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Lightning victim clinging to life

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After over a month of hospitalization, the 41-year-old cricket player struck by lightning July 26 after a freak storm swept across Marine Park, is still fighting for his life.

Stephen Gibson, who is currently receiving treatment at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan, is still in serious but stable condition suffering from injuries to his lungs, kidneys and liver as well as burns to his arms and legs, according to the New York Daily News.

As he recovers — getting stronger and stronger each day, friends said — teammates and friends of the East Flatbush electrician have put together a fund to help pay for rising hospital costs.

Anyone interested in helping them bring Gibson back home can send a donation to any HSBC Bank branch into account number 661760197 or send a check to the Stephen Gibson Appeal Fund c/o Brooklyn Cricket League, 518 East 42nd Street, Brooklyn NY, 11203.

Starting Sept. 1, Brooklyn motorists will see a 25 percent hike on all renewals of driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations and license plates.

The increase means Class D driver’s license fees will jump from $50 to $64.50, and registration fees for automobiles weighing 3,500 pounds will climb from $45 to $56.

Effective April 1, 2010, all registered vehicles will be required to get new license plates, which will cost $25. Motorists who want to keep their current plates will need to pay $20.

The hikes were not lost on Bob Capano, the Republican candidate challenging incumbent Vincent Gentile for the 43rd City Council District seat representing Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst.

“As I go door to door speaking with my neighbors, I hear the frustration towards a government that seems to just find more and more ways to take money from us,” said Capano.

“These new hikes on driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations and license plate renewals are just another way to nickel and dime us,” he added.

Should Capano win, there is little he can do to reduce the hikes as a member of the City Council because they came down from state government.

Three federal lawmakers representing Brooklyn championed their role in bringing home $186,552 in federal money for Brooklyn College’s child care program.

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer, and Rep. Ed Towns said the money, which came through the Department of Education FY09 Appropriations Bill, would pay for essential child care services for student parents at Brooklyn College at a time when city colleges are facing looming budget cuts.

Brooklyn College’s Early Childhood Center supports more than 80 low-income student parents each year through child care services on-campus. A parent can send his/her infant, toddler or young child to an on-site day care or evening program. Children engage in activities including block building, art, dramatic play, science and math and literacy-based projects that develop their skills and expand their interests.

According to a June report released by Gillibrand’s office, the cost of child care in Brooklyn is rising by $1,612 per year. Each year, the average Brooklyn family spends approximately $16,250 per year for an infant, $11,648 for a toddler and $9,620 for a school-age child.

Brooklyn students return to public schools on Wednesday, September 9, but there’s still time for parents to register their kids for classes.

For elementary or middle schools, parents can visit their child’s zoned school, which is determined by your home address, starting on September 9. To find your zoned school, call 311 or visit

Parents of students without zoned schools should visit a Student Registration Center. Brooklyn has four sites %u2013 Brooklyn High School of the Arts, 345 Dean Street; Clara Barton High School, 901 Classon Avenue; The Montauk, 4200 16th Avenue; and Brooklyn Technical High School, 29 Fort Greene Place. The centers are open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., from now until September 18.

To register a child at the center, bring two proofs of residence, such as a utility bill or payroll stub, as well as the child’s birth certificate or passport, immunization records, latest report card or transcript, and Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Accommodation Plan, if applicable.

To register a child in a special education program in elementary or middle school, visit a Special Education Enrollment Site %u2013 5619 Flatlands Avenue (for School Districts 17, 18, 22), 415 89th Street (Districts 20, 21), 131 Livingston Street (Districts 13, 14, 15, 16), and 1665 St. Mark’s Avenue (Districts 19, 23, 32).

All students seeking high school placement may now visit a Student Registration Center.

For more details about registering for the new school year, visit

With the opening of schools just days away, City Councilmember and Public Advocate candidate Bill de Blasio renewed his call to ban Styrofoam from public schools.

Styrofoam is a substance that doesn’t biodegrade and resists compacting, which consumes more landfill space.

De Blasio said city schools use and discard about 850,000 Styrofoam trays a day, adding up to over four million trays per week and more than 153 million in a school year.

De Blasio suggested schools use a bio-degradable alternative made from bagasse, a natural nontoxic and biodegradable material made out of discarded sugar cane stalks.

As the Democratic primary approaches, candidates in local and citywide races have been blanketing lampposts, utility poles, and trees in Brooklyn’s neighborhoods with their campaign posters, incurring hundreds of dollars in fines from the city.

One Democratic candidate, Isaac Abraham, who is running for City Council in the 33rd District, has pledged to avoid illegally putting posters on public property and is urging his colleagues to follow suit.

“It makes no sense politically or pocketbook-wise to post signs on poles and city property,” said Abraham.

Candidates posting illegally can incur civil penalties from a minimum of $75 and a maximum of $300 (as high as $500 for posting on trees), for violations.The fines are even higher for placing multiple posters lined up on a pole, which trigger multiple violations.

“Even if you have the money to blow on posting fines, as the mayor did in 2005, it still does not give him or any other candidates any right to break the law, just because he pays the penalties from his own pocket,” said Abraham.“This year, we hope that all candidates, including the mayor, will abide by the law as well.”

To send in tips, e-mail attn: Borough Briefs.

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