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What’s News, Breaking: Tuesday, September 12, 2023

September 12, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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COMMON U.S. DECONGESTANT DOESN’T WORK AT ALL, FDA SAYS

NATIONWIDE — MIGHT AS WELL THROW OUT THOSE MEDS: The standard decongestant in many of the country’s most popular cold medicines is totally useless when taken orally, an advisory panel to the FDA Food and Drug Administration ruled on Tuesday, according to the New York Times. The FDA now has to decide whether or not to ban the ingredient, phenylephrine, and remove products containing it from shelves — though drug companies will likely try to delay this action.

The decongestant is in at least 250 products that were worth nearly $1.8 billion in sales last year. Among the products: Sudafed Sinus Congestion, Tylenol Cold & Flu Severe, NyQuil Severe Cold & Flu, Theraflu Severe Cold Relief, Mucinex Sinus Max and others.

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DAILY TOP BROOKLYN NEWS
News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

POLICE: BROOKLYN RESTAURANT OWNER INTENTIONALLY DROVE CAR INTO MIGRANTS

CLINTON HILL — A BROOKLYN RESTAURANT OWNER intentionally drove his car into two men early Sunday morning as they sat outside a migrant shelter, allegedly trying to kill them because an unrelated DoorDash delivery worker stole food from his restaurant, BurgerIM, Gothamist reports. Hamzeh Alwawi, 42, posted $30,000 bond after being held on Rikers Island and was released Monday. Alwawi had plowed into the men outside the shelter on Hall Street in Clinton Hill around 2:50 a.m., police say.

One victim, Venezuelan Lozano Bracho, told Gothamist he did not know Alwawi and hadn’t delivered food from his business. “This [country] was supposed to be safer, but I never imagined my life would be in the hands of this driver, this American who was about to drive over me to kill me,” he said.

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NYC EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: KEEP AN EYE ON HURRICANE LEE

CITYWIDE — NYC EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT said that it is monitoring the course of Hurricane Lee, a Category 3 storm south of Bermuda as of Tuesday, and is preparing for any potential impacts. Although the storm poses no immediate threat to the city, NYCEM is urging residents to stay vigilant. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the deployment of 50 soldiers from the National Guard on Long Island as the hurricane continues to move northwest. Even without a direct hit, the storm could cause dangerous high surf, rip currents, coastal flooding, and beach erosion along parts of the east coast later this week.

“We are keeping a close eye on this storm because it’s too early to predict what this potentially dangerous weather system will do,” Hochul said. NYCEM urges residents to be aware of their evacuation zones by checking NYC.gov/KnowYourZone.

Hurricane Lee projection of storm-force winds as of Tuesday.
Map: NOAA

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NYC ANNOUNCES NEW PLAN TO REIMAGINE ‘CHAOTIC’ CURB SPACE

CITYWIDE — MAYOR ERIC ADAMS AND NYCDOT COMMISSIONER YDANIS RODRIGUEZ announced on Tuesday a new effort to “reimagine the city’s curb space” with a pilot program which will test strategies around loading zones, delivery micro-hubs, street furniture, delivery worker “relief stations,” waste containerization, expanded bike parking and corrals, carshare zones, low emission zones and other uses of curb space. The city will also seek state authorization to charge for non-metered parking spaces.

With the explosion in home deliveries and growing range of transportation modes on city streets, curb space has become increasingly sought after, competitive and chaotic, the administration said in unveiling its new  “Curb Management Action Plan.”

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NEW CEO AT PIONEER WORKS ARTS & SCIENCES CENTER IN RED HOOK

RED HOOK — THE BOARD OF PIONEER WORKS ANNOUNCED on Tuesday that Mara Manus, former executive director of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), has been appointed as the organization’s new chief executive officer. “After an extensive search, we are elated to have found a person of Mara’s caliber who is innately capable of seeing our vision through and also motivated by it,” said Austin Hearst, chair of Pioneer Works’s board. The nonprofit cultural center in Red Hook fosters programming in the visual and performing arts, technology, music and science — 85% of which is presented free-of-charge.

Manus replaces former Executive Director Maxine Dalio. Jill Eisenhard has been acting as Interim Executive Director while the board conducted the search.

