On the record: Evelyn Herbert

By Jessica Defreitas

Evelyn Herbert, 62, of Richmond Hill is the administrative assistant at the Academy Charter Elementary School on Long Island.

Herbert, who is past her retirement age, believes that work stops when your ability to do so does. 

The mother of three has five grandchildren, who she adores more than anything in the world. 

As a principal’s assistant, her week is filled with developing relationships with the children at her school and keeping them in a nurtured environment.

“I take my administrative position seriously, but I also love to give counsel,” Herbert said.

When she is not taking care of office duties, she loves to listen to the students’ troubles and offer comfort.

She feels very happy that the students come to her when they need help. 

Herbert believes that being among children every day is her calling.

She said, “Before working at the school, I never worked anywhere that felt like a family, and it makes me feel appreciated.” 

Herbert thinks of her job as more of a life calling than a source of income. 

She and her husband are the backbone of their family, according to her.

She insists on teaching her kids and grandkids to be grateful for the simple things in life.

When she is off from work, she loves to go for walks and go shopping.

Because of her passion for taking care of others, she hopes to see her kids and grandkids model that same behavior.

 

Brooklyn art exhibit honors victim of gun violence

By Billy Wood

[email protected]

The Melquain Jatelle Anderson Foundation (MJAF)  held the “Disrupting the Hate” art exhibit at the Central Brooklyn Library from Oct. 21-25. 

The event is held on those days because Anderson was born on Oct. 21 and was murdered on Oct. 25 outside Faragut Houses at  26-years-old.

“I wanted to do an art exhibit to show people disrupting the hate through artistry because you can actually heal through art, whether you are the observer or the artist,” said Michelle Barnes- Anderson, his mother, founder, and chief executive officer of MJAF. 

The MJAF is a community service organization in Brooklyn where they provide both support and comfort to victims of gun violence along with their loved ones. 

Black Boy Magic by Monae Benet

There is also a scholarship and fund in support of undergraduate students at John Jay College of Criminal Studies in the memory of Anderson. He was a Brooklyn Knight and John Jay Student.

The foundation did a one day art exhibit in 2019 at the Brooklyn Museum. This year’s event had about 33 different forms of art from painting, drawings, poems, and lyrics. They received artwork from daycare children all the way to more established artists.

While all of the art resonates with her because it reminds her of her son from his early ages of drawing in grade school to him becoming a fashion designer, there was one exhibit that she felt was important and that was done by the daycare called “My King and I.” 

It shows pictures of the fathers with their children surrounded by their young ones’ paintings. 

“It’s really about the fathers. And I wanted to uplift our black young fathers in the neighborhood,” Barnes-Anderson said. “That was so important to me to make sure we have the daycare because they need to know that their love, they’re needed in the community.”

This year’s exhibit took place at the Central Brooklyn Library and throughout the five day event there have been over 400 people that have attended.  

“I wanted the experience for people being in the art exhibit and also utilizing other things that the library has because it’s a wealth of information,” said Barnes-Anderson. “We need to exploit that with the library so people can know this is not something that you just come to for research.”

The library hosts a full slate of different exhibitions, marquee and signature programs; however, this one was unique.

“We really feel like it’s important to give back to the community,” said Cora Fisher, the curator of visual arts program at the Central Brooklyn Library.  

“There’s a lot going on in the world relating to these issues, which feels very timely,” Fisher said.  “I mean it’s been really a special, a special experience.”

She is always advocating that visual arts is a form of material knowledge and this exhibit is an example of that. She is excited by the whole spectrum of this showcase  as it is  multi-generational. 

“To see babies and toddlers all the way up to elders making work in a responsive way I think is very powerful,” Fisher said.

Barnes-Anderson said she honored and blessed for the library to have hosted the event for her this year. She is hopeful that she will be able to do it again there next year if there is space available. 

The MJAF will be hosting an event on Oct. 30 to celebrate their fifth annual scholarship recipients, NYPD and honorees award ceremony.

For more information on that event and the MJAF organization please visit their website at https://mjascholarship.org. 

“Untitled Self Portraits” — artwork from Fort Greene Preparatory Academy

 

Pol Position: Zeldin is making the race close

While New York is traditionally seen as a blue state, Long Island Representative Lee Zeldin seems to be making a real push for the governor’s race against Democratic incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Zeldin came out strong in the first half of last Tuesday’s NY1 debate against Governor Kathy Hochul – sticking to his usual stump of “saving the state” by repealing bail reform and instituting tax cuts. 

