Tag Archives: JFK

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 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 82. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 72. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY:  Movie Night in Astoria Park

Come see a free outdoor screening of the animated movie “Cars” at the Astoria Park Lawn. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

City crews cut down more cherry trees behind Queens Borough Hall, further angering environmentalists

The city took the axe to two dozen more cherry trees behind Queens Borough Hall on arborists’ advice, fanning the flames in a dispute between environmentalists and City Hall. Read more: NY Daily News

Middle Village residents, cemetery officials team up to clean up street

Middle village residents and organizers from All Faiths Cemetery joined hands Saturday to clean up a nearby neglected street and overgrown property. Read more: NY1

Congressional candidate Halloran on Israel trip

Republican Congressional candidate Dan Halloran is making a trip to Israel. The city councilmember is running in the Sixth Congressional District, which covers parts of Queens and has a large Jewish population. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Call for probe in jet ski JFK breach

The outraged head of the Port Authority police union today demanded an investigation into how a swamped jet skier was able to breach Kennedy Airport’s troubled $100 million security system. Read more: New York Post

Family of deranged man fatally shot by cops in Times Square upset over use deadly force

Relatives of the deranged knife-wielding man gunned down by cops in Times Square say they are upset about the NYPD’s use of deadly force in the confrontation. Read more: NY Daily News

New Yorkers celebrate the conclusion of the 2012 Olympic Games

The London Olympics are over. The flame was extinguished Sunday night at the end of the closing ceremony, signaling the end of 16 days of the games. Read More: CBS New York

Romney seeks distance from Ryan’s budget plans

In Paul Ryan’s high-energy debut as Republican vice presidential candidate, Mitt Romney made one thing clear: His ideas rule, not his running mate’s. “I have my budget plan,” he said, “And that’s the budget plan we’re going to run on.” Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: “Pretty Woman”

When millionaire wheeler-dealer Edward enters into a business contract with Hollywood hooker Vivian, he loses his heart in the bargain in this charming romantic comedy. Can the poor prostitute and the rich capitalist live happily ever after? Written by J.F. Lawton. Directed by Garry Marshall.

Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Police release photo of suspected shooter of NYPD officer

With a person of interest released from custody, police have released a photo of a suspect wanted in connection with the shooting of an NYPD officer. John Thomas, 24, of Queens, is being sought by police for the shooting of Sergeant Craig Bier. Bier was shot last night while chasing a suspect in Jamaica. He was struck in each leg. Read more: Queens Courier

Queens butt surgeon jailed for failing to pay restitution

A Queens spa owner, who admitted to severely injuring a woman during a buttocks lift while posing as a plastic surgeon, was locked up by a judge yesterday for failing to make restitution in advance of her sentencing. Barbara Nieto, 29, was expected to turn over a $50,000 check to Queens prosecutors today before she was thrown into prison for two years for illegally performing liposuction and buttocks-enhancing injections to Augusta Velez-Jimenez on March 20, 2010. Read more: NY Post

13 more added to list of indicted in massive ID theft scheme

Thirteen more New Yorkers — including a school safety agent — were added today to the massive list of the indicted in what officials have called the biggest identity theft and credit card scheme in US history. Read more: NY Post

U.S. Customs: Passenger had heroin in suitcase at JFK

Federal officials recently found heroin hidden inside hair treatment packages in a passenger’s suitcase at John F. Kennedy Airport. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers said Emilce Cardona arrived on a flight from Colombia on July 25. Read more: NY1

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: Outdoor Cinema at Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture Park, in collaboration with the Museum of the Moving Image and Rooftop Films, presents this annual international film festival focused on a different country or culture each Wednesday evening. Tonight’s feature is  the Japanese film “Summer Wars,” (PG) winner of the Japan Academy prize for animation.

Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

City rejects plans for 12-story Fresh Meadows hotel; locals fear developer may try again 

The city has shot down a controversial proposal to erect a 12-story hotel on a residential block in Fresh Meadows — a decision being hailed by many nearby homeowners.The Mayflower Business Group had proposed building the hotel at 61-27 186th St., across the street from several one- and two-family homes. Read more: New York Daily News

Cops say woman pulled dead from the water at Queens’ Fort Totten Park may have killed herself 

The body of a young woman was pulled from the waters off Fort Totten Park in Queens on Tuesday, cops said. The unidentified woman, believed to be in her 20s, was found just off the shore of Little Bay at about 10:15 a.m., cops said. Read more: New York Daily News

Chocolates, empanadas used to smuggle drugs from Ecuador

Six New Yorkers were charged with smuggling drugs from Ecuador to John F. Kennedy International Airport concealed in empanadas and chocolate treats — and even soaked into scuba diving diplomas to be extracted later. Read More: Wall Street Journal

One Mother’’s quest to stop the gun violence

Kevin Miller Jr.’s graduation portrait hangs at a Queens intersection for all the wrong reasons. This is where the promising 13-year old was gunned down almost three years ago, a victim of senseless gun violence. Kevin’s death forever changed his mother’s life and her focus. Read More: Pix11

Tech’s boom taps Queens

New York’s technology boom has a new beachhead, and it’s in Queens. The challenge of meeting steep rents in Manhattan’s tech-oriented Chelsea, SoHo and Flatiron neighborhoods has already pushed the start-up scene into parts of Brooklyn. Now, efforts under way in Long Island City aim to turn the waterfront area into a silicon sliver. Read More: Wall Street Journal

JFK most likely U.S. airport to spread disease


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

If a disease is to spread across the country, JFK Airport will most likely be the starting point.

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study looked at the 40 largest airports in the country to determine the most likely to spread a contagion throughout the nation, with JFK topping the list.

The Queens airport’s ranking had nothing to do with sick passengers or cleanliness — though waiting times were considered — but with how a disease may advance to other parts of the world.

“Our work is the first to look at the spatial spreading of contagion processes at early times, and to propose a predictor for which ‘nodes’ — in this case, airports — will lead to more aggressive spatial spreading,” says Ruben Juanes, the ARCO Associate Professor in Energy Studies in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The spread of disease was compared to the dissemination of information over social networks and the connectivity of JFK’s connecting airports vaulted it to the top of the list.

The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, was done to help determine measures for containing infections and distributing vaccinations in the early days of a contagion.

JFK is followed on the list by Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, Newark, O’Hare and Dulles.

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: Summerstage WR/Felix Hernandez’s Rhythm Revue 

With over forty years in the music industry, their music and history transcends generations of pop culture and has a universal appeal to parents, grandparents, and children across the world. Also featuring DJ Felix Hernandez mixing in soul, Motown, funk, salsa and disco dance classics.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

New $500,000 New York Hospital Queens Center for  Wound Healing at Silvercrest opens in Briarwood  

New York Hospital Queens and Silvercrest Center For Nursing and Rehabilitation celebrated the opening of the NYHQ Center for Wound Healing at Silvercrest with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, July 10. The new $500,000 center, at 144-45 87th Ave., in Briarwood, addresses the increasing need for more aggressive wound treatment for people with hard-to-treat chronic wounds such as pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers and radionecrosis, officials said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Queens high school principal Caril Hudson Jr. arrested for possession of methamphetamine 

A Queens high school principal was nabbed just a block away from his school when cops found a baggie of methamphetamine in his car during a traffic stop, police said. Carl Hudson Jr., 33, was around the corner from Flushing High School on Northern Blvd. about 8:35 p.m on Tuesday when police discovered the meth in the bag in the car’s center console, police said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Far Rockaway man pleads guilty to JFK luggage thefts 

A Queens man is facing three to six years in prison after pleading guilty to a series of thefts from passengers in the terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday that 46-year-old Frederick McDonald of Far Rockaway, N.Y., had pleaded guilty to grand larceny in connection to six thefts. Read more: [1010wins] 

Bicyclist killed in hit-&-run 

A cyclist was fatally struck in Queens last night by a speeding car whose driver fled the scene, cops and witnesses said. The victim, who was carrying a bouquet of flowers, was struck at around 10:50 p.m. at Greenpoint Avenue and 39th Place in Sunnyside. Read more: [New York Post] 

 

Fewer geese slaughtered near Queens airports as safety measure


| mchan@queenscourier.com

More than 200 Canada geese were corralled and slaughtered in the city last week as part of the federal government’s attempt to prevent bird strikes near high-traffic airports, but officials said the casualty count is on the decline.

