Good Morning, Brooklyn: Wednesday, September 22, 2021
GODSQUAD GETS NEW RESPONSE VEHICLE: The GodSquad has unveiled its Clergy Crisis Response Unit, the first of its kind in New York City. The Clergy Crisis Response Vehicle will help transform how the needs of gunshot victims and their families are met, such as responding to community trauma in real time, serving at the scenes of violence, visiting victims and families in their homes, and promoting an anti-violence message in the schools.
The launch was part of the GodSquad’s 67th Precinct Clergy Council 11th annual Fundraiser Against Gun Violence, at which Gov. Kathy Hochul was a keynote speaker. State Assemblymember Latrice Walker and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams were among the honorees.
$23.7 MILLION FOR ANTI-VIOLENCE PROGRAMS: NY Governor Kathy Hochul last week announced $23.7 million in state funding for anti-violence initiatives at GodSquad’s 11th Annual Fundraiser, echoing her statement earlier that day. A large portion —$16 million— will fund workforce training and job placement programs in New York’s 20 cities most impacted by gun violence; and $5.7 million in grants will help provide sports, arts, civic engagement, skill development, and recreational programming in communities seeing high gun violence.
An additional $2 million will be applied to gun violence intervention programs, allowing them to train 39 new street outreach workers and violence interrupters. Gov. Hochul has participated in anti-violence virtual summits with GodSquad.
NY ATTORNEY GENERAL VOWS TO HANDLE RIKERS ISLAND CRISIS: Following a visit to the Rikers Island prison complex with a delegation of state legislators and district attorneys including Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez, Attorney General Letitia James has issued a statement in light of her observations. Expressing her deep chagrin, the attorney general wrote, in part, “…It’s clear we’ve reached a breaking point. These conditions have led to an unprecedented and devastating number of deaths, and action is desperately needed.”
Attorney General James, who has long advocated for substantive reforms to our jail and for-profit prison systems, added, “I am examining all of my office’s legal options to immediately address this dire situation.”
RABID RACCOONS IN NYC: An oral rabies-vaccine strategy is being implemented in all five boroughs to protect raccoons against infection, thanks to a collaboration between the NYC Dept. of Health, the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation, the USDA and Cornell University. Wildlife biologists with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will distribute individual baits containing an oral rabies vaccine, using bait stations or hand tossing, in wooded areas in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, as well as Gateway National Recreation Area in Brooklyn and Queens, through October.
So far in 2021, 17 animals have been found to have rabies across NYC: eight raccoons and two cats from Staten Island, 2 raccoons, one skunk and one cat from Bronx, one raccoon from Manhattan, and two raccoons from Queens.
CONSUMER ALERT ON FRAUD SCHEME PROMISING MONEY: Two state agencies have issued a consumer alert about a fraudulent letter scheme that impersonates their leadership. The Department of State and Division of Consumer Protection warn that scammers have sent out letters impersonating NY Attorney General Letitia James and NY Secretary of State Rossana Rosado that include illicit use of the state seal and fraudulent signatures and claiming that recipients are due to receive a large payment, supposedly being held by the Department of State, to settle debts relating to the sale of timeshares.
Anyone who has received a similar letter should immediately report it to the New York Attorney General’s Office at the following address: Real Estate Enforcement Unit, NY State Office of the Attorney General, 28 Liberty St., New York, NY 10005.
MTA EXPANDS CUSTOMER SERVICE SURVEY: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) launched the first all-agency Customer Satisfaction & COVID Travel Survey, available through Oct. 4 and in nine languages. Initially developed for New York City Transit customers but expanded to include Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad customers, the survey will cover a wide array of topics, ranging from wait times to station cleanliness, to safety concerns.
The significance of the survey has taken on a new meaning since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unprecedented measures that the MTA initiated last year were developed with input from survey results from both current and lapsed customers.
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