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Bklyn’s not ‘Finest’

in box office

“Brooklyn’s Finest,” the long awaited drama that centers on the lives of three borough cops, was not the Finest at the box office last week, falling short to another type of Wonderland.

According to weekend box office results, Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, claimed first place with a weekend gross of $116.3 million.

Creeping up to arrest Alice and company as they race to make their very important date — box office stardom — was “Brooklyn’s Finest” starring Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke and Don Cheadle.

Despite mediocre reviews, “Brooklyn’s Finest” drew $13.5 million at the box office — far fewer than “Alice in Wonderland” but enough to come in at number two. Needless to say, however, director Antoine Fuqua isn’t smiling as broadly as the Cheshire Cat this week.

Filming “Brooklyn’s Finest” was an overwhelming experience for Hawke, who actually witnessed a murder take place near the Van Dyke Houses in Brownsville, where most of the location filming was held.

Hawke and some other cast members were grabbing a bite to eat at a local diner in between takes when someone shot and killed two people at a local barber shop.

“It’s not even a joke…,” Hawke told reporters. “It was a full-blown assassination and they accidentally killed the guy cutting his hair – it was a woman cutting his hair. It was terrible. I stood there, like, an actor in a movie. I kept expecting the AD (assistant director) to go, ‘Cut, cut…’ The police shut the block down.”

More parking at MCU Park

Brooklyn Cyclones fans will have a lot more places to park their wheels this summer thanks to a new agreement that will “limit non-baseball parking” at MCU Park, Cyclones headquarters announced this week.

According to the agreement, the MCU Parking lot will be closed to anyone without a Cyclones game ticket four hours prior to the start of weekend games and will limit the number of non-Cyclones game attendees’ allowed into the park.

This change may provide as many as 600 additional spots for Cyclones fans, organizers estimate, adding that there will also be a system in place to accommodate Cyclones fans who are showing up at the park to buy tickets or picking up will call tickets for that day’s game.

Energy forum

Flatbush residents, landlords and business people interested in reducing their carbon footprint should pencil Saturday, March 20, on their calendars.

That day, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sustainable Flatbush will host a Neighborhood Energy Forum at the Brooklyn College Student Center, Campus Road and East 27th Street, on the fifth floor.

Among the topics that attendees will learn about are energy audits, weatherization and solar electricity, according to Sustainable Flatbush.

“Inefficiency drives up energy costs, contributes to air pollution and hurts everybody, especially low-income people,” stressed Anne Pope, Sustainable Flatbush’s executive director. “That’s why Sustainable Flatbush is organizing this event, to help residential building stakeholders raise the money they need for major energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy projects, and for neighbors to share resources and best practices.”

Among the groups partnering with Sustainable Flatbush to produce the event are National Grid, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Flatbush Development Corporation. Contractors who specialize in green practices will also be at the event, participating in an energy fair.

One of Sustainable Flatbush’s long-range aims, in relation to the event, is to develop a “model block” in the neighborhood, where, according to the group’s website, “The majority of homes and apartment buildings have lowered their energy use and costs, inspiring others to do the same.”

For further information, log onto www.sustainableflatbush.org.

Drug deaths

New city Health Department data shows a decline in the number of deaths due to unintentional drug overdose.

The number of deaths fell from 874 in 2006 to 666 in 2008. That’s a 27 percent drop in the city’s drug-related death rate.

However, drug overdose remains the third leading cause of premature death among New Yorkers between 25 to 34 years old.

Health officials remind Brooklynites to just say no.

“In addition to drug poisoning, drug use increases the risk of injury, depression and hypertension, as well as liver disease, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “Anyone using illicit substances should get help by calling 311 or 800-LIFENET.”

The groups with the highest drug-related death rates include older blacks, middle-aged Hispanics and younger white adults.

Read the full report at www.nyc.gov/health.

Belt work not over yet

The work on the Belt Parkway appears to be unending.

While the city Department of Transportation is currently working on revamping the numerous bridges along the thoroughfare, it’s now adding an emergency repaving job to its to-do list.

