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What’s News, Breaking: Wednesday, May 10, 2023

May 10, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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AFFORDABLE UNITS NOW AVAILABLE IN NEW DEAN ST. DEVELOPMENT

DEAN STREET — Designed by Handel Architects, 595 Dean Street launched leasing last month for new market-rate rentals, and has begun taking applications for some 240 affordable units in the same building. The building is part of a master plan to bring 3,200 apartments, including 1,374 affordable homes as part of the opening of the Barclays Center development begun in 2012.

Two model units were designed by the celebrated Brownstone Boys, who are known for the effective blending of modern and historic elements in living spaces. For fuller explanation and details, read more here.

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MAN WANTED IN TWO PUBLIC LEWDNESS INCIDENTS ON SUBWAY

Anyone with information about either of these incidents or who spot the individual in question are urged to contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). Photo: NYPD/CrimeStoppers.

CROWN HEIGHTS AND PROSPECT-LEFFERTS GARDENS — The NYPD is seeking a man for multiple incidents of public lewdness committed on the IRT in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and Crown Heights. Earlier this week, on Monday, May 8 at 12:08 p.m., an unidentified male aboard a southbound #2 train approaching Sterling St. was observed pulling down his pants and performing a lewd act in public view, before the victim at whom this was directed fled the train car. While investigating this incident, NYPD detectives ascertained that the same man was wanted in connection with a lewdness incident that happened aboard a southbound #2 train, on Friday, April 28 — also at 12:08 p.m.

No injuries were reported in either incident.

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ROBOT WILL SERVE YOUR COFFEE AT NEW BOTBAR CAFÉ

GREENPOINT — A bot barista may soon be serving your morning mocha if your route takes you along Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint. BotBar Coffee, opening at 666 Manhattan Avenue, will be capable of making up to 50 beverages per hour and waving at customers, according to EATER NY. Robotic wait staff have become a growing trend among restaurateurs, particularly as a solution to hiring shortages and employee retention.

However, labor advocates charge that the robots are replacing minimum-wage workers who still have to pay their bills; and, there’s the question about whether they are equipped to accept cash payments in a city that prohibits cashless businesses.

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BAM’S GALA CELEBRATES THREE WHO HELPED BUILT ARTS CENTER’S MISSION

BAM HISTORIC DISTRICT —Three arts pioneers in their respective fields will be feted Wednesday night, May 10, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)’s annual Spring Gala: Musician David Byrne, Filmmaker Spike Lee, and BAM Board of Trustee Claire Wood are longtime advocates for the arts who have proven themselves integral to BAM’s mission. The Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar co-produced gala, taking place at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, will feature a special performance from Grammy award-winning artist St. Vincent.

BAM, situated at the nexus of three downtown Brooklyn neighborhoods, has for more than 150 years been a performing arts venue offering world-renowned programming in theater, dance, music, opera and film, showcasing the work of emerging artists and innovative modern masters.

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SANTOS DEFIANTLY REFUSES TO DROP RE-ELECTION BID
FOLLOWING ARRAIGNMENT ON FRAUD CHARGES

CENTRAL ISLIP — Rep. George Santos, now a defendant in a 13-count fraud indictment, has not only pleaded “not guilty,” but has also refused to drop his re-election bid. Santos, a first-term Republican whose district encompasses much of Nassau County and part of Queens, was arraigned Wednesday and released on $500,000 bond, after which he called the prosecution’s case against him a “witch hunt,” according to the Associated Press.

If convicted, Santos faces 20 years imprisonment, during which time he can run for public office but can’t vote for himself. According to an amended New York law, only felons not currently serving time are eligible to register for voting.

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REP. SANTOS PLEADS ‘NOT GUILTY TO FRAUD CHARGES;
RELEASED ON $500K BOND

U.S. DISTRICT COURTHOUSE/CENTRAL ISLIP — “Not guilty” is the plea that Rep. George Santos (R-NY/3) has entered in Central Islip federal court, on Wednesday afternoon, May 10, to a 13-count indictment of fraud, money-laundering and illicit collection of unemployment benefits, among other charges. A spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) told the Brooklyn Eagle in an email statement on Wednesday that Santos has been released on a $500,000 bond, and his next court appearance is scheduled for June 30 before U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert, a Brooklyn native who currently hears cases in Central Islip federal court.

Rep. Santos was arrested earlier on Wednesday, amid calls for him to resign from his Congressional seat.

