Brooklyn Boro

What’s News, Breaking: Tuesday, August 8, 2023

August 8, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON, A PAST EDUCATOR,
FIGHTS TO KEEP SPECIALIZED ADMISSION TEST

BENSONHURST AND CITYWIDE — PERCEIVING A NEW THREAT TO PRESERVING the city’s Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, Assemblymember William Colton is urging parents to mobilize. Colton, along with Susan Zhuang as his chief of staff, has defeated previous attacks on the Specialized High School Admissions Test. He urges the city’s Department of Education to expand proven offerings such as Gifted & Talented Programs and pointed out that in 2022 the city announced it would be adding seats to the program to make it available in all the city’s school districts.

A former teacher, Assemblymember Colton asserts that the test is an important portal for children of immigrant and working-class families who can excel and gain admission to a top public high school, and thus a gateway to a rewarding career.

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KENDRICK LAMAR MAY MOVE TO BROOKLYN

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS –– KENDRICK LAMAR, THE RAPPER AND PERFORMER, who autered contemporary greats like “HUMBLE.” and “Money Trees,” is looking at a penthouse in the star-studded neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights, reports the New York Post’s real estate column, “Gimme Shelter.” Most recently, Lamar had drawn massive crowds at Chicago’s Lollapalooza music festival, but he might fly eastward back into a new home. One of the penthouses Lamar looked at was at Quay Tower, where fellow celebrity and “Euphoria” star Zendaya also owns a unit. Lamar allegedly showed up to look at the place with a few of his friends.

Kendrick Lamar’s maybe-home-to-be includes a children’s center, a music room with a baby grand piano and a concierge.

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SHARK ATTACK ON ROCKAWAY BEACH

ROCKAWAY PENINSULA, QUEENS — A SHARK ATTACK ON ROCKAWAY BEAECH THAT HAPPENED just before 6 p.m. Monday has local residents concerned, although such an occurrence is rare. Authorities say a 65-year-old woman was seriously injured when a shark bit her on her left leg while she was swimming, and a police spokesperson says the woman was hospitalized in critical but stable condition. Lifeguards cleared swimmers from the water. Police searched the area for sharks with a helicopter but did not find any. 

The bite removed a chunk of flesh from her thigh, leaving a gaping wound several inches wide and deep, according to a photo shared with The Associated Press. According to the AP, there are 57 shark attacks per year worldwide.

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HIGH-PROFILE TRAFFICKING RINGLEADER
GETS MULTIPLE PRISON SENTENCES

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — THE LEADER OF A MULTIBILLION  PARAMILITARY AND DRUG TRAFFICKING ENTERPRISE on Tuesday, Aug. 8, was sentenced to 45 years in prison and ordered to pay $216 million in forfeiture. United States District Judge Dora L. Irizarry presided at the sentencing, in Brooklyn federal court, of Colombian citizen Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, a.k.a. “Otoniel,” 51, who was known by various other aliases and who had led “Clan del Golfo,” a criminal enterprise from 2003 to 2021. The defendant was sentenced to another 45 years (but to be served concurrently) for participating in a maritime narcotics conspiracy and 45 years imprisonment for engaging in a narcotics importation conspiracy.

Úsuga David had participated in conspiracies to distribute narcotics via maritime vessels and also to manufacture and distribute cocaine, knowing and intending that the narcotics would be illegally imported into the United States. He pleaded guilty to all these charges in January of this year.

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IN MEMORIAM
REV. THADDEUS GRZELAK, 84, SERVED
ST. CHARLES BORROMEO PARISH

Rev. Thaddeus Grzelak. Photo courtesy of DeSales Media

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS AND MIDDLE VILLAGE — FATHER THADDEUS A. GRZELAK, who for many years served as a parochial vicar at St. Charles Borromeo Church, has died, the diocesan Tablet newspaper reported last week. Familiarly known to his parishioners as “Father Ted,” he died at age 84, on May 29, the 58th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Ordained in 1965, Fr. Grzelak served the Diocese of Brooklyn as parochial vicar at several other parishes including, in Brooklyn, Our Lady Help of Christians, Saint Nicholas and Holy Innocents; as well as parishes in Queens. Bishop Robert Brennan presided at a July 24 funeral Mass for Fr. Grzelak, who is buried at St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village.

