Tag Archives: california

Kew Gardens native, television icon Dick Van Patten dies at 86

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Actor and Queens native Dick Van Patten, best known for his role in the late 1970s show “Eight is Enough,” died Tuesday morning, according to published reports.

Van Patten, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, reportedly was born and grew up in Kew Gardens and started his acting career as a child appearing on Broadway.

He later became known as the character Tom Bradford, a newspaper columnist and dad, on the hit show “Eight is Enough,” which ran from 1977 to 1981.

Van Patten also starred in several of director Mel Brooks’ comedies including “Spaceballs,” and “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” He was also an animal enthusiast who founded a pet food company and advocated for guide dogs.

The 86-year-old’s death was confirmed by his representative in a statement released to media Tuesday. He died at Saint John’s Hospital in California of complications associated with diabetes, according to reports.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Van Patten, and three sons: Nels, Jimmy and Vincent.

In Queens, state Senator Leroy Comrie send his condolences to the actor’s family via Twitter and called Van Patten a “Queens kid.”


Forest Hills second-grader qualifies for international chess tournament in Greece

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy U.S. Chess National

Second-grader Amelie Phung is on her way to play chess in South America and finally Greece, while still making time for recess, class and some golf.

Seven-year-old Amelie of Forest Hills just finished a national chess tournament in California, where she traveled with her father, Tam, over the weekend. And after finishing with a qualifying ranking, she will now be representing the USA at the World Chess Championship in Greece later this year where she will face off against the world’s best junior chess players. In the meantime, she’ll make a quick stop in Columbia during the summer for a few rounds against children across the Americas under the age of 8.

“We’re using California and Columbia as a launching pad into the world,” Tam said. “She was able to hold her head above water in California and it’s paying off now with this trip to Greece. An absolute honor.”

Amelie’s adroit moves on the board were a hidden talent until she recently began to demonstrate exceptional skill over casual games against a group of regulars at her local park.

To hone Amelie’s growing skill, her father hired Irina Krush to coach her. An American chess international Grandmaster, Krush is known for her instructional videos called “Krushing Attacks” and when she’s not playing chess she’s teaching the game to Amelie at the Marshall Chess Club in Manhattan.

Amelie’s rating is currently around 1,200 and to be a Grandmaster, your rating has to be at least 2,600. For Amelie’s age group, maintaining a 1,200 by Jan. 1 was needed to qualify for the world tournament.

“I think we’re going to have to start rethinking Amelie’s future if she keeps demonstrating such a talent for chess,” Tam said.


Forest Hills second-grader to represent city in national kids chess championship

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy U.S. Chess National

Amelie Phung is only in the second grade, but she’s already planning her next big move.

Seven-year-old Amelie is headed to California with her father Tam this weekend when she will play in a national chess tournament. If she makes the right moves on the chess board, Amelie could win a chance to represent the USA at the World Chess Championship in Greece.

The Forest Hills chess prodigy, who attends a school for the gifted and talented on the Upper East Side, will be competing against other whiz kids under the age of 8.

“Chess was just a casual thing for us and then suddenly she started exhibiting this amazing talent for the game,” Tam said. “You start by winning a lot of games and then you start going to championships and next thing you know you’re hiring one of the country’s chess champions to tutor your kid.”

Amelie’s coach is Irina Krush, an American chess international Grandmaster, a title that is given to the world’s best players. Krush is known for her instructional videos called “Krushing Attacks” and when she’s not playing chess she’s teaching the game to Amelie at the Marshall Chess Club in Manhattan.

Tam first began to notice that Amelie was good at chess after she played with a group of older men who play in a local park.

Amelie’s rating is currently around 1,200 and to be a Grandmaster your rating has to be at least 2,600. But for her age group, Amelie’s rating puts her in the top five. All of this is new for Amelie’s father and he is learning more about a game that Amelie continues to progress in.

“There’s so much chess history in New York City and we feel honored that this year we’re going to be representing the city in the competition,” Tam said.

When the weather becomes warmer, Amelie will return to her true love, golf.

“The great thing about chess is it teaches her the discipline needed for golf,” Amelie’s father said. “And golf is where her true talents are. But who knows. Six months ago I knew almost nothing about chess.”


Bayside resident prepares for national poker tournament

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Benjamin Fang

Michael Golub is going all in, with a prize pool set at an estimated $5 million to be had.

“I’m a fiend for poker, man,” the Bayside resident said soon after finding out that he will be playing in a poker tournament in Los Angeles against hundreds of “heavyweights,” as he puts it.

Golub, 66, won an online poker game on Mother’s Day against thousands of other players in a tournament hosted by an online member site of World Poker Tournament. But since online gambling is illegal in New York, the poker company offers prizes instead and Golub’s was an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles to play in the Season XIII World Poker Tournament.

“All the big boys will be there,” he said. “But I’m coming back to Bayside with that money, baby.”

Riding a wave of success in the poker syndicate with victories across the poker land, Golub is known by other players as Diamond Mike, a reference to the exorbitant amount of diamonds he wears during live games. The diamonds are accentuated by the all black clothes he often dons. In his left ear, a tiffany diamond hangs.

