2003-12-19 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

By Liz Guarino
Broad Channel Bits By Liz Guarino

Christmas and the end of the year are just around the corner. This time of year does have its own special beauty and fun attached to it though. Driving around the neighborhood and looking at the Christmas decorations on the different houses can be quite an experience. Some have music, while others have movement. There are great-smelling wreaths, animal sculptures and lots of twinkling lights of red, green, blue and/or white. The Christmas decorations on some of the houses are a feast for the eyes, nose and ears!

Would you like Santa Claus to come to your home on Christmas Eve? He won’t slide down the chimney; he’ll arrive on a fire truck! From 7 to 10 p.m., he will make his rounds, arriving at your house and giving your child(ren) gift(s) you have provided, and posing with your child(ren) for photographs. A donation of $25 per household is requested. Call the firehouse by December 20 at 718
474-6888 to schedule a visit.

St. Virgilius P.A. will have a Tree of Lights outside the church which will
be lit each evening from Christmas through the holiday season. Offered is the opportunity to purchase a twinkling light to honor someone or offer a tribute to someone’s memory. Lights are $5 each and a Tree of Lights list will be on display in back of the church. Lights can be purchased through the school at 718 634-6237, the rectory at 718 634-5680 or put it in the collection basket at mass. For further information, call Pat at 718 634-5085. Last date for purchase is December 21.

Chances are on sale for the 20/10 Club sponsored by St. Virgilius P.A.
Drawing begins on February 1, 2004 and runs for 10 weeks. First prize is $200; second prize is $100 and third prize is $50. There is a $250 bonus Easter prize. In the 10th week, two $500 and one $250 prizes will be drawn. Winners can repeat weekly. Chances cost $20 each. Call Karen at 718 945-5823, the rectory or the school office to buy chances.

Getting a new coat for Christmas? If you’re looking for an easy way to do a charitable work, have you considered giving your old coat (or the kids’
outgrown coats?) to the New York Cares Coat Drive? They ask that the coats be "gently used" and still serviceable. Coats can be brought to the 100 Precinct (or any precinct) during the entire month of December.

During this season a good home heating system is greatly appreciated, but high fuel prices usually don’t bring smiles to homeowners’ faces. There is some help for those who qualify for the HEAP program. This program provides grants to seniors and people with disabilities ranging from $40 to $400. Call the HEAP hotline at 800-342-3009 to see if you are eligible for benefits or to get an application.

My email brings me news of all kinds. One of our neighbors sent me the address of a website I had never seen before, www.operationac.com, which is a site where you can Adopt A Soldier. At this time of year, it’s hard for anyone of any age to be away from those that they love. It has to be particularly difficult for the young men and women in our armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to be so far from home and on foreign soil where everything-food, clothing, shelter, language, money, culture, customs, even the climate—is alien to them.

This site allows soldiers to register themselves to receive items, it allows
you to register someone in your family, or even sends you the information on a soldier if you don’t know anyone in the military. If you simply want to make a donation toward sending of needed items overseas, that information also can be found on this site.

Winter is coming in the middle east; our troops need good socks and boots;
heaters are also needed. Information about these is on the site. For those who know a soldier and already send items but need new ideas, there is a list of items that are greatly needed by the troops: baby wipes, powder, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, liquid soap (the bar melts), non-aerosol deodorant, games, DVD’s, sweetened Kool-Aid, Gatorade, magazines, books, candy that doesn’t melt, feminine hygiene items, envelopes for letters, disposable cameras, playing cards, VHS’s, beef jerky, nuts, gum, foot powder, note pads, pens and pencils.

With help from this site we can all help make our troops’ holiday season much brighter.

Even an artificial Christmas tree can be sent. More information on that is available on the site. Do not gift wrap anything as it has to be opened and inspected. If you are not online, the Library has two PC’s for patrons’ use and the staff will help you.

I got email telling me of the possibility of a cell phone tower and antenna being erected in the center of town. My email has carried strong opinions in favor of it and equally strong opinions against it. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

People who are online are finding tasks that would take many hours reduced to a fraction of that time. Almost any motor vehicle bureau business used to require hours of your time. And, at the closest DMV you had to search for a parking space and feed the parking meter, and spend lots of time standing on lines.

Then it became possible to renew vehicle registrations, replace lost titles, schedule road tests, and order custom plates online on the DMV website. And now, drivers’ licenses can be renewed online. Of course, the eye exam is still required, but you can get a completed eye test report from your health care provider and use it to complete your transaction. Go to: www. nysdmv.com and enjoy "Government without Walls" in New York State.

What is your organization up to these days? Send an email to:

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