What’s News, Breaking: Tuesday, January 3, 2023
CITY WILL CONSIDER BILL TO PRESERVE RETIREES’ HEALTHCARE CHOICES
CITYWIDE – City Council on Tuesday announced that it is working to preserve city municipal retirees’ current Medicare coverage to allow them choices. Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said, “Given that the Administration and the Municipal Labor Committee are moving forward to implement Medicare Advantage in alignment with the courts and arbitrator’s decisions, the Council is formally considering legislation to preserve retirees’ choice of health insurance rather than have them automatically enrolled in Medicare Advantage as the sole plan on January 29.”
The City Council’s Civil Service and Labor Committee will hold a public hearing next week to “consider the proposed legislation to preserve healthcare coverage choice for retirees,” although the date and time have not yet been announced as of press time.
AFTER PROLONGED OUTAGE, GAS RESTORED TO NYCHA HOUSES JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS
GOWANUS – Residents of the NYCHA Gowanus Houses finally got their gas utility restored on December 23, after six difficult months, reports City Councilmember Lincoln Restler (D-33). During this outage, Restler, whose district stretches from Greenpoint to Gowanus, purchased and distributed warm meals every Saturday to the residents in partnership with the Gowanus Houses Resident Association, Agape Food Rescue and Rethink Food. Restler reported that the NYCHA staff held recurring calls with his office to keep the team closely updated on the progress of getting the gas restored.
The protracted outage received frequent media attention, as National Grid blamed a third-party contractor for damage to the gas lines.
CARPENTERS AND CONTRACTORS BRING HOLIDAY CHEER TO FAMILIES
BOROUGHWIDE – Children around Brooklyn received more than 1,734 toys this past holiday season, thanks to the New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters and the Carpenter Contractor Alliance of Metropolitan New York, who partnered with local elected officials and community organizations for six events throughout Brooklyn and many more throughout the city. Participating elected officials were State Senators Roxanne Persaud (D-19/southeastern Brooklyn) and Julia Salazar (D-18/northern Brooklyn); Assemblymembers Jaime Williams (D-59/southeastern Brooklyn) and Emily Gallagher (D-northern Brooklyn); and, City Councilmembers Darlene Mealy (D-41/central Brooklyn) and Chi Ossé (D-36/Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy).
The annual toy drives are part of the unions’ larger effort to give back and uplift communities to build a better New York.
SUBWAY SHOOTER PLEADS GUILTY TO MULTIPLE TERROR ATTACK COUNTS
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – The man accused of leashing terror on an N train last spring pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court, before U.S. District Judge William F. Kuntz, II on Tuesday, January 3. The defendant, Frank James, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of committing a terrorist attack or other violence against a mass transportation vehicle — one count for each gunshot victim — and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of his attack.
The charges relate to the defendant’s April 12, 2022 mass shooting on the New York City subway in Sunset Park, for which James will face a sentence of up to life imprisonment on each of the 11 counts.
BRAZILIAN AUTHORITIES TO REVIVE SANTOS CASE
RIO DE JANEIRO – Adding another wrinkle to the ongoing local, federal and media investigations of GOP Rep.-elect George Santos, prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro have told the New York Times that they intend to pursue charges against Mr. Santos related to a 2008 incident in which Santos, according to his own admission to police, stole a checkbook from an elderly man cared for by his mother and used it to purchase $700 in clothing. The Times was told that the investigation had stalled because Brazilian authorities had been unsure of his location prior to Santos winning election to the House of Representatives.
An attorney for Mr. Santos said on Monday that he is in the process of engaging legal counsel in order to respond to these revived charges.
POLICE SEEK YOUNG WOMEN IN SUBWAY PHONE ROBBERY
PARK SLOPE – Early in the morning of Sunday, December 11, three young women surrounded a man inside the 7th Avenue subway station and forcibly removed his phone. No injuries were reported, but police have released photos of the women in an effort to identify them.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); or, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON LEAPS FROM PROMENADE ON NEW YEAR
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS – A shocking Twitter video claims to show an unidentified person lying injured on the BQE after leaping off the Heights Promenade. In the video, which the uploader tagged as “#mentalhealth,” police officers can be seen surrounding the unresponsive person as a fire engine pulls up and traffic continues to move north in the right lane.