For the first twenty or so minutes, Hochul seemed asleep at the wheel, playing the defensive while Zeldin acted like he shotgunned a can of Monster.

The debate focused on major issues like crime (which multiple polls ahve shown is the top concern on New York’s mind), abortion, affordable housing, gun control and more. 

While Zeldin came out strong in the first half, Hochul was able to bounce back putting Zeldin in a bind over whether he supported Donald Trump (his answer waffled on working with Donald Trump on issues) and attacking Zeldin on his abortin record (which is smart politics for Hochul, trying not to hemorrhage support of liberal women concerned about crime.)

Overall Zeldin stayed on the offensive all night and it worked for him – clearly winning the debate.In recent years, there have been questions about the effectiveness of polls and if they have any real bearing on swinging undecided voters. While Zeldin can make clips out of them to post to social media, it’s not clear whether it will help move the needle for him. 

Regardless of the debate’s effect, polling has shown that the race is tighter than most would have imagined over the last two months. While the polls differ in voting spreads, they all show a tightening race.

Emerson College had Hochul leading by 15 percent in September, while their October poll had her only up by 7 percent. Sienna College had Hochul leading by 17 percent in September but their October poll has Hochul leading by 11 percent. And Quinnipiac’s sole October poll has Hochul only leading by 4 percent. 

Even though the polls differ they all show that Zeldin is making a closer play than republicans have in recent years, where they fell behind 20 plus percent in the statewide vote. 

Guest Op-Ed: Lessons never learned; Protect our children

By John J. Ciafone, Esq.

Almost weekly, we hear about gun violence in our schools.

The massacres that have occurred in our schools whether it be Uvalde, New Mexico or Sandy Hook, Connecticut – not to mention college incidents, have not raised the eyebrows of our elected officials to move forward toward action.

Gun control legislation is not enough. We need metal detectors in all our schools. 

Whether you go to a sports game, a concert or any major event, you are expected to go through metal detectors as a matter of course.

Yet, why don’t we have metal detectors in our schools? Metal detectors are relatively inexpensive and extremely effective in catching guns and knives.

Gangs that prey on our children bring these weapons into our schools to further initiate and recruit naive children. 

A middle school in my neighborhood, IS 126 in Long Island City, housed a cache of confiscated guns and knives in the principal’s office, under lock and key, all in an effort to keep it secret. How many more children have to be slaughtered and sacrificed by our leaders who fail to protect our most precious assets – our children and the future generation. 

I proudly served on Community School Board 30 as a member, treasurer and president.

During my time, we fought for more school safety officers, security cameras and police presence outside troubled schools. 

Through the devastation of the Sept. 11 attacks, we have learned the importance of metal detectors and screening within our airports that have resulted in a huge success in thwarting hijacking and terrorist attacks on our planes. 

The same efforts must be employed in our schools to prevent guns and knives from threatening the lives of our children, staff and teachers.

What’s more alarming is that some City Councilmembers, who have police protection and metal detectors in City Hall, want to remove school safety officers in our schools. 

I am shocked that the Teacher’s Union, which is perhaps the strongest lobbyist in New York, has no interest in protecting our children or their own members. 

We have a major upcoming election ahead of us and yet no candidate is speaking about protecting our children and our schools. 

At a minimum, our elected officials have an obligation and duty for the position that they were elected for and that is to protect our children, who are our future.

Elected officials need to wake up and do their jobs to be proactive and prevent any future tragedies. 

Guest Op-Ed: Polls are now open! Vote today in this critical election

By Mayor Eric Adams

 

Tuesday, Nov. 8 is Election Day in New York City – your last chance to join millions of New Yorkers in making your voices heard and casting your ballots in these critical elections.

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

If you can’t vote on Tuesday, you can also vote early in-person. Early voting polls will be open through Sunday, Nov. 6.

Your poll site may have changed, so it’s important to check your poll site location and its hours before you vote at nycvotes.org.

This year, voting is more important than ever. The outcome of these elections will affect you and your family’s future, our economy, education, healthcare and more. And in every single race, your vote matters – from the Governor and Attorney General, to your Congresspeople and State Representatives.

We’re deciding who will lead our state into the future, and what kind of future we want for our state.

Also, four ballot proposals are on the back of your ballot, so remember to flip yours over.

I’ve made my plan to vote – and it’s critical that you do, too.

