KEY STATE LEGISLATOR IS CONFIDENT THAT FULL SENATE FLOOR VOTE ON JUDGE LASALLE CAN BE BLOCKED

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS – Appellate Court, Second Judicial Department Presiding Justice Hector LaSalle still faces an uphill battle to be confirmed as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, now that a key Democrat in the State Senate expressed confidence that a committee can block his nomination from coming to a full vote. State Senator Brad Hoylman of Manhattan, speaking on Friday with the New York Law Journal, said he is confident that Governor Kathy Hochul’s nomination of Judge LaSalle can be blocked from a full floor vote. LaSalle has received pushback from State Senate Democrats for being too conservative, particularly with regard to abortion and labor unions.

Nevertheless, Governor Hochul is standing firm and said she would not withdraw her nomination of Judge LaSalle.

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BROOKLYN COLLEGE LAUNCHES NEW DEGREE TRANSFER PROGAM FOR INCOMING EARTH SCIENCES STUDENTS

FLATBUSH/MIDWOOD – Students interested in pursuing degrees in earth and environmental sciences can now avail themselves of an agreement with Brooklyn College, a four-year school in the City University of New York (CUNY) system, and Stella and Charles Guttman Community College. The articulation agreement, announced on Jan. 10 during ceremonies with leaders from both colleges, will facilitate the efficient transfer of associate degree credits toward bachelor’s degrees for the major. Brooklyn College’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Department provides students with a cutting-edge curriculum and hands-on experience testing waters and analyzing soils and minerals, and studying how human activities impact the environment.

To apply for Brooklyn College’s Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Guttman students must satisfy a number of criteria, and have junior standing, among other prerequisites.

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MOBILE SPORTS WAGERING, ON FIRST ANNIVERSARY BRINGS IN $16 BILLION IN BETS

STATEWIDE – More than $16 billion has been wagered on sports in New York State in the first year of mobile sports wagering, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Friday, Jan. 13, marking the program’s one-year-anniversary. In mobile sports wagering taxes alone, the state has collected more than $709.2 million in taxes — a figure that leads the nation — with an additional $200 million in licensing fees collected, generating a total of more than $909 million in revenue.

For Fiscal Year 2023 (April 1, 2022 through March 31, 2023) and annually thereafter, $5 million of revenues from mobile sports wagering will go to fund sports programs for underserved youths, $6 million to fund problem gambling education and treatment, and the remaining majority to fund education aid.

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INCREASED CONGRESSIONAL FUNDING WILL BENEFIT NORTH BROOKLYN’S LOVELOCAL PROGRAM

NORTH BROOKLYN – The North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce will receive much-needed funding for the continuation and expansion of its LoveLocal program, supporting neighboring businesses. LoveLocal was included in the recent Government Spending Bill, the federal budget legislation which also included funding for several projects in New York’s 12th District, thanks to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, former Congresswoman and Chair of the House Committee on Oversight & Reform Carolyn Maloney and the rest of the state’s Congressional delegation.

The program supports the North Brooklyn Chamber’s basic mission to unite and advocate for the businesses of Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg around the shared goal of improving the community’s commercial landscape and stimulating the local economy.

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DOT CLOSES QUEENS-BOUND LANE OF BQE FOR MAINTENANCE ON JAN. 20

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – One Queens-bound lane of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (I-278) in Downtown Brooklyn will be closed overnight, Friday, Jan. 20 so the Dept. of Transportation can continue maintenance work. The single-lane closure, above Pearl Street from Exit 28 B (Brooklyn Bridge) to Exit 29 A (Manhattan Bridge), will be closed from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. that day, reopening in time for the morning rush hour.

This section of the highway is just southeast of the BQE Central — the corridor between Atlantic Ave. and Sands St., or the cantilevered highway underneath the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, on which urgent repairs are needed.

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BROOKLYN’S CATHOLIC DIOCESE GATHERS TO KEEP ALIVE VISION OF MLK

FLUSHING – The Diocese of Brooklyn Vicariate for Black Catholic Concerns will host a roundtable discussion on racism and the need to keep the vision of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. alive in advance of their annual Diocesan Prayer Service commemorating Dr. King’s birthday this Monday, Jan. 16, at St. Kevin Parish in Flushing. Among the Brooklyn leaders participating in the community discussion and breakfast are Reverend Robert Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn; Deacon Kevin McCormack, Superintendent of Brooklyn and Queens Catholic Schools; and, Ms. Lorraine Pierre, principal of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Academy in Crown Heights.

