What’s News, Breaking: Thursday, June 22, 2023
LaGUARDIA AIRPORT WORKERS STRIKE
EAST ELMHURST, QUEENS — Ramp workers and cabin cleaners at LaGuardia Airport went on strike Thursday to protest what they assert are unfair labor practices by their employer, Swissport USA. The workers are alleging retaliation, interrogation, and other incidents in response to collective action in the workplace, including threats of discharge and coercive interrogation by management, the suspension of eight workers and the firing of two workers. Another branch of airport employees, the service workers, are also calling on Congress to support the inclusion of the Good Jobs for Good Airports Act’s nationwide wage and benefit standards in the upcoming FAA Reauthorization; the act’s standards would help stabilize the air travel industry by ensuring airport service jobs offer sustainable wages.
Other airport workers across the U.S. have joined a wave of escalations across several major cities.
DISTRICT JUDGE SEYBERT ORDERS UNSEALING
OF SANTOS BOND DOCUMENTS
CENTRAL ISLIP — Federal Judge Joanna Seybert in Central Islip court, siding with a coalition of broadcast and print news agencies, including the New York Times, ABC News, Bloomberg News, CNN and National Public Radio, affirmed an earlier court move to unseal the documents related to embattled Congressman George Santos. Judge Seybert noted that, under the First Amendment, the “common law right of access applies.” Santos, who is the defendant in a government lawsuit, had petitioned the court to keep the list of suretors — those who paid bond for his release — confidential. But Judge Seybert ordered their release effective Thursday afternoon, June 22, at noon.
Judge Seybert’s decision did make provision for a scenario in which the suretors — since identified as his father and aunt — would wish to withdraw from that role.
GOLDMAN, GILLIBRAND INTRODUCE BILL
TO SUPPORT THOSE WITH SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS
BROOKLYN AND WASHINGTON, DC — A new Congressional bill from elected officials in New York would support persons coping with serious mental illnesses (SMI). Reps. Dan Goldman (D-10/western Brooklyn) and Senator Kisten Gillibrand (D-NY) are introducing the ‘Strengthening Medicaid for Serious Mental Illness Act,” which would cover those with the illnesses of schizophrenia, bipolar, and major depressive disorder, by creating a new package of services under Medicaid that specifically aims to provide care, sets a national standard for the care, and incentivizes states to provide intensive community-based services to treat SMI.
The provisions would also include intensive case management, mobile crisis intervention teams to de-escalate incidents, peer support services, housing-related activities and services, and supportive employment to help patients secure good jobs.
CITY, PLANET FITNESS OFFER FREE SUMMER WORKOUT PROGRAM FOR TEENS
CITYWIDE — Believing that youths need to stay in shape during summer recess, Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David C. Banks are joining Planet Fitness and promoting the High School Summer Pass™ program to New York City teenagers who may not have access to school gym facilities. The program gives teens ages 14-19 the opportunity to get active this summer with free access to Planet Fitness clubs across the five boroughs until Thursday, Aug. 31. High school students can visit PlanetFitness.com/SummerPass to register for the program. All participants will have access to free fitness training from in-club certified trainers, free workouts designed specifically for high schoolers in the free Planet Fitness App, as well as workout plans.
Moreover, Planet Fitness will award five lucky teens in the U.S. with $10,000 individual academic scholarships via a TikTok video submission contest. To enter, teens are asked to post a TikTok video tagging @planetfitness using the hashtags #contest and #HSSP23US that describes their High School Summer Pass experience. The contest submission period runs through Aug. 31.
