Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BK Mourns Loss of Luigi Viaggio, Founder of Clinton Hill Pizzeria

January 31, 2012

Contact: Amyre Loomis (718) 260-9191


(Brooklyn, NY) The Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy communities mourn the loss of Luigi Viaggio, who together with brother Angelo, and Rosario Longo founded Luigi’s Pizzeria in 1983 located on DeKalb Avenue; the restaurant now has an additional shop on Grand Avenue.

He died on Wednesday, January 25 at the age of 62, and Luigi was the beloved husband of Mattia and the loving father of Maria Antonella Viaggio-Giovanni, Daniela Viaggio and Nicolo Luigi Viaggio. A Christian mass and burial was held at Our Lady of Hope Church on Monday, January 30 at 9:45am. The pizza shop was closed Monday, and a makeshift memorial can be found at the eatery on Dekalb Avenue near Washington Avenue.

“Luigi’s Pizzeria has always been known as the pizza shop around the corner that the community can depend on to provide high quality slices and pies to residents, students, local churches, as well as to me when in need of a snack after a long work-day. The restaurant will continue to provide delicious Italian food in honor of its founder, a big-hearted man remembered for making sure that locals were fed, regardless of the money in their pockets,” said Council Member James.

“A constituent who resides across the street shared that her now 21-year old daughter would have gone hungry on many days while growing up, if it had not been for this pizzeria, and she cried when expressing how good Luigi had been to her. Godspeed to this generous spirit, Luigi Viaggio, your presence is already missed.”


ATTENTION: Public Workshop- Fowler Square; 2/16; 6PM

Council Member Letitia James, the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Fulton Area Business Alliance (FAB) invite the community to a workshop to design the future plaza at Fowler Square.

WHEN: Thursday, February 16, 2012
6PM- 8PM
WHERE: Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church (Jarvey Room)
85 South Oxford Street (between Fulton Street and Lafayette Avenue)
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Those interested should contact DOT at (212) 839-4325.

ATTENTION: PACC Hosts Community Meeting to Discuss Navy Greene; 2/9; 6PM

The Pratt Area Community Council is hosting a Navy Greene Community Meeting to discuss the development and future plans for the site.

WHEN: Thursday, February 9, 2012
6PM- 8PM
WHERE: 45 Clermont Avenue (Community Room)
(between Park Place and Flushing Avenue)
Fort Greene/ Wallabout, Brooklyn

Please confirm your attendance at rsvp@prattarea.org. You may call PACC at (718) 522-2613 for further information.

BK Independent TV: Brooklyn's Crumbling Churches

BK Independent Television reports on churches in Brooklyn currently in disrepair and in need of work, including Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Clinton Hill (although the clip incorrectly places the church in Bed-Stuy).

Council Member James has joined her colleagues in fighting for religious organizations to retain the right to rent public school space from the Department of Education, and recently joined NY1's Inside City Hall to discuss the issue.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Job Opportunity: NYC Parks Lifeguard

New York City Parks' beaches are open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, and the pools are open from late June through Labor Day.

Lifeguards work 48 hours each week and first-year lifeguards will earn a minimum of $13.57 an hour, for a weekly salary of over $650.00.

Those interested may learn more about the Lifeguard Training Program and the qualifications here: http://www.nycgovparks.org/opportunities/jobs/lifeguards

Monday, January 23, 2012

ATTENTION: LDCCH Hosts Home Buyer Workshop; 1/25; 7PM

The Local Development Corporation of Crown Heights (LDCCH)- in collaboration with Project Brooklyn Homeowners- will host a Free Interactive Home Buyer Workshop on January 25th, 2012 at First Baptist Church of Crown Heights.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 25th 2012
7:00PM to 9:00PM
WHERE: First Baptist Church of Crown Heights
450 Eastern Parkway, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11225

• Learn How to buy a home
• Learn what to look for in a home and the right questions to ask
• Learn how to qualify for a mortgage. We make sure all attendee’s fully understand the mortgage process from start to finish
• Learn what to do if they have credit challenges and the steps to repair their credit
• Opportunity to preview homes from our inventory of 130 HOMES throughout the Brooklyn and Queens areas and speak to our team of Realtors that will be present at the work shop

To register, email Evantz Saint-Gerard at Evantz@yahoo.com or Yinery Martinez at LDCCH752@aol.com, or call 718-467-8800.