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DEADLY EAST NEW YORK FIRE TRACED TO ACCELERANT
BEING USED TO MAKE VAPE DISPENSERS

EAST NEW YORK — The early morning fire in East New York that killed two family members and critically injured three of the children on Tuesday, May 9, is now believed to have been inadvertently ignited by a man making vape dispensers to sell, the NYPD has told the Daily News. NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said on Wednesday that the blaze was a “terrible accident,” although the investigation continues after an accelerant was found on the scene, leading law enforcement to rule the fire initially as arson. Law enforcement later learned that the husband and father, 37-year-old Mufeed Al Haddad, was assembling homemade vape dispensers to sell; he escaped with only burns and a first-floor family evacuated safely.

The Al Haddad family, whom neighbors and witnesses said had immigrated here from Yemen, ran a corner store and are well-liked, the Daily News reported.

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK: THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS
RANKS LOWEST FOR INFLATION SURGE

CITYWIDE New York City ranks among those with the smallest rise in inflation, coming in at #23, according to the latest report from the personal finance website WalletHub. Titled “Cities Where Inflation is Rising the Most,” the report tracks where inflation poses the biggest problem; to determine this, WalletHub compared 23 major Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) across two key metrics involving the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation. The Consumer Price Index for the latest month for which data is available was compared to the CPI for two months prior and one year prior to show how inflation has changed in the short and long term.

Both the lists for highest and lowest inflation increases spanned the continental US and included Honolulu, Hawaii, which ranked 19th. Two Florida cities — Miami and Tampa (#1 and 4, respectively) — were among those with high inflation upticks.

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REP. SANTOS ARRESTED, FACES ARRAIGNMENT IN
CENTRAL ISLIP FEDERAL COURT

SUFFOLK COUNTY — Freshman Congressman George Santos allegedly embezzled contributions from supporters, fraudulently obtained unemployment benefits, and lied in disclosures to the House of Representatives, according to a 13-count indictment that was unsealed Wednesday morning, May 10, in the United States District Court for Eastern District New York in Central Islip. The document, which a federal grand jury returned under seal on Tuesday as news broke of the charges, names “George Anthony Devolder Santos, better known as ‘George Santos,’ a United States Congressman representing the Third District of New York, with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.”

Santos is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Anne Y. Shields, courtroom 840 at 1:30 p.m., at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, which is within the Eastern District of New York, as are Brooklyn and Queens. Judge Shields has experience as a public defender in Brooklyn.

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GOLDMAN RELEASES STATEMENT ON SANTOS CHARGES

WASHINGTON — Congressman Dan Goldman late on Tuesday issued a statement regarding the news that controversial Rep. George Santos had been criminally charged by the U.S. Department of Justice, commenting that the charges appeared related to an ethics complaint submitted by Goldman previously. “As a former prosecutor, there were glaring red lights in Santos’s campaign disclosures, and I applaud the DOJ for working diligently to investigate them. Now that Santos has been indicted, it is incumbent on Speaker Kevin McCarthy to eliminate the stain of Santos on this hallowed institution by removing him from Congress immediately. We cannot wait any longer,” wrote Goldman, who has been strident in his criticism of the Long Island Republican, who was revealed to have lied extensively about his background, heritage and qualifications earlier this year.

Update: Santos on Wednesday morning surrendered himself to authorities in Islip; the charges were revealed to be “seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives,” as determined by a grand jury; further reporting to follow.

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COUNCIL’S VERNIKOV SUED OVER TWITTER BLOCK

BAY RIDGE — Councilmember Inna Vernikov on Monday was hit with a lawsuit by an irate constituent who was allegedly blocked by Vernikov on Twitter after the constituent sent harsh criticisms in the councilmember’s direction, reports the New York Daily News – a move that has previously landed former President Trump and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in hot water with the courts, which in both instances ruled that lawmakers who block violate the first amendment by restricting citizens from viewing government communications based on political positions. The constituent, Anzhela Pinkhasov, a self-described “vocal critic” of Vernikov, claims that as Vernikov’s Tweets “involve a public interest and matters of official capacity, such as public safety, public housing, sanitation, among other topics,” the councilmember is subject to the same restrictions as Trump and Ocasio-Cortez were determined to be.

The plaintiff in the successful suit against Ocasio-Cortez, to whom she was required to issue a formal apology, was former Brooklyn Rep. Dov Hikind – a prominent supporter of Vernikov. The Daily News reports that he did not respond to a request for comment on this matter.

