What’s News, Breaking: Wednesday, June 14, 2023
STATE’S NEW JUDICIAL LEADERSHIP ISSUES RULE
ON SECURITY DETAIL FOR FORMER JUDGES
ALBANY — New York’s Chief Administrative Judge Joseph Zayas has ordered that personnel and resources of the Unified Court System cannot be used to provide ongoing security to former judges, representing a change from previous judicial administrations, the New York Law Journal reports. Judge Zayas, who previously served on the state’s Appellate Division-2nd Department in Brooklyn, said that the security of former New York judges is the responsibility of law enforcement. His order directs that judges who face continuing security concerns for themselves or their immediate family as they prepare to vacate the bench should connect with the Department of Public Safety Judicial Threats Unit, which will assess the situation and coordinate with the appropriate (local, state or federal) law enforcement agencies.
Chief Administrative Judge Zayas’ new rule seems to be directed at former Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, who had reported being repeatedly stalked by an angry male litigant, and who was reportedly given 24/7 protection.
BIPARTISAN BILL WOULD PROTECT OLDER AMERICANS
FROM WORKPLACE FORCED ARBITRATION
NATIONWIDE — A bipartisan bill introduced in Congress on Wednesday; June 14 would protect older Americans from forced arbitration in the workplace. The Protecting Older Americans Act would invalidate forced arbitration clauses that prevent age discrimination victims from seeking justice and public accountability. Forced arbitration, or pre-dispute arbitration, occurs when a company requires an employee to submit any potential dispute to binding arbitration as a condition of employment, meaning that employees waive their right to sue in court. The bill’s sponsors are U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC).
This legislation builds off the lawmakers’ successful effort in the last Congress to invalidate forced arbitration agreements specifically in cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Passage of the bill immediately changed 60 million employment contracts.
MISSING MAN IN LITTLE CARRIBEAN
LITTLE CARRIBEAN – Police are searching for missing man Billy Clinkscales, last seen at his East 21st Street residence on the afternoon of Friday, June 9. Clinkscales is described as 5’6” and 150 pounds, with brown eyes and a thin build, and was last seen wearing a black jacket, black jeans, black sneakers and a multicolored scarf.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of this missing person 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 CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or on Twitter @NYPDTips.
COMMUNITY TO HOLD STREET SAFETY MARCH ON MCGUINNESS BLVD
GREENPOINT – Street safety advocates and other local groups were set to hold a rally on McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint this Thursday in support of a planned DOT safety redesign for the busy street, along with local elected officials including Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, Councilmember Lincoln Restler and state Sen. Kristen Gonzalez. The redesign plan, which would remove two of the street’s four lanes to make room for bike lanes and pedestrian islands, took two years to develop and was unveiled in May; some area residents, however, have mounted a campaign against the changes, one that a report by The City on Wednesday revealed is backed by the film production company Broadway Stages and its owners Anthony and Gina Argento, longtime political supporters of Eric Adams – raising fears among proponents of the plan that the mayor could be facing pressure to scrap it entirely.
The march is set to begin on June 15 at 6:00 p.m. on Bayard Street and McGuinness Boulevard; a town hall meeting at Broadway Stages is also planned for June 15 to discuss the future of the redesign plan.
TEEN SAVED FROM PROSPECT PARK LAKE
PROSPECT PARK – A 13-year-old boy was taken to the hospital after being pulled from Prospect Park Lake on Tuesday by first responders, reports ABC News; witnesses told the network that he and a group of friends may have been attempting to catch a turtle and ventured too far into the lake, which features a treacherously steep dropoff underwater. Civilians attempted to reach the boy, who was unable to swim, but police and firefighters ultimately carried the day, according to witness Annie Collins: “Response was unreal. Fire. Police. All throwing on kit and getting in. Unbelievable how quickly they responded.”
The boy was given CPR and is reported to be in critical condition.
PENTHOUSE IN HEIGHTS LIBRARY TOWER SELLS FOR $9M
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS – The penthouse apartment in the brand-new One Clinton skyscraper, which currently houses the new Brooklyn Heights Library on its lower levels and was built on the location of the former Business Library, sold last week for an eye-popping $9 million to an unknown buyer, reports the Real Deal. The luxe 4,100-square-foot condo sits on the 38th floor of the tower and features 20-foot ceilings, four bedrooms and three bathrooms, along with views of the harbor over the low-lying neighborhood; while the building itself offers a gym, a terrace and a “sky lounge” to its well-heeled inhabitants.
The new library space opened just over a year ago after years in a temporary location off Montague Street; a centerpiece sculpture honoring decades of library history was unveiled earlier this year in its lofty atrium.
RECKLESS DRIVER GETS NINE YEARS IN BABY’S DEATH
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A Prospect Heights man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for driving recklessly in a way that killed a three-month-old girl and seriously injured her mother. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified the defendant as Tyrik Mott, 30, who on Sept. 11, 2021, drove the wrong way on a westbound one-way street in Prospect Heights, hitting another car and causing a chain reaction that struck a family walking on the sidewalk with a stroller. Mott, who pleaded guilty in March to several charges — including leaving the scene of an accident without reporting — was sentenced by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun.
