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What’s News, Breaking: Tuesday, May 2, 2023

May 2, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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ICONIC KELLOGG’S DINER PLACED ON THE MARKET

WILLIAMSBURG — The iconic Kellogg’s Diner in Williamsburg, established in 1928, is up for sale, following a bankruptcy filing, reports EATER NEW YORK. The neon-signed restaurant, which became known for its late-night crowds and appearance in an episode of HBO’s Girls, became a pillar for nocturnal dining, with its busiest time frequently being after 4 a.m.

Kellogg’s Diner, which according to a commercial real estate listing has an asking price of $2.5 million, has remained open during the sale, EATER New York reports.

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HISTORIC HOUSES OF WORSHIP WILL PARTICIPATE
IN SACRED SITES OPEN HOUSE WEEKEND

WESTERN BROOKLYN — The congregations that will participate in the May 20-21 Sacred Sites Open House are Beth Shalom v’Emeth Reform Temple, 83 Marlborough Road in Prospect Park South; the mosque at 106 Powers St. in Williamsburg; the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, 856 Pacific Street, and Congregation Kol Israel, 603 Saint John’s Place, both in Prospect Heights; Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, 85 South Oxford Street in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill; the Old First Reformed Church at 7th Ave. and Carroll St. in Park Slope; St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, 433 Sackett St. in Carroll Gardens; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at Clinton and Carroll streets in Carroll Gardens; and in Brooklyn Heights, St. Charles Borromeo [Roman Catholic] Church on Sidney Place and Church of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity [Episcopal] at Clinton and Montague streets.

For details about the Sacred Sites schedules for the participating congregations, please visit www.nylandmarks.org.

The Old First Reformed Church was one of several Dutch Reform congregations to be founded during the mid-17th century in what later became Brooklyn. Photo: New York Landmarks Conservancy.

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CONGREGATIONS OPEN DOORS TO COMMUNITY
FOR LANDMARKS CONSERVANCY’S SACRED SITES WEEKEND

BOROUGHWIDE AND STATEWIDE — At least ten Brooklyn houses of worship are taking part in The New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Annual Sacred Sites Open House, “Congregations and Communities: 50 Years of Sacred Sites,” marking the golden anniversary of this event. Sacred Sites, taking place on Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21, allows visitors to explore the architecture, art and history of world-class houses of worship, as participating congregations showcase their buildings, histories, and cultural and community programs through lectures, musical performances, and special guided tours. 

Sacred Sites Open House is a free, state-wide event which, this year, commemorates the Conservancy’s 50th Anniversary year-long celebration.

The Cloud of Witnesses Mural, as viewed from the balcony at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. Photo: New York Landmarks Conservancy.

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REP. GOLDMAN REQUESTS $250K FROM CONGRESS
TO UNDERWRITE MOBILE FOOD PANTRY FOR CHiPS

BOROUGHWIDE — The borough’s growing dependence on the meal ministry Community Help in Park Slope (CHiPS) has prompted Rep. Dan Goldman (D-10) who represents much of western Brooklyn to request $250,000 in Congressional funding for the organization to establish a mobile food pantry. Noting that demand for CHiPS food pantry distribution has risen rapidly, Rep. Goldman pointed out that a mobile unit will allow CHiPS to further travel into neighborhoods that lack access to quality, affordable produce and to serve NYCHA residents throughout Brooklyn, including Gowanus Houses, Wyckoff Houses and a local YWCA. In addition to the shelf-stable foods, CHiPS receives fresh and often organic produce from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and the Park Slope Food Co-Op. 

The number of meals that CHiPS has served has increased by more than 100%, the highest in its 150-year history.

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‘GODFATHER OF AI’ HINTON QUITS GOOGLE JOB
TO WARN OF DANGERS IN TECHNOLOGY HE CO-BUILT

NATIONWIDE — Geoffrey Hinton, dubbed as the Godfather of AI,” has quit his job at Google in order to speak more candidly about the dangers of the artificial intelligence technology he had a role in creating, reported U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday, May 2. Hinton warns that “bad actors” could co-opt AI to manipulate elections and deceive the public. US News & World Report points out that, “At the heart of the debate on the state of AI is whether the primary dangers are in the future or present.”