BILL WOULD STIFFEN PENALTIES FOR ALT-SIDE PARKING VIOLATIONS, SO THAT STREETS CAN BE CLEANED
BROOKLYN — Councilmember Lincoln Restler on Thursday, June 22, introduced legislation to strengthen penalties for violating Alternate Side Parking rules. The bill would increase fines over a 12-month period, with the initial violation resulting in the current $65 fee, and the second and third violations resulting in a $100 fee. After the fourth violation within a year, the vehicle would be towed. The rationale for the proposed penalties is street cleanliness, considered a top quality-of-life issue, with 57% of more than 8,000 complaints coming from Brooklyn. Said Restler, “Our streets are not getting cleaned, and it’s because it’s cheaper for New Yorkers to pay for occasional alternate side parking tickets… We need to raise the costs of alternate side parking violation fees and encourage car owners to do their part in keeping our streets clean.”
Alternate-side parking violations have also been a frequent complaint at meetings of the 84th Precinct Community Council.
SUBMERSIBLE TITAN’S PASSENGERS LOST ON SEA FLOOR,
COAST GUARD LOCATES VESSEL DEBRIS
ATLANTIC OCEAN — The United States Coast Guard Thursday, June 22, found that the “debris found at the bottom of the sea is from the submersible vessel Titan, is “consistent with catastrophic implosion,” and thus the loss of the Titan and its five passengers, said Rear Admiral John Mauger, First Coast Guard District Commander, during a 3 p.m. press conference. Special vehicles involved in the days-long inter-agency search of the Titan — with time running out on the oxygen supply — on Thursday morning found five major masses of debris, which the Coast Guard believes is “consistent with an implosion event.” The wreck lay about 1,500 feet off the ballast of the Titanic ocean liner, which perished in 1912. The Titan submersible’s passengers were on a quest to view the Titanic wreck when they perished. Mauger reported that at the discovery site, the debris was all from the submersible Titan, not from the Titanic itself. Confirming that the families of the passengers have been notified, Mauger said, “I hope that this discovery provides some solace during this difficult time.”
“This is an incredibly unforgiving environment down on the sea floor,” said Mauger, who added that the investigation for further details on the disaster will continue.
ATTEMPTED RAPE WITHIN PROSPECT PARK
PROSPECT PARK — Women walking in Prospect Park need to be on the alert after a 27-year-old female was attacked earlier this week. Police are on the lookout for, and have asked the public’s help in apprehending, a man in connection with an attempted rape on Monday, June 19, around 9:15 p.m. in the Dog Beach vicinity of Prospect Park, with the 78th Precinct. The man approached his victim, lifted up her skirt, tried to pull down pull the victim’s underwear, and pushed her to the ground, causing cuts to both her knees. However, he suddenly fled before doing anything worse. The victim suffered cuts to her knees but refused medical attention.
The Dog Beach is near the center of Prospect Park.
NURSES STAGE PROTESTS AT CITY HOSPITALS
DEMANDING FAIR CONTRACTS, SUFFICIENT STAFF
FLATBUSH — Local elected officials were set to join members of the New York State Nurses Association on Thursday, June 22, in simultaneous 12:30 p.m. protests at NYC Health + Hospitals locations, in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. State Senator Kevin Parker (D-21/Flatbush & East Flatbush) and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, scheduled to join the protest NYC Health + Hospitals Kings County, offered their support to the nurses, who demand that Mayor Adams “do the right thing” for racial and healthcare justice for New Yorkers, by settling a fair contract with nurses that will also facilitate recruiting and retaining sufficient bedside caregivers.
As reported earlier, nurses are sounding the alarm on the crisis of understaffing and high turnover as NYC spent more than $1.2 billion on temporary healthcare staffing during Fiscal Year 2022, and spends over $1.5 million every day that they fail to settle a fair contract with nursing staff at the city’s public hospitals.
GREENPOINT LIBRARY HOSTS HISTORY PROJECT
GREENPOINT — Brooklynites will have the opportunity to use library resources to preserve their memorabilia as part of the borough’s history this Friday, June 21, at the Greenpoint Public Library, reports Greenpointers, in association with the “Brooklyn is…” archival project at the Center for Brooklyn History (formerly the Brooklyn Historical Society, which merged with the library in 2020.) Locals will be able to scan and digitize paper ephemera — maximum size is 8.5 inches by 11 inches – such as photos, diaries, letters and notes; contributions will be displayed in an exhibition that opens in September.
