Tag Archives: September 11

Queens pols remember 9/11 during 13th anniversary


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@TonyAvella

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

Queens marked the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks across the borough on Thursday.

State Sen.Tony Avella, fresh off his victory in the primary, joined the 109th Precinct at the 9/11 Park Dedication ceremony in the morning to honor the lives lost 13 years ago. After the ceremony, he embarked on his annual motorcade, visiting the streets in his district which have been renamed after those who died that day. He hung wreaths on the poles of 26 streets that bear the names of the fallen.

Paul Vallone, councilman for Bayside, Whitestone, Auburndale, College Point, Little Neck, Douglaston, and North Flushing, observed the 9/11 anniversary with students at P.S.169 and Bell Academy

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic attended the remembrance ceremony at Queens College. The ceremony honored alum Mohammad Salman Hamdani, who died on 9/11, but was falsely implicated as a terrorist.

Rozic is expected to also attend the candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. in Bayside Hills

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley released a statement in which he said that every detail of that day is etched in our collective memories.

“But just as vivid are the memories of all those we lost – mothers, fathers, children, friends, and complete strangers whom we, as a nation, grieved for as if they were family,” he said. These memories make today “a bit more manageable” and we should “honor our service members who continue to protect our nation.”

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stated that “we continue to feel the ache of such a swift and immeasurable loss” but while we mourn the dead, “an attack meant to shatter us instead brought out the great hope and resilience within all New Yorkers and all Americans” and on this day, we should “recommit to our work toward a more secure future.”

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. called upon the people to not only remember the first responders and uniformed personnel in the city but to also “support our military who remain vigilant in the fight against the evil and hatred of terrorists.”

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9/11 heroes battle cancer with hope


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Asha Mahadevan

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

Thirteen years ago, when tragedy struck the World Trade Center, they were one of the first to respond to calls for help. Today, they are suffering the after-effects of their selflessness.

Two days before the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, four Queens residents, who developed cancer because of their exposure to carcinogenic substances at the WTC site, came forward to share their pain at the North Shore – LIJ’s WTC Clinical Center of Excellence at Rego Park on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

John Licato, 52, a resident of Howard Beach and a former cop with the 110th Precinct in Corona, was diagnosed with neck cancer in 2012. Since then he has undergone chemotherapy and radiation and now, his cancer is in remission. Christian Foggy, 67, an electrician from Jamaica who transported generators to the site for almost two months, was treated for prostate cancer.

Former narcotics cop Joe Ramondino, 52, developed Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “They said it was safe,” said the Maspeth resident about concerns that arose in the aftermath. Last August, he was told he is dealing with a type of cancer he calls “treatable but not curable.”

“It is devastating learning what is in your body,” he said. “I am just staying positive and following a healthy lifestyle.”

Added his wife Toni, “It was frightening. We are sticking together and getting through.”
The program at the WTC Clinical Center is federally funded by the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which is meant for treating the people who fell sick due to exposure to harmful materials at ground zero. The funding runs through 2016. Initially, the people being treated were those with respiratory disorders such as asthma and sinus cases, and mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. However, cancer takes many years to develop, said Dr. Jacqueline Moline, vice president and chair of Population Health at North Shore-LIJ. “We have more than 2,500 certified cases,” she said. “Truncating the program after 15 years is not right.”

Patricia Workman, 76, and her sister Julia Mooney, both from Flushing, helped at the site as Red Cross volunteers. “I worked in the pit, in the morgue, served meals, distributed supplies, whatever needed to be done,” said Workman. She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008. She was treated and went into remission but suffered a relapse earlier this year. Despite her trauma, she says she doesn’t regret helping out the way she did. “It was a terrible day,” she said. “We should not forget it because if you do, it can happen again.”

Mooney, who suffered from PTSD due to her time at the site, added, “These people [who died that day] deserve to be remembered always.”

Despite their pain, the patients and their families are staying positive. As Ramondino put it, “Things could have been worse. Lots of people died that day. We are still here.”

