Today’s news:

Borough Briefs

Even more aging Brooklyn vehicles could soon be off the roadways now that the U.S. Senate extended the popular “Cash for Clunkers” program by providing an additional $2 billion in funds.

“Cash for Clunkers has been a successful program so far, with nearly 160,000 transactions reported.We’re getting gas guzzling vehicles off the road, 83 percent of trade-ins under the program are trucks, and 60 percent of new vehicle purchases are cars,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I am pleased that Congress has passed an extension to ensure that one of our most successful stimulus programs continues to help the economy.”

Brooklyn Assemblymember Joseph Lentol also lauded the extension, having advocated for a similar voucher-based program for taxpayers earlier this year.

“The American people have shown how important this program is and I am very pleased that their representatives in Congress have chosen to support it further,” said Lentol, who represents Fort Greene, Greenpoint and Williamsburg.

For the first time in four and a half years, the sidewalks surrounding Brooklyn’s tallest office building were made scaffold-free last week, a dramatic change to the streetscape.Manhattan-based SL Green Realty Corp. just completed a $20 million renovation at the 36-story 16 Court Street, which has significantly increased “leasing velocity,” the company said,and generated a plethora of new leases and renewals including attorneys Bonina & Bonina, P.C.’s7,912-square-foot renewal, and national landscape designer’s Michael Van Valkenburg Associates, Inc.’s new lease for 12,216 square feet.

Improvements include new windows, the overhaul of the lobby and the addition of five new elevator cabs with six more on the way.

Buzzfeed was first to report last week the appearance of a downright celestial moment at 9th Street in Carroll Gardens.

“This isn’t the first strange thing ever captured by Google Maps’ Street View, but it might be the most other-worldly. On a street in Brooklyn, near the southern end of Carroll Gardens, is the gateway to the next world,” according to the Web site.

Google spokeswoman Elaine Filadelfo told the New York Times that the end is not nigh: the aberration was caused by lens flare.

“If you spin around in the panorama, you can see the shadow of the car which indicates that the sun was pretty direct on that front lens... These are not uncommon in Street View imagery, but they’re usually much less dramatic.”

Google Street View is a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth that offers 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic views from a range of positions along the street.

Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda will be coming back to the borough this Sunday, August 16, to be inducted in the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame.

Lasorda started his major league career as a left-handed pitcher for our beloved Dodgers %u2013 not the West Coast replacements %u2013 in 1954.

The indoctrination will take place at 4:30 p.m. on August 16 at Keyspan Park before the Brooklyn Cyclones take on the Oneonta Tigers.

In addition to watching a baseball legend become immortalized in Dodgers Hall of Fame, the first 1,500 fans (ages 15 and over) in attendance will receive a Tommy Lasorda photo baseball.The photo ball features an image of Lasorda as a Brooklyn Dodger, a current image of the baseball legend, his number 2, some of his managerial highlights and a quote from Lasorda himself.

Residents of Bay Ridge will be lending a helping hand to their neighbors who lost everything in a devastating fire last week, with a special event at the Guild For Exceptional Children.

The event, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 22, will be held at the Guild parking lot at 260 68th Street.

The Guild is located just steps away from an apartment building on 68th Street and Third Avenue, where scores of tenants were left homeless after a devastating fire.

The all-hands blaze broke out at about 11:45 p.m. on July 29. It took over three hours for firefighters to bring the fire under control.

In the end, several apartments in the building were gutted. Two ground-floor businesses also sustained heavy damage.

FDNY officials said that 22 firefighters sustained minor injuries as they beat the fire back. Over 150 firefighters were called in to fight the blaze.

While no one suffered serious injuries, many of the evacuated residents escaped the fire with just the clothes on their backs. For a brief time, several families stayed with the Guild for Exceptional Children.

At their event, organizers are asking attendees to donate women’s clothing women’s sizes 4%u201314 and plus sizes 4 to 5X to the evacuated families.

Organizers are also seeking men’s work clothes, children’s toys, household items, bedding and toiletries.

Anyone wishing to learn more can contact Linda Feeley at lnfee2@aol.com.

City Councilmember Mike Nelson likes the idea of new ferry service in his district.

But as the conclusion of the recent town hall meeting at Kingsborough Community College proved, not everyone living there is ready to shove off.

At last week’s Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association meeting, Nelson expressed some of his feelings about those critics.

“A lot of people don’t want it, but what’s new?” Nelson said. “NIMBY is alive and well in south Brooklyn.”

Nelson, who chairs the Waterfronts Committee, lamented that new ferry service might not be “useful for some people” but “very useful for others.”

Honors for Brooklyn’s Great White Way

Nominees for the 2009 New York Innovative Theatre Awards include 60 Brooklyn-based artists and seven Brooklyn productions.

The awards are presented by the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation, which celebrates Off-Off-Broadway productions.

Brooklyn’s nominees include the Gallery Players, HERE Arts Center and the Billie Holiday Theatre.

“I’m honored to be recognized by the indie theater community for my work on ‘Suspicious Package’ %u2013 thank you so much!” said Gyda Arber writer, director and producer of “Suspicious Package,” which was nominated for Outstanding Production of a Play.

A full list of Brooklyn’s nominees can be found at www.nyitawards.com.

Brooklyn boy Jim Shaffer is entertaining New Jersey’s residents with paranormal stories.

Shaffer, who lives in Bay Ridge, posts excerpts from the “Ghosts of Magic Beach” novel he’s currently writing on the Web site “All Things Green Down the Shore” (http://www.shore11.org/ghostsofmagicbeach2), which serves Jersey’s environmental activist community.

The novel offers fictionalized tales of ghosts haunting historic homes on the Jersey shore.

“I’m a Brooklyn guy who came to the Jersey shore for inspiration. Keyport, NJ, is a town where many of the old historic buildings still stand. It feels old. There is a ghost tour that goes through town. It started me thinking. I wrote it down,” Shaffer said.

“Those houses have a history that goes back to before the Civil War when the town was a major shipping port. They look like great houses for ghosts. The old trees are wind twisted. I just had to invent a good back story for each house and away we went.”

Shaffer said he plans to one day adapt his novel to a screenplay.

The 67th Precinct covering East Flatbush is hosting a Sports Festival Day for area youth later this month.

The all-day get together is slated for between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22, at Paerdegat Park between Albany Avenue and Farragut Road.

The event will feature cops playing against local youth in several sports including soccer, cricket, softball, flag football and basketball.

The event will also feature a barbecue with much of the food donated by local elected officials.

“It’s all about community and police relationship building,” said Dep. Inspector Corey Pegues, commanding officer of the 67th Precinct.

“Kids get to see cops in a whole different light, and cops will come out with their families. It will be a really nice day,” he added.

For more information call the precinct at 287-3235 or 287-3236.

Lutheran Healthcare continues farmer’s market

Lutheran HealthCare (LHC) and Harvest Home Farmer’s Market, Inc., announced last week they will continue their weekly farmer’s greenmarket will through Nov. 19.

The farmer’s market is held every Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Lutheran Lane (55th Street) between 1st and 2nd avenues.

The open-air market will feature fresh vegetables, fruits, organic breads and more from N.Y. area farmers. Additionally, the Lutheran market will also offer health information and screenings from the medical center, the health center network, and affiliates. To help increase access, the market will be approved to redeem most meal and benefit programs like WIC, EBT, Health Bucks, and others.

“With the creation of this new greenmarket, and along with our community partner Harvest Home Farmer’s Market, we hope to provide our surrounding community with fresh food and healthy ideas,” said Wendy Z. Goldstein, president and CEO of Lutheran HealthCare.

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

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