What’s News, Breaking: Thursday, September 28, 2023
ATLANTIC ANTIC, AT 48, PRESENTS
A MILE OF BROOKLYN FOOD AND FUN
ATLANTIC AVENUE — THE ATLANTIC ANTIC, TURNING 48 YEARS OLD, TAKES PLACE THIS SUNDAY, OCT. 1, ALONG ATLANTIC AVENUE between the waterfront and Fourth Avenue in Boerum Hill. The mile of food, crafts and service organizations will be open to festival-goers from noon to 6 p.m. The Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation produces the Atlantic Antic — the oldest and largest street festival in Brooklyn — which features ethnic tastings, fine arts and crafts from around the world, non-stop music and entertainment, and of course, fun.
The Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) will host its table at the Atlantic, on the north side of the avenue, between Henry and Clinton streets.
PARISHES PRESENT WEEKEND OF AUTHORS
WHO REINFORCE BLACK RESILIENCE
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — TWO EPISCOPAL PARISHES ARE PARTNERING ON A FREE WEEKEND PROGRAM ABOUT THE RESILIENCE OF BLACK AMERICANS, with a guest moderator who is very familiar to the neighborhood. St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, Pro-Cathedral, and Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights will host on exciting young theologian Cole Arthur Riley, who will be part of a two-day event, titled “Spirit and Flesh: Our Bodies, Our Blackness, Ourselves.” The Friday, Sept. 29, component, starting at 7 p.m., is hosted at St. Ann’s, with Cole Arthur Riley, a keynote of this Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend event, with fellow author Tracey Michael Lewis-Giggetts joining her. Lewis-Giggetts wrote “Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience and Restoration” and “Then They Came for Mine: Healing from the Trauma of Racial Violence” which underscores Black Americans’ resilience in the face of racially-motivated violence and explore paths to healing to prevent further trauma.
The facilitator for a Q&A following Cole’s Saturday, Sept. 30, segment will be the Rev. Adriene Thorne, senior minister of historic Riverside Church in Upper Manhattan, and past senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn Heights. That lecture begins at noon.
FAA INVITES COMMENTS FROM PUBLIC
ON IMPACT OF AIRCRAFT NOISE
CITYWIDE — BROOKLYNITES HAVE JUST OVER 24 HOURS TO SUBMIT COMPLAINTS about aircraft noise, particularly helicopters, to the Federal Aviation Administration, according to a notice from the Brooklyn Heights Association. Responding to nationwide complaints over aircraft noise, the FAA is seeking public comments describing individuals’ lived experiences. Information on the types and number of flights, times of day of flights, and flight frequency will be helpful, particularly on how the noise impacts the individual’s family, neighborhood and livelihood. The deadline is Friday, Sept. 29, at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Saving Time) to Regulations.gov.
The FAA states that “a constructive, information-rich comment that clearly communicates and supports its claims is more likely to have an impact on regulatory decision-making.”
BPL LAUNCHES NEW WEB PAGE FOR TEENS
TO SHARE EXPERIENCES WITH CENSORSHIP
CITYWIDE — AS PART OF BANNED BOOKS WEEK, THE BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY will lead a Citywide Day of Action on Wednesday, Oct. 4, with their partners at the New York and Queens Public Libraries. New Yorkers are invited to post onto social media a photo of themselves holding a favorite book, using the hashtag #FreedomToRead. The Library is also launching a new page on its website where teens can submit their experiences with censorship, including the dangers they face as they seek the freedom to read.
A majority of books censored are written for young adults and teens and have LGBTQIA themes or feature characters of color. Teens are often caught in the middle between parents, educators and legislators just as they discover their identities.
BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM LAUNCHES
PODCAST SERIES, ‘BORROWED AND BANNED’
BOROUGHWIDE — AS IT PREPARES FOR BANNED BOOKS WEEK, THE BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY HAS EXPANDED ITS BOOKS UNBANNED program — the library system’s viral freedom to read campaign — to Boston and the Los Angeles County Public Libraries. The BPL will also debut a new podcast series, titled “Borrowed and Banned,” featuring conversations with the authors of banned books. Award-winning producer Virginia Marshall created this series, which investigates an alarming rise in book bans. The seven-episode “Borrowed and Banned” series chronicles America’s ideological war with its bookshelves by talking with the people most impacted: students on the frontlines, the librarians and teachers whose livelihoods are endangered when they speak up, and the writers whose books have become a political battleground. The narrative podcast features interviews with some of the country’s most banned authors including Maia Kobabe, George M. Johnson, and Mike Curato.
