Tag Archives: President Barack Obama

LIC veteran, photographer joins 70th D-Day anniversary in Normandy


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Troy Benson

BY ALAN CAPPER

Tony Vaccaro, a Long Island City resident, WWII veteran and photographer, traveled to Normandy Friday for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which cost over 3,000 Americans their lives.

Although there were a large number of American veterans at the June 6 commemorations, Vaccaro holds a special place because an exhibition of his war photography is the centerpiece in the The Mémorial de Caen museum in Caen, Normandy.


Photos by Tony Vaccaro

He spent time with President Barack Obama and President François Hollande of France and was honored for his contributions to the commemorations. After the D-Day ceremonies his exhibition will tour other French cities and Vaccaro is already the subject of a film made for French television.

“I’m honored to have been invited to this event and it provides me with the opportunity to remember my fellow American soldiers who did not return from these savage battles,” Vaccaro said.

After the D-Day landings Vaccaro took part in the major battles which took him and his brother soldiers from Northern France to the fall of Berlin, carrying his camera and taking what would become award-winning photographs.

 

 

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32 arrested during civil disobedience at LaGuardia Airport as workers call for better treatment


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Katelyn Di Salvo

BY KATELYN DI SALVO

Wendy Arellano, a single mother of two from Corona, holds three jobs to try to make it through the months. She makes $8 an hour working at LaGuardia Airport and has now stood up to make her voice heard.

Arellano, together with close to 1,000 other airport employees, local elected officials and community leaders gathered on Martin Luther King Day at LaGuardia Airport to demand better rights and benefits for airport workers and express the struggle of bringing “dignity, fairness and economic justice to the contracted employees.”

In December, workers presented the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, with petitions signed by more than 2,000 workers at LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark airports demanding Martin Luther King Day 2014 as a paid holiday. When they did not hear back from the Port Authority the workers and many people involved in the SEIU 32 BJ, a union representing most of the airport workers, they decided to organize Monday’s civil disobedience.

The rally opened with a prayer, and workers shared the stage to tell their stories and hardships.

“Personally I think it’s sad, I work three jobs to get through the months and even years, I don’t think what I make is enough for anyone to get by, and I hope this has gotten to the ears of the Port Authority,” Arellano said.

Juan Chapman who also works for LaGuardia Airport, shared his story as a security guard making $8 an hour and shouted many of his co-workers make less plus zero benefits.

“When people ask me how I live in New York on that salary I don’t have an answer, because there is no way someone can survive making $8 or less an hour,” he said.

Andrew Lloyd, a cabin cleaner at JFK International Airport shared his feelings of anger.

“I have a full time job, and I am on public assistance,” said Lloyd. “I find that to be ridiculous that I am working so hard, working overtime, and I still need public assistance, I have no health insurance, no sick days, no paid vacation days and I’m here to say I’m tired, we need respect.”

Many federal, state and local elected officials and clergy members also joined the rally standing side by side with workers.

“We have to make certain that there is a livable wage for people, no one should be one pay check away from homelessness,” said Congressmember Charles Rangel, who took the stage in support.

Rangel also said he is confident that Mayor Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and President Barack Obama will bring equality to these workers.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito also announced her support of the fight for equality among workers.

“The thousands of New York area airport workers who have no health insurance, paid sick leave or the right to organize deserve better for their tireless work,” Mark-Viverito said. “Millions of New Yorkers pass through our airports every year and it’s the hard work and dedication of the workers who help make that possible. It’s time to take care of the workers who help New York City maintain its position as an international gateway.”

After the speeches, Hector Figueroa, President of SEIU 32 BJ, led the march to the 94th Street and Ditmars Boulevard bridge leading to LaGuardia Airport.

“We are here to honor Dr. King, and what better way to celebrate his legacy than doing the work of justice for workers that he carried on until he gave his life,” said Figueroa.

As workers marched through the streets they chanted “MLK is our day” as police surrounded them and warned them to clear the streets. Workers and members of SEIU 32 BJ sat down on the street in the middle of the bridge to make their statement clear.

Police then started arresting various people who would not clear the streets, ultimately arresting 32 people including local councilmembers Jimmy Van Bramer, Daneek Miller and Ruben Wills.

Those arrested were taken to the 115th Precinct, given summonses and released later in the day.

The workers and members of SEIU 32 BJ said they will not stop until “they get respect and equality.”

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey did not respond to request for comment as of press time.

 

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President Obama signs bill to end government shutdown and raise debt limit


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy US Capitol Flickr

After 16 days of the government being shut down for the first time in close to two decades, business is back up and running.

