Good Morning, Brooklyn: Friday, May 13, 2022
FLAGS AT HALF-STAFF FOR 1 MILLION LOST TO COVID: As the nation reaches the tragic milestone of one million Americans who have died from COVID-19, Gov. Kathy Hochul directed flags to fly at half-staff today, Friday, May 13. Saying that New Yorkers must remain vigilant and continue protecting their health, Gov. Hochul declared, “I don’t want any more New Yorkers to go through the pain of losing a loved one to this awful virus, which is why it’s so important to keep using the tools that keep us safe: get vaccinated, test regularly, and talk to your doctor about treatment if you’re feeling sick.”
Most of those deaths — more than 80 percent from April to December 2021, for instance — were unvaccinated Americans, according to the CDC, the NBC News website reported. As of February, the risk of death from COVID was 20 times higher for unvaccinated people than for those who were vaccinated and boosted, the CDC data showed.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION: EXPECT HIGHER ELECTRIC BILLS: While New York’s electric grid and its electric utilities are prepared for the increased summer demand for electricity, rates are expected to be higher than last summer’s expenses, the New York State Public Service Commission reported on Thursday. The vommission explained that each of the utilities have load-relief programs in which customers are compensated for reducing their usage.
Currently there is an estimated 1,100 MW enrolled in these programs for 2022 to further facilitate peak demand reductions during the summer’s hottest days. The Commission and other State agencies also have active programs designed to reduce the impact of high utility bills on low-income customers.
NEW YORK’S CATHOLIC BISHOPS CALL FOR COMPASSION: The Catholic Bishops of New York State have released a major new statement on abortion as they anticipate the looming Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, and acknowledge “the gathering societal unrest over the issue of abortion.” The bishops, in their statement titled “Toward a Pro-Life Future in the Empire State,” acknowledge that “abortion in New York would continue unfettered,” regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case, and that “Catholics must respond in charity and with sensitivity, but with clarity” to those for whom the prospect of an overturning of Roe v. Wade is causing fear, anxiety and the sometimes overwhelming challenges of unplanned pregnancies.
The New York bishops’ group refuted what they say is the “false notion” that the church is more concerned with the baby in the womb than with the mother and child once he or she is born, and are launching a renewed pastoral effort to support affected women.
AGREEMENTS ON BOARD MATRIX FOR PENSION SYSTEMS: Agreements have been made with Ford Motor Company and four leading financial services firms to publicly disclose a Board Matrix specifically for investors, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander announced yesterday. The trustees of four of New York City’s public pension funds (BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase and Co., Morgan Stanley, and The Goldman Sachs Group) have — on behalf of the four public pension systems — also filed a shareholder proposal, to be presented on May 19, with NextEra Energy, a company that has refused to disclose to investors the self-identified gender, race and/or ethnicity, skills and experience relevant to overseeing climate-related risks of individual directors.
Although NextEra has only disclosed board diversity information in aggregate, noting that “the Board acts as a collective body,” Comptroller Lander’s office explains that investors do not elect directors as a collective body, but as individuals who are accountable to act as fiduciaries in the boardroom and to oversee the long-term strategies of the company.
IRS TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE CENTER AT METROTECH: The Internal Revenue Service will offer walk-in Taxpayer Assistance Centers tomorrow, Saturday, May 14, in two city locations, including 2 MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. “This is the last scheduled Saturday the IRS TAC will be open to help taxpayers who need face-to-face help without an appointment,” said IRS Spokesperson Robert Marvin. Taxpayers seeking assistance must have already filed their 2021 returns, and will have the following services available, including Child Tax Credit information, online account assistance, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Renewal, IRS Identity Theft Victim Assistance, and payments (no cash accepted).
People wishing to utilize the Taxpayer Assistance Centers should check IRS Face-to-Face Saturday Help before traveling to the location, and will need to bring a current government-issued photo identification, Social Security cards and/or ITINs for spouse and dependents, any IRS letters or notices received and requested documents, and bank account information for direct deposit of payments or refunds.
