Walking Eagles

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This is from Bob Sutton who writes one of the Cafe’s favorite blogs.

I just got a great email from Rod, who after a compelling discussion of the differences between good and bad bosses, added “A college friend of mine was a member of the Comanche nation and he had a saying for bullshitters and assholes: he called them Walking Eagles because they were so full of shit that they were too heavy to fly.”

I love that. Better than “all hat, no cattle.” Enjoy the holidays.

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Gas Explosion Levels Amityville House

Amityville Gas Explosion

What was once a two-story house on Meadow Lane in Amityville was leveled by a gas explosion Sunday. (Photo by Paul Mazza / December 28, 2008)

Is this an example of the danger our community will face if a Parks Dept. proposal to install natural compressed gas tanks on Fort Totten is approved?

“An apparent gas explosion leveled a house in Amityville early Sunday evening but the family inside smelled gas and got out safely before the blast, fire officials and neighbors said.”

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/ny-webexplo1229,0,2684610.story

Queens-based combat medic on 2nd Iraq tour killed Christmas Day

How do we thank a hero………………..

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008/12/26/2008-12-26_queensbased_combat_medic_on_2nd_iraq_tou.html

BY RICH SCHAPIRO
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Saturday, December 27th 2008, 12:22 AM

A New York-born trauma doctor who “felt obligated” to use his expertise to treat American soldiers in Iraq was killed in a Christmas Day mortar attack, officials said Friday.

Maj. John Pryor, 42, of Moorestown, N.J., was in his living quarters at the Forward Operating Base Marez near Mosul when the mortar round struck nearby.

“He knew there were American soldiers being injured and some of the doctors didn’t have the training and education he had,” Pryor’s brother, Richard, told the Daily News Friday.

“He felt obligated to contribute. He was a genuine American hero.”

Pryor deployed Dec. 6 for his second tour of duty in Iraq as a combat medic with the Army’s 1st Medical Detachment, based in Fort Totten, Queens.

The father of three called his wife every morning, but on Christmas Day Carmela Pryor received no call, relatives said.

When she turned on the news, she saw there was an attack in Mosul, injuring an American.

“She felt that he’s obviously taking care of him and is busy performing surgery,” Richard Pryor, 41, said. “But she became increasingly concerned when he didn’t call [later in the day].”

The grim news came hours later, devastating Pryor’s wife and the couple’s three children, Danielle, 10, Frankie, 8 and John Jr., 4.

Pryor, born in Mount Vernon, moved to Clifton Park when he was 8.

After graduating from medical school at the State University of New York in Buffalo in 1999, he joined the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where his colleagues considered him a “star.”

“John was a man who truly believed that service to others was his calling,” said Dr. William Schwab, chief of trauma surgery and critical care at the Philadelphia hospital. “Whether it was volunteering at Ground Zero on 9/11 or with the Army, or serving the people of the community, that was what he was about.”

Schwab said Pryor studied Arabic so he could make the injured Iraqi civilians he treated, especially the young victims, feel at ease.

Pryor, the director of the hospital’s trauma program, wrote of his experiences as a surgeon confronting violence in Iraq and inner-city Philadelphia in articles published in The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post.

“As a trauma surgeon, every death I have is painful; every one takes a little out of me,” he wrote in a 2006 article in the Inquirer. “Losing these kids here in Iraq rips a hole through my soul so large that it’s hard for me to continue breathing.

“If I could say something to this Marine’s parents, it would be this: I am so sorry that you have lost your son. We, more than almost everyone else, know he was a true American hero.”

rschapiro@nydailynews.com

With Stephanie Gaskell and News Wire Services

Avella Ranked Best in Queens on Human Rights

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Avella Ranked Best in Queens on Human Rights

By Nathan Duke
Friday, December 26, 2008 1:30 PM EST

Four members of the Queens delegation ranked in the top 10 best among all City Council members on a recently released report card on human rights issues, while three other Council members from the borough were listed in the top 10 worst.

On Dec. 10, Manhattan’s Human Rights Project released its annual human rights report, which analyzed which City Council members proposed the most legislation on environmental issues, health, housing, workers’ rights, democracy and advancing equality.

Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) was ranked third, making him the highest ranked member of the Queens delegation. Other Queens Council members who ranked in the top ten were Hiram Monserrate (D−East Elmhurst) at number six, John Liu (D−Flushing) at eight and David Weprin (D−Hollis) at nine.

Three Queens Council members ranked in the bottom top 10, including Helen Sears (D−Jackson Heights) at number 36, Peter Vallone Jr. (D−Astoria) at 42 and Melinda Katz (D−Forest Hills) at 43.

The two lowest−ranked Council members were James Vacca (D−Bronx) at number 44 and Simcha Felder (D−Brooklyn) at 45.

“New York City has a long history of protecting the human rights of New Yorkers, but it has started to slow down,” said Ejim Dike, director of the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center in Manhattan. “The bread and butter issues that New Yorkers deal with every day are all human rights concerns. Health, food, housing, education, work, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination are just some of the human rights that the New York City government has a duty to respect, protect and advance.”

The study found that the Council has passed legislation during the past year that advanced the human rights of women, youth, immigrants, members of the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, the elderly and people of color.

But the Council scored lower on its record of advancing democracy and protecting workers’ rights, the study found.

The study cited Council members’ votes on term limits as one of its most defining in 2008. The report card gave 29 Council members an F grade for their vote in favor of extending term limits after city residents had voted in two previous elections to keep a two−term limit.

The Human Rights Project is a nonprofit that works to hold city government accountable to human rights laws and standards.

We’ve Got Ben’s

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It’s been reported that Ben’s Deli will be staying at their present location in the Bay Terrace Shopping Center. This should come as good news to many of Ben’s loyal customers who were upset at the loss of a Kosher Deli in the community.

Maybe Ben’s can repay customers for their continued patronage by undertaking some badly needed renovations. They may also want to address concerns that the quality of food being served has deteriorated over the years.

Here at the Café, we wish Ben’s the best of luck and look forward to their being part of Bay Terrace for a long time to come.

Below are photos of the Ben’s Deli in Boca Raton, Florida.

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Natural gas tanks under consideration at Totten. NYC Parks & Recreation has finally devised a plan to totally destroy the surrounding community.

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CNG Explosion - Algeria

Queens Chronicle

A city plan to install compressed natural gas tanks at Fort Totten Park has nearby residents fuming.

“It’s not safe and it’s a potential target for terrorists,” said Warren Schreiber, who has support from two local groups he heads: the Bay Terrace Alliance and the Bay Terrace Co-op Section 1. Schreiber represents 200 units in his co-op and more than 4,000 families in 19 co-ops and condominiums as alliance president. “We support the tram, but are vehemently opposed to the placement of compressed natural gas on the grounds of Fort Totten Park,” he said.

His building is the closest one to the Bayside park. “I would hate to wake up to loud explosions. It’s a bad idea,” Schreiber said.
The idea for a gas tanks storage area at Fort Totten arose after the park received a $262,4000 tram last July. Funded by Borough President Helen Marshall, its purpose is to move visitors around the 10-acre location. But the tram runs on natural gas, and the closest fueling area is at Flushing Meadows Park, several miles away. Plans called for the lead tram car with seating to be unhitched and driven to Flushing Meadows every two to three days when in use. The remaining tram section is a separate gondola with seating that is pulled by the front car.

The vehicle is open air and will only be used in warm weather. Because of mechanical problems, it was not in operation this year. The manufacturer is expected to address the issues and have it fixed for use in the spring.

Apparently, the Parks Department is rethinking its plan to gas up at Flushing Meadows. Trish Bertuccio, Parks spokeswoman, said last week that it and other city agencies are “currently exploring the possibility” of installing a temporary compressed natural gas fueling station at Fort Totten to facilitate the operation of the tram.
The study is in preliminary design, so no specifics are available yet, the spokeswoman said. “The Parks Department has safely operated two fueling sites for more than 15 years: one in Flushing Meadows and another [opened this year] in Central Park.”

