Click to enlarge. Source: aussiegall / Flickr

Hey, pint-sized explorers. Time to get your treasure maps, headlamps and compasses ready (but leave the Swiss Army knives at home) — it’s time for State Senator Marty Golden’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt in Marine Park. The annual expedition to see who could round up the most colorful eggs in strategically-placed spots throughout Marine Park will be held April 1, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the park at Fillmore Avenue and Madison Place.

This year’s Easter Egg Hunt, which includes games, music, activities and prizes for the children, is being co-sponsored by the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Southwest Brooklyn Parks Task Force. Golden is also holding a similar event in Dyker Heights on March 31.

“I encourage all children and families to come out to Dyker Park and Marine Park and share in the fun of an Easter Egg Hunt,” said Golden. “The challenge is on to find the eggs hidden in the parks. These special events in our parks are what makes our community a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

All are invited to attend the event. To learn more, contact Golden’s office at (718) 238-6044 or visit www.golden.nysenate.gov.

Photo by Arthur Borko

Defying the never-ending rumor that an IHOP is destined for the Sheepshead Bay area, the former site of Chinar, a.k.a. the former site of Jahn’s, a.k.a. the former site of The Flame… is now the present site of a parking lot for Key Food customers.

Key Food shoppers, count your blessings.

Sunset near St. Margaret Mary Roman Catholic Church. You can get a good look at the church and learn more about it here.

Photo by Valerie Landriscina

We’re trying out a new format for meeting coverage, which for now will be called “Bullet Points.” It will be published the day after Community Board 15′s monthly meeting, featuring all the takeaways we think are important. Information in Bullet Points is meant to only be a quick summary, and some issues may be more deeply explored in future articles. If you like this format, or have suggestions for improvement, or see an item you’d like to know more information about – let us know in the comments section!

Board votes to approve expansion of Manhattan Beach home: The Board voted 29 to 8 to approve a special permit to enlarge a single family dwelling at 186 Girard Street, at the corner of Oriental Boulevard. The owner is seeking to increase the floor area from 5,400 square feet to 8,855 square feet, increasing the floor-area-ratio (FAR) to 0.82 (maximum allowed is 0.5). Neighbors on Falmouth Street objected, saying the expansion would block sunlight and their view of the ocean. Another neighbor pointed out that the home’s previous owner objected to his immediate next door neighbor’s expansion, saying it was too large and causing the construction to halt. Ed Eisenberg expressed his opposition, calling it a “mega-mansion.”

Other Board actions:

  • The Board voted unanimously to request a meeting with Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey in regards to Manhattan Beach Park. Alan Ditchek, Community Board 15′s first vice chairperson and president of Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association, made the motion, saying the department has neglected to make repairs even though the funding has been made available.
  • The Board voted unanimously to send a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, voicing opposition to his proposal to eliminate the “spousal refusal” allowance in New York State. Boardmember Debra Greif, mother of a child with a development disability, proposed the motion, noting that the proposal would also eliminate the right to parental refusal, causing financial burden to parents of children with disabilities or chronic illnesses.

Reports from elected officials:

  • Councilman Lew Fidler delivered good news on behalf of his Democratic colleague in the State Assembly, Helene Weinstein, saying that the legislature has come to a budget agreement that has preserved several services New Yorkers care about. Some of the good news includes investment in capital projects that will put people to work, an increase in $185 million in educational aid, assistance for private schools, and increased funding for homeless shelter beds. The budget will be on-time, allowing the City to move forward with its budget process, he said. In the City Council’s education committee budget hearing, they announced no new layoffs, but the school system will lose approximately 2,500 teachers to attrition, meaning larger class sizes. He also noted his continued opposition to proposed cuts to after school programs, and that he is against property tax increases during a time of high foreclosure rates. He said the budget is due to be finalized in May.
  • Councilman Michael Nelson promoted his offices free legal assistance services, now being held in four locations. Call his office for details. He also said they are beginning free entitlement screening days, in which constituents can be screened for up to 40 government assistance programs. He has also introduced legislation to protect homeowners with a city bus stop in front of their home from getting Sanitation tickets for litter that commuters leave on the ground. Nelson added that he is for implementing a real time database for tracking prescription fulfillment in New York State called i-STOP to help prevent the abuse of prescription drugs.
  • A representative for Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein announced that as part of the budget agreement, the representative had won a two-year-long battle to get state funding to reimburse yeshivas and private schools for providing state-mandated bus service for students dismissed after 5:00 p.m.

Notable info:

  • On Friday, April 6, the Sanitation Department will provide regular garbage collection to every block in the district. Please put your garbage out after 5 p.m. on April 5 for collection during the night.
  • There will be a public dumpster located at James Madison High School Sports Field (south side of Quentin Road between East 26th Street and East 27th Street) all day on April 6 to service Jewish residents in need of disposing leavened foods ahead of Passover.
  • People in charge of burning chometz either in front of a home or a synagogue must ensure that the fires are small and controlled so that the fire department is not called to an out of control fire. Chometz burning should end at 11:52 a.m. on Friday, April 6.
  • Alternate side parking rules are suspended April 5 to April 8 to accommodate the holidays.
  • Next month’s Community Board 15 meeting will begin at 6 p.m. to accommodate a larger-than-usual agenda.
  • Don Brown, liaison to the United States Postal Service, noted that rumors persist about the closing of branches near the community. He said no such closures are proposed at the time.
  • Chris Greif informed attendees about the upcoming 23rd Annual Brooklyn Family Support Fair. The event will take place on May 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Brooklyn College’s Student Union Building (Campus Road and East 27th Street). The event is organized by the Brooklyn Developmental Disabilities Council.

