Tag Archives: JFK

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 42. North wind around 5 mph becoming light and variable in the afternoon. Thursday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 37. South wind 3 to 7 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: 2nd Annual Figgy Pudding Short Play Fest

Laugh and drink with Unity Stage Company as you enjoy these eight short ho-ho-holiday plays.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

TSA screener busted for stealing iPads, laptops from luggage

TSA screeners are doing their holiday shopping in your luggage. Port Authority cops on Tuesday busted a crooked 32-year-old TSA screener for stealing iPads and laptops from checked baggage at JFK Airport as part of a sting into the increasing problem of sticky-fingered screeners. Read more: NY Post

Officials concerned about air quality in Rockaway homes

The air in the Rockaways may be dusty and taste dirty, but city officials say it is safe. “Just generally speaking, we haven’t seen an impact from Sandy,” said Carter Strickland, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Read more: NY1

Queens man pleads guilty in plot to bomb Manhattan religious institutions

A Queens man pleaded guilty in New York State Court to charges related to a plot to blow up Manhattan religious institutions, including the largest synagogue in the borough, the Manhattan district attorney’s office announced Tuesday. Read more: Queens Courier

Anti-virus software pioneer John McAfee arrested for allegedly entering Guatemala illegally

Software company founder John McAfee was arrested by police in Guatemala on Wednesday for entering the country illegally, hours after he said he would seek asylum in the Central American country. Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said McAfee was detained by police at a hotel in an upscale Guatemala City neighborhood with the help of Interpol agents. Read more: Daily News

Missing Queens man with dementia last seen boarding subway

Officials are searching for a missing man with dementia who was last seen boarding a subway train in a Queens station on Tuesday afternoon. A relative says Gary Sinclair, a 63-year-old Queens resident, was with his caretaker when he managed to slip away and board the subway at 42nd Street and Broadway around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Read more: NY1

Queens volunteer fire houses raising money for Sandy damages

These everyday heroes risked their lives battling raging fires and violent floods to rescue their neighbors in Superstorm Sandy. But volunteer firefighters in Broad Channel and the Rockaways are now working out of moldy fire houses with damaged equipment and water-logged rigs. Read more: Daily News

 

Obama lands at JFK, tours areas hardest hit by Sandy


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

By Alexa Altman and Terence Cullen

“I’m very proud of you, New York,” said President Barack Obama. “You guys are tough. You bounce back, just as America always bounces back. The same is going to be true this time out.”

Alongside New York’s most prominent officials, Obama surveyed damage in the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.

“We are going to be here until the rebuilding is complete,” he said while touring Staten Island. “I’m going to be coming back in the future to make sure that we have followed through on that commitment.”

The president, accompanied by Senators Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, landed at JFK International Airport just after 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 15, where he was greeted by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan.

Obama immediately boarded helicopter Marine One, where he aerially toured some of the damage to the Rockaway peninsula, including Breezy Point, where 111 homes burned down during the storm.

During their trip toward Staten Island, the president was briefed on the city’s current situation by Cuomo, Bloomberg, Napolitano and Donovan.

While New York is currently in recovery mode, the president said there is still plenty to be accomplished on the way to getting the city back up and running.

“Now, more specifically, we are now still in the process of recovery,” Obama said. “As you can see, as you travel around parts of Staten Island, as we flew over parts of … other parts of the city and the region that had been impacted, there is still a lot of cleanup to do.”

Over the past few weeks, aid organizations such as FEMA and the American Red Cross have been criticized for their alleged slow response time and lack of presence in badly damaged regions like Broad Channel and Howard Beach. Obama said he and his team will be working closely with these organizations and local governments to ensure victims receive the assistance they need.

“People still need emergency help. They still need heat. They still need power. They still need food. They still need shelter,” said the president. “Kids are still trying to figure out where they’re going to school. So there’s a lot of short-term, immediate stuff that has to be dealt with. And we are going to make sure that we stay here as long as people need that immediate help. That’s FEMA’s primary task.”

