What’s News, Breaking: Thursday, August 10, 2023
KINGSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE
OFFERS PARENTING PROGRAMS TO YOUNG DADS
MANHATTAN BEACH — YOUNG FATHERS CAN RECEIVE TRAINING on responsible parenting and economic stability through a program that Kingsborough Community College is offering, according to a notice posted via Community Board 16. The Kingsborough Community College CUNY Fatherhood Academy, a free and comprehensive program, is geared toward unemployed and underemployed young fathers up to age 30 who can enter a high school equivalency track or a college preparation program. Kingsborough is currently recruiting for its Fall cohort, starting Tuesday, Aug. 29. Applications are online or by calling (718) 368-6784.
The high school equivalency exam preparation runs 3 days per week for 16 weeks. The college preparation program runs 3 days per week for 8 weeks.
NYC LAUNCHES LEGAL ASSISTANCE NETWORK FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS
CITYWIDE — THE MAYOR’S OFFICE OF IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS said Thursday that the city has launched the Asylum Seeker Legal Assistance Network, a $5 million investment to expand immigration legal assistance for newly arrived asylum seekers. This is in addition to the over $65 million the city already invests in legal services for immigrant New Yorkers. Services will be provided remotely, by CUNY students overseen by CUNY School of Law, and at community-based organizations citywide serving as Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Centers.
In Brooklyn, Navigation Centers include Coalicion Mexicana, 480 59th St, Suite 2L, Brooklyn, NY 11220; and Mixteca Organization, 245 23rd Street, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11215.
INSURANCE COMPANIES BLAME CLIMATE
CHANGE FOR YEAR’S VIOLENT WEATHER
SOUTHERN BROOKLYN AND NATIONWIDE — THE WAVES OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS so far this year across the U.S., such as a violent July 25 storm that hit Brooklyn and knocked down trees, has cost $34 billion in insured losses, an unprecedented level of financial damage for a six-month period, the Associated Press reports. Several reinsurance industry executives — the companies that indemnify insurance groups — spoke with AP and pointed out that climate change contributes to the frequency and severity of these storms. Swiss Re Group estimated that damages from convective storms (with hail, lightning, heavy rain and high winds) accounted for nearly 70% of the $50 billion in global catastrophic damages so far this year and that 10 of the severe storms caused more than $1 billion or more in damage. Parts of Brooklyn sustained tree and flooding damage from the July 25 storm, including rain gushing into the New Utrecht subway station.
However, some National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientists disagree, asserting that convection storms are typical of any summer.
ASSEMBLYMEMBER COLTON INSPIRES YOUTH
FOR NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUPS
BATH BEACH TO DYKER HEIGHTS — Teams of area students in southern Brooklyn will participate in a neighborhood cleanup that Assemblymember William Colton is organizing for this Saturday, Aug. 12. Dozens of students will fan out from their starting point at 11 a.m. in front of 29 Bay 25th Street to spruce up portions of the 86th Street, Bay Parkway and 18th Avenue shopping strips, as well as the Belt Parkway underpass on Bay Parkway near the entrance to the Caesar’s Bay Shopping Center. Assemblymember Colton (D-47) and Susan Zhuang (who is currently on leave as his chief of staff) regularly organize neighborhood cleanups focusing on local commercial areas in his district (which encompasses Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Gravesend), with another work day scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 26.
“Helping to keep the neighborhood tidy is an important aspect of maintaining quality-of-life for residents,” Assemblyman Colton stresses. “We are very appreciative of the efforts of these dedicated young people who understand that civic participation is a key to having a strong community.”
NEW TARGET TO OPEN IN KINGS PLAZA MALL
MILL BASIN — A NEW TARGET LOCATION IS SET TO OPEN at the Kings Plaza Shopping Center next Sunday, reports PIX News, offering three floors of retail to shoppers in a space formerly occupied by JC Penney. The new store, which will also include a CVS Pharmacy outpost and a Starbucks, will join nine other Target locations in Brooklyn, including, most recently, a small-format location in Midwood that opened in late 2018.
The Kings Plaza Target will be open daily, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; its first day will be Sunday, Aug. 19.
