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

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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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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

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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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It’s All About Books at Brooklyn Book Festival

Jun 19, 17 It’s All About Books at Brooklyn Book Festival

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The book festival begins with a launch, and this year it happened on June 15: the Brooklyn Book Festival (BKBF) announced the first 150 writers who will come together for this special occasion, which will open on September 11, 2017. Children’s Day and Festival Day, on September 16 and 17, respectively were also announced at the 11th annual BKBF launch. Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC is on the list, as well as Lynn Nottage, Pultzer Prize winner twice over; and children’s book illustrator Liniers of Argentina; and Karl Ove Knausgård; writer of the autobiographical novels “My Struggle.” “I am proud to welcome back the Brooklyn Book Festival for another year of engaging book lovers of all ages,” said Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President. “It is important that we empower Brooklynites with the endless possibilities of human imagination by encouraging reading for all, particularly our youngest.” The rich diversity of Brooklyn’s population will be mirrored by the participation of authors from all over the globe. The following names are just a small example of who to expect joining the festival. • Erna Brodber                Jamaica • Ali Boccy Eckermann  Australia • Santiago Gamboa         Columbia • Wioletta Greg                Poland • Peter Kimani                  Kenya • Young-ha Kim               South Korea Colson Whitehead will also be on hand to receive the annual Best of Brooklyn Award. Beloved Brooklyn writers Maira Kalman, Lynn Nottage, Sean Qualls and Selina Alko will also be lauded at the festival. Former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz founded the Brooklyn Book Festival in 2006 as a way to exhibit literature’s “Brooklyn voice.” Participants can expect to see authors in all the different manifestations of their writing careers, and in all the various genres, including nonfiction, fiction, poetry, comics, young adult, and more. Panel discussions will focus on issues of current political and cultural import, such as reporting on refugees, the Supreme Court, and more, with nearly 100 programs on 13 stages on Festival...

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Brooklyn Man First Citi Bike Fatality

Jun 14, 17 Brooklyn Man First Citi Bike Fatality

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After four years and over 43 million trips, the country’s largest bike share program, Citi Bike, had its first fatality when Dan Hanegby was hit by a bus in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. Hanegby was a 36-year old investment banker who was riding a Citi Bike on 26th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues when he swerved to go around a parked van. He then hit the bus that was traveling next to him, fell off his bicycle and landed under the rear tires of the bus. He was pronounced dead at Bellevue Hospital. Although clearly an accident, and the first Citi Bike fatality, fatalities of bike riders in general in New York have been increasing. Bikers have been demanding more safeguards, especially since 2016’s bicyclist death count was larger than that of 2015. In 2017 there were four fatal bicycle accidents up until April in New York. Hanegby worked as an investment banker at Credit Suisse, and lived in Brooklyn with his wife Sasha, and two children. His neighbors described him as stoic, spending his weekends devoted to his family. He was originally from near Tel Aviv in Israel, and came to the US to attend Binghamton University in 2003. He later transferred to Brown. In Israel, he was a tennis star, rising at one time to the rank of No. 1 in the country. He met his wife when he was ten years old at the Israel Tennis Centers. He quit tennis to join Israel’s Special Forces. After he was discharged from the army he took up tennis again, and headed to the USA to play at an American University. While at Brown he ranked No. 66 in singles tennis in the...

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