Tag Archives: top stories

Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Thursday: Areas of drizzle before 10 a.m., then a chance of showers between 10 a.m. and noon, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after noon. Areas of fog before 10 a.m. Otherwise, cloudy, with a high near 81. East wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. Thursday night: Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly clear, with a low around 64. Northwest wind around 8 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Play By Ear

Mime Rob List combines anti-conceptual movement, dance and song to connect to his audience in a direct, modest and intimate way. Play By Ear strives to create a magical event without trickery and to let the work and the moment speak for themselves. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Obama and Romney, in First Debate, Spar Over Fixing the Economy

Mitt Romney on Wednesday accused President Obama of failing to lead the country out of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, using the first presidential debate to invigorate his candidacy by presenting himself as an equal who can solve problems Mr. Obama has been unable to. Read more: NY Times

Endorsements, cash flow in 15th District Senate race

Things are heating up in one of the most contentious state races in Queens this fall. Councilmember Eric Ulrich topped the list of those required to file a 10 Day Post Primary Campaign Disclosure Report with a war chest that boasted six-figures. Read more: Queens Courier

Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey’s fight during ‘American Idol’ auditions got ‘intense,’ says host Ryan Seacrest

Tuesday night’s shrieking smackdown between “American Idol” judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey will be great for the aging show, says host Ryan Seacrest. Minaj, a wig-wearing wacko rap superstar and Carey, a notoriously difficult diva, blew their stacks at each other when they disagreed about a contestant during “Idol” audtions in Charlotte, N.C. Read more: Daily News

Gotti at GOP fundraiser whips up interest in Queens state senate race

Aurelio “Tony” Arcabascio may not be a “connected guy,” but his association with a member of the Gambino crime family is leading to unexpected attention in his long-shot bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Queens Senator Michael Gianaris. “From a purely selfish perspective, I thank you and all the press for all the attention you’re finally giving me. But I have been at this since March,” said Arcabascio. Read more: NY1

Bogus ‘no parking’ signs along 31st St. in Astoria linked to film production, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. charges

Bogus no parking signs popped up along a busy stretch of 31st St. in Astoria on Tuesday, the same day a TV comedy show was slated to begin filming there, prompting a local elected official to question who put up the signs. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the signs belong to them,” said City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), whose office is on the affected street. “We have never seen these signs in the area and one day before filming this happens?” Read more: Daily News

Feds bust spy ring who smuggled ‘cutting-edge’ US technology to Russian military since 2008

A large-scale ring that for years allegedly illegally exported cutting-edge microelectronics through JFK Airport to Russian military and intelligence agencies has been busted up by federal authorities, officials announced today. The 11 defendants charged in an indictment unsealed today “spun an elaborate web of lies to evade the laws that protect our national security,” said Brooklyn US Attorney Loretta Lynch, whose office is prosecuting the case. Read more: NY Post

Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Friday: Rain and possibly a thunderstorm before noon, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm, mainly after noon. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds and heavy rain. High near 74. Breezy, with a southeast wind 14 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible. Friday night: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 60. West wind 8 to 10 mph becoming northwest after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

EVENT of the DAY: Ella Fitzgerald

A musical that reflects on the life and songs of the legendary jazz/pop vocalist Ella Fitzgerald at Queens Theatre. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Serial arsonist, who set 13 fires in Queens, arrested

A serial arsonist has been arrested and confessed to setting 13 fires in Flushing, including a three-alarm inferno that injured 19 firefighters and two civilians in August, fire officials said. Thien K. Dinh, 43, of the Bronx, was arraigned in Queens on September 15 and charged with starting a series of fires within a three-week span across Flushing and Murray Hill from August 20 to September 13, according to the district attorney’s office. Read more: Queens Courier

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls on world to block Iran’s nuclear ambitions

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invoked the Holocaust in an impassioned call Thursday for Iran to curtail its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Netanyahu, warning that Iran could produce a functional nuclear weapon by summer 2013, urged world leaders to impose strict limits on the program’s expansion. Read more: Daily News

