Saturday, January 22, 2022

Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress Combating COVID-19 - JANUARY 22, 2022

Clinical specimen testing for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) at Wadsworth Laboratory

Statewide Positivity Rate Below 10% for Second Day in a Row

Cases Per 100k (7-Day Average) Declining in All Regions

179 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday

 Governor Kathy Hochul today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combating COVID-19.         

"We are below 10% positivity rate for the second day in a row. This is extraordinary progress," Governor Hochul said. "As we continue to see numbers trend downward, let's also continue to do the right thing. Wash your hands, get the vaccine if you haven't already, get the booster dose, and wear a mask. We will continue to see this downward trend in other parts of the state soon."

Today's data is summarized briefly below: 

  • Test Results Reported - 299,580
  • Total Positive - 27,643
  • Percent Positive - 9.23%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 11.36%   
  • Patient Hospitalization - 10,477 (-539)   
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 1,264
  • Patients in ICU - 1,504 (-44)   
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 884 (+4)   
  • Total Discharges - 262,654 (1,581)   
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 179
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 51,716

The Health Electronic Response Data System is a NYS DOH data source that collects confirmed daily death data as reported by hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities only.     

  • Total deaths reported to and compiled by the CDC - 64,120  

This daily COVID-19 provisional death certificate data reported by NYS DOH and NYC to the CDC includes those who died in any location, including hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, at home, in hospice and other settings.     

  • Total vaccine doses administered - 35,409,903
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 80,188
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 496,685
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 90.6%   
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 81.6%   
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 95.0%   
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 84.1%   
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 79.7%   
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 71.3%   
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 86.8%   
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 73.5%   

Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center Offers STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Resource for High School Teachers


 The Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center announced the release of Energy & Us, an interdisciplinary high school curriculum dedicated to exploring the relationships between people, energy, and the environment. With the beach itself as a classroom, Energy & Us encourages students to think critically about their role in the energy systems and environments that surround them.

Located just 20 miles from New York City, Jones Beach has been a beloved New York State Park for almost a century. The opening of the Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center on the Park’s West End in September 2020 marked New York State’s commitment to transitioning to a cleaner energy future, as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019. Exhibits, educational programs, and events at the Center showcase landscapes of energy production and consumption—sites where energy sources are extracted and power plants are located; how scientists choose locations for wind turbines and the orientation of solar panels; the energy embodied in building materials; biomimicry; and the transfer of energy in a dynamic coastal environment. The exhibition theme, “the power of nature and the nature of energy,” invites visitors to conceptualize energy and environment as one. For more information, visit

Energy & Us extends this commitment to high school students, striving to equip young people with sophisticated scientific, historical, and political frameworks to understand their place the changing global climate. Over five Units, the curriculum explores the intersection of energy, environment, and society from the atomic to the global scale:

  • Unit 1: Water, air, and light at the tideline demonstrate the essential physics and chemistry of energy at the molecular level, while the electrical system of the Center itself is a template for understanding the physical science behind human-built energy infrastructure.
  • Unit 2: Plants and animals of Jones Beach’s West End are a window onto the cycling of energy through the ecosystem.
  • Unit 3: Surveying the historical geography of Long Island reveals how energy has shaped the environment throughout US history, particularly through the development and expansion of cities, suburbs, and transportation networks.
  • Unit 4: Reflecting on the role of energy in contemporary American culture, students are empowered to forge a new relationship to energy consumption.
  • Unit 5: Students understand the dynamics that connect energy consumption to global climate change — as well as the possibilities of mitigation, adaptation, and migration in response to climate change — and begin to imagine their own place in a world shaped by altered weather patterns, rising sea levels, and people on the move.

Each unit comprises a narrative discussion and 2-3 interactive or creative activities, including role-plays and debates, scavenger hunts, research reports, and creative writing exercises. Activities involve work with historical documents, contemporary data sets, journalistic accounts, scientific research abstracts, and interactive maps. Students move fluidly and confidently between different knowledge-production frameworks and learn to identify trustworthy sources of information. Throughout, critical thinking and Social and Emotional Learning skills are prioritized, allowing students to continually relate the materials they encounter to their prior knowledge and their own lived experiences. All activities can be carried out at the Center, during scheduled field trips funded by the Connect-Kids-To-Parks program, or used in classrooms.

