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What’s News, Breaking: Monday, April 3, 2023

April 3, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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EARTH DAY WITH OPEN STREETS AND MUSIC

BUSHWICK AND PROSPECT HTS. — New York City will celebrate Earth Day’s 53rd birthday with New York City Department of Transportation in a huge Open Streets celebration, Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced on Monday, April 3. Open Streets: Car-Free Earth Day, an annual event hosted by NYC DOT to promote activism and education surrounding climate change, sustainability and more sustainable modes of transportation, is taking place this year on Saturday, April 22, and will include seven signature event locations and 23 community produced locations featuring programming that includes performances, fitness training, giveaways and educational activities. In Brooklyn Open Streets Partner, Bushwick Foundation for Artists and Merchants, offers one set of events.

Another community event is the Vanderbilt Avenue and Underhill Avenue Open Streets, according to Gib Veconi, chair of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.

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STATE COMPTROLLER HELPS NEW YORKERS RETRIEVE UNCLAIMED FUNDS

STATEWIDE — “Are you missing money?” asks State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, as he continues his initiative to help New Yorkers access their unclaimed funds. Residents can search for themselves, family members, friends, churches, synagogues, mosques, and other organizations that matter to them, and then must provide proof of their identity and ownership of the funds in order to claim the money. Residents who cannot attend events — the only NYC workshop during April is in the Bronx — can search for and claim their money by using the online claim system at or calling 1-800-221-9311.

As of March 2023, the Comptroller’s Office holds over 46 million unclaimed funds accounts worth a total of $17.5 billion.

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APPLICATIONS OPEN TO MENTORSHIP PROGRAM FOR MINORITY/WOMEN-OWNED CONSTRUCTION FIRMS

CITYWIDE — NYC Department of Design and Construction has opened the application process for the second cohort of the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) Mentoring Program. Firms and small businesses in the construction industry that are interested in participating may apply through May 15 for this program — the first of its type for a New York City mayoral agency. The Mentoring Program features two tiers, and each firm will spend four years in each tier where they will receive tailored business management guidance, growth planning support and project-specific technical assistance from a technical assistance consultant and an established construction management firm.

Firms begin the Program in Tier 1, which offers exclusive opportunities to bid on special construction projects valued up to $1.5 million.

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2023 CONGRESSIONAL ART COMPETITION OPENS

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT TO MIDWOOD — Budding high school artists in the 9th Congressional District can submit their original works in the 2023 Congressional Art Competition that Rep. Yvette D. Clarke is sponsoring. Each spring, the House of Representatives and the Congressional Institute sponsor a nationwide high school arts competition as an opportunity for high school students to showcase their talents. Application process and rules online.  Winning students will have their artwork displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol.

Last month, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-11) announced the launch of this year’s Congressional Art Competition within her district, which includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and part of Staten Island.

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GOVERNOR INVESTS $2M INTO CUNY APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN, CROWN HEIGHTS AND MANHATTAN BEACH — Just as the Associated Press released a report stating that the nation’s community colleges are in trouble and receive insufficient governor funding, New York’s Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday, April 3, announced a $2 million expansion of CUNY apprenticeship offerings. The state investment adds 12 apprenticeship programs at the City University of New York for its associate degrees starting in the Fall 2023 semester (at all 10 CUNY colleges that offer Associate Degrees) in collaboration with the New York Jobs CEO Council, and representing a large expansion of CUNY’s offering of for-credit apprenticeships in in-demand industries. Students will be placed in companies like JPMorgan Chase, Citi, American Express, Deloitte, AIG, Mastercard and Wells Fargo, all part of the New York Jobs CEO Council.

Among the CUNY schools in Brooklyn, colleges offering associate degrees are Medgar Evers College, NYC College of Technology, and Kingsborough Community College.

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ASSOCIATED PRESS: COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN DECLINE

NATIONWIDE — The Associated Press has published a report on a declining trend in community college enrollment and academic or job readiness training at these schools. The article offers statistics on the number of students at community colleges — with significantly lower tuition — which has fallen 37% since 2010, or by nearly 2.6 million, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, although none of the schools or students quoted are from the New York City metropolitan area.

