Good Morning, Brooklyn: Monday, October 3, 2022
GRANDSON OF CIVIL RIGHTS ICON NELSON MANDELA VISITS BROOKLYN CHARTER SCHOOL THIS MORNING: Ndaba Mandela, grandson of international civil rights icon Nelson Mandela, is addressing hundreds of local high school students in Brooklyn and on Long Island today urging the end to violence and crime in New York and across the country. As part of an historic visit from South Africa, Ndaba Mandela visited Lamad Academy Charter School, on Clarkson Avenue in East Flatbush this morning (and visits a school in Hempstead this afternoon) to discuss re-establishing peace at in New York’s communities, after a spate of high-profile crime, notably the murder of an on-duty FDNY EMT last week. According to the most recent NYPD Citywide crime statistics, total crime in New York has increased over 33% year to-date.
Nelson Mandela spent 27 years as a political prisoner in South Africa and was the nation’s first black head of state – focusing on dismantling the country’s shameful legacy of apartheid. Ndaba Mandela lived with his grandfather for much of his childhood, learning lessons about peace and justice.
DIOCESE APPOINTS RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE TO FILL DUAL ROLE PROTECTING CHILDREN: Elizabeth Harris, a retired New York City Police Department Detective, has been appointed to fill two critical roles in the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Office of Protection of Children and Young People: Victim Assistance Coordinator and 1722 Supervisor, the Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn, announced this morning. Harris served in the NYPD for 21 years, 12 of which were in the Manhattan Child Abuse Squad, investigating a high volume of allegations of child sexual abuse, and specializing in interviewing sex assault victims. Before that, Harris spent four years in the NYPD’s sex offender monitoring unit.
The Office of Victim Assistance provides pastoral care and assistance to those who have presented themselves to be victims of clergy sexual abuse and is committed to helping them begin the healing process; while the 1722 Supervisor is responsible for the monitoring of priests who have been removed from ministry.
BROOKLYN MUSEUM’S ASIA AND ISLAMIC ARTS FLOOR REOPENS: The Brooklyn Museum has opened its entire floor devoted to Arts of Asia and the Islamic World, including newly installed collections of the region’s art. The ten-year renovation project celebrates the diversity and encyclopedic scope of the Museum’s renowned collections across more than 20,000 square feet of space.
Renovated for the first time in forty years, the floor now features nearly 700 objects, including newly conserved and rare works of art.
MAKING MORE ‘FAMILY-FRIENDLY ADMISSIONS POLICY: New York City Schools Chancellor David C. Banks is making changes to admissions in New York City public schools, beginning in the 2023-2024 enrollment cycle, to make the processes more family-friendly, transparent, and fair. Chancellor Banks also stated his commitment to authentically engaging with families and communities around increasing the types of programs and schools they desire, some as soon as the 2023-2024 school year.
The announcement follows six months of community engagement––including more than 30 meetings with families, students, parents, principals, community and advocacy groups, Community Education Councils (CECs), and school counselors, as well as rallies that local elected officials, such as Assemblymember William Colton, himself an educator, organized.
SENTENCED TO 16 MONTHS FOR SPORTS RACKETEERING: United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen, presiding in federal court in Brooklyn, has sentenced Reynaldo Vasquez, the former president of the El Salvadorean soccer federation (“the Federation”) to 16 months’ imprisonment in connection with over $350,000 in bribes. Vasquez pleaded guilty last year to racketeering conspiracy, in which the other soccer officials from El Salvador were involved.
They received the funds from an American company in exchange for the sale of broadcast rights to the El Salvador soccer team’s World Cup qualifier and friendly matches.
RECORD INVESTMENT FOR NEW YORK’S ARTS PROGRAMMING: A record $150 million in capital funding will be available for arts and culture organizations through the New York State Council on the Arts’ Capital Projects Fund, Governor Kathy Hochul announced yesterday. This unprecedented investment, includes $100 million in new, multi-year funding to facilitate large-scale capital projects that prioritize community development and placemaking.
It is the State’s largest ever commitment to NYSCA for capital projects for the arts, following on already record-level funding for the arts in the FY 2023 Budget. Governor Hochul was scheduled to discuss her commitment to supporting the arts at last night’s Carnegie Hall 2022-2023 Season Opening.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES HONORS LEADERS AT HUMANITARIAN AWARD DINNER: The president of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, Wayne J. Riley, M.D., MPH, MBA, MACP, was among those being honored last night at the 2022 Bishop’s Humanitarian Award Dinner of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens. He received the 2022 Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Service Award. Also honored at the event were Paul Capurso, NYC District Council of Carpenters; Dave T. Ferguson, E-J Electric Installation, Co.; and William J. Peterson, Neuberger Berman, all of whom received the 2022 Humanitarian Award.