Bronx teen admitted he shot mother in sleep, beat her with bat: court records

A cold-blooded Bronx teen admitted he shot his mother while she slept – then beat her with bat as she tried to rise, according to court records. Dee “Darwin” Jackson, 16, made the chilling admission to a police detective on Wednesday, just hours after the remains of his mom, Tihesha Savage, 34, were discovered in a dumpster across the street from the family’s home. Read more: NY Post

Garbage cans waste many parking spots on South Ozone Park streets

Some residents in South Ozone Park, Queens are using garbage cans to save parking in their neighborhood, and Department of Sanitation officials are now pledging to issue summonses if they see trash cans out on the street. Read more: NY1

World’s largest Ferris wheel coming to Staten Island

The Big Apple is getting another “biggest”: the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, part of an ambitious plan to draw New Yorkers and tourists alike to the city’s so-called “forgotten borough.” The 625-foot-tall, $230 million New York Wheel is to grace a spot in Staten Island overlooking the Statue of Liberty and the downtown Manhattan skyline, offering a singular view as it sweeps higher than other big wheels like the Singapore Flyer, the London Eye and a “High Roller” planned for Las Vegas. Read more: NBC NY

Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Friday: Partly sunny, with a high near 76. East wind 6 to 8 mph becoming southeast in the afternoon. Friday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 66. Southeast wind 5 to 7 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Viva La Comida!

This first-ever 82nd Street Partnership event will shine a spotlight on the fun, food and entertainment options in Elmhurst/Jackson Heights. Food trucks will be everywhere, and the event will include the 82nd Street dance troupe from the Mestizo Art Center, performances by the NY Jazz Academy, the International String Duo and a pop-up crafts market in the Jackson Heights Cinema. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Budget cuts ax program linking seniors and students

The bond between a group of local seniors and children has been broken after an intergenerational arts program that united the two received the ax this year. The Selfhelp Benjamin Rosenthal Senior Center in Flushing has been a 20-year participant in a free program under Elders Share the Arts (ESTA), a nonprofit that helps bridge generations by linking nearby elementary school students with local senior centers, according to the center’s director, Jane Qiu. Read more: Queens Courier

DEA agents seize 86 pounds of heroin in Queens apartment

An estimated $20 million worth of heroin was seized from an apartment in Richmond Hill, Queens on Thursday. Drug Enforcement Administration agents uncovered what they say was a heroin distribution center on 122nd Street, confiscating 86 pounds of heroin during the search. DEA officials say it was the second-largest heroin bust in the city in the past seven years. Read more: NY1

Mariah Carey: Working with Nicki Minaj on ‘American Idol’ is ‘gonna be an experience’

Mariah Carey isn’t going out of her way to deny the alleged feud between her and fellow newbie “American Idol” judge Nicki Minaj. “You know what, I think the whole thing is gonna be an experience that unfolds each day,” she told the Hollywood Reporter when asked about working with Minaj. Read more: Daily News

Rikers’ officers, supervisors having ‘rampant’ sex on and off the job, guard’s suit claims

Corrections officers and supervisors are having “rampant” sex with each other both on and off the job at the city’s jails on Rikers Island, a new bombshell lawsuit by one of those randy officers claims. Corrections Officer Tomara Bryan’s discrimination complaint claims that female supervisors verbally and physically abused her, and unfairly disciplined her after learning she was having a consensual affair with a married warden named Emmanuel Bailey. Read more: NY Post

Keith Hernandez to shave mustache prior to final home game

Maybe more than his 1986 World Series ring, his 1979 MVP or his “Seinfeld” appearance, Keith Hernandez was known for his mustache — an upper lip adornment that will soon be no more. The former Mets firstbaseman and current announcer told Newday’s Neil Best that next week his face will be completely clean shaven for the first time in many moons. Read more: Queens Courier

