Tag Archives: rockaway

Rockaway residents take to City Hall, demand say in Sandy rebuilding


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

By day 143, Rockaway residents had had enough.

Scores traveled to the steps of City Hall on Saturday, March 23 to call on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city to help residents rebuild after Sandy.

Shoulder to shoulder with elected officials and candidates for mayor and borough president, resident after resident told personal stories of their prolonged recovery and demanded a say in how the peninsula is rebuilt.

“Now, as community residents of the Rockaway peninsula and Broad Channel, we demand to always have our voices heard on what goes on with all future projects, and most importantly, to be part of the process when implementing them to protect our community from another Sandy, or any type of possible future disasters,” said Danny Ruscillo, president of the 100th Precinct Community Council. Ruscillo held a sign that became one of the chants during the hour-long press conference: “United we stand. Divided we drown.”

Senator Charles Schumer recently secured money to rebuild New York beaches, and take measures to prevent flooding.

 

The Army Corps of Engineers, which has been conducting surveys on protecting the beach-front community for more than a decade, recently said the study would take at least another year-and-a-half.

But residents like Margaret Wagner think that’s too long. Wagner said she took the trip to lower Manhattan while her husband was at home putting up sheetrock in their Broad Channel home.

“We want the studies to end tomorrow,” said Wagner. “Give us a plan today. Not a year-and-a-half from now.”
John Cori and Eddie Pastore, who run Friends of Rockaway Beach and organized the City Hall rally, have long campaigned to build better beach protection.

This was not the first time Rockaway residents have criticized Bloomberg and his administration for what they believed was a delayed reaction to the storm. On a visit to Breezy Point in November, Bloomberg was lambasted by a resident; spectators at the St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 2 booed him when he marched.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich and State Senator Joseph Addabbo both said it was crucial that those who live there have the final say in how the communities are rebuilt.

“These residents have to live with what’s left behind,” Addabbo said. “Let’s get to work for these people.”

“We heard about the federal money that Senator Schumer was able to secure and we’re very grateful for that,” Ulrich said. “But the community needs to be kept in the loop as to how that money is going to be spent.”

 

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Councilmember Eric Ulrich

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Mostly cloudy. High of 43. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 15 to 20 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 32. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Felice Lesser Dance Theater

On Friday, March 22, at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, the Felice Lesser Dance Theater presents a performance of new and old works, original dances to music by contemporary composers, and excerpts from several living movies, combining live dance with theater, video, animation and music. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Canadian cops help bust Queens teen who allegedly made Facebook threat against Richmond Hill High School dean

An angry 14-year-old Queens boy triggered an international police probe when Canadian cops spotted his Facebook threat to shoot his school’s dean — and then alerted the NYPD. Read more: New York Daily News

Pit Bulls attack people in Queens

Police are investigating a dog attack that left a couple of people injured in the St. Albans section of Queens. Read more: ABC New York

Queens immigrant awarded $59G after brutal beating by cops while walking dog

A Queens woman was awarded $59,000 in damages by a federal jury that found NYPD cops used excessive force in arresting her in November 2010 for not cleaning up after her dog in Rockaway. Read more: New York Daily News

Taxi credit-card system crashes

Cash-strapped taxi passengers were out of luck yesterday after the system that wirelessly links to credit-card fare machines in thousand of cabs went down for hours. Read more: New York Post

Met Museum to open 7 days a week

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be open seven days a week beginning July 1, the institution’s director and chief executive Thomas Campbell announced on Thursday. Read more: Crains New York

Commuter Cycling Stays Flat in ’12

After years of growth in bike ridership, commuter cycling in New York remained flat in 2012 during the typical riding season, according to counts conducted by the city at six commuter locations last year. Read more: New York Times

Alleged al-Qaida operative due in New York City court

An alleged al-Qaida operative fought with the terror group in Afghanistan and later plotted to bomb American diplomatic facilities in Africa, according to federal prosecutors. Read more: ABC New York/AP

 

 

High-end designer Marchesa creates Sandy Relief T-shirt


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jeff Simmons

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Doctors of the World-USA teamed up with designer company Marchesa to launch a Hurricane Sandy Relief T-Shirt.

Native New Yorker Georgina Chapman created the specifically designed “I LOVE NEW YORK” shirt to help benefit Doctors of the World-USA’s Hurricane Sandy Relief Campaign, which helps to provide health care to Rockaway residents affected by the storm.

“As a New Yorker who has witnessed the incredible damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, this was an amazing opportunity for Marchesa to raise funds and awareness of Doctors of the World’s Hurricane Sandy Relief Campaign in the Rockaways,” Chapman said. “Their response to Hurricane Sandy has been remarkable and it was wonderful to create a specially designed I LOVE NEW YORK T-Shirt to benefit Doctors of the World’s Hurricane Sandy Relief Campaign.”

