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What’s News, Breaking: Friday, April 28, 2023

April 28, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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WILLIAMSBURG’S PIE CONTEST CELEBRATES DERBY DAY

WILLIAMSBURG — The Kentucky Derby, taking place on Saturday, May 6, may be the second most-famous tradition for pie-making (after Pi Day, 3/14)  and Brooklyn is doing a contest. Pete’s Candy Store, a Williamsburg fixture since 1999, has launched a competition “where bakers of promise compete for honor, prestige, and cash prizes all via the simple mechanism of a humble Pie. Bakers’ rules: $10 entry fee per pie, must be presented in a 9” pie pan, with a 4 x 6 handwritten index card identifying and describing the pie; pies become the property of Pete’s Candy Store (deadline: 5 p.m. on May 6; contest registration).

The descriptions, with identifying information redacted, will be read aloud for the judges: Paige Lipari is the owner and principal baker at Greenpoint’s Archestratus bookstore and foodie outlet; Asa Canty, indiscriminate pie lover and lead singer for the band Young June and Emilie Baltz, food experience designer and founder of the first Food Design Studio at Pratt Institute.

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POLICE IDENTIFY VICTIMS IN EARLY-MORNING APARTMENT FIRE

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Police have released the names and amended the previously-announced ages of the three victims of a residential house fire that broke out in Bedford-Stuyvesant early Friday morning, April 28. The deceased persons, all of 587 Gates Avenue, Apt. 3A, were: Danielle Havens, age 48; Journee Miles, age 11; and Keslee Miles, age 9.

The FDNY continues to investigate the cause of the All-Hands fire that broke out just after 5 a.m., with an initial report that the blaze originated in the kitchen.

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JUDGE RULES THAT TERMINATED HHC EMPLOYEES
OLDER THAN 40 CAN SUE CITY AS CLASS GROUP

CITYWIDE — In what could be a victory for labor across the city, public hospital employees aged 40 and older who were terminated by NYC Health and Hospitals as part of a cost-cutting initiative constitute a class and can continue their lawsuit for discriminatory termination, Manhattan Acting Supreme Court Justice Nicholas Moyne ruled on Friday, reports the New York Law Journal. Jeffrey Wallach, a former manager at Health & Hospitals Corp. who was terminated in June 2017 filed a lawsuit in 2018 based on New York City Human Rights Law, New York City Administrative Code § 8-101, alleging that a second round of layoffs under an HHC program known as Management Efficiency Improvements Initiatives disproportionately affected older employees.

The plaintiffs had previously moved for class certification but had the application denied. One of Wallach’s attorneys, Joseph Aron of Aron Law, sued twice under FOIL to obtain data proving that older managers were disparately impacted.

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NOTIFY NYC PROVIDES STEPS FOR SUBSCRIBERS
HAVING PROBLEMS WITH NEW PROGRAM UPDATES

CITYWIDE — The Notify NYC program is responding to feedback it received from subscribers about technical glitches in its new program updates launched on Wednesday, April 26. Many subscribers reported difficulty in registering for the new opt-in Police Advisory and Basement Alert notification types. Assist directions as follows: Go to NYC.gov/notifynyc; select Login in the top-right corner; enter login information or use one of the sign-in options (Gmail, LinkedIn, etc.); from the right-hand side menu, select “Notification Addresses” to see one’s currently enrolled addresses; select the pencil icon next to the address to which the notification should be added; at bottom of page, select the new notification types you would like to receive for that address; then press submit.

Customers who continue to experience technical problems editing their accounts may send an e-mail to [email protected], indicating the browser being used and a screenshot of where the error recurs.

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RESEARCH EXPO FEATURED INNOVATIONS, FROM URBAN MICROCLIMATE TO AI IN STANDUP COMEDY

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — NYU Tandon School of Engineering held its annual Research Expo featuring exhibits that illustrate the scope of engineering and the applied sciences — and their potential for improving the world. This year’s Exhibit showcased the academic contributions of the Tandon community and the ways in which they connect to Tandon’s seven areas of research excellence, including K-12 STEM education.

