What’s News, Breaking: Monday, August 14, 2023
NESTLÉ USA ISSUES PRECAUTIONARY RECALL
OF ITS COOKIE DOUGH “BREAK AND BAKE” BAR
NATIONWIDE — NESTLÉ USA IS INITIATING A VOLUNTARY RECALL of a limited quantity of its Nestlé® Toll House® Chocolate Chip (16.5 oz) products due to the potential presence of wood fragments. This voluntary recall is isolated to two batches of NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough “break and bake” Bar products that were produced on April 24 and 25, 2023. This product’s (16.5 oz) size bears the batch codes 311457531K and 311557534K, with corresponding Best-By dates of 8/22/23 and 10/23/23. Consumers with matching product information should not prepare or consume the product and should return the product to the retailer where it was purchased for a replacement or refund. No illnesses or injuries have yet been reported, and Nestlé’s action is precautionary.
Nestlé® indicated that this recall does not affect any of its other products, including other varieties of refrigerated cookie dough in “break and bake” bars, rolls, or tubs, or Edible cookie dough.
DOT PROPOSES RULE ON PEDAL-ASSIST BIKES
FOR COMMERCIAL DELIVERIES
CITYWIDE — A SOLUTION TO THE BIG-BOX DELIVERY TRUCKS PROBLEM may be in the making, with a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 13, focusing on the NYC Department of Transportation’s proposed amendment regarding pedal-assist bicycles for commercial use, according to Brooklyn Community Board 1 and the City Record. The DOT’s proposed amendment would revise the definition of “pedal-assist bicycle” to “pedal-assist commercial bicycle” and establish operating guidelines for pedal-assist commercial bicycles. It would also broaden options for sustainable and efficient modes of parcel and goods delivery, and encourage the use of low- or no-emission vehicles for last-mile freight delivery as recently highlighted in New York City’s (NYC) Delivering Green, DOT’s Delivering New York and NYC Streets Plan. The virtual public hearing, starting at 10 a.m. on Sept. 13, can be accessed via Zoom (Meeting ID: 949 5388 7092; Password: 658250).
The freight industry sees cargo bicycles with pedal-assist as an opportunity to test consolidation and smaller-scale deliveries in constrained urban spaces, with the concomitant benefits of avoiding tickets and reducing negative impacts on traffic and street safety.
NY POST: BAY RIDGE PET GROOMING STORE CLOSING,
OWNER CITES CRIME, FILTH AND ‘FAILING POLICIES’
BAY RIDGE — A BAY RIDGE PET GROOMING AND SUPPLIES MERCHANT WILL CLOSE UP SHOPT on Aug. 21 and move to Florida, blaming crime and failing policies regarding safety, reported the New York Post on Monday in an exclusive story. “There’s no law and order,” declared Laura Generoso, a Bay Ridge native and owner of Wagging Tails in Bay Ridge, recalling a frightening situation last year in which an armed robbery out on the street spilled into her store. Generoso, who has been in the pet store business since 2006, opened their Fourth Avenue location five years ago.
Notices placed on the storefront door and on social media also politicians on crime, as well as filth, e-bikes and Vespas on sidewalks.
UBS AGREES TO PAY $1.435B IN PENALTIES
FOR MISREPRESENTING SALE OF SECURITIES
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTION UBS AG AND SEVERAL OF ITS U.S.-BASED AFFILIATES HAVE AGREED TO PAY $1.435 billion in penalties to settle a civil action filed in November 2018, alleging misconduct, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Eastern District of New York announced in Brooklyn on Monday, Aug. 14. The settlement resolves claims that misrepresentations were made in the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities that were issued in 2006 and 2007. This settlement resolves the last case brought by a Department of Justice Working Group dedicated to investigating the conduct of banks and other entities for their roles in creating and issuing RMBS leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.
This settlement, in which UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland) will pay the United States $1,435,000,000 in civil penalties in exchange for dismissal of the complaint filed, brings the total amount of civil penalties paid by banks, originators, and ratings agencies for such securities to more than $36 billion.