The event will also feature free pizza; those who can’t make it to this Friday’s event can submit digital scans online on the BPL’s website or attend one of its upcoming scanning workshops at other libraries across the borough, a full list of which can also be found on its site.
FAMILY PRIDE FEST AT CITY POINT THIS SATURDAY
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The City Point Family Pride Fest, initially planned for June 10 but rescheduled due to the wildfire smoke, will take place this Saturday, June 24, at Albee Square, celebrating creativity, family and diversity with a lineup of colorful performers. Presented by Primark and Lola Star of Dreamland Roller Disco, the joyful festival will offer activities for kids of all ages; families are encouraged to come in costume, get glitter tattoos and join in the Rainbow Parade, which will circle through Albee Square and Flatbush Avenue, led by stilt walkers, strongmen, and dancing Rainbow Roller girls.
Family Pride Fest Schedule:
11:00 a.m. Fogu Azul Marching Band, Brooklyn’s all-woman drumline
11:30 a.m. Rainbow PRIDE Parade
12:00 p.m. Anna Copa Cabanna, the Australian showgirl icon
12:15 p.m. Pinkie Special Hula Hoop Show
12:30 p.m. Lola Star’s Happy Dance Club Family Dance Party
1:00 p.m. Anna Copa Cabanna
1:30 p.m. Lola Star’s Happy Dance Club Family Dance Party
‘ON THE FENCE’ ART EXHIBITION IN BED-STUY
BED-STUY — The 65th annual On The Fence outdoor art exhibition, staged by the Fulton Art Fair at Robert Fulton Park in Bed-Stuy, is closing this weekend, wrapping up the visual arts festival, which celebrates the culture and creativity of African and diaspora communities. Exhibiting artists include sculptor Otto Neals and muralist Emmett Wigglesworth, who have participated in the event since 1958, alongside many others; the exhibition also features live entertainment and art for children on Saturday.
On The Fence will take place on Saturday, June 24, and Sunday, June 25, from noon to 5 p.m.; all events are free and open to the public.
DOMINO PARK TO HOST JUNEBERRY FESTIVAL
WILLIAMSBURG — Domino Park’s annual Juneberry Festival is returning on Sunday, June 25, an all-day event starting at 10 a.m. that celebrates native American juneberries, which grow in the park, and emphasizes local ecology, sustainability and community engagement. The festival will feature activities for all ages, including a dog adoption event, a “Native Plants” exploration adventure for kids, a “build your own bouquet” booth, park tours, plant care and urban gardening workshops, live music, juneberry treats — including free juneberry ice pops from local favorite Mom & Icepops — and a photo station.
A full list of festival participants and an itinerary for the day can be found on Eventbrite; attendance is free and registration is not mandatory.
INTERIM BQE SAFETY REPAIRS SET TO BEGIN IN JULY
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Vital interim repairs to the BQE are set to begin next month on two sections near the Brooklyn Heights Promenade at the ends of Grace Court and Clark Street, according to a public outreach document shared by the city DOT, ahead of a final determination about how to best reconstruct the failing highway. In an email, the Brooklyn Heights Association warned that although necessary and despite noise mitigation efforts by the DOT, the repairs would be unavoidably noisy and would take place overnight on up to three weekends in July, between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.; and, invited nearby residents to register online to attend a Zoom information session on the repairs with the BHA, the DOT and Councilmember Lincoln Restler, set for 6 p.m. on June 29.
The future of the BQE, which has been crumbling for multiple mayoral administrations, has been the subject of furious debate within the neighborhood, as residents fight to keep it quiet while also balancing safety and traffic concerns; following the defeat of an earlier proposal, dubbed “the Highway to Hell,” that would have seen the Promenade destroyed to make way for a six-lane highway, the DOT earlier this year released three possible options for new designs and last week unveiled plans for the Atlantic Avenue onramps that also drew local ire.