Among the exhibits were: Urban Microclimate: People, Space, Time; A smart wearable device for persons with blindness or low vision; VIP M Biodevices: 3D Printed Wheelchair Arm Mobility Device; AMIGO: Autonomous Machine In Galactic Operations – Tandon’s Homemade Lunar Excavation Rover; “Fish against the flow: how do fish know where current is coming from?”; and, Artificial Intelligence in Stand-up Comedy.

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MTA DROPS TWITTER AS VEHICLE FOR SERVICE INFO

CITYWIDE — In case anybody hasn’t yet noticed, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has dropped Twitter as a means of communicating transit disruptions and updates, the city agency reported late on Thursday. A notice on the transit authority’s Twitter Feed announced, “For the MTA, Twitter is no longer reliable for providing the consistent updates riders expect. So as of today, we’re saying goodbye to it for service alerts and information.

The MTA concludes the tweet by reassuring its ridership, “But we’re not saying goodbye to you, our customers. There are lots of ways to get real-time updates.” Among those are the website https://new.mta.info/, and the mobile app, MYmta.

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INTEL HONORS NYU PROFESSOR FOR WORK
ON ENSURING HARDWARE AND CHIP SECURITY

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The tech giant Intel has honored NYU Tandon School of Engineering Professor Ramesh Karri as one of its outstanding researchers of the year, for his contributions to the global hardware supply industry. Karri, an NYU Tandon Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and co-founder and co-chair of NYU’s Center for Cybersecurity, was recognized for his seminal work in ensuring that the global hardware supply chain is as secure as possible.

Intel cited a project in which Karri and his team focused on boosting system-on-a-chip survivability, as he points out that unlike software, where a patch can be readily applied, with hardware, “you must detect any vulnerability before the chip is actually fabricated.”

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NYU TANDON ENGINEERING PROFESSOR WARNS ADDED WEIGHT MAY HAVE CAUSED PARKING GARAGE COLLAPSE

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — NYU Tandon School of Engineering Assistant Professor Luis Ceferino was quoted extensively in a CBS News ongoing investigation into the causes of last week’s Lower Manhattan parking garage collapse that killed the on-site manager, caused injuries and damaged vehicles. Prof. Ceferino pointed out that the garage building, constructed almost a century ago in 1925, may have had “a different standard of construction, obviously. There could be deterioration there. Obviously, you could have cars now on different floors that could have added weight to the building that it wasn’t designed for.”

Paperwork was filed in 2010 to install 34 auto lifts, which are heavy equipment capable of holding a minimum of 7,000 lbs. that’s used to elevate cars. Ceferino told CBS News, “There needs to be some investigation to see actually what was the capacity of the building and whether it was exceeded because of the decision to add more weight.”

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NYU RESEARCHERS DEVELOP ELECTRICAL PILL
THAT REGULATES APPETITE

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A new electrical pill that an NYU Tandon School of Engineering professor and his team have developed can regulate appetite without the use of drugs or surgical procedures. Khalil Ramadi, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at NYU Tandon and the Director of the Laboratory for Advanced Neuroengineering and Translational Medicine at NYU Abu Dhabi (in the United Arab Emirates), fellow researchers at NYU’s U.A.E. location, and MIT have developed this pill, named FLASH, which delivers electrical impulses to the stomach lining once it’s swallowed, in a targeted stimulation that triggers the brain to modulate gut hormones related to hunger.

The journal Science Robotics has published the researchers’ study, which chronicled the results of trials with pigs, in which FLASH successfully affected the release of ghrelin — an appetite hormone. “This is a big step forward in how we approach these diseases,” Ramadi said.

