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Good Morning, Brooklyn: Tuesday, March 22, 2022

March 22, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BIDEN ISSUES URGENT CYBERSECURITY PLEA: Saying “this is a critical moment,” President Joe Biden yesterday urged private sector businesses to bolster domestic cyber defenses immediately. He built upon previous warnings about the “potential that Russia could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States, including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we’ve imposed on Russia alongside our allies and partners.”

President Biden also pledged the government to continue utilizing every tool to deter, disrupt, and if necessary, respond to cyberattacks against critical infrastructure.

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STOP-AND-START CLOSURES ON VERRAZZANO BRIDGE: Starting this week, Brooklynites needing to travel the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge overnight should prepare for additional commute times and several intermittent 15-minute full closures of both the upper and lower levels in both directions to accommodate work, part of a $145 million Capital Program project to replace the bridge’s original early 1960s-era bearings and roadway deck. Weather permitting, the brief closings will take Wednesday, March 23, Thursday, March 24, and Friday, March 25, from 12:01 a.m. through 4 a.m.

Traffic will be permitted to resume crossing the bridge following each 15-minute closure, and traffic will be allowed to clear between closures, which will be necessary approximately every three weeks until all bearings are replaced over a period of several months

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BIG HOLIDAY WEEKEND — WITH NO R TRAIN: Bay Ridge will also be enduring work on its 95th Street subway station, with R train service suspended during seven consecutive weekends starting April 16 —which coincides with three major religious holidays. The Metropolitan Transit Authority will be conducting switch replacement work at 95th St. that will also require the suspension of R train service between the 95th St. and 59th St. stations. Shuttle bus service will operate between 95th and 59th street stations, making stops at 86th St, 77th St. and Bay Ridge Ave. Stations.

Those attending Passover Seders on Friday night (customarily unhurried ritual meals which last well into the night) should plan for extra travel time returning home on Friday, April 15. Good Friday is also observed on April 15, Easter Vigil on the night of April 16, and Easter Sunday on April 17.

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LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOR UKRAINIAN NATIONALS: Legal assistance is being made available to Ukrainian nationals who wish to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez has partnered with immigration professionals from Safe Horizon’s Immigration Law Project and Brooklyn Law School’s Safe Harbor Clinic to provide legal counsel, at a free clinic taking place this Sunday, March 27 at the Shorefront YW-YMHA. Professional legal staff and interpreters will help applicants file for 18-month TPS, fee waiver requests, Employment Authorization documents.

Applicants at the clinic, running from noon to 4 p.m., will need a Ukrainian passport or government-issued ID, proof of presence in the United States as of March 1, 2022, two passport-style photos, and recent tax returns if requesting fee waivers.

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STUDENTS ACTIVE IN UKRAINE RELIEF EFFORT: Brooklyn College and other CUNY students at Tanger Hillel at Brooklyn are also taking part in the Ukraine Relief Effort. They recently partnered with the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) of New York and Afya Foundation for a volunteer effort that culminated with 3,750 pounds of medical supplies being collected for Ukrainians, both in their homeland and in Poland.

Tanger Hillel at Brooklyn College, which serves a diverse population of commuter students including Russian Speaking Jews, Israeli, Kavkazi, Bukharian, Orthodox and American students, took the lead and mobilized CUNY students to volunteer to support Ukraine, and 30 volunteers packed the goods at the Afya warehouse earlier this month.

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PARTNERSHIP TO CATCH KIDS UP IN READING: As part of its national expansion, Ignite! Reading has partnered with Coney Island Prep to implement Zoom-powered K-5 literacy tutoring, which is offered during designated blocks in the school day. Leaders from Ignite! Reading joined educators and students at Coney Island Prep Monday morning for a demonstration of the program, which provides foundational skills reading instruction through high-dosage, 1:1, 15-minute daily virtual tutoring and has offset pandemic-related learning losses in its recent summer and fall pilot programs.

The Fall 2021 Ignite! Reading program has already proven successful: students demonstrated three weeks of reading progress for every week of tutoring they received; and 100% of IEP students passed their first progress monitoring assessment.

