What’s News, Breaking: Monday, July 3, 2023
BELOVED ‘TONIGHT SHOW’ METEOROLOGIST PASSES, AGE 100
CITYWIDE — Former TV meteorologist Frank Field, whose 75-year career included stints at the NBC, CBS and My9 networks in the NYC area, as well as a recurring role on Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show,” passed away at his home in Florida on Saturday aged 100, reports NBC News. Field served as an Army Air Force meteorology officer in World War II before joining the forecast team at NBC in 1958, where he stayed for 25 years, during which time Carson frequently invited him on his show to match wits in a recurring crowd-favorite comedy bit. He was also passionate about science and health reporting (having earned degrees in meteorology from MIT and Brown, in geology from Brooklyn College and in optometry from Columbia, as well as a doctorate from Albert Einstein College of Medicine) and covered groundbreaking medical stories for NBC, including early coverage of the Heimlich maneuver and a live broadcast of a kidney transplant.
Field is survived by three children — two of whom are also reporters — seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
POLICE SEEK MISSING WOMAN IN BROWNSVILLE
BROWNSVILLE — Police are searching for missing woman Coline Minto, age 65, who was last seen at her East 96th Street residence on the afternoon of Saturday, July 1. Minto is described as 5’1′ tall and 120 pounds, with black eyes, gray hair and a thin build; she was last seen wearing a brown dress, red sneakers and glasses.
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.
THREE CHILDREN AND PREGNANT MOM SERIOUSLY HURT IN MIDWOOD FIRE
MIDWOOD — Three young boys and their mother were injured in a Sunday morning fire at a sixth-floor unit in a Midwood apartment building, reports ABC News, who said that firefighters had to carry the children down the stairs, while the unconscious woman, who was pregnant, was taken out a window and down the fire escape to safety; all four are now in the hospital in critical condition and are being treated for smoke inhalation. The search for victims was reportedly difficult, due to crowding in the apartment; neighbors said they heard a loud bang before smoke began to pour from the apartment; the unit directly below was also damaged, although its owner was not home at the time.
“We were all afraid, we were wondering if they were going to make it out alive. They were covering them, they looked like they were unconscious,” neighbor Batya Chlai told ABC.
PARENTS SUE ST ANN’S AFTER EXPULSION LEADS TO SON’S SUICIDE
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — The grieving parents of a 13-year-old boy who committed suicide in 2021 after being dismissed from exclusive Saint Ann’s are now suing the school and its principal and trustees, reports the New York Times, claiming negligence over the sudden and arbitrary nature of the dismissal: Saint Ann’s does not use grades and has not cited any specific policies used to determine which students to “counsel out,” while reports from teachers had been positive in his final months. Plaintiffs Roger Gural and Janine Lariviere say they want the school to make its expulsion procedures more clear and in line with its progressive and accepting mission statement; Lariviere told the Times that she had chosen Saint Ann’s over other prep schools because she believed that its stated commitment to the arts and holistic development would be a better fit for their son, who struggled with ADHD and dyslexia, but now thinks those special needs may have led to him being targeted: his suicide note had begged his parents not to allow the school to talk about him to other students.
Gural and Lariviere say they want to warn other parents and protect other students; grandfather Jeffrey Gural, chairman of developer GFP Real Estate, said that attempts to get answers from school officials had been unsuccessful: “I can’t bring Ellis back, but I just want to do whatever I can to make sure that no family has to go through this again… I got one response saying, ‘Don’t email the board anymore,’ from their lawyer. Oh, really? My grandson’s dead. Are you threatening me? What are you going to do to me? What else can Saint Ann’s do to me?”. Saint Ann’s told the Times they could not comment, citing the lawsuit.
TOP 5 LOTTO TICKET SOLD AT SUNSET PARK INTERNET CAFE
SUNSET PARK — The New York Lottery on Sunday announced that a top-prize winning ticket was sold for the July 1 Take 5 evening drawing at the H&H Newline Internet Cafe on 5th Avenue in Sunset Park, scoring the lucky buyer more than $38,000 in winnings. That winner will now have up to one year from the date of the drawing to claim their prize — check your tickets, Brooklyn.
New Yorkers struggling with a gambling problem, or who know someone who is, can find help at NYProblemGamblingHelp.org, by calling the free, confidential HOPEline at 1-877-846-7369 or texting HOPENY (467369). Standard text rates may apply.
