What’s News, Breaking: Thursday, October 12, 2023
NYU TANDON TEAM’S WINS $1M AWARD
FOR ITS BUILDING INSPECTION AI TECHNOLOGY
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — RESEARCHERS AT THE NYU-TANDON SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING HAVE BEEN AWARDED $1 MILLION FROM THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION FOR THEIR PIONEERING WORK on automated building envelope assessments. Chen Feng, assistant professor in both the Departments of Civil and Urban Engineering (CUE) and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; and Semiha Ergan, associate professor in CUE, are developing AI-driven technology that identifies building envelope leaks through robot and drone scans, offering a cost-effective and efficient alternative to traditional inspections. The research team’s one-year $1 million Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Homeland Security will support the work. The project’s goal is to provide easier compliance with the soon-to-be-enforced NYC Local Law 97, which limits the allowable level of emissions that large buildings may produce.
Building envelopes — the outer shell of structures — contribute adversely to New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions and quality of life problems.
TREETOP GRANTS PROGRAM OPEN FOR GROUPS
THAT ADVOCATE FOR PARKS AND OPEN SPACES
CITYWIDE — THE CITY PARKS FOUNDATION HAS REVAMPED ITS TREETOPS GRANT PROGRAM FOR MID-SIZE ORGANIZATIONS ACROSS THE FIVE BOROUGHS, reports Community Board 16. The NYC Green Fund Treetops Grant Program provides funding for mid-size organizations that program, steward, and advocate for parks and open spaces, supporting a range of projects, including open space stewardship, environmental action, organizational development, health and wellness, youth engagement, and live arts and culture. Organizations with annual operating budgets between $175,000-$2,500,000 could be eligible for one-year or two-year grants of up to $50,000 annually. Interested groups may register online before Nov. 7.
The grant’s evaluation process gives priority to open spaces located in and serving Environmental Justice Areas, and to applicant organizations led by individuals who identify as BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Color).
BQE AND LOCAL STREET PARKING CLOSURES
EXPECTED TO SNARL TRAFFIC
BROOKLYN HTS/DOWNTOWN — MOTORISTS ARE BEING ADVISED TO AVOID THE BROOKLYN-QUEENS EXPRESSWAY COMPLETELY THIS WEEKEND, as section and lane closures from overnight Friday to Monday morning are expected to tie up the traffic span also known as Interstate 278. The repairs focus on new concrete and reinforcing steel bars being added at spans on the BQE near Clark Street and Grace Court as part of near-term work critical to the structure’s lifespan. In addition to the BQE lane closures that the Eagle has already published, parking will be banned on the south side of Atlantic Ave. between Clinton St. and Boerum Place, and there will be two dedicated left-turn lanes. Parking will also be banned on the east side of Clinton St. (northbound traffic) between Atlantic Ave. and State St.
Eastbound Atlantic Avenue drivers will be prohibited from making left turns at Hicks St. and Clinton St., with detoured buses exempted.
GOUNARDES & BRANNAN DENOUNCE HATE CRIME ATTACK ON PALESTINIAN IN BAY RIDGE
BAY RIDGE — FOLLOWING AN ASSAULT ON AN 18-YEAR-OLD PALESTINIAN man in Bay Ridge on Wednesday by numerous men waving Israeli flags, state Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Councilmember Justin Brannan issued a joint statement condemning the violence. “So many New Yorkers have loved ones in the Middle East who live every single day with the hard reality of this conflict. Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab communities in our neighborhoods are all in shock, hurting, angry, grieving, and afraid. Escalating violence in Israel and Palestine has inflamed tensions here at home. But we cannot allow these conflicts to cause violence or hateful rhetoric on the streets of New York City,” the officials said.
They added, “No one deserves to be attacked for their identity or their beliefs, and we won’t stand for it in our community or anywhere.”
MOUNT SINAI HEALTH RECEIVES $12M GRANT
FOR NEW SICKLE CELL DISEASE TREATMENT PLANS
CITYWIDE — THE MOUNT SINAI HEALTH SYSTEM, WITH LOCATIONS IN BROOKLYN, including a hospital on Kings Highway in Midwood, has received a $12,180,625 grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to compare new treatment options for sickle cell disease and determine which work best for specific patients. The study, known as REAL (Registry Expansion Analyses to Learn) Answers, is a collaboration among 10 sickle cell centers across the United States that will implement a novel observational study approach called target trial emulation. The study will enroll and collect data from 1,200 sickle cell patients using a structure similar to that of a clinical trial, including blood draws, tracking hospital admissions, and documenting drug administration and adverse events.
