Saturday, July 17, 2021

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress Combating COVID-19


34,659 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours

354 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

4 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combating COVID-19.

"As we continue battling the COVID-19 virus across the state, our top priority is to continue bringing the vaccine into every single community here as soon as possible," Governor Cuomo said. "The vaccine remains our single best weapon against this virus, and it is free, safe and effective. Our hard-won progress depends on the state's ability to get shots in arms, so if you haven't received your shot yet, I urge you to make an appointment or simply walk into a vaccination site immediately."
Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 82,967
  • Total Positive - 1,156
  • Percent Positive - 1.39%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 1.19%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 354 (-6)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 60
  • Patients in ICU - 79 (+0)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 36 (+2)
  • Total Discharges - 185,762 (+62)
  • Deaths - 4
  • Total Deaths - 43,029
  • Total vaccine doses administered - 21,755,333
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 34,659
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 230,414
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 70.9%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 65.6%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 73.7%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 67.2%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 59.1%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 54.4%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 61.5%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 55.8%



Defendant Pleaded Guilty to First-Degree Manslaughter 

 Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a Bronx man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree Manslaughter in a 2018 shooting that left his target dead and two bystanders wounded. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “The defendant got out of a vehicle and fired multiple shots, striking a 26-year-old man and killing him. Two innocent bystanders, a teen and a 29-year-old man, were also shot. The defendant will now go to prison for the needless gun violence that occurred that day.” 

 District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Joseph Cruz, 23, last of 1095 Prospect Avenue, was sentenced today to 18 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision by Bronx Supreme Court Justice Ralph Fabrizio. The defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree Manslaughter on June 17, 2021.

 According to the investigation, on May 1, 2018 at approximately 10:00 p.m., in front of 971 Prospect Avenue, the defendant got out of a vehicle and fired at least eight shots in the direction of Matthew Gonzalez, 26. Gonzalez was shot twice in the back and once in the arm. A man, who was with a child in a stroller about 30 feet away, was hit in his calf, and a 17-year-old boy was struck in the neck and torso. Gonzalez was taken to Lincoln Hospital and died less than an hour after arrival. The two bystanders were taken to nearby hospitals and survived. The defendant fled to Pennsylvania after the incident and was arrested on August 7, 2018. The cause of the shooting may have been gang-related.

 District Attorney Clark thanked NYPD Detective Anthony Batista of the 42nd Precinct and NYPD Detective Keith Walker (retired) of Bronx Homicide for their assistance in the investigation.

Enforcer Of Violent Narcotics Trafficking Organization Sentenced To 35 Years In Prison For His Role In 7 Murders


 Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that JASON DONES-GONZALEZ, an enforcer for La OrganizaciĆ³n de Narcotraficantes Unidos (“La ONU”), was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman to 35 years in prison.  DONES-GONZALEZ previously pled guilty to participating in a racketeering conspiracy, participating in a conspiracy to commit murder, and unlawfully possessing a machine gun.  

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Jason Dones-Gonzalez was a ruthless murderer who carried out numerous acts of wanton and depraved violence as an enforcer for La ONU.  As just one example, Dones-Gonzalez and an accomplice beat a man until he appeared to be dead, but just to be sure, he and the accomplice stuffed the victim’s body into a suitcase, transported it elsewhere, shot it, and lit it on fire.  This degree of cold-blooded indifference to – indeed, apparent pleasure at – taking another human life merits a firm reckoning.  Today Jason Dones-Gonzalez was rightly sentenced to 35 years in prison for his horrific crimes.”

According to the Indictment, other filings in this case, and statements during court proceedings:

From at least in or about 2004 until 2016, DONES-GONZALEZ was a member and enforcer of La ONU, a criminal enterprise involved in shipping thousands of kilograms of cocaine from Puerto Rico to New York.  Cocaine supplied by La ONU was then distributed in New York City, including out of a daycare center in the Bronx, New York.  Members and associates of La ONU also engaged in acts of violence, including murder, to protect and expand the enterprise’s criminal operations and in connection with rivalries with other criminal organizations.  In particular, members of the enterprise were ordered to shoot and kill suspected rival drug trafficking members.

