Source: stevendepolo/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: Here’s a tip: You can read part one of the series, “Tips for the Taxed: Part I,” by clicking here.

Tax Returns: Should be kept forever as they are a picture of your financial history — when you were married, bought a house, added to your family, and so much more. Scan all your important documents into your computer, and then back up your entire computer every night for about $60/year with a program such as Carbonite.

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In front of El Greco, last night.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Firefighters rushed to Avenue Z between East 13th Street and East 14th Street after a New York City MTA bus struck dangling cables over the street, ripping them from their supports.

The incident occurred shortly after 4:00 p.m.

Fortunately, the cables were not power lines, but transmission lines for cable television. Still, the FDNY showed up within minutes after the owners of Gothic Press (1317 Avenue Z) called 911.

The MTA bus did not stop, according to a witness.

After more than a decade of battling government bureaucracy, members of the Sheepshead Bay / Plumb Beach Civic Association were treated to some welcome news at their meeting last night: Councilman Lew Fidler announced that an agreement had been reached to restore Plumb Beach, with long-term measures to be implemented against future erosion.

However, the project won’t get as early a start as some had hoped, as the area will be overrun by mating marine life.

Find out the details, and how nature may slow down the project.

Todd Maisel (Photo by Erica Sherman)

It’s hard to be a reporter in Southern Brooklyn and not run into Todd Maisel now and again. If you find yourself at a halfway decent crime, accident or disaster scene, chances are you’ll see Maisel darting to-and-fro, whipping his cameras around to take a shot, and trading banter with the emergency responders that won’t talk to you.

Oh, and those photos he’s taking? They’re likely better than yours.

Todd Maisel, a Marine Park resident, faces danger, crime, and death on a daily basis as a 13-year veteran spot news photographer for the Daily News.

“I chase fires, police incidents, accidents, homicides, you name it, whatever’s going on the street, that’s what I’m at,” said Maisel in a WNYC Culture article. “No story is too small for me.”

The website followed him around for a day at the office, which started at 1:00 p.m. in Coney Island, where Maisel took some photos of a body hanging underneath the boardwalk. He then uploads the photos to his laptop, chooses one, crops it, and sends it to the Daily News. A Tweet hits the ‘net like a cherry on top.

He then made his way to Bedford-Stuyvesant to snap a few pictures of a burned down four-story brownstone. Maisel didn’t get to stick around for that long as he was alerted, by a police scanner, that three suspects were seen wielding firearms. He raced to the location by going through several red lights and driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street to take photos of the men.

Aside from covering stories that develop in our city, Maisel has been sent to Iraq to capture the invasion in 2003; a plane crash coverage in Peru; and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He also took one of the most iconic – and controversial – photos after 9/11.

“I don’t hope for a disaster, I just hope that I’m there when it does happen,” said Maisel.

What a workday, eh?

Road to Nowhere: The still-under-construction Second Avenue Subway tunnel. Source: Flickr/Metropolitan Transportation Authority

THE COMMUTE: In the first two parts, I discussed the role of the public in transit decision-making and how well the MTA responds to the public, and who is to blame for the state transit is in today. Today we look at why more money alone is not the answer, the need for change and how to get those changes to take place.

Lessons From History

You can institute congestion pricing but that does not mean the monies will go towards transit or that they will in the amounts that you expect. The city could apply the revenue toward street maintenance or reconstruction, which would have been funded through the general fund with most of the remainder going toward program administration. The MTA could get only a pittance and the city could immediately seek to raise a $16 congestion fee to $25 or $30. They would then continue to raise it every few years, as the MTA currently does with fares and tolls, while we see little improvement to our mass transit system.

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THE BITE: Four years ago, the last time the Patriots were foolish enough to engage the Giants in a Super Bowl, I was asked by Rachel Wharton of the Daily News to recommend a place for sandwiches for the big game. Of course, I recomended Jimmy’s.

Here’s what I wrote…

It’s a little hole in the wall joint down in the bay that’s been around for something like 50 years. It’s the only place I know that always has fresh RIPE tomatoes, which taste like fresh ripe tomatoes even in the dead of winter. They only serve cold heroes, using Boar’s Head meat and cheeses. Be sure to get your heros with “the works;” lettuce, tomato, salt, pepper, oil, red vinegar and shredded onions. The onions are bathed in a secret process that makes them very different and sweeter than others. Also, try the home made roasted red peppers.

Four years later and the Giants once again reign supreme and Victor and his team are still serving up outstanding heros each and every day.

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Weiner is requesting money to implement long term solutions to Plumb Beach erosion

The Bloomberg administration is pushing a plan to help restore the existing wetlands throughout the city, and the city has released a draft of its strategy to restore the natural environments along New York City’s waterfront.

The initiative originates from a directive signed by Bloomberg in 2009, ordering relevant city agencies to create a strategy to to conserve, protect, enhance, stabilize, restore, and expand wetlands around the city – including those in Jamaica Bay. The intention was to provide City Hall leadership in conserving area of water too small to be protected by current state laws, according to WNYC News Blog.

“In the next three years the city will work with our state and federal partners to invest over $54 million at 17 sites to restore and enhance over 58 acres of adjacent wetlands and habitat,” said Aaron Koch, the senior policy advisor for the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability.

Over the years, many important ecosystems have dissipated, but despite that, New York is still home to many critical natural areas in Jamaica Bay, Staten Island, and along Long Island Sound.With the help of the city, more than 175 wetlands have been created or restored in the last 10 years.

One of the main focuses of PlaNYC, the Mayor’s environment-friendly initiative, are waterways. During a City Council Environmental Protection Committee hearing, Koch said that the city hopes to implement several plans to improve public management of wetlands units.

These include the transfer of more city-owned units to the jurisdiction of the Parks Department for additional preservation. The department has acquired almost 300 acres of wetlands in the past decade.

The NYC Wetlands Strategy Draft has been released to the public on January 18, 2012. The City will accept public comments on this draft strategy through February 18, 2012 at

Have you heard the news? We have swans.

Photo by Allan Shweky

We were in a meeting when Elina S. sent us the above photo, showing what appears to be a fire on the Belt Parkway, near the ramp for exit 8, at approximately 8:00 p.m. That means we couldn’t rush over there and find out exactly what happened. If you have any information, photos or video, please send them to tips [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.