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Good Morning, Brooklyn: Tuesday, February 22, 2022

February 21, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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State Assembly frontrunner Brian Cunningham
Photo credit: Kyle Lynch

CAPTURED 90 PERCENT OF PARTY’S VOTE: Brian Cunningham has won the Kings County Democratic County Committee vote to be the Democratic nominee for the Assembly District 43 special election slated for March 22, capturing 90 percent of that vote. The special election in A.D. 43, which includes parts of Crown Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and Flatbush, is to fill the vacancy created when Assemblymember Diana Richardson was named Deputy Borough President last month.

Cunningham received 19,087 weighted votes. Votes are weighted by Election District based on turnout in gubernatorial elections. The other nominees were Pierre Albert, Jelanie DeShong, Tim Hunter and Sharon Wedderburn.

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VOTING RIGHTS: A retired New York State judge, leaders from the New York State government, NY Civil Liberties Union, and faith communities will be panelists next week in a Black History Month Zoom webinar that the Forum @ St. Ann’s is sponsoring on voting rights, the history of voter suppression and the historic role of the church in delivering souls to the polls. Titled “Bending Toward Justice: Preserving Voting Rights and Voter Access for All in New York and the Nation,” the panel on Monday, February 28, at 6:30 p.m. will bring in as moderator the Hon. Betty E. Staton (Moderator), Retired NYS Judge and Servant Leader at Emmanuel Baptist Church, with panelists Lindsay McKenzie, NYS Asst. Attorney General, Civil Rights Division; Perry Grossman, Supervising Attorney for the NYCLU Voting Rights Project; and Deacon Jerry Ford, Spokesperson for the Souls the Polls Initiative, Troy, New York. Registration required: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_OZ7AKYBwSKeS6KnbvWdrNw

The Forum @ St. Ann’s is a parish initiative of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church and Pro-Cathedral (Episcopal Diocese of Long Island) that seeks to engage the wider community in conversations about art, ideas, and civic life.

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Wilton Cardinal Gregory gives the homily at a joyously-decorated pulpit in the Immaculate Conception Monastery Church.
Photo courtesy of DeSales Media

DIOCESES HONOR THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF BLACK PEOPLE:  Wilton Cardinal Gregory, the first African-American bishop to be elevated to the College of Cardinals within the Catholic Church, concelebrated a special Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday, February 20 for Black History Month, with Bishop Robert Brennan, Bishop John O. Barres and Auxiliary Bishops and priests of the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre. During the Mass, held at the Immaculate Conception Monastery Church in Jamaica Estates, “Today we celebrate in prayer the contributions of Black People to our homeland. However, this is also a moment for all Americans from every culture and race to appreciate the gifts that Black People have offered to our nation. It is also a time for nation-building and for strengthening the bonds that tie us together as one people,” said Cardinal Gregory.

The Brooklyn Vicariate for Black Catholic Concerns and The Office of Multicultural Diversity for the Diocese of Rockville Centre also sponsored Black History Month cultural festivities that were a prelude to the Mass.

Video courtesy of DeSales Media.

Wilton Cardinal Gregory in procession for the Black History Month Mass of Thanksgiving at the Immaculate Conception Monastery Church, part of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Photo courtesy of DeSales Media

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AWARDS TO ASIAN-AMERICAN SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS: Awards totaling $10 million will be given to organizations that provide services to Asian American communities that were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Sunday. The funding, allocated in the FY 2021-22 budget, will be distributed to community-based groups through the Asian American Federation (AAF), the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), and the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), as well as other organizations.

This group of awards will be the largest investment in the Asian American community in New York State history.

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BROOKLYN ORGANIZATIONS AWARDED PORTION OF THAT $10 MILLION: Several Brooklyn-based organizations serving Asian communities are among 59 groups receiving the above-mentioned award funding for those disproportionately impacted by the COVID-pandemic, including: Arab American Association of New York; the Arab-American Family Support Center, Brooklyn Chinese-American Association; the Brooklyn Community Improvement Association; the Council of Peoples Organization; Homecrest Community Services; and the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn.

The Asian American Federation (AAF) will receive a total of $6.8 million in funding intended to reinforce the community support offered by a network of organizations that have witnessed a sudden increase in demand for services due to the pandemic. AAF will direct the funding to the community organizations that provide direct services, case management, and mental health support.

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IPS NEWS: CYBERSECURITY PREPAREDNESS —Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday convened cabinet members from relevant areas around New York State to review our ongoing cybersecurity preparedness efforts and make sure that New Yorkers, our institutions, and our critical infrastructure are protected from cyber-facilitated disruptions. Speaking indirectly of “current geopolitical uncertainty,” Saying that her administration is in regular touch with the White House and Dept. of Homeland Security, Gov. Hochul said, “My Administration has taken significant steps to prepare for what have become increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, including my recent budget proposal to invest $62 million in our cybersecurity protections, which is more than double from last year.”

Gov. Hochul declared, “It is my top priority to keep New Yorkers safe, and we will remain vigilant by continuing to monitor for threats and ramping up our cybersecurity shields as necessary.”

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MORE FUNDING TO PREVENT SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Up to $1.5 million in federal funding is being made available under the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) to allow providers to expand telehealth services for addiction treatment, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Friday. Providers will be able to use this funding, that the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports is administering, to expand and upgrade their telehealth infrastructure through new telehealth equipment, as well as new software, tablets, and phones.

