Brooklyn Boro

What’s News, Breaking: Monday, April 10, 2023

April 10, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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LOCAL ELECTEDS DENOUNCE MTA BUS ROUTE CHANGES THAT WOULD CUT OFF SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS

SOUTHERN BROOKLYN — A bipartisan group of elected officials at the national, state and local levels are denouncing changes to the Brooklyn bus routes that would negatively affect area residents and businesses. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-11), Assemblymember Michael Tannousis  (R-southern Brooklyn) Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny (R-Coney Island), Councilmember Ari Kagan (Coney Island, Gravesend and Seagate) and Councilmember Kalman Yeger (D-Kensington to Bensonhurst) released a statement on Monday criticizing changes that, according to reports from Community Boards 10 and 11, would negatively affect locals, including the elimination of a bus that transports Xaverian students to and from their school.

Among the most critical changes: the B1 would eliminate a stop in front of a new middle school at 86th St. and 7th Ave., the B4 would be rerouted to serve Sheepshead Bay, stranding commuters who rely on it for access to Coney Island Hospital and Grady High School; change to the B8 would remove two stops in both directions outside the VA hospital; and changes to the B37 would remove heavily-utilized stops in both directions by the Foodtown supermarket.

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FDNY DIVISION CHIEF, CARDIOLOGIST AMONG THOSE HONORED AT BOROUGH HALL IFTAR

BOROUGH HALL — Two individuals and two organizations were specially honored at the Ramadan Iftar that Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso hosted last week. A posthumous award was presented to the family of Dr. Salman Haq, a widely-respected cardiologist at New York Presbyterian-Brooklyn Methodist Hospital who did most of his training at this medical center and then gave back to the community. Also honored was Farooq Muhammad, who has served in the FDNY at different ranks of the Bureau’s EMS for 27 years, including Division Chief, and who has served as a first responder to some of the city’s tragic emergencies, including 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy.

Organizations honored were Masjid At-Taqwa, an Islamic organization serving the Bed-Stuy community and which gained renown in January 1988 for ousting squatter drug communities; and the Iftar’s sponsor, The Silk Road Foundation, founded by Tolib Mansurov, which provides critical support and assistance to individuals and families who have migrated to the United States.

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IFTAR BRINGS NEARLY 200 BROOKLYNITES TO BOROUGH HALL

BOROUGH HALL — Nearly 200 Brooklynites joined Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso for his second annual Ramadan Iftar at Borough Hall last week. The evening brought together Imams, community advocates across Brooklyn as they observe the holiest month for Muslim communities. A sit-down dinner that The Silk Road Foundation sponsored, featuring Uzbek plov, samsa, dates, and plenty more traditional foods followed prayers. Umar Usman, Special Aide to the Borough President, represented Brooklyn’s Pakistani Muslim community as the night’s emcee.

Imam Abdulkarim Samarkandiy, a prominent leader for the Uzbek community in Brooklyn, and Imam Siraj Wahhaj, the Imam of Masjid At-Taqwa in Bed-Stuy, joined together for the iftar’s religious program. Imam Siraj Wahhaj has played an important role in the communities he has served, including initiating anti-drug patrol in Brooklyn in 1988 and for delivering the first Islamic invocation to the United States Congress.

Borough President Antonio Reynoso (third from left) with guests at his second annual Iftar. Photo: Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.

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GOWANUS RESIDENTS URGED TO ATTEND STATE DEC’s ‘AVAILABILITY SESSION’ ON CLEANUP

GOWANUS — It will be a home-field advantage for Gowanus residents and businesses when the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s representatives convene a meeting here on Thursday, April 20. The Voice of Gowanus is urging the public to attend the DEC’s “Community Availability Session,” being hosted at P.S. 372 on 1st Street, from 7-9 p.m., to demand that New York State conduct a more thorough clean up, instead of the state’s remedy allowing toxins to remain in the ground, and using vapor barriers, which locals denounce as short-sighted, especially in a floodplain like Gowanus where ground-water levels fluctuate with the tides.

