What’s News, Breaking: Tuesday, November 7, 2023
TUESDAY RUSH HOUR PROTEST
TIES UP MANHATTAN BRIDGE TRAFFIC
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN —A PROTEST ON THE MANHATTAN BRIDGE IS DISRUPTING TRAFFIC IN DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN and lower Manhattan, according to an alert dispatched from Notify NYC. Motorists and other commuters should expect intermittent road closures, traffic delays and a heavy presence of emergency personnel on both sides of the Manhattan Bridge, which in Brooklyn, leads up Flatbush Avenue.
Motorists are advised to use other routes, which undoubtedly, would increase traffic on the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges.
INDUCTION STOVE CHALLENGE: CREATING
NEW STOVES FOR OLDER NYCHA BUILDINGS
CITYWIDE — A NEW INITIATIVE AIMS TO ELECTRIFY COOKING SYSTEMS in the city’s public housing apartments, Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams have announced. NYCHA, the New York Power Authority, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which in July first announced the Induction Stove Challenge, a competitive innovation challenge to avoid costly electrical upgrades, have now jointly launched the program through the release of a Request for Proposal calling on appliance manufacturers to design and produce a new class of energy-efficient, induction stoves that will replace existing gas stoves. Manufacturers who submit proposals will need to design and engineer stoves that can be installed in older buildings using standard 120-volt, 20-amp outlets. The finalists will have up to 24 months to design, prototype, and produce 100 units of the new product for testing during the challenge’s pilot phase.
The city and state expect the program to lead to the installation of 10,000 modern induction stoves.
SEN. GILLIBRAND TO GIVE PRESS CONFERENCE
ON PACT ACT BENEFITS FOR VETERANS
NEW YORK AND NATIONWIDE — VETERANS WHO WERE EXPOSED TO CERTAIN TOXINS DURING THEIR MILITARY COMBAT SERVICE are being urged to apply for PACT Act benefits. As Veterans Day (November 11) approaches, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York will convene a video press conference urging affected to apply for the expanded health benefits provided through the Honoring our PACT Act, which covers veterans suffering from illness caused by exposure to burn pits and other toxic substances while serving abroad. These burn pits-related medical conditions are presumptively service-connected, meaning that veterans no longer have to provide proof that their disease is service-related in order to receive them.
During her November 8 video press conference, Sen. Gillibrand will share resources to help veterans and survivors apply successfully.
THREE BROWNSVILLE ARTISTS FEATURED AT
SUSTAINABLE, AFFORDABLE HOUSING SITE
BROWNSVILLE — PUBLIC ART CREATED BY THREE LOCAL ARTISTS can be viewed at 326 Rockaway Ave. in Brownsville, according to ArtBridge, Slate Property Group and RiseBoro Community Partnership. “Brownsville Reflections: Past, Present, Future,” features works by Jocelyn Goode, Laurent Chevalier, and Sophia Victor. Each artist was provided with one side of the site, with their artworks installed on the construction sheds. The exhibition is part of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs’ City Canvas pilot program.
The developer called the all-electric passive house project “one of the most sustainable affordable housing developments ever constructed in New York City,” with 215 permanently affordable apartments including 130 units serving formerly homeless young adults and their families.
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS ROW HOUSE RENOVATIONS
UP FOR LAND USE COMMITTEE PUBLIC REVIEW
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — PROPOSED RENOVATIONS AT A COLUMBIA HEIGHTS BROWNSTONE will be up for public review at Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 15. The scope of a project at 212 Columbia Heights, a six-story, single-family, Anglo-Italianate brownstone built in 1855, includes a new stair bulkhead at roof; a new roof deck and railing; and the conversion of an existing first-floor window to a new door to create access to the rear deck. The project also involves lowering the sill to match the three existing windows at that floor.
Baxt-Ingui Architects designed the project, according to documents provided digitally from the Land Use Committee.
LAND USE COMMITTEE WILL REVIEW
PROJECT AT CLINTON HILL BROWNSTONE
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN AND CLINTON HILL — A Clinton Hill rental property’s application to repave its front areaway and install a wall there without permits will be reviewed during the Community Board 2 Land Use Committee meeting next Wednesday, Nov. 15. The owner of a three-story Italianate-style brownstone at 302 Lafayette Avenue, built ca. 1873 and within the Clinton Hill Historic District, has applied to waive the permits in a project to repave the front areaway and to install an areaway wall. The Land Use Committee will determine the appropriateness to waive or uphold VIO-19-0119 in this project. Work included copying the patterning and dark gray and rust coloration of the pavers at neighboring 308 Lafayette Ave., which is the only property in this row with the original areaway.
The Land Use Committee serves as the first review process for matters related to District planning, development, zoning and variance applications, permits and other matters.