Mara Manus is the new CEO of Pioneer Works.
Photo: Ric Sechrest

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FIRST ASIAN AMERICAN JUDGE  NAMED TO APPELLATE TERM

ALBANY AND DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — NY STATE CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE JOSEPH A. ZAYAS on Tuesday, Sept. 12, announced the appointment of Hon. Phillip Hom as Associate Justice of the Appellate Term of the Supreme Court, Second Department, in the 2nd, 11th and 13th Judicial District. Justice Hom becomes the first Asian American to sit on this appellate bench which, under the leadership of Presiding Justice Wavny Toussaint, hears appeals from the Civil and Criminal Courts in Kings, Queens and Richmond counties. Elected in 2019 to serve in State Supreme Court in Queens County, Justice Hom has presided over a wide range of civil matters, including foreclosure, divorce, election law and other cases. He has held a variety of positions in the public sector.

Justice Hom fills a vacancy created by last month’s elevation of Hon. Lourdes M. Ventura to the Appellate Division, Second Department, and his appointment was made after consultation with Hon. Hector LaSalle, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department.

Justice Hom, 2018.
Photo: Andy Katz/Queens Eagle

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A-LISTERS, MODELS TAKE OVER DOMINO PARK FOR FASHION WEEK EVENT IN BROOKLYN

WILLIAMSBURG — IN SUITABLY BREATHLESS PROSE, the Daily Mail covered the Michael Kors show, a New York Fashion Week event held in Brooklyn’s Domino Park, with bold face descriptions of models and A-list TV and film stars “flashing cleavage” and “flaunting toned legs” in hot pants, just “oozing self-confidence” as they posed with the Williamsburg Bridge as a backdrop.

Some of the sightings included Olivia Wilde (“Don’t Worry Darling,” “Tron,” “House”), described by the Daily Mail as “the blonde ex  of Jason Sudeikis”; Blake Lively (“Green Lantern”), Halle Berry (“Cloud Atlas,” “Bruised”) and many, many more.

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EAST FLATBUSH LIQUOR STORE SELLS
WINNING  TAKE 5 LOTTERY TICKET

EAST FLATBUSH — A MERCHANT IN EAST FLATBUSH SOLD THE ONE TOP-PRIZE winning ticket in the Monday, Sept. 11, TAKE 5 Evening Drawing.  Exclusive Wines & Liquors Inc. at 5704 Clarendon Rd. sold the ticket worth $33,686.50. TAKE 5 numbers are drawn from a field of one through 39, with drawings televised twice daily at 2:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

A lottery draw game prize of any amount may be claimed up to one year from the date of the drawing; prizes of more than $600 must be claimed at a New York Lottery Customer Service Center, by appointment only.

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MAN WHO TERRORIZED HIS CROWN HEIGHTS NEIGHBORS IS BEHIND BARS

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A MAN ACCUSED OF TERRORIZING his Black neighbors was behind bars on Monday after not meeting bail set by Judge Danny Chun in Brooklyn Supreme Court. He was also ordered to stay away from his building. NBC4 reports that Steven Attonasso, 68, was charged with eight counts of making terroristic threats as a hate crime to his neighbors at the Ebbets Field Apartments in Crown Heights. He is the only suspect in an April 6 arson that killed another man on his floor; the fire was set just days after he threatened to burn his Black neighbors. “I slept with a fire extinguisher next to my bed,” one neighbor told NBC4.

“He’ll scream, ‘I’m gonna burn you N-words!'” Raquel Harris, who lives on the 11th floor with Attonasso, told NBC4 in June. Tenants credit the channel’s I-Team for keeping the issue in the news for a year.

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BROOKLYN WILL GET NEW CLEAN ENERGY HUB,
AS CON EDISON BREAKS GROUND ON PROJECT

VINEGAR HILL —  CON EDISON IS BREAKING GROUND ON A NEW CLEAN ENERGY HUB that is expected to offer connections for offshore wind and create more than 500 union jobs, the energy company announced on Tuesday, Sept. 12.  The Clean Energy Hub, which will be situated on the banks of the East River in Vinegar Hill, just east of DUMBO and near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, will serve as a critical plug-in point for future offshore wind infrastructure, and will accommodate up to 1,500 megawatts or enough electricity to power 750,000 homes. Con Edison consulted with community leaders on plans for the Brooklyn Clean Energy Hub building designs; and several have already publicly endorsed the project, including Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso; City Councilmember Lincoln Restler (D-33); Randy Peers, president and chief executive of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce; and Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Downtown Partnership. So has Shay O’Reilly, senior organizing representative for the Sierra Club.