Voice of Gowanus asserts that the DEC’s own data shows that dozens of sites need to be remediated from industrial pollution, including volatile organic compounds like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, mercury and xylene — forever chemicals whose vapors can rise into structures and endanger residents.

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PUBLIC COMMENT INVITED ON PLANS TO ELIMINATE PARKING SPACES AT 280 BERGEN ST. DEVELOPMENT

BOERUM HILL — A public hearing will take place on Wednesday, April 19, on a Special Permit for the elimination of 125 parking spaces at 280 Bergen Street in Boerum Hill, to be replaced with a community garden, according to a notice from Brooklyn Community Board 2. The Special Permit, if approved, would waive off-street parking requirements, as requested by a private applicant, to facilitate four buildings approximately 238,420 sq ft, including 223,620 sq ft of residential use, and 300 dwelling units that would include a percent for affordable housing. Public comment is recommended in real time at the meeting, taking place via Zoom.

The City Planning Commission would permit the parking waiver only if it finds the elimination of parking space would facilitate such development or enlargement, it will not cause traffic congestion or have undue adverse effects on residents, businesses or community facilities in the surrounding area, as applicable, including the availability of parking spaces for such uses.

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NY ATTORNEY GENERAL COMMENDS NOMINATIONS FOR NEW CHIEF, ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGES

ALBANY AND BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — State Attorney General Letitia James, who hails from Brooklyn and represented the 35th City Council District for many years, is hailing the nominations of Hon. Rowan D. Wilson to Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, and Caitlin J. Halligan as Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, as well as Judge Joseph Zayas as Chief Administrative Judge. Congratulating Judge Wilson “on this tremendous accomplishment,” Attorney General James said, “Throughout his tenure as an Associate Judge, Wilson has ruled with integrity and in consistent defense of New Yorkers’ rights. As the first Black Chief Judge of our state’s highest court, Judge Wilson will bring valuable perspective and years of experience to this most critical role.”

Judge Joseph Zayas currently serves in the Appellate Division/2nd Department, in Brooklyn.

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NY ATTORNEY GENERAL LEADS COALITION TO PROTECT FDA APPROVAL AND ACCESS OF MIFEPRISTONE

NATIONWIDE — Challenging a federal court decision that would revoke a long-established FDA approval for a medication abortion drug, New York Attorney General Letitia James today led a multi-state coalition in filing an amicus brief urging a halt on the ruling until it can be appealed. Attorney General James and her counterparts have filed the amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. If the district court’s ruling were allowed to take effect, the more than 20-year-old FDA approval of the drug Mifepristone would be revoked.

Attorney General James and the coalition are urging the appellate court to continue to stay the lower court’s unprecedented and what they assert is a legally erroneous decision pending the appeal, given the decades of clinical research and studies that have confirmed Mifepristone’s safety and the critical role medication abortion plays in reproductive health care, particularly in low-income, underserved, and rural communities.

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GOVERNOR NOMINATES HON. ROWAN WILSON AS STATE’S CHIEF JUDGE

ALBANY AND BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Governor Kathy Hochul today nominated the Honorable Rowan D. Wilson, who has served as Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals for the past six years, to serve as Chief Judge, filling the vacancy created last summer that was left unfilled after state legislature rejected her first nominee. He would become New York’s first Black Chief Judge. Moreover, Gov. Hochul expressed her strong support for Judge Wilson’s recommendation of Justice Joseph Zayas, currently in the Appellate Division/Second Department in Brooklyn, to serve as Chief Administrative Judge, the role of which has oversight in court operations, including a budget of more than $3 billion.

The Governor also intends to nominate Caitlin J. Halligan, who has served as New York State Solicitor General and General Counsel to the New York County District Attorney to fill Judge Wilson’s vacancy as Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals.

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NEW BPL CHIEF HISTORIAN SPECIALIZES IN NYC, BLACK AMERICA

The BPL’s new Chief Historian, Dominique Jean-Louis. Photo: Brooklyn Public Library.

