What’s News, Breaking: October 10, 2023
WOMAN TRYING TO CROSS BELT PKWY. ON FOOT MONDAY NIGHT STRUCK AND KILLED
SHEEPSHEAD BAY — A WOMAN TRYING TO CROSS THE EASTBOUND BELT PARKWAY on foot late Monday night was struck by a black 2017 Volkswagen GTI sedan driven by a 24-year-old male operator, and died. At roughly 11:20 p.m., Megan Oravsky, 40, was crossing the busy highway in the vicinity of Exit 9A at Knapp St., when she was hit. The driver remained at the scene. Oravsky was transported by EMS to NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn where she was pronounced deceased. There is so far no explanation as to why she was attempting to cross the Parkway on foot. The investigation remains ongoing by the NYPD Highway District’s Collision Investigation Squad.
Oravsky was a resident of 560 Winthrop St., CAMBA Gardens Phase II, a 293-unit supportive/affordable housing development located in East Flatbush. Almost two-thirds of the apartments are set aside for formerly homeless families and individuals.
NAMED ‘BEST REGIONAL HOSPITAL’ IN 7 CATEGORIES
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN/FORT GREENE — THE BROOKLYN HOSPITAL CENTER HAS FOR THE FIRST TIME BEEN NAMED A BEST REGIONAL HOSPITAL in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023-2024 “Best Hospitals” rankings. U.S. News evaluated more than 4,500 hospitals across 15 specialties and 21 procedures and conditions. TBHC, which was founded in 1845, was among the 12% of the evaluated hospitals to earn the ranking, for excelling at factors such as clinical outcomes, level of nursing care and patient experience. Moreover, TBHC was acknowledged as high-performing in its treatment of congestive heart failure, COPD (congestive obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes, heart attack, hip fracture, kidney failure and stroke.
TBHC is a clinical affiliate of Mount Sinai Hospital and an academic affiliate of The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
CITY COUNCIL OVERSIGHT HEARING ON CLIMATE RESILIENCY EFFORTS
CITY HALL — THE CITY COUNCIL ON WEDNESDAY IS HOLDING a joint oversight hearing on New York City’s climate resiliency efforts. The Committee on Environmental Protection, Resiliency, and Waterfronts and the Committee on Parks and Recreation will also discuss Introduction 1069, sponsored by Brooklyn’s Lincoln Restler, Jennifer Gutierrez and Sandy Nurse, among others, which would require weekly testing for harmful substances at city waterfronts and the posting of test results online; and Resolution 608 (principal sponsor Councilmember Jim Gennarowhich of Queens), which would call on the state to create a permanent, citywide voluntary buyout program to mitigate flood risk.
A buyout is a state program to purchase property that must remain undeveloped in perpetuity. The hearing will be livestreamed online.
REP. MALLIOTAKIS TO BIDEN:
EVACUATE AMERICANS FROM ISRAEL
SOUTHWESTERN BROOKLYN — FOLLOWING REPORTS THAT AMERICANS ARE AMONG THE CASUALTIES OF THE HAMAS ATTACK on Israel last Saturday, Congressmember Nicole Malliotakis (R-11/southwestern Brooklyn) on Tuesday, Oct. 10, called for President Biden to take “swift action,” on evacuating U.S. citizens from the area. “After going through this with both Afghanistan and Ukraine, it’s unconscionable that the Biden Administration is not executing a plan to safely get American citizens home as soon as possible,” said Malliotakis, who called on President Biden, the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense to deploy commercial, charter and military planes so that Americans can return stateside as quickly as possible.” Rep. Malliotakis also provided contact info for the Department of State for Americans currently in Israel: call 1-833-890-9595, 1-606-641-0131, or go online.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the United States had deployed aircraft squadrons and destroyer ships to the region; President Biden said that 14 U.S. citizens are known to have been killed, and that they were among the Americans being held hostage within Gaza.
MTA SHOWS OFF NEW ACCESS-A-RIDE VAN AT BROOKLYN MUSEUM
BROOKLYN — THE MTA ON TUESDAY DEMONSTRATED one of its new model Access-A-Ride vans, the Ford E-450, at a showing at the Brooklyn Museum. The 20 new vans are painted New York State blue and gold, and one test van features the “Q-Straint One All-in-One Wheelchair Securement Station.” The new wheelchair securement system includes an improved visual design which allows drivers to quickly and safely strap in wheelchairs and prevent them from moving. Rubberized hooks and buckles and rugged surface texture provide maximum durability. Fifteen vans with this feature are expected to join the fleet this year.