The United States Department of Agriculture removed a total of 255 geese from 12 city parks within a seven-mile radius of LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports last week, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

This year’s roundup total fell from 575 last year and has drastically declined from a 1,357 count in 2010, according to the DEP.

The mitigation measure — the fourth year it has been renewed — is conducted to control the city’s goose population and prevent bird strikes like those responsible for the emergency landings of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in 2009 and most recently Delta Flight 1063, officials said.

The city said the removal process is “straightforward and humane,” adding that the geese processed for breast meat will be donated for the first time to the state and distributed through local food pantries.

But the mitigation measures continue to draw heat from animal advocates, who protest the killings each year.

“This indiscriminate slaughter is inhumane, ineffective and not supported by science,” said Patrick Kwan, New York State director for the Humane Society of the United States. “It is the wrong way to address the goose population, especially when more humane and scientific solutions exist and have been successfully implemented in Prospect Park and Central Park.”

No geese were removed from Prospect Park this year for the second time in a row. Kwan pointed to goose management programs implemented last year as a major reason for the reprieve of the park’s fowl.

As part of the program, the public is discouraged from feeding wildlife, trained herding dogs are used to move geese out of the park, and eggs are treated to prevent population growth.

Kwan urged the state to make airports and surrounding areas more undesirable for the geese — while preventing flock growth — instead of killing them en masse each year.

“Many of the geese who are currently being rounded up and killed would have never been hatched if the city had adopted the humane goose management plan we have proposed since 2009,” he said.

Afternoon Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

The Afternoon Roundup

Terminal 7 at JFK evacuated after problem at security checkpoint

Air passengers were temporarily evacuated from a terminal at New York City’s Kennedy Airport after a problem at one of the security checkpoints. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says that the Transportation Security Administration shut down Kennedy’s Terminal 7 at around 9:45 a.m. after determining that someone had gone through the checkpoint without being properly screened. Read more: [New York Post]

Queens Man Sentenced To Year In Jail In East Village Parking Space Beating Case

A judge has sentenced a Queens man to a year in jail for putting a woman into a coma after punching her in a fight over a parking space last year. Oscar Fuller was given the maximum sentence Friday. He was convicted in May of misdemeanor third degree assault after a violent altercation between himself and then 25-year-old Lana Rosas. He was acquitted of a more serious felony charge. Read more: [1010wins]

Queens Ice Company Cashes In During Heat Wave

They’ve sold about a half a million pounds of wet ice and a quarter million pounds of dry ice since Wednesday. On Friday the orders just kept coming in. The phone was ringing off the hook at the Natuzzi Bros Ice manufacturing and distribution company, where staffers worked around the clock to keep up with the demand. Read more: [NY1]

 Mets Take Game 1 Of Subway Series; Santana Gets Key To City

The Mets drew first blood in round two of the Subway Series Friday night. The Amazins scored five runs in the first inning, capped by a three-run home run by Ike Davis. Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones and Robinson Cano homered for the Bombers to cut the deficit but in the end, the Mets held on to win 6-4. Read more: [NY1]

Queens man says he’s been barred from seeing ailing mom; blames ruling by controversial judge

A Fresh Meadows man claims his vengeful family members have hijacked his elderly mother’s estate and barred him from seeing the ailing woman — thanks to a ruling by a controversial Queens judge. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

JetBlue expansion at JFK will bring jobs


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of JetBlue

More than 1,000 jobs are expected to come from a green-lit terminal expansion at JFK International Airport, the Port Authority and JetBlue announced last week.

