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Allan Feinblum, a 73-year-old progressive retired businessman, is asking voters to eschew the party candidates and write in his name to represent local Assembly District 45 in the upcoming elections.

“My platform, in a nutshell, is human rights,” said Feinblum to Sheepshead Bites in an interview.

If elected, Feinblum hopes to improve gay rights, help the mentally ill, and modify the criminal justice system.

Regarding the rights of gays, Feinblum feels this issue should not be discussed in relation to the law or political campaigns. He said that other politicians spend too much time, resources, and energy on an issue out of the realm of the state.

“Marriage is a lifetime commitment between two people who are in love,” he said. “It is a human right. Lets not bring up an issue which is not law.”

Feinblum himself has been married to a woman for 50 years, yet he believes individuals should have the right to determine who they want to live with, regardless of gender.

All three candidates carrying an established party line in the election – Cymbrowitz, Ben Akselrod and Russ Gallo – have expressed opposition to gay marriage.

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In November 2006, Colin Beavan was worried about the War in Iraq and its relation to climate change.

He noticed that America was pumping money, time and resources into fighting a war he felt was only to acquire energy, yet all citizens were unhappy with the results. Rather than fight a war for energy, he felt that America should develop its own resources and spend money to provide less fortunate Americans with homes and food.

In order to attract attention to this problem, he and his family began a year-long project in which they turned off the power in their apartment, stopped using plastic, became organic, and lived with as little environmental impact as possible. He documented his experiences in his work No Impact Man, a website, book and documentary, which is now taught on college campuses across the country.

This project shows he’s a man who practices what he preaches. And now he wants to take that preaching to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Beavan, the Green Party’s candidate for New York’s 8th Congressional District, formerly the 10th District, which includes Coney Island, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach and Manhattan Beach, plans to transform the economy, introduce new energy resources, and involve citizens in the democratic process by changing American culture’s focus from corporations to local communities.

Learn more about Beavan, and his views on the economy, energy and communities, as well as local issues like the Jamaica Bay pipeline.

Photo by Robert Fernandez

All artists with hidden talents looking for an opportunity to display your unique work to others, now is your chance to get others to notice your work!

The Department of Transportation and New York Cares invite all artists to participate in their “Barrier Beautification” Project, which commissions artists and designers to beautify the city and create murals for barriers that usually separate bicycle lanes from auto traffic lanes.

Every year, the Department of Transportation requests that artists to submit their original ideas for the Barrier Beautification project. They, along with New York Cares, a volunteer service, supply all the materials needed to complete this project adequately.

Artists must convert their own design to appropriate barrier sites, and must sign a waiver before they decide to participate. Murals created will be up for all passing bikes and cars to look at for 11 months.

Worried about the cost of creating the mural? Not to worry; artists are eligible to receive up to $2,500 toward direct project costs. So participation may not even cost you a penny!

The deadline for submissions to Barrier Beautification is September 7, so artists who wish to participate should hurry and apply now. Applications can be accessed here (pdf).

Need ideas? Take a look at previous submissions to Barrier Beautification here to get yourself thinking.

To learn more about the program, please visits

Source: Brian Auer/Flickr

In honor of the 52nd annual United States Handball Association Championship held in Coney Island, a classic poem of Brighton Beach’s handball sensation Irving Feldman was posted on the World Players of Handball Message Board. Here’s the first stanza:

And then the blue world daring onward

discovers them, the aging, oiled and

well-bronzed sons of immigrants,

the handball players of the new world

on Brooklyn’s bright eroding shore

who quarrel, who shove, who shout

themselves hoarse, who block and don’t

get out of the way, who grab for odds,

hustle a handicap, all crust,

all bluster, all con and gusto all

on strutting show, tumultuous, blaring,

grunting as they lunge. True,

their manners lack grandeur, and

yes, elsewhere under the sun legs

are less bowed, bellies are less

potted, pates less bald or blanched,

backs less burned, less hairy.

The championships were held in People’s Playground on August 5, where 119 people from across the country gathered to play and watch fierce games of one-wall handball. Although the sport is less popular now, it was widely played in the 1950s, during the life of Feldman.