Among the problems that students have cited are scant communications between themselves and faculty. However, the story also pointed out community colleges are vital to the U.S. economy, as employers often look to community college graduates to fill positions during worker shortages.

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MAMMOS AND MIMOSAS AT NEW CANCER CARE CENTER IN MIDWOOD

MIDWOOD — Memorial Medical Care PC, a practice of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) physicians and New York Cancer & Blood Specialists, will host a free breast screening event this coming Saturday, April 8, at their new comprehensive cancer care on Nostrand Avenue in Midwood and near Brooklyn College. Registration for this free event is required to make an appointment, as a limited number of mammograms will be available on the day of the event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registrars will be on hand for those wanting to schedule their screening for a later date.

Responding to high demand, the Cancer Care Center has opened additional slots, and the screening initiative will be conducted once a month. Participants will be offered refreshments and tours, and will have the opportunity to learn about breast self-care, early detection, breast imaging, and more.

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DIOCESAN PROCESSION FROM GRAND ARMY PLAZA USHERS IN HOLY WEEK

Bishop Brennan and acolytes carrying crosses adorned with palm leaves begin the procession from Grand Army Plaza. Photo: DeSales Media/Diocese of Brooklyn.

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Bishop Robert J. Brennan of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn led an annual tradition through the streets of Prospect Heights on Palm Sunday, April 2, starting with a proclamation of the Gospel at Grand Army Plaza. Worshipers, many of them singing and playing instruments, then headed to the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, a few blocks away, where a Spanish-language Mass was offered to usher in Holy Week.

The Diocese will continue offering Holy Week observances, with April 3 being Reconciliation Monday, welcoming people back who may have been away from the Church, and offering opportunities at each parish for the Sacrament of Confession. Every church within the Diocese of Brooklyn will have a priest available for walk-in confessions from 2 p.m.- 4, p.m., and from 6 p.m.- 9 p.m.

Standing at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, Bishop Brennan reads the Gospel passage about Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. Photo: DeSales Media/Diocese of Brooklyn.
Worshippers sing as they proceed along Vanderbilt Avenue toward the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph on Pacific St. between Vanderbilt and Underhill avenues in Prospect Heights. At this point, they are about a block away from the cathedral. Photo: DeSales Media/Diocese of Brooklyn.

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BIPARTISAN BILL WOULD HELP COMPENSATE NEWSPAPERS WHEN DIGITAL PLATFORMS USE THEIR CONTENT

NATIONWIDE — Local-niche newspapers in Brooklyn and throughout the U.S. could be compensated for the use of their articles in major digital platforms if a bipartisan bill to protect them finally becomes law, the magazine Editor & Publisher reported. U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, and John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, on Friday reintroduced the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would allow local news outlets to negotiate for fair compensation from large digital platforms such as Meta and Google, for the use of their valuable content that use their content, and to help local journalism survive in an era when most Americans consume news through digital platforms, the senators said.

Newspapers do not currently have the authority to negotiate these deals on their own. Last December Meta threatened to pull all news content from Facebook if the JCPA passes.

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MAYOR PRAISES UNION AGREEMENT

CITYWIDE — Mayor Eric Adams and Office of Labor Relations commissioner Renee Campion on Saturday hailed District Council 37, the city’s largest municipal worker’s union, for voting to ratify its five-year-plus contract with the city Friday night, with 97% of all members in favor. The deal will cover roughly a quarter of the city’s total unionized workforce, providing annual raises of 3% in the first four years and 3.25% in the fifth year, as well as a one-time bonus of $3,000 immediately to eligible members, a childcare fund, a flexible work pilot program and other quality-of-life perks.

“This agreement will put thousands of dollars into the pockets of the men and women of DC 37, who work tirelessly each and every day to keep our city running. And it is a victory for people like my late mother, Dorothy Adams, herself a former member of this union, who raised six children on her own thanks to the good pay and decent benefits she got from DC 37,” said Mayor Adams in a press statement.

