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A slew of community groups are taking aim at officials that they consider responsible for the city’s bungled cleanup efforts after the blizzard, hoping to hold their feet to the fire.

The Manhattan Beach Community Group has cobbled together a coalition of Southern Brooklyn neighborhood associations and is inviting local officials to a forum on January 19. The groups are demanding explanations for why buses and trains were out of commission and streets were not plowed in the days after the blizzard.

The groups mean business: if a citywide official fails to attend or send a representative, an empty chair will be placed on the stage with a sign bearing the official’s name.

“We’re going to have the empty chairs because enough is enough. They get to park wherever they want, they get cars, they get cell phones. But when you need them, they’re nowhere to be found,” said MBCG President Ira Zalcman.

Keep reading about the forum, and find out who will – and won’t – be there.

Sheepshead Bay High School Track Team

Coach John Padula and members of Sheepshead Bay High School's track team proudly display their First Place trophy for beating 800 teams and coming in first at the Bishop Loughlin Games this month. (Photo: Michèle De Meglio)

Sheepshead Bay High School is under fire for what the city considers to be lackluster student achievement, but the school is more than graduation rates and Regents scores.

The school (3000 Avenue X) boasts the best track and field team in the country with 12 All-American athletes.

“We won the national championships four years in a row,” said John Padula, who is one of three coaches leading the co-ed team.

The team practices running and weight training until 5:30 p.m. every day to prepare for Saturday meets against teams from all over the country. At those competitions, the Brooklyn squad generally comes in first place. These accomplishments make the students feel like rock stars.

“It’s great to be part of the team and being an All-American is a big accomplishment,” said Richmond Ahadzi, a hurdle jumper who is a 10-time All-American, which means he placed in the top five in the country.

Keep reading about the extraordinary achievements of the Sheepshead Bay High School track team.

Marine Park Junior High School IS 278


by Michèle De Meglio

City Councilman Lew Fidler has joined parents in criticizing the Department of Education for considering opening a 300-seat high school in I.S. 278′s building, slamming it as bad policy.

Members of the school’s PTA believe that having two separate principals and teaching staffs would create a level of chaos, thereby making it difficult to resolve problems. They also fear that the older high school students would bully the middle grade kids.

“This is a new Department of Education phenomenon, putting older high school kids in with younger children. New and bad,” Fidler said.

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by Michèle De Meglio

Nearly 200 parents packed last night’s District 22 Community Education Council meeting to rally against the city’s plan to open a small high school in Marine Park J.H.S. (I.S. 278).

“Due to the outpouring of community opposition, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a high school co-located in Marine Park Junior High School,” said Christopher Spinelli, president of District 22’s CEC.

The opposition surprised some, since the Department of Education was actually trying to make good on a 2009 promise to provide high school grades to Marine Park.

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