Tag Archives: Governor Andrew Cuomo

PHOTOS: Future One World Trade Center observatory


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Port Authority

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has revealed what the state-of-the-art observatory that will open at One World Trade Center will offer visitors.

On floors 100 to 102 of the building, it has breathtaking views of the city as well as other features.

Its “Skypod” elevators will give visitors the “experience of being outside the building as they make their ascent and descent in a quick 60 seconds,” according to the Port Authority.

The observatory will also offer several dining options and an event space.

“One World Observatory will be a magnificent facility, a championship-caliber attraction that will make Lower Manhattan a premiere destination for New Yorkers and visitors from around the world,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo. “This spectacular venue is yet another step forward in the rebirth of the World Trade Center, of Lower Manhattan, and demonstrates the remarkable resilience of America.”

FEMA extends housing program for Sandy victims


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved a 21-day extension of the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program for Sandy victims, Governor Cuomo announced Wednesday.

“The Transitional Sheltering Assistance program continues to be an essential resource for the New Yorkers who were hit hardest by Sandy,” said Cuomo. “This extension allows them to have a temporary place to stay and more time to get their lives back to normal.”

Through the program, storm survivors who cannot return to their homes can stay in participating hotels or motels while they try to find long-term shelter.

FEMA will call those eligible for the extension to notify them of the new April 14 checkout date.

To qualify for TSA, survivors must first apply through FEMA by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, via smartphone or tablet by using the FEMA app or going to m.fema.gov, or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362).

 

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City Council passes resolution calling for speed cameras


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Local lawmakers are telling drivers to slow down.

On Wednesday, March 20, the City Council approved a resolution calling on the state Legislature to pass a law allowing New York City to set up a speed camera pilot program. It would test 20 to 40 speed cameras installed at high-risk locations across the city for five years, according to the Council, which said one in four traffic deaths in the city is caused by speeding.

“The speed cameras would not photograph the driver or disseminate the license plate number of the vehicle,” the Council said in a release.

Fines would range from $25 to $50 for speeding between 10 and 30 miles above the speed limit and $100 for driving more than 30 miles above the speed limit.

“If we can save the life of just one child by reducing the speed of vehicles in our city, this pilot program will have served its purpose,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who sits on the Council’s Transportation Committee and helped spearhead the resolution. “We are obligated to protect the lives of our city residents and introducing a speed camera pilot program in New York City will help reduce excessive speeding in areas that have been plagued by drag racing, excessive vehicular crashes and pedestrian collisions.”

One accident where speed may have been a factor is the death of a nine-year-old Sunnyside girl, Hallie Geier, who, in 2004, was hit by an SUV in front of Van Bramer’s home.

Following the incident, Van Bramer and the Council worked to have the Department of Transportation (DOT) install speed humps on the block.

But more needs to be done according to the Council, and the DOT agrees.

After releasing 2012 traffic safety statistics this week, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is calling for “swift state authorization for the city to use speed-camera enforcement for the first time, with a priority given to streets near schools with documented speeding.”

Although the city experienced historic lows in annual traffic deaths last year, “fatal crashes overwhelmingly involved speeding (increasing from 49 in 2011 to 81 in 2012),” and were “the greatest single factor in traffic deaths.

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly is also behind the speed camera plan, according to reports, and sent a letter to state legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo expressing his support.

But the New York City Police Benevolent Association (PBA) strongly disagrees with Kelly, and believes money for the program would be better used for other speed mitigating measures.

“Speed cameras are no substitute for live policing. Many speeders are unlicensed, some are operating under the influence and sometimes they are fleeing crime scenes or carrying weapons,” said PBA president Patrick J. Lynch. “Cameras let all those dangers slip by. Money spent on speed cameras would be far better used to improve public safety by hiring more fully trained police officers to interdict speeders.”

Photo courtesy of DOT

Disabled cuts fight not over


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes

The State Legislature recently voted to restore funds through its budgets to disabled programs. But with negotiations still on the horizon, the battle isn’t over.

“With so many Queens families continuing to struggle during these tough economic times, we must do everything we can to ensure New York State has programs in place to help people in need,” said Assemblymember Nily Rozic.