New cab plan curbs hybrids

New York City taxi officials are expected Thursday to approve one of the most sweeping changes in years, ratifying the Nissan-built “Taxi of Tomorrow” as the only acceptable new yellow cab starting in 2013, with the goal of making the fleet almost entirely uniform within three years. But when the Taxi and Limousine Commission makes the Nissan NV-200 mandatory, it will set in motion an unintended change: The shift will drastically reduce the number of hybrid taxis on city streets—now almost half the fleet and what Mayor Michael Bloomberg hailed as a critical improvement in the industry just a few years ago. Read more: WSJ


Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 73. Northeast wind around 9 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 60. East wind 5 to 7 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Vision & Emotion: A Latin American Art Salon

The opening reception for Vision & Emotion: A Latin American Art Salon at the Diego Salazar Art Gallery in Long Island City featuring the work of local emerging and established artists. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Sister’s bone marrow saves sibling, now they raise hope for a cure

Ringlet curls, bright smiles and a love of the stage bond sisters Caroline and Lisette Watters. So do the pinhole-sized scars on Lisette’s back. At age four, Lisette donated a life-saving portion of her bone marrow to her sister, Caroline, who at just two years old, was diagnosed with cancer. Read more: Queens Courier

Parents upset over optional dress code at Little Neck middle school

Parents at a Little Neck middle school are fuming over a bizarre new dress code that penalizes students trying to follow it — as well as the majority of students who opted out of it. Junior High School 67 officials also banned sweaters, sweatshirts and jackets inside of the building, insisting cold students should request that the A/C be turned down, frustrated parents said. Read more: Daily News

NYPD wants videotaped interrogations in all precincts

The New York City Police Department is planning to expand a program for videotaping interrogations to all 76 precincts in the city. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the department wants to outfit all interrogation rooms and some specialized units with recording equipment. Read more: NY1

Mayor Michael Bloomberg 10th On Forbes 400 Richest Americans List

Bill Gates is still the wealthiest man in America. However, Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t too far behind. The 30th annual Forbes 400 ranking of the Richest Americans was released Wednesday. 120 New Yorkers in total made the list — 53 from The Big Apple. Read more: CBS New York

Herald Square Macy’s getting $400 million makeover

A $400 million makeover is giving New York’s iconic Macy’s store a sleek, new 21st-century style. And some preservationists aren’t happy about it. They see the overhaul of America’s biggest department store as scrapping classic Beaux Arts and Art Deco touches in favor of the latest trend in retail design – something like an Apple computer store. Read more: ABC New York

Weekend Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com


25 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested as group gathers in Washington Square Park

Occupy Wall Street protesters are gearing up for a Monday demonstration to mark the first anniversary of the movement — and give the 1% a fresh headache. Nearly 200 scruffy anti-capitalists swarmed Washington Square Park on Saturday in a warmup for Monday morning, when the activists will march on Wall Street and attempt to disrupt rush-hour traffic. Read more: Daily News

Queens teenager shot to death outside of Boys And Girls High School in Brooklyn

A Queens teenager was found shot to death outside of a historic Brooklyn High School on Friday. Police responding to a 911 call found Kaiim Vieira, 17, outside of Boys and Girls High School with multiple gunshot wounds. Read more: CBS

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula revealed! Photo surfaces despite his efforts to shield face from media after interview with police

Federal investigators questioned — but later released — one of the filmmakers behind the incendiary anti-Islam video that sparked violent clashes across the Middle East. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was taken in for questioning near his Southern California home early Saturday, officials said. Read more: Daily News

Driver faces DUI charges following Midtown crash

A man is facing drunk driving charges after his car smashed into a passenger van near Radio City Music Hall in Midtown this morning, injuring six people. Police say a Mercedes sedan ran a red light and smashed into a GO Airlink passenger van around 4:45 a.m. at Sixth Avenue and 50th Street near Radio City Music Hall. Read more: NY1

When it comes to Queens politics, Asian-language media have it covered

When Democratic Assembly candidate Ron Kim — fresh off a hard-fought primary win — visited two senior centers in Flushing on Friday, he was greeted by a crush of reporters and photographers. Kim is one step closer to making history by becoming the first Korean-American lawmaker in the State of New York. And while that’s an interesting story for any reporter it’s huge news for the scores of Asian-language newspapers, radio stations and television stations that aggressively cover Queens politics on a daily basis. Read more: Daily News