BROOKLYN DIOCESE MARKS FEAST DAY
FOR KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FOUNDER
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — THE DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN on Sunday, Aug. 13, celebrated its third feast day at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph for Blessed Father Michael McGivney, who founded the Knights of Columbus and is on the journey to sainthood, having already been beatified in October 2020, reports the Tablet. The Diocese of Brooklyn has 15,000 Knights of Columbus, according to Father Michael Gelfant, the associate state chaplain and a diocesan liaison for the New York state Knights of Columbus Council.
An apostolic letter from the Vatican officially declared Father McGivney as“blessed” on Oct. 31, 2020, commending “zeal for the proclamation of the Gospel and generous concern for his brothers and sisters.” Fr. McGivney, born on August 12, 1852, died two days after his 38th birthday, on Aug.14, 1890. Accordingly, the Roman Catholic Church selected the day in between as his patronal feast.
KINGSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE WAS
PIONEER IN FOOD PANTRIES FOR NEEDY STUDENTS
MANHATTAN BEACH AND MANHATTAN — KINGSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE WAS A FORERUNNER 11 years ago in a food pantry project that has since expanded to other schools within the CUNY system, reports the New York Times in an Aug. 14, 2023 article on Hunter College’s Purple Apron, a food pantry for students facing food insecurity. CUNY and the Food Bank for New York partnered through Kingsborough in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. A 2022 survey found that about 40% of CUNY students — approximately 110,000 students across 25 campuses citywide — have to contend with “low” or “very low” food security, affecting their ability to focus on their studies.
Purple Apron, which received a recent visit from Félix Matos Rodríguez, City College chancellor, and Leslie Gordon, president and chief executive of the non-profit Food Bank for New York City, runs two Manhattan sites, supplying foods like milk, pasta and rice, as well as canned fruit, vegetables, fish and chili, and keeps one of its locations open during the summer for the CUNY student community.
COUNCIL TO ANNOUNCE NEW CRACKDOWN ON GRAY MARKET WEED
CITYWIDE — CITY COUNCILMEMBER LYNN SCHULMAN WAS SET TO LEAD A PRESS CONFERENCE on Monday morning at a Manhattan weed dispensary announcing a new law that will prohibit landlords from knowingly leasing to unlicensed smoke shops, imposing fines of up to $10,000 on property owners for violations. A press release from the council charged that the estimated 8,000 unlicensed smoke shops in NYC are depriving the state of tax revenues on an expected $5.4 billion in weed sales this year, as well as pointing out that products sold in unlawful stores are unregulated, and may pose health risks to consumers.
The explosion in gray-market marijuana stores can be traced to the difficulties that legitimate business owners have faced in securing licenses to run their own stores: there are just five recreational dispensaries in all of NYC, and none in Brooklyn, after a lawsuit prevented the state from issuing licenses there for a significant period.
FEDS SAY NO TO HOUSING MIGRANTS AT FLOYD BENNETT
MARINE PARK — THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ON SUNDAY PUT THE BRAKES ON A PLAN FROM Governor Hochul to erect temporary housing for asylum-seekers at Floyd Bennett Field, reports the New York Post, citing logistical and organizational issues as its reason for denying the go-ahead for a proposed camp at the site, which is overseen by the National Parks Service. Hochul later told reporters that the state was still interested in pursuing the plan, saying that she remained optimistic that those hurdles could be overcome: “I did not take away from that a hard ‘no.’ So I think it’s just gonna be an evolving process.”
Currently, there are just 44 campsites available at the former military airfield; last year, the Parks Service was seeking proposals to use the available land for a very different purpose: luxury “glamping” sites.
