Your weekly newsbriefs

Haitian center opens

Two weeks after heading to Flatbush to detail the city and state’s response to the Haitian earthquake, the mayor and governor were back in Brooklyn, this time to announce the creation of the New York Haitian Earthquake Family Resource Center.

The center, which opened for business on February 1, is located in the New York National Guard Armory, 1579 Bedford Ave.

The purpose of the center, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a press conference at the site, is “to connect our Haitian community to the support and resources it needs.”

The “joint effort,” added Governor David Paterson, “is dedicated to ensuring that together we provide real support during this difficult and constantly evolving situation.”

Among the services that will be provided at the center — which will be staffed by individuals from a laundry list of agencies — are Creole interpretation services; assistance in completing applications for Temporary Protected Status, as well as other immigration matters; access to phones and computers to cull information and to contact officials in this country and in Haiti; legal information; grief counseling; and child guardianship and custody services.

The center will also provide daily updates on the relief effort.

The center’s hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday.

During the press conference, Bloomberg also announced the appointment of Brooklyn Councilmember Mathieu Eugene, the city’s first Haitian elected official, as chair of the new Haitian Earthquake Family Resource Center Communication and Outreach Committee.

Haiti responders honored

Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns last week welcomed back a group of Brooklyn-based first responders who traveled to Haiti to assist in the rescue operations, following the earthquake that shook that nation.

Towns, who helped to facilitate their travel to the country, also presented a proclamation to each member of the Bedford Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps, commemorating their work in Haiti.

Within 24 hours of their arrival, the Bedford Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps delivered two babies and joined doctors on the ground in treating and triaging wounded Haitian citizens.

Many of the corps’ members were born in Haiti, are part of the Haitian American community in Brooklyn and speak Creole.

Towns helped to expedite the travel of the 44 certified first responders and medical personnel less than a week after the earthquake devastated Haiti.

Baseball and bodacious boneheads unite

The Brooklyn Cyclones are either capitalizing on a hit new show or completely misjudging their audience, but Sandy the Seagull has never looked better.

This summer, as the Brooklyn Cyclones celebrates its tenth anniversary, the team will be honoring MTV’s popular “Jersey Shore” show with a special “Jersey? Sure” day.

Organizers say that limited edition jerseys will be handed out with a ripped Sandy Seagull in a “fist-pumping pose” on the back. The night will also include GTL (“gym, tan, laundry”) gift certificate giveaways in conjunction with local businesses.

The team also plans to set aside a section of the ballpark’s concourse level to have their hair styled “like a good fastball — high and hard” in homage to Pauly D, a character on the reality show.

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, another popular character, has also been invited to take batting practice with the team.

“Jersey? Sure” day has been scheduled for July 21. For more information visit www.brooklyncyclones.com.

Meet a different kind of lovebird

Cupid may be cuter, but when it comes to getting love notes out in time, Sandy the Seagull has a longer wingspan.

That, we guess, makes him uniquely qualified to be the messenger of heartfelt missives to a lucky Brooklyn Cyclones fan this February 14 if they win a Brooklyn Cyclones Valentine’s Day Contest.

The winner can have Sandy the Seagull personally visit their valentine armed with a hug-a-gram, one dozen long stem roses, a box of chocolates and, of course, four Field Box ticket vouchers for an upcoming game.

Sandy will swoop in with deliveries on Friday, February 12, organizers said.

To recruit Sandy as your heart-felt herald, all you have to do is explain, in 250 words or less, “why your sweetheart deserves this wonderful surprise from everyone’s favorite bird.”

Entries must be sent by February 9 and must include your name, e-mail address, and daytime phone number. A Cyclones representative will contact you if you are the winner.

Please e-mail your entries to [email protected] and/or mail to: Brooklyn Cyclones Valentine’s Day Contest; 1904 Surf Avenue; Brooklyn, NY 11224.

Ask and ye shall receive

Looks like this is the year families in Gerritsen Beach will finally get the swings they’ve always wanted.