On Wednesday night, Congress passed a bill that would help fund the government through January 15, 2014 and raise the debt limit until February 7. President Barack Obama signed the bill later that night and put an end to the partial government shutdown, which he said brought “completely unnecessary damage to our economy,” reopening federal agencies and bringing federal employees back to work.

According to reports, federal workers are expected to return to work on Thursday.

“We’ve got another self-inflicted crisis that set our economy back and for what?” said President Obama on Thursday after the federal government reopened. “There was no economic rationale for all of this. Over the past four years our economy has been growing, our businesses have been increasing and our deficits have been cut in half.”

The president said the more than two-week government shutdown encouraged enemies, bolded competitors and depressed friends that look to the United States to invest in or as a role model.

“The good news is we’ll bounce back from this, we always do,” said Obama. “America is the bedrock for the global economy for a reason. We are the indispensable nation that the rest of the world looks to as the safest and most reliable place to invest.”

Obama said the main job the government has to do now is regain the trust of the American people, who “are completely fed up with Washington.”

“Today I want our people, and our businesses and the rest of the world to know that the full faith in credit in the United States remains unquestioned,” said Obama. “All my friends in Congress -understand how business is done in this town has to change. Because we’ve all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust.”

In order to make progress, Obama called on Congress to pursue a balanced approach for a budget, approve and fix the immigration reform laws and also pass a farm bill, which American farmers and ranchers can depend on.

The shutdown, which began on October 1, resulted from a congressional stalemate over the federal budget.

The Republican-led House tried to defund and delay the Affordable Care Act, but the Democratic-controlled Senate refused to accept a bill that would derail “Obamacare.”

Ironically, the government shutdown did affect the Affordable Care Act. The Health Care Marketplace, which compiles and rates insurance offerings in each state, started accepting applications on October 1.

Any employee or office that provides national security and conducts activities essential to the national security or the safety of life and property remained open and working. This included the U.S. military, air traffic controllers, prison guards, emergency personnel and border patrol agents.

However, more than 800,000 federal workers were left without jobs temporarily. Also, intercollegiate athletic competitions at service academies – Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard – were suspended.

Due to the government shutdown all National Park facilities, including more than 400 national zoos, museums and parks, were closed. Twenty-two national parks in New York were closed including the Statue of Liberty, Gateway National Recreational Area and other facilities.

 

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Political Roundup: Schumer backs Vallone


| editorial@queenscourier.com

ROUNDUP

Senator Schumer endorses Paul Vallone 

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer endorsed City Council candidate Paul Vallone for the District 19 seat on Monday.

“I have known the Vallone family for decades and their respected name and commitment to public service have made the people of Queens proud to call them their own,” Schumer said.

Vallone was recently endorsed by former Congressmember Gary Ackerman.

He faces Republican challenger Dennis Saffran in the November general election.

 

HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE WEB

Lhota, de Blasio speak on stop-and-frisk ruling appeal

A group of elected officials spoke out Monday against the city’s legal challenge to the recent stop-and-frisk lawsuit ruling. Read more: CBS New York

Obama says he expects Congress will raise debt ceiling before deadline

President Barack Obama said he does not expect to have to take any unusual steps to prevent the United States from defaulting on its debt because he believes Congress will raise the debt ceiling before a looming October 17 deadline. Read more: Reuters

Cuomo freezes new state contracts involving the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty

The Cuomo administration is putting a hold on new state contracts involving the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, whose CEO was recently fired and charged with stealing funds, the Daily News has learned. Read more: New York Daily News

Joe Lhota plans to push more funding for the city buses and subways

Mayoral candidate Joe Lhota says he will boost city funding for the bus and subway network he ran as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Read more: New York Daily News

Supreme Court term begins amid government shutdown

The Supreme Court is opening for business in the midst of a partial government shutdown. Read more: AP

President Obama endorses Bill de Blasio


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos via Twitter/@deBlasioNYC

Updated, Monday, September 23, 2:46 p.m.

Bill de Blasio has received the presidential seal of approval.

President Barack Obama announced Monday he is officially endorsing de Blasio for mayor.

“Progressive change is the centerpiece of Bill de Blasio’s vision for New York City, and it’s why he will be a great mayor of America’s largest city. Whether it’s ensuring pre-kindergarten is available for every four-year old, expanding after-school programs for every middle school student who wants and needs them, making affordable housing available for more New York families and preserving community hospitals, Bill’s agenda for New York is marked by bold, courageous ideas that address the great challenges of our time,” Obama said in a statement.