A noontime prayer service will follow the discussion, with Father Ajani Gibson, a priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, as guest homilist.

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TEENAGER SLASHED ON SUBWAY

If you recognize this man, don’t hesitate to reach out to police with any information you can share.

BUSHWICK – A 14-year-old boy was slashed by a man wielding a boxcutter on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at the Jefferson Street subway station, say police, who are looking for the culprit, described as a light-complexioned man of medium height and build around 25 years of age. The NYPD says the attack occurred after the youth got into a verbal dispute with the man that escalated into a physical confrontation when the man pulled the knife, before fleeing 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, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.

If you recognize this man, don’t hesitate to reach out to police with any information you can share.

 

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SCHUMER AND GILLIBRAND ANNOUNCE GRANTS TO NONPROFITS

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday announced $2,947,210 million in grants distributed by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which will bolster humanities projects and organizations across New York City and on Long Island, including a $500,000 grant to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum for the rehabilitation of its climate control system and a $500,000 grant to construct a research center at Green-Wood Cemetery. The grant program will fund educational resources, curricula and other projects that enhance teaching and learning in the humanities at universities and cultural institutions across the state, as well as support advanced research and writing projects by humanities scholars.

“This funding will foster important projects in our communities, including the rehabilitation of Brooklyn Children’s Museum, an exciting new welcome center at the wonderful Green-Wood Cemetery […] and much more. I am proud to deliver another year of this critical federal support to help these organizations and their projects thrive,” said Schumer.

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REPORT: CONGESTION TOLL WOULD UNFAIRLY TARGET BLACK AND POC DRIVERS

A report released by The Black Institute, headed by longtime Brooklyn civil rights activist Bertha Lewis, has concluded that the MTA’s proposed congestion pricing plan for the downtown Manhattan area would have a disproportionate effect on minority drivers for ridesharing companies, who make up the bulk of the city’s private drivers-for-hire. The report notes that the proposed fee could mean fees of as much as $69 on the first three rides of the day for rideshare drivers and that nearly 100,000 families in NYC rely on rideshare earnings to get by, and charges that the MTA has not sufficiently addressed how these drivers, who are predominantly people of color, would be compensated for the loss of earnings.

The proposed congestion fee would be more bad news for rideshare drivers following a judge blocking a fare increase earlier this month, despite protests from the drivers.

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EL PUENTE TO PRESENT ANNUAL THREE KINGS CELEBRATION

WILLIAMSBURG – El Puente, a community-based arts and human rights organization based in Williamsburg, will be presenting its 36th annual Three Kings celebration this weekend, the longest-running one in Brooklyn. This year’s production, Remembering We Are of The Earth, will take on an environmental justice focus, featuring break dancing, poetry and traditional Puerto Rican Bomba performances from local teens, while audiences are guided through various changing stage sets representing Earth’s biomes and following the pilgrimage of the three kings, created by El Puente’s youth muralists, Los Muralistas.

Audiences will have three opportunities to catch the show at El Puente’s Williamsburg headquarters — Friday, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 14 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

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BROOKLYN OFFICE LEASES SPIKE IN FOURTH QUARTER

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – Office space leases in Brooklyn, primarily in the Downtown area, are up 91 percent from last quarter, reports the Commercial Observer, and up 30 percent from the average amount of the quarter for the last five years. The average asking rate for those leases is nearly $49 per square foot, and $56 for Downtown Brooklyn.

Despite the increase in activity, Brooklyn still trails Manhattan, with only 404,000 square feet of office space leased in the quarter in this borough, compared to more than 5 million square feet across the river.

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HYENA CRIPS GANG MEMBER CHARGED WITH MURDER OF BKLYN TEEN

LITTLE HAITI – An indictment was partially unsealed on Thursday afternoon in federal court in Brooklyn charging Martial H. Amilcar, a senior member of the Hyena Crips gang also known as “Drippy,” and a co-defendant with the murder of 15-year-old Samuel Joseph in front of his teenage sister on Feb. 22, 2019. As alleged in court documents, Amilcar and the co-defendant drove to Joseph’s apartment building near the Little Haiti section of Brooklyn and waited outside until Joseph’s sister arrived at the building’s entrance and opened the door to exit, at which time Amilcar walked into the building behind her, pulled out a gun and shot the boy three times at close range, supposedly in retaliation for an altercation earlier that day between one of Amilcar’s relatives and Joseph’s older brother.