A 2019 winner of the technology field’s Turing Award, Hinton resigned from his Google position because “I want to talk about AI safety issues without having to worry about how it interacts with Google’s business,” he told MIT Technology Review. He is scheduled to speak at a conference on this issue Wednesday, May 3.

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PHARMACY OWNERS CHARGED
IN MEDICAID/MEDICARE FRAUD SCHEME

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Two Brooklyn pharmacy owners have been charged in federal court here with perpetrating a health care fraud scheme to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary prescriptions and over-the-counter products that were not actually dispensed, to pay illegal kickbacks and bribes, and to launder the proceeds of their scheme. The defendants, identified as Taesung “Terry” Kim and Dacheng “Bruce” Lu, who owned and operated four pharmacies including two in Brooklyn: 888 Pharmacy Inc. and Huikang Pharmacy Inc. Lu allegedly conspired with others to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid for the dispensing of pharmaceutical products that were medically unnecessary, procured by the payment of kickbacks and bribes, or that were not provided.

Arrested on Tuesday morning, May 2, Kim and Lu were scheduled for arraignment in Brooklyn federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak.

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NY GOVERNOR SIGNS NEW LAWS EXPANDING ACCESS
TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE

STATEWIDE — Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday, May 2, signed legislation to expand access to reproductive health care across the state and solidify New York’s historic standing as the nation’s first Safe Harbor State. The bill, indexed as A1060-A/S1043-A, passed both the state Senate and Assembly, expanding access to hormonal contraception by making it available over the counter and helping marginalized populations with pharmacies but no primary care provider. The second bill, indexed as A1395-C/S1213-B, ensures that every student enrolled in a SUNY or CUNY college has access to medication abortion on campus.

“Abortion was legal in New York three years before the rest of the nation, before Roe v. Wade was decided,” Gov. Hochul declared.

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NEW BILL WOULD REQUIRE TRANSPARENCY
IN AI-GENERATED POLITICAL ADS

CENTRAL BROOKLYN AND NATIONWIDE — A new bill that Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-9) has introduced in Congress would expand current disclosure requirements for campaign ads to include if generative Artificial Intelligence was used to generate any videos or images in the ad. The bill, titled formally in Section I as ‘‘Require the Exposure of AI–Led Political Advertisements Act’’ or the ‘‘REAL Political Advertisements Act,” addresses Congressional concerns that AI could cause the proliferation of disinformation. The bill mandates that both Congress and the Federal Election Commission act to “protect against the use of generative AI that harms our democracy; and free and fair elections require transparency and accountability, which allow the public to make informed decisions and hold public officials accountable.”

The bill provides exemptions for news agencies that are independent of a political candidate, party or committee.

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NEW YORKERS URGED TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AND PETS
AGAINST TICK-BORNE DISEASES

CITYWIDE — The NYC Health Department urges New Yorkers to protect themselves and their families from tick-borne diseases as summer approaches and people begin to travel and engage in more outdoor activities. The most common tick-borne diseases diagnosed among New Yorkers is Lyme disease, followed by anaplasmosis and babesiosis; particularly those who are residents of Brooklyn and Manhattan, who become infected while traveling to surrounding areas where the black-legged (deer) and lone star ticks are well established, particularly on Staten Island and in northern parts of the Bronx. Pets can also carry ticks.

Non-vegetarians should note that lone star ticks can spread ehrlichiosis and have also been associated with the emergence of a food allergy to red meat known as alpha-gal syndrome. Learn more about ticks in New York City and the diseases they spread online.

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PEOPLE’S BALL AT BK LIBRARY CELEBRATES FASHION FOR ALL

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Hundreds of New Yorkers gathered at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library on Sunday night to flaunt their unique styles at the People’s Ball, an annual party hosted on the eve of the Met Gala that celebrates individual expression and creative freedom. The festivities, which featured a public catwalk and live DJs and performances, were hosted by actress Delissa Reynolds and cultural advocate Rob Fields and honored special guests including famed Harlem couturier Dapper Dan and first hip-hop promoter Cindy Campbell, among others, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.