Barges will deliver some components and construction materials to the site, minimizing traffic on local streets.

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THE CITY: THE GROUND IS COLLAPSING UNDER HOMES IN CANARSIE

CANARSIE — THE GROUND IS COLLAPSING UNDER HOUSES in Canarsie, causing the floors of an unknown number of them to collapse, THE CITY publication reported. Some owners are not reporting the damage to officials as required, fearing eviction. The article describes the experience of  Alvin Henry, who was ordered to vacate his semi-detached, three-story house in Canarsie after the floors opened up. It was “a catastrophe,” he said.

“Tiles were cracked and furniture in the spare bedroom tilted towards the center of the room. In the garage, a lawn mower, leaf blower and other equipment tipped into a crevasse,” THE CITY writes.

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LAWSUIT LOOMS OVER LOUD LOO IN BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK IS EXPLORING the possibility of making “acoustic renovations” to a public bathroom in the park following a “years-long legal battle” with the owners of a condo located directly over the loud loo, THE CITY reports. Salim Samaha, his wife Kimberly Su, and their family — including a young child and Su’s elderly mother — say the toilets on the first floor of their building are a nightmare, causing them to endure nonstop sleepless nights since they bought their five-bedroom unit for almost $5 million in June 2019.

The constant flushing creates a “banging” and “water hammer” effect as well as vibrations from the park-operated bathroom directly beneath their apartment at the Pierhouse Condominium on Furman Street, their lawsuit claims.

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FDA APPROVES UPDATED COVID-19
VACCINE FOR EMERGENCY USE

NATIONWIDE — UPDATED COVID-19 VACCINES HAVE BEEN APPROVED AND AUTHORIZED in an action that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took on Monday, Sept. 11. The updated mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, which have now been approved for emergency use, are formulated to more closely target currently circulating variants and to provide better protection against serious consequences of the virus, and include a monovalent (single) component that corresponds to the Omicron variant XBB.1.5. Individuals 5 years of age and older, regardless of previous vaccination, are eligible to receive a single dose of an updated mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 months since the last dose of any COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, babies and toddlers from age 6 months to four years who have previously been vaccinated against COVID-19 are eligible to receive one or two doses of an updated mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (timing and number of doses to administer depends on the previous COVID-19 vaccine received).

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‘CITY OF YES FOR CARBON NEUTRALITY’ PLAN
PASSES ANOTHER APPROVAL HURDLE

CITYWIDE — THE CITY PLANNING COMMISSION ON MONDAY, SEPT. 11, VOTED IN FAVOR of Mayor Eric Adams’ City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality. This set of 17 citywide zoning changes aims to modernize New York’s Zoning Resolution to facilitate climate action, clean energy, and resiliency, by removing barriers to greener energy, buildings, transportation, and water and waste systems. City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality will also enable New Yorkers to retrofit their homes for energy efficiency or resiliency, install heat pumps or solar panels, switch to electric vehicles, or compost and recycle. This initiative would also expand the use of permeable paving and rain gardens, cut red tape and eliminate uncertainty for recycling and composting, and encourage rooftop food production.

This initiative, which is the first of Mayor Eric Adams’ three “City of Yes” zoning proposals to pass the Planning Commission, now goes to New York City Council for a public hearing and final vote this fall. 

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NEW LAWS SIGNED ON 9/11 ANNIVERSARY WILL REMOVE
BARRIERS TO COMPENSATION FUND ELIGIBILITY 

STATEWIDE — DURING HER VISIT TO THE SEPT. 11 MEMORIAL CEREMONY and 9/11 MUSEUM ON MONDAY, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation to remove barriers and delays from the Victim Compensation Fund and workers’ compensation claims. The new laws will ensure that employers of individuals who were in the Lower Manhattan and northern Brooklyn exposure zones between September 2001 and the end of May 2002 inform them of their rights to register for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program, which provide monitoring and treatment for eligible individuals with WTC-related illnesses. The legislation would require businesses and institutions whose employees returned to work after the attack to notify them of their potential eligibility for the Victim Compensation Fund and World Trade Center Health Fund.

 The State’s Economic Development agency and the Department of Labor will coordinate a plan to provide adequate notice of the benefits available.