The existing pavement will be milled, and new paving and markings added on both the eastbound and westbound lanes between the Pennsylvania Avenue exit and the east end of the Mill Basin drawbridge.

The work began on March 4th, and is expected to wrap up around March 22nd . To minimize impact to traffic, the work will be done during the late night and midday hours. No traffic will be diverted onto local streets, the agency said.

According to DOT, all lanes of the highway in the work area will be open on weekdays between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., one lane will be closed. From 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., two lanes will be closed.

On Saturdays, all lanes will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. In addition, all lanes will be open from 8 a.m. Sunday until 10 a.m. Monday. One lane will be closed from 11 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday and from 11 p.m. Saturday until 8 a.m. Sunday.

Two lanes will be closed from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Saturday, and from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Sunday.

Support BPL’s shelves

You can help fill the Brooklyn Public Library’s shelves.

The library recently kicked off its Support Our Shelves campaign, used to purchase new books, DVDs and CDs.

In its inaugural year, the library raised over $315,000 from over 3,000 people, used to purchase 27,617 new items for their shelves.

This go around, the library is looking to raise $500,000 between now and May 31.

You can help. Donations are welcome online, in person, by mail, and even by text. To make a donation, text BOOKS to 50555.

For more information, go to www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org.

Map to city’s dog parks

Brooklyn legislators and animal welfare organizations unveiled a new, colorful 3-D city-wide map of animal shelters and dog parks in each neighborhood.

The full-color, fold-out map created by Rational Animal, an NYC-based nonprofit, and sponsored by the ASPCA, The Pedigree Foundation, and New York Tails Magazine, will point out where Brooklynites can adopt animals, play in pet-friendly parks, and care for their pets with a number of locally based resources.

“While I am proud to be here today to help educate New Yorkers about the resources available to them and especially about the Tails to Trails Guide, mostly I am humbled to be here,” said Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (D-Williamsburg), who thanked the sponsors and BARC in Williamsburg, where he adopted his own cat and dog.

Individuals can receive a Trails to Tails map by sending a $3 donation to Rational Animal at Rational Animal, 217 Thompson Street, Suite 420, New York, NY, 10012. Be sure to include your mailing address.

Got milk?

Last weekend marked an anachronistic turn for the borough as the dairy company Manhattan Milk expanded their delivery area to include certain parts of Brooklyn – DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, and Cobble Hill.

According to the company’s Web site, the milk, which comes from upstate farms, is all natural, hormone free, and delivered in green-friendly glass bottles. It is also free of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (rBST), a genetically engineered form of a natural hormone that boosts milk production.

Residents can order the glass-bottled, organic milk, along with yogurt, butter, cheese, and other milk products at 917-388-2713 or online at www.manhattanmilk.com.

Help end child abuse

According to child care experts, an estimated one out of six boys and one out of four girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18 — but local residents can learn to reduce such statistics.

An upcomingchild sexual abuse prevention training program aims to prevent more abuse through education. The program will be held on Sunday, March 14, from 10:00 am through 12:30 p.m.

The seminar will help participants learn ways to prevent, recognizeand react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Participants will receive a seven step guide and workbook and watch a short training film.

The authorized facilitator is Rabbi Diana Manbur and the session will be held at Congregation Mount Sinai, 250 Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights.

Space is limited so attendees should respond to 718-875-9124 or info@congregationmountsinai.org. A donation $18 per person is requested and coffee, tea and breakfast snacks will be provided.

Webster named

executive director

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s Board of Directors appointed Nancy Webster as the organization’s permanent executive director, effective immediately.

Webster has been serving as the Conservancy’s acting executive director for the past year, and succeeds Marianna Koval who stepped down as the organization’s president in June 2009.

“Nancy has earned the permanent position. She has a wide set of skills in fundraising, programming and advocacy, and she is deeply committed to building a great Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said David Kramer, Chairman of the Conservancy’s Board of Directors and principal of the Hudson Companies.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is a non-profit organization assisting with the programing and development of the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park currently under construction.

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