What’s News, Breaking: Wednesday, August 23, 2023
SOUTH BROOKLYN HOSPITAL GETS $6M GRANT
FOR COLLABORATIVE LEARNING CENTER
CONEY ISLAND — NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS/SOUTH BROOKLYN HEALTH HAS RECEIVED $6 MILLION in Fiscal Year 2024 capital funding from NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Chair of the Committee on Hospitals Mercedes Narcisse, Council Members Inna Vernikov and Ari Kagan, and members of the Brooklyn Delegation. The funds will help create a Collaborative Learning Center for the Practice of Medicine, enabling South Brooklyn Health, which is a teaching hospital with 170 residents (those who recently earned MD degrees and are in post-grad training) as part of the Health & Wellness Institute for its medical staff, nursing, and ancillary health care staff. The learning center will include scenario simulation space, classrooms, a medical library and educational conference space, for collaborative exercises, debriefing, and emergency response drills.
One clinical area where this enhanced learning is especially important is obstetrics, with an emphasis on reducing maternal mortality, preventing potentially fatal complications during childbirth.
MOTHER KILLED IN SAVAGE HAMMER ATTACK IN SUNSET PARK
SUNSET PARK — A MOTHER WAS KILLED after she and two children, age 4 and 5, were savagely attacked by a man with a hammer on Wednesday afternoon just before 2 p.m. in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The incident was reported at 531 52nd St. within the 72nd Precinct, according to a police statement. The children are left with life-threatening injuries, the NY Post reports. A person of interest, who is believed to have been subletting an apartment in the building, was being questioned.
Chief of Patrol John Chell and NYPD executives were set to brief the media late Wednesday afternoon.
FDA WARNS OF UNDISCLOSED INGREDIENT
IN POPULAR MALE ENERGY SUPPLEMENT
NATIONWIDE — CONSUMERS OF A POPULAR MALE ENERGY and sexual enhancement supplement are being warned not to purchase or use them after the Food & Drug Administration confirmed that it contains an undeclared ingredient used only in prescription drugs. An FDA analysis found that BIG GUYS Male Energy Supplement, a product promoted and sold as an energy booster on the Amazon website, contains sildenafil, the active ingredient in the FDA-approved prescription drug Viagra, used to treat erectile dysfunction, and which can only be used under the approval of a licensed physician. Sildenafil, which was not listed as an ingredient, may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs that treat hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease, and can cause dangerous drops in blood pressure.
Consumers and health professionals are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.
GIULIANI SURRENDERS IN GEORGIA ELECTION RACKETEERING CASE
GEORGIA — DISGRACED FORMER NYC MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, surrendered at the Fulton County jail on Wednesday on charges that he helped lead a racketeering enterprise and conspired to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, the Guardian reports. His bond was set for $150,000. Trump is expected to turn himself in on Thursday.
Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor who made his name with aggressive RICO cases, now faces RICO charges himself for his alleged role in assembling fake slates of electors to reverse Joe Biden’s legitimate election victory.
NY ATTORNEY GENERAL’S COALITION PUSHES
SOUTHERN STATES’ COMPLIANCE OF CLEAN AIR ACT
NATIONWIDE — PROTECTING CLEAN AIR ACROSS STATE LINES is the focus of a multi-state coalition that New York Attorney General Letitia James is leading. The coalition has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case of Texas v. EPA to defend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority under the Clean Air Act, and is pushing to ensure that each state does its fair share to reduce the air pollution that it sends to other states. The EPA is rejecting the claim by Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana that the agency lacks authority to independently review their state implementation plans, and points out that Congress included the Good Neighbor Provision in the Clean Air Act to address the problem of interstate pollution.
The coalition urges the court to reject the efforts of Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana to ignore the Good Neighbor Provision and undermine the EPA’s power to protect neighboring states, which include New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama.
WEST NILE VIRUS FOUND IN 3 NYC RESIDENTS & MULTIPLE MOSQUITO POOLS
CITYWIDE — THE NYC HEALTH DEPARTMENT said on Wednesday that West Nile virus disease has been reported in three residents (two in Queens and one in Manhattan), and detected in 569 mosquito pools across all five boroughs. All three of those infected were hospitalized, and two have been discharged. A fourth case is under investigation in Staten Island. Symptoms can include mild or serious headache, muscle aches, rash and extreme fatigue. In addition, some older people or those with a weakened immune system can develop a potentially fatal illness of the brain and spinal cord called West Nile neuroinvasive disease.
Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan advises people to use an EPA-registered insect repellent, especially when outside at dusk and dawn. In addition, empty outdoor containers that hold water or call 311 if you see standing water that you cannot empty.