VIKING FEST AT OWL’S HEAD: As Bay Ridge anticipates the Norwegian Day festivities on Sunday, May 15, at 1:30 p.m., there is another celebration of Nordic heritage. Viking Fest 2022, taking place this Saturday May 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Owl’s Head/Bliss Park 68th Street and Colonial Road, will feature re-enactments, music, dance, games, rides, crafts and Scandinavian food.
Viking Fest sponsors and partners include the Scandinavian East Coast Museum; State Senator Andrew Gounardes, Apple Bank, Bay Ridge Baptist Church, Lodge Brooklyn & Faerder Lodge SON, and the Hedlunds.
SCHOOL BUS COMPANIES SUED FOR IDLING VIOLATIONS: New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing three New York City bus companies for causing significant air pollution in communities of color by violating city and state bus idling laws. Buses owned and operated by Jofaz Transportation, Inc., 3rd Avenue Transit, Inc., and Y&M Transit Corp., Inc. are accused of repeatedly and unlawfully idling at schools, bus yards, and other locations. Attorney General James’ suit seeks monetary relief and a court order to ensure the companies’ full compliance with city and state idling laws.
Although the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) previously reached an agreement with Jofaz and 3rd Avenue Transit for the same kind of violation, data provided from Geotab, the fleet management system that the Department of Education (DOE) installed on the buses, OAG discovered that the companies continued their idling, as recently as last month.
WARNINGS AGAINST PRICE GOUGING OF BABY FORMULA: Attorney General Letitia James is warning retailers that price gouging of baby formula is illegal, in the midst of increased shortages of baby formula due to recalls and supply chain disruptions. After being made aware of reports that baby formula was being sold online for prices far exceeding its retail value, the Office of the Attorney General urges New Yorkers to be on alert for potential price gouging of baby formula and to report any dramatic price increases to her office.
Attorney General James requests also that anyone with extra unopened, unexpired formula consider donating it to their local food pantry.
ORGAN RECITAL FOR SCHOLARSHIP FUND: Paul Richard Olson, longtime organist and choirmaster at Grace Church, Brooklyn Heights, will give a Benefit Recital for the American Guild of Organists-Brooklyn Chapter’s Scholarship Fund this Sunday, May 15. Program for the 4 p.m. recital includes works by Langlais, J.S. Bach, a setting of the Te Deum Laudamus with chant by Guillaume Nivers and other selected composers.
Mr. Olson is currently in his 30th year as Organist and Choirmaster at Grace Church. He is a native of the Pacific Northwest where he holds degrees in music from Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Oregon, and has completed additional post-graduate studies from the University of Washington, the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, and Eton in the United Kingdom.
NEW PARADE TRADITION HONORS ASIAN COMMUNITY: The first annual Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Cultural and Heritage Parade in New York City will be held this Sunday, May 15, in Manhattan, Mayor Eric Adams announced yesterday. AAPI Heritage Month pays tribute to the generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have enriched New York’s history for generations. The inaugural parade will take place on 6th Avenue, proceeding north for 11 blocks from West 44th St., starting at 10:45 a.m.
The parade comes as New Yorkers celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, as well as New York City’s being home to the second-largest Asian American and Pacific Islander population in the United States.
IPS NEWS: MALLIOTAKIS OBSERVES POLICE WEEK: U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) joined House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and her Republican colleagues at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial to honor New York’s law enforcement officers during National Police Week, and to highlight how, in their viewpoint, New York’s policies have emboldened criminals and led to an increase in assaults against officers.
“Sadly in New York, we’ve already seen eight police officers shot in our city, which is already surpassing the numbers from 2021,” Malliotakis said. “The reality is the laws that are being put in place in our states and cities have led to skyrocketing crime. In New York City, we’re seeing nearly every category rising since the 2020 bail law took effect.
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