Tag Archives: rockaway

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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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 19F. Breezy. Winds from the West at 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Friday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 28F with a windchill as low as 19. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 15 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: First Look Film Series

This annual showcase at the Museum of the Moving Image presents groundbreaking international cinema. Many of this year’s films take the form of journeys—geographical, emotional and artistic—with 26 works from a dozen countries. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Sandy-battered Rockaway businesses struggle to pay rent to absentee landlord

A pair of Rockaway stores that survived floods, tens of thousand dollars in losses and the exodus of customers due to Sandy now face a new challenge — battling an absentee landlord who wants them to pay up or move out. Read more: New York Daily News

House sets Friday vote for Sandy aid after criticism

The House is headed for a vote on aid for Superstorm Sandy victims after House Speaker John Boehner mollified Republicans from New York and New Jersey upset with his decision to cancel action on the bill. Read more: ABC New York

Meng, Jeffries among 84 new Congress members sworn in

New York City has two new members of Congress. Hakeem Jeffries, representing the Eighth District in Brooklyn and Queens, which includes Bedford-Stuyvesant, Coney Island and Howard Beach, and Grace Meng, of the Sixth District in Queens, which stretches from Ridgewood to Bayside, were among the 84 new members of Congress sworn in Thursday. Read more: NY1

Special election to determine replacement for Sanders’ Council Seat

Voters will be asked to head to the polls and choose a candidate in a special election to replace outgoing City Councilman James Sanders Jr. Read more: NY1

Attempted murder at Long Island mall

Police on Long Island say a man tried to kill another man in a mall parking lot. Read more: Fox New York

House chooses Boehner as speaker again despite dissent

Despite a rocky few weeks during the “fiscal cliff” fight, John Boehner won re-election as speaker of the House of Representatives on Thursday and will again lead Republicans as they take on the White House over federal spending. Read more: Reuters 

 

 

Sandy first responders honored as Queens Courier Persons of the Year


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Persons of the Year

With 2012  behind us, The Queens Courier is paying tribute to the first responders — those men and women who put their lives on the line every day, and who braved Sandy’s wrath to save, and help rebuild, lives.

They have earned our respect and admiration, and a debt of gratitude. Here is are some of their stories…

Dylan Smith

Dylan Smith saved the lives of six people during Sandy using just his surfboard, but tragically lost his own life just months later while on the water. On the night of Monday, October 29, Smith, 23, heroically paddled through the floodwaters into his neighbors’ homes in Belle Harbor, and, using a homemade rope bridge along with his surfboard, moved people to safety. Read more

Point Breeze Volunteer Fire Department

By now, everyone knows the story. More than 120 houses burned to the ground in Breezy Point the night Sandy struck. It was one of the most destructive residential fires in New York City history. Houses were lost, but lives were saved. Read more

Roxbury Volunteer Fire Department

It began as a glow to the west, a speck of twinkling amber light in the darkness. From the loft above the Roxbury Volunteer Fire Department’s station, the crew watched as the flicker became a blaze, carrying a once charming beachfront neighborhood into the night sky in embers and smoke. “Oh my God,” they said. “Breezy’s burning.” Read more

West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department

The West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department station house is on a strip of land that isn’t far from the water. So when the storm surge from Sandy started to rise up in the hamlet on Jamaica Bay, it brought seven feet of water into the firehouse where eight volunteers — five firefighters and three EMTs — were on duty. Read more

Queens Courier Persons of the Year honoree: Dylan Smith


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy The New York Daily News

With 2012 behind us, The Queens Courier is paying tribute to the first responders — those men and women who put their lives on the line every day, and who braved Sandy’s wrath to save, and help rebuild, lives.

They have earned our respect and admiration, and a debt of gratitude. Here is one of their stories…

Dylan Smith saved the lives of six people during Sandy using just his surfboard, but tragically lost his own life just months later while on the water.

On the night of Monday, October 29, Smith, 23, heroically paddled through the floodwaters into his neighbors’ homes in Belle Harbor, and, using a homemade rope bridge along with his surfboard, moved people to safety. However, Smith was found floating near his surfboard in the waters of Puerto Rico on Sunday, December 23, according to police. A local surfer rushed him to shore, but he could not be resuscitated.