The Empire State Development Corporation formally gave permission to Marchesa and Doctors of the World-USA to use the “I LOVE NEW YORK” design.

“Giving Doctors of the World-USA and Marchesa rights to the beloved I LOVE NEW YORK logo was an easy and obvious ‘yes,’” said Khorshid Rahmaninejad, director of licensing  and public relations for I LOVE NEW YORK. “We are proud to support their efforts to rebuild lives and communities that were so severely impacted by Sandy.”

The shirt is available for pre-order at doctorsoftheworld.org/sandyshirt.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Overcast with rain showers. High of 46. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Thursday night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 36. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Comedy Show Featuring Lisa Corrao

Middle-school-teacher-turned-comedian Lisa Corrao, who has recently participated in the Women in Comedy Festival, the Boston Comedy Festival, the She-Devil Comedy Competition and Comedy Central’s South Beach Comedy Festival, will headline a show at the Laughing Devil Comedy Club with NYC comics Gabe Pacheco, Lucas Connolly, Miguel Dalmau, Scott Sharp and special guest Gene Harding. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

MLS commissioner Don Garber sets time limit for deal to build soccer stadium in Queens, says league will explore other cities if necessary

Don Garber, commissioner of MLS, warned the city on Wednesday that his soccer league will look elsewhere to expand if it can’t cut a deal with officials for a new Corona Park stadium in a relatively short period. Read more: New York Daily News

Hurricane Sandy aid registration deadline extended

New Yorkers who were affected by Superstorm Sandy now have another 30 days to sign up to get help from FEMA. Read more: ABC New York

Rockaway organizations are calling for farmers markets following Superstorm Sandy

When Superstorm Sandy tore through Rockaway, shuttering grocery stores for months, many locals were left without many food options. Read more: New York Daily News

Kindergartener walks out of school, no one notices

Little Angelo says that no one said anything to him as he walked out of school. It’s very hard to say exactly how Angelo Geremia left his school all by himself Wednesday, but what we do know is that some time after 10:30 a.m. at P.S. 229, the 5-year-old kindergartener pushed open the big doors and walked outside. Read more: ABC New York

Benedict says goodbye to cardinals, promises obedience to successor 

Pope Benedict XVI promised his “unconditional reverence and obedience” to his successor in his final words to his cardinals Thursday, a poignant farewell before he becomes the first pope in 600 years to resign. Read more: CBS New York

U.S. Army says it faces “dire” financial situation as cuts loom

A senior military budget officer said on Wednesday that converging financial pressures could leave the U.S. Army with just $2 billion to spend on operations, maintenance and training this year after it has funded the war in Afghanistan and other security needs. Read more: Reuters

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then overcast with rain showers. High of 46. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Tuesday night: Overcast with a chance of snow and rain showers in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 30F with a windchill as low as 23. Breezy. Winds from the West at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 80%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Open-Mic Storytelling Show at The Creek & the Cave

Every Tuesday at The Creek & the Cave in Long Island City, Jake Hart (The Moth, Nights of Our Lives, Local Stories) hosts an open-mic storytelling show from 7-9 p.m. No themes, no judges, and you get 8 minutes to tell whatever true story you want. Plus, special guest storytellers! Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens NYPD sergeant arrested for allegedly having child porn on computer

A 15-year veteran of the NYPD from Queens has been arrested for allegedly having child pornography on his computer, according to police and published reports. Read more: Queens Courier

NFL lineman Da’Quan Bowers flagged for gun at LaGuardia

A muscle-bound NFL lineman was busted at La Guardia Airport yesterday for packing a powerful .40-caliber handgun in a carry-on bag as he tried to board a flight, authorities said. Read more: New York Post

Walcott: City school buses ready to roll

City education officials say they are ready for regular school bus service to resume Wednesday. Read more: NY1

Subway heroes save stranger who fell onto tracks

Three men jumped onto the subway tracks to save a man who fell off a Manhattan platform early Sunday, barely avoiding the next train rolling into the station. Read more: NBC New York

Four-legged victims of Superstorm Sandy still looking for homes

Cinnamon, a friendly, one-eyed dog plucked off the streets of Rockaway after Superstorm Sandy, is trying to settle into her new digs in upstate New York. Read more: New York Daily News

Oscar Pistorius charged with premeditated murder

Olympian Oscar Pistorius fired into the door of a small bathroom where his girlfriend was cowering after a shouting match on Valentine’s Day, hitting her three times, a South African prosecutor said Tuesday as he charged the sports icon with premeditated murder. Read more: ABC New York

Certain television fare can help ease aggression in young children, study finds

Experts have long known that children imitate many of the deeds — good and bad — that they see on television. But it has rarely been shown that changing a young child’s viewing habits at home can lead to improved behavior. Read more: New York Times

 

Queens chocolate company gets $250K grant for Sandy recovery


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence Cullen

Normally, the staff of Madelaine Chocolate makes Valentine’s Day sweet for countless couples.

