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Good Morning, Brooklyn: Wednesday, September 21, 2022

September 21, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BOSNIAN CITIZEN SENTENCED IN NYPD ROBBERY CASE: Earlier today in Brooklyn federal court, United States District Judge Rachel P. Kovner sentenced Dzenan Camovic to 30 years in prison for the robbery of a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer’s firearm and for discharging that firearm at several NYPD officers during the course of the robbery. Camovic, who was inspired by terrorism, is a Bosnian citizen illegally in the United States, and will be deported after completing his sentence.

Camovic also faced sentencing in state court in Brooklyn today to New York State charges arising from the same conduct.

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DAILY TOP BROOKLYN NEWS
News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

ST. FRANCIS COLLEGE’S NEW HOME: LABS FOR NURSING, FINANCIAL AND OTHER FIELDS: Local leaders joined the St. Francis College community today to celebrate the grand opening of the 163-year-old school’s new, state-of-the-art, custom-designed campus in Downtown Brooklyn. The contemporary space includes flexible labs, particularly Nursing Skills and Nursing Simulation Labs, FinTech Lab (financial technology), psychology and computer labs;  and classrooms, the latest equipment and technology, a 300-seat auditorium, a cafeteria, a private entrance, a dedicated lobby entrance, and an outdoor terrace overlooking Downtown Brooklyn.

Now in its new home — one  that is even more convenient to public transit hubs — St. Francis College expects to serve as a major anchor in the economic development of the nearby Fulton Market neighborhood, with more than 2,500 students and hundreds of faculty and staff.

The ribbon-cutting at the Grand Opening of St. Francis College’s new campus
Photo courtesy of St. Francis College

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CONTRACT APPROVED FOR NEW PENN STATION DESIGN CONCEPT: Brooklynites who travel via New York’s Penn Station will see a major construction project begin over the coming months, now that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, in partnership with NJ Transit and Amtrak, have approved a contract with FXCollaborative Architects LLO and WSP USA, Inc. for the redesign of  the iconic transportation hub. The redesign’s purpose is to relieve overcrowding and improve passenger flow and orientation, improve safety by increasing platform and station egress and accessibility alleviate the cramped, disjointed circulation areas with widened concourses and high ceilings, and integrate Penn Station with Moynihan Train Hall and the planned Penn Station Expansion, among other goals.

The FXCollaborate/WSP joint venture in 2021 had developed the Penn Station Master Plan that created the preferred redesign plan for the station as a single-level facility centered around a grand train hall with a 450-foot long sky-lit atrium between Madison Square Garden and 2 Penn Plaza, an idea which the new MTA contract will advance.

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State Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz
Photo credit: Office-of-Assemblymember-Steven-Cymbrowitz

EARNS 100 PERCENT RATING IN ENVIRONMENTAL VOTING RECORD: The New York League of Conservation Voters, considered the state’s leading environmental advocacy group, has once again given Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz (D-45th District) a perfect legislative rating. Cymbrowitz, who represents Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach and Midwood, earned 100 out of 100 points on the New York League of Conservation Voters annual scorecard, placing him among the state’s greenest legislators, a rating that only 32 of the State’s 150 assemblymembers achieved.

During the last legislative session, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, a longtime member of the Environmental Conservation Committee, voted for legislation to authorize modernizing the state’s energy code and appliance standards so they align with current-day environmental goals, as well as requiring that certain large parking lots and garages support electric vehicle charging stations.

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NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL SUES TRUMP FAMILY: As former President Donald Trump faces scrutiny from a special master over classified documents, he now finds himself the defendant in a lawsuit from New York State Attorney General Letitia James. The litigation names Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, senior management, and involved entities for engaging in years of financial fraud to obtain a host of economic benefits, and it alleges that Donald Trump, with the help of his children Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, and senior executives at the Trump Organization, falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company.

New York Executive Law 63(12) gives the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) special and broad powers to go after persistent and repeated fraud and illegality, which in this case includes alleges the  violation of other state laws prohibiting the submission of false financial statements, the falsification of business records, and the commission of insurance fraud.

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CASE SCHEDULED TO OPEN AGAINST FORMER TRUMP ADVISORS: Also dealing with legal battles this morning were Thomas J. Barrack, a former advisor to President Trump, and Matthew Grimes, who are charged with acting and conspiring to act as an agent of the United Arab Emirates, obstruction of justice and making false statements.  United States District Judge Brian M. Cogan was scheduled to preside over the final selection of jury, instructions and opening statements in Brooklyn federal court.

The defendants and their handlers in the UAE, including UAE national security officials are accused of taking numerous steps to engage with, and influence the conduct of, the Trump presidential campaign.