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS AND PROSPECT HEIGHTS — The Center for Brooklyn History at the Brooklyn Public Library has appointed Dominique Jean-Louis, a writer and scholar specializing in Black America and New York City History, as its Chief Historian. Jean-Louis will oversee the creation of exhibitions and programs at the Center for Brooklyn History, which is home to the world’s largest collection of physical and digital primary source materials and artifacts about Brooklyn. Previously, Jean-Louis held the position of associate curator of history exhibitions at New-York Historical Society, where she co-curated Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow (2018), Our Composite Nation: Frederick Douglass’ America (2022), and Black Dolls (2022).

“Dominique Jean-Louis’ vision — to share history as a means to empower and strengthen communities — has never been more important as we witness an onslaught of book bans, censorship, and disinformation. We are thrilled to welcome her to the Center for Brooklyn History at Brooklyn Public Library,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library.

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CROWN HEIGHTS MAN HELD ON BAIL FOR SEX TRAFFICKING IN 27-COUNT INDICTMENT

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A Crown Heights man has been charged with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution, assault and other charges involving a teenager and a 40-year-old woman. The defendant, whom District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified as 39-year-old Samuel Tucker and who was arraigned on April 7 before Brooklyn State Supreme Court Justice E. Niki Warin on a 27-count indictment, was held on bail and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count, and will be required to register as a sex offender.

According to the investigation, Tucker enticed the 19-year-old victim — who was homeless and living in a Brownsville shelter — with cash and drugs if she engaged in prostitution for him. He later started beating her.

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GANG MEMBER ARRESTED FOR REVENGE ATTEMPT AFTER RAPPER SHOT

CROWN HEIGHTS — Gang member Taj Zeigler, 22, was arrested on Friday for allegedly attempting to shoot another man in January of this year, reports the Daily News, as a revenge attack motivated by the near-fatal shooting of fellow gang member and rapper Nas Blixky now retired from his rap career last year. Police identified Ziegler by comparing an outfit caught on security cameras to clothes in his social media posts, according to the News, and the 6 Treys/Folk Nation gang member has been charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition.

 It is unclear whether the person Ziegler allegedly attempted to shoot is responsible for Nas Blixky’s shooting, according to police, who say the situation is still under investigation.

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 REYNOSO TO HOLD PANEL ON BLACK MATERNITY CARE

CROWN HEIGHTS — In celebration of Black Maternal Health Week, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso’s Maternal Health Taskforce is holding a panel discussion on joy and healing during and after pregnancy. Moderated by Keisha Goode, professor of sociology and expert on historical complexities of midwifery, the panel will include a Black mother, nurse midwife, and reproductive health specialist and full-spectrum doula; and will cover topics ranging from personal maternity experiences to building care teams and overcoming pregnancy and postpartum challenges.

The panel will take place on Thursday, April 13, at 6 p.m. at the Weeksville Heritage Center; moms, parents and interested people can RSVP for the event online.

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VET HOSPITAL COMING TO MONTAGUE

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — National vet hospital chain GoodVets is moving into the commercial space on the corner of Montague and Henry streets, formerly occupied by the Ann Taylor Loft store, reports the Brooklyn Heights Blog. The new vet is expected to open in roughly one year, according to BHB’s source, joining the Brooklyn Heights Veterinary Hospital on Cranberry St. and the Brooklyn Heights Veterinary Group on Columbia Place in offering medical care to the area’s furry residents.

The Loft store was one of many businesses claimed by the pandemic, a trend that has troubled the Montague Street BID as it seeks to keep Brooklyn Heights’ historic shopping street afloat.

The location of the future vet hospital. Photo by C. Scales for Brooklyn Heights Blog.

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POLICE SEEK MAN IN WYCKOFF KNIFE ATTACKS

BOERUM HILL — Police are urgently searching for Joevani Vale, 26, after Vale allegedly slashed a 31-year-old woman in her thigh in Boerum Hill on Saturday afternoon, before fatally stabbing 83-year-old Ramon Cintron in the neck in a different building an hour later. Vale is described as a white Hispanic man, with brown eyes and brown hair, and is around 5’8″ tall and 150 pounds.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); the public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Joevani Vale, suspected perpetrator of the stabbings.

