Good Morning, Brooklyn: Monday, December 20, 2021
NABBED OVERSEAS FRAUD SCHEME RINGLEADER: Consumers who have received intimidating phone calls from someone claiming to represent the IRS, Social Security Administration or other federal agency can breathe a little easier with the conviction of the ringleader behind a transnational fraud scheme. Federal Judge Joan M. Azrack sentenced defendant Ajay Sharma, a citizen of India, who had already pleaded guilty, to 78 months in prison for transnational fraud scheme; and his co-conspirators are awaiting sentence and in one case, for a March 2022 trial. Operating from call centers in India, Sharma and his co-conspirators targeted victims in the United States and falsely claimed to be federal employees, threatening to have their victims arrested for non-payment of fake debts and then collected from their victims wired payments.
The IRS and SSA have established web pages where people can complain about suspicious calls, and the two agencies remind constituents that they correspond only by US Postal mail, except in cases where a client may have initiated valid contact with them for tax or benefit purposes.
YOUTH PARTICIPANTS IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Youths residing within Brooklyn Community Board 2 have one more day to apply for the BKCD2 Youth Council. The council is open to students ages 16+ who live or attend school in the District and are interested in learning about municipal governance and participating in discussions about issues that impact the District. Application portal is www.tiny.cc/bk02youth
No previous experience with student or municipal government required; and participation may be structured for school credit with permission and guidelines provided by the applicants’ schools.
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM: Brooklyn youth can participate in a free after school program for middle schoolers, School’s Out NYC (SONYC), that the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development runs. SONYC is geared for those in grades 6 through 8, offering activities three hours each day, five days per week in dance, music, sports, fashion, cooking, and more. Applicants may visit Discover DYCD to find programs in your area: https://discoverdycd.dycdconnect.nyc/home
Currently, in the Coney Island area, Mark Twain I.S. 239 for the gifted and talented is part of the SONYC program in Brooklyn; there are additional Brooklyn venues listed on the site.
SAVING GRAND PROSPECT HALL: Discussion on community efforts to preserve Grand Prospect Hall is part of the agenda at Community Board 7’s next Land Use/Landmarks Committee, convening on January 12 at 6 p.m.
The meeting will also include ongoing discussion of a Board of Standards and Appeals application for a building at 341 39th St., across from the Industry City complex.
FOOD GIVEAWAYS AT MICCIO CENTER: The Joseph Miccio Community Center in Red Hook is holding food giveaways this week, tomorrow and Wednesday, at 110 West 9th St. Hot holiday food will be donated grab-and-go style on Tuesday, Dec. 21. Turkeys will be given away on Wednesday, December 22, at 6 p.m. both days, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Although the Miccio Center was forced to close in June 2020 due to budget cuts, the center, operated through Good Shepherd Services and NYC agencies, resumed food distribution and ran a summer youth program earlier in 2021.
BACH AND MONTEVERDI ON CATHEDRAL’S CHORAL PROGRAM: The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph presents two concerts of Marian vespers music, in this week leading up to Christmas. Alejandro Zuleta, who has built the parish choirs at St. Joseph starting when he became Director of Music in January of 2017, will conduct a program of five selections from Monteverdi’s Selva Morale e Spirituale, the Gloria a 7, Laudate Pueri Primo, Dixit Dominus Secondo, Salve Regina a due voci, and Beatus Vir Primo. After a short intermission, the choir will sing the complete Bach Magnificat including the inserted Christmas movement D. Virga Jesse Floruit, with the program being the same for both Tuesday, December 21 and Wednesday, Dec. 22.
Mr. Zuleta conducts the Co-Cathedral’s English Adult Choir, Hispanic Choir and a group of Choristers. The ensembles were tremendously affected by the pandemic and they lost many of their volunteers, nevertheless they have kept on singing and rehearsing every week.
LONG LEGACY OF COLOMBIAN MUSICIANS: The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph’s music director, Alejandro Zuleta, is a New York based conductor, composer, pianist and organist. Born in Bogotá, Colombia, he carries the Zuleta’s family legacy, a long line of celebrated Colombian musicians. CBS and History Channel, among other media organizations, have commissioned Mr. Zuleta’s music.
Last season, he conducted Bach’s St. John Passion at the Cathedral, and Mozart’s Così fan tutte for The Opera Next Door 2021 production.
FIGHTING BOOK CENSORSHIP: One of many groups working with ground-level efforts to shut down book censorship, EveryLibrary, is participating in a donation and petition drive to defend intellectual freedom. EveryLibrary is a nonprofit organization and the first and only national political action committee for libraries in the US, will be the beneficiary of Book Riot’s donation match, up to $5,000 starting today through Wednesday, December 22.
Right now, EveryLibrary is also circulating a petition that allows readers to find their state legislators and to email them urging them to support the legal right to access reading materials of one’s choice.
FAITH IN BROOKLYN: CHURCH CONFESSIONALS OPEN: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn invites Catholics to partake in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Churches throughout New York City will be open for confession on Reconciliation Monday, today, December 20 in preparation for Christmas.
To find a parish in Brooklyn and Queens, visit dioceseofbrooklyn.org/parishes/locator
IPS NEWS: NEW LAW PROTECTS BIRDS MIGRATING OVER NYC: A new law that City Council unanimously passed aims to protect birds by requiring city-owned buildings will be required to turn off non-essential outdoor lights during peak bird migration periods. According to the NYC Audubon Society, between 90,000 and 230,000 migrating birds die from collisions with glass in New York City each year. In September of this year New Yorkers saw hundreds of beautiful yellow songbirds, disoriented by bright, artificial lights, crash into New York City skyscrapers and fall dead or injured on sidewalks.
As recommended by NYC Audubon, those periods are August 15-November 15 and April 1-May 31.
IPS NEWS: The New York Department of State is now required to hold a public hearing and conduct an investigation to determine whether or not to establish a real estate cease-and-desist zone covering all or part of Brooklyn. Last month, Governor Kathy Hochul officially signed legislation requiring the Community Board 11, which serves Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Gravesend, to send out an alert to homeowners who may have been subjected to aggressive and unwanted solicitation from brokers, agents, or real estate speculators. Any resident who has experienced such pressuring is invited to complete an online questionnaire at https://dos.ny.gov/cease-and-desist-zonesto, to submit evidence of aggressive solicitation to the Department of State:
The Department of State will be updating its website with additional information on how to access the public hearing on January 11 starting at 6 p.m.. Those wishing to testify at this public hearing, please email [email protected] by January 7, 2022.
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