“I have three children and three grandchildren,” said Workman. “I have a lot to live for.”

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9/11 anniversary events around Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Astoria Heights

The United Community Civic Association’s 9/11 Memorial Candlelight Ceremony will take place on Sept. 10 from 7:30 p.m. at McManus Memorial Park, on 81st Street and the Grand Central Parkway service road.

Flushing

St. Mel’s Catholic Academy’s Parent Academy Association is organizing a Memorial Mass on Thursday, Sept. 11, at 1 p.m. After Mass, students will release bubbles in the schoolyard in memory of the 9/11 martyrs. 154-24 26 Ave.

The Queens Historical Society is observing the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with a community conversation for children and their family members. The discussion will be led by Karyn Balan, who will guide the attendees through Jeanette Winter’s book “September Roses”. The book tells the story of two sisters from South Africa who are stranded in the city with the 2,400 roses that they had flown in on the day of the attacks for a flower show. The event begins at 1 p.m. and is free for children and the adults accompanying them. Kingsland Homestead, 143-35 37th Ave.

Sunnyside

A remembrance ceremony will be held on Thursday, Sept. 11 from 6:30 p.m. at the Doughboy Park. The ceremony will include a candlelight vigil and poetry readings. Corner of 56th Street and Woodside Avenue.

Bayside

The Bayside Hills Civic Association will be holding its annual 9/11 observance on Thursday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at Bell Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway.

Middle Village

The 13th Annual Candlelight Vigil will take place at the 9/11 Memorial at Juniper Valley Park (near 78th Street.) from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m on Thursday, Sept. 11. Attendees are advised to bring a candle and a chair.

East Elmhurst

The third annual two-mile Remember Me Run will take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 at St. Michael’s Cemetery, located at 7202 Astoria Blvd. Sign-in will begin starting at 10 a.m. Registration fee $25. After the run, a memorial service will be held.

Kew Gardens

The Annual Day of Remembrance and the Lantern Festival will take place on Thursday, Sept. 18 from 6 p.m. at the Maple Grove Cemetery and Lakeside. 127-15 Kew Gardens Road.

9/11 anniversary remembered in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Annual memorial a touching tribute

Every September 11 for the past 12 years, Linda Catalano has placed a memorial of candles and a poster outside her house.

She pays tribute to all the lives lost that faithful day, but especially her friend, Lieutenant Robert Wallace of FDNY Engine Company 205 Ladder 118 in Brooklyn and a former Woodhaven resident.

Wallace ran into the Towers to help save lives, but much like many of his peers and thousands of innocent people, he didn’t make it out alive. He is survived by a wife and four children.

When Catalano moved to Glendale three years ago to be closer to work, she continued her tradition. This year she decided to attend the community memorial on September 8 in Forest Park and couldn’t hold back the tears when his name was called, along with the more than 40 lives lost from the neighborhood in the attacks.

“I got all emotional,” Catalano said. “He was a big part of my life.”

As the names were read, children, veterans and members of the community placed roses at a memorial stone in their honor.

“As a community we will never forget what we lost that day,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

“It’s important to remember. It’s one of the most terrible tragedies in our country,” echoed Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5. “We are lucky enough to carry on. God bless the police officers and firefighters that continue to protect us every day.”

LIAM LA GUERRE

 

Honoring the ultimate sacrifice 

Friends and family members of six first responders who lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks gathered to honor their loved ones.

Members of the United States Army Reserve held the annual memorial service at Fort Totten on Saturday, September 7 to pay tribute to the six who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“We’re here to honor those who stood fast in the face of the enemy,” said Brigadier General Dwayne Edwards, deputy commander of the 99th Regional Support Command. “These six heroes refused to let the terrorists win the day.”

“Their strength and resolve shadowed that which is shown every day by service members who refuse to let the terrorists win,” Edwards continued. “Their patriotism can never be questioned, their valor can never be matched, and their sacrifice can never be repaid.”