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REPS. GOLDMAN, NADLER PUSH MAYOR TO RELEASE
9/11 TOXIN EXPOSURE REPORT TO VICTIMS’ FAMILIES 

CITYWIDE — A COALITION OF FAMILIES OF 9/11 SURVIVORS AND VICTIMS WHO ARE FIGHTING TO OBTAIN critical information on toxic exposure from and New York’s preparedness for the terror attacks have the support of at least two elected officials, U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman’s office announced on Monday, which marked the 22nd anniversary of the tragedy. Congressmembers Goldman (D-10) and Jerrold Nadler (D-12), whose district at the time included parts of eastern Brooklyn, are urging New York Mayor Eric Adams to comply with a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request that the coalition has filed to obtain documents crucial to understanding the health impacts of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, on the grounds that this information would provide injured and ill 9/11 responders, survivors, and their families a better understanding of the health risks associated with toxins released after the attacks that poisoned tens of thousands.

The new FOIL request is a follow-up on another request sent in February, to which Adams responded only by commending Congress’ actions in establishing a fund and listing generally available resources.

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TA REPORT: COUNCIL DISTRICT 33 HAD THE MOST
TRAFFIC INJURIES FOR 18-MONTH PERIOD

33RD COUNCIL DISTRICT — CITY COUNCILMAN LINCOLN RESTLER’S DISTRICT IN BROOKLYN has the most traffic injuries in the city, according to a new report from the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, as reported in Gothamist on Monday. The report, which covers the period of January 2022-June 2023, found also that Brooklyn saw 204 cyclists injured, the most for that same period, and that people in 10 council districts with the highest poverty rates were nearly a quarter more likely to be seriously injured compared to the average district. Councilmember Restler represents Brooklyn neighborhoods where 36 pedestrians, 24 cyclists and 41 motorists were injured in the first half of the year.

“New York City is on pace for one of the deadliest years for bike riders in recent history, but it doesn’t have to be this way,” Restler wrote in an email, calling on the Adams administration “to prioritize and expedite proven solutions that will save lives, especially the swift implementation of a truly protected network of bike lanes.”

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CONGRESSMAN GOLDMAN GIVES 9/11 REFLECTION

CITYWIDE — BROOKLYN CONGRESSMAN DAN GOLDMAN (D-10) REFLECTED on Sept. 11 in a prepared statement he issued (excerpted here) on Monday.  “Twenty-two years ago today, we experienced the worst terrorist attacks on American soil in our nation’s history and lost nearly 3,000 of our friends, loved ones, and fellow Americans. Living in downtown Manhattan on September 11th, I will never forget watching the second plane hit the Towers and the soot-covered people walking up Hudson Street…We owe an enormous debt of gratitude and appreciation to those who risked everything in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and in the months and years that followed. 

Goldman concluded, “But in that reflection, we also take time to recognize our resiliency and the mandate we have to ensure that evil never triumphs over the American spirit. We are New York Strong, and we will Never Forget.”

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FOOTBALL IS BACK — HOCHUL ANNOUNCES DISNEY-CHARTER CABLE DISPUTE RESOLVED

NEW YORK — GOV. KATHY HOCHUL ANNOUNCED THAT CABLE SUBSCRIBERS in New York will be able to watch Monday night football again, thanks to the resolution of the dispute between Disney and Charter companies. “Just in time for Monday night football and the Bills and Jets starting their seasons tonight, I’m pleased that Disney and Charter have resolved their corporate dispute and resumed service for more than 1.5 million New York customers that lost access to ESPN and Disney-owned channels,” Hochul said in a statement.

Hochul added that her administration will ensure that New Yorkers receive a refund for the days they were without service.

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BROOKLYN FIREFIGHTERS AMONG THOUSANDS
MEMORIALIZED AT SEPT. 11 OBSERVANCE

BROOKLYN AND LOWER MANHATTAN — FAMILIES OF THE SEPT. 11, 2001 VICTIMS GATHERED in Lower Manhattan on Monday morning to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York, the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and the airline passengers who crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania in the midst of preventing any more carnage. Brooklyn-born Father Mychal Judge, OFM, chaplain to the New York City Fire Department, became the first officially recorded fatality on 9/11 as he administered last rites to a firefighter at the World Trade Center. The names of the firefighters at FDNY’s Engine Company 205/Hook & Ladder 118 were also being read. They were: Captain Martin Egan; Firefighters Joey Agnello, Vernon Cherry, Scott Davidson, Robert Regan, Leon Smith, Pete Vega, and Robert Wallace.