“We are excited to weave this new curriculum into our existing International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, Regents, and elective science courses,” said Cristie Tursi, Science Director of Long Beach Public Schools. “We look forward to a continued partnership and making the Center’s resources an integral part of Long Beach Public Schools’ growing program in Environmental Education and Sustainability.” Kimberly Williams, New York State Master Teacher in Science, celebrated the curriculum for having “something for everyone who wants to help foster their students' curiosity and drive. It offers a fantastic guide for educators who need to learn with their students! The fun, creative, hands-on activities can be easily tailored for a variety of learners whether at the Center, at home, or in the classroom.”

“By bringing together history, environmental conservation, and energy, Energy & Us will increase the capacity of the Center to achieve its mission of educating and inspiring the public about environmental stewardship and responsible energy consumption,” said Jeanne Haffner, Director and Chief Curator.

Energy & Us was developed by Olivia Schwob, formerly a member of Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center Curatorial Team, in collaboration with Dr. Jeanne Haffner, Director and Chief Curator of the Center, as well as volunteer teacher advisors from Long Beach Public Schools, Roosevelt Public Schools, Freeport Public Schools, the New York State Master Teachers Program, and the New York State Marine Education Association. The development of the curriculum was supported by a generous grant from the Rauch Foundation, which also sponsors ongoing exhibitions and programming at the Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center. In a public talk at the Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center on January 22, 2022, at 11:00AM, Olivia Schwob will discuss the making of the curriculum. The Center will use Energy & Us to launch a Teacher’s Academy in summer and fall 2022, offering professional development programs for educators across Long Island and New York State.



State Cleanup Program Continues to Advance Comprehensive Cleanups and Economic Redevelopment Statewide

42 Cleanups Completed in 2021, 90 New Sites Accepted into BCP

 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today celebrated another year of successful environmental cleanups as part of the State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP). In 2021, DEC issued a total of 42 Certificates of Completion and accepted 90 new sites into the program, helping to protect public health and the environment across New York State while revitalizing neighborhoods and strengthening local economies.

“New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program is a powerful tool transforming former industrial properties across the state, improving quality of life, and revitalizing communities, Commissioner Seggos said. “With site visits to cleanups from Buffalo to Long Island, I’ve seen first-hand just how valuable this program is for New York. During 2021, DEC’s Brownfield Cleanup Program completed 42 cleanups and accepted 90 new sites into the program. With Governor Kathy Hochul’s leadership, DEC is bolstering our commitment to restore, redevelop, and revitalize abandoned and underutilized properties in even more neighborhoods, particularly in communities historically overburdened by environmental pollution.”

In her 2022 State of the State Agenda and 2022-2023 Executive Budget, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed to build upon the success of New York State’s BCP by extending and expanding the program, which is set to expire in December 2022. The proposal, which includes the 10-year extension, would reauthorize the program and improve it by making property tax credits available in certain disadvantaged, low-income communities, and providing credits for the development of certain renewable energy facility sites to help focus BCP-driven redevelopment and meet the State’s ambitious climate goals. Governor Hochul also plans to grow the State’s Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) program, which provides communities with guidance, expertise, and financial assistance to help develop revitalization strategies for areas affected by urban blight or economic distress. For more information about the BCP, visit

“The Brownfield Cleanup Program continues to transform communities from blight to economic and environmentally sustainable areas across the state,” said Acting Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, we will continue to redevelop and revitalize these underutilized and dormant areas and continue to make our communities stronger.”

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The Brownfield Cleanup Program is a critical tool in the fight to remove blight and decay from communities, safeguard the environment, and transform contaminated sites into high quality neighborhood assets and affordable homes.  I commend Governor Hochul for embracing the tremendous potential of the Brownfield Cleanup Program and working to expand its reach. By growing and improving the program, we can make sure it revitalizes more communities across New York and returns distressed properties to productive use.”

