Friday, July 31, 2009

DC 37 and Tenants PAC Endorse Frank Gulluscio for City Council

Labor Union and Tenants Organization Show Their Support for Frank Gulluscio’s candidacy for New York City Council


Last week DC 37 the largest municipal employee union endorsed Frank Gulluscio for City Council. DC 37 has a membership of 125,000 members and 50,000 retirees throughout the city. Their employees make up a broad spectrum of workers from nursing and sanitation to education workers. “DC 37 truly represents a cross section of real middle class New Yorker’s that we need to protect in these rough economic times.” Said Frank Gulluscio “They are leaders in the fight to protect the hard working residents of New York City.”

DC 37 is proud to support Frank Gulluscio because of his proven record in support of the issues important to the men and women we represent who work so hard to serve New York," said DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts. "We firmly believe that Mr. Gulluscio will best represent the interests of the labor community of our city and our state. Our endorsement brings with it a pledge to work diligently on his behalf with our powerful, sophisticated field operations to get out the vote. We have a proven record of successfully supporting our endorsed candidates".

I am very proud and excited to receive their endorsement. DC 37 is one of the largest unions and understands the growing problems facing our city and knows that we need strong experienced leadership going forward. I am looking forward to working with them to protect the hard working middle class residents of our community. In these trying times it is more important than ever to look at unique solutions to protect our middle class. We cannot rely on the same tired formula of regressive taxes, arduous fines and increased tolls. We need new ideas and new plans to protect the hard working residents of New York City; and I look forward to working with DC 37 to make those ideas a reality.”, announced Frank Gulluscio.

Additionally, the Gulluscio Campaign is proud to announce the endorsement of Tenants PAC, one of the leaders in the fight for affordable housing in New York City.

Too often Middle Class residents are forced out of New York City because of sky-rocketing rents they can no longer afford. I look forward to working with Tenants PAC to make sure that affordable housing remains something available to all New York City residents.” Said Frank Gulluscio

Michael McKee from Tenants PAC agreed and issued the following statement Tenants PAC is pleased to support Frank Gulluscio, a strong pro-tenant candidate. We look forward to working with him on the City Council to win stronger rent laws.



Rep Anthony Weiner on The Rachel Maddow Show - Why Private Insurers At All?

Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, 7-30-2009

Rep. Anthony Weiner, (D) New York

"Weiner Challenges the Republicans to Put-Up or Shut-Up on Healthcare":

We don't need no stinking private insurance companies when our health and lives are sold for corporate profits to the wealthy as is the case today.

SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE FOR ALL NOW!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mom Comes to Defense of Aide Who Lost Her Job Over Comments About Obama on Facebook by Ben Chapman and Celeste Katz - NY Daily News

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Michal Landor

The mom of the city aide who lost her job after making incendiary comments about President Obama and race on Facebook Wednesday said her kids were raised to respect everyone.

"We're not racist, and that's it," said Lee Landor's mom, Michal.

"She's young and maybe a little naive. What she said was something everyone was talking about, and it just got out of hand."

Lee Landor, 24, quit as deputy press secretary to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer this week after word got out about her scathing comments regarding the arrest of Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Obama's reaction to it.

"O-dumb-a, the situation 'got out of hand' because Gates is a RACIST, not because the officer was DOING HIS JOB," Landor wrote on her page late Friday morning. She also said she was sick of seeing whites portrayed as "evil racists."

Landor has defended herself, saying she is not prejudiced, that she voted for Obama and that her comments were taken out of context.

Michal Landor noted she herself was born in Morocco, where her family lived until persecution pushed the family to move to Israel.

"They boycotted my father's business and he went bankrupt, and they tried to kill my brothers," she said.

The mother said she raised her kids "to accept everybody and anybody, and you don't judge by race or color."

As for the Facebook comments, "She didn't think someone would take it out of there and make a big thing. You get fired for something you say," Michal Landor said.

Stringer says he considers the matter closed.

"People have the right to express themselves, but I also have an office to run," he said, calling Landor's postings "inappropriate."

"We have a lot of work to do, [and] I think we acted swiftly and dealt with the issue immediately," he said.

ckatz@nydailynews.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Baldeo Skips Over the Learning Curve by Lisa Fogarty - Queens Chronicle

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Some political hopefuls never quite grasp the nuances involved in staging a campaign for public office. They refrain from elaborating on specific community issues, sidestep around hot-button topics, or fail to anticipate the inevitable onslaught of criticism and background drills common within the not-always simpatico sphere of electioneering.

Albert Baldeo is a member of the other camp, the one whose members are prepared for the hard blows, if only because he still has the callouses obtained from running for office three times within the last five years. The immigration lawyer and long-time community advocate is one of six candidates running for the 38th District Assembly seat, vacated a month ago by Anthony Seminerio. No stranger to politics, Baldeo, who is the president of the United Communities Alliance, ran for the 28th District City Council seat in 2005, but was defeated by Tom White.

The take-no-prisoners race, which will go down in the books as one marred by an exhaustive series of scandals, affected Baldeo, as well. One of his opponents, pediatrician Robby Mahadeo, accused him of pointing a gun at the doctor and his wife. Baldeo denied the charges and countered with accusations that Mahadeo stalked and harassed him, which his opponent denied. The charges against Baldeo were ultimately dropped and the Board of Elections removed Mahadeo from the ballot.

“Politics can be vicious —people try to assassinate your character,” Baldeo reflected. “I am not a professional politican. I am for the people. I’m an advocate of people, a father, a neighbor. I’m doing this for the common good of the community.”

The negative experience didn’t keep Baldeo from running twice for the 15th state Senate District against Republican incumbent Serphin Maltese. In 2006, Maltese defeated Baldeo by a sliver of a fraction and in 2008, Baldeo stepped down to help then-Councilman Joe Addabbo Jr. defeat Maltese.

Yet, even before the 2009 race heats up, City Hall News reported Tuesday that some Queens Democrats oppose the election of Baldeo and are calling for Gov. David Paterson to hold a special election in September, which would give party leaders the power to choose a candidate. Some say an earlier election would also prevent Baldeo from running because he has not met the State Constitution’s one-year residency requirement, an allegation he denies.

According to legal documents the candidate sent to the Chronicle, Baldeo has resided at the same Richmond Hill residence since 2006. He said he does not own another residence and that the accusations are political in nature — an attempt to call for a special election.

“In a special election, you take it out of the hands of voters and put it in the hands of party district leaders,” he said.

