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What’s News, Breaking: Thursday, July 27, 2023

July 27, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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NYU TANDON PROFESSOR ELECTED TO ACADEMIA EUROPAEA
FOR HER WORK IN NANOSCIENCE

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — ELISA RIEDO, NYU TANDON SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING PROFESSOR of chemical and biomolecular engineering and director of Tandon’s PicoForce Lab, has been elected to The Academy of Europe for her key contributions to the field of nanoscience. Prof. Riedo is also a professor of physics at the NYU College of Arts and Science, an affiliated professor of mechanical engineering, and Tandon’s director of faculty development. She is widely respected for her pioneering work in thermal scanning probe lithography (tSPL), an innovative sustainable nanofabrication technique used in biomedicine, nanoelectronics and magnetic materials.

This organization is dedicated to excellence in scholarship in several branches of human endeavor, from mathematics and medicine to many areas of natural and technological sciences for the public benefit.

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BROOKLYN DA HOSTS ANNUAL YOUTH SUMMERFEST

PROSPECT PARK — BROOKLYN DISTRICT ATTORNEY ERIC GONZALEZ AND PARTNERS HOST their Annual Youth Summerfest on Thursday, August 10, with a school supply giveaway and free admission to Prospect Park Zoo. Families with children who attend will receive a backpack, school supplies and other resources. Online RSVP is required and free admission to the zoo is only available on that date.

Partner businesses and organizations, in addition to Prospect Park Zoo, include Auto Plaza Mall, PAL Inc., NYPD, the Prospect Park Alliance, Laborers Local Union 1010 LECET and LiUNA NYS Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund.

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BROOKLYN’S ‘BRASS QUEENS’ BAND WINS 1ST-EVER MTA ‘MUSIC UNDER NEW YORK’ RIDERS’ CHOICE AWARD  

TIMES SQUARE — GOV. KATHY HOCHUL, MTA CHAIR JANNO LIEBER, WE❤️NYC and others gathered in Times Square on Thursday to award the first-ever MTA Music Under New York Rider’s Choice Award to Brooklyn’s all-female brass band, the Brass Queens. After a week of public voting, Brass Queens took home the grand prize, with 55.7% of more than 55,000 votes cast, and will receive a recording session with Atlantic Records. The nine-piece brass band, which has performed for clients including the Met Gala, the Governor’s Ball Music Festival, Mattel and many more, is inspired by the New Orleans tradition.

“This is not the politicians picking the winners, this is the people picking the winners,” Hochul said at the event.

Brass Queens with Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo: Don Pollard/Office of Governor Hochul

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FDNY SET TO GRADUATE 45 NEW PROBATIONARY
FIRE PREVENTION INSPECTORS

RANDALL’S ISLAND/CITYWIDE — THE NEWEST COHORT OF PROBATIONARY FIRE PREVENTION INSPECTORS will graduate on Friday morning, July 28. The graduating class of 45 new inspectors will participate in the ceremony, taking place at the FDNY Fire Academy on Randall’s Island (livestreamed on the Department’s website), with Chief of Fire Prevention Anthony Saccavino. The FDNY’s Bureau of Fire Prevention is responsible for preventing fire conditions by enforcing the Fire Code and inspecting buildings, small businesses, schools, and construction sites. Inspectors are the first line of defense in preventing fires across the five boroughs.

Given recent fires involving a construction crane and lithium-ion batteries used in e-bikes, the new fire inspectors have plenty of work awaiting them.

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AG JAMES: CARECUBE MUST REFUND BOGUS FEES IT CHARGED FOR COVID-19 TESTS

CITYWIDE — NY ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES ANNOUNCED on Thursday that her office secured full refunds — plus interest — for New Yorkers who were wrongfully charged by CareCube clinics for COVID-19 tests. Her office received numerous complaints about CareCube’s bogus charges during the pandemic. The company must identify and refund all patients who were wrongfully charged from March 2020 to July 2023. “This predatory behavior was unjust and illegal,” James said in a statement. “I saw firsthand people being unfairly charged by CareCube at their site down the block from my district office and received numerous complaints about CareCube from constituents,” said Assemblymember Robert Carroll, who reported the company to the AG.

At the height of the pandemic, CareCube operated more than 20 COVID-19 testing sites citywide, some of which have since closed, including one on Montague Street in Brooklyn. There are currently four CareCubes listed in Brooklyn.

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LYFT: CITI BIKE MIGHT BE FOR SALE

CITYWIDE — RIDESHARE COMPANY LYFT IS EXPLORING the sale of its bike and scooter business, including Citi Bike, as a cost-cutting measure under new CEO David Risher, numerous sources including the New York Post report. The company laid off more than a thousand employees several months ago. Lyft has “received strong inbound interest in our bikes and scooters business,” the company said in a statement on its blog. “As a leading bikeshare provider … it’s only logical for Lyft to listen to credible proposals and explore strategic partners and options in several forms to serve more riders in more cities.”

