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What’s News, Breaking: Thursday, April 13, 2023

April 13, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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LIFE OF HOPE LAUNCHES BIRTH JUSTICE DEFENDERS HAITIAN HUB

EAST FLATBUSH — Life of Hope, based in East Flatbush and collocated at Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School, on Thursday, April 13, launched a Birth Justice Defenders Haitian Hub, in partnership with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in its Haitian Women’s Birth Equity Initiative. Birth Justice Defenders are community residents who educate their communities about their rights, and advocate for all things necessary for immigrant communities’ need for optimal birth with respect and dignity, and to address and repair maternal health inequities in Haitian and immigrant communities. They will provide case management, immigration counseling, adult education, community navigation, childbirth education, peer support group, workshops and more.

In NYC, Black immigrant women have the highest risk of pregnancy complications, with Haitian-born women demonstrating the highest risk of severe pregnancy complications (a rate of 494.0 compared to 229.8 for U.S.-born women). East Flatbush’s Haitian population has the highest rate of Severe Maternal Morbidity community district.

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SUPERHEROES VISIT PEDIATRIC WARD TO BRING CHEER

PARK SLOPE — Children in the pediatric unit of NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital got a special visit from their favorite superheroes on Thursday, April 13. A group of FDNY Firefighters, NYPD officers and local teachers who are volunteers with Humble Heroes visited the young patients. Humble Heroes is a local nonprofit that is committed to lifting the spirits of ill and grieving children while disguised as famous superheroes.

Robert Banome, an FDNY firefighter with Ladder Company 122 in Park Slope and founder of Humble Heroes, dressed as Spiderman, has visited the pediatric unit of the hospital with groups of volunteers for more than fifteen years. Photo: New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.
Each volunteer dressed up as popular superheroes like Batman, Supergirl and Captain America to put a smile on the patients’ faces; some are pictured outside New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in Park Slope. Photo: New York-Presbyterian.

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FBI MAKES ARREST IN LEAKED INTELLIGENCE DOCUMENT CASE

MASSACHUSETTS — Federal investigators on Thursday, April 13, arrested a 21-year-old air national guardsman, whom Attorney General Merrick Garland and since, several news sources, have identified as Jack Teixeira, is linked to the leak of classified U.S. intelligence documents regarding the war in Ukraine. A member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s intelligence wing, Teixeira allegedly moderated in an online Discord group where the leaked documents first appeared; the publicizing of the classified materials  — consisting of maps and immediately current information, is believed to have upset U.S. allies in the Ukraine war.

The online group, identified as Thug Shaker Central, attracted young men and teens who share a love of guns, racist memes and video games.

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NAVAL CHAPLAIN FROM BROOKLYN LEADS EASTER MASS FROM PHILIPPINE SEA

USS NIMITZ/PHILIPPINE SEA — Celebrating the Mass on Easter aboard a naval ship in Asia is a blessing to a Catholic priest from Brooklyn, Navy Lt. Cmdr., Rev. Donelson Thevenin, who is currently serving aboard the USS Nimitz. Fr. Thevenin, who had served the Diocese of Brooklyn at Holy Cross parish in Flatbush and as director of the Haitian Apostolate more than a decade ago, was released from the diocese in 2012 when he became a Navy chaplain. The Brooklyn diocesan newspaper, The Tablet, covered his promotion ceremony to Lieutenant Commander in September 2021, a role in which he also trains other chaplains.

The USS Nimitz is currently deployed in the Philippine Sea, U.S. 7th Fleet, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, conducting routine operations in the Indo-Pacific region.

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Donelson Thevenin, from Brooklyn, NY leads Mass in the fo’c’sle of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). Nimitz, who served a Brooklyn parish until his naval commissioning, is in the U.S. 7th Fleet conducting routine operations. Photo: U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Caitlin Flynn.

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DOT: FREE PARKING IN PARTS OF GREENPOINT WILL CHANGE TO METERED

GREENPOINT — The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) will introduce paid metered parking on select blocks in Greenpoint, according to a notice to Brooklyn Community Board 1 and distributed further, on Thursday, April 13. The DOT’s decision to switch from free to paid metered parking was based on a history of parking violations, crashes related to double parking and nearby retail areas. The “curb management,” which is expected to begin in late spring/early summer, will impact several blocks on Franklin St. from Greenpoint Avenue southward to Oak St., either on the west side or both sides of the street; and on both sides of Greenpoint Ave. from Franklin to West streets.

