What’s News, Breaking: Friday, March 24, 2023
NEW ‘CODE FOR AMERICA’ HELPS WIC APPLICANTS OVERCOME PROGRAM ROADBLOCKS
STATEWIDE — A new client feedback initiative aims to improve understanding of the challenges New Yorkers face enrolling in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, also known as WIC, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Friday, March 24. Initially, Code for America will help implement a live online chat function to replace the Department of Health’s automated chat bot that appears on the agency’s WIC page; and callers will be connected to a WIC staffer for live interaction, considered a more effective way to guide applicants through the process and enrollees with using their benefits and providing an invaluable source of feedback.
During the project’s second phase, the Department of Health will work with Code for America to implement improvements based on the gathered feedback, in turn helping the agency determine what is preventing eligible families from participating and taking full advantage of the program, and then using that information to improve delivery of WIC services.
INTERNSHIP PROGRAM ALLOWS BUSINESSES TO HIRE CUNY STUDENTS, WHOM NY STATE WILL PAY
CITYWIDE — A $4 million state-funded internship program offers employers the chance to hire qualified City University of New York students at no cost, placing 600 CUNY students in small businesses, tech startups, non-profits, corporations, and government agencies this spring semester, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Friday, March 24. CUNY, which has several campuses in Brooklyn, including Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach, Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights and Brooklyn College in Midwood, partnered with businesses, agencies and organizations that need talent to support projects in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), environmental preservation, community services, health care, and marketing fields.
Students participating in the 10-week program, Spring Forward, earn $20 an hour while gaining the experience necessary to secure a job post-college.
MISSING BROWNSVILLE TEEN FOUND TO BE SAFE
BROWNSVILLE — A missing Brownsville teen has been found safe following an NYPD CrimeStoppers alert earlier on Wednesday, March 22. Kasey Sutton of Amboy Street had last been seen Wednesday, around 7 p.m. As of Friday, March 24, around 3 p.m., the NYPD reported that the girl is safe.
NYPD Crimestoppers frequently ask the public for assistance in tracking down missing persons; however, the most recent update did not indicate whether anyone had assisted the police in this case.
BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT RELEASES 10 RECOMMENDATIONS TO ASSIST SENIOR ADULTS
BOROUGHWIDE — Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and the New York Academy of Medicine have released a set of 10 recommendations from the Age-friendly Brooklyn Task Force. Among the top five recommendations: Expand and promote housing options for older adults, including supportive housing, grandparent housing, and home sharing options; ensure safe, clean and well-maintained sidewalks and safe, well-lit intersections in neighborhoods; provide training to MTA bus drivers and rideshare drivers on working with older riders and/or riders with disabilities; and increase digital accessibility and literacy for older adults.
Mayor Eric Adams, during his tenure as the Brooklyn Borough President, launched the initiative in 2019. The task force, composed of 29 Brooklyn-based organizations that are advocates for older Brooklynites, analyzed and prioritized the results of a 2019 borough-wide survey of nearly 2,000 older adults.
MAKE BUS LANE ENFORCEMENT CAMERA PROGRAM PERMANENT, SAY ADVOCATES
CITYWIDE — The city’s Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) cameras program should be made permanent, said Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) leaders and transit advocates. Standing together on Friday, March 24, the groups urged the state legislature to include a bill for funding in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget that would also grant the MTA and the NYCDOT authority to enforce certain traffic violations that impede bus operations anywhere they travel, and would expand camera enforcement beyond bus lanes.
More than 224,000 violations have been issued since camera enforcement was implemented on bus lanes. While only five percent of violators have committed more than two violations, commercial vehicles are the most frequent recidivist violators.
BRIGHTON BEACH CLINIC OPERATORS CHARGED IN HEALTH CARE FRAUD AGAINST MEDICAID
BRIGHTON BEACH — A doctor and office manager at a Brighton Beach medical clinic have been charged with grand larceny and health care fraud for allegedly defrauding Medicaid out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and NYC Department of Social Services Acting Commissioner Molly Wasow Park announced on Friday, March 24. The defendants, Dr. Alexander Ivanov, 66, of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and Svetlana Kozlovskaya, 64, of Brighton Beach, who operated a psychiatry and pain management clinic on Brightwater Court, are alleged to have stolen more than $700,000 over a four-year period by fraudulently billing Medicaid for non-existent services and by selling prescriptions for narcotics, opioids, and other controlled substances to patients they were not treating.