AFTER THREATS, STATE APPROVES ACCELERATED
FUNDING FOR RELIGIOUS SCHOOL SAFETY EQUIPMENT
STATEWIDE — IN LIGHT OF THE RISE IN ANTI-SEMITISM AND ANTI-ISLAMIC THREATS, New York-based Jewish and Islamic educational organizations applauded the move by the state Education Department and state Division of the Budget to release funding for safety equipment for non-public schools earlier than planned in the budget. The funds were increased in last year’s adopted budget from $15 million to $45 million to address the urgent need for school safety funding, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in a release praising the move on Tuesday.
The funds for the 2023-24 school year were scheduled to be available for schools to apply for as reimbursement beginning in April 2024.
UNION STREET R STATION TO BECOME ACCESSIBLE
USING MTA’S NEW ZONING PROGRAM
GOWANUS — MTA SAID ON MONDAY THAT THE UNION STREET R STATION IN GOWANUS is one of five stations in New York City slated to become accessible by using a new program called Zoning for Accessibility that allows MTA to leverage private development to improve accessibility while saving money. ZFA requires some private developers to design their buildings to incorporate future station accessibility projects in exchange for a zoning bonus. At the Union Street Station, MTA secured an easement at 204 4th Avenue for a future elevator and stairway connecting the street to the southbound platform.
Brooklyn Councilmember Shahana Hanif and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon applauded the program. “New elevators will not only make our transit system more accessible to people with disabilities, but it will benefit the elderly, people with strollers, and many others,” Simon said in a release.
KINGSBOROUGH NAMED AMONG THE TOP 150
COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN THE NATION
MANHATTAN BEACH — KINGSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE in southeastern Brooklyn is among five schools within the CUNY system that the Aspen Institute has named among the top 150 community colleges in the nation. This makes the City University of New York’s Kingsborough, Hostos, LaGuardia, Queensborough and Borough of Manhattan community colleges eligible to compete for the 2025 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The biennial $1 million award is considered the highest recognition for community college achievement in the nation. These community colleges were invited to apply for the prestigious award based on data showing strong and improving student outcomes in key areas including retention, completion, transfer and equity. Kingsborough and Hostos were among the 10 finalists selected earlier this year for the 2023 prize.
The list of the top 25 semifinalists for the 2025 Aspen Prize will be released in April 2024; it will then be narrowed in June 2024 to 10 finalists. After school visits, a jury will make award decisions in spring 2025.
COMMISSION SUPPORTS RAISES FOR NEW YORK JUDGES
ALBANY — MEMBERS OF A JUDICIAL COMMISSION on Monday supported a salary increase for New York judges, PoliticoPro reports. State Supreme Court judges currently earn $210,900; details of the new rate “are still being hammered out” and will likely be finalized next week, according to Politico.
Each of the seven appointees on the Commission on Legislative, Judicial & Executive Compensation spoke in support of a raise at a meeting at the New York City Bar Association.
THE BRIDGE TV COMPLETES FIRST YEAR
OF COMMUNITY PROGRAMMING
FLATBUSH AND BOROUGHWIDE — THE BRIDGE MULTICULTURAL & ADVOCACY PROJECT celebrates the first anniversary of launching The Bridge TV Network. Established as a new TV station with shows highlighting emerging communities, The Bridge TV will focus on nonprofit organizations, ethnic food establishments, and various local businesses in Brooklyn. The network’s vision is to “create a platform for honest, authentic, and diverse conversations — a bridge to unite people of all backgrounds to find their voice and broadcast it to the world.” The Bridge MCP’s founder Mark Meyer Appel is a social worker with decades of experience advocating for children against abuse and trafficking. The Bridge MCP’s Director of Arts & Cultural Programming is Dorinda Angelucci, a veteran camerawoman and producer for WABC-TV Eyewitness News and Good Morning America and a documentary producer.
Recent programs on The Bridge TV have included a 2023 Youth Summit with Making the Impossible Possible, with speakers including Muhammad Karam from FDNY Engine Company 205, and City Councilmembers Mercedes Narcisse (D-46), Farah N. Louis (D-45), and Rita Joseph (D-40).
INTERNET SCAMMER SENTENCED IN BROOKLYN COURT FOR RIPPING OFF WEBSITE CUSTOMERS, BANKS
DOWNTOWN — INTERNET SCAMMER LARBY AMIROUCHE was sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto to 20 months in prison for ripping off customers and banks using fraudulent websites purporting to sell dietary supplements, hair care products, skin care products, testosterone and online business tutorials. Amirouche, 33, and his co-conspirators charged consumer credit cards for orders that were never delivered; charged customers for products they never ordered; and repeatedly charged consumers for the same products. As part of the scheme, Amirouche and his team set up dozens of shell companies and fraudulently opened bank accounts using the names of nominees.
The Court also ordered Amirouche to pay $1.8 million in forfeiture and over $110,000 in criminal restitution.