MAUI FIRE DEATH TOLL REACHES 96, DEADLIEST IN A CENTURY
HAWAII — HAWAII GOVERNOR JOSH GREEN ANNOUNCED ON MONDAY MORNING THAT THE DEATH TOLL of the horrific fires that swept through parts of the island of Maui beginning on Tuesday night is now officially at 96 lives lost, reports the Washington Post, but is expected to continue to rise as emergency and repair workers battle the remaining blazes and search wreckage for survivors and bodies. The wildfires on the island, speculated to have been sparked by downed power lines and fanned by strong winds from nearby Hurricane Dora, are the deadliest wildfires in a century, surpassing the 2018 Camp Fire in California, in which 85 people perished.
As volunteers and government agencies mobilize to help displaced fire victims, Hawaii’s attorney general on Tuesday warned the public to be aware of fraudulent charities and schemes; the New York Times provides a list of groups raising funds for the effort.
NEW SECURITY CAMERAS IN SOUTHERN BROOKLYN
CONEY ISLAND — COUNCILMEMBER ARI KAGAN ON SUNDAY ANNOUNCED that he had secured around $400,000 in capital funding that will be used to invest in security upgrades for Coney Island and his southern Brooklyn district, reports News 12. Funded projects will include $150,000 to purchase an undercover police van and $240,000 for new security cameras in high-traffic areas and in NYCHA housing, as well as $1000 for each precinct community council; it could take up to a year for the installation of the cameras to take place.
Kagan told News 12 that he was glad to serve as an intermediary between the NYPD and the community; new camera locations will include Kaiser Park and on the boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue and between 28th and 29th streets.
POLICE SEEK GROUP THAT BEAT MAN ON SUBWAY
CARROLL GARDENS — POLICE ARE SEARCHING FOR A GROUP OF FOUR HOODLUMS who in the early hours of Sunday, Aug. 13, approached and attacked a 67-year-old man on a northbound F train. The individuals demanded money while punching the victim multiple times about the head, then stole the victim’s cellphone and senior reduced-fare MetroCard before exiting the train at the Carroll Street station and fleeing; the victim sustained minor injuries and was treated on scene by EMS.
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.
COBBLE HILL BEAUTY SPA SHUTTERS
COBBLE HILL — COBBLE HILL LUXURY SPA SHEN HAS SHUTTERED its Court Street storefront, reports Beauty Independent, and will be pivoting to an “online-only model” following a series of disasters that left founder Jessica Richards unable to hold onto the $22,000-a-month lease. In an interview with the site, Richards describes the struggle, shared by many area small business owners, of handling the pandemic’s impact on in-person shopping and securing loans, but also the shockwaves of an ownership dispute with a former partner and the discovery of a staggering amount of theft by a former employee.
Despite the closure, Richards remains optimistic that Shen, which focuses on niche, indie and upcoming brands, can become an e-commerce success, and that her account can help other store owners avoid facing similar challenges: “It’s almost like a roadmap for every other retailer, vendor or anybody else of what not to do. But, at the end of the day, the buck stops with me. Whatever has transpired is my fault. I’m the business owner.”
NY TIMES: CITY’S THREE PUBLIC ANIMAL
SHELTERS OVERCROWDED, ADOPTIONS SLOW
CITYWIDE — A PIT BULL MIX NAMED BROOKLYN HAS CAPTURED THE ATTENTION of the New York Times, which published a story on Monday, Aug. 14, about the overcrowding in animal shelters and the lack of vets to treat the number of pets who have been rescued. Exacerbating the problem is that only Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island have full-service, city-run shelters operating, and these three shelters accepted roughly 4,500 cats and 2,429 dogs during the first six months of this year, and the economy has caused a slowdown in adoptions and an uptick in pets being abandoned.
Eva Prokop, the founder of the Brooklyn-based cat rescue organization Whiskers-A-Go-Go, told the NY Times that her people are trained in T.N.R. (Trap, Neuter and Return), which spays feral cats, to limit their proliferation.
MISI’S OWNERS PROMOTING
SOON-TO-OPEN PASTA STORE
WILLIAMSBURG — A NEW PASTA SHOP IS OPENING SOON in Williamsburg, reports EATER NY. Missy Robbins and Sean Feeney, the restaurateurs at the borough’s popular Italian restaurants Lilia and Misi, will be opening Misi Pasta on Grand Street near Kent Avenue “soon,” describing it for now only as “an experiential retail store.”
