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Source: Vincent La Marca

The New Utrecht Reformed Church is bringing back sheep and other animals to their “Living Nativity” scene on front lawn of the church this Saturday, December 15 at 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The “Living Nativity” scene is a long-standing tradition at the 1828 83rd Street location.

“Last year we did not include animals in our live tableau of the manger scene,” said Susan Hanyen, Vice-President of New Utrecht’s Consistory. “But this year, re-establishing a long tradition, they’re back!”

The first manger scene was set up on the grounds of the church complex in 1956. Since then, residents have flocked to see the scene, with or without animals.

The church also presents actors in Biblical costumes performing special scenes for Christmas.

Source: StephenMcleod – International Man of Mystery via Flickr

Before to the final strike is bowled at Maple Lanes, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has a few suggestions for the developers who want to build a 112 units of housing and a synagogue there.

He spoke at a zoning hearing and put his ideas forward. One item on his agenda was the “possibility of integrating a bowling alley into the development plan or at a nearby site,” according to a summary of the meeting.

Aside from building a new bowling alley in another location, Markowitz suggested a plan for near-by Shell Lanes to receive angled parking to alleviate any congestion as brought on by an influx of bowlers to the last remaining local alley.

Markowitz said that until the project plans are amended, the alley at 1570 60th Street should remain open.

The issue he finds with the closing of the space is not so much that it will be a major loss to the community, though he does recognize that, but it has more to do with the language and rendering used in the initial builder’s contract. It does not guarantee the structures that have been claimed to be the end result of the project will to actually be built.

According to the notes from the meeting, “The requested zoning approval offers no guarantee that a vastly different project would not be developed. The proposed zoning does not require that these designs be constructed.”

Markowitz also suggested that the developer make a commitment to provide some affordable housing in the space, though the developers have yet to agree to that.

Ultimately, Community Board 12 approved the application with a “modification for the applicant’s constructed project to mirror the designs that were presented.”

Other than disagreements about how the space will be used, there are some other issues the developers may be facing. According to the Home Reporter, the developers are late on their payments. They owe the LaSpina family, the bowling alley owners, thousands of dollars.

As the scheduled closing date of April 1, 2013 looms closer, the fate of the bowling alley is still unclear.

Investors Bank’s Manager Regina Scire and prize winner Betty Yee. Source: Investors Bank.

Investors Bank just opened a branch on 86th Street and 21st Street. To usher in their grand opening, bank officials have placed four prize chests in the lobby.

According to a bank representative, locals were sent keys and invited to try opening a chest to win a $5,000 grand prize. The branch also has a limited supply of keys available to people who walk in to the 8601 21st Avenue location.

Prizes include a 42-inch flat panel TV, three iPads (one per winner) and four digital cameras (one per winner).

Recently, local Betty Yee unlocked one of four prize chests. She won a digital camera, and is so far the only person to open a prize chest.

Source: via Flickr

Mark your calendars because P.S./I.S. 163 (109 Bay 14th Street) is hosting a Holiday Fair on Friday, December 14th.The event will take place from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There will be lots of vendors in attendance selling jewelry, cosmetics, candles, handbags, personalized items and more. There will also be  a raffle held and options for professional photos and a variety of foods.

Source: District 21 via Facebook

Every year schools across New York receive report card grades, much like the ones they send schoolkids home with.

According to the website, which releases the reports, here’s how the schools’ grading system is broken down:

Progress Reports help parents, teachers, principals, and school communities understand schools’ strengths and weaknesses. Progress Reports grade each school with an A, B, C, D, or F and are based student progress (60%), student performance (25%), and school environment (15%). Scores are based on comparing results from one school to a peer group of up to 40 schools with the most similar student population and to all schools citywide.

