What’s News, Breaking: Monday, November 21, 2022
HEARING SCHEDULED FOR TONIGHT ON CON EDISON’S PROPOSED RATE HIKE: Calling Con Ed’s proposed rate hike “an unconscionable increase that would force working class New Yorkers to make impossible choices,” several Queens lawmakers in the State Assembly and City Council are convening a “People’s Hearing” tonight, Monday, November 21, for community members to give their public comment. The utility has proposed to raise gas and electricity bills nearly $60 / month for the average NYC household, in order to raise $1.7 billion in gas and electric revenue, and to spend tens of millions on fossil fuel infrastructure in NYC, including a Liquified Natural Gas plant and pipeline expansions in Queens, but affecting electric customers in all boroughs.
Tonight’s meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Variety Boys & Girls Club, 21-12 30th Rd. in Astoria, will also address the perceived lack of transparency in the Public Service Commission’s scheduling of hearings —over two days last March —; with the elected officials demanding the additional hearing so that the PSC can hear directly from constituents.
NEW PARTNERSHIP TRAINS PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATORS TO TEACH DIGITAL LITERACY: More than 1,000 current and future New York City public school teachers will be trained to deliver practical computer science and digital literacy skills to their students across the city, thanks to an ambitious, four-year, $14 million initiative that Schools Chancellor David C. Banks and City University of New York (CUNY) Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez announced today. The Computing Integrated Teacher Education initiative — or CITE — which is believed to be the largest effort of its kind in the nation, is funded through a public-private partnership that includes New York City Public Schools, CUNY, Google, Robin Hood and Gotham Gives.
This partnership between a higher education institution and the K-12 public school system has already engaged 100 faculty across 12 CUNY colleges and will ultimately train more than 800 New York City teachers along with 200 future teachers.
FIRE SAFETY DRILL TONIGHT ON CADMAN PLAZA EAST: As part of a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training class, Fire Department and NYPD personnel will participate in a fire safety drill tonight, November 21, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the area of Cadman Plaza East and Red Cross Place. NYC CERT is always looking for new volunteers who want to help their families, friends, neighbors, and communities before, during, and after emergencies, and basic training is available to all New York City residents, as well as those who work in New York City.
CERT’s Basic training (http://www.NYC.gov/CERT) consists of Fire Safety and other components, including, Urban Environment I: High-rise and Utility Emergencies; Urban Environment II: Transportation and Light Search and Rescue.
NEW FELLOWSHIP EMPHASIZES COMMUNITY-BASED PROPERTY MANAGEMENT: Brooklyn Communities Collaborative (BCC), a non-profit focused on strengthening health and wealth in Brooklyn and East New York Restoration LDC, an organization dedicated to sustainable living, have launched a new fellowship program: the 2022-2023 class of 15 Property Management and Stewardship of the Built Environment Fellows. The fellowship establishes a highly-trained group of community members from Central and East Brooklyn who are prepared to create stable, supportive neighborhoods that build health, wealth, economic democracy, and racial equity.
Participants in the Property Management and Stewardship of the Built Environment Fellowship, which is covering all costs and providing an honorarium of $1,000 per fellow, will receive the New York State property management certification, with training will be provided by The New York Real Estate Institute.
FERRY’S DUMBO STOP CLOSES BRIEFLY FOR UPGRADE WORK: Commuters using the NYC Ferry’s DUMBO stop today need to be aware of a full-service outage in effect, the New York City Economic Development Corporation has announced. DUMBO/Fulton Ferry Landing closures will be necessary today, as well as one day during the weeks of December 5 and December 19, during which time the landing will undergo fender modification to allow larger, 350-passenger vessels to dock; gate modifications; and minor welding; and one overnight period (10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. ) to replace the landing gate.
For most other times of this upgrade period, schedule for completion on January 6, the landing will be open with one slip available.
LAW ENFORCEMENT BOLSTERS SECURITY IN WAKE OF NEW THREATS: Following the arrest at New York’s Pennsylvania Station on Saturday of two armed men who are accused of planning attacks on the Jewish community here, the New York State Police is increasing surveillance and protection for communities at risk of hate crimes, Governor Kathy Hochul announced today. The governor, who had already provided increased resources to law enforcement and intelligence officials, has directed that surveillance be ramped up for communities — particularly for synagogues and other Jewish community spaces — that are potential targets of hate crimes, with state and NYPD police continuing to monitor social media for hateful threats.
Moreover, following the weekend shooting of an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado, the State Police’s Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit is conducting outreach to LGBTQ communities across New York.
STAIRCASES AT ADAMS STREET END OF HIGH STREET STATION CLOSED FOR ESCALATOR REFURBISHMENT: Commuters using the High Street A & C train station need to be aware also that the staircases for entrance/exit at the Adams Street side are temporarily closed through Friday, November 25, to replace the concrete slab above these escalators. As part of the High Street Escalator Project that began in August, the new Adams Street escalators are currently scheduled to be completed in mid-2023, with the MTA then starting work on replacement of the escalators on the Cadman Plaza West side.
During this phase, customer-wayfinding signage will be at all key points outside and within the station, directing passengers to the Cadman Plaza West side of the station for access. Some commuters may also find the Jay Street-MetroTech station a more convenient alternative.
