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Good Morning, Brooklyn: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

November 2, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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A TREE FOR EVERY SPOT IN BROOKLYN HEIGHTS: Every viable spot within Brooklyn’s Congressional District 33 will get a tree planted, with comprehensive street care efforts launched to nurture them, thanks to a plan that City Councilmember Lincoln Restler (D-33) announced today. The New York City Parks Department has coordinated with Councilmember Restler’s office to planting 2,200 trees across the district over the next four years, Council Member Restler’s office will fund an additional 1,200 trees during that same period at a cost of $2.5 million dollars – to be financed through a combination of discretionary dollars and the creation of a District 33 Street Tree Fund.

The plan also outlines Restler’s efforts in concert with existing tree stewardship groups like the Greenpoint Tree Corps and the Brooklyn Heights Association tree team to establish tree stewardship groups in every neighborhood in the 33rd district so neighbors can learn how to care for the expanding tree canopy. Read the full story, here.

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

CONDEMNS NYPD’S PARTNERSHIP WITH NEIGHBORS APP CITYWIDE: The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.), a New York-based privacy and civil rights group, today condemned the NYPD’s announcement that it will join Amazon Ring’s Neighbors App, warning that such a public-private surveillance partnership would promote vigilantism, racial profiling, and police violence. S.T.O.P.’s Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn said, “Most New Yorkers would second guess installing these home surveillance tools if they understood how easily these systems could be used against them and their families by police.”

Last week, S.T.O.P. demanded Amazon halt the sale of Ring surveillance doorbells after a man and his teenage son in Florida allegedly shot at a woman in her car seven times after receiving a Ring alert when she dropped off a package sent to the wrong address.

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BOUGHT AND DISTRIBUTED GUNS ILLEGALLY IN DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN: A firearms dealer from Arkansas has been charged in Brooklyn federal  court with conspiring to deal in firearms and making false statements to acquire firearms. Public filings disclosed that Booker, a straw gun buyer who illegally purchased firearms on behalf of others, bought and distributed across the five boroughs at least 137 such weapons –13 of which have been recovered.

Arrested this morning in Arkansas, Booker will be brought at a later date to the Eastern District Court here in Brooklyn.

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SOLD NON-EXISTENT CONDOS BAY RIDGE: A property owner in Bay Ridge who sold non-existent condos to immigrant families now faces a lawsuit from State Attorney General Letitia James.  Xi Hui “Steven” Wu, his ex-wife Xiao Rong Yang, and his companies TCJ Construction Inc. (TCJ Construction) and 345 Ovington LLC are accused of exploiting at least 20 Chinese immigrants by illegally selling them non-existent condominiums, failing to submit the proper paperwork with the city or providing the buyers with their deeds and using the fraudulently billed monthly “mortgage” payments and building fees of more than $5 million for their own personal expenses.

The Office of the Attorney General’s lawsuit aims to compel full disgorgement of all stolen and illegally obtained funds to be returned to the families whom Wu cheated, and to permanently bar Wu, Yang, and all defendants from offering or selling real estate in New York.

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NYPD PARTNERS WITH THE RING CITYWIDE: The New York City Police Department will, starting next week, participate in Neighbors, a free app developed as a part of the Ring system that facilitates interaction between law enforcement and the public. While the NYPD will not monitor the app around the clock, it will have the capacity to view, post and respond to crime- and safety-related information posted publicly by the app’s users of the app, and to seek the public’s help.

However, responding to a recent Consumer Reports article about improvements that Amazon-owned Ring made to its system, Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, warns that evidence is lacking that the systems actually reduce the amount of racial profiling, false arrest and persistent tracking.

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YOUNG ATTORNEYS WILL LEARN CITY WORKINGS: A new citywide initiative will enable junior attorneys at law firms across New York City to serve their fellow New Yorkers through a yearlong appointment in the legal department of a city agency. Named the New York City Legal Fellows Program, whose launch Mayor Eric Adams announced today, the initiative will fully-integrate the fellows, whose law firms will continue to employ and pay them, into agency legal departments.

The city plans also, in the future, to identify a broad range of pro bono matters to help further expose junior law firm attorneys to the work of the city.

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NOVELIST’S UNSOLICITED GIFT WILL HELP OPEN SCHOOLS BROOKLYN: Ascend Public Charter Schools, the largest Brooklyn-based charter school network, has received an unsolicited $11 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.  This discretionary gift will allow Ascend to open three new Brooklyn school facilities in Flatbush, Cypress Hills, and Brownsville, reach a thousand more students, extend its student population to 7,000 in the next five years and focus on longer-term strategic priorities to strengthen its program and its roots.

MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is also a novelist, whose debut novel, The Testing of Luther Albright, won her an American Book Award in 2006.

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DOE: MORE THAN 104K STUDENTS ARE HOMELESS CITYWIDE: More than 104,000 of the city’s public students lack a permanent home, according to new Department of Education data, prompting several politicians and advocacy groups to hold the city and state accountable. A rally is planned for tomorrow, November 3, when advocates will demand that Governor Hochul, Mayor Adams, and City and State lawmakers support policies to mitigate the growing rate of homelessness and provide youth with safe, stable housing, including rental assistance programs like the Housing Access Voucher Program and the Good Cause bill, which would protect tenants from unjust eviction and exorbitant rent hikes.

The DOE report indicates that the number of homeless students had increased for the seventh consecutive year, even as school enrollment has declined by 3.2 percent, with homeless advocates disputing the latter figure for failing to count for the thousands of children seeking asylum who have arrived in New York in recent months.

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HELMSLEY TRUST GRANT WILL BRING GREEN SPACES TO NYCHA HOUSING: Two NYCHA housing developments in Brooklyn will benefit from part of a $3.2 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to create and activate green space. Residents of The Marlboro Houses in Gravesend (southern Brooklyn) and Roosevelt Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and two other NYCHA complexes in the Bronx, which were selected due to their documented high need in health indicators as well as climate vulnerability, will participate in this program, called Green Space Connections, utilizes the award‐winning Connected Communities methodology as a framework, to engage NYCHA residents in the planning process.

This effort will feature three program elements – Participatory Design Process, Physical Transformation, and Programming for Sustainability.

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ELDERLY WOMAN’S ATTACKER HELD WITHOUT BAIL: A Crown Heights man has been charged with sexual abuse, burglary as a sexually motivated felony, assault, strangulation, and other charges for allegedly violently attacking an 81-year-old woman in her apartment, also in Crown Heights, causing her several injuries.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified the defendant as Thomas Johnson, 50, who was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser on a 16-count indictment.

The defendant is being held without bail and was ordered to return to court on December 1.

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SURGE IN DRUG OVERDOSE DEATHS: Drug overdose fatalities surged during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York State, with opioid-related overdose deaths increasing by 68 percent to nearly 5,000 individuals from 2019 to 2021, according to an analysis released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The surge is largely due to a sharp increase in deaths from opioids related to illicit fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids.

In fact, overdose deaths statewide — from opioids and all drugs during 2021 surpassed the previous 2017 peak by more than 1,700 fatalities.    

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FATAL SHOOTING IN CROWN HEIGHTS: Early Tuesday morning, November 1, police responding to a 911 call in the vicinity of Crown Street and Rogers Avenue, near the Medgar Evers campus, in the 71st Precinct found a 26-year-old male with a gunshot wound to the head. The man was rushed to NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County, where he was pronounced deceased.

No arrests have yet been made and the investigation remains ongoing, with the victim’s identity being withheld, pending proper family notification.

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POLICE IDENTIFY 25-YEAR-OLD GUNSHOT VICTIM: Police have identified a man who was killed Monday evening, October 31, at the Sheepshead Bay NYCHA Development located at 2932 Avenue V, within the 61st Precinct and Police Service Area 1. The man, who had been shot in the chest and buttocks, was 25-year-old Jamel Nicholson of Brooklyn Avenue in East Flatbush.

Another victim in the shooting was a 19-year-old female, who sustained a gunshot wound to the chest, right knee and right hip and was transported to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in stable condition.

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DOUBLE HOMICIDE IN RESTAURANT SHOOTING: A shooting that took place inside Miguel’s West Indian Restaurant last Thursday, October 27 in the 73rd Precinct has now been ruled a double homicide. One victim, a 46-year-old man later identified as Eyon Johnson of Sterling Place died at Brookdale Hospital. The second victim, whom the NYPD has identified as Damien White, died on Sunday, October 30, police reported on Tuesday.

The incident is still under investigation as of press time, and no arrests have been made.

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SUBWAY PUNCHER ARRESTED: Police have arrested a Brooklyn man who attacked an elderly commuter on a southbound #1 train in an Upper West Side station who asked him to lower the volume of his radio. Reginald Matthews, 31, of Bergen St. has been charged with assault on a victim 65 or older.