DEC oversees New York State’s BCP, which encourages the voluntary cleanup of contaminated properties known as “brownfields,” so these sites can be redeveloped and returned to productive use. A brownfield site is any real property where a contaminant is present at levels exceeding health-based or environmental standards or applicable cleanup objectives based on the anticipated future use of the property. The program encourages private-sector cleanups of brownfields and promotes redevelopment of these sites as a means to revitalize communities. Site uses many include recreation, housing, business, or other uses. The BCP is a sustainable alternative to greenfield development and helps remove barriers to, and provide tax incentives for, the redevelopment of urban brownfields.

Since its inception in 2003, DEC has approved 1,156 applications to the program, and to date, the State has issued Certificates of Completion (COCs) to 543 formerly contaminated properties statewide. DEC issues COCbased on its review of the Final Engineering Report, which certifies the remediation work performed by the applicants meets cleanup requirements for the protection of public health and the environment. The COC triggers the availability of tax credits for eligible parties and also allows the certificate holder to redevelop the site, subject to certain restrictions, if applicable.

Some completed BCP projects are located in the New York Department of State's Brownfield Opportunity Areas. The BCP and BOA programs complement one another and, along with DEC partners including the State Department of Health and State Office of Homes and Community Renewal, help transform former industrial sites into community assets that support businesses, jobs, and revenue for local economies, as well as new housing opportunities and public amenities.

In addition, in December 2021, DEC proposed changes to the BCP, State Superfund, and other cleanup program regulations. This rulemaking would create new cleanup standards for the oversight of the emerging contaminants perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanoic sulfonate (PFOS), and strengthen the implementation of cleanups. To comment on the proposed regulations or attend one of the two virtual hearings on the draft rulemaking, go to The public comment period on the proposed changes ends on April 21, 2022.

For more information on the BCP, visit DEC's BCP webpage. A list of sites that have been completed and issued a COC in New York can be found at the New York State Open Data website.                    

Senator Biaggi's Week in Review: 1/17/22-1/21/22


Senator Alessandra Biaggi

Dear Community,

New York State’s eviction moratorium expired on January 15th, 2022. Unfortunately, as of yet, the Legislature has failed to take action to extend the moratorium or pass legislation to protect New Yorkers from displacement. I understand that this is a stressful time for many New Yorkers across our state, and I promise to remain committed to fighting to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to safe and affordable housing without the risk of being evicted. In the midst of this situation, I want to provide New Yorkers with the resources and rights you should be aware of.  

As of right now, the best way to protect yourself against eviction is to apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which reopened on January 11th, 2022. ERAP was created to provide significant economic relief to help low and moderate-income households at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability by providing rental arrears, temporary rental assistance and utility arrears assistance. While we are fighting for additional rental assistance from the State and Federal Government in the coming weeks, applying for ERAP will provide applicants with protection against eviction until a final decision on their application is made. Apply here

I also want to make sure that everyone is aware of their rights as a tenant. The following are important rights every tenant should be aware of: 

  1. Your landlord cannot directly evict you – Even if you owe rent and your landlord tells you to move, they cannot legally evict you without taking you to court first. Only a judge can legally evict you and a Marshall with a court order can move your belongings. 
  2. Your landlord cannot change your locks without your permission – Unless your landlord has a warrant for eviction, changing the locks on your apartment without giving you a key is illegal.
  3. Harassment by landlords is illegal - Any form of harassment by landlords, especially if the goal is to get you to move out, is illegal. This includes and is not limited to physical violence, sexual harassment, property damage, turning off the heat or hot water, and threats of eviction.

CASA Bronx, a tenants rights organization in the Bronx, has also created useful tenants’ rights fliers with more information that are available here in both English and Spanish. The NYC Housing Preservation and Development website also provides resources for tenants. I strongly encourage you to take a look, as knowing your rights can also serve to protect you against eviction. 