The assembly budget proposal would restore $120 million to not-for-profit organizations that work with developmentally disabled individuals, and an additional $20 million to maintain state-operated mental health services. The Senate proposal also would restore $120 million.

Hundreds of organizations citywide tailored toward developmentally disabled individuals could be subject to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget amendments that will result in a $240 million cut in funding, effective April 1, if an accord between the the executive and legislative branch is not reached.

Charlie Houston, executive director of the Queens Center for Progress (QCP), said that with a cut like the one being proposed, there is “no way” that the center’s services wouldn’t be affected.

“We would have to lay staff off,” he said. “There’s no way we could avoid that.”

A main issue concerning administrators of these organizations, elected officials and disabled individuals is losing members of the “family” they have created in their respective programs.

“I love being here,” said Alan Rosen, a participant in the day program at The Shield Institute. “I don’t want [my aide] to leave, I like her so much.”

Groups such as QCP and The Shield Institute work towards helping disabled individuals live a progressive lifestyle, becoming more active and independent. Each day, they have different activities such as painting and cooking, and also visit different sites throughout the community.

These daily programs and trips outside of the facilities are the ones that could potentially get the ax if administrators are forced to let go of staff. Many patients require constant supervision and care, and without staff, that consistency could become unavailable.

“It would be a movement back towards custodial kind of care, rather than community integration,” said Houston. “It’s a real step backwards.”

Houston also said they may have to close certain programs for weeks at a time.

“What it would come to, for safety reasons, is they’ll just plop them in front of a TV day in and day out,” said Margaret MacPherson, whose brother, Thomas Hatch, 65, goes to QCP. “[But] it’s so important for them to see that life goes on outside of those four walls.”

Hatch lives with eight other people, all of whom need around-the-clock supervision due to different medical issues. MacPherson fears that without an adequate amount of staff, they may lose some of this supervision.

“These people cannot speak for themselves,” she said. “I see that there is absolutely not a nickel of surplus money, and I’m just heart sick for them.”

She said that the QCP staff does a job that is not so pretty, but they remain the loveliest and finest people.

“I’ve been concerned [about the budget] before, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this concerned,” she admitted.

There will be a three-way negotiation between the assembly, senate and governor, projected for some time next week, which will determine how much money will officially be restored.

“This isn’t a matter of agencies taking cuts,” said Houston. “It’s going to affect people – a lot of people.”

 

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Cuomo files proposal for spending Sandy aid


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Governor Andrew Cuomo became the first state leader to file a proposal for federal aid to houses and businesses that were damaged during Sandy.

Cuomo’s state action plan, available for public review at nyshcr.org/Publications, outlines how the state intends to spend its first $1.7 billion dollars allocated by the Sandy aid bill signed into law by President Obama in January.

“Superstorm Sandy was the worst storm to hit New York State and our region in recorded history, and its impact devastated homes and businesses across Long Island and the metro area,” said Cuomo. “This plan was put together with the input of homeowners and small businesses in affected communities, and it will serve as a blueprint to guide our housing and private sector recovery.”

The proposal now awaits approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, the agency designated with supervising the federal government’s response to Sandy.

“We have worked closely with the State of New York to identify areas of unmet need and ensure that this first round of CDBG-DR funding helps families and small businesses get back on their feet,” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said. “I look forward to building on the partnership we have created with Governor Cuomo to help communities in New York rebuild in a way that makes them stronger, more economically competitive and better able to withstand the next storm.”

Under the proposal, $663 million will be allocated for relief to single family housing, $124 million to multi-family housing and $415 million to bringing back businesses affected by the storm.

If the proposal is approved, the state would also create several programs to help distribute funds. Twenty million dollars would be used in an infrastructure bank, where eligible infrastructure projects can apply for assistance. A community restructuring program would receive $25 million, benefitting communities that have been severely damaged following the storm. Energy related projects would receive $30 million, to help develop critical backup power systems.