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DINAPOLI: PAID FAMILY LEAVE HELPS WORKERS,
ESPECIALLY THOSE WITH MODEST INCOMES

STATEWIDE — New York State’s Paid Family Leave program is paying off in the number of workers who have been helped during challenging times, reports State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Payments under the PFL program rose steadily between 2018 and 2021 as the amount of allowable time off and weekly cash benefits increased, with almost eight million workers covered and $872 million paid on approximately 156,000 claims during 2021, the latest year for which PFL data is available from the state Department of Financial Services.

Employees Earning Under $40K had the largest number of claims, a fact that suggests paid family leave is a particularly important benefit to low-to-moderate-income employees.

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FIRE KILLS 3 IN BEDFORD-STUYVESANT APARTMENT

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Two children and their mother died in a fatal blaze in a Bedford-Stuyvesant fire just after 5 a.m. on Friday, April 28. Responding to the fire at 587 Gates Avenue, Apt. 3A (79th Precinct), FDNY personnel transported a 40-year-old woman and two girls, ages 10 and 8, to NYC Health & Hospitals/Woodhull, where each was pronounced deceased.

The NYPD has not released the victims’ identities. FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh confirmed in an on-scene press conference that the woman was the children’s mother and that the Fire Marshal is investigating the blaze, which is at this time believed to have started in the kitchen.

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BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK LAUNCHES WATERFRONT WORKOUTS

DUMBO — Brooklyn Bridge Park on Wednesday announced the launch of a summer workout series featuring free exercise classes set against the backdrop of the East River and the Manhattan skyline. Classes include yoga, Zumba, core training and bootcamp sessions; are open for all fitness and skill levels; and, are led by instructors from partners Abhaya Yoga, Chelsea Piers Fitness and the Dodge YMCA.

Signup is required to participate as space is limited — registration is now open for May, and future classes will open on a month-to-month basis; registration forms, schedules and more info can be found online on the BBP website.

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‘DENIM DAY’ RALLY AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE MARCHES OVER BK BRIDGE

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The Mayor’s Office and the Denim Day NYC Committee on Wednesday hosted a march over the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn Borough Hall to a rally in Manhattan’s Foley Square for this year’s Denim Day, on which people around the world wear denim to raise awareness of sexual violence. Deputy BP Kim Council opened the day with rousing remarks before the marchers headed over the bridge, where the Drumline from Brooklyn’s PROGRESS High School for Professional Careers chanted support on the way to Foley Square to share stories, calls to action and demands for change; baseball legend Joe Torre and Ali Torre spoke on their twenty-year journey of helping students heal from trauma with their anti-violence charity Safe at Home, Brooklyn’s Liberty Middle School Step Team wowed onlookers and Councilmember Farah Louis led cries of defiance.

Denim Day began in protest after a controversial Italian court judgment blamed a sexual assault victim for wearing tight jeans, and now takes place every year on the last Wednesday of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month; a coalition of survivors, advocates, service providers, city council members and city agencies have partnered to plan educational and outreach events throughout the city every April since 2010.

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HANIF TO HOLD CARE WORKER APPRECIATION DAY

PARK SLOPE — City Councilmember Shahana Hanif, alongside Care Forward, a project of the Carroll Gardens Association that advocates for the rights of care workers, plans to hold a Care Worker Appreciation event at J.J. Byrne Park in Park Slope on Friday, in support of domestic home workers such as nannies, cleaners and aides. Organizers are offering refreshments and goody bags for workers, as well as resources and information for both workers and employers. 

The event will take place on Friday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.; more information about Care Forward and care workers’ rights can be found on the Carroll Gardens Association’s website.

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DUMBO BID ANNOUNCES SUMMER ARCHWAY MUSIC AND ART SERIES

DUMBO — The DUMBO Improvement District on Tuesday announced this summer’s lineup for Live at the Archway, an annual series of free concerts and interactive visual arts programming held beneath the Manhattan Bridge Archway that reflect the neighborhood’s diversity and commitment to creativity. Musical performers include Paul Beaubrun, Crys Matthews, trio Bandits on the Run, Bassel & The Supernaturals, Zabelê, Dayna Kurtz, and Lulada Club; Dumbo-based visual artists who will collaborate with visitors at the Art Wall include CAM, Eleanor Kupencow, Yen Ha, Samaya Glazier, Jack Florczyk, Chelsea Hrynick Browne, while a collaboration with Cuban Art Space/Center for Cuban Studies will wrap up the series.