Baldeo said he is most interested in focusing on the issues in his community. He has been working on helping Glendale get its own ZIP code, which he calls “a matter of life and death” because so many emergency response vehicles get lost and end up in Flushing or Ridgewood. The ZIP code would also ensure residents’ tax returns and important documents are not lost in the mail, he said.

One neighborhood over, Baldeo has been trying to preserve the Ridgewood Reservoir.

“There are so many species of birds and animals there. It’s a jewel in our district,” he said. “It could be made into a tourist attraction and we should preserve it, not turn it into baseball fields.”

In Woodhaven, the candidate cites several infrastructure problems that he said must be addressed, including the possibly carcinogenic substance called creosote that continues to drip down from the J train elevated platform and the preservation and maintenance of bus routes.

Several schools in Richmond Hill, which possesses some of the most crowded elementary, middle and high schools in the borough, are depriving students of the American dream by forcing them to learn in off-site annexes, he said. Baldeo said he would work to get more funding, computers, certified teachers, libraries, after-school programs and arts and science classes in local schools.

“We shouldn’t deprive our children of the tools they need to be successful,” he said.

Other topics of concern include making healthcare affordable for all residents, creating more jobs in the district and helping homeowners who have either lost their homes to foreclosure or are in danger of losing them. He has fought to protect Mitchell-Lama affordable housing and views this as one way to help tenants avoid supporting “greedy landlords” who create illegal and dangerous apartments in the district.

“We have to educate people that it is illegal and unsafe for them to live there,” he said. “They’re being exploited.”

Overall, Baldeo said he would make sure more funding goes to the district. “This district has been neglected and people have become smug,” he said. “We have to answer the call.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Track Bidder's Buzz Word is "Community" by Lisa Fogarty - Queens Chronicle

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For one afternoon last week, Aqueduct Race Track was transformed into Shangri-La, complete with waterfalls, shrubs, trees, a bocce court and a three-dimensional glass atrium that let sunlight spill down and scatter across a grand foyer.

Instead of finding a Houlihan’s or Applebee’s in this complex, hungry patrons could delve into hot pastrami sandwiches at Ben’s Kosher Deli and follow them up with cups of coconut ice from the Lemon Ice King of Corona.

These were just some of the arresting images put forward by Aqueduct Entertainment Group at its presentation last Thursday at the Queens Chamber of Commerce. AEG is one of seven bidders vying to create an intricate complex of video lottery terminals, hotels, restaurants, banquet halls and entertainment centers at the track.

As the first bidder to request a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce, AEG put the buzz word “profit” on the back burner to focus on a different one, “community:” a term that would resonate with hundreds of residents more concerned with traffic and their neighborhood’s quality of life than capital gain.

AEG’s proposed complex includes a community meeting space that will be available to all Queens civic groups, Aqueduct Racing Museum and scores of restaurants and retail stores, including many Queens vendors. Its board, chaired by attorney Richard Mays, a former Arkansas Supreme Court Justice, stressed the importance of working with local unions to employ workers from the community and designating employment slots for local residents. In an effort to address a collective community anxiety about Aqueduct’s heavily lit parking lot, AEG proposes using box lighting, which prevents the ascension of light pollution from bright bulbs. It would also like to insert an enclosed elevated walkway from the A train to the complex, which would feature 4,500 VLT’s, a 300-room hotel, 1,200-seat stadium buffet, 2,500-seat entertainment center, banquet and conference hall, 2,400-car garage and, of course, its showpiece, a LEED-certified sustainable casino and track.

“It’s a marvelous building, it’s so huge,” Mays said. “You could walk in it for 15 to 20 minutes and never get through it.”

In May, AEG executives released the names of their partners, a team they called “Best for New York.” Levine Builders, a Queens-based company that has renovated and rehabilitated thousands of residential units and millions of square feet of commercial space, is on their team, as is The Darman Group and Empowerment Development Corporation, the latter of which was created by the Rev. Floyd Flake, a former Queens congressman and pastor of the Greater Allen Cathedral in Jamaica. Flake has spearheaded the construction of more than 1,300 units of housing, commerce and institutional projects in Queens.

“I think what they’re doing that’s great is they’ve brought local people on their team,” said Jack Friedman, executive vice president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “You can build confidence if they’re going to bring local people on board. It’s unusual for a group to come to us so early in the process and we were really happy with that.”

Other AEG partners include GreenStar Services Corporation, which helped to construct Citi Field and Time Warner Center; the Navegante Group, which oversaw the construction, design and operation of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas; Siemens, an electronics and electrical engineering giant; Turner Construction, one of the largest construction management companies in the U.S., which built station stairs for the New York City Subway system in 1904; PS&S, which has provided architectural, engineering and environmental consulting services at Atlantic City Hilton, Caesars Atlantic City and more; and CleanPower, experts in renewable energy solutions.

Green construction is a major focus of AEG’s proposal. The company imagines a sustainable rain forest atrium inside the complex, alongside a three-story waterfall, thicket of foliage and trees and recycled flooring materials.

The company said it is still in the process of addressing one of the community’s number one concerns: traffic. AEG said it is
performing traffic studies and deciding how it can best mitigate the problem. AEG representatives will meet with Community Board 10 and other civic groups as traffic studies develop, board members said, and will not close the community out of the development process.

If awarded the bid, AEG’s project would consist of several phases. AEG estimates it could build and operate 1,200 VLT machines by April 2010 and complete the installation of 4,500 VLT’s by Oct. 31, 2010. AEG said it could complete the entire project by September 2012.

Other bidders include SL Green Realty Corp., Mohegan Sun, Penn National Gaming, Peebles Corp., which is working with Delaware North; and Development Associates, a subsidiary of Wynn Resorts Ltd., which held a private meeting with the Queens Chamber of Commerce Tuesday.

For more information about AEG’s proposal, visit Aqueductentertainment.com.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Senator Joe Addabbo to Host Job Fair at The Shops at Atlas Park on August 21st - 10am - 3pm

Click on image to enlarge...

What: Job Fair
Where: The Shops at Atlas Park
(Cooper Avenue at 80th Street, Glendale, NY)
When: Friday, August 21st
Time: 10am - 3pm

Free to all...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Queens Locals Trash Waste Plan, Say Congestion and Odor Will Damage Maspeth Ave. by Sindhu Sundar - NY Daily News

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Maspeth community activist Christina Wilkinson objects to a proposal that would bring 65 trucks daily to the Maspeth railyard. - Pokress for News

At least 65 tractor-trailers loaded with garbage could rumble into Maspeth every day under a new waste removal plan proposed to start in 2011.

But as far as area residents are concerned, the plan stinks.

