Good Morning, Brooklyn: Tuesday, May 17, 2022
VENEZUELAN CARDIOLOGIST-TURNED-HACKER SUBJECT OF CRIMINAL COMPLAINT: A criminal complaint was unsealed Monday in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging Moises Luis Zagala Gonzalez (Zagala), also known as “Nosophoros,” “Aesculapius” and “Nebuchadnezzar,” a cardiologist and dual citizen of France and Venezuela, and residing in the latter country, with attempted computer intrusions and conspiracy to commit computer intrusions. The charges stem from Zagala’s use and sale of ransomware, as well as his extensive support of, and profit sharing arrangements with, the cybercriminals who used his ransomware programs.
As charged in the criminal complaint, Zagala has designed multiple ransomware tools — malicious software that cybercriminals use to extort money from companies, nonprofits and other institutions, by encrypting those files and then demanding a ransom for the decryption keys.
PRAISES HOUSE’S PASSAGE OF SECURITY BILL: Following violence at a California house of worship over the weekend, the Orthodox Union (umbrella organization for Orthodox Judaism) on Monday applauded the U.S. House for passing a bill that would authorize $500 million annually for the next five years for the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). The bill would provide greater outreach and funding for the 17-year-old initiative so that synagogues, other houses of worship, day schools and other nonprofits at risk of terror attacks can improve building security.
The legislation also directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the NSGP, to establish an office to administer the program and increase outreach, engagement, education and technical assistance for eligible nonprofits.
PARENTS TO HAVE INPUT INTO HIRING OF SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS: Parents will have a great say in the hiring of public school superintendents. Schools Chancellor David C. Banks is launching community town halls, starting this Thursday, May 19, to engage parents and community members in the process of hiring 45 New York City public school superintendents. Town halls will feature personal introductions of candidates, Council-written questions, and the opportunity for parents to ask additional questions and provide feedback to Council members.
Each community, represented by specific parent and education councils, will have the opportunity to hear directly from two to three finalist candidates for the position of superintendent.
DOT WILL PRESENT ON SHARED-STREET PROJECT: Building upon the success of Brooklyn’s first ever Shared Street and the recommendations put forward in Downtown Brooklyn Partnership’s Public Realm Action Plan, a Shared Street network is being launched across several of Downtown Brooklyn’s core streets. This will be the topic of the Community Board 2 Transportation & Public Safety Committee’s May 19 meeting (held virtually).
Dept. of Transportation leadership will hold a public Q&A session regarding the expansion of Downtown Brooklyn’s network of Shared Streets to more of the neighborhood’s core blocks.
FLYING ELEPHANTS IN DUMBO THIS WEEKEND: If you see toy elephants parachuting from rooftops this Sunday, they are part of Dumbo Drop, considered Brooklyn’s most iconic block party and flying elephant spectacle. Named for the Disney character from the 1941 movie, Dumbo Drop returns this Saturday, May 21, from 3-8 p.m. with two flying elephant drops scheduled for 5 and 7 p.m., respectively.
Individuals can enter one or both Dumbo Drop events for a chance to win neighborhood prizes, including a $1,000 Dumbo shopping spree; the elephant that most closely reaches the target wins each contest, with proceeds from the Dumbo Drop supporting Dumbo’s Title 1 STEAM Schools.
FRANCIS COLLEGE LAUNCHES INTERFAITH TRADITION: St. Francis College is closing out an era at its longtime 180 Remsen St. home, with a new tradition this week. The college’s inaugural Interfaith Appreciation Breakfast, to strengthen bonds with surrounding faith communities and celebrating the diversity at the school, will welcome Ana Levy-Lyons, senior minister of the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn; Dr. Henry Goldschmidt, Director of Programs at the Interfaith Center of New York; Fr. Bryan D. Patterson, St. Francis College, Catholic Scholar in Residence; and Pastor Alex Williams of Institutional International Ministries.
Scheduled on the day before commencement, the breakfast will be one of the final events to be held at the 180 Remsen St. campus, where St. Francis College has been based since 1963, before moving this summer to a custom-built, state-of-the-art facility in Downtown Brooklyn.
STREET RENAMING CELEBRATES PARISH CENTENNIAL: As St. Ephrem Church in Dyker Heights celebrates its centennial year, it will finally hold the street-renaming ceremony which had been postponed during the pandemic. The Sunday, May 22, ceremony takes place outside the church at the corner of Bay Ridge Parkway and Fort Hamilton Parkway.
A special Mass marking the 100th Anniversary of the Parish was held in October 2021. The Brooklyn Eagle of January 22, 1921 reported that Bishop [Charles Edward] McDonnell, who led the Diocese of Brooklyn at the time, chose St. Ephraim, a fourth-century poet, as the new parish’s patron saint because he “was a celebrated Christian and a staunch defender of the Church.”
CARIBBEAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH AT PROSPECT PARK: Prospect Park Alliance will mark a month-long celebration of Caribbean American Heritage Month during June. Opening June 4, the Alliance and Photoville present The Brooklyn Connection, a new exhibition of work of local Brooklyn photographers, curated by acclaimed photographer Jamel Shabazz as part of Re:Imagine Prospect Park and the Photoville Festival.
The Prospect Park Alliance is partnering with I AM CARIBBEING, JOUVAYFEST COLLECTIVE, and BUSH WO/MAN Conversations Project, with film, live music, dance, wellness and much more during this cultural celebration suitable for Brooklynites of all ages.
IPS NEWS: COLTON FIGHTS HOMELESS SHELTER: Assemblymember William Colton (D-47th District/Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) continues his fight against the former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to build homeless shelters at 137 Kings Highway and at 2147 Bath Avenue. Speaking of his constituents’ organized resistance to the shelter, Colton said it is not a real solution to homelessness, and he reported to the new mayoral administration “all the failings of the location and the poor records of the developers and operators of both proposed sites,” reiterating that affordable housing for families and seniors is the solution.
Colton also plans a Zoom meeting this Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m. to update his constituents on the fight.
JEFFRIES: NEW MAP A ‘SLEDGEHAMMER’ TO SHIRLEY CHISHOLM’S DISTRICT: U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-8/Crown Heights and Central Brooklyn) had strong words of rebuke and accusations of racism for the latest draft Congressional District maps released by Jonathan Cervas, the Special Master chosen by Judge Patrick McAllister to redraw the maps created by a supermajority vote in the State Legislature. Though Judge McAllister threw out earlier redistricting maps on the grounds of gerrymandering, Rep. Jeffries said, “The Court blatantly ignores the comprehensive testimony of Brooklyn residents, civic leaders and stakeholders who made clear that the communities of interest that presently constitute the 8th and 9th congressional districts should be kept together, as was the case in maps submitted by good government groups like Common Cause, civil rights groups like the Unity Coalition and even the Independent Redistricting Commission,” said Jeffries.
He added that the map “uses a sledgehammer” on the legacy Rep. Shirley Chisholm’s district was created in 1968 pursuant to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
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