The series will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays from June 14 to July 26th; local chefs and restaurants will also offer tasty bites and drinks.

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PARALEGAL CHARGED WITH USING LAW FIRM’S ESCROW FUNDS FOR PERSONAL EXPENSES

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A former Brooklyn paralegal has been charged with embezzling more than $400,000 from the law firm where he worked, and allegedly stealing from the firm’s Interest On Lawyer Account (IOLA) fund, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced on Wednesday, April 26. The IOLA fund contained settlement money belonging to firm clients which the paralegal used for paying personal expenses, including credit card bills.

The defendant, whom the DA identified as 48-year-old Steven Cher, a.k.a. Vladislav Cherednichenko, now residing in Texas, was arraigned on Wednesday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a multi-count indictment: second-degree grand larceny, second-degree money laundering, first-degree identity theft, and thirty-two counts of first-degree falsifying business records. Released on his own recognizance, the defendant must return to court on May 1.

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COMMUNITY BOARD 9 INCREASES JEWISH REPRESENTATION

CROWN HEIGHTS — Brooklyn’s Community Board 9, which covers Crown Heights, on Tuesday announced that it had updated its composition to include more representatives from the growing Hasidic community in the neighborhood, with seven new members of the Lubavitch sect joining the two already serving on the board, reports COL Live, while three new Jewish members joined neighboring Flatbush’s Community Board 17. The change comes after Lubavitch leaders in March met with Brooklyn BP Antonio Reynoso and petitioned him to bring CB 9’s community makeup more in line with that of the area — Crown Heights is 18% Jewish. 

In addition to appointing the new representatives, COL Live reports Reynoso also expressed a commitment to working with the Lubavitch community to navigate street closures, landmarking and zoning rules, as well as increasing mental health resources for Hebrew speakers; the BP was then invited to participate in a Friendship Circle bike ride with area locals.

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FEDERAL AGENTS RAID NYCHA BUILDING IN SEARCH OF DRUGS AND WEAPONS

RED HOOK — Heavily-armed NYPD officers and Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives raided a NYCHA public housing complex in Red Hook on Thursday, April 27, around 9 a.m., taking into custody four suspects in what police sources said was part of a gang takedown, reports the Daily News. The federal team, which overtook a building on Columbia St. near West 9th St., were searching for drugs and guns believed to be in one of the apartments, however they found only a .9 mm pistol and a .45-caliber handgun.

The takedown was the culmination of a year-long investigation into a local drug gang, police sources told the Daily News.

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CITY AGENCIES TO BREAK GROUND FOR HOUSING AT WOODHULL HOSPITAL CAMPUS

BROADWAY TRIANGLE — As part of the system’s Housing for Health initiative, NYC Health + Hospitals, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and Comunilife will break ground this week on the Comunilife Throop Residence. The complex is a new, $41.5 million 93-unit apartment building at 171 Throop Avenue near Broadway Triangle, on the campus of NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull. Patients of NYC Health + Hospitals who are experiencing homelessness will be selected for the building’s 56 units of supportive housing, and they will receive services from Comunilife and healthcare from Woodhull Hospital.

The remaining apartments comprise 21 affordable homes for extremely low-income seniors, 15 affordable homes for low-income New Yorkers, and one unit for the building super.

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POLICE SEEK MAN WHO SUCKERPUNCHED SENIOR

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Police are searching for a man who on the morning of Wednesday, April 26, approached a 67-year-old man on a Downtown Brooklyn street and, unprovoked, punched the victim in the face, causing him to strike his head on a parked car and the pavement, before fleeing eastbound on Willoughby Street. The suspect is described as a male with a dark complexion and a thin build, approximately 25 to 35 years old and 6’ tall; he was last seen wearing a black mask, black hooded sweatshirt, black sweatpants, white socks and black slippers.