“It’s such a sad loss,” said Jimmy Dowd. “You’ve got this great kid that does the right thing for everyone, going through his life, and he just gets taken like that.”

“He was just that all-around, neighborhood American boy,” he added. “He was a real zest-for-life kind of kid.”

Dowd, who owns a clothing company in the Rockaways, recalled that Smith really enjoyed drawing and sketching, saying he was “good with the pencil.” Smith had submitted some of his images to Dowd, and the two were talking about putting them onto T-shirts to sell.

During the summers, Smith was a lifeguard in Rockaway, and spent as much time as he could on the beach. He was a very “solid” part of the neighborhood, according to Dowd, and was always very outgoing and willing to lend a helping hand.

“He’d go out of his way for people,” said Dowd. “He was a really big-hearted, good kid.”

When summers subsided and winters settled in, Smith would fly south to spend time in Rincon, Puerto Rico. FDNY Chief Michael Light, a family friend who knew Smith his whole life, told the Daily News that Smith went to the popular surfing spot on Maria’s Beach to “unwind” and “blow off some steam.”

On the night of the storm, the young surfer acted with longtime neighbor, Michael McDonnell. The pair rescued their Beach 130th Street neighbors not only from the rising flood, but also from widespread house fires.

Following Sandy, both Smith and McDonnell were named two of People magazine’s 2012 Heroes of the Year.

- With additional reporting by Cristabelle Tumola

More Queens Courier Persons of the Year:

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with rain, then a chance of rain in the afternoon. Fog early. High of 55. Winds from the South at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Tuesday night: Overcast in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 41. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Sandy Hook March and Candlelight Vigil 

We come together to mourn the loss of the children and educators who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday, December 14. Among them was 6-year-old Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, son of Francine and David Cole Wheeler, and brother of Nate. Francine resided with us in Sunnyside and, while raising her babies, was instrumental in the formation of a community of young mothers here. We will also gather to support the grieving family of Principal Dawn Hochsprung, who lost her life in a valiant attempt to save her students and colleagues. Please join as we honor them. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Political fight begins in U.S. Senate over Superstorm Sandy aid package

Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Monday began trying to push the $60.4 billion emergency spending plan for Superstorm Sandy victims through Congress by Christmas. Read more: CBS New York

Boy arrested in threat that sent school into lockout

Authorities say a 13-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with an Internet threat that sent Westbury Middle School on Long Island into lockout mode Monday. Read more: NBC New York

Getting books back into the hands of Sandy storm victims in Rockaway

Curling up with a good book has become a luxury for victims of Superstorm Sandy in Rockaway. Adults and children alike lost most of their personal possessions, including beloved book collections built over generations, in a mix of flood waters, sand and fire. Read more: New York Daily News

LIPA trustees vote to hold rates steady

Despite a possible $950 million repair bill from Superstorm Sandy, the Long Island Power Authority will not be raising rates. Read more: Fox New York

Sunnyside man stabbed to death on Staten Island

A Sunnyside man was stabbed to death by his girlfriend’s father, police say, after the two argued during a booze-fueled gathering inside his home early Monday morning. Read more: SILive.com

Newtown students to return to classes in wake of school massacre

The schools of Newtown, which stood empty in the wake of a shooting rampage that took 26 of their own, will again ring with the sounds of students and teachers on Tuesday as the bucolic Connecticut town struggles to return to normal. Read more: Reuters

 

Op-Ed: Where to turn for help


| editorial@queenscourier.com


BY STATE SENATOR JOSEPH ADDABBO

As if a sluggish economy wasn’t enough for our local businesses to deal with, they now have to deal with the aftermath of Sandy. But as business owners start to pick up the pieces, many of whom also experienced personal losses at their own home, it is imperative that our city, state and federal government have programs that would assist getting these businesses open as soon as possible.

