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🌞Sunny to 🌤 partly cloudy. High: 81 Low: 71.
Here are the top stories today in Queens:
1. Mayor Eric Adams’ administration is suing Starbucks after a Queens barista was unlawfully fired after taking part in unionization efforts. This is the first time the city has taken legal action under its “just cause” labor legislation, which limits when a fast food employer can terminate employees. In the complaint filed on Thursday by the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, the barista, Austin Locke, had worked at the recently-unionized Starbucks in Astoria since 2016 when he was suddenly fired this past July after having been out sick for a few days. Starbucks says it fired Locke because he failed to complete a COVID-19 questionnaire, but Locke is convinced his bosses terminated him in retaliation for his role in organizing the union. “They knew I was the main person behind the union, and five days after we win the election, they decide to do this,” Locke said in an interview.
NY Daily News
2. On Tuesday, Michael Nieves, 40, became the 13th detainee to die in Department of Correction custody this year after a successful suicide attempt. Neives was being held on Rikers Island in a housing unit for detainees with chronic mental illness when he slit his throat with a razor and began profusely bleeding on the floor. A source told NY1 that no one administered first aid to Nieves after calling for help, and it took 10 minutes for emergency medical assistance to survive. “Anybody charged with any crime here in the city is being subjected to a potential death sentence,” said Queens Councilmember Tiffany Caban, whose district includes Rikers Island. Two corrections officers and a captain have been suspended in connection with Neives’ case.
Spectrum News NY1
3. Hollis residents are urging the Hochul administration to include risks associated with flash flooding in the current criteria for assessing climate change burdens. In 2019, N.Y. lawmakers passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which prioritizties “disadvantaged communities” with regard to state spending on clean energy programs, and investments in housing, workforce development, transportation, and economic development. Angshu Baidya, a Hollis resident, lives across the street from a basement apartment where two people drowned. Despite this, and despite the fact that flash floods have been a repeated problem on Baidya’s intersection for years, the state of N.Y. does not consider his neighborhood “disadvantaged.”
NBC New York
4. In late June, Katie Bishop opened Principles GI Coffee House in Gowanus, a venture inspired by an unexpected peace movement in the late 1960s — anti-war coffee shops. At these shops, often located near military bases, soldiers, city authorities, and local citizens, would come together and voice their concerns over the Vietnam War. Through Principles, Bishop, a former Marine and bassoonist with an advance degree in music theory, seeks to create a “social hub masquerading as a coffeehouse.” Drinks at Principles are pay what you will, there is a free to use bike tool library in a corner, and a strong bent on inclusion and activism. The writer of this article, Ginia Bellafante, suggests that perhaps Principles serves as an example of something bigger. “In one sense,” Bellafante writes, “Ms. Bishop’s venture, however idealistic, provides a template for how we ought to think about emerging neighborhoods — as places deeply integrated at the level of class, race and even philosophy.”
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