2010-01-01 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

Commentary By Liz Guarino

A little cold, a little rain, a little snow? A lotta’ everything sounds more like it — wind (when it’s so windy, it howls), rain, snow — and cold! And the day after we get messy weather, it is warm for this time of year and the sun shines nice and bright, too. One thing is true about our weather: we have variety which gives us a built-in way to avoid boredom. And it sure gives an interesting beginning to 2010 never to be sure of which weather will be showing itself off from one day to the next!

This is the first column of 2010; hope everyone had a New Year’s Eve celebration that suited them. I hope this year is a happy, healthy and prosperous one for all!

On New Year’s Day, take a hike along the beach, dunes and woods. Make it a brisk one in the annual New Year’s Day Walk with the American Littoral Society on Friday, January 1 from 10 a.m. to noon. Meet on Fort Tild en, Building 1. More information is available by calling 718-318-9344.

In the visitor center in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, January 10 from 2 to 3 p.m. is the opening reception for Blue Shadows, an exhibit. Jeffrey Rabkin, poet, will meet and greet visitors and read from his haiku poems. Additionally, the gallery will contain some of his works. The exhibit runs through Sunday, February 28.

Christ Presbyterian Church will start their Bingo Games later this month. Bingo will take place in the church hall on Thursday nights, January 21, February 4 and February 18. Doors open at 6 p.m.; Early Bird is at 6:30 p.m.; Bingo starts at 7 p.m. Coffee, tea and cake will be served. Donation is $5. Bingo will be cancelled if the weather is inclement — “we will get the word out.”

“Signs of Spring in mid-Winter” will take place in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, January 24 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Find out where the spring hides during winter in the refuge when you walk the East Pond Trail. Dress for outdoors. Bring your binoculars. Sign up by calling 718-318- 4340.

A reminder about recycling old electronic devices at Joe Addabbo’s office at 159-53 102 Street in Howard Beach on Saturday, January 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Included in this electronic equipment are: batteries, cameras, cell phones, computers, copiers, fax machines, laptops, monitors, PDAs, printers, scanners, servers, telephones, televisions and typewriters. If you want more information, call 718-738-1111.

If you want to learn how to move around online or do spreadsheets, word processing or slide show presentations, there are computer classes at Beach Channel High School on Monday and Wednesday evenings. If you want a flier with all the information about these computer classes, let me know. I will forward a copy to anyone who wants one. Just send me your email address. If you don’t have an email address, get word to me and I’ll print a flier and deliver it to you if you send me your street address. Or you can pick it up — we’ll make arrangements. Did I mention that these classes are free? The flier comes from the Peninsula public library. (If you go to BCHS for the classes, if it isn’t too much of an imposition — would you please send me an email and tell me what you thought of the classes or anything else that relates to them that you want to mention — I’d appreciate it. Thanks.)

Parents whose kids spend online time on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace will be happy to hear that a new law is helping to remove registered sex offenders from being on these sites, who are presumably attempting to talk to and otherwise bother young users who are enjoying appropriate use of these sites. Over 3500 registered sex offenders have been removed from Facebook and MySpace; 13 other sites — including sites owned by Google (Orkut.com), Yahoo and AOL have signed on to remove these undesirable, unwanted users and keep cyberspace safer for children.

According to a senator from Delaware, “fraud perpetrated against health plans costs between $72 [billion] and $220 billion annually.”

People who bought new cars, motor homes, motorcycles or trucks between February 15, 2009 and January 1, 2010 may be able to deduct local and state taxes from their income tax returns. Homeowners who installed energy efficient improvements such as insulation or energy efficient windows and heating and air conditioning systems may be eligible for up to $1500 in credits and/or incentives. Those who installed alternate energy equipment like solar panels may qualify for a credit equal to 30 percent of the cost. The improvements must have been installed in 2009 or 2010. More information is available on these and other incentives at www.irs.gov

Schoolchildren return to class on Monday, January 4. Sorry, kids! Back to those books, exams, projects and tests. Spring break will be here before you know it.

Here’s help you may not have known was available to you and others who contact them when they need an answer to a reference question that’s not involved. Public library chat reference is available to you 24/7. Librarians will answer your questions; start your reference session by going to www.queenslibrary.org/ask Use of the public library is up and the library system we have is very responsive in return. Emailed questions are answered in 2 to 3 days. And of course there’s always the phone, 718-990-0728, available 6 days a week, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. They can locate quotations in books and even find Bible quotes. For intricate questions, visit the library.

Please send material to be published in the column by Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. of the week before it is to appear. Thank you.

Email can be sent to: Lizbcbits@aol.com

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