Robbins posted the announcement on her Instagram, and Feeney confirmed with EATER NY that Misi Pasta will open a few blocks away from Misi, which is at Kent Ave. near S. 3rd St.
BROOKLYN SENIORS TARGETED IN SCAM
INVOLVING COVID TESTS, SURPRISE FEES
BAY RIDGE/DYKER HTS. — SENIOR CITIZENS IN BROOKLYN WHO HAVE RECEIVED UNSOLICITED COVID TESTS IN THE MAIL — followed by surprise charges on their monthly Medicare statements — are urged to report this to the Medicare Fraud Office (1-800-633-4227), according to a notice from Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-11/southwestern Brooklyn). Malliotakis and Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella have received several complaints from seniors who have received these tests over the past several months, the charges for which appear on monthly Medicare statements. Medicare will issue new cards to replace the compromised numbers. Congresswoman Malliotakis, who sits on the House Committee on Ways & Means, is urging the committee to investigate this issue.
“One of my constituents received 140 COVID test kits over several months that were billed to his Medicare account,” said Malliotakis, whose Brooklyn District Office phone number is (718) 306-1620.
FT. HAMILTON H.S. ALUMNUS AMONG 10%
OF NAVAL OFFICERS SERVING ABOARD SUBMARINES
FORT HAMILTON AND UNDERSEAS — BROOKLYN NATIVE AND FORT HAMILTON HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNUS Marco Medina, a Petty Officer 3rd Class, is serving on the U.S. Navy submarine aboard the USS Charlotte. While submariners comprise just 10% of the U.S. Navy’s personnel, they play a critical role in carrying out one of the Defense Department’s most important missions: strategic deterrence. Petty Officer 3rd Class Medina is one of the sailors continuing a 123-year tradition of service under the sea to help ensure Americans’ safety. While Medina admitted, “I joined the Navy to get out of New York,” he explained that he wanted a different job and experiences than most other people.
“My parents are immigrants and I’m a first-generation American,” said Medina. “I saw their hard work growing up and it stuck with me. They also taught me to be respectful to everyone.”
HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER JEFFRIES
WILL KEYNOTE DELEGATION FROM GUYANA
CENTRAL BROOKLYN AND WASHINGTON, DC — THE BROOKLYN-BASED CARIBBEAN GUYANA INSTITUTE FOR DEMOCRACY and the combined Guyanese diaspora organizations in the United States will convene an important conference on Guyana at the National Press Club from Sept. 27-28, at which Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D–NY/8), the House Democratic Leader, will be a keynote speaker. Jeffries’ district stretches from Crown Heights through Flatbush to Brighton Beach. The institute, on behalf of Guyanese diaspora, is convening this meeting amid concerns that U.S. policy on Guyana, a nation on the South American Atlantic coastline, has not prioritized American values such as inclusive governance, inclusive growth; equal justice; social equality and sustainable development for all Guyanese. They have also expressed alarm that their government, led by the People’s Progressive Party, is aggressively developing into an autocracy.
A high-ranking Biden administration official whose name hasn’t been released will also address the conference.
TEEN CHARGED AS ADULT IN DANCER’S MURDER
MIDWOOD — THE 17-YEAR-OLD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT ACCUSED OF STABBING BROOKLYN DANCER O’Shae Sibley to death during a potentially hate-fueled fight at a Midwood gas station earlier this month will be tried as an adult, reports Gothamist, and pleaded not guilty to the murder on Friday. Dmitry Popov and his attorney told reporters that they were considering making an argument for self-defense in the tragic fight, which was partially recorded on video by a surveillance camera at the station; although conflicting details of the exact events were reported by different witnesses, police now say that the teen and his group were shouting slurs at Sibley and his friends prior to the confrontation.
Sibley was laid to rest in Philadelphia, his hometown, on Tuesday, with friends and fellow dancers turning up in the hundreds to remember his life and work.