And not just yourself; bring your friends and family along, too. All U.S. citizens aged 18 and older who have registered are eligible to vote.

I hope that you will join me and millions of your fellow New Yorkers in going to the polls and getting the change you want to see done.

For more information on where and how to vote, as well as who and what issues are on the ballot, check out nycvotes.org.

If you are not currently registered to vote, you can register for next year’s election on that website as well.

All New Yorkers have the right to vote in their language.

You may bring an interpreter to the voting booth – it can be a friend, a family member or a poll worker, but it can’t be your employer or union representative.

The Civic Engagement Commission will be providing interpretation services in select languages and poll sites on Saturday, Nov. 5, Sunday, Nov. 6 and on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8.

For more information on interpretive services, please visit participate.nyc.gov. And if you run into any problems when you try to vote, call 311.

Our democracy relies on individuals with different opinions coming together to find solutions.

Voting is one crucial way we do this, and having discussions with each other is another.

Recently, my Administration held a summit on criminal justice. We brought experienced defense lawyers, judges, district attorneys, advocates and law enforcement officials together in search of solutions to a goal we all share: keeping New Yorkers safe and ensuring justice for all.

There is a lot that this group disagrees on, and each individual group will keep pursuing their individual goals. But there is also much we agree on.

Both public safety and justice are prerequisites to prosperity, and we need to do a better job on both.

No one should be afraid of crime on the subway, and no one accused of committing a crime should have to wait for months to get a hearing.

Our discussion helped us find common ground on important improvements to our system, and over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be continuing our conversations and turning them into actionable solutions that will make New York a safer city. And I will never stop fighting for the steps we need to keep us safe.

Working toward a more perfect city and country is never easy.

It takes all of us engaging in good faith conversation, expressing our views, and casting our ballots.

See you at the polls on Tuesday.

Why you should vote ‘Yes’ on Environmental Bond Measure

Voters across the state will have a question on their upcoming Nov. 8 ballot about whether the state should pass the Environmental Bond Measure. And we implore you to vote yes.

The Environmental Bond Measure would help unlock $4.2 billion for critical environmental spending by taking on debt, for issues including: at least $1.1 billion for flood risk and restoration, up to $1.5 billion for climate change mitigation, up to $650 million for land conservation and at least $650 million for water quality improvement. 

It’s a hefty cost, but a necessary one.

According to a 2020 report from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, New York has the second highest debt burden behind California.

But the costs of doing nothing could reach a projected $10 billion per year (in 2010 dollars) by 2050, according to state reports.

We need to invest every dollar we can into fighting climate change.

It is an existential threat that requires long-term thinking and inaction will only make the situation worse.

With the surmounting costs of climate change, it would be better for the federal government to step in.

The Inflation Reduction Act brought some advancements in terms of federal dollars to help states battle climate change like tax credits for heat pumps and solar panels.

But due to the sniveling coward of a Senator Joe Manchin is, it was a compromise deal. 

We have very few options with how to deal with this issue. Inaction cannot be one of them.

So while adding more debt can be concerning to voters, the bigger costs are too big to ignore or delay.

Editorial Everyone should have a say

In a recent editorial in The Atlantic, entitled “Not Everyone Should Have A Say”, the writer argued that community input was not necessary for energy-permitting projects and that community input gets in the way. We disagree.

While the editorial was national in scope, it highlighted delays in New York City’s congestion pricing and mimics a developing view from YIMBYS (which stands for yes in my back yard and often represents a pro-development point of view) that enacting “good policy” should trump people’s concerns. 

Community Boards aren’t a purely democratic process – they represent those with more time on their hands and can give a false illusion of what totally represents the community, but having a forum where legislators have to at least listen to some members of the community is crucial for democracy. 

As we’ve written before, community boards aren’t perfect institutions and have many follies of their own, but abandoning these principles will only further disengage voters, make leaders more unaccountable and undermine the point of representative government. 

“A local community is going to know what is best for them and what is not best for them better than any lawmaker in Albany—for that matter, certainly any lawmaker who’s in the District of Columbia,” reportedly said Anthony Rogers-Wright, director of environmental justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. While we don’t necessarily agree that just because the community agrees on something it makes it accurate or the best policy but engaging with local stakeholders is necessary to keep a patina of democratic input.

