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Judge Says He Can’t Promise El Chapo’s Lawyers Will Get Paid

Aug 15, 17 Judge Says He Can’t Promise El Chapo’s Lawyers Will Get Paid

Posted by in All, News

US District Judge Brian Cogan did not make accused drug lord “El Chapo’s” lawyers feel reassured about their eventual compensation at Monday’s Brooklyn hearing. When the hearing commenced Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was seen waving to his wife and twin daughters, who were viewing the proceedings from the second row of the public seating in the courtroom. The judge then informed Guzman and his lawyers that the government could not promise that the drug lord’s assets would not be seized, thus depriving the lawyers of their compensation. El Chapo, who has twice staged dramatic prison breaks in Mexico, is being tried in Brooklyn for heading up a multi-billion-dollar international drug trafficking ring which carried out multiple murders and kidnappings. He was extradited from Mexico in January, and has been held in solitary confinement in a prison in lower Manhattan. His lawyers are worried that if the government seizes Guzman’s money, there will be nothing left to pay them. Among Guzman lawyers is Jeff Lichtman, who was able to successfully defend the son of mafia scion John Gotti. The government has said it wants to collect $14 billion in drug money from El Chapo. Guzman’s lawyers argued that they want to alleviate the taxpayer’s burden of having to pay the public defenders the court would appoint, but only if they know in advance they will be compensated. After the hearing and Judge Cogan’s ruling, Lichtman said he still wanted to find a way to defend his client, who pleaded not guilty to charges of running a drug trafficking cartel that laundered billions of dollars and committed murder and kidnapping. The hearing lasted 15 minutes during which El Chapo turned to look at his family several times, with clear emotion in his face. He is scheduled to spend some time with his family for the first time in seven months this...

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Army Refuses to Change Names of Streets Honoring Confederate Generals

Aug 10, 17 Army Refuses to Change Names of Streets Honoring Confederate Generals

Posted by in All, Politics

In the 1840s two army soldiers who later fought for the South were stationed at Fort Hamilton, twenty years before the eruption of the bloody US Civil War. Those soldiers later became Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, among the most famous of the military men who fought on the side of the Confederacy. After the war was won by the North, the streets were named after these important generals in an act of reconciliation, according to an army spokesperson. But now four Brooklyn lawmakers, Representatives Yvette Clarke, Jerrold Nadler, Nydia Velazquez and Hakeem Jeffries are calling for the street names to be changed. They say they took their inspiration from the city of New Orleans, who took down statues of Lee and other Confederate officers in their city. “These monuments are deeply offensive to the hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn residents and members of the armed forces stationed at Fort Hamilton whose ancestors Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson fought to hold in slavery,” Clarke said. “For too many years, the United States has refused to reckon with that history. I commend the city of New Orleans for initiating this important and often difficult work. I will continue to petition the Department of the Army to contribute to that effort.” The army, however, had refused the request, saying that the streets were named after Jackson and Lee “in the spirit of reconciliation” and that they were honored as individuals and not as the representatives of any “particular cause or ideology.” “After over a century, any effort to rename memorializations on Fort Hamilton would be controversial and divisive,” acting Assistant Secretary of the Army Diane Randon wrote in a letter responding to the lawmakers’ pleas. Clarke says she is not going to give up so easily, retorting that “‘reconciliation’ was actually complicity by the North and the South to ignore the interests of African-Americans and enforce white supremacy, effectively denying the result of the Civil War for generations.” “We are still living...

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Revamped Brooklyn Basketball Courts Name in Memory of Rapper Biggie