“Paratransit is the lifeblood for many New Yorkers, including myself, enabling all of us to access all of the great opportunities that the city has to offer,” said MTA Vice President of Paratransit Chris Pangilinan.
SOUTH BROOKLYN HEALTH’S ER NURSES
WIN PRESTIGIOUS LANTERN AWARD
CONEY ISLAND & BRIGHTON BEACH — SOUTH BROOKLYN HEALTH’S EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT NURSES, who were the first in the public health system’s history to receive the prestigious Emergency Nurses Association Lantern Award, were honored in a special ceremony on Oct. 10. NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health Chief Executive Officer, Svetlana Lipyanskaya, and Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. Manjinder Kaur, hosted the ceremony at South Brooklyn Health, which straddles the Coney Island and Brighton Beach neighborhoods. The Lantern Award distinguishes the South Brooklyn Health team for their commitment to quality, safety, a healthy work environment, innovation, and excellence in nursing practice and leaders in emergency care.
The newly elevated and expanded emergency department in the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital on the South Brooklyn Health campus sees about 90,000 emergency visits per year.
HOCHUL: NYS POLICE INCREASE PATROLS AT VULNERABLE LOCATIONS
STATEWIDE — GOV. KATHY HOCHUL SAID ON TUESDAY that she ordered the New York State Police to increase patrols and outreach, following Hamas’ attack on Israel Saturday morning. “Working with law enforcement, State Police are monitoring potential targets and vulnerable locations around the state, including synagogues, yeshivas, and Jewish museums and cultural centers,” she said in a statement following a briefing from New York State Police at the New York State Intelligence Center (NYSIC) upstate.
New Yorkers who see suspicious activity should report it to the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ website, or call 1-866-SAFENYS (1-866-723-3697) to submit a tip.
HOCHUL ASKS SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES TO CLAMP DOWN ON SURGING EXTREMIST THREATS, MISINFORMATION
STATEWIDE — FOLLOWING A BRIEFING FROM NEW YORK STATE POLICE on Tuesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul called on social media companies to clamp down on extremist threats posted on their websites in the wake of the Hamas attacks on Israel, and to increase platform moderation in order to prevent the proliferation of hateful content. Hochul said in a statement that she has ordered State Police to work with local law enforcement and other security partners to track threats posted on social media and to ensure the safety of New Yorkers. Monitoring by the New York State Intelligence Center has shown increased chatter from Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and pro-Hamas extremists, among others, she said.
Misinformation has “run rampant” on Elon Musk’s social media platform X, formerly Twitter, in the 48 hours since Hamas militants’ surprise attack on Israel, according to CNN.
SUPREME COURT AGAIN SIDES WITH NEW YORK ON STRICTER GUN LAWS
STATEWIDE — THE U.S. SUPREME COURT has for the second time denied an application for emergency relief that would have challenged measures in New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul in July 2022 after the Supreme Court overturned the state’s concealed carry law. “This news comes following the plaintiffs’ last-ditch effort to get Justice Clarence Thomas to grant the same application that Justice Sonia Sotomayor had already denied, to attempt to block the law on firearms checks that we passed last year following the Buffalo massacre and the overturning of New York’s century old gun safety laws,” Hochul said in a statement on Tuesday.
The laws the court upheld included changes to the concealed carry gun laws and new requirements for background checks (and fees) for ammunition sales, according to NY1.
CITY MOVING AHEAD WITH PLAN TO BAN VENDORS FROM BROOKLYN BRIDGE
BROOKLYN BRIDGE — THE CITY’S DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION is moving ahead with a plan to ban vendors from the overcrowded Brooklyn Bridge, reports Crain’s NY. DOT published rules in the City Record on Friday to ensure that “no peddler, vendor hawker, or huckster” shall “remain upon or otherwise encumber, any elevated pedestrian walkway or bicycle lane on a bridge or a bridge approach.” The city will host a public feedback hearing on the new rule on Nov. 15. In a typical fall weekend in 2022, a daily average of more than 34,000 pedestrians traversed the Brooklyn Bridge, double the number on a similar weekend in 2021.