The Atlantic editorial offers no real solutions for “rethinking community input,” and that’s because no community input process can be wholly democratic – but it’s the next best thing. Keeping community board meetings online so that travel times aren’t a hindrance, changing the fact that elected officials can appoint people to community boards, ensuring racial and economic diversity, and passing some kind of legislation that would allow working-class people to take off of work for meetings would be good first steps to making community boards and the quality of the input more democratic.

Why New Car & Lease Prices In Brooklyn & NYC Keep Soaring

Car prices have increased to historically high levels in recent months. According to figures from data analytics firm J.D. Power, the average transaction price of new vehicles in the U.S. was up 11.8% year-over-year in July 2022.  U.S. consumers forked out an average of $45,869 for a new vehicle in July 2022, a record high.

The average cost of raw materials used to produce a new vehicle hit an all-time high in 2021, rising 116% from last year.  Electric vehicles have been especially affected by rising material costs, as the prices of key metals including lithium, nickel and cobalt — essential components of electric car batteries have spiked. Combined with soaring gasoline prices and rising interest rates, this is making car ownership more difficult and putting the brakes on auto sales.

Car Price Increase Examples

So bad has it really been? A quick search on the internet will reveal these staggering numbers that really tell the whole story.

 

In the past year, Chevrolet prices have increased 39.10%.

In the past year, Cadillac prices have increased 24.70%.

In the past year, Jeep prices have increased 35.30%.

In the past year, Dodge prices have increased 33.90%.

In the past year, GMC prices have increased 24.30%.

In the past year, KIA prices have increased 23.70%.

In the past year, Chrysler prices have increased 24%.

In the past year, Mitsubishi prices have increased 23.50%.

In the past year, Nissan prices have increased 29.90%.

In the past year, Mercedes prices have increased 11.86%.

In the past year, Mazda prices have increased 13.49%.

In the past year, Ram prices have increased 42.60%.

In the past year, Audi prices have increased 21%.

Car prices are rising due to global supply chain issues.   An ongoing chip shortage is holding up production in the auto industry, creating a supply crunch. Rising raw material costs are also driving car prices up, intensified by the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

To add insult to injury, chip shortages mean that manufacturers are prioritizing their most expensive vehicles, further increasing average transaction prices.  Automakers don’t have enough semiconductors and semiconductors are interchangeable to some degree.  Why would a car manufacturer put them in $25,000 cars instead of $85,000 cars?

These supply chain issues have combined with the already existing imbalance of supply and demand in the auto industry, which was precipitated by COVID-19. In the U.S., there are historically more than 3.5 million vehicles in dealer lots at the end of each month. However, this figure fell to 2.7 million before the chip crisis even began, due to pandemic-induced factory shutdowns. At the same time, demand remained heightened throughout COVID-19, as pandemic stimulus checks and accumulated savings meant that many consumers were still willing and able to purchase new cars.

How Is Inflation Impacting Car Sales Trends?

Rising sticker prices have decreased consumer demand for new and used cars alike, and sales have plummeted as a result. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of U.S. light vehicle sales tracked 13.51 million in July 2022, marking a 9% decline year-over-year.  Likewise, year-to-date retail sales in June 2022 came in at just under 5.9 million units — marking the worst first half sales volume performance since 2011.

Consumers have expressed record low sentiment toward the purchase of a new vehicle, citing high prices and rising interest rates.

When Will Car Prices Drop?

Used car prices are already starting to drop as the market cools, having seemingly peaked in early 2022. On the other hand, new vehicle prices are unlikely to drop in 2022 due to persistent inflationary pressures.

There’s still a lot of inflation bubbling up in the new vehicle supply chain. Even though raw material costs are falling, suppliers have a lot of other higher non-commodity costs like diesel, freight, shipping, logistics, labor and electricity.  They will continue to pass these costs on to the automakers.

In addition, the effects of the chip shortage will continue to linger. Companies will need to rebuild inventory, which means that wholesale demand will compete with retail demand. This will in turn stabilize new vehicle prices; hopefully sometime in early to mid- 2023.

 

5 Rules For Small Business Grant Funding Applications in NY

Starting a business is expensive.  You have to test new products, secure inventory, research market trends, etc.  There’s no shortage of costs for a startup business. But if you haven’t even started selling yet, where does the money come from?

Seasoned small business owners might have a network of financiers, but for entrepreneur rookies, securing funding before you’ve had a chance to prove yourself can be tricky.