Waste Management Inc. is seeking a permit to convert its existing truck-based transfer station on Review Ave. in Long Island City to a rail-based system. Under the plan, trucks would haul trash 1-1/2-miles from Review Ave. to a railyard at Rust St. and Maspeth Ave.

That would eliminate 52 round-trips a day of tractor-trailers moving through Queens, said George McGrath, spokesman for Waste Management of New York.

The move is in line with the state Department of Environmental Conservation's goals to reduce environmental impact from truck and vehicle emissions.

But locals said it would hurt those living near the railyard.

"We're all for the overall decrease in the number of trucks," said Christina Wilkinson, a local activist who organized a rally last Saturday on Rust St. to oppose the plan. "But this will be concentrating truck traffic along certain roads in our community, and this is unfair."

Maspeth residents and small-business owners are already overburdened with air pollution and congestion from truck traffic along Maspeth Ave., protesters said.

"There will surely be more truck trips than Waste Management is reporting," said Corey Bearak, president of the Queens Civic Congress, an umbrella group for civic associations.

Area merchants also fear the garbage trips will drive away customers.

"I'm not sure how they're going to contain the odor," said Nick Diamantis, owner of the Clinton Diner on Maspeth Ave. "And I don't know what people would feel about eating next to a place with all this waste."

Community activists proposed alternatives such as building additional rail spurs at the current Review Ave. facility to eliminate the need to truck waste to the Maspeth railyard. The garbage could also be barged out along Newtown Creek, adjacent to the facility, activists said.

Community Board 5 urged Waste Management last week to implement these alternatives. It also sent the recommendations to the DEC and the city Sanitation Department.

"It's a perfect example of how a community has come up with an amendment to a bad plan," said City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who attended the rally. "And I will support them in whatever way they need me to."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

SUV Carjacked with Child in Backseat - Eyewitness News with Jamie Roth - 7online.com

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An infant took the ride of his young life when carjacker stole his father's SUV, left idling outside a store in the Jamaica section of Queens.

Police say the boy's father left his 1995 Chevy Blazer running when he went into a store at 92nd Street and Jamaica Avenue just before midnight.

He left his son, an 18-month-old named Micholas, in the back seat.

As he entered the store, the father said he turned around and spotted someone in his car.

He yelled, "Bro, my son is in the car! My son is in the car!" But the suspect took off.

The father called police, who quickly responded and searched the area.

The carjacker, apparently spotting the boy in the back, dropped off the child in front of a nearby house on 104th Street.

The boy, left with a bottle, was reportedly found by residents. They called police, who reunited the child with his father.

The boy appeared unharmed. Both were taken to Jamaica Medical Center for evaluation.

The suspect fled in the SUV. No arrests were immediately made.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

McLaughlin Reports to Prison Housing Madoff by Stephen Stirling - Queens Campaigner

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Bernard Madoff just got some company from home.

Disgraced former state Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing) was admitted to federal prison in Butner, N.C., Tuesday to begin serving a 10-year sentence for bilking millions from his constituents.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed McLaughlin was admitted Tuesday morning to Butner Federal Correctional Complex, where McLaughlin is listed as prisoner 59431-054. The facility, which houses more than 4,500 inmates, is also the new home of fellow Queens native Madoff, who began serving a 150-year sentence earlier this month.

Unlike Madoff, however, the 57-year-old McLaughlin could easily see release in his lifetime. Federal guidelines require that he serve 85 percent of his 10-year sentence, which would make him eligible for release in early 2018.

Thugs Crash Cheyenne Jeudy's $50G Sweet 16 Party in Queens by William J. Gorta - New York Post

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TROUBLE: Cheyenne Jeudy was having the time of her life at her Sweet 16 party in Queens -- until goons from a neighboring party invaded the soiree and allegedly groped her friends and beat up her cousin.


It was supposed to be a pretty cheerleader's dream Sweet 16 party.

But the $50,000 celebration turned sour when thugs attending a wedding at the same Queens catering hall crashed the affair, molested teenage girls and walloped the guest of honor's cousin, a new lawsuit says.

Cheyenne Jeudy spent months preparing for her blowout bash, which included the teen performing three choreographed dance routines.

Her mom, Denise, a city cop, spent two years preparing for the party, attended by relatives from as far away as Trinidad and Canada.

But according to a lawsuit filed by Denise Jeudy, the festivities turned ugly because Russo's on the Bay, a Howard Beach catering hall, had no security in place to prevent guests at another party from molesting young girls at the Sweet 16 and beating up her nephew outside.

The mayhem ruined what had been a perfect night for Cheyenne, a pretty cheerleader at Lawrence HS on Long Island who aspires to join her mother in the NYPD.

"They [the party crashers] were drunk. They were feeling my friends up while they were dancing, pulling them down on the floor with liquor in their hands," Cheyenne said. "I was embarrassed. I was pissed off."

The party was supposed to be every girl's fantasy -- and Denise Jeudy and her transit-worker husband, Frank, went all out trying to make the day special for her only daughter.

She said she spent thousands of dollars on choreography, costumes for Cheyenne and the other dancers -- including traditional Carnival outfits worn by revelers in her native Trinidad.

She booked the bridal suite at Russo's on the Bay, what she thought was a "classy place," after attending several affairs there.

She also splurged on limousines, tuxedos for her three sons and an ivory gown with a train for Cheyenne's grand entrance.

"She's the only daughter I have," Denise Jeudy said. "This is our princess."

Cheyenne wound up in tears by the end of the night after one of the wedding guests was arrested for allegedly stomping her cousin, Anton Lowe, who had gone outside for a smoke after chasing some of the interlopers from the Sweet 16.

The four men -- Neville Laibhen, Einstein Laibhen, Steve Perrin and Andy Delbrun, all of Brooklyn -- were arrested on assault and weapons charges after the July 2008 dust-up and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct at arraignment.

The quartet and Russo's on the Bay were all named as defendants in the lawsuit, which was filed in Queens Supreme Court earlier this month and demands several million dollars from each defendant.

Perrin said he was just part of the fight and had nothing to do with the party crashing.

The others did not return calls for comment.

Powerful Union 32BJ Endorses Dems www.qgazette.com Queens Gazette

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After previously announcing the endorsements of eight incumbent city councilmembers from Queens who are seeking re-election, the politically powerful Service Employees International Union, Local 32 BJ has also endorsed the four Democrats running for "open" council seats.