The researchers will also explore genetic predictors of response to medications, so that clinicians will be able to provide more personalized treatment plans based on each patient’s genetic makeup as well as their other unique characteristics.
NYS PSC DENIES RATE HIKE REQUESTS BY OFFSHORE WIND & OTHER RENEWABLE ENERGY COMPANIES
STATEWIDE — THE NYS PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION ON THURSDAY DENIED petitions filed by a group of offshore wind developers and a state renewable energy trade association seeking billions of dollars in additional funding from consumers for four proposed offshore wind projects and 86 land-based renewable projects, PSC said in a statement. The Commission said it “opted to preserve the robust competitive bidding process that provides critically needed renewable energy resources to New York in the fairest and most cost-effective manner that protects consumers.” The petitions were submitted by Empire Offshore Wind LLC and Beacon Wind LLC, Sunrise Wind LLC, and the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, Inc.
Granting the request would have resulted in as high as 6.7% increases for residential customers and as high as 10.5% for commercial or industrial customers on monthly bills, the Commission said.
CLEANUP BEGINS SOON ON DOUGLASS ST.
BROWNFIELD OPPOSITE A PLAYGROUND
BOERUM HILL — CLEANUP OF A CONTAMINATION SITE AT 251 DOUGLASS STREET, OPPOSITE THE THOMAS GREENE PLAYGROUND IN BOERUM HILL, is set to begin this month, the State Department of Environmental Conservation announced Wednesday, Oct. 11. The 10-point cleanup plan includes Excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil from the top 2 feet below grade surface across the entire site, and to approximately 6-8 feet below grade service in the southeast and northwestern corners of the site that have more significant contamination; removal of underground storage tanks; collecting and analyzing post-remedial soil and groundwater samples; installing a low-permeability hydraulic barrier to prevent off-site migration of coal tar and groundwater contamination; placement of a cover system over areas without hardscape (buildings, asphalt or concrete) to address contamination remaining above restricted residential use standards; among other actions.
Conducting the cleanup activities will be Gowanus Douglass Street LLC (“applicant”) with the DEC providing oversight. Having determined that the Remedial Action Work Plan protects public health and the environment, DEC has approved the plan.
CLEANUP PLAN FOR 4TH AVE. BROWNFIELD SITE
CHANGED TO PROTECT ADJACENT BUILDING
SUNSET PARK — THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION (DEC) HAS ISSUED AN EXPLANATION OF SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE to the public regarding a plan modification of its progress in the cleanup of 737 4th Avenue in Sunset Park near 25th St. The original Interim Remedial Measure implementation called for installing and operating six product recovery wells (6-inch diameter) to a depth of 28 feet below ground surface in the central and southern portions of the site to remove potentially mobile petroleum product from the subsurface; and installation of a secant pile barrier wall along the southeastern property boundary to prevent off-site contamination from migrating onto the site. However, tests and evaluations determined that drilling of the secant piles next to the existing foundation will cause risk to the structural integrity of the adjacent building; therefore change to the original barrier wall portion would be structurally infeasible.
Recovery activity at the site thus far has shown that contamination is not believed to be continually migrating on the Interim Remedial Measure site.
APARTMENT RENTS IN BROOKLYN KEEP HEADING UP
BROOKLYN — AVERAGE RENTAL PRICES IN BROOKLYN edged up .55% in one month, from $3,675 to $3,696, according to Brooklyn-based MNS Real Estate’s September 2023 Market Report. The neighborhood with the largest month-over-month increase was Cobble Hill, where the rent for a one-bedroom shot up 10.7%, from $3,573 to $3,954. (Right next door in Boerum Hill, however, the price of a one-bedroom actually decreased, from $3,890 to $3,518.) The most expensive apartments in September were located in DUMBO, with rent for a one-bedroom averaging $5,007. The cheapest one-bedroom could be found in Bay Ridge, with a price of $2,156 — less than half the DUMBO rent.
Overall, the average rental pricing in Brooklyn is up 2.30% from this time last year, according to MNS.
