What’s News, Breaking: Friday, February 3, 2023
WEGMANS SUPERMARKETS ANNOUNCE RECALL ON PRODUCT WITH UNLISTED INGREDIENT
BROOKLYN NAVY YARD —Wegmans Supermarkets on Friday evening, Feb. 3, sent out a Recall Alert for a prepared meal stocked in many of its stores, including the location at 21 Flushing Avenue in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Wegmans Indian Entree Chicken Korma with Basmati Turmeric Rice has been recalled because select packages of the Chicken Korma (UPC: 0-77890-51710-3 with a best-by date of Nov. 8, 2023) may actually contain Vegan Tikka Masala, having a cashew allergen, even though it is not listed in the ingredients, Individuals and families with tree nut allergies should not consume this product.
All affected products may be returned to the customer service desk at one’s local Wegmans for a full refund.
DMV RECOVERS 231 STOLEN VEHICLES, PLUS PARTS
STATEWIDE — Hondas, some of whose models ironically have serious airbag safety issues were the most stolen vehicle models to be recovered during 2022, according to a report released on Friday, Feb. 6, from Gov. Kathy Hochul. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles helped New Yorkers recover 231 stolen vehicles — 76 of which were Honda models —collectively valued at more than $7.3 million last year, with the DMV also recovering 81 stolen vehicle parts, worth $67,223. And, 23 Jeeps were recovered, totaling $1.03 million.
Interestingly, luxury models like Alfa Romeo, Lexus and Porsche had the least number of recoveries — or perhaps thefts.
CRITICAL SAFETY WARNING ABOUT AIRBAGS IN SOME OLDER HONDA MODELS
NATIONWIDE — Owners of about 8,200 older Honda vehicles from 2001-2003 are warned to stop driving them until dangerous air bag inflators are replaced, the manufacturer warned on Friday, Feb. 3. According to several news reports, Honda and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have issued a “Do Not Drive” advisory for the 2001 through 2003 vehicles with Takata inflators that have a high possibility of exploding during collisions and hurling shrapnel into the faces of driver and passenger.
Vehicles affected include the 2001 and 2002 Honda Accord and Civic, the 2002 Honda CR-V and Odyssey SUVs, the 2003 Honda Pilot, the 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL and the 2003 Acura 3.2 CL. Owners can check to see if their cars are covered by going to online and keying in their 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN).
BROOKLYN CONGRESSMEMBER CO-SPONSORS GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION BILLS
NATIONWIDE — Congressmember Dan Goldman (D-10/western Brooklyn) has co-sponsored a package of three gun-violence prevention bills: The Assault Weapons Ban would prohibit the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of semiautomatic weapons and ammunition-feeding devices capable of accepting more than fifteen rounds, but protect hunting and sporting rifles and military and law personnel’s assault weapons. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2023 would require that every sale of a firearm include a background check, but includes specific technical exemptions for family transfers and temporary hunting transfers. Ethan’s Law, named after a teen who was fatally shot by a neighbor’s gun, would require owners to secure their firearms in a “secure gun storage or safety device.”
Eight of the ten deadliest mass shootings in recent American history have involved an assault weapon that would have been banned for purchase under the previous Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004.
EDUCATION ADVOCATES TO GOVERNOR: DO NOT EXPAND CHARTER SCHOOLS IN NYC
CITYWIDE — State legislators and advocates on Friday, Feb. 3, called on Governor Hochul to drop her plan to expand charter schools in New York City. State Senator John Liu (D-Queens), chairperson of the Senate Committee on NYC Education, and the coalition charge that if the expansion takes effect, it would further divert critically-needed resources away from traditional public schools. Although Gov. Hochul plans to keep the statewide cap on charters, she wants to lift the maximum limit on charters, currently set at 275, within New York City.
While charter schools are privately operated and thus can circumvent laws on accepting students with disabilities, they receive substantial amounts of public money and wield legal power: for example, the NYC Department of Education is required to either provide space for charter schools in its public buildings, or pay the rent for charters operating in private buildings.
