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What’s News, Breaking: Thursday, August 3, 2023

August 3, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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OUTDOOR DINING WILL EXPAND, BECOME
PERMANENT, WITH CITY COUNCIL’S AUG. 3 VOTE

CITY HALL — NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL HAS VOTED to establish a permanent outdoor dining program, improving on a pandemic-era sidewalk café law. The bill, indexed as Introduction 31-C, is expected to cut the bureaucratic red tape, ease the approval process, expand affordability for restaurants to participate than did the previous policy, allow year-round sidewalk cafes and create an orderly and uniform regulation of outdoor dining that its framers hope benefits neighborhoods as well as restaurants.

The city agency responsible for the licensing will be the Department of Transportation; however, the new bill might not please local residents who depend on sidewalk space for strollers, wheelchairs and other apparatus.

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WEIGHT-IN-MOTION BILL, TARGETING
HEAVY TRUCKS ON BQE, BECOMES LAW

BQE/WATERFRONT — A BILL TO CURTAIL FURTHER DAMAGE TO THE BQE and weigh and fine operators of overweight trucks has become law, with the signature this week of Gov. Kathy Hochul. This crucial bill, which State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon sponsored, enables the implementation of the first-in-the-nation program to pilot a Weigh-in-Motion (WIM) system to hold trucking scofflaws accountable for the damage they cause to highway infrastructure, the environment and adjacent neighborhoods. The WIM program will enable the NYPD’s BQE Truck Enforcement Task Force to automatically record the axle weights and gross weights of vehicles using pressure-sensitive sensors as they drive on the BQE, with cameras taking photo evidence of vehicles’ plates, and the DMV mailing a fine to the owner of the vehicle.

A 90-day warning period, with the clock starting next week, will take effect for overweight trucks once the program begins, after which time trucks will be subject to a $650 fine per violation.

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KIDS RING OPENING BELL AT STOCK EXCHANGE
TO CELEBRATE SCHOLARSHIP SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

WALL STREET — PARTICIPANTS IN NYC KIDS RISE, which helps young people invest financially in their futures, got to ring the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, Aug. 3, to celebrate a milestone that nearly every eligible student in New York City public schools has an NYC Scholarship Account for college and career training. A nonprofit organization that provides families, schools and communities with a means to work together to invest in and save for their children’s futures, NYC Kids RISE has established a Save for College Program, which expands access to mainstream financial products; builds individual, family, and collective financial assets; provides financial education for families and students; and, brings schools and communities together to support all our children’s futures.

These students are among the more than 145,000 citywide with NYC Scholarship Accounts that collectively count more than $21.5 million invested for college and career training. NYC Scholarship Accounts are invested in a NY 529 Direct Plan.

Pictured from left to right: Susan Lacher, Director, Koeppel Auto Group; Zhyla Landy and Nadia; Landy, student and parent in the Save for College Program; Murray Abeles, Chief of Administration + Finance, NYC Kids RISE; Dionne Jaggon, Principal, P.S. 111; Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, Co-Founder & CEO, Urban Upbound; Dana Zucker, Chief Executive Officer, Gray Foundation; Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Founding Executive Director, NYC Kids RISE; Ebony Young, Queens Deputy Borough President; Sideya Sherman, Commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity; Jade Grieve, Chief of Student Pathways, NYC Public Schools; Tara Dziedzic, Head of Listings- US Sectors, New York Stock Exchange; Vilda Vera Mayuga, Commissioner, NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection; Michael Gianaris, Senate Deputy Leader, New York State Senate; Roxanne Franklin Lorio, Chief of Staff, Greenwood Initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies; and Lisa Hidalgo, Acting Superintendent, Community School District 30. Photo: NYSE, © August 2023
Celebrating their NYC Scholarship Accounts, NYC Kids RISE Founding Executive Director Debra-Ellen Glickstein and NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity Commissioner Sideya Sherman, joined by Tara Dziedzic, NYSE Head of Listings, U.S. Sectors, rang The Opening Bell® at the New York Stock kindergarten, through the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program. Joining them were (pictured from left to right): Roxanne Franklin Lorio, Chief of Staff, Greenwood Initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies; Lisa Hidalgo, Acting Superintendent, Community School District 30; Michael Gianaris, Senate Deputy Leader, New York State Senate; Vilda Vera Mayuga, Commissioner, NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection; Jade Grieve, Chief of Student Pathways, NYC Public Schools; Tara Dziedzic, Head of Listings – US Sectors, New York Stock Exchange; Queens Deputy Borough President Ebony Young; Dana Zucker, Chief Executive Officer, Gray Foundation; Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, Co-Founder & CEO, Urban Upbound; Dionne Jaggon, Principal, P.S. 111; Murray Abeles, Chief of Administration + Finance, NYC Kids RISE; Nadia Landy and Zhyla Landy, parent and student in the Save for College Program; and Susan Lacher, Director, Koeppel Auto Group. Photo: NYSE, © August 2023