While on the ground in Staten Island, Obama privately met with homeowners and those filing insurance claims with the Small Business Association (SBA).

“What is your situation?” he asked one woman in the SBA tent.

“These folks are here to help, OK,” he said to another.

“During difficult times like this,” said the president near the end of his trip to New York, “we’re reminded that we’re all bound together and that we have to look out for each other. And a lot of the things that seem important, the petty differences melt away, and we focus on what binds us together, and that we as Americans are going to stand with each other in our hour of need.”

— With pool reports

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast. Fog early. High of 63. Winds from the South at 5 to 15 mph. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of rain, then rain showers after midnight. Fog overnight. Low of 52. Winds from the South at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80%.

EVENT of the DAY: Opening Party – Geisha: The Golden Years 1870-1890

Tonight is the opening party for the exhibition Geisha: The Golden Years 1870-1890 at the Resobox Gallery in Long Island City. The  hand-colored photographs of Geisha and Maiko were used by Dr. Stanley Burns and his daughter Elizabeth to create the book, “Geisha: A Photographic History 1872-1912,” and to show the exotic nature of Japan to the West. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Rockaways homeowners still without power 13 days after Hurricane Sandy

Slow-as-molasses brass of the Long Island Power Authority failed to restore electricity to a storm-battered block of Arverne in the Rockaway Peninsula — even though it passed an electrical inspection with flying colors three days ago. Read more: New York Daily News

Cuomo to seek $30 billion in aid for storm relief

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plans to ask the federal government for at least $30 billion in disaster aid to help New York City and other affected areas of the state recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, according to top administration officials. Read more: New York Times

Battery Tunnel reopens Monday morning but only for express buses into Manhattan

The Battery Tunnel will reopen Monday morning, but only for express buses into Manhattan, officials announced Sunday. Read more: New York Daily News

Gawkers head to NY’s storm-ravaged neighborhoods

Garbage trucks, hulking military vehicles and mud-caked cars move slowly through a Staten Island waterfront neighborhood still reeling from Superstorm Sandy’s storm surge. Then comes an outlier: a spotless SUV with three passengers peering out windows at a mangled home choked with sea grass. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Israeli pilot in JFK bust

An Israeli pilot was busted at Kennedy Airport for trying to bring a retractable baton onto a flight, officials said yesterday. Read more: New York Post

Info emerges about 2nd woman in Petraeus case

As questions swirl about the extramarital affair that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, the retired general and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, have been quiet about details of their relationship. Read more: AP

 

Cancelled flights strand thousands at area airports


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@PANYNJ

Hurricane Sandy has shut down New York airports forcing stranded passengers and evacuated residents to flee to nearby hotels to seek refuge.

“Our first thought, as always, is the safety of our customers and our employees,” said Rick Sacco, the general manager at the Holiday Inn Express at Kennedy Airport.

Airports do remain open, but air carriers have ceased operation until further notice, according to the Port Authority. The organization encourages travelers to not travel to the airports at all.

Delta Airlines in particular has cancelled a couple thousand flights, and have halted operations in and out of New York airports, according to Delta spokesperson Eric Torbenson. Flights are set to resume at a to-be-determined time on Tuesday.

With flights cancelled for at least Monday, October 29 at both LaGuardia and JFK International, hundreds of passengers are stranded in Queens, hoping to ride out the storm comfortably.

“We’ve activated our hurricane action plan,” said Jimmy Mitts, director of security at the Sheraton LaGuardia East. “We are totally up and running, and we have enough staff on hand.”

Members of the staff from both of the hotels are staying in rooms so they can stay off of the roads.

“We have about one half of the staff staying at the hotel as of now,” said Sacco.

Residents from the nearby Rockaways and other areas that were mandated to evacuate also headed to hotels to get out of harms’ way.