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ADAMS VOWS TO FIGHT BAN ON ABORTION DRUG

CITYWIDE — Mayor Eric Adams and his administration on Friday vowed to help fight a federal court ruling in a Texas lawsuit that will make the prescription of the abortion drug Mifepristone illegal nationwide in one week, including in NYC, unless a higher court reverses that decision. The mayor’s office in a press statement said that Mifepristone, used in combination with the drug Misoprostol, has been a safe and common option for people managing an abortion or miscarriage in the United States for more than 20 years, and that regardless of the ultimate outcome of this lawsuit, the city will continue to make medication abortion accessible by shifting to a Misoprostol-only treatment regimen to comply with the law.

“In the nearly 10 months following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe, millions of women have seen their right to a safe, legal abortion restricted and, in some cases, completely taken away. We knew then that the forces pushing to control women’s bodies wouldn’t stop there, and today’s decision by a Texas court is yet another assault on women’s rights, potentially cutting off access to health care for millions more. Today, we recommit ourselves to staying vigilant, focused, and continue pressing forward in the fight for reproductive rights,” wrote First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright on Friday.

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COUNCIL TO HOLD MEETING ON TRUCK ROUTE REDESIGN

CIVIC CENTER — The City Council’s Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is set to hold an oversight hearing on truck routes on Monday afternoon. The committee will consider legislation that would require the DOT to redesign the city’s truck route network to improve safety and reduce pollution and miles traveled, as well as legislation requiring citywide designated tractor trailer parking and feasibility studies on reducing truck traffic through redesigning infrastructure, and a resolution calling on the state to fully fund the MTA in this year’s budget.

The hearing will take place in the Council Chamber at City Hall in Manhattan at 1 p.m. on Monday, April 10, and will be livestreamed for the public on the council’s city webpage.

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FLATBUSH WOMAN MISSING IN CROWN HEIGHTS

FLATBUSH — Police are searching for missing Flatbush woman Cisilyn Gentles, 67, last seen on the afternoon of Friday, April 7, at her son’s residence in Crown Heights. She is described as being 5’4″ tall, 166 pounds, medium build, with a medium complexion, brown eyes and black and gray hair, and was last seen wearing a black hat, glasses, black shirt, gray pants and white sneakers and carrying a white plastic bag.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); the public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

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HANIF HOLDS CANNABIS CONVERSATION

CITYWIDE — Brooklyn Councilmember Shahana Hanif is holding a Zoom “Candid Cannabis Conversation” event this week in response to the state’s recent partial victory in court that will see Brooklyn entrepreneurs at last granted licenses to open recreational marijuana dispensaries. The panel will feature a slate of activists and experts, including the city’s Cannabis Czar Dasheeda Dawson, discussing the state of legalization in New York, as well as the gray market, with Hanif and the community.

The Zoom meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m.; attendees are required to register beforehand in order to access the meeting.

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MISSING TEEN IN BROWNSVILLE

BROWNSVILLE — Police are asking the public for help in locating missing teen Jevon Fraser, 14, last seen leaving his Brownsville residence on foot on Monday, April 3, shortly after midnight. He is described as being 5’8″ tall, weighing 160 pounds, having brown eyes and black hair, and was last seen wearing a black coat, blue sweatpants and black sneakers.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782); the public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Missing teen Jevon Fraser.

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THE BRIDGE MULTICULTURAL PROJECT HOSTS CELEBRATION OF THE THREE ABRAHAMIC FAITHS

FLATBUSH — The Bridge Multicultural Project on April 2, 2023 welcomed hundreds of Brooklynites from all three Abrahamic faiths for a special dinner celebrating university. The Bridge Founder Mark Meyer Appel welcomed members of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths, including several elected leaders.

