What’s News, Breaking: Friday, October 27, 2023
FCC HEAD MEETS WITH BK LIBRARY LEADERS TO BOOST DISCOUNTED INTERNET INITIATIVE
BOROUGHWIDE — FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION Chair Jessica Rosenworcel visited Brooklyn Public Library on Wednesday to collaborate with library leadership on the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, designed to close the digital divide. The ACP provides a $30 per month discount on internet charges to eligible households. The FCC has provided $250K in grant funding to BPL, which helps eligible people apply for the program.
Households eligible for the $30 discount to their home internet bill include parents and guardians of all NYC public school and many charter school students; participants in various government assistance programs; and, people with income at 200% or less than the federal poverty guideline (e.g.: $39,440 or less for a household of two).
CITY ANNOUNCES TENTATIVE CONTRACT AGREEMENT WITH SANITATION WORKERS
CITYWIDE — MAYOR ERIC ADAMS AND THE NYC OFFICE OF LABOR RELATIONS on Friday announced a tentative contract agreement with the Uniformed Sanitation Workers’ Union Local 831. The five-year, two-month tentative agreement, which would cover approximately 7,100 New York City sanitation workers, is retroactive, beginning on Dec. 28, 2022, and expires on Feb. 27, 2028. It provides wage increases between 3.25 and 4.00%, consistent with the agreement with the Police Benevolent Association in this year’s round of bargaining, the city said in a release.
The agreement also improves the early steps of the salary schedule, helping to bring starting pay up to $50,000 by the end of the contract term, the city said. The agreement must still be ratified by the union’s membership.
NYPD TOW TRUCK DRIVER WHO RAN DOWN CHILD IS NOW FACING CHARGES
FORT GREENE — THE NYPD TOW TRUCK DRIVER who hit and killed a 7-year-old boy crossing Myrtle Avenue near Fort Greene Park with his mom on the way to school Thursday is now facing charges, CBS New York reports. Stephanie Sharp, 54, has been charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due caution following the shocking death of Kamari Hughes.
Witnesses told CBS New York the driver was on her cellphone, speeding and ran a red light.
ALMOST ALL OF NYC’S SHINY NEW R211 SUBWAY CARS ARE OUT OF SERVICE
CITYWIDE — SIX OUT OF SEVEN OF THE CITY’S FANCY NEW R211 SUBWAY CARS have been taken out of service due to faulty gearboxes, Gothamist reported Thursday. If the gearbox is damaged, the wheels can lock up, drag and become flat.
The MTA board last year approved the purchase of another 640 R211 cars from Kawasaki for $1.78 billion, Gothamist added.
ADAMS OFFERS ONE-WAY TICKET OUT OF TOWN TO ‘UNWELCOME’ NYC MIGRANTS
CITYWIDE — MAYOR ERIC ADAMS IS OFFERING MIGRANTS a one-way ticket to the destination of their choice, hoping to wiggle out of the city’s obligation to shelter them for months on end, Politico reports. And he’s warning those opting to stay here that they may end up sleeping on the streets. Critics say Adams’ actions lack compassion. Councilmember Shahana Hanif (D-Park Slope, Gowanus) says the Adams administration has “consistently created hysteria and chaos and confusion and [has] not used a tone of inclusivity and welcome.”
More importantly, tracking a migrant’s applications for work authorization or asylum can be impossible once he or she leaves the city’s care, Gothamist reported.
POLICE SEARCHING FOR MILL BASIN MAN, LAST SEEN AT A HOSPITAL IN YONKERS
MILL BASIN — A 21-YEAR-OLD BROOKLYN MAN WHO WAS LAST SEEN AT A HOSPITAL IN YONKERS has disappeared, and police are asking the public for information. Ilan Pearlstein, a Mill Basin resident, was last seen on Friday, Oct. 20, at approximately 12:30 p.m. inside of Saint Joseph’s Hospital on South Broadway in Yonkers. Pearlstein is described as a white male, about 6’ 3” tall and 180 pounds. It is unknown what clothing he was wearing at the time.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), or by visiting the CrimeStoppers website.
ADAMS, BANKS: ‘ALARMING INCREASE OF HATEFUL RHETORIC’ IN SCHOOLS
CITYWIDE — NYC MAYOR ERIC ADAMS AND SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR DAVID BANKS said in a statement released late Thursday that they were dismayed at the “alarming increase of hateful rhetoric” being expressed at schools across both the city and the nation, particularly surrounding the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. The officials blamed “inaccuracies on unsourced sites” for fueling toxic speech and division at educational institutions, adding that the city would not tolerate such behavior.
