Firefighters are responding to an all-hands fire at 602 Avenue T, between Ocean Parkway and East 7th Street in Gravesend, according to reports coming in over the police scanner.

The building is a six-story apartment building, and the initial report states the fire is on the first floor.

Additional FDNY units are on the way.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

A SIG Sauer P220 45 ACP semiautomatic handgun. Source: kcdsTM / Flickr

BETWEEN THE LINES: After the January 2011 Arizona shooting spree when six were killed, including a 9-year-old girl, and more than a dozen injured, most notably U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, gun violence in America again became the focus of debate for several weeks.

Despite the predictable healthy dose of rhetoric in the aftermath of such tragedies, no remedies have ever resulted, nor has a damn thing ever been done, to change gun laws.

The relentless argument about whether or not our society has too many guns — it’s estimated there’s at least one firearm for every American — seems to be reflected in several news stories that have hogged headlines nationwide so far this year.

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A photo of a car-less Ocean Parkway, after the 2010 Half Marathon (Source: AMRosario/Flickr)

As organizers at the New York Road Runners plan to nearly triple the number of participants in the Brooklyn Half Marathon this year, which runs down Ocean Parkway, locals are fuming over potential traffic snarls and damage to the Coney Island Boardwalk.

Sizable changes were made to the route of this year’s Brooklyn Half Marathon to accommodate as many as 15,000 runners – up from 5,921 last year. The race, scheduled to take place on May 19, takes runners down a long stretch of Ocean Parkway, ending on the Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island – sparking concern from residents and preservationists.

“What is the plan for Ocean Parkway? How will pedestrians be able to cross the street and how will traffic get around?” asked Allan Shweky, founder of Friends of Ocean Parkway. “The only other alternative is really the Belt Parkway.”

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Photo by Allan Shweky

The team at Sheepshead Bites would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to Captain Al Pizzano, Detective Kenneth Ayala, Detective Mike Keenan and Police Officer Matthew Granahan – the four officers wounded in the weekend shootout at 3301 Nostrand Avenue.

Although, as part of our reporting, we often find ourselves spotlighting problems within the department or airing the complaints of our readers, we recognize that any individuals we report on are often the exception, not the rule. In working with members of our local precinct over the years, it is clear that, though problems do exist, it is equally clear the force is made up largely of caring, concerned individuals who do important work under incredible pressures.

And so, in light of the unfortunate circumstances that occurred this weekend, when four officers had a brush with death while protecting the public, we thank those members of New York’s Finest who do great work and put their lives on the line day in and day out.

Thank you for your service, officers.

It must be something in the air. In the past two weeks, Sheepshead Bay has seen several brutal crimes in the area, as neighbors turned on neighbors.

What next, squirrel-on-squirrel violence? Yup!

Reader nolastname spotted this squirrel chomping down on another squirrel earlier in the day. Sitting on the sidewalk, she appeared to be preparing a nice squirrel stew with a side of acorn and some sap-infused Chianti.

What’s causing this mayhem? Must be the tough economy.

Just kidding!

This ol’ gal was just carrying her youngin around like a cat, back and forth across a street. She stopped and struck a pose for the camera.

The approximate location of the proposed natural gas pipeline.

Activists faced off with officials at a Jamaica Bay Task Force meeting last week, saying the government is sidelining waterfront communities in order to quietly push through major projects, including a deal to bring a natural gas pipeline to Jamaica Bay.

The Rockaway/Gateway gas pipeline outraged locals due to the fact that Transco Williams — one of the largest interstate gas pipeline systems in the country — could destroy as much as 11,000 feet of the nearby marine environment during the installation, which would ultimately connect Brooklyn and Queens to a major gas artery off the coast. After quiet approval from the U.S. House of Representatives, the plans are heading to the Senate – and no one asked Jamaica Bay’s eco-guardians what they thought.

“[The government and Transco Williams] retain information for themselves in order to issue the right of way for these gas lines,” an attendee argued during the meeting, adding that she had not previously heard of the project.

Though not necessarily opposed to the pipeline, critics of the process demanded more accountability, including information to help assess the affects to marine life and risks of a gas leak.

The concerns were expressed at the April 4 meeting of the Jamaica Bay Task Force, a group of residents, scientists, and federal, state, regional, and local agency representatives that share a common interest in the Bay.

Activists worry that the project could set a precedent for other major projects in Jamaica Bay, letting government agencies and private companies snub the communities that live and work around the waters.

That precedent has locals eyeing the government’s actions in Broad Channel, where two ponds with aging, eroded pumping stations need replacing. But if a contract is awarded without the input of environmentalists, the work could end up disrupting the ponds’ role as a landing and grazing ground for birds and other wildlife.

The pipeline is not the only project that has both residents and elected officials concerned about the federal parkland’s environment – and the community feeling jilted.

Recent talks of a plan to expand John F. Kennedy International Airport’s landing strips, increasing its footprint in Jamaica Bay, had residents fuming.

Experts stated the airport has met its capacity, and spreading into the Bay is inevitable, but residents insist this would have devastating effects on migratory birds and other species that are natives of the land.

After an attempt to resolve the issue on their own, Monica’s Bridal (1637 Sheepshead Bay Road) has now gone to police and released the photo of the vandal who destroyed three of the storefront’s solid brass light fixtures last week.

The incident occurred at approximately 4:00 a.m. on April 2, dealing out approximately $1,000 worth of damage, the store’s owner told Sheepshead Bites.

Located just feet away from one of the light fixtures was a surveillance camera, which recorded the crime (still photo above).

Monica’s owners thought they recognized the vandal and attempted to seek reimbursement for the repairs rather than go to the police. However, after meeting with the individual they determined he was not involved.

If you recognize the person photographed above or have any other information regarding this crime, contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

Constructed in 1991, 130 Livingston Street was supposed to streamline MTA operations. Source: Google Maps

THE COMMUTE: In Part 1, I provided examples of MTA waste. Today I will detail the waste I personally observed while employed by the MTA.

During my nearly 25 years at the MTA, I witnessed many types of MTA waste. When I started, one of my employees had to supervise three months of extra work that had to be performed because approximately 50 temporary workers sabotaged data due to the MTA screwing them before I was hired. They did this by firing the workers on a Friday and rehiring them the following Monday. This was to avoid having to pay them sick and vacation benefits, which were required of temporary employees hired for longer than six months.

Five years later, I shared a floor with a half dozen employees that the MTA forgot to reassign after dismantling a department of 30. They were placed in a corner and given no assignments for three years, although they continued to get paid.

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The application deadline for public school pre-kindergarten programs for the 2012-13 school year has been extended to April 10, 2012. According to the Department of Education’s Elementary School Enrollment Team, you can apply to public school pre-k programs online or in person:

  • Online: If you would like to apply online, you must submit your application by 11:59 p.m. on April 10.
  • In Person: Visit your local enrollment office to fill out a paper application or work with a counselor to complete the online application. The deadline to apply in person at an enrollment office is April 10 at 3:00 p.m.

Community-based organization (CBO) pre-kindergarten programs have no specific application deadline. If you’d like to apply to CBO programs, deliver the CBO application directly to each CBO site to which you would like to apply.

To learn more about pre-kindergarten admissions — and for a list of public school and CBO pre-kindergarten programs — go to www.nyc.gov/schools/prek or review the 2012-2013 Pre-Kindergarten Directory.