“We are thrilled to once again welcome people from all walks of life to the iconic Central Library to celebrate creative freedom and provide every New Yorker with the opportunity to have the gala experience. Each year, The People’s Ball is a reminder that BPL is much more than just books — it’s a center for culture, ideas, exploration, individual expression and, most importantly, joy,” said László Jakab Orsós, Vice President of Arts and Culture at BPL.

Brooklyn’s fashion innovators stormed the catwalk on Sunday night at the People’s Ball. Photo: Gregg Richards.

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CITY TO HOLD RIBBON CUTTING AT NEW RUTH BADER GINSBURG HOSPITAL

BRIGHTON BEACH — City officials on Tuesday were set to join ​Clara Spera, granddaughter of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital at Coney Island Hospital, the first new public hospital in NYC since 1982. Funded by $923 million from FEMA after taking severe damage from Superstorm Sandy, the new 11-story hospital building was built to survive hurricanes and extreme weather events, featuring a storm-resilient design, a flood-proof ER, private patient rooms and modern equipment; its lobby features a 7 foot tall bronze statue of Brooklyn native Bader Ginsburg, who died in 2020, that will welcome staff, patients and visitors.

The event was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 2, in the new hospital’s lobby, with tours being conducted shortly after noon.

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COMMUNITY LEADERS RALLY OVER LEAD PAINT CHIPS ON EL IN NORTH BK

BUSHWICK — City officials, led by Councilmember Sandy Nurse, were set to join local business owners, community members, and union painters on Tuesday morning at a press conference to demand that the MTA implement urgent fixes, following an announcement that lab testing found dangerous levels of lead in paint chips falling from overhead train trestles along a 2.5-mile stretch of the J, M, and Z lines in Bushwick and Williamsburg. Lead contamination is a persistent concern for the area, which features many older buildings where young children live, as well as busy streets where cars pulverize the paint chips into toxic breathable dust.

The rally was set for Tuesday, May 2 at 10 a.m. at the Myrtle Avenue–Broadway Station; District Council 9, a chapter of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, wrote in a press statement that it has union members ready to provide expert abatement and painting on the elevated lines.

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FIRM FINALIZES $3B JAIL CONTRACT

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Construction firm Tutor Perini on Monday announced that it has secured a contract worth nearly $3 billion to rebuild the Atlantic Avenue House of Detention, reports BusinessWire. The company’s proposal had been selected in March for preliminary approval, at which time the city estimated that the project would take six years to complete, finishing in 2029 – two years after the deadline to close Rikers Island, causing concern among advocates who note that the city has not provided an updated timeline following construction delays at other facilities.

Marketwatch reports that the company’s stock price jumped 11% following the news of the contract’s finalization.

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WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCES END TO COVID VACCINE REQUIREMENTS

WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday announced that COVID-19 vaccine requirements for federal workers and international air travelers will expire after May 11 alongside with the end of the public health emergency period, with rollbacks coming soon for educators and healthcare facilities. The administration in a press release said that the restrictions were no longer necessary, as most Americans have received vaccines and the worst of the pandemic is past, citing statistics showing that since January of 2021, U.S. coronavirus deaths have dropped by 95%, while hospitalizations have dropped by 91%.

“Our COVID-19 vaccine requirements bolstered vaccination across the nation, and our broader vaccination campaign has saved millions of lives…While vaccination remains one of the most important tools in advancing the health and safety of employees and promoting the efficiency of workplaces, we are now in a different phase of our response when these measures are no longer necessary,” the White House stated.

