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Councilman Mark Treyger is pushing new legislation that would require snow plows to have flashing lights and a make beeping noises, following the plow-related deaths of two Brooklynites this winter.

The two victims were killed by plows within two weeks of each other. On February 3, an elderly man was struck and killed by a plow in Brighton Beach in front of the Oceana complex. On February 13, a pregnant 36-year-old woman was killed by a plow clearing out the parking lot of a Borough Park market.

Treyger’s bill, first reported on by the Daily News, will require plows to have lights and “a loud, distinctive noise” to let pedestrians know when a plow is approaching.

“You’re dealing with low visibility,” he told the paper. “If we can buy a few seconds for these pedestrians to give them time to react, this could save a life.”

The new regulations, however, would not have prevented the two deaths cited. Both were killed by private CAT-style vehicles repurposed for snow removal. Treyger’s bill only affects Department of Sanitation snow plows, and other plows contracted by the city.

The new rules might have helped the man who was knocked off his feet by a tsunami of snow created by a speeding Sanitation truck in February. The man, walking on Coney Island Avenue, was knocked down and injured by a wave of snow that also broke the windows of a nearby storefront, and he is now mulling a lawsuit against the city. He said he never saw the truck coming.

UPDATE (March 28, 2014): Councilman Treyger’s office got in touch to note an error int he Daily News version. In actuality, there are two bills on the table, extending this new regulation to privately-operated plows as well. See the statement below:

Councilman Mark Treyger (D – Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Seagate, Gravesend) announces new legislation to require all vehicles engaged in the removal of snow on roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and pedestrian walkways to be outfitted with flashing lights and audible warning systems. This legislation, which follows the recent deaths of three pedestrians who were stuck and killed by snowplows in Brooklyn, would apply to plows operated by the City of New York and privately owned plows.

“Snowplows are vehicles we deploy during times of emergency” asserts Treyger. “We should be treating them like emergency vehicles. Furthermore, during a snowstorm, you’re dealing with low visibility and it is easy for pedestrians to be blindsided. This is precisely what happened to Min Lin, a pregnant mother, who was killed in Sunset Park this past winter. Anything we can do to buy a few seconds forpedestrians and give them time to react could save lives. The state of Ohio has already passed a similar bill and it’s high time New York City caught up on this important issue.”

Authorities executed a search warrant at 29 Van Sicklen Street yesterday, which is listed as Mikhail Presman's medical office. They discovered it was actually his residence. (Source: Google Maps)

The residence of Mikhail Presman (Source: Google Maps)

He was facing 10 years, but, ultimately, Gravesend-based psychiatrist Mikhail Presman was sentenced earlier this month to 18 months imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release for Medicare fraud.

Presman was busted in a massive Medicare fraud sweep in May 2013 that netted 89 individuals accused of plundering the government insurance program out of $223 million. Bensonhurst Bean was first to report on a raid of his 29 Van Sicklen Street residence, pictured above.

A former employee of the Brooklyn Veteran’s Administration hospital, Presman ran a scheme from 2006 to 2013. He claimed to be treating a multitude of patients, racking up over a $4 million in Medicare bills while also pulling a full-time salary at the VA. But, evidence showed, most of the appointments never existed. During a part of the stretch when he was claiming patients, he was actually taking a vacation with his family in China. He also claimed home visits to 55 Medicare beneficiaries who were hospitalized on the dates of the purported visits.

He pleaded guilty in October 2013, and sentenced on March 13.

In addition to the 18 month sentence and three years of supervision, he was ordered to pay back $1.2 million to the government.

Pray, is that a full kitchen, a hallway and real sunlight? All in one apartment? (Source: Triumph Property Group)

Looking for a new place to call home? Bensonhurst Bean has got you covered. Our rental roundup is a new feature showcasing some of the deals on the market now. If you know of a great place available for rent or are a broker representing a property you want included, contact nberke [at] bensonhurstbean [dot] com. And if you live in or near one the places below, let neighbors know what you think in the comments.

Three Bedrooms and Hallways in Bath Beach
Price: $2,300
Location: Bay 41st Street and Harway Avenue
Description: This big apartment has been completely renovated and includes a dishwasher. Unfortunately, pets aren’t allowed.
Contact: Claudia Caicedo, Triumph Property Group, (917)435-5554

Studio with Creepy Curtains in Bensonhurst
Price: $1,150
Location: 1806 76th Street
Description: With the D train close by and rent that is cheaper than many places, this apartment might be suitable for someone who isn’t home too often. Whether or not you’ll soon be calling “this charming space home,” as the realtor boasts in the post, is up for debate.
Contact: Megan Walsh, Realty Collective, (914) 882-1169

One Bedroom Near 86th Street in Bath Beach
Price: $1,350
Location: 57 Bay 14th Street
Description: With a sizable kitchen, this one bedroom is larger than most. But it looks like the apartment gets absolutely no sunlight even though it has windows. Good credit is a must.
Contact: Mallorie Watts, Rapid Realty, (646) 634-2346