ATTENTION: Alternate Side Suspended

The New York City Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Department of Sanitation, has suspended alternate side parking regulations today, Monday, January 23, 2012 for Asian Lunar New Year.

All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Job Opportunity: NY Post Hosts Career Fair: 1/26

The New York Post is hosting a Career Fair--

WHEN: Thursday January 26,
11AM- 3PM

WHERE: Affinia Manhattan Hotel
371 Seventh Avenue at 31st Street
New York, NY 10001

Positions Available include: Government, Healthcare, Drivers, Sales, and Law Enforcement.

Register and upload your resume at www.catalystcareergroup.com.

ATTENTION: Snow Alert 1/19

The New York City Department of Sanitation has issued a ‘snow alert’ for Thursday, January 19, 2012 starting at 6 p.m. Current forecasts indicate trace amounts to one inch of snow.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

CM James Statement On Proposal to Co-locate Community Roots Charter in PS 287

The NYT-Local has reported that the proposal to co-locate with PS 287 was approved.

January 17, 2012

Contact Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191


(Brooklyn, NY)- “In December 2010, Community Roots Charter School (CRCS) was approved for a grade expansion, which will now serve middle school grade levels (grades 6-8). Shortly after, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) proposed to expand CRCS in its existing location in 13K067, which houses a community school, P.S. 67-Charles A. Dorsey and P.S. 369, a District 75 school. After much community push back, the DOE concluded that 13K067 does not offer the capacity to accommodate the expansion of CRCS. In December 2011, the DOE proposed to co-locate Community Roots’ middle school grades in the 13K287 building beginning in the 2012-2013 school year.

13K287 presently houses P.S. 287-Bailey K. Ashford, an existing community school serving kindergarten through fifth grade, and Khalil Gibran International Academy, an existing DOE school serving students in seventh and eighth grade. Khalil Gibran will be re-sited to Community School District 15 next Fall. With the potential available space due to the exodus of Khalil Gibran and the additional underutilized space in P.S. 287, the DOE has found sufficient space within the building to house Community Roots without impeding on the success and growth of P.S. 287 and CRCS. At capacity in 2014 with P.S. 287 and Community Roots Middle School co-located, the building utilization rate will be between 54-71%.

Much like the previous proposal, this plan is causing community unrest and conflict. It is no surprise to anyone that I do not waiver when I’m faced with a bureaucratic challenge or an issue that is undoubtedly wrong, However, I believe that there is sufficient room in the P.S. 287 facility for both schools to fit comfortably and continue to grow for the betterment of District 13 youth.

I stand with all the schools in my Council District and the families who fight for increased educational options for their children. I stand on the side of fairness and transparency. For that I urge parental and community involvement in the DOE significant changes in school utilization process. We need to stand together to grow high-achieving schools in our district like CRCS and P.S. 287. We are the answer to ensure the growth and sustainment of a progressive working environment for our children.”

Council Member Letitia James
35th CD, Brooklyn


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ATTENTION: FGA Invites FG/CH Community to CB2 Meeting for Presentation of Lafayette Traffic Calming/ Bike Lane; 1/17 TODAY; 6PM; St. Francis College

The Fort Greene Association (FGA) encourages residents to support the Lafayette Avenue Traffic Calming campaign (The Make Lafayette Safer Campaign). The campaign will be presenting to Brooklyn Community Board 2's Transportation Committee for their regular meeting this Tuesday, January 17, 2012.

