There has been a spate of automobile break-ins within the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway in recent months. The precinct's crime prevention officer has some tips about protecting your property. Never leave any vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition. Remove any portable GPS systems while the vehicle is parked and unattended. Those devices have become one of the most popular targets of automobile thieves. Close all of your windows and lock all of your doors whenever you park, even in your own driveway. Activate any auto theft devices you might have in the automobile. And, do not keep your license, your title or your registration papers in the car. Should they be taken, the thief can use them to sell your car or to take your identity.
Speaking of automobiles, the New York State Motor Vehicle Office on Rockaway Boulevard in Springfield Gardens, the center most - used by Rockaway residents, will be closed indefinitely beginning January 28. The DMV says that the closing is necessary in order to install new, state-of-the-art equipment in the office. The agency says that the closing will only be for "a short time," but officials declined to give a timeline for its reopening. The South Queens Traffic Violations Bureau on the second floor of the building will remain open. The DMV urges those who need to access the center to use the Internet at www.nysdmv.com. The nearest DMV offices while this one is closed are in Jamaica and College Point.
Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer has been pressuring Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, the chair of the Assembly's Codes Committee, to amend the state's definition of a disguised gun to include certain weapons that are designed and intended to be toys. That would match a similar bill that City Councilman James Sanders has proposed in the Council. Under both bills, real guns that are made to look like toys would be outlawed and those who sell them could be sanctioned.
Here's a question for Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who keeps saying that a subsidized commuter ferry service from Rockaway to Manhattan is out of the question. Why is subsidized service out of the question for Rockaway when New York Water Taxi got $1.19 million from May to December last year to subsidize a ferry service from Yonkers to Manhattan? What's that you say? That money comes from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and not from the city. That is fiction, because the money for LMDC comes from public funds. That money is not only city money, but state and federal money as well, earmarked to improve transportation from the suburbs to Manhattan. How about Rockaway? In May of last year, the mayor stood on Beach 126 Street and the boardwalk and promised a ferry service. Bids had to be in by April. That was nine months ago, and Rockaway has not heard another word about the service. We have a ferry terminal at Riis Park. Anthony Weiner provided the money for three boats. What's holding up the parade?
Debit cards will be available this spring for Social Security recipients who want them, according to a Treasury Department source, who says that the cards will save the government lots of money. By the end of the summer, officials say, applications will be mailed to all of those who currently receive Social Security benefits. "There are a lot of seniors who don't have a bank account," officials said. "This will allow them to shop, get cash back and make purchases at stores without the fear of getting ripped off."
Congressman Anthony Weiner has raised $1.6 million in the past six months for his 2009 mayoral campaign. That puts Weiner in the lead in terms of the fundraising race - critical in these days of expensive television ads and billion dollar campaigns. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn pulled in $1.1 million and Comptroller William Thompson took in just under one million dollars. Weiner now has approximately $3.4 million in his campaign war chest. While local police are terming the incident a "typical argument between kids," parents of Stella Maris girls are upset at what they say was a 'beat-down' of their daughters by students from PS 225 on Wednesday, January 16. Parents says that a number of girls had remained in school for Blue and Gold practice. As they were leaving the school at about 3:30 p.m., parents say, a group of public school students accosted and assaulted them. There was a police presence at Stella Maris at dismissal on Thursday to insure that the incident would not be repeated.
We were glad to see that the Broad Channel American Legion lost its lawsuit against the local athletic club and New York City. The Broad Channel Athletic Club (BCAC) has been fighting for that piece of land on Cross Bay Boulevard for more than ten years - first against the incursion of the Knights of Columbus and then against the local American Legion Post, which wanted to use the land for parking and a ramp for disabled members. We think that the kids need it more than the vets. Fighting the lawsuit cost the BCAC a large chunk of change, and some programs had to be cut. Aplanned teen center had to be eliminated. We hope that the Legion takes the hint and refrains from appealing the court's ruling, costing the sports organization even more, money that should be going to kids programs.