This year, the religious observances of Passover, Holy Week/Easter and Ramadan coincide. Ramadan concludes on April 21 with the Eid-al-Fitr Festival of Sweets.

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DINAPOLI HONORS 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF DOCUMENT THAT RESTORED SELF-GOVERNMENT TO NORTHERN IRELAND

STATEWIDE — State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is honoring the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that restored self-government in Northern Ireland. DiNapoli will be broadcasting a conversation with Brian O’Dwyer, a prominent member of New York’s Irish American community and chair of the New York State Gaming Commission, which is viewable on the Comptroller’s Facebook page Monday, April 10, at 6:30 p.m.

The Good Friday Agreement, signed on April 10, 1998, was brokered by then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Taoiseach (chieftain/prime minister) Bertie Ahern, and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine).

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STATE COMPTROLLER: GROUP HOMES HAD INADEQUATE EMERGENCY PLAN COORDINATION

STATEWIDE — The state-level Office for People with Developmental Disabilities had inadequate emergency management coordination during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that left people living in nearly 7,000 group homes at risk, according to an audit released from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office. The audit, with its stated objective of adequately addressing the needs of the vulnerable population it serves in its emergency plans, found that the OPWDD did not provide consistent oversight and guidance to all types of homes to ensure they were adequately prepared to manage public health emergencies; for example only eight state-operated facilities were issued specific COVID-19 plans, accounting for fewer than one percent of the residential clients.

The remaining 6,921 facilities, which collectively account for 34,048 clients (99%) that were required to create their own plans, could have benefited from OPWDD’s expertise.

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PRESIDENT BIDEN DENOUNCES FEDERAL JUDGE’S RULING IN FDA ABORTION DRUG CASE

NATIONWIDE — President Joe Biden has denounced a Texas federal judge’s ruling in the case, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, as a violation of medical practice. “The Court in this case has substituted its judgment for FDA, the expert agency that approves drugs,” Biden said in a statement excerpted here. “If this ruling were to stand, then there will be virtually no prescription, approved by the FDA, that would be safe from these kinds of political, ideological attacks.”

Stating that the medicine in question dealt with abortion, President Biden warned of the individual judge’s impact on women’s ability across the U.S. to obtain prescription medicine, and promised a fight, announcing that the Dept. of Justice has already filed an appeal and will seek an immediate stay of the decision.”

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BISHOP DIMARZIO LEADS BENSONHURST’S 40TH ANNUAL GOOD FRIDAY PROCESSION

BENSONHURST — The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Brooklyn, last night led the 40th Annual Good Friday procession through the streets of Bensonhurst. Originating outside Shallow Junior High School (intersection of 65th Street and 16th Ave.) the procession of worshipers headed to St. Dominic Church, 14 blocks away as participants carried crosses and a group of men served as pallbearers for Jesus’ symbolic bier. 

The nine participating parishes were St. Athanasius-St. Dominic, Basilica of Regina Pacis, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, St. Simon and Jude-Most Precious Blood, St. Finbar, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Bernadette, and Our Lady of Grace.

Members of nine Roman Catholic parishes carried wooden crosses through the streets of Bensonhurst on Good Friday. Photo: John Quaglione/DeSales Media.
Worshipers stand behind the barricades as they hold crosses while watching the Good Friday procession in Bensonhurst. Photo: John Quaglione/DeSales Media.
Bishop Emeritus Nicholas DiMarzio offers prayers outside St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church in Bensonhurst. Photo: John Quaglione/DeSales Media.

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BROOKLYN’S ICONIC MIMI SHERATON, 97, WAS ADVENTUROUS AND TOUGH FOOD CRITIC

MIDWOOD AND MANHATTAN — Mimi Sheraton, the Brooklyn-born, iconic and no-nonsense food critic and cookbook author known for frequenting restaurants in disguise, died on Thursday, April 6, at age 97, reports The New York Times, Eater New York and other news sources. Sheraton was NY Times’ first woman food critic, whose discerning palate and her straightforward and meticulously-researched appraisals of culinary specialties earned her the reputation of being tough but fair. 