The DOT believes that metered parking will encourage drivers to stay only as long as they need, and will stimulate local businesses by allowing more customer parking turnover.

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BROOKLYN COLLEGE’S PRESIDENTIAL LECTURE SERIES BRINGS IN CONGO-BORN DIPLOMAT, PATRICK GASPARD

Patrick Gaspard, diplomat, and CEO of Center for American Progress. Photo. Brooklyn College.

FLATBUSH/MIDWOOD — Brooklyn College will welcome Patrick Gaspard, the CEO of the Center for American Progress and former Ambassador to South Africa, for the second Presidential Lecture Series with President Michelle J. Anderson, later this month. Their dialogue will focus on Gaspard’s career trajectory, international relations, and the building of a more equitable world by investing in democracy, health care equity, and social justice. There will be some emphasis on Haiti and the international response to the ongoing crisis there, as Gaspard’s parents were Haitian; he was born in the Congo.

The free April 25 event will be the second Brooklyn College’s Presidential Lecture Series event that features President Anderson in conversation with high-profile leaders and that aims to expose students and the extended Brooklyn College community to inspiring ideas, courageous leadership, and models of civic engagement and civil discourse.

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FOUNDER’S BALL WILL CELEBRATE BROOKLYN HOSPITAL’S MEDICAL AND FACILITY ADVANCEMENT

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN/PROSPECT HEIGHTS — The Brooklyn Hospital Foundation has much to celebrate at this year’s Founder’s Ball, including the opening of the Brooklyn Cancer Center, and a modernized and expanded Emergency Department. The much-anticipated annual Founder’s Ball, being held at the Brooklyn Museum on Monday, May 22, will honor two doctors: Jeffrey Vacirca, MD, FACP, of New York Cancer & Blood Specialists, will be awarded a Founder’s Medal; and Viswanath Vasudevan, MD, The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program & Vice Chair, Education Medicine, will be awarded a Walter E. Reed Medal. The Brooklyn Hospital was founded in 1845.

The Founder’s Ball will also celebrate the hospital’s Blueprint for Excellence including its recent progress with new facilities, including the state-of-the-art 25-unit Myrtle Dialysis Center, and Physicians Pavilion, and award-winning clinical programs.

Dr. Jeff Vacirca is an honoree at the May 22 Founder’s Ball. Photo: The Brooklyn Hospital Center.
Dr. Viswanath Vasudevan will be honored at the May 22 Founder’s Ball. Photo: The Brooklyn Hospital Center.

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BROOKLYN-BORN ACTOR MICHAEL LERNER DIES AT 81

Michael Lerner as pictured at the opening night of Bette Midler in “I’ll Eat You at Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers” at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles on Dec. 5, 2013. Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision for Geffen/AP Images, File.

BROOKLYN — Michael Charles Lerner, the Brooklyn-born actor who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a tempestuous movie producer in the 1991 film Barton Fink, has died at age 81, according to The New York Times’ obituary reporter Lauren McCarthy. Lerner, who was also a graduate of Brooklyn College — known for its excellence in theatre and film — stayed busy as a working actor, appearing in “Elf,” and in classic TV series like M*A*S*H,  The Brady Bunch and Hill Street Blues.

Lerner, whose death followed an illness, defined himself as a “chameleon,” according to a 1991 NY Times interview, asserting he “can play anything.” He made his roles larger than life, particularly the character of Jack Lipnick who was based on legendary movie producer Louis B. Mayer, a founder of MGM Studios.

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BROOKLYN-BOUND DELAYS ON MANHATTAN BRIDGE ON THURSDAY MORNING

There are extensive traffic delays on the Manhattan Bridge, Notify NYC is advising Brooklyn-bound drivers using that East River span. A notice sent out at 10:19 indicates police activity on the bridge and that motorists should use other routes.

The delays seem limited to the roadway and the MTA reports no disruptions related to the Manhattan Bridge, on the B, D, N and Q lines; however, the N line has some reroutes due to problems at the other end of the route, Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island.