FGA invites supporters to attend the meeting and help bring bike lanes to Lafayette Avenue. Attendees who wish to speak can request two minutes in the public forum at the end of the meeting. Details follow:

CB 2 Transportation Committee Meeting
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
6:00 PM
St. Francis College, 1st Floor (Boardroom)
180 Remsen Street (between Clinton and Court Streets)

If you can't make the meeting, but support traffic calming and bike lanes within Fort Greene, you can still sign the Online Petition Here!

CM James Comments On Collapse of Illegal Billboard In Williamsburg

January 14, 2011

Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis at (212) 788-7081

Council Member Letitia James Comments On Collapse of Illegal Billboard In Williamsburg
Illegal Billboard Fell Onto BQE; Highlights Need For Greater Regulation

(New York, NY)— On Friday, January 13, 2012, an illegal billboard advertising the New York Lottery fell onto the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) due to high winds. The collapsed billboard blocked the BQE after falling on a guardrail. It also struck a nearby car wash and body shop, severed a gas line, and damaged a vehicle. Fortunately no one was injured, and traffic resumed about an hour after the incident.

The billboard was mounted atop 421 Meeker Avenue, and fell around 2:20PM, with the billboard's metal supporting partially falling on the building itself. Gas at the building was shut off, and the FDNY confirmed a partial gas leak. The New York City Department of Buildings zoning rules prohibit billboard placement within 200 feet of highways, however many City highways are lined with illegal billboards.

"It is time the Buildings Department cracked down on illegal billboards," said Council Member Letitia James. "It is fortunate that no one was hurt in this incident, but it is time the City enforced this rule and held sign companies responsible. As long as advertisers make more in illegal billboard placement than they pay in fines, this will continue to pose a danger. I call upon the Department to inspect City billboards for legality and safety."

In 2009, a Federal District Court in Manhattan found that “the City’s enforcement of its zoning regulations has been inconsistent and less than vigorous...The billboard industry has taken advantage of this lax enforcement and has consistently ignored the regulations on billboard sign location.”


Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLK Holiday Breakfast for 500 Men Making A Difference Renovation of Paul Robeson Theatre in FG: 1/16 at 10AM

January 15, 2012

Contact: Amyre Loomis (718) 260-9191


(Brooklyn, NY) "It is my pleasure to join 500 Men Making a Difference to provide a great service for the community over this holiday weekend by helping with renovations of the historic Paul Robeson Theater. Also, on Monday, January 16 at 10am, a Men's Breakfast will be held at 525 Waverly Avenue. All are welcome; please read below for more information. Happy Martin Luther King Birthday Holiday to all," said Council Member James.


The Paul Robeson Theater, located at 40 Greene Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, is receiving renovation assistance from the organization “500 Men Making A Difference”. The late Dr. Josephine English (former owner of the theater) had expressed interest in renovating the recently-landmarked 147-year-old space, but needed financial assistance to do so. Council Member James seeked to provide budget funding, and assist in establishing a solid management plan. Unfortunately, Dr. English passed away in December 2011 before these matters were finalized.


500 Men Making a Difference is doing a 72-Hour Straight Renovation Project at the theater this MLK weekend. They have asked members in the community to come down and help with the removal of debris, fixing, installing and painting that needs to be done.

500 Men is working with the following sponsors:
Brooklyn Weinstein
Bedford Central Community Development Corp
BEHR Paint
Home Depot
Park Ave Building & Supply

Renovation Schedule:
-Opening Ceremony 11:00 PM Friday
-Work Start 12:00 AM Saturday
-Press conference 11:00 AM Saturday
-Party hour 2:00 AM Sunday
-Church Service 10:45 AM Sunday
-Men's Breakfast 10:00 AM Monday
-Closing Ceremony & Ribbon cutting 12:00 AM Tuesday

Man shift- 10 hours
You are the Man shift- 12 hour
Inhuman shift- 16 hour

Wayne Devonish
500 Men Making a Difference Inc.