The six men being honored were Captain Michael Mullan, Captain Mark Whitford, Warrant Officer Ronald Bucca, Sergeant Shawn Powell, Staff Sergeant Frederick Ill, and Lieutenant Colonel William Pohlmann.

They were part of the 77th Regional Support Command, which was renamed the 77th Regional Readiness Command in 2003. Five of them were New York City firefighters, and the other, Pohlmann, was a volunteer firefighter in Ardsley, New York.

“Their bravery is unimaginable,” said Will Mojsoski, who attended the memorial service. “They were among the first to put their lives on the line for not just their families and friends, but for perfect strangers.”

Bucca, who was fire marshal in Manhattan Command, was the first FDNY fire marshal killed in the line of duty. Pohlmann was an attorney with an office in the World Trade Center. He was also the engine company president of the Ardsley Volunteer Fire Department.

Mullan, a member of New York City Ladder 12, and Whitford, of Manhattan’s Engine Company 23, died while operating rescue missions at the Towers. Powell was a firefighter for Engine Company 207 and Frederick was a fire captain with Ladder 2 in Manhattan.

“Their silent service to this great country must never go unnoticed,” said Edwards. “It is our duty to constantly remind Americans how important is it to honor our men and women in uniform.”

JOHANN HAMILTON

 

St. Michael’s hosts Remembrance Run

Dozens gathered at Saint Michael’s Cemetery this past weekend to take part in the Remembrance Run, an annual event that raises money to help support children whose parents died on September 11, 2001.

The race was split into a children’s section and an adults’ section, and cut through the cemetery. The starting point and finish line was the Wall of Remembrance, which is engraved with the names of FDNY members who lost their lives that day.

“This event is to help those children whose parents contracted diseases and died at the World Trade Center on September 11,” said St. Michael’s Director of Community Relations Ed Horn. “That doesn’t just mean those who died that day, but also those who went back to work cleanup and look through the rubble. Many of them contracted diseases while searching for survivors and this event raises money for their children.”

Saturday, September 7 was the second annual Remembrance Run, and there was also a memorial service afterwards.

 

The first to finish the race was Kenneth Young, who was also the last person to register.

“It’s great what they’re doing here,” said Sarah Small, who came to support her friends in the race. “It’s important that we don’t allow the memories of those who died that day to fade away, and events like this prevent that from happening.”

 

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9/11 anniversary events around Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Maspeth Memorial Park

There will be prayers, laying of wreaths, musical performances and poetry readings at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 7 at the Maspeth Memorial Park, located on 69th Street and Grand Avenue.

East Elmhurst

The second annual Remember Me Run will be taking place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 7 at St. Michael’s Cemetery, located on 72-02 Astoria Boulevard.

Glendale

A memorial ceremony will be held at the 9/11 memorial site on 80th Street and Myrtle Avenue. The event is sponsored by the American Day Committee and takes place on Sunday, September 8 at 12:30 p.m.

There will be a prayer and remembrance service on  Sunday, September 8 at the Dry Harbor Playground in Forest Park. The service starts at 12:30 p.m.

Whitestone

On Wednesday, September 11, the Whitestone Veterans Memorial Day Association will be holding their annual program at the Whitestone Memorial Field, located at 149th Street and 15th Road. The event begins at 11 a.m.

State Senator Tony Avella will be traveling to and laying wreaths at 25 intersections named in honor of 9/11 heroes throughout Queens on Wednesday, September 11. The Wreath-Laying Ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of 5th Avenue and 147th Place.

Sunnyside

There will be a candlelight vigil in Doughboy Park on Wednesday, September 11 from 2-7 p.m., hosted by the United Forties Civic Association of Sunnyside. The park is located between 55th and 56th Streets.

Bayside

The Bayside Hills Civic Association will be holding its annual 9/11 observance on Wednesday, September 11 at 7 p.m. The event will take place at a memorial on Bell Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway.

Floral Park

There will be a remembrance concert on Wednesday, September 11 at 7:30 p.m., presented by Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, located between 80th Avenue and Union Turnpike.

