Part of the Murrow High School's back wall, as seen from the street.

Commuters have been assaulted by graffiti splattered along the back wall of Edward R. Murrow High School (1600 Avenue L) for almost as long as the school has existed. But cleaning it up has been a multi-year effort pitting the school against the MTA.

For starters, the cleanup of Murrow High School’s graffiti-covered wall could cost the school an unnecessarily large sum of cash, according to the school’s principal, Anthony R. Lodico. The MTA refuses to allow access to school officials — and says they must pay inflated prices to the agency’s contractors if it wants the job done.

Founded in 1974, the high school and its back wall have been the center for conflict and controversy for about two decades, according to Lodico. This graffiti has even survived the wear and tear of time and New York’s drastic weather changes. And, in his opinion, one of the biggest ongoing issues the school faces is not budget cuts or classroom sizes, but trying to get the wall cleaned up.

“It has been an uphill battle that we have not won,” he said.

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Joseph S. Reisman is inundated this week with tax forms. Or is he? Source: Matteo.Mazzoni / Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

TELLING TIPS: Tax season is upon us and, as such, our venerated “Telling Tips” columnist, Joseph S. Reisman, is up to his eyeballs in tax forms taking a much-deserved day off from column-writing. As I have told Ned multiple times, I enjoy editing the weekly “Telling Tips” columns, not just because it barely needs any editing, but as someone who doesn’t get math at all, and whose encephalus is wired to better grasp English and history, I learn so much from them, week after week. Reisman’s also a pretty funny guy.

You may think to yourself, “Ohhhhhh (insert eye roll)… a column about taxes, and accounting — how exciting. Not.” Except, it really is. It took me no time to figure that out and, the upside is, I glean lots of important — surprise! — tips from it. Reisman has a wonderful way of distilling down complicated subjects that are traditionally boring, and making them not only palatable, but quite enjoyable. My circuits start smoking at the prospect of being faced with long division, or having to use decimal points, so for me to like reading about college tax credits, 401Ks, and IRAs, it’s kind of a big deal.

In honor of Joe’s day off, here are five — in my opinion — pretty great “Telling Tips” columns. Joseph S. Reisman’s Greatest Hits, if you will. Enjoy!

  1. Forget Taxes — The World Is Ending!
  2. How Much Do You Cost Your Employer?
  3. The Coming Budget Battle And Tax Changes
  4. The Accountant: What Makes A Good One?
  5. When You Owe The IRS…

Joseph Reisman, of Joseph S. Reisman & Associates, has been serving tax prep and business accounting expertise from his Coney Island Avenue office for more than 25 years. Check out the firm’s website.

Notify NYC sent the following alert:

Due to a restoration project in Jamaica Bay, multiple, daily bridge lifts of the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge that began January 26th will be extended through March. The lifts will take place around-the-clock and require full closure of the bridge to traffic. It takes roughly 15 minutes to raise and lower the bridge. Motorists are advised to use Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternate route.

For more information about the restoration project, you can read our earlier article.

The Saltzman's going away party at JFK airport. From left to right: Susan Saltzman, Boardmember Tara Hodgens, Jessica Saltzman, Steven Saltzman, Matthew Saltzman and David Huber.

When Sheepshead Bay native David Huber, 25, first became involved with the Dream Factory organization four years ago, he was just a college student interested in volunteer work. Since then, their mission to make dreams come true for critically and chronically ill children has left a lasting impression on him.

So much so, that he has decided to take on a leadership role and establish the first-ever Brooklyn chapter, located in Sheepshead Bay.

Huber’s contributions, like recruiting new board members and volunteers, have been instrumental in granting the dream of Matthew Saltzman, a 13-year-old boy who has been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Matthew and his family went on a dream vacation to Disney World with a new digital camera and souvenir money, provided by Huber and the rest of the Dream Factory team.

Currently, the members of the local chapter are eager to find another Brooklyn-based dream candidate. The criteria is that the child must be between 3 and 18 years of age and critically or chronically ill. To submit recommendations, receive additional information, or make donations contact The Dream Factory of Brooklyn, Inc, at:

1421 Sheepshead Bay Road, Suite 158
Brooklyn, NY, 11235
Phone: 917-670-9528
E-mail: Brooklyn@dreamfactoryinc.org

From the photographer (Ed. — With additionally commentary from the editor):

I took these photos (Ed. — The one above is one of three nearly identical to one another) at KCC (Ed. — Kingsborough Community College, in the unlikely event that someone doesn’t know what “KCC” stands for) last Friday morning (Ed. — the Friday before this past Friday) about 7:10 AM.

Photo by Stan Kaplan

Photo by Erica Sherman

Beginning Friday, March 2, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz will be extending Friday office hours an hour later, to 5:00 p.m, at his Sheepshead Bay Road district office. The office will continue to remain open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The new Friday hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

According to a letter sent to neighbors, he modified the office hours to better accommodate constituents.