They are Assemblymember Mark Weprin (District 23, Hollis), who's running to replace his brother David, a candidate for city comptroller; Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Long Island City), seeking to replace Eric Gioia, who's running for Public Advocate; S.J. Jung (District 20, Flushing), who's running to replace John Liu, also running for city comptroller, and Frank Gulluscio, (District 32, Howard Beach), challenging Councilmember Eric Ulrich, the only Republican in the council.

Local 32 BJ had previously also endorsed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Republican/Independence Party candidate for mayor, and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, a Democrat.

Local 32 BJ, the largest property service union in the country has 70,000 members in New York City, 17,600 of them in Queens. As part of its political program the union intends to mobilize thousands of members to turn out Queens voters in support of these candidates, according to a release announcing the endorsements.

Athletic Fields May Replace Defunct Reservoir by Alice Lok - The Queens Courier

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The decommissioned Ridgewood Reservoir-turned-nature preserve lying on the border of Queens and Brooklyn may be torn down if plans to install athletic fields are put into motion.

In a statement from the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, it said the agency has held several public meetings, listening sessions, conducted surveys, met with elected officials and community groups to “get a broad sense of what users are interested in seeing at this park. All methods of input will help the Parks Department as we move forward in creating draft designs.”

As of now, contractors are in the process of developing three distinct master plans that take into account what was learned during the meetings. The three plans are stated to be released in October, and all of the plans are likely to include improvements to lighting and safety.


A chief concern of the Parks Department is installing more active recreational fields for baseball and soccer which would mean the preserve would be at least partially destroyed. The Parks Department has done surveys, which have shown a desire for more ball fields.

However, local protesters like David Quintana said they don’t want the natural habitat to be touched and instead of spending money to level the basins and install artificial turf, it would make more sense to fix up and maintain the baseball fields that already exist across the street in Highland Park.

Quintana said if the city were to fix up those fields then the necessity of tearing down all or part of the basin, “would be a moot point.”

In addition, local residents are casting doubt over the fairness of the survey. Quintana said he had obtained a copy and the questions were vague and some of the participants had never even visited the parks.

In another twist, the Parks Department announced a cut in the Ridgewood Reservoir budget plan from $48.8 million to $19.8 million in June.

In a study contracted by the Parks Department, the findings said “no less than 10 plant and animal species listed as Threatened, Endangered or Special Concern in New York State were found at the site.” In addition, the survey said 173 plant species and 127 bird species were observed at the Ridgewood Reservoir.

Quintana, who is focusing on educating the public about the importance of the preserve, said plans to alter the current state of the reservoir “makes absolutely no sense to me and many others in the community.”

Ridgewood Reservoir was active in 1858 to supply water to Brooklyn. The reservoir was then used as a back-up in 1959, after Brooklyn merged into New York City. Eventually, it was decommissioned and drained in 1989.

After it was decommissioned, Quintana said “the city basically neglected the property and Mother Nature has taken it back.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

DC 37 Announces Endorsements in ‘09 Races - Queens Campaigner

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The city’s largest municipal employee union announced its picks last Thursday for this year’s City Council races.

DC 37, which has more than 125,000 members in various fields including nursing, sanitation and education workers, predominantly selected the Council’s Queens incumbents for their election choices.

The union went against the status quo in the race for Democrat James Sanders’ 31st Council District seat and the race Republican Eric Ulrich’s seat in the 32nd Council District.

Marq Claxton, who will be challenging Sanders in the Democratic primary in September, got the nod by the union. Frank Gulluscio, a Democrat who ran against Ulrich in the February special election for the seat but was removed from the ballot by a petition challenge, was also endorsed by DC 37.

For the elections for the seats left vacated by current Council members, the union endorsed Democrat Jerry Iannece for Democratic Councilman Tony Avella’s seat in the 19th District, Democrat S.J. Jung for Democratic Councilman John Liu’s seat in the 20th District, state Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck) for the 23rd District seat vacated by his brother David Weprin, Democrat Jimmy van Bramer for the District 26 seat vacated by Councilman Eric Gioia and former Queens Deputy Borough President Karen Koslowitz (D) for her run for the 29th Council District seat that will be vacated by Melinda Katz (D).

Green Group Sees Red Over Ulrich Voting Record by Nick Hirshon - NY Daily News

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ENVIRONMENTAL advocates slammed the only Queens Republican in the City Council for votes against green initiatives amid a mostly glowing review of borough leaders released last week.

Newbie GOP Councilman Eric Ulrich of Rockaway Beach, who won a special election in February, tied for the lowest mark in the city - 17 out of 100 - in a scorecard graded by the League of Conservation Voters.

His low score - based on what the league calls votes against "pro-environment bills" and lack of sponsorship on proposed legislation it supports - was exceeded by all 13 Queens Democrats.

"People talk the talk about the environment - fewer walk the walk," said League President Marcia Bystryn.

She denied Ulrich's mark was party-driven, though the only other Republicans in the Council, Staten Islanders James Oddo and Vincent Ignizio, both also scored 17.

Ulrich, a member of the Council's environmental protection committee, said he was "very disappointed" with the report.

"I've already been portrayed in a false light," said Ulrich, stressing bills he backed on preserving wetlands and remediating tainted soil. "I reject their findings."

The report targets Ulrich's stances on legislation ranging from energy auditing to mandatory bike storage at buildings.

It doesn't count votes he missed before being elected.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), who had the second-worst rating among Queens Council members, with 22 points, bashed the league for a grading system that valued only select bills.

"I really think they don't know anything about me," said Crowley, adding she drives a hybrid Mercury Mariner and sponsored Earth Day events at local parks.

The borough's highest rankings went to Democratic councilmen Eric Gioia of Sunnyside and Thomas White of South Ozone Park, who both notched perfect 100s.

Gioia trumpeted his efforts to make New York "a greener, more sustainable city," adding that future generations deserve "a cleaner, healthier environment."

White, a confessed Weather Channel junkie who often watches for alerts on air and water quality, said he was caught off guard by the honor.

"I wasn't trying to keep a report card," he said with a laugh, "but it's nice to know you got a good grade on something."

Special Election May Be Called To Thwart Baldeo - City Hall News

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With money and Sampson on his side, return candidate forces Queens Democrats to consider Plan B

Even as they fight over who should take over Anthony Seminerio’s seat, most of those involved seemed to have reached consensus on who they do not want to see replace the Assemblyman who resigned before pleading guilty to fraud.

“I think one thing everyone can agree on is that nobody wants Al Baldeo,” said one Queens Democrat. “It’s hard to see a scenario where he would be the party’s choice.”

Albert Baldeo, a lawyer and Guyanese immigrant, has already run for Council and the State Senate—almost unseating Republican Serf Maltese in a massive surprise in 2006, and then bowing out of a primary against Joseph Addabbo for the seat in 2008. All three races had more than enough headline fodder.