Middle Village

The annual candlelight vigil at Juniper Valley Park will take place on Wednesday, September 11 at 7:30 p.m.

Forest Hills

The Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance and the American Legion will be holding an event in memory of FHVA member Ron Pearlman at 7 p.m on Wednesday, September 11. The event will take place at 92-29 Metropolitan Avenue.

Flushing

The St. Mel’s Home School Association will be holding their annual 9/11 Day of Remembrance on Wednesday, September 11. Mass begins at 9 a.m. at St. Mel’s Church, and is followed by a patriotic balloon release. The church is located at 26-15 154th Street.

Astoria Heights

A commemoration will be held Thursday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m. by the United Community Civic Association. The event takes place in McManus Memorial Park, on 81st Street and the Grand Central Parkway service road.

Kew Gardens

The Annual Day of Reflection and Remembrance will be taking place at the Maple Grove Cemetery Center on Thursday, September 19 at 5:30 p.m. The Maple Grove Cemetery Center is located at 127-15 Kew Gardens Road.

Op-Ed: Time is running out – October 3 deadline for sick 9/11 First Responders and survivors


| oped@queenscourier.com

CONGRESSMEMBER CAROLYN MALONEY

The horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11 affected all of us, but survivors and the brave First Responders , many of whom risked everything to provide emergency aid, have suffered incomparable health problems and financial loss in the years following this awful tragedy. Recognizing that many of the victims of 9/11 continued to suffer in the aftermath of the attacks, I, and a number of my colleagues in the New York congressional delegation, authored the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The Zadroga Act provides health care and economic compensation to first responders and survivors.

However, time is running out to apply for economic benefits under the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). If you are a 9/11 survivor or First Responder and discovered as of October 3, 2011 that you have an injury or became sick as a result of the 9/11 attacks, you MUST register for economic compensation by October 3, 2013.

If you lost a loved one, compensation may also available to the family members of First Responders and survivors. You can find out more information about the VCF and apply by visiting www.vcf.gov.

Research has shown that First Responders and survivors who were exposed to dangerous toxins that entered the air at Ground Zero have significantly higher cancer risks, respiratory problems and other medical concerns.

While the World Trade Center Health Program portion of the Zadroga Act provides health coverage for eligible first responders and survivors – and recently coverage was extended to additional types of cancer that have been linked to toxins from Ground Zero – there are likely many out there who are eligible for economic compensation as a result of lost productivity, pain and suffering, etc. That is where the VCF comes in.

My New York Congressional colleagues and I worked hard to pass the Zadroga Act and will continue to fight for strong funding. I encourage anyone who became sick or injured as a result of the 9/11 attacks and suffered economic losses to apply for compensation. Please don’t wait.

Congressmember Carolyn Maloney represents New York’s 12th District, which includes Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.

 

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UPDATE: Plane part found near WTC site ‘believed’ to be from 9/11 plane, says Boeing


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

UPDATE Monday, April 29:

The NYPD said a Boeing Company technician has confirmed that the plane part found at the rear of 51 Park Place in Lower Manhattan last week is a trailing edge flap actuation support structure from a Boeing 767. The part is “believed to be from one of the two aircraft destroyed on September 11, 2001, but it could not be determined which one.”

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is preparing to sift soil at the location for human remains, and this process will possibly be completed by Wednesday.

At that time, the plane part is expected to be removed from behind the building and transferred to the custody of the NYPD Property Clerk. It may then go to the National Transportation Safety Board, or, as was done with 9/11 aircraft parts, it may be treated as an historical artifact and become part of a museum collection, said the NYPD.

Video courtesy of NYPD

UPDATE Saturday, April 28: Boeing officials confirmed that the landing gear is from a Boeing 767, the same type of planes used in the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers, said the NYPD.

A diagram of where the plane landing gear was found (Image courtesy of NYPD).


 

Landing gear believed to be from one of the planes involved in the September 11 attacks has been found near Ground Zero, said the NYPD.