As an enforcer for La ONU, DONES-GONZALEZ participated in the murder of at least seven people between approximately 2006 and 2010.  Those murders involved heinous and brazen acts of violence, including, for example, kidnapping and killing individuals, strangling two individuals believed to be spies, interrogating them for information, and then shooting them, choking and shooting an individual believed to be cooperating with law enforcement, and assaulting an individual, placing that individual’s body in a suitcase, and shooting and lighting the suitcase on fire.  Specifically:

In approximately 2006 or 2007, members of La ONU kidnapped and killed Freddy Mendez-Rivera after learning from corrupt law enforcement officers working for La ONU that Mendez-Rivera had complained to law enforcement about drug dealing occurring in his neighborhood.  DONES-GONZALEZ and two other individuals put Mendez-Rivera into a van and killed him.

In 2007, DONES-GONZALEZ and three other individuals strangled two men alleged to be spies with twisted-up t-shirts while interrogating them for information.  DONES-GONZALEZ and the others then shot the men, one of whom died.

In approximately 2008 or 2009, DONES-GONZALEZ and four other individuals dressed up as police officers and kidnapped an individual known as “Gabi,” a leader of a rival drug trafficking organization, from his home and killed him.

In 2009, DONES-GONZALEZ and another individual killed an individual known as “Sacca Grippe,” because they thought that he was cooperating with law enforcement.  They choked and shot him.

On March 20, 2009, DONES-GONZALEZ and other members of La ONU murdered Carlos Barbosa on the orders of a leader of La ONU because Barbosa was threatening to take control of certain drug territory from that leader.  DONES-GONZALEZ used a FN pistol, which is designed to fire multiple rounds upon a single pull of the trigger, and which fires ammunition that can penetrate body armor.

On November 27, 2009, DONES-GONZALEZ and other La ONU members assaulted Emanuel Correa Romero until he appeared dead.  The leadership of a local housing project gang, after consulting with other leaders of La ONU, had decided that Correa Romero should be killed because he had murdered the friend of a leader of a component of La ONU.  After the assault, DONES-GONZALEZ and another individual placed Correa Romero’s body into a suitcase, removed it from the housing project, and later reported back that they shot the suitcase and then lit it on fire.

On July 1, 2010, a leader of La ONU ordered the murder of Victor Alexis Rivera Santiago, a reggaeton singer who participated in narcotics trafficking, for stealing a kilogram of cocaine from the son of the leader’s friend and killing the son in the process.  DONES-GONZALEZ and others tied Rivera Santiago up in the leader’s presence, transported him to an apartment, questioned him, and killed him.           

In addition to the prison term, Judge Furman sentenced DONES-GONZALEZ, 41, of Puerto Rico, to three years of supervised release.

Ms. Strauss praised the investigative work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the New York City Police Department.  Ms. Strauss also thanked the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Police Department for their support in this ongoing investigation. 

Councilman Mark Gjonaj's NYC Moving Forward Week in Review - 7/16/2021


Dear Friends,

I hope you and your families are doing well as we are finally enjoying a different summer than last year. With a sense of freedom, we still have to be cautious and encourage all those around us to get vaccinated, as 48% of the Bronxites are still not vaccinated.

Illegal Dirt Biking and Auto Drag Racing have become a public safety crises in NYC streets, I was proud to announce legislation this week to dramatically increase fines and penalties on individuals that illegally and recklessly operate dirt bikes and off-road vehicles on roadways. The bill would increase current fines by 50% and would give NYPD the additional tools needed to help control the problem.

Our Mobile District Office Hours at the local libraries are the perfect opportunity to connect with constituents and address their issues. This week Team Gjonaj was at the Westchester Square Library and we are looking forward to to visit with constituents at the Morris Park Library this upcoming week.

We are glad to continue our weekly partnership with Wildcats to bring much of the needed cleanups and graffiti removals in the District from East Tremont to Lydig Avenue.

Team Gjonaj’s weekly Senior Center check ins and visits have been successful as we are visiting and hearing from seniors and also giving out oximeters, hand sanitizer and masks.

Our Pet Food Giveaway events in partnership with ACC have been great as we have given away loads of pet food and met with many constituents and their furry friends on Allerton Avenue, Morris Park and Holland Avenue.