Baldeo feels his latest campaign is starting off strong, with over $146,000 in the bank and nearly four times the necessary number of petition signatures.

And he already has landed a big endorsement, claiming Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, who helped convince Baldeo to drop his primary big against Addabbo last August. Selvena Brooks, a Sampson spokesperson, confirmed the endorsement.

Baldeo said he plans to roll out more endorsements soon. This is all part of his strength as a candidate, he explained.

“None of the candidates have ever run a race,” Baldeo said of his competitors. “That separates me from them because of name recognition.”

Several other Democratic candidates have also announced their candidacies to represent the diverse district, which contains Latino, Guyanese and Italian communities.

Lourdes Ventura, Senate President Malcolm Smith’s (D-Queens) counsel for Latino and immigrant affairs, had been planning to petition for the seat but did not file paperwork. Farouk Samaroo, an Iraq war vet, also announced. District 24 Community Education Council president Nick Comaianni and Community Board 5 member Michael Miller have filed petitions, which have already been challenged.

On the Republican side, Donna Marie Catalbiano, director of the Forest Park Senior Citizen Center, has already gotten the GOP endorsement, with the party feeling confident in its chances for a pick-up.

For now, most of Queens political players are biding their time rather than getting behind one candidates.

But support may be starting to coalesce around Miller, who has worked in the community as a salesperson with Coldwell Banker Kueber Realty. Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, whose district overlaps with the Assembly district, has endorsed Miller, which might be taken as a signal of where her cousin, Queens Democratic Chair Rep. Joseph Crowley, is headed.

“The guy to watch out for there is Mike Miller,” predicted a Queens political insider not yet affiliated with any of the candidates. “Miller’s the guy who has probably the strongest support from within the district of anybody.”
Miller has also drawn the support of the Queens Conservative Party, guaranteeing him at least one ballot line in the election.

“He espoused some or most of the philosophy of the Conservative Party, and he’s been active in the community for a long time in many civic organizations and the Gowanus organization,” said Queens Conservative Party Chairman Tom Long, who also interviewed Comainni and Catalbiano for the endorsement.

Currently, the seat is slated to go up for election along with the city races on Sept. 15 and Nov. 3. But things might get complicated: Gov. David Paterson has the power not to wait for those elections and act on the vacancy, calling a special election to take place sometime before the November elections. If that happens, there is speculation that Baldeo may not meet the State Constitution’s one-year residency requirement and be disqualified from running until the seat comes up again in next year’s election cycle.

A special election may occur if the party organizations, unhappy with the mix of candidates that survive petitioning, ask Paterson to call for one. TA special election might take place on the same day as the regular elections in November, but would operate under a different set of rules that tosses the petitions and gives each party's county committee the power to choose a candidate for the general election. The governor could make that decision at any time ahead of the elections.

Or, in the words of one Queens politician considering all the various scenarios running up against each other, “It’s in a state of controlled flux.”

Press Release - Frank Gulluscio Files Over 5,500 Signatures for City Council Race...

Gulluscio, showing overwhelming support in the community, files signatures for New York City Council Race


The Gulluscio campaign is pleased to announce that we have filed over 5,500 signatures, over six times what is needed with the Board of Elections to appear on the ballot for the 32nd City Council seat. Volunteers from all over the district devoted numerous days and countless hours to ensure that Frank would have a place on the ballot come November.

"I want to thank all of the dedicated volunteers who sacrificed their free time to join me as we work to take back this council seat. I have been overwhelmed by the support that I have found so far in the community and I am eager to begin the campaign. I want to be a voice for the entire district.", declared city council candidate Frank Gulluscio

For the last few months the Gulluscio campaign has been engaged in meeting voters and residents across the district, from Woodhaven to the Rockaways. Everywhere the message from voters is the same; frustration with the city’s assault on the Middle Class.

“People are tired of a budget being balanced on their backs through higher taxes, increased fees and arduous tolls. The middle class is under attack and residents know that they need experienced and veteran leadership in these troubled times.”, said Frank Gulluscio. “I am happy to have such varied and diverse support as I make my bid to be this area’s next City Councilman. For too long the Middle Class has disproportionately been hit by sales tax increases, rising tolls and increased fines. This has been followed by cuts in services and public resources. The challenge of continuing to provide quality services in these troubled times is a task where my skills and experience can be the most effective. We need to make sure that the next generation has access to the same great schools, the same great parks and health care that does not break the bank. I will fight for all the residents of my district to ensure that this area remains a place people not only want to be able to raise a family but can.”

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rock Hackshaw on THE PEREZ NOTES on July 22nd, 2009 at 6PM

On Wednesday, July 22nd at 6PM, Roberto Perez will be interviewing City Council candidate Rock Hackshaw at 6PM.

To listen to the interview go to
www.lagcc.cuny.edu/webradio . A bio of Rock below so that you can all get to know him a little better.

THE PEREZ NOTES airs every Wednesday from 6-8PM so spread the news and tell a friend.
Roberto Perez


ABOUT ROCK

“The Rock” was christened HERMON EMANUEL JEROME HACKSHAW when he was born on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. He came to New York in 1973 and has lived here continuously ever since. He became a citizen of the USA in 1996, and now holds dual citizenship. His father --John M. Hackshaw-- was a well known politician, writer, community activist, trade unionist and diplomat, who spent ten years in New York, heading up the Trinidad and Tobago Tourist Board. He later spent another year in Canada, as the Labor Attache in the T&T High Commissioner’s Office.

In his own right, Rock is as accomplished as his dad. He attained an academic scholarship at the tender age of ten and attended Queens Royal College. He later taught History at the Progressive Educational Institute and was also employed at the Ministry of Works before migrating.

In New York, Rock graduated from the prestigious ivy-league institution Columbia University (BA/Political Science/1985). He then attained a Masters Degree from Fordham University in 1987 (Public Communication). He has also studied Microeconomics and Macroeconomics at Hunter College, and did post-graduate studies in Education, at Brooklyn College.

