What’s News, Breaking: Wednesday, September 6, 2023
BISHOP OF BROOKLYN DIOCESE INAUGURATES NEW SCHOOL YEAR AT ST. ATHANASIUS ACADEMY
BENSONHURST —CATHOLIC SCHOOL CHILDREN GOT A SPECIAL VISIT FROM THE BISHOP OF BROOKLYN on their first day of school, Wednesday, September 6. Bishop Robert Brennan of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn marked the new beginning starting at 7:45 a.m. when he greeted students arriving at St. Athanasius Catholic Academy on Bay Parkway and 61st Street in Bensonhurst. Bishop Brennan joined St. Athanasius Academy Principal Diane Competello in welcoming the students, teachers, and parents back to school for the 2023-2024 academic year in the schoolyard, and then led the morning prayer.
The Diocese of Brooklyn (Deacon Kevin McCormack as superintendent) is home to 69 Catholic elementary schools and 15 high schools, and enrolls nearly 30,000 students.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL PARTY, COCKTAIL ZONE AT MONTAGUE OPEN STREETS
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — THIS WEEKEND’S MONTAGUE OPEN STREETS IS SAYING GOODBYE TO summer, with local kids and families invited to a back-to-school party featuring activities like ninja warrior training, fencing, splash pools, face painting, STEM stations and more. Parents who need a break can relax at the brand-new “Cocktail Coop” on Henry Street, a designated area where adults can bring drinks (and food) from Montague businesses and enjoy them in the open air.
The Montague Back-to-School party, hosted by Mommy Poppins and Brooklyn Bridge Parents, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 9 from noon to 4 p.m.; the street will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for casual strolling and other activities.
ELECTRIC ZOO FESTIVAL ENDS IN DISASTER
WILLIAMSBURG — IRATE MUSIC LOVERS BEGAN DEMANDING REFUNDS the last day of the popular Electric Zoo music festival on Randall’s Island on Sunday, which collapsed into chaos after hundreds of ticketholders were barred from entering when the event seemingly reached capacity, reports NBC News. Videos of the scene showed crowds of fans leaping over barricades in order to enter the festival without permission. Electric Zoo, purchased by troubled Williamsburg nightclub Avant Gardner in 2022, had canceled its first scheduled day, Friday, because its main performance stage had not been built; Saturday concertgoers also reported hourslong waits in ticket pickup lines – all while organizers continued to sell even more tickets online, according to some Reddit users.
Avant Gardner has stated that Friday and Sunday that ticketholders who were not able to enter the venue will be partially refunded, but attendees interviewed by NBC said they had not yet gotten their money back, and sharply criticized the club’s management of the situation.
ASSEMBLYMAN COLTON ISSUES ALERT ON RAMPANT MEDICARE SCAM CALLS
BATH BEACH TO GRAVESEND — SENIOR CITIZENS NEED TO BE PARTICULARLY ALERT TO SCAM CALLERS who misrepresent themselves as government agencies, warns State Assemblymember William Colton (D-47). Colton, who represents Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Gravesend, reminds his constituents, “It is extremely unusual for Medicare to call you unless you have already reached out to them or they have previously written to you. If someone says he or she is from Medicare, and you didn’t initiate the interaction or get a letter from them, you should hang up immediately.” He advises people to call Medicare back on its toll-free number (1-800-633-4227) or the number on the back of one’s Medicare card.
The problem is so widespread, Assemblyman Colton warned, that the Federal Communications Commission’s website (https://www.fcc.gov/), offers extended advice on how to handle such scam calls.
