Today’s news:

Scribe alert!

If you’re conversant with iambs and dactyls, couplets and sonnets, and have made your mark as a poet from Brooklyn, Marty Markowitz wants to hear from you.

The borough president is currently seeking to appoint the borough’s next poet laureate. Besides having “recognition as a poet,” candidates for the honorary post — which was held by the late Ken Siegelman until his death earlier this year — should also demonstrate a commitment to using the position as a platform for advancing the causes of literacy and poetry in the borough, according to material provided by Markowitz’s office.

Applications should include five to 10 pages of the writer’s work, a biography (no more than two pages long) and a cover letter in which the aspiring laureate should detail his or her plans to utilize the position to promote poetic arts across Brooklyn.

The applications will be judged by a panel of five local literati, who will submit the names of three finalists to Markowitz, who will make the selection.

The application deadline is November 24. Applications should be submitted via e-mail to ekoch@brooklynbp.nyc.gov; faxed to 718-802-3452; or (for those who are presumably too busy dipping their quills into inkwells to negotiate modern technology), sent via snail mail to Poet Laureate Recommendation Committee, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) awarded two trees at Brooklyn Botanic Garden this week “State Champion” status, affirming that they are the largest of their species on record in the state.

The trees, a Kansas hawthorn (Crataegus coccinoides) and a Carolina holly (Ilex ambigua var. monticola) are the first trees in New York City to receive this honor. Only native or naturalized, nonhybrid species are eligible for champion designation.

These specimens were nominated by a private citizen and their dimensions verified by the DEC, and awarded the top honor on Oct. 27, under the shade of one of the champions.

The borough president’s office is launching a “Shop Brooklyn” event from November 27 through December 25.

According to a flyer, shoppers can visit any local store participating in the event and ask for a “Brooklyn Bonus” offering “big holiday savings.”

The goal of the month-long event is to encourage local residents to patronize neighborhood stores, and not malls out of the borough.

Organizers say, “Eat in Brooklyn. Shop in Brooklyn. Party in Brooklyn.”

A list of stores participating in “Shop Brooklyn” will be posted at www.ishopbrooklyn.com.

The city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is now installing new water meters in Brooklyn homes.

The new systems will “make your water bill more accurate,” DEP says.

On behalf of DEP, workers from the Constructamax company are going door-to-door asking residents to switch their meters.

Beware of con artists posing as Constructamax workers. Always ask to see ID and know that official Constructamax staffers will wear a uniform emblazoned with the company’s logo.

For more about the meter change, visit www.nyc.gov/DEP or call 311. Contact Constructamax at 888.317.2808 or http://schedule.constructamax.com.

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez last week hailedthe Affordable Health Care for America Act, saying it could help ensure access to quality health care for everyone.

“When it comes to our health insurance, Americans have accepted the status quo for far too long.As a result, an estimated 2.4 million New Yorkers are uninsured, with the largest stress placed on minority and low-income communities.And for those who are covered, rising costs are hurting families and burdening many small businesses that are struggling to provide coverage for their employees.”

Nationwide approximately 47 million people are uninsured, including over 8 million children.

“I am committed to seeing legislation enacted that will make it possible for all New Yorkers to find quality, affordable health care and expand Medicaid for our seniors,” the lawmaker said. “With health care premiums in New York City climbing by as much as 13 percent in just one year, we cannot afford to wait any longer.I look forward to working with my colleagues to see reform swiftly passed into law.”

JJ Bistricer, vice president of Clipper Equity, the developer of BellTel Lofts in Downtown Brooklyn, announced last week that purchasers who sign contracts between Sunday, November 1 and Wednesday, November 25, 2009 will have their closing costs paid for by the sponsor.

Closing costs for residences under one million dollars are approximately 5 percent of the purchase price.Ilan Bracha, founder of the Bracha Group, Prudential Douglas Elliman, the exclusive broker for BellTel Lofts, said the Brooklyn market is beginning to strengthen and new inventory in the $500,000 to low $1 millions is attracting more attention.

BellTel has released 15 new units in this range.