BROOKLYN CELEBRATES LUNAR NEW YEAR AT BOROUGH HALL
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Brooklyn residents joined BP Antonio Reynoso in partnership with Homecrest Community Services and UA3 at Borough Hall on Tuesday to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The evening celebration featured performances by the Tai Shan Du Hu Association Lion Dancers, P.S. 105 elementary school students and the Homecrest Community Services Senior Dance Group, as well as food provided by Park Asia restaurant.
“Shan Du Hu Association lion dancers brought good luck and prosperity to all of Brooklyn for this coming year. With such grace and poise, P.S. 105 elementary students melted our hearts. And with such elegance, Homecrest seniors added beauty to the night. As a final farewell, Lions International presented oranges, symbolic of gold and good fortune to all! Prosperity to all,” said Donald Hong, President of UA3.
STOP & SHOP TO HOST GRAND REOPENING AT ATLANTIC TERMINAL
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Stop & Shop President Gordon Reid will attend the Grand Reopening of the Atlantic Terminal Stop & Shop on Friday, to underscore the company’s ongoing commitment to NYC, as well as to donate $40,000 from Stop & Shop to Food Bank For New York City in recognition of the hunger relief organization’s 40th anniversary. The remodeled store will feature a greatly expanded assortment of Asian, West Indian, West African and Eastern European products, along with more tropical fruits and vegetables, as well as expanded Halal dairy and meat.
The reopening will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, at Stop & Shop’s Atlantic Terminal location.
‘STRANGER THINGS’ STAR SHOWS OFF CARROLL GARDENS TOWNHOUSE
CARROLL GARDENS — A-list power couple actor David Harbour and singer Lily Allen opened up their newly renovated Carroll Gardens brownstone to Architectural Digest in a video tour that’s gone viral on YouTube. The actor said the couple wanted their design choices to reflect the neighborhood’s traditionally Italian character, while also showcasing their personal styles.
Carroll Gardens is one of NYC’s hottest areas at the moment, with real estate prices skyrocketing and luxury homes being snapped up by buyers.
BROOKLYN TABERNACLE CHOIR SINGS AT NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST
WASHINGTON — The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, of Downtown Brooklyn’s Brooklyn Tabernacle, serenaded the nation’s lawmakers at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, in a performance President Biden called “incredible.” Biden, in his speech at the breakfast, called for national unity and togetherness in troubled times.
The choir’s performance and the rest of the prayer breakfast can be viewed on YouTube on CBN News’ live recording of the event.
NETS WISH HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO FAN LEGEND MR. WHAMMY
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — The Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, along with thousands of Twitter users, wished a happy 87th birthday to their biggest fan, New Jersey resident Bruce Reznick, known widely as Mr. Whammy. Mr. Whammy, a season ticket holder for 25 years, got his nickname in honor of his tradition of “putting the whammy,” or evil eye, on opposing players taking foul shots against the Nets — although NPR reports that his honor code forbids whamming ex-Nets players, no matter what.
It’s no surprise that the Nets support Mr. Whammy — away teams playing against the Nets at Barclays have a significantly lower success rate at making foul shots than the league average.
EX-COUNCILMAN SIGNS ON TO CONEY ISLAND CASINO PROJECT
CONEY ISLAND — Brooklyn native, former Councilman and former Doe Fund EVP Robert Cornegy is joining the team of a Coney Island casino bid as they prepare their official response to the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board’s request for downstate casino license applications, announced the consortium behind the project, made up of Thor Equities, Saratoga Casino Holdings, the Chickasaw Nation and Legends, on Thursday. The fight over the downstate casino licenses, limited in number to only three, is expected to be very competitive, reports amNY, with the Coney Island proposal drawing particular scrutiny from local officials.
“This project represents Brooklyn’s next big moment, and I can’t think of a better place for a world-class entertainment venue than right here in Coney Island,” said Cornegy in a press statement.