Please remember we are here for you, contact my office with issues or concerns at 718-931-1721 or email at


NYC Councilman Mark Gjonaj
District 13, Bronx

Senator Biaggi's Week in Review: 7/12/21 - 7/16/21


Senator Alessandra Biaggi

Dear Community,

Last session, I introduced legislation with Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn to ban the continued use of Native names, logos, or mascots in our schools. This outdated practice has been openly condemned by the National Congress of American Indians, and is a blatant form of discrimination. It promotes an insensitive narrative that caricatures and inaccurately represents Native communities, and must end immediately.

Furthermore, studies have shown that the use of Native mascots can be psychologically damaging to Native individuals. In particular, it affects adolescents who are exposed to this method of stereotyping and are especially vulnerable to the use of Native misrepresentation in schools. These mascots have contributed to worsening perceptions of Native communities, both from Native and Non-native perspectives.

Additionally, organizations such as the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association, have called for the retirement of Native mascots. These are not new demands — these efforts have been made for over five decades, with little to no change. Though some districts have called for change on a local level, the discretion granted to individual school districts 20 years ago has impeded effective reforms. The time has come for the state to step in to prevent further tension. 

The destructive tensions within local communities when confronted with this issue has been an additional point of concern, and I wanted to draw your attention to an op-ed by Alex Dery Snider from Cambridge, NY. In his article, Snider details his own community’s experience grappling with these reforms and the harmful and often racist divisions exposed in the process. 

It is time for New York to take action to end this harmful practice. I hope to have your support as we continue to advocate to pass this important legislation.

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. - 2021 Summer Concert Series Opener!


Join Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr to kick-off the 2021 Summer Concert Series at Orchard Beach!

The Bronx Summer Concert Series at Orchard Beach; sponsored by BronxCare Health System, The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, Empire City Casino, Ponce Bank, Latino Sports, The New York City Parks Department, The Bronx Tourism Council, The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and The Office of The Bronx Borough President; begins Sunday, from 1 PM to 5 PM, with Brenda K. Starr and Johnny Mambo & Friends Ft. Pepito Gomez.

169 Days and Counting - Only One Will be Left Comes January 2nd 2022.


 I want to give thanks to all my friends in the Bronx who helped me get elected eight years ago. My have times changed. It use to be you were in office for life, but now with term limits, and other things all my friends from the Bronx except one will still be in office comes January 2nd 2022. Can you guess the one elected official who can be clearly seen, that will still be in the same elected position they were eight years ago?

Friday, July 16, 2021

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic


35,207 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours

2 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combatting COVID-19.

"Thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers, we have been able to begin returning to normal, however that does not mean that COVID isn't still a threat," Governor Cuomo said. "To win this war once and for all, we must continue to capitalize on our most effective weapon - the vaccine. Those who continue to avoid it are not only putting their own well-being at risk, but they are threatening the health and safety of those around them as well. Now is not the time to gamble with anybody's health -- if you haven't already, get your vaccination today and help contain the spread of this beast."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 79,920 
  • Total Positive - 981 
  • Percent Positive - 1.23% 
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 1.09% 
  • Patient Hospitalization - 360 (+20) 
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 82 
  • Patients in ICU - 79 (+4) 
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 34 (0) 
  • Total Discharges - 185,700 (+70) 
  • Deaths - 2 
  • Total Deaths - 43,025 
  • Total vaccine doses administered - 21,720,674 
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 35,207 
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 236,978 
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 70.8% 
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 65.5%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 73.6%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 67.1%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 59.0% 
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 54.4%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 61.4%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 55.7%



Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark announced the expansion of the Saturday Night Lights program with 23 additional sites in the Bronx, joining the two that opened in 2019. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “I am thrilled that the Saturday Night Lights Program is expanding across the City, with the Bronx getting 23 of the 100 new locations. These gyms are exactly what we need in our communities. It gives our youth a free, safe, indoor place on Saturday nights where they can shoot some hoops or play soccer. Programs like SNL instill teamwork, leadership, and strengthens the relationship between law enforcement and residents through sports and social activity. They are what we need to prevent crime and give kids opportunities. Eighteen of the Bronx’ 25 sites are operating now in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, so I hope our young people will participate.” 

 Children ages 11 to 18 can show up to the sites during program hours, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Saturday, without needing to register, and participate in the free program. SNL offers several indoor sports, including basketball, soccer and volleyball, as well as dance, martial arts, and other activities.