Police sources have not released any information about the incident as of this time.
LUCKY LOTTERY TICKETS SOLD ON LAST DAY OF YEAR
FLATBUSH – The New York Lottery announced on Saturday that there were multiple top-prize winning tickets sold for the December 31 evening Take 5 drawing, one of which was sold from the Thriftway Pharmacy in Flatbush. The lucky winner will be taking home $20,474 — a happy new year indeed.
New Yorkers struggling with a gambling addiction, or who know someone who is, can find help by calling the state’s toll-free, confidential HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (467369). Standard text rates may apply.
WOMEN ROB TJ MAXX, THREATEN WORKER
MIDWOOD – In the afternoon of Tuesday, December 27, two women entered a TJ Maxx store in Midwood and attempted to steal children’s clothing. The women threatened a store employee before fleeing south down East 15 Street, and are now sought by police.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), or, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.
INDOOR AMUSEMENT PARK OPENS IN SUNSET PARK
SUNSET PARK – A location of nationwide chain Urban Air Adventure Park has landed in Sunset Park, with the 40,000-square-foot space holding its grand opening on New Year’s Eve. The massive indoor playground, which features, among other things, bumper cars, trampolines, climbing walls and slides, is a hit with neighborhood children, who according to PIX lined up for more than a city block outside prior to showtime.
The new park will be open seven days a week, on weekends from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and with abridged hours on weekdays.
TWO SOUGHT IN RESTAURANT SHOOTING INVESTIGATION
HOMECREST – Shortly after midnight on December 19, a young man and woman were seated inside the Enigma Restaurant Lounge in Homecrest when a group of people approached and engaged them in a verbal dispute, before two members of the group pulled guns and shot the couple in their torsos as they ran for their lives. The victims were able to escape and seek help, and police are now on the hunt for the two gunmen, the first of whom is described as having a dark complexion and medium build and was last seen wearing a black hooded winter jacket, a black ski mask, blue jeans and white sneakers, and fled in a white Jeep SUV; the second of whom is described only as having a dark complexion, and fled on foot.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); or, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.
DEMOCRATS MAY NOT SEAT CHANG IN ASSEMBLY
ALBANY – Democrats in the Assembly are set to bar newly elected southern Brooklyn Republican Lester Chang from taking office, according to a source for the New York Post, on the grounds that Chang may not have met the 12-month residency requirement for living in Kings County before running in the 49th assembly district. Chang, the first Asian-American to be elected to office from Brooklyn, contends that while his bills may have been going to his Manhattan address, he was living with and caring for his ailing mother in his childhood home in Midwood, something his lawyers say is proven by affidavits from his family.
If Chang is not seated, the next step will be for the governor to call a special election for his assembly district — one which, ironically, Chang may now meet the requirements for.
PUBLIC HOSPITAL SYSTEM DELIVERS ITS FIRST BABY OF 2023
CONEY ISLAND – Kingsley Mei became the first 2023 baby born in the city’s public health system, when he emerged at the stroke of midnight on January 1 at NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health (formerly named Coney Island Hospital). The first boy born to parents Holly and Dexin, Kingsley weighed in at 6 lbs. and 7.6 ounces. and measured 19 inches at birth.
The City’s public health system delivers approximately 15,000 babies annually as part of its prenatal care, labor and delivery services, family planning, comprehensive gynecology and women’s health and primary care outpatient medical support services
POPE BENEDICT’S LEGACY INCLUDES DESIGNATING PROSPECT HTS. CHURCH AS CO-CATHEDRAL
PROSPECT HEIGHTS – The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights is part of the late Pope emeritus Benedict XVI’s legacy, even if the national news overlooked it. Just before announcing his retirement, Benedict elevated the historic St. Joseph’s Church to a co-cathedral for the Diocese of Brooklyn, while keeping the smaller St. James Cathedral-Basilica as another seat of the diocese.
