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Good Morning, Brooklyn: Monday, November 7, 2022

November 7, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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SAFETY GROUP URGES PRECAUTIONS ON USING DEVICES WITH LITHIUM ION BATTERIES: The fire that occurred in a high-rise apartment building on November 5 underscores the dangers of mishandling devices that use lithium ion batteries, from phones to e-bikes and scooters, warns the National Fire Protection Association®.  Fire officials report that, within the city alone, six fatal fires involving lithium-ion batteries have occurred in 2022 to date, with FDNY responding to more than 130 fires involving e-bikes and e-scooters.

Among the precautions urged: Only purchase and use devices, batteries, and charging equipment that are listed by a nationally recognized, independent testing laboratory and labeled accordingly; only use the battery and the charger that were designed for —and came with — the device; and do not leave the device plugged in after it has been fully charged.

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

NEW SUBWAY RIDERSHIP RECORD ON MARATHON WEEKEND: The MTA New York City Subway reached 2.11 riders million on Sunday, November 6, the day of the NYC Marathon, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Monday. The record surpassed the previous pandemic-era Sunday ridership record set on June 26, 2022, of 2.01 million. The ridership was 12 percent more than last year’s marathon Sunday subway ridership of 1.89 million, and 13 percent more than the previous Sunday ridership of 1.88 million.

Moreover, on the eve of the NYC Marathon, 2.45 million people rode the subway, surpassing the previous Saturday’s record of 2.44 million. The records come on the day that MTA officials had announced plans to reduce planned maintenance-related service changes in the subway system to ensure New Yorkers could move around the city with minimal disruptions during Marathon Sunday.

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MURDER SUSPECT CHARGED WITH DISMEMBERING VICTIM: Murder Charges have been made against a man who allegedly dismembered his girlfriend in August, and hid the body parts in suitcases in the victim’s East New York apartment. The  defendant, Justin Williams, 24, was arraigned on Monday, November 7, before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who ordered him held without bail,  on one count of second-degree murder and one count of concealment of a human corpse. The defendant faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

 Brooklyn District attorney Eric Gonzalez said that, according to the investigation, victim D’Asia Johnson was believed to have dated Williams for several years.

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NONPROFITS CAN APPLY FOR INCREASED SECURITY FUNDING: Applications are now open for community and faith-based nonprofit organizations to apply for $50 in funding through New York State’s Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Program — representing the most capital ever made available for this purpose, Governor Kathy Hochul announced today. Federal funds totaling $46 million has also been awarded to 240 nonprofits through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, allowing the money to be used for plans detailing security risk management, continuity of operations, and incident response; physical security enhancement equipment, and inspection and screening systems; active shooter training, and security training for employees, members or the congregation; response exercises; and contracted security personnel.

Today’s announcement comes as hate and bias incidents persist throughout New York and federal authorities have warned of security threats in neighboring states targeting faith-based institutions, with such hate crimes tracked separately so that trends can be monitored, and steps can be taken to prevent more from occurring.

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ENROLLMENT DECLINE WON’T CAUSE SCHOOLS TO LOSE MONEY: New York City Public Schools will hold school budgets harmless for any lower than projected enrollment in this year’s mid-year adjustment process — ensuring that no school will lose money due to mid-year enrollment losses, announced Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David C. Banks earlier today. Although enrollment in the K-12 grades has dropped by almost 10 percent, the arrival of asylum seeker families seems to have mitigated that decline.

The city has also provided almost $12 million to support the newest students from asylum-seeking families, over $50 million in hardship supports for schools, $100 million in additional flexibility on existing funding in this year’s budget.

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ZELDIN PRESSURED TO END NEGATIVE AD ABOUT SLAIN COMMUNITY LEADER: The family of Saheed Vassell, who was shot and killed by NYPD officers in 2018 while in the midst of a mental health crisis, joined with mental health advocates, elected officials and other community leaders for a press conference Monday at Brooklyn Borough Hall, to demand that Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin remove an ad that they say is racist and that falsely portrays Saheed as an attacker.

