What’s News, Breaking: Thursday, October 5, 2023
COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD FORMED
FOR FUTURE SHIRLEY CHISHOLM REC CENTER
EAST FLATBUSH — A NEW COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED for the Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center, which is under development at Nostrand Playground in East Flatbush, two elected officials announced on Thursday, Oct. 5. Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn (D-42) and City Councilmember Farah N. Louis (D-45) have selected leaders with a broad range of skills and experience, including the chairperson of Community Board 14, the District Manager of Community Board 17, the president of the NYPD’s 70th Precinct Community Council and treasurer of the 67th Precinct Community Council; leaders from two Business Improvement Districts representing Flatbush-Nostrand and Flatbush-Church Ave.; business owners, educators and clergy.
Slated for a December 2025 completion, the 62,000 square foot Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center, named for Brooklyn’s and the nation’s first Black Congresswoman, will offer a bevy of programming options and amenities once it opens, including multipurpose rooms, a gymnasium and walking track, the Dr. Roy Hastick Media Lab, an indoor swimming pool, fitness, strength, and cardio rooms, and a teaching kitchen.
COLTON THANKS DOT FOR QUICK ACTION
ON NEED FOR TRAFFIC SIGNALS
BATH BEACH — A BUSY CORNER OF BATH BEACH NOW HAS A TRAFFIC SIGNAL, after Assemblymember William Colton (D-47) requested a study. The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has installed a traffic signal and pedestrian signals at 86th Street and Bay 10th Street, an intersection that was of concern to Colton’s constituents who worry about the potential for collisions. This T-intersection, which is part of a pedestrian route to Dyker Playground and the soccer field, also has an entry/exit ramp from a busy shopping center parking lot that funnels traffic directly into the busy street. A few hundred feet away on 86th St. is an additional parking lot. In addition, a separate signal controlling the exit from the supermarket parking lot changes from steady red, requiring all cars leaving the parking lot to remain stopped, to flashing red, allowing the cars to proceed with caution into the roadway.
Expressing delight that the DOT responded to his request so quickly, Colton said, “Having traffic controls at the intersection will make it safer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.”
BROOKLYN SUBWAY SHOOTER SENTENCED TO 10 LIFE SENTENCES
DOWNTOWN — BROOKLYN SUBWAY SHOOTER FRANK JAMES was sentenced by United States District Judge William F. Kuntz, II on Thursday to 10 concurrent life sentences plus an additional 10 years in prison, according to a release by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. More than a year ago, James had set off smoke bombs and opened fire on a crowded Sunset Park N train while it was between stations, hitting ten people and causing panic. He was eventually arrested in Manhattan after calling a police tip line to turn himself in.
James planned his act of terror for years — purchasing smoke bombs, disguises, firearms, and ammunition. He scouted the location for his attack and completed multiple practice runs.
BROOKLYN’S REP. CLARKE CO-AUTHORS
LETTERS TO META, X ON AI-GENERATED ADS
FLATBUSH & CAPITOL HILL — TWO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WITH CONCERNS OVER ARTIFICIAL-INTELLIGENCE’S ROLE in the upcoming 2024 elections have written a letter to the CEOs of social media platforms Meta and X (formerly Twitter) about the matter. Rep. Yvette Clarke of Brooklyn (D-09) and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on Thursday, Oct. 5, asked platform executives Mark Zuckerberg, Meta Platforms, Inc. and Linda Yaccarino, X Corp., for clarification on how their organizations are addressing AI-generated content in political advertisements hosted on their social media platforms.
“With the advancement of AI technologies, it has become increasingly challenging to identify AI-generated content, including videos, images, audio, and text. We are already seeing examples of deceptive AI-generated content in political ads that has the potential to deceive voters and disrupt their trust and faith in our elections,” the Congressmembers members wrote.
NOTIFY NYC: VEHICLE COLLISION
ON EASTBOUND BQE NEAR CARLTON
BQE AT FLUSHING AVENUE — A VEHICLE COLLISION IS TYING UP TRAFFIC ON THE EASTBOUND ROADWAY OF THE BQE at Carlton Avenue, according to a text message that Notify NYC broadcast at 1:59 p.m. The affected area is near Exit 30 at Flushing Avenue. Motorists are urged to avoid the area and seek alternate routes.
Sections of the BQE between Atlantic Avenue (exit 27) and Sands Street (exit 28) will be closed on weekends later this month for repair.
$49.5M FINE FOR COMPANY IN MASSIVE DATA BREACH AFFECTING NUMEROUS BROOKLYN ORGS
STATEWIDE — ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES and a multistate coalition of 50 attorneys general reached a $49.5 million agreement with cloud company Blackbaud over a massive data breach in 2020 that impacted thousands of nonprofit institutions, including dozens in Brooklyn. Blackbaud provides donor data management software; the breach exposed the personal information of its customers and millions of their donors and constituents, including Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, financial information, employment and wealth information and protected health information. Blackbaud delayed notifying customers, or never notified them at all.
