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What’s News, Breaking: Friday, June 30, 2023

June 30, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BROOKLYN AND CALIFORNIA — Alan Arkin, whose eight-decade-career on stage and screen won him numerous Awards, including an Oscar for his role as a drug-addicted, crass old man in “Little Miss Sunshine,” died on Thursday, June 29, of natural causes, according to several news sources. Born of secular Jewish parents in an undisclosed Brooklyn neighborhood, Arkin made his film debut in the 1966 comic parody, “The Russians Are Coming,” as Lt. Razanov, a Russian seaman who uses his wits to secure a boat on a sleepy New England island and causes a local panic. Arkin, who noted his own penchant for playing foreigners, such as a Puerto Rican widower in Popi, also showed a serious side, as the sensitive John Singer in “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.”

Arkin also sang and played guitar in a folk group, The Tarriers, that made hits that climbed the Billboard Top Ten.



WASHINGTON — Two Brooklyn artists, Derrick Adams and Paul Ramirez Jonas, have been chosen for the upcoming “Beyond Granite: Pulling Together,” a temporary art exhibition on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to tell more of the American story than traditional monuments are able, exploring questions of national identity and legacy. The works in the exhibition, by six leading contemporary artists, are responses to the question, “What stories remain untold on the National Mall?” The project was inspired by the historic 1939 Easter Sunday performance of the renowned Black opera singer Marian Anderson on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, after being barred from nearby Constitution Hall due to segregation.

Adams’ piece, “America’s Playground: DC,” is described as a monumental interactive playground that reflects the story of desegregated public spaces in the nation’s capital, while Jonas’ piece, “Let Freedom Ring,” is an interactive bell tower where passersby can play a monumental bell and share their personal story of freedom; “Beyond Granite” will be on display from Aug. 18 to Sept. 18.

A rendering for “Let Freedom Ring,” an interactive bell tower by Brooklyn artist Paul Ramirez Jonas. Photo: Monument Lab.



BENSONHURST — Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez, together with Postal Service Special Agent Matthew Modafferi, on Thursday announced that former postal worker Sherrin Sadler, 34, of Brooklyn, has been charged with grand larceny, official misconduct and falsifying business records for allegedly stealing more than $160,000 while working as a window clerk at the Parkville Station post office in Bensonhurst. The DA alleged in a press release that a USPS investigation uncovered that between Nov. 15, 2019, and July 30, 2020, Sadler on 180 separate occasions took cash-for-money orders, then voided the orders and pocketed the cash after customers left; some money orders bounced, but others went through until the alleged scheme was uncovered by an audit after the Federal Reserve found issues during accounting.

Sadler was released without bail and ordered to return to court on Sept. 13.



MARINE PARK — The Health Department will conduct helicopter larviciding treatment next weekend in hard-to-reach nonresidential wetland areas, including in Marine Park and Fresh Creek Basin, on Friday, July 7, Monday, July 10, and Tuesday, July 11, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; in case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Wednesday, July 12, to Friday, July 14, during the same hours. The larvicides used, intended to kill young mosquitoes and reduce the risk of West Nile virus, will be VectoBac GS and VectoPrime FG, which the Health Department says contain naturally occurring bacteria and have been approved by the EPA and the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Because mosquitoes can breed in still water that has been standing for more than five days, the most effective way to control mosquitoes is to eliminate standing water and containers that can collect water; other tips include using approved insect repellents and window screens, making sure roof gutters and swimming pools are cleaned, drained and chlorinated if necessary, and wearing lightweight and light-colored long pants and shirts in marshy areas. Report standing water or learn more about the West Nile virus by calling 311 or visiting the Health Department’s West Nile webpage.

An approximate map of the Brooklyn areas that will be treated by helicopter larviciding; residential neighborhoods will not be impacted.



The Blockhamptons celebrate their win, holding the Minecraft Mayor’s Cup aloft. Photo: NYC Public Schools.

GRAVESEND — A team of five students from John Dewey High School in Gravesend took home the gold in the city’s Minecraft Mayor’s Cup tournament earlier this month, reports the Brooklyn Paper, defeating 400 teams from other boroughs in a live race at the Intrepid museum to design inclusive solutions to urban design and environmental problems in the popular video game Minecraft, which lets players use Lego-like blocks and interactive parts to create infinite imaginative worlds and cities. Dewey’s winning players, Brit Llanos, Esraa Luna, Jay Mallette, Enrique Hernandez and Jolin Jiang, who call themselves the Blockhamptons, were challenged to rehabilitate a “virtual wasteland” environment, and wowed judges with their eco-friendly proposal for a public park, which featured solar panels powering food vendors, battery chargers and a dance floor.

“Our public spaces need to be cleaner, safer and easier to get to… What mainly stood out from our design was our idea of integrating all cultures. We wanted to make sure everyone could feel like they’re in a safe place and wanted,” Llanos told the Brooklyn Paper; the tournament is designed to spark kids’ interest in both ecologically friendly urban planning and in technology.