Feldman played at an old beach club in Brighton Beach during the mid-1900s, which featured more than 20 outdoor courts. His poem “The Handball Player at Brighton Beach,” depicts Handball’s Golden Age, a time during which one-wall handball was frequently played in parks and playgrounds across America.

Feldman’s poem describes his journey down to Brighton Beach where he encountered wild and muscular handball players. His adjectives and intense, detailed descriptions pull the readers into the scene, allowing them to sense what the sport of handball was like at its prime.

Click here to read the full text of the poem.

Source: Ian Wilson/Flickr

As a child, you may remember visiting your local Brooklyn Public Library every week on “RIF Day.” You may recall the librarian with the glasses way down upon her nose stamping your “special card” each time you made a visit and showed her you library card. Every three times you made a trip down to the library on the day designated for RIF, you would receive a book free of charge.

Yet, very soon, your children and the next generation will not have the privilege to take part in this literacy nonprofit program. Due to a loss of federal funding, RIF programs at the Brooklyn Public Library are scheduled to end on August 31.

RIF, or “Reading is Fundamental,” the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in America, motivates children to read by presenting them with free books upon their visits to the library. The excitement of earning a new book free of charge excites kids and pushes them to read it. Furthermore, in order to participate in this program, children must visit the library often. Increased visits may push them to take out books and read more than they would have.

Over the past 35 years, the Brooklyn Public Library has given out over 1 million books to children and teenagers through RIF. Ending this program can promote illiteracy, especially amongst those who cannot afford to purchase books, which will be extremely detrimental to the future of the next generation. America cannot afford to fall behind anymore. Statistics currently show that 33 percent of fourth grade public school students are at or below the basic reading level. Putting an end to RIF may even make this worse.

You can help save this wonderful program. Just visit to urge your federal representative to continue RIF funding. All you have to do is fill out the form, and an automatic email will be sent to your representatives on your behalf. Don’t let RIF disappear!


For the first time ever, last week, a delegation of Russian-speaking Jews were exclusively invited to attend a meeting in the White House, accompanied by several leaders including Sheepshead Bay’s Leonard Petlakh, the executive director of the Kings Bay YM-YWHA

The precise nature and reason for the meeting, which took place on August 6, is largely unknown, for the meeting was held off the record. Participants were prohibited from disclosing details regarding its nature. The Jewish Week said that several participants stated that the meeting consisted of speeches given by four administration officials and conversations regarding each of their talks. The speeches addressed issues including national security, health care and the economy.

Participants heard from Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, Elizabeth Fowler, special assistant to the president for health care and economic policy, Danny Glaser, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for terrorist financing, and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Alan Krueger, the Jewish Week noted.

Several officials and participants have questioned the White House’s motivations behind the meeting, yet nonetheless, they were glad that it actually happened.

“I think all of us pretty much had the same cynical response,” said Petlakh after receiving an invitation to this meeting, according to the Jewish Week. “Wow, this must be an election year if the administration is reaching out to the Russians, not exactly a natural constituency. But I was happy that someone there was interested in speaking to the Russian-Jewish community.

Jarrod Bernstein, the Director of Jewish Outreach at the White House and arranger of this meeting said it was not about electoral politics, but was triggered by an awareness that Russian Jews were never as involved in the policies of government as were other sects of the Jewish community. Bernstein said this meeting was held as part of an effort to change that.

Participant Roman Shmulenson and others told the Jewish Week that the reason for the meeting is not of priority, for “what’s important is that a dialogue is taking place.”


Mayoral candidate and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is making attempts to reduce the fines the city presents to restaurants with health violations, reported the Daily News.

Quinn is now in the process of drafting legislation to change New York City’s restaurant-grading system, and thereby help restaurants forced to empty their cash registers due to the large fines they have encountered.

According the News, City Hall expects to collect $48 million in restaurant fines this fiscal year. Records indicate that this reflects a 50 percent increase from fines collected in 2009.

“They are definitely working on the bill,” said the counsel to the New York City Hospitality Alliance, Robert Bookman to the Daily News. “There’s a universal feeling among the City Council that something must be done to rein in the Health Department.”

Sources told the News that the bill is set to induce changes in fines that include issues not pertaining to food, put appearance. The legislation is also expected to waive fines for restaurants that appeal a low inspection grade and then receive an A.