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PARK LAUNCHES INTO SUMMER WITH KITE FEST

DUMBO — This Saturday is the one day of the year when Brooklyn Bridge Park’s ban on kite-flying is lifted — for the park Conservancy’s Kite Festival, a bring-your-own-kite celebration of cultural kite traditions featuring educational experiences, kite-building workshops and arts performances to kick off the summer season. Experiences on offer, aside from hundreds of colorful kites, include face-painting, stiltwalkers, inspecting kite-captured microbes in petri dishes, motorized propeller and robotics projects and more.

The festival will take place on Saturday, May 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m at Pier 5 (the one with the soccer fields) in Brooklyn Bridge Park; those who don’t have kites of their own can buy one on-site or make one there; more information can be found on the BBP Conservancy’s website.

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ARSON SUSPECTED IN FIRE THAT KILLED 2, LEFT 3 CHILDREN IN HOSPITAL

EAST NEW YORK — Police believe a deadly fire that broke out in the early hours of Tuesday morning at an East New York house may have been set intentionally with the help of a fire accelerant, reports CBS News, but have not yet been able to identify a motive or suspect. Two people, a 36-year-old woman and a 17-year-old girl, were killed by the fire, while three younger children ages 9 to 14 and an adult man were taken to the hospital with critical injuries; a firefighter also suffered minor injuries during the rescue effort, which was hindered by a parked car blocking a fire hydrant.

The tragedy has sent shockwaves through the local community: neighbors told CBS about hearing screams and seeing fire spread through the entire building, including its staircase and entryway; the family was well-known and loved in the area — one neighbor had to be held back by first responders from attempting to enter the building to help.

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BED-STUY RESTORATION TAPS NEW DIRECTOR TO HELM BILLIE

BED-STUY — The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation on Tuesday announced it has selected Shadawn Smith, a 20-year professional in governmental community and arts roles with a focus on uplifting the African diaspora, as its next Executive Vice President for Arts & Culture, overseeing all arts and cultural activities on Restoration’s campus; as well as as Executive Director of The Billie Holiday Theatre, helming the recent National Medal of Arts recipient as the theater celebrates its 50th anniversary. Smith will officially assume her new role on June 1 and kick off a listening tour to understand what the Central Brooklyn arts community would like to see in Restoration’s cultural programming, ahead of the release of Restoration’s cultural and headquarters upgrade plans.

Smith previously held senior roles at NYC & Company, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the City Council and the Department of City Planning; the corporation wrote in a press statement that Smith will play a crucial role in its plans to create a modern and comprehensive performance space for African American artists and audiences centered around the historic theater.

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POLICE SEEK SUBWAY SLASHER

NEW LOTS — Police are searching for an unknown man who on the afternoon of Saturday, May 6 approached a 34-year-old male victim on a 3 train at the Van Siclen Avenue station, engaged him in conversation and then slashed him multiple times about the hands, face, arm and head, causing heavy bleeding, before fleeing out of the train station. The sought individual is described as having a beard and glasses and was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, shorts and a purple baseball cap.

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.

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

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STATE SENATE PASSES LEGISLATION TO PROTECT
VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

STATEWIDE — A legislation package that the New York State Senate passed on Tuesday, May 9, would strengthen the rights of victims of domestic and sexual violence and strengthen protections for survivors. The legislation would require statewide housing authorities to give domestic violence survivors the same preference as other prioritized populations; allow prosecutors to access orders of protection issued in association with sealed prior domestic violence cases in the instance of re-offense; require extreme risk protection orders to be added to the statewide computerized registry of protection orders; and, expand eligibility for victims and survivors of crime to access victim compensation funds, among other provisions.

Several Brooklyn senators sponsored or supported the bills, including Julia Salazar (D/WF-18) in northern Brooklyn, Kevin Parker (D/WF-21) in central and Eastern Brooklyn, Zellnor Myrie (D-20) and Jessica Scarcella-Spanton (D-23/Coney Island peninsula), and Andrew Gounardes (D-26/western Brooklyn), who announced the bill’s passage.

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BOROUGH PRESIDENT CELEBRATES
BROOKLYN’S JEWISH HERITAGE

BOROUGH HALL — The Lag b’Omer festival might have concluded, but the celebration of Jewish heritage continues in Brooklyn this Thursday when Borough President Antonio Reynoso hosts an event at Borough Hall. The May 11 celebration, running from 6-8 p.m., will pay tribute to Brooklyn’s diverse Jewish-American heritage.