Arraigned on Friday, with Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun presiding, the defendants were released without bail and ordered back to court on May 31.
PRATT INSTITUTE’S RESEARCH YARD DEBUTS AT BROOKLYN NAVY YARD
BROOKLYN NAVY YARD — Pratt Institute’s Research Yard, a brand-new site for creative projects, opened last week at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Held as part of Research Open House, Pratt’s annual showcase of student and faculty research offered tours of the 20,000-square-foot, advanced learning facility, housed in the Navy Yard’s historic eleven-story Building 3. Research Yard is now home to all of Pratt’s research centers and has fabrication labs, research areas for the study of robotics, information visualization, sustainability, community development, environmental sensing, design incubation in rural areas, and digital archeology, along with a number of accelerators.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard, one of the fastest-growing entrepreneurial spaces in the country, has a storied history as the nation’s “most storied naval shipbuilding facility, which for over 150 years built and launched America’s most famous fighting ships, including the USS Maine, USS Arizona, and USS Missouri,” according to its website.
NEW YORKERS GIVEN CHANCE TO CHOOSE CITY’S OFFICIAL FLOWER
CITYWIDE — New Yorkers are being given the chance to vote for New York’s official wildflower with the WildflowerNYC initiative, choosing between five candidates selected by ecological groups from each borough to crown a winner that best represents the connection between city residents and native flora. Brooklyn’s pick, nominated by Brooklyn Bridge Park, is the spiky red Wild Columbine flower, a hardy shade-dwelling Northeast native favored by hummingbirds whose five upright petals “evoke the unity of the 5 boroughs.”
City residents can go to the WildflowerNYC project’s website to read more about the five choices and vote for their favorite; voting ends in November, after which the winner will be presented to the City Council to make it official.
GILLIBRAND RAISES AWARENESS FOR MATERNAL MENTAL HEALTH HOTLINE
NATIONWIDE — Following the release of a CDC report that showed a sharp increase in maternal mortality in 2021, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday held a video press conference to raise awareness of her National Maternal Mental Health Hotline and call for its full implementation. Gillibrand is pushing to expand public awareness of the hotline, which provides free, 24/7 support to women and their families during and after pregnancy, so that it can reach more women in need, having already assisted more than 10,000 women since its establishment last year.
The hotline can be reached at 1-833-943-5746 (1-833-9-HELP4MOMS), and provides free, confidential, 24/7 support to pregnant and postpartum women facing mental health challenges, through counselors trained to provide culturally appropriate and trauma-informed support, and is available by text and phone in English and Spanish, with access to interpreter services that can support 60 other languages; counselors are also able to provide referrals to local medical providers.
ADAMS ANNOUNCES MYSTERY RAT CZARINA
CITYWIDE — Eric Adams has chosen his rat czar – or rather, rat czarina – but has not released any details about the identity or qualifications of his pick for the post, saying only that the position will be filled by a female staffer who he says demonstrated to him a passionate hate for rats, reports the New York Post. The search for a new Director of Rodent Mitigation has been ongoing for several months and has attracted numerous applicants for the $170k-a-year role, including Adams’ recent mayoral race opponent Curtis Sliwa, who in January proposed setting up feral cat colonies around the city to contain the rodents, bringing two of his own cats to Adams’ Brooklyn townhouse to demonstrate.
“We put out a call for a rat czar and we got thousands of responders. We dwindled it down to one person that we’re getting ready to announce. The first thing I asked her was, ‘How do you feel about rats?’ She was very clear. She said, ‘Listen, we got to get those rats under control and their population.’ So I look forward to it,” Adams told the press about his still-unnamed choice at a “Rat Academy” pest control class in the Bronx on Thursday.
