Tag Archives: NYPA

The Queens Courier staff recognized by New York Press Association


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The Queens Courier congratulates its staff in taking home a handful of awards at this year’s New York Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.

For the past three years, Courier reporters have been given the distinctive honor of Rookie Reporter of the Year. Former reporters Melissa Chan, Maggie Hayes and Terence Cullen previously took home the title and this year, Angy Altamirano placed in the category.

Altamirano, who covers western Queens and is editor of the LIC Courier magazine, was awarded second place for her “ability to write enticing, exciting leads.”

Of her work, the judges said, “Angy has an easy-to-read style … using short sentences instead of long wordy ones to tell her story.”
Melissa, who previously covered northeast Queens for The Courier, won second place in the News Story category for her “great hard news reporting” and getting to the facts quick and with detail.

The former reporter also took home another win along with Maggie, who previously covered southeast and southwest for the newspaper. The duo placed third place for In-Depth Reporting for their “nice presentation, good writing and plenty of interesting people …”

The Courier’s staff also took home awards for Best Special Section Cover and Best Large Space Ad.

Jennifer Decio earned first place for her large space ad which judges found conveyed an elegant message. “The photos and layout sell it!” wrote the judges.

Stephen Reina placed third for his special section cover which judges described as “both dynamic and sophisticated.”

“I’m so proud of our team, which is the best in the business,” said Joshua Schneps, co-publisher of The Queens Courier. “It demonstrates the quality of what we do and the depth of talent that we have in the company.”

 

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Courier takes top honors at New York Press Association awards


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Tonia N. Cimino

The Queens Courier is breaking news – and breaking barriers.

Not only are we the first-place winners of the New York Press Association’s (NYPA) Past Presidents’ Award for General Excellence two years in a row, but our staff of talented writers and artists walked away with numerous other accolades.

Last year, Melissa Chan set the bar by winning third place Rookie Reporter of the Year.

This year, her peers Maggie Hayes and Terence Cullen were also given the distinctive honor, beating out slews of writers state-wide.

Maggie, who covers all of southeast and southwest Queens, and is the editor of our North Shore Towers Courier, was awarded third place for her “excellent portfolio of stories.”

Of her work, the judges said, “Maggie covered each subject with skill and professionalism, using sources to tell the story . . . with a writing style that really works.”

Terence, who covers south Queens and is editor of our Queensborough magazine, blew away the NYPA staff by not only winning first place Rookie of the Year, but also first place Sports Writer of the Year.

NYPA Executive Director Michelle Rea said in her time with the organization, she had never seen such a feat.

“We are impressed by this reporter’s coverage of several challenging stories,” the judges said of Terence. “His reporting style and skills were excellent. This is a writer who seems to tackle any subject with ease and produces readable, well-sourced stories.”

Alexa Altman, our former LIC editor, won second place for Writer of the Year for her “wide variety of stories with strong imagery and a good grasp of language.”

For our coverage of Sandy and other news events throughout the year, we won first place Best In-Depth Reporting and second place Best Spot News Coverage.

“This newspaper does a lot for its community,” the judges said. “This paper saw its job as not just the storyteller of the storm, but the informer as well, and subsequently, by year’s end, the upstanding citizen.”

Our talented staff also took home awards for Best Special Section Advertising and a first-place win for Best Special Section Cover.

And our website, www.queenscourier.com – your source for breaking news – was classified by judges as “well organized and relevant,” in its second place win for Best Newspaper Website, thanks to the efforts of all, especially web editor Cristabelle Tumola.

“I am so proud of our team,” said Courier co-publisher Joshua Schneps. “They truly deserve to be recognized for their excellence, hard work and dedication. The awards represented both team and individual accomplishments in every part of the business.”

As we forge ahead, The Queens Courier will remain true to our motto, “We’re all about you.” We will, as the NYPA judges remarked, continue to do our community proud.

Moreland Commission recommends LIPA changes based on Sandy response


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

It might be lights out for LIPA in its current form.

The Moreland Commission, established to examine response from utility companies after Sandy, has offered Governor Andrew Cuomo three options to reshape the power company after it was lambasted for poor response times and mismanagement after the storm.

The first is to let the power company go private under a single operator — effectively letting the state regulate the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), as opposed to regulating itself as it does now.