 

A rally to save Sheepshead Bay High School when it faced closure in 2010.

Parents, teachers and students at Sheepshead Bay High School are poised to fight back tonight against the Department of Education’s plans to close the school and fire up to half the teachers, as the school’s supporters organize a rally in front of the building before heading into a public hearing on the matter.

The Department of Education is proposing to reform the Sheepshead Bay High School using the “turnaround” model. This means the city will rename the school and replace the principal and 50 percent of its teachers. The school stands to gain $1.55 million in federal funding from the School Improvement Grant program using this model. William E. Grady High School, Franklin D. Roosevelt High School and John Dewey High School are other local schools slated for turnaround.

The turnaround model has been criticized by opponents as a politically motivated stab at the teacher’s union, after negotiations to implement a new teacher evaluation system stalled. Reforming teacher evaluations was a prerequisite to receive federal Race to the Top grants, and the failure to strike a deal cost the city a chance at hundreds of millions of dollars.

It’s not the first time the school has been on the chopping block, most recently protesting in November 2010 to stay open – a battle it won. The school’s principal also vowed to fight for her job.

Today’s rally kicks off at 4:00 p.m. The public hearing begins at 6:00 p.m. at the school (3000 Avenue X). Written comments can be submitted via e-mail to D22Proposals@schools.nyc.gov, and oral comments can be left at 212-374-0208.

The Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the proposal on April 26.

The following is a press release from State Senator Marty Golden’s office:

Albany– Senator Martin J. Golden (R,C,I-Brooklyn) today is announcing that he is seeking nominations from local residents of veterans whose service on behalf of our nation designates them as an inductee of the New York State Veteran’s Hall of Fame.

Senator Marty Golden stated, “The Senate takes this opportunity to honor the brave men and women who serve our nation and protect our freedom as members of the military. The Senate Veteran’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to all who serve, but also singles out for special recognition those whose sacrifices and service have helped make our nation and our community better places to live.”

The Senate will honor a distinguished veteran from our area and throughout the state at a May 22nd Albany ceremony, where each honoree’s photograph and biography will become part of a special on-line exhibit proclaiming the contributions of these exemplary New York Veterans.

To nominate someone, residents can request a nomination form by contacting Senator Golden’s office at (718) 238-6044 or via email at golden@nysenate.gov. All nominations must include a biography of approximately 250 words, that must include the nominee’s rank and file at time of discharge or end of military service as well as awards and/or achievement, and a high resolution photograph. Nominations are due by April 23, 2012.

The New York State Senate Veteran’s Hall of Fame was created to honor and recognize outstanding veterans from the Empire State who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life.  Their meritorious service to our nation deserves the special recognition that only a Hall of Fame can provide, as a fitting expression of our gratitude and admiration.

THE BITE: I have to admit that when I saw this restaurant being built, I wasn’t too pleased. Just what we need, I thought to myself, another kebab house. I watched as it came together and finally wandered in this week.

Ćevabdžinica Sarajevo II, 2556 Coney Island Avenue, has been open for about two weeks, and now I say, “Welcome to the neighborhood!”

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After less than a year in operation, the MetroPCS at 1419 Sheepshead Bay Road closed down this week.

We walked by yesterday and were shocked to see that the storefront had been cleared out seemingly overnight. The no-contract cell phone dealer opened up last July.

That’s probably good news for the other MetroPCS location, at 1710 Sheepshead Bay Road, which was not affiliated with this one.

This reminds me of the alien landing scene in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Photo by Elaine L

We received more than a dozen photos from readers of the very dense fog that blanketed parts of the city last week and, instead of posting Morning Mug photos (many of which are very similar) of the same fog, week after week, until Christmas, I thought we should showcase a bunch of them here, in a “Morning Mug: Special Fog Edition” post.

Panorama -- sweet! Photo by Local Broker

Some, by reader and occasional contributor, Local Broker, capture the bay at its most serene in the quiet, early morning hours. You can almost look at the photos and hear distant, mournful sounds of the foghorns from the boats.

What evil lurks over yonder? Photo by Matthew Ahl

Others, by readers Elaine L and Matthew Ahl, capture a more mysterious side of Southern Brooklyn, whose desolate streets and muted street lamps add to the eeriness.

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The Supreme Court heard two hours of oral arguments today before their hotly anticipated ruling on national healthcare reform, in a case that focuses on the constitutionality of the “individual mandate” – the portion of the reform that requires every American citizen to obtain insurance or pay a penalty.

While most Americans are in favor of many elements of the reform – dubbed Obamacare by its detractors – the individual mandate has raised skepticism from a slim majority of the public.

Those against the mandate say it’s an example of government overreach into the private lives’ of its citizens. Those in favor of it argue that  the additional public expenses of the uninsured – whose unpaid bills default to the taxpayer – make it fair game for government involvement.

If the justices rule against the mandate, it will be the first time since 1936 that the Supreme Court rolls back a major piece of federal economic legislation for reasons of Congressional overreach.

What do you think? Does the mandate go too far into our private lives, or does the taxpayer burden make it fair game?