“The brutal cycle of gang violence in this district, including the violence perpetrated by members of the Hyena Crips, must be stopped. We and our law enforcement partners are committed to that end. It is my hope that today’s indictment brings some measure of justice for the victim’s family,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace.

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FREE ‘WINTER VILLAGE’ FOR KIDS AT BOROUGH HALL

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – Borough President Antonio Reynoso is inviting Brooklyn kids and their parents to join him at Borough Hall on Jan. 26 for a Children’s Winter Village, an afternoon of winter-themed fun running from 4 p.m. to 6 pm. The event will feature snacks, face painting, Legos, a pop-up playground and more.

Parents are asked to RSVP for the event online.

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DEPT. OF CITY PLANNING TO HOLD Q&A ABOUT BK HOSPITAL, LIU DEVELOPMENT

FORT GREENE – Community Board 2 will be having a monthly meeting of its Land Use Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m., which can be attended on Zoom. The meeting will feature a Q&A with the Department of City Planning over future proposals for the expansion and development of Long Island University and The Brooklyn Hospital Center, among other projects.

The agency plans to solicit feedback to inform ongoing advanced planning efforts and to help shape future developments.

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BOOK BANS EVERYWHERE FACE FORMIDABLE FOES: BPL & PEN

CITYWIDE – Literary-advocacy group PEN America and Brooklyn Public Library are teaming up to co-host the first-ever Freedom to Read Advocacy Institute in time for the spring 2023 semester! This free online four-week training program for high school students, offered on Thursdays from Feb. 2-23, is a series of interactive workshops designed to prepare and certify the next generation of free expression advocates in their work to combat book banning and fight for the freedom to read in their schools, libraries and communities across the country. Applications are available online and are due Thursday, Jan. 19.

Students will have the opportunity to create their own advocacy resources, and to meet student activists and parents fighting book bans as well as the authors of banned books. 

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COLDON LEADS CONSTITUENCY PUSH FOR CHINESE LUNAR NEW YEAR HOLIDAY

GRAVESEND – The Chinese Lunar New Year could become a new public holiday, if a bill that Assemblymember William Colton (D-47/Southern Brooklyn) introduced in last year’s legislative session gets the governor’s signature. To promote Bill #9541, Colton — who represents Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Gravesend, with significant Asian communities — and newly-elected Assemblymember Grace Lee of the 65 AD, who represents a section of Lower Manhattan that includes Chinatown, will hold a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 2 p.m., hosted at the Chinese Benevolent Association, 62 Mott Street in Lower Manhattan.

Says Colton, “I believe that creating a public holiday such as Lunar New Year will promote and increase awareness of Asian history and tradition not just in our community but nationwide.”

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MAYOR’S ‘SAVE FOR COLLEGE’ PROGRAM ALMOST DOUBLES FAMILY ENROLLMENT

CITYWIDE – More than 70,000 new students across the city have been enrolled in the Save for College Program, and their families can now activate and view their new NYC Scholarship Accounts online, the NYC Department of Education, NYC Kids RISE city officials and partners announced on Thursday, Jan. 12. The program now provides each participating student with a free account, funded with an initial $100 seed investment, to build financial assets for higher education. The number of participating families has nearly doubled, with a new class of kindergartners and first graders, to a total of approximately 145,000.

Throughout the five boroughs this January, elementary schools are celebrating NYC Scholarship Month by hosting orientation events and activities for newly-enrolled families.

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PROFESSOR AT NYU TANDON ENGINEERING ELECTED FELLOW IN NATIONAL ACADEMY

Dr. Shivendra Panwar of NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Photo: NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – Shivendra S. Panwar, a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the Tandon School of Engineering (Polytechnic Institute) of New York University and Director of the New York State Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications, has become the most recent Tandon faculty member to be elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Panwar holds over 25 patents in areas like packet switches, online media streaming, cybersecurity of wireless communications and more.

Dr. Panwar’s recent work includes a new system called “streamloading,” a technology that improves wireless streaming over wireless cellular networks through preloading fine grain detail to devices, allowing for high quality video and audio even while service deteriorates.