COAL OVEN BAN COULD IMPACT MATZOH BAKERIES
WILLIAMSBURG — A controversial new rule proposing to crack down on pizza places that use coal-fired ovens could also impact many of the city’s traditional matzoh bakeries, reports the New York Post, who was told by matzoh bakery owners that complying with the city’s standards was prohibitively expensive and that they were worried it might become impossible. Coal-fired ovens cause frequent complaints by neighbors – one bakery has been cited by the city for leaving piles of coal on the sidewalk and emitting lots of smoke – but are much-beloved by customers and restaurant owners, who say that the heat and smoke make for crispier and tastier crusts.
A battle over a prized and rare coal-fired oven, difficult to come by due to previous city environmental restrictions, was at the heart of the “Pizza Wars” between longtime DUMBO pizzaiolo Patsy Grimaldi and the Grimaldi’s restaurant, to whom he sold his name.
CITY TO LAUNCH FREE DELIVERY LOCKERS TO END PACKAGE THEFT
CITYWIDE – DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez on Friday announced that the agency will launch a yearlong pilot program this summer to allow New Yorkers to send and receive packages from secure lockers placed on public sidewalks in an effort to cut down on the package thefts that have become an increasing issue for the city as online shopping surged during the pandemic. The city says that 90,000 packages are reported lost or missing every day in NYC. The pilot will include 15 locations, offer free 24/7 access, and will be available to anyone who is interested and across multiple delivery carriers, including UPS, DHL and Pitney-Bowes; the DOT will collect anonymized data to study how to make the program more efficient.
The lockers are eco-friendly: other cities that tried them saw big drops in distance traveled, idling time, emissions and congestion from delivery trucks; centralizing drop-off points will also allow carriers to make fewer trips.
EIGHTEEN YESHIVAS NOT MEETING STANDARDS: CITY
CITYWIDE – A long-delayed city investigation into the educational standards at yeshivas, the religiously oriented schools favored by some Hasidic Jewish families, has found that 18 of them are not providing adequate instruction in secular subjects, reports the New York Times, denying students the chance to learn math, English and other crucial skills. The city alleges that four of the 18 schools are breaking the law, and has sent the results of the eight-year study to the state, with a recommendation that state education officials make the same determination about the other 14; the failing schools could now be forced to follow improvement plans or implement other measures to bring non-religious instruction up to par.
The city’s yeshivas have long faced criticism that their focus on religious education is to the detriment of the teaching of other subjects, and have long contended that critics apply unfair standards to their community; advocates and supportive politicians, including Mayor Adams, have fought to halt the investigation for years, decrying it as unnecessary.
BROOKLYN-BORN ALAN ARKIN DIES AT 89; ENJOYED EIGHT-DECADE-CAREER ON STAGE AND SCREEN
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.
BROOKLYN ARTISTS TO EXHIBIT ON NATIONAL MALL
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.
CITY TO SPRAY FOR MOSQUITOS IN MARINE PARK, FRESH CREEK BASIN
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.
GRAVESEND STUDENTS WIN ‘MINECRAFT’ GAME DESIGN TOURNAMENT
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.
POLICE SEEK GUNMAN IN LATE-NIGHT SHOOTING
VINEGAR HILL – Police are searching for an unknown man who shortly after midnight on Monday, June 19 engaged another man in a dispute near the Navy Yard Wegmans, then discharged a firearm at him, striking him in the foot before fleeing eastbound on Nassau Street.
The gunman is described as around 5’5” to 5’7” and 35 to 45 years old, with a light complexion, medium build, graying beard and long hair in a bun; he was last seen wearing a gray and white t-shirt, blue pants 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 crimestoppers.nypdonline.org.
MAYOR RELEASES STATEMENT ON EX-COMMISSIONER SEWELL
CITYWIDE – Mayor Adams on Saturday finally released a statement on the resignation of police commissioner Keechant Sewell earlier in June, writing, “All New Yorkers owe her a debt of gratitude, and we wish her the best as she embarks on the next chapter;” the mayor did not elaborate on the reason behind Sewell’s abrupt departure, which has been speculated to be related to alleged pressure from the mayor to drop disciplinary charges against a high-ranking friend in the department. Sources told The City that Sewell expected retaliation for going against the mayor on that matter and submitted the resignation in anticipation of later firing over the issue; one source claimed this was part of a pattern of Adams and other top city officials regularly undermining her decisions as commissioner.
Adams also named current first deputy commissioner Eddie Caban as interim commissioner in the press statement; Caban is close to the mayor, according to the Times, which reports that Caban was picked by Adams for the deputy post, and not by Sewell, as he had claimed during the selection process.
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