“We’re preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best,” said Ed Staniszewski, general manager at the Sheraton. “We’re fully prepared to be without power for a number of days.”

Many area hotels, including the Sheraton, have emergency generators that will kick on to accommodate guests in times of severe weather. The Sheraton’s generator can power the hotel for up to three days.

The Holiday Inn Express at JFK still has open rooms for upcoming reservations, and will hold them for as long as possible. The Sheraton LaGuardia East, however, is completely booked with airport passengers and local community residents.

“Everything is depending on what’s going on outside and in the area,” said Mitts of what security’s next move is. Their emergency plan will go into effect on a circumstantial basis.

Shuttle service for both hotels is still underway, but as the weather intensifies, it may have to be cancelled. Currently, shuttle service to local areas such as drug stores is going on at the JFK Holiday Inn.

“They’re all stuck, and we try to do the best we can and let everyone be as happy as they can be,” said Sacco.

Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup2

Wisconsin spa shooting injures at least seven

A gunman opened fire at a Wisconsin spa today, injuring at least seven people. The area is on lockdown as authorities in Brookfield work to secure the scene, which is across the street from a shopping mall. It was not immediately clear whether a suspect had been arrested. Read more: ABC News

George McGovern, an unabashed liberal voice, dead at 90

George Stanley McGovern — a staunch liberal who served South Dakota in the U.S. Senate and House for more than two decades and who ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic Party nominee for president in 1972 — died Sunday at the age of 90, his family said. Read more: CNN

Suspect captured by cops after fatal hit-and-run of elderly Queens man

A callous driver struck and killed an elderly man who was walking on a Queens sidewalk Saturday and then got out of his car and ran away from the grisly scene, cops said. The pedestrian, 76-year-old Victor Florio, was taking a stroll along Booth Memorial Ave. near 164th St. when a 2007 Toyota Rav 4 suddenly hopped the curb about 7:45 a.m., police said. Read more: Daily News

JFK and La Guardia getting body scanners that show more cartoonlike pictures

Scanners that create creepily clear images of travelers’ naked bodies are being swapped out of big airports in favor of newer machines that show more cartoonlike pictures, the Transportation Security Administration says. TSA officials are pulling a giant scanner switcheroo — shifting the older scanners, called backscatter imagers, away from big airports to small ones. Read more: NY Post

Suspect charged with rape in Queens massage parlor

Police arrested on Long Island a man suspected of a sexual assault last week in a massage parlor in Flushing, Queens. Zhordrack Blodywon, 40, is charged with rape, robbery and criminal possession of stolen property. Read more: NY1

Growing push for ‘landmark’ tree

A landmark-worthy tree grows in . . . Queens? Grassroots preservationists aim to petition the city to add a Woodside hardwood that dates to the Revolutionary War to a list of landmarks that includes the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge. Read more: NY Post

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 61. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 55. Winds from the SSE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: The Platinum Band

The Platinum Band is once again performing on the Resorts World Casino New York City’s Bar 360 Stage. The band, which boasts a heavy rotation of reggae music, takes you back to an era of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Students sickened after pepper spray is released in Queens school

One student was hospitalized, and 10 more had to be sent home, after pepper spray was discharged in a school lunchroom in South Ozone Park, Queens. Read more: CBS New York

Makeover for Queens traffic hub is underway

Pedestrian plazas and a gleaming stainless steel elevator are coming to Queens Blvd. and the Van Wyck Expressway but completion of the massive Kew Garden Interchange project is still years away. Read more: New York Daily News

Baggage handler who smuggled cocaine in planes is sentenced to life

An airline baggage handler who was convicted of trafficking millions of dollars’ worth of drugs in the bellies of commercial jets was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday, putting an emphatic stamp on a case that revealed rampant theft and corruption by some airline employees. Read more: New York Times

Union officials ask Queens district attorney for fair investigation of cop in fatal shooting of unarmed man on Grand Central Parkway