“The NYPD is securing the location as it would a crime scene, documenting it photographically and restricting access until the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner completes its health and safety evaluation protocol, after which a decision will be made concerning sifting the soil for possible human remains,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne. “The aircraft part will not be removed until the process is completed, at which point it will secured by the NYPD Property Clerk.”

Surveyors discovered the plane part Wednesday wedged between the rear of 51 Park Place and the building behind it, a couple blocks from the World Trade Center site.

The landing gear has a clearly visible Boeing identification number, said police.

 

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New center to treat 9/11 first responders


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of North Shore-LIJ Public Relations

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Nearly 12 years after the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Queens World Trade Center Clinical Center for Excellence opened a new facility in Rego Park – its third in the borough – to treat workers suffering from 9/11 related illnesses.

Dr. Jacqueline Moline, director of the center, said the new building would allow for the center to care for more 9/11 first responders than it previously could. The new 3,650-square-foot building is about 50 percent larger than the center’s Flushing site.

The new facility received $3.85 million under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which Congress passed in 2011 in order to provide care for more than 3,000 Queens workers who were at Ground Zero in the days following 9/11.

Moline said she had worked with first responders during the first WTC bombing in 1993 and after the events of 9/11, she said she knew she would have to help those who were on the pile.

“I knew I had to help because I knew what was in those buildings,” she said.

Moline also testified in Congress about the health risks that working at Ground Zero posed to workers.

She said the new center would help provide extra assistance to 9/11 first responders, who previously might not have had access to health care.

“We’re really thrilled to open a new space and see new patients,” she said. “We’ll be able to provide an additional resource to those who have any illnesses from working at the World Trade Center.”

Lorelei Sander, a retired NYPD officer who was at Ground Zero, said she developed a cough days after first arriving at the scene. Her cough then developed into respiratory problems, including difficulty breathing and sleep apnea.

At first, Sander received treatment at Mount Sinai.

But after going to one of the center’s sites in Queens, she says her health has greatly improved, plus she has the added convenience of visiting a doctor in Queens.

 

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Bayside street to be renamed after man who perished on 9/11


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Talat Hamdani

He died a hero in his mother’s eyes and a potential enemy to his country.

Now the family of Mohammed Salman Hamdani, the Bayside hero found wrongly accused of having ties to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will have his cleared name on a street sign.

“He was a kind, compassionate and humble American. The most important thing to remember about him is his due place in history,” said mother Talat Hamdani, 61. “He gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a 23-year-old NYPD cadet and certified paramedic when he voluntarily and fatally rushed to his nation’s aid 11 years ago.

“We knew he would go. That was him,” said Talat of her first son. “He would help people in the streets if they were in distress. If there was an accident, he would pull over and see if everything was okay.”

But instead of honor, the chemistry major at Queens College died with a tarnished name.

Authorities hunted him, falsely suspecting the Pakistani-American was in league with terrorists until his remains were found scattered in the rubble near the north tower by his medical bag, according to reports.

Now Community Board 11 has voted unanimously to honor the hometown hero by renaming the street sign on 204th Street at 35th Avenue, outside his former Bayside home, after his legacy.

“It was very emotional, listening to [Talat] and her pain,” said district manager Susan Seinfeld. “As a mother myself, I can just feel that. I can’t imagine what she’s gone through. He should be recognized as much as anyone who was on duty. He gave his life to help people.”

About six street signs within the Community Board have been renamed in honor of 9/11 victims, Seinfeld said.

“A street renaming is a very small but appropriate recognition of his bravery,” said Councilmember Dan Halloran. “He entered the twin towers not because he had to but because he chose to dedicate his life to helping people.”

Mohammed Salman is also mentioned in the 2001 Patriot Act as a 9/11 Muslim-American hero.

