Tag Archives: Barack Obama

St. John’s fencers meet Obama


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of St. John’s University

They got to travel and compete in London, and now two St. John’s University fencers can add meeting the president to their stat sheet.

Seniors Daryl Homer and Dagmara Wozniak met President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden last week as part of the commander in chief’s meeting with USA’s Olympians a month after they crossed the pond to compete.

“I’m unbelievably grateful to have met President Obama,” Homer said in a release from St. John’s. “This is a memory I will always cherish.”

Homer took a year off from NCAA eligibility to train and practice for the summer games. During that time he trained twice a day, focusing on footwork, sparring and practicing drills, adding up to around 20 hours a week.

He finished sixth in men’s saber at the summer games — the best for an American in that class this year — after he beat Russian second-seeded Alexey Yakimenko in his first round.

Although Wozniak traveled to Beijing with team USA in 2008 as a substitute player, she did not walk with the other athletes or take part in the games. The Polish-born Wozniak finally made her Olympic appearance this year. She finished eighth in the women’s saber competition — reaching the quarterfinals — following her victory over the seventh seed in the round of 16.

Wozniak said meeting the president was something that would stick with her forever.

“It was an amazing day,” Wozniak said. “Meeting the president and being able to take a tour of the White House is something I’ll never forget.”

Wozniak finished her final year of NCAA eligibility this year, according to the release, but will continue at St. John’s to complete her degree.

Both fencers are planning on, and looking forward to, representing the U.S. again in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

— With additional reporting by Liam La Guerre

WATCH: Obama visits the ‘Late Show’


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Screenshot/CBS

President Barack Obama made another trek to New York for a fundraiser, but not before stopping by “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

Among the topics discussed were Libya, the national debt and the president’s beer brewing.

This was Obama’s second visit to the “Late Show” as president, and seventh overall. He last visited Letterman nearly three years ago to the day, September 21, 2009.

Some facts learned during the interview: Obama weighs about 180 pounds, his wife Michelle forgot their first anniversary and he did not watch the Republican National Convention.

When asked if he’s worried how grown up his girls look, the president responded, “It worries me, but they’re surrounded by men with guns.”

“I think that’s every father’s dream for girls,” the host responded.

The president also made his first public remarks on comments made by Mitt Romney in a recently released online video describing 47 percent of America as expecting handouts.

“My expectation is that if you want to be president you have to work for everybody, not just for some,” the president said. “There’s not a lot of people out there that think their victims, there are not a lot of people that think they’re entitled to something,” Obama said.

After his visit to the Ed Sullivan Theater, Obama stopped by the 40/40 Club for a fundraiser hosted by Jay-Z and Beyonce.

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.  Thursday night: Patchy fog after 4am. Otherwise, mostly clear, with a low around 64. South wind 5 to 7 mph becoming calm after midnight.

JFK workers busted in mini liquor theft ring

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. They airport employees also stole duty-free items, such as cigarette cartons, perfume and larger bottles of booze. Read more: Queens Courier

U.S. warships headed to Libyan coast as Obama says ‘justice will be done’

The ruthless attack that killed four American diplomats in Libya appears to be a carefully-planned terror strike rather than an uprising of a mob angry over a film that lampooned the Prophet Muhammed. President Obama vowed on Wednesday to bring those responsible to justice – and moved swiftly to hunt down the killers. Read more: Daily News

Police: Elderly woman sexually attacked in Central Park

It was a vicious and shocking attack in the middle of the day, in Central Park. Police say a woman in her 70s, out bird watching, was sexually assaulted, beaten and robbed. Police say they want to speak with a suspect, whom they have a surveillance photo of, about the attack. Read more: NY1

Another protest turns violent outside U.S. Embassy in Cairo

Riot police fired warning shots and tear gas Thursday outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to keep hundreds of protesters away from the building’s perimeter, witnesses said. Six police officers suffered minor injuries during the clashes, said Alla Mahmoud, a spokesman for the Egyptian Interior Ministry. Read more: CNN

PCBs leak in second NYC school

NY1 has learned there has been a second incident of the toxic compound leaking out of a light, this time in Queens. NY1 has learned that on Monday, liquid containing toxic compounds known as PCBs dripped out of a light ballast at IS 204 in Queens during the school day. Read more: NY1

Cops pack Queens courtroom to watch alleged cop shooter John Thomas’ arraignment

Police officers packed a Queens courtroom this morning to watch the arraignment of an accused trigger-happy cop shooter. John F. Thomas was remanded by a Queens judge for shooting Sgt. Craig Bier four times in the legs and in a separate incident where he shot Troy Cox 17 times in the buttocks and legs. Read more: NY Post