Adams and Banks said they would be asking superintendents to work with their local principals and community and faith leaders “to help develop and teach cultural understanding at our city’s schools.”
BK COLLEGE ANTHROPOLOGIST VIRTUALLY RECONSTRUCTS SKULL OF 12 MILLION-YEAR-OLD APE
MIDWOOD — AN ANTHROPOLOGY LECTURER AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE was the lead author of a study, along with scientists at the American Museum of Natural History and the Miquel Crusafont Catalan Institute of Paleontology, that used CT scans to reconstruct the damaged skull of a great ape species that lived about 12 million years ago. Kelsey Pugh led the effort to virtually segment the CT scan to create a virtual reconstruction of the face. The scientists found that Pierolapithecus catalaunicus shares similarities in overall face shape and size with both fossilized and living great apes, but it also has distinct facial features not found in other Middle Miocene apes.
Researchers said that Pierolapithecus may be crucial to understanding great apes and human evolution.
NARCOTIC ‘TRASH CANS’ & CRACK PIPES LITTER CENTRAL BROOKLYN PLAYGROUNDS
CENTRAL BROOKLYN — PLAYGROUNDS IN NEIGHBORHOODS INCLUDING CROWN HEIGHTS AND BEDFORD-STUYVESANT are “overrun with used drug paraphernalia” including crack cocaine pipes and colorful “trash can” vials used to hold fentanyl and heroin, parents told the New York Post. “We’re finding them all over — Crispus Attucks Playground, Hattie Carthan Playground, Herbert Von King Park, Jesse Owens Playground, Brower Park,” one mother said.
A parent cleanup crew recently gathered more than 100 pieces of drug paraphernalia over a seven-day span at Crispus Attucks in Clinton Hill, the Post reported.
HACKERS STEAL PERSONAL INFO OF THOUSANDS OF MEDICAL PATIENTS IN BROOKLYN
DITMAS PARK — HACKERS OBTAINED THE PERSONAL INFORMATION of 48,459 patients of Brooklyn Premier Orthopedics, an orthopedic and pain management center in Ditmas Park and other locations, the HIPAA Journal reports. According to BPO’s breach notice, unauthorized individuals gained access to patient data including names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and medical treatment information.
Individuals with questions may contact 1-833-961-7569 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday.
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS APARTMENT BUILDING TO HOUSE BOROUGH’S MOST EXPENSIVE RENTAL
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — A NEW 10-STORY BUILDING ON COLUMBIA HEIGHTS will reportedly be the site of Brooklyn’s priciest rental, at $33,990 per month, according to the Robb Report. The Torre House, currently nearing completion at 124 Columbia Heights, has officially begun leasing, and one of the apartments — a four-bedroom duplex — is asking this potentially record-setting price. Currently, the most expensive lease available on the open market in the borough is a Brooklyn Heights townhouse that’s asking $27,500 per month.
The Torre House is located on the former site of a four-story brownstone that belonged to abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher from 1856 to 1881.
7-YEAR-OLD HIT, KILLED BY NYPD TOW TRUCK IN FORT GREENE
FORT GREENE — A 7-YEAR-OLD BOY CROSSING A STREET near Fort Greene Park with his mom on the way to school was fatally hit by an NYPD tow truck driver Thursday morning, the Daily Beast, New York Times and other outlets report. Emergency responders reported that the boy died at the scene at around 7:50 a.m. NYPD said the truck driver, 54, was making a legal right turn onto North Portland Avenue in Fort Greene when she ran into the child, and there are no immediate charges.
A witness told the New York Times that the driver was trying to beat a yellow light.
CALL FOR TRAFFIC ‘DAYLIGHTING’ FOLLOWING DEATH OF 7-YEAR-OLD IN FORT GREENE
FORT GREENE — FOLLOWING THE TRAGIC DEATH of a 7-year-old boy crossing the street near Fort Greene Park on his way to school with his mom Thursday morning, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC) said in a statement, “Daylighting and traffic calming designs should be implemented throughout our city — not simply reserved for streets where a high number of people have already been injured or killed.” State law requires daylighting at every intersection, “But New York City exempts itself from enforcing this law — resulting in parking right up to the crosswalk. The consequence is that drivers do not see people in the crosswalk, and that people crossing the street, especially children, cannot see oncoming traffic,” PHNDC said.