WASHINGTON, DC — Thursday’s unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision that strengthens the religious-accommodation rights of workers has received praise from the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. The case, Groff v. DeJoy, centered on the “undue hardship” some employers and businesses claim as grounds for denying devoutly-religious employees from taking time off for worship or holy days. The case, Groff v. DeJoy, concerned a devout Christian and postal employee who had lost in the lower courts his request to not work Sundays in order to observe his Sabbath. The SCOTUS, in its June 29 ruling, clarified a precedent from 1977 — TWA v. Hardison — which had been misinterpreted by lower courts, essentially allowing employers to refuse to accommodate employees’ requests for religious accommodations on the grounds of ‘de minimis’ expense or inconvenience. The Supreme Court ruled on June 29 that “de minimis” is very different from undue hardship to an employer.

Nathan Diament — a co-author of the brief submitted to the Supreme Court, and the Orthodox Union’s Executive Director for Public Policy, stated: “For decades, ever since the Supreme Court issued its terrible ruling in the Hardison case, the Orthodox Union advocated for that ruling to be reversed or revised. Forcing American Jews (or Americans of any faith) to choose between their career and their conscience is fundamentally at odds with the principle of religious freedom that is the foundation of the United States and our Constitution.”



DUMBO — Tennis enthusiasts rejoice – the lawn at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 has once again been chosen to host an official viewing of the Wimbledon tennis tournament from July 14 to 16, reports Time Out New York, designed to replicate the experience of viewing the iconic championship from Henman Hill in London. Bring a blanket and walk through decorated floral arches, try out British fares like fish and chips and gin cocktails, try your hand at classic lawn games, then chill on the grass while watching pro players battle it out on a projector screen set up for the occasion — and if you like, snag an official Wimbledon souvenir from the gift shop to take home.

The park offered a similar experience for fans last year, officially sponsored by Wimbledon organizer the All England Lawn Tennis Club, enticing thousands of cheerful spectators into the hot summer sun to view the match finals.



WESTERN BROOKLYN — Denouncing the Thursday, June 29, U.S. Supreme Court decision that strikes down affirmative action, State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-26/western Brooklyn) asserted that the action hurts all underprivileged persons, and calls on colleges and universities to amend policies that give preferential admissions consideration to wealthy legacy families. Gounardes has also proposed revival in the next session of his Fair College Admissions Act (indexed as Senate Bill S8498 in the 2021-22 session and left in committee). The bill, which has co-sponsorship from State Senator Zellnor Myrie, would prohibit legacy and early admissions policies at colleges and universities in New York; and, it declares such policies and practices to be discriminatory and inequitable. “Giving students with alumni connections preferential treatment in admissions is merely a form of affirmative action for the privileged,” Gounardes said, in countering the Supreme Court.

A similar bill that NY Congressman Jamal Bowman introduced during the 2021-22 federal legislative session, prohibiting institutions of higher education (IHE) receiving federal student aid money from giving preferential treatment in the admissions process to legacies or those related to donors, also got stuck in Congress.



BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — A landmarked townhouse in Brooklyn Heights topped the charts of most expensive home sales in the borough last week, reports the Real Deal, selling after listing at $8.5 million. The five-story, 7,080-square-foot building has seven bedrooms and three bathrooms, and offers a host of historic details, such as stained glass transom windows, oversized mirrors and a grand staircase, according to the listing.

The Real Deal reports that this sale is part of a surge in Brooklyn’s luxury property market, with townhouses in Brownstone Brooklyn taking the majority of spots on the list.



FLATBUSH — Flatbush native rapper Caswell “Casanova” Senior, age 36, was sentenced to nearly 16 years in prison in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday for racketeering and narcotics offenses, reports Rolling Stone, charges that prosecutors said arose out of his leadership role in the Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation Bloods gang, which he had joined in prison a decade prior. Senior, along with 11 other members of the gang, admitted to trafficking large quantities of marijuana, and was found to have participated in two assaults, one in a Manhattan diner in 2018 where he attacked and stole the phone of an unrelated customer and one in Miami in 2020 where he shot and wounded two people over a gambling dispute; prosecutors also said Senior used his fame and connections with music industry A-listers to entice others to join the Gorilla Stone gang.

Senior has a history with the law: the rapper had previously spoken about his friendship with fellow rapper A$AP Rocky, who he helped to protect from other inmates during a stint in Rikers when the two were teenagers.



MIDWOOD — Police are searching for missing teenage boy Parviz Srojitdinov, age 14, last seen on the afternoon of Monday, June 26, outside his home on Avenue P, near the Kings Highway subway stop. Parviz is described as approximately 5’10” and 150 pounds and was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, black shorts, black socks and black Crocs shoes. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

Missing teen Parviz Srojitdinov. All tips given to police are strictly confidential.



WILLIAMSBURG — Charges have been dropped against a Brooklyn man Jordan Williams, who fatally stabbed homeless man Victor Ouedrago during a fight on a J train earlier this month that began after Ouedrago allegedly physically assaulted Williams and his girlfriend, reports PIX News. Williams and his attorney have said he acted in self-defense — and a grand jury apparently agreed, according to a law enforcement source, who told PIX that the jury had ruled Williams’ use of force to be justified after viewing a video of Ouedrago “choking Williams with both hands before the stabbing occurred.”

