Brooklyn Boro

Good Morning, Brooklyn: Wednesday, June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff

NEW ACTING US ATTORNEY: The US Department of Justice has appointed Jacquelyn M. Kasulis as Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, as per the Vacancies Reform Act. Sworn in Monday, June 21 by Chief Judge Margo K. Brodie, United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of New York, Ms. Kasulis succeeds Mark J. Lesko, who will soon be appointed Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. Since March 2021, Ms. Kasulis has served as the Chief Assistant United States Attorney, second-in-command of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and responsible for overseeing the Criminal, Civil, Administrative and Appeals Divisions and the day-to-day operations of the Office, including the Office’s COVID-19 response.

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GARCIA PREDICTS DELAY OF ELECTION RESULTS: As New Yorkers experienced voting by ranked choice for the first time on Primary Day, Tuesday, June 22, as well as in the early voting that preceded Tuesday’s election, at least one of the candidates warned that the results would not be ready by Election night. The Garcia for NYC Mayor campaign estimates that, based on all polling in the Democratic Mayoral Primary, it will be nearly impossible for any candidate to receive over 50% of the vote on Tuesday night — which means there will be no declared winner until the Ranked Choice Votes are counted. Moreover, the deadline for mail-in ballots is June 29, and after the grace period for voters to correct their errors on these, the Board of Elections won’t be counting them until July 12.

DAILY TOP BROOKLYN NEWS
News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

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THIS WASN’T ABSENTEE VOTING. OR WAS IT?: A candidate for NY City Council was so eager to explain Ranked Choice voting to his neighbors that he sent letters addressed to out-of-state voters. One such letter made it into the mailbox of a family in North Carolina who had been registered voters in Brooklyn before relocating. One wonders how far backlogged the Board of Elections mailing list updates must be. Or perhaps the politician is also marketing the virtues of relocating to Brooklyn. 

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BAN FURTHER POST OFFICE CUTS: New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday co-led a coalition of 21 attorneys general and two cities in calling on the Postal Regulatory Commission to reject Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s proposal to cut services at the United States Postal Service (USPS). The officials assert that the cuts would delay delivery of essential goods like medications, checks, public assistance, ballots and other time-sensitive documents to 96 percent of US ZIP codes. The attorney generals’ coalition issued a statement of position to the Postal Regulatory Commission — an independent federal agency that provides transparency and accountability of the USPS’ operations — urging the Postal Service to focus its attention on correcting the mistakes of the previous year, not implementing new changes that would further degrade service. 

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NY COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATES: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday, June 22 updated New Yorkers on the state’s progress combating COVID-19. Among the statistics: test results reported: 55,329; of these a total of 260 results are positive, representing less than half a percent of the tests administered. Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours – 44,566. Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose: 56.8%; percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series: 51.0% “As New York remains focused on rebuilding and revitalizing our economy for a post-pandemic world, ensuring we continue to vaccinate as many people as possible remains the key to defeating this virus once and for all,” Governor Cuomo said.

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EMERGE FROM PANDEMIC FINANCIAL CRISIS: The Brooklyn Bar Association will host a free webinar on financial fitness and economic growth tomorrow, Wednesday, June 23, at 6:30 p.m. where members and other financial experts will discuss ways for people to emerge from the COVID pandemic with a bright economic future. Topics in the program, which is open to all members of Brooklyn and New York Bar Association members, include consumer income-to-debt ratios—FICO scores, annual percentage rates for loans and savings accounts, and the various classes of bankruptcy, and building generational wealth through home ownership. Webinar moderator and panelists are Anthony Vaughn, Jr., Esq, the second vice president of the BBA; Christina Massalay, vice president for Credit Suisse, Joseph Lempkin, Esq., of Stark & Stark, Tony Jao, regional manager for Investors Bank, and Dr. Rahsaan Harris, CEO of Citizens Committee for NYC.

