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What’s News, Breaking: Tuesday, June 20, 2023

June 20, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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FLATLANDS — A cohort of 156 Probationary Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) will graduate on Wednesdays, June 21, in a ceremony that Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh will lead at the Christian Cultural Center in Flatlands. During their 13 weeks at the FDNY EMS Academy, EMTs were trained in FDNY operations and procedures including CPR; patient medical and trauma assessments; oxygen and ventilation skills; management of hypotension and fractures; spinal immobilization and emergency childbirth; and, emergency vehicle operation.

The new EMTs will be assigned to units around the city.


News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond


BOROUGHWIDE — The popular Make Music New York Day is returning on Wednesday, June 21, bringing to the first day of summer a series of live music performances to more than 15 different public spaces in all five boroughs, NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez has announced. The DOT will also partner with Concerts in Motion to hold performances from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at an additional five public spaces citywide. Concerts will be held in outdoor spaces free of charge, including five in Brooklyn: Jitu Weiusi Plaza in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Kensington Plaza near Beverley Road and East 2nd St., New Lots Plaza, near the Triangle, Osborn Plaza in Brownsville, and Parkside Plaza, just outside the SE corner of Prospect Park.

NYC DOT’s Public Space Programming initiative brings free activities to public spaces, such as plazas and Open Streets.



WILLIAMSBURG — Several Brooklyn elected officials are urging Governor Kathy Hochul to advance BQGreen, a longstanding plan to platform over a trench in the section of BQE that runs below street level in Williamsburg and turn it into park space. The plan, which has been in the works for more than a decade, would combine and expand Marcy Green and Rodney Park into 3.5 acres of green, open space, which would be refurbished with a flower garden, a playground, a baseball diamond, barbecues, grassy and wooded areas, an indoor pool, and a water play zone. Then-City Councilmember Diana Reyna, for whom Borough President Antonio Reynoso served as Chief of Staff, conceived the project in 2010. After succeeding Reyna in 2014 as the Councilmember representing the 34th district, Reynoso has continued to champion the project with the support of the Williamsburg community.

Joining Reyna and Borough President Reynoso were Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Councilmembers Jennifer Gutierrez, Lincoln Restler, State Senator Kristen Gonzalez, and community groups St. Nick’s Alliance, Los Sures, and El Puente.



New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing has been dispatched to aid with the United States Coast Guard’s race against time in the search and rescue operation for a missing submersible that had been exploring the wreckage of the Titanic. Based at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base on Long Island’s Westhampton Beach the 106th is one of three Air National Guard search and rescue units in the country and the only one based on the East Coast. The 106th flies fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft and rescue helicopters and has a unit of pararescue jumpers who are trained to rescue people in the sea and on land.

The submersible, unlike a submarine, does not have its own power supply or other components to make it self-sufficient, and as of Tuesday afternoon, June 20, had less than two days left of oxygen for the five passengers aboard. The submersible, bearing the name Titan, had been in the area to explore the wreck of the Titanic ship when it, also, lost contact on Sunday morning with a chartered research ship at the dive site. For more on this story, read here.



The MTA has opened an online comment portal for its much-reviled proposed changes to fares and tolls in advance of four public comment hearings later this week; the MTA’s board will vote on the changes in July.

Under this proposal, which the authority says is in line with pre-pandemic standards, fares would increase on subways, buses and Access-A-Rides to $2.90, on express buses to $7, and for unlimited cards between $1 and $5. Monthly and weekly commuter rail tickets would rise by 4%, and one-trip and specialized tickets could also rise or be altered, although increases would be capped. At bridges and tunnels, the MTA is considering two options: one would increase all tolls by 7%, while the other would increase tolls by 6% for local E-ZPass users and 10% for other customers.

On the positive side, OMNY fare caps would be changed to apply over a rolling seven-day period instead of the current fixed Monday-through-Sunday period. The MTA also plans to introduce a discounted $7 peak ticket between city commuter rail stations, as well as a special Far Rockaway ticket; the current Atlantic Ticket could be scrapped as a result.

The hearings will be held and livestreamed on Thursday, June 22, at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., on Friday, June 23, at 10 a.m., and on Monday, June 26, at 6 p.m. All speakers will have two minutes; speakers who pre-register online or call 646-252-6777 may join either online or by phone. Further comments may be submitted online, by email, by regular mail, or by phone; more detailed information about the changes and hearings can also be found on the MTA’s website.



