Tag Archives: memorial

Pols call for law change after driver with suspended license fatally strikes Woodside boy


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO

Local elected officials are calling for a change in the law to prevent another child, like 8-year-old Noshat Nahian, from losing their life.

Noshat was crossing the street with his 11-year-old sister on the way to school at P.S. 152 in Woodside around 8 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 20 when a tractor trailer traveling southbound on 61st Street made a left turn onto Northern Boulevard, striking him with its rear tires, police said. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The driver, Mauricio Osorio-Palominos, 51, of Newark, N.J., who remained on the scene of the accident, has been charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of motor vehicle and operating vehicle in violation of safety rules, police said.

Osorio-Palominos was driving with a suspended license with multiple violations on his record during the accident, according to State Senator Michael Gianaris.

In response, Gianaris gathered with local officials, residents and advocacy groups at the site of the accident Monday to introduce legislation that would make it a felony if drivers with suspended licenses either seriously injure or kill someone with their vehicle. Under current law, a driver like Osorio-Palominos could be charged with a misdemeanor.

“The law needs to get tougher,” said Gianaris. “Those who have suspended licenses are twice as likely to kill somebody or injure somebody, or twice as likely to have major accidents, the law has to catch up with the data, we just need to get these people off the streets.”

Gianaris has also proposed the immediate impoundment of a vehicle’s license plate if it were being operated by someone with a suspended license.

The new bill will be co-sponsored by Senators Toby Ann Stavisky and Jose Peralta and also supported by Assemblymember Michael Den Dekker, Congressmember Joseph Crowley and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

“I have an 8-year-old son and it could have been my child, it could have been my son that was hit that Friday morning,” said Peralta. “And we need to send a loud message not only to the city but to anyone who does this, who rides without a license, that this is not going to be acceptable.”

Advocate groups like Transportation Alternatives, Make Queens Safer and Woodside on the Move, are also looking to implement other safety measures like crossing guards, stalled green lights and much more.

“None of this should of happen, all of this could have been prevented,” said Van Bramer. “This school has been asking for a crossing guard at this location for months. [It’s] absolutely disgraceful that the administration did not provide the crossing guard when it was requested, when it was clearly needed. Anybody who has been on this street for more than five minutes knows that this requires a crossing guard.”

Advocacy group Make Queens Safer organized a traffic safety memorial and vigil at 61st Street and Northern Boulevard Sunday where Noshat’s family and hundreds of residents gathered to remember the 8-year-old and other victims of traffic fatalities.

 

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Family, friends remember Flushing 20-year-old killed in motorcycle crash


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Facebook

Hundreds gathered in spite of wind and rain to honor a 20-year-old Flushing man killed in a motorcycle crash last week.

“This was one of my best friends,” said Niaz Aziz. “He was like a brother to me.”

Kiyanoush Asif died June 12 when he crashed his 2005 Kawasaki motorcycle into an oncoming 2011 Honda Accord. The car was making a left turn at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Murray Street, police said.

Asif accelerated and struck its rear passenger side door at around 5:30 p.m., cops said. He was pronounced dead at Flushing Hospital Medical Center. The other driver remained at the scene and no criminality is suspected, police said.

The death ­— caused by blunt trauma to the head, torso and extremities — was ruled an accident, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Nearly 200 friends remembered Asif at a June 13 vigil outside Francis Lewis High School, where he graduated in 2011.

Blustering winds and rain in 60 degree weather did not stop them from meeting that night to pay their respects.

“He was a really smart kid, loved by everybody,” said Danny Salik, 20. “He was always smiling, always happy. There was nothing bad about this guy.”

Asif was a rising junior studying biology at Hunter College. He had volunteered at Flushing Hospital, friends and family said, and was an Army Junior ROTC cadet at Francis Lewis. He also had a passion for rapping.

“He was not my grandchild. He was my heart,” said Asif’s grandmother, Talat Noori. “God gave us a rose, but he was just for us to have temporarily. We still say thank you for every second, every minute of it.”

Monika Friend said many former classmates came to share tales of her cousin, who kept his personal life private.

One told the family Asif had once spent three periods in high school consoling an upset stranger.