POLICE SEEK MISSING BOY IN BROWNSVILLE
BROWNSVILLE — Police are asking the public to help find missing teen Dayvid Smith, 15, last seen around noon on Thursday, June 15, inside his Dean Street home. Dayvid is described as a Black male, approximately 5’5″ with a thin build, brown eyes and black hair; police say it is unknown what clothes he was last wearing. He is known to frequently travel to the Bronx via the subway.
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 crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or on Twitter @NYPDTips.
MAN SHOVED ONTO C TRAIN TRACKS, MANAGES TO ESCAPE
BROWNSVILLE — A Brooklyn man was able to climb back onto the subway platform and avoid injury after being shoved onto the tracks of the Rockaway Avenue C train station in Brownsville early Wednesday morning, reports SI Live. The victim, age 50, allegedly approached a fellow passenger who had begun “screaming and acting in an erratic manner” in an attempt to calm him down; the unknown attacker then grabbed him and pushed him from the platform before running off.
The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made, according to police; the incident echoes another subway push last month at Sunset Park’s 25th Street station, in which a homeless man was arrested after pushing a commuter onto the tracks — that victim was also able to escape with the aid of hero MTA employee Angel Oquendo.
COURT STREET STATION ELEVATORS REOPEN
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — The Court Street subway station in Brooklyn Heights now has brand new elevators, reports News 12, and has finally reopened the elevator-only Montague Street entrance after 13 months of closure, causing parents and people with disabilities to rejoice. The new elevators replace ones that had been in service for half a century; the station also received cosmetic upgrades, including power-washing of the platforms and entrances, brighter lighting and fresh paint.
The Court Street elevators, necessary to reach some subway tunnels from clifftop Brooklyn Heights’ raised streets, had suffered from increasingly frequent breakdowns in the years prior to the repair work; in 2017, a group of 20 straphangers was stuck in the R station’s elevator for half an hour before being rescued by the fire department.
RENT BOARD VOTES TO RAISE STABILIZED RENTS 3% AND 4.5%
CITYWIDE — The city Rent Guidelines Board voted in a narrow 5-4 decision on Wednesday night to allow rent increases on rent-stabilized apartments of 3% for one-year leases and an average of around 4.5% for two-year leases (representing a 2.75% maximum increase in the first year and 3.2% in the second), according to a press statement from Mayor Adams, who wrote that the real solution to the city’s housing crisis lies in making it easier to build new homes and apartments, and offered muted praise for the board: “Finding the right balance is never easy, but I believe the board has done so this year — as evidenced by affirmative votes from both tenant and public representatives.” The vote drew strong condemnation from tenant activists and progressive politicians, although many also celebrated that protest actions were able to defeat higher proposals demanded by landlords; the Legal Aid Society called it an “immoral and bad policy that will deepen the local homelessness and eviction crisis,” while the Met Council on Housing wrote that “Any rent increase is a betrayal of the working people of our city by Mayor Adams,” and Council Speaker Adrienne Adams wrote that the vote “will only further exacerbate the homelessness and housing crisis in our communities at a time when New Yorkers can least afford it.”
Brooklyn’s council delegation has strongly opposed the rent hikes; councilmembers Chi Osse, Sandy Nurse, Alexa Aviles and Shahana Hanif joined activists in taking over the stage at a preliminary RGB hearing in May in support of tenants.
SENTENCED TO 22 YEARS FOR KILLING EX-GIRLFRIEND’S KIN,
SHE WAS ALSO CONVICTED
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A Sunset Park man has been sentenced to 22 years to life in prison for participating in the December 2015 murder of his former girlfriend’s mother and her stepfather, said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Niki Warin sentenced 35-year-old Jerry Maisonett, who pleaded guilty last August to first-degree murder, that involved an accomplice, in the shooting and stabbing of Rosie Sanchez, 38, and Anderson Nunez, 40, in their Sheepshead Bay apartment, where the defendant’s former girlfriend, Destiny Garcia, also resided.