Wheelchair softball tourney takes place in Queens

When a car accident paralyzed Joe Mendez 20 years ago, he thought his sports-playing days were over. “It took me a long time to be able to handle the ball, to maneuver the chair and stuff like that,” he said. “It takes time and effort.” He eventually re-learned to play softball, on wheels. Read more: NY1

Weekend Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Man dies after jumping in front of subway train in Queens

A man died Friday after jumping in front of a Queens subway train, sources said. The victim, who was not immediately identified, leaped onto the tracks as an eastbound No. 7 train barreled into the 52nd St. station at Roosevelt Ave. in Woodside about 1:30 p.m., the sources said. Read more: Daily News

Feds interview Calif. filmmaker linked to anti-Islamic movie

A Southern California filmmaker linked to an anti-Islamic movie inflaming protests across the Middle East was interviewed by federal probation officers at a Los Angeles sheriff’s station but was not arrested or detained, authorities said early Saturday. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was interviewed at the station in his hometown of Cerritos, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Don Walker said. Read more: NY Post

Two U.S. Marines killed at Afghanistan base where Prince Harry is stationed

Heavily-armed insurgents attacked a British air base in southern Afghanistan Friday, killing two U.S. Marines and wounding several other troops, U.S. officials said. Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, is stationed at the base on a four-month combat tour in Afghanistan. Read more: Daily News

Accused serial arsonist under arrest

A man accused of setting off 13 separate fires in Queens is now under arrest. Thien Dinh, 43, is charged with arson, reckless endangerment and burglary. Fire marshals say he has 45 prior arrests for burglary and property damage. Read more: NY1

Queens 18-year-old files $10 million lawsuit against city, alleging cops botched her restraining order

A Queens woman who was stabbed by her ex-lover is suing the city over claims cops failed to enforce a restraining order. Last June, Daniel Paguay, 21, attacked the 18-year-old in her Corona home, dragging her out of bed to a nearby grocery store, where he used her as a human shield before plunging a 10-inch knife into her back three times, police said. Read more: Daily News

Rescue crews conduct search off Queens for diver

Rescue crews took to the waters off Breezy Point, Queens on Friday night after a diver was reported missing that morning. New York City Police Department boats and personnel from the Fire Department and the Coast Guard scoured the area Friday morning. Read more: NY1 

Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 82. South wind 6 to 11 mph. Friday night: Scattered showers, mainly after 2am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 65. South wind 7 to 9 mph becoming west after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.

Event of the Day: A Tribute to Lena Horne and Nina Simone

Seven-time MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Winner, Natalie Douglas in a tribute to singing legends Lena Horne and Nina Simone at York College Performing Arts Center. To reserve free tickets please call (212) 575 7660 or email CPAS@hainyc.org. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens Primary Election Coverage

Sanders defeats indicted incumbent Huntley in State Senate primary

Six-time incumbent Stavisky claims victory over Messer in primary

Kim takes 40th District race by less than 200 votes

Messer refuses to give up fight

Nily Rozic bests Jerry Iannece in 25th District race

Ulrich wins primary, set to face Addabbo in November

Incumbent Miller defeats newcomer in 38th District

Drifter nabbed in rape of 73-year-old woman in Central Park has disturbing criminal history

A deviant drifter with a terrifying rap sheet that includes two sex attacks on elderly women was charged Thursday with the rape of a 73-year-old bird watcher in Central Park. Three rookie cops caught Appalachian ex-con David Albert Mitchell, 42, strolling down an upper West Side street, and the victim later picked him out of a lineup. Read more: Daily News

Investigators look into whether mole helped Libyan terrorists

Investigators are probing whether a mole helped Libyan terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate — where no Marines were on guard. The raiders met with such little resistance that, after seizing control of the one-story villa in a mere 15 minutes, they unleashed a second assault on a nearby safe house, officials in the U.S. and Libya said Thursday. Read more: Daily News

Man who ran on field during Santana’s no-hitter fined $5K, gets 100 hours of community service

A die-hard New York Mets fan who ran onto Citi Field during Johan Santana’s no hitter celebration pleaded guilty to day and will have to pay up for his overzealous behavior.Rafael Diaz, 32, was ordered by a Queens judge to hand over $4,000 in civil penalties to the Mets, $1,000 to the city, perform 100 hours of community service and must not visit Citi Field for one year. Read more: NY Post

Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.  Thursday night: Patchy fog after 4am. Otherwise, mostly clear, with a low around 64. South wind 5 to 7 mph becoming calm after midnight.