RABBI POTASNIK: APOLOGY IS NOT ENOUGH
FROM PUBLIC DEFENDER WHO DESTROYED POSTER
OF MISSING ISRAELI HOSTAGES
CITYWIDE — RABBI JOSEPH POTASNIK, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK BOARD OF RABBIS AND A LONGTIME BROOKLYN SPIRITUAL LEADER, has spoken out on the fracas involving a public defender who was videographed removing flyers of missing Israeli hostages. The New York Post reported that NYC Public Defender Victoria Ruiz was caught on camera ripping down a poster that had been hung in the aftermath of the Hamas Oct. 7 attack on Israel. After she apologized to the New York County Defender Services, she was allowed to keep her job. The video shows that rather than explain her rationale for removing the posters, Ruiz simply ignored the person questioning her. Rabbi Potasnik told the Post that Ruiz must also be held accountable for her actions by facing stiffer sanctions and apologizing to the families whose loved ones are missing. “The punishment should be a lot greater than, ‘I’m sorry’…In the Jewish tradition, you have to show you’re sorry, not just say you’re sorry.”
Rabbi Potasnik led Congregation Mount Sinai for 42 years, from 1972 until about 2014. Now senior rabbi emeritus, he is also a widely-respected FDNY chaplain, published author and radio show host.
CFB INVESTIGATES ‘SUSPICIOUS’ DONATIONS TO COUNCIL CANDIDATE AMBER ADLER
SOUTHERN BROOKLYN — THE NYC CAMPAIGN FINANCE BOARD IS INVESTIGATING suspicious donations made to the campaign of City Council candidate Amber Adler, City & State reports. Adler, the Democratic nominee for Council District 48 in southern Brooklyn, is challenging Republican Councilmember Inna Vernikov, who was recently arrested for bringing a gun to a protest. Employees of North Shore Strategies, Adler’s campaign consulting firm, told City & State that $100 cash donations were made to the campaign in their names but that they never made such donations. CFB on Thursday informed Adler that it had denied her campaign matching funds.
Adler told City & State that she had no involvement in any potential fraud related to the suspicious donations.
72-YEAR-OLD FLATBUSH MAN HAS BEEN MISSING FOR A WEEK
FLATBUSH — POLICE ARE SEARCHING FOR a 72-year-old man who disappeared from his home in Flatbush, Brooklyn, at roughly 11 a.m. on Oct. 30. Rodolfo Caceres, about 5’1” and 180 pounds, was last seen leaving his Beverley Road home wearing a multicolored sweater, black shoes, tan shorts, and carrying a black cane.
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 Crime Stoppers.
WEWORK OFFICE SPACE COMPANY FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
NATIONWIDE — THE OFFICE SPACE COMPANY WEWORK FILED FOR Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. on Monday, and will carry out a similar procedure in Canada, the company said in a release. WeWork said it has entered into restructuring support agreements with 92% of its debt holders to “drastically reduce” debt and expedite the restructuring process. As part of Monday’s filing, WeWork requested the ability to reject the leases of certain locations which it called “largely non-operational.”
Valued in 2019 at $47 billion, the company suffered a spectacular crash, with reported liabilities of $10-$50 billion, according to CNBC.
HOCHUL: TRUMP ‘THROWING TEMPER TANTRUMS’ ON WITNESS STAND
MANHATTAN — GOV. KATHY HOCHUL ON MONDAY DESCRIBED FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S court testimony, also taking place Monday, in blunt terms. “Today … we’re hoping that the truth comes out about a fraudster, an imposter, someone who allegedly lied about all his business holdings over an entire lifetime,” she told reporters. “Former President Donald Trump is testifying in an unprecedented civil trial brought by our own Attorney General, Tish James. So far from telling the truth as he’s required to do, he’s throwing temper tantrums from the witness stand and verbally attacking judges and courtroom staff. His conduct has been a disgrace,” she said.
Throughout Monday’s hearing, Trump repeatedly assailed James and Judge Arthur Engoron in the $250 million civil fraud case, according to news sources including CNN.
NYU LANGONE HOSPITAL-BROOKLYN EARNS TOP
SAFETY RATING FROM LEAPFROG WATCHDOG GROUP
CITYWIDE — NYU LANGONE HEALTH HAS, FOR THE SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE TIME, EARNED TOP SAFETY RATINGS FOR ITS HOSPITALS ACROSS THE SYSTEM. NYU Langone hospitals receiving an “A” rating top mark include NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, Tisch Hospital and Kimmel Pavilion in Manhattan, and NYU Langone Hospital-Long Island. The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization, semiannually (fall and spring) assigns a letter grade, from “A” to “F,” to general hospitals across the country based on more than 30 performance measures reflecting errors, accidents, injuries, and infections, as well as the systems that hospitals have established to prevent harm to patients.
Earlier this year, Vizient, Inc., named NYU Langone the No. 1 hospital in the nation for quality and patient safety; and, U.S. News & World Report included NYU Langone on its “Best Hospitals Honor Roll,” ranking 10 of its clinical specialties among the top 10 nationally. Moreover, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded NYU Langone five stars for safety, quality, and patient experience.
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