Flushing Town Hall exhibit explores 150 years of history

One hundred and fifty years ago, a time capsule filled with newspapers of the day, business cards from local merchants and a history of the once-agricultural community was buried in a cornerstone of Flushing Town Hall. Now, the contents of the capsule are on display in the exhibit “Celebrating Historic Flushing Town Hall 150th Anniversary. Read more: Daily News

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the morning, then overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. High of 81. Winds from the South at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. Low of 73. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

EVENT of the DAY: Movie Night in Astoria Park

Come to Astoria Park tonight for a free outdoor screening of “Footloose.” This will be the last free movie night in Astoria Park of the summer. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens father busted for endangering child

A heartless dad was busted for leaving his infant girl in a sweltering car Sunday. Robert Brown left his 7-month-old daughter in his red Mitsubishi outside a laundromat on Cross Bay Blvd. in Ozone Park, police sources said. Read more: New York Daily News

USTA pulls free US Open tickets for city politicians

The line judge has ruled: It’s out of bounds for city politicians and employees to take luxury seats compliments of the US Open. The US Tennis Association yanked all invitations to elected city officials and city employees last week because the Conflict of Interest Board quietly ruled that they can’t accept the freebies, The Post has learned. Read more: New York Post 

Embattled Queens state Sen. Shirley Huntley steered tens of thousands in campaign funds to her daughter and husband 

Queens state Sen. Shirley Huntley, who is expected to be hit with corruption charges Monday, showered her daughter and husband with tens of thousands of dollars from her campaign kitty, the Daily News has learned. Read more: New York Daily News 

Man who killed coworker outside of Empire State Building had been asked to leave his apartment

The man who shot and killed a former co-worker outside of the Empire State Building was not evicted, but was told to vacate his Upper East Side apartment so the landlord could make renovations, a police source told Reuters. Read more: CBS New York

Isaac could hit Gulf Coast as Cat 2 hurricane

Tropical Storm Isaac churned toward the northern Gulf Coast early Monday and promised to give the Republican National Convention a good drenching after lashing the Florida Keys and Miami area with wind and rain. Read more: CBS News

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist endorses Barack Obama in 2012 presidential race

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says he’s backing Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race. The former Republican made the announcement in an op-ed piece published in Sunday’s Tampa Bay Times. Read more: Washington Post

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 88. West wind 5 to 11 mph becoming east in the afternoon. Thursday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 74. South wind 6 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Cowboys & Aliens at Rockaway Beach

Enjoy films, sand, waves and salty air at the same time in Rockaway Beach. The free movie starts at sundown (approx. 9 p.m.). Click here for more info or submit an event of your own

Prosecutors decline to prosecute cop accused of assaulting a Queens Supreme Court Justice

Prosecutors said Wednesday they will not charge a cop accused of assaulting a Queens Supreme Court Justice during a homeless man’s arrest in Jackson Heights. Justice Thomas Raffaele, 69, says he was hit with a chop to the throat in June by an officer who thought he was part of a rowdy crowd and that a police sergeant then refused to take his complaint. Read more: Daily News

Mets shut Santana down with back inflammationJohan Santana can start contemplating 2013

The Mets left-hander is not expected to pitch again this season, after the team on Wednesday placed him on the disabled list with an inflammation of the lower back. The decision to shut down Santana came after Mets brass received the results of an MRI exam taken on Tuesday. Read more: NY Post

Obama fundraises with help of his NBA friends

President Barack Obama is comparing the presidential contest to the fourth quarter of a basketball game. Obama is fundraising in New York with the help of current and former National Basketball Association stars. He tells a small group of donors gathered at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center that the campaign is like a hoops contest in the final minutes. Read more: NY Post

Explosive firsthand account on raid that killed Osama bin Laden coming from member of Navy SEAL team

A member of the U.S. Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden has written a firsthand account of the operation, triggering more questions about the possible public release of classified information involving the historic assault of the terror leader’s compound in Pakistan. Read more: Daily News

LL Cool J takes down burglar in his LA home

LL Cool J put his “NCIS: Los Angeles” training to good use against a burglar in his L.A. home early Wednesday morning. The 42-year-old rapper turned TV military cop left the would be robber with a broken nose and jaw in what police sources described to the LA Times as a”knock-down, drag-out” fight and detained him for police. Read more: Daily News

Two errors cited as cause for Second Ave. subway explosion

The mid-day explosion along the Second Avenue Subway zone might have been caused by two serious errors by the contractor, the MTA said today. Officials said that the blast appeared to be the result of too much explosives in one area. Read more: NY Post