“We have been working hand in hand with our federal partners since the day Sandy struck and every day since,” Cuomo said. “The state will provide whatever assistance and collaboration necessary to see that HUD approves these plans as quickly as possible so we can get this aid to the New Yorkers who need and deserve it.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Mostly cloudy in the morning, then overcast. High of 50. Winds from the SSE at 5 to 15 mph. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 46. Winds from the SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Fifth Annual Reel-Abilities Film Festival

On March 11, as part of the  country’s largest film festival by and about people with disabilities, the Central Queens Y will screen Still Standing about singer who has performed at the White House, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center despite having lost a leg to cancer. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Quinn officially announces mayoral run

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is officially running for mayor. Read more: Queens Courier

Suspect nabbed in library assault

A suspect wanted in connection with the March 4 assault on a 15-year-old girl at a Queens library has been arrested, police said. Read more: Queens Courier

Gang stabs, robs cyclist in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

A cyclist was stabbed and robbed by a group of men in Queens on Saturday. Read more: NY1

Queens parents council says no room for new charters in overcrowded District 24

Three Queens charter schools are vying to open in one of the city’s most overcrowded school districts — much to the dismay of a local parents council. Read more: New York Daily News

Gov. Cuomo’s favorability rating drops to all-time low: poll

It’s been an unlucky ’13 for Gov. Cuomo so far – relatively speaking. His favorability rating has dropped to an all-time low since he took office Jan. 1, 2011, according to a new poll – though it’s still better than two-to-one (64-30 percent). Read more: New York Post

Jury deliberation resumes Monday in ‘Cannibal Cop’ case

Jury deliberations in the case of the so-called ‘cannibal cop’ case will resume on Monday. Read more: Fox New York

SKorea, US begin drills as NKorea threatens war

North and South Korea staged dueling war games Monday as threatening rhetoric from the rivals rose to the highest level since North Korea rained artillery shells on a South Korean island in 2010. Read more: AP

Dismal budget has disabled distraught


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

The Shield Institute taught Sui Chan to walk and talk. Now she fears budget cuts may take away from the program she calls her lifeline.

The organization for the developmentally disabled, along with over 600 others citywide, are currently subject to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget amendments that will result in a $240 million cut in funding, effective April 1.

“The Shield is where I find my voice,” said Chan, 52, through an electronic speaking device. “I am asking [Cuomo] to not cut the services that I receive because, to be honest, my life depends on it.”

Programs for developmentally disabled individuals were also victim of budget cuts three years ago and have since received no increase in funding. Between that slash in funds and the current one, it amounts to a $400 million loss.

Groups such as The Shield Institute aim towards helping these people live a progressive lifestyle, becoming more active and independent. Each day, they have different activities such as painting, cooking and exercising. Patients also meet with physical therapists, speech therapists and psychologists.

Officials fear with the looming spending slashes, their staff may have to take the fall.

“We have people that have complex needs,” said Dr. Susan Provenzano, executive director at The Shield. “We pride ourselves on being able to provide good, quality service, and this would put a strain on that ability.”

Louise Young’s 55-year-old brother, Fred Lotti, has been going to The Shield Institute’s day program for 30 years. Young said Lotti, who has cerebral palsy, throughout his entire life, he has not been left alone for even five minutes.

“He needs, what I call, a shadow,” said Young. “They need to dress him, prepare his food, drive him places. If they start making cuts, these people are not going to be able to function.”

Genevieve Murphy, an aide at The Shield Institute, said that after she told her group about the cuts, they all became very concerned.

With Murphy’s help, the group compiled a letter to send to Albany, urging Cuomo to reconsider the budget proposal.

“Just take a second to close your eyes and imagine yourself not being able to walk, eat by yourself, or communicate what you feel,” they said in the letter. “We are just asking you to please think twice.”

 

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Cuomo’s proposed cuts to developmentally disabled would be ‘devastating’


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY DENISE ROMANO & MAGGIE HAYES

Carol Goldstein doesn’t know where to turn.

With the threat of budget cuts looming, she fears her autistic son will not get the services he so desperately needs.

Her son, and those living with developmental disabilities will be “devastated” by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget cuts, say activists.

Advocates have been sending letters and holding protests to stop the cuts, which some say will reverse years of progress.

The proposed cuts, effective April 1, will strike $240 million from the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities’ (OPWDD) budget: Cuomo’s cuts taking $120 million, and the other half that is traditionally matched by the state, according to Peter Smergut, CEO of Life’s WORC.

“This is going to have a dire consequence,” said Smergut. “The repercussions are going to have an impact on the people that we support every day.”

“It makes me feel devastated. It kills me,” said Goldstein, of Bayside.