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BROOKLYN DEATHS FROM OVERDOSE MORE THAN DOUBLED SINCE 2018

CITYWIDE – Drug overdose unintentional deaths in New York City increased by 78 percent since before the pandemic, and 27 percent since 2020, according to new provisional data the Health Department released on Thursday, Jan. 12. According to the data, 2,668 individuals died of a drug overdose in New York City in 2021, with Fentanyl — an opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, and the most common substance involved in overdose deaths for the fifth consecutive year — detected in 80 percent of the deaths.

Brooklyn in particular came in second highest, with unintentional deaths more than doubling, from 275 in 2018 to 586 in 2021.

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NYC NURSE STRIKE TO END, TENTATIVE AGREEMENT REACHED

CITYWIDE – NYC’s striking nurses returned to hospitals today, Jan. 12, after a tentative deal was reached overnight with Montefiore and Mt. Sinai management to increase nurses’ pay and benefits and to achieve higher staffing levels for patients, although union members still need to hold a vote on the terms of the agreement before it is finalized. Nurses at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Bushwick also withdrew strike intent notices after negotiations were successful at that hospital as well.

Today, we can return to work with our heads held high, knowing that our victory means safer care for our patients and more sustainable jobs for our profession,” said NYSNA President Nancy Hagan in a press statement.

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‘THE BIGGEST BIKE RIDE:’ SIGN UP NOW OPEN ONLINE

CITYWIDE – Registration has opened for the annual Five Boro Bike Tour, which takes cyclists all over the city in a charity ride that attracts thousands to the streets. Participants can sign up for the tour, which costs $129 to enter and will be held on Sunday, May 7 of this year, online on Bike New York’s website

Last year’s edition of the event took more than 32,000 riders along the 40-mile scenic route from Battery Park to Staten Island. 

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MAYOR PROCLAIMS ‘SUCCESS’ IN CITY TRAFFIC SLOWDOWN

CITYWIDE – Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Citywide Administrative Services commissioner Dawn M. Pinnock on Wednesday announced that preliminary tests of “active intelligent speed assistance technology” in city fleet vehicles have ensured almost universal compliance with local speed laws. Since the launch of the pilot program last August, the test vehicles have traveled more than 133,400 miles with the technology, driving within speed limits 99 percent of the time and experiencing a 36 percent reduction in hard-braking events, which are often an indicator of unsafe driving. 

“Our city vehicles must be modeling safe, responsible driving: whether it’s leading the way with electric vehicles or piloting the ISA program to reduce speeding and hard braking,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, commending the mayor and commissioner for the program.

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‘TISH’ JAMES TO SCOTUS: GUN LAWS SAVE NY LIVES

CITYWIDE – New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday released a press statement on the Supreme Court’s decision to allow New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act to remain in effect, writing: “Too many New Yorkers are plagued by gun violence, and we know that basic gun laws help save lives every day. My office will continue to use every tool at our disposal to protect New Yorkers and defend our responsible gun laws.” The decision to allow New York to enforce the law, for now, was made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, as a lawsuit challenging the act makes its way through the courts. 

The law, which took effect in December, strengthens requirements for concealed carry permits, prohibits guns in sensitive places, requires individuals with concealed carry permits to request a property owner’s consent to carry on their premises, enhances safe storage requirements and requires background checks on all ammunition purchases. 

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SUNSET PARK WOMAN SCAMMED IN COMMON ‘BAIT & SWITCH’

SUNSET PARK – On the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 11, a light-complexioned, middle-aged man and woman approached a 36-year-old woman in Sunset Park, claiming to have won the lottery and requesting assistance in collecting the winnings. The duo asked the victim to prove that she was trustworthy, eventually prompting her to hand the individuals a bag containing $10,000 in cash and receive one from them in return, which, after the suspects left with the money, the victim discovered was filled with only paper.

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, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.

Police are searching for the suspected scammers, pictured here.
Police are searching for the suspected scammers, pictured here.
Police are searching for the suspected scammers, pictured here.

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REP. MALLIOTAKIS: FAA’S DELAY IN MODERNIZING NOTAM IS ‘BEYOND UNCONSCIONABLE’

BAY RIDGE – U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-11th District) is blaming the Federal Aviation Administration for failing to modernize what she called its “antiquated NOTAM [Notice to Air Missions system],” whose Jan. 10 breakdown grounded all U.S. flights. Malliotakis pointed out that, “In 2018, Congress appropriated more than $50 million for the FAA to specifically modernize its antiquated NOTAM system. It has come to my attention that their plan doesn’t replace the system for another six years which is unacceptable.”