My office and I are here to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. Please email my office at or call us 718-822-2049, and a member of my team will assist you. 

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

Statement from Governor Kathy Hochul on Shooting of NYPD Officers in Harlem

The Great Seal of the State of New York

 "I am horrified by tonight’s tragedy in Harlem. My thoughts are with the family who answered the phone to receive the news they've always dreaded: that their loved one, who had sworn to protect and serve New Yorkers by joining the NYPD, will not be coming home. I am praying for the recovery of his partner, the officer who is fighting for his life, and for his family. I know that all of New York is standing with these officers and their families.

We must urgently confront the plague of gun violence in our state. Too many lives are being lost, and too many New Yorkers are living in fear. This is a crisis. That's why earlier today, I extended an Executive Order declaring a gun violence State of Emergency. In the Executive Budget I released earlier this week, I put forward a plan to triple resources for our gun interdiction efforts, so that we stop the flow of illegal guns into our state, and also triple resources for violence interrupter programs to address the root causes of violence. 

I refuse to allow our cities to be gripped with fear. New​ Yorkers deserve action from their elected officials — and they will get it. I’ve pledged my full support to Mayor Eric Adams and look forward to working with him and other leaders to continue to take meaningful actions to make New Yorkers safer."

NYPD Commissioner Sewell Announces New Executive Designations and Appointments


 Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell today announced additional appointments to her executive staff team following the recent appointments of First Deputy Commissioner Edward A. Caban and Chief of Department Kenneth E. Corey. The appointments are key operational positions that are critical to the success of the NYPD’s sustained commitment to crime reduction, intelligence-driven policing, training, transparency, and community engagement.

“The NYPD, the city, and its people can share in my confidence in this group of distinguished policing leaders that I have selected as my core command staff,” said Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell. “Each of these executives has displayed exceptional leadership and vision in guiding the NYPD to many accomplishments across all five boroughs. They are consummate police professionals who also reflect the values and concerns of the citizens the NYPD serves. I look forward to working with them as we rise to new challenges.”

Announcements include:

Chief Kathleen O’Reilly was appointed Chief of Patrol from her previous position as Chief of Transit.

Chief Juanita Holmes was appointed Chief of Training, having served as Chief of Patrol.

Chief Jeffrey Maddrey was appointed Chief of Housing from his previous position as Chief of Community Affairs.

Chief David Barrere was appointed Chief of Internal Affairs from his previous position as Chief of Housing.

Chief Donna Jones was promoted to Chief of Staff to the Police Commissioner from her previous position as Commanding Officer of the Criminal Justice Bureau.

Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox will be promoted to Chief of Transit from his previous position as Assistant Chief in the Detective Bureau overseeing the Specialty Enforcement Division.

Assistant Chief Philip P. Rivera was appointed Borough Commander Patrol Borough Bronx from his previous position as Borough Commander of Patrol Borough Manhattan North.

Deputy Chief Olufunmilola F. Obe was appointed Borough Commander Patrol Borough Manhattan North from her previous position as Commanding Officer School Safety Division.

Deputy Chief Gin Y. Yee was appointed Commanding Officer Patrol Borough Staten Island from his previous position of Executive Officer at Patrol Borough Staten Island.



"I offer and extend my prayers to the family of the NYPD officer killed tonight, to the officer fighting for his life, and to their fellow officers at the 32nd Precinct and across the city. These men answered a plea for help, both risked and one lost their life, all while trying to protect another New Yorker’s safety as countless officers across our city do each day. 

"Sometimes in the face of tragedy, words fail, and feelings overlap. Shock, that an officer who went to work today to protect New Yorkers will never come home and another lays critically injured in a hospital bed. Grief, for a family, a community, a city. Anger, that the plague of gun violence continues to take a devastating toll. And resolve, to not accept tragedy as normal — to support those in pain tonight, treat the trauma to come, and prevent nights like this one from happening again."