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NEW PILOT PROGRAM WILL MEASURE ROADWAY ACTIVITY AT SPECIFIC INTERSECTIONS

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN AND WILLIAMSBURG — Two Downtown Brooklyn intersections, one near the Navy Yard and one in Williamsburg have been selected as pilot locations for the NYC Department of Transportation’s newest pilot program that uses advanced technology to measure safety. DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced on Wednesday that the pilot involves the placing of sensor cameras at 12 locations around the city which view the street then classifies and counts roadway users in real-time. The Brooklyn intersections are Schermerhorn Street & Smith Street, Flushing Avenue & Vanderbilt Avenue, Hoyt Street & Warren Street in Boerum Hill, and Berry Street & North 6th St. in Williamsburg.

The devices, which are designed to collect data and generate detailed reports on pedestrian and wheel movement, allowing planners to better understand the uses of city streets — will respect privacy with the almost instantaneous deletion of video frames from the sensors, and the recording of only anonymous features. Read more on page 3 and online at www.brooklyneagle.com

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THREE CUNY PROFESSORS NAMED GUGGENHEIM FELLOWS; TWO TEACH AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE

FLATBUSH/MIDWOOD — Three faculty at the City University of New York (CUNY), including two at Brooklyn College, have been awarded 2023 Guggenheim Fellowships recognizing their careers of exceptional work in the arts and humanities. Filmmaker and Adjunct Professor Todd Chandler, creator of the acclaimed documentary Bulletproof about school gun violence, won his fellowship in the film and video category; and Professor of English Tanya Pollard, who specializes in Shakespeare received her fellowship in the early modern studies category. The third Guggenheim Fellow winner is Wayne Koestenbaum, a distinguished professor at the Graduate Center, influential American writer and artist, and one of the founders of the queer studies field.

Moreover, Brooklyn College alumna Kelly Cooper a 2007 M.F.A. a graduate in playwriting was selected in the drama and performing arts category.

From left: Wayne Koestenbaum, Tanya Pollard and Todd Chandler. Photo: City University of New York.

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JAPANESE VEGAN CHOCOLATE COMPANY GOT ITS START IN FORT GREENE KITCHEN

FORT GREENE — Japanese vegan chocolate bars, a mother-daughter team and Brooklyn as the locale during the pandemic, all these coalesced into a creative venture between designer Yuki” Hayakawa and her young child that is now a company named Noé No Omise. Hayakawa and their vegan confection, which has attracted top chefs, is featured in this week’s EATER NEW YORK edition.

The confection is available on the Noé No Omise website and in pop-up shops around Brooklyn.

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WSJ: MALLIOTAKIS TRADED SHARES WHILE WORKING ON SIGNATURE DEAL

BAY RIDGE — A new report from the Wall Street Journal alleges that U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who represents Bay Ridge and Staten Island, bought between $1,001 and $15,000 of stock in the parent company of Flagstar Bank prior to Flagstar’s acquisition of most of failed Signature Bank’s assets last month, after the announcement that its stock price rose by 32%. Malliotakis is a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, according to the Brooklyn Paper, and had stated on Twitter that she was involved in meetings with government officials on the bank situation, regarded as of critical importance at the time.

A representative for Malliotakis told the Wall Street Journal that she had made the trade on the recommendation of a financial advisor and did not know that Flagstar would be taking Signature’s assets until the announcement was made, six days after the trade.

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RESTLER PROPOSES PLAN TO SPEED RIKERS CLOSURE AS CITY STALLS

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Councilmembers Lincoln Restler and Kevin Riley, alongside prison reform advocates, on Tuesday announced a comprehensive plan for closing Rikers Island and ending mass incarceration by safely reducing the jail population. The new plan has three key components: to prioritize safely moving people off Rikers Island, increasing mental health services for inmates and passing legislation to require population review teams and support early releases; to expand access to supportive housing by amending housing eligibility rules to count time in jail as time homeless and increasing funding for housing programs; and, to expedite case processing and lower pretrial stays by holding the Department of Corrections accountable for keeping court dates, maximizing video conferencing and increasing funding for indigent defense legal services organizations.

“Rather than taking steps to reduce the incarcerated population to facilitate implementation of the smaller borough-based jails, the policies of the Adams Administration have increased mass incarceration in New York City. We must focus on real solutions to safely and permanently decrease the number of people in jail and give struggling New Yorkers access to the services they need,” said Restler in a press statement, referring to perceived reluctance on the part of the mayor’s administration to move forward with the jail’s shutdown.

