What’s News, Breaking: Thursday, September 7, 2023
BED-STUY MAN CHARGED IN LAST MONTH’S SUBWAY ATTACK OF TRANS WOMAN
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A BED-STUY MAN WHO ASSAULTED A TRANS WOMAN ABOARD A SUBWAY TRAIN last month has been indicted on with a hate crime and other charges related to an unprovoked attack. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified the defendant as 22-year-old Ian Williams, who was arraigned on Wednesday, September 6 before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. Williams is charged with third-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree assault, third-degree menacing as a hate crime, forcible touching and other related counts for an August 17 incident aboard a J train J-train at the Myrtle Avenue Station.
Williams was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond and has a November 1 court date. If convicted of the top count, he faces a maximum sentence of up to four years.
CITY, NYPD LAUNCH NEW PLAN TO CURB AUTO THEFT
CITYWIDE — A COMPREHENSIVE NEW PLAN FROM THE MAYOR’S OFFICE AIMS TO CRACK DOWN ON AUTO THEFT throughout the five boroughs, Mayor Eric Adams announced on Wednesday, September 6. The new plan, which incorporates new enforcement strategies, enhanced collaboration between the mayor, city agencies and private companies, utilizes dedicated GLA (Grand Larceny Auto) radio motor patrol cars with license plate readers that each police precinct has acquired. The newly deployed GLA response vehicles and personnel will scan known active hotspot locations and recovery locations within their command to identify potential stolen vehicles and reduce response times by patrol cars when responding to calls for stolen vehicles. They will serve as a liaison to the existing detective squads and a newly-hired coordinator to manage the database of stolen vehicles.
The new plan is in response to a 19% increase in grand larceny auto, grand larceny auto, particularly of certain Kia and Honda models lacking up-to-date anti-theft protection, as part of a crime wave that social media videos have incited.
REP. GOLDMAN: BANKS, UTILITIES MUST END ‘SURPRISE’ OVERDRAFT AND INVOICE FEES
BROOKLYN AND NATIONWIDE — THOSE OVERDRAFT FEES AND HIDDEN UTILITY BILL CHARGES could disappear, if Brooklyn Congressman Dan Goldman has his way. Goldman on Wednesday, September 6 held a press conference with NYC Comptroller Brad Lander, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra and impacted New Yorkers where he called on swift action to combat these often-surprise fees which erode Americans’ budgets by more than $65 billion annually. Congressional Democrats have introduced legislation to further crack down on junk fees, to expand upon what President Biden and the executive branch are authorized to do, with airline and show ticket fees.
A 2019 Consumer Reports study found that at least 85% of Americans have experienced a hidden or unexpected fee for a service in the previous two years.
DOT FINISHES SOME SAFETY PROJECTS IN TIME FOR SCHOOLS’ OPENING
BOROUGH PARK, SUNSET PARK AND CITYWIDE—THE NYC DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION HAS COMPLETED 15 SAFETY PROJECTS located within 250 feet of schools across the city, with another 29 in progress, DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced on Wednesday, September 6, in advance of Thursday’s opening of schools. Rodriguez is urging motorists to drive carefully when school begins, and advises schools to apply for the Open Streets Program . The aforementioned safety projects, including two in Brooklyn, have increased pedestrian space and reduced crossing distances, and have added vertical elements that slow drivers. New raised crosswalks were installed in front of PS 192 at 18th Ave & 47th St. in Borough Park, and PS 94 at 6th Ave & 50 St. in Sunset Park.
So far this year, 62 Open Streets have been approved for schools, with 10 further applications currently under review. Interested schools should learn more and apply at nyc.gov/openstreets.
MORE THAN 4 MILLION STUDENT BORROWERS IN NEW DEBT PLAN
NATIONWIDE — THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ON TUESDAY ANNOUNCED THAT more than four million student debtors nationwide have signed up for the president’s signature debt relief effort, known as the SAVE Plan, since applications opened this summer, including 212,000 borrowers in New York state. The SAVE Plan is a new income-based repayment program that helps reduce debt burdens for federal borrowers by raising the income limit for repayment calculations above that offered by previous IBR plans, cutting monthly payments in half and eliminating loan interest for those that make monthly payments on time, among other benefits.
More information about the plan’s benefits, as well as signup forms, can be found online on the Department of Education’s student aid webpage.