Life’s WORC, along with over 600 organizations citywide, aims to provide disabled individuals with services that facilitate an independent and productive lifestyle; now, the groups are deciding where to make cuts.

Additionally, federal funding that comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would slash $1.1 billion from total Medicaid funding sent to the state, which includes funding for OPWDD as well as other state agencies, amounting to “the largest funding cuts ever” according to the Coalition of Families for Direct Support Staff in Services for People with Developmental Disabilities, which has sent out an alert to supporters, contending, “Our services would be decimated.”

“Our family has been [in New York] for three generation, and now the state can’t take him?” said Goldstein. “Where does my child go?”

Smergut noted that there is not a lot of bureaucratic fat in his organization. “Where are our cuts supposed to come from?” he asked. “It’s people doing people work. It’s extremely frustrating.”

Additionally, OPWDD funding was not exclusively for people with developmental disorders, but for all kinds of other safety programs, according to Smergut, such as programs for drug and alcohol abuse.

“At the end of the day, all of our consumers are going to end up without the kind of support that they traditionally had,” he said.

 

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Governor Cuomo: Require gas stations to have generators


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed legislation that would require approximately half the gas stations in the state to have a backup generator for use during a fuel supply or energy emergency.

“New York State must learn the lessons from superstorm Sandy so that we are better prepared for the future,” said Cuomo. “This plan will prevent the long lines, delays and frustrations caused by gas stations being forced to close when they lose power.”

Under the governor’s proposal, all gas stations within a half-mile of highway exits and hurricane evacuation routes as well as any newly constructed gas stations or ones that have had major renovations would need to comply to the requirements by March 1, 2014.

Additionally, chains with 10 or more gas stations under common ownership in any region of the state would also need to have an additional 50 percent of their stations pre-wired for a generator by March 1, 2016. In the case of a power outage, those stations would have 48 hours to install and deploy a generator in a fuel or energy emergency.

If a station fails to adhere to the new law, they will face a penalty of up to $2,000 per day.

Calls to several Queens gas stations revealed that most do not have generators and are not planning on getting one. When asked why they didn’t have one, most stations cited cost concerns or lack of necessity as reasons.

Cuomo’s proposed legislation includes grants of up to $10,000 per gas station to help ease the financial burden of installing generators, but the governor’s proposal doesn’t address other obstacles stations faced during Sandy.
Joe Yun, an employee at a Citgo station on 35th Avenue and Bell Boulevard, which suffered long lines and fuel shortages during Sandy, said that a backup generator wouldn’t have helped them in that situation.

The station had no power problems, and ran out of fuel when another issue disrupted the station’s regular fuel delivery schedule.

“[The refineries] got flooded,” explained Yun. “We couldn’t get gas here.”

Map courtesy of Governor Cuomo’s Office

 

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Op-Ed: Recovery through economic activity and investment


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER PHILLIP GOLDFEDER

Last year, the legislature passed a bill, as the first step in the process to amending the state constitution, allowing enhanced gaming in up to seven locations across the state. While this was only the beginning, it was a huge victory for Queens families who have already benefited from the economic development and jobs created by Resorts World at Aqueduct and realize the potential for growth. In his annual state of the state address, Governor Andrew Cuomo shared a vision for the future of our state and I look forward to our continued partnership and collaboration in an effort to boost every community across the state.

In southern Queens and Rockaway, Sandy has left a path of unimaginable devastation and destruction and it will take the coordinated efforts of the public and private sector to fully recover. Now, more than ever, we need to find new and creative ways to help our small businesses to create good-paying jobs and rejuvenate our local economy. Creating a full-scale, enhanced gaming casino at Resorts World would not only increase revenues for the community and the state, but the impact would be felt immediately in terms of economic activity and job creation for southern Queens and Rockaway families.

Expanding gaming also provides opportunities for continued investment in southern Queens and Rockaway infrastructure. I continue to be a staunch advocate for the complete restoration of the abandoned Rockaway Beach Rail Line, as it would be the right solution to not only encourage economic development but to increase transit options for all of Queens’ families. Created at the turn of the century, the Rockaway Beach Rail Line, also known as White Pot Junction, was owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road. Strategically placed within a major network of trains throughout New York City, the rail line provided residents with safe, affordable and expedient access to other parts of Queens and the rest of the city.

