Barcode Cafe opened at 822 Kings Highway in January, serving kosher coffee and more.

The location was previously Hookah Coffee Shop, a bodega serving coffee, tea, shisha and falafel.

It’s great to see new businesses opening  their doors. Good luck, Barcode Cafe.

Colin Beavan, Green Party candidate (Source: ColinBeavan.com)

If you live in our coverage area, chances are you didn’t have reason to know much about Congressman Edolphus Towns until recently. After all, for the last 29 years the Democrat has represented Bed-Stuy, Canarsie and Brownsville – neighborhoods that have little in common with our own.

But, thanks to this year’s Congressional redistricting, Towns’ district sprouts southwest, pulling the communities of Marine Park, Plumb Beach, Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach into a 71 percent black and Hispanic district.

Now Towns is stepping down, and the race to replace him is heating up. Vying for the Democratic ticket are City Councilman Charles Barron, a controversial figure citywide with a strong following in his East New York, Brownsville, East Flatbush, and Canarsie base, and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who has won the endorsement of many of our local elected.

But no Congressional race would be complete without a couple of long-shot candidates. Enter Alan Bellone and Colin Beavan.

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Click to enlarge

THE COMMUTE: Above is the map I created showing my proposed bus routing changes for Southern Brooklyn. Yesterday, I discussed why changes are needed in Sheepshead Bay and surrounding neighborhoods — to build ridership on our bus routes, so that the MTA does not continue on its destructive path of cutting service and severing bus connections, as I discussed at the recent NYC Bus Riders’ Forum. There is untapped demand, yet the MTA refuses to acknowledge this, wanting us to believe that buses are only necessary to reach subway stations, so many routes — especially the ones with light patronage — can be discontinued inconveniencing just a few.

They do this by distorting the effects a route’s discontinuation will have, always citing alternate nearby routes that could be used, even if they are not practical. They do not understand the role that the bus can play in our mass transit system. They do not recognize that many seniors are not able to walk stairs to use the subway system because few stations are handicapped accessible. They are so shortsighted that they do not recognize that fewer and shorter bus routes, or routes that do not operate on weekends, will only drive up the cost of providing Access-A-Ride. There is a deficit that has to be plugged and the best way to do that is to reduce operating costs by cutting service. That is the extent of their thinking.

Now is the time to show them they are wrong and that more needs to be done — that they need to start thinking about expanding bus service. Now is the time to recognize untapped demand that has always existed, that the MTA is not aware of because they keep zero statistics on the number of trips that can only be conveniently made by car service.

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I cannot take credit for this post’s punny headline.

Photo by Allan Shweky

First of all, for all those mommies out there who didn’t catch our Facebook post yesterday: Happy Mother’s Day! Hope you had a terrific one.

Mother’s Day, of course, was not the only event worth celebrating this weekend. On Saturday, May 12, Sheepshead Bites officially turned 4-years-old! Happy birthday to us!

To celebrate, we’re once again throwing ourselves a laid-back, dressed-down birthday party. Oh, and for those Facebook fans, this is the Mystery Event we created.

So what’s the deal? Well, our gracious hosts at the Knights of Columbus – Baron De Kalb have again agreed to let us use their scenic pier and waterfront tap room to have a grand ol’ get-together. And, yes, they’ve also agreed to serve up some brewskis at rock-bottom prices. And, yes, we’ll also serving up some free food (and distributing it much more wisely than last year!).

As for the rest of the details, we’ll be teasing you with bits of info as we get closer to that date.

Oh, the date! I didn’t even mention it, did I?

June 29 at 8:00 p.m., 3000 Emmons Avenue. Suggested donation only $10.

See you there.

Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard) is one of 10 community colleges from around the country selected to participate in a new initiative focused on civic learning the the humanities.

The program, called “Bridging Cultures to Form a Nation: Difference, Community and Democratic Thinking” brings teams from all 10 colleges together to design a three-year curriculum and faculty development project to strengthen civic engagement.

“We are extraordinarily pleased to have been selected as a national leader for our unswerving dedication and commitment to making civic engagement an integral part of the academic experience at KCC,” said Regina Peruggi, president of KCC. “The preparation of our students to become engaged citizens and leaders of tomorrow is critically important and top priority at KCC.”

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and co-sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and The Democracy Commitment, the new curriculum will:

  • infuse questions about difference, engaged community, and democratic thinking into transfer courses in the humanities
  • promote greater adoption of practices that advance important civic learning outcomes
  • create a series of humanities-enriched professional development opportunities for full-time and adjunct faculty
  • expand the project’s impact through collaboration with additional community colleges and partnerships with state humanities councils

Here’s more about the project, from the college’s press release:

Bridging Cultures was developed as part of AAC&U’s ongoing initiative on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement and builds on the recommendations issued in the report, A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future, released in January 2012 at a White House convening. The key recommendation in A Crucible Moment is to make civic learning in college expected rather than optional for all students, including all those in career and technical programs. Building from this recommendation, Bridging Cultures began in February 2012 with a call for proposals to community colleges across the country, leading to the selection of 10 teams composed of humanities faculty and administrators.