TEENS ARE AT FOREFRONT OF NEW PSA WARNING PEERS AGAINST TRAIN SURFING
CITYWIDE — A NEW CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT SUBWAY-TRAIN SURFING GIVES YOUTHS A VOICE IN THE WARNING. The campaign video, that Governor Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams and several city agencies launched on Tuesday, September 5, placed teenagers front-and-center in having designed and spoken the public service announcements warning against subway surfing, as part of a peer-to-peer effort to deter this dangerous behavior. Governor Kathy Hochul, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City Mayor Eric Adams today unveiled the comprehensive, multi-channel public information campaign, partnering with social media and video platforms like YouTube, to prevent subway surfing in partnership with the New York Police Department, New York City Public Schools, and the New York City Department of Youth & Community Development.
As part of the outreach, the NYPD is deploying officers to stations on outdoor elevated lines and by conducting home visits with youths who have been observed riding outside of trains. The # 7 line has seen the most subway surfing within the transit system, one incident turned tragic on June 29.
FAIRY TALE OPERA TO PREMIERE AT BROOKLYN COMMONS
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A BRAND-NEW OPERA BASED ON HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN’S classic fairy tale “The Nightingale” is set to have its world premiere at the Brooklyn Commons – formerly known as MetroTech – this weekend in a site-specific production by On Site Opera, a group that aims to open up access to opera shows and to use the city as a living backdrop. According to producers, the show “tells the story of a collector looking to gather up the world’s most beautiful objects and leads audiences on a journey of self-discovery and self-love.”
“The Song of the Nightingale” will have four performances at the Brooklyn Commons, on Friday Sept. 8 at 12:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Saturday Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.; admission is free and open to all ages, but seating is first-come-first-served, and more information can be found online on site owner Brookfield Properties’ website.
MISSING TEEN IN BROWNSVILLE
BROWNSVILLE — POLICE ARE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR MISSING BOY Kerdell Tasher, age 14, who was last seen on the night of Tuesday, August 15, leaving his Amboy Street residence near the St. Timothy Holy Church. Kerdell is described as a Black male, around 5’6″, with a thin build, brown eyes and black hair, and was last seen wearing a gray shirt and red pants; police say he is known to frequent the intersection of Rockaway Avenue and Livonia Avenue.
Anyone with information in regard to 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 tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on X (Twitter) @NYPDTips.
LANDMARK AGREEMENT REQUIRES NYPD TO RESPOND DIFFERENTLY AT MASS PROTESTS
CITYWIDE — A LANDMARK AGREEMENT BETWEEN the Office of NYS Attorney General Letitia James, the NYCLU, the Legal Aid Society and the New York Police Department significantly reforms the NYPD’s handling of protests. OAG, the Legal Aid Society, and the NYCLU drafted the agreement, the centerpiece of which is a new, four-tiered response system that will dictate how NYPD responds to protests, with the primary goal of protecting the rights of protesters and members of the press covering such events. The tiered system will minimize police presence at protests and require NYPD to use de-escalation methods before increasing its response. The agreement, announced on September 5, resolves lawsuits from Attorney General James and other parties over what were determined to be NYPD’s wrongful arrests and excessive use of force against those involved in the George Floyd protests summer of 2020.
The agreement will also require NYPD to stop its use of the crowd-control tactic known as “kettling” (having police group crowds and detaining them indefinitely) to amend its internal discipline matrix, and to improve treatment of members of the press.
PLAINTIFFS IN POLICE BRUTALITY CASE SPEAK OUT ON NEWLY-CODIFIED AGREEMENT
CITYWIDE — SEVERAL PLAINTIFFS IN THE PAYNE V. DE BLASIO ET AL. case over police response in the 2020 racial justice protests have spoken out, now that the litigation team and the city have reached a four-tier agreement changing how the NYPD handles protests. “There’s really no way to put a price on the trauma and ongoing fear evoked by the NYPD’s brutality,” said lead plaintiff Jarrett Payne. Fellow plaintiff James Lauren, who was visibly wearing first-responder apparel at the protest, said, “I will never forget what I experienced during the summer of 2020: people protesting violence were met with violence, inflicted by NYPD officers on people who they claim to serve and protect. “I will never forget that as a medic in scrubs, I was forcibly detained and prevented from helping the injured.”
