Good Morning, Brooklyn: Monday, July 18, 2022
NYC MONKEYPOX CASES ON RISE AMID VACCINE SHORTAGE: The New York City Department of Health reported 461 cases of monkeypox in the city as of Friday, July 15, signifying more than 30 percent of the recorded cases of monkeypox per the Centers for Disease Control. Now New York City is the epicenter of the monkeypox outbreak in the United States, yet it does not have sufficient vaccine supply to reach the number of people who need it to protect themselves. This has prompted the Health Department to decide that offering first doses to more at-risk New Yorkers is the best strategy until we receive adequate vaccine supply.
Approximately 14,500 doses arrived this week from the federal government, and beginning this weekend, the Department will administer these doses at mass vaccination sites and clinics in all five boroughs, with 9,200 first-dose appointments being made to the eligible public through the city’s vaccine portal, vax4nyc.nyc.gov/monkeypox. Vaccine appointments for the 14,600 doses shipped were filled at 6:07 p.m., Friday, approximately seven minutes after the portal opened at 6 p.m.
ASIAN COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHTED IN COUNCIL REDISTRICTING: The New York City Districting Commission on Friday voted on a preliminary plan, composed of newly drawn maps of each of the city’s 51 Council districts. Among the new plan’s highlights is an Asian opportunity district in South Brooklyn that will cover parts of Sunset Park, Dyker Heights, and Bensonhurst. The Asian Voting Age Population in this district is approximately 57 percent.
The independent Districting Commission voted after receiving public testimony, in person and via email and Zoom, from nearly 500 city residents at public hearings held from May through July in each of the five boroughs. The maps are available for public review online at nyc.gov/districting and a physical copy will be displayed at the Surrogate’s Court 31 Chambers Street.
CON EDISON MANHOLE WORK ON FLATBUSH, WASHINGTON AVENUES: Lane access restrictions at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Lincoln Rd. in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens will be in effect today, July 18, so that Consolidated Edison can facilitate manhole modification. The NYC Department of Design and Construction and Community Board 9 announced the lane access restrictions, which will be in effect from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Similar restrictions will also be in effect during the same timeframe on the southeast corner of Lincoln Road and Washington Avenue, so that Con Edison crews can facilitate an electric layout and installation of a catch basin and to rebuild a manhole.
RECORDS RETRIEVAL COMPANIES ASKED ABOUT CHARGES TO VETERANS FOR FREE SERVICES: Veterans’ record retrieval companies have been asked to provide to Congress information about their potential misuse of National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) procedures. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-12/northern Brooklyn), chair of the House’s Committee on Oversight and Reform, is asking veteran records-retrieval companies Aardvark Research Group, Angels Research, and DD214Direct to disclose information on the procedures, which expedite veterans’ records requests in urgent or emergency situations, particularly their reasons for charging their veteran customers as much as $99 to obtain essential military discharge documents (otherwise free) by misusing NPRC’s procedure, and marking non-emergency requests as emergencies to expedite their requests.
A form known as “DD Form 214” (DD214) is required for veterans to access crucial benefits after they separate from active military service, including health care, housing, and civilian employment benefits. This document is housed at NPRC — which operates within the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) — and can be made available to veterans at no cost upon request.
DiNAPOLI: OVERTIME COSTS AT STATE AGENCIES REACHED ALL-TIME HIGH IN 2021: The total cost of overtime in 2021 reached an all-time high at more than $924 million, up 8.7 percent from 2020, covering roughly 19.95 million overtime hours worked, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The agencies seeing the highest increase in overtime costs, with two-thirds of the overtime hours, were the Dept. of Corrections, Office of Mental Health and Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Accounted for Two-Thirds of OT Hours
Total overtime hours worked at state agencies has increased by 38 percent since 2012, while the number of employees has declined by more than 10 percent at ten major agencies.
SETTLEMENT REACHED IN DEALERSHIPS’ DECEPTIVE PRACTICES: A settlement has been reached between the city and Brooklyn Mitsubishi and Brooklyn Volkswagen that will deliver $304,900 to New Yorkers wronged by the companies’ deceptive practices when selling used cars. Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga brokered the agreement, which resolves numerous violations of the city’s Consumer Protection Law, as well as licensing laws prohibiting deceptive and unlawful conduct in the industry. As part of today’s settlement, 36 consumers are getting restitution totaling $154,900, leaving $150,000 for new consumers who come forward with complaints, which can be submitted directly on DCWP’s website in English or Spanish.
The city’s lawsuit charged the dealerships with using deceptive advertising to lure customers to their dealerships and then illegally selling cars at prices well above the advertised prices, refusing to honor their own and “no dealer fees” policy falsely advertising accessories, warranties, and add-on products that did not come with the vehicle.
SPEED CAMERAS EXPAND VIGILANCE TO 24/7: Starting on August 1, NYC speed cameras will issue violations 24/7, year-round, in 750 school zones located within a quarter-mile radius of school buildings, reports Brooklyn Community Board 2.
A corresponding emphasis on enforcement against fake, altered, and illegal license plates is also in effect.
PHASING OUT AGRICULTURAL PESTICIDES: Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-7/western Brooklyn) led ten Members of Congress, including Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-10/Sunset Park to Gravesend) in urging the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to phase out agricultural pesticides. The coalition wants provisions to be made so that the use of pesticides for the control of invasive or non-native species is authorized on a limited basis when necessary, so long as it is compatible with each Refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan and strictly in conformity with an Integrated Pest Management plan.
A time-limited exemption for the use of an agricultural pesticide may be granted in the event of an emergency, following a period of public notice and comment and publication in the Federal Register, for a period of up to one year. Also exempted would be minimum-risk pesticides such as organic compounds, on National Wildlife Refuges through a rulemaking process.
FAITH IN BROOKLYN: BIG CITY CATHOLICS PODCASTS RECAP BISHOP BRENNAN’S FIRST 8 MONTHS HERE: Bishop Robert Brennan’s first eight months as leader of the ethnically-diverse Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, and the world-renowned Giglio festival in Williamsburg are the two key topics in this week’s podcast titled Big City Catholics. The Diocese produces a new podcast each week, wants to hear from its listeners on how much they enjoy the show.
Listeners are invited to email the podcast team at [email protected], and to use #BigCityCatholics when you’re talking about us on your social media pages.
IN MEMORIAM: ALBERT VANN, 87 SERVED ON CITY COUNCIL, ASSEMBLY: Tributes are pouring in from the State Attorney General Letitia James, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and more, for the late Albert Vann, a former member of both the NYC City Council and State Assembly, the latter on which he served for more than 25 years, in the 36th District. Vann’s death, at age 87, was announced on Friday.
Vann was also a founder of Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights, which is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system.
PUBLIC ADVOCATE COMMENDS THE LATE AL VANN: NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams mourned the loss of his former colleague, Albert Vann, whose death was announced on Friday. Vann “spent his life and career as a tireless champion for Bed-Stuy, a trailblazer and model for members of the community,” wrote Williams. “As an elected official in the Assembly and City Council, he fought to increase the political power and governing strength of communities of more color – especially within Black communities across the state – with his work ultimately leading to the creation of two additional U.S. Congressional districts, three Senate districts, and six State Assembly districts.”
Williams added, “While serving together in the City Council, Al Vann also joined me and members of the “Core 34” to override then-Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of the Community Safety Act.”
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