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SALMONELLA OUTBREAK LINKED TO FLOUR, NOT EGGS: CDC

NATIONWIDE — The CDC is warning Americans that an ongoing outbreak of salmonella that has sickened at least 12 people across 11 states, including New York, has been linked to the consumption of raw flour, not eggs. The CDC says it’s currently working to identify which specific brands of flour might be responsible, but cautions against the consumption of any raw or undercooked baked goods or dough, as any raw flour that has not been baked or heat-treated has the potential to carry the germs that cause salmonella, as well as other illnesses.

The true number of salmonella cases is likely significantly higher, as many will recover without medical treatment; the CDC on their website encourages people to avoid consuming raw flour, make sure to sanitize baking equipment and surfaces, and to contact medical providers when experiencing severe symptoms like high fevers or severe diarrhea and vomiting.

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COPS CATCH ONE OF THREE IN MURDER/ROBBERY SPREE

CONNECTICUT — Police on Monday announced the arrest of one of three men sought in connection with two homicide investigations, as well as a citywide robbery spree, in New Britain, Connecticut, following the release of the three men’s photos to the media. The three men are allegedly part of a larger gang who in 2021 and 2022 drugged club-goers in Manhattan in order to rob them, resulting in the deaths of Julio Ramirez, 25, and John Umberger, 33, last spring from lethal overdoses, according to the New York Post.

The arrested man, Jacob Barroso of Harlem, has been charged with murder, robbery, grand larceny, identity theft and conspiracy; the others, Jayqwan Hamilton and Robert Demaio of DUMBO, are still on the run, and the public is urged to contact authorities with any information they can share.

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NEIL DIAMOND OPENS UP ABOUT LIVING WITH  PARKINSON’S

BROOKLYN — Legendary Brooklyn singer-songwriter Neil Diamond opened up about his life and Parkinson’s diagnosis in an interview with CBS’s Anthony Mason on Sunday, as well as discussing his thoughts on “A Beautiful Noise,” the Broadway musical based on his biography and music that opened in December. Diamond retired from touring in 2018 following his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, and told Mason that he’s only begun to accept that the disease has no cure in the last few weeks, although it hasn’t stopped him from visiting his LA music studio — “I still can sing!” the Erasmus High School grad said, adding, “I still have great days… I just have to take life as it comes to me.”

“Somehow a calm has moved in, in the hurricane of my life, and things have gotten very quiet, as quiet as this recording studio. And I like it. I find that I like myself better. I’m easier on people, I’m easier on myself. And the beat goes on, and it will go on long after I’m gone,” Diamond said.

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LIBRARY PRANKS READERS WITH ICE CREAM COLLECTION

BROOKLYN — The Brooklyn Public Library announced on April 1 that it would be launching a limited-edition ice cream collection available only at libraries, featuring the flavors “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mango,” “Rum Raisin in the Sun,” “Key Lime and Punishment” and “Middlemarshmallow.” Hungry readers will be disappointed, however, as the ice cream announcement was an April Fool’s prank, with those that submitted orders redirected to an info page letting them in on the joke — although this reporter urges BPL to consider the idea for real, as the flavors and literary references sound too good to pass up.

The library is also collecting signatures for its petition against the budget cuts proposed by Mayor Adams, warning that the cuts could force BPL to cut hours and services at its locations — sign online by selecting your favorite joke flavor on the library’s website.

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INFO SESSION ON GRANT PROGRAM AT BOROUGH HALL

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Borough President Antonio Reynoso and Citizens Committee for New York City will be hosting an info session on the committee’s small business and community grant program at Borough Hall on Thursday, April 6 at 6 p.m. CitizensNYC plans to award grants of up to $3,000 for “community building projects carried out by resident-led groups,” as well as grants of up to $10,000 for “businesses that give back to the community they serve,” with special consideration given to those operated by people of color, women and immigrants.

More information on the grant program can be found online on Citizens’ website; interested parties can RSVP for Thursday’s meeting online as well.

