Last week, I waxed poetic about the importance of local news in building communities, strengthening democracies and supporting economy. I suggested that it’s an oft-forgotten ingredient in the three-part recipe that forms the basic building blocks of American power and stability: local journalism, local government and local economies. Without those foundations, those entry points for understanding a greater system, we find ourselves playing within a house of cards.

But those are a wee slice of my thoughts on the topic. It occurred to me to discuss it after attending a conference with other publishers, in which someone asked if we were effectively conveying the value of our work and the necessity of our outlets’ existence to our readers. Most there, including me, appeared to think that our function and worth was a given; everyone knows why journalism is important, right? And if they know that, of course they know that it should be even more important when it’s local and relevant, right?

Well, I didn’t want to make that assumption. So I’ve explained to you why I think local reporting is important. Why don’t you tell me why you think it’s important, and why you read Sheepshead Bites?

Or, you know, just rant. It’s an open thread, after all.

The B2 bus. Source: Robert McConnell for The Bergen Network

THE COMMUTE: Last week, I wrote about the MTA’s sinister plot to destroy the B64, which they already have partially accomplished. They are also most likely planning to eliminate the B2, once one of the most profitable and successful bus routes in Brooklyn, operating every two minutes during rush hours in the 1950s. Today, overnight and weekend service have already been eliminated and service at other times is infrequent. I previously discussed reasons for the downward ridership trend on the B2. The next step is to reduce it to a rush-hour only route, then to finally discontinue it entirely.

Read more on why the MTA will eventually do this…

Shot with an old Yashica Mat TLR (twin lens reflex) using Kodak Tmax 100 B&W film (expired in 2003), and developed using Kodak Professional D-76 (PDF) developer. Photo by Boris Shekhman, whose gorgeous photos make me want to put my D90 back in the box.

Around 11:30 this morning, a white Pontiac Bonneville, ran the light at the intersection of Avenue X and Bedford Avenue causing a three car accident.

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Photo by nolastname.

A message from our friends at the Shorefront YM-YWHA:

The Shorefront YM-YWHA announces its participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Meals will be provided to all children attending Shorefront Y program age 18 years and under without charge. Acceptance and participation requirements for the program and all activities are the same for all regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, age, disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.

The times meals are served are:

Persons interested in receiving more information should contact Amanda Kaplan at the Shorefront Y, 3300 Coney Island Ave, (718) 646-1444 ext. 334.

Source: wheany/Flickr

I swim like I run. Slowly. And for short distances. And followed by heaving and, eventually, a nap I didn’t earn.

So this Sunday’s event isn’t for me to take part in, but it should be fun for spectators – not to mention the party afterwards.

The Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers is hosting Grimaldo’s Mile, a one-mile, straight-line ocean swim, parallel to shore along – you guessed it – Coney Island Beach and Brighton Beach. The July 17 event kicks off at 8:00 a.m., with the race starting in Coney Island at Stillwell Avenue; it finishes at Brighton Beach by the Shorefront Y at Coney Island Avenue.

The after-party at the Y includes yummy food, live music and a great goodie bag. It’s too late to register to swim, but we recommend showing up with a box of cigars, giving all the swimmers silly names like racehorses, then cheering on your favorite one. When you lose, you should have some papers to tear up and throw in the air while you stomp around and spit. It’ll bring back some of that ol’ Brighton Beach we all miss so much.

Or, you know, you can just watch and go to the party like a normal human being.

Click to enlarge

CompStat reports are produced by the New York Police Department on a weekly basis. We summarize the week’s statistics for the 61st Precinct reports every Friday. The 61st Precinct is the police command responsible for Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Kings Highway, Homecrest, Madison, Manhattan Beach, and Gerritsen Beach.

ILI Flag

Source: ilination.net

There are lots of people who often joke about New York City seceding from New York State, and I admit, I’m one of them. But imagine my surprise to hear that there’s a secessionist movement for Long Island. As it turns out, Brooklyn is the capital of The Independent State of Long Island. That’s right.

I was watching the most recent episode of “How The States Got Their Names” on History Channel. This episode focused on the various accents across the country and eventually they got to discussing the accent’s from Long Island. This led to a small segment about The Independent State of Long Island and their dream of Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk succeeding into it’s own state. There’s even a pretty clever flag! Well, it got me to thinking. If Brooklyn was the capital of Long Island the 51st state then what would that mean for Sheepshead Bay?

How would things be different around here? Would we get more tax money for infrastructure? Would the port and bay get more development? Would we be a tourist destination? Without the MTA would we retain the focus for public transport to New York, or would easy access to the rest of the island become a priority?

Kinda makes you think doesn’t it? As for The Independent State of Long Island, the movement has been around since 2007. Check out the website for a whole bunch of interesting statistics, they even have a news page! As for me, I kinda wanna get that flag…

Photo by Erica Sherman.