 Below are sites currently operating in the Bronx for the Saturday Night Lights program

• P.S. 224, 345 Brook Avenue 

• Millbrook Community Center, 201 St. Ann’s Avenue 

• Hostos Lincoln Academy, 600 St. Ann’s Avenue (since 2019) 

• Bronx River Community Center, 1619 East 174th Street 

• Soundview Cornerstone, 1680 Seward Avenue 

• Highbridge Community Center, 1155 University Avenue 

• Mullaly Park, 40 East 164th Street 

• PAL Webster Center, 2255 Webster Avenue (since 2019) 

• Edenwald Cornerstone, 1150 East 229th Street 

• Monterey Cornerstone, 2100 Monterey Avenue 

• MMCC Pelham Cornerstone, 785 Pelham Parkway North 

• Eastchester Community Center, 3016 Yates Avenue

• Melrose Community Center, 286 East 156th Street 

• NYCHA Betances Community Center 465 St. Ann’s Avenue 

• Boston Secor, 3540 Bivona Street • P.S. 11, 1257 Ogden Avenue 

• Urban Institute of Mathematics, 650 Hollywood Avenue 

• New South Bronx, 991 Longwood Avenue 

 (The other seven sites will be coming soon.)

The Saturday Night Lights expansion is supported by $5 million in funding included by the Office of the Mayor in Fiscal Year 2022. The program is facilitated by the NYPD, the five New York City District Attorneys, the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, NYC Department of Education, NYC Parks Department, New York City Housing Authority, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, and other agencies and organizations. SNL was initially launched by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. in 2011, with one location in Manhattan. SNL grew to 20 sites throughout the city under District Attorney Vance, with two sites launched in the Bronx in 2019.

Movie Producer Indicted For Operating A Prostitution Business And Money Laundering Scheme


Dillon Jordan Allegedly Operated a Long-Running and International Prostitution Service Under the Cover of Running a Film Business

 Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George M. Crouch Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Newark Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging DILLON JORDAN, a/k/a “Daniel Jordan,” a/k/a “Daniel Maurice Hatton, a/k/a “Daniel Bohler, with conspiracy to violate the Mann Act, substantive Mann Act and Travel Act violations, and money laundering in connection with operating a prostitution business and laundering the proceeds of that prostitution business through two front companies – a purported party and event planning company and an actual movie production company.  JORDAN was arrested today in San Bernardino County, California, and will be presented today in the Central District of California.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, for years, Dillon Jordan operated an extensive and far-reaching prostitution business, using a purported event planning company and a movie production company to conceal the proceeds he made from exploiting women.  Now the party is over and the film is a wrap.”

FBI Special Agent-in-Charge George M. Crouch Jr. said: “This defendant apparently thought he could hide his alleged criminal dealings behind a supposedly legitimate business.  But the FBI, in its mission to protect our citizens, uses every tool at its disposal to unmask those who violate federal law and assist the impacted victims.  We encourage anyone who was victimized by this defendant, and anyone with additional information, to contact our Newark field office.”

As alleged in the Indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court:[1]

From in or about 2010 through at least in or about May 2017, JORDAN operated a prostitution business throughout the United States and abroad.  JORDAN maintained a roster of women who resided around the United States and who, in exchange for payment, performed sexual acts for JORDAN’s clients at locations throughout the United States, including the Southern District of New York, and abroad.  JORDAN communicated with the clients of his prostitution business by email to coordinate the prostitution services, which included sending to clients photos of women who were available for hire for prostitution services, discussing the price of prostitution services, and overseeing travel logistics for women to travel to engage in prostitution.  At times, JORDAN himself arranged the interstate travel from the women to engage in prostitution, and at other times, clients, at JORDAN’s direction, arranged the interstate travel for the women whom JORDAN directed to those clients.  To facilitate his prostitution business, JORDAN also coordinated with a United Kingdom-based madam by sharing and referring customers and prostitutes.

JORDAN primarily managed the finances of the prostitution business through two front companies – a purported party and event planning company and a movie production company – incorporated in California.  JORDAN opened multiple bank accounts for these companies, which he used to accept cash, wire, and check payments for prostitution services from clients and to pay for the expenses of the prostitution business, including paying the women for their prostitution services by cash and check.  By using the two front companies to receive deposits from the prostitution business, JORDAN ensured that transactions involving those proceeds from the prostitution business would disguise the nature, source, and origin of those proceeds.    

