Archive for the tag 'public safety'

A portion of the ceiling crumbled onto the 18th Avenue N train platform this morning. Repairs for the station are not scheduled until October 2014. (Photo by Brian Hedden)

THE COMMUTE: I’m not talking about crime, but rather the other type of safety. Will the subway derail? Will a chunk of the ceiling fall on your head? Will the train fall off of an elevated bridge? Will the platform crumble because of inadequate supports? That type of safety.

If your first reaction is that the chance of something like that happening is slim to none, think again. After all, we rely on government to make sure the food and water we drink is safe and that the subways are safe, too. We do that through periodic inspections of infrastructure and equipment. But are these performed in an adequate and timely manner to ensure we are protected and problems fixed before they become life threatening?

We would like to think so.

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Source: Mephell/

According to a report by, a research and consulting organization, 64 percent of Americans are woefully unprepared for a major natural disaster, even after the events of Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, and a series of other major natural disasters smacking us around in recent years.

The report finds that people making disaster-readiness plans has slightly increased from 31 percent to 36 percent since 2011, showing that the majority of Americans have failed to adequately prepare themselves in the event of another major disaster. This is the breakdown of YouGov’s numbers,

Of the 36 percent who said they were equipped for natural disasters, their preparations included the following:

  • Emergency supplies (for example, flashlights or first-aid kits): 89 percent
  • Food stocks: 74 percent
  • Creating an evacuation or an emergency plan: 50 percent
  • Disaster insurance: 22 percent

Of the 89 percent who had emergency supplies, their supplies included the following:

  • Flashlights:  97 percent
  • Water:  92 percent
  • First-aid kits or medicine:  92 percent
  • Sleeping bags or blankets:  83 percent
  • Face masks: 18 percent
  • Iodine pills:  15 percent

While general preparedness is low, concern and fear over another natural disaster has increased, especially across the Northeast, where 31 percent report that they are “very concerned” following Hurricane Sand, doubled from the previous year’s report of 17 percent concern in polling done after Tropical Storm Irene, the highest percentage in the country.

A lot of people have prognosticated in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that this was finally the storm that got everyone’s attention, and that in the future, people will be more prepared for the advent of another natural catastrophe. I’m not so sure. While Sandy’s devastation was massive and destabilizing, only time will tell how New Yorkers will prepare and respond, both personally, and politically, should another superstorm come to wreck our city.

Captain Chell addresses Amity’s students (Source: Brooklyn Amity School)

Students at Brooklyn Amity School (3867 Shore Parkway) got a visit from Johnny Law last week when the 61st Precinct’s Captain John Chell came by to talk about his life as a police officer.

The NYPD veteran gave a speech about his duties, covering a wide range of topics from how much sleep he gets, his reaction and involvement in the 9/11 tragedy, and even answering questions about having to use his gun in his pursuit of the bad guys.

However, it was Chell’s opinion of donuts, as reported by the school’s own website, that the kids (and Sheepshead Bites’ writers) found most interesting:

When the question and answer session was over, one of the middle school students started to cry softly. When the Chief called on him and asked him why he was crying, he said because he had a question. The officer seemed heartbroken and nicely asked him to ask his question. The child very seriously wanted to know if the Chief always eats donuts. This question came very unexpectedly and brought laughter from the grown ups, including Chief Chell himself. He told the curious student that he loves donuts and asked in return if he likes donuts too. The student, still hiccupping with tears, answered yes, and Chief Chell smiled and said that they are on the same page then.

Rest easy, little Jimmy; yes, cops love donuts, so do the rest of us, and that’s what makes America great.

Former State Senator Carl Kruger. Image source: Illustration composite by Erica Sherman

With seemingly little fanfare, a seven-sentence story by Agence France Presse, with the headline “Death toll among pedestrians wearing headphones triples,” popped up on Yahoo News a while back. It is all but forgotten about now, having first appeared mid-January, but the subject merits revisiting. The Yahoo link is borked, but you can read it on any number of websites by going here.

The story reported the results of a study, which revealed that “[T]he annual tally [of US pedestrians killed or badly injured while wearing headphones] rose from 16 in 2004 to 47 in 2011, bringing the total of cases to 116 over this period.” Researchers of the study, headed by Richard Lichenstein of the University of Maryland Hospital for Children, in Baltimore, further warned of an “inattentional blindness,” or “a distraction that lowers the resources the brain devotes to external stimuli.”

The results of the study — conclusive data parsed from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Google News, and the legal database, Westlaw — were published in the British journal, Injury Prevention.

At the time the story appeared, a cursory search of the word “headphones” into Google News generated upward of 330 results, all citing the same Lichenstein study. It surfaced in The Daily NewsFox News Radio…  the L Magazine picked it up from The Daily News, adding that the NYPD’s 34th Precinct “created its own texting-while-walking awareness campaign last year.” The results of the research were also published in The Washington ExaminerABC NewsMetro New YorkNBC Washington, and hundreds of other media sources all over the web.

The one conspicuously absent item missing from those 330+ stories was any mention of the 27th Senate District’s now former legislator, Carl Kruger.

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(Image courtesy of Colin Purrington via Flickr)

(Image courtesy of Colin Purrington via Flickr)

It’s summertime, and that means backyard BBQs, ragin’ block parties and little-’uns running amok. But nothing puts a damper on things like those little-’uns – or you – running into a patch of Toxicodendron, better known as Poison Ivy. The three-leafed scourge takes root all over New York’s grassy areas if not treated, and can be responsible for itchy rashes, nasty eye infections and even worse for those particularly sensitive to the green menace’s toxins.

That’s why when we heard that it was running rampant in public places, with little bits of the leaves torn off by children passing by, we thought we’d hit up the local authorities to find out how you can have the city root out the problem. Continue Reading »

(NYS 22nd Senate District Banner)

It seems like just yesterday that Senator Marty Golden’s office had a meeting to discuss the issues affecting our area. Hey, wait, it was just yesterday. Oh, that was the Town Hall Meeting on Education. The next Town Hall Meeting will cover Public Safety issues in NY Senate District 22 and will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, November 19.

While this meeting may not be geared specifically to Sheepshead Bay and the Precinct representatives will be coming from the 68th, not the 61st, it’s still a great idea for residents of Sheepshead Bay to stay informed about what is going on in the neighboring areas of Senate District 22.

This meeting is being hosted in part by the Dyker Heights Civic Association (DHCA) and I’m sure there are things we can learn from them – especially, about how they keep their beautiful mile-wide neighborhood safe, clean, and protected from excess overpopulation and development. By the looks of the NASA Photo linked to on the Dyker Heights Wikipedia information page – so well-referenced and put together by Christian Zaino – there are also chunks of green space there (courtesy of the Dyker Beach Golf Course and the Belt Parkway Park, Promenade & Bike Path). Compared to our South Brooklyn neighbor, Sheepshead Bay looks like a veritable wasteland on that map. Or maybe in a couple of years, we’ll be inviting DHCA to visit our own little green oasis on Brigham Street.

Here are the details:

Town Hall Meeting on Public Safety
Date: Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Knights of Columbus, located at 1305 86th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11228
Hosted by: Senator Marty Golden and the Dyker Heights Civic Association
Contact: Senator Golden’s office (718) 238-6044