Lyft, which bought Citi Bike in 2018, has hundreds of bicycle stands in Brooklyn, though none yet in the southern part of the borough.

Map showing Citi Bike’s Brooklyn locations. Photo courtesy of Lyft

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COPS LOOKING FOR MAN WHO SWIPED VALUABLE HAT IN WILLIAMSBURG

WILLIAMSBURG — POLICE ARE LOOKING FOR for the scoundrel who snatched a valuable hat right off the head of a 21-year-old man walking in front of 284 Penn St., in an Orthodox Jewish section of Williamsburg on Tuesday, July 18, at roughly 9:40 p.m. As the victim was walking along, an unidentified male riding a bicycle approached him from behind, grabbed his hat and fled. The suspect is described as having a light complexion and is approximately 30-40 years old. He was last seen wearing a gray T-shirt and light-colored shorts. The crime is classified as grand larceny, and NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating.

There have been a number of similar hat thefts in the past. While police did not report the value of the hat, some Hasidic headwear, particularly the fur hats known as “shtreimels,”  can be worth thousands of dollars. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted at the Crime Stoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/.

Screengrab from surveillance video supplied by NYPD

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BIRD FLU DETECTED IN BROOKLYN LIVE POULTRY MARKET

BROOKLYN — AVIAN INFLUENZA, OR BIRD FLU, has been detected in a live poultry market in Brooklyn, according to the USDA. On July 25, 660 birds at an unnamed market here were found to be infected. This is the first outbreak in domestic poultry since May, when 80 chickens were found to be infected in Missouri. An earlier outbreak was discovered in Brooklyn on April 18, which affected 1,400 birds. According to the agricultural website Lancaster Farming, all 12 species at the Brooklyn market, including guineas, Muscovy ducks, silkies and red fowl, tested positive. New York City has over 80 live bird markets.

The bird flu outbreak is threatening poultry farms nationwide, with more than 80 million birds lost.

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REP. MALLIOTAKIS’ BILL TO END PRESCRIPTION PRICE GOUGING CLEARS COMMITTEE

BAY RIDGE AND CAPITOL HILL — CONGRESSWOMAN NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS (R-11/southwestern Brooklyn) on Wednesday, July 26, announced that legislation she is sponsoring, the Protecting Patients from Middlemen Act, passed out of the full committee and will be included in the committee’s Health Care Price Transparency Act of 2023. Specifically, Malliotakis’ legislation, which was introduced in partnership with Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio/Cincinnati), would prohibit prescription drug plans and Pharmacy Benefit Managers in Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage from charging patients more in drug cost-sharing than the net price of the drug.

Congressman Wenstrup is also a podiatric physician who was in private practice for 26 years. During the Iraq War, he served as a combat surgeon.

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POLICE ATHLETIC  LEAGUE PLAYSTREETS PROGRAM
OFFERS FREE SUMMER ACTIVITIES

RED HOOK/BROWNSVILLE/CANARSIE — THE POLICE ATHLETIC LEAGUE (PAL), which since 1914 has provided safe places to play and learn for thousands of children through its Summer PAL PLAYSTREETS Program, announces the locations and times for Summer 2023. Offered in public areas, such as playgrounds and parks, PLAYSTREETS runs 11 a.m. to  4 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays through August 24 throughout New York City, with 13 supervised places to enjoy outdoor summer activities. Brooklyn locations include Dr. Green Park PLAYSTREET at 500 Mother Gaston Blvd. and the Howard Playground PLAYSTREET at 60 Glenmore Ave., both in Brownsville; Red Hook Coffey Park PLAYSTREET at 31 Centre Mall; Fox Playground PLAYSTREET at Avenue H, between East 54th and East 55th Streets, near Canarsie and Flatlands.

Kids can enjoy Double Dutch jump rope, nok hockey, hopscotch, arts and crafts, sports, board games, educational programs and more.

Children enjoy time under a sprinkler as part of the Police Athletic League’s  Summer PLAYSTREETS Program. Photo Courtesy of Police Athletic League

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CITY ISSUES WARNING OVER SOARING TEMPERATURES

CITYWIDE — IN RESPONSE TO A SWELTERING WAVE PREDICTED for the city from Thursday through Saturday, with the temperatures into the 90s, the city announced on Wednesday that it would be reopening its cooling centers at locations throughout the five boroughs. Locations may have changed from previous years, so New Yorkers are encouraged to check the online Cooling Center Finder on the city’s website or to call 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or 212-504-4115 for TTY) for more information. The city also announced that it would be offering pet-friendly centers in partnership with Petco, and that homeless individuals will have the additional right to access cooling areas at shelters. The Parks Department will also extend pool hours during the three-day heat wave, and is offering a map of other outdoor cooling options like spray showers and water fountains online.