Some of the Brooklyn organizations hit by the data breach include Bay Ridge Center, Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, Brooklyn Bar Association, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Brooklyn Friends School, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Brooklyn Public Library. The full list may be found online.
LANDER LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO CITY’S RAINFALL MANAGEMENT
CITYWIDE — NYC COMPTROLLER BRAD LANDER’S OFFICE is launching an investigation into the city’s ability to manage extreme rainfall, after Tropical Storm Ophelia shut down subway lines, damaged basements and flooded streets last week. The investigation will evaluate how the city is implementing the policies and protocols it put in place after Hurricane Ida, Lander said in a statement Thursday. The goal is to better prepare for and respond to future extreme rainfall events.
“We look forward to working with the comptroller on a fair, thorough, and balanced review to ensure our city is equipped as these storms become increasingly frequent and severe,” Adams said in a statement.
MAN ARRESTED IN STABBING DEATH OF BELOVED BROOKLYN ACTIVIST
BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — AN 18-YEAR-OLD MAN suspected in the vicious stabbing death of beloved Brooklyn social justice activist Ryan Carson at a bus stop in Bed-Stuy was arrested Thursday morning as cops recovered a knife and the sweatshirt the perpetrator is believed to have worn, the New York Post reports. Brian Dowling was arrested when cops executed a search warrant at a home on Lafayette Avenue, not far from where Carson, 32, was attacked early Monday. Sources told the Post the teen works at a high school in Clinton Hill and is known to frequent Commodore Barry Park in Fort Greene.
Carson — a campaign organizer for the New York Public Interest Research Group — and his girlfriend were heading home from a wedding on Long Island when he was attacked for no reason and stabbed through the heart.
CITY NEEDS TO ‘GO BACK TO MATH CLASS’ OVER STUDENT TEST SCORE CLAIMS
CITYWIDE — MAYOR ERIC ADAMS ON THURSDAY TOUTED WHAT HE DESCRIBED as “strong growth” in NYC students’ 2023 math and English test scores, crediting his administration’s recent initiatives such as dyslexia screenings and NYC Reads. According to Adams, in just one year, student math proficiency across the city increased wildly — from 37.9% in 2022 to 49.9% in 2023 — and English Language Arts from 49% to 51.7%. However, the state Education Department said that 2023 results could not be compared to prior years because the exams were changed to match the new learning standards, according to the educational website Chalkbeat.
David Bloomfield, a professor of educational leadership, law and policy at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, told Chalkbeat the city’s framing of the results was “nonsensical,” since the new tests can’t be compared to previous tests. “They need to go back to math class,” he said.
BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK GETS ITS OWN ICE RINK
BBP/EMILY ROEBLING PLAZA — BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK WILL BE GETTING ITS FIRST-EVER ICE RINK, thanks to a partnership with BSE Global and IMG, considered leaders in the sports and entertainment industry. Together they have created a new partnership with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation to create ‘Glide at Brooklyn Bridge Park,’ to be placed at the Emily Warren Roebling Plaza and opening to the public on Nov. 15. The new ice rink will showcase spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline and be positioned alongside the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.
Glide will also reinvest in the local community by offering 12,000 free tickets to local NYC residents throughout the season, courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The tickets will be available in limited quantities every Sunday morning from 9-11 a.m. and on Tuesday afternoons from 4-6 p.m. Glide and BBP will be working with various underserved community groups and schools to provide free tickets throughout the season.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES RAISES $1.6M AT BISHOP’S HUMANITARIAN DINNER
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — CATHOLIC CHARITIES BROOKLYN AND QUEENS RAISED $1.6 MILLION AT THE 2023 BISHOP’S HUMANITARIAN AWARD DINNER. Held at Cipriani Wall Street, on Sept. 28, the benefit honored several business and philanthropic leaders, with all proceeds benefiting the 160-plus programs and services of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens. John Rafferty, Watch Guard 24/7 LLC; Joseph J. Lynch, Nixon Peabody and Jesus Linares, BRS Business Relocation Service received the 2023 Bishop’s Humanitarian Award, which is presented annually to an individual demonstrating personal commitment to the well-being of the residents of the Diocese. William R. Guarinello, HeartShare Human Services of New York was given the 2023 Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Service Award, named in memory of Bishop Joseph Sullivan, an ardent advocate for social justice. Mary Whelan was honored by the Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens with the 2023 Ubi Caritas Award, named for the doctrine of true charity being a response of the human heart to God.
Comedian, actor, musician, writer and talk show host Joe Piscopo was the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.