Some of the people who recited the names of the deceased on Monday were the nieces, nephews or grandchildren of those who perished, reflecting that a full generation has passed since the 2001 attacks.

Engine Company 205 and Hook & Ladder Company 118 were known as the “Fire Under the Bridge” companies, named after the party they threw every July under the Brooklyn Bridge. That nickname took on new meaning, however, after the tragic events of 9/11.
Photo: Mary Frost, Brooklyn Eagle

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CLARK & WILLOW STREET INTERSECTION IN HEIGHTS WILL GET ADA-COMPLIANT CROSSWALK RAMPS

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — ALL FOUR CORNERS OF THE CLARK & WILLOW STREET intersection will be getting non-standard pedestrian ramps installed, according to a notice from the Dept. of Design and Construction and Community Board 2. The new ramps, being designed in partnership with the NYC Department of Transportation, will be upgrades for certain pedestrian ramps to improve access on and off streets and sidewalks. The ADA-compliant ramps, slopes, top landings, and related elements will be graded for persons with disabilities, including those using wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters to maneuver safely. Blind and low-vision pedestrians will be alerted that they are approaching potential hazards through brightly colored inserts with domed detectable warnings. These detectable warning surfaces will be either red or white to contrast with the surrounding sidewalk.

The project’s design stage is expected to be complete this fall, with a construction start date of Summer 2024.

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ADAMS THREATENS HARSH BUDGET CUTS OVER MIGRANT STRAIN

CITYWIDE – MAYOR ADAMS ON SATURDAY ANNOUNCED THAT HE HAD DIRECTED every city government department to submit a plan to reduce its spending by 5% through the end of the year and a further 10% in 2024 in an effort to free up $7 billion in the city budget, which the mayor claimed would be needed to meet the city’s legal responsibilities towards asylum-seekers over the next fiscal year; estimates released last month have projected that spending on migrants could reach as much as $12 billion over the next three years. Adams hinted that the cuts could still be avoided if his repeated calls for increased aid from the federal and state governments are answered; Governor Hochul has previously criticized Adams’ handling of the crisis while concurring with him on the need for federal aid: the $140 million promised by Washington has yet to be distributed to the city, and represents only a small fraction of the total cost burden.

Adams’ announcement came on the heels of a controversial speech on Wednesday night in which he claimed that the migrant crisis would “destroy the city,” for which he was sharply criticized by fellow Democrats, including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who wrote in a press statement that the mayor’s words were “more than politically damaging. They were dangerous, and could contribute to an increasingly hostile environment of xenophobia.”

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THREE TEENS SHOT, WOUNDED NEAR DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN SUBWAY STATION

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — THREE TEENS WERE WOUNDED during an early morning shooting outside the Fulton Street subway station on Sunday. According to amNY, two 19-year-old women and a 19-year-old man were shot at roughly 5:22 a.m. just outside the subway station entrance near Nostrand Avenue. The paper published a photo of blood on the subway station steps. The victims were rushed to Kings County Hospital, where they are expected to recover.

Sources told amNY that victims were uncooperative when questioned, and that more than ten shots were fired.

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KINGSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE WILL MARK 60TH BIRTHDAY

MANHATTAN BEACH — WHEN KINGSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE MARKS its 60th anniversary on Tuesday, Sept. 12, a family member of the founder will participate in the festivities. Kingsborough, which has a 70-acre ocean-front campus on Oriental Boulevard in Manhattan Beach and is Brooklyn’s only community college (offering two-year associate degree programs), was founded in 1963 as part of the City University of New York (CUNY). Tuesday’s 10 a.m. program will open with welcome remarks from the college’s President, Claudia Schrader, and will include a presentation of the college’s founders (with one of the founder’s family present) and proclamations from the Mayor’s Office, the NYC Council Speaker’s Office, State Sen. Jessica Scarcella-Spanton and NYS Assemblyman Michael Novakhov.

A birthday block party will take place in the QUAD, with a birthday cake cutting at 12:30 p.m.