TAX ONLINE DELIVERIES TO PAY FOR BQE, OTHER UPGRADES: GOUNARDES
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — State Sen. Andrew Gounardes introduced a bill earlier this week which would add a 25-cent tax to each online delivery sale made within NYC and earmark the revenues for the repair of transportation infrastructure like the BQE, as well as for the upgrade and construction of docks, rails and other structures that would reduce the amount of freight transported on city roadways. According to the senator, NYC’s roads are being destroyed by the delivery of over 2.3 million e-commerce packages each day, up from 1.8 million pre-pandemic, but while the Department of Transportation recommends shifting freight from roadways to water and rail transport, the physical infrastructure needed for such a transition is not currently fit for use at such high volumes, requiring an infusion of billions of dollars to get up to speed — funding for which would be generated by Gounardes’ bill.
“Our streets are clogged, our highways are weakened, and our neighborhoods are polluted because of the volume of online deliveries made each day in New York City. This bill is a common-sense solution to our city’s infrastructure problem as e-commerce retailers struggle to keep pace with our demand for overnight deliveries,” Gounardes wrote in a statement, highlighting the skyrocketing costs of the fixes to the BQE, currently in the planning stages.
FIRE OFFICIALS SAY ELECTRICAL FAULT TORCHED NYPD EVIDENCE WAREHOUSE
RED HOOK — Fire officials on Thursday revealed that the cause of the massive fire that destroyed an NYPD evidence warehouse in Red Hook last year is believed to be “an electrical blowout in a conduit leading to an exit sign,” reports NBC News. Some had speculated that the fire might have been set deliberately, as the warehouse contained decades’ worth of evidence, including DNA evidence, for high-profile cases, stored in cardboard barrels, all of which were consumed by the blaze.
The three-alarm fire at the Erie Pound Basin site on Dec. 13 of last year required more than 100 firefighters to contain and resulted in eight minor injuries, but no deaths.
FRANKLIN AVE ART FESTIVAL POSTPONED
CROWN HEIGHTS — Organizers announced on Thursday that the Franklin Avenue Festival, scheduled for this Saturday, March 25, will be postponed to next Saturday, April 1, as a result of likely rainy weather. The festival is a food and drink crawl featuring dishes and beverages from 20 Crown Heights restaurants, with proceeds benefiting urban nutrition and food justice nonprofit Seeds in the Middle, which also highlights neighborhood artists and offers activities for kids and families.
“This is a fundraiser to fight food insecurity and support small businesses. We can’t take a chance people won’t show… So we are praying to April rain gods… and hope we aren’t an April’s Fool,” organizer Tastes of Brooklyn wrote in a statement.
POLICE SEARCH FOR MISSING TEEN IN BROWNSVILLE
BROWNSVILLE — Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for missing Brownsville girl Kasey Sutton, 14, who was last seen leaving her residence in Marcus Garvey Village on the evening of Wednesday, March 22. Kasey is described as 5’1” in height and approximately 100 pounds, wearing a long curly wig, and was last seen in blue jeans, a red hoodie with stripes, a black vest and red/white Jordan sneakers.
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.
TEENAGER BEATS LIRR CONDUCTORS, STEALS TICKET MACHINE
EAST NEW YORK — A 17-year-old was arrested and charged with felony assault on Thursday for allegedly beating two LIRR conductors on Wednesday morning after being asked to buy a ticket on an Atlantic Terminal-bound LIRR train. The suspect also took a ticket-issuing machine from them before fleeing the train at the East New York station, while the conductors were taken to a hospital in Brooklyn following the attack for treatment of injuries.
“Assaulting conductors who are doing their jobs helping riders get to jobs, health care and other places they need to go is intolerable, outrageous and will result in aggressive investigation. Having made a rapid arrest, it is now up to prosecutors to ensure the law is enforced, so this violent perpetrator faces consequences, and the victims receive justice they deserve,” MTA police chief John Mueller wrote in a press statement.
PARKS DEPT SEEKS NEW OPERATOR FOR DYKER BEACH GOLF COURSE
DYKER HEIGHTS — NYC Parks announced on Thursday that a Request for Proposals has been issued for the renovation, operation and maintenance of Dyker Beach Golf Course in Brooklyn, along with several other courses around the city, as well as for a new operator and a new concessions provider. The department says it’s looking for applicants with extensive experience in running high-level golf courses that will attract visitors from around the country and also encourages proposals to prioritize eco-consciousness and green practices.