Year after Irene, Rockaway Beach repairs press on

Efforts to repair some of the damage from Hurricane Irene are still under way nearly a year later, including the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach. NY1′s Roger Clark filed the following report. Workers were out on the Rockaway Beach boardwalk Wednesday repairing a portion damaged almost a year ago, and has some residents wondering why it’s been taking so long. Read more: NY1

Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup2

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney names Paul Ryan as his running mate

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney selected Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate Saturday – a bold choice meant to excite the GOP’s conservative base and further make the economy the defining issue of the election. Romney announced his decision Saturday morning at a naval yard in Norfolk, Va., and the duo’s first appearance as a campaign ticket came, appropriately, on the USS Wisconsin – which represents Ryan’s home state. Read more: Daily News

Queens suspect sought in sex assault on girl, 10

Cops are hunting for a creep who they say sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl in the elevator of a Queens apartment building. The suspect went into the lift with the girl and started riding down to the basement level of the building near Colden St. and Franklin Ave. in Flushing about 7:30 p.m. on July 31, sources said. Read more: Daily News

Shot cop Craig Bier released from hospital

Sergeant Craig Bier, who was shot in each leg while pursuing a suspect, was released today from the hospital. Wearing a backward baseball cap and a bandage covering his right knee, the 15-year veteran left Jamaica Hospital less than two days after being shot and a day following surgery to remove a bullet from his leg. Read more: Queens Courier

Queens residents want solutions for flooding problems

The flood waters are long gone except for a small section of Utopia Parkway, where ponding often happens. Some homeowners believe the pooling is caused by the slope in the street and sinking sidewalks. They said they tried for years to get the city’s Environmental Protection and Transportation Departments to fix the problem. Read more: NY1

Queens residents rally to keep local head start program open

Dozens of pre-school children, parents and teachers in Queens rallied Friday to try to keep their local Head Start program open. The Rockaway Head Start is scheduled to close on Sept. 30 because of a lack of funding. The school serves 66 children, ages three to five. Read more: NY1

Gianaris bills would make NY toughest on guns


| brennison@queenscourier.com


In the wake of multiple massacres across the country and an increase in shootings citywide, a state politician is calling for New York to become the nation’s leader in gun control.

State Senator Michael Gianaris introduced a bevy of bills in Albany that would strengthen the state’s gun laws, making them the toughest in the country.

“There’s been a rash of incidents not only around the country, but in New York. It’s clear that gun violence is getting out of control,” Gianaris said. “I think people in this state are fed up, they’re saying enough is enough, it’s time to make some sensible changes to keep guns off the street.”

Shootings in the city are up 12 percent this year, the senator said.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which ranks states on the strength of their gun control laws, ranked New York fourth in the nation behind California, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Gianris worked with the Brady Center on the bills that, if passed, would strengthen the areas the Brady Center found the state to be weak — firearm trafficking and background checks.

Purchasers of firearms would also be required to complete a safety training course, limit purchases to one per month and close several loopholes.

Similar laws are already on the books in New York City, where residents can only purchase one firearm every 90 days, a bill sponsored by Councilmember Peter Vallone.

On the national level, Mayor Michael Bloomberg continued to call out President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for their relative silence on guns.

“Just two weeks after the tragedy in Aurora, we’ve seen another mass shooting,” the mayor said Monday in Richmond Hill. “And still the two presidential candidates have not given the American public a plan to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.”

He said his attempts to reach out to the candidates have been met with “deafening silence.”

“The two presidential candidates cannot continue avoiding an issue that is one of the most serious threats we face as a nation,” Bloomberg said.

Gianrias agreed federal intervention is necessary.

“Ultimately, the best answer would be a solution coming out of the federal government or Congress, because we can improve New York as best we can and we should, but there is still guns coming in from out of state because other states have even more lax laws.”

Women’s health coverage improved


| aaltman@queenscourier.com


Forty-seven million women just got healthier.

On August 1, preventive benefits for women, including breast and pelvic exams, HPV and HIV testing, gestational diabetes screenings and contraceptives became available, co-pay free, to all insured women.

“I think it’s great,” said Pauline Compton, an accountant from Bayside. “I think all women should be entitled to co-pay free health services, just like men. I don’t think there should be anything held back as far as health care goes. Preventive care is the best thing, and it should not be limited to anybody.”

These benefits became available to women through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed by President Barack Obama in March 2010. Before August 1, the reform included only mammograms for women over 40 and osteoporosis bone-mineral-density screenings for women over 60.