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RECORD EXEC WHO SIGNED MADONNA PASSES AWAY AGE 80

LOS ANGELES — Brooklyn-born Seymour Stein, the record executive and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who founded Sire Records and discovered legendary artists like Madonna, the Ramones and the Talking Heads, among many others, passed away from cancer in Los Angeles on Sunday, reports the Associated Press. Stein was renowned for his deep knowledge of music, as well as his talent for finding future stars, and is credited by some with inventing the term “new wave,” a subgenre of punk music.

In his memoir, published in 2018, Stein discussed his signing of Madonna, whose demo tape he loved so much that he asked her to meet him in the hospital as he recovered from a heart infection: “I liked Madonna’s voice, I liked the feel, and I liked the name Madonna. I liked it all and played it again… She was all dolled up in cheap punky gear, the kind of club kid who looked absurdly out of place in a cardiac ward. She wasn’t even interested in hearing me explain how much I liked her demo. ‘The thing to do now,’ she said, ’is sign me to a record deal.’”

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DOT PLANS PEDESTRIAN SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS NEAR DOWNTOWN SUBWAY HUB

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The NYC Department of Transportation will be making pedestrian safety improvements on Fleet Place and Willoughby Street, adjacent to the DeKalb Ave. B, Q, R subway station on Flatbush Avenue this summer.  This location, given its proximity to Long Island University, Brooklyn Hospital Center, and City Point shopping mall, has a high pedestrian volume, which DOT is taking into consideration, with safety improvements including a painted pedestrian space with maintained driveway access to Long Island University, additional stop control and crossing across Willoughby Street. They will also significantly shorten the crossing across Fleet Place.

The DOT promises that the same number of parking spaces will be maintained.

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APPLICATION DEADLINE IMMINENT FOR CNC MACHINIST PROGRAM TRAINING

BROOKLYN NAVY YARD — The Brooklyn Navy Yard Employment Center is offering a free training program in Computer Numerical Controls Training program, for which application can be made by Monday, April 3, at 5 p.m., according to a notice from Community District 2 sent on March 31.  The program — with the application response already high — runs every Saturday from April 15 to August 19 and provides hands-on experience and the opportunity to earn up to six certificates with the National Institute of Metalworking Skills.

CNC machinists are in high demand and could choose technical careers in metrology, workholding, quality control inspection programming, mechanical assembly, machine building.

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RENDERING RELEASED FOR OFFSHORE WIND MAINTENANCE FACILITY AT BROOKLYN NAVY YARD

BROOKLYN NAVY YARD — Leading Light Wind, the only American-led offshore wind project in the New York Bight, has released the first rendering of its proposed offshore wind Operations & Maintenance facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Dry Dock 4. The O&M facility will serve as the primary port for operations of the Leading Light Wind offshore wind project and will expand the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s existing working waterfront to provide further capabilities to Navy Yard tenants.

Renovation will be made possible through investment provided to Brooklyn Navy Yard from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and is contingent on activation of Dry Dock 4 under NYSERDA’s third offshore wind procurement. If selected, the proposal would help to reactivate a significant piece of New York City’s maritime infrastructure and generate new economic and job opportunities for local workers and businesses.

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PALM SUNDAY PROCESSIONS IN PROSPECT HEIGHTS, EAST NEW YORK

PROSPECT HEIGHTS AND EAST NEW YORK — After leading a Palm Sunday procession through the streets of Prospect Heights to the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph on Sunday, April 2, Bishop Robert Brennan led another event ushering in the Christian Holy Week. He participated in a Nazarene procession with the Venezuelan community of East New York. The procession began at St. Michael-St. Malachy Church with catechesis and prayers and then headed to St. Gabriel Church on Linwood St.

Holy Week observances around the Diocese of Brooklyn continue April 3 with Reconciliation Monday, welcoming people back who may have been away from the Church, and offering opportunities at each parish for the Sacrament of Confession.