While fleeing the collision, the defendant had even tried carjacking another vehicle on Atlantic Avenue, but police caught up with him, arrested him and suspended his license.
CITY LAUNCHES PROGRAM FOR ELECTRIC MICROMOBILITY
IN PARKS AND GREENWAYS
CITYWIDE — The electric micromobility pilot program in City parks, drives and greenways, as part of the City’s work to make using electric micromobility easier and safer to use, will begin June 20, Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue announced on Wednesday, June 14. The pilot was first announced in March as part of Mayor Adams’ “Charge Safe, Ride Safe: NYC’s Electric Micromobility Plan,” which includes ways to support the rapid adoption of these devices.
Although the city touts greenways as a “scenic, comfortable, and safe path for cyclists and pedestrians,” it did not specify how it will protect the pedestrians from the increased traffic from e-bikes and scooters, other than recommending that everyone be considerate.
REP. CLARKE, NY SUN WORKS INVEST IN CLIMATE EDUCATION
MIDWOOD — Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-09/Flatbush) and NY Sun Works on Friday, June 16, will jointly announce a major investment in climate education across Brooklyn. The project will expand climate and sustainability education through new hydroponic labs and high school-level workforce development programming across her district, which includes Edward R. Murrow High School, where Friday’s check presentation will take place.
Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn has a recently-renovated greenhouse and hydroponics lab, according to its website.
‘POWER OF TREES’ EXHIBIT EXPLORES NATURE’S ABILITY
TO MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s 2023 summer and fall program series: Power of Trees, which launches this Saturday, June 17, centers on the ways in which trees serve as pillars of the natural and cultural worlds. Developed in partnership with AnkhLave Arts Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Areas Conservancy, Climate Museum, I AM CaribBEING, and Moskehtu Consulting, this series’ June 17 launch will include a celebration with a site-specific exhibition of six sculptural works titled “Branching Out: Trees as Community Hosts,” an interpretive signage exhibition, titled “Power of Trees: Stories from the Collection,” where visitors can learn more about BBG’s collection of over 3,700 trees and their role in mitigating climate change, and a pop-up installation in the Conservatory Gallery featuring an interactive sticker wall that aims to inspire learning, dialogue, and climate action.
Power of Trees, which runs through October 22, will highlight unexpected facts about specific tree species found in the Garden and that New Yorkers coexist with in Brooklyn and beyond. Highlighted species include the common horsechestnut, which produces spiky, nonedible fruit, and the giant sequoia, which has adapted to fire.
BIOGAS-TO-GRID RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT
LAUNCHED AT NEWTOWN CREEK
GREENPOINT — A new, innovative project that converts wastewater into renewable energy has emerged from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility in Greenpoint. Officials from the city, the DEP, EPA-Region 2 and National Grid joined forces on Wednesday, June 14, to celebrate the start of this renewable biogas-to-grid project at the facility. The project, the first of its kind, has already begun producing a reliable source of clean, renewable energy, reducing the amount of organic waste sent to landfills, and improving air quality.
This endeavor has the potential to produce enough renewable energy to heat nearly 5,200 homes in Brooklyn and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 90,000 metric tons — the equivalent of removing nearly 19,000 cars from the road per year or growing 1.5 million trees for 10 years.
MOVIES WITH A VIEW MARKS 23RD YEAR WITH ‘WE ARE FAMILY’ THEME
BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK — “We Are Family” is the theme of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s beloved outdoor summer film series, Movies With A View, which returns on July 6 for its 23rd season. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy presents this series of films across eight consecutive Thursday evenings in July and August at Pier 1 Harbor View Lawn in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The 2023 “We Are Family” theme curates a wide range of films celebrating family and relationships in all of their diverse forms, starting E.T. Extra Terrestrial and a lineup that includes Top Gun, Despicable Me, Goodfellas and the 2022 Academy Awards Best Picture, Everything Everywhere All At Once. The lawn opens at 6 p.m. and each movie begins at sunset.
The season closer, on August 24, will be a Public Choice night, with selections for your vote including The Addams Family, Little Women, or Romeo and Juliet. Voting begins in early August.
SUMMER LUNCHTIME JAZZ RETURNS TO BOROUGH HALL PLAZA
COLUMBUS PARK/BOROUGH HALL — The Canadian wildfire smoke may have canceled last week’s first event of the Brooklyn Borough President’s Summer Jazz Concerts, but Borough President Antonio Reynoso aims to get the series launched starting Wednesday, June 14. Gene Ghee will headline the first noontime concert at Columbus Park Plaza. The free Summer Lunchtime Jazz Concerts, running from noon to 1:30 p.m., are presented in partnership with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and Jazz Foundation of America.
The series runs Wednesdays during June, with Bed-Stuy born and raised Chief Baba Neil Clarke Trio Plus performing African drums and percussion on June 21 and Patsy Grant and Friends closing out the series on June 28.
