2004-12-24 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

By Liz Guarino

The weather has turned another corner into the lower temperatures and the winter. It feels like our part of the world fell into a deep freeze. Bone-chilling cold is one of the weather conditions few people enjoy; but there are probably some folks who find very cold weather to be stimulating, refreshing and quite healthy!

Santa Claus will visit your house by prior appointment, give your child a gift and pose for photos on Christmas Eve between 7 and 10 p.m., with the help of the BCVFD. A donation of $25 to the Vollies per house visit is requested.

Are you the type of person who will enjoy starting the New Year with a brisk walk on the beach? Join the folks of the American Littoral Society at Breezy Point on Saturday, January 1 at 11 a.m. at Building 1 on Fort Tilden in the Gateway National Recreation Area. The walk will include a visit to the hawk watch tower led by naturalists Mickey Cohen and Don Riepe. For the 21st time, they will try to signal across the harbor to other American Littoral Society members who will be on the lookout for them at Sandy Hook, New Jersey. There will be cookies and champagne served after the walk. Admission to the event is free and open to all. If you want more information on this event, telephone ALS at 718 318-9344.

A lot of people have the troops on their minds. Whether they’re overseas or closer to home, they deserve the support and caring of the American people. One often-forgotten segment of the troops is those who are in the hospital recovering from war wounds. A good way to help them is to donate frequent flyer miles to buy them airline tickets from Delta (1-800-325-3999) or Northwest (1-800-327-2881) airlines so the recoverees can visit their families. It is required that at least 5000 miles be donated. The USO provides each military person deployed overseas with a care package which includes international phone cards, sunscreen, travel size toiletries, disposable camera and other requested items. For more information on this, go to www. usocares.org and follow the links (there are many of them). For $25 you can sponsor a care package and include a message from yourself thanking them for their service and sacrifice.

If you know the name of a soldier, but not much else, try emailing them through this website: http://www4. army.mil/ocpa/tooursoldiers/post.php You should be able to send an email up to 300 characters. Through this site, you should be able to send an email to an individual soldier, an entire platoon or all the brave men and women overseas.

Chances for St. Virgilius Parents’ Association 20/10 Club are on sale now. Drawing begins on February 1, 2005 and will run for 10 weeks. First prize of $200, second prize of $100 and third prize of $50 are awarded weekly. There is an Easter bonus prize of $250. In the tenth week there are two $500 prizes and a prize of $250. Winners can repeat weekly. Chances are $20 each. To buy chances call Karen at 718 945-5823, the rectory at 718 634-5680 or the school at 718 634-6237. The chances make fantastic Christmas presents!

As the temperatures drop below freezing, it is good to remember to contribute to the 16 th Annual New York Cares Coat Drive to help poor New Yorkers. Thousands of clean, gently used coats in good repair—no tears, broken zippers or missing buttons—are sought. They are collected and given to people who need them. When your kids outgrow their coats, this is a good use for them. When adults get new coats, this is a great place to donate the old coat. Coats can be brought to the 100th Precinct this month until December 31. Go online to: www.nycares.org or call 212 402-1173 for more information on other locations to drop those still-able-to-be-used coats.

RAA’s show, Gifted 2004, is being held in Fort Tilden’s sTudio 6. The exhibit includes paintings in various media, photography, sculpture and other works and will be available for viewing until Sunday, January 9. For further information call RAA at 718 474-0861 or email them at: rockart 116@aol.com. The gallery is open to the public and there is no charge for viewing the artworks. Gallery hours on Saturdays are from noon to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. The gallery will be closed on December 25 and 26 and on January 1 and 2; it will reopen on January 8.

Story Time, a program for pre-school children, is at the Library on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and will run through December 29. (As it always was, this is a very well-attended and much-enjoyed program with our new Librarian, Carol, conducting it!) This program is 20 to 30 minutes of stories, songs and crafts for preschool children ages 2 to 5. Pre-registration is not necessary.

Books and Bagels, the book discussion group which meets at the B.C. Library, will next meet at the Library on Thursday, January 13, 2005 at 10 a.m. Under discussion will be “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold.

As of December 1, the Department of Finance has changed the look of the homeowner’s tax bill. By now most folks have gotten their bills, which now look like credit card or utility bills. The bill is now referred to as a “Statement of Account.” They will list any credits the homeowner receives as well as current balances, property related charges and future charges. These will be sent quarterly instead of twice a year as it had been until the change. Bills were mailed out in December and June under the old system. Taxpayers will still have the option of paying online, by mail or in person.

I wish everyone a peaceful and wonderful Christmas Day!  

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