WAGNER GROUP MERCENARY LEADER PRIGOZHIN
REPORTEDLY KILLED IN PLANE CRASH
RUSSIA — RUSSIAN MERCENARY LEADER Yevgeny Prigozhin is presumed dead after his Wagner Group-owned plane crashed on Wednesday, the Daily News reports. The business jet, with three pilots and seven passengers, crashed en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg, with Prigozhin listed among the passengers, although his own death has not been definitively confirmed as of press time. Prigozhin, whose troops fought for Russia — often on the front lines — earlier this summer had staged an aborted rebellion against Russian President Vladimir Putin over the latter’s handling of the war against Ukraine. After the rebellion was cut short, Prigozhin cut a deal that exiled him to Belarus, an ally of Russia.
Prigozhin on Monday, Aug. 22 had appeared in a recruiting video for the mercenary group, with a mission of “making Russia even greater on all continents, and Africa even more free.”
MAJOR UNION LAUNCHES TEXT-ATTACK
ON CITY COUNCIL’S BILL TO PROTECT
RETIREES’ PUBLIC MEDICARE PLAN
CITYWIDE — THE CITY’S LARGEST MUNICIPAL UNION APPEARS TO BE PUSHING BACK ON A RETIREES’ COALITION’S RECENT COURT VICTORY over protecting their traditional Medicare coverage, reports the Daily News. The leadership of District Council 37 (DC37) has sent text blasts urging its membership to conduct a targeted blitz of phone calls to City Councilmembers who support Councilmember Charles Barron’s Intro 1099 bill to protect the traditional Medicare plan that covers most of the city’s retirees — a combination of the federal program and a city-financed Medigap. However, the retirees’ coalition leader, Marianne Pizzitola, accused DC37 Executive Director Henry Garrido of causing a schism between active and retired employees. Many union leaders support Mayor Eric Adams’ proposed change to the private Medicare Advantage Plan that they believe will save the city money, but the retirees recently won their argument in court that the city’s private Medicare Advantage Plan would harm them financially and medically.
“This is not how labor treats labor. We built these unions and built NYC,” Pizzitola told the Daily News. “Active workers are basically being told,’ If we can’t screw the retirees, we need to screw you.’”
GREENPOINT AVE. CUL-DE-SAC BECOMING ONE OF BROOKLYN’S HOTTEST RESTAURANT BLOCKS
GREENPOINT — THE DEAD-END CUL-DE-SAC at the end of Greenpoint Avenue is fast becoming one of the borough’s hottest restaurant blocks, Eater reports. In the last two years, three new restaurants and bars have opened on the end of the block, and three more could open by the end of this year. And they’re serving a lot more than Greenpoint’s traditional Polish cuisine, Eater says.
At least 60 restaurants, bars, and coffee shops — serving from Korean fried chicken to Japanese dashi — have opened in the neighborhood since 2021.
MAYOR TO CITY AGENCIES: PRAISE MY
HANDLING OF MIGRANT CRISIS
CITYWIDE — MAYOR ERIC ADAMS HAS ORDERED ALL CITY AGENCIES TO PROMOTE a positive portrayal of his administration’s response to the migrant crisis, Gothamist reports. The agencies were instructed on Monday to post a video, believed to be part of a well-coordinated social media blitz to counteract the growing criticism that Adams faces over his handling of the crisis, that praises the efforts of city employees who are helping migrants apply for asylum and other services. Gothamist obtained the email from Mayor Adams’ digital strategy team that provided sample language and indicated that his office would be tracking the agencies’ compliance.
The social media campaign is believed to be a counter-argument to Governor Kathy Hochul’s criticism of the city’s failure to help migrants meet application deadlines for asylum and work eligibility.
UPS UNION WORKERS APPROVE 5-YEAR CONTRACT
NATIONWIDE — GO AHEAD AND PLACE THAT ORDER: The union repping 340,000 UPS workers said Tuesday that its members voted to approve their tentative contract agreement, sealing the deal on last month’s labor negotiations, Cheddar News reports. The Teamsters said in a statement that 86% of the votes cast were in favor of ratifying the national contract — the highest vote for a contract in the history of the Teamsters at UPS.
Under the tentative agreement, full- and part-time union workers will get $2.75 more per hour in 2023, and $7.50 more in total by the end of the five-year contract.
