SANTA’S TOY SHOP VISITS HELP FAMILIES IN NEED THIS CHRISTMAS
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – Santa’s Toy Shop comes to a Queens parish on Thursday, December 22, the third event throughout the diocese that Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens is sponsoring. The Santa’s Toy Shop will provide toys and gift cards to families in need for children ages 17 and younger, with volunteers from the Carpenters Union, DeSales Media and other community members — and a visit from Bishop Robert J. Brennan as the celebrity on Thursday morning — distributing the presents. The Catholic Charities Toy Shop model gives parents the dignity to pick age-appropriate gifts for their children.
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens began distributing donated toys and gift cards last week at St. Vincent Ferrer Roman Catholic Church in Flatbush, and expects to help 1,000 families facing hardships in this time of crisis and rising inflation.
NAVAL ORDNANCE SPECIALIST FROM BROOKLYN SERVES IN 7TH FLEET IN INDO-PACIFIC REGION
PACIFIC OCEAN – U.S. Navy Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Quentine Bartone, who hails from Brooklyn, is currently serving as an aircraft weapons specialist in the Pacific Ocean, aboard aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). Nimitz is underway in the 7th Fleet — the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet — which routinely interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations in preserving a free Indo-Pacific Region.
Ordnancemen/airmen are responsible for managing all types of ammunition carried on an Navy aircraft, including the inspection, maintenance and repair of mechanical and electrical weapons and ordnance systems.
WOMEN’S CAUCUS DENOUNCES CUTS IN FUNDING TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH PROVIDERS
FLATBUSH – A City Councilmember from Brooklyn and her colleague from the Bronx who are co-chairs of the Women’s Caucus are the latest group to come forward denouncing Mayor Eric Adams’s decision to cut funding of what they say are critical non-profit services. City Council Women’s Caucus Co-Chairs Farah Louis (D-45/Flatbush area) and Amanda Farías (D-Bronx) released a statement that reads, in part: “At a time when access to abortion and reproductive health care are under attack, we cannot afford attempts to cut funding from the organizations that provide these essential services.”
Denouncing “drastic and shortsighted cuts to committed investments,” and declaring that the city must honor its commitments to support service providers, the Women’s Caucus co-chairs said, “Any suggestion to strip vital resources from the Council’s women’s initiatives is insulting and dangerous, especially after we took action to provide access to abortion health care through this funding.”
TEMPEST WITH ICE HEADING TO NEW YORK
STATEWIDE – As winter officially began on Wednesday, December 21, the NYC Emergency Management Department warned in an advisory to prepare for severe weather and falling temperatures, including potential rain and high winds, Thursday into Friday. Moreover, air temperatures will drop rapidly over a short 1- to 2-hour period as the cold front moves through, with a nearly 40-degree swing, and wind chills near zero are expected from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning. Black ice may form in areas with standing water as temperatures decrease.
The National Weather Service forecast a total of 1.5 to 2.5 inches of rain with locally higher amounts possible, which may cause flooding in the city, including highways, streets, basements and underpasses.
ARREST MADE IN STABBING DEATH OF BROWNSVILLE MAN
BROWNSVILLE – Police have arrested and charged the man who assaulted and fatally stabbed a 24-year-old male in front of a parking garage in Midtown Manhattan on December 6. John Wright, a homeless 35-year-old male, apparently was engaged in a verbal dispute with his victim, who succumbed to his torso stab wound as he was being transported to NY Health & Hospitals/Bellevue. Wright is charged with murder and Criminal Possession of a Weapon 4th degree.
Police have also identified the deceased male as 24-year-old Carlos Rosado of Powell Street in Brownsville.
RETIRED BROOKLYN APPELLATE JUDGE SERVES ON GOVERNOR’S CLEMENCY ADVISORY PANEL
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS – A retired Brooklyn judge with more than 30 years of experience on the bench will serve on a Clemency Advisory Panel that Governor Kathy Hochul has convened to advise her on clemency applications. The Hon. L. Priscilla Hall served as an associate justice of the State of New York Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, for nine years; and prior to that she served as the administrative judge of the Criminal Division of the Kings County Supreme Court.
Clemency is the process by which a governor or president may reduce a defendant’s sentence or grant a pardon. Gov. Hochul on Wednesday granted clemency to 13 persons, and has, during the past year, taken a number of steps to improve transparency and communication in the clemency process.
APPLICATION FOR BROWNFIELD CLEANUP ON SITE OF REZONING FIGHT NEAR BOTANIC GARDEN
CROWN HEIGHTS – Public comment is invited regarding a Brownfield Cleanup Program application that the state Department of Environmental Conservation has received from 960 Franklin LLC for a site known as Consumers Park Brewery Site, site ID #C224381. The site, addressed as 122A, 124 and 130 Montgomery Street, is also known as 960 Franklin Avenue, the same location that was in the center of a rezoning conflict that would have cast prolonged shadows over the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program is designed to encourage private-sector cleanups of brownfields and to promote their redevelopment as a means to revitalize economically blighted communities.