JORDAN, 49, of Lake Arrowhead, California, is charged with: one count of conspiracy to violate the Mann Act, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of enticement, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of use of interstate commerce to promote unlawful activity, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; and one count of money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge. 

We urge anyone who feels she may be a victim of, or have information related to, the conduct in this case to please contact the FBI at or (973) 792-3000.

Ms. Strauss praised the investigative work of the FBI.  

The allegations in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Statement by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer on Mayor de Blasio’s Rescinding of EEO 101 and Restoring Checks and Balances


“Today is a major victory for good government and accountability. After a fifteen-month suspension of Charter-mandated oversight of contracting, Mayor de Blasio’s rescinding of EEO 101 confirmed what we’ve known and advocated for months; checks and balances protect New Yorkers from waste, fraud and abuse. That’s why we filed a lawsuit against Mayor de Blasio and the City— to restore transparency and guard against unscrupulous spending with unvetted vendors. New Yorkers deserve to know that their hard-earned taxpayer dollars are actually delivering for our communities and I am glad that, following our lawsuit, Mayor de Blasio agrees.”



Return of Spawning Lake Sturgeon Signifies Improvements to Ecosystem and Supports New York’s Fisheries Restoration and Management Goals

 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced a milestone in the restoration of the Genesee River following the collection of a spawning female lake sturgeon in the lower Genesee for the first time in more than 50 years. The announcement took place with partners along the banks of the Genesee River in Monroe County. On May 25, 2021, Dr. Dawn Dittman and the field crew from the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Tunison Laboratory of Aquatic Science netted the 61-inch, nearly 70-pound female lake sturgeon. DEC began stocking lake sturgeon into the Lower Genesee River in 2003, as part of the State’s efforts to support the species’ recovery.

“Working with our partners, DEC’s investments and efforts to stock and clean up the Genesee watershed have paid off for lake sturgeon in the Genesee River,” said Commissioner Seggos. “This sturgeon thrived in the Genesee as a stocked juvenile and has finally reached maturity to hopefully produce another generation. We appreciate the work of all our federal partners, Monroe County, Seneca Park Zoo, New York Sea Grant, and others improving the Genesee River ecosystem and increasing public awareness of the river’s ongoing restoration.”

The discovery of the spawning lake sturgeon in lower section of the Genesee River is significant as the area is part of the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern (AOC). The AOC designation was given to 43 areas around the Great Lakes Basin under the U.S.- Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, signifying the chemical, physical, or biological components of the area’s ecosystem were degraded as a result of local human activities.

DEC works closely with regulatory partners at the USGS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as Monroe County Department of Health, to improve water quality and restore habitat in the Rochester Embayment AOC. The return of spawning lake sturgeon provides further evidence that restoration efforts are leading to tangible improvements to the ecosystem and support fisheries restoration and management goals. In addition, the Seneca Park Zoo and New York Sea Grant help educate the public about lake sturgeon and the Genesee River.

Dr. Dittman has worked with DEC to collect scientific data on lake sturgeon since the creation of the stocking program nearly 30 years ago. DEC stocks juvenile lake sturgeon into the Genesee River as part of a statewide recovery effort for the species, currently listed as ‘Threatened’ in New York State. Part of the recovery criteria for the species is to increase the number of spawning populations across its range in New York.

Dr. Dawn Dittman, Research Ecologist, USGS Great Lakes Science Center, said,I am thrilled to report this milestone in the long-term restoration of Lake Sturgeon to the Genesee River,” Dittmansaid. “The finding validates scientists’ expectation that the first spawning would occur when stocked female sturgeons reached 17 or 18 years old.”

Jeff Wyatt, DVM, MPH, Seneca Park Zoo Environmental Advocate, said, “The Seneca Park Zoo is proud to be the temporary home to juvenile lake sturgeon each year to share these amazing fish with the public. We are also glad to see our work on the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern coming to such tangible fruition with the return of spawning lake sturgeon.”

Michael Goehle, Project Leader for Lower Great Lakes Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said, “The Genesee River restoration program contributes to the overall restoration of Lake Sturgeon in Lake Ontario and its major tributaries, and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to support this effort with our partners and across several of our offices and programs. Our Lower Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office assists with migration and population assessments, our New York Field Office assists with propagation efforts and area of concern support, and our Genoa National Fish Hatchery assists with lake sturgeon propagation. Much of this work has been ongoing for more than 20 years.”