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ITALIAN AMERICAN NON-PROFIT GROUP RECEIVES ASSEMBLY GRANT: The Federation of Italian American Organizations of Brooklyn (FIAO) is the recipient of a $250,000 Assembly Legislative Grant that Assemblymember William Colton (D-47th District) has secured. Colton, who represents several neighborhoods with a significant Italian community, including Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights), said that that FIAO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that assists families with children in need in Brooklyn’s immigrant communities.

The Federation has built Il Centro, a “multi-level 50,000-square-foot facility outfitted with modern, state-of-the-art equipment and technology state opportunity for all in our multi-cultural community,” said Colton.

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BAY RIDGE MERCHANT SOLD $1M MEGA MILLIONS TICKET: A Bay Ridge merchant, ANSHA INC, at 6824 4th Avenue, sold a second-prize ticket worth a guaranteed $1,000,000.for numbers drawn in last night’s Mega Millions drawing. The winning numbers for the Mega Millions game, which are drawn from a field of one to 70, were 9, 21, 28, 30, 52, and the Mega Ball was 10.

The Mega Millions drawing is televised every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m.

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CELEBRATE CAR FREE DAY AROUND NEW YORK: Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is encouraging drivers to celebrate Car Free Day tomorrow, in which Long Island and the Hudson Valley will take part, which by using greener methods of travel: riding the bus, subway, or commuter railroad. Every year on Sept. 22, people worldwide are encouraged to get their vehicles off the roads to clear traffic congestion, reducing energy use and cleaning the air by using mass transit.

“Mass transit is the heart of New York City, and the MTA has so many great options, there’s no excuse not to leave the car home,” said NYC Transit President Rich Davey, adding that bus network redesigns have already been launched in four of the five boroughs, with Brooklyn next in queue.

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CHILDREN REPORTED TOXIC VAPORS FROM WORKSITE NEAR PLAYGROUND: The public is learning for the first time, from staff members to Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and NYC Councilmember Shahana Hanif, that the Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed the release of toxic vapors at levels that triggered an emergency alarm and work stoppage in July at a worksite adjacent to EPA’s massive Gowanus Canal Superfund zone. The advocacy group Voice of Gowanus reported that children from a summer camp program who had been playing at St. Mary’s Playground—directly across from the heavily contaminated site—were the first to report to Assemblymember Simon’s office that they had smelled strong, prominent odors over several days, including July 27th.

The worksite is part of the former Citizens Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP), which is currently undergoing partial remediation and toxic containment under the supervision of DEC, an effort that has been widely criticized by the EPA and the community for its inadequacy.

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MTA GETS $2 MILLION TO INCREASE SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS: New funding will enable the Metropolitan Transportation Authority/ New York City Transit to install cameras across the entire fleet of subway cars, enhancing security coverage, and, most importantly, increasing passenger confidence in mass transit safety, Governor Kathy Hochul announced yesterday. The MTA has received a $2 million award, through the Urban Area Security Initiative federal grant program, a program under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Preparedness Grants, to purchase 5,400 cameras to be installed on 2,700 New York City Transit subway cars —two per car; and to expand coverage in approximately 130 subway stations, adding approximately 3,800 cameras.

The funding will further strengthen NYC Transit’s existing security network of more than 10,000 cameras across all 472 subway stations, allowing the MTA to fully outfit every subway car with cameras, and supplementing an existing camera pilot program.

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JUDGE DEARIE APPEARS TO BACK DOJ ARGUMENTS ON CALLING DOCUMENTS CLASSIFIED: U.S. District Senior Judge Raymond Dearie, the special master appointed to review documents taken from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, appears to believe the U.S. government’s position that documents marked as “classified” were indeed classified against the wishes of the former president, reports the New York Law Journal, in a story reprinted from the National Law Journal on Tuesday. Judge Dearie, of the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn federal court), after listening to arguments from both the Department of Justice and attorneys for Trump, indicated that the review of documents could begin as soon as Wednesday, September 21.

Judge Dearie, who seemed uninterested in political attacks, also seemed skeptical of Trump’s power and authority to declassify the documents.

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CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION DENOUNCES SUBWAY CAMERA EXPANSION PLAN: The MTA’S surveillance camera expansion plan already got pushback from the New York Civil Liberties Union, which asserts that the subway system has more than enough cameras. The NYCLU, in a statement released yesterday, claimed that “there’s no evidence this massive expansion of subway cameras will improve safety,” and expressed worry over what it calls secretive surveillance practices, law enforcement’s use of the recordings, and the potential threat to people’s fundamental rights.

Other commuters may instead hail the expansion of surveillance in the wake of last spring’s shooting at a crowded N train during morning rush hour; when malfunctioning surveillance cameras impeded the search for the gunman (who later turned himself in to NYPD authorities).