MEN WAVING ISRAELI FLAGS ATTACK, BEAT PALESTINIAN MAN IN BAY RIDGE
BAY RIDGE — MEN WAVING ISRAELI FLAGS assaulted an 18-year-old Palestinian man in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the Daily News reports. The Palestinian man was with two friends on 86th St. near Fourth Ave. at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday when three cars rolled by, filled with men screaming anti-Palestinian statements, police told the News. The cars pulled over and the men jumped out of the vehicles and punched and kicked the Palestinian, then ran back to their cars and sped off. No arrests were reported in the case as of Thursday morning. The incident is being investigated by the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit.
Police have ramped up surveillance around Jewish institutions after the horrific assault by Gaza’s Hamas on Israel.
DiNAPOLI: WALL ST. PROFITS DOWN 1ST HALF,
POLITICAL TURBULENCE COULD SPELL UNCERTAINTY
WALL STREET AND STATEWIDE — WALL STREET’S PROFITS OF $13 BILLION FROM THE FIRST HALF OF 2023 WERE DOWN 4.3% from the same period last year, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s annual report on the performance of New York City’s securities industry. However, the report also observed that the profits during this period tracked the industry’s return to pre-pandemic revenue levels after record profits in 2020 and 2021. Interest rates are expected to remain elevated for some time, which could further increase borrowing costs and reduce market activity. However, the uncertainties of the current geopolitical situation, the political turmoil in Washington and changes in inflation and employment could alter the economy quickly, says the report.
New York state relies more heavily than the city on tax collections from Wall St. because of its greater dependence on personal income taxes.
FORMER NON-PROFIT SENIOR OFFICER CHARGED WITH EMBEZZLING $2.3M FROM EMPLOYER
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A FORMER SENIOR OFFICER OF A NON-PROFIT HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH WIRE FRAUD RELATED TO EMBEZZLEMENT OF AROUND $2.3 MILLION. A criminal complaint was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn charging Marcia Joseph with embezzling the funds from her employer, a non-profit organization providing employment and education services for those in need. The criminal complaint states that Ms. Joseph submitted fictitious invoices for services to the nonprofit, “some of which purportedly related to City contracts, for payment to an entity that the defendant created and controlled, according to the criminal complaint,” according to Department of Investigation Commissioner Strauber. The defendant was arrested on Wednesday, Oct. 11, made her initial appearance that afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo, and was released on a $50,000 bond.
While the U.S. Attorney did not identify the non-profit organization, a Daily News article disclosed it as Goodwill.
FORMER HEAD OF BORO PARK SHOMRIM SENTENCED TO 17 YEARS FOR SEXUALLY ABUSING 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL
DOWNTOWN — THE FORMER HEAD OF THE BORO PARK SHOMRIM SOCIETY, a private, Orthodox Jewish crime-patrol group associated with the NYPD, was sentenced on Wednesday by United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis to 210 months in prison and a $250,000 fine for transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. Jacob Daskal, 64, took a 15-year-old girl who was having issues with her family into his home and subjected her to numerous sexual acts at his house in Brooklyn, at his summer house in South Fallsburg, New York and at a hotel in Chicago.
Daskal warned the victim that it would ruin her life if she told anyone about their relationship. In fact, she was expelled from her religious school after disclosing what was going on to her school principal, according to the statement by Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, NYC FBI.
KUSHNER COS. FILES TO DISMISS LAWSUIT OVER BROOKLYN HEIGHTS PORTFOLIO
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — THE KUSHNER COMPANIES filed a motion in court to dismiss a complaint alleging mismanagement of its Brooklyn Heights portfolio, brought by investor BLS Holdco in June, according to reporting in The Real Deal and Crain’s. Kushner’s motion described the lawsuit as a “misguided attempt to shake down” the firm. The dispute centers on six former Brooklyn Law School dorms Kushner and BLS acquired in 2014 for $36.5 million. Plans were to convert half of the properties into luxury single-family homes and rent out the other three as apartment buildings. But BLS alleges Kushner covered up the fact that the apartments could be subject to the rent stabilization law, according to TRD.
“At no time and in no manner, not even in investor disclosures of potential ‘deal risks,’ did Kushner raise the possibility that the remaining 70 units [out of 77 total] could be subject to rent stabilization,” the lawsuit states.