Attendees might also be interested in exploring the programs of the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative, which is currently holding an art contest for youths to chronicle Jewish life in the borough’s neighborhoods.

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SCHOOL UNVEILS PROPOSAL FOR CAMPUS AT FLOYD BENNETT

MARINE PARK — The Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School, which currently operates a middle school in Bed-Stuy, on Friday put forth its proposal to upgrade Floyd Bennett Field with a seven-acre high school campus and community center focused on green job training and climate justice, reports City Life Org, with support from Councilmembers Mercedes Narcisse, Farah Louis and Chi Ossé. The school’s design, for which it is currently raising funds, features outdoor pathways joining buildings and learning landscapes — alongside traditional school facilities, students would also have access to an urban farm, outdoor classrooms, a harvest and sensory garden, a greenhouse, a ropes course and more; course offerings developed in partnership with community groups could include marine biology, sustainable agriculture, solar energy, hydroponics and aquaponics, and African dance.

The National Park Service is set to receive a significant chunk of funding for the exterior rehabilitation of three historic buildings at the former airport in President Biden’s 2024 budget proposal; other community groups, such as the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, have also put forth plans for the field that would enhance community environmental opportunities and support learning.

Launch’s proposal, featuring farms, gardens and outdoor classrooms.

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UNVEILING OF PLAY SPACE FOR TROUBLED YOUTHS

BROWNSVILLE — NY Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will be among more than 50 volunteers and dignitaries putting on the finishing touches and unveiling a new 9,000 square-foot, kid-designed colorful play space at The Child Center of NY Residential Treatment Facility in Brownsville on Thursday, May 11. The play space will serve young people ages 12-18 who have had multiple psychiatric hospital placements or have been involved with the juvenile justice system.

The project is the culmination of a months-long partnership between The Child Center of NY, BOSS and KABOOM!, a national nonprofit committed to ending play space inequity. Joining in the festivities will be Traci Donnelly, The Child Center of NY CEO, Stephan Born, President & CEO of Americas at HUGO BOSS Fashion Inc. and Kim Council, Deputy Brooklyn Borough President.

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MAIMONIDES GASTROENTEROLOGIST HONORED; HAS WORKED, TAUGHT AT HOSPITAL 40 YEARS

BOROUGH PARK AND CHICAGO — Dr. Kadirawel Iswara, who has been with Maimonides Medical Center for 40 years, has received the American Gastroenterological Association’s 2023 Distinguished Clinician Award in Private Practice. Dr. Iswara accepted this national recognition amongst top leaders in the gastroenterological field at ceremonies and receptions on May 7-8, including an inaugural Maimonides GI alumni and award event. The medical complex has also dedicated the Maimonides Ambulatory Surgical Center reception lobby in Dr. Iswara’s name following a generous legacy gift to benefit the gastroenterology department he has led for so many years.

Dr. Iswara, who immigrated to the United States from Sri Lanka in 1970, is an Army Veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm with the 82nd Airborne in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was also certified as an Honorary Police Surgeon in 2015.

Maimonides Dr. Kadirawel Iswara receives the 2023 Distinguished Clinician Award in Private Practice from the American Gastroenterological Association. Photo: Maimonides Medical Center/American Gastroenterological Association.

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OPEN STREETS BRINGS POP-UP FLOWERS TO MONTAGUE

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — This week’s Montague Open Streets will debut a 700-square-foot pop-up field full of bright six-foot tall flowers, created by artists Piera Bonerba and Emanuale Simmonelli, for visitors to walk through, relax in, pose for selfies and escape momentarily. The field will return on Saturdays at Open Streets events in May, June and July, except on June 10.

The Open Streets this Saturday, May 13, will also feature free Mother’s Day photo shoots (available with online bookings only) and a craft show hosted by the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange, alongside a lineup of activities, performances and snacks. 

The Montague Street Blooms pop-up park. Photo: Montague Street BID.

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CATHOLIC CHARITIES OFFICE VANDALIZED

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens’ Joralemon St. headquarters were vandalized late Tuesday, May 2, when two unknown individuals acting in concert threw a brick through the glass door at 191 Joralemon St., between Clinton and Court streets, within the 84th Precinct. Both individuals fled onto a southbound 2 train at the Borough Hall/Court Street subway station. The NYPD asks for the public’s assistance in tracking down the vandals as its Hate Crimes Task Force investigates.