In a strange twist, Ms. Garcia was also arrested within a week of the killings; a jury trial later convicted her of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. She awaits an Aug. 3 sentencing.
CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY NATASHA MERLE
CONFIRMED AS NEW EASTERN DISTRICT JUDGE
WASHINGTON, DC — The United States Senate on Wednesday, June 21, confirmed the nomination of civil rights attorney Natasha Merle to the U.S. District Court-Eastern District of New York. Merle, whose nomination the Brooklyn Eagle covered in January 2022, becomes President Joe Biden’s 100th District Court Judge, and is no stranger to Brooklyn, having served as a law clerk for Judge John Gleeson on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn from 2012 to 2013. She then joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
The Senate vote was very tight, 50-49, with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia voting against Merle’s confirmation, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) not voting. Vice President Kamala Harris had to break a tie to enable the final confirmation vote.
MTA DUSTS OFF HISTORIC TRAINS FOR CENTENNIAL
KENSINGTON — The MTA on Thursday celebrated the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation’s 100th anniversary with commemorative rides on a vintage BMT Standard nostalgia train, from Kings Highway in Midwood to 18th Avenue in Kensington. Rail fans joined MTA leaders and staff from the Transit Museum aboard the antique subway cars, which operated to and from the stations every half hour from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to mark the historic occasion.
The MTA wrote in a press release that the BMT was one of several subway companies that preceded the city’s standardized system. On June 15, 1923, BMT took over the operations of the bankrupt Brooklyn Rapid Transit and soon introduced new subway cars, known as “AB Standards,” whose mid-century modern technological legacy extends to the modern-day subway car. Some of the BMT’s original routes, including the J, Z, L, M, N, Q, R and W trains, are still in existence. The BMT remained a competitor to the Interborough Rapid Transit Company and the Independent Subway System until 1940 when the BMT and IRT were sold to the city.
BOY PULLED FROM RIVER AFTER BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK FALL
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — A nine-year-old boy who fell into the East River while playing at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 on Monday afternoon was saved from drowning by a passing good Samaritan, reports CBS News, who witnesses said jumped into the water to save him. The FDNY responded to the scene, but said that the boy was out of danger by the time they got there; CBS reports that he was unharmed.
“We looked over, and a little boy was drowning in the water, like he was trying to come up for air … I noticed one of the wooden poles in the water, so I told him to grab onto it. And then a guy, he jumped in and I kept shouting, a hero without a cape,” said witness Lanequa Jackson.
STATE NURSES ASSN.: CITY SPENDS MORE ON TEMP STAFFING THAN ON SETTLING LABOR CONTRACTS
CONEY ISLAND AND EAST FLATBUSH — New York City spent more than $1.2 billion on temporary healthcare staffing at its public hospitals during Fiscal 2022, and continues to spend an additional $1.5 million each day they fail to settle a fair contract with nurses, the NY State Nurses Association charges; the group prepares to hold a series of escalating protests at public hospitals, including two in Brooklyn. NYSNA has scheduled a 12:30 p.m. protest for Wednesday, June 21, at Coney Island Hospital/South Brooklyn Health, 2601 Ocean Parkway (the announcement did not mention the medical facility’s new Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital building). Another protest, at noon on Thursday, June 22, will be staged at Kings County Medical Center in East Flatbush.
The NYSNA cites a Daily News report that the city paid $1.2 billion to for-profit staffing firm Rightsourcing in the fiscal year 2022 instead of settling a fair contract with nurses that they say would also facilitate recruitment and retention of bedside caregivers.
