Tag Archives: Occupy Wall Street

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of rain in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 45. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%. Tuesday night: Overcast. Low of 32. Winds from the North at 5 to 15 mph.

Hurricane Sandy’s 21 most serious fires caused by sea water hitting electrical systems: FDNY

Most of the 21 serious fires that destroyed hundreds of homes during Superstorm Sandy were sparked by sea water coming into contact with electrical systems, the FDNY announced Monday. Read more: New York Daily News

Outer borough metered cabs head to NY’s highest court

This cab fight is going straight to the top. The city has received permission to bypass the Appellate Division and go directly to the state’s highest court — the Court of Appeals — to try to overturn a lower court ruling blocking a new class of 18,000 taxis that would be allowed to pick up street hails outside Manhattan. Read more: New York Post

A Christmas miracle: Queens baby miraculously survives despite mother’s rare condition

This is a Christmas full of special meaning for a young family in Queens. Read more: CBS New York

Winter storm barrels toward region

Forecasters are tracking a significant winter storm barreling toward the tri-state area, though it’s not clear whether the system will pummel the region with rain or snow when it arrives Wednesday evening. Read more: NBC New York

Report: FBI counter-terror agents investigated Occupy Wall Street

When the Occupy Wall Street movement was setting up shop in Zuccotti Park last year, the FBI was already using counter-terrorism agents to investigate it, according to a report. Read more: CBS New York

Ambushed NY firemen shot dead; two police killed elsewhere

A gunman, who spent 17 years in prison for murder, ambushed and killed two volunteer firefighters and wounded two others on Monday near Rochester, New York, as they responded to a house fire he deliberately set, police said. Read more: Reuters

2 actors we loved knowing, who seemed to know us

What a couple of mugs, sporting less-than-perfect physiques in the bargain. But was there anything lovelier than Jack Klugman or Charles Durning doing what they did for an audience? Read more: AP

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 72. Winds from the SW at 10 to 15 mph. Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then mostly cloudy. Low of 59. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT of the DAY: CPR for Everyone

Learn how to recognize the signs of a cardiac emergency and get a hands-on demonstration of basic resuscitation techniques from registered EMTs with years of experience with the New York City Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services. This program is presented in partnership with the FDNY. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Stray bullet fired wildly by singing thug hits teen doing homework in apartment

A Queens teenager who got up before dawn Sunday to do her homework was injured by a stray bullet fired by a singing thug, police and witnesses said. Read more: New York Daily News

Pedestrian killed in Queens

The NYPD says a pedestrian was struck and killed by a BMW at an intersection in Queens. Police say the operator of the car was traveling southbound on Cross Bay Boulevard when he struck the male pedestrian crossing from the west side of the street. Read more: Fox New York/AP

Two Queens community colleges fight CUNY changes

The English departments at two Queens community colleges are fighting CUNY’s efforts to reduce their four-hour introductory writing classes to three hours. Read more: New York Daily News

Cops winning underground war

An NYPD anti-crime initiative on trouble-prone Bronx and Queens subway lines resulted in a 20 percent reduction in major felonies — and now it will be expanded citywide. Read more: New York Post

Occupy Wall Street protestor suing NYPD over alleged pepper spray incident

A woman who was pepper sprayed during an Occupy Wall Street protest last year has filed a civil suit against the New York Police Department and the officer involved. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Obama set to address UN General Assembly

Campaign politics shadowing every word, President Barack Obama on Tuesday will challenge the world to confront the root causes of rage exploding across the Muslim world, calling it a defining choice “between the forces that would drive us apart and the hopes we hold in common.” Read more: ABC New York/AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S  FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain showers, then thunderstorms and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 75. Windy. Winds from the South at 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 40 mph. Chance of rain 90% with rainfall amounts near 0.6 in. possible. Tuesday night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers, then thunderstorms after midnight. Low of 64. Windy. Winds from the SSW at 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 50 mph. Chance of rain 90% with rainfall amounts near 1.3 in. possible.

EVENT of the DAY: Free Electronic Etching 

Please join Senator Joe Addabbo and  officers from Transit District 33 and the 104th Precinct, and register your cell/smartphones, iPads, iPods, laptops, portable video games and more to help protect against theft. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Heavy winds, rain threaten tri-state

The mild weather tri-state residents enjoyed over the last three days is expected to deteriorate Tuesday as heavy winds, rain and possible thunderstorms move over the region, meteorologists say. Read more: NBC New York

Queens residents weigh in on Willets Point plan

Queens residents packed the auditorium at the Our Lady of Sorrows Church Monday to voice their opposition to a plan to redevelop Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Read more: NY1

Long Island City’s business landscape evolves as it reinvents its industrial past

Long Island City, once an industrial area known for its large manufacturing plants and hulking waterfront warehouses, is becoming a neighborhood of choice for entrepreneurs and businesses looking to expand. Read more: New York Daily News

Construction underway for Sunnyside dog run

After trying for 10 years to make the neighborhood more dog-friendly, construction is underway in Sunnyside for its first dog run, located in Lou Lodati Park. Read more: NY1

Close to 200 Arrested as OWS marks 1-year anniversary with marches, rallies

Dozens of protesters have been arrested as Occupy Wall Street marks its first anniversary with rallies and marches throughout New York City. Read more: CBS New York 

Munch’s ‘The Scream’ going on view at MoMA in NYC

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” which sold for nearly $120 million at auction, will go on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The museum announced Tuesday that the iconic image will be on display from Oct. 24 to April 29. Read more: Fox 5 New York 