Team members will participate in an intensive summer faculty development institute in August 2012, as well as multiple other faculty development opportunities and partnerships with other community colleges. The project will culminate in a symposium planned for October 2014. Bridging Cultures’ impact will also be strengthened by a partnership with theNew York Times Company education group, which is collaborating with TDC in their national initiative.  Project participants will use the Epsilen online learning platform to develop forums and to share and co-create resources and course materials.

In addition to KCC selected institutions include Chandler-Gilbert Community College (AZ); County College of Morris (NJ); Georgia Perimeter College (GA); Kapi’olani Community College(HI); Miami Dade College (FL);  Middlesex Community College (MA);Mount Wachusett Community College (MA); Lone Star College-Kingwood (TX); and Santa Fe College(FL).

Sushi K Bar II at 627 Kings Highway, the second location of  Sushi K, is closed for renovations.

The printed sign on the door did not state what was being renovated or when the eatery would open.

Guess kosher sushi lovers will have to get their spicy salmon fix elsewhere for now.

After last week’s decision by a New York Supreme Court judge that the allegedly fraudulent ballots in the 27th State Senate District race were, in fact, legitimate, the Board of Elections has completed their canvas – Republican David Storobin is in the lead by 27 votes.

The current count, according to a statement released by Councilman Lew Fidler’s campaign, Storobin’s Democratic opponent, is as follows:

  • Storobin: 11,082
  • Fidler: 11,055

That leaves a 0.12 percent difference between the two candidates, triggering a provision in BOE procedures that states that any race in which the margin between the two candidates is less than one-half percent of the total votes cast (in this race, 110 votes), a full hand recount of each and every vote cast must be done.

Regardless of who wins the seat, their influence has already been stunted in Albany. The legislative session ends in June, and, due to redistricting, the seat is slated to be eliminated come January. It’s possible that the winner will never cast a single vote.

However, at the very least, the race is a learning opportunity for the Board of Elections. The new electronic scanner machines implemented citywide in 2010 have never been saddled with a full hand recount. The BOE told Sheepshead Bites they’re not even sure how long the process will take.

“We have to open everything; every paper ballot [including paper returns from the electronic scanners]. It’s over 22,000 ballots,” said BOE spokesperson Valerie Vazquez. “We just have to make sure that there’s confidence in the election and that every vote that was cast was in fact counted.”

Flier for our Town Hall meeting this Thursday. Come and make a difference!

THE COMMUTE: I have been planning bus routes for my entire professional life, 10 years of which was in some type of official capacity. It is what I most enjoy doing. However, this article is not about me. It is about you. It is about how Sheepshead Bay, Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park, Bensonhurst, and Brighton Beach can get better bus service by having fewer transfers and shorter walks with little added costs.

I developed a set of bus route proposals, including a few routing changes, some extensions, one new route, and elimination of another. It would involve a small investment in our bus system, which is why the MTA will say it cannot be done since their policy is to only implement zero cost changes. They want to reduce the size of our bus system to encourage more subway use even if those trips are indirect and cause much inconvenience. They are not interested in increasing bus connections to make bus service more convenient.

You can show support for these ideas, which I will explain tomorrow and Wednesday, or any others you may have to improve bus service, at Thursday’s Town Hall (click here for details).

If we stick together as a community and work with our neighboring communities and our elected officials, the MTA will have to hear and listen to us. Communities in the past have rarely initiated bus routing changes. They just sat back and merely accepted whatever the MTA has doled out. The only time they speak up is to oppose a change the MTA is proposing. That is not the way it has to be. Now is the time to be proactive instead of reactive.

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A Toyota Camry slammed into the glass storefront of Wine Village liquor store at 3827 Nostrand Avenue Sunday afternoon, leaving shattered glass and debris scattered around the strip mall.

The driver was taken to the hospital but is expected to make a full recovery. The incident happened around 5:00 p.m., and the car was towed away about an hour later.

The incident mirrors a September 2010 accident, in which a car rolled through the storefront of Party City in the same shopping strip. And, in December 2011, directly across the street from Wine Village, a car struck the storefront of Nostrand Ice Cream Shop  (3824 Nostrand Avenue).

Thanks to Max Tasimowicz for the tip and photos.

Update (11:01 a.m.): This photo just came in from @Elankul: