Tag Archives: Cancer

9/11 heroes battle cancer with hope


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Asha Mahadevan

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

Thirteen years ago, when tragedy struck the World Trade Center, they were one of the first to respond to calls for help. Today, they are suffering the after-effects of their selflessness.

Two days before the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, four Queens residents, who developed cancer because of their exposure to carcinogenic substances at the WTC site, came forward to share their pain at the North Shore – LIJ’s WTC Clinical Center of Excellence at Rego Park on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

John Licato, 52, a resident of Howard Beach and a former cop with the 110th Precinct in Corona, was diagnosed with neck cancer in 2012. Since then he has undergone chemotherapy and radiation and now, his cancer is in remission. Christian Foggy, 67, an electrician from Jamaica who transported generators to the site for almost two months, was treated for prostate cancer.

Former narcotics cop Joe Ramondino, 52, developed Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “They said it was safe,” said the Maspeth resident about concerns that arose in the aftermath. Last August, he was told he is dealing with a type of cancer he calls “treatable but not curable.”

“It is devastating learning what is in your body,” he said. “I am just staying positive and following a healthy lifestyle.”

Added his wife Toni, “It was frightening. We are sticking together and getting through.”
The program at the WTC Clinical Center is federally funded by the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which is meant for treating the people who fell sick due to exposure to harmful materials at ground zero. The funding runs through 2016. Initially, the people being treated were those with respiratory disorders such as asthma and sinus cases, and mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. However, cancer takes many years to develop, said Dr. Jacqueline Moline, vice president and chair of Population Health at North Shore-LIJ. “We have more than 2,500 certified cases,” she said. “Truncating the program after 15 years is not right.”

Patricia Workman, 76, and her sister Julia Mooney, both from Flushing, helped at the site as Red Cross volunteers. “I worked in the pit, in the morgue, served meals, distributed supplies, whatever needed to be done,” said Workman. She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008. She was treated and went into remission but suffered a relapse earlier this year. Despite her trauma, she says she doesn’t regret helping out the way she did. “It was a terrible day,” she said. “We should not forget it because if you do, it can happen again.”

Mooney, who suffered from PTSD due to her time at the site, added, “These people [who died that day] deserve to be remembered always.”

Despite their pain, the patients and their families are staying positive. As Ramondino put it, “Things could have been worse. Lots of people died that day. We are still here.”

“I have three children and three grandchildren,” said Workman. “I have a lot to live for.”

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Breast cancer survivors create dragon boat racing team to raise funds


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Paddle for the Cure Dragon Boat Club


A new Queens-based dragon boat racing team is hoping to beat breast cancer by paddling.

The Paddle for the Cure Dragon Boat Club, a group comprised mostly of breast cancer survivors from the borough, is training in the World’s Fair Marina for competitions this year to support cancer research, while creating bonds with others who bested the disease.

The group, which is partnering with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, formed last year after breast cancer survivor Leah Salmorin reached out to trainer James Ma during a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure fundraising event.

Dragon boat racing is an effective remedy for breast cancer survivors, because contrary to the prior belief that after surgery people shouldn’t exercise, the paddling helps women regain strength in their arms, according to Ma. Also, dragon boat racing is a fun sport that gives women a chance to interact and trade stories instead of exercising in a boring gym area.

“From experience working with them, they usually gravitate towards the sport and try to regain control of their lives after cancer,” said Ma, now president and coach of the club. “Each time they paddle, the race is already won as they enrich their lives by gaining strength and dignity.”

The club began weekly Saturday morning practices in May, hoping to compete in races in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Florida later this year.

They are collecting donations through events for equipment, and 20 percent of the funds raised will go to the New York City affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The team will hold a bowling fundraising event on August 26 at Bowlmor Lanes in Manhattan that is open to everyone.

The club is run “by survivors for survivors,” but the group is open to anyone who would like to participate.

When Rockaway Beach resident Kelly Kelley, who beat breast cancer in 2007, received an email about the team, she felt it might be a refreshing experience to give it a try.

A tennis coach at The Mary Louise Academy in Jamaica, Kelley said she thought it would be a great fit because she likes sports and water.

And although drills were difficult for the women when she first started, she reminded her teammates that they beat cancer and can stand up against anything.

“We are a new team, we are new to the sport, so we have to work hard if we want to progress,” Kelley said. “I tell the other women, ‘Listen, it’s not worse than chemotherapy.’”

 

 

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Last surviving Ramones member, Ridgewood resident dies


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

The last surviving original member of the punk-rock band The Ramones, Tommy Ramone, died at his Ridgewood home Friday, according to published reports. He was 65 years old.

The drummer, whose real name was Thomas Erdelyi, had reportedly been in hospice and battling bile duct cancer.

Erdelyi was originally from Hungary and raised in Forest Hills, where he attended Forest Hills High School with the band’s other three founding members, Dee Dee (Douglas Colvin), Johnny (John Cummings) and Joey (Jeffrey Hyman) Ramone.

He performed on the band’s first three albums and was later replaced by drummer Marky (Marc Bell) Ramone. He then went on to concentrate on producing, reports said.

 

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Street to be co-named for Bayside teacher who died from cancer


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


Former P.S. 41 science teacher Geri Cilmi’s motto to her students in the Bayside school was “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.”

So when she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007, instead of fretting about it, Cilmi took all the necessary treatment and fought the disease with a smile, her husband, Tom, said.

“She was fantastic,” he said. “[Doctors] were amazed at her attitude and everything was just hunky-dory.”

But the cancer attacked strong in 2011 and Cilmi, a mother of one and beloved public school teacher of four decades, died that May. To honor her memory and achievements, a former student, Thomas Fennell, requested a street be co-named and Community Board 11 approved it. Family and friends will gather on June 20 as Councilman Paul Vallone unveils the new Mrs. Geri Cilmi Place at 214th Lane behind the school.

Cilmi began teaching in 1967 as a substitute teacher in Brooklyn elementary schools. When she shifted to P.S. 41 in 1989 she became a full-time science teacher. She retired in 2008.

Photo courtesy Thomas Cilmi 

During her time at P.S. 41, Cilmi was loved by colleagues and students for her extraordinary effort as a teacher. Cilmi hosted science nights in the school, where parents and students were able to do a variety of experiments. She applied for numerous grants for the school, including one from NASA for a weather station. She also set up the school’s garden. She was vice president of the Elementary School Science Association (ESSA) and made various science presentations for children.

“She was one of those people that were a natural teacher,” said second grade teacher Diane DiBlasi, who worked with Cilmi at P.S. 41 for two decades. “She opened up the world to so many children in a positive way.”

Outside of teaching, Cilmi was a bright woman who loved to dance and a devoted mother who raised her son to be a Harvard University-educated doctor. She listened to The Beatles and Elvis Presley, and loved to draw. Cilmi desired to write a children’s book, but never had the chance.

Tom will be present at the ceremony and believes his wife deserves the honor.

“It gives me the feeling that she really accomplished something,” he said. “She touched a lot of people and an awful lot of children.”

 

 

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John Starks and St. John’s Dribbles for a Cure


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

In front of nearly 400 students, children and family members, St. John’s men’s basketball coach Steve Lavin stood in his trademark black pants and white sneakers. His focus wasn’t basketball, the upcoming season or the string of new Dribbles recruits he has ushered in.

Instead, Lavin reminded the crowd that cancer, in one way or another, affects everyone sooner or later.

“Cancer will touch everyone at some point in your lifetime,” he said. “Whether it’s you personally going through that battle, just the probabilities, the law of averages, a sibling, a mother or father, a grandfather, someone in the neighborhood, someone that is a good friend. It’s going to touch all of us at some point.”