It has been weeks since Sandy hit our city and still the southern one third of my district is trying to recuperate. At this time, over 13,000 residents and businesses are without power in Rockaway. The areas of Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach are suffering economically. By working together with our business owners, community groups, chambers of commerce and other governmental entities, over time we can revive the now dormant store fronts into active businesses once again. It is important for our businesses to know that they are not in this rebuilding period alone. I reassure store owners throughout my district that they can use my office as a resource for information and programs that have been established in the wake of Sandy.

The New York City Small Business Services and Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) have set up a number of programs to aid businesses who are seeking to reopen. These programs range from offering temporary work space to providing supplies and services. There are programs that deal with employee retention and alternatives to laying off workers. There is also financial assistance through an emergency loan program that offers up to $25,000 with no payments for six months and a 1% interest rate for months seven through 30. A tax exemption program through the NYC Industrial Developmental Agency exists for purchases of construction materials and equipment up to $100,000. The New York City assistance for businesses can be found at www.nyc.gov and www.nycedc.com.

New York State is offering aid through the Empire State Development (ESD) and Small Business Development Centers. For their services and recovery planning contact www.esd.ny.gov and www.nyssbdc.org . ESD is supporting several organizations that have made loans available to businesses affected by Sandy. Some of these loans have early no interest payments and go up to $150,000. Those interested can get detailed information at www.accionusa.org/sandy or by calling 718-205-3773 and 718-961-0888.

On the federal level, both the Small Business Administration (SBA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are offering loans for businesses at www.sba.gov. Information on tax relief can be found at www.irs.gov. Business owners seeking additional information as to other programs that exist, also for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) information, can complete an application at www.disasterassistance.gov.

I encourage owners to reach out to their elected officials for additional information on governmental assistance and other programs which exist to assist such businesses.

While my Howard Beach district office gets reconstructed after being wrecked by Sandy, I drive around the affected areas of my district and weeks later cannot believe the devastation. I know I will eventually get to attend another function at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach, but can never eat lunch again at Harbor Light Pub in Belle Harbor, Rockaway, which was sadly destroyed from fires caused by the storm. For the sake of our communities, for the sake of our neighbors, for the sake of our business owners, we must work together to get our local businesses back on their feet and running again.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Overcast. High of 43. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 34 with a windchill as low as 28. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Aki Sasamoto: Centripetal Run

Performance artist Aki Sasamoto explores parallels between gray situations in personal lives and electromagnetic radiation that forms the universe. The show opens with Pau Atela’s pendulum mechanism, leading into Sasamoto’s movement exploration and interaction with her objects. Starts at 8 p.m. at the Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Rockaway residents getting that sink-ing feeling

If lack of power and flood damage wasn’t enough, some Rockaway residents are getting the sinking suspicion that the ground just might literally cave in underneath them. Read more: New York Daily News

Parents raise safety concerns as school in Queens reopens early

Stephen P. Grill, the principal of a public school in Belle Harbor, Queens, strode down an auditorium aisle on Tuesday morning, past chairs that had been submerged by floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy and police tape that was blocking a back door. He stood in front of a wall obscuring a badly damaged stage. Read more: New York Times

Some Sandy victims show signs of PTSD, hospital says

Adam Funtleyder lost his first floor and his basement to flood water from Hurricane Sandy, but he also almost lost his life. Read more: NY1

Breezy break-in bust

A Breezy Point man was busted for breaking into his neighbor’s storm-damaged beach bungalow the day after Thanksgiving, cops said yesterday. Read more: New York Post

Bus slams into Long Island Home, killing 5-year-old boy, injuring at least 8 others

A 5-year-old boy was killed Tuesday night, and at least eight other people were injured, when a commuter bus plowed into a Nassau County home. Read more: CBS New York

Rock Center’s 80-Foot tree ready to shine

After two weeks of prep, The Most Famous Christmas Tree in the World is ready to get lit up. Read more: NBC New York

No one reported shot, stabbed or slashed in New York City on Monday, police sources say

No news really is good news — not a single person was reported shot, stabbed or slashed in New York City on Monday, police sources said. Read more: New York Daily News