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IN MEMORIAM: MONSIGNOR PAUL JERVIS, 69, LED CAUSE TO CANONIZE PRIEST WHO FOUNDED BROOKLYN’S FIRST BLACK PARISH

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT AND PROSPECT-LEFFERTS GARDENS — BROOKLYN’S FAITH COMMUNITIES ARE MOURNING THE DEATH OF MONSIGNOR PAUL JERVIS, who was a champion of civil rights and racial harmony within the Diocese of Brooklyn and beyond. Monsignor Jervis, who died on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at age 69,  had served at parishes within the diocese for more than 40 years, led the canonization cause of Monsignor Bernard Quinn, and, in 2005, authored the book, “Quintessential Priest: The Life of Monsignor Bernard J. Quinn.” The book profiled the life of Monsignor Quinn, who established and pastored the first church for Black Catholics in the Diocese of Brooklyn, named for St. Peter Claver, the patron saint of slaves, African missions and interracial justice. The service for Fr. Jervis, who served several parishes in Brooklyn and Queens, will take place at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at St. Francis of Assisi-St. Blaise Church in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.

A native of Guyana, Msgr. Jervis had immigrated to the U.S. at age 19. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1983. Pope Benedict XVI bestowed Jervis with the title Prelate of Honor, elevating him to Monsignor, in 2009.

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MEDICAL EXAMINER ANNOUNCES MORE DNA IDENTIFICATIONS MADE OF  9/11 VICTIMS

CITYWIDE — MORE THAN TWO DECADES AFTER THE SEPT. 11, 2001 TERROR ATTACKS, the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is still in the process of identifying victims based on DNA testing of remains, with two more identifications announced just days before the tragedy’s 22nd anniversary. Mayor Eric Adams and Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jason Graham said on Friday, Sept. 8, that a man and a woman, whose names are being withheld at the request of their families, became the 1,648th and 1,649th persons to be identified, using advanced DNA testing of remains recovered from the attack that took the lives of 2,753 people. The man’s identification was confirmed through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001. The woman’s identification was confirmed through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001, 2006, and 2013, bringing some closure to the longstanding grief of their loved ones.

The two identifications are the first new ones of World Trade Center victims since September 2021. Some 1,104 victims — 40% of those who died — remain unidentified.

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NEW BILL WOULD BAN FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY IN PUBLIC HOUSING

FLATBUSH AND CAPITOL HILL — FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY SHOULD BE BANNED IN FEDERALLY-FUNDED PUBLIC HOUSING, says Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-09), who has introduced legislation to prohibit this practice. Congressmember Clarke, whose district stretches from Crown Heights to Flatlands and Midwood, on Friday, Sept. 8, joined her colleagues Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) in introducing the No Biometric Barriers Housing Act of 2023, to prohibit the usage of facial and biometric recognition technology in most federally funded public housing and require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to submit a comprehensive report to Congress about how this emerging technology impacts the public housing sector and its tenants.

Stating the need to maintain safeguards against profiling and unjust uses, Clarke said, “In its current state, facial recognition technology is undeniably flawed — we know the accuracy of facial recognition technology significantly decreases when screening people of color and women, just as we know real harms and hardships have come to individuals from these groups when victimized by false identification.”

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GOVERNOR TO SPECTRUM: REFUND YOUR  CUSTOMERS FOR LOST DISNEY CHANNELS 

STATEWIDE — SPECTRUM CUSTOMERS WHO LOST THEIR DISNEY-OWNED channels last week in the midst of a corporate dispute between the two companies have learned that New York Governor Kathy Hochul is joining the fight on the consumers’ side. Hochul is urging the Department of Public Service to make Spectrum accountable to its 1.5 million New York customers and refund them for the lost programming on ESPN and Disney channels, particularly on the eve of two major sporting events, the Monday night football game between the NY Jets and Buffalo Bills, and the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Public Service Commissioner Rory Christian also wrote to Spectrum parent company Charter Communications on September 8, directly asking them when they will issue the credit to its customers, what amounts, and how Charter will calculate the credit.

Meanwhile, some Spectrum customers received text messages on Saturday, September 9 offering  a trial period for a streaming service named FUBO, and provided a link to that service. The text message did not mention any refunds.

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FONTBONNE HALL ACADEMY WILL RETIRE TEAM JERSEY OF ALUMNA WHO DIED THIS SUMMER 

BAY RIDGE — A YOUNG FONTBONNE HALL ACADEMY GRADUATE who died over the summer will be remembered in tribute this Tuesday. Fontbonne will be retiring Caileigh Duggan’s jersey number 17 after the completion of a Junior Varsity volleyball game scheduled for Tuesday, September 12. The 2022 Fontbonne Hall graduate had played Junior Varsity and Varsity Volleyball there, wearing #17. She had also played on the Diocesan and City championship varsity volleyball team, overcoming great medical and physical odds. Born with severe amblyopia, the leading cause of blindness in children, Caileigh worked hard in therapy and became part of the less than 3% of people who move from severe to no amblyopia, but died at age 18 earlier this summer from an underlying heart condition.