CITYWIDE — Councilmember Sandy Nurse earlier this month introduced a bill as part of the council’s Juneteenth legislative package that would require the city to highlight the ugly history of several of its most notable names. Nurse’s bill would mandate the installation of placards explaining the crimes of people who profited from slavery or who committed heinous acts against Native Americans, at public artworks or schools depicting or named after those individuals; or that any such artworks be removed from display.

“While some may view this bill as an erasure of history, it is actually an act of remembrance. It asserts that the stories we tell and the art we display must reflect the values of equity, inclusivity, and recognition of the struggles endured by marginalized communities,” Nurse wrote in a public statement. These placards could soon adorn Stuyvesant High School, whose namesake Peter Stuyvesant once held 15 to 30 enslaved people, according to City and State NY, or statues of Christopher Columbus, whose brutality against the native population of Hispaniola island led to his arrest and removal by the Spanish government.



BOROUGH PARK — Police are searching for missing woman Bobbie Jo Jones, 43, last seen on the morning of Tuesday, June 13, at her place of employment on 16th Avenue in Borough Park. Jones is described as a female, white, approximately 5’8″ and 160 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes; she has a piercing on her left eyebrow and was last seen wearing a black hat, black shirt and a red sweatshirt tied around her waist, with the word “Ace” printed on the back in white lettering. 

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 CrimeStoppers website at or on Twitter @NYPDTips.



NATIONWIDE — Almost 300 critical medicines — from cancer drugs to everyday generics are in short supply across the U.S., says Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), who is drafting legislation for Congress to reverse this situation. Senator Schumer said over 295 critical drugs, which treat a range of conditions from cancer to infections, and include anesthetics for surgery, albuterol inhalers for asthma, amoxicillin, saline and others, are in severe short supply to the point of crisis; and he attributes the shortage to insufficient manufacturing and limited supply sources, lack of transparency and an over-reliance on foreign drug companies.

Schumer’s four-point legislation is expected to include the enforcing of transparency, including the notifications sent to doctors when medicines they prescribe are in short supply; encouraging more domestic drug manufacturing at volumes sufficient to create a reserve supply; and improving safety and quality control.



CITYWIDE– City Comptroller Brad Lander announced in a press statement on Saturday that the city has this month issued $1.56 billion in general obligation bonds, which raise money for infrastructure projects, and has saved $108 million by buying back older bonds at a public auction. Lander also acknowledged concerns that high interest rates are contributing to uncertainty and making budget-balancing difficult, but vowed that his office was monitoring markets to help keep municipal debt manageable.  

Lander also shared a link to a short video on his Facebook page, offering a quick explanation of how the city uses bond borrowing to pay for public projects.



CITYWIDE – Brooklyn will get its first-ever professional soccer team, in 2025, reports Forbes, after months of negotiation and vows to invest more than $10 million in team development by the new franchise’s owner, North Six Group. The new team, as-yet unnamed, will compete in the third-tier USL League One, and may seek to move up to the second-tier USL Championship by 2028, North Six CEO Matt Rizzetta told Forbes, as well as potentially starting a women’s club. The Brooklyn team will be competing for local eyeballs with the city’s two current Major League Soccer teams, NYCFC and the New York RedBulls, but management hopes that the borough’s many different ethnic communities will support its vision of a diverse squad of young, talented players from all over the world hoping to reach stardom.

The announcement comes ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by 16 cities in the US, Canada and Mexico, and alongside a push to promote the “beautiful game” domestically, where despite widespread youth enjoyment it has long lagged in viewership and public interest compared to football, baseball and basketball.



GREENPOINT – The New York Lottery on Saturday announced that one lucky Brooklynite bought a top-prize-winning Take 5 ticket for the June 16 midday drawing. The ticket, worth over $20,000, was sold at the P&P Candy Store on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint; the prize winner has one year from the date of the drawing to claim their reward.

New Yorkers struggling with a gambling problem, or who know someone who is, can find help at, by calling the free, confidential HOPEline at 1-877-846-7369 or by texting HOPENY (467369).



WILLIAMSBURG – Following a weeklong search effort, the body of Filipino-American Karl Clemente, 27, who went missing from a popular nightclub in Williamsburg last weekend, was discovered in Newtown Creek behind a lumber warehouse on Friday, reports GMA News. Clemente was last seen outside the Avant Gardner event venue, where he became separated from his group after being denied entry to a concert by a bouncer who believed him to be intoxicated; reportedly, the NYPD accessed video footage of Clemente entering the nearby warehouse, where his wallet was located prior to finding the body. 