The boy was hit by an NYPD tow truck driver. A witness told the New York Times that the driver was trying to beat a yellow light.
900 NYPD OFFICERS DEPLOYED ACROSS CITY FOLLOWING MAINE MASS SHOOTING
CITYWIDE — NINE HUNDRED NYPD OFFICERS WERE DEPLOYED to highly sensitive locations throughout New York City on Thursday following a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, which killed at least 16 people and injured dozens at a restaurant and a bowling alley, Patch reports. NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said the deployment was out of an abundance of caution, given the shooter hasn’t been caught and Lewiston is a five-hour drive from the city.
The suspect, Robert Card, 40, a firearms instructor in the U.S. Army Reserve, had previously been committed to a mental health facility and had said he was “hearing voices and threats to shoot up” a military base, Patch reports.
EARLY VOTING IN NYC BEGINS THIS SATURDAY
CITYWIDE — EARLY VOTING IN BROOKLYN AND ACROSS NYC begins this Saturday, Oct. 28, and runs through Nov. 5, PoliticsNY reports. The deadline to register to vote is also Saturday — and the official Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7. Brooklynites will get to choose their city council members as well as judges across various courts. There are also two state ballot proposals that deal with debt limits.
Prospective voters can use the Board of Elections’ “Find Your Poll Site” tool to locate early voting and election day polling places.
GOVERNOR SIGNS ‘MICKIE’S LAW’ TO PROTECT PREGNANT WOMEN WITH MEDICAL EMERGENCIES
ALBANY AND FLATBUSH — WOMEN WHO NEED URGENT MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR FETALS DEATHS are now assured that treatment, since Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a bill that Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn sponsored. “Mickie’s Law” (A10927) is named in honor of the fetus loss of parents who were denied removal treatment due to a hospital’s religious beliefs. The parents searched for a hospital in New York before the decomposition in the mother’s womb became life-threatening to her. The sweeping bill amends the public health law to require that protocols be established and implemented for fetal demise, and that for the management of fetal demise, the patient be informed of treatment options including for spontaneous miscarriage, surgical evacuation, and that induction of labor be done within a reasonable time in an emergency. Hospitals will also be required to admit maternity patients or transfer to a unit or other hospital for treatment.
Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn (D-42), who is the Assembly Majority Whip, lost her son and almost died due to negligent maternal care. Many of her bills fighting maternal mortality have passed state legislature.
COMPTROLLER LANDER SLAMS NYC DOT FOR BOTCHED ROLLOUT OF RECKLESS DRIVER PROGRAM
CITYWIDE — COMPTROLLER BRAD LANDER ON THURSDAY slammed the NYC Dept. of Transportation for its poor implementation of the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program, which was supposed to hold repeat reckless drivers accountable. The program included driver training followed by vehicle impoundment for repeat scofflaws. The program ended on Thursday, Oct. 26 — but Lander, who sponsored the Act in 2020 when he was a City Council member, said in a policy report that it should be strengthened and renewed. Traffic fatalities have spiked dramatically in recent years.
“NYC DOT commenced the program over a year late, declined to work with the Center for Justice Innovation … and did not follow through on the legislated scale or key elements,” Lander said, adding that DOT “allowed nearly half of these repeat reckless drivers to simply ignore the program altogether. Come on!”
BILL TO PREVENT FEDERAL LAND HOUSING OF MIGRANTS PASSES HOUSE COMMITTEE
CAPITOL HILL AND FLOYD BENNETT FIELD — A BILL THAT BROOKLYN CONGRESSMEMBER NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS (R-11) SPONSORS TO PREVENT MIGRANT HOUSING on federal lands passed the House Committee on Natural Resources with bipartisan support on Thursday, Oct. 26. The bill, which is now approved for consideration by the entire House with a floor vote, is formally named the Protecting our Communities from Failure to Secure the Border Act of 2023 (H.R.5283). It would prohibit federal funding from being used to provide housing for illegal immigrants on any land under the jurisdiction of the Federal Land Management agencies, including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service.
If enacted, the law would retroactively cancel the contract between New York City and the Biden Administration to house migrants at Floyd Bennett Field. The bill covers any park within the Gateway National Recreation Area.