“We will never know how many lives he saved that day,” Talat said. “My son is priceless. Nothing can bring him back.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 48. Winds from the NW at 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 36. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Urinetown: The Musical

Winner of three Tony awards and one of the most uproariously funny musicals in recent years, Urinetown is a hilarious tale of greed, corruption, love and revolution in a time when water is worth its weight in gold. In a Gotham-like city, a terrible water shortage, caused by a 20-year drought, has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. Performances start Thursday, January 10 and continue through Saturday, January 26 at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Crane collapses in Long Island City, injuring seven

Seven workers suffered minor injuries when a crane collapsed at a Long Island City building site. Read more: Queens Courier

Cuomo takes aim at guns, Sandy relief during State of the State address

Governor Andrew Cuomo has vowed New York will become the nation’s leader in gun safety laws in wake of recent shootings. Read more: Queens Courier

Seastreak Wall Street Ferry saw other problems before crash

The Seastreak Wall Street ferry that crashed in Lower Manhattan Wednesday has had a few minor incidents in recent years. Read more: CBS New York

Cheating teacher the answer man: probe

A Queens elementary- school teacher brazenly helped fourth-graders cheat on the state’s high-stakes English exams, even though there was a second proctor in the room, investigators found. Read more: New York Post

Breezy Point couple surprised with newly renovated home after it was destroyed by Sandy

An octogenarian Queens couple whose house was ravaged by Superstorm Sandy received a surprise gift on Wednesday — a brand new home. Read more: New York Daily News

Report: Queens Native Will Likely Head Up Treasury Dept.

President Barack Obama is reportedly set to tap a native New Yorker to serve as the new head of the United States Treasury Department. Read more: NY1

NYC firm hit hard on 9/11 gives $10M in Sandy aid

The New York City brokerage firm that lost 658 employees in the Sept. 11 terror attacks announced that it will “adopt” 19 schools in communities hit hard by Superstorm Sandy and will give each family in those schools $1,000 to spend as they see fit. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 19F. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 20%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of snow and a chance of rain, then a chance of snow after midnight. Low of 32F with a windchill as low as 25. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Resorts World New Year’s Eve Bash

Ring in 2013 at Resorts World Casino’s New Year’s Eve Bash from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., where there will be live music, champagne and giveaways. Click here for more info or check out more New Year’s Eve events in Queens

Driver charged with DWI in fatal Queens crash

The driver of a car that overturned into the marshy waters near John F. Kennedy International Airport early Sunday morning, killing a 25-year-old woman, has been arrested. Read more: NBC New York

2 charged with teen’s murder in Far Rockaway

Two suspects were charged Sunday in connection with a shooting this weekend that left a 17-year-old boy dead outside a low-income housing development in Far Rockaway. Read more: CBS New York

Psychiatric test ordered for subway shove suspect

A woman accused of pushing a man to his death in front of a subway train told police she did so because she blamed Muslims for the Sept. 11 attacks, and because “I thought it would be cool,” prosecutors said at a court hearing. Read more: ABC New York/AP

President Obama’s determined to get a gun-control law in place early in his second term

President Obama called the Newtown school massacre “the worst day” of his presidency as he reiterated Sunday his determination to sign a gun-control bill into law early in his second term. Read more: New York Daily News

Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital Sunday after the discovery of a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month. Read more: AP

Fiscal cliff: Biden, McConnell make major progress

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden made major progress toward a year-end tax bill overnight. Read more: Politico

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then a chance of a thunderstorm and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 72. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain showers in the evening, then partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Low of 52. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Taste of Sunnyside 

At the third annual Taste of Sunnyside, for $25 you can sample Japanese, Mexican, French, Italian, Thai, Filipino, Irish, American Eclectic and other cuisine from local restaurants. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Parents petrified by Skyway Shelter housing homeless men who are convicted sex offenders in South Ozone Park 

Parents are fuming over the presence of homeless men from a nearby shelter, which also houses sex offenders, hanging out near their children’s isolated South Ozone Park school. Read more: New York Daily News

NYPD: Woman killed by Nassau County bus in Queens

A woman is dead after being hit by a Nassau County bus on Saturday night. Read more: CBS New York