JFK workers busted in mini liquor theft ring

Eighteen former and current JFK workers were arrested in connection with the theft of more than 100,000 mini liquor bottles at the airport over the last five months, the Queens District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday. They airport employees also stole duty-free items, such as cigarette cartons, perfume and larger bottles of booze. Read more: Queens Courier

U.S. warships headed to Libyan coast as Obama says ‘justice will be done’

The ruthless attack that killed four American diplomats in Libya appears to be a carefully-planned terror strike rather than an uprising of a mob angry over a film that lampooned the Prophet Muhammed. President Obama vowed on Wednesday to bring those responsible to justice – and moved swiftly to hunt down the killers. Read more: Daily News

Police: Elderly woman sexually attacked in Central Park

It was a vicious and shocking attack in the middle of the day, in Central Park. Police say a woman in her 70s, out bird watching, was sexually assaulted, beaten and robbed. Police say they want to speak with a suspect, whom they have a surveillance photo of, about the attack. Read more: NY1

Another protest turns violent outside U.S. Embassy in Cairo

Riot police fired warning shots and tear gas Thursday outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to keep hundreds of protesters away from the building’s perimeter, witnesses said. Six police officers suffered minor injuries during the clashes, said Alla Mahmoud, a spokesman for the Egyptian Interior Ministry. Read more: CNN

PCBs leak in second NYC school

NY1 has learned there has been a second incident of the toxic compound leaking out of a light, this time in Queens. NY1 has learned that on Monday, liquid containing toxic compounds known as PCBs dripped out of a light ballast at IS 204 in Queens during the school day. Read more: NY1

Cops pack Queens courtroom to watch alleged cop shooter John Thomas’ arraignment

Police officers packed a Queens courtroom this morning to watch the arraignment of an accused trigger-happy cop shooter. John F. Thomas was remanded by a Queens judge for shooting Sgt. Craig Bier four times in the legs and in a separate incident where he shot Troy Cox 17 times in the buttocks and legs. Read more: NY Post

Flushing Town Hall exhibit explores 150 years of history

One hundred and fifty years ago, a time capsule filled with newspapers of the day, business cards from local merchants and a history of the once-agricultural community was buried in a cornerstone of Flushing Town Hall. Now, the contents of the capsule are on display in the exhibit “Celebrating Historic Flushing Town Hall 150th Anniversary. Read more: Daily News

Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast:

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 90. North wind around 7 mph becoming east in the afternoon. Friday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. Southeast wind 5 to 7 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Dunningham Triangle Visioning Day

Stop by Dunningham Triangle to share your design ideas with the NYC Parks Department and the 82nd Street Partnership. What do you like about Dunningham Triangle and how can it be made better? Tell them your ideas!

Click here for more info or submit an event of your own

Former Queens Little League coach pleads guilty to sexually abusing minors

A former Little League coach of the year pleaded guilty to sexually abusing players on his team. David Hartshorn, a former coach at the Rochdale Village Little League, was arrested and charged in February with having sexual contact with three boys, ages 13 and 14, at his Rochdale Village home between July 2009 and January 2011. He was also accused of showing child pornography to minors and filming two teens engaged in sex acts. Read more: Queens Courier

Armstrong Drops Fight Against Doping Charges

After more than a decade of outrunning accusations that he had doped during his celebrated cycling career, Lance Armstrong, one of the most well-known and accomplished athletes in history, finally surrendered on Thursday, etching a dark mark on his legacy by ending his fight against charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Read more: NY Times