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CONDITIONAL APPROVAL OF GOWANUS REZONING? During its monthly board meeting on Thursday, June 24, Community Board 6 will vote on the motion passed at last week’s Landmarks/Land Use meeting, conditionally approving the Gowanus rezoning. The Board particularly emphasizes its demand that the City of New York fully fund the capital needs of local public housing. The City’s firm commitment on such housing is a prerequisite before Community Board 6 can support the Rezoning. Following approval, the next step would be for Borough President Eric Adams to review the Gowanus Rezoning proposal, on June 30.

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“ONE CARIBBEAN, ONE PEOPLE, ONE VOICE”: NY State Assembly Member Jaime Williams (D-District 59/Flatlands) is collaborating with State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud and other elected colleagues to commemorate “Caribbean Heritage Month”.  The event, titled “One Caribbean, One People, One Voice,” and taking place this Saturday, June 26 from 2-5 p.m. will recognize and celebrate the achievements, contributions, history and culture of the Caribbean islands. The event, which will observe COVID-precaution social distancing, is held at South Shore High Educational Campus Football Field, 6565 Flatland Ave.

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TEEN ENSEMBLE LOTTERY APPLICATIONS: A new format to the Brooklyn Children’s Theatre Teen Ensemble will mean more youths can participate in the program. BCT has announced that admission has changed from being audition-based to lottery-based, so that more teens can experience being in a production. Participants in Teen Ensemble, which is open to grades 8-12, will perform a pre-written musical by Lindsay Hinojosa and Dionne McClain-Freeney. The lottery application deadline is July 31; visit the BCT website for more details.

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PACKER STUDENT MARRIES MATH AND ART: Madeleine Farr, a high school student at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, proved that math is more than just numbers when she recently won an honorable mention, in the “Steven H. Strogatz Prize for Math Communication” award presented to select high school students worldwide by the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath). The only math museum in North America and located in New York City, MoMath, awards the Strogatz prize for creating projects that uniquely incorporate math in social media, art, literature, videos and performance. Madeleine’s project included an art submission titled “A 3D Valerie Thomas, But Not How You’d Think” which highlights Ms. Thomas’ contribution to the world of math. Madeleine will accept her award in a virtual ceremony on Sunday, June 27 at noon.

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DIVERSITY, EQUITY EXPRESSED AS FRANCISCAN VALUES: St. Francis College has tapped Jeanne Arnold, Ed.D., as its first permanent Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer (CDEIO), effective July 1. This effort affirms the College’s SFC Forward strategic initiative that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusivity in all aspects of collegiate life, that upholds Franciscan values and traditions, and that incorporates a refreshed academic curricula offering increased flexibility for students. As part of this initiative, a new, purpose-built campus is slated to open in September 2022.

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FREE PHONES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS: The Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City have teamed with T-Mobile US, Inc (NASDAQ: TMUS) to provide survivors of domestic and gender-based violence with free mobile devices. A global leader in consumer mobile and wireless technology, T-Mobile is providing New York City 1,000 mobile devices in-kind valued at approximately $600,000 and is also offering survivors access to discounted mobile network plans. ENDGBV will begin to distribute the mobile devices to survivors through its five borough Family Justice Centers and community-based service provider network this month.

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ADS PROMOTE GOV. CUOMO’S COVID RELIEF PROGRAMS: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo wants the public to know financial relief from the COVID-19 pandemic is available. To this end, he has launched two new ads introducing rent relief and small business relief programs totaling $3.8 billion to help New Yorkers recover. The ads, part of the “Reimagine, Rebuild, Renew” campaign that Cuomo launched last month, and running through July, promote the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, the COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program; the Restaurant Resiliency Program; the New York City Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit; the New York State Biodefense Commercialization Fund and the New York Forward Loan Fund. The ads will air on multiple platforms, including broadcast TV, Spanish-language stations, streaming services and online. 