New York City Council Supports Living Wage Bill

**For Immediate Release**
January 13, 2012

Contact: Amyre Loomis (718) 260-9191

Statement by Council Member Letitia James About New York City Council's Support of Living Wage Bill

(Brooklyn, NY) “As we prepare to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I applaud Speaker Quinn for supporting The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, also known as the Living Wage Bill, which would standardize a living wage for employees in jobs created through tax dollar-subsidized development projects.

The bill requires future development projects that receive $1 million or more in discretionary funding from the City, to pay $10 an hour plus benefits for full-time workers, and $11.50 an hour without benefits for at least 10 years. Millions of dollars a year in taxpayer-financed subsidies are provided to private developers by the City of New York, and these employers should pay decent wages.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood with sanitation workers demanding a living wage when he was killed. The City Council now stands with the working poor of New York City in support of The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, as well as in honor of the moral mandate and living spirit of Dr. King.

The Living Wage Bill will go a long way to help lift families out of poverty; I thank my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus for pushing to restore progressive politics back to its core.”


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

ATTENTION: New York City Council Restaurant Inspection Survey

As part of the City Council’s oversight of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and in response to mounting concerns raised by city restaurateurs regarding the restaurant inspection process, the New York City Council has recently announced the launch of a comprehensive restaurant inspection survey.

City restaurant owners and operators are urged to participate in this Council effort to gather information on food safety inspections, with particular emphasis on the recently implemented letter grading system and its impact on city restaurants.

Starting today, the survey is available online at www.surveymonkey.com/restaurantinspection and accessible through the Council’s website at www.council.nyc.gov.

The survey results will provide a foundation for an oversight hearing in late February, where the Council intends to further explore the inspection process and possible areas for reform.

UPDATE: Fort Greene Man Stabbed and Killed In Farragut Houses; Suspect Remains At Large

UPDATE: According to the FG/CH Patch, Keylester Williams was arrested yesterday, following a four-day search.

January 9, 2011

Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis at (212) 788-7081

Fort Greene Man Stabbed and Killed In Farragut Houses; Suspect Remains At Large

New York, NY— On January 6, 2012, Marcquel McDuffy, 22, was stabbed in the head and chest with a pen knife following a wrestling match with a friend in Fort Greene’s Farragut Houses (NYCHA). According to the victim’s brother, Mr. McDuffy and the suspect (Keylester Williams) had no known conflict between them. Both parties were reportedly inebriated during the attack, which took place around 9:30PM.

Mr. McDuffy, who lived at 177 Sands Street, staggered out of the apartment following the attack and collapsed in a nearby stairwell. He was taken to the nearby Brooklyn Hospital Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased. Mr. Williams, reportedly an employee with Duane Reade drug stores, remains at large.

“The senseless murder of this young man is horrific,” said Council Member Letitia James. “I urge residents of Farragut Houses, Fort Greene and Vinegar Hill to work with NYPD to locate the suspect and bring him swiftly to justice.”

Mr. Duffy was a student in a music production program, and wanted to have a career in hip-hop music.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

ATTENTION: Community Discussion on Bedford-Union Armory; 1/9

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz invites the community to attend a discussion on the Bedford-Union armory. We invite the community to work with elected officials to turn the former military installation into a world-class community facility! Participants will also get a chance early in the day to view the armory.

WHEN: Monday, January 9, 2012
8:00AM- 5:00PM
WHERE: Bedford-Union Armory (on Union Street)
(between Bedford and Rogers)

Discussion taking place in the evening at CUNY's Medgar Evers College at 1638 Bedford Avenue from 6PM- 9PM.

For more information, please contact Borough President Markowitz's office at (718) 802-3875 or bkarmoryproject@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ATTENTION: Mulchfest 2012

MulchFest 2012 will take place on January 7th and 8th, from 10am to 2pm.

MulchFest provides New Yorkers an opportunity to bring their holiday trees to designated Citywide sites where they are ground into wood chips. The chips can be placed in tree pits and gardens. The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation encourages New Yorkers to participate in this event.