But this year, because of Sandy, their holiday was sweetened thanks to National Grid.

The gas company presented owners at Madelaine with a check for $250,000 on Tuesday, February 12 to help the confectioners continue their recovery. The money will go toward getting at least one leg of the Madelaine factory producing chocolate again, said co-owner Jorge Farber, and the staff back to work for Halloween candy.

“It’s a beginning for a long, long road that is ahead of us,” Farber said. “This grant from National Grid is the first substantial outside grant and resources we have received. It’s a very concrete first step because it helps us rebuild one of our 14 molding lines that produce chocolate.”

This is the first of several grants National Grid will give to companies in its floodzone that suffered severe damage from the storm. National Grid president Ken Daly said the power company has a $30 million fund, with roughly 100 companies applied. The amount of grant money will vary based on the company, he added.

Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said the grant would be a boost to Madelaine and the workers who live nearby.

“It’s going to help re-employ some of the workers who have been out of work since October, and probably will be out of work through the summer,” Friedman said. “And it’s going to help the community of Rockaway because most of their workers come from the local area.”

Madelaine, the largest Queens small business with about 450 employees, was the first on National Grid’s list, Daly said, because of the long working relationship between the two. The executives at National Grid are committed to getting Madelaine back and making candy as soon as possible.

“[For] many, many years, they’ve been supporting us as a company,” Daly said. “Today, it’s really our opportunity to return that support and help them get back up and running.”

Farber said the factory had already lost two seasons — Valentine’s Day and Easter — of candy production because of the damage from the storm. The combined cost of the damage and cost of doing business is still unestimated, he said.

The first of the eight kitchens, however, has been almost restored. That kitchen had a staff of 42 and produced about 46,000 of 100,000 pounds of chocolate per day.

The grant from National Grid was the first step in getting the staff back to work, as the company awaits potential loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. As more loans and donations come in, the staff can begin making chocolate goodies for distribution.

“We cannot lose another season,” Farber said. “We need to be back by Halloween.”

 

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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

Wednesday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then rain showers in the afternoon. Fog early. High of 54. Breezy. Winds from the South at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Wednesday night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. Fog overnight. Low of 45. Windy. Winds from the SSW at 20 to 35 mph with gusts to 55 mph. Chance of rain 100% with rainfall amounts near 1.1 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Women’s Business Center Power Networking Event

Every entrepreneur will need a strong support team to be successful. At the Women’s Business Center Power Networking Event meet professional women with experience in supporting thriving entrepreneurs and the key roles they play in every stage of business. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Obama signs $50.5B Sandy aid bill

Exactly three months to day that the storm hit the tri-state area, President Obama signed a $50.5 billion Sandy aid bill. Read more: Queens Courier

Death of autistic man at Queens Village mental health facility last summer ruled a homicide

The death of an autistic man last summer after he was restrained by guards at a Queens Village mental health facility has been ruled a homicide by the city Medical Examiner. Read more: New York Daily News

Water main break leaves 7 basements flooded in Queens

A water main break left seven basements flooded in eastern Queens Tuesday evening. Read more: CBS New York

Queens couple fights Russian ban on American adoptions

A Queens couple, fighting the Russian government to adopt a 1-year-old boy, has joined the chorus of prospective parents and elected officials calling for the repeal of Russia’s ban on American adoptions. Read more: NBC New York

Departure of one of Rockaway’s NYPD top brass rankles civic leaders

Local activists are irate over the exit of a top law enforcement official in the Rockaways who helped shepherd the community through the chaos caused by Superstorm Sandy. Read more: New York Daily News

Gun rights advocates fight against new law signed by Cuomo

A gun advocacy group took the first step Tuesday to legally halting the newly-signed gun laws for New York state. Read more: CBS New York

Amid questions, Senate begins hearings on gun control

Six weeks after the massacre of 26 people at a Connecticut school ignited new calls to fight gun-related violence, the issue reaches the U.S. Congress on Wednesday amid questions about whether lawmakers will be able to agree on significant legislation. Read more: Reuters

 

Film focuses on Rockaway recovery


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Dan Brown

In the months following Sandy, the Rockaway peninsula has yet to completely bounce back. A new documentary explains why, and where to go from here.