Sheraton, who was born Miriam Solomon, graduated from Midwood High School in 1943, and later married a man who changed his surname to Sheraton, grew up enjoying outings to Lundy’s for seafood in Sheepshead Bay and Nathan’s Famous hot dogs in Coney Island.

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DEC OPENS PUBLIC COMMENT ON BROWNFIELD CLEANUP

WILLIAMSBURG — The state Department of Environmental Conservation on Thursday announced the beginning of a period of public comment on a proposed cleanup of a brownfield site in Williamsburg that the agency believes “poses a significant threat to public health or the environment… based on the potential for human exposure to site-related contaminants via soil vapors.” The mitigation plan at the 100 Union Avenue site includes the excavation and replacement of more than 1,000 tons of contaminated soil, the installation of systems to reduce soil vapors and the development of several different monitoring plans to protect the surrounding area; residents can find more information about and comment on the plan on the state DEC’s website until May 20.

The mitigation program was proposed by the developer who owns the lot and who hopes to erect a six-story residential building there in the future; in its past life, the lot served as an auto sales lot and later an auto repair shop and junkyard.

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UNKNOWN ROBBERS STEAL $92K FROM STOPPED CAR

SUNSET PARK — On the morning of Tuesday, April 4, a 32-year-old victim stopped his vehicle on a Sunset Park side street to change his tire; as the victim was working on the side of his vehicle, two men approached, with one going into his trunk and removing a bag containing $92,000, before fleeing southbound on 9th Avenue. Police described the first man as having a dark complexion and wearing a golf hat and a black jacket; and, the second as having a dark complexion and wearing a black and white checkered shirt and black pants.

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); the public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, on Twitter at @NYPDTips.

Have you seen these men? Any tips you give to police are strictly confidential.

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NETS UNVEIL LIMITED EDITION UNIFORM DESIGNED BY ARTIST KAWS

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — The Nets on Thursday unveiled their new “City Edition” variant uniforms, featuring artwork and design elements by the Brooklyn-based pop artist KAWS. Part of a two-year partnership between the Nets and the artist, the remixed uniform features a bold color palette evocative of the artist’s eye-catching abstract paintings, lettering and logos inspired by the artist’s graphic style, KAWS’ signature “XX” design motif on the waistband of the shorts, and his autograph woven into the jersey directly above the jock tag.

The uniforms and merchandise collection will be available for purchase online and in person at the Nets’ team store at Barclays Center beginning this fall.

The Nets’ City Edition uniform, featuring artwork inspired by the artist KAWS.

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PEDESTRIAN KILLED IN CAR CRASH

BOROUGH PARK — Police announced on Thursday that Chaim Blum, 23, was pronounced deceased at Maimonides Medical Center on Wednesday night after being struck and injured as the result of a crash between two vehicles. A Honda Odyssey minivan, traveling southbound on 13th Avenue, crashed into a Toyota Sienna minivan, traveling eastbound on 50th Street, while the two were crossing the intersection, the impact causing the Sienna to rotate and strike Blum, who was standing on the southeast corner of the intersection.

The operators of the vehicles were not injured and remained at the scene; there are no arrests, and the investigation remains ongoing, according to police.

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TEEN STABBED TO DEATH ON D TRAIN

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Shortly before midnight on Thursday, police responding to a 911 call discovered an 18-year-old man with a stab wound to the abdomen onboard a northbound D train at the Atlantic-Barclays station. EMS transported the victim to Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, where he was subsequently pronounced deceased. Further investigation revealed the victim was onboard the train when a dispute arose with another, unidentified male, who proceeded to stab the victim with an unknown object before fleeing.

Police say that there have been no arrests, and the investigation remains ongoing; the identity of the deceased is pending proper family notification.