Manhattan Borough President Levine Last night's tragic events in Harlem


Last night in Harlem, our community witnessed the tragic shooting of two NYPD officers responding to a domestic disturbance at a home on 135th Street. Just 22 years old, Officer Jason Rivera of Inwood tragically has lost his life responding to that call, while Officer Wilbert Mora remains in the hospital in critical condition.

I have a 22-year old son. I am at a total loss thinking about what the Rivera and Mora families are going through. I am praying that they find strength and solace amidst the shattering pain. These officers were responding to a call for help to protect their fellow New Yorkers. They are heroes and my heart breaks for their families, for the 32nd Precinct, and for their brave fellow officers at the NYPD. 

I cannot claim to have the answers to end this senseless violence, but I do know what we must strive towards. A future with gun-free streets. With gun-free schools. With gun-free homes and gun-free houses of worship. A gun-free community where all New Yorkers are safe. We must work together to achieve that vision, and every solution must be on the table. Our city can not and will not allow this epidemic of gun violence to continue.

In the coming days, our community must grieve together and then must do the hard work to heal and to end this cycle of senseless loss and violence. I'm here to do that work with you and ask that Manhattanites come together to join us as we work to achieve a better future.

In the meantime, there is an active NYPD investigation into this tragedy in Harlem to determine the chain of custody of the gun, possible motive, and any other relevant information. If you have any information, please contact the 32nd Precinct Detective Squad at (212) 690-6315), or Crime Stoppers (800-577-TIPS). As always my office is ready to help, so please do not hesitate to reach out. 

Praying with you and our community,


Permits Filed For 91 Bruckner Avenue In Mott Haven, The Bronx


91 Bruckner Avenue in Mott Haven, The Bronx

Permits have been filed for a seven-story residential building at 91 Bruckner Avenue in Mott Haven, The Bronx. Located at the intersection of Willis Avenue Bridge and Bruckner Avenue, the corner lot is near the Brook Avenue subway station, serviced by the 6 train. Anshel Fridman of Artist Construction LLC is listed as the owner behind the applications.

The proposed 70-foot-tall development will yield 60,999 square feet designated for residential space. The building will have 89 residences, most likely rentals based on the average unit scope of 685 square feet. The concrete-based structure will also have a cellar, a 38-foot-long rear yard, 20 open parking spaces, and 25 enclosed parking spaces.

S. Wieder Architect is listed as the architect of record.

Demolition permits were filed earlier this month for the single-story warehouse on the site. An estimated completion date has not been announced.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Governor Hochul Announces Statewide COVID-19 Percent Positivity Below 10% - JANUARY 21, 2022

 Clinical specimen testing for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) at Wadsworth Laboratory

First Time Below 10% Since December 20

Cases Per 100k (7-Day Average) Declining in All Regions

154 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday

 Governor Kathy Hochul today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combating COVID-19.   

"For the first time since December 20, New York State's percent positivity is in the single-digits," Governor Hochul said. "I want to thank New Yorkers for doing the right thing to get where we are in fighting this winter surge. However, this isn't the time to take our foot off the gas. Let's keep using the tools - the vaccine, the booster and masking up - to further bring the numbers down and keep our vulnerable loves ones safe from this virus." 

Today's data is summarized briefly below: 

  • Test Results Reported - 290,107
  • Total Positive - 28,296
  • Percent Positive - 9.75%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 12.27%   
  • Patient Hospitalization - 11,016 (-354)   
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 1,357  
  • Patients in ICU - 1,548 (-35)   
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 880 (-5)   
  • Total Discharges - 261,073 (1,706)   
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 154
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 51,532 

The Health Electronic Response Data System is a NYS DOH data source that collects confirmed daily death data as reported by hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities only.     

  •   Total deaths reported to and compiled by the CDC - 64,120                

This daily COVID-19 provisional death certificate data reported by NYS DOH and NYC to the CDC includes those who died in any location, including hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, at home, in hospice and other settings.     