Across New York, lake sturgeon numbers are on the rise and DEC asks the angling public to continue to support their recovery by releasing accidentally hooked sturgeon immediately. The heat and stress of spawning make lake sturgeon more vulnerable to incidental mortality from angling at this time of year. DEC depends on anglers to support sturgeon by removing the hook in accidental catches while the fish is still in the water and move to a different location or use a different angling technique once the sturgeon is hooked. For more information about the lake sturgeon recovery program in New York State, visit Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

To support stewardship of lake sturgeon, New York Sea Grant has published a Lake Sturgeon Intermediate Curriculum for sixth- to eighth-grade students as part of a suite of lake sturgeon-related resources for school and public use to encourage conservation of one of the largest and longest-living native fish species, and a threatened species, in the Great Lakes. See for details.

For more information on the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern and restoration activities, go to



Defendant Pleaded Guilty to First-Degree Manslaughter

 Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a Bronx man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for brutally beating a two-year-old boy in 2018, causing his death. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “The defendant mercilessly beat an innocent two-year-old child named Messiah Allen, causing fatal injuries. The defendant, who was the boyfriend of the child’s mother, attacked him while she was at her job. I hope today’s sentence brings some sense of closure to the family of Messiah. The child’s life was cut short in such a cruel manner.”

 District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Kenneth Lynch, 39, last of 1725 Bruckner Boulevard, was sentenced today to 16 years in prison and five years post-release supervision by Bronx Supreme Court Justice Jeanette Rodriguez-Morak. The defendant pleaded guilty to firstdegree Manslaughter on May 20, 2021.

 According to the investigation, on May 24, 2018, Lynch, who was living with his then girlfriend and her two-year-old son, Messiah, was with the child alone in the apartment as the child’s mother worked in Manhattan. During that time, the defendant inflicted multiple blunt force injuries to the child’s body. Blows to the boy’s torso led to a transected liver, which caused his death. The defendant called 911 and the child was transported to Jacobi Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

 District Attorney Clark thanked Advocate Ana Pimentel of the Crime Victims Assistance Unit, NYPD Detective Austin Denio of the 43 rd Precinct, NYPD Detective Christine Reyes of the Bronx Homicide Squad (retired), and FDNY Firefighter Matthew Bland.

10th Century Statue Looted From Cambodian Temple Is Subject Of Forfeiture Action Filed In Manhattan Federal Court


 Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the filing of a civil complaint seeking forfeiture of a 10th Century Khmer sandstone statue – Skanda on a Peacock – for the purpose of returning it to the Kingdom of Cambodia.  The statue was stolen from the Prasat Krachap temple at Koh Ker in Cambodia, and sold by antiquities dealer Douglas Latchford into the international art market. Skanda on a Peacock is considered to be a masterpiece of artistic achievement and a valuable part of the Cambodian cultural heritage. The owner of Skanda on a Peacock has voluntarily relinquished possession of the statue to the custody of HSI.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Skanda on a Peacock is a work of great historical, religious, and artistic significance to the people of Cambodia. With this action, we reaffirm our commitment to ending the sale of illegally trafficked antiquities in the United States, and begin the process of returning Skanda on a Peacock to its rightful home.”

Skanda and a Peacock

According to the Complaint filed in Manhattan Federal Court on July 15, 2021:

From 928 to 944 A.D., Koh Ker was the capital of the ancient Khmer empire in Cambodia.  The Cambodian state under King Jayavarman IV constructed a vast complex of sacred monuments at Koh Ker, including the Prasat Krachap temple and its statuary. Koh Ker statuary was revolutionary for its time. Many of the statues, including Skanda on a Peacock, were huge, often shown in movement, and were free-standing or in high-relief.  Skanda on a Peacock depicts the Hindu god of war, Skanda, riding on the back of a peacock. The body and tail of the peacock are decorated with intricate engraved patterns. Khmer cultural experts believe that the face of the Skanda on the statue may in fact be a portrait of a royal family member, such as Harshavarman II, the son of King Jayavarman IV.

During the civil conflicts of late 20th century, statues and other artifacts were stolen from Koh Ker and entered the international art market through an organized looting network.   Local teams of looters would first remove the statues from the original location at Koh Ker. The statues would then be transported to the Cambodia-Thailand border, and transferred to brokers, who would in turn transport them to dealers in Khmer artifacts located in Thailand, particularly Bangkok.  These dealers would sell the artifacts to local or international customers, who would either retain the pieces or sell them on the international art market.