The 35th District MulchFest location is Fort Greene Park. Enter Park at the intersection of Washington Park and Willoughby Avenue.

Participants are encouraged to bring bags to take advantage of the free mulch provided. Trees must be bare of ornaments.

UPDATE: Crown Heights Woman Killed By Hit-And-Run Driver Along Eastern Parkway on Christmas Day

UPDATE: According to Gothamist, the vehicle has been recovered (although the driver is still at large).

December 28, 2011

Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis at (212) 788-7081, (347) 247-3600

Crown Heights Woman Killed By Hit-And-Run Driver Along Eastern Parkway on Christmas Day

(New York, NY)— On Christmas morning, 38-year-old Donna Fountain lost her life after being struck down by a hit-and-run driver on Eastern Parkway near Troy Avenue. The accident occurred around 7:30AM on December 25, 2011. Ms. Fountain and her young son were on their way home following work.

The car that hit Ms. Fountain was grey. Investigators are currently reviewing traffic camera footage to uncover information about the vehicle. Witnesses have reported that the accident may have been related to illegal street-racing nearby.

Ms. Fountain was a home healthcare aid with Partners in Care, as well as the mother to an eight-year-old boy, Elijah. Officials at the scene discovered a list entitled “My Dreams” which included such personal goals as—‘find a great job, buy a house, start a sanctuary for gay and lesbian teens, marry the woman of [Ms. Fountain’s] dreams, and watch [Elijah] graduate from college’.

“To experience such a tragic loss during the Holiday season is devastating,” said Council Member Letitia James. “My heart goes out to the Fountain family and especially young Elijah. I hope the driver(s) think about the family, and comes forward to bring them some closure at this difficult time.”

In early 2011, Tri-State Transportation Campaign (a region-wide advocacy group) found Eastern Parkway to be one of the City’s most dangerous streets for pedestrians— with five fatalities reported at the time of the study. Council Member Letitia James recently requested that the NYC Department of Transportation complete a study to determine the feasibility of a slow zone along Eastern Parkway.


CM James and Gillespie Family Hold Press Conference; 12/29; 250 Broadway

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE** December 28, 2011

Contact: Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191, (646) 201-8183


(Brooklyn, NY)- “The family of Deloris Gillespie wanted to speak with media about their mother’s death. Most of the family members have traveled from out of town; therefore I have been supporting them as much as possible. Deloris Gillespie’s family would like to share their mother’s story as they prepare for her memorial service, which is taking place in Brooklyn this week,” said Council Member Letitia James.

A Memorial Service for the beloved Deloris Gillespie was held Friday, December 30 at 12PM at First AME Zion Church, located at 54 Macdonough Street, Brooklyn, NY 11216; (718) 638-3343, (718) 443-3001; www.amez.org


In light of the horrendous murder of Deloris Gillespie, who was set on fire in her apartment building elevator, the community has set up a rehabilitation fund to assist her family in their time of need.

Council Member James said: “This horrific crime has shocked everyone in New York City, and Carver Federal Savings Bank is accepting donations into a Rehabilitation Fund for Disaster Victims to support the family, which was set up by the community with the assistance of my office. We have come together to support the family of a local resident in need. I believe that it is the responsibility of the community to hold up their neighbors during unfortunate times such as these; we will do whatever we can to make sense of this gruesome crime, and more importantly to help put the lives of the family members of Deloris Gillespie back together. Family and friends remember Deloris as a generous, active member of her community; she fed and clothed the hungry, worked closely with the 77th Precinct Community Council, as well as was a dedicated U.S. Postal Service employee.”

Donations for Deloris Gillespie can be sent to Carver Federal Savings Bank, to the Rehabilitation Fund for Disaster Victims (set up by the community). The account number for deposits is: 801281750. Carver Federal Savings Bank is located at 4 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, NY, 11217. For more information please contact (718) 230-2900.


*Photo credited to Prospect Heights Patch.