Proposals are due by April 28, 2023, at 2 p.m.; applicants can find the RFP form on the Parks Department’s business opportunities webpage and can reach out to project manager Katherine Cognata at (212) 360-3407 or at [email protected].
WOMAN KILLED IN HIT AND RUN IN GRAVESEND
GRAVESEND — Police arrested Yerlin Garcia, 24, on Wednesday night, after he allegedly struck and killed Elizabeth Perez, 60, with his car in a hit-and-run in Gravesend. According to an investigation, Perez had been attempting to cross Dahill Road when a car swerved across the yellow lines, striking her and continuing without stopping; Perez was found with severe injuries and was transported to Maimonides hospital, where she was pronounced deceased.
Police searched the area for the vehicle and discovered it a short ways away; Yerlin, its driver, was taken into custody and has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, as well as operating a vehicle while unlicensed, unregistered and uninsured.
POWER ADVOCACY GROUP LOBBIES FOR RENEWABLES ACT
STATEWIDE — New Yorkers rallied this week outside Hochul’s door for Build Public Renewables Act, which PublicPowerNY.org, a statewide movement of community and advocacy organizations, is pushing for passage after it failed during the 2022 state legislature session. The bill, whose supporters include State Senator Jabari Brisport (D-25), would enable New York to authorize New York Power Authority to build publicly-owned, 100% renewable energy; slash energy costs for those who need it most; close polluting power plants in Black and brown communities; and create tens of thousands of green union jobs.
Public Power NY asserts that Governor Hochul is attempting to pass a watered-down version of the Build Public Renewables Act through the New York State budget process. Her BPRA-Lite, while allowing the NYPA to build and own renewables, strips away provisions on labor, accountability, and environmental justice.
NYU TANDON HOSTS PROGRAMS FOR NEW YORK WATER WEEK
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — NYU Tandon School of Engineering this week has hosted the inaugural UNESCO Metropolitan Water Research & Innovation Workshop, under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Spearheading the workshop was retired head of the Civil and Urban Engineering Department Ilan Juran. The event, which brought together several Tandon faculty — including co-director of the Floodnet project Andrea Silverman, CUSP Director Maurizio Porfiri, and CUE Industry Professor and PhD Program Director Mohsen Hossein — with government officials, utility executives, researchers and NGOs worldwide, was an exchange of ideas and experiences for innovation in climate protection, particularly for sustainable and resilient water ecosystems in some of the world’s biggest cities.
WRI, which concludes on Friday, March 24, is part of New York Water Week, a series of events supporting the United Nations 2023 Water Conference taking place at UN headquarters.
NYU TANDON EXPERT: RESILIENT LIFE FORMS IN GOWANUS CANAL COULD CLEAN IT UP
GOWANUS CANAL — The “black mayonnaise” of the Gowanus Canal is another water issue that NYU Tandon School of Engineering is examining. While many experts agree that the canal’s history as a key commercial shipping hub led to its downfall to a polluted, stagnant site, one Tandon professor believes the Gowanus could “hold the key to a more sustainable future.” Elizabeth Hénaff, part of Tandon’s Sustainable Engineering Initiative, who since 2014 has studied the infamous canal’s underwater universe, discovered a community of extremophiles — a class of microorganisms that can survive extreme conditions.
Hénaff posits that the extremophiles’ abilities to clean up the toxic canal sludge may reveal new solutions for how humans clean up other pollution-related messes.
ELECTED OFFICIALS HEAR FROM STATE DEC ON GOWANUS BROWNFIELD SITE VAPOR LEVELS
GOWANUS — Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon (D-52) and her staff last week toured the Brownfield site at 514 Union Street in Gowanus, also known as Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, and an area along the neighboring Gowanus Canal itself, to learn about the work that New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is doing. Joining Assemblymember Simon were State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-20), and staff from Rep. Dan Goldman’s and Councilmember Shahana Hanif’s offices. DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and his senior staff provided a detailed explanation of the soil vapor intrusion system in place at the site. Conflicting test and sampling results had shown both that vapor intrusion levels were below Health Department guidelines and that they were in need of urgent, remedial attention.