The city offers more information on heat and health online, and offered some heat danger reminders:

  •  Employers are required to provide water, rest, and shade when work is being done during extreme heat. Drink water even if you do not feel thirsty. 
  •  Call 911 immediately if someone is experiencing the warning signs for heat illness: hot dry skin, trouble breathing, rapid heartbeat, confusion, disorientation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or weakness or faintness that does not go away after going to a cool place and drinking water.
  • Pets can dehydrate quickly, so give them plenty of water. Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, drooling, weakness, unresponsiveness, or collapse. Take walks in the early mornings or late at night, as hot asphalt can burn sensitive paw pads.
  • To responsibly cool down with fire hydrants, adults with identification can go to a local firehouse and request a water-conserving spray cap.
  • Use appliances as minimally as possible to avoid blackouts, but tell your utility provider if you or someone you know depend on medical equipment that requires electricity.

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MISSING MAN IN BROWNSVILLE

BROWNSVILLE — POLICE ARE ASKING THE PUBLIC FOR HELP FINDING Fredrick Robinson, age 64, who was last seen on the evening of Sunday, July 23, walking in the vicinity of 117 Hull St. in Brownsville, near his home. Robinson is described as about 5’6” and 160 pounds, with a dark complexion and glasses, and was last seen wearing blue jeans, black sneakers, and a white shirt.

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.

Missing man Fredrick Robinson. All calls are strictly confidential.

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ARREST MADE IN 2022 DOUBLE SHOOTING CASE

CROWN HEIGHTS — THE NYPD ON WEDNESDAY MORNING, July 26, arrested a man wanted in connection with a double murder that had been committed within the 77th Precinct in Crown Heights. Andrew Decoteau, 20, of Linden Blvd., faces multiple charges in the shooting that took place on April 9, 2022, in front of a Bergen St. apartment building (according to Google Maps), in which a 38-year-old man was killed and another seriously wounded in the chest. Decoteau faces counts of murder, attempted murder, attempted assault and two additional counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

The deceased was identified as 38-year-old Kevin Alves of New York Avenue. The identity was not revealed of the older man, other than being age 45. Both were taken to NYC Health +  Hospitals/Kings County.

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MAYOR ANNOUNCES ‘RAT DAY OF ACTION,’ RAT SUCCESSES

CITYWIDE — MAYOR ERIC ADAMS, SANITATION COMMISSIONER JESSICA Tisch and “Rat Czar” Kathleen Corradi on Tuesday announced that 311 calls about rats have dropped by 20 percent in the months since the implementation of new rules and practices designed to reduce the amount of time that trash sits on the street. Call volume in the city’s four rat mitigation zones, including Bed-Stuy/Bushwick in Brooklyn, dropped by more than 45 percent. Adams also announced the first “Anti-Rat Community Day of Action,” set for August 12 in Harlem, which will highlight city and community pest control programs and focus on street tree care, waste management and rodent mitigation; more days of action are planned in each borough.

Adams’ administration has focused on reducing access to street trash, which the mayor has called an “all-you-can-eat” buffet for rats; some efforts include moving trash set-out times later in the day and collection times earlier, implementing a citywide food waste compost program — service begins in Brooklyn this October —  and mandating that food-related businesses put their trash in secure containers.

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$4K STOLEN IN BOERUM HILL CAR ROBBERY

BOERUM HILL — A 58-YEAR-OLD MAN WAS ROBBED OF $4,000 on the morning of Wednesday, July 19, in Boerum Hill while sitting inside his parked vehicle near Barclays Center after being blocked in by two cars, a black Hyundai Elantra and a gray Nissan Altima, that had pulled in around his car. Once the victim’s vehicle was trapped, two individuals got out of the Elantra and approached him. One of them displayed a firearm while demanding property, then forcibly removed the victim’s car keys, cellphone and wallet, which contained approximately $4,000 in cash and assorted debit cards, before fleeing in the Elantra, which was last seen traveling south on Fifth Avenue. The Nissan Altima was last seen traveling east on Dean Street.

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 Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org.

The two unidentified suspects. The drivers of the vehicles were not witnessed.
The two unidentified suspects. The drivers of the vehicles were not witnessed.

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POLICE ARREST NORTH CAROLINA MAN FOR 2022 SHOOTING AT NYCHA HOUSING

CANARSIE — A GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA MAN HAS BEEN ARRESTED and charged in connection with a July 2022 murder in Canarsie, within the 69th Precinct. The suspect, 43-year-old Leo Lewis, was apprehended in the same precinct on Tuesday, July 25, around  8:48 p.m., and is charged on multiple counts, including murder and criminal possession of a gun. He is believed to have shot a man at 10713 Flatlands Ave., within a NYCHA housing complex, on July 10, 2022, around 8:48 a.m. A motive has not yet been disclosed as of press time.