“We felt proud of him,” said Friend, 31. “That was our boy.”

Asif bought his motorcycle about two weeks ago, though his parents begged him not to, his family and friends said.

“He was strong and brave and humble,” said Aziz, 20. “He was one of the realest people I knew.”

Aziz, a close friend for more than 12 years, said he got a cryptic call from the hospital through Asif’s cell phone on the day of the crash.

“They said they couldn’t tell me what was wrong but needed me to go there,” he recalled. “They said he wasn’t feeling well.”

He soon found out the news through Asif’s family.

“I lost a part of me,” he said, adding that he returns to the site of the crash often.

“These are the hardest days of my life,” Aziz continued. “We’re still over here hurting. I can’t even think straight. I can’t believe it.”

 

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Army pays tribute at Fort Totten to those lost


| Phertling@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo Phil Hertling

They gathered to pay tribute to those who stood — and fell — defending our freedom.

Soldiers of the United States Army Reserve gathered at Fort Totten’s annual September 11 memorial on Saturday morning, September 8, to remember six first responders lost in the terror attacks.

“Those of us who wear the uniform, for generations, have always tried to honor and remember our heroes,” said Major General Richard Colt, who was the commanding general of the 77th in 2001. “And even though the six soldiers who we honor today were not wearing the Army uniform, when they died, they epitomized the values that the Fire Department of New York puts into their men and women.”

The six men that gave their lives — Captain Michael Mullan, Captain Mark Whitford, Warrant Officer Ronald Bucca, Sergeant Shawn Powell, Staff Sergeant Frederick Ill and Lieutenant Colonel William Pohlmann — were part of the 77th Regional Support Command, renamed the 77th Regional Readiness Command in 2003, according to Master Sergeant Minnie Hawkins, who led the service before a few hundred Army personnel. Five were New York City firefighters and the other, a volunteer firefighter in Ardsley, New York.

“Even though their loved ones are gone, we are here to support them. They’re gone but not forgotten,” said Sergeant First Class Eric Thompson. Mullan, of New York City Ladder 12, and Whitford, of Manhattan’s Engine Company 23, died while operating rescue missions at the Towers. Bucca was assigned as fire marshal to Manhattan Command. He was the first fire marshal killed in the line of duty with the Fire Department of New York, authorities said.

Powell was a firefighter for Engine Company 207. Frederick was a fire captain with Ladder 2 in Manhattan. He gained fame in 1999 for saving a man from an oncoming subway train. Pohlmann worked as an attorney and had an office in the World Trade Center. He was also the engine company president of the Ardsley Volunteer Fire Department.

“They stopped what they did, ran into a building and tried to help others,” Sergeant First Class Kevin Wilson said. “It just shows how we are as people. We come together as Americans.”

 

Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens man indicted for New Year’s Day fire-bomb spree

A Queens man has been indicted on state and federal charges for a fire-bombing spree that targeted an Islamic mosque, a Hindu temple, a convenience store and three homes over several hours on New Year’s Day, authorities announced today. Accused fire-bug, Ray Lazier Lengend, also known as Suraj Poonai, already was in jail after being arrested within days for all but one of those incidents, which spanned Queens and Long Island. Read More: New York Post

 

Federal Judges Approve State’s New Congressional Districts

A three-judge panel in Brooklyn federal court has approved a map for New York’s new congressional districts that was proposed by a federal magistrate earlier this month. Due to population changes around the country, New York is set to lose two members of Congress this year, going from 29 seats in the House of Representatives to 27. The map drawn by federal magistrate Roanne Mann keeps most of the current districts, but one change is a new Queens district that is almost 40 percent Asian-American. Read More: NY1

 

Peyton near deal with Broncos

Peyton Manning wants to play for the Denver Broncos in Act II of his outstanding career. A person briefed on negotiations said the NFL’s only four-time MVP called Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams and told him that he had picked the Broncos. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter. Read More: New York Post

 

Shopping cart victim says she wishes boys who hurt her ‘well’

A Manhattan charity worker who was nearly killed by a shopping cart pushed over a garage railing by teenage punks in October spoke publicly for the first time today — expressing compassion for the pranksters who dropped the cart on her head. Marion Hedges, during a walk outside her Upper East Side apartment, said she hasn’t received an apology from the evil-doers. Read More: New York Post