Rice concession on Libya fails to mollify 3 in GOP

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice told lawmakers Tuesday that her initial explanation of the deadly Sept. 11 raid in Libya was wrong, but her concession failed to mollify three Republican senators who signaled they would try to block her possible nomination to be secretary of state. Read more: AP

 

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 50. Winds from the NNE at 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Clear in the evening, then overcast. Low of 37. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Mets and City Harvest Sandy Food Drive

Fans donating 10 items or more of nonperishable nutritious food will receive a voucher redeemable for one pair of tickets to a select Mets game in April 2013. Donors will also receive 15 percent off select merchandise at the Mets Team Store at Citi Field. Season Ticket Holders who donate food can show their ID card to get 20 percent off select items. The discount will only be honored Wednesday, November 14. Drop off location will be inside the Hodges VIP entrance next to the Mets Team Store. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Sandy storm victims fear price gouging from electrical inspectors

Those red, yellow and green placards being plastered across damaged structures in storm-ravaged Rockaway and Broad Channel could determine whether you can indeed go home again. Read more: New York Daily News

Parents: Bus for relocated Rockaways students delayed in return home

Some parents in the Rockaways are furious after waiting for their kids for hours to come home from school Tuesday. Read more: NY1

MTA bigs: Refund only fare

Riders who paid for an unlimited MetroCard during Hurricane Sandy may see a rebate, after all. Read more: New York Post

Time Warner Cable sued for modem ‘scam’

Time Warner Cable was zapped with two class-action lawsuits that could affect 15 million customers Tuesday over its decision to charge a $3.95 monthly “lease” fee for modems. Read more: New York Daily News

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree survives Sandy

The Christmas tree that will dominate New York’s Rockefeller Center survived the winds of Superstorm Sandy that left a path of destruction in a New Jersey town and even its donor without electricity for weeks. Read more: ABC New York

Lawmakers probe widening generals scandal

Lawmakers are digging into the tangled tale of emails that exposed an extramarital affair ending David Petraeus’ CIA career and led investigators to a questionable relationship between a Florida socialite and the general commanding the war in Afghanistan. Read more: AP

 

 

Man pulls gun on gas line; looting in Far Rockaway


| mchan@queenscourier.com


The city’s fight for fuel and pursuit of resources has led to the arrest of one St. Albans man, who allegedly whipped out a gun to cut a long gas line, and the collaring of several looters in the Rockaways, authorities said.

Sean Bailey, 35, was cuffed shortly after he pointed a pistol at a driver who complained when he zipped ahead in his white 2010 BMW to the front of a lengthy line for gas at a station located at the intersection of Astoria Boulevard and 43rd Street on Thursday, November 1, said the district attorney.

“If you don’t pull back, you’re not getting gas tonight,” Bailey allegedly said to a 29-year-old motorist during the early morning dispute, according to a criminal complaint.

Cops later found a loaded .25 caliber Phoenix Raven pistol in Bailey’s left boot at the ankle after his arrest at around 3 a.m., officials said.

He is charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree menacing and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, the district attorney said.

Fifteen individuals have also been charged with burglarizing and looting various Far Rockaway businesses — including liquor, clothing stores and a Radio Shack — post superstorm Sandy, said the district attorney. They all face felony charges of third-degree burglary, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison, authorities said.

“As the city and many of its residents continue to recover from Hurricane Sandy, there were others who allegedly used the storm and the chaos that followed as cover to commit crimes,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “What they have learned is that my office and other public and law enforcement officials have a zero tolerance policy for those who would exploit a natural disaster for their own gain.”

Twin brothers from Jamaica have also been apprehended after they allegedly stole a U-Haul truck and smashed it through the gate of a Queens Village motorcycle shop located on Jamaica Avenue, said authorities.

Anthony and Sean Martin, both 24, — and an identified number of unapprehended males — allegedly waited outside the U-Haul building, located at 185-11 Merrick Boulevard, on October 30 until the facility closed down at around 7 p.m. before they went into the office and took the keys to a truck, according to a criminal complaint.