“We need to make people understand what works in Rockaway,” said John Cori, who is featured in the upcoming film, “John Cori Warned You.”

Cori stars with his partner and friend, Eddie Pastore, in a movie filmed by Rockaway resident Dan Brown.
Since Sandy tore through the peninsula, the three have been traveling around the borough, speaking with different people and also doing their own research as to what could help protect the beachfront town from future storms.

“[The documentary] raises two questions – how much damage could have been avoided, and how vulnerable are we to future storms,” explained Brown, who is co-producing and co-directing the movie with his wife, Patricia.

The film is shown through the viewpoint of Cori and Pastore, who are also both members of the Friends of Rockaway, and speak about the necessity of more rock jetties in the area. They claim there is a clear distinction in the amount of damage between the areas protected by rock jetties and the sections that are not.

“I feel that number one, our safety is jeopardized. Number two, I believe that the Rockaway people have the power to navigate which way Rockaway goes,” said Pastore.

Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder and City Councilmember Eric Ulrich are some of the elected officials that the men have interviewed, as well as several reporters and even a meteorologist who explained the “science of the storm.” Through these interviews, the crew hopes the audience will see how they themselves can work with the media and local officials to achieve a bigger goal — in this case, support from Congress and funds to protect their home.

“Sandy was our biggest advocate,” said Pastore. “There’s something broken here, and I really felt that we had to get up and say something.”

“John Cori Warned You” is set to come out in March. Free viewings will be organized throughout the city.

Dan Brown, pictured here in his home office, is directing and producing an upcoming documentary about the Rockaways post-Sandy. (THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes)

 

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Marshall gives final State of the Borough address


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

In the final State of the Borough address of her administration, Borough President Helen Marshall focused on the continued recovery of south Queens nearly three months after Sandy — honoring one first responder in particular for his valiant efforts during the storm.

“Let’s reflect together now,” she said on Tuesday, January 22, “on the devastation Sandy caused. The relief, from across the street and across the country, and the rebuilding, now underway, inspired by hope and the promise of tomorrow.”

Marshall honored the memory of Dylan Smith — the Belle Harbor surfer who tragically died in Puerto Rico last month — for his heroic efforts to help neighbors during the storm. With Smith’s parents in attendance, Marshall announced her office would give a $10,000 grant to the Swim Strong Foundation, which teaches a healthy lifestyle through swimming, in Smith’s memory.

Swim Strong founder Shawn Slevin said the grant in Smith’s name would continue to help the program, which has taught more than 2,000 people water safety and granted nearly 700 scholarships.

“This will mean so much for our scholarship funds,” Slevin said. “The borough president and her staff have always been very supportive of us.”

Michael McDonald, who helped rescue Belle Harbor residents alongside Smith, recalled the late surfer was modest to the attention he received after the storm. Before the audience at Queens College’s Colden Theater, McDonald gave a heartfelt recollection of the late October night and referred to Smith as “a guardian angel in a wetsuit.”

“The idea that his name will be mentioned in what he loved to do, which was not only swim and surf, but look out for the safety of others [is wonderful],” he said.

Marshall, covering several other items on her 2013 agenda, called for continued legislation at the state and federal level to reduce gun violence. Marshall applauded the anti-gun work of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and announced she plans to sponsor a gun buy back program sometime this spring.

“While Thanksgiving was muted by Sandy and the holiday season was saddened by the horrific violence in Newtown, let’s all agree that 2013 must be a year of hope,” Marshall said. “Our hope for getting guns off the street is gaining momentum. Here in our city, we have a long-standing and tireless leader in this effort: Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Perhaps that’s part of the reason we have seen the lowest number of murders in the past 40 years.”

 

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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

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then clear. High of 34F with a windchill as low as 12. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 32F with a windchill as low as 25. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Disco Inferno

The disco phenomenon affected the life styles, fashion trends and musical tastes of a generation. Resorts World Casino will boogie down memory lane with Disco Inferno, featuring a live concert by The Trammps, the amazing France Joli, Carol Douglas, Disco Unlimited and DJ NIcky G. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

7-Year-old fatally struck crossing Queens street

Police say a 7-year-old boy crossing a street in Queens was struck and killed by an SUV. Read more: NBC New York

Rockaway group miffed over being denied money from the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief

For a Rockaway-based volunteer group, the much-ballyhooed 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief hasn’t been music to the ears. Read more: New York Daily News

Additions to be made to gun laws for law enforcement

A troubling oversight has been found within New York State’s sweeping new gun laws. Read more: ABC New York