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 tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

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ASSEMBLYMEMBER COLTON INTRODUCES BILL TO MAKE ASIAN LUNAR NEW YEAR A STATE HOLIDAY

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 47/SOUTHERN BROOKLYN — Assemblyman William Colton (D-47) on Tuesday, April 25, introduced Bill A01275 to declare Asian Lunar Year as a new public holiday in New York state, joining more than 50 of his State Assembly colleagues who co-sponsored the legislation. Colton, whose district in Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend and Dyker Heights has a significant Asian population, said, “Asian Americans have played a vital role in forming our nation while continuously facing discrimination and violence throughout U.S. History. Amid all the hate crimes Asians face, creating a public holiday such as Lunar New Year will promote and increase awareness of Asian history and tradition.”

“This holiday is one of the most important traditional holidays amongst the Asian community and is widely celebrated within the New York communities,” added Colton.

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UNREFRIGERATED READY-TO-EAT HALAL MEATS BEING RECALLED FOR ‘TEMPERATURE ABUSE’

BROOKLYN AND STATEWIDE — The USDA has announced that Alef Sausage Inc. is recalling approximately 61,574 pounds of ready-to-eat halal meat and poultry sausage products, after the NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets discovered products with misbranded labels in a Brooklyn store, according to an April 26 story published in the Hudson Valley Post. The labels on halal beef and sausage products with the brand name Sheikh failed to mention that the items required refrigeration.

The meats were recalled due to “temperature abuse,” resulting from the retailers not knowing that these packaged meats were perishable; but neither source named the Brooklyn store where the unrefrigerated meats were located.

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BROOKLYN CUNY GRAD WINS $90K FELLOWSHIP

QUEENS — CUNY announced on Wednesday that Jermaine Anthony Richards, a 2017 York College alumnus and current Ph.D. candidate at the University of Southern California, was selected for the $90,000 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, which is awarded to immigrants and children of immigrants. Richards, who began his academic success story at Brooklyn’s High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media, is the son of Jamaican immigrants and a third-generation CUNY alum, and credits his success to the support and encouragement of his mother and grandmother, as well as to the mentorship of his York College professors.

Richards in a press statement says he intends to go into academia and wants to “harness the power of technology to create innovative solutions addressing pressing global concerns.”

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COMPTROLLER LANDER CITES ALBANY’S UNCERTAINTY, ASYLEE COSTS IN CRITIQUE OF MAYOR’S NEW BUDGET

CITYWIDE — City Comptroller Brad Lander was quick to comment on the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget, released on Wednesday afternoon, and cited uncertainty from Albany as a variable that must be addressed, particularly for New York’s most vulnerable citizens. “Unfortunately, without an adopted State budget from Albany, the City is operating in the dark when it comes to the impacts of proposed assistance and potential cost shifts, and today’s Executive Budget reflects that uncertainty,” wrote Comptroller Lander. “Jobs have nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels and tax revenues have come in above projections, but the economic success we are seeing now remains uncertain and inequitable. With half of New Yorkers struggling with cost of living, addressing affordability must be a top priority.”

Lander added some criticism on what he called “shortsighted” prioritizing of emergency shelter for asylee arrivals rather than helping them assimilate and work legally in the U.S.

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STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL ISSUES WARNING ON TIKTOK THEFT CHALLENGE AFFECTING KIA AND HYUNDAI VEHICLES

STATEWIDE — New York Attorney General Letitia James and the NYPD each issued a consumer alert on Thursday, April 27, warning New Yorkers about recent thefts targeting Hyundai and Kia vehicles and providing critical tips to protect consumers. The warnings follow previous alerts by advocacy groups about a Tiktok challenge — that began going viral in February — to steal vehicles lacking engine immobilizers. Attorney General James also urged Hyundai and Kia to immediately fix safety flaws in faulty ignition switches and a lack of engine immobilizers in vehicles manufactured between 2011 and 2022, making them vulnerable to thefts; moreover, she urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall these unsafe vehicles.