Joining them were Victor Dempsey, Brooklyn Movement Center, elected officials, and other Brooklyn community who pointed out  the Zeldin campaign launched the ad with a seven-figure buy in September and continues to host on his Facebook and Twitter pages as of this writing.

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COUPLE CHARGED IN TSA EMPLOYEE’S DEATH: A Brooklyn couple have been arraigned, appearing before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice and charged with murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a longtime Transportation Security Administration worker. The 45-year-old victim was shot twice from behind near East 35th Street and Church Avenue in East Flatbush. The couple, Richard Barrett, 34, and Irene Brown, 32, also from East Flatbush, are charged with second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and are being held without bail.

Both defendants were ordered to return to court on January 11, 2023. Each faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count.

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NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477
This man is wanted in connection with a robbery pattern within the 75th and 61st Precincts. The robberies in Marine Park and Sheepshead Bay were within the same precinct.
Photo credit: NYPD

SEEKING PERPETRATOR IN ROBBERY PATTERN: Police seek the public’s help (NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) in tracking down an individual in connection with a robbery pattern in three Brooklyn neighborhoods over the past week. Two of the robberies took place at Dollar Tree locations about two and half hours apart in Brownsville and Marine Park, respectively, on Thursday night, October 27, with the assailant brandishing a gun and taking cash registers.

The third incident took place at a Best Western Plus hotel in Sheepshead Bay, where the suspect (pictured below), removed $350 from a cash register but did not take the equipment.

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PROGRAMMING TO PREVENT VIOLENCE: New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams has championed the Crisis Management System (CMS) as alternative anti-violence programming, as well as supported the passage of two bills aimed at supporting and evaluating non-profit violence prevention groups, as the city continues its efforts to address a local and nationwide spike in gun violence. The city’s Crisis Management System is a network that is centered around credible messengers who help mediate conflicts on the street, and helps to connect high-risk individuals with services that can reduce the long-term risk of violence.

The Public Advocate who, as a former Chair of the Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, helped push for and launch the Crisis Management System from its inception, also pointed to data that shows that CMS groups have seen massive success where implemented.

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GODSQUAD’S NEXTGEN HELPS BRING POSITIVE CHANGE TO FORMERLY INCARCERATED YOUTH: GodSquad/67th Precinct Council’s newest program, NextGen, held its first session last weekend with a cohort of 35 justice-involved youth. The NextGen Network is a new re-entry initiative that the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice has funded, and that the Center for Community Alternatives is leading, that seeks to support neighborhood-based organizations working with youths ages (13-18 returning home from juvenile detention and young adults ages 18-24 returning from Rikers Island.

The Center for Community Alternatives works alongside subcontracted neighborhood-based organizations to provide wrap-around support to youth impacted by the criminal legal system, with a 16-week program that navigates the participants through various life-altering sessions, to bring about positive decision-making and positive change.

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SCOTUS REJECTS LATEST CHALLENGE TO STUDENT LOAN PLAN: Applicants to the student debt relief plan may be able to breathe easier, as Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Friday rejected a challenge to President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan, her second time doing so in recent weeks. Six Republican attorneys general have tried to block Biden’s relief program with their lawsuit, and they’ve been temporarily successful; a federal judge allowed a temporary stay on the Education Department’s ability to hand out relief while the group filed an appeal.

The hold notwithstanding, 16 million Americans have been approved for debt cancellation, and the Department of Education is continuing to accept and process applications despite the program being blocked, the White House announced on Thursday; although the relief will not appear on their accounts while the legal challenge plays out.

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NEWEST FERRY CHRISTENED AS DOROTHY DAY: The Staten Island Ferry’s newest vessel has been commissioned as the Dorothy Day, during a ceremony Friday with Mayor Eric Adams Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez leading the ceremony. The Dorothy Day is named for the legendary 20th-century Catholic peace activist and is the third and final new, 4,500-passenger Ollis-class Staten Island Ferry vessel joining the fleet this year.

The $85 million Day, which has completed harbor trials and passed U.S. Coast Guard inspections, will serve passengers for the first time later this year.