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BROOKLYN DA CALLS FOR PROBE AFTER STAFF ANTISEMITISM ACCUSATION

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — BROOKLYN DISTRICT ATTORNEY ERIC GONZALEZ HAS EXPRESSED ALARM and called for a probe into accusations of antisemitism and other ethics violations leveled at his office’s chief of staff Maritza Ming, reports the New York Post, after 15 sources told the newspaper that Ming’s conduct had “severely damaged morale and driven out talented people.” Some of the allegations include that Ming remarked that there were too many Jewish people in positions of power within the DA’s office, that she challenged a coworker to a fistfight at an office party and that she used workers to run personal errands on the public’s dime.

The Post’s sources also said that they were unable to file discrimination complaints against Ming, because the office’s Equal Employment Opportunity staff, who investigate discrimination complaints, report directly to Ming; Gonzalez stated that he would restructure the office hierarchy so that EEO employees report directly to him going forward.

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BIGGIE STATUE MOVED TO BOROUGH HALL PLAZA

Reynoso and others welcome the hometown hero back.

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — BROOKLYN BP ANTONIO REYNOSO AND A HOST OF LOCAL PERFORMERS CELEBRATED the relocation of a statue tribute to rapper Notorious B.I.G. to Columbus Park, between Borough Hall and the federal courthouse, on Wednesday, from its previous location near the Brooklyn Bridge. DJ itsParlé and the Victory Music & Dance Company sounded off in front of the statue, which features solar-powered speakers that will play a curated mix of the megastar’s discography from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.

“It was Biggie who said the words that I live and lead by: ‘Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way,’” said Reynoso. “Biggie knew that putting love in his lyrics meant everything from grieving in public to celebrating together; it meant talking about violence so we can finally end it and healing together as one people. His legacy is a challenge to us all to do better and do right by our neighbors.”

Young performers pose in front of the Biggie statue.

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IV INFUSION THERAPY FIRM SIGNS LEASE AT INDUSTRY CITY

SUNSET PARK — INDUSTRY CITY, THE 16-BUILDING BUSINESS COMPLEX ON SUNSET PARK’S WATERFRONT, ANNOUNCED on Wednesday that American Outcomes Management, a specialty infusion provider focused on IV therapy, has signed a seven-year lease for 13,614 square feet in one of its buildings that will feature labs and patient care facilities. AOM will move into its new space in October 2023, joining a host of other biotech and life science tenants at the complex’s Innovation Campus, which also hosts lab space for NYU Langone.

AOM provides home-based IV immunoglobulin therapy and nursing services to patients with chronic conditions, as well as support, including pharmacy services, referrals, insurance verification and patient education.

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MISSING MAN IN SHEEPSHEAD BAY

SHEEPSHEAD BAY — POLICE ARE SEARCHING FOR MISSING MAN NICOLA QUARANTA, AGE 50, who was last seen on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 1 leaving his residence near the end of Avenue Z. Quaranta is described as around 5’8” and 150 pounds, and was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, black pants, dark-colored sneakers and a dark-colored baseball hat.

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 crimestoppers.nypdonline.org.

Missing man Nicola Quaranta. All calls are strictly confidential.

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MAYOR ANNOUNCES BLOCK PARTY HONORING HIP HOP ANNIVERSARY

CITYWIDE — MAYOR ADAMS AND ITSALLBLACKMUSIC ON WEDNESDAY ANNOUNCED THE LINEUPS for the free 5×5 Block Party events coming to the boroughs in August and for a series of live conversations between leaders in hip hop. Event organizers have secured hip-hop notables to speak and perform in celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, including Salt-N-Pepa, who will discuss women in hip hop at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center later this month, and sets from DJ Eneff, Prince Paul, DJ Envy, Kid Capri, Grand Master Cas, KRS-One, Chuck D, Kool G Rap, Onyx, and more; Brooklyn’s 5×5 party is set to take place on August 5 on Fulton Street and Washington Avenue from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“On August 11, 1973, a back-to-school jam hosted by brother and sister Cindy and Clive Campbell, aka DJ Kool Herc, on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx spilled out onto the street. That night, hip hop — and the block party — were born,” said Mayor Adams in a press statement. “As the birthplace of hip hop, New York City is proud to host these free block parties and events as a celebration of that spirit that started 50 years ago.”