  • Total vaccine doses administered - 35,329,715
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 81,968
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 518,068
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 90.5%   
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 81.5%   
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 95.0%   
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 84.0%   
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 79.7%   
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 71.2%   
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 86.7%   
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 73.4%   



New York’s Rebounding Population Meets Another Recovery Goal

 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the release of the 2021 Lake Sturgeon Population Assessment Status Report. The report demonstrates that the lake sturgeon population in the Upper St. Lawrence River has exceeded crucial metrics set forth in the Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan for adult spawning and juvenile recruitment.

“Lake sturgeon are rebounding in New York State, and that’s great news,” said Commissioner Basil Seggos. “This progress is possible because of the work of dedicated staff at DEC, and our strong partnerships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, New York Power Authority, and Cornell University. Together, we have secured funding, raised and released sturgeon, and used science to track our success, and DEC looks forward to continuing these effective collaborations.”

The Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan, written in 2018, set the following goal for lake sturgeon in New York State: “Establish or maintain sufficient self-sustaining populations of lake sturgeon within six of the seven management units to warrant removal of lake sturgeon from the list of threatened species in New York.”

With the addition of the Upper St. Lawrence Management Unit, the lake sturgeon population has now reached the target in four of the seven management units. When the population reaches the target level in two more management units, DEC will seek to remove lake sturgeon from the threatened species list.

The Upper St. Lawrence Management Unit for lake sturgeon runs from Cape Vincent downstream to the Moses Saunders Dam and includes the Oswegatchie River drainage. Based on sampling of populations in Black Lake, the Oswegatchie River, and the spawning beds near the Iroquois Dam on the St. Lawrence River, DEC documented healthy reproducing adult lake sturgeon and the presence of several year classes of juveniles throughout the management unit.

Lake sturgeon have been on New York’s threatened species list since 1983. DEC began its lake sturgeon restoration program in 1993 by stocking four sites. In 2021, DEC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stocked 10 locations. More than 275,000 lake sturgeon have been stocked into New York waters since 1993.

Lake sturgeon can live for more than 100 years and grow to seven feet in length, making them the largest freshwater fish in New York. Because of this long lifespan and delayed sexual maturity, lake sturgeon are incredibly vulnerable to overfishing and population depletion. Anglers deserve credit for being good stewards of New York’s aquatic resources and helping to keep lake sturgeon populations on the rise.

Partial funding for the lake sturgeon recovery program comes from the State Wildlife Grant Program and the Fish Enhancement, Mitigation and Research Fund, both administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service New York Field Supervisor, David Stilwell said, “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s New York Field Office and Genoa National Fish Hatchery remain committed to the recovery of lake sturgeon in New York. This joint recovery effort is a model for partnership in achieving shared species recovery and restoration goals, results from years of work by dedicated staff from all partners. We are proud to be a partner in this important conservation effort." 

U.S. Geological Survey Scientist, Dawn Dittman said, “Meeting the population recovery criteria is an important and exciting milestone for lake sturgeon restoration in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. As part of the recovery team, the USGS provides unbiased and consistent technical support through field assessments and high-quality fish and environmental data.”

New York Power Authority Director of Environmental Operations, Jeff Gerlach said, “NYPA is excited by the success of the ongoing Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan and looks forward to continuing our partnership with the resource agencies and stakeholders on establishing a healthy, sustainable population of Lake Sturgeon in New York.”

Director of the Cornell University Biological Field Station, Lars Gosta Rudstam said, “Lake sturgeon is now part of the Oneida Lake ecosystem. These iconic fishes are reproducing in the lake and growing to impressive sizes. Last year, we were able to tag one 26 year old fish that weighed almost 160 pounds. This a wonderful development.”

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Environment Division Program Manager, Jessica L. Jock said, “TeiokiĆ©n:taron, lake sturgeon, is a revered and culturally important fish species in Mohawk and Haudenosaunee waters. We are grateful for our positive working relationship with the New York State DEC, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, and other federal and academic partners to ensure this vibrant species continues to flourish for future generations in Akwesasne and New York State waters.”