Two Bedrooms and Wall Lamps in Bensonhurst
Price: $1,750
Location: 7522 Bay Parkway
Description: Once in a while you stumble across things during an apartment search that seem like, uh, interesting design choices by the previous tenants. In this apartment, there are two lamps hanging on one of the walls. Who knows, they may be collector’s items.
Contact: Moe, 1st Premier Realty, (347) 939-7512

If you know of a great place available for rent or are a broker representing a property you want included, contact nberke [at] bensonhurstbean [dot] com.

acting

For many children, confidence can be a hard thing to come by. In Acting Out, a Bensonhurst business, children and teenagers are taught to sing, dance, act – and believe in themselves. Up on stage day after day, kids learn to be comfortable in the spotlight.

“It’s really important for them to kind of come out of their shell and just have fun in these classes,” Emily Nicholas, a singing and acting instructor, said.

The business is owned by John and Roberta Isgro. In 2012, they opened the school on 7426 15th Avenue. At the time they were seeking a grant to launch the local acting school. More than 10 years ago, they both got into the idea of having an acting school when Roberta opened an Acting Out in Mill Basin, which still operates today. With only a “small class and a handful of vocal students,” John told Bensonhurst Bean, he soon joined his wife.

We put together this little video to bring readers inside the school, and show how they’re helping students build confidence and skills.

Inside Bensonhurst’s Acting School For Kids from Eric Jankiewicz on Vimeo.

Source: jeweledlion/Flickr

Councilman Chaim Deutsch has advised us that there are nearly 100 vacancies for crossing guard positions across New York City, making a potentially dangerous situation for children – and creating an opportunity for those looking for part-time employment.

Crossing guards are employed by the New York Police Department, and keep the streets safe for crossing children at both public and private schools. According to Deutsch, the NYPD had 92 vacancies as of mid-January. He’s encouraging residents to visit their local precinct and sign up.

“Establishing public safety in my community has always been my top priority,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “By applying for a position as an NYPD Crossing Guard, you will be helping to protect neighborhood children while getting paid and obtaining excellent benefits, a win-win situation.”

Here are the details on the job:

There are no formal requirements of education or experience. School Crossing Guards work five-hour days for a maximum of 25 hours per week. Schedules may vary by school, but are generally from 7:00 am to 9:30 am, and 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm. The starting rate of pay is $9.88 per hour. Every effort is made to assign guards to a school within the precinct where they reside. School Crossing Guards are eligible to enroll in a city-sponsored health insurance program if they work 20 hours per week on a steady basis. All candidates must be able to understand and be understood in English, in addition to passing a qualifying medical examination and a character investigation.

In addition to visiting your precinct, you can find the application here.

NYCHA Making Public Housing Residents Without Heat, Hot Water, or Electricity Pay Rent in Full

Coney Island public houses have broken down on the winter’s coldest days (Source: forum.skyscraperpage.com)

After struggling through mid-winter breakdowns of heating equipment, residents of the 110 New York City Housing Authority buildings damaged in Superstorm Sandy are set to get some relief within the next six months as FEMA has agreed to cover the cost of new permanent boilers.

Issues with the boilers came to light after the February hearing of the City Council Committee on Recovery and Resiliency, where local pols took NYCHA and FEMA officials to task for leaving residents in the cold. Temporary boilers, which the city has paid approximately $3 million per month to rent, proved to be shoddy replacements that failed to withstand New York winters, and many broke down in the coldest days of winter.

NYCHA told the committee that repairs were not slated until 2016, by which time they’ll have cost taxpayers at least $120 million to rent.

“For more than 16 months, bureaucratic infighting and red tape have denied NYCHA residents the most basic of necessities — reliable heat and hot water,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, as he stood beside Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference announcing the deal.

Federal and city authorities announced on Sunday that all of the affected housing buildings, which serve 8,862 apartments, will get new boilers with the process kicking off within six months.

Under the deal, FEMA is sending the cash-strapped agency more than $100 million to cover the estimated costs to replace 60 boilers. The federal agency has agreed to also cover the $56 million the public housing authority has so far spent renting the temporary equipment. It is not yet clear if that is a separate allotment, or is being taken from the $100 million price tag.

The news was warmly received by Councilman Mark Treyger, who chairs the Recovery and Resiliency Comittee and represents many of the affected buildings in Coney Island.

“This announcement is a great step towards returning a sense of normalcy to the lives of people impacted by the devastation of Superstorm Sandy,” said Treyger. “Residents in these buildings have gone far too long without dependable and safe living conditions. No one should have to live through the winter not knowing if they will have heat and hot water from one day to the next. Continuing to invest in our critical infrastructure, like replacing damaged boilers in NYCHA developments, is the only way for our city to fully recover. I applaud Senator Schumer and Mayor de Blasio for their efforts in securing this funding and am committed to continuing the fight on behalf of all Sandy impacted communities.”