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BEYONCE PAYS TRIBUTE TO SLAIN DANCER

MIDWOOD — FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF DANCER O’SHAE SIBLEY ON SATURDAY in a potentially homophobic stabbing at a Midwood gas station, singer Beyonce posted an online tribute to Sibley, according to CNN, after reports that he had been dancing to her music that night prior to being approached by his attacker, who yelled anti-gay slurs at him. The front page of the website features the message “REST IN POWER O’SHAE SIBLEY” prominently, in white text on a black background.

Police are still searching for the 17-year-old suspect, who allegedly told Sibley, who was gay, that his dancing offended the boy’s Muslim faith, then engaged him in a brawl with a group of other men.

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JEWELRY SCAM THIEVES TARGETING CITY SENIORS

CITYWIDE — POLICE ON WEDNESDAY ISSUED A WARNING THAT A GROUP OF THIEVES ARE TARGETING older New Yorkers in a strange jewelry theft scam, with several incidents of the theft of expensive jewelry, including one in Bath Beach, taking place over the last week of July. Two unidentified individuals on three occasions have approached senior victims wearing valuable jewelry on the street and distracted them by placing costume jewelry on them or handing it to them, before seizing the original items from the seniors and fleeing, sometimes in a white SUV; thus far the thieves have made off with a $1,000 bracelet, a $2,900 necklace and a $9,000 Rolex watch and gold chain.

Anyone with information regarding these incidents 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 Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org.

Do you recognize these suspects? All tips given to police are strictly confidential.
Do you recognize these suspects? All tips given to police are strictly confidential.

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NAVY SEAMAN FROM BROOKLYN
RECEIVES ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL 

ITALY — A NAVY SEAMAN FROM BROOKLYN WAS AWARDED a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal last week, for his tour at NAS Sigonella awards quarters in the P-8 hangar. Capt. Aaron Shoemaker, Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Station Sigonella, presents Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) Oladunn Ahmed, with the award. NAS Sigonella’s strategic location enables U.S. allies and partner nation forces to deploy and respond as required to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa and Central Command.

Photo/CAP file name: CaptShoemaker-with Oladunn Ahmed_US Navy photo by Mass Communic_ 2nd Class Kelsey-S- Culbertson

Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, July 27, 2023. Capt. Aaron Shoemaker, commanding Officer Naval Air Station Sigonella, left, presents Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) Oladunn Ahmed, from Brooklyn, New York, with a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his tour at NAS Sigonella at awards quarters in the P-8 hangar, July 27, 2023. NAS Sigonella’s strategic location enables U.S. allied, and partner nation forces to deploy and respond as required to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa and Central Command. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Kelsey S. Culbertson

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COMPTROLLER DINAPOLI: NY MUST SURGE
FORWARD TO MEET RENEWAL ENERGY GOALS

STATEWIDE — NEW YORK MUST SUPERCHARGE its efforts to meet renewable electricity goals, urges State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli in a new report, which found that renewable generators in New York would need to produce an additional 78,073-gigawatt hours above 2022 levels — an increase of over 200% — to reach the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s 2030 goal of 70% renewable electricity consumption. The analysis is based on projections from the New York Independent System Operator, which also projected that the state would need to add 20 gigawatts of installed renewable capacity by 2030, which is triple the 2022 capacity of approximately 6.5 gigawatts. Over the past 20 years, New York used fossil fuel and renewable sources when adding electric generation.

Hindering prior state efforts to increase renewable energy was inconsistent funding, canceled projects and delays that led to lengthy project timelines and failure to achieve targets. Still, New York is taking steps to rectify these problems.

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FLATBUSH CAT GROUP TO OPEN NEW SPAY/NEUTER CLINIC

FLATBUSH — CAT RESCUE ORGANIZATION FLATBUSH CATS IS SET TO HOLD THE GRAND OPENING of a new low-cost spay and neuter clinic later this month, hosted by cat behavior specialist Jackson Galaxy, with the mission of reducing future kitten populations by fixing adult cats today; the new clinic will be able to deliver thousands of sterilization surgeries a year, as well as providing basic vaccines and checkups and cat rescue volunteer training to area residents. The charity says that as many as 50% of US households can’t afford basic vet visits, leading to exploding kitten populations, especially in NYC, where shelters are “flooded with thousands of kittens every year.”