“The failure to engage the vendors on this issue and just take a really extreme, top-down approach is going to be disastrous for the vendors,” Matthew Shapiro, legal director at the Street Vendor Project said in an August interview.
DON’T CLICK ON THAT BOGUS TEXT FROM ‘USPS’
NATIONWIDE — IF YOU RECENTLY RECEIVED A TEXT from the U.S. Postal Service saying there was a problem with a package destined for your address, don’t click on the link, warns security site KrebsOnSecurity, which has reported an uptick in these phone scams. This type of text message is called smishing, a type of phishing using SMS messages. Victims will typically receive a deceptive text message (seemingly from a trusted agency) that is intended to lure the recipient into providing their personal or financial information.
The U.S. Postal Service will not send customers text messages or emails without a customer first requesting the service with a tracking number, and it will NOT contain a link, USPS says.
BROOKLYN CONGRESSMAN RETURNS SAFELY FROM ISRAEL FOLLOWING HAMAS ATTACK
WESTERN BROOKLYN — BROOKLYN CONGRESSMAN DAN GOLDMAN (D–10), WHO WAS IN ISRAEL WITH HIS FAMILY AT THE TIME OF THE ATTACK BY HAMAS, WAS SAFELY EVACUATED EARLY SUNDAY MORNING, according to a statement that his office released on Sunday afternoon. “Congressman Goldman, his wife, and three youngest children were in Israel for a family Bar Mitzvah when Hamas brutally attacked Israel on Shabbat and Simchat Torah, one of the holiest Jewish holidays. Congressman Goldman and his family sheltered from Hamas rocket fire in their hotel’s interior stairwell until early Sunday morning, when they were able to safely depart for New York,” read the statement, which also expressed appreciation to the State Department and Israeli authorities for their assistance.
In addition to the Sabbath day of rest, Saturday (23 Tishrei on the Hebrew calendar) marked the festival of Simchat Torah, which celebrates the cycle of readings from the five Books of Moses: the conclusion of the verses from Deuteronomy and the immediate return to Genesis. It is customary to dance with the Torah scrolls following the service of readings.
PARTIAL COLLAPSE OF PROSPECT EXPRESSWAY WALL
PARK SLOPE — THE FACADE OF A WALL SEGMENT ON THE PROSPECT EXPRESSWAY collapsed on Saturday night, reports CBS News, bringing traffic to a standstill as drivers navigated around the rubble, before the westbound lane was closed entirely through Sunday morning. No injuries were reported; emergency services workers responded to the scene to help direct stuck vehicles.
Some speculated that the collapse may be tied to the recent severe rain experienced by the city; the Prospect Expressway is a Robert Moses-era highway, like the BQE, which is currently undergoing extensive repair work.
GOVERNOR, MAYOR CONDEMN HAMAS ATTACK ON ISRAEL
ISRAEL — GOVERNOR HOCHUL ON SUNDAY ISSUED A STATEMENT strongly condemning organized attack on Israel by Gaza strip governing organization Hamas this weekend, writing “New York is proud to be home to the largest Jewish population outside Israel and as the community grieves today, we stand in solidarity with them.” The mayor joined in, writing in his own statement, “We extend our sincerest condolences for all the innocent lives lost in these attacks, and hope that not another family has to experience the pain of losing a loved one;” both politicians also offered reassurances that the city is working closely with law enforcement to protect synagogues and Jewish communities.
The attack has so far resulted in the death of at least 700 Israelis and 400 Palestinians (as of Sunday) in communities throughout Israel and Gaza; several soldiers, as well as civilians, have reportedly been kidnapped and taken into Gaza, while Israeli forces have begun a fast-moving response, launching missiles at suspected Hamas bases and clearing residential areas of militants.
NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS/WOODHULL REOPENS AFTER FIXING ELECTRICAL DAMAGE
BUSHWICK TO WILLIAMSBURG — NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS/WOODHULL RESUMED OPERATIONS ON SATURDAY, October 7, after being closed for nearly a week after massive weather-related flash flooding. The excessive rainfall and flooding on September 29 caused a power failure that necessitated Woodhull Hospital’s safe and orderly evacuation of patients. Hospital officials conducted an assessment, repair and restoration of its electrical equipment and began a gradual reopening, starting with its emergency room, maternity labor and delivery, behavioral health and inpatient services.
Outpatient services, however, were scheduled to resume on Tuesday, October 10.