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‘BAY RIDGE THROUGH AN ECOLOGICAL LENS’ EXHIBIT THIS WEEKEND

BAY RIDGE — The Stand4 Gallery is hosting a new exhibit, “Bay Ridge Through an Ecological Lens,” highlighting environmental issues relevant to Bay Ridge, opening this weekend, presented in collaboration with ecoartspace and made possible by a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Fund. The interactive, public arts exhibition features works by New York artists focused on social practice and ecology, and consists of nature walks and community interventions in the gallery and outside in the local area.

The exhibit will run from April 15 through June 17; more information can be found on Stand4’s website.

A map of the artworks and locations of the Ecological Lens exhibit.

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FREE TREE GIVEAWAY THIS WEEKEND

CANARSIE — State Senator Kevin Parker, in partnership with the New York Restoration Project and the historic Wyckoff House Museum, will be hosting a tree giveaway this weekend to distribute free trees to the community, in an effort to help combat global warming and reduce NYC’s carbon footprint. While all reservation slots are full for the event, walkups are welcome to take any remaining trees on a first-come, first-served basis after 3 p.m., with species including “Black Cherry, Black Gum, Eastern Redbud, Flowering Dogwood, Highbush Blueberry, Honey Locust, Red Maple and Sweetbay Magnolia,” according to the NYRP

The tree giveaway will take place at the Wyckoff House Museum on Saturday, April 15; hours are from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., with walk-ins welcome after 3 p.m.

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DIGIDOG NOT BRAND NEW, AND AGAIN FACES CRITICISM FROM CIVIL RIGHTS ADVOCATES

WILLIAMSBURG TO EAST NEW YORK — The NYPD technological wonder named Digidog is actually not new, and is being resurrected for a second try at law enforcement, according to a report published in City & State on Tuesday, April 11. The canine robot, originally named “Spot,” had made its first debut in 2023 during the de Blasio administration, but then encountered fierce criticism from civil rights advocates. He was reintroduced on Tuesday alongside two new law enforcement technologies: StarChase, which helps track drivers fleeing a police encounter, and K5 Autonomous Security Robot, a roving photographer droid who will monitor activity in the Times Square subway complex.

While current Mayor Eric Adams says New Yorkers shouldn’t be afraid of technology, Tuesday’s announcement of the technology’s pilot programs quickly garnered criticism from The Legal Aid Society and State Senator Jabari Brisport (D-25), who with his colleague Julia Salazar (D-18), is already sponsoring legislation to prohibit use of robots by police agencies.

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KNIFE MURDER SUSPECT CAUGHT BY POLICE

BOERUM HILL — The NYPD has apprehended Joevani Vale, the suspect in a series of knife attacks on Saturday that left one man dead and one woman in the hospital. Vale has been charged with the murder of Ramon Cintron, age 83, as well as with criminal possession of a weapon.

Vale allegedly slashed two people within two hours in Boerum Hill on Saturday; police have not released any information about the suspected motive at this time.

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ED SHEERAN VISITS BROOKLYN TO PERFORM NEW ALBUM

FLATBUSH — British crooner Ed Sheeran performed a live concert at the Kings Theatre in Flatbush on Monday night, featuring songs from an upcoming album. Before the show, Sheeran took to the streets to interact with fans, surprising a subway performer singing one of his songs in the Church St. subway station and breaking into a duet, before offering the singer tickets to the concert.

Sheeran later held an afterparty at Court Street sports bar O’Keefe’s — not a usual celebrity hotspot — after the VIP show, reports Page Six, reportedly quaffing Guinnesses with fans until midnight.

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VINCENT’S U.N. AMBASSADOR, FORMER BK CB MEMBER PASSES, AGE 67

QUEENS — Former Permanent Representative of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the UN and onetime Brooklyn Community Board 17 member Dennie Wilson passed away at age 67 on Friday from cardiac arrest, reports Caribbean Life, after a long career spent in political service in both St. Vincent and in the United States. Wilson was born on Union Island and served as both the Speaker of the House and as a U.N. Representative for his country, as well as in the U.S., a member of Community Board 17 from 1990 to 1994, before joining the NYC Department of Education as an administrator.

Wilson was also an active member of the Anglican church and is survived by his wife, Idica, and two daughters, Denica and Tedra.