 

12 injured in Brooklyn bus accident

Twelve people were injured in a bus accident in Brooklyn today, fire officials said. The collision occurred shortly after 10 a.m. after a car blew through a red light on Avenue J and rammed into a B11 bus, said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. At least three of the dozen people injured were passengers on the bus, Ortiz said. The victims were taken to Lutheran Medical Center and Kings County Hospital. Read More: New York Post

 

‘Shakedown’ rabbi loses appeal

A Manhattan appeals court today upheld the conviction of a crooked Brooklyn rabbi for trying to shake down billionaire Steve Cohen’s hedge fund with phony allegations of inside trading. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected Rabbi Milton Balkany’s claim that jurors should have been allowed to consider if he was entrapped, saying “Balkany failed to present any evidence that the government ‘induced’ him to commit the crimes charged.” Read More: New York Post

 

Tennessee woman gets no-jail deal after trying to check gun at 9/11 Memorial

A registered nurse and fourth-year med student got a no-jail, misdemeanor deal today for the Tennessee-registered gun she tried to check at the 9/11 Memorial in December. Manhattan prosecutors this morning dropped the felony gun possession charges Meredith Graves had originally been slammed with — charges carrying a mandatory minimum of 3 1/2 years prison. Read More: New York Post

Flight 587 ten years later: Holidays without a loved one


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan.

For Angilda Delacruz, 21, without her aunt and godmother Magnolia Pena, the upcoming holidays are the toughest part of the year.

“When we were little, we would always go to her house, and she would always have these baked cakes ready and chocolate lollipops in her fridge. We would always get in trouble for stealing them,” Delacruz said.

“The holidays were her thing. We always knew that out of everybody, we would always get the best presents from her. The first couple of years after this happened, we didn’t really celebrate the holidays because it wasn’t the same,” she said.

Although it took almost a decade, Delacruz said her family has gotten used to the loss, and has started celebrating the holidays again.

“It doesn’t feel like 10 years,” she said. “It feels weird. It feels like time stood still, yet it passed by so fast at the same time.”

The family also just welcomed a new addition, one-month-old Gavin, who would have been Pena’s first grandson.

“Every time that a big moment happens, I think about her not being there. She was the one we all expected to always be around,” she said. “I know that it seems like everybody says this, but she was the best person ever.”

Click here for the full story and photo gallery.

Flight 587 remembered 10 years later


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan.

Click here to view our Flight 587 memorial gallery.

Ten years may have passed since the tragic crash of Flight 587, but hundreds of loved ones who gathered to mourn at the memorial site remember as if it was yesterday.

“After 10 years, we still have open wounds from what happened,” said Rafael Almonte, who laid flowers for his brother, Juan Bautista Almonte. “Each day that passes, our wounds open, then close, and open again.”

Family and friends gathered for the 10 year anniversary memorial held in Rockaway Park on Saturday, November 12 to honor the 251 passengers, nine crew members and five people killed on the ground when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in Belle Harbor in 2001.

The plane was en route from John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. According to reports, the disaster is attributed to a pilot error in overusing the rudder in response to wake turbulence.

“Over the past 10 years, you have shared strength that has transformed grief into hope and promise… hope that together we will continue to heal and a promise to remember those we lost and to continue making them proud of us every single day,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“We honor them each day in countless ways and countless personal ways. Today, publicly, as a people, we also thank those who loved them for keeping their memories alive, for raising their children, and for finding the strength to go on with your own lives,” he said.

A moment of silence followed a bell toll at 9:16 a.m. to mark the moment Flight 587 crashed at the corner of 131st Street and Newport Avenue. Family and friends then read off the names of all 265 victims.

“I don’t really have words to explain because it was so hard for our family,” said Yishel Matos of Bay Shore Long Island, who came with her sister, niece and nephew to mourn the loss of her brother Orlando Matos. “It’s like a puzzle and you’re missing a piece. The family, after he died, was never complete. It really changed our life. We miss him.”

Following the ceremony, several family members visited the actual crash site — located 15 blocks away from the memorial — to lay flowers on the small plaque dedicated to the victims.