The expansion will add 145,000-square-feet on three levels to the already 635,000-square-feet JetBlue occupies in Terminal 5. The new terminal will be called T5i and handle international flights and house a federal customs station — eliminating the need for customs inspections at Terminal 4 — according to JetBlue.

Port Authority Chair David Samson complimented the airline on its service and its commitment to the area.

“The JetBlue agreement is another great example of the agency’s efforts to partner with the private sector to provide for our region’s transportation infrastructure needs, while creating high-paying construction jobs and spurring further long-term economic activity in New York and New Jersey,” he said.

Along with the expected 1,090 jobs, the project is expected to bring in $74 million in wages and $325 million from economic activity over the duration, the Port Authority said. The project is expected to begin this summer; completion is expected by either 2014 or 2015. A price tag for the expansion has not yet been set.

Executives of Long Island City-based JetBlue said they were happy to continue expanding at JFK.

“We’re excited to move forward with our plans to further expand our presence at JFK and to create a seamless travel experience for our customers transferring from international flights, and would like to thank the Port Authority for their approval and on-going support,” said vice president of Corporate Real Estate Richard Smyth.

Fowl Strikes Cause Foul Feelings


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Recent collisions between birds and airplanes departing city airports could give a much-needed “all clear” for negotiations between the Port Authority and wildlife conservation groups.

While recent uproar mainly surrounds possible runway expansion plans at JFK, in-flight crashes with birds came under scrutiny when a Los Angeles-bound flight was quickly grounded after a bird was sucked into its engine shortly after taking off on Thursday, April 19.

Tarmac expansion came under fire when the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced its proposal to extend the airport’s runway, expected to cover a significant portion of the Jamaica Bay area, in February, 2011. The 400-acre area of land, including wetlands and shoreline, was designated as a wildlife refuge, park and recreation area by the National Parks System in 1972.

Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder believes conservationists attempting to protect the birds and those trying to ensure the safety of plane passengers need to collaborate.

While preserving Jamaica Bay has long since been a priority on Goldfeder’s platform, he proclaims he is not for working against the airports, adding that there is always a balance to be found.

Goldfeder also noted that many people believe the birds striking the planes are not the same birds nesting in the Jamaica Bay area.

A source close to the situation suggested increasing traffic out of the city’s other airports, LaGuardia and Newark, is a better solution than filling in Jamaica Bay.

Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority, claimed that the agency’s wildlife control protocol is above and beyond Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, insisting they are among the industry’s most effective.

“Our wildlife biologists and staff efforts to minimize threats to aircraft include reducing nesting areas, removing standing water and eliminating food sources,” said Coleman. “We also use pyrotechnics to disperse birds. We believe those efforts are effective since the number of incidents at JFK resulting in aircraft damage has remained about the same since 2008.”

Dan Mundy, president and founder of Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers, believes the recent increase in collisions Mundy mentioned the famed incident of US Airways Flight 1549, when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River after striking a flock of Canadian geese in January of 2009. Mundy alleged that high-flying fowl cause more severe problems than those closer to the ground, adding that groups of migrating birds can be dangerous to planes, as with Flight 1549.

According to published reports, Sullenberger opposes the mayor’s plan to put a trash station near LaGuardia Airport — a decision that will inevitably bring more birds to the area.

Acknowledging that the Port Authority takes measures to scare away birds, such as simulated gunshots and preying falcons, Mundy wondered why plane manufacturers have yet to design a system to prevent birds from being sucked into engines.

Mundy added that bird strikes are not just a problem with airplanes. Several tall buildings, including the Empire State Building, have caused the demise of birds killed by flying directly into the glass windows.

Fowl strikes cause foul feelings


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Recent collisions between birds and airplanes departing city airports could give a much-needed “all clear” for negotiations between the Port Authority and wildlife conservation groups.