These programs are part of Banned Books Week (Oct. 1-7) and a Citywide Day of Action, next Wednesday, October 4. Last year, more than 2,500 book titles were challenged in libraries across the country, the highest number in over 20 years.
AFTER RETRIAL, BROOKLYN MAN GETS 30 YEARS TO LIFE FOR 2015 BROWNSVILLE MURDER
DOWNTOWN — AFTER A RETRIAL, A BROOKLYN MAN HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS TO LIFE for killing a man outside of a Brownsville homeless shelter during a dispute over money in 2015, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced Thursday. Keith Brannon, 55, formerly of East New York, was sentenced by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Hecht after a new witness testified after being located in Poland. Brannon was convicted of shooting Christopher Tennison, 32, at point-blank range. Text messages showed he had been demanding money from the victim, and his DNA was found on the gun used to commit the murder.
Brannon was convicted in 2017 after multiple eyewitnesses testified, but the case was reversed on appeal due to a judicial error.
NYC INKS NEW DEALS WITH CRUISE LINES USING BROOKLYN & MANHATTAN CRUISE TERMINALS
BROOKLYN-MANHATTAN — NYC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORP said on Thursday that it has reached new usage agreements with numerous cruise lines for future sailings from the Manhattan and Brooklyn Cruise Terminals. These new agreements “prioritize emission reductions, educational partnerships and local provisioning, and create a community benefit fund to address neighborhood priorities,” EDC said. The agency will partner with cruise lines to improve ground transportation and “maximize public transportation options,” EDC said. Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Randy Peers applauded the agreements, saying they would provide cruise operators “with operating stability, while ensuring that investments are being made to locally support small businesses, schools and workers.”
While the Red Hook terminal has an electrical hook-up, many of the idling cruise ships docked there are still unable to plug into it, flooding the neighborhood with toxic diesel fumes, according to The City. Thursday’s agreement calls for reducing emissions “where commercially and operationally feasible.”
CITY HOSPITAL SYSTEM EARNS RECOGNITION
ON LOWERING, MANAGING PATIENTS’ BLOOD PRESSURE
CITYWIDE — ALL 11 OF THE NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS AND EIGHT OF ITS AFFILIATED GOTHAM HEALTH SITES EARNED RECOGNITION from the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association for their work in managing hypertension or high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart attack and stroke. Moreover, 17 facilities of the city hospital network received Gold+ status, the highest recognition. Earning Target BP Gold+ status were NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County; NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health; NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull (Williamsburg/Bushwick); and the Gotham Health sites in North Brooklyn and East New York. All the Brooklyn locations earned the top-tier recognition of BP Gold +. NYC Health + Hospitals used several strategies to help its patients control their blood pressure, including distributing more than 10,000 home blood pressure monitors.
In 2022, 75.1% of NYC Health + Hospitals patients with hypertension were controlled, a nearly 5% improvement from 2021.
MAIMONIDES EMS, COMMUNITY BOARD 10
WILL HOST PROGRAM ON OPIOID OVERDOSES
BAY RIDGE — THE MAIMONIDES EMS TEAM AND COMMUNITY BOARD 10 ARE CO-HOSTING a training workshop on how to respond to an opioid overdose event. The Oct. 5 event, geared to everyday people, will be a Naloxone Training, in which participants will learn how to recognize signs of an opioid overdose and respond using Naloxone (Narcan). Community Board 10 will host the training at its District Office at 8119 Fifth Avenue (Bay Ridge, look for blue awning) on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 6:30 p.m.; the program will also be livestreamed.
The NYC Department of Health reported recently a 12% increase in opioid-related deaths, compared to previous years.
MTA BLAMES 72 MOOCHERS FOR MASSIVE CUTBACK IN TAXI PROGRAM FOR 1,200 DISABLED RIDERS
CITYWIDE — MTA HAS PUT NEW, STRICT LIMITS ON A PILOT PROGRAM that allowed 1,200 city residents with disabilities to take an unlimited number of wheelchair-accessible taxis for the same cost as a subway ride, Gothamist reports. MTA has replaced the program with a plan limiting disabled riders to just 25 one-way trips each month at $4 per ride — with MTA only covering fares totaling up to $40. Disabled riders told Gothamist the news made them very angry. “I don’t think they realize that people with physical disabilities are active in the community, and we have lives, we have families, we work every day,” said Christie Cruz-Cullins.
Chris Pangilinan, the MTA’s vice president of paratransit, blamed the crackdown on just 6% of disabled riders who took unfair advantage of the program, with some racking up hundreds of dollars in rides in a single day. Those 6% — which amounts to 72 people — ate up half the program’s budget, he said.
