Good Morning, Brooklyn: Friday, July 15, 2022
INJUNCTION AGAINST DISTRIBUTORS OF ‘GHOST GUNS’: Attorney General James is seeking a preliminary injunction against six of the gun distributors whom her office sued after they were caught red-handed while selling and shipping nine unfinished frames to undercover investigators in New York. The distributors include Brownells, Inc. (Brownells), Rock Slide USA, LLC (Rock Slide), Arm or Ally, LLC (Arm or Ally), Rainier Arms, LLC (Rainier Arms), Salvo Technologies, Inc. (80 P Builder or 80P Freedom Co.), and Indie Guns, LLC (Indie Guns).
Attorney General James asserts that these businesses not only sell these dangerous products with the intention that their customers will convert them into working firearms, but even take steps to assist them in doing so, in a process designed to be a workaround to avoid federal gun serialization, recordkeeping, and background check requirements.
LANDMARK CITY COUNCIL VOTE PROTECTS ABORTION RIGHTS: New York City Council on Thursday voted on an abortion and reproductive health care rights legislative package, named the “NYC Abortion Rights Act.” Spearheaded by the first-ever women majority Council, this package of laws and resolutions seeks to protect women, trans, and gender non-conforming people’s access to safe abortion and reproductive health care in New York City, and codifies New York City’s role as a safe harbor for abortion care, protecting against attacks on reproductive health services from other states.
Introduction 474-A, sponsored by Councilmember Shahana Hanif (D-39), whose district stretches from Carroll Gardens to Park Slope and Kensington, as well as Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Councilmembers Nantasha Williams, Hudson and Cabán, would require the city to engage in a public education program regarding safe access to reproductive health care. Specifically, the bill would require the implementing agency to educate the public about the City’s Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities Law (ARHCF) and protections for people making reproductive health decisions in accordance with the City Human Rights Law (HRL).
COALITION DENOUNCES DEVELOPERS’ BROKEN PROMISE ON ‘URBAN ROOM’: A coalition of community leaders and elected officials gathered near Barclays Center to protest the developers’ missed deadline on a much-anticipated and promised “Urban Room” at Atlantic Yards. The coalition wants Gov. Kathy Hochul to hold developers at the Atlantic Yards project accountable for failing to deliver this key element of its design by a contractual deadline. Project documents describe the “Urban Room” as “a significant public amenity comprised of a large, glass-enclosed public space” that would “accommodate the major flows of people to and from the subway system during the day and night, serve as a direct subway entrance to the Arena and allow for a variety of public uses and programmed events throughout the year.”
The group, which includes BIDs and neighborhood organizations including the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corp., the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Fifth Avenue Committee, the Park Slope Civic Council and the North Flatbush BID, demands that the Hochul administration collect $10M in damages from Greenland Forest City Partners for failure to build the Urban Room.
MAYOR ADAMS OUTLINES NEW VISION FOR FERRY SYSTEM: Following a scathing state comptroller’s audit on the previous mayor’s handling of the costs of operating the city’s ferry system, Mayor Eric Adams yesterday unveiled “NYC Ferry Forward.” Adams’ vision for a more equitable, accessible, and fiscally sustainable citywide ferry system includes a new NYC Ferry Discount Program — modeled after the city’s Fair Fares program for subways and buses, which offers reduced-fair rides for seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income riders.
Starting in September, at least one million New Yorkers will be able to avail themselves of the program and ride the ferry, one way, for just $1.35 compared to the current $2.75.
FUNDS FROM SETTLEMENT SUPPORT LITERACY PROGRAMS: New York Attorney General Letitia James yesterday delivered more than $230,000 to the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) to support free financial literacy programs for New Yorkers. The funding, which comes from a previous consumer fraud settlement, will offer New Yorkers free, confidential one-on-one financial counseling at DCWP’s NYC Financial Empowerment Centers.