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GOOD CAUSE BILL LETTER SIGNERS DON’T ALL HAVE STAKE IN LAW’S PASSAGE

STATEWIDE — Many of the landlords and property owners who last week signed a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul urging her to sign the “Good Cause” bill actually have no stake in its outcome, Real Deal reported on March 31. The real estate news outlet described an analysis of the signers, showing that many of them, including some Brooklyn landlords, reside in their own buildings, even though they may also own undisclosed additional properties. The Good Cause legislation excludes the category of owner-occupied homes with fewer than four units.

Earlier last week, a group of 104 landlords backed by the tenant advocacy group Housing Justice for All, signed the letter, presumably to let lawmakers and the public know that not all property owners oppose the Good Cause Law.

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POLICE SEEKING ELDERLY MAN MISSING SINCE THURSDAY NIGHT

KENSINGTON — Police are asking for the public to help find an elderly Kensington man who was reported missing Thursday evening, March 30. Nicolas Solages, 85, was seen leaving his Argyle Road residence near the Parade Grounds, within the 70th Precinct, around 7:10 p.m.

Missing: Nicolas Solages of Kensington is a Black male, 5’2″ tall, approximately 120 lbs. in weight, and bald with a gray beard. Photo: NYPD Crimestoppers.

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RIBBON-CUTTING OPENS LONG-AWAITED JOSEPH S. & DIANE H. STEINBERG AMBULATORY CARE CENTER

COBBLE HILL — Brooklynites now have access to the highest quality in outpatient and emergency care, at one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the city, with the ribbon-cutting of NYU Langone Health’s Joseph S. & Diane H. Steinberg Ambulatory Care Center, which took place on Friday morning, March 31. The center, at 70 Atlantic Avenue in Cobble Hill, spans five clinical floors across 165,000 square feet. The robust physician practice includes 19 medical and surgical specialties throughout the new building, which also offers an infusion center and radiology and imaging services at the site of the former Long Island College Hospital.

Longtime residents of Brooklyn Heights, the Steinbergs support and partner with many other Brooklyn-based institutions, including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the St. Ann’s Center for Arts and Education, NYU Tandon School of Engineering Board of Overseers, and NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center Advisory Board.

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PROSPECT PARK ALLIANCE CELEBRATES REOPENING OF FULLY-RESTORED BALLFIELDS

PROSPECT PARK — Another much-anticipated ribbon cutting, this one in Prospect Park, on Thursday, March 30 celebrated the official opening of the newly-restored Ballfields 2 and 3 on the Long Meadow in Prospect Park. Prospect Park Alliance restored the fields through funding from Comptroller Brad Lander during his time as City Councilmember for District 39. Ballfields 2 and 3 which are the final two of seven ballfields on the Long Meadow to undergo restoration.

The fields are reseeded and have new clay infields and drainage to keep them in good playing condition. The restoration also included newly paved pathways, benches and drinking fountains, and dedicated clay storage bins and shaded dugouts.

The center five officials in the ribbon-cutting are (left to right): City Comptroller (and former 39th District City Councilmember) Brad Lander; NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue; Prospect Park Alliance President Morgan Monaco; Borough Parks Commissioner Martin Maher and Prospect Park Baseball Association President Eddie Albert. Photo: Paul Martinka/Prospect Park Alliance.

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PEW SURVEY: REPUBLICANS, CONSERVATIVES MORE IN FAVOR OF BANNING TIKTOK THAN ARE PROGRESSIVES

NATIONWIDE — More than twice as many Americans support the U.S. government banning TikTok as oppose it (50% vs. 22%), though a sizable 28% are undecided, and its users oppose such a ban, according to a new Pew Research Center survey reported through Editor & Publisher magazine. The survey, released in the midst of an investigation on the Chinese-owned video-sharing app, revealed that, generationally, older Americans — and politically, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents — and some Democrats on the more conservative side of their spectrum — support the ban, whereas moderates and progressives do not.

The White House has also indicated it will support draft legislation in the House of Representatives that would allow the federal government to regulate or ban some internationally-produced social media technology, including TikTok.