MAIMONIDES HEALTH OFFERS FIRST-OF-KIND
TREATMENT FOR PROSTATE CANCERS
BOROUGH PARK — MAIMONIDES MEDICAL CENTER IS NOW OFFERING the first-of-its-kind treatment for metastatic prostate cancer. The hospital, which announced Tuesday, Sept. 26, as part of September’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month campaign, has the first cancer program in Brooklyn to introduce PLUVICTO — a breakthrough treatment for prostate cancer for those who have not responded well to other treatments. PLUVICTO is a radiopharmaceutical treatment for hormone-resistant metastatic prostate cancer that targets PSMA, a protein found on the surface of most prostate cancer cells. PLUVICTO bypasses healthy cells, instead seeking out and delivering high-dose radiation to the diseased area, thus reducing side effects like nausea, vomiting, and hair loss.
PLUVICTO, administered intravenously every six weeks for up to six treatments, is geared specifically for men who have been treated with other anticancer therapies including chemotherapy and hormonal regimens.
GOLDMAN FIGHTS TO SAVE AMTRAK, N.E. TRAIN CORRIDOR FROM GOP BUDGET AX, TRAVEL CHAOS
NATIONWIDE — REP. DAN GOLDMAN JOINED 73 OTHER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN AN EFFORT TO SAVE Amtrak, the nation’s passenger rail system, from a move by the Republican House Appropriations Committee to slash its national funding by 64%, and funding for the Northeast Corridor by 92%. These “massive funding cuts” would interrupt rail service, halt essential infrastructure and equipment repairs, and cause immense strain on the millions of commuters who rely on Amtrak services, Goldman and the others said in a letter to Congressional leadership. The 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invested substantially in long-delayed rail repairs and services.
Eliminating these funds would lead to train service being reduced or suspended across the nation, travel delays and increased costs, with substantial impacts on supply chains and numerous businesses, the letter said.
84% INCREASE IN TEEN VISITS TO BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY PROGRAMS
BOROUGHWIDE — BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARIES HAVE SEEN AN 84% INCREASE IN TEEN PROGRAM attendance over the past year, BPL President Linda Johnson said at a teen center ribbon cutting in the Bronx on Wednesday. She attributed the increase “in no small part” to a rapid expansion of BPL’s teen offerings, including three new teen tech centers at the Saratoga, Bay Ridge and Adams Street libraries, funded by Mayor Eric Adams. These spaces offer free access to laptops, tech such as computers, virtual reality devices or 3-D printers, and zones where teens can socialize, express their creativity, acquire skills, “and eat pizza,” Johnson said.
A Best Buy-sponsored teen tech center opened at the Kings Highway branch in 2019, while funding for the Crown Heights Teen Tech Center was provided by Google.org.
OFFICIALS, UNION WORKERS PROTEST OUSTER OF ONE BROOKLYN HEALTH CEO LARAY BROWN
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — BROOKLYN OFFICIALS AND CHANTING HEALTH CARE WORKERS GATHERED on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall Wednesday morning to protest the sudden ouster of LaRay Brown, CEO and president of the One Brooklyn Health network, and the lack of communication from OBH’s board about the future of its three safety-net hospitals serving east and Central Brooklyn. Advocates said OBH Board Chair Alexander Rovt, described as a “billionaire political donor,” orchestrated the removal of Brown without any input from the community or union partners. OBH includes Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, Interfaith Medical Center and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center.
Speakers including Brooklyn BP Antonio Reynoso, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and other officials asked that Gov. Kathy Hochul intervene to ensure “proper governance” of OBH, reform the board and promote transparency.
USE OF FLOYD BENNETT FIELD TO HOUSE MIGRANTS IS SUBJECT OF HEARING
BERGEN BEACH — U.S. REP NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS (R-11/Southwestern Brooklyn) on Wednesday, Sept. 27, joined the House Committee on Natural Resources in conducting oversight of the migrant crisis and the Biden Administration’s use of national parkland to house migrants, including Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field. Earlier this month, Malliotakis had hosted members of the committee on a tour of migrant shelters, with Floyd Bennett Field as one of the stops. Witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing included the U.S. Park Police, New York City Council Member Joann Ariola (R-District 32), and New York State Assemblymember Jaime Williams (D-District 59), all of whom are leading a lawsuit with Malliotakis to prevent migrants from being housed at Floyd Bennett Field or any other park in the Gateway National Recreation Area (which includes Staten Island).
Rep. Malliotakis lamented, however, that officials from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service were no-shows.