Romney looks to steady shaky campaign

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is trying to steady a shaky campaign as President Barack Obama, enjoying a burst of momentum, heads to New York for a celebrity fundraiser with Beyoncé and Jay-Z and a star turn on David Letterman’s couch. Read more: AP

Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup2

25 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested as group gathers in Washington Square Park

Occupy Wall Street protesters are gearing up for a Monday demonstration to mark the first anniversary of the movement — and give the 1% a fresh headache. Nearly 200 scruffy anti-capitalists swarmed Washington Square Park on Saturday in a warmup for Monday morning, when the activists will march on Wall Street and attempt to disrupt rush-hour traffic. Read more: Daily News

Queens teenager shot to death outside of Boys And Girls High School in Brooklyn

A Queens teenager was found shot to death outside of a historic Brooklyn High School on Friday. Police responding to a 911 call found Kaiim Vieira, 17, outside of Boys and Girls High School with multiple gunshot wounds. Read more: CBS

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula revealed! Photo surfaces despite his efforts to shield face from media after interview with police

Federal investigators questioned — but later released — one of the filmmakers behind the incendiary anti-Islam video that sparked violent clashes across the Middle East. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was taken in for questioning near his Southern California home early Saturday, officials said. Read more: Daily News

Driver faces DUI charges following Midtown crash

A man is facing drunk driving charges after his car smashed into a passenger van near Radio City Music Hall in Midtown this morning, injuring six people. Police say a Mercedes sedan ran a red light and smashed into a GO Airlink passenger van around 4:45 a.m. at Sixth Avenue and 50th Street near Radio City Music Hall. Read more: NY1

When it comes to Queens politics, Asian-language media have it covered

When Democratic Assembly candidate Ron Kim — fresh off a hard-fought primary win — visited two senior centers in Flushing on Friday, he was greeted by a crush of reporters and photographers. Kim is one step closer to making history by becoming the first Korean-American lawmaker in the State of New York. And while that’s an interesting story for any reporter it’s huge news for the scores of Asian-language newspapers, radio stations and television stations that aggressively cover Queens politics on a daily basis. Read more: Daily News

Wheelchair softball tourney takes place in Queens

When a car accident paralyzed Joe Mendez 20 years ago, he thought his sports-playing days were over. “It took me a long time to be able to handle the ball, to maneuver the chair and stuff like that,” he said. “It takes time and effort.” He eventually re-learned to play softball, on wheels. Read more: NY1

Power must be wielded wisely


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

In light of the current Congressional impasse over federal government subsidies of student loan interest rates, it would seem to be a prophetic fulfillment of the statement that “they have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right” (Occupy Wall Street Declaration, NYC General Assembly, September 29, 2011, “New Politics,” XIII (4), Winter 2012, p.9).

Graduate students pursuing degrees due to the scarcity of employment for college graduates are now no longer able to receive federal subsidy for interest on direct loans; only unsubsidized loans are available. Interest rates, if determined by market forces of “corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality” (ibid), may double.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church, morally condemned all forms of loan interest: “To take usury for money lent is unjust in itself, because this is to sell what does not exist, and this evidently leads to inequality which is contrary to justice” (“Summa Theologica,” Pt. II, II Q. 78, Art. 1).

The City University of New York, founded as City College, implemented free education for all students at one point, yet now charges tuition and fees which are financially burdensome for working and middle-class students. If the bill is not paid on time, the Registrar at Queens College, for example, in a stroke of arrogance, cancels the student’s registration.

The Communist Manifesto (Karl Marx & Frederick Engels, 1848) is correct public policy: “Free education for all children in public schools” (No. 10).

Occupy Wall Street is ideologically correct that America is a corporatist political economy, with corporations wielding political power not by the people, of the people, and for the people. OWS, a nascent counter-hegemonic movement, although thoroughly dialectical in ideology to this Fascist order, needs organization as a Social Democratic political party independent of Republicans and Democrats in order to effectively achieve adaptive social and economic reforms within the American corporative hegemony.

Contrary to Leninist focus, socialist revolutions are not inevitable historical processes since, according to the Italian Communist Party founder Antonio Gramsci, the function of the dominant hegemony naturally adapts and incorporates alternative ideologies.

But the Chinese “Tao Te Ching” said, “the right means in the wrong hands become the wrong means.”

OWS appears to be the wrong hands.

Joseph N. Manago
Briarwood

$1 Trillion in Student Debt


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The Courier/Photo by Billy Rennison

Here is what you can buy with $1 trillion: 5 million Lamborghinis, 15,000 private jets, 140 private islands and every team in baseball 16 times. Simply put, it is a lot of money.

The number — which is much more jarring when written out, 1,000,000,000,000 — is also the amount of debt students in this country collectively hold from their college loans. It is a backbreaking number, and an amount many feel is devastating their future.
A degree has become a prerequisite for employment, and rising tuitions means, for many, that debt is a precondition for entry into the workforce, so students have decided to fight back.

A rally was held on April 25 in Union Square to coincide with 1T Day — the day student loan debt hit $1 trillion — to raise awareness about the crisis and to begin a movement toward free college education.

Hundreds of protesters wore placards around their neck declaring the size of their debt, from relatively small amounts, like Jessica K.’s $13,000, to immense amounts, like Francis Rogers’ $108,000.

“Trillion dollar day is a reminder that private banks are still very much in the predatory lending business; this time it’s students not homeowners,” said Professor Andrew Ross, an organizer with the Occupy Student Debt 1TDay campaign.
The histrionics of the event — there were super heroes and choruses and even “Sallie May” showed up — did not overshadow the frustration of the hundreds of thousands of students drowning in debt.