Union officals for the NYPD detective who shot an unarmed man to death on the Grand Central Parkway met Tuesday with the Queens district attorney to ask for a fair and impartial investigation. Read more: New York Daily News

NYC cabbie suspended after tossing passenger

A New York City cab driver has had his license suspended after a hearing in which he was shown on video shoving and pushing a passenger out of his cab. Read more: NBC New York

Face to face: Obama, Romney in crackling debate

An aggressive President Barack Obama accused challenger Mitt Romney of peddling a “sketchy deal” to fix the U.S. economy and playing politics with the deadly terrorist attack in Libya in a Tuesday night debate crackling with energy and emotion just three weeks before the election. Read more: AP

Unfriendly skies?


| qceditorial@queenscourier.com

It came to light last week – to our horror – that two separate groups of contracted JFK security officers filed complaints with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), citing problems with officials making employees cut corners when inspecting aircrafts and working within the terminals.

The groups claim that they are forced to perform the usually 30- to 40-minute inspections in 10; some even say they have had as little as three minutes.

THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.

According to federal mandates, airport security personnel are to inspect each plane and search for items left behind, including threatening items such as weapons, drugs or explosives. They are expected to open every overhead bin, search each row, open every tray table and search all seat-back pockets.

We don’t know about you, but when we board a plane, we hope that each and every inch has been pored over, so that the safety and security of all passengers and staff is assured.

What’s worse, according to claims, is that many security officers receive little to no training before beginning work, and are also given inadequate or malfunctioning equipment.

And aside from security within the terminals, JFK International has also experienced troubles at security checkpoints for incoming passengers. This summer, a Long Island student made it through security with a large knife in his carry-on bag en route to Terminal 4. Tracking down the passenger took airport officials 10 minutes after he had left the gate.

Additionally, this past June, the TSA closed Terminal 7 for about two hours after discovering a metal detector had malfunctioned at a security checkpoint, and that passengers had already passed through without being properly screened, as reported by the Daily News. In such a situation, procedure mandates the terminal be emptied and all passengers re-checked.

In this post-9/11 world, there are no excuses for any lapse in security.

Queens, home to both JFK and LaGuardia Airports, is like the gateway to New York – to the world – and if safety standards are lax there, it is worrisome what might happen, either on the ground or in the air.

JFK workers say cutting corners puts passengers at risk


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Things do not seem to be flying smoothly at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

In recent months, two separate groups of contracted JFK security officers have filed complaints with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), citing problems with officials making employees cut corners when inspecting aircrafts and working within the terminals, along with substandard working conditions.

The most recent complaint was filed on behalf of Global Elite Group agents who perform security for several international airlines in JFK terminals 1, 4 and 8.

“Sometimes we get rushed by the managers,” said Yonathan Verasteguy, who has worked for Global Elite for eight months, and is already sick of the conditions. “Inspecting an aircraft should take 30 to 40 minutes, but we’re given 10 minutes for most flights. I don’t think it’s safe.”

Verasteguy said that it is mandated for all airport security officers to inspect each plane and search for items left behind, including threatening items such as weapons, drugs or explosives. They are expected to open every overhead bin, search each row, open every tray table and search all seat-back pockets.

However, for many turnaround flights at JFK, employees are not permitted the proper amount of time to conduct a thorough search so as to not delay the following flight out. Once a plane lands, they sweep through the aircraft and hope it is properly prepared for the next trip.

“My heart skips a beat every time I have to spend less time than necessary inspecting a plane,” said Jeffrey Uyanik, a JFK Global security officer. “Just this August, an airline representative told me I had three minutes to complete my search. Three minutes is not enough time to search the plane. I had to skip entire rows.”

Additionally, the Air Serv Corporation at JFK, which regulates vehicles within certain terminals and reviews passenger identification, filed a complaint with the TSA claiming security officers receive little to no training before beginning work, and are also given inadequate or malfunctioning equipment.

