Be Proud Foundation's Raisa Chernina and the 61st Precinct Community Council's Theresa Scavo present Deputy Inspector Mastrokostas with a gift to honor his recent promotion

Community leaders gathered at the 5th Annual Appreciation Luncheon to honor local police officers and firefighters this past Friday, where they heaped praise and gratitude upon the men and women of the 60th and 61st precincts.

The event was organized by the Be Proud Foundation, a group with roots in Russian-speaking community and which formed in 2005 to foster unity and pride in the local neighborhoods.

Keep reading for more coverage, as well as a video and photo gallery from the event.

The Sheepshead Bay / Plumb Beach Civic Association is holding its annual holiday meeting tomorrow night.

In addition to unveiling the slate for the 2011-12 board of directors, they’ll be serving refreshments and holding free raffles for giveaways from local businesses.

Come down and get to know your neighbors!

When: December 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Baron DeKalb K of C – 3000 Emmons Avenue (corner of Nostrand Avenue)

After two years of work, the new entrance to the Gravesend Neck Road subway station opened to the public on Saturday. The spacious lobby is brightly lit and is lined with glass windows, making commuters feel a little safer than the dingy, dirty nuclear-war-bunker decor the old facilities.

It gives us a little peek into what to expect at the rest of the local stops along the line. Was it worth the wait and inconvenience?

Photo by LostInService.

This scene occurred around 8:00 a.m. at Norfolk Street and Oriental Boulevard in Manhattan Beach. We don’t believe anyone was injured.

We received a report of a hit and run on Avenue Y and East 21st Street over the weekend. The reader previously sent us several reports of accidents at the intersection. He believes the area needs an All Way Stop sign. He writes:

It occurred at around 12:40 am on Saturday 12/04/10. I was sleeping and heard a loud boom. I looked out from my bedroom window and saw a white sedan backing up from the accident. Instead of stopping to assess the damage and perhaps leaving  a note on the victim’s car, it sped off as quickly as it could. I couldn’t get the license plate numb, but I saw two people across the street at the time who didn’t take any action either.

I took these pictures this morning and the owner came shortly after. She came because she noticed something funny with the way her cerar was parked. Unfortunately she only had liability coverage and thus she’s looking at about $400 of repair cost.

It’s Chanukah, and Christmas and Kwanzaa are just around the corner.

Personally, I’m a bit of a grinch. That fact aside, though, Sheepshead Bites wishes you a happy, healthy holiday season.

And don’t forget to check out our Classifieds section, chock full of gift ideas from local craftmakers.

Anyone want to recommend some great Sheepshead Bay businesses for gift shopping?

MTA New York City Transit Adds Service for the Holidays

Source: MTA

The MTA is deploying its fleet of “nostalgia trains” and vintage buses for the holiday season, replacing lines including the B1 with vehicles from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Other bus routes running the historic fleet are the B65 in Brooklyn; S61 in Staten Island; Q13 and Q46 in Queens; M34 and M42 in Manhattan and the Bx7 and Bx30 in the Bronx.

The nostalgia train – comprised of subway cars in service from 1932 to 1977 – runs along the M line between Queens and Lower Manhattan. Ceiling fans, padded seats and incandescent light bulbs were state-of-the-art when these cars were first placed in service.

The holiday “Nostalgia Train” will operate on Sundays only, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., from November 28to December 26.

Meanwhile, the MTA is giving commuters and shoppers a little more to be cheery about. Weekends throughout December will have increased subway service to keep up with the holiday demand. Q and F train service is scheduled to run every 7.5 minutes instead of every 10 minutes.

by Councilman Lew Fidler

It is a statistical fact that tonight 3,800 children WITHOUT their families will be homeless on the streets of NYC tonight. Over the past 9 years that I have chaired the Council’s Youth Services Committee, I have conducted over 18 hearings on the issues relating to Runaway and Homeless Youth. We have managed to increase the numbers of shelter beds and street outreach programs to find these youth—the most vulnerable of the vulnerable—to a point where the budget for RHY has reached $12 million. Yet HUNDREDS of these children remain on the street without shelter. For example, at the Ali Forney Center, over 100 kids are on the list for shelter without a bed available. Tonight. In the cold. Worse yet, of these 3,800 kids, a statistical study/survey that was recently conducted with the assistance of Columbia University will show that 185 of them will admit to having spent the prior night involved with some sort of sex work. That does not include those who will stay alive thru survival sex. We are talking about children as young as 13 or 14.

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by Michèle De Meglio

Nearly 200 parents packed last night’s District 22 Community Education Council meeting to rally against the city’s plan to open a small high school in Marine Park J.H.S. (I.S. 278).

“Due to the outpouring of community opposition, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a high school co-located in Marine Park Junior High School,” said Christopher Spinelli, president of District 22’s CEC.

The opposition surprised some, since the Department of Education was actually trying to make good on a 2009 promise to provide high school grades to Marine Park.

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VICTOR KOLTUN - Allegedly ordered killings.

Victor Koltun (Source:

New York Post reports:

A Brooklyn rabbi was charged yesterday in the contract killing of a former suburban police officer and his nephew, authorities said.

Victor Koltun, 41 — whose rap sheet includes mortgage-fraud allegations — is accused of hiring two ex-cons to kill Frank Piscopo, 49, and Gerald Piscopo, 28, in Newburgh, Orange County.

Both Piscopos were found dead Nov. 4.

Frank had been a police sergeant in the Ulster County town of Lloyd before he quit in 1990 amid allegations he stole items from the department.

He had a criminal record that included arrests for theft and drug selling, the Times Herald-Record of Middletown reported.

Gerald had been deep in credit-card debt and emerged from personal bankruptcy in March. He had spent 2½ years in state prison from 2003 to 2005 on burglary charges.

Koltun, of Sheepshead Bay, already faces a possible 15-year prison term on separate charges that he pocketed proceeds of a $225,000 mortgage on several Brooklyn houses he did not own.

In addition to Koltun, police also arrested Frank Lewis, of Manhattan, and Craig Fennell, of Brooklyn, for allegedly murdering the Piscopos. They are both parolees with a history of violent crime.