Every new business can do with a bit more cash, but the application process for government issued small business grants involves more than putting your name on a list and waiting for a deposit. Not every grant is right for every business and understanding how grant-issuing organizations evaluate applicants is imperative to securing the financial assistance you need.

If you plan on investing the time and energy into applying to a small business grant program, it’s important to understand the options available and pick the grant that’s right for your business.

Small business grants are offered by all kinds of organizations, to all types of businesses, with a wide range of values, missions, and functions.

There’s no single set of criteria that can be applied to all grant opportunities, but generally, grant-lenders are looking for small businesses that embody their organization’s stated purpose and add value to a particular community or industry.

Small business grants are not loans, so lenders aren’t expecting to be paid back. They’re not investment capital, either so issuers aren’t expecting to own assets of your business. But that doesn’t mean that small business grants don’t come with expectations and incentives.  Issuers still expect a return on their investment, just not a monetary one. Instead, organizations that provide small business owners with grants want to feel confident that your business idea contributes to their organization’s mission⁠—whether it be a common good, innovation in a particular industry, or economic growth in a specific community.

A small business grant isn’t necessarily “free money” either. Grant issuers often have stipulations about how the money can be spent, sometimes even spending the money themselves on specific resources they believe will help your business grow.

If you’re to fund a small business and looking to apply for a business grant, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1.  Look for grants within your industry:  A lot of small business grants are industry specific, so it can help narrow down your search if you focus on organizations and research institutions within your specific industry.  Focusing on one industry also builds buzz around your business and can help build connections with industry figures who may be able to offer guidance and investment opportunities.
  2. Read the eligibility requirements carefully:  Read the requirements carefully and evaluate whether you qualify for the grant. If you’re unsure whether you qualify, contact someone from the organization and ask.
  3. Make sure your business aligns with the organization’s mission:  Organizations that provide small business grants do so in the hopes of achieving a specific goal they are deeply invested in. Ask yourself how your business model helps contribute to achieving this goal. If the answer is hard to find, you might want to consider applying for grants with another organization.
  4. Know what you’ll be spending the grant money on:  Have your business plan ready and know how the money will be spent.  This will make the organization understand more clearly how your business aligns with their mission.

Focus your pitch on innovation and expansion:  Organizations that issue small business grants typically favor business that they see as innovative, forward thinking, and on a path to growth. Focus your pitch on new technologies you might be developing, and what your business can do to help the organization with its mission.

Common Estate Planning Mistakes By A Brooklyn Lawyer

Estate planning is meant to provide peace of mind to you and your loved ones in the event of your passing. There are some easily avoidable mistakes which can cause unnecessary time and cost. This article will try to list just a few in an attempt to help people avoid them. All specific matters should be discussed with a competent Brooklyn estate planning attorney.

One mistake we sometimes see is a parent transferring appreciated assets like stocks or real estate to their children directly. This causes the children to lose an important tax benefit called the step up in basis, costing the children unnecessary taxes in the future. We have an in-depth article about this topic linked here. In addition, the parent loses certain tax benefits such as the primary residence capital gains tax exclusion, and STAR benefits. Instead, the parent should consider placing the property or assets into a living trust to avoid probate while keeping the step up in basis and other tax benefits.

Another lost opportunity is failing to list beneficiaries on accounts or failing to properly fund a trust. Probate can be avoided entirely simply by listing beneficiaries on bank accounts, investment accounts on life insurance policies. Forgetting to list your beneficiaries on even one account will cause an estate to have to be opened after you pass away for that account. Similarly, we have seen clients set up living trusts to avoid probate but then forget to properly fund the trust, thereby avoiding much of the benefit of a trust.

When planning an estate, it is important to have advance directives set up as well. These documents, which include a health care proxy, power of attorney are important tools to be used when someone can’t make their own medical or financial decisions. We often see clients who need help transferring their home or assets in order to qualify for Medicaid, but are unable to do so themselves because of a lack of mental capacity. For these clients, a power of attorney makes it possible to have their agent(s) make decisions for them, but the key is that the power of attorney and health care proxy has to be set up while you are of sound mind. Missing the opportunity to do it early on may mean the difference between getting the help you need quickly and going through a long and expensive Article 81 Guardianship proceeding.


Contributed by Roman Aminov, an award winning attorney in Brooklyn, NY located at 600 Avenue M, Brooklyn, NY 11230. Schedule A Consultation today by calling (347) 766-2682 or visiting https://www.aminovlaw.com/.

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