FDNY INTRODUCES FREE SMOKE ALARM PROGRAM
BEDFORD-STUYVESANT AND CITYWIDE — NEW YORKERS SHOULD GET THEIR FREE SMOKE ALARMS, says the city’s Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, who, along with the FDNY Foundation and the American Red Cross, held an information program on Thursday, Oct. 26. The program enables New Yorkers to register for free smoke alarms and their home installation. The renewed push for awareness of this critical program comes during Fire Prevention Month and in advance of the winter season, when the FDNY typically sees an increase in fires. Residents can get the QR code in firehouses and EMS stations, and field members will also carry informational palm cards on fire trucks, engines and ambulances.
Since this partnership’s launch nearly a decade ago, more than 275,000 smoke alarms have been distributed and installed in the five boroughs so far. An operable smoke alarm increases the chances of people surviving and being able to escape a fire.
POLICE LOOKING FOR PAIR WHO BROKE INTO SAME SMOKE SHOP 5 TIMES
BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — POLICE ARE SEARCHING FOR A MAN AND A WOMAN who broke into the same smoke shop in Bedford-Stuyvesant — through a hole in the wall — five times. The pair entered a vacant neighboring apartment through a window, then broke a hole in the shop’s wall at 4 a.m. on Sept. 11. They returned an hour later, entering the shop through the hole and stealing cash from the register. The suspects returned on Sept. 29, Oct. 2, and Oct. 16, and overall made off with at least $3,500 in cash, thousands of dollars worth of lottery tickets and cigars, and an unknown amount of vape products.
Cops described the suspects as a man with a dark complexion and a thin build, and a woman with a dark complexion and a medium build. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), or visit the CrimeStoppers website.
HALLOWEEN IN BROOKLYN HEIGHTS: PROMENADE PARADE AND SPOOKY FUN ON MONTAGUE STREET
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — COME GOBLINS AND GHOSTIES — the Brooklyn Heights Association will be hosting its annual Halloween Parade on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 11 a.m. Always a fun and photo-friendly event, families will gather at the entrance to the Promenade on Clark Street and parade down to the cul-de-sac on Remsen Street. Follow up with Halloween fun on Montague Street after the parade, sponsored by the Montague BID and BHA. The Zing! Kids Fit Zone will feature a SPOOKtacular kids fitness obstacle course, fit games and prizes, and mini fit classes, and there will be numerous free Halloween activities, spectacular performances and a Pumpkin Patch on the street.
Make sure to swing by the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange at 137 Montague St. for a carving demo and Slime tricks.
BKLYN BOO! IN DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN SATURDAY
ALBEE SQUARE — BKLYN BOO! RETURNS TO DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 1-4 p.m. for fun and exciting family-friendly Halloween activities, live music, and arts in partnership with City Point BKLYN. Activities include Frankenstein slime-making, DJ Mike, puppet shows, a costume dance-off and more.
A photographer will be on hand to snap digital photos, which can be posted to Instagram as entry to win prizes.
CARROLL PARK HALLOWEEN PARTY ON SATURDAY
CARROLL GARDENS — BRING THE LITTLE MONSTERS in costume to Carroll Park on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. for a family-friendly Halloween party with music, dancing, treats, scavenger hunt and more. Located at the Park House and Monument area in Carroll Park.
The party is sponsored by the Friends of Carroll Park.
CREEPY CRAWLY HALLOWEEN AT PROSPECT PARK SUNDAY
PROSPECT PARK — DISSECT OWL PELLETS, EAT YUCKY BUT HEALTHY MYSTERY TREATS or take a creepy, crawly walk at the Audubon Center’s Halloween celebration, sponsored by the Prospect Park Alliance on Sunday, Oct. 29. Take a second look at the creatures that give you the creeps and participate in fun activities and experiments that will make your spine tingle.
Do the kids want to watch the Audubon Center’s snake gobble up a mouse? If so, this Halloween event is for them! Free.
GRESHAM: CITY’S LARGEST HEALTHCARE UNION WILL FIGHT NEW HOUSE SPEAKER’S ‘EXTREMIST’ AGENDA
CITYWIDE — CALLING THE NEW HOUSE SPEAKER MIKE JOHNSON (R- LOUISIANA) a “MAGA extremist” and “threat to democracy” who led the charge to overthrow the 2020 election, George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU, NYC’s largest healthcare union, said in a statement on Wednesday that the union’s 450,000 healthcare workers “are ready to do whatever is needed to ensure there is a House majority in 2024 which moves our nation forward for the benefit of all.”
Gresham pointed out that Johnson also voted to “gut nutrition programs for children, criminalize abortion, end Social Security, and eliminate the Violence Against Women Act,” along with voting against protections against workplace violence.
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