The grand opening is set for Monday, Aug. 21; more information and links to donation forms can be found on the group’s webpage.

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REMOTE-CONTROLLED TRASHBOTS ROLLED OUT AT ALBEE SQUARE

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — TWO REMOTELY-OPERATED MECHANIZED TRASH CANS have been deployed at Albee Square in Downtown Brooklyn to collect the debris of lunchtime crowds, reports Spectrum News, part of a partnership between the Downtown Brooklyn Alliance and Cornell University’s Roosevelt Island tech campus that’s focused on studying the reaction to automated service drones in public areas. The two “trashbots” are large cans mounted on top of repurposed electric hoverboards with cameras attached to allow the operators to scan the area; they have a range of around half a block and a battery life of three to four hours.

Spectrum reports that Cornell plans to roll out more trashbots in areas around the five boroughs in the future.

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MAYOR’S LATEST MIGRANT SHELTER PLANS AGAIN TARGET PUBLIC PARKS

PROSPECT PARK — MAYOR ERIC ADAMS’ LATEST PLAN TO BUILD SHELTER TENTS for the migrants and asylum seekers in the city’s public parks, including Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and Manhattan’s Central Park, is being met with raised eyebrows and resignation, according to Gothamist, WNYC’s news website. The city reported it has run out of space for the asylum seekers, who are already camped outside the Roosevelt Hotel, the site of an intake center. An unnamed city official told Gothamist that Prospect Park is among the green spaces being considered. Meanwhile, although Mayor Adams was set to make an official announcement of his plans, he canceled his Wednesday morning press conference within 40 minutes of its scheduled start time.

Some of the reader comments pointed out that the summer’s frequent and severe thunderstorms have become a major issue, making outdoor shelters unsafe and impractical.

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DEPT OF LABOR WINS $95K FOR OVERWORKED HEALTH AIDE

BROOKLYN — THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ON TUESDAY announced that it had secured a $95,000 settlement for a Brooklyn health aide who was denied adequate sleep time during 24-hour shifts and underpaid for hours worked. DOL investigators determined that from March 2014 to June 2020, a home care aide employed by Preferred Home Care of New York worked 24-hour shifts and did not receive adequate sleep time; the settlement was intended to compensate the aide for this violation, including overtime pay.

Employers are required to pay home care aides 13 hours for each 24-hour shift they are assigned; employees must also receive at least three hours of break time and eight hours of sleep time, five of which must be uninterrupted. The DOL can be contacted or consulted online on their state webpage.

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NYPD LIEUTENANT ARRESTED OVER SEX ABUSE, DEATH THREAT ALLEGATIONS

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — BROOKLYN NYPD LIEUTENANT WIDLER LUCAS WAS ARRESTED ON Tuesday morning on charges of criminal sexual acts, sexual misconduct and aggravated harassment, according to police. The New York Post reports that the charges come after a bombshell lawsuit filed by a former coworker and onetime girlfriend in April accused Lucas of forcing her to give him oral sex in June 2021, then later threatening to kill her and push her in front of a train if she spoke up.

Lucas had been reassigned to the Brooklyn court system following the filing of the lawsuit and has now been suspended without pay; his court date is Oct. 12.

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NEW HOTEL AT OLD WBURG HOTSPOT COMMISSIONS ROOF MURAL

WILLIAMSBURG – HOSPITALITY GROUP ARLO HOTELS IN JULY DEBUTED AN UNMISTAKABLE new art piece for the future site of the rooftop pool at its upcoming Arlo Williamsburg hotel: a 20-by-23-foot abstract mural by L.A. graffiti artist ThankYouX, placed beneath the hotel’s signature water tower. According to Arlo, the piece features the artist’s “signature geometric cubes with vibrant abstract color tones… [It] draws inspiration from the panoramic views atop the hotel: a breathtaking, all-encompassing sunset; the extensive rooftops blending into the horizon; the mighty East River; and beyond, stretching as far as the eye can see.”

The Arlo Williamsburg is taking over the building once occupied by the Williamsburg Hotel, which was sold in April after years of contentious ownership disputes; the new hotel is set to open this fall.