There is no need to look any farther than Resorts World at Aqueduct, a proven location for enhanced gaming and reliable community partner. Since their first year anniversary, Resorts World has set records in slot machine gaming, beating out the casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, contributing millions of dollars towards the education of our children. Further, Resorts World has been a valuable neighbor that has worked hand-in-hand with elected leaders, the NYPD and our community to ensure a seamless development at the Aqueduct facility. Resorts World is the perfect example of partnership and we need to give them the tools necessary to continue to succeed so that our families and small businesses may continue to recover and become even more resilient.

In addition to their success as a casino, Resorts World is committed to a long term partnership with our community and has continued their positive relationship through vital investments in our local organizations and standing on the front lines of Sandy relief and recovery. Given the right tools, Resorts World will continue to exceed every expectation, expand on our local workforce and stimulate our local economy, in addition to creating opportunities for the continued success and recovery of Queens.

Goldfeder represents the 23rd Assembly District including Ozone Park, Lindenwood, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Mostly cloudy. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 14F. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 15 mph shifting to the East in the afternoon. Friday night: Overcast with a chance of snow and a chance of rain after midnight. Low of 34 with a windchill as low as 28F. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 60%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Black History Month Celebration of the African and Latin Influence on Jazz

On February 22 at 8 p.m., there will be a Black History Month Celebration of the African and Latin Influence on Jazz at the York College Performing Arts Center featuring the band 23rd Son with special guests Camille Thurman and Catarina dos Santos. Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Councilman wants parking meter rules suspended for all holidays

When alternate side of the street parking rules are suspended on holidays in New York city, drivers still have to pay the meter. Read more: Fox New York

Chaotic ‘Harlem Shake’ at Queens high school leads to arrest of student

A Harlem Shake flash mob has left a Queens teenager with a court date. Read more: CBS New York

Arrest in threats towards Cuomo and Bloomberg

Police have accused a man of making death threats on Facebook against the governor of New York, the mayor of New York City and several members of Congress. Read more: ABC New York

NYC to crack down on food delivery cyclists

New York City is preparing to crack down on bicycle delivery drivers who ride unsafely through the streets while on the job. Read more: NBC New York

Parks Department displays first plans for new Rockaway Boardwalk Buildings

The Parks Department offered Rockaway residents a first look at new buildings planned along the area’s boardwalk, which was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. Read more: NY1

Quinn proposes lower fines for street food vendors

Mayor Bloomberg says it is one of the stupidest things he has ever heard. He’s talking about a plan to lower fines on food vendors on city streets. Read more: ABC New York

Three die in shooting, fiery crash on Las Vegas Strip

Three people died in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip early on Thursday when one or more gunmen in a Range Rover sport utility vehicle opened fire on a Maserati, killing the driver and touching off a fiery multi-car crash. Read more: Reuters

New policy forces mentally ill out of adult homes


| mchan@queenscourier.com

DSC_0085

Adult homes in Queens are now forced to evict hundreds of mentally ill residents and shut out new entrants under a new state policy.

Privately run adult homes in the state, including nine in Queens and nearly 50 in the city, will have to cut their mental health population down to 25 percent, according to regulation put in place by Governor Andrew Cuomo last month.

The homes have less than 120 days to move out residents into smaller supportive housing units where they will live on their own.

“Displacing these residents without the proper preparations for their new living will have an adverse effect on patient care and on the communities they will be living in,” said Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder.

The new rule is expected to throw adult homes into financial turmoil, leaders in the field said.

“No assisted living facility with mentally ill populations can remain economically viable,” said Jeffrey Edelman of the New York State Center for Assisted Living. “If this radical social experiment to force the seriously mentally ill to live on their own fails, residents will never be able to return to their adult home because we will be out of business.”

Goldfeder said Queens adult homes, most of which are located in the Rockaways, are also the source of hundreds of local jobs.

“At the end of the day, we have to do what’s in the best interest of the patients and we have to think about the community at large,” he said.

Queens Adult Care Center, one of the borough’s affected adult homes, will have to boot 90 of its 300 mentally ill residents, according to chief administrator Leon Hofman. They would be without regular medication and constant supervision outside of their homes, he said.