“I believe that it’s my responsibility to make myself and my staff readily available to the public, and this extra window of time will provide members of the community, who may need that extra hour, to get to my office to address issues that are important to them,” he wrote.”

Cymbrowitz’s office is located at 1800 Sheepshead Bay Road between Emmons Avenue and Shore Parkway. You can contact the office by calling (718) 743-4078; however, no appointments are necessary.

Following our post about how both candidates in the race for the 27th Senate District both support a school voucher program, we got a note from Republican David Storobin’s team slamming Democrat Lew Fidler’s proposal as “vouchers lite.”

Campaign rep David Simpson wrote:

Ned, thanks for coving the vouchers issue today but you’re a little off. Fidler is not pushing vouchers as it says in your post. That’s inaccurate. In fact, it’s the opposite: Fidler is opposed to vouchers. Ask him. He rather favors tax credits, which is like “vouchers light.”

Fidler’s campaign strategy from the beginning has been to protect his liberal flank by remaking himself as some sort of jewish hero among the orthodox community. He is not, and we aren’t going to let him run from his record. And here it is…

For 10 years on the City Council, Fidler has proven himself to be the UFT favorite son. Never has he gone against them, nor will he. Only now is proposing tax credits for private school. The idea has some merit and has been tried in a few states. However, the financial relief is limited in that it can only be applied to state income tax and a portion of property taxes … this screws people who aren’t homeowners. Storobin favors direct tuition vouchers which would help many more people and in a more meaningful way financially. Big difference.

Furthermore, as detailed in his press release yesterday, Storobin’s plan is to tie voucher amounts to the average cost of educating a child in a given public school district (in New York City, that’s about $18,126 per student), and capping eligibility at a certain income level.

Fidler’s plan, as we wrote yesterday, is scaled back to a proposed $5,000 tax credit per yeshiva student, reimbursement to the schools for state-mandated programs, and increased funding for Priority 5 vouchers – which covers the cost of after-school programs.

So, in a sense, Simpson is right: Fidler isn’t pushing direct tuition vouchers – but “vouchers lite” is still a voucher in that it reimburses parents of private schools on tax revenue that otherwise would have went to public schools.

And, in case we were getting ahead of ourselves, we did ask the Storobin team the following questions:

How does Storobin intend to fund the voucher program? And, in his press release, he states it’s to provide financial relief and that “New York has the responsibility to provide every family, every child with the same opportunity at a quality education.” Well, if that’s the case, my question is how will he ensure that the money won’t come from the public school system, and thereby reduce the opportunity for others to have a quality education?

We have not yet received a response.

UPDATE (5:41 p.m.): It’s only fair that we ask Fidler the same questions we did Storobin, so we just sent him the following queries:

How do you intend to fund the tuition tax credits, security cameras, transportation vouchers and reimbursements for mandated services? And how will you ensure that the money won’t come from the public school system, and thereby reduce the opportunity for others to have a quality education?

We’ll let you know if we hear back from either party.

The former storefront of Bauer Comfort (left), Gorbach (top) and Sergatiouk (bottom)

Former partners of a Sheepshead Bay-based business are dead after one of the partners killed the other on Saturday, then turned the gun on himself. Their business relationship, which soured two years ago, is believed to be the primary motive.

Aleksandr Gorbach’s wife and children watched Gorbach, 43, bleed to death Saturday evening by a shotgun blast to the chest delivered by former business partner Mikhail Sergatiouk.

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THE BITE: Many of the Eastern European markets in our area have what used to be called a salad bar. I still refer to them as salad bars, but in reality, they offer so much more.

Gourmet Boutique, 3688 Nostrand Avenue, has one of the largest salad bars in the area. Actually they have more than one. They offer up everything from a plain old salad to beef stroganoff. They also have a huge baked goods selection, a large variety of European beers and just about everything else you’d find in a standard supermarket with the exception of Diet Coke.

For this week’s Bite, I’m going to talk about their “veal cutlet with mushrooms.” This is avaialable by the piece and is priced at $4.99 per pound. I don’t know how the cashiers keep the food bar prices straight. Every item on the salad bars is priced differently.

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Photo by Robert Fernandez

Oh. My. Goodness. Isn’t this America? We thought this was America. We believe it is, and, yet, in less than six months two fast food chains – McDonald’s and Burger King – have shuttered in Sheepshead Bay. It must be a tough economy…

We noticed it yesterday, but we’re told the 2481 Knapp Street location closed on Saturday. According to a worker who was there yesterday taking out kitchen equipment, the landlord refused to renew the lease.

The employee does not know what is planned for the property, which is now entirely stripped of all Burger King signage, except for the large sign on the pole in the parking lot.

We’ll be keeping an eye on this.