Lavin, who last year underwent successful surgery for prostate cancer, was one of several St. John’s sports officials who took part in the school’s second “Dribble for the Cure,” held on Saturday, September 22 to raise money for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. Among those who came out to support the cause were former longtime coaches Lou Carnesecca and Jack Kaiser, women’s basketball coach Joe Tartamella and New York Knicks alum John Starks.

At press time, the event raised around $25,000 for research, according to the school.

Taking a break from training for their upcoming seasons, players on the men’s and women’s basketball teams took part in the dribble, which circled around the school’s campus before reconvening at their home court in Carnesecca Arena.

One of those players, guard Phil Greene, said taking the time out to participate in an event like this really benefited the kids who were battling cancer.

“Giving back to the kids, you give them something to look forward to,” he said. “Giving the time out of our day, it’s nothing because they’re going through a lot of turmoil right now. It just makes you feel good, because they look up to us and we just give them something just to look forward to.”

Starks, who has lost several relatives to cancer, said he lost his grandmother, mother and sister to breast cancer and could empathize what it was like to battle the disease.

“I understand what the families go through, and it’s great to see we’re all here and understanding that this fight is never, never, never ending,” he said.

Lavin, who before the event confirmed to reporters that he is now cancer free, told the participants that their attendance was inspiring and should drive others to support the fight against cancer.

“Clearly, this is an example of the human spirit, and that’s what this is really a celebration of,” he said. “Those that support loved ones that are struggling with the dreaded disease are showing compassion, and compassion is part of the human spirit. Your time is well spent today and I want you to pat yourself on the back for showing up, showing a great example for others to follow and creating great synergy.”

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.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Passengers Sue JetBlue Over Pilot Meltdown

A group of passengers is suing JetBlue, saying they feared for their lives when a pilot had to be physically restrained during their flight in March. In a lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court in Queens, the ten passengers claimed Jet Blue was “grossly negligent” when it allowed pilot Clayton Osbon to fly. Read more: [NY1]

Family Mourns Drowning Of 14-Year-Old In Far Rockaway

A Queens family is in mourning following the drowning death of a 14-year-old boy at a Far Rockaway beach.  Akeem Craig of South Jamaica was swimming with his friend on Tuesday. Authorities responded to a call indicating the two teens were in danger in the water. A bystander was able to pull one boy to safety. It took divers from both the FDNY and NYPD 40 minutes to find Craig’s body. Read more: [NY1]

City to roll out new wheel boot program as soon as Monday

The wheel boot, a groan-inducing sight for motorists in other cities, will hit the outer boroughs as soon as Monday, the Daily News has learned. The city is planning to boot ticket scofflaws by the end of June, a city official confirmed Wednesday. The three- to six-month pilot program will begin in Brooklyn, then Queens and Staten Island and will be eventually rolled out citywide. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Steve Piorkowski, softball coach at Bayside HS, recovers from cancer and broken neck that kept him off the field for most of 2012

Steve Piorkowski, the bouncy, long-haired softball coach at Bayside HS, is used to people approaching him on the street, thinking they know him when they really don’t. Read more: [New York Daily News]

At Queens Art Express Festival, artists tackle policy issues

A Queens art festival that kicks off on Thursday aims to show that artists can do more than perform a song-and-dance or paint a pretty picture. Queens Art Express will include three exhibitions that open the floor to 12 artists across a variety of disciplines on some of the biggest hot-button public policy issues of the day. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Mets consider ‘quiet’ section in Citi Field stands with no music and lower-volume PA announcements

Quiet please, the Mets are trying to play baseball. The Amazin’s are silently floating plans for a “designated quiet-seating section” in Citi Field. The team e-mailed a survey to fans yesterday, asking about their ballpark experience — including queries about the scoreboard, between-inning entertainment, music, and even interactions with Mr. Met. Read more: [New York Post]

Slay victim’s daughter shows compassion for killer

The daughter of an elderly Queens man who was beaten to death outside his home showed surprising compassion for his killer yesterday as the homeless veteran was sentenced to 19 years in prison. Read more: [New York Post]

‘BEASTIE BOYS’ MCA Dead at 47


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Beastie Boys” rapper MCA – real name Adam Yauch – has died.