NYPD: GUN VIOLENCE DOWN, BUT VEHICLE THEFTS ROSE BY ALMOST 20%
CITYWIDE — A SIGNIFICANT DECLINE IN SHOOTING INCIDENTS AND HOMICIDES drove an overall reduction in violence during September 2023 compared to September 2022, reports the NYPD, which credits this improvement to intelligence-driven precision policing. New York City saw a 34.2% drop in shooting incidents compared to September 2022. This distinct decline extended the 27.1% decrease in shooting incidents citywide through the first nine months of 2023 compared to the same period one year ago (760 v. 1,043). NYPD continued also to make hundreds of gun arrests — 413 arrests resulting in 550 illegal firearms seized during the month. Overall, NYPD officers have made 3,353 gun arrests and seized nearly 5,100 illegal firearms through the first nine months of 2023.
However, grand larceny auto incidents increased, by 19.5% (1,439 v. 1,204 last year). The NYPD and other state-level law enforcement agencies have, over the past several months, blamed the ongoing ignition security issues with some Kia and Hyundai models.
FAMOUS ‘PROUD BROOKLYNITE’ DE BLASIO MOVES … TO MANHATTAN
PARK SLOPE — FORMER MAYOR AND ‘PROUD BROOKLYNITE’ Bill de Blasio is moving to Manhattan, NY1 reports. De Blasio — long associated with an ascendent Brooklyn — has signed a one-year lease on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in Lincoln Square, close to Columbus Circle. A source familiar with de Blasio assured NY1, however, that he’ll always be a “Brooklynite,” the move is a “temporary thing” and that he’ll be “splitting time” between Manhattan and his Park Slope brownstone shared with his wife, Chirlane McCray, from whom he is separated but not divorced. De Blasio’s new abode is close to the restaurant where he was seen with an unidentified woman, NY1 adds.
Whether de Blasio removes the phrase “Proud Brooklynite” from his social media account taglines remains to be seen.
BROOKLYN MAN WHO TRIED TO BUILD BOMB IN HOMELESS SHELTER IS LIKELY FACING 25 MONTHS
BROWNSVILLE — STAFF AT THE ATLANTIC HOUSE MEN’S SHELTER in Brownsville became suspicious last year when they noticed one of the residents, a mentally ill homeless man, was receiving mysterious shipments — a carbon dioxide tank, charcoal, potassium nitrate, sulfur powder, copper wire and a wireless remote-control switch. They called the police and Darnell Burgess, 25, was arrested after it was discovered he had downloaded bomb-making instructions and researched numerous violent attacks. On Tuesday, Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Eric Komitee set a 25-month sentence, but delayed finalizing it until Thursday because Burgess didn’t get the chance to speak first, the Daily News reports.
Burgess’ lawyer, Kannan Sundaram of the Federal Defenders, asked for supervised release or probation with no prison time. “He’s just an entirely different human being when medicated and treated,” Sundaram said.
BROOKLYN NAVY YARD SEEKS ART ON THEME OF TRANSFORMATION
BROOKLYN NAVY YARD — ARTISTS ARE SOUGHT IN THE BROOKLYN NAVY YARD DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION’S REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL, which was released on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The RFP seeks to identify and commission local artists, designers, and craftspeople living in the communities surrounding the Yard, for a public art project at two of the Yard’s public entry points along Flushing Avenue, at Building 92 and Building 77. The artwork will be prominently on view along Flushing Avenue from May through December of next year, with thousands of visitors, as well as the Navy Yard community, viewing it. Artists based in zip codes 11201, 11205, 11206, 11211, 11213, 11216, 11217, 11221, 11231, 11238, and 11249 are encouraged to bid on the RFP online with a deadline of Monday, Oct. 30.
The RFP asks artists to respond with work on the theme of TRANSFORMATION, representing the life cycles and the evolution of objects and ideas.
MAIMONIDES HOLDS ITS FIRST HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH EVENT
BOROUGH PARK & SUNSET PARK — MAIMONIDES HEALTH HELD ITS FIRST ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH on September 28 at Azteca Hall in Sunset Park. The event, which included clinical education, an award ceremony, dinner and musical entertainment, brought together leaders of more than 25 Hispanic community-serving organizations in Brooklyn, Maimonides executive leadership, elected officials, and members. During the celebration, several community advocates were honored for their “inspirational and exceptional dedication” to the community: Grisel Amador, executive director of the United Senior Center of Sunset Park, for her powerful role in fostering strong ties between Maimonides and the Sunset Park Hispanic community; lifelong Sunset Park resident Daniel Ramos, of Puerto Rican descent, who was recognized for his 42 years of service as a patient representative at Maimonides Medical Center; and Nathaly Cabrera, community relations employee at Maimonides, or her work advocating on behalf of the Hispanic community.