Likewise, plaintiff Charlie Monlouis-Anderle echoed the thoughts of those who felt the police betrayed their oath: “In every one of our plaintiffs’ cases the presence of police escalated tension, resulting in injury and trauma,” adding that the cops involved violated several of their own policies.
HINDS-RADIX: CITY, NYPD HANDLING OF PROTESTS ‘MUST ADAPT TO THESE CHANGING TIMES’
CITYWIDE — NEW YORK CITY CORPORATION COUNSEL SYLVIA HINDS-RADIX was among the city’s leaders brokering the new agreement on NYPD practices in handling spontaneous protests. Hinds-Radix, who has also served as a New York State Supreme Court Justice for Kings County, and as an Appellate Division-Second Department Associate Justice in Brooklyn, said on Tuesday, Sept. 5, “The rights guaranteed by the First Amendment are what allow the voices of over 8 million New Yorkers to be heard.”
Emphasizing the balance that exists between defining a protest vs. a breach of law, Hinds-Radix said, “In a world where social media sparks spontaneous assembly, we must be prepared to adapt to these changing times. This settlement acknowledges the work the NYPD is committed to doing to ensure that the voices of New Yorkers can be heard in a safe and peaceful manner.”
IN MEMORIAM: RUSCHELL BOONE, WAS NY1 NEWS ANCHOR AND FAITHFUL WEST INDIAN DAY ATTENDEE
THE LOCAL NEWS INDUSTRY AND CITIZENS OF QUEENS are mourning the death of Emmy award-winning journalist and anchor Ruschell Boone, who on Sunday, September 3 lost her battle to pancreatic cancer, Spectrum News 1 reported on Tuesday afternoon. Boone, 48, who was born on the Caribbean island of Jamaica and immigrated with her family at age 11, joined the NY1 staff in 2002 as a borough beat reporter for Queens. She won numerous awards for her reporting, among them: Best Spot News Reporting from the New York Association of Black Journalists, a New York Press Club Award for Best Feature Reporting, and a New York Emmy Award for a series that was a creative labor of love for her: “New York: Unfiltered.”
The much-loved Boone was also a faithful regular at the annual West Indian Day Parade along Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway each Labor Day.
PUBLIC ADVOCATE REMEMBERS NY1 NEWS’ RUSCHELL BOONE AS A ‘JOYOUS JOURNALISTIC PRESENCE’
CITYWIDE — TRIBUTES ARE POURING in for the late Ruschell Boone, Emmy Award-winning journalist with Spectrum NY1 News, which announced her death on Tuesday, September 5. NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, in a prepared statement excerpted here, wrote, “I join New Yorkers in mourning the tragic loss of Ruschell Boone, a joyous journalistic presence on our streets and screens for decades…. Even amid her battle with cancer, she brought light and energy…She was tireless and dauntless as she told the stories and uplifted the issues of people around our city– in moments of joy and pain alike.”
Wiliams added that Boone was a Jamaican American woman whom he enjoyed seeing “celebrate Carnival with the entire Caribbean community. “I missed her on the Parkway this year, and we will all miss her in our neighborhoods and on the airwaves.”
$20K ‘JUST BROOKLYN’ PRIZE AWARDED TO FIVE ACTIVISTS
BROOKLYN — FIVE LOCAL BROOKLYN ACTIVISTS HAVE BEEN AWARDED $20,000 EACH in the inaugural year of the new Just Brooklyn Prize, reports Gothamist, an honor established by the Brooklyn Community Foundation and Nets owners Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai and intended to recognize extraordinary efforts in fighting for civil rights. Recipients from across the borough include project coordinator Debra Ack, who organized efforts to stop flooding in ‘The Hole’ neighborhood; BK Reader magazine founder C. Zawadi Morris; Chanel Porchia-Albert, founder of the Ancient Song Doula Services maternity healthcare organization, Samora Coles, founder of parent support group The Alex House Project; and La’Shawn Allen-Muhammad, executive director of the Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation.