“I’m the first person in my family to go to college,” said Annie Spencer, a CUNY graduate student. “I’m now $80,000 in debt and don’t see a day when I won’t struggle to make ends meet. Those of us who took on this trillion dollar debt were sold the promise of a better life in exchange for carrying the burden, but the deck was stacked against us from the start.”

More than two-thirds of graduates leave college with student loan debt, according to a 2008 study. The average debt for these 1.4 million students is more than $27,000.
The students at the Union Square protest — and many other groups that have taken up similar fights — do not believe all college should be free or that, as a rule, loans should not be repaid. Their tenets are that public college should be free — as it had been in New York until the 1970s — and that student loans should be repaid interest free.
“The goal of these protests isn’t to renege on our responsibilities, it is to make the institutions making billions of dollars on the backs of students take some responsibility,” said Stephanie, a New York University graduate with $90,000 in debt. “They want us to default.”

More than 40 percent of students from the class of 2005 have faced default and/or delinquency, according to the Occupy Student Debt Campaign.
The demonstrations eventually made their way toward Wall Street, though not before parking itself in front of a bastion for tuition-free — for now — education, Cooper Union, where one dissenter, who identified himself as Jesse, stood atop the Peter Cooper Memorial.

For students that dream of a tuition-free college education, Copper Union is their Shangri-la — well, it was. From 1902 until today the college charged no tuition, instead relying on a generous endowment providing each student a scholarship — furthering the school’s founder Peter Cooper’s belief that education should be free, and for more than a century his ideal held true at the school bearing his name.

But, in April, the school announced that it would begin charging tuition for select graduate programs. This flew in the face of what many students felt the school stood for.
So, Jesse stood atop the school’s founder’s memorial with a sign reading, “No tuition, it’s our mission,” leading to a two hour standoff with police before he was taken down in a cherry picker and arrested.

Cooper Union’s shift toward tuition mirrors the nation-wide trend of exploding college costs. In the past five years tuition at public universities has increased 24 percent, and 17 percent at private colleges.

This has led — obviously — to a steep incline in the amount of debt students leave college with. Thirty years ago the number was $2,000, a full $25,000 below today’s amount. Inflation makes up only a small amount of the difference; $2,000 in today’s value is just under $5,000.
“I’m pretty much carrying a mortgage, I guess the American dream of owning your own home is out the window for me,” said Valerie Young, a 23-year-old with more than $100,000 in loans. “I can’t live in my degree.”

Indebted student’s plight has reached Capitol Hill where politicians are debating bills that would prevent student’s interest rates from doubling in July, an issue President Barack Obama has been speaking out against.

“When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July,” Obama said in his State of the Union address. “Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid. We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we’ll run out of money. States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.”

Burning Mad

“My future is going up in flames with each loan bill I’m getting and can’t repay because I don’t have a job, and the interest just keeps pushing the bill higher,” said Frederick Iman after he lit his student loan bill on fire. “So I might as well burn my bill, too.”
Iman was not the only protestor to turn their bills to ashes, others joined in sending smoke signals that they are here to end predatory loan practices.
Though the economy shows signs of recovery, college graduates unemployment rate is still well above the average and a recent Rutgers University study found that only half of graduates between 2006 and 2010 graduates have found full-time jobs.
“[Lenders] are making money off every graduate and even more money when we can’t find jobs,” said Mark, an unemployed graduate of Miami (Ohio) University who lit his loan bill. “Someone has to stand up for us, it might as well be us.”
It is not only the Occupy Student Debt Campaign and its supporters that are attempting to reform lending practices for students.
Student Loan Justice (www.studentloanjustice.org) is another organization that is dedicated to returning standard consumer protections to student loans. The group has created a Student Borrower Bill of Rights that aims to bring these standard protections back. Currently, student loans are not forgiven in bankruptcy proceedings — the only type of loan that applies to.

The EDU Debtors Union (www.edudebtorsunion.org) believes that students in debt are akin to factory workers.
“Factory workers go to work every day and transform capital into profit by making products,” EDU says. “Students transform capital into profit when interest and penalties are added to a principle loan.”

This method becomes unacceptable, they say, “when there are abuses to the many for the benefit of the few without a method of recourse.”
So EDU has started a union. They believe debtors can benefit from union representation. Large numbers, they believe, represents a better chance for students to negotiate better repayment methods with lenders.

This is a tactic that the Occupy Student Debt Campaign also believes holds power.
The campaign is circulating a petition that students pledge to stop making loan payments in hopes of restoring free public college education if 1 million students sign the pledge.

No End in Sight

Marches, protests and refusals to pay aid in shining a light on student’s plight, but the bills will continue to come. Without government intervention, change will be difficult. There are bills in Congress that aim to help students, but according to govtrack.us, they have little hope of passing.

“Because there are so many student loan lenders and types of loans, a general debt strike will not necessarily hit the heart of the beast,” EDU wrote in a blog entry. “To organize a debt strike effectively, you have to start with specific lenders otherwise the impact of the strike will not be felt.”

Only a few thousand have signed the Occupy campaign’s petition, well short of the million they need before the debt strike, and some are concerned about ruined credit.
I don’t want to pay back these loans — and honestly I can’t — but I’m worried that not paying anything will just ruin my credit for life,” said Michelle Condon. “[Lenders] practices must change and I will continue to fight, but unless we all band together and refuse to pay, what difference will be made?”

These campaigns are lighting the fire, but if the flame is suffocated with default notices and compounding interest, what is the next step?