While recent uproar mainly surrounds possible runway expansion plans at JFK, in-flight crashes with birds came under scrutiny when a Los Angeles-bound flight was quickly grounded after a bird was sucked into its engine shortly after taking off on Thursday, April 19.

Tarmac expansion came under fire when the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced its proposal to extend the airport’s runway, expected to cover a significant portion of the Jamaica Bay area, in February, 2011. The 400-acre area of land, including wetlands and shoreline, was designated as a wildlife refuge, park and recreation area by the National Parks System in 1972.

Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder believes conservationists attempting to protect the birds and those trying to ensure the safety of plane passengers need to collaborate.
While preserving Jamaica Bay has long since been a priority on Goldfeder’s platform, he proclaims he is not for working against the airports, adding that there is always a balance to be found.

Goldfeder also noted that many people believe the birds striking the planes are not the same birds nesting in the Jamaica Bay area.

A source close to the situation suggested increasing traffic out of the city’s other airports, LaGuardia and Newark, is a better solution than filling in Jamaica Bay.

Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority, claimed that the agency’s wildlife control protocol is above and beyond Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, insisting they are among the industry’s most effective.

“Our wildlife biologists and staff efforts to minimize threats to aircraft include reducing nesting areas, removing standing water and eliminating food sources,” said Coleman. “We also use pyrotechnics to disperse birds. We believe those efforts are effective since the number of incidents at JFK resulting in aircraft damage has remained about the same since 2008.”

Dan Mundy, president and founder of Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers, believes the recent increase in collisions between birds and planes reflects a recent boost in area wildlife.
Mundy mentioned the famed incident of US Airways Flight 1549, when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River after striking a flock of Canadian geese in January of 2009. Mundy alleged that high-flying fowl cause more severe problems than those closer to the ground, adding that groups of migrating birds can be dangerous to planes, as with Flight 1549.

Acknowledging that the Port Authority takes measures to scare away birds, such as simulated gunshots and preying falcons, Mundy wondered why plane manufacturers have yet to design a system to prevent birds from being sucked into engines.

Mundy added that bird strikes are not just a problem with airplanes. Several tall buildings, including the Empire State Building, have caused the demise of birds killed by flying directly into the glass windows.

No Changes At Area Airports Expected In Wake Of Foiled Bomb Plot


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security say there are no plans to change security procedures at airports here in the city or beyond amid news federal intelligence officials foiled a new al-Qaeda underwear bomb plot against U.S.-bound aircraft.

U.S. officials say an attack was to have taken place around the time of the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Officials say the non-metallic device was a more sophisticated version of the one used by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in his failed Christmas Day attempt in 2009.

[NY1]

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

DOE takes two ‘politically connected’ schools off the chopping block, axes 24 others

The city’s education-policy board voted just before midnight last night to close and then immediately reopen two dozen schools with new names and new staffers in an unprecedented move that could displace more than 1,000 teachers. Two last-minute reprieves were granted yesterday before the vote, and they went to a pair of politically backed schools — Grover Cleveland HS in Queens, which counts state Assembly Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan as an alumna, and Bushwick Community HS in Brooklyn, which garnered several vocal supporters, including Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Read More: New York Post

 

Air man’s dogged pursuit

The Port Authority worker who got down on his hands and knees to try to rescue a canny canine who wandered onto a busy runway at La Guardia airport Wednesday is a cat lover who is allergic to dogs, he lamented. But Paul Malichek, 57, didn’t want to spook Byrdie — a 14-month-old Rhodesian ridgeback who had escaped her travel crate and turned the runway into her own private dog run — so he crawled toward her as jets idled nearby. Read More: New York Post

Occupy Protesters Turn Focus To Mounting U.S. Student Debt

Occupy Wall Street protestors gathered in Union Square in Manhattan on Wednesday to mark the day they say the U.S. student debt reached $1 trillion dollars and to draw attention to what they called the financial sector’s “predatory” student loan market. The Federal Reserve disputes the figure, saying U.S. student debt is currently $870 billion. President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney have called attention to the issue on the campaign trail to try to court the college-age vote. U.S. Senate Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives have proposed separate bills to keep interest rates for poor and middle class students at the current level for another year. Read More: NY1