NY TIMES’ SAM SIFTON KEYNOTES HEIGHTS LIBRARY’S PEARL ANNIVERSARY
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — NEW YORK TIMES’ ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR AND CELEBRATED Food Editor Sam Sifton is the keynote speaker at the Brooklyn Heights Branch Library’s Pearl (30th) Anniversary on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The Pearl Anniversary celebrates the 1993 founding of the Friends of Brooklyn Heights Branch Library, which gives financial and volunteer support for programming, including readings with world-renowned authors, a youth chess program that teaches problem-solving strategies and a practical writing clinic for adults, among others. The Oct. 18 event runs from 7-9:30 p.m. at the Brooklyn Heights Branch, 286 Cadman Plaza West.
Pearls are a traditional gift to couples on their 30th anniversary. The branch library itself has been in existence since 1962 when the original building opened on Cadman Plaza West. The Brooklyn Heights branch moved into its new home in 2022.
HANIF INTRODUCES BILL TO REMOVE SHELTER TIME LIMITS
CITYWIDE — BROOKLYN COUNCILMEMBER SHAHANA HANIF ON THURSDAY INTRODUCED a bill to the City Council that would roll back Mayor Adams’ July order that limited single adult migrants to a 60-day stay in the city’s shelters, reports Gothamist, and would allow indefinite stays for all shelter residents. The mayor is currently attempting to revoke the city’s right-to-shelter laws for international arrivals, citing high costs and a lack of space; a City Hall spokesperson said in a statement that Hanif’s bill was not economically feasible, but Hanif responded that the stay limits actually increase the price tag by forcing migrants to return to the overcrowded Roosevelt Hotel intake center for aid.
The bill is cosponsored by Brooklyn Councilmembers Lincoln Restler, Jennifer Gutiérrez, Crystal Hudson and Sandy Nurse.
REP. GOLDMAN’S RESOLUTION ADDRESSES BOOK BANS VIOLATING FIRST AMENDMENT
BROOKLYN & NATIONWIDE — AS PART THE OF BANNED BOOKS WEEK OBSERVANCE, Brooklyn Congressman Dan Goldman (D-10) and Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) have introduced a resolution expressing concern about recent attacks on the First Amendment as some Americans push a nationwide crusade to ban books from public school libraries. The resolution also expresses concern about the proliferating threats to freedom of expression and reaffirms the commitment of the United States to supporting the freedom of expression of writers as protected under the First Amendment, and the freedom of all individuals in the United States to read books without government censorship. It also calls on local governments and school districts to follow best practice guidelines when addressing challenges to books.
According to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, in 2022, over 2,500 books were banned or challenged in the United States.
SEN. COREY BOOKER, IN ISRAEL FOR A SUMMIT, RETURNS SAFELY
TEL AVIV & NEW JERSEY — NEW JERSEY SENATOR CORY BOOKER AND HIS STAFF, WHO WERE ALSO IN ISRAEL at the time of the October 7 Hamas attack, safely returned to the U.S. on Sunday morning, according to a statement released on Sunday afternoon, CBS News reported. A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Booker had arrived in Israel on Friday, Oct. 6 and was in Jerusalem for several days of meetings in advance of a summit on regional economic integration that was scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, October 10.
It was not yet known as of press time on Sunday how many members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were also in Israel at the time of the attack.
OUR LADY OF CHARITY CHURCH, FOUNDED FOR ITALIAN IMMIGRANTS, MARKS 120TH YEAR
BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A MASS HONORING THE 120TH ANNIVERSARY OF OUR LADY OF CHARITY PARISH will be offered this Sunday, Oct. 8. Bishop Robert Brennan of the Diocese of Brooklyn will celebrate the special Mass for this parish, which in 1903 began celebrating Mass to accommodate the influx of Italian immigrants who settled in the area. Five years later, in 1908, the parish was officially designated and the present church building opened in 1914.
Mass for Our Lady of Charity parish was originally celebrated in a converted animal stable. The Gospel of Matthew chronicles Jesus’ birth as having happened in a stable.
BROOKLYN HTS. SYNAGOGUE HOSTS SERVICE OF SOLIDARITY FOLLOWING HAMAS ATTACK ON ISRAEL
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — IN THE WAKE OF SATURDAY’S HAMAS ATTACK ON ISRAEL, the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue organized and hosted a Service for Peace and Solidarity with Israel on Sunday night. Rabbi Serge A. Lippe, senior rabbi of the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, invited the clergy, leadership and members of the neighborhood Houses congregations to join them. The service was also livestreamed.