In 2009, MCA announced he was being treated for a cancerous parotid gland and a lymph node (below). He has since undergone surgery and radiation therapy.

So far, it’s not clear if the death is related to the rapper’s battle with cancer.

Russell Simmons‘ website GlobalGrind.com first reported the death. We have spoken to people independently connected to the rapper who also say he is dead.

MCA co-founded Beastie Boys in 1979 with Mike D, and Ad Rock. The group has won multiple Grammys and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.

MCA became a vegan at the recommendation of his Tibetan doctors.

Yauch is survived by his wife and daughter. He was 47. Read More: TMZ

‘Model’ kid turned her cancer into her cause


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

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Soon you’ll be seeing a lot more of Carly Rose Nieves.

The 16 year old from Middle Village, who her mom calls “not your typical teenager” will soon be emblazoned on the fleet of 75 vehicles for the New York Blood Center (NYBC).

Part of the NYBC’s “rebranding campaign,” Nieves, a freshman at Christ the King High School (CTK), was one of eight from the greater New York area who sat for a photo shoot on March 31.

“It was fun, they were such nice people,” said the teen, who admitted she was “a little bit nervous at first.”

What sets Nieves apart, said her mom, is her heart.

Battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) — a cancer of the white blood cells that normally fight infections — since she was seven, Nieves received blood transfusions and underwent two years of intensive chemotherapy. Then, at age 12, she suffered a relapse of ALL. The relapse placed her in the high-risk category, which required additional intensive, high-dose chemotherapy.

Now Nieves — who regrew a full head of hair following the chemo — has been out of treatment for a little over a year and is in remission.

Her focus is school — she plans to pursue American Sign Language in college, since it’s her favorite subject — and helping others, as it has always been.

“She’s living and loving life,” said mom Lisa Cangialosi-Horner. “She is so selfless, she’s just amazing.”

While Nieves was fighting her own battle, she was also working to help the friends she made in the hospital, others who are ill — and to spread awareness about how important and easy it is to register and donate blood.

“I feel like I’ve always wanted to help,” said Nieves. “But after relapsing you look at things differently, It’s sad that there are kids suffering and spending half their lives in the hospital.”

To that end, the family has organized numerous blood drives at CTK and has raised thousands for Friends of Karen — an organization that supports critically-ill children and their families.

“She helped us regain entry to Christ the King,” said Harvey Schaffler, executive director of donor marketing for NYBC. “Now we have blood drives there twice a year.”

“I’m very proud of Carly, she’s an amazingly strong young woman,” said Cangialosi-Horner. “She thinks of others before herself, and she’s always thinking and praying for her friends in the hospital.”

Schaffler explained that the new campaign has received “enormously positive feedback” so far because “what really resonates for donors is envisioning the people they help.”

So Nieves’ image, along with the others featured — set to roll out by the summer — will not only draw attention to her own fight, but to that of those still in need of help.

For Nieves, who turned her cancer into her cause, seeing herself on a moving vehicle may be a little daunting at first.

“I may feel like a celebrity, but I’ll still probaly be in shock,” she admitted.

For more information about becoming a marrow donor, call 1-800-MARROW-2. It’s a simple process that takes just a few minutes of paperwork and a cheek swab.

To learn more about Friends of Karen, which will be hosting a gala fundraiser on August 2 at the Inn at New Hyde Park, go to www.friendsofkaren.org.