 

Mother, Sister Of Queens Terror Suspect Testify On His Behalf

The mother and sister of a Queens man accused of plotting a terror attack in the city gave emotional testimony for the defense in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday. Alisa Medunjanin choked back tears as she talked about her brother, Adis, and the raid on their home. She recounted the story of dozens of agents with weapons storming their sixth-floor apartment to arrest her brother. Alisa said she thought her brother had gone to Pakistan to get married. Prosecutors, who wrapped up their arguments earlier Wednesday, said Adis Medunjanin was there receiving Al-Qaida terror training. Read More: NY1


 

Rapper Talib Kweli emcees at St. John’s University

Like any great rapper, Talib Kweli knows how to freestyle. Without any notes or prompts, the Brooklyn native rattled off a first-person history of hip hop music to a captive audience of more than 400 students at St. John’s University on Tuesday. “Hip hop is such a folk thing,” the 36-year-old lyricist told the Daily News. “It speaks directly to the people and the language that they are using right now.” Read More: Daily News

 

While NY Giants sit tight with No. 32 pick, NFC East division rivals Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys load up to challenge Big Blue

 

One of the crucial issues for the Giants as they go through the offseason getting ready to defend their Super Bowl title is whether they indeed have an identity crisis. Are they the Giants who struggled to become the first team to not only win the NFC East with a mediocre 9-7 record but the first team to win the Super Bowl at 9-7? Or are they the team that raised its game to an unimaginable level in the playoffs and beat the Falcons at home in the wild-card game and then the Packers and 49ers on the road — the two best NFC teams in the regular season — before finishing off their incredible run with another Super Bowl victory over the Patriots? Read More: Daily News

 

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

JetBlue’s crazy capt. just before freak-out

In the moments before JetBlue pilot Clayton Osbon threw a terrifying tantrum aboard a flight from JFK to Las Vegas last week, he appeared to be the picture of calm, according to a newly released video of the terrifying incident. In the footage, Capt. Osbon can be seen chatting with flight attendants, one of whom is even smiling. The other flight attendant goes on about her business, as Osbon talks and sips water. Moments later, he went berserk, prompting passengers to hold him down while the plane made an emergency landing. Read More: New York Post

Plea deal in Queens deli slay

A Queens man pleaded guilty yesterday to a reduced charge for killing a hardworking deli owner who tried save his brother during a botched robbery. Shawn Forde, 29, admitted he gunned down 54-year-old Juan Torres, owner of the Lucky Grocery & Deli on Merrick Boulevard in Laurelton, in October 2010 as the victim was trying to protect his brother, Felix. Forde had faced 25 years to life for the murder and robbery, but copped a plea to first-degree manslaughter and will be sentenced to 15 years in prison on May 1. Read More: New York Post

Staten Island man arrested in accident that killed woman who died saving grandson

A 40-year-old Staten Island man was arrested early this morning, charged with driving away after running over a grandmother who was returning home from church. Clara Almazo, 57, died while courageously saving her 8-year-old grandson from the speeding vehicle, witnesses and relatives said. At this point, Brian McGurk is charged with leaving the scene of an accident. That accident happened as Almazo and the child were crossing Cary Avenue at Elizabeth Street in the West Brighton section. The black SUV barreled straight toward them at 9:50 p.m. Read More: New York Post

 

 

State Attorney General Seeks To Ban Sex Offenders From Online Gaming

“Online gaming is not just a digital playground. It has the potential to be a 21st century crime scene,” said the attorney general. On Thursday, Schneiderman announced the launch of “Operation: Game Over,” a deal with some of the country’s major gaming companies, like Microsoft and Sony, to block more than 3,500 online accounts of registered sex offenders, to take aim at offenders who may use these games to chat online with kids. “The most popular video games are specifically designed so players must interact,” said Schneiderman. Read More: NY1

 

 

 