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REP. YVETTE CLARKE DENOUNCES TENNESSEE HOUSE’S EXPULSION OF COLLEAGUES WHO PROTESTED SHOOTINGS

CENTRAL BROOKLYN — Several Brooklyn political leaders have spoken out condemning the expulsion on Thursday, April 6, of two Democratic members of the Tennessee state House of Representatives who had staged a protest for gun law reform, particularly after a mass shooting at a school in that state’s Nashville capital.  Congressmember Yvette D. Clarke (D-09), first vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, declared, “Last night, the Republican majority in the Tennessee State Legislature decided to openly defy their Constitutional responsibilities and disregard the right to dissent in a democracy… Exercising one Constitutional right to peacefully assemble and protest is not subordinate to the right to the Second Amendment. They were exercising their First Amendment right and for that, these young, Black, duly elected men were expelled. They were stripped of their franchise, thereby disenfranchising the people they represent.”

“It’s passed time that leaders on both sides of the aisle come together to help save lives and curb America’s gun violence epidemic,” said Clarke.

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PAINTING AND STEEL REPAIRS PROJECT WILL CLOSE GOWANUS EXIT 23 RAMP OVERNIGHT MONDAY

GOWANUS EXPRESSWAY — The New York State DOT has announced a full closure (weather permitting) of the Exit 23 ramp from westbound Gowanus Expressway (I-278) to 39th Street in Brooklyn, scheduled for Monday-Tuesday, April 10-11. This closure, which will take effect “on or about Monday night at 10 p.m.” through 5 a.m. on Tuesday, April 11, is needed to facilitate work on NYSDOT’s $168 million Gowanus Expressway (I-278) Painting and Steel Repairs Project, from the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel to 6th Avenue in Brooklyn.

Motorists needing to access 39th Street during the closure should take Exit 26 (Hamilton Avenue) and follow the signed detour.

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BROOKLYN COLLEGE MAKES TOP FIVE IN NYT’S COLLEGE VALUE RANKINGS

CITYWIDE — Six CUNY universities, including Brooklyn College, lead the nation in providing a combination of affordability, academics, diversity and high post-attendance earnings, according to a new interactive college ranking tool developed by The New York Times. Brooklyn College, along with Baruch, Hunter, The City College of New York and Queens College, take the top five slots when equally prioritizing high earnings, academic profile, economic mobility, low sticker price, low net price, racial diversity and economic diversity, while John Jay College of Criminal Justice ranks at number seven.

The Times’ tool allows prospective college students to weigh up to ten priorities and develop a corresponding ranking list, and includes nearly 900 four-year colleges in its data.

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NEW PLAN AIMS TO PROTECT CITY’S MOST VULNERABLE HISTORIC BUILDINGS

CITYWIDE — An action plan is being implemented to strengthen enforcement tools that will preserve the city’s most vulnerable historic buildings, Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) Chair Sarah Carroll, and New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) Acting Commissioner Kazimir Vilenchik announced on Friday, April 7. The plan will aid in protecting buildings designated as historic landmarks that are at risk due to pre-existing unknown structural conditions, owner neglect, and contractor negligence.

The plan also focuses on early detection of risks to designated buildings, more robust engineering oversight, increased coordination, and communication between the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Department of Buildings, and on enhanced community new digital tools.

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NYC JOINS LAWSUIT AGAINST KIA AND HYUNDAI FOR BALKING ON ANTI-THEFT TECHNOLOGY

CITYWIDE — Amidst an almost-ninefold increase in thefts of Kia and Hyundai model vehicles, New York City will join the ongoing national lawsuit against these car manufacturers to hold them accountable for refusing to equip certain models of both cars with standard anti-theft measures. Making the announcement on Friday, April 7, court documents accuse Kia and Hyundai of placing profit ahead of public safety by foregoing the anti-theft technology in cost-saving corporate decisions. Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix pointed out that inadequate anti-theft technology render Kia and Hyundai vehicles more vulnerable to theft, in the wake of a viral social media challenge to commit grand larceny.

The most theft-vulnerable vehicles use mechanical keys that lack anti-theft “immobilizer” systems instead of a more secure key-fob. However, key fobs also have vulnerabilities, as thieves can boost and even mimic what were thought to be unique signals.

