 to 63. Read More: NY1

Liu fund raiser’s ‘cruel’ fate


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Liu fund raiser’s ‘cruel’ fate

A day after she was slapped with federal fraud charges for alleged illegal fund-raising on behalf of John Liu’s mayoral campaign, Jia “Jenny” Hou described New York as a “cruel city” and questioned who can be trusted. In a missive on her Chinese social-networking page, Hou, 25, told friends that she’s OK — despite facing a maximum of 60 years behind bars if convicted on a slew of charges. Read More: New York Post

One teen, two others shot on Jamaica Avenue

One teenager and two 20-year-olds were shot on Jamaica Avenue in what was according to witnesses, likely gang-related activity. The shootings took place outside a Jamaica Avenue Wendy’s this afternoon at approximately 3 p.m. Two victims were shot in the leg, with one taking a bullet to the arm. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Governor’s Proposed Convention Center May Fall Flat, Skeptics Say

Some key stakeholders are sounding off as the debate heats up over Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to build the country’s largest convention center in Queens. Since the governor announced the plan in his State of the State Address in early January that he wanted to build a massive convention center at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens and dismantle the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan there has been a lot of skepticism about the proposal. Key players and policy shapers are divided. At a breakfast forum hosted by Crain’s New York Business Thursday, concerns were raised about the true cost of the center, its proposed location, and whether it would be successful. Read More: NY1

 

 

 

Rezone plan for Richmond Hill and Woodhaven get thumbs down from some merchants 

A city plan to rezone parts of Richmond Hill and Woodhaven is getting a thumbs down from some local business leaders who say it’s too restrictive. “The new census data is showing the community has increased so why are we talking about down-zoning,” said Vishnu Mahadeo, president of the Richmond Hill Economic Development Corp. “I have signed petitions from people who oppose this. They did not know this would happen when they bought their property.” Read More: Daily News

 

 

Upstate widow accused of violating law with ‘slave’ maid
A wealthy upstate widow allegedly turned her multimillion-dollar mansion into a “forced labor” camp where her helpless immigrant maid worked 17-hour days for years while sleeping in a closet. Annie George, whose real-estate mogul husband, Mathai, died in a 2009 plane crash, allegedly made the woman cook meals, clean the 30,000-square-foot estate and care for the family’s six children, according to a federal criminal complaint. Read More: New York Post

Queens hotel fire rescue


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens hotel fire rescue

Firefighters fought their way through heavy smoke and shooting flames yesterday to rescue a man with no pulse from a burning Queens motel and bring him back to life. The victim was in a third-floor room at the Conduit Motor Inn in South Ozone Park at around 4 p.m. when members of Engine 302 and Ladder 155 arrived on scene. Firefighter John Summerville crawled into the room to stay beneath the smoke. “I found him face down by the window. The situation was like an inferno,” Summerville said. After reaching the victim, described as being in his 40s, Summerville pulled him out and put him in an ambulance, where another member of Engine 302 began performing CPR and got a pulse back. Read More: New York Post

Cuomo Turns His Budget Focus To Public Pensions, Education System

Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting ready to reveal his budget proposal for the new fiscal year on Tuesday. Although the governor would not share many details of the expected $130 billion plan in advance, he touted on Monday a brighter picture looking forward. “The good work that we did last year is actually going to pay dividends this year,” said Cuomo. “So, from just a budget point of view, where we had a true crisis last year, we had a $10 billion deficit, we had chaos. We have a much better budget situation on the numbers.” “We got a good start last year, moving in a better and a new direction. Took about a 90-degree turn,” said Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco of Schenectady. Read More: NY1

Astoria Houses kids now have ‘Promise’

More than 1,600 underprivileged children have been “granted” the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Local elected officials and community leaders gathered on January 13 to announce that a $500,000 Promise Neighborhood planning grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) had been procured for the children of the Astoria Houses. Read More: Queens Courier

Druggists’ cure for anxiety: a pistol

Your friendly neighborhood pharmacist will soon be locked and loaded. Rattled druggists from Long Island to the city are increasingly applying for gun permits following a spate of fatal robberies by armed thugs desperate to score highly addictive painkillers. “I’m applying for a pistol permit because of this,’’ said Todd Svec, 48, a pharmacist and owner of the Arlo Drug store in Massapequa Park, LI. “I will feel safer if I have one.’’  Svec’s wife is also a pharmacist at the store — and his four daughters work there. He pointed out that Charlie’s Family Pharmacy in Seaford, LI, where on New Year’s Eve a pill-popping ex-con attempted a stickup that left the thug and an off-duty federal agent dead “is just two miles from here.”  Read More: New York Post

Baby born on PATH train between NJ & NYC

Next stop, maternity ward! A woman went into labor on a New York-bound PATH train yesterday, and her baby took the express track — he was born before the train even pulled in to its Manhattan terminal. When Rabita Sarkar and her husband, Aditya Saurabh, left their Harrison, NJ, home they were still planning their unborn child’s exciting future. But by the time their train rumbled into Manhattan’s 33rd Street station, they were a new family, complete with a baby boy and a train car full of honorary uncles and aunts. “He came in a very dramatic fashion,” the smiling new mom told The Post from her bed at Roosevelt Hospital. Read More: New York Post