ASIAN MAN ATTACKED WITH STICK IN PROSPECT PARK
PARK SLOPE — POLICE ARE SEARCHING FOR AN UNKNOWN MAN WHO on Saturday, Sept. 2 around noon approached a 46-year-old man, brandished a stick at him while making anti-Asian remarks and then struck the victim with the stick, before fleeing the park on foot. The male victim was treated by EMS at the scene, and police say the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident; police on Tuesday also released photos of the attacker in an effort to identify him.
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 Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on X (Twitter) @NYPDTips.
CITY LAWYER NABBED IN DUI CRASH
PARK SLOPE – LAW DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT CORPORATION COUNSEL Philip Simonelli, age 29, was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning after allegedly crashing a car while driving under the influence of alcohol and refusing a Breathalyzer test, reports the Daily News. Simonelli was hit with six charges, including reckless driving and leaving the scene of an incident without reporting; police said that the 2:20 a.m. arrest was made after the attorney had already left the scene of the accident.
The arrest was made in the 78th Precinct; this area includes Park Slope and Prospect Park, as well as parts of Gowanus.
FREE NARCAN AND TEST STRIP ONLINE ORDERING PORTAL TO LAUNCH
STATEWIDE – GOVERNOR HOCHUL ON TUESDAY ISSUED A PRESS STATEMENT HIGHLIGHTING THE state’s launch of a new online portal through which state residents will be able to order free supplies of the anti-overdose medication naloxone – commonly known by the brand name Narcan – and test strips for the drugs fentanyl and xylazine, as well as overdose and addiction prevention information and a form for organizations to request training in naloxone administration; according to the press statement, New York’s addiction treatment efforts are partially funded by more than $2 billion in legal settlements reached with pharmaceutical companies that manufacture opioids by state Attorney General Letitia James. The governor also noted that several major pharmacy chains, including Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Rite Aid, will next month begin to sell naloxone after a recent FDA ruling approved its over-the-counter sale nationwide.
The new portal can be found on the webpage of the state Office of Addiction Services and Support; supplies are limited to two vials of naloxone per order and/or a pack of 100 test strips, and arrive in discreet packaging in an estimated 10 to 14 days.
ADAMS CAMPAIGN CHIEF MEETS WITH AZERI LEADERS, AS US SET TO HOLD JOINT EXERCISES WITH ARMENIA
AZERBAIJAN — LONGTIME ERIC ADAMS ALLY AND REELECTION CAMPAIGN LEADER FRANK CARONE, who recently resigned from his position as Adams’ chief of staff in order to start a consulting firm, met with a top aide to Azerbaijan’s president last week in the nation’s capital of Baku, reports the Daily News, according to Carone discussing an upcoming Formula 1 race in the city, as well as “hopes for peace in the region with their neighbors.” Azerbaijan, a close ally of NATO member Turkey, is embroiled in a harsh border dispute with its neighbor Armenia; while Armenia is part of the Russia-led CSTO military alliance, it announced on Wednesday that it will host joint military exercises with U.S. troops for the first time next week, in response to a lack of support from Russia over Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Nagorno-Karabakh border region — an eight-month-long crisis that has left the area’s population on the brink of famine.
Human rights lawyer and Azeri affairs specialist Sheila Paylan told the News that it was “odd that someone who’s an adviser to a politician on the municipal level in New York would go and discuss geopolitical issues in the region.” Adams previously faced criticism over a 2016 all-expenses-paid trip to the country while he was serving as Brooklyn’s borough president that he said was intended to “further the expansion of cross-cultural relationships that will be the foundation of Brooklyn’s prosperity for generations to come.”
FORTIS vs SUNY LAWSUIT OVER DISASTROUS DEAL TO DEVELOP LONG ISLAND COLLEGE HOSPITAL (LICH)
COBBLE HILL — FORTIS PROPERTY GROUP’S SEEMINGLY CURSED DEAL to develop the former Long Island College Hospital campus has hit another snag, The Real Deal reports. Last year Fortis had to sell off two of the towers in its $1 billion River Park development. Now the State University of New York (SUNY), which sold the historic hospital to Fortis for $240 million in 2014 after years of protests and lawsuits, is claiming in court that Fortis never made its third payment. A Fortis spokesperson claimed it was SUNY that failed to satisfy conditions required to close, however. Fortis also said that NYU Langone has backed out of its commitment to lease the medical facility long-term from the developer.
SUNY has terminated the deal and is seeking $8 million that it claims Fortis owes for failing to close, according to TRD. It also intends to keep Fortis’ $7 million deposit. Visit the Brooklyn Eagle’s extensive archive of stories on this topic at brooklyneagle.com/articles/2016/08/09/lich-everything-you-want-to-know-almost-about-the-deal-to-close-long-island-college-hospital/
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