De Blasio said he was “deeply honored” by the president’s support.

“I will work every day to advance our shared value of making sure everyone has a fair shot. On health care, tax fairness or the economy, the President is no stranger to addressing big problems with big ideas and big solutions. I will emulate the example he has set, and if elected I stand eager to work with him on an urban agenda that grows prosperity for all.”

The president joins a growing list of national and state Democratic leaders who have backed de Balsio for mayor, including former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S Senator Charles Schumer and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Today, de Balsio also received the endorsement of the Queens County Democratic Party, which had backed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the mayoral primary.

“New York City needs a leader who has a progressive vision for the future and only Bill de Blasio has the record and experience to deliver on it,” said Congressmember Joe Crowley, chair of the Queens County Democrats. “Bill is someone who will fight tirelessly for all New Yorkers, not just some. He understands the many challenges our diverse communities face and will bridge the inequalities in our city while strengthening the middle class.”

De Blasio said he was “honored to receive the endorsement of the Queens County Democrats, a group of city leaders that has consistently represented and upheld the rights of working and middle-class families across the borough.”

 

 

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Rockaway woman honored at White House as ‘Champion of Change’


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Sandy brought forth countless “Champions of Change,” one of whom the White House recognized in an event honoring Americans striving to improve their communities through technology and civic participation.

Jessica Klein, a Rockaway resident, civic hacker and designer, received the Champion of Change award for her work through the website www.rockawayhelp.org.

Klein co-founded the site with other locals in the wake of Sandy to empower the community to find solutions, provide emergency response information and much more geared towards helping Rockaway rebuild.

She was one of 14 recipients from all over the country honored for doing “extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world,” according to the White House website.

The Civic Hacking and Open Government section in which Klein was recognized was for those who have made a “tremendous, positive impact” by building high-tech tools to help health workers and disaster-response crews better serve communities as well as “piloting programs to involve traditionally disengaged communities.”

President Barack Obama said the champs for change have “a belief in working at the grassroots level and getting people engaged” and an understanding that “change happens from the bottom up.”

Additionally, Klein led workshops and “hackathons” for designers, engineers and Rockway residents to identify problems and discover ways to get the rebuilding show on the road.

Klein also created the Hackasaurus project, Web X-Ray Goggles and Thimble tools to help teens learn how to code through hacking. She has worked at learning institutions such as the Museum of Art and Design, the Rubin Museum of Art and the Institute of Play. She also founded OceanLab NYC, a project engaging parents, teachers and youth with their urban coastal environment.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. High of 77. Winds from the NW at 5 to 15 mph shifting to the SSW in the afternoon. Chance of rain 80%. Monday night: Partly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers. Low of 57. Winds from the North at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Dancing Under the Stars 

From 6 to 7:30 p.m., come for Dancing Under the Stars, twilight ballroom dancing lessons held in Forest Park. The lessons are free and are held every Monday until July 8, when the Nick Russo Latin Jazz Quintet will perform for participants.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Mayhem in the city: 25 people shot in 48 hours

Violence surged like the mercury Sunday, with three more fatalities from gun violence — and eight others wounded in shootings — bringing the total number of bullet-riddled in the city to 25 in less than 48 hours. Read more: New York Daily News

City Council offers free self-defense classes following hate crimes

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the council’s LGBT Caucus have announced they will host free self-defense classes following the recent spate of hate crimes directed at members of New York City’s gay community. Read more: NBC New York

Queens car wash workers walk off the job, say they’ve been harassed by employer after voting to unionize in April

Sixteen workers at a Queens car wash walked off the job Saturday to protest what they claim has been systematic harassment at the hands of their employers. Read more: New York Daily News

Former mayor Ed Koch remembered at St. Patrick’s mass

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch’s family and friends attended mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Sunday – a favorite activity of the late Jewish mayor. Read more: ABC New York

Bradley Manning trial begins 3 years after arrest

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning goes on trial Monday more than three years after he was arrested in Iraq and charged in the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history. Read more: AP

Obama to highlight mental health six months after Newtown shooting

President Barack Obama will highlight the issues faced by Americans with mental health problems at a White House conference on Monday, following his promise to start a “national conversation” on the subject after the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at a school last year. Read more: Reuters

Actress Jean Stapleton, known as Edith Bunker on ‘All in the Family,’ dies

Actress Jean Stapleton, best known for her role as Archie Bunker’s wife in the groundbreaking 1970s sitcom “All in the Family,” has died, her son said Saturday. Read more: CNN