Super Bowl Bound: Giants Nip 49ers In OT To Set Up Title Rematch Vs. Patriots


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Super Bowl Bound: Giants Nip 49ers In OT To Set Up Title Rematch Vs. Patriots

For the second time in five seasons, Big Blue is going to the big game. The New York Giants recovered two mishandled San Francisco kick returns, the last one setting up the game-winning field goal in sudden-death overtime, as Big Blue defeated the 49ers 20-17 in Sunday’s NFC Championship to advance to the Super Bowl for the second time since 2008. Sunday’s win sets up a Super Bowl rematch with the New England Patriots, whom the Giants defeated in Super Bowl XLII to claim the franchise’s third Super Bowl title and ruin the Patriots’ pursuit of a perfect season. Read More: NY1

 

 

‘Headless Body in Topless Bar’ killer seeks release from prison

The maniacal murderer who spawned the famous New York Post headline “Headless Body in Topless Bar” is trying to get sprung from prison, The Post has learned. Charles Dingle, 53, will ask a three-person parole panel this week to free him from the upstate Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo. But if his 1983 psychotic rampage and ensuing pathetic prison record are any indication, his chances are questionable. The convict’s infamous blood-drenched spree is considered one of New York’s most notorious crimes. Read More: New York Post

 

‘I tried to stop cop suicide’

The devastated fiancée of the suicidal cop who blew his brains out on the job last week revealed to The Post yesterday how she had desperately tried to talk him out of it in a phone call only seconds before he pulled the trigger. “We weren’t fighting,” insisted Maria Stuart, 28, who was planning to marry NYPD Officer Terrence Dean, 28, on Aug. 18. “All I was trying to do was tell Terrence he needs help.” Stuart said she had admitted to Dean during the frantic Thursday-night call that she had just phoned his Queens precinct house and made vague warnings about a suicidal officer. Read More: New York Post

 

MTA scuttles free-shuttle plan

MTA officials have proven again that they excel — at taking service away from desperate riders. Brass at the cash-strapped agency have incredibly rejected an offer of a free shuttle bus — financed in full by a local lawmaker — for 7-train riders slammed by 11 straight weekends of service outages. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer offered to pay for the $250,000 direct, no-transfer bus from Long Island City to Grand Central while the MTA worked on the signal system under the East River. The money would have come out of his own discretionary funds. Read More: New York Post

 

Two People Injured In Queens House Fire

An investigation is underway into a house fire in Jackson Heights, Queens that injured two people early Sunday. More than 100 firefighters responded to 37-39 90th Street around 1 a.m. and fire officials said two people were pulled from the home. One of the victims is said to be okay, and the other one was taken to Elmhurst Hospital with serious injuries. Read More: NY1

 

Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno Dies

Family members announced that former Penn State coach Joe Paterno died Sunday at age 85, after suffering from complications from lung cancer. A native of Flatbush, Brooklyn, Paterno attended Saint Edmund Elementary School and Brooklyn Preparatory High School and gave up a career in law to coach football. He coached the Nittany Lions for 46 years and won 409 games, more than any other coach in major college football history. Among the former Penn State athletes coached by Paterno is New York Giants offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie, whose team played in Sunday’s National Football Conference Championship game in San Francisco. Read More: NY1

Weiner mistress claims he wanted to have a threesome with a man


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Weiner mistress claims he wanted to have a threesome with a man

Anthony Weiner wanted to do more than share his crotch shots with women online, his former X-rated chat buddy claims. Traci Nobles, who came forward as one of the New York politician’s sexting partners earlier this year, told Radaronline.com that he wanted to have a threesome — with her and another man. She claimed that he detailed his desires in an explicit chat earlier this year. “I’m not really talking about other chicks … How about with another guy,” he allegedly said, according to the blonde bombshell. “Are you turned on by other guys?” Nobles claims she asked. “Well it depends on the guy, but generally yes,” Weiner allegedly replied. Read More: Daily News

Family still waiting to bury Brooklyn woman burned to death in brutal elevator attack

The body of the Prospect Heights woman burned to death in her apartment building elevator is still awaiting final burial. The family of Deloris Gillespie said that because she was so badly burned in the shocking December 17 attack authorities have not yet officially identified her — leaving her family unable to get a death certificate or proceed with a funeral. Read More: New York Post