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WATER PUMP STATION IN NYC WILL RECEIVE $6.5 MILLION: New York City is set to receive $6.5 million as part of a $300 million package of state grants for water infrastructure. The city’s project, for which the award amount was $6,522,000, will be the Reconstruction of Clearview Pump Station in Bayside, Queens, which handles sewage and stormwater treatment.

New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation awards the grants as part of the state’s nation-leading commitment to modernize the state’s aging water and sewer systems by providing the financial resources that municipalities need to undertake critical once-in-a-generation projects.

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MASTER PLAN FOR AGING: New York State now has its first-ever Master Plan for Aging to ensure older New Yorkers can live healthy, fulfilling lives, thanks to an Executive Order that Governor Kathy Hochul signed today. The Executive Order directs the Commissioner of the State Department of Health and the Director of the State Office for the Aging to head a Master Plan for Aging Council, which will then gather input from relevant stakeholders to draft guidance for building healthy, livable communities that offer opportunities for older adults.

The Master Plan for Aging will help to coordinate existing and new state policy and programs for older adults and their families, and to address challenges related to communication, coordination, caregiving, long-term care financing, and innovative care models with the aim of furthering the ability for more to age with dignity and independence. 

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$25M AWARDED TO DEVELOP DIGITAL GAMES: Initial applications are now open for the first-ever New York State Digital Game Development Tax Credit Program to support games that begin development on or after January 1, 2023. The New York State Digital Game Development Tax Credit Program, which a $25 million tax credit will award up to $5 million per year for five years, aims at growing the digital game development industry across the state and accelerate economic development by offsetting some production costs.

Governor Hochul also announced New York will be the first state in the nation to lead a statewide pavilion at the 2023 Game Developers Conference — a premier industry event held in San Francisco next month. Separately, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, which opened its Game Innovation Lab 11 years ago, will host a cybersecurity gaming conference the week of November 8.

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CITY’S SEXUAL HEALTH CLINICS RE-LAUNCH: The Health Department’s community sexual health clinics, including one in Fort Greene, are re-launching with expanded services, including rapid testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV PrEP continuity of care. Cepheid GeneXpert platform—which provided test results on STIs within hours instead of days, were adapted to process rapid testing for COVID-19 during the summer of 2020, and have since been implemented at other health clinics around the city.

The Health Department has begun re-purposing the Cepheid machines again for rapid chlamydia and gonorrhea testing, and Quickie Lab opened at the Fort Greene Express Clinic, with another opening in Corona scheduled for this month.

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TAX INCENTIVES FOR HIRING VETERANS: Ahead of Veterans Day next Friday, November 11, Governor Kathy Hochul reminds New York veterans and employers about valuable tax credits, exemptions, and incentives for qualified military members. The Hire-a-Veteran Tax Credit, administered through the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, can be worth up to $20,000 for eligible New Yorkers. Veterans may also be eligible for additional local tax exemptions that could lower their property tax bills by up to 50 percent.

Employers can earn a credit up to $15,000 per qualified veteran and $20,000 per disabled veteran. Visit https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/credits/hire_a_veteran_credit.htm for more information.

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STUDENTS EDIT SECTION OF DIOCESAN NEWSPAPER: Students at St. Edmund’s Elementary School (serving the Sheepshead Bay area) recently partnered with DeSales Media and the Catholic Telemedia Network, to publish this month’s popular Tablet Jr. newspaper which is included as a special insert in this week’s edition of the diocesan publication, The Tablet. This edition of Tablet Jr., titled, Dignity of Workers, features news articles by seventh graders regarding the important role teachers play within society, a student opinion piece on respecting others, and an “Ask Sister Elizabeth” section with questions regarding the workforce.

This edition of Tablet Jr. which Catholic students around the city take turns writing and editing, also includes artwork by students of grades four and eight as well as a Halloween/Fall-themed word search.  Joseph Coen, C.A., the archivist of the Diocese of Brooklyn, writes the “Diocesan History Corner” about César Chávez, the famed Mexican labor leader and civil rights activist.

Student editors of the Tablet Jr. from St. Edmund’s School present their edition.

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