Thompson says he wouldn’t raise taxes if elected mayor

Differentiating himself from his likely Democratic rivals in the mayoral race, William C. Thompson Jr. vowed on Thursday that he would not raise taxes if elected. Read more: New York Times

Commission on utility performance during Sandy holds second hearing

When the lights went out in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy, residents said it was Long Island Power Authority that left them in the dark. Read more: NY1

Knicks put on a jolly good show in London

Weekday afternoon basketball is usually limited to the Summer Olympics, which made for a familiar feeling when the Knicks and Pistons tipped off in their transatlantic road trip on Thursday. Read more: NBC New York

Gun restrictions have widespread public support: poll

About three-quarters of Americans surveyed support proposals to ban the sale of automatic weapons, ban high-capacity ammunition clips and expand background checks on all gun buyers, according to an online Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday. Read more: Reuters

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Overcast. High of 43. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 20%. Thursday Night: Overcast with a chance of snow and a chance of rain. Low of 27 with a windchill as low as 19. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: After the Fall

Veteran production company Variations Theatre Group has found a new home at the former US Chain Factory site in Long Island City, which once housed a photo development facility and a plant for industrial syringes. Variations launches with After the Fall, one of Arthur Miller’s most autobiographical works, intimately exploring his failed marriage to Marilyn Monroe and her subsequent suicide. January 17 to February 2, 7 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Astoria lawmaker to propose bill to make it harder for bikini bars and strip clubs to get liquor licenses

A seedy Astoria bikini bar called Queen of Hearts has failed to capture the hearts of local leaders fed up with the number of adult establishments seeking to open in the area. Read more: New York Daily News

New York City school bus driver strike enters 2nd day

A standoff between striking school bus drivers and aides looking for job protections and a city administration that says they just can’t have it has the potential to go on for some time, observers said, as parents scrambled for a second day to figure out alternatives for tens of thousands of students who need to get to school. Read more: ABC New York

Deadline imminent for city teacher evaluation system

Today is the deadline for the city to figure out how to rate its school teachers, but as of last night there is still no deal in place between the city Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers. Read more: NY1

Rockway parish that helped victims of Sandy now needs help itself

When Superstorm Sandy slammed the Rockaways, St. Francis de Sales in Belle Harbor served as a haven for its flood and fire-ravaged community. Read more: New York Daily News

Feds round up 30 in massive metro-area mob sweep

Thirty-two people were charged today in connection with a long-running federal investigation into continued Mafia control of the private garbage-hauling industry. Read more: New York Post

NRA chief says group accepts background checks

The head of the National Rifle Association says the organization has no problem with tighter background checks of gun purchasers. Read more: AP

Study: 20K ER visits linked to energy drinks in 2011

A new government study is calling popular energy drinks “a rising public health problem” that is sending more and more people to the emergency rooms. Read more: ABC News

 

 

Moreland Commission recommends LIPA changes based on Sandy response


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Star of Queens: Dolores Orr


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

DOLORES ORR 01-03

Star of Queens: Dolores Orr, Community Board 14 Chair 

INVOLVEMENT: As chair of Community Board 14, Dolores Orr oversees happenings all over the Rockaway peninsula. She works with the community board staff and city agencies to address quality of life issues, such as zoning problems, economic development and, most recently, post-Sandy clean up. Orr is also the president of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association.

PERSONAL: Born and raised in Rockaway, Orr is the third generation of “civil servants” throughout the peninsula; her father grew up just blocks from where she grew up. Both of her grandparents were members of the NYPD, and her grandmother was one of the first Gold Shield detectives in the 1930s. One of seven children, her family still lives in the Rockaways, just blocks from her home on Shore Front Parkway.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Orr’s favorite memory is also what she considers to be her greatest accomplishment – the Arverne By The Sea project. Advertised as “New York City’s hottest new oceanfront community,” Orr and the community board saw the project through from the space being a vacant lot, to now being a completely occupied, luxurious living facility.

INSPIRATION: Orr believes that her inspiration comes from a combination of being raised by “civil servants” and also believing in community service as part of your everyday life. “I just love where I live, and I want it to be better,” she said.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Because of its geographic isolation, an increase in public transportation is what Orr said is the “number one need.” “We need [more transportation] for both growth and for people in the borough and in the city to come out and enjoy Rockaway,” she said. She also said that there is a need for better schools – now, many students travel off of the peninsula for high school, and Orr knows that a greater focus on education could result in children staying local for school. Lately, a challenge for Orr has been dealing with the “many more layers of government” after the storm to ensure that their shoreline is restored better than before, and also jumping over the “many road blocks” to help residents and small businesses get back on their feet.

 

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