Global Elite has experienced similar troubles, being given faulty “wands” used to detect metal. As maintenance workers board an aircraft, Global officers must confirm that they do not bring any dangerous items on board, which they do by “wanding down” the crew.

“Too often we are given broken wands that don’t detect metal. Too often, even when we complain, we don’t get a properly functioning wand for too long a period of time,” said Global agents in their official complaint. “On some occasions, managers have directly told workers to work with broken wands. In other cases, when we complain, we are given properly functioning equipment.”

Also in the complaint, officers say that Global Elite does not provide them with radios, forcing them to communicate via their personal cell phones, often in airport areas lacking service.

Global Elite Group responded in a statement saying that it has “an exemplary record of safety and security at JFK Airport,” and that it has had constructive informational sessions with its staff, and will “continue to move forward.”

Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokesperson, said they are investigating the claims of both airline security contractors. They have not yet received the complaint from Global Elite agents, but have been keeping up with the situation via local media.

Employees from Air Serv and Global were told to not speak with the media, but intolerable conditions have forced them to speak out.

The select security officers that chose to do so, who are non-unionized workers, have begun organizing with union SEIU 32BJ to improve their working conditions, wages and benefits.

Aside from security within the terminals, JFK International has also experienced troubles at the security checkpoints for incoming passengers. This summer, Fox reported an incident in which a Long Island student made it through security with a large knife in his carry-on bag, en route to Terminal 4, one base for Global Elite. At the close of Memorial Day Weekend, thousands of travelers pass through the security checkpoints, and this particular 19-year-old was on his way to Africa as part of a missionary group. Tracking down the passenger took airport officials ten minutes after he had left the screening area.

Additionally, this past June, the TSA closed Terminal 7 for about two hours after discovering a metal detector had malfunctioned at a security checkpoint, and that passengers had already passed through without being properly screened, as reported by the Daily News. In such a situation, procedure mandates the terminal be emptied and all passengers re-checked.

On Thursday, October 4, members of Global Elite, Air Serv and SEIU 32BJ came together at Kennedy’s Terminal 4 to voice their concerns. They picketed, chanted and marched to Terminal 3, holding signs conveying their troubles.

“Respect our rights” and “our voices will be heard” were some of the messages. Workers also symbolically taped their mouths closed as they marched across terminals, showing how they have been silenced by their employers.

State Senator Tony Avella attended the event, speaking out in favor of the frustrated officers. He said he was “appalled” when he heard about their working conditions, and “shocked” when he learned they were banned from talking to the media.

“This is an issue about safety and free speech,” he said. “This affects every single person that is coming to the airport, and this is a matter that must be addressed.”

Residents up in arms over JFK runway expansion


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

John F. Kennedy International Airport has some angry neighbors to the north, thanks to a proposed plan by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to extend a runway closer to a nearby residential community.

“Our question is, how big is big enough?” asked Barbara Brown, chair of the Eastern Queens Alliance, of the potential 728-foot runway expansion. At a public hearing on Thursday, October 4, hundreds of southeast Queens residents gathered in St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Springfield Gardens to voice their opposition to the Port Authority’s plan.

“This is airport sprawl,” said Brown,as planes could be heard soaring overhead.

The Port Authority, under Federal Aviation Association (FAA) guidelines, wishes to widen JFK runway 4L/22R by roughly 200 feet, and expand it to the north. This change will allow the runway to accommodate larger aircraft carrying more passengers, according to Port Authority officials. Also, officials said, JFK would potentially experience a significant reduction in flight delays.

However, Queens residents are concerned with the noise and air pollution they expect the expansion to bring, mainly to the Springfield Gardens community.

“There will be a significant impact,” said Brown. “The Port Authority slipped up, they didn’t do their diligence.”