Last Thursday afternoon, Matthews punched his 78-year-old victim, who had asked him to lower the sounds of music on his speakers.

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NYC HISTORY DAY CONTEST LAUNCHES: The Center for Brooklyn History at Brooklyn Public Library has launched the school year’s NYC History Day contest, for the first time free for all students, with competition entrance fees covered for all levels. Themed this year as “Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas,” the contest will help middle and high school students learn how to conduct historical research and interpret their findings and — working individually or as part of a team—they will create an exhibit, documentary, performance, paper or website.

The contest opens on November 14. BPL’s Center for Brooklyn History is providing a series of free workshops, open to students and teachers, in preparation for the contest, starting this Thursday, November 3.

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BROWNSVILLE WILL GET NEW AFFORDABLE LIVING COMPLEX: Construction is now underway at The Rise, a $50 million, 72-unit affordable and supportive housing development in Brownsville, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Tuesday. The development will be 100 percent affordable and offer an array of health, wellness, employment and legal services to support residents and benefit the surrounding community.

The Rise, already honored for its climate-friendly design, is part of the state’s vital Brooklyn Initiative to address chronic social, economic and health disparities in Brooklyn’s high-need communities.

Rendering for The Rise
Photo credit: Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

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CARE PACKAGES FOR NEW PARENTS: Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and Met Council, a prominent Jewish Charity, today introduced their pilot program of “Born in Brooklyn” baby boxes, which contain free baby supplies and post-partum resources for new parents that has been made possible through a $100,000 grant. A total of 500 post-partum families receiving care at select Brooklyn hospitals and clinics will receive “Born in Brooklyn” baby boxes. A resource one-pager will accompany the boxes, with links to helpful guides for first-time parents and city-wide services.

This pilot, which builds on Borough President Reynoso’s commitment to reduce crisis-level maternal morbidity rates found among Black and Brown birthing people will serve new parents receiving care at NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull, Caribbean Women’s Health Association, Brooklyn Perinatal Network, and Brownsville Neighborhood Health Action Center.

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EMERSON POLL: GOV. HOCHUL LEADING RACE BY 8 POINTS: The first post-debate Emerson College Polling/Pix11/The Hill survey of New York voters finds Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul with an eight-point lead over Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin, 52 percent to 44 percent, with three percent undecided. With undecided voters’ support accounted for, Hochul’s lead extends to nine points, 54 percent to 45 percent. Since the pre-debate Emerson/Pix11/The Hill poll, Hochul has gained two percentage points and Zeldin has stayed at 44 percent support, with 87 percent of surveyed voters saying they had viewed or were knowledgeable about the debate.

Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, noted that “Women voters are Hochul’s strong suit, she leads Zeldin by 16 points, 56 percent to 40 percent,” whereas, male voters in New York are evenly split:

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RETRIEVE YOUR UNCLAIMED MONEY: A high school in Prospect Heights will host one of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s workshops in helping Brooklynites reclaim their money. DiNapoli, who oversees more than 46 million unclaimed funds accounts valued at $17.5 billion, is organizing community events throughout New York State to assist people searching for lost or forgotten money. The Prospect Heights High School Campus at the High School for Global Citizenship will host the unclaimed funds assistance workshop during a Thanksgiving Giveaway on Wednesday, November 19. Those who cannot attend can use the online claiming system or by calling 1-800-221-9311, view a map of unclaimed funds owed to New Yorkers by county and region, or learn more about Unclaimed Funds, here.

Examples of lost or unclaimed funds are utility deposits that were never properly refunded, old bank accounts, uncashed checks, insurance claims, stocks and other sources that have been dormant for years – in some cases, decades.

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SUNY DOWNSTATE RESEARCHERS WIN SCIENTIFIC PAPER AWARD ON RADIOLOGY: The premier radiology publication Aunt Minnie has awarded four researchers from SUNY Downstate, the 2022 Scientific Paper of the Year award for their research paper titled, “Mandating Limits on Workload, Duty, and Speed in Radiology.” Joining the winners, Dr. Robert Alexander, Dr. Stephen Waite, Dr. Susanna Martinez-Conde and Dr. Stephen Macknik in this project were contributors from outside SUNY Downstate Michael A. Bruno from the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Department of Radiology, Elizabeth A. Krupinski from the Emory University Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, and Leonard Berlin from the Rush University Medical College Department of Radiology and University of Illinois.

The term “Aunt Minnie” in radiology describes an imaging finding “that is both perfectly obvious and pathognomonic of a disease.”


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