Mayor Offers Ideas for Why Homeless Numbers Are Up

Asked about a sharp rise in the number of homeless people in New York City’s shelter system, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg suggested Thursday that people were staying in shelters longer in part because the shelters were “much more pleasurable” than they used to be, making people less eager to leave. Read more: NY Times

Strippers look to GOP to ‘make it rain’

Many clubs have taken out ads inviting GOP delegates “to party like a liberal” in a city where the “poles are open all night.” City officials say the convention, expected to draw more than 50,000 visitors, could be Tampa’s biggest party ever. Imagine all those rainmakers. Read more: CNN

Olympic gold medalist Douglas throws out first pitch at Mets game

History-making 16-year-old gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas was on TV with Jay Leno and David Letterman. Sat and chatted with Oprah Winfrey. Met First Lady Michelle Obama. And yesterday she threw out the first pitch at the Mets game. Read more: NY Post

Incumbent Queens Senator’s endorsements are called into question as contentious primary nears

An endorsement controversy has emerged in a contentious Queens primary. The Daily News has learned that a clergy member and several unions that were touted on campaign material as favoring District 10 incumbent state Sen. Shirley Huntley are actually remaining neutral for the Sept. 13 vote. Read more: Daily News

Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 88. West wind 5 to 11 mph becoming east in the afternoon. Thursday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 74. South wind 6 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Cowboys & Aliens at Rockaway Beach

Enjoy films, sand, waves and salty air at the same time in Rockaway Beach. The free movie starts at sundown (approx. 9 p.m.). Click here for more info or submit an event of your own

Prosecutors decline to prosecute cop accused of assaulting a Queens Supreme Court Justice

Prosecutors said Wednesday they will not charge a cop accused of assaulting a Queens Supreme Court Justice during a homeless man’s arrest in Jackson Heights. Justice Thomas Raffaele, 69, says he was hit with a chop to the throat in June by an officer who thought he was part of a rowdy crowd and that a police sergeant then refused to take his complaint. Read more: Daily News

Mets shut Santana down with back inflammationJohan Santana can start contemplating 2013

The Mets left-hander is not expected to pitch again this season, after the team on Wednesday placed him on the disabled list with an inflammation of the lower back. The decision to shut down Santana came after Mets brass received the results of an MRI exam taken on Tuesday. Read more: NY Post

Obama fundraises with help of his NBA friends

President Barack Obama is comparing the presidential contest to the fourth quarter of a basketball game. Obama is fundraising in New York with the help of current and former National Basketball Association stars. He tells a small group of donors gathered at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center that the campaign is like a hoops contest in the final minutes. Read more: NY Post

Explosive firsthand account on raid that killed Osama bin Laden coming from member of Navy SEAL team

A member of the U.S. Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden has written a firsthand account of the operation, triggering more questions about the possible public release of classified information involving the historic assault of the terror leader’s compound in Pakistan. Read more: Daily News

LL Cool J takes down burglar in his LA home

LL Cool J put his “NCIS: Los Angeles” training to good use against a burglar in his L.A. home early Wednesday morning. The 42-year-old rapper turned TV military cop left the would be robber with a broken nose and jaw in what police sources described to the LA Times as a”knock-down, drag-out” fight and detained him for police. Read more: Daily News

Two errors cited as cause for Second Ave. subway explosion

The mid-day explosion along the Second Avenue Subway zone might have been caused by two serious errors by the contractor, the MTA said today. Officials said that the blast appeared to be the result of too much explosives in one area. Read more: NY Post

Year after Irene, Rockaway Beach repairs press on

Efforts to repair some of the damage from Hurricane Irene are still under way nearly a year later, including the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach. NY1’s Roger Clark filed the following report. Workers were out on the Rockaway Beach boardwalk Wednesday repairing a portion damaged almost a year ago, and has some residents wondering why it’s been taking so long. Read more: NY1

Queens’ Year in Review: Top Photos and Stories of 2011

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cuomo Sworn In – Andrew Cuomo took over the state’s top position at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day and was sworn in later that morning.
Snow Much Better – The city was still digging out of the Blizzard of 2010 when another major storm fell on January 11. This time around, the city was ready and the streets were plowed by the next morning.Seminerio Dies – Former Assemblymember Anthony Seminerio passed away on January 6. Seminerio, pleaded guilty in June of 2009 to charges that he took nearly $1 million from hospitals, a school and other entities for actions he undertook as a member of the State Assembly. He allegedly used Marc Consultants – the consulting firm he ran for nearly eight years – to collect payments for actions he took as a state legislator.