 

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then thunderstorms and rain in the afternoon. High of 66. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Tuesday night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain. Low of 59. Winds from the SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70% with rainfall amounts near 0.4 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Design Zone Exhibit

Create a video game, practice your DJ skills, or build a roller coaster while exploring how each uses math and science. Find out how videogame developers, music producers, roller coaster designers and other creative problem solvers use math and science to meet their design challenges. Free with admission to the New York Hall of Science. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Woman’s body found in bag in car trunk in Queens

Police are investigating the death of an unidentified female in Queens. Read more: ABC New York 

Girl, 9, struck by van in Queens: FDNY

A girl was struck by a van in a Queens street Monday evening, fire officials said. Read more: NBC New York

Brooklyn Bridge reopens after it was shut down due to suspicious SUV

Police shut down the entire span of the Brooklyn Bridge for several hours Monday evening because of a suspicious abandoned SUV. Read more: Fox New York 

Rockaway Beach is back . . . but for now, you’d better bring your own food

The beach is open for business, but for now you’d better bring your own food. Read more: New York Daily News 

Officials say new Statue Of Liberty security plan is risky

New York officials say new security plans for the Statue of Liberty could leave visitors vulnerable to terrorism when the island reopens on July Fourth. Read more: AP/CBS New York

Obama, NJ’s Christie together again in mutual aid 

President Barack Obama and Gov. Chris Christie, the odd couple of politics, are finding common cause again. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 46. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Friday night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow and a chance of rain after midnight. Low of 34. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 40%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Emilio Solla + Bien Sur

At Flushing Town Hall renowned Argentine pianist Emilio Solla presents tunes from his celebrated album Bien Sur! and new compositions with his New York quintet, featuring Chris Cheek (soprano/tenor), Victor Prieto (accordion), Jorge Roeder (bass) and Ziv Ravitz, (drums and cajon). Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Rabbi busted after setting up Queens date for sex with a ’14-year-old girl’ online

A Brooklyn rabbi and travel guide exchanged sexually explicit online messages with an undercover cop he thought was a 14-year-old girl, then set up a date with her in Queens, prosecutors charged Thursday. Read more: New York Daily News

Bloomberg gives final State of the City address at Barclays Center

It may have been Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s last opportunity to deliver the State of the City address, but one thing was clear, it was no swan song. Read more: Queens Courier

Sen. Charles Schumer seeks aid for Sandy-damaged co-op and condos

New York’s senior senator is trying to ensure that storm-damaged co-ops and condos receive their fair share of the $60 billion Sandy relief package. Read more: New York Daily News

Local man recounts cruise ship horror as crippled vessel docks in Alabama

A cruise ship disabled for five nightmarish days in the Gulf finally docked with more than 4,000 people aboard late Thursday, passengers raucously cheering the end to an ocean odyssey they say was marked by overflowing toilets, food shortages and foul odors. Read more: CBS New York

Republicans block vote on Obama’s defense nominee, Hagel

Republican lawmakers succeeded on Thursday in delaying a Senate vote on confirming President Barack Obama’s choice of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, but another vote was planned for later in the month and Obama said he expected his nominee to be approved. Read more: Reuters

Russian meteor causes blast; hundreds injured

A meteor streaked through the skies above Russia’s Urals region Friday morning, before exploding with a flash and boom that shattered glass in buildings and left hundreds of people hurt. Read more: CNN

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High of 43. Breezy. Winds from the West at 15 to 20 mph. Tuesday night: Clear. Low of 30. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Jewish Love Songs: from the Shtetl to Second Avenue

The Capitol Heights Lyric Opera presents, Jewish Love Songs: from the Shtetl to Second Avenue, a tribute to the Jewish love song, from the traditional (“Tum Balalaika”) to the immigrant era (“My Yiddishe Mame”) to the golden years of Yiddish Theater (“Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn”). February 12 at the Forest Hills Library. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Willets Point property owners want city to pay legal fees after extensive eminent domain clash

The legal sparring over Willets Point isn’t quite over yet. Lawyers representing more than a dozen business owners of the gritty Iron Triangle are awaiting a judge’s decision on whether the city will be required to pay their legal expenses, which have surpassed more than $1 million. Read more: New York Daily News

With eye on mayor’s office, Quinn turns her attention to income inequality

Christine C. Quinn, confronting an emerging theme among her rivals in the Democratic mayoral primary, proposed an affordable housing plan and a middle-class tax break on Monday, in an acknowledgment that not all New Yorkers have prospered equally under the Bloomberg administration. Read more: New York Times