Held at Cipriani on Wall Street, the annual dinner benefits Catholic Charities’ 160-plus programs and services.
BROOKLYN COLLEGE JOINS HILLEL INTERNATIONAL’S INITIATIVE FOR FIGHTING ANTISEMITISM: Brooklyn College has joined six other CUNY campuses selected for Hillel International’s expansion of its national Campus Climate Initiative, part of an ongoing series of measures to confront the uptick in antisemitism globally, locally, and on campuses across the country. Joining Hillel International will allow Brooklyn College and CUNY to be key partners in several areas, including the development of a system-wide web page for reporting campus incidents, including antisemitism, to facilitate and standardize reporting, and the allocation of $750,000 in new funding for events and programs that counter antisemitism and other forms of religious or ethnic bigotry, or for the expansion of diversity, equity, and inclusion training incorporating antisemitism.
Tanger Hillel is the largest Hillel facility at a New York campus that serves a diverse population of students, including Russian-speaking Jews, Israeli, Kavkazi, Bukharin, Orthodox, and American students.
IMPROVING 311 CALL SERVICE: New York City Council voted today on legislation to ensure transparency and equal access at New York City’s 311 Customer Service Center that the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications operates. The Council’s legislation seeks to improve 311 by increasing transparency on wait times, efficiently identifying languages spoken by callers, and ensuring that the 311 Customer Service Center is proactively informed and equipped to address the need for new and updated service request/complaint types.
In addition, the Council will vote on the following legislation addressing storefront vacancies and supporting small businesses in the post-pandemic era.
JUDGE MANDATES NEW DISTRICT MAPS FOR STATE ASSEMBLY: The Independent Redistricting Commission must reconvene to submit new Assembly map lines, a State Supreme Court judge in New York County ruled today. According to the court documents published by City & State, the latest development in the ongoing statewide redistricting saga is that the IRC must draw up new maps by April 2023 that will be in place for the 2024 cycle, ruled Justice Laurence L. Love.
The newly drawn, temporary Assembly district lines would still be used for the 2022 election cycle, reports City & State.
ADA ELEVATORS BEING REPLACED AT J & M STATION: The NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority will be fully replacing the two ADA elevators at the Flushing Avenue J and M station beginning this Monday, October 3. This project is currently scheduled to take nine to ten months to complete, with a scheduled completion date of Summer 2023.
This station will remain open at all times during the ADA elevator replacement project.
NEW REGULATIONS SET ZERO-EMISSIONS GOAL FOR 2035: Governor Kathy Hochul commemorated National Drive Electric Week by directing the State Department of Environmental Conservation to take major regulatory action requiring all new passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs sold in New York State to be zero emissions by 2035. The regulation, which will build upon existing regulations enacted in New York in 2012, also requires an increasing percentage of new light-duty vehicle sales to be zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) starting with 35 percent of sales in model year 2026, 68 percent of sales by 2030, and 100 percent of sales by 2035.
New pollutant standards for model year 2026 through model year 2034 passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles with internal combustion engines would also be required.
STREET SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS BEGIN SOON IN GREENPOINT: Street safety improvements will be made in Greenpoint, around Cooper Park on the Sharon Open Street, Olive St., Maspeth Ave., and Morgan Ave., within Community Board District 1, as part of the NYC Department of Transportation’s Vision Zero goals. Starting in October, DOT will add painted curb extensions to create safer, shorter crossings, daylight corners to provide better visibility for pedestrians and vehicles, install bike corrals, planters, and granite blocks along the Cooper Park perimeter to provide amenities and calm traffic, among other improvements.
Intersections would also be daylighted, a process that removes parking spaces adjacent to curbs to increase visibility for both pedestrians and drivers.
PUBLIC HEARING WILL ADDRESS PROPOSED INCREASES FOR BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS: Increases in annual expenditures for five Business Improvement Districts, including two in Brooklyn, will be the subject of a public hearing on Wednesday, October 12, according to City Council’ Resolution 306A. The hearing will cover legislation to authorize the budget increases for the DUMBO BID and the Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn BID in Downtown Brooklyn.
“A Business Improvement District (BID) is a geographical area where local stakeholders oversee and fund the maintenance, improvement, and promotion of their commercial district,” according to the New York City Department of Small Business Services.
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