Local hero rescues boy – Firefighter Antonio Velez of Engine 320 rescued a 12-year-old boy, navigating with his hands in black smoke, from a blaze that charred a home in Auburndale.

Hunters Point development – The development plan for Hunters Point South – complete with its view of the Manhattan skyline – was unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the Waterfront Crab House in Long Island City on February 9.

Egypt is free – Egyptian flags waved freely and the words “We are free!” and “Mubarak, go to hell!” were chanted in Astoria’s “Little Egypt” on Friday, February 11.

Howard Beach’s Idol – Pia Toscano, a Howard Beach native, wowed audiences throughout the spring as she revealed her talents to the world on TV’s “American Idol.” Pia was voted off with only 9 contestants remaining.

QMA breaks ground – The Queens Museum of Art broke ground on its expansion project that will add 50,000- square-feet of new galleries, classrooms, event spaces, a cafeteria and museum shop.

Four Queens schools ordered closed – The city Panel for Education Policy had a busy workload as it voted to close or phase out 22 city schools – including four in Queens

RKO Keith Theater develops – Developer Patrick Thompson purchased the Flushing landmark for $20 million and plans to restore the historic lobby while building a 17-story tower with stores, 357 rental apartments and a community center.

Hevesi sentenced to four years – Former Comptroller Alan Hevesi was sentenced to up to four years in prison for his role in a pension fund pay-to-play scheme.

Walcott named new chancellor – After former magazine executive Cathie Black stepped down as school chancellor after only three months on the job, Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott took over.

Bin Laden killed – Osama bin Laden, the world’s most infamous wanted man and the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, was gunned down during a firefight that ensued in the raid of his Pakistan hideout by a U.S. Special Operations Navy Seal team on May 1.

O’Neill’s Restaurant destroyed in fire – A five-alarm fire engulfed longtime Maspeth landmark O’Neill’s Restaurant in the early morning hours of Monday, May 2.

Forest Hills Tennis Stadium denied landmark – Though it’s a landmark in the eyes of some residents, the West Side Tennis Stadium was denied further consideration as an individual city landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Weiner resigns – After weeks of denials and refusals to step down, Anthony Weiner announced his resignation from Congress on June 16.

Flushing teen on Jeopardy – Flushing whiz kid Rahul Francis appeared in the July 5 episode of “Jeopardy! Kid’s Week.” The 13-year-old boy wonder finished in second place. He accumulated approximately $20,000.

Gay marriage law signed – After a long engagement and some cold feet, New York finally said “I do.” The state Senate passed Governor Cuomo’s Marriage Equality Act by a 33-29 margin

Queens Earthquake – Queens was shaken by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that truck Virginia – almost 300 miles away – on August 23 at 2 p.m.

Peninsula Hospital rescued – Peninsula Hospital was set to close on September 1, which would have made it the fifth hospital to close in Queens in the past decade.

Grand Station saved – The inclusion of Astoria’s Grand Station Post Office on a list of branches targeted for potential closure by the USPS led to local outrage and numerous rallies and petitions.

Hurricane Irene – Hurricane Irene hit New York City hard, covering an area of 700 miles and lashing the five boroughs with winds upwards of 80 mph.

9/11 10th Anniversary – This September 11 marked the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center that claimed the lives of 2,606 people.

A memorial service and dedication was held at St. Michael’s Cemetery to honor those fallen firefighters, police and Port Authority officers who gave their life on 9/11.