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LAND USE APPLICATION IN CB18: Community Board 18 will hear from Deputy Commissioner Isaac Selolwane from the NYC Department of Homeless Services when it convenes in a hybrid meeting this Thursday at 7 p.m. Selolwane will provide an informational presentation on this city department’s proposed U.L.U.R.P. Application, and its intent to establish its fleet of vehicles at 1427 Ralph Avenue within Community District 18.

The meeting also includes a discussion of amending the board’s by-laws.

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CHERRY BLOSSOM SEASON STARTS: The first cherry blossoms of spring have been spotted on Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Prunus × incam ‘Okame’ trees, marking the start of hanami, or cherry blossom viewing season. Over the next several weeks, the blossoms on BBG’s more than 200 flowering cherry trees will progress from buds to full flowers to falling petals across Cherry Esplanade, Cherry Walk, and the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.

Throughout hanami, Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s cherry blossom display is tracked on the CherryWatch webpage, which is updated daily to provide up-to-the-petal blooming status for each tree in the main collection, as well as detailed information about each cultivar.

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NATIONAL GUARD BROOKLYNITE PROMOTED TO SERGEANT: Hermanus Smith from Brooklyn, N.Y. (zip code 11206), and assigned to the Company C, 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, was recently promoted to the rank of sergeant. Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General for the State of New York, announces the promotion of members of the New York Army National Guard in recognition of their capability for additional responsibility and leadership, and are based on overall performance, attitude, leadership ability, and development potential.

These promotions additionally recognize the best qualified soldiers and attract and retain the highest caliber Citizen Soldiers for a career in the New York Army National Guard.

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COLTON DEMANDS VA HOSPITALS STAY OPEN: Assemblymember William Colton (D-47th District) has strong words against the Department of Veterans Affairs’ plan to close two heavily-used prominent VA hospitals in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Pointing out the sacrifices that veterans have made to keep the U.S. safe, Colton declared, “Trying to save money by forcing our Veterans, many of them are seniors, to travel distances must not be permitted. Shutting down the Brooklyn or Manhattan VA Hospitals would put an undeserved burden and severe harm on the thousands of Veterans who live in or near both areas and who depend on these facilities as their main source of health care.”

Colton also mentioned the March 13 rally to save the Brooklyn VA medical center, which U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and other elected officials serving the district also attended, and wrote letters condemning the pending closures.

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DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME: NOT YET FOREVER: U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn (D-8th Dist.), head of the House Democratic Caucus, spoke out Monday after the House of Representatives put the brakes on the Sunshine Protection Act, a bill to make Daylight Savings Time permanent, starting in November, 2023. The bill had gone to the House after the U.S. Senate — not known for its frequent unanimity — passed the bill without objection on March 15. Rep. Jeffries told The Hill last week, “Different members have articulated a different perspective…We were unexpectedly sent this bill by the Senate. Now, we’re trying to absorb it.”

The bill has pushback from constituent groups on safety issues, such as having children wait in the dark for their morning school bus pickups, and at a time of year when the days grow shorter.

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IPS NEWS: FUNDING SESCURED FOR YMCA BRANCHES: U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-8th District) has secured $1 million in funding for the YMCA of Greater New York, and for two Brooklyn Y branches in particular, through the government funding law. The money will go to both the YMCA of Coney Island and the YMCA of Bedford-Stuyvesant, funding youth development programs catering to school-age youth, such as after-school care, aquatics and water safety, youth sports, drop-in teen center and youth employment and career readiness programs.

The proposed projects will also allow for additional community benefits beyond youth development programs, such as local hiring and the continuing of New Americans Welcome Centers and senior services.

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IPS NEWS:  $1 MILLION FOR PROJECTS IN SOUTHERN BROOKLYN: Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus (D-46th Dist.) has allocated $1 million in capital funding for projects across Coney Island, Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. The funding includes $500,000 allocated to NYC Parks to improve the barbecue and sitting areas in Coney Island’s Kaiser Park and make it more accessible for residents, $250,000 to Maimonides Medical Center for the purchase of a new ambulance, and $250,000 to P.S. 127 for bathroom renovations and ADA accessibility at the Dyker Heights school.

The improvements at Kaiser Park include new barbecue grills, ash receptacles, and new ADA accessible tables and benches that will help improve the area for all residents. The project is part of larger upgrades at Kaiser Park that’s expected to be completed over several years.


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