One more time, vengeance shall be Giants’

The Giants wanted another shot at the 49ers, wanted the stakes higher than they were in November. Now they have it, and it doesn’t bother them in the least that the game is in San Francisco, because they would play this one, the one that is the Golden Gateway to Glory, on the moon. Jim Harbaugh has restored the pride to a storied franchise, and 60 minutes from the Super Bowl means the Giants will be expecting a hostile environment Sunday night — and possibly a rainy one as well — at Candlestick Park. “I can care less about how hostile it is, it’s a game,” Antrel Rolle said. “When you’re home, you want to bring ’em to their feet. When you’re away, you want to bring ’em to their knees, and that’s the way I look at it.” Read More: New York Post

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announces blackout to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress

Wikipedia will black out the English language version of its website Wednesday to protest anti-piracy legislation under consideration in Congress, the foundation behind the popular community-based online encyclopedia said in a statement Monday night. The website will go dark for 24 hours in an unprecedented move that brings added muscle to a growing base of critics of the legislation. Wikipedia is considered one of the Internet’s most popular websites, with millions of visitors daily. “If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States,” the Wikimedia foundation said. Read More: Daily News

Figoski’s ‘murderer’ says he never set out to ‘kill a cop’


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Figoski’s ‘murderer’ says he never set out to ‘kill a cop’

The thug accused of gunning down Officer Peter Figoski last month during a botched Brooklyn robbery told detectives after his arrest he was “sorry” and never set out to “kill a cop.” “I’m sorry for what I did,” Lamont Pride blurted out as the detectives drove him to Central Booking, according to court papers made public at a brief hearing in Brooklyn Supreme Court yesterday. “I didn’t mean for this to happen,” Pride whined. Read More: New York Post

NYC employee arrested for allegedly selling drugs in front of residential building in Queens

A New York City employee has been arrested on drug charges. Police say 47-year-old Donald Gibbs was arrested for allegedly selling drugs in front of a residential building in Queens Wednesday evening. Police say Gibbs was employed as a NYPD school safety agent. He was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer. Read More: New York Post

Mega Convention Center Planned for Queens

There were two major points in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech that everyone saw coming, both of which have a lot to do with Queens. During his speech on Wednesday, January 4, the governor formally introduced the idea of legalizing full table gaming in New York State, which would mean big news for Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park. He also revealed his plan to initiate the building of the country’s largest convention center on that ground, the former site of the Aqueduct Racino. Read More: Queens Courier

Life for pregnant-gal slay

A Queens man convicted of murdering his pregnant girlfriend was tossed into prison for 25 years to life yesterday. Derrick Redd, 39, of Far Rockaway, was found guilty of stabbing Naisha Delain about 30 times, killing her and their unborn son on the baby’s due date. Before Redd was sentenced by Queens Supreme Court Justice Daniel Lewis, he slammed the judge for denying his lawyer’s motion to throw out the jury’s verdict. Delain’s mom, Towanda Wimms, and other family members left the court praising the judge with applause. Read More: New York Post

Judge rips man who set up ex-girlfriend as ‘diabolical” & sends him to jail for 32 years

A Queens judge sentenced a cunning private eye to 32 years in prison Wednesday, calling him a “diabolical conniver and sinister manipulator” who framed his ex-girlfriend for robbery after she accused him of rape. Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter tore into Jerry Ramrattan for trying to bolster his plea for mercy by bragging about the help he had given law enforcement agencies as a confidential informant. Read More: Daily News

Overview of Cuomo’s 2012 State of the State Address

 

In his second State of the State speech since taking office, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he plans to straighten out the state’s fiscal problems while expanding job growth and strengthening education. In front of hundreds of lawmakers, policy leaders and other New Yorkers, the governor delivered his vision for 2012 – a vision that seeks to spin stagnation into governmental action. Read More & Watch the Video: Queens Courier

State Liquor Authority postpones decision for controversial Long Island City strip club

Supporters and opponents of a proposed Long Island City strip club have two more weeks to make their case before the State Liquor Authority. Commissioners from the authority heard more than an hour of testimony Wednesday but delayed a decision until a January 18 meeting so they can pore through reports and other documents submitted by the Gypsy Rose’s operators, known as 21 Group Inc. Elected officials and community leaders have fought bitterly over the last few years to stop the club from opening at the 21st Street location, just at the foot of the Queensboro Bridge. Read More: Daily News

Alleged Queens firebomber wanted to massacre Muslims in mosque, prosecutors say

The unhinged Queens pyromaniac who unleashed a scary New Year’s Day firebombing spree had planned to take out “as many Muslims and Arabs as possible” by lobbing Molotov cocktails at worshipers inside a mosque, prosecutors said. Ray Lazier Lengend, 40, allegedly told cops he had planned to inflict “as much damage as possible” by hurling all five of his firebombs from the balcony of Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center onto the crowd below.
The hateful bomb-hurler, who is under psychiatric observation at Bellevue Hospital center, flat-out told detectives he did not like Muslims or Arabs, prosecutors said. “This is a message to anyone who does this in the future,” said Imam Maan Al-Sahlani, leader of Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center, where Lengend planned to inflict major casualties. “It’s a good message that justice will come for you, the police will come for you.” Read More: Daily News