The 2021 Lake Sturgeon Population Assessment is available on DEC's website. For more information about lake sturgeon in New York, see DEC's Lake Sturgeon Recovery Plan.

For more information on how DEC tracks lake sturgeon, visit this link from DEC’s YouTube page.

Attorney General James Announces Arrest of Port Authority Police Officer For Filing False Reports and Engaging in Misconduct with Vulnerable Young Woman


 New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced the arrest of Port Authority Police Officer Telly Simmonds, 47, of the Bronx, NY, for creating false police reports to cover up his inappropriate relationship with a 19-year-old woman. Simmonds met the young woman, brought in as a homeless individual in danger of exploitation, while he was a police officer at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.  

“Taking advantage of a young, at-risk woman seeking help is one of the most despicable things an officer of the law can do,” said Attorney General James. “Simmonds allegedly abused the power of his badge and the Port Authority in order to engage in and conceal an inappropriate relationship. No one should be taken advantage of by the very individuals who are charged with protecting them. My office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure the safety of New Yorkers and accountability for those who put them in perilous positions.”

In the Spring of 2018, Simmonds was assigned to the Youth Services Unit (YSU) at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street in Manhattan. The YSU was established to identify runaway youth and young adults who may be in danger of exploitation. On March 21, 2018, the 19-year-old woman was brought to the YSU office and met Simmonds, who took down her name, address, telephone, and other personal information. After leaving the police station, Simmonds and the young woman began to text each other regularly. On April 1, 2018, Simmonds and the young woman stayed at a Times Square area hotel using a Port Authority voucher, which are for use by officers for work-related duty only.

In early April 2018, the young woman left the shelter where she was residing in New York City and transferred to a shelter in Philadelphia, citing safety concerns in New York. Once at the new shelter, Simmonds sent her texts in an attempt to convince her to return to New York. On the morning of April 18, 2018, Simmonds worked the morning shift at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. He filled out a police report falsely claiming that he met the young woman at the Bus Terminal that very same morning at 8 a.m. and helped her get on the subway with a MetroCard. Simmonds made additional false entries of the fake meeting on Port Authority reports. After ending his shift at 3 p.m., Simmonds drove in his personal car to the shelter in Philadelphia to pick up the young woman. When he arrived at the shelter at approximately 6 p.m., he gave his Port Authority Police ID to the employees and told them that he was on official duty. Simmonds then left the shelter with the young woman and dropped her off at a shelter in the Bronx. After Simmonds took her from Philadelphia, the Philadelphia facility contacted the FBI, who then contacted the Port Authority. The Port Authority commenced an investigation and referred the matter to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).  

Simmonds was arraigned today before Supreme Court Judge Melissa Jackson in New York County on two counts of Tampering with Public Records, a class ”D” felony, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class “E” felony, and four counts of Official Misconduct an “A” Misdemeanor. If convicted, Simmonds faces an indeterminate sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years. 

The charges are merely accusations and Simmonds is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. 

The OAG wishes to thank the Office of Inspector General of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and members of its Police Integrity Unit for their work on this investigation. 



  New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the appointment of Thomas J. Foley, P.E. as commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC). Foley previously served as acting commissioner of the agency. A 25-year veteran of DDC, Foley will oversee the city’s capital construction projects, which include infrastructure and public buildings. He will be tasked with delivering on the mayor’s vision for promoting greater fiscal efficiency in capital construction and ensuring all projects are aligned with the city’s resiliency goals.

“Thomas Foley is an experienced professional who understands the infrastructure needs of our city on a granular level, and he has been a steady hand in moments of crisis,” said Mayor Adams. “We are proud to announce his appointment, and look forward to working with him to build safe, equitable, and resilient infrastructure that serves all New Yorkers.”


“Commissioner Foley brings keen expertise and awareness to our city’s critical construction projects, so that they meet the needs of all New Yorkers in all neighborhoods and withstand the test of time to serve our future generations,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.