Death on tracks

A man was fatally struck last night by a subway train in Washington Heights — and cops are investigating whether he went onto the tracks to relieve himself, police sources said. The victim, whose name wasn’t released, was struck at around 9:20 p.m. at the 191st Street station on the No. 1 line. Read More: New York Post

Knife-wielding thug attacks woman, ransacks Tribeca law firm: cops

A knife-wielding thief barged into a lower Manhattan law firm, shattered the jaw of a female employee, tied her up with a phone charger and ransacked the place, police sources said today. The mayhem started at 3:20 p.m. Monday, when the unidentified man was caught on video strolling into an office tower and talking to a doorman on Broadway near Walker Street. Read More: New York Post

NTSB cites ice in report on NJ crash that killed exec, family

Federal investigators have released a preliminary report on last week’s plane crash in New Jersey that killed five people. The preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report released late Monday draws no conclusions on what caused the December 20 crash. A final report could take a year or more to complete. The single-engine turboprop crashed about 15 minutes after takeoff from Teterboro Airport and was headed to Georgia. The report describes how pilot Jeffrey Buckalew radioed to air traffic controllers that he was experiencing icing and requested to climb to a higher altitude. The plane peaked at 17,900 feet before descending. Read More: New York Post

Husband faces civil suit in death of rich UBS wealth manager Shele Danishefsky Covlin

The Manhattan public administrator has gone where the cops and the DA have not: publicly accusing ex-stock trader Rod Covlin of killing his rich, beautiful wife two years ago. Shele Danishefsky Covlin, 47, a UBS wealth manager, was found dead in her upper West Side bathtub on New Year’s Eve 2009. Her scalp was cut and the death was ruled an accidental fall. Her Orthodox Jewish family refused an autopsy, and she was buried almost immediately, following religious tradition. Read More: Daily News

Court win for kin of World Trade Center cop

A hero cop injured at the Twin Towers on 9/11 died from World Trade Center-related cancer, a state appeals court ruled yesterday. The Appellate Division ruling means Frank Macri’s widow is entitled to accidental-line-of-duty death benefits — and, in fact, he will be listed as having died in the line of duty, said the family’s lawyers, Michael Murray and Christopher McGrath. “I’m at a loss for words,” his widow, Nilda Macri, told The Post. “Frank really deserves this honor. This would’ve meant a lot to him, to know he’s still remembered . . . He was a special, special guy.” Read More: New York Post

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to green Queens locomotives

Two fuel-efficient locomotives will roll through Queens in 2013 with technology designed to reduce pollution and lower costs for local businesses that use freight trains to move goods. With a $2 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, two conventional locomotives will be overhauled to use low-emissions diesel technology, the city Economic Development Corp. announced last week. Read More: Daily News

Ex-‘Saturday Night Live’ writer Joe Bodolai found dead after hotel room suicide

Former “Saturday Night Live” writer Joseph Bodolai has committed suicide in a Hollywood hotel room, the Los Angeles coroner’s office said Tuesday. Coroner’s office spokesman Craig Harvey said room service staff found the body of the 63-year-old Bodolai at 1:30 p.m. Monday in a room at Hollywood’s Re-Tan Hotel. He checked into the hotel December 19. Harvey said Bodolai drank a mixture of Gatorade and antifreeze. The death, first reported by celebrity website TMZ, has been ruled a suicide. Read More: Daily News

Winning $206M Mega Millions jackpot ticket sold at Long Island grocery store

One Long Island lottery player received a belated holiday gift Tuesday, but it was worth the wait: a $206 million jackpot. The winner nailed the five numbers picked in Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing — 23, 32, 33, 39 and 43 — along with the “Mega Ball” of 8, the lottery said on its website. The winner has not yet come forward, said Christy Calicchia, director of communications for New York Lottery. Three other New Yorkers picked the first five numbers — but not the Mega Ball — and won $250,000 each. The lone jackpot-winning ticket was sold at a King Kullen supermarket in Middle Island. Read More: Daily News

Help give the gift of life


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Carly Rose Nieves will be turning 16 in January, but in lieu of a lavish Super Sweet 16 party most girls her age plan for years, she is putting all her efforts into saving lives.