Turner wins Congressional seat – Republican Bob Turner shocked Queens on September 13 by defeating Democrat David Weprin and capturing Congressional District 9.

Barbara Sheehan Convicted – Barbara Sheehan, who was arrested in connection with the shooting death of her husband, retired NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, was acquitted of second degree murder but found guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

Egypt Releases Captive Queens Native – Queens native Ilan Grapel was released from Egypt in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners after being held in Cairo for four months.

Doors shut at Scobee Grill – “We are sorry we have to go. We are very close to a lot of people. We have regulars that are here twice a day, some of them,” said owner Harry Pallas. “All I can do is say goodbye.”

Resorts World Casino Aqueduct Opens – The rejuvenated Aqueduct Racino in South Ozone Park opened its doors and hit the jackpot, pulling in about $15 million in net profits, while gamblers bet almost $178 million during its first 10 days.

Fairway supermarket opens in Queens – located at 242-02 61st Avenue in the Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center’s Lower Level – held its ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, November 16 with politicians, residents and Fairway officials on hand.

Local Scout Meets the President – Moments before meeting President Barack Obama in the nation’s capital earlier this month, Kevin Garcia, a Boy Scout from Richmond Hill, forgot everything he planned to say.

Patricia Dolan killed crossing Hillside Avenue – longtime Community Board 8 member, president of the Queens Civic Congress, Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association and the founder of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy, was struck and killed as she crossed Hillside Avenue on Tuesday, November 15.

Flight 587 remembered 10 years later

Flushing’s Palace Diner closing – The diner, which sits along the Long Island Expressway on the corner of Main Street and Horace Harding Expressway and has been a neighborhood mainstay for 35 years, will close its doors for good on Friday, December 30.







Astoria Post Office saved

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Congressmember Carolyn Maloney Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, District Leader Costa Constantinides and Senator Michael Gianaris (left to right) celebrate saving of Grand Station Post Office from possible closure

Patrons of the Grand Station Post Office have had their wish signed, sealed and delivered.

Following months of apprehension regarding the fate of the post office, the United States Postal Service (USPS) recently announced that Grand Station was removed from a list of branches targeted for potential closure.

Congressmember Carolyn Maloney was joined by Senator Michal Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and other community leaders of western Queens at Grand Station on October 19 for a celebratory gathering to announce the saving of the post office.

“For residents and businesses, Grand Station provides vital services,” said Maloney, who led the meeting. “I thank the Postal Service for hearing our concerns and keeping this important community institution open for business. Above all, I’d like to thank the countless residents and business owners of Astoria who spoke out to save their post office. This is really a victory for them and the entire community.”

This past summer, multiple rallies were held in objection to the USPS’ examination of Grand Station, located at 45-08 30th Avenue in Astoria.

Several community leaders also sent a letter to Post Master General Patrick Donahoe, along with petitions signed by over 1,000 residents protesting the prospective closure of the post office.

“As our neighborhood continues to grow, we cannot afford to lose important services such as those provided by the Grand Station Post Office,” said Gianaris. “I am thrilled we were able to save this community resource, particularly for our seniors who spent their lives making our neighborhood as great as it is today.”

The USPS’ investigation studied numerous qualities at 3,652 branches being targeted nationwide, including foot traffic, the number of customers compared to workers’ wages, proximity to other post offices and mail volume.

Grand Station was among the offices examined due in part to its generating only $560,392 in revenue last year, which fell just short of the USPS threshold of $600,000. Closing Grand Station would have saved the USPS $23,460 per year and forced the post office’s patrons to travel roughly half a mile to the next nearest branch.

“Grand Station is faster and very convenient for me and my family,” said Tiziana Cassella, an Astoria resident who visits Grand Station each week. “Closing it would create longer lines and a lot more headaches for everyone. I think it is ridiculous to close it . . . The government should regard what the community wants and needs. We pay our taxes, so we should keep it.”

Photo Courtesy of Congressmember Carolyn Maloney

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, District Leader Costa Constantinides and Senator Michael Gianaris (left to right) celebrate saving of Grand Station Post Office from possible closure