Golub didn’t always have such valuable jewelry. He grew up in the Bronx and as a child he played poker to make extra money. But it was only in the last five years he began to seriously play and he credits his recent successes on his 22 years of experience with the NYPD.

After several years of working in Bronx as a beat cop and then as a narcotics officer in Brooklyn North, Golub said he was promoted to third grade detective.

“They called me Homicide Mike because my forte was getting confessions out of people,” he said. “And that helps me with poker now to get a read on my opponents.”

Golub was a detective in the 70s and 80s and he and his partner pierced their ears at the time, something that Golub said police members didn’t do at the time. His nickname has changed and the value of the contents in his left ear lobe has gone up. The stakes have changed but he still employs the same set of skills in both fields.

“I’ll get to a game early and listen to the conversations other players are having. Can I exploit him? What’s his image?” he said. “But in the end, I’m just partying my ass off.”



School shooting in California, one injured

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

According to the Associated Press, a student was shot at a high school in Taft, California. The shooting suspect is reportedly in custody. No other injuries have been reported thus far.

Top Headlines From Around the Web

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

At least five killed in shooting at California medical school

At least five people were killed Monday in a shooting at a medical school in Oakland, Calif., officials confirmed. Oakland police have detained a possible suspect in the shooting at Oikos University. According to local news station KTVU-TV, two of the five people were shot in the head. The motive for the shooting was not immediately known. Read More: New York Post


Queens jury convicts man of murder and robbery stemming from home invasion

A Queens man was convicted today for masterminding for three home invasions — one of which ended in the murder of a cop’s brother. Francis LaCorte, 29, was found guilty on all 13 charges — including second-degree murder, robbery and conspiracy — for his involvement in the execution-style murder of Gerardo Antoniello, 29, on Sept. 9, 2009. “I hope he’s put away for a very long time and he won’t hurt or kill anyone else’s son, brother or uncle,” said NYPD Sgt. Carmine Antoniello, the victim’s older brother. Read More: New York Post



Off-Duty School Safety Agent Faces Rape, Weapons Charges

An off-duty school safety agent has been arrested on rape charges in Queens. The New York City Police Department says Tommy Johnson, 28, is also charged with criminal weapons possession, menacing and assault. Police say the incident happened early Monday morning and that the victim is an adult. According to sources, the rape took place inside Johnson’s apartment, and he knew the victim. Read More: NY1



Woody says Jets would consider ‘Hard Knocks’ again

As if the Jets have not gotten enough attention after trading for Tim Tebow last month, Jets owner Woody Johnson left the door open for the team to be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this summer. There has been speculation that HBO is interested in having the Jets back on its behind-the-scenes show, especially with Tebow now on board. “I’ve heard that,” Johnson said at the grand opening of the NFL Shop at Draft store in Manhattan on Monday. “We have yet to receive a formal invitation. When we do, we’ll take a look at it.” Read More: New York Post



Man Arraigned In Staten Island Traffic Stop Assault

A man wanted in connection with the assault of a police officer on Staten Island was arraigned Sunday night after being caught by authorities in North Carolina. Police say Dwayne Smith, 27, is back in New York after being picked up at a shopping mall in Charlotte last week. He’s accused of attacking a police officer after being pulled over on February 3 in West Brighton. Read More: NY1


Sweets shop is big ‘hit’

There’s a new iceman working at John Gotti’s old social club in Queens — but he serves up sweet, frosty treats instead of gangland murders. Businessman John Conza last month opened Uncle Louie G’s — part of a chain of Italian ice and ice-cream parlors — in the space where the Teflon Don once held court, the former Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park. The site is where the Mafioso made his bones and blasted his way from obscurity to the front pages. Now, its hits are icy flavors such as Soprano Spumoni, FDNY Cherry and NYPD Blue, instead of contracts on union officials and rival gangsters. Read More: New York Post



Queens Institute Looks To Crack Autism Code

Behind the walls of a former Catholic school in College Point, Queens, miracles often happen for children who have autism. The New York Child Learning Institute is the only program in New York State that is modeled after Princeton’s renowned Children Development Intervention Program. Read More: NY1


JetBlue pilot Clayton Osbon out of hospital — and into courtroom

The JetBlue pilot who went on a wild rant about terrorism and religion during a Las Vegas-bound flight was out of the hospital on Monday to make his first court appearance. Federal prosecutors asked that Clayton Osbon be held without bond at the early morning meeting, but the judge isn’t expected to rule on that until Thursday. Osbon, 49, is charged with interfering with a flight crew for his bizarre unraveling on Flight 191 last Tuesday. Read More: Daily News

Geraldo Rivera personally apologizes to parents of Trayvon Martin for ‘hoodie’ comment

Geraldo Rivera personally apologized to  Trayvon Martin’s parents Sunday night for saying that children shouldn’t wear hoodies because “Trayvon’s hoodie killed him as surely as George Zimmerman did.” “Thank you for the apology. Your apology is accepted,” Trayvon’s father Tracy Martin told Rivera on Fox on Sunday night. Tracy Martin said that at the time of the incident it was raining and Trayvon was just covering himself up. Read More: Daily News