The public can access the application and other relevant documents online through the DECinfo Locator, as well as in the document repositories at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238 and at the Brooklyn Community Board #9, 890 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225.
CLEANUP PROJECT COMPLETED AT FORT GREENE BROWNFIELD SITE
FORT GREENE – The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced on Wednesday that Cleanup of Contamination is complete at another brownfield site in Brooklyn, at 205 Park Avenue, Fort Greene, near the Brooklyn Navy Yard and within Brooklyn Community Board 2. According to a fact sheet published on the project, the cleanup consisted of excavation and off-site disposal of about 7,063 cubic yards of non-hazardous soils across the site exceeding the Restricted Residential Use soil cleanup objectives. The site-specific cleanup criteria included endpoint soil sampling and installation of a vapor barrier in the building to protect against soil vapor intrusion. The piping was installed beneath the vapor barrier to protect against soil vapor intrusion.
A Site Management Plan was also implemented for long-term management of residual contamination. The plan documents are accessible online via DECinfo Locator, as well as at the Marcy Branch of the Brooklyn Library, DeKalb and Nostrand avenues, and the Brooklyn Community Board 2 office at 350 Jay St.
RE-DEVELOPING FORMER GREENPOINT HOSPITAL FOR MEN’S SHELTER, AFFORDABLE HOUSING
NORTH BROOKLYN – Financing of about $66 million has been closed for the first phase of redeveloping the former Greenpoint Hospital Campus, a mixed-use project in East Williamsburg, thanks to a partnership with The Hudson Companies, St. Nicks Alliance and Project Renewal in partnership with the New York City Department of Homeless Services, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the New York State Historic Preservation Office. The development will transform the former Greenpoint Hospital campus into affordable housing, community facilities, public open space and a men’s shelter with services provided by Project Renewal.
The development is the culmination of a 40-year community-led process to repurpose the former hospital site into affordable housing and community services. The first phase is the adaptive reuse of the former hospital nurse’s residence to become the newly named Barbara Kleiman Men’s Shelter.
CHRISTMAS CAROLING IN THE HEIGHTS
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS – A Brooklyn Heights tradition continues this evening, Thursday, December 22, when a group of carolers will process from Plymouth Church and sing around the neighborhood. Interim minister of music Raymond Trapp is coordinating the carol sing.
Plymouth Church will hold Christmas Eve services on Saturday, December 24, at 6 p.m. (Candlelight Service). Plymouth’s Christmas Day service will take place at 11 a.m., the usual Sunday service time.
GOVERNOR NAMES HON. HECTOR LASALLE AS NEXT NEW YORK CHIEF JUDGE
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS – The presiding justice of the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court’s Second Department, here in Brooklyn, has been selected to serve as the next chief judge of New York State. Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday, December 22, named the Hon. Hector LaSalle as the chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, pending State Senate confirmation within the next 30 days, and making him the state’s first Latino judge in that role.
“New York’s Court of Appeals has a long history as a beacon of justice, and Judge LaSalle is an outstanding jurist in that tradition,” Hochul said in a statement. “He has the skills, experience and intellect to ensure that our highest court is seen as a leader across the country.”
FIRST DISPENSARY TO SELL LEGAL WEED OPENING IN MANHATTAN HOUSING WORKS SITE… BUT NOT IN BROOKLYN
STATEWIDE – A dispensary on Broadway near Astor Place in Manhattan that Housing Works operates will be the first one licensed to sell legal, regulated adult-use cannabis, starting on December 29, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Thursday. This historic event will mark a critical milestone in the Seeding Opportunity Initiative, meant to build an adult-use cannabis industry and offset the harm caused by criminalizing its use.
Housing Works, the nation’s largest minority-controlled HIV/AIDS service organization, runs a store at 150 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, but that location will not be selling the cannabis products in the near future.
SENATE ADJOURNS WITHOUT VOTING ON SAFE BANKING ACT TO HELP FLEDGLING CANNABIS INDUSTRY
As New York City’s first legal cannabis dispensary prepares to sell marijuana next week, the U.S. Senate dealt the entire industry a setback by failing to pass the much-sought-after Safe and Fair Enforcement Banking Act before it adjourned on Wednesday. This law would have given cannabis businesses access to additional financial services, including the ability to conduct digital transactions.
The bill did not make it to a Senate vote even though the House of Representatives had already passed it April 2021 — for the fifth time.
NEW LAW HELPS SEXUAL-ASSAULT SURVIVORS TRACK THEIR EVIDENCE KIT LOCATIONS
STATEWIDE – A new law that Governor Kathy Hochul signed on December 22 will establish a statewide electronic tracking system for sexual offense evidence collection kits, commonly known as rape kits. The legislation (S7867-A/A9596-A) directs the Division of Criminal Justice Services to create a tracking system for kits in the custody of law enforcement agencies that will allow survivors to access information about the status of their rape kit and will be critical to ensure accountability for timely processing.
Following last week’s fire at an NYPD evidence warehouse in Red Hook, the question remains as to whether the filled evidence collection kits will be stored in areas safe from fires or flooding.
