New Borough President Helen Marhsall speaks at a breast cancer walk in Kew Gardens.
The Tribune “went on the road” for a day with the new Borough President Helen Marshall… A Steinway Street bridal shop went bust, leaving dozens of brides in tatters…Plans moved forward for a new elementary school at the Queens College site… Neither rain or snow – or a wildcat bus strike – kept Queensites from getting where they had to go…
Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced plans to march in Queens at its all-inclusive St. Patrick’s Day Parade…Glendale’s Michael Voudouris headed for Salt Lake City to compete in the Olympics…Krispy Kreme began baking donuts in Astoria....
Queens Firefighter George Johnson was one of three of New York’s Bravest depicted on a postage stamp unveiled in March. The three firefighters were caught on camera raising a flag in the middle of Ground Zero…The Trib learned that plans for a new skating rink at Flushing Meadows Corona Park were years away…
Minnesota-born Dr. James Muyskens was named the new president of Queens College…The city’s former top cop, Whitestone resident Ben Ward, died…Residents packed the streets of Howard Beach to bid farewell to their beloved “Johnny” after John Gotti died on June 10 in a federal lockup….
College Point residents said they were going to resort to baseball bats to keep their streets safe…West Nile virus returned to Queens, in a College Point mosquito pool... The Queens bus strike came to a screeching halt on Aug. 7…Two men were arrested in the 1999 murder of Quinnepac College student Samiya Haqiqai, who disappeared on her way home to Flushing in November 1999…
A makeshift memorial was erected across the Jamaica Street from where hip-hop pioneer Jam Master Jay was killed.
Former City Councilmember Julia Harrison had moved campaign funds into her personal account…An Egyptian native was nabbed at JFK Airport for selling fake IDs to two of the Sept. 11 terrorists… City officials declared that PS 65 in Ozone Park was safe from contaminants and that the school would be open to students in September, despite a finding of toxic water underneath the building….
Wendy’s massacre defendant John Taylor grabbed headlines when his attorney told prospective jurors, “He did it,” admitting Taylor was guilty…Reporter Shams Tarek uncovered the story of a display at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning that would create a media frenzy – and public outrage. “Falling” depicted people jumping from the World Trade Center. The exhibit lasted about one week before it was removed….
Former Queens City Councilmember Sheldon Leffler vowed to fight charges that he violated campaign finance laws during his 2001 bid for Queens Borough President… Investigators continued to probe the Sept. 30 derailment of the AirTrain, as the lone victim, Kevin DeBourgh Jr., was laid to rest.
There seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the embattled RKO Keith’s Theatre as development plans were announced for the site…Ownership of the largest weekly newspaper in Queens changed hands as the Queens Tribune was acquired by an investment group headed by its publisher for 24 years. Michael Schenkler, and Congressman Gary Ackerman….
Jurors sentenced John Taylor to death for his role in the Wendy’s massacre, making him the first Queens man to head to death row since the death penalty was reinstated in 1995….
Queens bid farewell to Jason Mizell, aka Jam Master Jay, the hip-hop pioneer who was murdered at a Jamaica recording studio…
Shams, who led the student newspaper at Pace University before joining the staff of the Tribune, has moved to the other side, and is the press officer for New York State Sen. John Sabini.
The captain of this swift boat, Michael Schenkler, has asked this unapolagetic veteran to say a few words about how serving here has affected his life. My 18-month tour at the Tribune hasn’t provoked any partisan attacks by conservative political groups, put my integrity in question by bloggers or caused my bid to become U.S. President in 2004 to fail (it failed for other reasons, thank you). But being a Tribbie did lay some important foundations for a later journey to the ‘other side’ that would immediately prove symbiotic: as press secretary for one of the very public figures often covered in these pages.
I was hired in the summer of 2002 by Tribune Managing Editor Tamara Hartman and PRESS of Southeast Queens Managing Editor Stephen McGuire – both working elsewhere now – to be the primary reporter for the PRESS, which is basically like the Tribune but the beat is mainly Southeast Queens and you get to write about a lot of church events and jerk chicken.
Don’t confuse levity for disrespect, by the way. I wouldn’t have traded – and once actually turned down an offer to do so – the Southeast beat for any other in the borough.
In a very short amount of time – over the course of more than a year and sometimes during a single day – reporting at the PRESS put me in the most varied situations in the most varied settings.
Being a general assignment reporter made the job delightfully unpredictable and exciting. I walked the projects and talked to hustlers, then worked the boardrooms and pressed directors. I reviewed restaurants and concerts, books and plays. I followed the trail of murderers and robbers, mosquitoes and floods. I chronicled events large and small, public and private: the construction of the AirTrain and Mayor Bloomberg’s new Department of Education, the blackout of 2003, a book donation to the Laurelton Library, a Hollis soldier’s return from Iraq. I covered groundbreakings and closings, fund-raisers and funerals, suffering and joy. I covered, in a word, life.
What this diversity of experience has done for my job at State Sen. John D. Sabini’s office is prepare me for a lot of what our constituents’ concerns are. Thanks to the Trib, I know the meaning of the foreign-language phrase: “Before a 501(c)3 can build a Pre-K facility it may have to respond to an RFP by the DOE and file a ULURP application with the DCP.” I also learned a little of what it’s like to be on public assistance with no health insurance, no food to eat and no place to sleep. When constituents come to Sen. Sabini’s office looking for help with problems, I have a good idea of where they’re coming from and how to start helping them.
And as a past reporter myself, I know a lot about what my colleagues in the whole news game – whether it’s Azi from the Trib or anyone else – go through as they live the daily cycle of assignment: coffee-report-cigarette-type-coffee-deadline-cigarette-file-beer-realize you missed something-whiskey (note to reader: the various drugs so affectionately described here are hypothetical examples and in no way represent my, Azi’s or any other particular individual’s habits, that I can clearly recollect).
Mike, I don’t know what kind of diet you’re on, or what you’re feeding the Trib, but you both look great for 35. Keep up the great work.