Other options include streamlining LIPA by allowing the company to manage its day-to-day operations — currently handled by National Grid. The last suggestion is to replace LIPA with the New York Power Authority (NYPA).

The tandem of LIPA and National Grid did not work during the storm, according to the commission’s interim report, and had fallen victim to mismanagement and poor investment in infrastructure and had let customers down.

Cuomo, who has promised to keep utility companies accountable, said whatever plan the commission ultimately suggests, it should be adopted statewide. He reiterated that utility companies were not locked into servicing the area forever and would be responsible for any wrongdoings.

“Nobody said that any of these utility companies had a franchise for life; they don’t,” Cuomo said after meeting the commission. “I mean what business do you have today in this state and this country where you have the business for life, regardless of your performance?”

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, who represents the bulk of Rockaway, said LIPA was mismanaged after the storm. Relaying information to residents was not the only problem, he said, but communication within the agency was poor.

“It seemed like there was just a general lack of communication not only within the community but within their own agency,” he said.
Goldfeder said he was open to any proposals to changing how utility companies are managed to ensure they are held accountable to customers.

“There’s no question that LIPA failed the residents of Rockaway during the recent storm,” he said. “I’m open to discussing any and all changes to make sure that the utility companies are well managed and reliable to the customers who need it.”

 

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Controversial Astoria power plant to be dismantled


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Poletti1

After powering down several years ago, a controversial power plant is finally going to be dismantled.

Years of litigation, led by Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., ended with the shuttering of operations at the old branch of the Charles Poletti Power Plant on 20th Avenue in Astoria in 2010. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced this week that the defunct facility will be torn down beginning in early 2013. Since the closure of the plant almost three years ago, the councilmember and now borough president hopeful has fought diligently for its destruction — a fight, he said, that was not easily won.

“It’s dangerous, it’s an eyesore and they’re finally going to get rid of it,” said Vallone.

A NYPA spokesperson said they agreed to close the Poletti power plant as part of a commitment to improving regional air quality when plant officials applied for a license to build a new state-of-the-art 500-MW Combined Cycle Project, fueled by clean natural gas. Since 2010, NYPA has been planning the engineering needed for dismantling the Poletti plant and in September 2012 awarded a $21 million contract for its destruction.

The spokesperson added that the plant has never been a safety hazard.

According to Vallone, much of his push to have the plant destroyed stemmed from fear that operations could restart at the facility, as is common practice at many previously shut down plants. While he said Poletti does not pose the risk of exploding, it once ranked as the plant with the worst emissions record of any in the state. He also mentioned a study that claimed the plant’s emissions were worse than those of plants in all other New York City boroughs combined.

“The people of Western Queens can finally breathe a fresh sigh of relief knowing the old Poletti plant will be torn down and never create a dark cloud over their heads again,” said Vallone.

Senator Michael Gianaris, who has also been involved in the demise of the plant, said western Queens residents are rejoicing over the destruction of the city’s biggest polluter.

“Many of us remember all too well the toxic, dirty air emitted by the plant that plagued our neighborhood for decades, and it was thanks to our hard work that the plant finally closed,” said Gianaris. “As we prepare to ring in the new year, I look forward to celebrating the much-awaited deconstruction of this power plant as well as continuing our work to make western Queens a green neighborhood whose residents are healthy and air is clean.”

Astoria is home to five of the city’s major power plants, estimated by Vallone to produce nearly 80 percent of the city’s power supply.

Courier wins at NYPA awards


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

News outlets from across the state gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of local publications, their reporters and designers, at the annual New York Press Association Awards.

The Queens Courier was honored to receive the Past Presidents’ Award for General Excellence in its division. Judges claimed the publication had crisp writing, a good mix of stories and a strong, dynamic use of art throughout.

Melissa Chan won third place in the Rookie Reporter of the Year category. A graduate of Adelphi University, Chan has been a reporter for The Queens Courier since September of 2011, originally covering the Howard Beach area before moving to northeast Queens.

“First place, third place, any kind of place — I’m just so incredibly honored and elated to be given such a prestigious award. There are not enough rooftops in the world for me to stand on and shout from right now,” said Chan. “There is so much talent within Queens, not to mention the entire state. I never in a million years thought I would get chosen.”

The Queens Courier also took home awards for advertising excellence, best special section cover and best real estate section.