“But as you know all too well, every day in the wake of a tragedy is a day of remembrance — a time to honor and an occasion for finding strength,” Bloomberg said. “For every day, we also know that the presence of those that we have loved and lost is always with us.”

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan.

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/11/2011: Jury Acquits Assemblyman of Conspiring to Take Bribes


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Jury Acquits Assemblyman of Conspiring to Take Bribes

William F. Boyland Jr., a Democratic assemblyman from one of Brooklyn’s most prominent political families, was acquitted on Thursday of conspiring to take $175,000 in bribes in return for using his influence on behalf of a health care organization that runs hospitals in Queens and Brooklyn. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Barbara Sheehan sentenced to five years in prison

After dodging a murder conviction for the death of her husband, Barbara Sheehan has been reportedly sentenced to five years behind bars on a second degree weapons charge related to the case. Sheehan, who faced up to 15 years in prison prior to her sentencing, was acquitted of murder after a jury determined she acted in self-defense when she shot her husband, Raymond, a retired NYPD sergeant, 11 times on the morning of February 18, 2008. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Queens Councilman Pleads Guilty To Charges Stemming From 1996 Larceny Case

Just two days after winning re-election, a City Councilman pleaded guilty Thursday to charges stemming from a 15-year-old larceny case. Queens Councilman Ruben Wills admitted to stealing items and damaging a Manhattan office building in 1996. The case will be closed without jail time or probation if he does three days of community service and pays $2,500 in restitution. Wills said the incident arose from a business dispute. An outstanding warrant was issued for his arrest after he missed court dates. Read More: NY1

 

10th Anniversary Memorial Ceremony for American Airlines Flight 587 on Saturday

Saturday, November 12 American Airlines Flight 587 10th anniversary memorial ceremony

Beach 116th Street, Belle Harbor – 9 a.m.

There will be a moment of silence at 9:16 a.m. at the time of the crash, followed by a reading of the victims’ names. The ceremony will be held at the memorial site, which was unveiled for the fifth anniversary. More Event Details: Queens Courier

 

Stalled Road Construction Keeps Forest Hills Residents From Getting Sleep

Forest Hills residents are complaining they cannot get any sleep because of the noise stemming from cars driving over a work site on 71st Avenue. Read More: NY1

 

City surrenders in long battle to turn historic St. Saviour’s site into Maspeth park

The city has given up its long fight to acquire the land where a historic Maspeth church once stood and turn it into park space. But the city and now looking into purchasing a City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) are smaller parcel of land from the nearby Martin Luther School as an alternative to the St. Saviour’s site. Read More: Daily News

 

Woodside monument honoring World War I heroes gets face-lift for Veterans Day

The majestic statue that stands at the foot of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Woodside was created to honor local soldiers who paid the ultimate price in World War I. The female figure, sword in one hand and shield in the other, stands sentry over the tiny plaza in the neighborhood formerly known as Winfield. Read More: Daily News

Residents Gather to Mark Tenth Anniversary of 9/11


| jlyons@queenscourier.com

911-Memorial-4

North Shore Towers residents were joined by local elected officials and members of law enforcement as they marked the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Board President Bob Ricken began by acknowledging Towers residents Tom Lyons and Todd Heiman. Lyons responded to Ground Zero following the attacks while Heiman worked at the Staten Island recovery site.

“All of the events of September 11 will forever live in our memories. We will never forget the images of planes flying into the World Trade Center, or the smoke rising from the Pentagon,” Ricken said. “We’ll always admire the courage and compassion of the heroes who also entered the burning building to save the lives of our countrymen.”

Ricken also said that the day of remembrance requires reflection, as it is determined how best to honor those who sacrificed their lives.

“The highest honor we can pay to those we lost is to do what our adversaries fear the most – to stay true to who we are as Americans, renew our sense of common purpose and not let the act of a small band of murderers threaten and divide us,” he said. “On this day and the days to come we should choose to honor the fallen, protect our families, our way of life, and support the first responders and servicemen throughout the world.”