 A Breezy Point resident and an accomplished Irish step dancer, Caleigh had just completed her freshman year at the University of Tennessee, and aspired to be a pediatric oncology nurse.

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 SURVEY SEEKS PUBLIC OPINION ON USE OF E-BIKES AND SCOOTERS ON GREENWAYS

BOROUGHWIDE — The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation is conducting a survey on its pilot program allowing e-bikes and e-scooters to use City park drives and greenways. The pilot was first announced in March as part of Mayor Adams’ “Charge Safe, Ride Safe: NYC’s Electric Micromobility Action Plan,” which outlined how the administration is working to keep New Yorkers safe as electric micromobility use grows, and how to support the rapid adoption of these devices. This pre-pilot survey, available in several languages, takes 5-10 minutes to complete, includes definitions of park drives and greenways, and clarifies e-bikes and e-scooters. (https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=x2_1MoFfIk6pWxXaZlE773xXBGASHJpAhX-mzxOr3ahURVNCUEU1OTY4SE8wSU1XMlFRUjU0RU9VMy4u&lang=en_

The Parks Department’s program, launched on June 20, includes the Shore Parkway Promenade/Bike Path, according to a notice from Community Board 11, which serves Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend and Mapleton.

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CITY DOT WELCOMES FEEDBACK AND IDEAS ON ITS OPEN STREETS PROGRAM

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — The NYC Dept of Transportation (NYC DOT) is collecting feedback and ideas from local residents and merchants to improve the public realm for pedestrians and cyclists in Brooklyn Heights, from Clark Street to State Street, and Furman to Court. This survey (accessible via https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BkHeights) also asks questions about active and former Open Streets in Brooklyn Heights, including the Montague St. Open Street, from Pierrepont Pl. to Clinton St.; the Joralemon St. Open Street, from Furman St. to Hicks St; and about formerly active Open Streets: Remsen St. Open Street, from Henry St. to Clinton St. (with two religious schools on the block); and the Aitken Place Open Street from Sidney Pl. to Clinton St. (was a play area for the school on Sidney Place).

Feedback from the process, with components for a Community Survey and a separate Merchant Survey, will be kept confidential and be used to inform future project development. Results will be presented at a future BKCB2 public meeting.

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MTA SUSPENDS Q TRAIN DURING FALL WEEKENDS FOR TRACK WORK

PROSPECT PARK/CONEY ISLAND — Q TRAIN RIDERS IN BROOKLYN should prepare alternate routes for the next several weekends through late October, as the MTA continues track maintenance and switch repair work. The MTA website indicates that Q train service will be suspended between the 34th St. Herald Square hub in Manhattan and the Prospect Park station in Brooklyn on the weekends of September 15-18 (Fridays from 11:30 p.m. to Mondays at 5 a.m.), Sept. 22-25; Sept. 29-Oct. 2; Oct. 6-9 (which includes the Columbus Day holiday); Oct. 13-16; and Oct. 20-23. Q service during those hours will run in two sections between Prospect Park and Coney Island/Stillwell Ave, the other only in Manhattan.

Alternate routes include a special Q90 shuttle that will run between Prospect Park and the Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center hub, with a stop at 7th Ave. station. Or take the D, F, N or R trains for service in Brooklyn.

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MORE BROOKLYN INTERSECTIONS WILL GET PEDESTRIAN CROSSING UPGRADES

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN & BAY RIDGE — THE NYC DEPT. OF DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION has added new intersections to its list of ADA-compliant pedestrian ramp upgrades that were announced last week. (See Sept. 5 “What’s News”). The intersection of Bridge and Willoughby streets in Downtown Brooklyn, within Community District 2, will undergo pedestrian crossing changes at the northeast, northwest and southeast corners (but the southwest corner is not listed). Pedestrian crossings at all four corners of the Bay Ridge Avenue/4th Ave. intersection, between 68th St. and Ovington avenues, within Community Board 10, will be upgraded. The Bay Ridge Ave. R subway station is at that intersection. Expected design stage completion is Fall 2023.

The ramp slopes, top landings, and related elements will be graded for persons with disabilities, including those using wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters, to be able to maneuver safely. Blind and low-vision pedestrians will be alerted that they are approaching potential hazards.


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