Fr. Grzelak was known as a priest “who preached Gospel with Kindness.” Fr. Thomas Machalski, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Bayside, recalls that Father Grzelak was “immensely popular” in the many parishes where he ministered, “because he was always kind, always upbeat, always smiling.”

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RENOVATIONS AT F LINE’s AVE. I TRAIN COMPLETED

MIDWOOD — THE MTA ON TUESDAY ANNOUNCED THAT CREWS COMPLETED much-needed aesthetic and functional renovations of the F train’s Avenue I station in Midwood, Brooklyn. This work is part of New York City Transit (NYCT)’s Re-NEW-Vation Program. Transit workers scraped peeling paint, primed surfaces, did gutter repairs on the platforms and mezzanine, installed new LED lighting and performed deep cleaning.

“By taking advantage of planned service changes, we were able to respond directly to customer concerns and provide a cleaner, more inviting subway station,” said MTA New York City Transit President Richard Davey.

Before photo of the Avenue I subway station’s outdoor platform.
Photos courtesy of MTA
After photo of the Avenue I subway station’s outdoor platform.

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SUPREME COURT REINSTATES
REGULATIONS ON GHOST GUNS

NATIONWIDE — GHOST GUNS WILL AGAIN BE REGULATED, following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Tuesday, Aug. 9. The Supreme Court has reinstated regulations on these untraceable guns, which can be produced on 3D printers or sold in kits, without serial numbers. The Associated Press reported that the so-called “ghost guns” have been increasingly showing up at crime scenes around the U.S. The Supreme Court’s vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett joining the court’s three liberal justices to form the majority, puts on hold a federal judge’s ruling that invalidated the Biden administration’s regulation of ghost gun kits, putting the regulation back into effect while the administration appeals the ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.  

Earlier this year, NY Attorney General Letitia James had won a court order to immediately stop 10 national gun distributors from selling and shipping into New York State unfinished frames and receivers, which are key components of untraceable — and deadly — ghost guns.

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BOROUGH PRESIDENT REYNOSO HOSTS WINGATE PARK CONCERT TONIGHT

PROSPECT-LEFFERTS GARDENS –– BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT ANTONIO REYNOSO AND HIS OFFICE ARE HOSTING A CONCERT at Wingate Park tonight, which will open at 5 p.m. for a 6 p.m. show featuring reggae, R&B, soul, jazz and funk performances. The lineup includes Brooklyn’s three-time Grammy-winning reggae band Morgan Heritage; R&B soul diva Leela James; Ralph McDaniels’ Video Music Box, paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip-hop taking place this year; and Harlem’s vintage funk and jazz saxophone sensation Lakecia Benjamin & Soul Squad. The concert will also have a special performance by the Brooklyn United Marching Band, a youth music mentor program. Wingate Park entrances will be limited to Brooklyn Avenue and Winthrop Street. The Brooklyn Avenue entrance will also serve as the ADA entrance and will open to persons with disabilities at 4:45pm. Reserved ADA seating will be available. The concert is scheduled to end at 10 p.m.

“Wingate is what it looks like to celebrate summer the Brooklyn way: with good tunes, great vibes, and all the love for the people who call this beautiful borough home,” said Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Last year, over 5,000 people joined us to safely enjoy this summer staple, and this year, with this lineup, we’re gearing up to top it.”

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CITYPARKS PUPPETMOBILE BRINGS BACK URBAN RETELLING OF CLASSIC TALE

CROWN HEIGHTS — THE CITYPARKS PUPPETMOBILE FREE AND FAMILY-FRIENDLY ORIGINAL MARIONETTE PRODUCTION of Little Red’s Hood is back by popular demand with shows running through October. Little Red’s Hood is a fresh retelling of the classic “Little Red Riding Hood” tale updated with a modern sensibility that will appeal to children growing up in New York City. The traveling show (with performances in four boroughs, including Brooklyn), features a dozen hand-made marionettes from the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre’s expert puppeteers. The sole Brooklyn performance this month is on Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 1 p.m. at the St. John’s Recreation Center (in Bedford-Stuyvesant, 1251 Prospect Place between Troy and Schenectady avenues).