“I’m concerned some of these people will not have a place to live or if they’ll make it,” Hofman said.

Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Community Board 14, said he fears some residents will end up freezing to death or wandering without supervision to nearby oceans.

“We didn’t agree with the policy,” he said. “It’s not fair to them, and the state will have to answer for that. I’m not sure they thought that through.”

Cuomo’s efforts come after a similar 2009 ruling by a Brooklyn federal judge who said large adult homes in the city violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

AFFECTED ADULT HOMES IN QUEENS:

  • Sanford Manor Home Care Agency in Flushing
  • Queens Adult Care Center in Elmhurst
  • Belle Harbor Manor
  • Long Island Living Center
  • New Haven Manor Home for Adults
  • Rockaway Manor Home for Adults
  • Seaview Manor Home for Adults
  • Wavecrest Home for Adults
  • Surfside Manor Home for Adults

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 41F. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Wednesday night: Overcast with snow and rain, then snow after midnight. Low of 32 with a windchill as low as 25. Winds from the ENE at 5 to 15 mph shifting to the NNE after midnight. Chance of snow 70% with accumulations up to 2 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Queen of Hearts Valentine’s Pop Up Market

Check out the Queen of Hearts Valentine’s Pop Up Market at Veslo in Astoria for a night of fun! There will be shopping, arts, fabulous gifts, a  DJ, complimentary cocktails and yummy cuisine. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Snow alert issued for NYC

Although it will be nothing close to what Nemo brought to the New York City area last week, there is more snow in the forecast. Read more: Queens Courier

New York State pushes banks to release over $200 million in Sandy aid

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that his administration is working with banks to release nearly $208 million in checks already approved for victims of Superstorm Sandy. Read more: CBS New York

Queens man says video, graphic images prove police used excessive force in his arrest

Robert Jackson said that police caused a scar shaped like a horseshoe on the side of his face. Read more: NY1

Obama urges Congress to make government work for “the many”

U.S. President Barack Obama challenged a divided Congress on Tuesday to raise the minimum wage and make government work for “the many” in a State of the Union speech focused on economic fairness for the middle class as the Democrat takes a more assertive tack in his second term. Read more: Reuters

California fugitive is believed to gave died in blaze after shootout

After a shootout and a forest standoff on Tuesday afternoon, Christopher J. Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer sought in the region’s largest manhunt, was apparently killed in a cabin as it burned down around him, but officials said they needed time to sort through the rubble. Read more: New York Times

Pope Benedict makes 1st appearance since resignation

Looking tired but serene, Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was stepping down for “the good of the church,” speaking in his first public appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement of his resignation. Read more: ABC New York

“Banana Joe” named Westminster’s Best in Show

A five-year-old Affenpinscher from the Netherlands named ‘Banana Joe’ was chosen for Best in Show at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Read more: NY1

Update on Nemo cleanup


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

The  city is swiftly bouncing back after the blizzard dubbed “Nemo” swept through the Northeast last night.

The “Big 4″ lines – Babylon, Huntington, Port Washington and Ronkonkoma – of the LIRR are running on every two hours, the MTA announced. Service on other branches will be restored when rail travel is safe again.

While snow falls dwindled by noon today, the Office of Emergency Management advises that winds can still pick up and cause snow drifts throughout the area.

Snow plows have been clearing and salting streets. To see when the last time your street was plowed, click here.

Queens got comparatively less snow than other parts of Long Island, such as Suffolk County. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he has requested Mayor Michael Bloomberg send any additional snow plows to help ease the two-plus feet of snow in Suffolk. The plows won’t go out until after the city is completely plowed, Cuomo said.

Drivers should stay off the road today, the governor advised, as first responders are still trying to clean up from the storm.

“I’ve been all over the metropolitan area and it is dangerous to be on the roads,” Cuomo said. “This is not the day to be out and about.”

Both LaGuardia and JFK International airports are open, according to the Port Authority. Travelers should check with their airlines to check the status of their flight.

Aerial shot of Queens covered in snow after storm


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo @hglaser1 (Howard Glaser)

This photo was tweeted Saturday morning by Howard Glaser, director of operations for the State of New York and advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo, and shows an aerial view of Queens after it was blanketed in snow following the February 2013 blizzard.

 

 

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