There may be more funding on the way.  Schumer is pushing for $175 million in federal funding to raise boilers, backup generators and change the way several NYCHA complexes receive their heat and electricity. Schumer said yesterday that he expects NYCHA to receive some type of mitigation funding to raise boilers out of the flood zone.

Source: Bob Jagendorf/Flickr

D LINE

There are no scheduled subway service adjustments at this time.

N LINE

All times until October 2014: there are no N or R trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late-night N (11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and weekend R trains operate via the Manhattan Bridge. No service at Jay St-MetroTech, Court St, Whitehall St, Rector St, Cortlandt St, and City Hall. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.

From 10:15 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday to Friday, Queens-bound N trains skip 39 Ave, 36 Av, Broadway and 30 Av.

R LINE

All times until October 2014: there are no N or R trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late-night N (11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and weekend R trains operate via the Manhattan Bridge. No service at Jay St-MetroTech, Court St, Whitehall St, Rector St, Cortlandt St, and City Hall. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.

From 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday to Friday, there are no R trains in Brooklyn between 59 St and 36 St—take the N.

F LINE

From 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday to Friday, F trains run local between 21 St-Queensbridge and 71 Av in both directions.

vivibubbletea

A new bubble tea vendor is headed to the area, with ViVi Bubble Tea slated to open soon at 6731 Bay Parkway.

Reader Neil A. tipped us off to the opening, sharing the photo above. The site, previously a bodega on the corner of West 9th Street, is still under construction.

ViVi is a small franchise with several other locations in New York City, including one in Brooklyn on Eighth Avenue. This will be its second location in the borough.

Fun fact: despite the sanitized history often given for the name “bubble tea,” the “bubble” is actually anglicized from “boba” – Chinese slang for large breasts. Whoa, knowledge bomb.

A smart chip-equipped credit card. (Source: DennisSylvesterHurd/Flickr)

State Senator Marty Golden, citing a rise in credit card fraud in his district and beyond, is touting legislation he co-sponsored last month that would require credit card companies to install smart chip technology in every card issued to a New York State resident.

Golden held a press conference in Bay Ridge on Friday to advocate for the legislation, saying that merchants in his district have reported a spate of credit and debit card fraud, as well as “hackers” who have stolen data from local businesses. He was joined by Third Avenue Merchants Association President Robert Howe as well as Dimitri Akhrin, president of the Bank Associates Merchant Services.

“This legislation would require smart chip technology to be incorporated in our debit and credit cards to help protect against identity theft. Over the past few weeks, my district has been targeted by hackers who have been able to break through the security walls of some local stores. The false charges reported to my office have been made in Brooklyn, Long Island, Connecticut and event [sic] Puerto Rico,” said Senator Golden in a press release.

The senator cited Bureau of Justice Statistics reports estimating that 16.6 million people have suffered from identity theft in 2012 to 2013, 15.3 million of whom had an incident involving a debit or credit card.

According to tech site NerdWallet, manufacturers and advocates say smart chips are a safer alternative to magnetic stripe cards. Smart chips store encrypted account information and cannot be read by swiping. Instead they’re scanned into a terminal that reads the chip and can require a pin number to decrypt the chip’s information. They are not susceptible to common data scamming techniques as are magnetic strips, such as swiping, which allows fraudsters doubling as waiters or cashiers to discreetly pass your card through a handheld device that stores the card’s data.

Smart chips do have their own vulnerabilities, but the website notes that implementation in Europe has seen dramatic decreases in fraud.

The bill, which can be read here, was introduced on February 14 by upstate Senator Joseph Griffo with Golden as a co-sponsor. The Assembly version was co-sponsored by Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny.

American companies have been slow to adopt the technology because of the cost of replacing existing systems, including in-store point-of-sale systems and ATMs. The legislation does not address who will foot the bill, suggesting the business-owners will have to invest in new hardware if the law passes.

Source: Anthony Catalano/Flickr

Source: Anthony Catalano/Flickr

D LINE

No subway service adjustments scheduled at this time.

N LINE

All times until October 2014: there are no N or R trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late-night N (11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and weekend R trains operate via the Manhattan Bridge. No service at Jay St-MetroTech, Court St, Whitehall St, Rector St, Cortlandt St, and City Hall. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.

R LINE

All times until October 2014: there are no N or R trains running between Court St, Brooklyn and Whitehall St, Manhattan. Late-night N (11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and weekend R trains operate via the Manhattan Bridge. No service at Jay St-MetroTech, Court St, Whitehall St, Rector St, Cortlandt St, and City Hall. Use alternate service and stations on the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, or C instead.

F LINE

From 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Manhattan-bound F trains are rerouted via the A from Jay St-MetroTech to W 4 St.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, Coney Island-bound F trains skip 4 Av-9 St, 15 St-Prospect Park, and Fort Hamilton Pkwy.

From 12:30 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday, Jamaica-bound F trains run local from 21 St-Queensbridge to Roosevelt Av.