Skanda on a Peacock, along with several other significant statues, was stolen from Prasat Krachap in or about 1997 by a former member of the Khmer Rouge leading a team of looters (“Looter-1”). Looter-1 transported Skanda on a Peacock by oxcart to the house of a broker near the Thai border. Looter-1 was aware that the broker sold antiquities to a foreign national called “Sia” (which means “lord” in Thai) “Ford” – the British/Thai antiquities dealer Douglas Latchford, a/k/a “Pakpong Kriangsak.” In 2019, Latchford was charged by the Office with wire fraud conspiracy and other crimes related to a many-year scheme to sell looted Cambodian antiquities on the international art market, primarily by creating false provenance documents and falsifying invoices and shipping documents. The indictment was ultimately dismissed due to the death of Latchford.

On or about April 10, 2000, Latchford sold Skanda on a Peacock and, thereafter, it was imported into the United States.  After the most recent owner was contacted by the United States regarding Skanda on a Peacock, the owner agreed to relinquish possession of the statue and to waive all claims of right, title, and interest in it.  Skanda on a Peacock is currently in the possession of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Ms. Strauss thanked HSI for its outstanding work on this investigation, which she noted is ongoing, and praised its ongoing efforts to find and repatriate stolen and looted cultural property. Ms. Strauss also thanked the Kingdom of Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts for its assistance with this investigation.

This announcement supports the Memorandum of Understanding first signed between the U.S. and Cambodia in 2003, and last renewed in 2018.

The allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman Unveils Green New Deal for Public Schools - The Groundbreaking Legislation will Invest $1.43 trillion over 10 years to Revitalize our Public School System While Combating the Climate Crisis


With Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter, State Senator Jamaal Bailey, Councilman Kevin Riley, school staff, parents, and students, Congressman Jamal Bowman introduced his new green deal for public schools. This New Green Deal for Public Schools will be broken down in four ways over ten years to total $1.43 Trillion dollars. 

$446 billion dollars in Climate Control Facility Grants and $40 billion dollars for a Climate Change Resiliency Program. This will fund healthy green retrofits for the highest need third of schools, as measured by the CDC Social Vulnerability Index. There will be no or low cost interest loans for the rest of the public schools. 

$250 Billion in Resource Block Grants for staffing increases, expanded social service programming at high needs schools. This will fund the hiring and training of hundreds of thousands additional staff at all levels, and come up with a curriculum to move towards the 'whole child' approach in public schools including after school programs.

$100 million for an Educational Equity Planning Grants Program, to conduct community outreach to identify the historic and current sources of educational disparities within the region, to create a regional education equity plan to address these disparities.

$695 Billion over ten years for Title 1 and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) increases which will quadruple Title 1 funding to reach $66 billion annually to support schools and districts with students living in poverty, and to increase IDEA Part B funding to reach 33 Billion annually to support students with disabilities.

Mayor de Blasio gave a ringing endorsement to Congressman Bowman's plan saying, "This is an important day for our children in public school, and just what was needed to level the playing field for all children. Mayor de Blasio finished by saying this will complement the new Universal Mosaic Curriculum with a focus on literacy that will be rolled out in September when students return to schools finally. 

Original co-sponsors of the legislation are Democratic Reps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Nanette Diaz Barragan (CA), Cori Bush (MO), Yvette Clark (NY), Danny K. Davis (IL), Adriano Espaillat (NY), Jesus G. "Chuy" Garcia (ILL), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Ro Khanna (CA), Barbara Lee (CA), Andy Levine (MI), Carolyn Maloney (NY), Elanor Holmes Norton (D.C.), Ayanna Pressley (MA), Jamie Raskin (MD), Thomas Suozzi (NY), Mark Takano (CA), Bernie Thompson (MS), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Nydia Velazquez (NY), Juan Vargas (CA), and Frederica Wilson (FL).

Mayor Bill de Blasio thanks Congressman Bowman for this legislation that will bring the public school system into the 21st and 22nd centuries. 

State Senator Jamaal Bailey, who represents the area where the press conference was held, Edenwald, thanked Congressman Bowman not only as a state legislator, but also as a parent of a child in the New York City Public School System.