“We just need to get the word out,” said Ryan Lindner, a graduate of Cortland University. “My credit is already crap, they can’t make it worse. I refuse to recognize them until they recognize my basic rights. I will not pay.”

Hundreds camp out for 50 union jobs


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

People walking along 32nd Avenue in Woodside last week may have thought they stumbled upon an Occupy Wall Street demonstration, or that the “Dark Knight Rises” had been released months in advance.

Instead, roughly 600 people were camped out – many of them for a week – in the hopes of receiving an application to join the apprenticeship program of Local 46 of the Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Union.

A line began forming in front of the union’s offices, located at 61-02 32nd Avenue in Woodside, on April 24 and grew exponentially, according to Bill Hohlfeld, coordinator of the labor management cooperative trust for Local 46. The gathering lasted until the morning of April 30, when 500 applications were handed out for the apprenticeship program on a first-come, first-served basis.

Despite the painstakingly-long hours many on line waited for their application, only 50 people will be chosen to join the program at this time.

“Nobody told people to come that early. People just didn’t want to risk not getting an application so they chose to do that. It is very competitive,” Hohlfeld said. “There are 50 initial positions opening, but [this list of applicants] is active for two years. Anytime during those two years, people can be chosen if spots open up.”

Those fortunate enough to receive applications will then take a manual dexterity test and a written exam dealing with basic mechanical aptitude and special relations – both given by the Department of Labor. Personal interviews will also be conducted by the joint apprenticeship committee of Local 46, and all applicants will have to pass a drug test.

Candidates will be chosen based on a combination of all factors, with final decisions made by the joint apprenticeship committee.

Despite the size and length of the campout, Hohlfeld says there were “no altercations or problems” during the week and grievances from the public “weren’t anything overwhelming.”

Local 46 provided campers with food, water and toilet facilities in an attempt to keep the strenuous situation as pleasant as possible.

“I thought that for the most part, the vast majority – with very few exceptions – were very well behaved. They pretty much complied with whatever we requested they do,” he said. “They were just people looking for an opportunity to better themselves.”

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Jets get Tebow from Broncos for two late draft picks

The Post has confirmed the Jets will send a fourth-round and sixth-round pick to Denver in exchange for the quarterback and a seventh-round pick. The move comes a day after the Broncos signed Peyton Manning to a five-year deal, making Tebow expendable in Denver. And it comes over a week after the Jets signed starting quarterback Mark Sanchez to a three-year contract extension, and signed Drew Stanton to backup Sanchez. Read More: New York Post

 

Two bandits hold up Brooklyn bodega at gunpoint

Two bandits held up a Brooklyn grocery store during a terrifying gunpoint robbery this morning. The crooks stormed into Monumental Grocery store on Flatbush Avenue at 8:30 a.m. shocking a group of customers stuck inside, according to the owner Erasmos Perez, 55, who spoke to an employee manning the register when the mayhem unfolded. Read More: New York Post

 

Republican Holds Lead In Brooklyn State Senate Race

A special election for a State Senate seat in Brooklyn remains too close to call. Democratic City Councilman Lew Fidler and Republican lawyer David Storobin are vying for the seat in the 27th State Senate District. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Storobin leads by 120 votes. Nearly 2,100 absentee ballots were issued and have yet to be counted. The seat used to be held by Carl Kruger, who resigned in December after pleading guilty to corruption charges in connection with a bribery scheme. Read More: NY1

 

Occupy Wall Street protesters rush back in when Union Square Park reopens in morning

Occupy Wall Street protesters reclaimed a space in Union Square at dawn Wednesday, minutes after police reopened the park to the public for the day. Cops erected temporary barriers around the plaza near the south entrance to the park at nightfall, pushing the demonstrators out of the area to prevent them setting up camp. Read More: Daily News

 

Student busted for assaulting dean at Brooklyn high school

A student was arrested after assaulting a faculty member at a Brooklyn high school this morning, school officials said. The 17-year-old boy got into a heated dispute with Edmund Ludde, the dean at William H. Maxwell High School, as he was getting scanned at the school’s security checkpoint at 9:20 a.m., officials said. Read More: New York Post

 

NYPD and FBI tussle over turf, with consequences for terror cases as police expand role: report 

In the fall of 2010, the FBI and New York Police Department were working together on a terrorism investigation on Long Island. The cyber case had been open for more than a year at the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn. So, the Justice Department was surprised when, without notice, the NYPD went to federal prosecutors in Manhattan and asked them to approve a search warrant in the case. Read More: Daily News

 

The Situation realized alcohol intake out of control while filming ‘Jersey Shore’: report

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino hit rock bottom while filming the most recent season of reality hit “Jersey Shore,” reports say. With Sorrentino reported to have checked into rehab, sources tell TMZ that the hard-partying star’s substance abuse issues were progressively “getting worse” throughout the filming of season five of the series, which recently aired on MTV. Read More: New York Post

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cops roust Occupy crowd from Union Square

Cops shut down Union Square and kicked out a large crowd of Occupy Wall Street protesters last night, arresting one demonstrator just days after larger clashes at the group’s former encampment downtown. Police surrounded the historic park with metal barricades just after midnight, citing a longstanding — but apparently often unenforced — rule that the park be closed in the overnight hours, as a crowd of more than 100 taunted officers. Read More: New York Post

 

Feds say Queens super wanted to sell guns to terror group Hezbollah

A Queens super attempted to sell guns to the terror group Hezbollah because he “long dreamed of making big money” as an arms dealer, a Manhattan federal prosecutors charged Monday. Patrick Nayyar was thwarted only because the man he arranged the deal with was an FBI informant, prosecutor Stephen Ritchin told jurors. Read More: Daily News
 