‘ANOTHER BATTLE WON IN THE WAR ON RATS’: A new legislative package that Mayor Eric Adams signed today takes aim at rats. The four bills in the package (Intros 414,442, 459 and 46), creates rat mitigation zones to drastically reduce the time that trash sits on city curbs and reduce rats in construction areas and other buildings with large rodent infestations; requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to issue an annual report on the success of rat mitigation measures in rat mitigation zones and to report on current and planned rat mitigation measures in each zone, including public outreach measures that are conducted; and requires buildings that receive two or more rodent-specific housing maintenance code or two or more rodent-specific health code violations to use approved rodent-resistant containers for at least two years.
“Today’s bills represent another battle won in the war on rats,” said Deputy Mayor of Operations Meera Joshi. r
SPECIAL COUNSEL PROSECUTOR WILL OVERSEE TWO-PRONGED PROBE OF TRUMP’S ACTIONS: International prosecutor Jack Smith, whom U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed on Friday to oversee a special counsel investigation, once worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, here in Brooklyn. Smith, whom Garland praised as a “veteran career prosecutor,” will examine former President Donald Trump’s role in two ongoing investigations, the first of which involves “any person or entity” who may have interfered with the peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 election, or the certification of the electoral college vote held on Jan. 6, 2021; and the second involving classified documents and other presidential records as well as the possible obstruction of that investigation.
Smith is currently in the Netherlands, in his most-recent post as a chief prosecutor, investigating and adjudicating war crimes in Kosovo.
SHOT AT GROUP BY ‘MISTAKE’; NOW CHARGED WITH MURDER: A Gravesend man has been charged in the murder of an Indiana man who was fulfilling a lifetime goal of visiting New York. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said that the victim, Ethan Williams, 20, an Indiana University student on his first visit to New York City, was sitting on a stoop at 42 Eldert Street, in Bushwick, with several friends with whom he was renting an Airbnb, on October 24, 2020, when the defendant allegedly opened fire on the group, mistakenly thinking that one of them had killed his cousin. Ethan was struck in the chest and died of his wounds.
The defendant, 26-year-old William Freeman, was arraigned November 18 on two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and is being held without bail. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
OEM RE-LAUNCHES TEXT ALERTS FOR THANKSGIVING PARADE: NYC Emergency Management is once again making it easier for New Yorkers and visitors to “get notified” about the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® and Balloon Inflation event, with the re-launch of Notify NYC’s opt-in short message service (SMS) for those attending all Thanksgiving Day festivities in New York City. Text the keyword THANKSGIVING or THXGIVINGESP to 692692 (NYCNYC) to receive alerts and updates on weather, road closures, traffic delays and more.
The 96th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, which kicks off at 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 24, will stretch from the Upper West Side to Herald Square bringing along its signature giant character balloons, floats, marching bands and performance groups, musical stars and Santa Claus. The route covers 2.5 miles through the city streets from 77th Street and Central Park West to 7th Avenue and 34th Street.
TAXI FARES INCREASE BY ALMOST 25 PERCENT: Livery drivers will finally see higher pay, but passengers will have to shell out as much as 23 percent more in metered fares, both in taxis and app rides, in what is the first hike in a decade, reports Bloomberg News. Following a vote last Tuesday from the Taxi & Limousine Commission, the metered rate will rise from $2.50 to $3, rush-hour surcharges will rise by 1.50 more to $2.50 and overnight rides will double, from 50 cents to $1.
Not surprisingly, Uber Technologies, Inc. and Lyft are also expected to raise their rates before the end of 2022.
BROOKLYN’S REP. JEFFRIES SEEN AS LIKELY HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: Late Friday, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-8th District/central Brooklyn) put in his bid to succeed Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader. Jeffries, first elected to Congress in 2012, has already served as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus since 2018, and in the past decade rose to being the fifth highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.
Because Democrats will become the minority part since their narrow loss to the GOP in the midterm elections, the Democratic leader (also called Floor leader) would be the spokesperson for their party’s positions on the issues and coordinate their respective parties’ legislative strategies.
THANKSGIVING VEGETABLE AND PRODUCE DISTRIBUTION: Perhaps reminding their neighbors that turkey is not the only Thanksgiving food, the Neighborhood Partnerships for a Safe Community will hold a fresh produce distribution in time for the holiday. The vegetable and produce giveaway takes place at the Dunkin© at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Regents Place on Tuesday afternoon, from 2-4 p.m.
Member organizations include the 70th Precinct and its Interfaith Clergy Council, the Church Avenue Business Improvement District, the Flatbush BID, the HABNET Chamber of Commerce (Haitian American Network), and the Office of City Councilmember Rita Joseph (D-40).
SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY’S WINTER WONDERLAND: Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District (BID), with Wells Fargo as lead presenter, will once again bring its signature Winter Wonderland event to Brooklyn’s central neighborhood, to celebrate Small Business Saturday, traditionally held during Thanksgiving weekend and the start of the holiday shopping season. The festive outdoor holiday shopping experience, which also runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through December 23, provides local merchants an opportunity to increase foot-traffic, and offers crafters, creatives, and small business owners a viable platform to showcase and sell their goods and services.
This year Bed-Stuy Gateway BID will share its platform with local community stakeholders. Programming will include Community Thursdays, dedicated to non-profit organizations, and Caroling in the Plaza on Fridays featuring yule-tide sing-alongs with local houses of worship.
TURKEY DRIVE FOR BEDFORD-STUYVESANT: School District 13 and City Councilmember Chi Ossé’s office have partnered to host a turkey and food distribution on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, November 22. The distribution, held at Restoration Plaza in Bed-Stuy, runs from 3 p.m. while supplies last.
Partner organizations include the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, Feed Forward, Empire Blue Cross, and Churches United for Fair Housing, Inc. (CUFFH).
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