ADVISORY SCHOOL COUNCIL VOTES IN FAVOR OF ADMISSIONS TESTING
CITYWIDE — A PARENT COUNCIL ON HIGH SCHOOLS VOTED 7-1 on Wednesday, in favor of several recommendations supporting reintroducing tight admissions standards for the city’s selective high schools, reports Chalkbeat, another battle in the hot war over the public school system between advocates for integration and parent groups in favor of merit testing. The seven members who approved the advisory-only motion were all endorsed by controversial parent group PLACE, which advocates for screened admissions, in the most recent election, while the lone opposed member was appointed by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who favors overhauling admissions procedures in city schools to more accurately reflect the city’s racial makeup — a policy that opponents have cast as pitting white and Asian students against Black and Latino students, but that supporters say would allow more disadvantaged students to have access to quality education.
The meeting turned hostile, according to Chalkbeat, with parents and advocates on both sides of the conflict accusing their opponents’ favored policies of creating additional stress and unfairness for families and children.
BROOKLYN TEEN DIES IN APPARENT DROWNING
AT UPSTATE FAWN’S LEAP WATERFALL
GREENE COUNTY — A BROOKLYN TEEN DIED WHILE JUMPING off a waterfall ledge into a swimming hole in upstate New York on Tuesday, reports the New York Post. The 16-year-old youth, whose name and neighborhood the NYPD have not yet released, was playing with another New York City friend at Fawn’s Leap — a popular waterfall in the Catskill Mountains — when he got caught in a hydraulic current and drowned. Another swimmer who tried to rescue the boys could save only one, the Greene County Sheriff’s office told the New York Post. The boy’s body was later recovered.
Within the past month, other adventurers have also had close calls and incurred injuries at the waterfall site, which is a popular spot for thrill-seekers, who often take selfies or videos of their feats, the Post reported.
PRISONER ON THE LAM AFTER ESCAPING FROM HOSPITAL WITH BEDSHEETS
MANHATTAN — A PRISONER THAT WAS RECEIVING MEDICAL TREATMENT at Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital on 1st Avenue in the Lower East Side escaped from a fifth-floor window by rappelling down the edifice of the building with bedsheets, then hailing a cab and getting away. Yechun Chen, 44, identified by the New York Post and other press outlets, escaped shortly after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and was still at large Thursday, a police spokesperson said. Chen was arrested on July 31 for criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was brought into care at Mount Sinai Beth Israel because of a cardiac issue last Friday. The police and correction departments were looking for him as of press Thursday, Aug. 10.
According to the New York Post and its sources from the Department of Correction, a nurse approached Chen to help him into the shower, when he appeared to be using tied-up bedsheets to rappel himself out the fifth-floor window and onto a roof at a lower level. He then used a ladder to get onto the street and hailed a cab on 2nd Avenue.
BIDEN TO SEND LIAISON FOR MIGRANT CRISIS
CITYWIDE — PRESIDENT BIDEN IS EXPECTED TO DISPATCH A TOP WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL to have a sit-down with Mayor Adams over the migrant crisis, reports the New York Post, after the mayor on Wednesday delivered a speech begging for federal aid and breaking down the high costs of the city’s efforts to house and care for the large influx of people, now projected to reach $4.7 billion by June 2024 and $12 billion by June 2025; the administration had previously promised to appoint a liaison during Adams’ trip to DC last month. While the state has helped with the costs thus far to the tune of $1 billion, the federal government has only granted a relatively paltry $142 million — an amount barely sufficient to cover just two weeks of the city’s current expenses of $9.8 million a day on migrant services.
The new estimates, calculated by the NYC Office of Budget and Management, reflect a trend of increasing immigration to the city, rather than predicting current steady levels as previous reports have.
GOTHAMIST: CENTRAL BROOKLYN AN EVICTION ‘HOT SPOT’
CITYWIDE — AFTER A PANDEMIC-SPURRED MORATORIUM ON EVICTIONS ended last January, certain sections of the city are emerging as eviction hot spots, according to Gothamist, which has launched an online eviction tracker. City marshals have carried out more than 10,000 residential evictions so far this year, Gothamist says. Hotspots include Central Brooklyn, the central and South Bronx, and northern Staten Island.
In one census tract within Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood, 35 households have been evicted this year amid hundreds of eviction filings. The vast majority of the filings come from a single landlord, the owner of the large Flatbush Gardens housing complex, according to city records.