These two men are believed to have acted in concert when they threw a brick (carried by the person on the left) into the window of Catholic Charities last Tuesday, May 2. Photo: NYPD/Crimestoppers.

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JUDGE IN BROOKLYN ISSUED THE WARRANT TO DISABLE MALWARE TRACED TO RUSSIA

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday, May 9, completed a court-authorized operation, code-named MEDUSA, to disrupt a global peer-to-peer network of computers compromised by sophisticated malware, called “Snake.” The United States Government attributes the “Snake” malware unit to Center 16 of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB). This unit, referred to in court documents as “Turla,” has for nearly 20 years used versions of the Snake malware to steal sensitive documents from hundreds of computer systems in at least 50 countries, which have belonged to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member governments, journalists and other targets of interest to the Russian Federation.

Here in Brooklyn, United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak of the Eastern District of New York issued the search warrant that authorized the FBI to gain authorized remote access to the compromised computers and disable the network.

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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN ‘EDS AND MEDS’ PLAN EXPANDS

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Mayor Eric Adams and Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick on Monday unveiled the Downtown Brooklyn “Eds and Meds” plan, which will serve as a framework for growth around the neighborhood’s core industries of education and health care, including strategies to promote affordable housing, good jobs, walkability and safe public spaces, as Long Island University and the Brooklyn Hospital Center consider development and expansion plans. The plan, part of the city’s efforts to revitalize Brooklyn’s central business district, prioritizes public space improvements in city-owned sites and strengthened connections to nearby NYCHA campuses, and is intended to build on the area’s strong post-pandemic recovery by working with the anchor institutions that account for high job growth.

The framework will inform development plans, supplement the existing public review process and include further opportunities for public comment on specific rezoning or development proposals.

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TRUMP RAPE CASE REACHES CLIMAX, CAMPAIGN SAYS IT’S PREMATURE

NEW YORK — A Manhattan jury found ex-President Donald Trump liable of sexual abuse and defamation in the case of E. Jean Carroll, an Elle Magazine columnist who accused Trump of assaulting her at Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan during the mid ‘90s. The former president smeared the allegations, calling Ms. Carroll’s account a component of a political ‘witch hunt’ and ‘a complete con job’ as well as ‘a Hoax and a lie’. The verdict was announced on Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m., according to the New York Times. The jury determined that Trump was aware of his false statements when he said that her accusation was a ‘hoax’ meeting the required legal standard of Actual Malice. Trump was ordered by the court to pay out $5 million as a result of the verdict. 

“In jurisdictions wholly controlled by the Democratic Party our nation’s justice system is now compromised by extremist left-wing politics,” said the Trump campaign in response to the verdict. “We have allowed false and totally made-up claims from troubled individuals to interfere with our elections, doing great damage,” adding “This case will be appealed, and we will ultimately win.” Read more on page 12. 

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COMPTROLLER LANDER: BUDGET CUTS WILL HURT CUNY STUDENTS AND PROGRAMS

CITYWIDE — City Comptroller Brad Lander is sounding the alarm on a series of reductions to the City University of New York Funding, including from the Mayor’s Executive Budget for the next two Fiscal Years. The latest Executive Budget, released last month, reflects $41 million annually in permanent cuts, which will likely reduce the number of faculty positions and course offerings across the system’s 225,000 students spanning 25 campuses, including senior colleges, community colleges and graduate schools. Lander also warned that budget cuts and inconsistent funding will jeopardize the expansion of successful programs such as CUNY Reconnect, Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) and Accelerate, Complete, and Engage (ACE).

“CUNY represents both the rich diversity and possibility that is New York City,” said Comptroller Brad Lander. “This Executive Budget jeopardizes CUNY’s ability to provide the academic and support services necessary to catapult low-income New Yorkers into the middle class.”

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POLICE WARN OF ESCAPED SUSPECT

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Police are asking the public for help finding Joseph King, 21, who on May 8 escaped police custody while being transported into Brooklyn Central Booking in Downtown Brooklyn after freeing himself from his handcuffs and fleeing into the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station. King is described as 5’7 and approximately 145 pounds, with a dark complexion, black hair, brown eyes and a neck tattoo reading “E4M” — he was last seen wearing a black bubble jacket, gray pants, a multi-colored floral print shirt and black sneakers.

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.

Joseph King, last seen fleeing into the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station.

Joseph King, last seen fleeing into the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station.