HOCHUL TO COMMIT $1B TO MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS
ALBANY — Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced details of her $1 billion multi-year plan to overhaul New York’s mental health care system and drastically reduce the number of individuals with unmet mental health needs throughout the state. Intended to correct the effects of what she called decades of underinvestment, the governor revealed that the plan will involve adding 1,000 new inpatient psychiatric hospital beds, 3,500 new units of supportive housing for individuals who need outpatient care, investments into youth-focused school and at-home crisis intervention programs and legislation mandating insurance coverage for mental health care, alongside drug mitigation efforts.
Hochul’s announcement expands on the details she offered about her mental health plan during her State of the State address last month.
TWO TREES ANNOUNCES CULTURAL SPACE SUBSIDY RECIPIENTS
DUMBO — Two Trees Management on Thursday announced the six 2023 recipients of its annual Cultural Space Subsidy Program grants, which award affordable studio space to a group of talented artists that demonstrate an intent to provide a social benefit to both the DUMBO area and the community at large. “By granting below-market rate studio space to these talented artists, we’re able to truly support the people who make our communities better and ensure that DUMBO’s vibrant artistic culture continues to flourish,” said Kate Gavriel, Cultural Affairs Director at Two Trees.
The 2023 grant recipients are photographer Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., sculptor Rachelle Dang, visual artist Rodney Ewing, painter/sculptor Raque Ford, multi-disciplinary artist Priscilla Jeong and sound/textile/visual artist Emily Nam.
TEEN ARRESTED IN FATAL SHOOTING AT MCLAUGHLIN PARK
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Police have arrested a teen in connection with a shooting that took place in September at McLaughlin Park in Downtown Brooklyn. The 16-year-old, whose identity the NYPD has not released because he is a minor, has been charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon: loaded firearm, in the Sep. 7, 2022 death of 15-year-old Unique Smith of Decatur St.
McLaughlin Park is at Tillary and Jay streets, on the same block as St. James Cathedral-Basilica, and within the 84th Precinct.
‘MADE IN NY’ MEDIA PRODUCTION PROGRAM HOLDS 70TH GRADUATION
BROOKLYN NAVY YARD — The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, in partnership with Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, will host the 70th graduation of the ‘Made in NY’ Production Assistant Training program at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Friday, Feb, 3. Since its inception 17 years ago in 2006, the ‘Made in NY’ signature workforce development program has trained more than 1000 New Yorkers in production jobs for companies including Disney, HBO, Showtime and CBS.
This milestone moment for the ‘Made in NY’ Production Assistant Training program comes as Mayor Adams recently reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to building an equitable workforce during his State of the City address. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is also home to Steiner Studios, the largest soundstage and production facility on the East Coast which also serves as a production training lab.
HEMATOLOGY-ONCOLOGY PARTNERSHIP WILL EXPAND ACCESS TO CANCER CARE
EAST FLATBUSH & BOROUGH PARK — Maimonides Health and Downstate Health are set to announce Thursday morning, Feb. 2, the launch of a hematology-oncology partnership, strengthening the ability of both organizations to expand access to cancer care in Central Brooklyn. The partnership with Downstate Health, which is the clinical enterprise of Downstate Health Sciences University, Downstate University Hospital and University Physicians of Brooklyn, will allow patients at the University Hospital of Downstate to access a broader range of specialists from the Maimonides Cancer Center, with the combined program immediately becoming the most extensive hematology-oncology practice in Brooklyn.
This agreement builds on previous collaborations in Neurology and Pathology, where Maimonides and Downstate have also established combined regional programs over the past six years.
SUNY DOWNSTATE HEALTH AND MAIMONIDES LAUNCH NEW PARTNERSHIP TO EXPAND ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE
EAST FLATBUSH — The common themes of health care equity for central Brooklyn, a welcoming community, and diversity among patients and their doctors were celebrated during the official launch of a hematology-oncology partnership that will strengthen SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Flatbush and Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park. The partnership, the fruit of collaboration with doctors, administrators and elected leaders, will enable patients and their families to seek top cancer care here in Brooklyn.