MTA to unveil proposals for upcoming fare hike

The MTA is releasing new details Monday about the next fare hike coming down the rails. If the hike is approved as expected, it would be the fourth increase in five years. Read more: ABC New York

Politicians caught collecting Albany per diems when they’re not there

In Albany, politicians can make money in their sleep. Claiming she spent a marathon 12 consecutive days in Albany on “legislative business,” Queens Assemblywoman Vivian Cook pocketed $171 for each reported overnight stay — a total $2,197 in taxpayer money from March 21 to April 1, 2010. Read more: New York Post

Parents concerned that school records could be used to make money

Some city parents have expressed concern that their children’s school records could be used to make money. Read more: CBS New York

Moon rocks, chunks of Mars auctioned in New York

Meteorites from Mars and the biggest piece of the Moon ever offered for sale went on the block on Sunday in New York in what organizers billed as history’s largest meteorite auction, which brought in over $1 million. Read more: Reuters

Sept. 11 Trial rules under scrutiny at Guantanamo

A U.S. military judge is considering broad security rules for the war crimes tribunal of five Guantanamo prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 attacks, including measures to prevent the accused from publicly revealing what happened to them in the CIA’s secret network of overseas prisons. Read more: AP

Mets raise families’ spirits on 9/11


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

DSC_2166w

That last kiss replays in Carol Gies’s mind constantly.

It was a Tuesday morning, masquerading as any other day. As Ronnie Gies gathered his things and left the house for work at FDNY Squad 228 in Maspeth, he gently kissed his wife goodbye.

They didn’t know it was for the last time.

Ronnie, a dedicated member of the FDNY, lost his life on September 11, 2001 in his effort to rescue others from the collapse of the Twin Towers.

The couple met through Carol’s brother Tommy, who played on a local softball team with Ronnie in their Long Island hometown. The pair began dating in 1979 and was married on September 5, 1981.

Carol said their marriage matched their wedding song — “One in a Million.”

“You couldn’t ask for better,” said Carol. “He was perfect, he really was. Most people said that they never saw a marriage like what we had. It was very rare.”

In 1988, Ronnie became a firefighter.

Even though his profession demanded an intense schedule, Ronnie was an attentive and compassionate father for the couple’s three children – Tommy, Ronnie and Bobby. Carol said he was more like a best friend than a father to the three boys, a fixture in the audience at plays and games. Now that her sons are in their 20s and beginning families of their own, Carol says their father remains a guide for what it is to be a model parent.

“Today I look at them and I see traces of him in them. Each one of them,” she said. “That’s what makes it a little easier every day. There’s a part of him in every one of them.”

Sons Tommy and Ronnie are now firefighters. Bobby recently took his firefighter exam.

Every year on September 11, the family gathers together and goes to see the Mets play. Ronnie was a fan of the team and Carol says it’s the best way to keep everyone’s spirits up while celebrating something her husband loved.

“We try to do something positive,” said Carol. “I’m not the type to go to memorials. I try not to dwell on the negative. This way we celebrate Ronnie’s life.”

This year, the Gies family threw the first pitch at the Mets game on September 11.

Mets games have become an annual tradition for many families who lost loved ones in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Tuesday’s Children, an organization that provides support to the children of victims of 9/11, frequently brings kids to meet and chat with some of their most admired players.

“For families on a day like today when its Tuesday, September 11 and there’s not a cloud in the sky just like it was 11 years ago, to not have to think about what happened to them all day long and instead go to a game on a beautiful evening like tonight and be with the Mets who have become like a second family to all our family members is just incredible,” said Tuesday’s Children spokesperson Terry Sears.

Eleven-year-old Matthew, who also lost his father Michael in the attacks, was looking forward to hanging out with his favorite player, pitcher R.A. Dickey.

“It feels good to be here,” said Matthew. “I think it will cheer everyone up who’s here. It’s a very sad day in American history but it’s nice that they make everybody happy.”