Amazin’ Mets Seal 1-0 Victory At Citi Field Opener

The New York Mets opened their season of 162 games with a 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Ace starting pitcher Johan Santana made a successful return after missing last season with a shoulder injury, pitching five scoreless innings and only giving up two hits while striking out five. The Mets scored the only run of the game in the sixth inning on an RBI single by David Wright. Frank Francisco closed it out ending it with a strikeout of Jason Heyward. The Mets have now won on opening day 33 of the last 43 years, but are still looking to rebound from three straight losing seasons. Read More: NY1

 

 

Roosevelt Islanders Discuss Planned Local Tech Center With Cornell Officials

Cornell University has animations to represent its present vision of the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute, but officials admitted what they call an open campus will change shape because they want the community’s input. “It’s not just rhetoric. We’re the state’s land grant institution and so it’s critical over the years we are developing this campus we’ve become good neighbors,” said Cornell University President David Skorton. NY1

 

 

Sixteen teachers singled out for pervy conduct get to keep their jobs in New York City schools

Sixteen city teachers have been singled out by education officials for pervy classroom behavior — but they can’t be fired, the Daily News has learned. One instructor allegedly bent a kid over a chair and thrust into him from behind, saying “I’ll show you what is gay.” Another couldn’t stop calling girls in his gym class “sexy.” And yet another is accused of telling a student: “I slept with your mother last night.” Read More: Daily News

OpEd: Public opposed to JFK runway expansion


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER PHILIP GOLDFEDER

As your assemblymember, it is my responsibility to ensure that the community’s concerns are heard. On no issue is that clearer than the Regional Plan Association’s suggested plan to the Port Authority to expand the runway at JFK International Airport into Jamaica Bay. Since the plan was first introduced in February 2011, I have listened to hundreds of residents tell me how this would destroy Jamaica Bay and hurt our community, and despite the steadfast public opposition, the idea remains on the table after over a year of deliberation.

The proposal originally devised by the Regional Plan Association calls for parts of the federally-protected Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to be filled-in to create a new runway at JFK Airport. The 400-acre parcel of wetlands and shoreline serves as one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the northeast and is home to over 60 species of reptiles and fish.

An environmental study stated that any further man-made incursion would “diminish a national environment asset for future generations.” For that reason, federal law specifically prohibited any airport expansion in the protected zone in the 1972 wildlife refuge, park and recreation area designation by the National Parks System.

Protecting this wildlife refuge is only one aspect that has worried the community. Both the residents of my community and Jamaica Bay would be greatly impacted by the runway expansion as proposed by the RPA. The project would literally be built in the backyards of communities that rely heavily on the serene atmosphere that the neighborhood currently offers. Property values would undoubtedly be diminished and the potential negative impact to the local area and economy greatly outweighs any benefit a new runway would generate.

In 2009, US Airways Captain Chesley Sullenberger gave us a true story of American heroism when he made an emergency landing into the Hudson River after a rare bird strike caused an engine on his jet to fail. Unfortunately, I have seen reports from aviation consultants that show disrupting the Jamaica Bay wildlife area could raise the risk of further bird strikes at JFK Airport. I urge more research into how expansion would change the bird sanctuary, so that we can be sure it does not put lives in danger.

Air traffic has greatly increased in recent years. I understand the need for airport expansion, but I stand with the residents of Queens – this proposal simply has too many negative implications. There are a number of different, viable solutions at one of the four other airports in the metropolitan area managed by the Port Authority that could accomplish the same goal with less impact on our families and the environment.

I recently sent a letter to Port Authority executives detailing my apprehensions with the proposed runway expansion at JFK and they have publicly stated they will take my concerns into consideration. Jamaica Bay is a tremendous natural resource that deserves protection. This is a good first step and I hope the Port Authority is finally convinced to drop this plan.

If you would like more information on the proposal to expand the runway, or to discuss this or any other important community issue, don’t hesitate to contact my office at 718-945-9550 or email me at goldfederp@assembly.state.ny.us.