Brown and the Eastern Queens Alliance also accused the Port Authority of not making the local community aware of the proposed change, instead warning the residents in Nassau County.

The agency advertised its $500 million plan in Newsday last spring, and allowed the Long Island community to voice its concerns, which will be considered by the FAA. However, those closest to the airport were unaware of the situation until much later, they claim.

Brian Simon, director of government relations for the Port Authority, attended Thursday’s meeting.

“I thank [Brown] for keeping us honest,” he said. “Sometimes in government, we are not perfect. We can do better.”

Simon stated they are mandated by the federal government to create this project, and noted the large economic output that could result from the expansion.

“[JFK is] an economic engine that serves this community,” he said, citing the jobs that the international airport creates.

Port Authority environment officials have also done an analysis of the area, as well as tests regarding noise pollution. Studies found that the expansion would only raise the noise level by 0.7 decibels, an amount nearly undetectable by the human ear. Thus, officials claim there would be no significant impact.

Residents responded by “boos” and shouts, not won over by the Port Authority’s arguments.

“We are open to all comments,” said Simon, who encouraged residents to contact him after the meeting with their concerns.

The local community now has until November 1 to file complaints with the Port Authority, which will be considered by the FAA and put into the plan’s final proposal.

If approved, the expansion will be complete by late 2014.

Headlines from around the web


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

The Afternoon Roundup

Dolphin washes ashore in Far Rockaway, dies shortly after

Scientists were unable to save a sickly beached dolphin in Far Rockaway that died en route to a treatment center on Friday. Franly Estrella, 24, first spotted the 6-foot-long, 140-pound stranded creature at 9:30 a.m. at Beach 19th St. NYDailyNews

Jay-Z concert highlights Barclays Center opening

Brooklyn was the center of New York’s entertainment world last night, as the $1 billion Barclays Center opened with a sold-out concert by the borough’s own Jay-Z. The rap mogul performed for 19,000 screaming fans in a glam-filled coming-out party for the spectacular arena in Prospect Heights. “I have been on many stages all around the world. Nothing feels like tonight, Brooklyn, I swear to God!” the Bed-Stuy native shouted out as he took the stage. NYPost

Miracle landing at JFK

It really was a “magic” ride. The twisted front landing gear of a jumbo jet nicknamed The Magic Red Carpet miraculously rotated back into position just seconds before landing at JFK yesterday — as panicked passengers braced themselves for a crash. “It was like the hand of God turned the wheel,” said a Port Authority cop who was part of the disaster-response crew deployed to the tarmac. NYPost

Former NYTimes publisher Arthur Ochs dead at 86

Former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who led the newspaper to new levels of influence and profit amid some of the most significant moments in 20th-century journalism, died Saturday. He was 86. NYPost

City to expand library program

Millions of books will soon be within easy reach of young bookworms in the city. The city is expanding its MyLibraryNYC program to all public schools. Students and teachers will be able to directly order books and other materials from the New York, Queens and Brooklyn Public Libraries. NY1

 

Planes searched at JFK following hijack threat


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Two planes at JFK Airport were searched this afternoon following a possible terrorist threat, said multiple media reports.

Though the Port Authority could not confirm anything, recent footage from Fox 5 New York showed the two planes, reportedly an American Airlines flight from San Francisco and a Finnair plane originating from Helsinki, isolated on the runway with police, emergency and other vehicles nearby.

Around 3 p.m., Port Authority Police allegedly received an anonymous phone call claiming that “hijackers were hiding in the wheel wells of the plane and were wearing gas masks,” the New York Post reported.

Both Fox 5 and the Post said that similar hijacking threats were made to other national airports.

After the planes were investigated, they were allowed to head to the terminal around 5 p.m.

 

 

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

JFK workers busted in mini liquor theft ring


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens DA's Office

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.

The airport employees also stole duty-free items, including cigarette cartons, perfume and larger bottles of booze. In total, the retail value of the lifted goods is estimated at $750,000.