CITY WARNS OF SCHOOL BUS DRIVER STRIKE
CITYWIDE — PUBLIC SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS MAY STRIKE THIS FALL, reports Patch, in an action that could impact as many as 150,000 kids across the city this back-to-school season, particularly those in lower grades or with special needs. Schools chancellor David Banks, during a Zoom meeting on Thursday with the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council, said that the city was mired in difficult negotiations with the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents the bus drivers, and that while it was too early for him to make a definitive statement, parents should be aware of the possibility of having to make alternative travel arrangements.
An NYC Public Schools spokesman released a statement saying that the city was considering methods of helping families shoulder any additional costs, including potentially issuing free-ride MetroCards and reimbursements for rideshare and other transit services.
ALLEGED CRYPTO SCAMMER HEADED BACK TO JAIL
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — THE BAIL OF FALLEN CRYPTO KING SAM BANKMAN-FRIED WAS revoked on Friday in Manhattan federal court, reports the New York Times, after a judge determined that Bankman-Fried, who stands accused of a variety of charges related to the collapse of his multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange site FTX earlier this year, had violated the terms of his pretrial house arrest. Prosecutors claimed that the accused had leaked the private journals of the trial’s presumed star witness, a former girlfriend and fellow crypto executive, to the Times in an apparent attempt to intimidate her.
Bankman-Fried was then remanded to Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center.
CITY TO DEPLOY SHARK-WATCH DRONES ON BEACHES AFTER ATTACK
CITYWIDE — THE NYPD AND FDNY WILL BE OPERATING SHARK-SPOTTING DRONES in the air over the city’s beaches and waterfronts daily for the rest of the summer, reports NBC News, after swimmer Tatyana Koltunyuk suffered a serious shark bite in the waters off of Rockaway Beach last Monday, the city’s first such incident in decades. The drones will fly from 9 a.m. to dusk and are intended to provide early warnings for swimmers; experts say that shark sightings around NYC are on the rise because of both warming waters from climate change and healthier waterways due to successful cleanup efforts.
Koltunyuk reportedly lost 20 pounds of flesh from the attack on her leg, and is recovering in the hospital; the drones were also used earlier this summer off of Long Island following several other shark incidents on its beaches.
MISSING MAN IN DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN
FLATBUSH — POLICE ARE ASKING THE PUBLIC TO HELP LOCATE MISSING MAN Marlon Phillip, age 38, of Flatbush, who was last seen on the afternoon of Monday, August 7 in the vicinity of Smith Street and Schermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Phillip is described as male, with a dark complexion, and is approximately 6’0” and 185 pounds.
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 CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org.
BK OFFICIALS: ‘HORRIFIC’ MCGUINNESS BLVD CRASH JUST THE LATEST
GREENPOINT — A HOST OF NORTH BROOKLYN OFFICIALS SAID THEY WERE DEVASTATED after hearing about another “horrific crash” on McGuinness Blvd., a major artery that cuts through Greenpoint. On Thursday, a reckless driver ran into a moped rider and several parked vehicles there, causing at least one critical injury. Rep. Nydia Velázquez, BP Antonio Reynoso, Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, Sen. Kristen Gonzalez and Councilmember Lincoln Restler said the 1.4-mile stretch which connects to the BQE “is an epicenter of traffic violence in our community, where we experience an average of one crash resulting in an injury every single week.” A beloved local teacher, Matthew Jensen, was killed in the same spot two years ago.
The officials demanded that DOT reinstate a safety redesign of the roadway which had been in the process for years until being abruptly halted by the Adams administration after pressure from a political donor, according to reports in The City and Streetsblog.