“The sponsor’s incentive of paying closing costs adds to the great value of buying at BellTel Lofts,” Bracha said.

BellTel Lofts hosted an open house Sunday, November 1, 2009, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. to kick off the new incentive.BellTel Lofts is located at 365 Bridge Street. It is the former headquarters of the New York Telephone Company and was designed by architect Ralph Walker.

The architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle, famous for its renovation and restoration of Grand Central Terminal, infused modern elements into the classic pre-war design when they converted it to luxury condominiums.

One can help a fledgling Brooklyn filmmaker get noticed by attending Park Slope Films second annual fundraiser for their latest feature film “Apostles of Park Slope.”

Neighbors, loved ones friends and fans of home-grown director Jason Cusato and his team are expected to attend the fundraiser at St. Thomas Church Hall, 249 9th Street (entrance on Fourth Avenue) on November 7. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

A $30 admission gets you an open bar, food from dozens of local restaurants and vendors, live entertainment and a sneak peek of Cusato’s new film “Apostles of Park Slope.” Admission will also get you automatically entered into cash raffles announced the night of the fundraiser.

Money raised will be used for a 2010 screening of the film, entering film festivals in 2010 and 2011 and getting the film into festival ready formats.

To learn more about the fundraiser or about “Apostles of Park Slope” one can e-mail psf.mail@parkslopefilms.com.

The Informed Voices Civic Association will be celebrating 10 years of service to Canarsie with a special dinner that’s been a decade in the making.

On November 14, Association members will be gathering at the Empire Buffet Chinese Restaurant, 161-49 Crossbay Boulevard in nearby Howard Beach, Queens (exit 17 on the Belt Parkway) for the celebration. The fun begins at 3 p.m. Tickets are $30.

Anyone wishing to learn more about the dinner can contact 718-877-9100.

If life is a highway, then death must be the exit ramp.

Fortunately, after significant prodding from State Senator Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights), the NYC Department of Transportation is going to implement a series of changes to the nettlesome traffic-clogged exit connecting the FDR Drive to the Brooklyn Bridge before the end of the year.

The improvements include making all the pavement markings clearer and easier to read, replacing the white line between the right and center lanes with a shorter dotted line, and replacing the current sign “Bklyn-Battery Tunnel” with a new one that reads, “Exit 1 / Battery Pk / Staten Is Ferry.”

“Anyone who has ever tried to get on the Brooklyn Bridge from the FDR knows how frustrating that exit can be %u2013 cars merging late into the exit lane cause disruptive back-up on the FDR. Concerned about these unacceptable conditions,” said Squadron’s Brooklyn Office Director Ellen Whelan-Wuest.

Realizing that they’re in danger of losing their music and art therapy programs designed to help autistic children, members of Tender Care Human Services is holding a fund raiser to raise much needed finances as well as awareness.

The fund raiser for the group, which was founded in 2001 by Haitian born and longtime Brooklyn resident Yolanda Vitulli, will take place on Thursday, November 12 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Boucarou Lounge (64 E. 1st Street in Manhattan). The event will feature live entertainment and prizes.

Tender Care Human Services provides housing assistance, service coordination, case management, parental support and in-home respite in both Brooklyn and Queens. They also provide after-school programs, rehabilitation, and a host of other services with the goal of helping autistic children — as well as adults — reach their potential and lead more productive and independent lives.

For more information, please contact Annette Scalise at 718-526-6125.

A resolution was recently introduced in the City Council that would better distribute homeless shelters, halfway houses and other social service facilities.

According to Department of Homeless Services data, 35 percent of DHS family and adult shelters are located in Brooklyn and 41 percent o0f DHS adult shelter capacity is in Brooklyn.

Under the resolution, proposed by City Council member Al Vann, transitional housing facilities of the about the same capacity would be distributed in succession by borough.

For example, if transitional housing is identified for 10-20 adults in Brooklyn, the next transitional housing of the same capacity would be located in another borough until all other boroughs have received a facility of that size.

To send in tips, e-mail editorial@cnglocal.com attn: Borough Briefs.

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