Fort Totten Park is a decommissioned Army base that still includes units from the Army Reserve and special city police and Fire Department squads. The fort is also home to the Bayside Historical Society and future headquarters of the Center for the Women of New York. Geraldine Spinella, president of the historical group, is not so concerned about possible safety issues, but would like the Parks Department to go more green. “I don’t think it’s any more dangerous than a gasoline storage tank and would probably be placed in a secure area, but the ideal would be for the tram to be electric,” Spinella said. She faulted the city for not specifying a more environmentally friendly vehicle when it put out bids for the tram. Her suggestion would be to go green “since it is the wave of the future and it’s more environmentally sound. That would be the best choice,” Spinella added.

Schreiber, however, believes adding tanks to the park is a risky proposition. “I have heard from a very reliable source that the FDNY does not want the tanks at Fort Totten,” he said, adding he could not speak for the Fire Department. Fire officials could not be reached for comment. Schreiber said the tanks in Flushing Meadows are not in a sensitive area as they would be at Fort Totten near the FDNY and Army and closer to a residential area. “The city should not jeopardize the surrounding community of Bayside,” he said.

When Schreiber was informed that the tanks might be installed on a temporary basis, he was even more incensed. “It’s scarier they are calling for temporary usage,” he said.

Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) laughed at the gas tank proposal. “It’s making a bad situation worse,” Avella said. He promised to look into the situation before it becomes a reality.

Booze Plans for Marina Concerns Baysiders

“Boating Under The Influence” – Isn’t that a wonderful concept? Another instance of Parks & Recreation at their best.

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Booze plans for marina concerns Baysiders
by Liz Rhoades, Managing Editor
11/13/2008
Plans for a new concessionaire at the Bayside Marina who could possibly sell alcoholic beverages have met with opposition from the community.
The city’s Parks Department issued a Request for Proposals recently that is due for submission on Nov. 26. The RFP states that alcoholic beverages may be served with the appropriate state license. Drinks would only be served in the immediate area and would have to be consumed on the premises.
Currently, only beer is sold at the marina’s snack bar. That concession has been run for 15 years by MDM Marina Corp., which is interested in keeping the business.
“Adding liquor there is an accident waiting to happen,” said Henry Euler, a member of Community Board 11’s Parks Committee.
Frank Skala, another C.B. 11 member, who attended a walk-through with Euler and people interested in gaining the concession last week, agreed. “Alcohol and boats don’t mix,” Skala said. “It’s not a good combination.”
C.B. 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld noted that although alcoholic beverages are mentioned in the RFP, the city has no intention of permitting liquor there. “I spoke to Alexander Han [of the Parks Department] and he understands the concerns,” she said.
Seinfeld added that potential operators make their own proposals and Parks looks them over and picks the best one and then tells exactly what it wants.
“The RFP opens up a variety of options,” she said. “But people are concerned about liquor. It’s not great with boats.”
The city’s proposal also calls for a major renovation to the snack bar, repairs the docks and making the marina into, “a first-class destination that draws visitors from all over the area.”
The marina has 70 parking slots and the city is looking for solutions aimed at easing parking congestion, although no expansion of the area will be allowed. In addition, the RFP seeks proposals that includes a storage area for kayaks and canoes.
Although the RFP says the snack bar is in need of major renovation, there are no suggestions that it will expand or become a destination restaurant. The lack of parking would make that impossible, according to Matty Castellano, manager of the current snack bar.
He confirmed that the business partners will reapply for the concession and plan to remodel the snack bar, get new Energy Star refrigeration and remove the counter. The facility currently has seating for 30.
“We won’t serve liquor,” Castellano added. “We serve beer by the cup and monitor it.”
The concessionaire is also responsible for maintaining the 120 moorings for boats and operating a launch to the anchored vessels.
The current operators also do some community service. Each year they work with the Bayside Anglers to provide a fishing derby for youngsters; hold a fishing school in August for adults and children; and with Alley Pond Environment Center, provide a launch for a bay tour once a year.
The concession contract ends Dec. 31. Since this is the off season, Parks is expected to make its decision by February before the season begins in March.
“This is the most beautiful spot in Queens,” Castellano said. “And for me, this has been the most fun to work here.”