“We see the need for affordable health care every single day,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “For the one in five women who relies on Planned Parenthood at some point in her life, the preventive benefits that began rolling out [August 1] will help ease the struggle of deciding whether to pay for birth control or pay for textbooks, groceries or gas for the car.”

Under the ACA, women will no longer be required to pay more than men for health insurance and people with pre-existing conditions, including cancer, cannot be denied coverage.

The new reform also includes counseling for victims of domestic violence.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), women employed by certain religious organizations with health care sponsored by their employers are exempt from the coverage requirement.

Additional reporting by Adrienne Kurtz

Affordable Care Act: What it means for immigrants


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


When Sunnyside resident Blanca Palomeque had ovarian cancer two years ago she didn’t have full health insurance to cover her treatment.

She enrolled in the Medicaid Spenddown program, but it only provided her with six months of assistance and she was forced to pay $15 out of pocket for each visit to Elmhurst Hospital and $150 for each CAT scan during the next year-and-a-half of her battle.

Even after winning the war with the disease earlier this year, Palomeque, 49, still didn’t buy an insurance plan.

“I don’t have medical care, because it’s difficult to have it,” Palomeque said. “I don’t qualify for Medicaid health insurance, because my income is a little too high, and it’s difficult to afford private care.”

Instead, Palomeque, who emigrated from Ecuador 11 years ago and is a documented immigrant, prefers to pay for hospital visits instead of committing to a plan.

However, like many Queens immigrants, she is rejoicing after the Supreme Court’s recent approval of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), praising its expansion of the health care system, which will benefit legal residents and may even help undocumented immigrants. “I think it’s a really good idea, because now the community will be able to act fast on health insurance,” Palomeque said. “Sometimes people have illnesses that last a long time and it’s really difficult to go and pay each time.”

“As an organization we believe that it’s a step forward, because it opens up access to health care and health insurance to many people who are uninsured,” said Theo Oshiro, deputy director of Make the Road New York, which is a non-profit organization that predominately supports Latin immigrants in the city.

Of the approximately 2.2 million residents living in the borough, nearly 50 percent are foreign born, according to the 2010 Census, and documented immigrants will receive the same benefits from the act as native citizens.

This means they won’t have to worry about getting insurance if they have pre-existing conditions, and now their children can remain on their current plans until age 26.

Documented immigrants must also follow the mandate that requires everyone to have insurance or face a tax.

But if they don’t already have insurance or qualify for Medicaid, they will be able to purchase health care from the state-run “exchanges,” or collections of low rate insurance options when they become available in 2014.

“They just have to worry about everything they worried about before,” said Stan Mark, senior staff attorney for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. “They have to struggle to get the minimal health care option that they can get.”

New York, which was one of the states that chose to expand its Medicaid coverage through ACA, will receive more than $2 billion in federal funding starting in 2014, and many immigrants will continue to receive care from it.

Immigrant groups officials say the down side to ACA is that it none of its benefits are available for undocumented immigrants, which could upset many foreign born residents.

But the law will affect them.

In 2003 Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued executive orders, (EO) 34 and 41, which replaced former Mayor Ed Koch’s EO124, but kept the same concept to protect immigrants.

The order “Ensures that all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, can access the city services that they are entitled to receive.” In addition, “City workers must protect the confidentiality of a person’s immigration status,” unless that person is suspected of illegal activity.

It was established so that undocumented immigrants would report crimes to the police, call firefighters, get medical treatment or send their children to school without fear of deportation.

Because of EO 34 and 41, undocumented immigrants have received care from public hospitals under the Health and Hospital Corporations (HHC), such as Elmhurst Hospital or Queens Hospital Center, and will continue to do so.

“For generations New York has been known as a city of immigrants, and for generations the public hospitals have cared for New York’s immigrant populations,” said HHC President Alan Aviles. “It is important to remind immigrant New Yorkers that they can get quality health care in our city without fear.”

Obama To Give Commencement Address In City; Traffic Tie-Ups Expected


| jlane@queenscourier.com


President Barack Obama is visiting the city today where he will deliver the commencement address at Barnard College before attending a series of campaign fundraisers.

The president arrives in town around 11 a.m. and is scheduled to deliver the commencement address around 1 p.m.

NY1 will carry the president’s commencement address live from Barnard College, starting at about 1 p.m. Monday.

Obama is also expected to receive a medal of distinction at the commencement.

The president graduated from neighboring Columbia University’s undergraduate college in 1983.

[NY1]

Obama says same-sex marriage should be legal


| jlane@queenscourier.com


President Obama said Wednesday that he believes same-sex marriage should be legal.

“At a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts in an interview at the White House.

The president’s decision to address the issue directly came after Vice President Joe Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage during an interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday.

[New York Post]