Accompanied by mom Michelle, the pair agreed it was a good way to commemorate their loved one, adding they are considering make Mets games a new tradition on September 11.

Juliette Candela, a member of Tuesday’s Children, was nominated by the group to sing the National Anthem at the start of the game. The 18-year-old from New Jersey, whose father John was killed on September 11, 2001, was excited for the opportunity to sing the song, saying it was an honor and something she had always dreamed of.

“The song is really important for this country,” she said. “I feel like I’m singing this song in honor of my dad.”

Residents hold 9/11 vigil at Juniper Valley Park


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

With the Twin Tower tribute lights in the background, hundreds of Queens residents gathered holding candles to honor those who died in the attacks on September 11.

The candlelight vigil at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village featured poems, prayer and music on the 11th anniversary of the attacks.

Click here to see all the pictures from the night.

9/11 first responders suffer mental, physical anguish


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

FIRST RESPONDER GLEN 2w

Alex Sanchez remembers the bang.

It thundered through lower Manhattan, said Sanchez, who at first thought the sound was a truck crashing into a building. The Harlem resident, who at the time worked as a janitor for New York University, heard the clamor as he walked a co-worker to 100 Centre Street for a hearing. It wasn’t until he moved further south that he discovered the real source of the noise.

“We thought it was an accident,” he said, recalling peering up at the smoldering North Tower. “Then we saw the second plane hit and that’s when all hell broke loose.”

The men and women who gave of their time, their efforts — of themselves — following the attacks on September, 11 2001, will be forever regarded as heroes, from the firefighters who extinguished flames and searched for survivors under the rubble to the police officers who directed people out of the area and to safety.

Sanchez, a first responder at Ground Zero, sifted through debris and cleaned up scraps of the Twin Towers that covered the city’s streets.

Every day following the attacks, Sanchez, along with 800 other workers, removed clutter from the former site of the World Trade Center. While the labor was strenuous, Sanchez said morale and compassion drove their efforts.

“Everyone was more than eager to go in on a daily basis,” he said.

A main portion of their work involved cleaning ventilation units. Sanchez said inside the building’s hull there was so much dust you couldn’t see anything. As he crawled through the vent system, he was outfitted with gloves, goggles, a PVAC suit and a hospital mask.

Sanchez founded United We Stand, a group that assists undocumented workers who assisted after the 9/11 attacks and have subsequently experienced health issues stemming from inhaling dust, fumes and smoke. Sanchez said he now suffers from chronic asthma and upper airway obstruction and has developed nodules in his lungs. He is now on permanent disability.

The catastrophic event brought Sanchez close to others affected by September 11, including spouses and children who lost loved ones. According to him, many who perished were not granted proper funerals, something he believes the city is accountable for.

Sanchez said events following the attacks have negatively influenced his view of the city.

“In a country like ours, it’s really sad that people’s lives are put in jeopardy,” said Sanchez. “We’ve become a test tube for disaster.”

Glen Klein was in the middle of a cup of coffee when he got a call from a friend, exclaiming that a plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. It wasn’t until he turned on his television and saw the second plane collide that the event seemed real.

Klein, a former member of the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit (ESU), immediately drove to his outfit — the 109th Precinct — gathered supplies and fellow officers, and headed downtown.

Along with 300 other members of the ESU, Klein searched through debris for bodies. In their efforts, 14 ESU officers went missing.

“For the first six days, we thought we would find them alive,” said Klein. “If anyone’s going to survive, I thought it would be our guys.”

None of the missing officers were found alive.

Klein retired in 2003 after he began to feel both the physical and mental effects from 9/11. The 16-year-veteran of the ESU suffered precancerous polyps, GERD, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal issues and post-traumatic stress disorder. He said he receives assistance from the World Trade Center Health Program.

Klein is now the vice president of the “FealGood Foundation,” a group that advocates for 9/11 first responders who suffer from subsequent illnesses. He said assisting others acts as personal therapy and connects him with what he loved about being a police officer — helping people.