The Middle Village teen has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) — a cancer of the white blood cells that normally fight infections — since she was seven.

Carly received blood transfusions and underwent two years of intensive chemotherapy. Then at age 12, she suffered a relapse of ALL after three years. The relapse placed Carly in the high-risk category, which requires additional intensive, high-dose chemotherapy.
Because of her intensive treatment, Carly — who adores school and managed to graduate as an honor roll student in the 6th grade — had to miss many years of it.

Now Carly — who regrew a full head of hair following the chemo — is out of treatment and in remission. And after being out of school for three years, Carly is back as a freshman at Christ the King (CTK) Regional High School and she is “loving every minute of it.”

“She’s doing awesome,” said her mother, Lisa. “She’s still very tired and weak, but that’s expected for the first year or so. But she manages every morning to get up and go to school. It’s just been a great experience for her because she can socialize now that she has an immune system.”

Now at school, Carly has a great following of friends and administrators who understand.

“There are kids that remember her from last year because she did a speech at their Thanksgiving Mass,” Lisa said. “All the kids in her classes, teachers, everyone at the school — they all seem to get along great. She has good and bad days because of the chemo, but the teachers really understand.”

Still, Carly has not forgotten the friends she made in the hospital and others that are still suffering, including one friend — of Italian and Chinese descent — who relapsed for the second time and has a hard time finding a bone marrow donor match because of her ethnicity.

That’s why Carly, her friends and family are holding another community blood and bone marrow drive for the second year in a row at Christ the King, and they need as many people as possible to donate on December 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those of Asian descent are particularly needed to match Carly’s friend, Lisa said.

“We need to find the positive in all of this, and this is the only way we could think of to try and help as many people as we can. It truly does save a life,” Lisa said, adding that one bag of blood can save three lives.

Last year, they collected 200 pints of blood, registered 54 people to be bone marrow donors and raised $3,000 for Friends of Karen — an organization that supports critically ill children and their families.

This year, they will have a few small raffles to continue raising money for Friends of Karen. Prizes include gift baskets and toy prizes that were donated, including a tricycle and a wooden fire engine.

But mainly, Lisa said, she wants to spread awareness about how important and easy it is to register and donate.

“Carly needed a lot of transfusions during her treatment. The last thing you ever want to hear as a patient or a parent is ‘We ran out.’ That happened to us once. It’s just very scary,” Lisa said. “You can save a life and a family’s life. It’s amazing what can be done from just swabbing your cheeks.”
Lisa explained that cancer patients may require frequent blood transfusions because aggressive treatment often destroys healthy blood cells along with diseased ones. Red blood cell transfusions to fight anemia and platelet transfusions to control bleeding are often needed.

“Carly keeps that in mind all the time,” she said. “She tries to get everyone to be aware. We just want to tell people how easy it is to give the gift of life. What better time of year to do it than the holiday season? It’s better than giving money.”

For more information about becoming a marrow donor, call 1-800-MARROW-2. It’s a simple process that takes just a few minutes of paperwork and a cheek swab.

To learn more about Friends of Karen, go to www.friendsofkaren.org.
And to find out more about the blood drive, on Saturday, December 17 at Christ the King, 68-02 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, email lhorner67@gmail.com.

Long Island City remembers learning champion Fausta Ippolito


| smosco@queenscourier.com

FAUSTA MEMORIAL 056

Fausta Ippolito lived her life in a constant state of motion. The LIC resident was active in her determination to keep children reading and to give her community a library to call its own. She was purpose driven and well on her way to seeing the fruits of her labor blossom into a state-of-the-art library on the LIC side of the East River.