Video surveillance allegedly shows the perps later approaching New York Motorcycle, at 222-02 Jamaica Avenue, at around 12:30 a.m. and repeatedly using the truck to back up and smash into the gate until the vehicle lodged itself inside the building, the complaint said. The males then entered the shop before fleeing the scene empty-handed, the district attorney said.

The brothers were arrested approximately one hour later when driver Anthony Martin was stopped at an intersection for failing to signal a turn, said authorities. They both face charges of third-degree burglary, second-degree criminal mischief, third and fourth-degree grand larceny, possession of burglar’s tools and a seven-year prison sentence.

“As I have stated before,” said Brown, “such lawlessness will be vigorously prosecuted by my office and we will seek the appropriate punishment befitting the crime.”

Morning Roundup: Hurricane edition


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

NYC HURRICANE FORECAST 

National Weather Service:

Hazardous Weather Outlook

High Wind Warning

Coastal Flood Warning

Flood Watch 

Monday: Rain. The rain could be heavy at times. High near 61. Very windy, with a northeast wind 36 to 45 mph, with gusts as high as 65 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible. Monday night: rain. The rain could be heavy at times. Low around 54. Very windy, with a northeast wind 38 to 43 mph becoming southeast 32 to 37 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 75 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.

Tuesday:  Showers likely. Cloudy, with a high near 61. Windy, with a south wind around 29 mph, with gusts as high as 48 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. Tuesday night Showers likely. Cloudy, with a low around 49. South wind 15 to 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Hurricane Sandy updates

Check out the latest news on Hurricane Sandy. Read more: Queens Courier

Many Rockaway residents ignore evacuation, remain home

Despite calls from elected officials in the area, many Rockaway residents say they’re staying, and have hunkered down for the impacts of Hurricane Sandy. Read more: Queens Courier

Con Ed prepping for storm, potential power outages

The high winds and heavy rains expected with Hurricane Sandy may knock out power in areas of the city.  In preparation for the storm, Con Edison has thousands of employees working around the clock to respond to any problems with electric, gas, and steam systems. Read more: Queens Courier

Bracing for storm, U.S. stock markets to close

All United States stock and options markets will close on Monday as Hurricane Sandy approaches, as Wall Street braces for the storm to barrel through the heart of the country’s financial center. Read more: New York Times

Obama cancels Florida campaign trip, returns to DC

President Barack Obama is canceling a planned campaign appearance in Florida and returning to Washington to oversee the federal government’s response to the ever-threatening Hurricane Sandy. Read more: AP

Some see opportunity in storm, no transit

New Yorkers who rely on the subway to get around are out of luck today. Read more: Fox 5 New York

 

 

Many Rockaway residents ignore evacuation, remain home


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER?Photo by Terence Cullen

Despite calls from elected officials in the area, many Rockaway residents say they’re staying, and have hunkered down for the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced earlier today that NYCHA would begin shutting down elevator service, heating and hot water in the 26 housing developments within Zone A as a means to drive people from the flood zones and into shelters.

John D’Arrigo said he and his wife Ruthanne are staying put in their beachfront apartment — although they evacuated last year for Hurricane Irene.

“Last year we kind of evacuated,” he said on the boardwalk of Rockaway Beach, “but this time we’re going to stay here.”

D’Arrigo, like many others who plan to stay, said he stocked up on necessary items and will wait out the storm.

“We’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst,” he said.

Likewise, Oscar Izquierdo said he was not worried about the storm, or flooding in his third floor apartment. His concern right now was potential flooding or water damage to his car.

Some, however, said they are closing up and heading to higher ground.

Elizabeth Bethea said she was helping to close down her cafe, Veggie Island, and heading out to Brooklyn.

The city has been working all weekend to build sand barriers around potential flood sites on the southern coast of the peninsula, particularly around Beach 116th Street and Rockaway Beach Park.

“I’m just hoping the barricades do hold up here,” said Danny Ruscillo, president of the 100th Precinct Community Council.

Neighbors are working together to fill sand bags to prevent flooding, Ruscillo said, adding that “everybody’s helping everybody.”

Elected officials and staffers have been throughout the peninsula this weekend reaching out to residents and urging them to move to designated evacuation centers.