CITY ANNOUNCES MAJOR EXPANSION OF GREENWAY NETWORK
CITYWIDE — NYC OFFICIALS ANNOUNCED ON THURSDAY A MAJOR EXPANSION of the city’s greenway network, planning to fill in gaps to create 60 miles of greenway corridors. Mayor Eric Adams, DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue, and NYC Economic Development Corporation President Andrew Kimball said in a joint statement that the city would build more than 40 miles of new protected bike infrastructure and explore improvements to existing greenways to expand safer, greener transportation options. The city will explore new connections to the United States’ oldest bike lanes on Ocean and Eastern Parkways in Brooklyn, addressing gaps in the network running from the southern tip of Brooklyn at Coney Island to the border of Brooklyn and Queens.
The expansion will be funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law grants, said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.
STRUGGLING ONE BROOKLYN HEALTH HOSPITAL NETWORK HIRES MORE LOBBYISTS
CENTRAL BROOKLYN — THE STRUGGLING ONE BROOKLYN HEALTH Hospital network has hired multiple lobbyists to help it overcome its “financial and existential crisis,” sources told Becker’s Hospital Review. The plight of the three-hospital system — which includes Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, Interfaith Medical Center and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center — became evident late September after news broke that its board of governors had suddenly voted to oust CEO LaRay Brown, leading to protests by members of its health care unions.
Contracts with lobbyists signed by board Chair Alexander Rovt and Brown before him add up to $25,000 a month, Becker’s said.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT GRANTS TO AID BROOKLYN’S FUTURE OFFSHORE WIND WORKERS
SUNSET PARK — EIGHT NYC ORGANIZATIONS, half of them located in Brooklyn, have been awarded a total of $5 million in offshore wind ecosystem grants by Equinor and bp, together with the NYC Economic Development Corporation. The grants are meant to provide local economic benefits that support sustainable growth, workforce development, empowerment of underserved communities, and climate justice in New York’s emerging offshore wind industry. Applicants were chosen by a selection committee composed of representatives of the Sunset Park Task Force.
Brooklyn-oriented grantees include: City Growers at Brooklyn Grange Farm; Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation; Uprose; and CUNY Research Foundation (including Kingsbrook and City Tech). Other grantees include Educational and Cultural Trust Fund of the Electrical Industry, New York Academy of Sciences, NYC District Council of Carpenters, and Jewish Center of Staten Island.
BQE TRIPLE CANTILEVER CLOSURES COULD AFFECT SUNDAY CHURCH COMMUTE
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS/BQE — THE QUEENSBOUND section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway involving the Triple Cantilever below Brooklyn Heights will be closed this weekend starting at 2 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, the NYC DOT and Community Board 2 remind commuters. The affected entrance and exit points would include Exit 27 at Atlantic Ave. and the Sands Street access ramps at Exits 28A and B (Cadman Plaza West and Brooklyn Bridge, respectively). Traffic could be impacted as well in the vicinity of Exits 29A and B (Manhattan Bridge and Tillary St., respectively). The DOT will be repairing the spans at Clark Street and Grace Court. The Staten Island-bound BQE will be reduced to one lane, and Furman St. will be reversed to two southbound lanes during the closure.
At least one Heights church whose congregants commute from other parts of the city has issued an alert about the closure of the section of BQE closest to the Heights, urging them to find alternate routes for Sunday services on Oct. 15.
TWO MEN CHARGED WITH SMUGGLING HUNDREDS OF TAXIDERMY BIRDS INTO U.S.
DOWNTOWN — AN EIGHT-COUNT INDICTMENT WAS UNSEALED IN Brooklyn Federal Court on Wednesday charging two men with conspiracy to smuggle into the U.S. hundreds of preserved birds, a significant portion of which were protected species, as well as preserved eggs and other protected wildlife. John Waldrop, 74, of Georgia, and Toney Jones, 53, of Alabama, allegedly used sales sites such as eBay and Etsy to buy taxidermy birds and eggs, including those from protected birds such as canary, dipper, eagle, falcon, grouse, hawk, heron, parrot, spoonbill, vulture, woodpecker and more, according to Breon Peace, United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York. The birds were estimated to be worth more than $1.2 million.
The defendants surrendered Wednesday in Atlanta and will be arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn on Oct. 16.