Malliotakis, who in the past served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, stated, “It is beyond unconscionable that despite knowing they would receive these funds five years ago, the FAA failed to develop a plan in a timely manner and they must provide answers as to why it’s taken so long for these funds to be utilized for their intended purpose.”

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TLC’S NEW INTERACTIVE HUB SHOWS DRIVER EARNINGS AND FARES

CITYWIDE – The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission’s Driver Fare & Earnings information is now available on its online Data Hub, providing a new level of transparency into what the city’s taxi and high volume for-hire (Uber & Lyft) passengers pay and drivers earn. The new features allow users to easily access and visualize monthly data on average driver pay and tips, average fares and total fares collected in both the taxi and high-volume for-hire industries.

The data for the taxi sector — including Green Taxis — extends back to 2012, while the Uber & Lyft data tracks back to 2019, so that they cover the fare and wage trends over the past four years. The Data Hub visualizations show precipitous drops in both fares and driver pay immediately following the onset of the pandemic.

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TEEN GIRL MISSING IN PROSPECT LEFFERTS GARDENS

PROSPECT LEFFERTS GARDENS – Police are searching for 17-year-old Akillya Ruiz, last seen at her residence near Prospect Park on the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 4. She is described as 5’3″ and of medium build, with long, black braided hair and brown eyes; she was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black sweatpants and black slippers. 

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, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.

Police are asking the public to keep an eye out for missing Akillya Ruiz.
Police are asking the public to keep an eye out for missing Akillya Ruiz.

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WOMAN MISSING IN NEW LOTS

NEW LOTS – It was reported to police that Lashun Chapman, 33, is missing, and was last seen leaving her residence on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 11. She is described as approximately 5’9″ tall and 200 pounds, with a dark complexion, heavy build, brown eyes and black hair; she was last seen wearing a light blue sweater and a black leather jacket. 

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, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.

Missing woman Lashun Chapman.

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SEARCH CONTINUES AFTER HOMELESS MAN ARRESTED FOR BK MAN’S MURDER

BROWNSVILLE – Police initially arrested a homeless man, John Wright, 35, on Dec. 21, in connection with the Dec. 6 murder of 24-year-old Carlos Rosario in Midtown Manhattan, prompted by a verbal dispute that escalated into the victim being fatally stabbed in the torso. However, the NYPD is now saying that upon further investigation, they need assistance from the public in identifying another unknown individual in connection with the homicide, and have released an image of a bearded man who appears to be carrying an object in his right hand. 

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, log onto the Crime Stoppers website or Tweet @NYPDTips.

Recognize this man? Any tips you offer to the police are confidential.

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GOLDMAN AND VELÁZQUEZ ANNOUNCE PUBLIC HOUSING REPAIR BILL

BROOKLYN – U.S. Reps. Nydia Velázquez (North Brooklyn, East New York) and Dan Goldman (Borough Park, Bensonhurst) on Wednesday introduced the Public Housing Emergency Response Act, which would allocate $70 billion in funding for public housing capital repairs and upgrades throughout the country, with $32 billion of that aid expected to flow directly to the New York City Housing Authority. As damaged living conditions threaten the health and safety of public housing residents, this bill will increase the investment for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Public Housing Capital Fund to eliminate the capital repair backlog and improve overall living conditions for public housing residents.

“Many public housing units are in poor condition contributing to a broad range of infectious diseases, chronic diseases, injuries, childhood development complications, nutrition issues, and mental health challenges. This situation demands bold action,” said Velázquez, advocating for bold action.

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CITY COUNCIL DECLARES SYMBOLIC NO-VOTE ON MAYOR’S BUDGET CUTS

CITYWIDE – As a protest against cuts to essential city services, including libraries and violence interrupter programs, New York City Council has decided to withhold a vote on Mayor Adams’ new budget modifications, and promises a fight in the next budget cycle, according to several news reports published on Thursday, Jan. 12. The cuts, which Adams argued were necessary due to unanticipated expenses to integrate large numbers of recently-arrived migrants and asylees, were denounced by top Council Democrats, including Councilmembers Justin Brannan (D-43), who represents parts of southwestern Brooklyn, and Chi Ossé (D-36/Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights), who chairs a committee on libraries.

Ironically, the decision to not vote on the budget is symbolic only; the way the plan was set up, it would eventually lapse into effect without a vote.






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