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BELLAMY ENDORSED GARCIA FOR MAYOR: As NYC awaits the results of Tuesday’s primary election, another milestone is celebrated: the first woman elected to citywide office in NYC has endorsed another woman for mayor. Former NYC City Council President Carol Bellamy, who in 1978 became the first woman elected to that position and also to citywide office, has endorsed Kathryn Garcia, currently the leading female candidate in the race. Said Garcia of the endorsement, “Electing a woman Mayor won’t just make history, it will fundamentally change how this city runs, because when men write the rules, women are left out. As a lifelong public servant, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get the job done.”

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CATHOLIC DIOCESE SURVEYED CANDIDATES ON ISSUES: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn created and sent a questionnaire to New York City mayoral candidates who appeared in the televised debates to be printed in The Tablet diocesan newspaper and its website. The questionnaire surveyed the candidates on issues that concern 1.5 million Catholics in the diocese, and that range from affordable housing, homelessness, immigration, fair treatment of Catholic education, and thwarting recent spikes in violent crime. DiMarzio said that the issues are not “just for the benefit of the Church, as a religious group, but for the services we do as well.”

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PRACTICAL MINISTRY TO BROOKLYN’S HOMELESS As part of the Safe Summer 2021 campaign, the GodSquad partnered with other community organizations and elected leaders to host A Day of Action: Caring For Our Community last week. Their mission: addressing the needs of homeless and displaced Brooklynites, particularly those in East Flatbush, by restoring human dignity to them. The services included warm showers in the Brooklyn Community Services Mobile Unit/Shower Bus, donations of new clothing, shoes and personal care, more than 150 hot meals and health care attention. The BCS team reported that the June 17 mobilization brought in a record number of people utilizing the shower bus at any one site.

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UTILITY GIANT INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGED CORRUPTION: The New York State Department of Public Service has commenced an investigation into National Grid’s downstate gas business after several former National Grid employees were charged in a bribery and kickback scheme involving contracts worth tens of millions of dollars. A federal complaint unsealed in Brooklyn against five former National Grid managers employed in the company’s facilities department with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for steering contracts to certain Long Island-based contractors, one of whom secured more than $50 million in facility maintenance contracts. The investigation into National Grid’s contracts will likewise focus on identifying any financial impacts on ratepayers, securing recovery of such costs for ratepayer benefit, determining how the activity was covered up for so long, and identifying requisite changes at National Grid to ensure that such a situation does not arise again. 

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“BUILD THE BLOCK” MEET-AND-GREET ON SAFETY: The NYPD’s 94th Precinct, which serves Greenpoint in northern Brooklyn, believes that a neighborhood benefits when its community organizations work in partnership. To this end, the precinct invites residents to “Build the Block,” taking place this Wednesday, June 23 at 6 p.m. in Msgr. McGolrick Park. “Build the Block” is an opportunity to meet the precinct’s Neighborhood Coordination Officers and discuss the public safety concerns that residents may have.

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ONE MORE DAY ON BAM VIRTUAL ART AUCTION: As the fiscal year wraps up the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is encouraging art aficionados to bid on some vibrant works and support renowned and emerging artists. Three more days are left in this year’s BAM Art Auction 2021, now in its 17th year, and featuring more than 70 works by Scherezade Garcia, Marcel Dzama, George Boorujy, Yasi Alipour, JJ Manford, Russell Tyler, and Stanley Whitney. The online auction, accessible via https://www.artsy.net/auction/bam-benefit-auction-2021 , closes on Thursday, June 24 at 2 p.m. 

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FOOD, STORYTELLING AND MUSIC: The Brooklyn Public Library and Apple Bank have joined forces to host a virtual trip around the world to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month. The series, running through June 30, highlights the diverse cultural traditions that tell the unique story of America. The series’ crown is the World Language Festival, via Facebook, on Saturday, June 26, offering a bilingual English/Mandarin adaptation of Ed Young’s award-winning book, tale Lon Po Po, A Red Riding Story from China; a program of Bangladeshi dance and music, and the music and songs of the great Latin masters.


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