Several elected officials and staff representatives attended also.
AUDIT, RELEASED ON DAY OF RECORD FLOODING, FINDS MTA ILL-PREPARED FOR EXTREME WEATHER
CITYWIDE — EXTREME WEATHER SUCH AS LAST FRIDAY’S STREET AND SUBWAY FLOODING is the focus of an audit that State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released. Covering a time frame of April 2009 to August of last year, the audit investigated whether the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) — New York City Transit — identified potential damage to its system and developed plans to mitigate the effect of extreme weather conditions and flooding. One of the key findings was that the MTA has not implemented one of the most important recommendations of the 2009 Report — the development of the climate change adaptation master plan. Transit’s capital plan was often incomplete in scope of work, not finished on time or within budget, or insufficiently documented. In another project, not all the fan plants — facilities with large vent gratings and fans located atop shafts connected to the Transit tunnels — received flood prevention work.
The audit’s release was ironically timed on September 29, when parts of the city got as much as 7 inches of rain and most of the subway lines were suspended.
ADAMS FILES IN COURT TO SUSPEND ‘RIGHT TO SHELTER’
CITYWIDE — MAYOR ERIC ADAMS ON TUESDAY filed an application in court to temporarily suspend the city’s obligation to offer shelter to any adult who asks, seeking an emergency pause while the city deals with the ongoing wave of asylum-seekers. “As we have said before, the Callahan decree — entered over 40 years ago, when the shelter population was a fraction of its current size — was never intended to apply to the extraordinary circumstances our city faces today,” Adams said in a release. Roughly 122,700 immigrants have arrived since the spring of 2022. Adams has said repeatedly migrants were “destroying New York City.”
The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless issued a joint statement calling the attempt “arbitrary and devoid of compassion” — and also unnecessary “given the announcements just days ago regarding Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans and efforts to connect new arrivals with job opportunities.”
HOCHUL: COPS SEIZE WEED IN CRACKDOWN ON ILLEGAL CANNABIS SHOPS IN DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN
DOWNTOWN — GOV. KATHY HOCHUL ON WEDNESDAY announced two days of “concentrated enforcement actions” against illegal weed shops in Downtown Brooklyn and on the West Side of Manhattan, two areas of the city with a proliferation of these businesses. These actions resulted in the seizure of nearly 150 pounds of product worth close to $600,000, Hochul said in a release. Businesses found to be illegally selling cannabis have been issued Notices of Violation and have had Orders to Cease Unlicensed Activity affixed to the outside of their doors.
Fines start at $10,000 per day and can rise up to $20,000 per day for the most egregious conduct. The shops may also be hit with additional penalties under the Tax Law.
MORE NEW YORKERS CAN APPLY FOR CANNABIS LICENSES IN EXPANSION OF PROGRAM
STATEWIDE — THE APPLICATION PERIOD HAS OPENED for the largest expansion of legal cannabis licenses to date, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday. Hundreds of licenses are being made available to individuals and businesses interested in legally growing, processing, distributing and selling cannabis. The application period lasts through Dec. 4, 2023.
The process is meant to increase equity by elevating the participation of individuals living in communities disproportionately impacted by harsh cannabis enforcement in the past.
NYPD RESCUES WOMAN TRAPPED UNDER A PIER IN RED HOOK
RED HOOK — OFFICERS FROM THE 76th PRECINCT and the NYPD Special Ops Harbor Unit responded to calls for help at a Red Hook pier Tuesday morning, 1010WINS reports. When units arrived at the Erie Basin near Beard Street, they found a 20-year-old woman trapped in the water under the pier and sprang into action. In body-cam footage released by NYPD, responders can be seen pulling the frantic woman up and into a raft. EMS transported the woman to NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn in stable condition.
It is unclear how the woman became stuck under the pier, 1010 WINS reports. See video of rescue online.
SIX INDICTED FOR RUNNING OUTDOOR DRUG TRAFFICKING RING IN BED-STUY
DOWNTOWN — BROOKLYN DISTRICT ATTORNEY ERIC GONZALEZ and New York City Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban announced Wednesday that six people have been indicted in connection with an open-air narcotics trafficking ring that operated in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Lance Spearman, Herbert Bazemore, Larry Childress, Jermalee Reese, Steve Rich and Travis Davis have been hit with numerous drug trafficking charges, including acting as a major trafficker, an A-I felony, in four of the cases. Spearman, Bazemore and Childress were arraigned Wednesday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo.
The investigation began following community complaints about open-air drug dealing in the vicinity of Putnam Avenue and Nostrand Avenue. Detectives from the DA’s Office and Narcotics Borough Brooklyn North made 25 undercover narcotics purchases from the six defendants, including crack cocaine and heroin.
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