The NYPD had identified the deceased as 44-year-old Zamel Myers who resided at the complex. The amNY website covered the shooting at the time, which was the second such incident that morning, the other one in Coney Island.

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NATURALIZED CITIZEN ENTERS GUILTY PLEA FOR VISA FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE CHERYL L. POLLAK ON TUESDAY, July 25, presided over the guilty plea of Haiyan Liao, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. Ms. Liao pleaded guilty to visa fraud and money laundering charges for her role in a multi-year scheme to illegally bring Chinese nationals into the United States for financial gain. Court documents show Liao, a 46-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen and native of China, engaged in a scheme with others to help noncitizens from China to illegally enter the United States, by fraudulently obtaining visitor visas and by submitting applications containing false statements to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. The noncitizens and their families paid thousands of dollars to reach the United States, with Liao reaping at least $98,673.72 in illicit proceeds through wire transmissions from China to the United States.

Liao, who was charged in January 2021, faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment for the trafficking, and a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment for the money laundering conspiracy.

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ARRAIGNED FOR STRING OF BURGLARIES IN BENSONHURST AND GRAVESEND

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Two Brooklyn have been arraigned on charges of allegedly committing six burglaries of homes and businesses in Bensonhurst and stealing more than $150,000 worth of jewelry and cash, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban announced on Wednesday, July 26. The district attorney identified the defendants as Sam Kravchenko, 36, of Coney Island and John Catullo, 55, of Bensonhurst. They were arraigned Wednesday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo on a 74-count indictment including charges for conspiracy, burglary, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, possession of burglars’ tools, trespass and related charges. They were ordered held without bail and told to return to court on Sept. 20, 2023.

Between Aug. 8, 2022 and Jan. 18, 2023, the pair burglarized two homes, three grocery stores and a vape shop. Defendant Kravchenko was arrested on January 26, 2023, after a car stop for failure to signal, and he was found to have a suspended driver license, Oxycodone pills and police scanners.

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CRANE CATCHES FIRE, COLLAPSES ON MANHATTAN STREET

MANHATTAN — ONLOOKERS WERE LEFT HORRIFIED AFTER a construction crane caught fire and snapped in half, striking a skyscraper nearby and smashing its windows, on 10th Avenue in Manhattan early Wednesday morning, in a crash that CNN reports left six injured, including two firefighters. All injuries were non-life-threatening and all victims are in stable condition. An FDNY spokesman told reporters that the fire began in the engine of the crane during an attempt to lift 16 tons of concrete; the operator was unable to extinguish it but managed to escape the crane’s cab before the heat melted through the cables connecting the body to the arm, causing the collapse.

FDNY firefighters on the scene were captured on video attempting to put the fire out from the roof of a nearby skyscraper; the smoke from the five-alarm blaze reached high over the rooftops, visible from miles around.

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ATTORNEY GENERAL FILES INJUNCTION TO STOP OBSTRUCTIONS TO ABORTION CLINICS

STATEWIDE — NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES on Wednesday, July 26, took action to stop members of Red Rose Rescue, identified as an anti-abortion extremist group, from blocking access to abortion care in New York. Obstructing or interfering with access to reproductive health care clinics, including abortion clinics, is illegal under the United States Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) and the New York State Clinic Access Act. Following the lawsuit she filed against Red Rose Rescue last month, Attorney General James on Wednesday filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prohibit the organization and its members from coming within 30 feet of any reproductive health care facility in New York state, pending trial.

Despite multiple convictions in New York and across the country, Red Rose Rescue and its members have repeatedly trespassed at abortion clinics and physically blocked access to reproductive health care services in attempts to stop clinics from operating.

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VERIZON WIRELESS OUTAGE AFFECTS NYC, MUCH OF EAST COAST

NATIONWIDE — VERIZON, A MAJOR WIRELESS SERVICES COMPANY, experienced a nationwide outage Wednesday morning, according to Downdetector, as reported in Patch. The website lists a massive spike in outage reports beginning around 6:42 a.m., with the largest number coming from New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and  Washington, DC, and even as far west as Chicago. Users with some NYC area codes, including 917, reported not being able to make mobile-to-mobile calls as early as 6 a.m. One person told the Eagle later on Wednesday that she was able to reach this newspaper’s administrative offices, but not other mobile numbers, instead hearing an “all circuits are busy” recording.

The outages reportedly peaked at 8:42 a.m. and many local police departments said that while 911 still worked, they could only be used in an emergency. Local officials began just after 10 a.m. to report the restoration of service.


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