ONE-THIRD OF TENANTS AT FLATBUSH GARDENS FACE IMMEDIATE EVICTIONS, REPORTS GOTHAMIST
FLATBUSH — THE LANDLORD OF THE FLATBUSH GARDENS APARTMENT COMPLEX HAS FILED TO EVICT more than 800 tenants — more than a third of the households residing there, with that Flatbush neighborhood surging ahead of other parts of Brooklyn, reports Gothamist. City eviction data have revealed that city marshals have carried out 50 evictions in that complex alone thus far since the pandemic-era moratorium expired 19 months ago. Meanwhile, the tenants have had to cope with hazardous conditions, including broken door locks and roaches swarming their kitchens, as Gothamist reporters witnessed during a recent visit.
More than 10,000 families and individuals have been removed from their homes across the five boroughs since Jan. 2022.
LUCHESE BOSS MOTION FOR RELEASE DENIED
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — THE EDNY ON THURSDAY DENIED THE REQUEST OF NOTORIOUS LUCHESE FAMILY MAFIA BOSS Vittorio Amuso for compassionate release from prison after spending 31 years of a life sentence behind bars for committing a broad variety of crimes, including the ordering of numerous gory murders. Amuso is 88 years old, uses a wheelchair and suffers from a variety of medical conditions, but the court found that there were no grounds on which to grant his request, because the Bureau of Prisons was determined to be adequately managing his care and he has no terminal illnesses.
The court also considered testimony from a former Luchese member that Amuso was still involved in Luchese family affairs as late as 2017, when he allegedly helped execute a leadership change from his jail cell — a charge that Amuso denied — but ultimately determined that whether the allegation was true or not, Amuso still would not meet compassionate release standards.
DISNEY SONGWRITERS SNAG UNITS AT NEW DUMBO LUXURY CONDO
DUMBO — HUSBAND-AND-WIFE TEAM KRISTEN ANDERSON-LOPEZ AND ROBERT LOPEZ, the Oscar-winning songwriters behind Disney hit “Let It Go” and others, recently purchased two units in the swanky new Olympia Dumbo tower, reports Mansion Global, for a total cost of $11.34 million. Both apartments are on the 24th floor and feature sweeping views of Brooklyn, Manhattan and New York Harbor; altogether, the units feature six bedrooms and 4,334 square feet of space, along with luxury amenities like custom maple cabinetry, a wet bar, a private terrace and a freestanding soaking tub.
The power couple might need two apartments just to store their awards: Anderson-Lopez holds two Oscars and two Grammys for her songwriting work, while Lopez has earned an astonishing two Oscars, three Tonys, three Grammys and four Emmys, making him the only person to have captured the coveted “EGOT” crown twice over.
POOLS PARTLY CLOSED DUE TO LIFEGUARD SHORTAGE
CITYWIDE — PUBLIC POOLS ACROSS THE CITY HAVE BEEN FORCED TO PARTIALLY CLOSE or restrict swimming due to a shortage of lifeguards, reports Gothamist; the city’s Parks Department is short by around 600 lifeguards this season, despite efforts to attract applicants by offering pay raises and bonuses. While the situation has improved since the beginning of the season, two-thirds of the city’s pools are still partially closed, with lanes and deep ends roped off to swimmers, Brooklyn’s McCarren Park Pool and Kosciuszko Pool among them.
Parks commissioner Sue Donahue said that the city has had trouble finding guards who can meet its strict performance standards, even with a reworked test that lowered the allowable minimum swimming speed.
STATE SUPREME COURT RULES FOR CITY RETIREES IN PUBLIC MEDICARE PLAN COVERAGE FIGHT
CITYWIDE — THE NEW YORK CITY MUNICIPAL RETIREES HAVE WON their fight to keep their traditional Medicare plans in accordance with established city statutes, the State Supreme Court/New York County has ruled. Judge Lyle E. Frank, who last month issued a temporary injunction against Mayor Eric Adams, the NYC Department of Labor Relations and the Department of Education, blocking them from forcing the retirees from their current government Medicare plan into a private, for-profit Aetna-administered Medicare Advantage Plan. The Court ruled in favor of the retirees on multiple grounds, foremost among them that, since the 1960s, the city has, through statute and written and verbal promises, guaranteed every active and retired city worker that when they became elderly or disabled, they would be entitled to city-funded healthcare through a combination of Medicare plus Medicare “supplemental” insurance, which covers “gap” healthcare expenses. The retirees contended that the Aetna Medicare Advantage plan would have limited their access to their doctors and be subject to denials for medically-necessary treatment.
The law firm of Walden Macht & Haran LLP was counsel to the retirees. Marianne Pizzitola, leader and spokesperson for the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, said “NYC Retirees earned their right to Federal Medicare and we relied on the promise we would have this benefit through our lifetime.”
COMPTROLLER DINAPOLI: PARKS NEED TO IMPROVE THEIR ADA ACCESSIBILITY
STATEWIDE — PARKS ACROSS NEW YORK STATE WERE FOUND TO HAVE INACCESSIBLE entrances and restrooms, obstacles on access trails and paths, and limited parking for people with disabilities, reports the latest audit released on Friday, Aug. 11, from New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. While the parks examined generally met the ADA’s minimum standards, auditors found they could be significantly improved to increase their accessibility. Auditors who reviewed 40 parks across New York State from Jan. 2018 to Oct. 2022, and examined 1,446 amenities such as restrooms, campsites, swimming areas, playgrounds, pavilions, elevators, boat launches and parking, found that 62% of them could be improved to enhance accessibility.
Among the suggested improvements were the correction of mislabeled ‘accessible’ signage, fixing rough or uneven access routes, increasing the number of wheelchair-accessible stalls in restrooms and increasing the number of accessible, clearly labeled parking spaces.
VOTER SECURITY GROUP BOOS TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING MACHINES
STATEWIDE — ELECTION INTEGRITY GROUP COMMON CAUSE NY IS DISCOURAGING New York counties from purchasing new touch-screen electronic voting machines that it says pose significant cybersecurity risks, imploring officials to continue to use paper ballots, reports Spectrum News, in response to a vote last week from the state’s Board of Elections to certify the ExpressVoteXL for use. Common Cause in a press statement called paper ballots the “gold standard” in election security, saying the touch-screen terminals would be “entirely unnecessary to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.”
Thus far, NYC, along with Ulster, Onondaga and Chautauqua counties, have all pledged to stick with paper; Common Cause and other groups are now urging the state to reverse its decision and ban the ExpressVoteXL before the 2024 election — which is likely to be plagued by fraud allegations.
REP. GOLDMAN, FLORIDA COLLEAGUE URGE HEARING ON REMOVAL OF DEMOCRATICALLY-ELECTED OFFICIAL
BROOKLYN AND CAPITOL HILL — BROOKLYN CONGRESSMAN DAN GOLDMAN (D-10) on Thursday, Aug. 10, joined his colleague from Florida in calling for an Oversight Committee Hearing on that state governor’s suspension of a democratically-elected official in order to appoint a political ally. Rep. Goldman joined Rep. Maxwell Frost (FL-10) and Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (MD-08) in urging the Oversight Committee hearing after what they say was the unconstitutional and unjust suspension of State Attorney Monique Worrell, who is Florida’s only democratically elected Black woman. The members are also urging Oversight Committee Chair James Comer to examine Gov. DeSantis’ abuse of political power.
The members wrote, “Given the seriousness of the current attack on democracy and freedom in Florida and other states, the urgent need for Congressional action has become more dire than ever. A full Committee hearing is essential to understand the pattern of these abuses of power and to identify the steps that must be taken to protect the rights and freedoms of Floridians and Americans living in other states witnessing similar attacks.”
ICE CREAM PRODUCTS RECALLED AFTER TESTING POSITIVE FOR LISTERIA
NATIONWIDE — A BROOKLYN-BASED ICE CREAM COMPANY IS RECALLING several flavors of its Soft Serve on-the-go products, after finding Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration reports. Real Kosher Ice Cream recalled the product after two people became ill in New York and Pennsylvania. The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.
Consumers with questions may contact our Soft Serve on the Go team at 845-668-4346 or [email protected], Monday thru Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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