DINAPOLI: NYC FACES BUDGET-BUSTING ASYLUM, SHELTER COSTS
NEW YORK — NYS COMPTROLLER DINAPOLI’S OFFICE on Thursday detailed the risk of a budgetary shortfall of $4.8 billion in New York City’s budget in FY 2025, with unfunded expenses ballooning each year until reaching a potential $16.2 billion by FY 2027. While the city’s 2024 budget appears solid, potential risks include unfunded expenses for overtime, charter schools, MTA subsidies, class size and special needs mandates. The most significant budget gaps, however, are associated with asylum seekers and expanding the CityFHEPS rental assistance program, which together could cost $5.4 billion or more by FY 2027.
The influx in asylum seekers has grown beyond the city’s ability to manage without a comprehensive federal policy response including funding, DiNapoli said in the report, issued the same day a White House aide was scheduled to meet with Mayor Eric Adams to discuss the issue.
NABBED: BROOKLYN MAN CHARGED
IN HIT-AND-RUN OF BEAUTY SALON OWNER
EAST FLATBUSH — A CANARSIE MAN WITH A BAD DRIVING RECORD had a surprising reckoning in court this week when he was charged with the hit-and-run death of a local business owner, appearing in court for a different violation, reports the Daily News. Neal Small, whose appearance in court on Aug. 8 was to answer a violation of driving with a suspended license, got a surprise when he was also charged with leaving the scene of an accident on Nov. 5, 2022, after hitting 79-year-old Verna McKnight on Church Ave. and East 52nd St. in East Flatbush. Because he was within the speed limit, Neal was not originally charged with vehicular manslaughter, when booked last November at the 84th Precinct station house, the Daily News indicated.
Ms. McKnight, who owned a local beauty salon, had just exited her own car and was walking to a grocery store when Small ran her over.
RHODA HENDRICK KARPATKIN, 93,
LED AND EXPANDED CONSUMER REPORTS
BENSONHURST AND MIDWOOD — BROOKLYN-BORN RHODA HENDRICK KARPATKIN, who as the longtime publisher of Consumer Reports expanded readership and maintained its integrity, has died at age 93, reports the New York Times’ Sam Roberts. At the time she was selected as the Consumer Union’s first woman executive director, Ms. Karpatkin had served as counsel to the non-profit organization and was an attorney and civil rights advocate. The Consumer Union’s name was later changed to Consumer Reports, to match the magazine, and she became the publisher, reinforcing its trusted name in product testing and wise comparison shopping. Karpatkin more than doubled the subscription base — to 4.3 million — for the magazine, which does not accept paid advertising.
Rhoda Hendrick, before her 1951 marriage to Marvin Karpatkin, graduated from Lafayette High School in Bath Beach and then Brooklyn College, deciding on law rather than journalism as a career. Her leadership of Consumer Reports handed her accomplishments in both fields.
VOTE FOR FEATURE FILM TO CLOSE SUMMER 2023 ‘MOVIES WITH A VIEW’ SERIES
BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK — MOVIEGOERS NOW HAVE THEIR CHANCE TO SELECT the closing film of the summer series at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Voting for Movies With A View: Public Choice has opened, with the three choices being The Addams Family, Romeo & Juliet and Little Women. Voting ends on Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 3 p.m., with the winning movie being announced the next evening during the showing of Everything Everywhere All At Once (rated R), on Thursday, Aug. 17, at the Pier 1 Harbor View Lawn.
Lawn opens at 6 p.m., with Time Out Market, one of the vendors, opening at 5 p.m. Other sponsoring vendors and partners at Brooklyn Bridge Park include BAM Film, Brooklyn Radio, Time Out Market New York, Transportation Alternatives and Frost Productions.
COMPLAINTS POUR IN OVER ICE CREAM TRUCK POLLUTION AND COUNCILMEMBER RESTLER’S PROPOSED SOLUTION
DUMBO AND BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — CITY COUNCILMEMBER LINCOLN RESTLER (D-33) IS ALREADY FACING PUSHBACK for his proposal to make ice cream trucks switch to more environmentally-friendly generators, even though locals are also complaining to 311 about noise and pollution they generate, reports Gothamist. Restler’s bill would require ice cream trucks to switch from generators using carbon-based fuel to provide electricity for food equipment and would become effective three years after being signed into law, giving owners of these trucks time to buy new generators.