Two die in bloody day of violence in Brooklyn

Two people were killed and three others wounded during a wave of violence in Brooklyn yesterday. A gunman shot a 21-year-old man several times at the Ingersoll Houses in Fort Greene at about 8:20 p.m. — possibly for retribution for a shooting in the housing development two years ago. About an hour earlier, an 18-year-old woman was shot in East New York, authorities said. She was in stable condition. Read More: New York Post

 

Bullets fly in chase

A suspected car thief led cops on a wild, Hollywood-style chase through the streets of Brooklyn yesterday, dodging roadblocks and gunfire before he was finally cornered. Officials said patrol officers from the 75th Precinct stopped a black Mercedes-Benz on Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York shortly before 9:30 a.m. because they suspected the car was stolen. Read More: New York Post

 

Police Arrest Suspect In Fatal Staten Island Stabbing

A suspect wanted in the deadly stabbing of a Staten Island groom-to-be over the weekend was in police custody on Tuesday. Redinel Dervishaj, a 35-year-old waiter, was picked up by U.S. Marshals at his aunt’s house in a suburb of Chicago, according to sources. Antonio Lacertosa, 27, was stabbed in the torso early Saturday morning outside the Espana Restaurant in Annadale. Investigators say Lacertosa was celebrating his engagement to his high school sweetheart at the restaurant. Read More: NY1

 

Liu backs $$ gal

Embattled city Comptroller John Liu sprang to the defense of his indicted campaign treasurer and defiantly insisted his staff did everything it could to make sure donations were legal, despite federal charges against the treasurer and a key fund-raiser. “I don’t believe it’s our campaign’s responsibility or any campaign’s responsibility to verify the home address, to verify the work address, to essentially run a credit check on any donor,” Liu said in response to allegations that his campaign made use of straw donors who funneled illegal contributions from wealthy individuals into the campaign. “Do we operate differently than other campaigns? Absolutely not.” Read More: New York Post

 

Cop rips punk in hero brother’s gun death

The police-officer brother of a Queens man fatally shot defending his father from a crew of housebreakers stared down the thug who set up the robbery yesterday, calling him a “drug addict, coward, savage.” Geraldo Antoniello was shot in the head Sept. 9, 2009, by one of four punks savagely beating his dad, the owner of a popular pizzeria in Howard Beach. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Brooklyn Gym Teacher Charged With Groping Student

A Brooklyn physical education teacher was arrested and awaiting arraignment Tuesday on charges he inappropriately touched one of his teenage students. Police say Esran Boothe, 49, is charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse in the third degree. The city Department of Education says Boothe was re-assigned from his position at the Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment on Classon Avenue in Crown Heights and is now on administrative leave. Read More: NY1

 

Far Rockaway Playground Under Construction Receives Major Damage

Looking at the broken plastic, mangled metal and bent iron at the Beach 29th street playground in Far Rockaway, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said the facility’s June opening might be delayed and the damage will cost the city tens of thousands of dollars. “We know that we lost a number of the slides, the platforms, some of the fencing, the climbing apparatuses have been damaged,” said Lewandowski. Parks Department officials said an excavator did the damage. The contractor says someone cut through a nearby chain link fence to get onto the property. Read More: NY1

This Morning’s Top Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens woman shot to death on her porch

A mother of two was gunned down in a hail of bullets outside her Queens home early yesterday after a vengeful woman she bumped into in a nearby nightclub called in a hit squad, law-enforcement sources said. Sandra Bajnath, 39, was with her husband, Anthony Tika, 38, and their friend Sean Seepaul, 26, at Food Hut Restaurant and Bar when Bajnath accidentally bumped into the unidentified woman at around 3:30 a.m., the sources said. Read More: New York Post

 

Shocking video reveals hero teen’s brave stand to stop pals’ attack

He’s a teenage hero in one of the city’s most horrific pranks-gone-bad. In chilling video obtained exclusively by The Post, 14-year-old Achilles Baskin of Harlem is seen frantically trying to stop two twisted pals from pushing a shopping cart off a third-floor parking garage onto Manhattan mom Marion Hedges below — an act of bravery that he says still haunts him today. Read More & Watch the Video: New York Post

 

Police hunting Occupy Wall Street cop-kill tweeter

The NYPD is investigating an apparent Occupy Wall Street protester who made threats on Twitter Saturday about killing cops. “We won’t make a difference if we don’t kill a cop or 2,” someone with the Twitter handle Smackema1 posted at about 11:40 p.m. to Ustream, which showed footage of the Zuccotti Park protests in Manhattan. Read More: New York Post

 

Lively Queens House Party Ends With Collapsed Floor

Neighbors yesterday said they weren’t shocked when the third floor of a Queens home suddenly gave way and turned into a giant slide — sending as many as 100 teens attending a 13-year-old’s birthday party tumbling down. Miraculously, no one died, and only one person was seriously hurt — the older sister of the birthday boy. She’s expected to be OK. Read More: New York Post

 

Rep. Bob Turner blames Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and President Obama for high gasoline prices

Rep. Bob Turner opened his primary fight for the New York Republican Senate nomination with a familiar target — President Obama. The Republican hopeful perched in front of a Manhattan gas station Sunday and blasted Obama for blocking the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and for the price of gas in the city, which now tops $4 a gallon. Read More: Daily News

 

Liu chooses & biz ‘abuses’