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FORMER BROOKLYN MASSAGE PARLOR MANAGER SENTENCED TO 17 YEARS FOR BEATING HIS PARTNER

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A former Brooklyn man who had managed a Sunset Park massage parlor with the girlfriend whom he later brutalized and stabbed, has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for that crime, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice E. Niki Warin on Friday, March 31, sentenced 59-year-old Jun Zhang, following his February 1 trial conviction on several counts, including attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon for an attack in 2016 in which he beat and stabbed his girlfriend, and slashed her throat, sending her to the hospital for a month.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This was a life altering assault that the victim survived because of her will to live for her children.”

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ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY VIGIL FOR BOY WHO WAS SHOT TO DEATH IN EAST FLATBUSH

EAST FLATBUSH — GodSquad/67th Precinct Clergy Council has organized a vigil in East Flatbush for 7 p.m. on Friday, March 31, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of a local boy who was gunned down while eating pizza in a car. Kade Ashton Tyler Lewin was just a few weeks shy of his 13th birthday when he was shot while sitting with his cousins. Pastor Edward-Richard Hinds, president of GodSquad, Pastor Gilford Monrose, Executive Director, Office of Faith Based and Community Partnership, Faith Advisor to the Mayor and GodSquad’s founder; Assemblymember Monique Chandler-Waterman (D-58/East Flatbush) and the advocacy group Mothers for Safe Cities were scheduled to join the family, as they continue seeking justice for the murdered boy.

The scene of the shooting, corner of Linden Blvd & East 56th Street, has been co-named Kade Ashton Tyler Lewin Way.

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GOVERNOR COORDINATES EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FOR SCHOOLS

STATEWIDE — Heightened monitoring measures have been put into place in response to the recent increase in “swatting” calls, or the false reporting of a serious law enforcement emergency, such as a bomb threat, hostage situation or homicide, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Friday, March 31. Governor Hochul met with state public safety and education leaders, also on Friday, to coordinate preparedness and safety measures to ensure all children remain safe in schools and that all school districts and local police have the latest guidance on school safety protocols, especially in light of shootings in Nashville and other parts of the U.S.

Emergency Response planning resources are available for adults on the New York State Center for School Safety’s webpage, including a new video titled, “Seconds Count” that the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services developed in partnership with the NYS School Safety Improvement Team.

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SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER ‘RICKY VAUGHN’ CONVICTED OF CONSPIRACY AGAINST RIGHT TO VOTE

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A federal jury in U.S. District Court/Eastern District in Brooklyn convicted Douglass Mackey, also known as “Ricky Vaughn,” of the charge of Conspiracy Against Rights stemming from his scheme to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote. The verdict followed a one-week trial before United States District Judge Ann M. Donnelly, in which prosecutors proved that between September and November 2016, Mackey conspired with other influential Twitter users and with members of private online groups to disseminate fraudulent messages encouraging supporters of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to “vote” via text message or social media which, in reality, is legally invalid.

When sentenced, Mackey faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

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BROOKLYN TEACHER GETS 20 YEARS FOR TARGETING KIDS ONLINE 

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Former NYC high school teacher Jonathan Deutsch was sentenced on Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn to 20 years in prison for four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and six counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, following his conviction in June 2022. As set forth in the government’s sentencing memorandum and related court proceedings, in 2016 and 2017, Deutsch joined Facebook groups for LGBTQ+ youth in order to meet vulnerable minors online, posing as a 33-year-old teacher and a 14-year-old boy in order to message the minors, gain their trust through flattery and support, and then to engage them in sexualized conversations and exchanges; ultimately, Deutsch requested and received sexually explicit images or videos from at least four children, ranging in age from 10 to 16 years old.

Deutsch was originally indicted in 2018, after allegedly contacting hundreds of children and carrying on explicit conversations with 45 of them.

