Throughout 2009, Queens has been the site of some of the biggest and most important news stories in the city, state and even the country. Whether it be the outbreak of the H1N1 virus, a foiled terror plot in Flushing or political scandals and triumphs, The Courier has covered all of the top stories and newsmakers both in the print edition and on its award-winning web site, qns.com
With all of the important and memorable stories, The Courier is asking you, our readers, to help choose who you think should be its “Person of the Year” for 2009.
We have nominated five people who have made headlines in Queens throughout 2009 and have posted a poll on our web site where you can vote on who you think should be the “Person of the Year.” The person who receives the most votes will be the subject of a featured article in our January 7 issue recapping their past year and looking ahead to 2010.
Jorge Munoz – A CNN Heroes Award finalist, who garnered national and international attention for his work bringing meals to day laborers in Jackson Heights. Munoz, a Queens bus driver, buys, cooks and delivers food to more than 100 day laborers on a Jackson Heights corner every night.
Rachel Guzy – A Queens teenager who was working as a camp counselor sprang into action when a bus full of campers started rolling out of control after the bus driver suffered a heart attack. The quick-thinking teen who at the time didn’t even have her driver’s license, quickly leapt out of her seat and put on the emergency break preventing a potential tragedy.
John Liu – The two-term Queens City Councilmember made history in November becoming the first Asian-American elected to a citywide office in New York when voters overwhelmingly selected him as City Comptroller. Liu handily defeated Republican Joe Mendola in the general election after winning a runoff for the Democratic primary in September against Brooklyn Councilmember David Yassky.
Mary Pappas – The St. Francis Preparatory High School nurse was the first person to spot the H1N1 or swine flu virus when a rash of youngsters came down with flu-like symptoms at the Queens school. Pappas’ alertness and professionalism helped ensure the safety of all of the St. Francis Prep students and also allowed the city and country to realize the danger of the virus and prepare prevention and treatment.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg – The Mayor of New York City won a historic third term by defeating Democratic challenger Bill Thompson in a closer-then expected November election. Queens voters helped put Bloomberg over the top, and he has vowed to do a number of things during his fourth term that would benefit Queens residents.