Here are the District 21 high school progress grades for some of the schools in our area:

  • 21K337 International High School at Lafayette (2630 Benson Avenue): B
  • 21K348 High School of Sports Management (2630 Benson Avenue)
  • C21K468 Kingsborough Early College School (2630 Benson Avenue) B
  • 21K540 John Dewey High School (50 Avenue X) B
  • 21K559 Life Academy High School for Film and Music (2630 Benson Avenue) B
  • 21K572 Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders (2630 Benson Avenue) B
  • 21K690 Brooklyn Studio Secondary School (8310 21st Avenue) B

No “A” grades in the area, unfortunately, but it does seem that Dewey is maintaining their good grades, which is great news for Dewy supporters and staff.

Source: USAG-Humphreys via Flickr

The Christmas Tree Lighting scheduled for tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Lady Moody Square (Van Sicklen Street and Avenue U) has been rescheduled, due to the weather, for Thursday, December 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Lady Moody Square.

The tree lighting set for Wednesday, December 12 at 6:30 p.m. McKinley Park (Fort Hamilton Parkway and Bay Ridge Parkway) remains as scheduled.

Donations for Senator Golden’s annual Toys for Tots drive will b ecollected at both events. The Toys for Tots Foundation provides United States Marines the opportunity to bring the joy of Christmas to needy children. For more information, please contact Senator Golden’s office at
(718) 238-6044.

Source: Google Maps

Seven people were injured and one died in a when a car crashed into another on the corner of West 5th Street and Quentin Road.

An Acura MDX was traveling North on West 5 Street collided with a Jeep Cherokee traveling east on Quentin Road.

The force of the impact caused the Acura to land on the sidewalk and crash into the pedestrians there, a 1-year-old girl, her mother and grandparents, according to NBC.

When EMS arrived, one the victims, 60-year-old Chenugor Dao, was pronounced dead. She was the little girl’s grandmother.

The rest of the family is listed in stable condition. Passengers in the cars and one of the drivers are in stable condition. The other driver did not seek medical attention.

Residents of the are say that accidents in that area are common. Currently, police are investigating the incident, but don’t suspect any criminality.

Source: USAG-Humphreys via Flickr

(UPDATE [1:52 p.m.]: This event has been canceled due to weather and will take place at a later date.]

Santa and Senator Marty Golden will be at Lady Moody Square at Van Sicklen Street and Avenue U along with the I.S. 228 Cheerleaders for a tree lighting ceremony at  6:30 p.m. The event will feature Christmas caroling and hot chocolate.

Golden asks that you consider bringing a new unwrapped toy to support Toys for Tots to the event.

Source: rageforst via Wikimedia Commons

Senator Marty Golden has announced the start of the annual Toys for Tots campaign.

“I am asking residents to consider donating new, unwrapped, toys to brighten the holidays for military children. I am also continuing collections of toiletries and cleaning supplies to help those effected by Hurricane Sandy,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Donations will be accepted until Friday, December, 14 during normal business hours at Golden’s office located at 7408 5th Avenue or on Monday and Friday mornings and Wednesday afternoons at his office at 3604 Quentin Road.

Source: Sidious1701 via Wikimedia Commons

From the office of Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes:

Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the indictment of Michael Volpe, 32, and his wife, Alisa Volpe, 25, for possessing weapons and drugs, and keeping an alligator in their West 6th Street home.  Michael Volpe was indicted on charges including three counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree. Michael and Alisa Volpe were both indicted on charges including three counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, Possession of Ammunition, four counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals and Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance, Wild Animals Prohibited and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana. If convicted, Michael Volpe faces a maximum of seven years in prison and Alisa Volpe faces up to one year in jail.

On October 1, 2012, officers from the 66th precinct executed a search warrant at the home of Michael and Alisa Volpe, a one-bedroom basement apartment. The indictment charges that when the officers entered, they found metal knuckles, a fully-loaded revolver, and a loaded pistol. They also recovered a variety of prescription drugs including Alprazolam pills and Oxycodone pills. Marijuana was also found.  In addition, there was an alligator, which was approximately three feet long, in a tank in the living room, which was taken away by animal control. Under health code 161.01, most people cannot possess wild animals without special permit.

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Lisa Marie Vellucci from the Trial Bureau Green Zone and supervised by Deputy District Attorney Dianne Malone, Chief of the Animal Cruelty Unit.