EPA’S LACK OF COMPLIANCE AT GOWANUS CANAL CLEANUP IS SUBJECT OF INSPECTOR GENERAL AUDIT
GOWANUS — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of the Inspector General is launching an audit of the Gowanus Canal Superfund, the advocacy group Voices of Gowanus announced on Tuesday, June 13. The inquiry was initiated after Voice of Gowanus submitted an extensive complaint to the OIG Hotline, about the EPA’s Region 2 alleged lack of compliance enforcement in Gowanus, particularly to compel the timely construction of mandated sewage retention tanks in Gowanus which has imperiled the remediation of the area’s toxic pollution and which is impeding redevelopment efforts. The OIG’s objective is to determine the status of the combined sewer overflow tank construction at the Gowanus Canal Superfund site.
The anticipated benefits of this audit include enhanced management and oversight of the cleanup efforts at the Gowanus Canal Superfund site to protect human health and the environment.
MTA COMPLETES “RE-NEW-VATION” OF KINGS HIGHWAY F TRAIN STATION
GRAVESEND — The MTA announced the completion of rejuvenation projects at the Kings Highway F Train station in Gravesend on Tuesday. The “Re-NEW-vation” program utilizes weekend service outages to complete upgrades and repairs, enhanced cleaning at certain stations within a 55-hour timeframe, providing customers with overhauled stations when service interruptions end on Mondays. Over the last weekend, while work continued to modernize signals on the Culver Line from Church Ave to West 8 St stations – resulting in service disruptions at Kings Highway station – transit workers removed outdated signage, stripped and repainted ceilings, walls, and columns, and replaced emergency lighting fixtures. Kings Highway is the 32nd station to be enhanced by the “Re-NEW-vation” initiative.
The Station Re-NEW-vation Program is one of the major initiatives in New York City Transit’s Faster, Cleaner and Safer plan to improve the subway customer experience. The program was initiated with a soft launch over the summer of 2022 on the bd line in the Bronx, including deep cleaning and renovating components of nine stations along that line, while stations were closed for state of good repair work underway in tunnels.
ONETASTE CO-FOUNDER PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO FORCED-LABOR CHARGES
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — OneTaste co-founder and CEO Nicole Daedone, who was arrested at Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday morning, June 13, has pleaded not guilty to charges of forced labor conspiracy in connection with a years-long scheme to obtain the labor and services of a group of OneTaste members. Daedone was released on a $1 million bond, with family members and a friend acting as suretors. She is represented by lawyers Reid Weingarten and Julia Gatto and is scheduled to return to court on June 24, before Judge Gujerati.
Daedone’s co-defendant, Rachel Cherwitz, arrested in California on June 6, faces the same charges and is expected to be brought to Brooklyn at a later date.
CITY CONDUCTS WIRELESS EMERGENCY SYSTEM TESTS
CITYWIDE — The emergency service alerts and broadcasts need to be periodically tested, and on Wednesday, June 14, that will take place. The NYC Emergency Management Department will conduct a citywide test of the Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA) at approximately 2 p.m. The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones.
Cell phones must have their WEA test settings enabled and powered on in order to receive the test alert, which should come through just once. Android and Apple iOS users can go online for instructions on enabling this setting.
JANITORS RALLY FOR NEW CONTRACT, TO COMMEMORATE PERSONAL SACRIFICES DURING PANDEMIC
BRYANT PARK, MANHATTAN — More than a thousand janitors working in buildings throughout the city — including the Brooklyn NETS’ home at Barclays Center — will march and converge at a rally for National Justice for Janitors Day that 32BJ- SEIU, considered the largest property service workers union in the nation, is sponsoring on Thursday, June 15, at Bryant Park. The janitors will be launching their campaign for a contract covering 20,000 office cleaners. They will also seek to make the public aware that, as essential workers who could not do their jobs from home during COVID-19, they made sacrifices during COVID-19 — including the risk of infecting family members — and will honor co-workers who died during the pandemic.
June 15 marks the 33rd anniversary of a similar peaceful rally in 1990 that turned violent when baton-wielding police officers beat, wounded, and arrested dozens of janitors who were trying to improve working conditions and wages in Los Angeles. The Bryant Park cohort Janitors in 33 cities nationwide are participating in commemorative events.
CONGRESSMAN DAN GOLDMAN JOINS THE DADS CAUCUS
BROOKLYN AND WASHINGTON D.C. — To commemorate Father’s Day, Congressman Dan Goldman (NY-10) joined the “Dads Caucus” whose agenda is to recognize the integral role of fatherhood in family life. The caucus is putting forth a resolution, ‘Dads Caucus Father’s Day Resolution’ which emphasizes fathers’ importance on the third Sunday in June.
“Any parent knows that raising kids is never easy, but government has the ability to uplift working families and ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed,” Congressman Dan Goldman said. “As a father of five myself, I know how vital a role dads play in ensuring that their children are set up for success. I am proud to be a member of the Dad’s Caucus as we continue to fight for policies that support our working families, uplift children out of poverty, and ensure that every child and parent have the opportunity to pursue the American Dream.”
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