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CONGRESSIONAL GROUP URGES GOVERNOR, STATE LAWMAKERS TO INCLUDE EMERGENCY RENTAL HELP IN NEW BUDGET

STATEWIDE — Six New York lawmakers, including Brooklyn Congressmembers Nydia Velázquez (D-7) — leading the effort — and Dan Goldman (D-10) have written to Governor Kathy Hochul and the leaders of both houses of New York State legislature, urging them to include emergency rental assistance funding in New York State’s final budget for Fiscal Year 2024, the deadline for which had to be extended. Although the Federal government in early 2020 established the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program to help American renters avoid eviction, with New York State receiving more than $2.29 billion, the state did not prioritize public housing authority and Section 8 residents when disbursing these funds.

Despite applying for $128 million in ERA relief, NYCHA tenants have received no assistance to date.

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PUBLIC WEBINAR SERIES ON EXTREME HEAT’S IMPACT ON NEW YORK STATE

STATEWIDE — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will hold a public webinar series on the ways extreme heat is impacting New York State. As part of Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2022 State of the State directive and interim recommendations, work is underway to help New Yorkers and communities better understand and prepare for the impacts of extreme heat, including opportunities to learn about solutions for adapting to and forming partnerships to address this often-deadly weather. Registration is separate for each webinar, the first of which takes place April 27 at 2 p.m.

This webinar series is part of DEC and NYSERDA’s ongoing development of an action plan in response to the increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat events caused by climate change.

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GOVERNOR, ATTORNEY GENERAL CALL FOR REDRAWING CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT LINES

STATEWIDE — The state Supreme Court needs to order an Independent Redistricting Commission to redraw Congressional district lines, rather than leaving the lines drawn by a court-appointed special master in place between now and the 2030 census, according to an amicus brief that Governor Kathy Hochul and New York Attorney General Letitia James have filed. The state legislature had rejected the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission’s (IRC) maps, and the Congressional maps drafted afterward were challenged in the courts, resulting in special master drawing lines ahead of the 2022 Election.

Attorney General James and Governor Hochul assert in the amicus brief that was filed in the Appellate Division, Third Department that, while the special master’s maps may have been appropriate for the 2022 Election, there is significant time for IRC to generate new maps and follow the process outlined in the New York State Constitution for Congressional maps going forward.

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GOLDMAN CALLS FOR COMMUNITY IMMIGRANT FUNDING

WASHINGTON — Last week, U.S. Reps. Dan Goldman and Veronica Escobar of Texas,  led a group of 25 representatives in calling for $800 million in funding for the newly established Shelter and Services Program in the 2024 federal budget. The SSP gives communities direct assistance through grants instead of using a lengthy reimbursement process, allowing asylum seekers to receive vital services and resources quickly and reducing the heavy burden on their new communities, as the direct aid helps state agencies and nonprofits better plan their assistance efforts.

Goldman says that as the country prepares for the end of the pandemic-era immigration restrictions, migrant arrivals are expected to increase, meaning that funding for the SSP will become increasingly crucial for communities like New York that host asylum-seekers — more than 50,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in NYC since last spring, according to the congressmember, with more than 30,000 currently in the city’s care.

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PUBLIC ADVOCATE WILLIAMS: TENNESSEE EXPULSION ‘COMES AT INTERSECTION OF AMERICAN FAILURES’

NATIONWIDE — NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has denounced, in a statement excerpted here, the Tennessee legislature’s expulsion of two colleagues who were pushing for gun reform. “The injustice we have seen in recent days in Tennessee comes at an intersection of American failures — structural racism, punishing protest, and a willingness to wash our hands in response to unending, unspeakable violence… The initial ‘offense’ of these legislators was to demand action to prevent gun violence in the wake of yet another horrific shooting.”

Williams added, “It is my hope that by expressing dual outrage at conservatives’ inaction on guns and authoritarian reaction to being called out for it, we can direct our anger into progress.”


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