Aug 03, 17 Revamped Brooklyn Basketball Courts Name in Memory of Rapper Biggie

Posted by in All, Society

Brooklyn honored one of its own last week when Councilman Robert Cornegy officiated at a ceremony naming a Bedford-Stuyvesant basketball court after rap singer B.I.G. The courts are within the boundaries of the Crispus Attucks Playground at Fulton Street and Classon Avenue. Their official name is, “Christopher “Biggie” Wallace Courts,” and makes good on a promise Cornegy made to the rapper’s mother, Voletta Wallace, at the time her son was killed, in order to honor him and his memory. “The feeling is surreal,” Cornegy said during the ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday. The basketball courts are part and parcel of a larger Parks Department renovation which cost the city $2.5 million and took five years. In addition to the refurbished basketball courts, the part now boasts better handball courts, a spanking new playground, and a completely overhauled safety surface. There is also a new set of stairs and beautiful landscaping all around the playground. Christopher Wallace was a frequent visitor to the park before he became famous with a few hit songs such as “Juicy,” “Big Poppa” and “What’s Beef?” Wallace had a history of dealing drugs and his songs are full of violent language, but his mother has been working hard to change his ultimate legacy, especially by creating the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation. “(His mother) changed the acronym for B.I.G. to stand for books instead of guns,” Cornegy said. “We’re in the process of redoing libraries providing books for young kids in school and that was her commitment.” Wallace was murdered in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997 in a drive-by shooting. No one has ever been charged with the...

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Sharing a Love for Cars: Naomi Campbell and Louis C. Camilleri

Jul 25, 17 Sharing a Love for Cars: Naomi Campbell and Louis C. Camilleri

Posted by in Art, Entertainment

As recently reported in the news, Renault development driver Oliver Rowland is going to get his first chance to drive with Formula 1 at Assen next month. He is currently third in the Formula 2 championship standings and he’s going to drive Renault’s 2012 Lotus F1 car. Watch for Rowland on August 5th during the Gamma Racing Days event at Assen. As Rowland said about the news, “It’s a really exciting time for me to drive Renault’s F1 car in front of 100,000 people in Holland…I see this as a step in the right direction to achieving my dream of driving in Formula 1.” Certainly, this news is interesting for Formula One fans around the world. Two such fans are reported to have come together out of their love of Formula One. News sources report that supermodel Naomi Campbell and Chairman of Philip Morris International Louis C. Camilleri have started dating. Naomi is incredibly private about her dating life, but many sources have seen then together and report that they met over their mutual love of Formula One. Camilleri was born in Egypt and speaks English, Italian, German and French. He’s a father of three and is...

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New York City Subway in Urgent Need of Repairs

Jul 24, 17 New York City Subway in Urgent Need of Repairs

Posted by in All, New York

Mounting problems have revealed the decaying state of the vast New York City subway system, a system that in many ways is the circulatory system keeping the city alive. The most recent incident involved a derailment near the Brighton Beach station at around 9am last Friday. Luckily no injuries were reported when one set of wheels on the second car fell off the rails. Another train came to collect the passengers, but service was seriously disrupted on the B and Q lines during the busy morning commute hours. This derailment came on the heels of June’s incident in Manhattan which caused injuries to over 20 people. Other system malfunctions have interfered with service or caused harm, such as signal problems in Manhattan, a fire on the subway tracks in upper Manhattan, sending nine people to the hospital, and a train in Queens with mechanical issues. Interim director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Veronique Hakim, said that the Brooklyn derailment was being investigated, but it was not immediately clear what caused the incident. There were about 135 people on board, considered a “light load” for the train. Ms. Hakim apologized for Friday’s incident: “We are sorry this occurred this morning,” Ms. Hakim said. Who is actually responsible for the general upkeep of the subway system seems to be unclear. Joseph J. Lhota, chairman of the MTA, urged Mayor Bill de Blasio to make the necessary repairs to the aging system. Mr. Lhota said he has an emergency proposal to be released soon, saying that the city and the state must take responsibility and provide the funding for the repairs. Mr. Lhota agrees with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who admonished the New York mayor for not taking responsibility for the subway system that is owned by the city. Transit authority supporters have a different view, saying that the Governor needs to take responsibility, since he controls the MTA by selecting the chairman and involving himself more and more in the agency’s...