Comptroller John Liu has awarded $6 million in contracts to manage city pension funds to a firm under investigation by New York federal and state prosecutors over claims it ripped off millions from public-employee pension systems around the world, The Post has learned.Boston-based State Street Corp. has faced litigation from state governments in Washington and California, as well as the United Kingdom, dating back to 2009 — each alleging the company fraudulently overbilled their retirement funds during so-called “foreign exchange” trades. Read More: New York Post

 

Police Investigate Fatal Stabbing Of Engaged Staten Island Man

Authorities are investigating after a Staten Island man was stabbed to death on Saturday just hours after his engagement party. Antonio Lacertosa, 27, of Staten Island was stabbed in the torso early Saturday morning, outside the Espana Restaurant in Annadale. The engagement party was held at another location before the group headed to Espana. Read More: NY1

 

Teacher Jonathan Polayes has avoided being fired despite years of accusations of misconduct

He’s been repeatedly accused of groping girls and making lewd comments about their breasts, thighs and bottoms — but the city just can’t get rid of this Teflon teacher. Jonathan Polayes, 60, a 22-year veteran of city schools, was one of the eight staffers singled out Thursday following Chancellor Dennis Walcott’s review of all misconduct cases since 2000. Read More: Daily News

 

Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and NY Knicks seem to be buying into interim coach Mike Woodson’s plan

The Knicks already have won three straight convincing games since Mike Woodson was promoted to replace Mike D’Antoni after D’Antoni resigned last Wednesday. Now, it’s time to see if they can take advantage of a key five-game segment and really start making a move up the Eastern Conference ladder. Read More: Daily News

Man Hospitalized Following Jamaica Hotel Fire


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Man Hospitalized Following Jamaica Hotel Fire

The Conduit Motor Inn on 138th Avenue in Jamaica, Queens caught fire Monday night, and an injured man found inside one of the hotel rooms was taken to Jamaica Hospital with burns throughout his body. Read More: NY1

 

Maksim Gelman to get extra 25 years for Manhattan portion of killing spree

A Manhattan judge today promised to tack on an additional 25 years to the certain life sentence that Maksim “Butcher of Brighton Beach” Gelman faces in Brooklyn when sentenced tomorrow for admittedly slaughtering four people back in February. Gelman had pleaded guilty last month to the Brooklyn end of his blood-drenched, 28-hour spree, admitting he’d stabbed his mother’s boyfriend to death, stolen that victim’s car and fatally mowed down a pedestrian, then stabbed to death the object of his affections, beautiful Yelena Bulchenko, and her mother. Read More: New York Post

 

Queens Rapper Joins Growing Chorus For Awareness About Redistricting

A Queens rapper is adding his music and his voice to the growing chorus against a hot-button political issue. Himanshu Suri of the hip-hop group Das Racist performed Monday night at a fundraiser in Richmond Hill to help out SEVA, a community organization that is raising awareness about the potential consequences of gerrymandering, the redrawing of local political districts to benefit incumbents. Read More: NY1

 

Man dead, another arrested in LI police shootout

A man is dead and another in custody after following a shootout last night with a Nassau County cop, police said today. The body of the dead suspect was found inside the Valley Stream home following a botched home invasion attempt, Nassau County police homicide chief Det. Lt. John Azatta said. The events unfolded when at least two men attempted a home invasion at about 9:15 a.m., police said.  The homeowner drove up and noticed a man in the bushes with a gun. That’s when he tried honking his horn to scare him off, police said.  When that didn’t work, the man called his brother and told him, “There is a problem here,” according to Azatta. Read More: New York Post

 

Mother of Rikers inmate killed in ’08 fight club lashes out at guards

The mom of a Rikers inmate who was killed in connection to a sick fight club run by guards, lashed out today two disgraced officers and the wrist-slapping deal they cut.  Charnel Robinson, 38, lamented how she’ll never again see her 18-year-old son Christopher Robinson, who was beaten to death in October, 2008 by fellow inmates for refusing to participate in the jailhouse blood sport. “I’m not happy. It’s not a win for me. My son is gone,” Robinson said in Bronx Supreme Court, during the sentencing of two guilty corrections officers.  “At the end of the day, these people are still able to see their families. My only child is a sight I’ll never see again,” Robinson said. Read More: New York Post

 

Bronx boy shot through door lives in terror

An 11-year-old Bronx boy who was shot when a bullet ripped through his family’s front door lives in fear of being attacked again. “I don’t like answering doors anymore and I don’t want to go back there,” a traumatized Ryan Aguirre told The Post from a new apartment where he’s staying.  The sixth-grade honors student escaped serious injury when he was shot in the right hip late on the night of Jan. 5. “I was just playing a game and the doorbell rang, so I got up to answer it,” Ryan said. “When I was walking toward the door, I said, ‘Who?’ and they just started shooting. Read More: New York Post

 

Five more bodies found on Italian shipwreck Costa Concordia

The death toll from the crippled Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia rose to 11 after five more bodies were pulled from the shipwreck on Tuesday. The lifeless bodies of four men and one woman, estimated to be in their 50s and 60s, were found below the water line at the ship’s front, rescue officials said.  They were all still wearing lifejackets. Twenty four others, a mix of tourists and crew members, are still believed trapped inside. The latest find comes after Italian marine divers armed with explosives blasted their way into the capsized wreck and began navigating its jumbled, murky interior. Conditions inside the half-sunk Costa Concordia were disastrous, and the frogmen were fighting their way through piles of floating debris in the ships labyrinth of cabins, restaurants, bars, casinos and theaters, rescue officials said. Read More: Daily News

 