The DEC told the legislative delegation that the installed system is effective, and that testing has revealed no health concerns.
BROOKLYN GIGABIT CENTER LAUNCHES
CROWN HEIGHTS — On Wednesday, LinkNYC, in partnership with the NYC Office of Technology and Innovation, ZenFi Networks, tech education non-profit Digital Girl and special guest Grandmaster Flash, dedicated the state-of-the-art Brooklyn Gigabit Center in the Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center in Crown Heights. The center offers free high-speed internet access for the local community, along with tech education workshops for students and access to tablets, laptops and workstations, in an effort to bridge the “digital divide,” or the unequal access to high-speed internet in lower-income neighborhoods, especially in communities of color and for schoolchildren.
“The Brooklyn Gigabit Center will not only provide individuals from all walks of life with reliable, free internet, but it will ensure opportunities for education and growth reach those same people through its plentiful STEM programs – serving the diversity, equity and inclusion priorities that are key to the future of our community. I am proud to join the chorus of celebration at its opening,” said U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke.
ESCAPED COW SPARED FROM SLAUGHTERHOUSE
CANARSIE — The calf that escaped a Canarsie slaughterhouse on Tuesday has been spared, reports ABC News, and will spend the rest of its life at an animal sanctuary in New Jersey. Mike Stura, who runs the Skylands Animal Sanctuary, told ABC that the slaughterhouse was initially reluctant to release the calf, but eventually agreed.
The cow’s dramatic escape had crowds of pedestrians running after it in an attempt to recapture it, leading workers on a chase through the Canarsie streets before eventually being lassoed on Avenue M.
INDIGENOUS HISTORIAN TO LEAD NATIVE PLANTS TOUR AT BBG
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — In celebration of the spring equinox, Shinnecock Nation oral historian Chenae Bullock will be leading a tour of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Native Flora Garden this Sunday focusing on Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge. Bullock, the curator of the garden’s current “Ohkehteau (Plants of the Earth): A Shinnecock Oral History” exhibit, is an indigenous historian and cultural preservationist whose work centers around Northeast Algonquin canoe culture.
This tour will take place on Sunday, March 26, at 2 p.m.; the tour is free with BBG admission, and attendees are asked to meet at the north entrance to the Native Flora Garden.
PANEL DISCUSSION ON DOMESTIC ABUSE SURVIVORS
CROWN HEIGHTS — “Criminalized Survivors” is a term given to victims of domestic abuse — most frequently women — who are often mistreated or dismissed by the law enforcement agencies to whom they turn for help. This issue will be the topic of a Women’s History Month panel discussion taking place Wednesday, March 29, at Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights, with Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez as a speaker. RSVP for the discussion, titled “Criminalized Survivors: Working to Support Domestic Abuse Survivors at the Root Cause,” via [email protected]
“The Domestic Violence Bureau investigates and prosecutes over 10,000 cases of intimate partner violence each year, with criminal charges ranging from misdemeanor assault to homicide,” according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office website.
BIG APPLE CONNECT EXPANDS TO MORE NYCHA HOUSING SITES
CITYWIDE — Big Apple Connect, the nation’s largest municipal broadband program, is being expanded by nearly 50%, providing free internet and basic cable television service to a total of 202 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments, and reaching approximately 300,000 New Yorkers. Making the announcement on Thursday, March 23, Mayor Eric Adams and Chief Technology Officer and New York City Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI) Commissioner Matthew Fraser explained that existing Optimum and Spectrum customers living in NYCHA developments where ‘Big Apple Connect’ is active will be automatically enrolled in the program and will be billed only for additional services they choose to buy. New customers will be given opportunities to sign up.
OTI has now expanded ‘Big Apple Connect’ to an additional 67 NYCHA developments since last fall’s full launch of the program.
FIGHT CONTINUES OVER MEDICARE PLAN FOR RETIRED CITY EMPLOYEES
CITYWIDE — Municipal retirees are charging that Mayor Adams has refused to authorize an implementation plan named Option C which would allow them to keep their traditional Medicare coverage and their doctors, according to an article in the Wednesday, March 22 Daily News. The implementation plan would have given retirees a choice of staying on the federal government’s traditional Medicare plan, rather than be moved involuntarily to a controversial private Advantage plan to save the city money.