“I am extraordinarily honored to be chosen by Mayor Adams to serve as the head of DDC,” said incoming DDC Commissioner Thomas J. Foley. “DDC’s hundreds of construction professionals are uniquely capable of making the city’s infrastructure and public buildings reflect this administration’s agenda of public safety, equity, and prosperity for all. And we will continue to aggressively pursue the capital construction process improvements detailed in 2019 under former Commissioner Lorraine Grillo in order to meet the administration’s goals for fiscal efficiency. I’d like to thank the staff at DDC for making this possible.”


About Thomas J. Foley, P.E.


Thomas J. Foley, P.E. currently serves as acting commissioner of DDC. He started at DDC as an engineer-in-charge in 1998, supervising a team of resident engineers and evaluating and approving design modifications of engineering structures and systems. After 9/11, he became a project manager for DDC’s World Trade Center Disaster Recovery and Debris Removal Project, reviewing staffing and procedures, analyzing labor and equipment utilization, and identifying and correcting inefficiencies in the $500 million project.


Foley has held a variety of roles at the agency, including deputy director, director, and assistant commissioner in the agency’s Division of Infrastructure. In January 2014, he became associate commissioner in the Division of Infrastructure, while helping to spearhead the activation of Water Tunnel 3. In January 2017, he assumed the role of deputy commissioner of the Public Buildings Division, establishing short- and long-term plans for the division to best align with the goals of the agency and provide executive leadership on divisional/agency initiatives, and was responsible for managing the design and construction of a large range of civic buildings for the City of New York.


Foley earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Manhattan College. He is a licensed professional engineer and a certified construction manager. He also serves on the national board of the Design Build Institute of America. 


Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Allow Voting by Absentee Ballot Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Through 2022

Voting booths

Legislation (S.7565-B/A.8432-A) Permits Voting by Absentee Ballot Where There is a Risk of Contracting or Spreading Disease that May Cause Illness to the Voter or Other Members of the Public 

 Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation to allow voting by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 pandemic through 2022. This legislation continues to allow New Yorkers to request an absentee ballot during the pandemic where there is a risk of contracting or spreading disease that may cause illness to the voter or other members of the public. This legislation first became law in July of 2020, and expired December 31, 2021.

"No one should have to choose between exercising their right to vote and protecting their health and safety," Governor Hochul said. "This legislation will ensure the pandemic does not create inaccessibility for voters during upcoming elections and help protect New Yorkers' access to the ballot."

Absentee ballot applications for the February 15th special elections in the 60th and 72nd assembly districts are open through January 31st by mail, until February 14th in-person and can be submitted by mail or in-person until February 15th. More information on absentee voting and how to apply for an absentee ballot is available here.

Senator Alessandra Biaggi said,  "The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way we work, learn, and live— teaching us to adapt to in ways that we had never imagined before. We cannot allow the ongoing pandemic to undermine our democracy and interfere with New Yorkers' right to vote, and must similarly adapt to prioritize public health while protecting our democracy. This is why I introduced S7565, my bill alongside Assemblymember Dinowitz, to ensure that no New Yorker has to choose between their health and fulfilling their civic responsibility, allowing New Yorkers to continue to vote absentee in 2022. Thank you to Governor Hochul for recognizing the need for this legislation, and for prioritizing the wellbeing of New Yorkers, while committing to protect our democracy."

Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz said, "Nobody should be forced to choose between their health and their vote. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers have availed themselves of the expanded absentee ballot eligibility, and the continuation of this law through the end of 2022 is an important boost to our democracy. As we watch states around the country debate and enact restrictions to voter access, I am proud that New York has taken a stand on the other side of the debate. Thank you to Governor Hochul for quickly signing my bill into law so that as many eligible New Yorkers can cast their ballots this year as possible."

In addition, Governor Hochul proposed in her 2022 State of the State a number of proposal to strengthen voting rights protections in New York State, including a state-level voting rights act to protect against voter suppression, improving language access for voters, lowering the voter registration deadline from 25 days to 10 days before Election Day, and requiring polling locations on college campuses.