Following Ricken’s opening remarks, Sergeant Polly Jill MacAlpine of the NY Army National Guard sang the National Anthem. Rabbi Randy Sheinberg then gave an invocation, during which she noted that people all over were “coming together as a community in tribute to those whose lives were lost tragically 10 years ago and waving flags of patriotism, of pride and of hope in the future.”

Located elected officials Senator Tony Avella, Assemblymember Ed Braunstein and Councilmember Mark Weprin were also on hand for the ceremony and gave remarks, talking about the importance of never forgetting and the way New Yorkers came together following the terrorist attack.
“New Yorkers are tough spirits and we love this city and we love this country,” Weprin said. “We are going to make a statement that you’re not going to scare us out and we’re going to stay united together.”

North Shore Towers General Manager Glen Kotowski, who worked at Ground Zero off and on following the attacks, also read a letter from Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent for the event. In addition to welcoming the 250 to 300 people in attendance, Bloomberg’s letter spoke of the opening of the World Trade Center Memorial and said that lower Manhattan is “more alive than ever.”

“In the days and weeks after the event, we vowed that we would never forget and that we would work together to create a brighter future,” Bloomberg wrote, adding that New York continues to keep that promise.
The event concluded with MacAlpine singing “God Bless America” as residents joined in.

Honoring the fallen at St. Michael’s


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

DSC_0315w

Equally as striking as the monument listing the names of the 343 firefighters that sacrificed their lives on September 11, 2001 are the bricks at its base with the names of the first responders from all emergency services that died as a result of working on “the pile.” As of now, the number of first responder deaths remains at 95, but there are plenty of bricks that will undoubtedly add to that number. The memorial service and dedication at St. Michael’s Cemetery honoring fallen firefighters, police and Port Authority officers brought together elected leaders, FDNY and NYPD officials, as well as families of those lost for an afternoon of grieving and a celebration of their lives. The event, on Saturday, September 24, began with an invocation by Father Christopher Keenan who read the Gettysburg Address followed by a statement by Congressmember Joe Crowley who commented on the two dozen young firefighters dressed in bunker gear who stood during the ceremony. “They’re taking up a job that has a legacy,” said Crowley. “Many believed that the fire department could never recover after the attack, but nothing could be more false . . . They have never forgotten those that have fallen.” Crowley also included an anecdote about his cousin John Moran, a Battalion Chief on Randall’s Island who died at the World Trade Center. “I’m sure each and every one of you can take out a moment about a son or daughter that you lost that day and look back and smile,” said Crowley. Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, one of the sponsors of the Zadroga Act – named for police officer James Zadroga who died of a respiratory disease attributed to toxins at Ground Zero – spoke to the long road the legislation took until enacted in January 2011. The act expands death benefits and monitored care for those who worked at the World Trade Center site. “Who would have thought it would have taken us seven years to pass the Zadroga Act?” asked Maloney. “This bill will save lives. We will not stop until we make sure that it continues to take care of the men and women who took care of us.” She continued to mention the beauty of the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site and urged those in attendance to take a trip downtown to see it. Also in attendance was Comptroller John Liu who helped fund the St. Michael’s 9/11 memorial, Former Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr., FDNY Chief Kevin Butler, PAPD Inspector Brian Sullivan, NYPD Chief Dianna Pizzutti as well as the PAPD Pipes and Drums, among other special guests. Former FDNY Chief Alexander Santora and his wife, Maureen who – along with Ed Horn of St. Michaels – were instrumental in erecting the memorial, spoke about the importance of remembering those, like their son, Christopher, who died on 9/11. After encouraging those in attendance to come back to see the additions to the bricks at the base of the memorial, the former chief summed up the feeling of many on hand: “They have one hell of a fire department up in heaven.”

Memorial set for Hank Auffarth


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE QUEENS COURIER/photo by
Hank Auffarth, affectionately known as “Hank from the Bank” will be memorialized at Terrace on the Park on Tuesday, September 20 from 5 to 9 p.m.
While his professional accomplishments were within the banking industry, friends and colleagues say they paled in comparison to his charitable work, especially with the Child Center of NY.  
“Hank was an extraordinary ambassador on behalf of the children we serve and worked tirelessly to provide thousands of at-risk kids with the tools they need to succeed in life,” said Susan Gleason of the Child Center.
All are welcome.