Three of the workers arrested were security guards and 15 were truck drivers for LSG Sky Chefs, the food and beverage subsidiary for American Airlines. Instead of transporting unsold mini liquor bottles from planes to a storage facility in the airport, they would steal them.

Earlier this year, the Port Authority Inspector General’s Office learned that Sky Chefs employees might be stealing liquor at JFK, and launched a joint uncover investigation with the District Attorney’s Airport Investigations Unit, leading to today’s arrests.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then clear. High of 79. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 66. Winds less than 5 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Showcase Wednesday 

Come to Resorts World Casino New York City to watch Crossing Midnight. The first time they were on the Resorts World Casino Bar 360 Stage, they rocked the house. This time around, this soulful group will definitely be a force to be reckoned with. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

FAA’s stealth pilot program involving LaGuardia and JFK Airports was just plain wrong, locals say

A federal pilot program came in for a rough landing after local leaders were told it began and ended without them knowing. Read more: New York Daily News

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. Read more: New York Post

Rockaways residents glad to see sand moved from ‘fornication hill’ to Beach 90th Street

You could say one person’s nuisance is another person’s newly refined beach — at least in the Rockaways. Huge dump trucks started have moved 7,000 cubic yards of sand from Beach 121st Street to Beach 90th Street. Read more: CBS New York

 A Hooters in Queens is sued for racial discrimination

Hooters, the restaurant chain widely known for the skimpy outfits of its waitresses, has built its reputation in part on its fun-loving and mildly provocative spirit. But a Korean-American customer has accused a Hooters restaurant in Queens of taking that carefree ethos too far and has sued the company for racial discrimination. Read more: New York Times

Former Rudy Giuliani aide Juan Reyes sends mailing blasting primary opponent, Councilman Eric Ulrich, for having dinner with gay friends

Two GOP primaries for the state Senate — including a hotly contested race in Queens — have sunk into the gutter with gay-baiting tactics.Read more: New York Daily News

U.S. ambassador to Libya killed in Benghazi attack

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack on their car, a Libyan official said, as they were rushed from a consular building stormed by militants denouncing a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad. Read more: Reuters 

Headlines from around the web


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Hero construction worker hellbent on catching Empire State Building shooter

The hero hardhat credited with helping cops track down a murderous gunman outside the Empire State Building says he was hellbent on catching the killer. NYDailyNews

Empire State Building shooting victim planned to marry long-time girlfriend

They were soulmates from the start. Steven Ercolino knew instantly that Bronx-born beauty Ivette Rivera was the one who would share his life, walk down the aisle with him, grow old beside him. “They always wanted to get married,” his brother Paul said wistfully Saturday at the family home in Warwick, Orange County. “He didn’t have a ring, I don’t think.” NYDailyNews 

Expecting arrest, State Senator Huntley does not back out of race for re-election

State Senator Shirley Huntley warned supporters in Jamaica, Queens on Saturday that she expects to be indicted and arrested on Monday but would not discuss the specific allegations. Huntley’s announcement comes almost nine months after one of her aides was charged with stealing $30,000 earmarked for a non-profit group that Huntley created. Three others were also charged. NY1

150 trapped on JFK Airtrain

The Airtrain to Kennedy Airport was shut down for several hours last night and 150 people had to be rescued from one train, authorities said. The train got stuck between Jamaica Station and the airport at around 8:35 p.m., a Port Authority spokesman said. NYPost

Queens bee keeper accused of scam

The Queens man who kept 3 million bees in his back yard has been accused of diluting his honey with corn syrup and selling more than half a ton of it to a bakery. Yi Gin Chen, 58, of Corona — who needed cops Wednesday to help round up the insects after he lost control of his 45 hives — duped a local bakery out of about $6,000 by selling it 1,200 pounds of adulterated honey last month, said Andrew Cote of the New York Beekeepers Association. NYPost