5/27/15

Bay Ridge Greenmarket Grand Opening

A 11 AM on Saturday, May 30, you're invited to join Grow NYC and sponsoring Council Member Vinnie Gentile in kicking off another season of fresh regional produce at the Grand Opening of the Bay Ridge Greenmarket, at Walgreen's parking lot at the corner of 95th Street and 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge.

Gentile will be on hand to distribute free $5 Greenmarket tokens (limit 1 per family to the first 40 families) good toward the purchase of fresh produce from the Market. There will also be free raffles, free gifts from Walgreens, cooking demos by Grow NYC, and tunes from the Fort Hamilton High School Band.

The Bay Ridge Greenmarket will be open every Saturday from 8 AM to 3 PM until November.

Children's Chorus of Bay Ridge Presents "Rhythms for Peace" at Good Shepherd

At 3 PM on Sunday, June 7, the Children’s Chorus of Bay Ridge will celebrate the end of its 10th season with a spring concert, “Rhythms for Peace,” at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, at 7420 Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge.

In a first for the Chorus, the program will combine the children's voices with percussion, including a drum set provided through a grant from Council Member Vinnie Gentile's office, and other instruments.

The program will feature songs and singing games from the world music tradition, including Africa, South America, Europe, and North America. Song selections will include "Zangelewa" (from Cameroon), "Honey in the Rock" (an African-American spiritual), and many others.

After the concert, families are invited to mingle for refreshments, face-painting, an art work exhibit created by Choir members, and an interactive rhythm workshop led by director Rita Pihra-Majurinen.

The suggested donation is $10 per family. Proceeds from the Concert will go to benefit the Children in Need Haitian Project, an organization offering children a path out of poverty through education.

Children’s Chorus of Bay Ridge is a community chorus for children in grades 1-8. Choristers are accepted throughout the school year without audition.

For more information, contact Rita Pihra-Majurinen at 718-745-8520, email her at childrenschorusbayridge@gmail.com, or visit the website.

Schumer Promotes STEM at Google Geek Street Fair

From 12 -6 PM tomorrow, Thursday, May 28, tech giant Google and a group of sponsors promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education will co-host the Google Geek Street Fair at Gansevoort Plaza, 9th Avenue and Gansevoort Street in Manhattan.

Offering fun, interactive electronic activities that teach kids about virtual games, robotics, circuitry, applied mathematics, and more, the Fair is free and open to all New York City kids.

At 2:30 PM, special guest U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer will pay a visit to the Fair and give a talk on STEM education.

Showcasing interactive and innovative activities and experiments from Google and its partners, the Fair is designed to inspire the science, technology, engineering and math entrepreneurs of tomorrow.  Since its launch in 2013 in New York City, it has been replicated in Toronto and will be hosted in Chicago this summer.

At last year's Fair at Liberty Science Center, students learned how Rubik’s Cubes are made and learned winning strategies from ‘Speed Cubers’ capable of solving the puzzles in seconds, while the New York Hall of Science, using a contact microphone, showed the variety of sounds objects can make when manipulated in different ways.

5/26/15

Demonstration of Women's Handcrafting and Needlework at Ridge Creative Center

From 6:15 until about 8:15 PM on Friday, May 29, The Ridge Creative Center will host a free Women's Handcrafting and Needlework Demonstration at First Free Evangelical Church, 6501 6th Avenue in Bay Ridge, featuring homemade textiles from India, Vietnam, Latvia, Norway and other countries, as well as live demonstrations of knitting, crocheting, quilting and other needlework techniques.

Handcrafting, traditionally done by women, often in groups, has served as means of transmitting needlework and other useful skills from generation to generation, as well as as a social bonding mechanism.

The program on May 29 will open with a tour of needlework displays and demonstrations, followed by a hands-on paper- weaving project led by artist Isabelle Garbani, creator of the community-based art project "Post War Blues."

Garbani describes the piece as follows:
"A ribbon of plastic flowers, crocheted and knitted from recycled plastic bags, bursts out of the old train car sitting inside the Brooklyn Army Terminal building, rising and falling on the tracks in undulating waves. 
Most of the flowers in this installation will be made by people from the surrounding communities, illustrating that in spite of our differences, we can make something meaningful and beautiful together. 
I am asking everyone who has seen my exhibits or participated in past installations to consider making flowers for this new project. You do not have to live in Brooklyn to participate. Everyone is welcome.
All the details about this new piece can be found at: www.crochetchallenge.com. You can also email me at igarbani@netscape.net with any questions."
Work on the paper-weaving project will be followed by a show-and-tell of family heirlooms or collections of handiwork. Bring a piece of cherished handiwork to share.  A discussion about the cultural differences and similarities between the pieces will follow, after which light refreshments will be served.

Admission is $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children.

For more information or to make a reservation (strongly suggested) call 347-860-1932 or email the Center at info@theridgecreativecenter.org.

5/25/15

"Charlie Likes Access"

At the center of a corruption scandal that has forced two of the state's most powerful politicians: former Democratic speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver and former Republican majority leader of the Senate Dean Skelos, to step down, is Charles "Charlie" Dorego, general counsel for Manhattan mega-developer Glenwood Management.

As Glenwood's mouthpiece and one of three people who run the company, Dorego, reportedly due to a cancer recurrence, is talking to the F.B.I. about how Glenwood bought political access at Albany's highest levels with millions in campaign donations.

