2009-02-13 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

Commentary By Liz Guarino

A lot of folks have said they're sick of winter's cold and are longing for spring. One of our neighbors actually keeps a count of the number of days until spring arrives. By my count it's 31 days away. Spring weather may be hiding on March 21. In the 19th century, one winter, there was a huge blizzard on March 31.

"Free Individual Income Tax Counseling for Low-Income Older Adults" at the Broad Channel library will take place this tax season. American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has teamed up with the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and the Library to offer older adults help in completing their 2008 income tax returns. Counselors trained by the IRS are available to help from February 4 through April 8 on Wednesdays from 1 to 5 p.m. Bring last year's forms, W2 or 1099 and any other pertinent information.

On Sunday, February 15 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge there will be a "NYC Audubon Winter Wildlife Hike." Led by naturalist Don Riepe, this walk lets participants look for signs of winter wildlife. Learn how both animals and plants adapt to winter's weather conditions. Dress for the weather that day and bring binoculars. Sign up in advance at 718-318-4340.

On Sunday, February 22 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge join Dave Taft for a tour of orchid plants native to the northeast part of the U.S. Sign up in advance at 718-318-4340.

The Broad Channel Pre-k will be hosting "Kiddie Bingo" on Sunday, February 22 at 2 p.m. It will be held at the Christ Presbyterian Church Hall. Cost is $5 per child; snacks and juice will be sold. Every child playing will receive a small prize.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper will be held at Christ Presbyterian Church in the church hall on Church Road on February 24 from 5 to 8 p.m. Supper includes pancakes, sausage, juice, coffee, tea and cake. Cost for adults is $7 each; children under 12 are $3 per person. For delivery call 718-945-3443 between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. on February 24. All are welcome.

On Wednesday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. the 100th Precinct Community Council will bring its meeting to the VFW Hall on Shad Creek Road instead of the Rockaway Legion. The precinct captain will be present to answer questions from the attendees. Police officers from the 100 Precinct will be honored at the meeting.

The members of the Book Discussion Group have chosen a nonfiction book for their next selection. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman, is a book about resistance activists Jan and Antonina Zabinski, keepers of a zoo in Warsaw, Poland, who hid Jewish people during WW II. Discussion for this book will be held at the library on Saturday, February 28 at 11 a.m.

A two-session Defensive Driving Course will be given on Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24 from 7 to 10 p.m. in the School Building at 16 Noel Road in Broad Channel, in the lunchroom. By taking this course, you can receive 10 percent off your car insurance for three years or up to four points off your license. No test will be given. Fee is $60. To make a reservation or for further information: call Helen, at 718-945-4648 or Cindy, at 718-634-5449. Refreshments will be served. If you attended the course in March, 2006, your certificate expires in March. Payment in full guarantees a seat—they are unable to hold a seat without payment. The course is sponsored by St. Virgilius Church and all proceeds benefit the St. Virgilius religious education program.

Did you know what's in store for those who drive around the city and boroughs? In the Mayor's preliminary budget for 2010, there is a request for 20 additional red light cameras to be used at intersections already having one camera. The additional camera will be used on the side of the street that has no camera at present. In the future, the City hopes to be able to use red light cameras for detecting when motorists are exceeding the speed limit. They will then be able to mail drivers tickets for speeding in addition to running red lights. A demonstration program for this will be done, in order to show how it will work. For the fiscal year 2010 the City hopes to amend leg- islation that allows expansion of the use of the red light cameras and raising of the fine for running a red light from $50 to $100. A raise in the cost of using single space parking meters from 50 to 75 cents an hour has been planned for the future also.

SPECIAL ELECTION On Tuesday, February 24 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Residents of the 32nd Council District will vote for their next councilmember. The choice will come from one of four candidates - the others fell out due to challenges to signatures or technicalities. A series of debates was held at various locations to help voters decide on a candidate.

By now, most folks know that the high definition broadcasting which was coming to television in February has been delayed. It is now expected to take place in June. People who needed a new television now have more time to get the money together while those who didn't get the box to transform the signal have more time for that. There has been a delay in getting the $40 coupons due to demand, so the delay will come in handy for some folks!

If you have material that you wish to appear in the column on a Friday, please get the item(s) to me by 9:30 a.m. on the Tuesday before the issue comes out. Please sign your email or note; like the rest of the newspaper, I cannot publish info that comes without a name. Email can be sent to: Lizbcbits@aol.com

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