LEASING LAUNCHED FOR NEW GOWANUS MIXED-USE
GOWANUS — LEASING HAS LAUNCHED for 300 Huntington, a six-story, 136,000-square-foot mixed-use commercial development in Gowanus/Carroll Gardens, Monadnock Development announced in a release on Tuesday. Monadnock said that 300 Huntington is the neighborhood’s only new ground-up office/commercial building, describing it as the “gateway” to a mile-long public esplanade planned along the Gowanus Canal. The building includes 49,000 square feet of office and creative space, along with 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
Frank Dubinsky, COO of Monadnock Development, says the company is a “Brooklyn-born, Brooklyn-based firm with a strong presence in the community dating back more than four decades.”
162-UNIT EAST WILLIAMSBURG APARTMENT BUILDING TOPS OUT
EAST WILLIAMSBURG — SLATE PROPERTY GROUP with Avenue Realty Capital and SD Builders and Construction LLC on Tuesday topped out construction of a new apartment building at 159 Boerum St. in East Williamsburg. The 162-unit building stands 216’ tall at the roof line. Workers marked the milestone with a ceremony on the 16th floor of the building. Construction is expected to be completed in the summer of 2025.
Designed by Aufgang Architects, the multifamily building includes 49 affordable apartments, as well as amenities including a fitness center, a roof deck, a parking garage and bike storage. Setbacks above the 12th and 16th floors will make way for large outdoor terraces.
CHABAD OF CLINTON HILL ORGANIZES PRAYER VIGIL FOR HOSTAGES, ATTACK VICTIMS IN ISRAEL
CLINTON HILL — RELIGIOUS LEADERS WITH CHABAD OF CLINTON HILL and the wider Clinton Hill community are organizing a prayer vigil in solidarity with those who are being held hostage and under attack in Israel. Chabad of Clinton Hill has planned a Jewish Prayer Vigil, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12, at Myrtle Plaza — one of the thousands of similar events that Jewish communities are organizing worldwide in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. Expected leaders include former Broadway singer Joshua Rouah’ Rabbi Yossi Eliav of Chabad of Pratt Institute; Lara B. Krinsky, director of content for Friends of the Israel Defense Forces; and Netanya Abramson, former president of the Pratt Institute Jewish Student Union, who has a relative among the hostages being held in Israel.
Also participating will be Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, a mental health specialist with the Jewish Autism Network.
ROYAL VISITORS SURPRISE BROOKLYN STUDENTS
SUNSET PARK — STUDENTS AT THE MARCY LAB SCHOOL in Industry City were joined by some surprise visitors Tuesday: Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, NY1 reports. The Marcy Lab School is a one-year fellowship program that’s an alternative to college. Students get tuition-free, intensive training in software engineering, leadership and development. Through their Archewell Foundation, Harry and Meghan have provided funding for the special program.
“I’m very happy that they came to see us. It means a lot, like it really gives us inspiration, honestly,” student Tahj Amie said.
POPULAR UKRAINIAN EATERY VESELKA EXPANDS INTO WILLIAMSBURG
WILLIAMSBURG — THE POPULAR EAST VILLAGE UKRAINIAN RESTAURANT VESELKA is expanding into a Lorimer Street storefront, report Patch, Brownstoner, and other neighborhood news outlets. Veselka is moving into a former car wash at Lorimer and Meeker, and will be able to construct a larger kitchen and commissary, according to Department of Building documents. Classic entrée items include meat and vegetable versions of their borscht, veal goulash, beef stroganoff and, of course, kielbasa and blintzes.
Veselka’s Second Ave. family-owned restaurant has also become an ad hoc humanitarian headquarters, where ground aid, food, supplies and money have been collected and sent to Ukraine. Veselka raised $300,000 in borscht sales during the first year of the Ukraine war, donating the proceeds to the besieged nation, reported the New York Post last March.
NEW POLICY REQUIRES SMALLER RESIDENCES TO USE RAT-RESISTANT TRASH CONTAINERS
CITYWIDE — OWNERS OF SMALLER RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS WILL BE REQUIRED TO PLACE THEIR TRASH in rat-resistant containers, reports the Daily News. Mayor Eric Adams and Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch on Wednesday, Oct. 11, rolled out a new policy — as part of the city’s war on rats — that requires 95% of the city’s residential building owners put out trash for street pick-up in containers. The policy covers around 765,000 properties, with residential buildings having nine or fewer units, single-family homes, smaller tenements and townhouses subdivided into separate apartments falling into the category.
The new residential-building policy, for which a rollout timetable has not yet been announced, aims to eliminate black garbage bags on city streets, which rats chew and tear apart, replacing bags with standard-sized, rat-resistant containers.