A large segment of city workers — retired and active — rallied last week to keep the traditional plan that would allow them to continue seeing their doctors and receiving treatment without fear of denials. Marianne Pizzitola, a retired EMT and leader of the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, vowed to again sue the Adams administration, which had actually included this Option C in the contract.
NETS, LIBERTY TO HOST BASKETBALL CLINICS IN SCHOOLS
CITYWIDE — The Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty on Wednesday began a first-of-its-kind partnership with NYC’s public schools, in which the teams will provide free basketball clinics to elementary and middle schools in Brooklyn during gym periods, teaching students basketball fundamentals along with critical off-the-court life and leadership skills. While the teams were previously operating after-school clinics at Brooklyn schools on an individual basis, this expansion will bring the excitement of the NBA and WNBA to more students, providing kids with physical and mental conditioning as well as the benefits associated with regular group physical activity.
Every week, the Nets and Liberty will host 20 clinics operated by youth basketball coaches from the teams at various schools on a rolling basis; over the course of the year, all elementary and middle schools in Brooklyn will have a chance to participate in the program, reaching approximately 50,000 youth by the end of 2023.
MTA ANNOUNCES STROLLER BUS PROGRAM EXPANSION
CITYWIDE — The MTA on Thursday announced that its popular bus Open Stroller Pilot will begin Phase II, with more than 1,000 more buses on 57 routes in all five boroughs set to be retrofitted with designated stroller spaces by the fall of 2023. The addition of dedicated stroller spaces — either an open space near the rear door or a space created by flipping up two side-by-side seats, depending on the bus model — will allow riders with young children to board without needing to fold their strollers first.
In addition to the B1, which is already part of the program, Brooklyn bus routes featuring an open stroller space will now include the B3, B6/6 LTD, B36, B64 and B74 lines; participating buses will be identified with a stroller decal on the outside of the bus that customers can easily see before boarding, with the designated space inside identified with a similar decal.
HOCHUL SPEAKS ON INCREASING CANDIDA FUNGUS RISK
STATEWIDE — Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday highlighted long-standing state efforts to prevent potentially life-threatening fungal infections from Candida auris, which are spreading at an increasing pace nationwide, after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report earlier this week warning of the increasing threat of infections the multidrug-resistant yeast is posing to health care facilities. In addition to having a nation-leading surveillance model, the governor’s office wrote in a press statement, the state’s Department of Health has worked with health care providers since 2016 to identify these fungal infections and take precautions to prevent it from spreading in high-risk settings, such as hospitals and long-term care facilities, where the fungus can cause severe illness in patients who may not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs.
“It’s important that people understand that there is little risk from Candida auris to the general public. Candida auris typically infects people who are already sick, it is preventable by thorough hand washing and cleaned surfaces as well as personal protective equipment,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald.
STATE SENATE PASSES BILL REQUIRING CELL PHONE COMPANIES TO MEET CLIMATE GOALS
STATEWIDE — The New York State Senate this week passed Senator Kevin Parker’s bill requiring cellular telephone companies to invest in long-term solutions to ensure the state meets its climate goals and to eliminate the use of nonrenewable energy sources. The legislation requires cellular service providers to submit plans to the New York State Public Service Commission on converting all cell towers to 100% renewable-energy-powered by 2031.
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which State Senator Parker (D-21/Flatbush to Bergen Beach) sponsored and which next heads to the State Assembly, sets goals for the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2050.
WITH HATE CRIMES ON RISE, SECURITY GRANT PROGRAMS APPLICATION PERIOD OPENS
NATIONWIDE — The application period has opened for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, announced U.S. Rep Dan Goldman (D-10) on Thursday, March 23. The Nonprofit Security Grant Program awards capital to nonprofit organizations — including houses of worship — to invest in security enhancements including safety planning, training, and exercises, contract security guards, access/entry controls, security cameras, external lighting and more. (Application deadline Thursday, April 20, via https://www.dhses.ny.gov/nonprofit-programs).
These grants are available to worship venues, religious schools, and other nonprofits that are potential targets of an increasing number of hate crimes, particularly antisemitic assaults, which have risen by 34%.
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