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PUBLIC HOSPITALS TO OFFER DENTAL CARE TO KIDS

CITYWIDE — NYC Health + Hospitals on Tuesday announced that it now offers preventive dental hygiene services at its pediatric practices within the 11 public hospitals, in addition to two neighborhood clinics, as children who begin seeing a dental provider at an early age are less likely to develop tooth problems that may lead to more serious health issues later in life. Dental hygienists will perform assessments, provide oral hygiene education, apply a treatment called fluoride varnish that helps fight tooth decay and assist parents in obtaining pediatric dental referrals so children can get comprehensive dental exams and treatments.

Brooklyn locations are Woodhull Hospital, Kings County Hospital and Coney Island Hospital; parents can call 1-844-NYC-4NYC to make appointments and get more information.

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CITY’S NEW RAT CZAR WILL FOCUS EXCLUSIVELY ON ELIMINATING THESE RODENTS

CITYWIDE — New York City has a new rat czar, now that Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday, April 12 appointed the first dedicated staffer to work solely on rodent reduction — Kathleen Corradi, who brings to the newly-created job a background in education and community engagement. As the citywide director of rodent mitigation, Corradi will lead and implement a unified strategy with other city agencies and the private sector to reduce rats in neighborhoods across the city, find new ways to cut off rats’ food sources, and test and deploy new technologies to detect and exterminate rat populations.

Corradi began her career as an elementary teacher in Central Brooklyn and program lead at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. At the DOE’s Office of Sustainability, Corradi developed New York City’s Zero Waste Schools program.

New York Mayor Eric Adams, left, introduces Kathleen Corradi, center, as the city’s first-ever citywide director of rodent mitigation, also known as the “rat czar,” in New York, Wednesday, April 12, 2023. Photo: AP/Bobby Caina Calvan.

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TOMCAT DONATES RODENT CONTROL PRODUCTS TO MAYOR’S RAT REDUCTION PLAN

CITYWIDE — The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City has also recently received a generous donation of more than 1,000 rodent control products, including 100 bait stations, 1,000 rat snap traps, and refillable bait, from Tomcat (owned by Scotts Miracle-Gro Company) for use in NYCHA, NYC Parks, and Department of Education gardens. Wednesday’s announcement of Corradi’s new role builds on historic investments in rat mitigation and cleanliness that the Adams administration has made, including the launch of ‘Get Stuff Clean’ which invested $14.5 million to clean neglected spaces, drastically reducing the hours that black trash bags sit on the curb, and implementing the nation’s largest curbside composting program citywide.

Meanwhile, since the start of this month through the last collected data on April 11, 925 inspections (including initial, bait and compliance) were made in Brooklyn, according to a filtered spreadsheet in Open Data New York, of which 363 were initial inspections.

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DINAPOLI: RATE OF UNEMPLOYED PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IS HIGHER IN NEW YORK THAN REST OF NATION

STATEWIDE — After a nationwide spike in unemployment, New Yorkers with disabilities continue to face a higher unemployment rate than their counterparts nationally, according to a new report that State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released on Wednesday, April 12. During 2020, unemployment rates for working-aged people with a disability soared in both New York and the nation, reaching 13.9% and 13.4%, respectively. However, while the national rate dropped last year to 8.2%, in New York the decrease was minimal — by less than 2% — 11.9%.

New York has recently taken new steps to increase opportunities for people with disabilities, including expansion of the state’s preferred source contracting program and creation of the Office of the Chief Disability Officer. The employment data outlined in Comptroller DiNapoli’s report highlights the ongoing need for solutions to help New Yorkers with disabilities find and maintain stable employment.

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HISTORIC SETTLEMENT MADE WITH JUUL REGARDING YOUTH VAPING EPIDEMIC

STATEWIDE — The American electronic cigarette maker, JUUL Labs, must pay $462 million to six states and the District of Columbia for its alleged role in sparking the youth vaping epidemic, thanks to a major agreement that New York Attorney General Letitia James secured on Wednesday, April 12. According to the agreement with JUUL Labs that holds its former directors and executives accountable for the national rise in underage e-cigarette vaping, New York will receive $112.7 million, which will support underage vaping abatement programs across the state. The agreement is the largest multistate settlement with JUUL, and places the most stringent restrictions on JUUL’s marketing, sales, and distribution practices in order to protect and prevent minors from underage vaping.

In one case, JUUL had engaged in direct outreach to high school students, including in at least one New York City school, where a JUUL representative falsely told high school freshmen that its products were safer than cigarettes.


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