The $20,000 prize comes with no strings; awardees who spoke with Gothamist said the money was a welcome opportunity to invest in their personal wellbeing, after funneling energy into advocacy work.
BROOKLYN’S CARIBBEAN CATHOLICS MARCH IN WEST INDIAN DAY PARADE
CROWN HEIGHTS & GRAND ARMY PLAZA — MONDAY’S WEST INDIAN DAY PARADE HAD A VISIBLE FAITH ELEMENT as Catholic members of the Caribbean community marched with their own banner, with Bishop Robert Brennan celebrating a pre-parade Mass at the combined Roman Catholic Parish of St. Matthew, reports the Tablet diocesan newspaper. Bishop Brennan and dozens of members from St. Matthew Parish carried a banner at Brooklyn’s special cultural parade, with people from the wider diocesan community also waving the flags of their respective native Caribbean lands.
Comprising St. Matthew Parish are St. Gregory the Great Church on Brooklyn Avenue, Saint Matthew Church on Eastern Parkway and Our Lady of Charity on Dean St., all in Crown Heights.
CROWDS PACK STREETS FOR WEST INDIAN DAY PARADE
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — EXCITED CROWDS QUEUED UP TO WATCH THE ANNUAL West Indian Day Parade on Eastern Parkway this weekend, reports the New York Times, with members of the Caribbean community celebrating their heritage with food, dancing, music – and of course, the parade’s signature showstopping costumes. Dancers marched down the thoroughfare in colorful feathered, glittery and beaded outfits, some featuring elaborate tails and haloes that stretch across multiple traffic lanes, representing the diverse nations of the non-Hispanic West Indies.
The West Indian Day Parade and the J’Ouvert revels that precede it – a night of partying rooted in celebrations of the end of slavery in Trinidad – have in the past been marred by violence, but this year, a heavy police presence aided in keeping incidents mostly at bay until three people were injured in an attack late in the afternoon. Despite controversy over a new drone surveillance program implemented for the night, parade attendees told the Times that the heavier security made them feel safer.
STATE OFFICIALS PUSH FOR CHANGES IN SCHOOL LOCKDOWN DRILL LAW
BOERUM HILL AND STATEWIDE — NEW YORK’S LOCKDOWN DRILL LAW spurred parents, pediatricians, child psychologists and other advocates to gather with elected officials on Tuesday morning, September 5, at the William A. Butler School in Boerum Hill, to amend the legislation. State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-26) and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon (D-52) are main sponsors of a bill that would decrease the frequency of lock-down drills in schools, direct that such drills be implemented with a trauma-informed approach, and allow parents to opt their children out of such drills. NYS law currently requires schools to hold at least four lockdown drills per year, one of the highest of any state in the country, but does not provide standardized guidelines or training for teachers, nor does it require drills to be age-appropriate and trauma-informed for students.
One study on the aftereffects of the lockdown drills revealed that they led to a 39% spike in depression, a 42% increase in stress and anxiety, and a 23% increase in overall physiological health problems. Read more on page 2.
VINTAGE TRAINS ON PARADE THIS WEEKEND
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — THE NEW YORK TRANSIT MUSEUM IS SENDING ITS VINTAGE subway cars out onto the public tracks this weekend for the Parade of Trains, a free look back at the rolling stock of yesteryear. Rail fans can catch a ten-minute ride on a number of historic cars, including the gray riveted R-1/9 from the 1930s, the rattan-upholstered BMT AB Standard from the 1920s, the elegant wooden BU Gate Car from the turn of the century and more for free between Brighton Beach and Kings Highway stations.
Admission to the Parade of Trains is free with a MetroCard or OMNY swipe; riders can join the fun on Saturday, Sept. 9 and Sunday, Sept. 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the B/Q line at the aforementioned stops, and can find more information online on the Transit Museum’s website.
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