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BROOKLYN NATIVE SERVES ON USS COOPERSTOWN

THE HIGH SEAS — The Navy this week is highlighting an interview with Brooklyn native Petty Officer 1st Class Luis Ubiera Ortiz, a 2007 Franklin K. Lane High School graduate, who is serving aboard the newly commissioned USS Cooperstown, which recently departed New York for Florida. Ortiz tipped his Brooklyn upbringing for teaching him values that have helped him succeed in the armed forces: “I learned patience and how to deal with aggressive people in order to resolve difficult situations. I come from a humble background, and that helps keep me grounded and reminds me to stay humble when dealing with people.”

A full copy of the article can be found on the Navy’s community outreach blog.

The littoral combat ship USS Cooperstown, named in honor of the more than 70 Baseball Hall of Famers who served the U.S. during wartime. Photo: Navy Community Outreach.

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POLS, ADVOCATES MARCH FOR PAROLE REFORM

ALBANY — New York lawmakers, including state Sen. Julia Salazar and Assemblymember Latrice Walker, on Monday joined 350 New Yorkers, advocacy groups and a full-size marching band in Albany to rally in favor of passing the Elder Parole and Fair & Timely Parole bills, which would release seniors and other long-term inmates deemed to be reformed. The event was part of an advocacy day entitled “Freedom at the Finish Line – Breaking Chains and Winning Parole Justice;” advocates say that the current parole system is biased against people of color and destabilizes communities by incarcerating mentors and elders, and call for “individualized consideration for parole release based on who they are today, what they have done to change, and whether they pose a risk if released.”

“Our parole system is deeply unjust but it doesn’t need to be this way… Until we pass [the bills], we continue to deprive our communities of the public safety benefits our incarceration elders can offer when they are home with their families and communities,” Salazar stated at the rally.

A marching band performs at the parole reform rally. Photo: People’s Campaign for Parole Justice.

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GOVERNOR’S EXECUTIVE ORDER GRANTS FLEXIBILITY IN PROVIDING FOR NEW INFLUX OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

STATEWIDE — Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday, May 9, issued an Executive Order to help provide aid to asylum seekers expected to arrive in New York as federal Title 42 immigration policy expires on May 11. The Executive Order will provide the State with greater flexibility to procure the resources necessary for municipalities to support asylum seekers, allowing the mobilization of an additional 500 members of the National Guard, who are currently providing logistical and operational support at the Port Authority and shelter sites, and allowing the State and localities to quickly purchase necessary supplies and resources, including food and equipment.

Governor Hochul worked with the legislature to secure more than $1 billion in funding to help New York City support asylum seekers in the Fiscal Year 2024, allocating hundreds of millions in funds for shelter costs, the ongoing National Guard presence, health care and the voluntary relocation of families to permanent housing, among other expenditures.

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STATE LAWMAKERS RALLY TO PASS FAIR COLLEGE ADMISSIONS ACT

STATEWIDE — State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-26) and Assembly Member Latrice Walker (D-55) on Monday, May 8, rallied for their Fair College Admissions Act, which would address what they call inequitable admissions practices, by prohibiting legacy preference and early decision policies at colleges and universities across New York State. Joining the lawmakers were students and advocates, who have joined the movement to make the college admissions process more equitable in the wake of the Supreme Court’s expected overturning of affirmative action law by summer and bar the consideration of race in college admissions.

Attending Monday’s event were State Senator Iwen Chu, students who shared their stories, representatives from Education Reform Now, Democrats for Education Reform NY Deputy Director Katherine Zapata, National Parents Union representative Debra Garratt, parent and CUNY Professor Cristina Arroyo, among others.

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NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL LEADS COALITION TO PROTECT ABORTION ACCESS IN MEDICAL EMERGENCIES

NATIONWIDE — New York Attorney General Letitia James today is leading a multi-state coalition of her counterparts in 22 states to protect Americans’ access to abortion care during life-threatening medical emergencies. The coalition has filed an amicus brief in Texas v. Becerra, to appeal the decision in the Federal Court, District of Northern Texas, and support the Biden Administration’s U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s defense of its Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) guidance, which directs hospitals to provide emergency abortion care in appropriate circumstances.

Although every U.S. hospital with an emergency department and Medicare is subject to Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, the Northern Texas district court’s rule to block the EMTALA guidance has endangered the lives of Texas patients, whose medical providers worry about the legal and criminal repercussions of having to perform abortions in emergency situations.


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