Dorego, whose job it is to hire lobbyists and hand out campaign cash, plays a lead role in the criminal complaints against Silver and Skelos. He began cooperating with federal prosecutors last month, after locking in a confidential non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

In the Skelos complaint, Dorego is referred to as "CW-1", and in the Silver complaint, as “a representative of Developer-1” (Glenwood).

Dorego's ability to field more lobbyists than the powerful Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) or the ironically-named Rent Stabilization Association, both Dorego allies, ensured Charlie the undivided attention of the Albany officials charged with deciding whether to renew the state's rent regulation program and the lucrative tax abatement program -- critical to Glenwood -- known as 421-a.  Both are set to expire on June 15.

Dorego is an Albany power player. Since 2005, Glenwood has given more than $12 million to Silver, Skelos and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. According to the Skelos complaint, Glenwood’s “business model depends in substantial part on favorable tax abatements and rent regulations that must be periodically renewed” in Albany. 

Now, the battle over the renewal of the rent regulations and the 421-a tax abatement will go forward in Albany without its major players: Dorego, Silver and Skelos.

5/24/15

Honor Vets by Preserving Their Benefits

A timely report from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare reminds Americans, as they prepare to honor the nation's uniformed services on Memorial Day, of the connection between saluting their service and preserving their hard-won federal benefits.

The budget proposal introduced in the Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives, to which flag-waving Social Security foe Dan Donovan was elected this month, targets millions of seniors, including military retirees and disabled vets, for deep benefit cuts.

One of the proposals gaining traction in the Republican-dominated House would calculate the Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) by a new formula called "Chained CPI." If Congress approves Chained CPI, Social Security recipients will see their future benefits immediately cut.

Like millions of working Americans, vets who paid into Social Security during their service expect their contributions to help secure their retirement. Any cuts to their already-modest Social Security benefits would be devastating.

Social Security is the largest federal program supporting Americans veterans and their families. More than 9 million vets -- four out of every ten -- are receiving Social Security benefits. If enacted, Chained CPI would impose a double benefit cut on vets receiving benefits from both Social Security and the Veterans Administration.

While cutting future benefits to retired Americans, Chained CPI would raise taxes -- mostly on the poor and middle class -- to the tune of $208 billion over a 10-year period. In order to generate $112 billion, cuts to Social Security would wring up to $24 billion out of VA benefits and civilian and military retirement pay.

Republicans are also threatening a 20% cut to the Social Security Disability Trust Fund. Military veterans, many living on fixed incomes already stretched to the limits by soaring prescription drug costs, utility bills, mortgage payments and health care deductibles, would get the brunt.

We owe it to the millions of vets and their families who have sacrificed so much for our country to do more than just salute them for their service on Memorial Day: we need to protect their modest federal benefits.

Some congressional representatives are staunchly committed to voting down Republican proposals to reduce federal deficits at the expense of millions of retirees, including military veterans.  Dan Donovan is not one of them.

The Republicans' proposed budget cuts bear no apparent relationship to American public opinion [Institute for America's Future.]

5/23/15

Brooklyn Tea Party Founder Facing Child Pornography Charge

Longtime Brooklyn Republican activist and failed political candidate Joseph Hayon was criminally charged in Brooklyn Supreme Court last week with allegedly using his email account to view and share 20 images of child pornography from his Midwood home on December 26 last year.

The 38-year-old father of four, including a 15-month-old girl, faces a single count of possession of child sexual performance.

The case originated, according to Brookyn assistant district attorney Wilfredo Cotto, with notice to the NYPD from the CyberTipline, resulting in a search warrant for Hayon's home and business. A tablet, video cameras, laptops, desktops and a wireless phone were seized.

According to Cotto, Hayon has made written statements admitting to owning the email account and to viewing and sharing photos of children involved in sexual conduct. All of the images, according to Cotto, are of female children, some as young as two years.

Hayon has been released on $50,000 bail and ordered to stay away from his children.

Hayon, active in the Brooklyn Republican Party since 2008, chartered the first Republican Club at Kingsborough Community College in 2009. In 2011, he became the founding president of the Brooklyn Tea Party. In 2012, he ran for State Assembly in Brooklyn District 41, losing to incumbent Helene Weinstein. He ran for City Council in Brooklyn District 44 in 2013, losing to David Greenfield. He currently serves on the Republican County Committee.

During his failed campaign for State Assembly, Hayon portrayed himself as a children's advocate, pledging to prosecute public librarians who make "electronic obscenity" available to minors.

Hayon's prosecution prompted a statement via email blast today from Brooklyn Young Republican Club president Glenn Nocera disassociating the club from him. According to Nocera, party officials Russell Gallo and Gene Berardelli are using the Hayon prosecution as fuel for their continuing cyber bullying campaign against the club.

The Daily News article.

Is Your Vehicle Affected by the Takata Airbag Recall?

You probably heard the disturbing news this week that nearly 34 million air bags made by the Takata Corporation are subject to a nationwide recall due to a lethal defect that has so far caused the deaths of six people and injured more than 100.

Since model year 2001, Takata airbags have been used in dozens of models of vehicles, from automakers including Honda, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Saab, Subaru and Toyota.

Auto manufacturers have to send you a recall notice if your vehicle is affected by the recall, but you can find out whether your vehicle might be involved by going to the U.S. Department of Transportation's safety recall website and entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).  The site can tell you whether or not your vehicle is included in the Takata, or any other, recall.

Automakers also have their own recall websites. For more information on how automakers are reacting to the recall and to find their recall websites, click here.

CNN Money has published this partial list of affected models.

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