LITHIUM-ION BATTERY FIRES, INCLUDING 1 IN BED-STUY, HAVE ALREADY BROKEN 2022’S RECORD
BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Lithium-ion battery fires have claimed the lives of 13 New Yorkers within the past six months alone, with the most recent tragedy unfolding just two days ago, according to NY Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, the Daily News reports. The most recent lithium-ion battery fire broke out at the HQ E-Bike Repair in Manhattan’s Chinatown, quickly spreading to the upper floors, killing four, including two senior citizens, and leaving others hospitalized in critical condition. Of these six lithium-ion battery fires, the Brooklyn incident erupted on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, inside a Goodwin Place building in Bedford-Stuyvesant, claiming the life of a 67-year-old woman who, although rescued, died in a hospital days later. Another tenant, who escaped, had caused the blaze as he was using his space as an off-the-books E-bike repair shop, and firefighters found more than 50 lithium-ion batteries in his apartment.
The FDNY reports that the first six months of this year have seen more fatalities from lithium-ion battery fires than did all of 2022.
BLACK BENEVOLENT SOCIETY WINS ITS TAX EXEMPTION
BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The Legal Aid Society has secured a property tax exemption for the Brooklyn headquarters of the United Order of Tents, the nation’s oldest Black women’s benevolent society. This tax exemption will save the mansion from demolition and allow the organization to proceed with needed renovations. It will also enable the organization to continue its operations of providing critical services to the community. Last October, the Legal Aid Society sued the NYC Department of Finance for denying the United Order of Tents an exemption from real property tax, even though the United Order of Tents had status as a legitimate 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, and for erroneously believing the headquarters building to be vacant even after Legal Aid attorneys established otherwise.
Since 1945, the United Order of Tents’ Brooklyn chapter has owned and operated its Bedford-Stuyvesant headquarters, a central hub from which they have provided support to local communities by tending to the sick, feeding the poor, caring for the elderly, and burying the deceased.
BROOK-KRASNY: TRANS KIDS ‘INCREDIBLY WRONG’; DEMS ANGERED
CONEY ISLAND — Democrat lawmakers criticized Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny over the weekend, after the Coney Islander made remarks against trans people at a Community Board 10 meeting on Thursday, saying “Who is boy? Who is girl?… It is just absolutely incredibly wrong,” according to the New York Post, and later on Twitter indicating opposition to allowing “males to compete against females in sports,” that a safe haven bill passed earlier this month “allows children to be trafficked to NY for reassignment surgery,” and that activists are sexualizing children. Fellow Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon tweeted, “Profoundly disappointed in you, Alec. I stand with the LGBTQIA+ community… I know you know better & that this hateful rhetoric is demonstrably false,” while state Sen. Andrew Gounardes charged that such rhetoric “contributes to tragically high rates of suicide ideation among trans & non-binary youth.”
Brook-Krasny later told the Post that his objections were confined to trans-youth-related issues, such as gender-affirming care for minors, although the assemblymember has indicated support for parents’ rights in other circumstances.
FEDERAL JURY HANDS DOWN GUILTY VERDICT IN CHINESE HARASSMENT AND CONSPIRACY CASE
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A federal jury in Brooklyn on Tuesday, June 20, returned guilty verdicts against three defendants on multiple counts of a superseding indictment, charging them with acting and conspiring to act in the United States as illegal agents of the People’s Republic of China without prior notification to the Attorney General. During the trial, the prosecution team proved that, between approximately 2016 and 2019, the defendants participated in an international campaign with members of the PRC government as part of “Operation Fox Hunt” to threaten, harass, surveil, and intimidate John Doe #1 and his family, and to force John Doe #1 and his wife, Jane Doe #1, to return to that country. In or around 2015, the PRC government caused the International Criminal Police Organization (also known as “Interpol”), an inter-governmental law enforcement organization, to issue “Red Notices” for John Doe #1 and Jane Doe #1, accusing both of corruption.
Previously, three other defendants pleaded guilty in connection with their roles in the PRC-directed harassment and intimidation campaign.