State Senator Malcolm Smith voiced concern that people were lax about staying put for a storm expected to devastate the area. He added that 90 percent of the residents he spoke to said they decided to stay where they were.

By staying in the area, Smith said residents were not only putting their own lives at risk, but those of the first responders who would have to return to the peninsula to save them.

“We don’t want this to be another Katrina,” Smith said.”They didn’t treat Katrina serious and you saw many lives in loss, and this is what could end up being here. The problem is people don’t feel any rain, it’s just a slight wind so think we’re going to be fine. I think preparation is sound, I just would hope people understand how serious this is, and do not put their families at risk and our first responders.”

Surfers trying to capitalize on the growing waves have been continually urged to stay out of the water.

“They [surfers] want to catch some great waves, but they’re putting their lives in jeopardy, and also they’re putting other people at risk: the first responders, and the people that have to drag them out of the water when it becomes too rough,” said Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder said he’s spoken to Governor Andrew Cuomo about continued assistance from the state and FEMA in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, and to co-ordinate relief efforts for the colossal effects it’s projected to have.

“I’m confident that the city, state and federal government will work together to bring the aid to people as soon as possible,” he said.

MTA announces fare and toll hike proposals


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA

Today the Metropolitan Transit Authority officially announced its proposals for the fare and toll hikes that are planned for March.

The agency said that the increases will bring in “vitally needed revenue to support the New York region’s transportation system.”

The MTA is considering four options that would increase bus and subway rides.

On October 10, the New York Daily News published those options ahead of time. Though the MTA would not confirm whether those were its actual proposals, the ones it revealed today did reflect the ones the paper released.

Two options keep the base fare at $2.25; the other two raise it to $2.50.

If the base fare stays the same, the cost of a weekly unlimited MetroCard would go up from $29 to $34 and the monthly from $104 to $125. The seven percent discount for every $10 put on a MetroCard would be lowered to five percent.

The second option would raise unlimited rides to $32 and $119, but eliminate the discount.

If the MTA raises the base fare to $2.50, then straphangers would keep the seven percent discount, but pay more for an unlimited MetroCard ($30 and $112).

The final option would keep weekly unlimited MetroCards at $29, and only increase the monthly by $5, but the base fare would be $2.50, and there would be no discounts.

There are also four proposals for express buses. Again, two would keep the base fare, which is currently $5.50, and the two others would raise it 50 cents. The options would also have similar trade-offs for MetroCard discounts and unlimited rides.

Most of Long Island Railroad and Metro-North tickets would go up by 8.19 to 9.31 percent, said the MTA.

These hikes would be the fourth increase in five years for subway, bus and commuter rail fares and that is one too many said public transportation advocacy group, the Straphangers Campaign, following the MTA’s fare proposals announcement.

“Blocking or reducing the fare increase is possible, if we get more help from Albany,” said Straphangers spokesperson Gene Russianoff. “One promising plan is to generate new revenue by both raising and lowering tolls on city bridges and tunnels in line with where there is the most and least congestion.”

The proposals that the MTA announced Monday would raise the tolls for many area bridges and tunnels. Though E-ZPass customers would still pay less than other drivers, everyone will be paying more.

Those increases include raising the tolls for the Queens Midtown Tunnel, Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel from $4.80 to $5.30 for E-ZPass holders and from $6.50 to $7.50 for other drivers.

Tolls for the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge would go up between 12 and 33 cents, depending on whether the driver has an EZ-Pass or is a Rockaway resident.

In November, a month before the MTA votes on how it’s going to raise tolls and fares, the agency is letting the public weigh in on the options in a series of public and video forums. It is also accepting public statements via email and regular mail.

“The public will have significant input into our decision-making process. In the spirit of transparency, the public will assist in shaping our fare policy,” said MTA chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “These proposals have been designed to balance our need for revenue with public involvement. We need to hear from the public. Feedback evaluating the specific alternatives we’ve put forward is particularly useful, but we value all our customers’ input, and we’ll consider changes to our proposals based on what we hear and read.”