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CHARGES ADDED TO BULLY GANG ACTIVE IN BROOKLYN AND QUEENS: Nine members and associates of the violent New York City- based street gang known as the “Bully Gang,” appeared in Brooklyn federal court yesterday as a superseding indictment was unsealed, charging 26 defendants, including with various offenses: racketeering, murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, and firearms offenses. The superseding indictment includes new charges against the Bully Gang for three murders and one attempted murder in Brooklyn and Queens, committed 2018 and 2020:

As set forth in the superseding indictment and other court filings, members and associates of the Bully Gang used force and violence to promote its power, terrorize communities in multiple states and enrich themselves and their members.

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CORRECTIONS OFFICERS PLEAD GUILTY TO CHARGES OF SMUGGLING AND BRIBES: Two New York City correction officers have now pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court to accepting bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband into Rikers Island for gang members. The defendants, Officers Katrina Patterson and Krystle Burrell smuggled cell phones and narcotics to members of the Bloods Gang.

Burrell’s proceeding was held before United States District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto, and Patterson’s proceeding was held before United States District Judge Carol Bagley Amon.

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NEW TIMETABLE FOR EQUIPMENT ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS: The U.S. Department of Energy is committing to a new timetable for updating energy efficiency standards for 20 categories of common consumer products and commercial equipment, as part of an agreement with State Attorney General Letitia James. The impacted products and equipment range. According to experts’ estimates, updated standards for impacted products, which range  from residential furnaces to laundry machines to electric motors, could provide more than $600 billion in total utility bill savings to American families by 2050 and avoid more than 90 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, as much as ten years earlier.

The DOE’s energy efficiency standards currently cover more than 60 product categories, which collectively, use about 90 percent of the total amount of energy used in homes, 60 percent of the total amount energy used in commercial buildings, and 30 percent of the total amount of energy used in industrial facilities, nationwide

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FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS FACE LESS SPACE, HIGHER PRICES: First-time homebuyers in Brooklyn are being forced to compromise on space due to price and mortgage rate hikes, according to a report that the real estate search engine StreetEasy released this morning. A typical starter home (priced between $400k – $800k) in Brooklyn is eight percent smaller than in summer 2019, representing a decline from a median 1,002 square feet to 924 square feet (equivalent to about six typical parking spots in NYC)  F

Brooklyn homebuyers searching between $400K – $800K had 26 percent fewer homes to choose from this August compared the same month in 2019 (before the pandemic).

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UNAMIMOUS PASSAGE OF REP. JEFFRIES’ BILL TO PREVENT HUMAN TRAFFICKING: The House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bipartisan bill to prevent human trafficking that Brooklyn Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries (D-8th District) introduced.  The legislation will require the posting of the contact information of the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888, TTY: 711, Text: 233733) in the restrooms of all U.S. ports of entry, airplanes, airports, trains, train stations, buses and bus stations so that any victim, or anyone who notices a potential victim of human trafficking, knows who to reach out to for help.

Human Trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 24.9 million people around the world. Due to the nature of this crime, instances of human trafficking are underreported making it difficult to reach those who are in danger.

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JANE’S CAROUSEL REPORTEDLY AMONG SITES FOR SHOFAR ACROSS BROOKLYN: Brooklynites wishing to hear the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, — the Jewish New Year — can visit several outdoor sites around Brooklyn, thanks to the UJA-Federation of New York’s Shofar Across Brooklyn initiative. Shofar Across Brooklyn features more than 20 outdoor locations across the borough where synagogues and local organizations will sound the ancient Biblical instrument, considered to be the only one which has survived to present times, on Tuesday, September 27, at 5 p.m.

Two sites in Downtown Brooklyn are Chabad of Brooklyn Heights, 287 Hicks St. (east side), between Joralemon and State streets, and Chabad’s location at 230 Jay St.; at Cadman Plaza (Lab/Shul); Carroll Park in Carroll Gardens; Cobble Hill Park; and Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Other sites listed on the website, https://www.ujafedny.org/shofar-across-brooklyn

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LITTLE AMAL WILL VISIT LANDMARK GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY: Little Amal, a 12-foot-tall, lifelike puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, who has enthralled Brooklynites this week, will visit the Green-Wood Cemetery this Friday, for a respite. according to announcement from the landmark organization. Her 3:30 p.m. walk-through, which is free and open to the public, will allow Amal to explore the beautiful cemetery grounds as part of an event created by Alexandra Aron for Remote Theater Project and Bangladesh Institute for Performing Arts, and local children vocal ensembles.

Little Amal (see story, elsewhere in this edition) has become an international sensation, having visited a dozen countries since July 2021.


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