Brooklyn composer%A0Leon Kirchner dies

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Leon Kirchner, the Brooklyn-born, Pulitzer and Guggenheim Fellowship-winning composer, died on September 17 at the age of 90.

Born in 1919, into an immigrant Jewish family in South Brooklyn, Kirchner moved to Los Angeles and held faculty positions at the University of Southern California in the 1950s and Harvard University in 1961, where he was an active pianist and composer until he retired in 1989.

He received several awards throughout his career including two New York Music Critics Circle Awards for string quartet compositions in 1950 and 1960, the Pulitzer Prize for his Third String Quartet in 1967, and the Kennedy Center Friedham Award in 1994.

Yuko Nii, director of the Williamsburg Art and Historical Society, knew him through his daughter.She was supposed to meet him on September 17, but he passed away.

“He was a good friend of mine.He was an extraordinary, unique composer and contemporary classic musician,” said Nii.“I have heard his pieces at several places.Our friendship continued for several yearsI am so overwhelmed.He was telling me I think I can live up to 100 years old. I told him I would look forward to new pieces.”

School District 21’s Community Education Council (CEC) is seeking a new member.

The spot is open to parents of children in the district’s elementary and middle schools. District 21 includes Coney Island and Bensonhurst.

The CEC is particularly appealing to parents of English Language Learners (ELL) in hope of diversifying the council.

Members of the CEC are required to attend the council’s monthly meetings, during which discussions center on issues affecting schools in the district.

Council spots are not open to parents currently serving on a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or School Leadership Team (SLT).

To obtain an application for the open seat on District 21’s CEC, contact the council at 718-714-2503 or send an e-mail to

To read more about CECs, log onto the DOE’s website,

The U.S. Education Department has deemed three local public schools National Blue Ribbon Schools.

The schools are P.S. 31 at 75 Meserole Avenue in Greenpoint, P.S. 39 at 417 Sixth Avenue in Park Slope, and P.S. 380 at 370 Marcy Avenue in Williamsburg.

“Secretary of Education Arne Duncan named P.S. 31, P.S. 39, and P.S. 380 — all in Brooklyn — as 2009 Blue Ribbon Schools because of their students’ academic achievements last year,” explained schools Chancellor Joel Klein. “I’m very pleased that the U.S. Department of Education recognized the hard work of principals, teachers, parents and students at these three ‘A’ schools.”

Klein said all three schools “helped their students make tremendous progress in reading and math last year.”

New York is now the sixth state in the country to ban the shackling of female prisons who are in labor, thanks in part to the efforts of two Brooklyn lawmakers.

Governor David Paterson signed legislation outlawing the practice this summer, said East Flatbush/Canarsie Assemblymember Nick Perry, who sponsored the legislation in the Assembly.

Perry announced the news during the September meeting of Community Board 17, at Downstate Medical Center in East Flatbush.

The bill would prohibit the use of all restraints except in cases where the prisoner is a “substantial flight risk,” in which case the use of handcuffs is permitted during transfer to a hospital. No restraints are permitted during labor.

State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, who represents Red Hook, Sunset Park and Fort Greene, sponsored the legislation in the State Senate.

One local legislator wants to make sure that drivers who feed the meter know exactly what they’re getting.

To that end, City Councilmember Vincent Gentile has introduced a bill in the City Council that would require the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide notice to councilmembers and community boards 60 days prior to any changes in parking meter regulations taking effect.

In addition, in a piece of companion legislation, Gentile has proposed requiring DOT to provide 60-day notice of any pilot program they intend to implement. In this case, the agency would be required to make a presentation to the local community board that includes information including the program’s cost, and its start and end dates, as well as a map of the affected area and any relevant traffic studies.

“These bills will force the department to treat local residents like partners instead of having them be an afterthoug­ht,” Gentile stressed.

The two pieces of legislation, he added, would require DOT “to communicate with residents before making any changes to parking meter regulations or using their neighborhoods as testing grounds for pilot programs, and it gives those communities a voice in the process.”