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Brooklyn-Made Art Adorns Peabody Delivery Trucks

Jul 17, 17 Brooklyn-Made Art Adorns Peabody Delivery Trucks

Posted by in All, Featured, New York

As part of a project celebrating local artists, Stop and Shop’s Peapod brand delivery trucks will be covered with five selected pieces of art, beautifying the city while fulfilling orders of New Yorkers across the metro area all summer. Peapod is the country’s largest online grocer, with more than 40 million orders delivered. The artworks that will be decorating the sides of their delivery trucks are the winners of an open art competition whose theme was the celebration of Brooklyn. The project was launched back in April to “celebrate Brooklyn’s thriving community of artists, foodies and more.” Peabody said the goal of the project was, and is, to get more involved with the communities that Peabody serves. “We launched this competition to thank our Brooklyn customers and celebrate the community,” said Jennifer Carr-Smith, Peapod President. “The submissions exceeded our expectations and truly captured the spirit of Brooklyn’s dynamic neighborhoods and Peapod’s passion for fresh food and excellent service. We hope New Yorkers will enjoy seeing the colorful designs on their streets and will continue to welcome Peapod into their homes.” The competition was first begun in 2015, going back to the origins of the company. Three of the winners are from Brooklyn, and each winner receives a $750 gift card to purchase groceries. “Our business is about delivering affordable fresh groceries, convenience, and creative meal solutions,” Carr-Smith said. “But it’s really so much more than that – we want to celebrate with our customers in their unique communities. What better way to thank Brooklyn for welcoming us than to connect with its thriving art community to share their creativity with the entire city. We know the wide pool of talent in Brooklyn and across Peapod’s markets will create some incredible artwork to be featured on our trucks.” Peabody had 200 pick-up locations in 24 markets which include: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, and...

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Penn Station Repairs Means More Delays and Less Trains for Commuters

Jul 10, 17 Penn Station Repairs Means More Delays and Less Trains for Commuters

Posted by in All, News

Amtrak’s infrastructure at Penn Station has been in need of repairs for quite a while now, but those repairs were not supposed to be done in such a rush. Originally the obligatory work was going to be spread out over a few years, only on evenings and over weekends. Unfortunately, two recent derailments have forced Amtrak’s hand to get the work done quickly. The new repair schedule will affect a few hundred thousand commuters on the Long Island Railroad and New Jersey Transit in addition to Amtrak travelers who commute between Boston and Washington, DC. Because of the need to close down the tracks to do the repairs, there will be fewer trains during peak times. More cars will be added to each train on the LIRR, to try and make up for the fewer trains. Passengers are also being asked to change to subways in Brooklyn and Queens. New Jersey Transit will be moving some of their rush hour trains to Hobokon, where passengers can switch to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey trains, or to take the ferry. It is hoped that all the repairs will be completed by the end of August. At that time commuters can expect improved reliability because of brand new equipment. However, there could still be some problems stemming from electrical wire failures and signal and track problems in northern New Jersey east of Newark. These additional problems will not be addressed until the completion of the Gateway project. Gateway will build an additional rail tunnel under the Hudson River, repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and make large improvements on the New Jersey side and in Penn Station. Expected completion date:...

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Macy’s Fireworks Moving Up River This Fourth of July

Jul 02, 17 Macy’s Fireworks Moving Up River This Fourth of July

Posted by in All, Entertainment

Macy’s is planning a huge firework show this Fourth of July, but it will not include the iconic Brooklyn Bridge as the show’s backdrop. Last year Macy’s floated four barges between 23rd and 37th streets in the East River, as well as a double barge closer to the Brooklyn Bridge. This year, however Macy’s will be sponsoring five barges on the East River between 24th and 41st streets, but not additional Brooklyn Bridge location. Macy’s spokesman Orlando Veras explained that the decision to forego the Brooklyn Bridge barges was based on the “size/scale of the pyrotechnics” as well as the “availability of appropriate public viewing areas” in addition to “city resources.” Many Brooklyn residents are disappointed with the Macy’s plan to eliminate the Brooklyn Bridge venue from the fireworks programming. Last year residents and visitors to Batter Park, South Street Seaport and Brooklyn Heights enjoyed an amazing display, and this year they will not have much of a show. Several businesses, such as restaurants and bars are especially hard-hit. “This place usually looks like New Year’s Eve on July 4. But this year we’re not doing it — it will be like a regular day,” said a manager at Buzz Bar, a restaurant situated along the river at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Macy’s is planning a show even bigger than last year’s. They announced that there will be 10,000 more shells and 23 brand new colors, including fuchsia, lemon and aqua. The finale will feature an amazing “golden-mile” display. James O’Neill, New York’s police commissioner, said the change of venue was not dictated by security concerns, but rather “so the most number of people can see...

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