2012-01-18 / Features

Board 1 Cabinet Hears APAC, Sanitation Department, Plans

By Thomas Cogan

Astoria Performing Arts Center Executive Director Taryn Drongowski Sacramone, described the group’s winter-spring rehearsal and performance schedule to the Community Board 1 District Cabinet at the cabinet’s first meeting of 2012 on January 12 at Kaufman Astoria Studios, District Manager Lucille Hartmann presiding. The winter season starts with Love Trapezoid, a reading of a musical comedy by Matt Schatz at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 30-44 Crescent St., Fridays and Saturdays, February 10 and 11 and 17 and 18. This year’s after-school play writing project for students at I.S. 10, the Horace Greeley School, combining what Sacramone called kids’ imagination and adults’ production, is to be produced Thursday, February 16 at the school, 45-11 31st Ave. The Secret Garden, a musical adaptation of the Francis Hodgson Burnett novel, with book and lyrics by Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon, will be performed Fridays and Saturdays, May 4 and 5, 11 and 12, and 18 and 19, at Good Shepherd. Auditions for this year’s Senior Stars will be held in April, with performances Saturday, June 23, at Good Shepherd. Further information about these events is available by e-mailing info@apacny.org.

Lisa Marini of Queens Quits, a smoking cessation group, said the quit-smoking movement is currently pursuing the people who made a New Year’s resolution to quit and need help carrying through. She said that all city hospitals have end-smoking courses, with free support groups, individual and telephone counseling and free nicotine patches and gum. When asked about the recent report from the Harvard School of Public Health questioning the effectiveness of nicotine patches, Marini said failure might often result from careless and incorrect use of both patches and gum. She said she hoped the Harvard report would “start a dialogue” that would lead to better use of end-smoking devices.

Nearly a month after Christmas, Christmas trees are still being collected by the city Department of Sanitation (DOS).  Iggy Azzara, superintendent of the DOS Queens West 1 district, said many trees are retained at home for such a long time that those in possession worry that if they leave them at the curb after the recycling period has lapsed they will be fined. It’s not true, he said, trees are merely taken in normal collection, not mulched. His advice was:  don’t cut trees up or put them in plastic wrapping. He also said he was looking for snow laborers, hoping to have a few before any snow falls. It’s hard work in cold weather, he said, and it pays just $12 per hour, with no overtime rate; but applicants nevertheless respond, and, in his words:  “It’s the best idea the city’s ever had.”  He said those interested should be 18 or over and have two pieces of identification when they report to their local Sanitation district stations. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dsny/jobs.   

Aras Konjhobzic, with a background in education and industry, was at the meeting to proclaim his interest in starting a mathematics-centered charter school in the Astoria area. He was accompanied by an associate, Shahid Rahman. Konjhobzic, a native of Bosnia and father of five daughters, said he has found the level of math knowledge and English as a second language rather poor among immigrant children he has met locally. He said the school, to be called Inspire Math NYC, would be started with pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade classes, with a view to adding a grade each year until eighth grade students are enrolled. He is currently searching for a suitable building that would provide him with between 40,000 and 70,000 square feet of space. He hopes he can have the school in operation next year.

Felix Okolo of the Department of Transportation said neighborhood slow-down zones, are five-square-block areas consisting mainly of local streets. Within them, prominently posted signs announce that automobile speeds must be reduced to 20 miles per hour, and installation of speed humps promote enforcement. A pilot program is being conducted currently in the Castle Hill area of The Bronx. Okolo announced that time is short for community boards, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and elected officials to apply to DOT with a description of the zone designated for selection by the department. The deadline is Friday, February 3. Further information is available at www.nyc.gov/dot, with a link to slow zones.

Orlando Ramos of the Department of Consumer Affairs said the department has lately been cracking down on stores that make tobacco sales to minors, on car dealers who park their vehicles just anywhere (meaning the sidewalks), and owners of outdoor cafés who cover the premises in plastic during the winter. Several inspectors and undercover workers employed by the department enforce the department regulations. Roger Montesado of the Fire Department warned that carbon monoxide detectors became mandatory in apartments in the 1990s; now, many of them are reaching the end of their effective life and must be replaced. Many of these detectors issue noisy reminders that either a new 9-volt battery is necessary or another device must be purchased. Jay-E Emmingham of the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) told Montesado that homeowners who find it difficult to bear the expense of replacing the detectors should call the NYSERDA number, 1-866-697-3732, for assistance from her agency. Information about the agency’s On-Bill Recovery Program, which goes into effect January 30 and which allows homeowners to finance certain home improvements and pay their Con Edison bills over time, is also available at the NYSERDA number.

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