The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph later earned the 2015 Lucy G. Moses Award from the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
ASSEMBLYMEMBER CUNNINGHAM SALUTES GOVERNOR HOCHUL’S INAUGURATION
CROWN HEIGHTS – As Governor Kathy Hochul was inaugurated on Sunday, January 1 as the first woman to be elected to New York State’s highest office, Assemblymember Brian Cunningham (D-43rd District) sent his congratulations. Cunningham, who represents portions of Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, stated, “Governor Kathy Hochul brings a wealth of experience and a strong record of public service to this role. Throughout her career, she has been a tireless advocate for women’s rights, education, and economic opportunity, and we have no doubt that she will continue to deliver as Governor.
Hochul, who had served as lieutenant governor during the Andrew Cuomo administration, became governor after his August 2021 resignation amid sexual harassment allegations; she was later elected as governor in November 2022.
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 43 ORGANIZES CONSTITUENT ROUNDTABLES
CENTRAL BROOKLYN – Assemblymember Brian Cunningham’s #TeamCunningham has been working to create community task forces to help support constituents in Assembly District 43, which encompasses much of Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Individuals who participate in the task forces will convene regularly to discuss areas of interest or concern, including legislation, budgets and resources.
Constituents may sign up for roundtables focusing on small businesses, transportation, public safety, food and health equity, youth and education and arts and culture via [email protected] or [email protected].
SURVEYS FOR CROWN HEIGHTS MERCHANTS AND CUSTOMERS
CROWN HEIGHTS – Merchants and small businesses in Crown Heights are being encouraged to voice their needs in a survey that the Bridge Street Development Corp. and the NYC Department of Small Business Services have distributed. The two advocacy groups seek in particular to address the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic caused and have designed the survey to gather information on the kinds of resources that would help you grow the business, the ways in which the area can be revitalized, and the types of merchants they would like to have in their neighborhood.
A similar survey is being distributed to shoppers around Crown Heights and is accessible online.
CATON AVENUE YOUTH SHOT AND KILLED
FLATBUSH – Following family notification, police have released the name of a teen who was shot and killed just before the New Year holiday weekend. Police responding to a 911 call on Friday, December 30 found Darius Roache, 17, of Caton Avenue (within the 70th Precinct) lying in a staircase of an apartment building at 2201 Caton Ave. unconscious and with a gunshot wound to the torso; NYC Health and Hospital/Kings County pronounced him deceased.
No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with knowledge of this incident is urged to contact NYPD/Crimestoppers via the hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, the NYPD Crime Stoppers website or on Twitter @NYPDTips.
POLICE WANT CELL PHONE THIEF WHO DRAGGED YOUTH
GREENWOOD HEIGHTS – Police are seeking the pictured man wanted in connection with a forcible theft on 4th Avenue in Greenwood Heights (72nd Precinct) on the afternoon of December 15. The victim, a 12-year-old male, was standing in front of 597A 4th Avenue when the unidentified assailant grabbed him by the hood of his shirt and dragged him while forcibly removing his cell phone before fleeing southbound on foot.
The victim did not report any injuries.
ONE DEAD IN TRAIN YARD CAR PLUMMET
PROSPECT HEIGHTS – The driver of a car that fell 30 feet after crashing through the barrier of the LIRR train yard near the Barclays Center was pronounced dead at the scene on Friday, while the passenger remains in critical condition at Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. ABC News reports that the driver, a senior citizen, suffered a medical episode and lost control of the car, causing the crash.
The train yard was supposed to be covered as part of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park development, but delays and setbacks have caused the project to fall far short of its predictions.
BAM TO HONOR MLK WITH TRIBUTE
CROWN HEIGHTS – The Brooklyn Academy of Music will be holding its 37th annual tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, Jan. 16 this year, featuring a two-hour program with “music, performances, and an urgent and timely call to action” by civil rights lawyer Sherrilyn Ifill. BAM will also be presenting a free program of activities for kids on the same day, with dance and music workshops helping to introduce activism to young learners.