He is a licensed Social Studies high school teacher, and has lectured at various universities and institutions of higher learning, including: The College of New Rochelle, the Manhattan Institute of Management and also within New York City’s University System (CUNY). He has lectured to graduate students at Brooklyn College’s Center for Worker Education; lectured on communication theory at the Bronx Community College; and taught Reading to foreign students at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

He is a lifelong political activist who unsuccessfully ran for the N.Y. State Assembly in 1998. He has served as a political consultant/adviser to various candidates and elected officials, and once headed up a community development organization in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Amongst the many other hats he has worn are coach (chess and basketball), writer, reporter, education consultant, entrepreneur, businessman, journalist, radio and television announcer, community organizer and political analyst. He has held membership in many civic, sports, cultural and social organizations; and has served on many public and private boards. He has played chess, scrabble and backgammon at the professional level/tournament circuit, and once represented Trinidad and Tobago at chess as a young man. He is a generous, humorous, loving father, who writes poetry as a hobby. He thinks that politics is “the only game in town”.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Seven Vie for Seminerio Assembly Seat by Tonia N. Cimino - The Queens Courier

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There could be seven hats in the ring for the open seat in the State Assembly’s 38th District.

Albert Baldeo

As of Tuesday, July 7, there were seven hopefuls vying for the position vacated by disgraced Assemblymember Anthony Seminerio, who formally resigned on Monday, June 22; two days later he pleaded guilty in a Manhattan federal courtroom to taking illicit payments. The state Board of Elections (BOE)certified that the seat was vacant that day.

Mike Miller

Unless Governor David Paterson decides to call for a special, non-partisan election to fill the seat, a successor will be elected on the regular November ballot.

Nick Comaianni

As reported in The Courier Sun, running, as of last week, were: attorney Albert Baldeo, who considers himself the front- runner for the Democratic nod; Nick Comaianni, 41, also a Democrat and a member of Community Board 9; Paul Gagliardotto, 23, who entered the race via an email to the media on Tuesday night, June 30; Democrat Michael Miller, endorsed by The Queens Conservative Party; and Republican Donna Marie Caltabiano, who received the GOP endorsement.


Lourdes Ventura

Lourdes Ventura, who is currently the Counsel for Latino and Immigrant Affairs for State Senator Malcolm Smith, told The Courier Sun that she is “strongly considering” a run, and has submitted her paperwork to the Queens Board of Elections (BOE).

The Richmond Hill resident, who hopes to get a Democratic endorsement, also said that she is “putting together a campaign committee to explore further” and that she is “in the process of raising money.”

An assistant attorney general and former Queens prosecutor, Ventura, who was recognized by The Courier last year as a “Rising Star,” said, “I’ve been in government for a while.”

Farouk Samaroo

In a press release to the media on Monday, July 6, Farouk Samaroo also announced, “I am running for the Assembly.” This new addition to the race is a soldier who served in Afghanistan and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for “military merit,” as well as six other decorations.

The “Friends of Samaroo” will seek the Democratic Party nomination, according to the press release. They are also getting petitions.

Donna Caltabiano

A Richmond Hill resident, Samaroo said, “Our assemblymember resigned in disgrace, the State Legislature is failing us, and our country needs the service of committed young men and women to lead at all levels of government. I promise to serve this district well and with honor.”

Before his Army service, Samaroo served as a Community Liaison in the New York State Assembly, and on the boards of local non-profits.

According to the BOE, as of this April, there were 32,282 Democrats and only 9,328 Republicans registered to vote in the district. As a result, any Democrat needs 500 valid petition signatures to get on the ballot; any Republican would need only 467.

Paul Gagliardotto

The deadline to file with the BOE is July 16.

Mayor's Gowanus Canal Cleanup Plan Unrealistic by Daniel Bush - Downtown Star

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The city is relying on paying for a large part of its proposed Gowanus Canal cleanup with Congressional funding that the Star has learned is not available now or in the foreseeable future.

As an alternative to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund cleanup, the Bloomberg Administration has proposed a cleanup plan to be carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would be partly funded by a Congressional appropriation awarded through the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

City officials have said their plan would rely on up to, or potentially more than, $100 million in WRDA funding, and would only work if Congress appropriates the funds for the canal.

But an investigation into WRDA guidelines, and interviews with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez - whose district includes the canal and who has led efforts to plan for its cleaning since 2002 - and with the Army Corps (USACE), shows that a cleanup of the Gowanus Canal has not been authorized for any Congressional funding and is not likely to receive any for the next several years, if not longer.

If this is true, it puts into question the legitimacy of a city plan that Velazquez criticized as infeasible.

"The Gowanus Canal has never been included in WRDA and this is the vehicle the city is proposing to use," Velazquez said. "For the city to say that their plan relies on money that the federal government won't be able to provide is a disservice to the community."

In order for the Gowanus Canal to receive WRDA funding to help pay for a cleanup, as the city is suggesting, a specific project for the canal must first be authorized in a WRDA bill, Velazquez explained.

This is unlikely to happen anytime soon, Velazquez said, because WRDA already has a backlog of over 1,000 authorized projects with an estimated cost of $61 billion waiting for the necessary funding with which to break ground.

"The authorizing committee [in charge of WRDA projects] does not like to include new projects because there's already so many waiting in line," said Velazquez.

Considering that WRDA receives roughly $2 billion from Congress each year for USACE projects, Velazquez said it would obviously take "a very long time" for the already approved projects to be completed before new ones can begin. She added that it remains unclear when Congress might pass another WRDA bill. They are typically considered every two years, but in practice are passed on a rough average of once every four years.

Despite this, however, city officials, who were unavailable for comment on this story, are hoping to receive funding for an Army Corps cleanup within two years, a plan Velazquez said was wholly unrealistic.

"They don't know what they're talking about," she said of city officials who developed the alternative proposal.

The Water Resources Development Act was first signed into law in 1974. Since then, Congress has passed nine new WRDA bills, each authorizing appropriations to be made by the federal government for a new set of projects around the country.

After a six-year drought, Congress passed the most recent WRDA bill in 2007, after overriding, for the first time, a veto by former President George Bush. In a close reading of that bill (HR 1495), the Gowanus Canal does not appear among hundreds of projects listed for authorization.

However, the bill does include approximately $19 million for the continuation of an environmental remediation study of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary (HRE), encompassing the ports of New York and New Jersey, that was first approved by Congress in 1999 and which itself included a feasibility study of the Gowanus Canal.

Mark Lulka, USACE's Gowanus Canal project manager, said the corps began that $5 million study in 2002 and have roughly 18 months left of work. (So far, Lulka said, USACE and the city's Department of Environment Protection have spent a combined $3.8 million on the study).

Lulka said while the HRE project in the 2007 WRDA bill does authorize a continued feasibility study for the Gowanus, he agreed with Velazquez that for the city's plan to work the canal would need a new authorization afor the actual cleanup project itself, as well as an appropriation for additional funding.

"Right now there is not money," for a WRDA-sponsored Army Corps cleanup, Lulka said. He said the corps has temporarily slowed its canal investigation operations as it waits to see what government agencies assume control of the cleanup process.