The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue also listed a number of organizations, including UJA-Federation and Friends of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), which are accepting donations on behalf of the emergency relief efforts.
CITY TO PAY $200K TO GIRL SEXUALLY ABUSED IN EAST NY HIGH SCHOOL
EAST NEW YORK — CITY OFFICIALS IN AUGUST AGREED TO SETTLE A LAWSUIT from a 15-year-old student at Transit Tech High School in East New York over claims that staff at the school did not adequately investigate an incident in which the girl was forced to perform sex acts for a group of male students that were filmed and posted to social media, reports the New York Post, and will pay a total of $200,000 to the student and her lawyers. The lawsuit alleged that administrators treated the assault carelessly: the student’s mother said that Transit Tech’s principal told her “kids will be kids,” while the DOE later told the student’s family that the incident did not qualify as sexual harassment or bullying; school surveillance footage of the assault was later deleted by the DOE, according to the girl’s lawyer.
The victim reported the attack to police immediately, and while two students were arrested and charged, the Brooklyn DA’s office ultimately declined to prosecute; the girl transferred to a different school over safety fears, while the accused students were allowed to remain at Transit Tech.
MAIMONIDES RAISES OVER $500K FOR BREAST CANCER PROGRAM
BOROUGH PARK & WILLIAMSBURG — MAIMONIDES BREAST CANCER CENTER RAISED MORE THAN $525,000 AT ITS 10TH ANNUAL PINK RUNWAY FASHION SHOW to launch Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Maimonides hosted more than 375 guests at the event, held at the Weylin in Williamsburg, and featured 16 Breast Center patients who walked a pink runway modeling designer evening wear.
The first fully accredited Breast Center in Brooklyn, Maimonides has been serving breast cancer patients since 2007. The Breast Center is Brooklyn’s only NAPBC-certified program, the nation’s most distinguished recognition for demonstrating a commitment to providing patients with the best care possible through the entire course of treatment.
SPIKE LEE EXHIBITION OPENS AT THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM
PROSPECT HEIGHTS — A NEW EXHIBITION, “SPIKE LEE: CREATIVE SOURCES,” is running at the Brooklyn Museum from Oct. 7 to Feb. 4, 2024. This immersive installation offers “a rare glimpse into the world of Spike Lee, one of the most influential and prolific American filmmakers and directors,” Brooklyn Museum says in its release. Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1957, and raised in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
The exhibition includes over 450 items from Lee’s personal collection, including artworks by prominent Black American artists, including Kehinde Wiley, Deborah Roberts, and Michael Ray Charles; instruments once owned by legendary musicians; historical photographs; sports and movie memorabilia and more.
GARLAND APPOINTS BREON PEACE, U.S. ATTY. FOR EASTERN DISTRICT OF NY, TO ADVISORY COMMITTEE
DOWNTOWN — ATTORNEY GENERAL MERRICK GARLAND on Friday announced the appointment of Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to serve on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. The Committee advises the A.G. on matters of policy, procedure, and management impacting the Offices of the U.S. Attorneys. “I am honored to be appointed by Attorney General Garland to serve on his advisory committee. I am looking forward to serving him and the Department in this capacity,” Peace said in a statement on LinkedIn.
Peace, who grew up in Crown Heights and attended Clara Barton High School, supervises a staff of roughly 160 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and 120 professional staff. Prior to his appointment, he was a partner in the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and was a member of the firm’s White-Collar Defense & Investigations and Litigation Groups.
FREE COLLEGE APPLICATIONS ACROSS NEW YORK THIS MONTH
STATEWIDE — GOV. KATHY HOCHUL ANNOUNCED THURSDAY that all SUNY and CUNY colleges and 40 private colleges and universities in New York State will have free application opportunities for high school seniors throughout the month of October, which is New York State College Application Month. “I urge all seniors in the state to apply to at least one college this month and make the most of this unprecedented initiative,” Hochul said in a release.
SUNY is waiving fees from Oct. 16 through Oct. 29, and CUNY is waiving fees all month for high school seniors in NYC public schools and all state residents who apply as a freshman between Oct. 16 and 31. Private institutions vary. The complete list can be found online.
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