Good Morning, Brooklyn: Friday, April 22, 2022
DOCTOR CHARGED IN MEDICARE FRAUD: An indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Elemer Raffai, an orthopedic surgeon, with health care fraud in connection with a $10 million scheme involving the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicare Part D plans. According to the indictment, Dr. Raffai purported to practice telemedicine with the AffordADoc Network and other telemedicine companies that paid the defendant for each consultation with a beneficiary; and he allegedly participated in a health care fraud scheme in which he signed prescriptions and order forms via purported telemedicine services for durable medical equipment (DME), including orthotic braces, that were not medically necessary.
Raffai was arrested yesterday and was scheduled to make his initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court for the Northern District of New York.
STATE TO RECEIVE MILLIONS FOR TRANSIT IMPROVEMENTS: New York will receive $257,806,980 in funding under the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to provide New Yorkers with more transportation options, ease congestion in local communities and reduce carbon pollution across the state, Rep. Nydia Velazquez announced yesterday. This funding, which can be invested in a range of eligible projects, such as public transit services, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, traffic flow improvements, congestion management technology. pedestrian and cycle trails, will allow New York to deliver more transportation alternatives and reduce commute times.
The investments total more than $6.4 billion across the country and are administered under the Federal Highway Administration’s Carbon Reduction Program, a new initiative established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
NEW FREE CARBON NEUTRALITY RESOURCE FOR BUILDING OWNERS: “The Empire Building Playbook: An Owner’s Guide to Low Carbon Retrofits,” which is a free online resource to support building owners advancing carbon neutrality in high rise buildings, was launched yesterday at a ceremony with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams. This guiding framework includes information from the partners who share their processes and lessons learned to develop the business case for profitable investment in significant energy and carbon reducing technologies, in support of the State’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal of reducing carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050.
The Playbook was created in partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Empire State Realty Trust, The Durst Organization, Hudson Square Properties, a joint venture comprised of Trinity Church Wall Street, Norges Bank Investment Management, and Hines, and Vornado.
PUBLIC ADVOCATE PROTESTS RISING UTILITY RATES: NYC Public Advocate and candidate for Governor Jumaane Williams will mark Earth Day today with a noonday press conference on environmental justice, taking place in front of Con Edison on Flatbush Ave. in Downtown Brooklyn. Joining him will be his running mate for Lt. Governor —Ana Maria Archila; and climate justice advocates, who will unveil their plan to address what they say are crushing
The gubernatorial candidates’ plan is meant to address continuously rising rates by Con Edison and other private utility companies even as their customers owe a record of $1.7 billion in unpaid utility bills and face imminent shutoffs.
DROWNING PREVENTION WORKSHOP: Imagine Swimming, which operates the pool at The Major R. Owens Health and Wellness Community Center, will host free a Drowning Prevention Event on Saturday, April 23 from 4-6 p.m.. Imagine Swimming’s instructors will educate children and their families from the nearby Ebbets Field Apartments and local schools about the importance of water safety.
The event will be hosted in partnership with TankProof, a non-profit that gives youth in underserved communities the education and essentials to navigate life’s challenges.
VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT TO SERVE NEIGHBORHOOD BOARDS: The Department of Youth and Community Development seeks volunteers interested in having on impact on community development in their neighborhoods. Volunteers will serve on local “Neighborhood Advisory Boards” (NABs) in communities with concentrations of low-income residents, designated as Neighborhood Development Areas (NDAs). The 43 NABs determine through a community “Needs Assessment” the educational, employment, health, housing, immigrant services, senior citizens, and youth services needs of low-income residents and establish local funding priorities.
New York City receives $16 million in support for those communities from the federal anti-poverty program known as Community Services Block Grants.
LAPTOP RECYCLING PROGRAM AND RAFFLE: Globetops — a non-profit organization that connects laptop donors to students, artists, entrepreneurs, and activists working in gender equality, social justice, education, and media—will be hosting a laptop recycling program this weekend at the charity’s Sunset Park headquarters in Industry City. The program runs Friday, April 22, and Saturday, April 23 from noon to 4 p.m. at Industry City, Courtyard 1/2, at 238 36th St. Acceptable devices are laptops and iMacs made after 2012 and their chargers; however, monitors, mice, printers and other peripherals cannot be accepted.
All donors will receive one raffle ticket per eligible item donated, for prizes such as crafts and gift cards from local Industry City businesses, (Taza Market, Saskia, and more.
E-WASTE IN EXCHANGE FOR LIVING PLANTS: Donate your electronic waste in exchange for a free plant. Temple Square at The Alloy Block and Liquid Technology are teaming up for this drive, at which electronics such as computers (but not major appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners or kitchen goods) will be accepted. The free drive runs from 2 to 5 p.m. at Temple Square, 372 Schermerhorn Street
Grab a plant while supplies last.
LITTER PICK-UP IN CB9: An Earth Day Community Litter Pickup for Earth Day takes place today, Friday, thanks to the sponsorship of Community Board 9, Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, and several elected officials. They will pick up litter throughout Community Board 9, which encompasses Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Wingate and portions of North Flatbush.
City Councilmembers Rita Joseph and Crystal Hudson, State Senator Zellnor Myrie, Assemblymember Brian Cunningham are participating; along with the NYC Dept. of Sanitation, the NYC Cleanup Corps, Elite Cleaners, MetroPlus Health, Repair the World, and the Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association.
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