Whats Breaking News: Monday, August 16, 2021
SCHOOL GRANTS FOR FOOD SCIENCE PROGRAMS: Schools in Gravesend are receiving more than $1.825 million thanks to City Councilmember Mark Treyger. On Friday, August 13, he visited Principal Janet Ndzibah of PS/IS 95, also called The Gravesend School, and Principal Carmen Amador of IS 303, The Herbert S. Eisenberg school, as well as students and staff to announce $1.825 million in City Council fiscal year 2022 capital grants to support 21st-century food science and sustainability learning practices. This investment builds on millions of dollars previously secured by Councilmember Treyger to enhance innovative STEAM curriculum opportunities throughout the 47th Council District, which includes Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Coney Island, Gravesend and Sea Gate.
Councilmember Treyger secured $1.5 million for a state-of-the-art rooftop edible garden in Gravesend for PS/IS 95. The rooftop garden will be located on the third floor of the campus, with hopes to add a culinary kitchen program in a nearby classroom so the children can cook healthy and nutritious meals from the crops they grow.
YOUR BOSS WON’T REALLY ASK YOU FOR MONEY: New York Attorney General is warning New Yorkers to avoid The “Boss Scam.” a fraudulent scheme currently circulating via common text. As part of this scam, fraudsters pose as a consumer’s employer and request gift cards due to a purported work emergency. This scam is reportedly on the rise during the spike in COVID cases, since many employees are still working remotely.
New Yorkers who have been targeted by this scam are urged to file a complaint by completing and submitting a Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau online complaint form or by calling (800) 771-7755.
WIDE CRITICISM FOR SHUTTING DOWN RESEARCH: Facebook is facing criticism and pushback for its action last week of disabling a New York University research project’s accounts and access to the platform, effectively shutting down a study of the social-media giant’s targeting of political ads. The NYU Ad Observatory, launched last September by the university’s engineering school, recruited more than 6,500 volunteers to use Ad Observer, a special browser extension tool (that anyone can install) that’s designed to give researchers a rare glimpse into how Facebook targets the ads that have transformed it into a trillion-dollar company. Soon afterward, Facebook, which hadn’t given permission for the project, demanded the researchers cease collecting the data.
Tech leaders such as Mozilla; members of Congress including Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Ron Wyden; (D-OR); and major news media such as the Washington Post, Bloomberg News, Ad Week and Reuters all criticized what they allege is Facebook’s disingenuity over transparency and censorship.
JED WALENTAS IS AMONG BROOKLYN POWER 100: Among City & State Magazine’s Brooklyn Power 100 for 2021 are several industry leaders who are not in the political or government arenas. Jed Walentas, CEO of Two Trees Management Co. is praised for his instinct in winning support from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for his development company’s expansive plans to rezone the former Domino Sugar Refinery and build an adjacent park with astroturf.
Two Trees currently aims to erect two residential high-rises with 1,250 apartments, a YMCA, offices and stores in Williamsburg called River Ring, and recently opened a climate change-themed mini-golf course on the site.
FRANK CARONE ALSO NAMED IN POWER 100 : Another Brooklyn Power 100 player named in City & State’s 2021 roster is Frank Carone, executive partner at the growing law firm Abrams Fensterman, headquartered in MetroTech. As the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s counsel, who often represents incumbents who challenging rivals’ petitions in court, Carone has served as Democratic mayoral-candidate and current Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ lawyer.
Carone could get a key role setting up the next mayoral administration in the coming months.
CHAMBER’S SURVEYS UNDERSCORE NEED TO REBUILD BUSINESSES: Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s President and CEO Randy Peers is another Brooklyn Power 100 Player. The Chamber’s surveys “crystallized the pandemic’s crippling effect on the borough’s small businesses,” reports City & State.
Peers, who has plenty of ideas and advice for city policymakers on how to rebuild the local economy, moved the Chamber’s offices from Downtown Brooklyn to Industry City last month.
HELP FOR STOREFRONT BUSINESSES: The NYC Small Business Services agency, under the direction of Maria Cevallos, recently launched called NYC Quick Start, with an aim to jumpstart the city’s economic recovery. The Quick Start initiative is a collaborative effort between the FDNY, Dept. of Buildings, Dept. of Environmental Protection and the Dept. of Health to provide small storefront businesses with technical assistance to accelerate approval of any outstanding, permits, licenses, certificates and inspections. Storefront businesses can access Quick Start by calling 1-888-SBS-4NYC (1-888-727-4692) and requesting a Small Business Advocate, or completing a simple online application to connect with a Small Business Advocate here https://sbsconnect.nyc.gov/ (click “Connect with a Small Business Advocate”).
NYC Quick Start will also assist small businesses that seek to reopen after having been shuttered, among other services.
PUBLIC HEARING ON CERAP: New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh, chair of the Senate Housing Committee, and Senator Roxanne J. Persaud, chair of the Senate Social Services Committee, are hosting a joint public hearing on Thursday, August 19 at 10 a.m. at St. Francis College, Founders Hall Auditorium, 180 Remsen St. in Brooklyn to examine the many issues surrounding the implementation of the $2.7 billion COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CERAP). The committees will hear oral testimony from Michael Hein, commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the state agency responsible for administering the CERAP program. Others expected to appear include representatives from municipalities providing their own rental assistance programs, advocates for tenants and landlords, legal service providers, and housing policy researchers.
Everyone attending the hearing in person, including senators, witnesses, and members of the press, will be required to follow COVID-19 protocols in effect at the venue, including proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test within the prior 72 hours and wearing a mask.
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