Initiating the settlement that generated these funds were the Office of the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission, working with direct marketer Allstar Marketing Group, LLC (Allstar) that was held liable for deceptive practices that hid charges from consumers ordering products primarily advertised through television infomercials. Thousands of customers were hit with unexpected fees added through misleading online and phone ordering processes.
TEXT NOTIFICATION LAUNCHES ON MONKEYPOX: A new SMS-text notification effort, launched yesterday, will deliver the latest monkeypox information directly to New Yorkers. New Yorkers can sign up for text messages — which will include alerts about cases, symptoms, spread, and resources for testing and vaccination — by texting “MONKEYPOX” to 81336 or “MONKEYPOXESP” for texts in Spanish. By providing a zip code, New Yorkers can also opt-in for location-based messages.
The text notification program, which Governor Kathy Hochul announced yesterday, is designed to alert New Yorkers to protective public health facts and resources at their disposal, including information about how monkeypox presents and transmits, as well as what New Yorkers should do following exposure.
MONKEYPOX VACCINE APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE SOON: The City of New York will release more than 8,000 first dose monkeypox vaccine appointments over the next two weeks. Appointments will be available starting today, Friday, July 15 at 6 p.m. on NYC’s vaccine portal (vax4nyc.nyc.gov/monkeypox). Plans for the next allocation of the JYNNEOS™ vaccine were firmed up when approximately 14,500 doses arrived this week from the federal government. Beginning this weekend, the Department will administer these doses at mass vaccination sites and clinics in all five boroughs.
One of the four new vaccination sites is in Brooklyn: the Bushwick Educational Campus. Text “MONKEYPOX” to 692692 to get free updates.
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES $13.6 MILLION TO FIGHT GUN VIOLENCE: Governor Kathy Hochul has announced $13.6 million will be allocated to fight gun violence, aid victims and survivors and their families and communities, and bolster the state’s response to the ongoing public health crisis in communities that have experienced significant increases in shootings and firearm-involved crimes since early 2020. A total of $9.1 million will allow the state to continue supporting more than 30 nonprofit organizations and hospitals, so they can deploy gun violence intervention staff through 2023; $2 million will address the needs of victims, families and communities affected by violence in Queens; and $2.5 million will fund the state’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention’s public awareness and data analysis work.
“We have a gun violence epidemic here in the state of New York, full stop, that is a statement of fact,” the governor said. “… How do you stop public health crisis? You find the source of it, the virus, how you treat the virus. And you disrupt it and you stop the transmission and that’s the plan.”
UTILITIES MUST REIMBURSE CUSTOMERS FOR PROLONGED OUTAGES: New rules from the New York State Public Service Commission will require certain electric and gas companies to compensate residential and small business customers who have experienced widespread prolonged service outages. Further, the new law requires utility companies to provide residential customers with a credit of $25 on the balance of their bill for each 24-hour period of service outage that occurs for more than 72 consecutive hours after a widespread prolonged outage.
The law also requires utility companies to reimburse small business customers up to $540 for food spoiled, if the customer provides an itemized list and proof of loss within 14 days of the outage; the utilities have 30 days to reimburse affected customers.
VACCINE TOWN HALL FOR PARENTS OF SMALL CHILDREN: The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and NYC Health will lead a virtual town hall next Wednesday, July 20, for parents and guardians to get their questions answered about COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months and older. Registration for the Town Hall, which starts at 9 a.m. can be done via http://on.nyc.gov/healthtownhall720
Registrants will receive a confirmation email containing details about joining the webinar.
ART BOOK AND INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS’ FAIR: The nonprofit North Brooklyn art space Amant will host the sixth annual Brooklyn Art Book Fair from July 15–17 at its bespoke home at 306 Maujer Street in East Williamsburg. The Brooklyn Art Book Fair will feature more than publishers and artists from across the country, and bring together emerging and established vendors for a three-day event that celebrates independent publishing, and is free to both exhibitors and visitors.
This is Amant’s first year hosting the fair, which was held virtually in 2020 and 2021. The fair is open 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 15, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
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