Quinn declined to comment on the details of the bill, but in the past, she asked the Department of Health to modify its inspection system to copy the simplistic, 100-point system used in Los Angeles. New York City restaurants are currently graded on a complicated 1,200-point system, said the News.

The move comes less than a month after another mayoral candidate, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, announced he would sue the mayor’s office for data on small-business related fines, which have ballooned from $485 million in the 2002 fiscal year, when Bloomberg was elected, to a whopping $820 million in this past fiscal year. Both efforts reflect the role small businesses will play in next year’s mayoral elections, as candidates seek to gain the support of small business owners who say they’ve seen their bottom lines diminish under increased regulation during the Bloomberg Administration.

Source: Fox Sports via

After a rising senior and football player at Sheepshead Bay High School spent much of his summer gaining weight and speed, he has achieved recognition from several universities, some of which are attempting to recruit him to their college team.

Rashaad Coward has passed his summer vacation in the weight room and running in order to to increase his speed. This time spent training turned Coward into a faster runner, despite the fact that he has gained 20 pounds, bringing his weight up to a grand total of 270. Weight and speed will give Coward more physical dominance as a defensive end, and provide him with the power to ward off offensive tackles.

“I’m going to be an all-purpose defensive end,” Coward told “I can contain, rush the passer or whatever. I think the weight will help me to not get moved off the ball as much.”

According to, Coward has already received offers from University of Albany and Wagner College, and has visited and been in contact with many other colleges, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Syracuse and, a school that’s recruited several Sheepshead Bay High School players already, Rutgers University. Coward feels that many college football programs are waiting to see him play this upcoming season as a senior before presenting him with solid offers.

“They’re mostly all waiting to see me the first three games of the season,” he said. “They want to see more explosiveness and more awareness from me.”

Coward is excited about his final year in high school, and says he will focus on his football games while maintaining a decent GPA. He would like to attend a college with a safe campus close to his family, so they can be involved and watch him play.

Congratulations to Coward on his achievements! Good luck in the future!


Local Assemblymembers Alec Brook-Krasny and Steven Cymbrowitz, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer released the Russian-language edition (pdf.) of the Immigrant’s Rights and Services Manual on Friday at the Shorefront YM-YWHA in Brighton Beach.

This pamphlet serves as a resource that educates New York immigrants on their rights, government benefits, and programs. New York City already provides translations in Chinese, Spanish and Korean.

“I am proud to stand here today with my friend, Borough President Scott Stringer as we present this amazing and much needed resource to the Russian-American community,” said Brook-Krasny. “As an immigrant myself I first hand understand the trials and tribulations of assimilating into the mainstream American community, it is my hope that this guide will serve as a stepping stone to many others who are striving to reach the American dream.”

Brook-Krasny himself is the first Russian-born, Russian-language speaker elected to public office in America. He emigrated from Moscow in 1989, and was elected to represent to 46th District in the New York State Assembly in 2006.

A community education effort led by Stringer’s office along with Brook-Krasny will help distribute the pamphlet to those interested. Workshops will also be held to hand out and clarify aspects of the manual.  Organizations that wish to host a community workshop should call the Borough President’s office at (212) 669-8300.

A resident of 2800 Coyle Street, shareholders of which tried to boot their board in 2010.

Frequently, Sheepshead Bites receives messages from aggravated co-op apartment building residents, taking issue with their board. In the past, co-op shareholders have even organized anti-board rallies in attempt to overthrow the board.

Tomorrow night, frustrated co-op shareholders can express their dissatisfaction and discuss the challenges they face at a town hall meeting in Sheepshead Bay, hosted by Davidzon Radio, Assembly candidate Ben Akselrod and Senate candidate Andrew Gounardes.

If you have complained to Sheepshead Bites in the past, or are simply annoyed with your situation as a co-op shareholder, attend this meeting and speak your mind. Representatives from the Attorney General’s office, elected officials, and lawyers who deal with co-op issues were invited to join. Share your experiences with them, and maybe something will come of it.

Gounardes, the Democratic candidate for the NY State Senate’s 22nd District, and Akselrod, Democratic primary challenger for the State Assembly’s 45th District, and the Cooperative Community Organization will host this meeting on August 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Davidzon Radio Office, located at 2508 Coney Island Avenue on the second floor.

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