The memory of apromising college student gunned down in front of his home was immortalized in a street renaming near the spot where the 2005 killing took place.

Dozens of Crown Heights residents flocked to Lincoln Place between New York and Brooklyn avenues Saturday to join local elected officials in co-naming the block in Benny Lyde’s honor.

The Long Island University senior and AmeriCorps volunteer’s life was snuffed out during a skirmish just paces away from his home. Police believe that he was killed in retaliation to an ongoing beef brokered between his friend and Cody Nelson, the alleged gunman who was ultimately apprehended in 2008.

Investigators traveled as far as Minnesota in their search for Nelson, officials said.

“Benny A. Lyde was a promising student, a college senior studying business management and computer science when his life was tragically cut short by gun violence,” said State Senator Eric Adams, who attended the renaming ceremony. “He was a model young citizen:he was gainfully employed, assisted his parents with their bills, and mentored his younger siblings.He gave back to the community, helping run a literacy program for young people in East New York.”

“While the premature termination of any innocent life is a misfortune, the loss of an individual of Benny’s quality, someone who had successfully met the challenges faced ineffectively by so many others, is a true calamity,” he said.

Forty Brooklyn children with life threatening illnesses along with their families will be visiting Camp Sunshine in Maine thanks to funding through the Barclays/N­ets/Forest City Ratner Community Alliance.

Founded in 1984, Camp Sunshine, located in Maine’s Sebago Lake region, provides a camp vacation at no charge to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Support from the Barclays/Nets Community Alliance will fund the entire session at Camp Sunshine including transportation from Brooklyn to Maine, and back.

The Alliance support is part of their commitment to investing $1 million per year in non-profits that work to improve the lives of Brooklyn-area youth through sports and other activities, including healthcare and education.

“Camp Sunshine is a great resource for families dealing with a child who has cancer. The idyllic setting on Sebago Lake is the perfect backdrop for family connections, and is the perfect venue through which we can help sick children and families from Brooklyn,” said Gerard LaRocca, Chief Administrative Officer, Barclays Capital.

While 40 families are expected to attend, there are still more openings. Interested families are encouraged to contact the camp at (207) 655-3800, or via their Web site at

Abortions just got safer %u2013 for those that provide them.

State Senator Kevin Parker’sClinic Access Bill recently passed both the Senate and Assembly and if signed to law, will make it a felony to cause physical injury to someone who is obtaining, providing or assisting reproductive health services. The bill, which Parker co-sponsored with Buffalo Democrat Sam Hoyt, seeks to protect doctors, medical assistants and volunteers providing reproductive health services from acts of violence.It will make it a felony to cause physical injury to someone who is obtaining, providing or assisting reproductive health services.

“With this legislation, workers can be confident in their health care decisions - and know that no one will be allowed to stand in their way.The right of women to access safe, competent reproductive health care cannot be compromised,” Parker said.

Parker pointed to data from the National Abortion Federation, which states that since 1977 in the United States and Canada, property crimes committed against abortion providers have included 41 bombings, 173 arsons, 91 attempted bombings or arsons, 619 bomb threats, 1,630 incidents of trespassing, 1,264 incidents of vandalism, and 100 attacks with butyric acid (“stink bombs”).

Public advocate candidate Bill de Blasio last weekannounced a wave of new endorsements of his candidacy in the runoff contest between himself and Mark Green.

Following the primary, de Blasio has been endorsed by U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters %u2013 Joint Council 16, the UAW Region 9A NY Area CAP Council, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades DC 9, the Theatrical Stage Employees Local One IATSE, AFL-CIO, the New York City Fire Marshals Benevolent Association, the New York Amsterdam News, Council Members James Sanders and Leroy Comrie, and Curtis Arluck, Democratic District Leader, 69th AD Part C.

“With 11 days to go until the runoff, our vast coalition is only continuing to grow. I look forward to working closely with all of my supporters in the next two weeks, as we fight to bring real change and new leadership to the public advocate’s office,” said de Blasio.

The runoff will be held on Sept. 29.

To send in tips, e-mail attn: Borough Briefs.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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