HOCHUL ANNOUNCES WAREHOUSE WORKER PROTECTIONS
STATEWIDE — Governor Hochul on Monday announced that the Warehouse Worker Protection Act is now in effect, meaning that current and former workers in large warehouses and distribution centers such as those used by Amazon now have several protections against harsh work quotas; these include the right to know their performance quotas on demand and when hired, the right to refuse to work through meal breaks, the right to adequate bathroom facilities and the right to request their personal work speed data and data on average work speeds in their warehouse or area. The legislation, which was signed in December, also protects workers from punishment or firing over undisclosed quotas or performance standards and from retaliation against workers who make these requests or who report violations, as well as guaranteeing that employees must receive the data in written form within 14 days.
SEARCH FOR LOST SUB: RESCUERS REPORT BANGING NOISES
NATIONWIDE — Rescuers searching for the unlicensed tourist submarine that disappeared on Sunday while attempting to visit the wreck of the Titanic off of the Canadian coast have reported hearing rhythmic banging noises coming every thirty minutes from an unknown source, reports CNN, raising hopes that the passengers may still be alive and attempting to signal their location. The noises were first reported on Tuesday and later stopped; some sources indicated that they resumed at some point early Wednesday morning, but the Coast Guard did not confirm this.
Time is running short in the effort to locate the sub and recover the five missing passengers, who include the submarine operator’s CEO, a Titanic researcher, two wealthy businessmen and one of the businessmen’s 19-year-old son; the submarine was initially lost within 96 hours of air and has no apparent way to contact rescuers.
FDA APPROVES NEW DRUGS FOR OLDER CHILDREN WITH TYPE-2 DIABETES
NATIONWIDE — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, June 20, approved two new drugs to improve blood sugar control in children 10 years and older with type 2 diabetes. Jardiance (empagliflozin) and Synjardy (empagliflozin and metformin hydrochloride) are being approved as complements to diet and exercise, thus providing a new class of oral medicines to treat pediatric type 2 diabetes. Empagliflozin, the active ingredient in Jardiance and Synjardy, works by increasing the excretion of glucose in the urine.
Common side effects in children treated with empagliflozin were generally similar to those reported in adults, except there was a higher risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) among pediatric patients 10 years and older taking empagliflozin compared to placebo, regardless of whether they were taking other therapies for diabetes.
U.S. APPROVES LAB-GROWN CHICKEN; BUT IT WILL BE EXPENSIVE
NATIONWIDE — New York restaurant menus could eventually include chicken made from animal cells, now that U.S. regulators have approved its sale and authorized two California companies to offer “lab-grown” meat to the nation’s restaurant tables, reports the Associated Press. On Wednesday, June 21, the U.S. issued the approval of the laboratory-developed, “cell-cultivated” or “cultured” meat as it emerges from the laboratory, as a humane alternative to the chickens from slaughterhouses, and has authorized California company Upside Foods and Good Meat to produce it.
Cultivated meat, which is not the same as plant-based food, is grown in steel tanks, using cells that come from a living animal, a fertilized egg or a special bank of stored cells; it is produced as large sheets that are then formed into shapes like chicken cutlets and sausages. However, they are still costly to produce and their introduction will be to specifically target restaurants, including one that Chef Jose Andrés owns in Washington, DC.
BK CONGRESSWOMAN REVIVES BILL TO FUND CLIMATE-FRIENDLY GREEN ROOFTOPS ON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
BROOKLYN AND NATIONWIDE — Determined that schools be more ecologically sound, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-07) on Wednesday, June 21, reintroduced the Public School Green Rooftop Program Act. The bill, whose co-sponsors include New York Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-09) and Jamaal Bowman (D-16/northern Bronx and Westchester), would allocate federal resources towards implementing green roofs at public elementary and secondary schools, with the U.S. Department of Energy implementing a grant program for the installation and maintenance of the roofs. The green roof program would also give teachers the opportunity to include in their curricula relevant environmental and agricultural concerns to students who may not have such an opportunity in an urban community.
This bill, originally introduced in March 2021 during the 117th Congress, would also require grant recipients to complete the installation of a green roof system within four years of receiving the funds; if they do so, they will receive additional money for maintenance activities.
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