While the Office of the Attorney General acknowledged the Brooklyn Eagle’s request for clarification on whether Kia and Hyundai vehicles with keyless push-button ignitions are also affected, or only ones requiring a key, no further information was available as of press time.

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BILL WOULD MANDATE HOMELAND SECURITY DEPT. TO ‘CONFRONT AND MITIGATE’ CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT

FLATBUSH AND WASHINGTON, DC — A bill that U.S. Rep Yvette Clarke (D-09) has introduced will ensure that the Department of Homeland Security is prepared to confront and mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis. Rep. Clarke introduced the Department of Homeland Security Climate Change Research Act (indexed as H.R. 2924), which “recognizes the importance of mitigating climate change challenges by requiring DHS to assess the current Federal research regarding any potential or identified effects of climate change on homeland security and authorizing the Science and Technology Directorate to research and develop approaches such effects have on homeland security,” said Rep. Clarke.

Although Clarke had offered the bill as an amendment during the House Committee on Homeland Security, markup of H.R. 2794 was not adopted at the time. Last Congress, the House Committee on Homeland Security marked up and passed the bill by a vote of 19-14.

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GILLIBRAND PUSHES DRUG FAST-TRACK FOR ALS, ALZHEIMER’S, OTHERS

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday announced the Promising Pathway Act, bipartisan legislation that would expedite provisional approval of drugs intended to treat ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other life-threatening diseases. The standard FDA drug approval process involves expensive and time-consuming testing phases, meaning that many patients die before new treatments make it to market; the act would let pharmaceutical companies seek provisional approval of drugs that clear early-stage clinical trials and show significant evidence of effectiveness, making these medications available to those whose lives depend on them while the full trial and approval process continues.

Senator Gillibrand leads the Promising Pathway Act in the Senate with Senator Mike Braun (R-IN); U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Mike Quigley (D-IL) are introducing companion legislation in the House.

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REP. GOLDMAN INTRODUCES AMENDMENTS TO REFORM GOP’s BORDER BILL

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Dan Goldman (D-10), whose district encompasses two icons of U.S. history and immigration — the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island — and an ethnically-diverse Brooklyn, on Thursday, April 27, introduced seven amendments to reform what he calls the “extreme MAGA Republicans’ xenophobic and inhumane border bill.” Goldman, who sits on the House Committee on Homeland Security, introduced amendments that would, among several points, protect funding for an independent oversight office that investigates conditions at detention facilities and instances of abuse and misconduct targeting migrants; direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to disrupt the trafficking of U.S.-made firearms into Mexico; require a report from DHS on the reunification status of migrant children who were forcibly separated from their families by the Trump administration; prevent the gutting of the Shelter and Services Program and the return of family detention policies.

The amendments would also block Republicans from stripping funding from nongovernmental organizations that work to assist migrants.

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BROOKLYN’S REP. GOLDMAN FIGHTS TO PROTECT MEDICAID RECIPIENTS

NATIONWIDE — Congressman Dan Goldman (D-10/western Brooklyn) on Thursday joined the advocacy group Protect Our Care New York for a virtual conference to discuss House Republicans’ recently passed “Default on America Act.” Goldman warns that the legislation “rips away health care from as many as 21 million people who count on it by imposing burdensome paperwork requirements,” in particular persons who can’t work, including those with disabilities, senior citizens in nursing homes, and people of color and those who have been unable to find jobs.

Goldman points out that while Medicaid has strengthened local economies, provided New Yorkers with access to quality, affordable health care, and improved health outcomes across the state, more than 2.3 million New Yorkers — over 11% of the state’s population — would be at risk of losing access to Medicaid if the Republicans’ draconic work requirement policy were to become law.


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