Grieving friends posted an update on discussion site Reddit’s r/Brooklyn group, where users had attempted to help find Clemente, and shared a link to a fundraiser for a memorial; the Philippine Consulate expressed their sympathies to the family and promised to monitor the investigation into potential foul play.



Police are searching for two unidentified men who in the early hours of Saturday, June 17 discharged firearms numerous times towards each other at an empty lot just steps from the Atlantic Terminal mall, damaging a vehicle and a building facade. The first man, who fled east on Hanson Place in a dark-colored sedan, is described as being 5’10” to 5’11”, with a slim build and a dark complexion, and was last seen wearing a black jacket with white stripes, a black shirt, black pants, white socks and black sneakers; the second man, who fled north on South Elliott Place on foot, is described as 5’8” to 5’9”, with a slim build and a dark complexion, and was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, gray sweatpants and white sneakers.

Anyone with information in regard to 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 tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at or on Twitter @NYPDTips.



WILLIAMSBURG – Jordan Williams, arrested and charged with manslaughter for fatally stabbing a homeless man during a fight on a J train at Marcy Avenue on Tuesday night was released without bail on Thursday afternoon, reports ABC News, after a judge rejected requests from prosecutors to set bail at $100,000 and told Williams, “I have every reason to believe you will fight this case.” The fight allegedly began after the homeless man, Devictor Ouedraogo, harassed train riders and punched Williams’ girlfriend and possibly Williams himself; his attorney told reporters it was a clear-cut case of self-defense.

“He did what he had to do, honestly. Like I said, you know, we’re not happy that someone lost their life, no. We’re extremely remorseful for that, in fact. However, he did do what – it was either him or the guy, and he did what he had to do,” Williams’ mother, April Williams, told ABC while waiting for his release outside court on Thursday.



WASHINGTON – US Reps. Nydia Velázquez and Yvette Clarke, along with Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas, on Thursday joined to reintroduce the American Dream and Promise Act, which would strengthen protections for up to 3.4 million eligible immigrants under the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs, as well as creating a more comprehensive path to permanent residency or citizenship. The congressmembers in a press statement said that during the Trump administration, both the TPS and DACA programs (which are intended to help migrants from unsafe countries and those who arrived as children remain in the country and be able to work) were subject to rollbacks, jeopardizing the wellbeing of immigrants, many of whom have spent much of their lives in the United States; lawsuits challenging these programs have left thousands in limbo regarding their citizenship status.

 Under the bill, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice would cancel removal proceedings against some immigrants and instead work towards granting permanent resident status.



STATEWIDE – Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday announced that, for the upcoming June 27 election, her office will open its Election Protection Hotline, which has operated since November 2012 and has helped field and resolve thousands of complaints from voters across the state, according to a press statement. The hotline will be available at (866) 390-2992 to troubleshoot issues related to voting, whether by absentee ballot or at polling places. Staff will man the phones between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. starting Saturday, June 17, when early voting begins, and ending on June 29, and between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, June 27; voters can also submit complaints and concerns online at any time on the Attorney General’s state webpage.

Know Your Rights: Polls are required to be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day, and if voters are in line before closing, they must be allowed to vote. In addition, all registered voters have the right to vote free from coercion or intimidation, whether by election officials or any other person. The AG’s office will receive and respond to election complaints relating to any of the statutes that it enforces; it has also taken legal action to protect early voting rights and against voter registration purges.



CITYWIDE – The MTA on Thursday announced that it is now accepting IDNYC cards as valid identification to apply for its reduced fare MetroCards, which allow seniors and disabled people to ride buses and subways for half-price; as well as for OMNY cards and Access-A-Ride handicapped bus service. A press release from the authority linked the move to a report on fare evasion released last month, saying that it wants to support low-income transit riders by allowing the use of the city ID cards, which are “widely used by lower income New Yorkers from all backgrounds.” 

Customers can submit applications for the reduced fare cards online, by mail, or in person at any Customer Service Center or MetroCard Bus or Van. IDNYC cards are available to all city residents ages 10 and up; applications must be made in person, and appointments can be scheduled online on the city’s website.



DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – A group of tenants rallied at a Rent Guidelines Board hearing on Wednesday night against proposed hikes to the rents of stabilized apartments that Public Advocate Jumaane Williams called “absurd and obscene,” reports ABC News. Organizers and irate renters packed the hearing and chanted slogans at the board’s representatives, arguing that the proposed allowable increases of up to seven percent on two-year leases would be a hardship for struggling New Yorkers, especially in the wake of the pandemic; landlord groups, on the other hand, think that the increases aren’t high enough, and told ABC that owners were having difficulty keeping pace with mortgage payments and tax increases, as well as with non-paying tenants.

The fight over the rent control guidelines has been contentious this year; at a preliminary vote meeting of the board last month Brooklyn Councilmembers Chi Osse, Sandy Nurse, Alexa Aviles and Shahana Hanif stormed the stage to divert proceedings in support of tenants.



CITYWIDE —Mayor Eric Adams on Friday, June 16 issued emergency rules eliminating the 90-day length-of-stay requirement for New Yorkers in shelter to be eligible for City Family Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement housing vouchers. The rules vastly expand the number of New Yorkers in shelters who can now access city funded rental assistance from (CityFHEPS)— the largest city-funded rental assistance program in the nation.

As the city continues to manage the unprecedented asylum seeker crisis, this emergency rule will help expedite the move of New Yorkers into permanent housing. The New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) has also made numerous technology, staffing, process, and training improvements over the past year to expedite shelter move-outs.



NATIONWIDE —The UPS Teamsters have overwhelmingly — by 97% of its membership — voted to authorize a strike as their contract fight escalates toward the August 1st expiration, and the New York City Democrat Socialist party is supporting the union’s cause. UPS Teamsters are demanding significant pay increases for part-timers to $25 an hour, elimination of two-tier wages for package-car drivers, the end to forced sixth day work weeks, equitable pension payouts across the country, an end to invasive driver-facing cameras, more holidays, and job security measures such as no subcontracting and gig workers. 

The New York City Democratic Socialists (local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America) pointed out in a June 16 statement that while “Throughout the pandemic, UPS workers kept society running – UPS delivery and warehouse workers moved 6% of the U.S. GDP, tens of billions of dollars, Yet just last week, when New York City had the worst air quality in the world, management left NYC delivery and warehouse workers without guidance and proper protections. This is just the latest in a long pattern of abuses.”



CITYWIDE AND OCEAN HILL —The NYC Department of Transportation’s Safety Education and Bicycling teams will spread out across the five boroughs through the rest of the spring and summer conducting bike outreach, Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said on Friday. Events include NYC DOT’s helmet fitting program in conjunction with elected officials, cyclist education with Bike New York, outreach to commercial delivery cyclists, and e-bike outreach. Events will be held across the five boroughs and incorporated into the soon-to-be announced Summer Streets 2023 programming.

Two Delivery Cyclist outreach events will be offered: Tuesday June 20, location TBA, with City Councilmembers Shahana Hanif (D-39), Crystal Hudson (D 35) and Lincoln Restler (D-33); and on Wednesday, July 19 at Fulton St. and Ralph Ave. in Ocean Hill.



BEDFORD-STUYVESANT —As part of the NYC DOT’s Safety Education and Bicycling team outreach, the agency next weekend will start distributing its new Vision Zero-branded helmet. The program starts June 24, but Brooklyn’s event doesn’t take place until Monday, July 17, taking place at Fulton St. and Nostrand Ave.

This updated design featuring a green and black design and the new Vision Zero Building a Safer City logo exemplifies the Adams administration’s commitment to expanding the reach of this life saving initiative.



STATEWIDE — After the release of a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality, showing that NY State Teacher Prep Programs are “woefully inadequate” in the basics—teaching children how to read, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon (D-52) is introducing a bill to audit these programs. The legislation will require the New York State Education Department to survey the state’s teacher education programs to identify the programs that are using evidenced-based practices consistent with how the brain reads; pointing out that programs still using debunked and failed methods should be scrapped.

Assemblymember Simon pointed out that, nationally, only 25% of programs adequately train future teachers how to utilize the scientific methods, which includes the 5 core components of reading identified by the National Reading Panel in 2000: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Perhaps even worse: 45% of teaching programs in New York State fail to utilize any of the 5 pillars of evidenced-based literacy instruction that has proven effective for decades.

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