Then without warning, Fausta was taken from her family and her community – her mission unfinished.

“Her purpose in life was to give,” her husband, Angelo, said of Fausta who passed away at 46 unexpectedly of cancer. The couple had two children, Gaetano, 11, and Daria, 8. “She was 100 percent selfless. People recognized this.”

Fausta’s friends, family, colleagues crowded Manducatis Rustica for “a joyful evening of food, drink, song and heartfelt memories” hosted by Gianna Cerbone, her friend and owner of the Italian restaurant on Vernon Boulevard.

The event was more than just a memoriam, it was meant to kick off the Forever Fausta Learning and Literacy Endowment campaign. Angelo – a chiropractor, nutritionist and activist in the are – explained that Fausta’s love of learning, education and libraries inspired him to do something to benefit the Queens Library, specifically at Hunters Point.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer attended the September 19 event and recalled his first encounter with the mother of two young children.

“I got a call from her about three or four years ago,” he said. “She said, ‘We want a library for our community,’ and she wanted to help. I told her to build support and let everyone know and start a petition drive.”

A few months later, the councilmember attended an event at P.S. 78 and saw a petition on a table with Fausta’s name along the bottom, alongside thousands of signatures.
“It was really amazing,” he said. “She was so committed. She did everything she could to make the library a reality.”

A total of $25 million has been earmarked for the construction of the library, including $3 million allocated by Van Bramer’s office, according to Tom Galante, chief executive officer of Queens Library.

Throughout the evening, individuals were able to make contributions to the foundation and buy raffle tickets for some 45 items, ranging from jewelry and bottles of premium vodka to art works and gift certificates for dance lessons and tea at the Plaza Hotel.

We hope to grow it every year,” said Galante. “It will last forever. It will be a tremendous resource, a wonderful legacy for her.”

According to Van Bramer, “The library will be a lasting tribute to her and one her children will be able to experience the rest of their lives.”
The goal is for the library to be completed by the end of 2013.

The endowment will support library books, materials, resources, and programs at the library. Anyone wishing to contribute to the endowment should go to queenslibraryfoundation.org or call

718-480-4273.

Steve Lavin to undergo cancer surgery today


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of St. John's University

St. John’s Coach Steve Lavin will undergo surgery today to treat his prostate cancer which was diagnosed last fall.

Lavin, entering his second year on the Johnnies sideline, coached the Red Storm to their most successful season in a decade last year. It was only after the season that the school announced that the 47 year old had been diagnosed with an early stage of the disease during the season.

“The advantage of early detection is that we were afforded the time to research all options,” said Lavin. “After weighing treatment options with the experts at Sloan we have decided surgery is the best path to take for my particular prostate cancer condition.”

Lavin is expected to return to his coaching responsibilities after a short recovery period. The season kicks-off on October 15 with the team’s first practice following a tip-off event the prior night.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s chairman of the Department of Surgery, Peter T. Scardino, M.D. will perform the surgery. Scardino said that the coach should make a quick and full recovery. It is also highly likely that this treatment will eradicate the cancer, the doctor said

Lavin has involved himself with organizations promoting cancer research and awareness for the past decade, including Coaches vs. Cancer and The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

As part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend, Lavin wore white Nike Air Force Ones during the Johnnies upset of Duke to help raise awareness and support the American Cancer Society. Claiming comfort and not superstition, Lavin continued to sport sneakers during games for the remainder of the season.

The Johnnies enter the season looking to build on their success of a year ago when a senior-laden team reached the NCAA tournament. The year’s team features just one returning player – junior guard Malik Stith – and includes seven freshmen.

WATCH Street Talk: How will you remember Steve Jobs?


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Steve Jobs, the co-founder and chairman of Apple, died Wednesday at the age of 56. The Queens Courier hit the streets to see how locals will remember him.

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