"The corps wants to see it get cleaned up," said Lulka. "How it happens is outside our purview."

Velazquez said compared to the city's plan, an EPA-led Superfund cleanup appears to be the best option at this point.

"The more research we do," Velazquez said, "the more convinced I am that the best course of action is a Superfund designation."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Baldeo Shows Early Strength in Race for 38th Assembly District | The West Indian News

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Democrat Albert Baldeo today announced two filings – his petition signatures and his campaign finances – which both demonstrate that he is in a very strong position in his campaign for the vacant 38th Assembly district. Baldeo filed over 1800 signatures with the Board of Elections this week, nearly four times the required number, and his campaign finance filings later this week will show that he already has $167,000 cash on hand for the race.

“I’m honored and humbled by the support my campaign in receiving from the community,” Baldeo said. “Voters are looking for new representation that will go to Albany and finally get the legislature working for the people.”
Albert Baldeo is the only candidate in the race who has any electoral history in the district; in his 2006 Senate race Baldeo won the 38th AD by a double digit margin against then-incumbent Serf Maltese. Baldeo’s strong showing set the stage for Senator Joe Addabo’s win over Maltese in 2008.

“When I set out to run for Senate three years ago, it was because I wanted to be a part of the change that Albany so desperately needs,” explained Baldeo. “Last year, I ultimately decided to bow out of a rematch and support Joe Addabbo because it was important that Democrats unified around a single candidate. Now we have a chance to continue making that change happen, and based on our strong showing in our petitioning and door to door outreach, the voters are ready for it too.”

The 38th AD includes the neighborhoods of Ridgewood, Glendale, Forest Park, Woodhaven, Ozone Park and Richmond Hill in Queens. The seat is currently vacant due to the resignation of Tony Seminerio. Under state election law, the primary and the general elections will be held as part of the overall elections on September 15th and November 3rd of this year.

Albert Baldeo is an attorney who lives in Ozone Park, Queens. In addition to his work supporting Democratic candidates, he has been an active civic and community leader, advocating changes and fighting for issues that affect the entire district, providing extensive free legal clinics, aggressive new citizen and voter registration drives and community services on a pro-bono basis.




In Queens, Nation’s Only High School Cricket League Thrives by Regina Galea - The Columbia Journalist

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When the spring sports season began last year at John Adams High School in Ozone Park, Queens, Thakur Singh, then a junior, was planning to join the baseball team. Singh, who had lived in Guyana and Antigua until the age of eight, already played in two local cricket leagues and wanted to branch out.

Then one day Alex Navarrete, one of John Adams High’s coaches, stopped Singh in the hallway and told him about the cricket team being formed at the school. “He told me, ‘You’re going to be my captain,’ ” Singh recalled.

The John Adams Spartans were one of the first 14 teams to participate in the Public School Athletic League’s (PSAL) 2008 varsity cricket program, the only one of its kind in the nation. The PSAL, which organizes competitive sports in the New York public school system, just completed its second full cricket season with 23 teams made up of approximately 400 students, mostly from immigrant families, from across New York City.

The Spartans qualified for the league finals two years in row. With 227 runs and 19 wickets, Singh won this year’s Windgate Award as the top high school cricket player in the city. The 18-year-old said the experience of leading his high school team gave him new motivation. “It changed my lifestyle a lot to have responsibility.”

Cricket has a long, but largely forgotten, history in the United States. American colonials played cricket before it fully caught on in England, and George Washington is said to have played the game with his troops during the Revolutionary War.

In the early 18th century, the British introduced cricket to their imperial colonies on the Indian subcontinent and in the West Indies, and the sport has had a strong following there ever since. But by the mid-19th century in the United States, baseball had eclipsed the popularity of cricket, which had no professional league and was seen as an elitist pastime of the leisure class.

Since 1965, the United States has had a national team that competes, with mixed success, against Commonwealth countries like India and Australia, where cricket is part of the national identity. But at the local level in New York, the sport enjoys a growing revival as transplants from South Asia and the Caribbean make their homes in the U.S.

Far from elitist, cricket in New York exists almost exclusively in the working-class neighborhoods of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island. John Adams High School is located in one such neighborhood. Nearly a third of the high school’s more than 3,000 students identify as ethnic Asians, and Ozone Park is sometimes known as “Little Guyana” for its thriving West Indian community.

At least seven youth and adult cricket leagues operate in the New York metropolitan area, and the Department of Parks and Recreation just opened a new cricket field at Canarsie Park in Brooklyn for a total of 14 within the city limits.

The inclusion of cricket in the public schools represents a major leap forward in the mainstreaming of the sport, according to John L. Aaron, Secretary of the USA Cricket Association.

“Cricket doesn’t enjoy the same benefits as other sports,” Aaron said, citing the lack of adequate cricket fields outside of New York. “That is changing and certainly PSAL has been a driving force in that process.”

The varsity cricket program in New York is the invention of Lorna Austin, a native of Barbados and a PSAL administrator. Austin pushed for a cricket league when she noticed South Asian students were not participating much in team sports like basketball, baseball and football.

The project stalled at first due to lack of funding but, when it finally launched in 2008, schools across New York City signed on. According to the PSAL’s assistant commissioner for cricket, Ricky Kissoon, several schools have petitioned for entrance to the league next year. Any public school is eligible to compete as long as enough students are interested in joining the team.

Kissoon emigrated from Guyana as a teenager 20 years ago and understands first-hand how sports can embody cultural identity. At the time of his arrival, cricket had relatively little presence in New York. He looked for opportunities to play cricket but had to settle for volleyball at Adlai Stevenson High School in the Bronx.

“If you notice, most of the players are from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Guyana,” Kissoon said. “Who knows if they would have played any sports in high school? It’s a cultural thing. Most kids—their parents or uncles played some form of cricket.”

The writer Joseph O’Neill explored this tradition in his novel Netherland, which features the Staten Island Cricket Club in post-9/11 New York. In a New York Times profile, O’Neill, who was born in Ireland and grew up in the Netherlands, called the game of cricket his “athletic mother tongue,” saying that to take up a new sport would be akin to learning a foreign language.

This connection between sport, country and family is true for Randy Nurse, batsman for John Adams High. The high school senior remembers playing cricket in an organized league in his village in Guyana from the age of 10. He moved to the United States two years later.

Nurse’s mother Shirley is herself an avid cricket fan, and she encouraged her son’s interest in the game. "I got all the cricket books, and Randy read them, since he was a very little boy in Guyana,” she said, seated in the bleachers at the final match of the season.

