The Manhattan Beach Community Group’s (MBCG) next meeting will be held April 18, 8:00 p.m. at Public School 195, 131 Irwin Street.

The MBCG encourages members of the community to attend and participate in their monthly civic meetings.

To learn more, visit


BETWEEN THE LINES: Almost a century after the Scopes monkey trial, in which Tennessee high school science teacher John Scopes was found guilty of violating the state’s law against teaching evolution in public schools, the state recently demonstrated that it never learned a damn thing.

In a Christian fundamentalist campaign to impose their extremist religious beliefs on others, the Volunteer State passed a law to allow creationism to be discussed in science classes as a counter concept to evolution that favors the six-day explanation in the Old Testament.

One state senator, who opposed the bill, said the measure “simply dredges up the problems of our past with this bill that will affect our future.”

Critics, such as the ACLU and the state’s teachers union, said that contesting evolution “is miseducation and good teachers know that.”

The measure, which passed late in March by a 3-to-1 margin, protects public school teachers, who choose to teach creationism alongside evolution. However, the setback opens a Pandora’s Box that embraces the denial of other conventions, such as climate change, despite the vast amount of facts supporting it by an overwhelming majority of experts around the globe.

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Firefighters squelched a fire in a storage area behind Bally’s Total Fitness Gym (1720 Sheepshead Bay Road), adjacent to the Voorhies Avenue municipal parking lot this morning.

The fire broke out shortly before 10:00 a.m. and was quickly put out by Ladder 169. A plastic storage shed behind the gym melted and its contents – tiles, air conditioning supplies and other equipment - destroyed. The flames grew tall enough to lap at the foliage of a nearby tree, withering the branches. A car parked in the lot just feet away from the fire had minor damage, with the heat melting its plastic license plate frame and covering it in water and ash.

FDNY officials on the scene said the cause of the fire was undetermined at this time, but it was likely something small like a lit cigarette.

The fire, though small, serves as a reminder to residents that New York City is in the midst of a drought, with officials consistently warning of the dangers even a small heat source can spark. Brush fires have recently broken out in Long Island, Staten Island and Central Park. The city is currently under a Red Flag Warning, meaning we’re in critical fire conditions with dry weather and strong winds.

Sheepshead Bites reminds readers to be careful disposing any burning debris, including charcoal from grills. Cigarette smokers should ensure their butts are thoroughly extinguished before throwing them on the ground or in a garbage can.

A contractor was on the scene last Thursday ripping out a damaged flag pole from the end of Pier 3, at Emmons Avenue and Bedford Avenue. The pole has been leaning over since at least last summer.

No word yet from the Parks Department – which manages the Sheepshead Bay marina – on when or if the flag pole will be replaced.

The photographer writes:

 I did find it a most unusual place for a person to be sitting in a chair at the curb on Avenue U obviously enjoying the early morning sunlight. One has heard of tar beach but concrete beaches?

I think the sepia is the proverbial cherry on top (icing on the cake?) of a really nice shot.

Photo by PayPaul

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Lew Fidler:

City Councilman Lew Fidler announced today that the long-awaited comfort station, which was built as part of the re-development of Seba Park, has opened, just in time for peak season. Those who visit this state-of-the-art park will now be able to utilize on-site restroom facilities, and will no longer need to cut short their time at the park when nature calls.

In recent years, Councilman Fidler has allocated a total of $2.33 million to Seba Park to fund the skate park, tot lot, state-of-the-art playground and its subsequent expansion, and comfort station. A symbolic ribbon cutting will take place at the Gerritsen Beach Little League opening day ceremony on Saturday, April 21st.

Councilman Fidler stated, “I am pleased that our Seba Avenue comfort station will be open in time for the little league baseball season. Certainly, our little leaguers….and their parents and siblings….will all get some welcome relief knowing that it is there. I have always said that Gerritsen Beach is entitled to first class facilities, and this is just part of keeping that promise. If folks can recall 11 years ago, Seba Park was a rubble strewn lot and nothing more. It is now a truly terrific neighborhood park and with the addition that is coming soon, will be even better. These are your tax dollars at work, and I am pleased to have worked with Assemblyman Maisel, Gerritsen Beach Property Owners’ Association, Gerritsen Beach Cares and others to have gotten this done for Beach residents.”

Chris Llego, a junior at Sheepshead Bay High School, stood before a tribunal of five international criminal court chief justices at the Peace Palace in the Hague, the Netherlands, this past February. In front of an audience of students, teachers, international attorneys, judges and other dignitaries, he delivered an argument in a mock International Court Case (ICC).

The judges, according to Llego, were imposing.

“They looked so wise, advanced and skilled; they were in a whole other league,” he said

Llego was a member of one of two select teams of 16 New York City public high school students in an International Moot Court competition that was held this past February, in the Hague, The Netherlands. Team One from New York City prevailed over teams from around the world, including teams from Russia, Poland, Argentina, The Netherlands, and the home of the eventual second place team, Venezuela.

Llego was a key member of the New York contingent, and was one of three New York City students who participated in the final round.

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… especially the businesses that support Sheepshead Bites.

We all know Sheepshead Bay shines during the summers, when weekends are spent with lazy strolls down Emmons Avenue’s waterfront, across the footbridge and to the beach – and when weekdays are spent at work, fantasizing about those weekend strolls.

So, this summer, make sure you check out these great businesses that support local independent news. Many of them, like Masal Cafe, Aqualina Crab & Seafood Bistro and Millenium Theatre, make for great summer dates!

Manhattan Borough President – and mayoral contender - Scott Stringer sent out the following statement shortly after our report on Friday about the Avenue Z Jewish Center (875 Avenue Z) being vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti. He wrote:

I am outraged by the news that the Avenue Z Jewish Center in Brooklyn has once again been defaced by anti-Semitic vandals, with graffiti on the entrance door to the center, as well as a sidewalk and nearby synagogue windows. There is no place in our community for this kind of vulgar and cowardly attack—and memories are still fresh of the February, 2011 vandalism at the center which looted a donation box and destroyed a large menorah and a Torah. I urge anyone with knowledge of this incident to contact the NYPD immediately, and I have no doubt that through their great work these perpetrators will be caught.

To our knowledge, the Manhattan politician is the only elected official to issue a statement relating to this incident.

More advertising on mass transit could pump money into the system, if not for missed opportunities (Source: CarbonNYC/Flickr)

THE COMMUTE: In Part 1, I provided examples of MTA waste. In Part 2, I discussed a few examples of waste I personally observed during my nearly 25 years working for the MTA. Today we conclude the series discussing missed opportunities and double standards.

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