GARBAGE-Y CRASH CLOSES BQE NEAR DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN
BQE WESTBOUND — DRIVERS LEFT THEIR VEHICLES TO WALK ALONG the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway as news choppers hovered overhead early Wednesday morning, following a vehicle collision that shut down all four lanes of the expressway. According to ABC7, two tractor-trailers collided heading westbound at 4:50 a.m. One of the vehicles overturned and struck an overhead roadway sign, while debris characterized as garbage was spewed over the roadway and four people suffered minor injuries. Helicopters hovered over Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO until roughly 7:15 a.m.
Video posted on the Citizen App showed drivers hiking along the roadway to figure out what was happening. NotifyNYC did not broadcast an emergency alert; however, it posted a tweet on Twitter/X at 8:30 a.m. stating that the expressway was closed at Tillary St.
MAIMONIDES EXPANDS ITS ROBOTIC SURGERY PROGRAM
BOROUGH PARK — MAIMONIDES MEDICAL CENTER NOW HAS THE BOROUGH’S LARGEST ROBOTIC-ASSISTED surgery program, with the addition of three new robots. Maimonides has more than 25 surgeons in several specialties who utilize robotic technology in almost a thousand minimally invasive procedures each year, from abdominal, urologic and colorectal procedures to orthopedic surgeries. The additional robots will allow the hospital to perform 600-800 more surgical cases a year.
The Maimonides Urologic Surgery team in 2001 became the first in Brooklyn to offer robotic surgery. Maimonides Bone and Joint Center was the first medical institution in Brooklyn to pioneer robotic joint replacement. Maimonides’ Children’s Hospital was the first hospital to offer robot-assisted surgery to the borough’s kids.
ELECTEDS ANNOUNCE MORE FREQUENT SUBWAY SERVICE ON N AND R LINES
BAY RIDGE AND BENSONHURST — SERVICE WILL INCREASE ON THE N AND R SUBWAY LINES starting later this month, announced State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-26/Western Brooklyn) and Councilmember Justin Brannan (D-43/Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights) on Tuesday, Aug. 22. The MTA will increase midday weekday service along these two lines serving Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge, with trains running every eight minutes during the midday periods on weekdays. The current interval is 10 minutes between trains. These significant improvements in subway service in Brooklyn and the other boroughs are a direct result of funds allocated to the MTA in this year’s New York State budget.
Earlier in August, service enhancements were announced on the G, J, M, and C lines. Improvements were added to the 1 and 6 local trains, neither of which serve Brooklyn.
ADA ELEVATORS AT 59th ST. STATION TO UNDERGO UPGRADES THIS WEEKEND
SUNSET PARK — COMMUTERS WHO RELY ON THE ADA ELEVATORS AT THE 59th STREET N AND R STATION in Sunset Park will need to plan alternate routes for the weekend of Aug. 25-27, announced the MTA via Community Board 7. The ADA elevators at this station will undergo periods of non-service during the weekend while the MTA makes mechanical upgrades to two of them. The elevator serving street to mezzanine levels will be out of service from 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25 until 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26. The elevator from the mezzanine to the southbound platform will remain out of service until noon on Sunday, Aug. 27.
Starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26, customers will be able to use the ADA elevators to access the northbound platform. (Please note the mezzanine to northbound platform elevator will remain in service all weekend.)
BROOKLYN ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE WORKERS FILE TO UNIONIZE: BARBENHEIMER LAST STRAW
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — WORKERS AT BROOKLYN ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE FILED A PETITION on Monday to unionize. Employees at the popular movie theater at the City Point complex petitioned the National Labor Relations Board on Monday for an election to join United Auto Workers Local 2179, concierge worker Jordan Baruch told Patch.
Workers have long had safety and scheduling concerns, but the record-breaking dual release of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” — known as Barbenheimer — finally pushed them to the limit, Baruch said.
FATHER ARRESTED, CHILDREN CRITICAL AFTER BROWNSVILLE FIRE
BROWNSVILLE — THREE CHILDREN ARE IN CRITICAL CONDITION after a fire broke out in their Brownsville apartment on Sunday, and their father, Anthony Halliburton, 37, has been arrested. While their mother was at work, Halliburton locked the young kids inside and stepped out to get groceries, and their apartment on Livonia Avenue went up in flames, PIX11 reports. Firefighters found 8-year-old Naomi, 5-year-old Tonya and 4-year-old Anthony passed out on the floor. Halliburton was charged with the abandonment of a child and endangering the welfare of a child.
A gofundme has been set up for donations to the family.
MAN WHO PUNCHED & STABBED INNOCENT STRANGER IN SUBWAY SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — BROOKLYN D.A. ERIC GONZALEZ ANNOUNCED Tuesday that Roland Henegan, 35, formerly of the Kingsborough Men’s Shelter in Brooklyn, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for punching and stabbing a 55-year-old man at the Jay Street Subway Station in Downtown Brooklyn. The defendant pleaded guilty to assault for the unprovoked attack in July last year. The victim had been walking down a staircase at the station when Henegan grabbed him, punched him, and then stabbed him in the face and back.
Henegan was sentenced Tuesday by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Michael Kitsis.
S.I. MAN CHARGED IN DEATH OF BROOKLYN CYCLIST ADAM USTER
CLINTON HILL — POLICE HAVE CHARGED Angel Mejia, 19, in the tragic death of cycling advocate and father Adam Uster, killed while cycling home with groceries from Wegmans in May. Mejia, a resident of Staten Island, had turned his 2021 Isuzu Flat-bed truck to the right at the intersection of Franklin and Lexington avenues in Clinton Hill, striking Uster, who was traveling on his bicycle to the truck’s right. Uster was brought by first responders to NY Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. Mejia was charged with two counts of Motor Vehicle Failure to Yield to Pedestrian/Bicycle, according to Tuesday’s release from NYPD.
Franklin Avenue where Uster was killed is a known dangerous corridor, Streetsblog reports. In the less-than-a-mile stretch between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street, there have been 111 reported crashes since 2020.
GAINS IN BROOKLYN LUXURY HOUSING SALES
BROOKLYN — THE LUXURY HOUSING MARKET IN BROOKLYN PERKED UP last week, with 16 contracts inked for homes asking $2 million or more between Aug. 14 and Aug. 20, according to The Real Deal. This is up from 10 in the previous period. The most expensive home to enter into a contract was 227 Clinton Street in Cobble Hill, with an asking price of just under $10 million. The 5,700-square-foot townhouse has six bedrooms and four bathrooms.
Earlier this year, a home on Pacific Street in Cobble Hill sold for $12 million; a townhouse on Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights sold with an asking price of $7.8 million, TRD reports.
LAWSUIT, ACRIMONY CLOSES CELEBRATED CHEF’S TABLE AT BROOKLYN FARE
HELL’S KITCHEN — THE CHEF’S TABLE AT BROOKLYN FARE, one of America’s most renowned restaurants (a date will cost you well over $1,000 with wine, according to Eater) moved from Schermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn to Hell’s Kitchen in 2016. Now the restaurant’s celebrated chef, César Ramirez, has been fired and the Michelin three-star restaurant has closed temporarily while a lawsuit winds its way through the courts, according to the Robb Report.
Ramirez filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in July alleging that he had been “arbitrarily terminated…without cause, notice, or justification.” Meanwhile, the owner claims the famous chef stole both restaurant equipment and employees to start a new venue.
NY STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL FIGHTS RULING THAT 2nd AMENDMENT PROTECTS DOMESTIC ABUSERS
STATEWIDE — THE ISSUE OF WHETHER A DOMESTIC ABUSER IS COVERED BY THE SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO OWN A GUN is at the heart of an action that New York Attorney General Letitia James is taking to defend a federal law that protects the victims. Attorney General James on Tuesday, Aug. 22, led a 25-state coalition in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, in defense of a federal law that prevents persons under a domestic violence restraining order from accessing guns, as part of the case, United States v. Rahimi. The coalition’s amicus brief urges the Supreme Court to overrule a lower court’s ruling that the Second Amendment prohibits disarming persons even when they are under orders of protection.
Texas resident Zackey Rahimi, who is under a domestic violence restraining order and has reportedly been involved in multiple shootings, has challenged, on Second Amendment grounds, the federal law barring him from possessing a firearm.
BROOKLYN CONGRESSMAN PRESENTS BILL TO REDEFINE GHOST GUNS, BAN THEIR SALES
CAPITOL HILL — A NEW BILL THAT BROOKLYN CONGRESSMAN DAN GOLDMAN HAS CO-INTRODUCED WOULD BAN the sale of “ghost guns” and permanently define their core components. Rep. Goldman (D-10/Western Brooklyn-Lower Manhattan) joined two of his colleagues in the House and Senate in presenting the legislation, which would ban the sale of unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and easily assembled at home, thus circumventing any background check. The Ghost Guns and Untraceable Firearms Act would permanently define the core building blocks of ghost guns (unfinished frames and receivers, as firearms) and would require online sellers, gun kit manufacturers and distributors to comply with the same federal regulations that govern the production and distribution of completed firearms.
The U.S. has witnessed a dramatic, thousand-fold increase in the use of ghost guns since 2016, reports the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The number of ghost guns recovered and traced by law enforcement rose from 1,629 in 2016 to 19,273 in 2021.
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