Several elected officials, the chairman of Community Board 17 Rodrick F. Daley and Pastor Kirkpatrick G. Cohall were present to give testimony on the life-saving treatments that they and family members have received from SUNY Downstate Health and Maimonides Medical Center.
NEW TORTILLERIA PLANT IN SUNSET PARK WILL CREATE JOBS, EXPAND SUPPLY
SUNSET PARK — Tacombi’s new 30,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art food manufacturing facility at The Whale Building in Sunset Park, has been completed, allowing the company to expand its tortilleria-production. Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday, Feb. 2, announced the completion of the plant, and Tacombi’s commitment to create at least 90 new full-time jobs as part of this expansion, with support of up to $1 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits from Empire State Development.
Vista Hermosa was created when Tacombi, unable to find tortillas that met their standards of authenticity, quality and freshness, started making their own. Now manufactured in Brooklyn, Vista Hermosa products are sold at more than 2,000 stores across 40 states and served in Tacombi’s 15 taquerias across New York City, Greater Washington D.C., and Miami.
NOTIFY NYC: PERSON REPORTEDLY STRUCK BY LIRR TRAIN
EAST NEW YORK — Another person has been struck by a train in Brooklyn, this one on the Long Island Railroad’s eastbound track between East New York and Far Rockaway. ‘Notify NYC’ issued an alert at 3:19 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, that customers should expect delays and possible cancellations on the eastbound LIRR Far Rockaway Branch, and to consider alternate routes.
However, the MTA’s own website announced shortly thereafter that an extra eastbound train would run to Far Rockaway departing Jamaica at approximately 3:32 p.m., making all local stops to Far Rockaway. No update was given on the commuter or injuries sustained, except that an eastbound train had been canceled due to police activity at East New York.
PARKS BUDGET CUTS COULD THREATEN CITY’S TREE COVERAGE
CITYWIDE — Conservationists and Parks Department officials are concerned following Mayor Adams’ announcement that he intends to cut yet more funding from the Parks Department in the upcoming year, as revealed in his preliminary budget released in January. City Limits reports that as Adams made campaign promises to increase the parks budget to one percent of total city spending and to plant 20,000 new trees a year during his tenure as mayor, this move represents a significant step away from those goals, and leaves the department without a clear path to maintaining the city’s green spaces — which could ultimately lead to tree losses and other problems.
A significant amount of NYC tree care and planting is already done by volunteers, such as Councilmember Lincoln Restler’s new Street Tree Fund, which will work in concert with the Parks Department and other conservation groups to keep urban flora healthy.
BROOKLYN LUXURY HOME MARKET SURGES
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — The market for Brooklyn’s most expensive homes caught fire in 2022, reports Bloomberg, with sales of homes valued at over $10 million jumping from just 3 in 2021 to 13 last year, mostly in brownstone Brooklyn. Corporate broker Leonard Steinberg said that what high-rolling buyers are drawn to is “quality of life, a sense of community and just that small town, big city feel that you can really only achieve there.”
Brooklyn’s popularity has risen across all price points, with home sales and rentals surging in 2022 and median prices hitting record levels.
MAYOR’S MANAGEMENT REPORT SHOWS BK AREAS HOTSPOTS FOR GUNS
BROWNSVILLE — A newly released report from the Mayor’s office shows that 27% of all city gun crime is taking place in just six precincts, including Brooklyn’s 73rd Precinct, which covers Brownsville and Ocean Hill, and 75th Precinct, which covers East New York and Cypress Hills. The New York Post reports that while shootings are down 16% overall in NYC this fiscal year, gun crime impacts the city’s neighborhoods unevenly, with the 75th even recording an increase in gun crimes between 2021 and 2022.
An officer interviewed by the Post said that suspects were typically repeat offenders, and called for stronger sentencing.