Lawsuit seeks to toss current employee protections for school bus drivers

Several school bus companies have filed a lawsuit against New York City Monday, seeking to have existing protections for drivers declared illegal as those drivers press on with a strike. Read more: CBS New York

Five city firehouses headed for landmark status

Five city firehouses, including a 100-year-old Rockaway building that escaped the fire and floods of Superstorm Sandy, could soon receive landmark designation. Read more: New York Daily News

Fake grenades in bag force Port Authority evacuation

The Port Authority bus terminal was evacuated and closed for under an hour Monday evening as police investigated a traveler’s report of a bag containing what appeared to be grenades, authorities said. Read more: NBC New York

Obama to stress jobs, guns in State of the Union

The American public will get a competing mix of rhetoric and imagery in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday, a speech that offers a heavy dose on the economy even as it plays out against a visual backdrop dominated by the current national debate over guns. Read more: ABC New York

China joins U.S., Japan in condemning North Korea nuclear test

North Korea conducted its third nuclear test on Tuesday in defiance of existing U.N. resolutions, drawing condemnation from around the world, including from its only major ally, China, which summoned the North Korean ambassador to protest. Read more: Reuters

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Mostly cloudy. High of 34F with a windchill as low as 16. Winds from the East at 5 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Overcast with a chance of snow, then snow after midnight. Low of 30 with a windchill as low as 23. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 80%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Peking Operas 

Celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with arias and episodes from two famous Peking Operas, Filial Visit of the Fourth Son and Henpecked King, presented by the New York Chinese Opera Society at the Flushing Libary . Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYC looking at 4-8 inches of snow, points north and east much more Friday

Forecasters say a nor’easter slated to hit Friday could dump large amounts of rain and snow across the Tri-State Area. Read more: CBS New York

No new date for NYC primaries after Albany lawmakers nix June, August proposals

Albany lawmakers are unable to agree on an earlier date for the New York City primaries, even after the city Board of Elections has sounded the alarm about the potential for chaos if the elections are held as scheduled in September. Read more: NBC New York

Man expected to plead guilty in alleged Federal Reserve bomb plot

A 21-year-old Bangladesh national is expected to appear in a federal court in Brooklyn Thursday to plead guilty to trying to blow up the Federal Reserve. Read more: NY1

NYC first to get realistic shooting simulation game for kids

A shooting simulation game that lets children pretend to have shootouts in an indoor fake village with a bank, offices and what appears to be a school has come to Queens and is raising concern among law enforcement authorities. Read more: NBC New York

Three unions back MLS soccer stadium project for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

A trio of unions is throwing their weight behind a contentious proposal to construct a soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the Daily News has learned. Read more: New York Daily News

Subway safety campaign features bloody MetroCards

Shocking MetroCards splattered with blood and the grim reaper are being handed out in an effort to get your attention. Read more: ABC New York

Brennan to face questions on interrogations, drones and leaks

President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the CIA, John Brennan, is expected to face tough questioning about leaks of sensitive information and U.S. spy activities from waterboarding to the use of drones when he appears at a Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday. Read more: Reuters

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Clear in the morning, then mostly cloudy. High of 34F with a windchill as low as 9. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 15 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 30%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of snow. Low of 25. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Making “Roots,” and Making TV History at the Museum of the Moving Image 

A discussion with four stars of the TV series “Roots,” Ben Vereen, Lou Gossett Jr., LeVar Burton and Leslie Uggams. “Roots,” which first aired in 1977, was one of the most influential and highest rated television events of all time; the final episode had more than 100 million viewers. Thirty-five years later, the series still resonates. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens merchants say frivolous city violations cost them big bucks

A couple of missing muffin labels could end up costing bagel shop owner Matt Davidov a whole lot of dough. Read more: New York Daily News

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch to be laid to rest

Family, friends and dignitaries will gather Monday to say goodbye to former New York City Mayor Ed Koch. Read more: CBS New York

Cuomo seeking home buyouts in flood zones

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is proposing to spend as much as $400 million to purchase homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, have them demolished and then preserve the flood-prone land permanently, as undeveloped coastline. Read more: New York Times

Livery cab company hogs parking spots near his Queens garage

An ex-con cab-company owner who is awaiting trial in a $10 million insurance scam has another sin to answer for: hogging all the parking spots outside a church near his Queens garage. Read more: New York Post

Power goes down for over half and hour in middle of Super Bowl

The Super Bowl was halted because of a power outage Sunday, plunging parts of the Superdome into darkness and leading to a 34-minute delay in the biggest game of the year. Read more: CBS New York

Reid predicts Congress will pass immigration legislation

The top Senate Democrat on Sunday predicted that Congress will pass and send to President Barack Obama legislation overhauling the U.S. immigration system, saying “things are looking really good.” Read more: Reuters

LI man arrested for pointing laser at plane heading to JFK


| editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

A Long Island man was arrested Wednesday for pointing a laser beam at two aircraft this summer, risking the lives of passengers and potentially people on the ground, said the FBI.