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation confirmed this week that,yes, design plans for revamping Seba Avenue Park have been revised to include a bunch of new swings – eight “bucket” swings for younger kids, and eight “J-swings” for older kids.

In addition to that, the park will also have its very own wheelchair accessible swing.

Design plans are being resubmitted to the Public Design Commission for approval. The Parks Department says it expects playground reconstruction to begin in late summer or fall.

Kindergarten applications

It’s time to apply for kindergarten seats for fall 2010.

According to the city Education Department, families can apply in person at their zone school, or any other schools which their children are eligible to attend, between February 1 and March 12. To locate your child’s zoned school, visit www.nyc.gov/schools or call 311.

Acceptance letters will be mailed on March 22. Parents must visit the selected school between April 12 and April 23 to pre-register their children.

Families must show the following documentation when applying to a school:

· Proof of residence. This consists of any two of the following documents:

oA residential utility bill (gas or electric) in the resident’s name and dated within the last 60 days;

oDocumentation or letter on letterhead from a federal, state, or local government agency indicating the resident’s name and address and dated within the last 60 days;

oAn original lease agreement, deed, or mortgage statement for the residence;

oA current property tax bill for the residence;

oA water bill for the residence dated within the last 60 days;

oOfficial payroll documentation from an employer dated within the last 60 days, such as a form submitted for tax withholding purposes or payroll receipt (a letter on the employer’s letterhead will not be accepted);

· Child’s birth certificate or passport;

· Child’s immunization records;

· Names of any siblings who will be enrolled in grades 1-5 at the school in 2010-2011.

School moves

Two private schools are moving to new digs.

The Brooklyn Free School has left its Park Slope home for a 7,000-square-foot brownstone at 372 Clinton Avenue, which previously held a daycare center.

“After an extensive search through many of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods, we are fortunate to have found and purchased a beautiful five-story brownstone in the heart of historic Clinton Hill that is perfect for our school,” the school’s team says on its Web site, www.brooklynfreeschool.org.

In the democratic school, students personally oversee their choice of study topics, the pace at which they learn and how they spend their time at school. They are free of homework, testing, report cards or a compulsory curriculum.

This fall, the International School of Brooklyn will leave Prospect Heights for a larger space at 477 Court Street in Carroll Gardens. The relocation will allow International to offer middle school grades.

At the school, students become bilingual by following a curriculum taught in a foreign language – French, Spanish or German. Learn more at www.isbrooklyn.org.

Judge studies AY

condemnation papers

State Supreme Court Judge Abraham G. Gerges last week delayed a final approval ruling for the state’s planned seizure of property to make way for the $4-plus billion Atlantic Yards project.

Gerges told lawyers for both property owners and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) that he will look over all the submitted papers and documents and rule “expeditiously.”

Sources closes to the project said the ruling should come within two weeks.

The project includes the Barclays Center Arena that would bring the borough the NBAs Nets.

Upon final build out, it also includes thousands of units of both market rate and affordable housing.

The project will also bring thousands of jobs at a time when unemployment in the borough is over 11 percent.

Opponents of the project argue that the seizure of the property is to the benefit of private developer, Forest City Ratner.

The court hearing came as several streets were expected to close last week around the Flatbush/Atlantic Avenues intersection to accommodate ongoing construction of the project.

ESDC told the judge that it would delay closing the street until the matter is settled.

City sewage plants

up to code

State and city environmental commissioners visited the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment plant last week to celebrate the performance of 14 wastewater plants throughout the city, including the Greenpoint plant, that have met Clean Water Act requirements three years ahead of schedule.

The act calls for 85 percent of waste to be removed from the water that the plants process.

“This achievement represents an important milestone in our efforts to ensure cleaner water, better compliance and a healthier neighborhood for the Newtown community,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis. “Some 15 months ago, the state and city reached a landmark agreement to improve compliance at the city’s wastewater treatment plants. Since then, DEC and DEP have worked cooperatively to produce tangible results.”

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