BAM TO HOST BAMKIDS FILM FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — BAM is inviting parents and children to the 25th annual BAMkids Film Festival on Feb. 4 and 5, which will feature kid-friendly films for a variety of age groups as well as in-person activities like circus performances, acrobatics, arts and crafts, dancing, board games and more. Families who can’t make it in person also have the option of viewing the festival’s film selections online for a lesser fee.
Schedule information can be found on BAM’s website, and adult tickets for in-person attendance will cost $14 ($9 for members), with kids’ tickets costing $10.
MAYOR ANNOUNCES COMPOST PROGRAM TO EXPAND CITYWIDE
CITYWIDE — Mayor Adams on Wednesday, Feb. 1, announced that NYC’s curbside compost pickup program would expand to cover the entire city, becoming the largest such program in the nation. Service is expected to start first in Brooklyn in the fall of 2023 and expand throughout the rest of the city by the end of 2024, on which day, the mayor promised, “the rats will be cowering in fear.”
While the city has had a patchwork of different compost collection efforts for years, the expanded version will be based on a trial program in Queens begun last October, which saw simplified procedures lead to rapid adoption by residents for lower costs, with areas like Jamaica and St. Albans out-composting legacy eco hotspots like Park Slope — referred to by Sanitation commissioner Jessica Tisch as “the beating heart of the composting belt” — three to one.
NY POLS CHEER MIGRANT FUNDS IN GOVERNOR’S BUDGET
CITYWIDE — City politicians reacted positively to Governor Hochul’s decision to allocate funding to support migrants and asylum-seekers in NYC in her budget proposal for the upcoming year, although some remain concerned that the support may not go far enough. Mayor Adams thanked the governor in a statement while calling for increased federal funding; Public Advocate Jumaane Williams expressed gratitude but urged her to speak out more strongly moving forward; and, state Sen. Andrew Gounardes said that the city could no longer bear the cost alone, welcoming any aid sources.
The governor’s budget was otherwise met with a lukewarm response and is expected to face tough challenges in the legislature.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SUPPLY BILL PASSES STATE SENATE
ALBANY — A new law that would require the state to develop a coordinated plan to deliver medical supplies to care centers during states of emergency has been passed in the state senate. The bill is related to a separate assembly bill calling for similar action, which has received unanimous support in the legislature.
“Coming from Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn, where Hurricane Sandy impacted our borough so severely, ensuring that our pharmacies, hospitals and nursing homes are equipped with life-saving medical supplies can be the difference between life and death during a natural disaster,” said bill sponsor state Sen. Jessica Scarcella-Spanton in a statement.
CDC WARNS OF BACTERIA OUTBREAK IN ARTIFICIAL TEARS
NATIONWIDE — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health advisory about infections with an extensively drug-resistant strain of bacteria in 12 states among people who reported using artificial tears, most prominently those from the brand EzriCare, whose product is preservative-free. CDC laboratory testing identified the presence of the outbreak strain in opened EzriCare bottles with different lot numbers collected from two states.
The CDC recommends that patients and health care providers immediately discontinue using EzriCare artificial tears pending additional guidance from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration.
GOLDMAN CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO TRUMP’S DURHAM AND BARR
BROOKLYN — Congressmembers Dan Goldman of NYC and Ted Lieu of California on Tuesday, Jan. 31, sent a letter to Department of Justice inspector general Michael Horowitz calling for an investigation into possible misconduct by Trump administration officials Special Counsel John Durham and then-Attorney General Bill Barr. The congressmembers assert that there is reason to believe that Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham, at Trump’s behest, abused prosecutorial powers and weaponized the DOJ throughout a fruitless four-year investigation into the origins of the 2016 Russia inquiry, in an effort to conceal an allegation of a financial crime by the former president.
Freshman Rep. Goldman, who was recently seated on the House Oversight Committee, campaigned on his firm opposition to Trump and the G.O.P. following his work as lead Democratic counsel during Trump’s first impeachment trial.
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