HOCHUL SWORN IN FOR FULL TERM
ALBANY – Governor Kathy Hochul, who has been in office since the resignation of Andrew Cuomo 16 months ago, was sworn in on Sunday for her first full term after winning the gubernatorial election in November. This marks the first time in New York’s history that a woman has been officially elected to the post, an event Hochul noted in her speech, saying that when New York’s first governor took office, “not a soul in that place would have ever dreamed that a woman would take that oath in this same state.”
Hochul faces challenges in the new year after a narrower-than-anticipated November victory over Republican Lee Zeldin, highlighting what some see as discontent among the ranks of New York Democrats.
POLAR BEAR CLUB TAKES PLUNGE IN CONEY ISLAND
CONEY ISLAND – Relatively tropical temperatures drew a larger crowd than usual to the annual Polar Bear Plunge on Coney Island, where since 1903 members of the public have joined the Polar Bear Club in dunking themselves in the icy ocean on New Year’s Day. Gothamist reports that thousands showed up for the event starting at 11 a.m., braving the 43-degree waters to earn goosebumps of pride.
The Polar Bear Plunge is always free, but donations are encouraged, and participants this year raised more than $83,000 for local organizations like the New York Aquarium and the Alliance for Coney Island.
CITY SEEKS VOLUNTEERS FOR HOMELESS OUTREACH SURVEY
CITYWIDE – The city is seeking volunteers ages 16 and up for the annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate Survey, which aims to count the number of unsheltered people in NYC and will be conducted overnight on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Thousands of volunteers will work in teams of two to four to canvass the streets from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and administer a short survey to homeless people who are willing to participate.
Interested participants can register online and find more information on the Department of Homeless Services website.
BQE MAINTENANCE EXTENDED TO JANUARY NIGHTS
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS – The DOT has announced that ongoing maintenance on the southbound portion of the BQE means that one lane of the roadway heading towards Staten Island will need to be closed overnight on Jan. 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 23 and 25. The left lane will be shut down from midnight to 5 a.m.
The maintenance work is part of the city’s plan to overhaul the crumbling expressway, but the debate goes on in Brooklyn Heights as residents express reservations about the final form that plan should take.
DEM REP INTRODUCES ‘SANTOS’ ACT
THE BRONX – U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, a Bronx Democrat, announced on Thursday that he is introducing a new bill called the Stop Another Non-Truthful Office Seeker – or, SANTOS – Act. Torres wrote on Twitter that the bill will require candidates to disclose details about their educational, employment and military history under oath “so we can punish candidates who lie to voters about their qualifications.”
The bill’s name is a reference to Rep.-elect George Santos, a Republican from Long Island whose biography has come under scrutiny in recent days after a New York Times investigation revealed many aspects of it were fabricated.
NURSES READY TO STRIKE ON NINTH
CITYWIDE – The New York State Nurses Association delivered notice on December 31 to eight hospitals that its nurses’ staff will be striking starting Jan. 9 if new contracts aren’t agreed upon, prompting management at New York-Presbyterian to come to a tentative agreement with the nurses; meanwhile, strike votes expected to pass by wide margins are ongoing at four more hospitals. The union says they want better patient-to-caregiver ratios, higher pay and benefits and more attention given to safety by hospital administration.
The Brooklyn hospitals that would be affected by the strike are Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn Hospital Center, Interfaith Medical Center, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center and NY Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.
POLICE SEEK HELP FINDING MISSING BROWNSVILLE WOMAN
BROWNSVILLE – Police are asking the public to keep their eyes open for a Brownsville woman last seen in the late afternoon of Thursday, December 29. The missing woman, Valerie Joyner, 55, is described as being 5’9″ tall and 130 pounds and was last seen wearing red Christmas pajamas with a blond wig.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), for Spanish call 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); or, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.
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