COLTON LAUNCHES PETITION DRIVE TO PROTECT HISTORICAL STATUES
BATH BEACH TO DYKER HTS. — A PETITION DRIVE THAT ASSEMBLYMEMBER WILLIAM COLTON HAS LAUNCHED AIMS TO PROTECT the city’s history-rich statues. Colton (D-47), who represents Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Gravesend, wants to protect statues of such historical figures as Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington against a City Council bill, currently under review, to remove the statues. The legislation, which recently was the subject of a hearing by the Council’s Cultural Affairs Committee, would, according to the City Council website, “require the Public Design Commission (PDC) to publish a plan to remove works of art on city property that depict a person who owned enslaved persons or directly benefited economically from slavery, or who participated in systemic crimes.”
In cases where the decision is made to preserve the statue (work of art), the Public Design Commission would be required to send details on installing an explanatory plaque about the statue or monument.
SEVERAL LEADERS BEING HONORED AT BISHOP’S HUMANITARIAN DINNER
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN AND WALL STREET — CATHOLIC CHARITIES BROOKLYN AND QUEENS ON THURSDAY WILL HOST A MAJOR DIOCESAN TRADITION, the 2023 Bishop’s Humanitarian Award Dinner. The annual dinner, with Brooklyn Bishop Robert J. Brennan and Rev. Msgr. Alfred P. LoPinto, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, benefits the agency’s 160+ programs and services. Jesus Linares of BRS Business Relocation Services, Joseph J. Lynch of Nixon Peabody and John Rafferty of Watch Guard 24/7 LLC will all be presented with the 2023 Humanitarian Award. Moreover, William R. Guarinello of HeartShare Human Services of New York will receive the 2023 Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Service Award, and Mary Whelan of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens will receive the 2023 Ubi Caritas Award.
The emcee will be acclaimed comedian, actor and talk show host Joe Piscopo, who will also run a silent auction at the event on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Cipriani Wall Street.
WOMAN’S BODY DISCOVERED IN PROSPECT PARK, WAS BELIEVED TO HAVE LIVED IN ENCAMPMENT THERE
PROSPECT-LEFFERTS GARDENS — ANOTHER GRUESOME MURDER OF A WOMAN MAY HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN PROSPECT PARK, where a passerby encountered a body Tuesday morning, Sept. 26, the Daily News reports. The deceased woman was discovered in the park’s southeast corner, near the Ocean Avenue/Parkside Avenue intersection, positioned face down with stab wounds and blunt-force trauma to her head. According to police, a knife was recovered near the scene. The medical examiner continues the investigation.
The woman was part of a nearby homeless encampment, an acquaintance named Thomas Harris told the Daily News. He described the woman as last wearing a royal blue coat with a dreadlocks hairstyle, and said she was embroiled in an argument with another man.
NYPD AWAITS MEDICAL EXAM RESULTS IN GRISLY DEATHS OF MOM, TEEN AND DOG
EAST FLATBUSH — POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING THE GRISLY DEATHS OF A WOMAN, HER TEEN DAUGHTER AND A PET as a possible murder-suicide, the Daily News, AMNY and other news outlets are reporting. NYPD detectives are awaiting a final autopsy report from the city medical examiner’s office on the deaths of 37-year-old Azalea Rivas and 14-year-old Azeris Wright. The teen was found with blunt trauma to the skull and stab wounds; the teen’s head and the poodle were wrapped in plastic bags.
Rivas’ 38-year-old friend (some accounts indicate he is an ex-beau) found the two women and their poodle mix terrier on Monday, Sept. 25, after having not heard from them for days. He knocked down their door and found the bodies. Neighbors told the police and reporters that Ms. Rivas was mentally and emotionally unstable.
CONSTRUCTION FIRM OPERATOR SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR DEATH OF LABORER IN 2018 WALL COLLAPSE
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN AND SUNSET PARK — THE OPERATOR OF A SUNSET PARK CONSTRUCTION COMPANY HAS BEEN SENTENCED to two to four years in prison in connection with an excavation wall collapse in 2018 that killed a construction worker, Luis Sanchez Almonte, who was buried under thousands of pounds of debris. The site’s foreperson was convicted of criminal mischief and is awaiting sentencing. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified the defendant as Jiaxi “Jimmy” Liu, 49, of Staten Island, whom Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun sentenced to two to four years in prison, following his bench trial conviction in March of several charges, the most serious being criminally negligent homicide.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The death of Luis Sanchez Almonte was not an accident but a preventable disaster that was caused by disregard of safety protocols and reported signs of danger. The prison term imposed today is an affirmation of these facts – and also a message that those who put their workers in jeopardy will pay a steep price when their actions result in tragedy.”