John Adams’ coach Alex Navarrete, originally from Uruguay, heads the swimming and soccer programs, but had no background in cricket before he was put in charge of the team. The league plays a faster-paced form of cricket called Twenty20, which can be completed in under four hours instead of five days, the length of a full test match.

But, even Twenty20 is a complex game, and the coach had much to learn in a world of overs, googlies and silly mid-offs. Navarrete said he taught the team about discipline and cooperation and the team taught him about cricket. “When I had a question,” Navarrete said, “they would tell me. They mentored me.”

They mentored well. John Adams’ Spartans were undefeated until the final match on June 14, at which Newcomers’ High School Lions of Long Island City won the championship, 111 to 105.

Coach Navarrete and John Adams’ principal Grace Zwillenberg were both quick to point out the role of sports in students’ overall performance in school. But cricket has a long way to go before it becomes a bridge to higher education, like basketball, football or even fencing.

Players of more mainstream sports are eligible for athletic scholarships and are courted by college programs. Cricket, however, is not represented in the NCAA, and only one college—Haverford in Pennsylvania— currently offers the sport at a varsity level. Most other college cricketers play in clubs like the ones Thakur Singh belonged to before PSAL opened its league.

Singh said he has no immediate plans to attend college. He said he’ll wait to make that decision with his parents. “That’s what makes me happy,” Singh said, “to bring pride to my family.”



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Eighty Turtles Cause Delays at JFK Runways by Bill Sanderson - New York Post

Are turtles next on Bloombergs "hit list"..?
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Eighty turtles refused to get the shell out of the way of Kennedy Airport runway traffic yesterday, causing a 1½-hour snarl at one of JFK's busiest times.

The dopey dawdlers, which are in the heart of their spawning season, were finally rounded up by a squad of Port Authority animal-control experts -- but not before two were crushed by a departing flight.

Turtles on the tarmac are "not unprecedented, but it doesn't happen a lot," said PA spokesman John Kelly.

The first few slowpokes emerged from Jamaica Bay at around 8:30 a.m., when they were spotted by the pilot of a departing American Eagle flight who radioed that three turtles were on the southern end of a runway surrounded on both sides by water.

Controllers then held a departing American Airlines jet until the wildlife-control workers arrived.

At 8:44 a.m., the runway was completely shut down for 12 minutes as workers cleared it of turtles.

But the procession picked right up just a minute after the runway reopened, with another departing pilot reporting more turtles making the slow march toward the tarmac.

In all, about a dozen pilots called the control tower about the spaced invaders, said FAA spokesman Jim Peters.

Controllers scrambled to switch traffic to different runways while airport workers removed a total of 78 turtles -- along with the corpses of two that were crushed by a departing flight.

The rescued turtles were released into the wild.

From late May to mid-July, female terrapins crawl out of their normal habitat to lay eggs on higher ground.

The PA's Kelly reported that the turtles were 2 or 3 pounds each.

Ilene Eberly, a researcher at the Wetlands Institute of Stone Harbor, NJ, said female diamondback terrapins average about 7 inches long, while males are about 4 inches.

Turtle-plane "collisions" are rare: Just five were reported at JFK from 2000 through 2008.

Flight Delays as JFK Airport Runway Taken Over by Turtles!By Simone Weichselbaum - NY Daily News

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78 diamondback terrapins, like the one above, delayed flights for over an hour at JFK Wednesday. Drake/Saving Florida

Dozens of randy turtles crawled onto a JFK airport runway Wednesday, delaying flights for over an hour, authorities said.

Port Authority workers rushed to the shell-covered runway about 8:30 a.m. and scooped up 78 diamondback terrapins that had left the waters of Jamaica Bay scouting a spot to breed, said Port Authority spokesman John Kelly.

Pilots from various airlines shared the news with stuck passengers who had to wait up to 90 minutes for their flights to take off so the turtles could land in a safe place.

"Everybody had a good attitude considering it was turtles going off to hatch more turtles," Kelly said.

The animals were piled onto the back of a Port Authority pickup truck and were moved "back into Jamaica Bay," Kelly said.

The City Concealed: North Brother Island Bird Sanctuary - THIRTEEN Specials - PBS Video

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The City Concealed: North Brother Island Bird Sanctuary (6 minutes)


Once a quarantine hospital to separate infected individuals from the general public, today North Brother Island is a protected heron habitat. Access to the island is extremely limited due to the sensitivity of the bird-breeding environment.

• Visit the The City Concealed: North Brother Island Bird Sanctuary webpage

Tour Galore for 1,000-Plus Bicyclists by John Lauinger - NY Daily News

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WHEN ONLINE registration opened for 1,000 free slots in this year's Tour de Queens bike ride, cyclists gobbled them all up in less than 12 hours.

The registration rush for the second annual event, to be held Sunday, blew away the numbers for last year's inaugural spin, in which 600 cyclists rode and 500 people booked slots online.

"It's the hottest ticket in town," said Wiley Norvell of the tour's promoter, Transportation Alternatives. The nonprofit group encourages cycling, walking and mass transit as a more healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around the city.

An additional 500 spots will be available for walk-ins on the morning of the tour, which will start and end at the Queens Museum of Art in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The event is intended to help accelerate the growth of the borough's biking community, so the jump in demand was welcome news for organizers.

"That's a great sign," said Eddie Hernandez, 35, a graduate student from Astoria, who chairs the Queens committee for Transportation Alternatives.

He noted the increase validates other stats that show bicycling is on the rise in Queens.

Between 2000 and 2007, the number of bicyclists crossing the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan each day more than doubled, from 546 to 1,292, city figures show.

The tour will begin at 9:30 a.m., with same-day registration starting at 8 a.m.

The inaugural ride focused on western Queens. This year's 19-mile course will explore eastern Queens.

The ride will pass through Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, St. Albans, Hollis and Fresh Meadows before turning back for the park. A pit stop will be provided at York College in Jamaica.

Riders on the tour - who will be given green T-shirts - will also cruise down Queens Blvd., the eastbound service lanes of which will be temporarily closed to traffic between 108th St. and Hillside Ave.

Cycling advocates have argued that installing a protected bike lane on Queens Blvd. - a treacherous but convenient east-west thoroughfare - is key to increasing bicycling in Queens.

Having a green wave of cyclists pedaling down Queens Blvd. - the so-called Boulevard of Death - is intended to make a symbolic statement, organizers said.

"It highlights a change that we think needs to take place on Queens' most iconic street - greening it, making it safer to bike and walk on - and bringing it into the 21st century," Norvell said.