Tag Archives: #OWS

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

$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.”

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

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

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/18/2011: Deadly Woodside House Fire


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Deadly Woodside House Fire

A fire that broke out inside a house in Woodside early Friday morning claimed the life of one woman and injured four other people. The FDNY says the fire was reported at 1:15 a.m. at a two and one-half story house on 61st Street between Woodside Avenue and 43rd Avenue. Read More: Fox News

Queens Thanksgiving Zombie Walk set  to invade streets of Astoria

When hundreds of zombies take to the streets of Astoria this weekend to feed on the flesh of human victims, it won’t be an apocalypse as much as a fantasy come to life. The first annual Queens Thanksgiving Zombie Walk on Saturday is just the latest crawl to capitalize on the growing craze for everything undead and supernatural. Read More: Daily News

Queens Singer Sues Management Company for Defamation

A Queens singer who has worked with the likes of Britney Spears has filed an $18 million lawsuit against her management company for allegedly trashing her as a racist trollop. In her Manhattan Supreme Court suit, Annet Artani says that instead of furthering her career, SWAP Management portrayed her as a lazy bimbo whose “constant offerings of sexual favors for a recording contract caused her to lose much credibility with some of the music community.” Read More: New York Post

St. John’s And Hofstra Renew Queens-Long Island Rivalry On Friday

St. John’s will take to the road for the first time this season on Friday as it travels just a half an hour east on the LIE to face in-state opponent, Hofstra. St. John’s and Hofstra have not played each other since 2005, but Friday’s contest is the 15th game between the two schools. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at the Mack Sports Complex. Read More: Red Storm Sports

News from the Occupy Movement – 200 Are Arrested as Protesters Clash With the Police

Thousands of protesters across the country flooded streets, squares, bridges and banks on Thursday, snarling traffic and often clashing with the police in a show of support for the Occupy Wall Street movement, two months to the day after the demonstration began. In Lower Manhattan, protesters tossed aside metal barricades to converge again on Zuccotti Park after failing in an attempt to shut down the New York Stock Exchange. Read More: New York Times

Flushing resident dies in Long Island Hit and Run

 

Authorities say a Long Island man is charged with hit-and-run following an accident that killed a bicyclist from Stony Brook University. The accident occurred around 9:45 p.m. Thursday in Stony Brook. Suffolk County police identified the victim as 21-year-old Seong Hoon Baek of Flushing. Read More: Wall Street Journal


[UPDATE] Occupy Wall Street News


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Poster Courtesy of OccupyWallSt.org

[Update] NYC, Occupy Wall Street wait for judge’s ruling  after Zuccotti Park evictions

A judge hand-picked by protest lawyers signed an early-morning emergency order saying the demonstrators can come back with their stuff. But the city refused to reopen the park before a Tuesday afternoon hearing in front of a different judge. A decision was expected by 3 p.m. Some Occupy Wall Street protesters had already moved to another public space, owned by Trinity Church, at Canal St. and Sixth Ave., where they used bolt cutters to open a fenced-in area. Read More: Daily News

 

Police Clear Zuccotti Park of Protesters

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Tuesday defended his decision to clear the park in Lower Manhattan that was the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, saying “health and safety conditions became intolerable” in the park where the protesters had camped out for nearly two months. Read More: New York Times

 

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez Arrested, Injured at Occupy Wall Street Raid

New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez has been arrested at the NYPD raid on Occupy Wall Street. David Segal, a spokesperson for Councilman Rodriguez, told the Observer he confirmed the Councilman’s arrest through a staffer at City Hall. Read More:  PolitickerNY

 

How to Protest Safely and Legally

Whether or not you agree with the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, hitting the streets to make your voice heard is a fundamental right in the United States, and it’s part of our country’s lifeblood. Whether you’re headed out in support or dissent, you should know what you’re getting into before you go. Even if you think the event is purely peaceful, someone else, another protest group, or the police may all have different ideas. Here are some tips to prepare before you go out to have your voice heard. Read More: Lifehacker

Occupy Wall Street Live Feed – This is one of the live video feeds that has managed to stay up amidst the chaos of the eviction of Zuccotti Park : http://www.ustream.tv/theother99

Zuccotti Park Eviction: Court Order Against City Says Protesters Can Return With Tents In Tow

The National Lawyers Guild says it has obtained a court order that allows Occupy Wall St. protesters to return with tents to a New York City park. The guild says the injunction prevents the city from enforcing park rules on Occupy Wall Street protesters. Read More: Huffington Post

Occupy Wall Street outlines NYC plans for 2-month anniversary

Occupy Wall Street protesters and their supporters have outlined plans for the movement’s two-month anniversary on Thursday. They distributed a flier with the plans in Foley Square Tuesday morning. The protesters were evacuated overnight by the city from their Zuccotti Park encampment. On Thursday, protesters planned to confront Wall Street at 7 a.m. “with the stories of people on the front lines of economic injustice.” Read More: Wall Street Journal

Occupy Wall Street Press Release: A Call to OccupyRead Here

Video of last night’s police raid on Zucotti Park: Twitvid