Identifying as an ice cream lover, Restler said that the city has received — from DUMBO residents alone — thousands of noise and pollution complaints on its 311 number about ice cream trucks. Yet, they allegedly don’t like his solution, either. Restler told Gothamist, “People have called our office with threatening messages, have said really harmful and awful things to members of my staff.”
CALLAHAN-KELLY PLAYGROUND SET TO REOPEN AFTER YEARS-LONG RECONSTRUCTION
OCEAN HILL/BROWNSVILLE — THE CALLAHAN-KELLY PLAYGROUND SHOULD FINALLY OPEN in time for this weekend, now that its long-awaited reconstruction is complete, an official from the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation announced to Brooklyn Community Board 16 on Wednesday, Aug. 9. The scope of this project, whose design stage began in 2016, with a completed construction date of April 2023 (delays in part due to the pandemic), included playground reconstruction, installation of spray shower, perimeter sidewalks and walls, basketball courts, adult fitness equipment and sitting areas, and a new skate park and park entrances. The construction fences were scheduled to be removed this week.
Callahan-Kelly Park, in Ocean Hill-Brownsville near Broadway Junction, is named for two U.S. soldiers who were killed in combat during World War I: for William E. Callahan (whose home was at 98 Hinsdale Street) and Edward E. Kelly (who resided on Herkimer Street).
MAIMONIDES HEALTH MARKS 20 YEARS IN SUMMER YOUTH EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM
BOROUGH PARK — NEARLY 400 YOUTH PROGRAM VOLUNTEERS WERE RECOGNIZED at Maimonides Health on Tuesday, Aug. 8, as they celebrated the program’s 20th year as the city’s largest summer youth employment program. Maimonides Health (a system of which Maimonides Medical Center is the anchor), is considered the largest site for New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development Summer Youth Employment Program, with this year’s theme being “When Action Meets Compassion, Lives Change!” The youth participants from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, assist in all aspects of Maimonides’ operations, from business and medical offices to patient care areas and support services. They also attend workshops on workplace readiness, résumé building and budget planning to help them succeed in the workplace.
The NYPD Police Band’s entrance began the Youth Recognition Ceremony, with speakers and presenters including Douglas Jablon, executive vice president of Maimonides Medical Center, keynote speaker Daphne Montanez, associate commissioner, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development; Ken Gibbs, president & CEO, Maimonides Health; and Nancy Hagans, RN, NYSNA president and resource nurse at Maimonides Medical Center.
TRANSNATIONAL KINGPIN CONVICTED FOR MURDER, RACKETEERING, ROBBERIES
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — THE KINGPIN OF A TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION WAS CONVICTED of 17 of the 18 counts against him in Brooklyn Federal Court on Wednesday, Aug. 9. A federal jury handed down a guilty verdict against Melvi Amador-Rios, a leader of the Centrales Locos Salvatruchas (“CLS”) clique of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13. He was convicted of racketeering and murder in-aid-of racketeering in connection with the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Julio Vasquez in Queens on May 16, 2017. Several other counts are included for Hobbs Act robberies and a conviction for ordering a non-fatal shooting that left a victim paralyzed.
The verdict followed a three-week trial before United States District Judge Rachel P. Kovner. When sentenced, Amador-Rios faces a mandatory term of life in prison.
HISTORIC CONCORDE AIRCRAFT TAKES BARGE TO BROOKLYN
BROOKLYN — A BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE, once one of the fastest commercial aircrafts in the world, was in the air again on Wednesday, but just momentarily — as it was removed by crane from its perch on the Intrepid Sea and Space Museum and placed on a barge for transport to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where it will be restored. The museum’s Manhattan pier will be enlarged as well while the world-famous Concorde is temporarily ensconced in Brooklyn, ABC reports.
The Concorde has been on exhibit at the museum for 20 years. The restoration process at the Navy Yard will include sanding and stripping the plane down to bare metal.
BK D.A. GONZALEZ PUTS DEED-THEFT FRAUDSTER BEHIND BARS
BROOKLYN — BROOKLYN D.A. ERIC GONZALEZ ANNOUNCED on Wednesday that Derrick Johnson, a.k.a. Jay Rendell, 60, of Clinton Hill, has pleaded guilty in a deed fraud scheme in connection with two properties, one in Bedford-Stuyvesant and the other in Bushwick. He also committed mortgage fraud related to a third property in Park Slope. Johnson had pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon in January, but jumped bail and fled to Georgia, where he was arrested.