This funding will help support providers who face challenges in meeting the increased demand for telehealth services and will improve engagement for individuals who face barriers to accessing in-person care, such as those who may have difficulties traveling to an in-person provider.

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ALERT ON CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFTS: The NYPD’s 68th Precinct, serving Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, is alerting residents and vehicle owners regarding the increase of catalytic converter thefts from vehicles in that part of Brooklyn. Anyone who observes a car that is jacked up with an individual lying underneath it during the overnight or early morning hour, or who hears the sound of metal being cut, should report this and any suspicious vehicles and activity to 911.

Catalytic converters are a critical component of a vehicle’s exhaust system.

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ENHANCED STAR PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR SENIORS: Brooklyn’s Community Boards and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance remind senior New Yorkers that the March 1 deadline for the 2022 Enhanced STAR Property Tax Exemptions on property taxes is approaching. To be eligible, seniors must currently receive the Basic STAR property tax exemption; have one owner of the property who will be at least 65 years of age by December 31, 2022; and have had 2020 income equal to or below $92,000.

More information on this exemption is available via the New York City Department of Finance’s website: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/finance/benefits/landlords-star.page

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BLACK HISTORY AWARD WINNERS: Brooklyn-born and bred Ingrid Lewis-Martin is among those being honored this Friday, Feb. 25 at the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce’s Black History Awards Breakfast.  Lewis-Martin, who is of Barbadian and Panamanian heritage, most recently served as deputy Brooklyn borough president in the Adams administration, and she served for more than five years as then-State Senator Adams’ senior advisor, and for seven years as his chief of staff.

The five other honorees at the breakfast, being held at the Hard Rock Café, Times Square, are: Leroy Barnes, commander of the VFW post in Springfield Gardens, NY; CBS reporter Jane Tillman Irving; Voza Rivers, chairman of the Harlem Arts Alliance; Northwell Health Alliance Critical Care Nurse Sandra Lindsay; and Deborah Koenigsberger, founder of Hearts of Gold.

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ACADEMIC HONORS IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Several students from Brooklyn have achieved academic honors in the Dean’s List and Presidential Honor List at New York Institute of Technology. Kelly Ramcharan from Greenpoint (zip code 11222), was named to the Dean’s List, for which the minimum grade point average is 3.5, with no incompletes. Sam Zeng and Ying Shi Zhang from Brooklyn, both from Brooklyn zip code 11205, and Xibin Tang from zip code 11206, were named to the Presidential Honor List, which requires a 3.7 grade point average.

New York Institute of Technology’s six schools and colleges offer undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs for in-demand disciplines, including computer science, data science, and cybersecurity; biology, health professions, and medicine; architecture and design; engineering; IT and digital technologies; management; and energy and sustainability.

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STUDENT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: Christal Lewis of Brooklyn, N.Y. has earned an Award of Excellence at Western Governors University College of Information Technology for superior performance level in her coursework. Western Governors University is a private, non-profit online school, based in Utah, that 19 U.S. governors established to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education.

The school’s academic model has received recognition from the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education.

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AMBASSADORS FOR VOTING: NYC Votes is seeking teens ages 14-18 for its Youth Ambassador Program. Youths who are passionate about civic engagement, voting, and democracy, who join our 2022 Ambassador team and who are accepted into the program, will take part in a paid remote opportunity from May to August, with the possibility of staying on through November.

Deadline for applications is this Friday, Feb. 25. Link: https://nycvotes.nyccfb.info/2022_youth_ambassador_application?utm_campaign=ambassador_application&utm_medium=email&utm_source=nycvotes

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IPS NEWS: HELP FOR MENTAL HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS: Gov. Kathy Hochul, during an event last Friday with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, announced a group of major investments to help improve access to acute mental health care and hospital psychiatric beds across New York State. The initiatives are part of a plan to provide the necessary support and services for people with serious mental illness experiencing homelessness, as well as others in crisis.

One of these investments, $12.5 million annually for 500 additional supportive housing beds will help to more quickly transition those in crisis from the streets, subways and shelters to stable housing.

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IN MEMORIAM: Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-7th District), chair of the House Small Business Committee, paid tribute to U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, (R-Minnesota) who died Thursday night in his home state.  Rep. Velázquez wrote, “I am deeply saddened to hear that Congressmember Hagedorn, a valued member of the Small Business Committee for many years, has lost his hard-fought battle to cancer. Though we sat on different sides of the aisle, I respected Congressmember Hagedorn’s commitment to serving America’s small businesses and was glad to work with him on several bipartisan priorities.”

Hagedorn, who served the 1st Congressional District in a largely-rural part of Minnesota, had been diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer just a month after taking office in January 2019. After treatment and remission, he announced last July that the cancer had returned.

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IN MEMORIAM: NYC Public Advocate paid tribute to longtime union organizer Eddie Kay, who died last week after over six decades of advocacy for working people. “His time with 1199 SEIU and TWU Local 100 was legendary, and he shaped policies and changed lives as his gruff voice spoke out tirelessly for worker justice. I was grateful to have had the opportunity to work personally with Eddie, to get to know him and his role as a giant in the labor community and in its history, and to have his support in my work. He was deeply dedicated to the fight for progressive, transformational change, and it was an honor to be in that fight alongside him,” said Williams.

Eddie Kay also trained leaders at Local 100 TWU, Local 78 LIUNA, ATU Locals, and many other union locals.    


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