Good Morning, Brooklyn: Thursday, September 22, 2022
CORRECTION & AMPLIFICATION: A spokeswoman for National Grid said in a statement earlier today that the worksite where vapors were reported “is not part of the Citizens Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) site.” Documents from the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation describe the MGP site as being at the intersection of Smith and 5th Streets, along the Gowanus Canal; and maps from the NYC Parks Department and Google show St. Mary’s Playground sitting along Smith St. between Luquer and Nelson streets, while St. Mary’ Park is between Nelson and Huntington streets, a block away from the Gowanus Canal.
A news brief published yesterday quoted Voice of Gowanus on an assertion that “The worksite is part of the former (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.”
CITY BAR URGES PASSAGE OF HOUSE’S PRESIDENTIAL REFORM ACT: Following Tuesday’s introduction of the Presidential Election Reform Act (H.R. 8873) in the U.S. House of Representatives, aimed at preventing a similar insurrection to the events of January 6, 2021, the New York City Bar Association urges the House to swiftly pass the Act’s critical reforms to the Electoral Count Act (ECA). The City Bar believes the Presidential Election Reform Act provides a strong counterpart to the Senate’s bipartisan Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act (ECRA) and that the bills should be reconciled and passed without delay. The House bill expands the number of members of each Congressional chamber needed to raise an objection to a state’s electors from one member to one-third of each chamber, an increase over the Senate bill, which requires one-fifth of the Chamber.
The requirement of a substantial number of objecting members of both houses of Congress would reduce the possibility of baseless objections delaying or obstructing the count and increase the likelihood that the choice of the voters will be respected and ratified.
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.
NYC DEPT. OF EDUCATION UPDATES PARTNERSHIP WITH ST. FRANCIS COLLEGE: As part of facilitating the move to the new campus, St. Francis College and the City of New York updated a pre-existing agreement and formalized a number of important benefits for New York City public school students, a point that Mayor Eric Adams, who supported the college during his time as Brooklyn Borough President, brought forward at today’s Grand Opening. The program, which benefits public school students, will provide the New York City Department of Education with the use of four classrooms, an auditorium, science and computer labs, and a number of other learning and cultural spaces at the college’s brand-new facility. Moreover, St. Francis College will provide full tuition scholarships to two New York City public school students each academic year.
St. Francis will also offer 15 seats to New York City public school students in its Summer Science Academy and Summer Entrepreneur Camps free of charge.
MOREHOUSE COLLEGE MEN VISIT BED-STUY CHARTER SCHOOL: The students of Excellence Boys, a free public charter school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, got a visit from the men of Morehouse College, one of the most prestigious HBCUs in the country and one of only four men’s colleges in the nation. Excellence Boys and Morehouse College have a special bond in that six Morehouse men are educators at the school, including the two principals, Bell and Jaz Grant, who lead 600 Brooklyn boys, almost all Black or Latinx, in preparing to be young men who will go on to change the world.
The Morehouse students performed a mesmerizing compilation of dramatic monologues and artistic interpretation of the core pillars and beliefs that lead to the success of a Morehouse Man. The Morehouse Man is said to be a successful leader when he exhibits the five “wells”: well-read, well-spoken, well-traveled, well-dressed and well-balanced.
SCHOOLS AREN’T MEETING NEEDS OF DISABLED STUDENTS, SAYS PUBLIC ADVOCATE: The city’s public schools are failing to meet the needs of disabled students, including those covered in legal requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, during a hearing of the Committee on Education on Wednesday. Public Advocate Williams discussed the consequences of both inadequate services and inaccessible infrastructure for students, and pushed for passage of his legislation to require the Department of Education to report annually on the degree to which indoor and outdoor school facilities comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Williams also described inadequate transportation to schools and remote options during the height of the pandemic, and demonstrated that the reporting required by his legislation would be an invaluable tool in helping families select the schools that can best meet the needs of children with disabilities.
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.
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, Assemblymember 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.
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 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, which is an opportunity for all in our multi-cultural community,” said Colton.
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.
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, 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 the queue.
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