What’s News, Breaking: Friday, September 29, 2023
STORM’S FLOODING WILL NOT PRE-EMPT
BOOK EVENTS WITH TWO HEIGHTS PARISHES
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — SOME GOOD NEWS: THE BOOK EVENT WEEKEND ON SOCIAL JUSTICE, FEATURING AUTHORS Cole Arthur Riley and Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts will take place as scheduled, according to a late-afternoon notice that St. Ann & the Holy Trinity sent on Friday, Sept. 29. The program is set to begin at 7 p.m. The lecture and panel discussion taking place Saturday at noon at Grace Church on Hicks St. with the authors and facilitator Rev. Adriene Thorne will also take place as scheduled.
Friday’s extreme rains caused flooding that suspended the subway and regional mass transit, leading others to cancel events.
BERGEN BEACH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
EVACUATED AMID FLOODING
SOUTHERN BROOKLYN — P.S. 312 IN BERGEN BEACH WAS EVACUATED on Friday, and at least 150 school buildings flooded, reports the Daily News, which pointed out that students had to contend with flash flooding and transportation delays to reach their classes. P.S. 312, which serves preschoolers and elementary school students, had to evacuate before noon to I.S. 78 Roy H. Mann, approximately three blocks away. Schools Chancellor David Banks, speaking at a virtual press conference, said water had gotten into the boiler; and, he seemed to downplay any danger to the school, saying, “Our kids are safe.” Other affected schools included the David A. Boody School/I.S. 228 on Avenue S in Gravesend, whose principal reportedly sent a message to parents to pick up their children, an action that Banks called “premature.”
Banks made the decision to not shift to remote learning for the day, citing the need for children to have access to nourishing school meals. Mayor Adams defended Banks’ action.
ASSEMBLYMEMBER COLTON ANNOUNCES
SPECIAL HOTLINE ON STREET FLOODING
BATH BEACH TO DYKER HTS. — ASSEMBLYMEMBER WILLIAM COLTON (D-47) HAS SET UP A DEDICATED PHONE NUMBER where his constituents can report street flooding conditions in their neighborhoods. Colton, who represents Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Gravesend, is sending the reports to the mayor’s office and to the city’s Office of Emergency Management, which deploys teams that will assess and correct the flooding situations. That special number is 718-376-3645. Colton is in direct contact with Deputy Commissioner Christina Farrell, and with Mayoral Liaison Jasper Diaz.
Assemblyman Colton added that Susan Zhuang, his chief of staff who is currently on unpaid leave, has been driving around the neighborhood looking for flood conditions and informing him of what she observes. The National Weather Service reported that 5.97 inches of rain had fallen in Brooklyn by 9:25 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 29.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN DIES AT 90,
WAS OLDEST SERVING U.S. SENATOR
NATIONWIDE — U.S. SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), WHO WAS THE OLDEST ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE SENATE, died Thursday night at her home, reports the Associated Press and other news agencies. She had been on medical leave earlier this year with a bout of shingles, and had already announced that she would not run for re-election in 2024. Although a centrist who often found consensus with her Senate colleagues across the aisle, Sen. Feinstein advocated fiercely for liberal priorities that were important to California, environmental protection, reproductive rights and gun control among them, and she gained a reputation as an indomitable debater. Feinstein was one of California’s first two female U.S. Senators serving concurrently with fellow Democrat, Sen. Barbara Boxer, for 24 years. (Originally from Brooklyn, Boxer retired in 2017.) Sen. Feinstein was also the first woman to head the Senate Intelligence Committee and the first woman to serve as the Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Friday as he opened the Senate floor, “Earlier this morning, we lost a giant in the Senate.” Likewise, Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, calling her his friend, said, “Dianne was a trailblazer.”
SAHADI’S, LONG A BROOKLYN MAINSTAY,
OPENS ‘SIBLING’ STORE AT MANHATTAN’S PIER 57
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — SAHADI’s, the beloved Middle Eastern grocery and specialty store on Atlantic Avenue, is opening an additional store in Manhattan, reports Eater New York. Sahadi’s, which was first established in Manhattan in 1895, according to the store’s website, moved to Brooklyn Heights in 1948. Now, almost 130 years after its founding, the fourth generation of Sahadi’s in the business is both celebrating its roots in Manhattan and its success in Brooklyn, with the launch of a store at Market57, the James Beard food hall, which opened a few months ago at Pier 57.
Sahadi’s opened its Industry City location in 2019; an earlier warehouse and roastery had opened in Sunset Park in 2001. The Industry City store features one of the city’s few operating Saj stations, named for a specialty Lebanese bread and sandwich.
GOVERNOR DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY FOR NYC
CITYWIDE — Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday morning, Sept. 29 declared a State of Emergency in New York City, the Hudson Valley and Long Island in response to the significant, dangerous rainfall that is currently impacting the region and is expected to continue for the next 20 hours.” The governor added that thousands of state personnel have been deployed and state agencies are addressing the extreme weather. Notify NYC sent out an alert at 11:10 a.m. that the BQE is closed in both directions at Queens Boulevard.
The city’s flooding was the Weather Channel’s lead story on Friday morning, Weather.com as of 11 a.m. Friday attributed the prolonged rainfall to a coastal low-pressure system and warned that more rain is on the way.
FLASH FLOODING DISRUPTS MASS TRANSIT,
AS WATER FLOWS ONTO TRACKS
CITYWIDE — RAINWATER ON THE TRACKS HAS ESSENTIALLY SHUT DOWN SUBWAY SERVICE On Friday Morning, Sept. 29, due to flash flooding from a persistent weather system. Notify NYC started issuing phone and text alerts at 1:55 a.m. Friday morning for Flash Flood Warnings, repeatedly extending them. As of 8 a.m., the MTA and Notify NYC reported suspensions on the 2,3,4 and 5 trains in Brooklyn. Suspensions and reroutes as of 9:30 a.m. have since affected the N, R trains as well. Gov. Kathy Hochul dispatched a notice at 9:20 a.m. Friday, reporting that the state is conducting a coordinated ongoing response to heavy rainfall in the New York City, Long Island and Hudson Valley regions, which experienced up to three inches of rain overnight, with up to five inches of rain expected by Friday evening.
Around 10 a.,m., NOTIFY NYC reported that all access to LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal A is closed, although the airport itself will remain open. MetroNorth announced that service on its Harlem and New Haven lines is suspended.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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