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MITZVAH TANK PARADE TAKES NEW YORK

CROWN HEIGHTS — The Chabad Lubavitch Jewish community launched a parade of 73 “Mitzvah Tanks” from Crown Heights through the streets of New York on Thursday in celebration of the Passover holiday, as well as in honor of the upcoming 121st birthday of Grand Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who passed away in 1994. Crown Heights Info reports that the “tanks” — in reality, decorated trucks — handed out 10,000 pieces of matzoh on their way to Herald Square in Manhattan.

Paradegoers told a News 12 reporter that their goal was to spread “light and kindness” to combat antisemitism and hate.

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ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE OPENING BROOKLYN OFFICE

BROOKLYN — The Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting antisemitism, announced on Thursday its intention to open a satellite office in Brooklyn, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, after a recent wave of attacks prompted CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt to call the borough “one of the epicenters for antisemitism in this country.” An annual audit of anti-Jewish violence by the group found that antisemitic incidents had increased by 39% nationwide in the last year, with nearly half of the assaults taking place in Brooklyn.

The office’s location has not yet been announced, but the group says it will be staffed by two ADL workers when it opens at the end of April.

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GOLDMAN HOSTS CONGRESSIONAL ‘DAD CAUCUS’

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman on Thursday co-hosted the inaugural Congressional Dads Caucus Roundtable Discussion, alongside fellow New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman and others. Bringing in working family advocates and experts, members of the Dads Caucus discussed policies that will uplift families across the country, including reinstating the child tax credit, increasing access to quality childcare, creating paid family and medical leave and tackling climate change; Goldman also stressed the need for gun reforms following the elementary school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee this week — the 13th this year — that left three 9-year-olds and three school workers dead.

Goldman helped to launch the Dads Caucus in January of this year, with the intention of supporting legislation for and educating other congressmembers on the issues that working parents face.

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CUNY PROFESSOR RECEIVES LITERARY AWARD FOR FIRST BOOK

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — City Tech professor and Brooklyn School for Math and Research teacher Sidik Fofana, whose first book “Stories from the Tenants Downstairs” was published to widespread acclaim last summer, has been named a winner of the prestigious Whiting Award for emerging writers, an honor given each year to 10 new literary voices that carries a $50,000 prize. The short stories in Fofana’s collection, a decade in their creation, are written from the distinct perspectives of eight residents of a Harlem building undergoing gentrification who are struggling with life as eviction looms.

“In a profession where you publish a story and you’re so happy to get $500 and then someone gives you this big award and tells you you’re getting $50,000 — it’s just, wow. It’s a stamp of approval,” said Fofana.

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BICHOTTE HERMELYN AWARDS WOMEN OF DISTINCTION AT BK COLLEGE

MIDWOOD — Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn hosted her Annual Women of Distinction Award Ceremony on Sunday, March 26th, at Brooklyn College, celebrating seven women who are making a positive difference in Assembly District 42 and the greater community. Honorees included poet Jennifer Searles, Jewish educator Fanny Ralbag, community organizer Ume-Kulsoom Butt, Community Board 14’s Shawn Alyse Campbell, environmental activist Lupe Ramsey, health center leader Mari G. Millet and pastor Donna Baptiste.

The ceremony also featured speeches from NYS Attorney General Letitia James, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, Sen. Kevin Parker and Councilmember Rita Joseph; as well as community arts performances.

Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn with the Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony honorees at Brooklyn College.

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HEALTH DEPT TO HELP HOMELESS ACCESS HOUSING

CITYWIDE — On Thursday, NYC Health + Hospitals announced an expansion of its Housing for Health initiative that will approve approximately 600 patients per year to receive one-on-one support applying for housing, doubling the number of patients who currently access housing navigation support in the health system. Eligible public hospital patients will be referred to a housing navigator from the Coordinated Behavioral Care organization, who will help them find housing opportunities and assemble application materials, accompany them on apartment viewings and provide support to settle into their new home, employing a “whatever it takes” approach to meet patients where they are and support them through the housing process.

“Woodhull Hospital has been great for me. They took me out of the shelter and put me in the greatest apartment that I only dreamed of. I love you guys. Thanks again,” said Vincent, a patient at Woodhull who found housing through the program.


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