Little Red’s Hood spotlights Little Red, a smart, young city dweller who is obsessed with her smartphone and offers a comical lesson on the importance of disconnecting from digital lives to enjoy real-life moments with friends and family.

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PIPE REPLACEMENT ON WITHERS ST. REQUIRES WATER TURNOFF ON TUESDAY

WILLIAMSBURG — RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES ON A STRETCH OF WITHERS STREET in Williamsburg are being alerted about a Temporary Water Shutoff scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 8, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., according to a notice that Community Board 1 distributed on Monday. The NYC Department of Design and Construction is replacing 100-year-old pipes that distribute water to the city with newer pipes that are more resistant to cracks and breaks. According to the department’s flyer, this work is being done on Withers Street between Lorimer Street and Union Avenue (just to the northwest of the BQE), as part of a multi-site and citywide Pedestrian Safety Improvements project.

The city urges property owners and residents to store in advance any water needed for cooking, cleaning or other uses, to shut off the main water valve to prevent plumbing problems and sediment from entering internal pipes and to turn off water-cooled systems such as central air conditioning.

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SILVER ALERT ISSUED FOR MISSING BED-STUY MAN

BED-STUY — POLICE ARE ASKING THE PUBLIC’S HELP IN FINDING a person who has been missing since Saturday, Aug. 5. The man, a 64-year-old Black Hispanic, is identified as Hector Pacheco-Padilla of Marcus Garvey Blvd. in Bedford-Stuyvesant (79th Precinct). He was last seen in his residence around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Have you seen this man, described as Hispanic, with brown eyes, a gray beard, 5’7” in height, and approximately 210 lbs. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, black jean shorts, and blue Croc shoes. If so, please contact NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Photo: NYPD/CrimeStoppers

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REPORT FROM THE CITY: YESHIVAS LACKING IN SECULAR EDUCATION FOR OVER FIVE YEARS

BOROUGHWIDE –– RECORDS OBTAINED BY THE CITY, A LOCAL NEWS CONSORTIUM, INDICATE THAT SECULAR EDUCATION has been lacking in Yeshivas for over five years. The records obtained are internal communications between Department of Education officials. The NYC DOE allegedly knew about the lapsed curriculum when they surveyed 11 different religious schools in Brooklyn in 2018 and 2019. Seven of those schools got a clean bill of health, and four were categorized as “underdeveloped.” The schools included in the “underdeveloped” category include Yeshiva Kerem Shlomo in Borough Park and Yeshiva Bnei Shimon Yisroel of Sopron in Williamsburg. At those schools, DOE officials only witnessed classes in Jewish studies, which were all conducted in Yiddish.

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COMPTROLLER LANDER: CITY RETIREMENT SYSTEMS OUTDID INVESTMENT RETURN TARGETS

CITYWIDE — THE NEW YORK CITY RETIREMENT SYSTEMS ACHIEVED a combined net return of 8% across all five pension funds, and with a value of $253.19 billion in assets, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander said on Monday, Aug. 7. Funds surpassed the 7% actuarial target rate, meaning that the required City contributions are reduced by approximately $550 million over the next five years.

The strong performance this fiscal year notwithstanding economic challenges such as record-high inflation and a volatile investment scenario is being credited to the retirement systems’ diversified asset allocation, portfolio construction, and risk assessment.

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NEW EMERGENCY HUMANITARIAN RELIEF CENTER TO OPEN ON RANDALL’S ISLAND

RANDALL’S ISLAND –– THE MAYOR ANNOUNCED TO THE PRESS ON MONDAY THAT RANDALL’S ISLAND WILL BE CONVERTED into a “Humanitarian Relief Center” shelter that will house 2,000 adult asylum seekers. As of Aug. 7, the number of asylum seekers in the city’s care has exceeded 57,200 people. More than 190 emergency shelters have been constructed in reaction to the migration influx that has occurred over the past year. New York state will reimburse the city for the associated costs of the site, including construction, maintenance and staffing. This humanitarian relief center will provide a range of services, in addition to ensuring asylum seekers can reach their desired destination, if not New York.

“As the number of asylum seekers in our care continues to grow by hundreds every day, stretching our system to its breaking point and beyond, it has become more and more of a Herculean effort to find enough beds every night,” said Mayor Eric Adams.


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