Occupy Wall Street in ‘winter hibernation’ as donations dwindle and weather gets icy

Occupy Wall Street has gone into “winter hibernation” as donations have dwindled and the weather has gotten colder. “We’re not broke,” Pete Dutro, a member of the OWS finance committee, said Tuesday. “But donations have not been as plentiful as they were last fall.” Asked about reports that the group had just $170,000 left in its bank account, Dutro chuckled. “There are other accounts,” he said. “In fact I just deposited $100,000 we set aside for bail.” Dutro confirmed an account in the Wall Street Journal that OWS’s main government body voted over the weekend to freeze all new spending. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Italian captain ignored orders to return to ship: audio recordings

The captain of a grounded Italian cruise ship can be heard in a recording making excuses as a coast guard official repeatedly ordered him to “get on board now,” according to a transcript of the conversation released today. In a telephone conversation, the Italian coast guard official berates the captain, who is on a lifeboat and repeatedly says he doesn’t want to return to the ship even as passengers are still being evacuated. Read More & Hear Audio: New York Post

 

Beyoncé says Blue Ivy Carter ‘just like any other kid’ in first interview since giving birth

Beyoncé shares that “words can’t be found” to describe holding her daughter Blue Ivy Carter for the first time. In her first interview since giving birth, the “Countdown” songstress also reveals that she believes her daughter will be “just like any other kid” and that husband Jay-Z will indeed change his daughter’s diapers.  “Nothing can describe the feeling,” Beyoncé tells Star magazine of nurses first handing her Blue Ivy Carter to hold. “You have the instant connection once you know your child is growing inside you, but when you hold it for the first time, the words can’t be found.” Read More: New York Post

 

NYPD developing new device to detect guns carried by criminals

The NYPD is developing a new device that can detect whether a perp is carrying heat without frisking him, Commissioner Ray Kelly announced today. The large mechanism uses infrared rays to scan a “form of radiation emitted from the body” of someone who is concealing a gun on the streets of the Big Apple, Kelly said at the Police Foundation’s State of the NYPD breakfast. Since the infrared rays cannot pass through metal, the device provides officers with a digital outline of exactly where the firearm has been tucked away on the subject’s body, Kelly said. Read More: New York Post

Scam fam sent off to prison


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Scam fam sent off to prison

A seething Queens judge walloped three members of a crooked Richmond Hill family yesterday, sending them upstate to serve a combined 418 years for a brazen immigration and real-estate scam. The mom, dad and daughter — dubbed “The Ramsundar Gang” by Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder — paid a shocking price for defrauding 19 families of $1.8 million over six years. Holder said his harsh sentences are nothing compared to the street justice the Ramsundar family would have faced back in their native Trinidad. Read More: New York Post

Body of man found in garbage pile fire outside Furniture Zone store

A man’s charred body was discovered in a burning pile of garbage in Brooklyn Thursday morning, police said. Firefighters who were called to a blaze on Hendrickson Street in Marine Park shortly before 4 a.m. made the grisly discovery. The body, believed to be that of a white male, was lying on top of several boxes and had been burned beyond recognition, sources said. The fire erupted at the side of a Furniture Zone store in an area frequented by vagrants, according to a taxi stand manager who works in the area. Read More: Daily News

Queens Residents Brace For 7 Train Disruptions

It’s going to be a long winter for the several thousand western Queens residents who rely on the 7 train to get around town on the weekends come January 23. That’s when an 11-week service shutdown begins, which means no trains on Saturdays and Sundays until the spring. “This is not a neighborhood that has five different places where you can use instead. We’re very isolated there,” said Queens resident Moitri Savard. The MTA says the work is essential to make critical infrastructure improvements and upgrade tracks and switches. It also needs to clean the tracks of muck it says have accumulated over the years. Read More: NY1

Elevators in building where Manhattan ad exec died had numerous problems

Elevator problems were an epidemic at the building where a Manhattan ad executive died in a horrific accident last month, newly revealed Buildings Department records show. City inspectors wrote 11 violations against 13 elevators at 285 Madison Avenue in the immediate aftermath of the December 14 tragedy that killed Suzanne Hart, 41, the public records show. Investigators are still trying to determine the exact cause of the malfunction that killed the Brooklyn resident. The elevator that killed Hart so far has only been cited for a paperwork problem — it was among several elevators in the building that lacked a “certificate of compliance” with Buildings rules, the records show. Read More: New York Post

Pedestrian hit on FDR

A taxi passenger was struck by a minivan on the FDR last night after he impatiently hopped out of the cab in heavy traffic and darted across the roadway, police sources said. The unidentified victim was headed northbound near East 105th Street at around 11:30 p.m. when his cab hit congestion, the sources said. He left the vehicle and was struck in a southbound lane by a Toyota minivan. The victim was rushed to Metropolitan Hospital in unknown condition. Read More: New York Post

New arrests at Zuccotti

A gang of Occupy Wall Street protesters skulked back to the park yesterday, racking up three arrests. The 2:20 a.m. arrests came about seven hours after cops took down barricades that were erected when the group was evicted from the park on November 15. All three were charged with trespassing, and two were also hit with resisting arrest. Read More: New York Post

St. John’s loses to Marquette

For all the freshman mistakes and youthful inconsistency, St. John’s has played hard this season, rarely had its effort called into question. But last night it wasn’t so much questioned as flat-out criticized, the Red Storm folding in the second half of an 83-64 beating at the hands of No. 24 Marquette. The bowed heads and slumped shoulders and palpable frustration told the tale. The Red Storm (8-8, 2-3 Big East) have lost all six of their games against ranked teams, and with a chance at a breakthrough, what it got was a breakdown. It let Marquette shoot 67.7 percent to turn a second-half lead into a blowout loss. Read More: New York Post

Has Obama learned to lead?


| letters@queenscourier.com

The problem in being the head of any organization is that regardless of the malfeasance of anyone, you bear the blame. With leadership comes the ups and downs. Enduring the ridicule of disappointed customers is one of the prices of being a leader, even in the absence of control.