The new rooftop mural by artist ThankYouX at the Arlo Williamsburg. Photo courtesy of Arlo Hotels

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NEW ACADEMIC PARTNERSHIP WILL ENABLE STUDENTS TO VOLUNTEER HELPING ASYLUM SEEKER FIND WORK 

CITYWIDE — NEW YORK CITY’S ASYLUM APPLICATION HELP CENTER has assisted migrants submit more than 1,300 asylum applications since it opened at the end of June, Mayor Eric Adams announced on Wednesday, Aug. 2. The center, which has helped thousands of families progress towards receiving work authorization, is receiving another boost with a new consortium between the city and higher education centers, the Mayor also said. New York University (NYU) is leading a consortium of four schools that will give undergraduate and graduate student application assistants the opportunity to volunteer at the clinic. Also participating are Columbia University; New York Law School; and, City University of New York’s (CUNY) Baruch College, City College, Hunter College, and Queens College, who will sponsor three full days at the clinic this fall.

Many of the participating schools will offer students the opportunity to earn credit for time spent at the center, either in the form of courses or internships.

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FEDERAL JURY RECOMMENDS DEATH SENTENCE FOR CONVICTED MASS SHOOTER IN 2018 SYNAGOGUE ATTACK 

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — A FEDERAL JURY RECOMMENDED THE DEATH PENALTY on Wednesday, Aug. 2, for the gunman who perpetrated the worst antisemitic attack in the nation’s history, reports the Associated Press. The same federal jury who convicted mass shooter Robert Bowers, 50, on 63 criminal counts, recommended that he be executed for the Oct. 27, 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, which he chose for its significance as a major Jewish community, and where he killed 11 worshipers and wounded six.

That jury had unanimously determined that Bowers’ attack was motivated by his hatred of Jews. A judge will formally impose the sentence at a later date.

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 COMPTROLLER DINAPOLI: NEW YORK MUST SURGE FORWARD TO MEET RENEWAL ENERGY GOALS

STATEWIDE —NEW YORK MUST SUPERCHARGE its efforts to meet renewable electricity goals, urges State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli in a new report, which found that renewable generators in New York would need to produce an additional 78,073-gigawatt hours above 2022 levels, an increase of more than 200%, to reach the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s 2030 goal of 70% renewable electricity consumption. The analysis is based on projections from the New York Independent System Operator, which also projected that the state would need to add 20 gigawatts of installed renewable capacity by 2030, which is triple the 2022 capacity of approximately 6.5 gigawatts. Over the past 20 years, New York used a combination of fossil fuel and renewable sources when adding electric generation.

Hindering prior state efforts to increase renewable energy were inconsistent funding, canceled projects and delays that led to lengthy project timelines and failure to achieve targets, but New York is taking steps to rectify these problems.

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HOCHUL TO COMMIT $406M FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

STATEWIDE — GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL ON TUESDAY ANNOUNCED THAT the state plans to commit $406 million in state funding to build housing in the NYC area, including in Brooklyn, reports Spectrum News, as part of an ongoing effort to alleviate the city’s housing crisis. Those dollars, including $120 million in subsidies and $286 million in housing bonds, will be used to support five new development projects, generating 800 units of affordable housing overall.

This new investment comes on top of a previous commitment made by Hochul last month of $650 million for new affordable communities, as well as a replacement program for the expired 421a development tax break targeted to spur growth in Gowanus.

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QUEENS MAN GETS 21 YEARS FOR STABBING EX IN FRONT OF SON

FLATBUSH — BROOKLYN DA ERIC GONZALEZ ON TUESDAY announced that Muneshwar Bira, 37, of Queens, has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for stabbing his ex-girlfriend in front of her teenage son; on the morning of June 4, 2021, Bira broke into the victim’s Flatbush apartment with a knife in hand and tried to stab the victim about her head — and after his first knife broke, the defendant used two additional knives to continue the assault. The victim was wounded but used her arms to ward off attacks while calling out to her 15-year-old son for help; the teen called 911, summoning police to an apartment “covered in blood.” The victim was taken to Kings County Hospital and treated for severe injuries, including a life-threatening wound to her right arm.

During his trial, on April 5, 2023, the defendant failed to return to court following an afternoon break, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest on April 10, 2023. He was picked up on a warrant in Florida and had to be extradited back to New York.

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LYFT TO DONATE RIDE SERVICES TO AID MIGRANT RESETTLEMENT

CITYWIDE — CARSHARE RIDE SERVICE LYFT ON TUESDAY announced that it would be providing the New York Immigration Coalition with thousands of free and discounted ride codes to be used in their efforts to mitigate the refugee crisis through the end of the year. NYIC staff will be able to use the codes to summon car services to transport people to and from services and housing, while some codes will also be provided to migrants using the group’s programs who have access to mobile phones.

The grant is made possible through Lyft Up’s Refugee Access program, which supports refugees throughout the U.S. with ride codes for resettlement agencies and through partnerships with coalitions.


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