Johnson appeared before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Laura Johnson, who promised him an indeterminate term of three to nine years in prison when he is sentenced on Aug. 30. All his sentences will run concurrently.
WEWORK TANKING, DOUBTS IT CAN STAY IN BUSINESS
NATIONWIDE /BROOKLYN — WORKSPACE-SHARING COMPANY WEWORK WARNED on Tuesday that “substantial doubt exists about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” amid steep losses, a shortage of cash and turmoil as top executives depart, according to news sources including the New York Times. The company’s shares plunged 27% Tuesday and another 40% Wednesday, to roughly 13 cents a share in midday trading. If WeWork collapses, it could “deepen the rout” in the office space market, the Times said.
Brooklyn WeWork locations include 195 Montague St., 77 Sands St. and 1 Dock 72 Way at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
NYC: CHECK WATER QUALITY BEFORE GOING TO THE BEACH
CITYWIDE — WATER QUALITY HEADED DOWNHILL recently at several city beaches, and the Department of Health is advising beachgoers to check for water advisories and beach closures before hitting the waves. To find out about the status of a city beach, text “BEACH” to 55676, call 311 or check out the NYC Area Beach Map at nyc.gov/beaches. The most recent data shown on the city’s map shows high levels of bacteria at some beaches following recent heavy rains, including the water off Coney Island.
While bacteria levels usually hover around 10-20 bacteria per 100 mL of water at Coney Island, on Aug. 7, the sample held 766 bacteria. Rockaway Beach, on the other hand, had low bacteria levels — but was recently the site of a serious shark attack.
NYC FERRY CONTRACT GOES TO HORNBLOWER, AGAIN
CITYWIDE — NYC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ANNOUNCED on Tuesday that the city has granted a new five-year NYC Ferry contract to Hornblower Group, the company that has operated the ferry since 2017. EDC says Hornblower has achieved “record-breaking ridership, exceeding pre-pandemic levels with farebox revenue up more than $6 million,” and expects its per-passenger subsidy is on track to be reduced by nearly 30% by 2025.
The value of the contract, worth up to $405 million, is more than 2.5 times larger than the $160 million in revenue the city expects to earn from ferry fares, advertising, and concessions during the same period, amNY points out.
NEW YORK STATE LAUNCHES CYBER-SECURITY STRATEGY
STATEWIDE — NEW YORK STATE HAS LAUNCHED A NEW CYBER-SECURITY STRATEGY, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday, Aug. 9. This first-ever statewide cybersecurity strategy aims to protect New York’s digital infrastructure from the latest cyber threats and articulates a set of high-level objectives for cybersecurity and resilience across the state. The Cyber-Security Strategy also clarifies agency roles and responsibilities, outlines the interconnectivity of existing and planned initiatives and investments in a unified approach, provides public and private stakeholders with a roadmap for cyber risk mitigation and outlines a plan to protect critical infrastructure, networks, data, and technology.
During her address, Gov. Hochul praised NYU-Tandon School of Engineering, where the announcement was made, for “leading the charge, sounding the alarm about the need to protect cyberspace. And people were very unfamiliar with everything we’re talking about, but this institution took the lead.” Hochul added that her administration has hired many NYU Tandon graduates.
NYS DEPT OF LABOR REPORT SHEDS LIGHT ON AGENCY’S HANDLING OF COVID CRISIS
STATEWIDE — THE NYS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR HAS RELEASED an unusually engaging report detailing its Herculean efforts to provide unemployment benefits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The report describes how NYSDOL was forced to transform in the midst of the crisis as the unemployment rate skyrocketed overnight from 3.9% to 16.5% — just as the agency was in year two of a multi-year overhaul of its outdated technology. Weekly phone calls increased from 50,000 before the pandemic to 8 million at its height. (More than a million people attempted to call on one memorable day.) Throughout the pandemic, NYSDOL paid out more than $105 billion in benefits to nearly 5 million residents.
NYSDOL also faced massive fraud attempts by international cyber criminals. DOL detected more than 1.5 million cases of fraudulent claims, generating roughly $4 billion in losses. The full report can be found online.
Leave a Comment
Leave a Comment