NEW BILLS AIM TO PROTECT CHILDREN ONLINE, LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA’S ADDICTIVE FEATURES
STATEWIDE — NEW LEGISLATION THAT SEVERAL STATE LEGISLATORS ARE SPONSORING WILL KEEP CHILDREN SAFE ONLINE and prevent the dangerous health consequences of addictive social media platforms. Governor Kathy Hochul, State Senator Andrew Gounardes, and Assemblymember Nily Rozic on Wednesday, Oct. 11, announced the bills, which will prohibit online platforms from collecting and sharing children’s personal data without parental consent and will limit addictive features of social media platforms that are known to harm their mental health and development.
Recent research has shown devastating mental health effects associated with children and young adults’ social media use, including increased rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and self-harm.
DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD: DiNAPOLI: MOBILE BETTING BRINGS NY MONEY BUT ALSO A SPIKE IN GAMBLING ADDICTION
STATEWIDE — WHILE STATE REVENUES HAVE INCREASED FROM MOBILE SPORTS BETTING, SO HAS PROBLEM GAMBLING, according to a new report that State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released on Wednesday, Oct. 11. State collections from the taxes on mobile sports betting totaled $727.4 million in State Fiscal Year 2022-2023 and have continued to grow in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, following the January 2022 launch of legalized mobile sports betting. However, the New York State Gaming Commission also noted a 26% increase in problem gambling-related calls to the Office of Addiction Services and Supports from 2021 to 2022.
Comptroller DiNapoli pointed out that, “With the ease and 24/7 availability of mobile betting apps, problem gambling and addiction are poised to increase. More attention should be devoted to understanding the implications of mobile sports betting, particularly on young New Yorkers.”
PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST WILL HEAD COURT SYSTEM’S MEDIA DEPT.
STATEWIDE — A FUNDAMENTAL RESTRUCTURING OF THE NY STATE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM’S COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT will bring in a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist as its new director. Chief Judge of the State of New York Rowan D. Wilson, Chief Administrative Judge Joseph A. Zayas and First Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Norman St. George announced on Wednesday, Oct. 11, that Al Baker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with three decades of experience with the Daily News, Newsday and the New York Times, will head the newly formed Communications Department, as part of the reorganization, a crucial aspect of the new judicial leadership team’s program to establish and strengthen ties between the courts and the populations they serve. The program aims to foster greater transparency, civics education and greater publicity of the many ways in which the judicial and non-judicial personnel within the court system work to improve the lives of New Yorkers.
Al Baker most recently served as the executive director of media relations in the New York Police Department’s Office of Public Information.
NY GOP REPS CHANGE TUNE, HOPE TO OUST ‘FRAUDSTER’ SANTOS
STATEWIDE — SIX NEW YORK HOUSE REPUBLICANS said on Wednesday they planned to introduce a measure to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) from the legislative body, according to The Hill. The six had previously voted against Santos’ expulsion. The move comes after prosecutors in New York filed a superseding indictment against Santos, who also goes by the name Devolder, charging him with 10 new criminal charges, including stealing campaign contributors’ identities and financial information, charging their credit cards numerous times without their authorization, and lying to the FEC about campaign contributions.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), who called Santos a “fraudster” on X/Twitter, said the resolution will be co-sponsored by fellow first-term GOP Reps. Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Nick Langworthy and Brandon Williams.
BIPARTISAN LETTER URGES EVACUATION OF AMERICANS STRANDED IN ISRAEL
CAPITOL HILL — REP. NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS (R-11) AND 144 OF HER CONGRESSIONAL COLLEAGUES have sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging his office to coordinate charter or military evacuations of American citizens wishing to leave Israel. In many cases, the Americans have been stranded as airlines suspended flights to the region after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. One of the letter’s signers, Congressman Dan Goldman (D-10), and his family were in Israel at the time of the attack and had to shelter in a stairwell until arrangements could be made to get him back to New York. The letter to Blinken points out that many other countries, including Canada, Mexico, Germany and Poland have chartered military and commercial planes to get their citizens home.
The letter, which several other Democrats and Republicans from the New York Congressional delegation signed, including Reps. Nydia Velázquez (D-7), Yvette Clarke (D-9) and Grace Meng of Queens, came a day after Rep. Malliotakis issued a statement on the urgency of arranging evacuations.
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