BROOKLYN ROASTING COMPANY OPENS NEW STORE
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS – A new branch of local coffee shop chain, the Brooklyn Roasting Company, has hung its hat in the 1 Clinton Street building, alongside the freshly-opened library location. Caffeine fanatics will be happy to welcome BRC’s tasty treats and hot drinks back to the area, after the closure of their flagship DUMBO space in 2020.
The coffee shop is the perfect snowy-day companion to the new library, which opened in June.
OFFICER SHOT BY CAREER PERP IN DOMESTIC DISPUTE ARREST
CLINTON HILL – A police officer was shot in the foot on Wednesday morning by a career criminal with an active warrant on a gun possession charge while responding to a domestic dispute, Mayor Adams and other police officials told the public at a press conference outside the hospital where the officer was being treated. According to the chief of detectives, the officer and his partner were arresting Raheen Joye, 41, for punching holes into a woman’s wall when Joye, who has two prior arrests in Georgia on weapons charges and an outstanding warrant for weapons possession in the upstate NY town of Troy, pulled his gun and traded shots with the officers before being himself wounded in the leg.
“This is the 10th officer shot this year in nine separate incidents,” said Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
PUBLIC ASKED FOR INPUT ON MTA BUS MAP SHAKEUP
CITYWIDE – The MTA is considering making changes to the city’s bus network to improve efficiency and coverage, and is asking the public for feedback on route changes, additions and reductions. A series of public workshops will be held in January of 2023, with the first happening on Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m., and will cover routes in Community District 1 (Williamsburg and Greenpoint).
The times and dates for other areas can be found on the MTA’s website, as can the Zoom registration info.
‘CRITICAL VACANCIES’: CITY AGENCIES FACE STAFF SHORTAGES
CITYWIDE – City agencies are facing critical staffing shortages that threaten NYC’s ability to provide essential services, warned City Comptroller Brad Lander in a newly-released report. The report, which focuses on the causes of and solutions for the shortage, criticizes City Hall actions that have led to hiring freezes and eliminations of necessary positions and also calls for increased pay for in-demand skills, for expedited hiring practices and for embracing the possibility of remote work – a suggestion that Mayor Adams may not easily accept.
It was reported in November that city agencies are down by around 21,000 workers overall, prompting concerns that slowdowns in worse-hit agencies could hamper the city’s economic growth.
MAN WANTED FOR PUBLIC LEWDNESS ON SUBWAY
PARK SLOPE – Police are searching for a man involved in a flashing incident on the 4 train on the night of Monday, December 5. A young woman reported that the man exposed his genitals to her and began to pleasure himself, causing her to leave while he remained on the train to parts unknown.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident 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 to log onto the Crime Stoppers website or to Tweet @NYPDTips.
MAJOR FULLY AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECT SECURES FUNDING
BROWNSVILLE – Slate Property Group and RiseBoro Community Partnership announced the closing of a construction loan for a 215-unit development in Brownsville on Wednesday, December 21. The developers say that when built, sixty percent of the units will be dedicated to supportive housing for young adults and young adult families, and will feature amenities such as case management and service planning, counseling and crisis intervention, family support, opportunities for community engagement/leadership, and mentoring and empowerment services in collaboration with RiseBoro’s Education program; with the remaining 40 percent of the units reserved for families earning below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).
This represents a major step forward for the planned building at 326 Rockaway Ave., which was first announced last year.
BROOKLYN POLS, GROUPS ORGANIZE HOLIDAY GIVEBACK FOR NEEDY
NORTH BROOKLYN – In the spirit of giving, a coalition of over 40 community organizations, businesses and civic leaders chaired by State Sen. Julia Salazar, Assemblymember Maritza Davila and Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzales partnered to help New Yorkers at the 3rd Annual North Brooklyn Holiday Giveback on Tuesday, December 20. Hosted and organized by Sustainable United Neighborhoods, this large-scale community event provided whole roaster chickens, fresh produce, and dry goods for over 2,200 area households; toys for 1,800 local children; and for 260 asylum seekers & shelter residents, a ‘Christmas Cafe’ featuring hot meals, winter coats, clothes, and a toy, & a visit from Santa for these children celebrating their first Christmas in NYC.
Said SUN Co-Founder & CEO, Jay Solly, “We want to say thank you to the 80+ volunteers, donors, and partners who helped give back this holiday season.”
HARSH WORDS FOR MTA BUDGET FROM COMPTROLLER
CITYWIDE – State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli had harsh criticism for the MTA’S 2023 budget proposal in a press statement released on Wednesday, saying that the budget adopted by the beleaguered city agency contained $600 million more in spending than the MTA could reasonably get its hands on. “Using as-yet unspecified means to close the budget gap allows the MTA to put off answering tough questions until its February budget update,” DiNapoli wrote, highlighting what he sees as a lack of communication between the transit authority and other branches of city and state government, as well as the public.
DiNapoli has previously criticized the MTA’s inability to explain how it will close its budget gap, which stems from, among other things, decreased ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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