According to court records, on August 21, Angel Rivas, of Shirley, directed a laser pointer at a plane headed to John F. Kennedy International Airport and a Suffolk County Police Department helicopter that was sent to investigate the incident.

Rivas was released on $10,000 bond, according to media reports, after his arraignment in front of United States Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay in a U.S. State Courthouse in Central Islip on January 23.

“Pointing a laser at an aircraft is not a prank,” Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI said in a press release. “It is a federal crime with penalties befitting its seriousness.”

In February of 2012, President Barack Obama signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which explicitly prohibited pointing lasers at aircraft.

If convicted, Rivas faces a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a maximum fine of $250,000.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy with snow showers in the morning, then overcast with snow showers. High of 28 with a windchill as low as 9. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 20 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 20%. Tuesday night: Overcast in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 18F with a windchill as low as 5. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Rockwell Blocks

Bring your budding builder, artist or inventor to the New York Hall of Science and set them loose among these oversized foam blocks. Kids of all ages can use the foam blocks to build structures and sculptures, tear them down, and then start all over again. Free with NYSCI admission. January 22 – 24,  10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Still no heat in parts of Rockaways after Sandy

It’s a sound you wouldn’t expect to hear three months after Superstorm Sandy, generators providing power to buildings with electrical systems beyond repair. Read more: ABC New York

Five pedestrians hurt after car loses control in Queens

Five pedestrians were hurt when a speeding car lost control and crashed into several parked cars in Queens Monday, witnesses and police said. Read more: NBC New York

Snow, coldest air in 2 years for to tri-State area this week

The balmy temperatures and dry sidewalks in recent days may have led New Yorkers to forget that it is, in fact, winter. Read more: CBS New York

JFK flier ‘packing’ heat: TSA

A man heading for a vacation in Cancun was arrested at JFK Airport yesterday for allegedly carrying a loaded semiautomatic handgun. Read more: New York Post

Sandy-battered Rockaway business robbed as owners try to rebuild

A second wave of disaster — this one man-made — has struck a Sandy-battered business in the Rockaways. Read more: New York Daily News

Queens school damaged by Sandy finally reopens

On the road to recovery, a Catholic school in the Rockaways that sustained significant damage during Superstorm Sandy is finally reopening. Read more: ABC New York

Tuesday marks 40 years since historic Roe v. Wade ruling

By today’s politically polarized standards, the Supreme Court’s momentous Roe v. Wade ruling was a landslide. By a 7-2 vote on Jan. 22, 1973, the justices established a nationwide right to abortion. Read more: ABC New York

Confident Obama lays out battle plan as he launches second term

A confident President Barack Obama kicked off his second term on Monday with an impassioned call for a more inclusive America that rejects partisan rancor and embraces immigration reform, gay rights and the fight against climate change. Read more: Reuters

 

WATCH: Obama publicly takes oath for second term


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

Though President Obama was officially sworn into office yesterday, because Inauguration Day, January 20, fell on a Sunday, the public ceremony took place today.

Again, Chief Justice John Roberts administrated the oath, but Obama used different bibles than he did the day before.

Yesterday, he used a bible that belonged to first lady Michelle Obama’s family. Monday,  he used a bible from President Lincoln and another from Martin Luther King Jr., on the holiday that marks the civil rights leader’s birthday.

Vice President Joe Biden was also  publicly sworn in for his second term. The oath, administered by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, was preceded by a performance from the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

Other musical performances included the chorus from P.S. 22 in Staten Island, the Lee University Festival Choir, of Cleveland, Tennessee, James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyoncé, who sang the national anthem.

In addition to the president, others who spoke at the event were Senator Charles Schumer, who gave the call to order and welcoming remarks, poet Richard Blanco and Reverend Luis Leon of St. John’s Church in Washington D.C.

In case you missed President Obama’s inaugural address, here is a video of him giving the speech as well as the written version, as prepared for delivery:




Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

For more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.

They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.

 

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