President Barack Obama justifiably deserves the rancor of many voters. Upon his swearing in, his control of the organs of government was a unique opportunity given few presidents. Rather than exercise the power he held in his hands, he chose to indicate a direction for others to lead. By doing so, he corrupted his power, diminishing the esteem his supporters had for him.

Many prior supporters of the president hold him accountable for the dire condition of employment and are vehemently enraged by the financial aid that has returned the big banks to stability and profitability. Though the Great Recession would have become another Great Depression if the banks were allowed to fail, the average person who is underwater in their home and fearful of losing their jobs asks, “What about me?”

Current indicators point to an upturn for the economy and to improved employment. Yet the anger and fear that created the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street is not soon to disappear. The open hatred of the Republicans for Obama will only become more evident as we near November 2012.

Regardless of the eventual Republican nominee, Obama’s chances of re-election remain good. America has paid for this president’s education that finally has him standing out front of issues and fighting for what he deems right for the American people. Hopefully, if Obama is re-elected, the mistakes of the past have taught him how to lead a nation that has always stood with a leader.

Edward Horn

Eliminate voter apathy


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Amazingly, consumers seem to be spending, and Americans appear to be shedding the anxieties that have stymied confidence. American optimism is a remarkable resource that defines the U.S. as exceptional among all the nations.

Yet, the problems and threats confronting the world are ongoing and real. The multitude of dangers that could impact the U.S. make for jittery investors and frighten people, including those whose decisions will affect future employment. It also provides fodder for political gamesmanship that disregards the common good seeking electoral advantages.

The foolish vindictiveness of the political wars gave birth to the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movement. At first glance, these groups would appear as far apart as possible. The common thread is the unfairness felt by their members. Americans have concluded that government and the ground rules that have traditionally governed people’s lives have been turned into political spoils used to secure future support.

Politicians have concluded that most people do not vote. The voters who count are those who do so during primaries. As the most committed voters, they usually represent hardcore advocates of extreme positions. As a consequence, only those seeking an elected office that panders to the extremes have any hope of winning their party’s primary.

Citizens are in the streets across the nation and at rallies decrying anyone who believes that government is a force for good. Probably those who are protesting will participate in the upcoming presidential election process. It would be a shame if potential voters conclude that the process is so alienating as to excuse them from voting. Only when voter apathy is defeated and Americans accept their obligation to participate can America begin healing from the polarizing cancerous political wars that currently are normal.

Edward Horn

The Lunch Break – 11/21/2011: Mother Of Hamilton Heights Terror Plot Suspect Speaks Out, Offers Apology


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Grahpic by Jay Lane

Mother Of Hamilton Heights Terror Plot Suspect Speaks Out, Offers Apology

The mother of an alleged al-Qaeda sympathizer and Manhattan resident who has been arraigned on charges of plotting to detonate bombs in the city is speaking out. Authorities say Jose Pimentel, 27, was targeting US troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and wanted to blow up post offices and police cars. Pimentel, a US citizen, is a native of the Dominican Republic who lived in Hamilton Heights. His mother, Carmen Sosa, says she’s shocked and saddened by the news. Read More: NY1

 

Police Barricades Protect Mayor Bloomberg From ‘24-Hour’ Drum Circle

The Occupy Wall Street protesters who had planned to throw a 24-hour drum circle party (a violation of several United Nations human rights treaties) outside NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Manhattan manse didn’t quite make it thanks to NYPD officers and barricades. Undaunted, they held their percussive party down the street.  Read More: Gawker

Financial Spat Could Delay Opening Of 9/11 Museum

The long-awaited opening of the National September 11th Museum could be delayed due to a simmering financial dispute between the Port Authority and museum officials. Sources tell NY1 museum construction at the World Trade Center Site has slowed because of hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns. Read More: NY1

 

Outdoor hockey games could come to West Side tennis stadium
Top NHL prospects may skate in outdoor games in Queens if plans go through to transform a tennis stadium that hosted the U.S. Open into an ice skating rink, the Daily News has learned. A hockey executive who runs the sport’s top minor league said he could envision games at West Side Stadium in Forest Hills. Read More: Daily News

 

Police Arrest Doctor Who Reportedly Filled Prescriptions for David Laffer

A pain management doctor who reportedly filled prescriptions for pharmacy killer David Laffer has been arrested. The charges against Stan Li, of Hamilton, N.J., were for a different case. Prosecutors allege he sold prescriptions to a man who later died of an overdose. Michael Cornetta, of Queens, died a year ago. Authorities alleged Li had provided him with dozens of prescriptions for controlled substances, including oxycodone. Read More: NBC News

 

A Thanksgiving to Remember: Four from Queens and Long Island Share $4,000,000 in Lottery Jackpot Prizes

The New York Lottery’s Yolanda Vega today awarded $4,000,000 in over-sized prize checks to four very thankful jackpot winners from Queens (Jackson Heights and Woodside) and Long Island (Port Jefferson Station and Shirley). The recently opened Times Square Casino at Resorts World Casino New York City in Queens served as the centerpiece for the Lottery’s special pre-Thanksgiving winner celebration. Read More: Read Media