CIVIL COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST EBAY FOR SELLING HARMFUL PRODUCTS
EASTERN DISTRICT, NY — A CIVIL COMPLAINT FILED IN BROOKLYN FEDERAL COURT on Wednesday, Sept. 27, accuses the e-commerce marketplace, eBay, of unlawfully selling and distributing hundreds of thousands of products in violation of the Clean Air Act. The United States, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), filed the civil complaint, which names several products that eBay sold, including aftermarket parts that defeat motor vehicle emission controls (commonly known as “aftermarket defeat devices”), a high toxicity insecticide banned in the U.S., a restricted use pesticide that only certified applicators may apply, and a product falsely claiming to protect users against the SARS-CoV-2 virus; and, products containing methylene chloride for paint and coating removal.
The focus of the Environmental Justice Team is the protection of the rights of residents within the U.S. District (federal) court system’s Eastern District of New York (counties of Kings, Nassau, Queens, Richmond, and Suffolk) who are disproportionately burdened by environmental and health hazards.
SCOTUS JUSTICE THOMAS MOVES TO CONSIDER CHALLENGE TO NY’S CONCEALED CARRY GUN LAW
STATEWIDE — GOV. KATHY HOCHUL SAID ON TUESDAY THAT U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has moved to consider a challenge to a requirement of the New York Concealed Carry Improvement Act to conduct background checks for ammunition purchases. “We just learned in the last hour that Justice Clarence Thomas – yes, the one and only – granted a request for an emergency conference in a case that is designed to dismantle New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act,” Hochul said at a press conference in Albany.
The Act currently requires background checks not just for firearms but also for ammo purchases, and charges fees of $9 and $2.50 respectively each time, according to NY State of Politics.
STATE JUDGE RULES THAT TRUMP COMMITTED FRAUD IN BANKING AND REAL ESTATE DEALS
STATEWIDE — A SUPREME COURT JUDGE IN MANHATTAN ON TUESDAY AFTERNOON, SEPT. 26, RULED THAT FORMER PRESIDENT Donald Trump has committed fraud for years as he built his real estate holdings, reports the Associated Press. Justice Arthur Engoron of State Supreme Court, New York County, made the ruling from a civil lawsuit that NY Attorney General Letitia James initiated, and found that Trump and his company defrauded banks, insurers and other entities when he exaggerated his net worth and overvalued his assets. Justice Engoron also denied a request from Trump team lawyers to dismiss the case, in which they had claimed that Attorney General James did not have legal grounds to sue him if it couldn’t be proven that his business dealings harmed the public.
While Justice Engoron’s decision in the summary judgment phase resolves one of the claims in Attorney General James’ suit another non-jury trial begins on Oct. 2 to address the remaining claims and to decide on damages.
BROOKLYN CONGRESSWOMAN REINTRODUCES BILL TO HELP WOMEN ACCESS CONTRACEPTION
NATIONWIDE — OBSERVING WORLD CONTRACEPTION DAY on Tuesday, Sept. 26, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez of Brooklyn and Queens (D-07) reintroduced into Congress a resolution that expresses support for global and domestic access to family planning resources. She asked both Congress and the Biden Administration to study areas where contraceptives are not readily available and encouraged them to find ways for federal policy to remedy the issue. Globally, 270 million people have an unmet need for family planning using modern contraception. Within the United States, 19 million women of reproductive age live in an area with a lack of reasonable access to a health center that offers the full range of contraceptive methods.
Research has shown that some women of color experience implicit and explicit racism when interacting with the medical system, a lack of quality information about effective family planning methods, and an inability to access or afford reproductive health care.
SENATE LEADERS, INCLUDING BROOKLYN’S SCHUMER, REACH AGREEMENT ON PLAN TO AVERT SHUTDOWN
NATIONWIDE — DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS IN THE U.S. SENATE REACHED AGREEMENT on Tuesday, Sept. 26, on a stopgap spending plan that would prevent a government shutdown on Sunday and provide billions of dollars in disaster relief and aid to Ukraine, according to the New York Times and other news reports. The stopgap bill, which faced a test vote late on Tuesday, would allow government funding to continue through Nov. 17 so that negotiations on several fiscal matters can be completed. However, the Republican-led House gave pushback on the deal; and, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, being under pressure of removal by some hard-liners within his party, may wind up not bringing it to a vote.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is from Brooklyn, told the Associated Press that the Senate agreement “will continue to fund the government at present levels while maintaining our commitment to Ukraine’s security and humanitarian needs while also ensuring those impacted by disasters across the country begin to get the resources they need.”
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