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BK MUSEUM EXHIBIT ON FASHION’S MUGLER TO CLOSE THIS WEEK

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — The Brooklyn Museum’s exhibit “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime,” a traveling retrospective of the work of legendary fashion designer Thierry Mugler in the 70s through the 90s, will close on May 7, offering viewers one last rare chance to view nearly 130 archival outfits, as well as immersive installations, concept art and a gallery devoted to fragrances. The museum describes Mugler as a visionary who left his mark on the fashion world in numerous ways: the creation of the ‘70s “glamazon” evolved-flower-power style concept; the pioneering usage of bold silhouettes, avant-garde fabrication techniques and materials such as glass, Plexiglas, PVC, faux fur, vinyl, latex and chrome; and setting the trend of presenting his work at theatrical and grandiose fashion shows.

The exhibit is the creation of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with Maison Mugler; tickets and more information can be found on the Brooklyn Museum’s website.

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POLICE SEARCH FOR MISSING SHEEPSHEAD BAY TEEN

SHEEPSHEAD BAY — Police are asking the public to help find missing teen Ricky Murrell, 14, last seen on the afternoon of Friday, April 28 leaving his residence at the Nostrand NYCHA Development. Ricky is described as Black, approximately 5’9″ with a thin build, brown eyes and black hair; and was last seen wearing a yellow hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, white and purple Air Jordan 5 sneakers and a brown backpack.

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 by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Have you seen this boy? All tips given to police are strictly confidential.

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COUNCIL ANNOUNCES BUDGET HEARINGS SCHEDULE

CIVIC CENTER — The New York City Council on Monday announced that it will hold its Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget hearings from May 8 to May 24, where the Finance Committee will join other council committees to review the mayor’s proposed financial blueprint, analyze agency budgets and receive testimony from agency leaders. The final day of the hearings, May 24, will be reserved starting at 10 a.m. for members of the public to offer comments; New Yorkers can register to testify online on the Council’s website, while a full schedule of hearings and livestream information can be found on the website as well.

The mayor’s budget plan has generated significant controversy over its many cuts, prominently among them drastic slashes to the library and educational systems; Adams has argued that the cuts are necessary to cope with decreased tax revenues due to the pandemic as well as spiking expenses related to housing asylum-seekers.

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COMPETITIVE GRANT FUNDING AVAILABLE
FOR URBAN AND COMMUNITY FORESTING PROJECTS

STATEWIDE — As part of Governor Kathy Hochul’s Arbor Day celebration, in New York traditionally marked on the last Friday of April, she announced that $3 million in new competitive grant funding is now available for municipalities, Indian Nations, and not-for-profit organizations for urban and community forestry projects. Eligible Urban and Community Forest grant applicants are communities with populations greater than 65,000 and may apply for up to $100,000 to fund tree inventory, community forest management planning, tree planting, or tree maintenance projects, with a June 21 deadline. Applicants can visit the Grants Gateway site and search for “tree.”

A free web-based information session about this grant will be held on Thursday, May 4, at 10 a.m.

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‘TALK WITH ERIC’ BUILDS ON PREVIOUS SERIES WITH MAYOR

Building on a set of what he considered eight successful community conversations on public safety last year, Mayor Eric Adams will launch a second Town Hall series later this month. Titled ‘Talk with Eric,” this series of at least nine town halls will be neighborhood specific and allow New Yorkers to engage with members of the Adams administration on a wide variety of issues.

Mayor Adams’ series of eight “Community Conversations on Public Safety” last year were hosted in each patrol borough — including Brooklyn South and Brooklyn North, with a total of more than 70 administration officials, including the mayor, engaging with about 2,000 members of the public.

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MAYOR, DEP EXTEND POPULAR AND LUCRATIVE
WATER BILL AMNESTY PROGRAM

CITYWIDE — Mayor Eric Adams has extended a popular and successful water bill debt forgiveness program that still brought the city more than $80 million in revenue. Adams and Chief Climate Officer and New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala will extend the water bill amnesty program, announced in January, for an additional month — through May 31. The limited-time program — initially scheduled to last just 90 days — has already brought in more than $80 million from delinquent accounts and has helped New York customers clear their debts, saving them $12 million in interest so far.

Nearly 200,000 NYC customers are estimated to have late water bills; approximately 86,000 — more than 40% — participated in the amnesty program, with low-income homeowners saving $4.2 million in credits.


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