The fatal stabbing had drawn comparisons to the death of Jordan Neely after fellow passenger Daniel Penny choked him on a Manhattan subway earlier this year, as Penny has claimed that Neely had threatened other subway riders before the incident — but had not actually touched anyone; Penny pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges on Wednesday.



GRAVESEND — Track work on the N line at Kings Highway will impact traffic for three consecutive weekends during July, Community Board 11 reported on Thursday, June 29. The MTA will be conducting track work at the station, between Bensonhurst and Gravesend, requiring the use of street cranes that will enable the replacement of mainline track panels. Work hours for the weekends of July 7, 14 and 21 will begin at 6 a.m. on those Fridays for prep work and crane staging. Round-the-clock work will begin at 10 p.m. on Friday nights and continue to 5 a.m. on the following Mondays. Consequently, Avenue S will be closed between West 7-West 8th Streets.

Drivers should follow detours for eastbound and westbound traffic along Avenue S: Eastbound.



DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — More commuters on the A line will get to ride the new R11 subway trains during July, and riders on the on the G, J and M lines — all of which serve Brooklyn neighborhoods — will see increasing frequency, the MTA announced during a press conference held at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station on Thursday with local elected officials. Trains on these three lines will arrive every 8 to 10 minutes instead of every 10 to 12 minutes, as part of enhancements in the final FY 2024 New York State Budget. Moreover, more A line riders will get the chance to ride the new R211 train. Following a successful pilot phase that began in March for the new R211 model (featuring 58-inch-wide door openings that are designed to speed up boarding), a second train was put into service on Thursday.

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, who worked on securing the funding, praised the service increase. City Councilmember Lincoln Restler said, “What we’ve seen is that Brooklyn-Queens ridership has stayed at much higher rates post-pandemic relative to travel in and out of Manhattan, so this investment in G-train service is critically important.”

MTA New York City Transit President Richard Davey, Senior Vice President of Subways Demetrius Crichlow, and local officials announce increased weekend subway service on the G, J, and M lines at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets station on Thursday, Jun 29, 2023. State Senator Andrew Gounardes is at the podium). Photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA.
State Senator Andrew Gounardes.
Photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA


MTA New York City Transit President Richard Davey (left), Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, Senior Vice President of Subways Demetrius Crichlow, and City Councilmember Lincoln Restler ride one of the new R211 subway cars going into service. Photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA.
Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, City Council Member Lincoln Restler.
Photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA



CITYWIDE — The MTA on Wednesday announced that 14 additional subway stations will receive aesthetic and functional upgrades as part of its station “Re-NEW-Vation” program, including eight in Brooklyn: the 18th Ave. and Ave. I F stations, the Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway, Sutter Ave. and Atlantic Ave. L stations, the Marcy Ave. J/Z/M station, the 7th Ave. B/Q station and the Hoyt-Schermerhorn A/C/G station. The program uses planned weekend service outages for necessary track work to repair, clean and refresh station interiors, providing customers with overhauled stations when service interruptions end on Mondays; along with deep cleaning, renovations at other stations have included installing new LED fixtures in dark areas, adding new employee rest areas, repairing broken concrete and water damage, and repainting station surfaces.

“Brooklynites deserve efficient, safe, and comfortable commutes to their destinations on our subways,” wrote Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso in a press release; two Brooklyn stations have already received upgrades as part of the program this month, the Myrtle-Wyckoff M station and the Kings Highway F station.



CITYWIDE — Schools Chancellor David Banks on Wednesday announced the winners of the eleventh annual Big Apple Awards, honoring exemplary educators for their dedication to their students and school communities. This year’s award includes an ongoing professional learning experience to share best practices and resources; next year, the recipients will collaborate as Big Apple Fellows teaching ambassadors and will be invited to serve on the Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Council.

The 15 Brooklyn teachers chosen for the award: Kemeisha Barrett, M.S. 352; Naiomi Benn, I.S. 211; Franchesca Chaterpaul, P.S. 627; Carmen Coward, M.S. 113; Anastasia Demidova, P.S. K225; Linda Eskenazi, P.S/I.S 180; Rebecca Hart, P.S. 414; Virginia “Tess” Hinchman, Williamsburg Preparatory School; Carla McKenzie, I.S. 392; Christina Mesk, P.S. 001; Dr. Linda Noble, Brooklyn College Academy; Khristine Raymond, M.S. 907; Jennifer Rivera, P.S./I.S. 384; Shayleen Sanchez, P.S. 109; and, Angela Vigueras, Rachel Carson High School for Coastal Studies.

“I often think back to the educators who impacted me the most, cheering me on… You are the people who encourage students like me, students from poor communities and Black and Brown youth, that we have a shot,” said BP Antonio Reynoso. Award partners are Lincoln Center, NY Road Runners, Studio in a School, Jody and John Arnhold, and the Arthur Miller, Centerbridge, and Arnhold foundations.

Chancellor Banks and school leaders took turns surprising the awardees with in-person visits; here, students at P.S. 414, the Brooklyn Arbor Elementary School, happily celebrated teacher Rebecca Hart. Photo courtesy of NYC Public Schools.

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