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Don’t forget tonight’s Bensonhurst West End Community Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the Harway Terrace Community Room at 2475 West 16th Street.

Source: micurs via Flickr

A man stopped by police for riding a bicycle on the sidewalk turned out to be a local career criminal sought in connection with two other crimes.

Efrain Gauthier was at the 68th Precinct, which services Dyker Heights and other local nabes, last Thursday. When police searched him, they realized the bike was stolen and he had drugs and burglary tools on him.

The 76th Precinct had issued two bench warrants for Gauthier, and had been after him for years. According to the Carroll Gardens Patch, Gauthier has 43 previous arrests and 25 convictions.

The Patch writes:

Captain Jeffrey Schiff was so fed up with the recidivist returning to the streets that he visited the Red Hook Justice Center and requested Judge Calabrese impose a higher bail. As a result of the conversation, the bond was set at $10,000.

Gauthier didn’t show for sentencing to another crime and has been on the lam since then.

Further, the Patch states that:

Captain schiff has previously stated that whenever Gauthier is arrested, the number of car break-ins and stolen bicycles in the 76th Precinct goes down immediately afterward.

Glad to have this perp out of our areas and behind bars, where he belongs.

Source: The Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation

From the Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation:

The Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation, (www.FrankiesMission.org), a non-profit serving pediatric cancer patients nationwide, will host their second annual event to celebrate children and teens who demonstrate outstanding qualities and values toward inspiring and bettering the lives of others and their community.

The inaugural ceremony will be held on Sunday, March 10th, and will take place at New York City Events-Dyker Beach Catering and the proceeds will benefit the Foundation’s mission of assisting the pediatric cancer community.

The Foundation is encouraging the community to send a detailed paragraph by Wednesday, January 30th to info@FrankiesMission.org to nominate children and teens to be one of “Frankie’s Heroes” who: Engage in generous and selfless acts that make a significant difference in the life of another person or persons and demonstrate resilience and courage during a difficult challenge that led toward inspiring others.

Explain why your nominee should be one of “Frankie’s Heroes.” Include name, school, grade and age of child. Include your name, phone number and relationship to child.

Source: assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman William Colton has been appointed as Majority Whip in the NY Assembly Majority Conference by Speaker Sheldon Silver.

According to a member of Colton’s staff, the rise in leadership gives “Assemblyman Colton an increased role in fighting for legislation that protects and strengthens working families, seniors, and children throughout the entire state.”

In case you’re not clear what the term whip refers to, here’s a handy, though somewhat dark, description in Wikipedia:

A whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party’s “enforcers”, who typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy. A whip’s role is also to ensure that the elected representatives of their party are in attendance when important votes are taken. The usage comes from the hunting term “whipping in”, i.e. preventing hounds from wandering away from the pack.

Go get ‘em Colton and whip ‘em back into shape.

Source: Ozarks Red Cross via Flickr

The students in the Little Doctor’s Enrichment Program have teamed up with the New York Blood Organization and will be running a blood drive on Tuesday, January 29, from 4 p.m. until  8:30 p.m.

All donors must be at least 17 years of age. All who donate will be entered into a free raffle to win an iPod. Donors can choose to register for the drive or learn more information by visiting www.nybloodcenter.org.

P.S. 229 is located at 1400 Benson Avenue.

Source: googly via Flickr

From the offices of Councilman David Greenfield and Councilman Lew Fidler:

In light of the ongoing school bus drivers strike that has forced 152,000 public and private school children to find alternate routes to and from school, Councilman David G. Greenfield and Councilman Lew Fidler are renewing their call for New York City to institute a pilot transportation voucher program to help reduce the cost of pupil transit and improve services for students based on their school’s specific schedule. This would allow parents to choose a bus service that best fits their child’s needs and schedule, including door-to-door delivery and extended busing hours to match later school days in yeshivas.

Currently, more than one-third of all city school bus routes serve at least one non-public school, and tens of thousands of yeshiva and other private school students rely on the city for yellow school bus service. Meanwhile, the cost of transporting students has skyrocketed in recent years and now stands at $1.1 billion. With that in mind, Greenfield and Fidler recently wrote to Deputy Schools Chancellor Kathleen Grimm to follow up on a request they made during a City Council Education Committee hearing last fall for the city to institute a transportation voucher program.

New York City currently spends about $7,000 a year to transport each student to and from school, the highest per-pupil rate of any school district in the nation. Under the plan that Councilman Greenfield and Councilman Fidler are proposing, the city would save millions of dollars each year in student transit costs while providing schools with better, more reliable service. The proposal would have the city providing a flat rate vouchers at half the current cost for parents to choose their own transportation provider. In their January 9 letter to Deputy Chancellor Grimm, Council Members Greenfield and Fidler note that “with bids being put out for school bus contracts and with the DOE trying to lower the costs of school bus transportation, it is an ideal time to consider the benefits our proposal can bring.”

Councilman Greenfield has advocated for a transportation voucher program for parents of private and public school children since he ran for office in 2010. As soon as Greenfield entered office, he met with current Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who at the time was Deputy Mayor for Education, about his proposal for a school transportation voucher program. Greenfield has since followed up on this plan with other senior administration officials. Councilman Fidler has staunchly supported such efforts as a City Council member representing southern Brooklyn.

“It was clear before this drivers strike that the city’s system for busing students needs to be completely overhauled, and the strike is only magnifying that fact. That’s why I have asked the Department of Education to institute a transportation voucher system that allows parents to directly contract with bus companies to better meet their specific child’s needs at half the current cost. This will save the city money while increasing the level of service for students, and is something that should have been instated long before this strike disrupted the education of thousands of children,” said Councilman Greenfield.

“Since the DOE has sent school bus contracts out for competitive bidding, now would be the appropriate time to at least look into a pilot program for yeshiva school busing.  The existing contract structure does not work well for yeshivot. The program that Councilman Greenfield and I have suggested would improve service and save taxpayers’ money at the same time,” said Councilman Fidler.

Click to enlarge

CompStat reports are produced by the New York Police Department on a weekly basis. We publish the week’s statistics for the 62nd Precinct reports every Friday. The 62nd Precinct is the police command responsible for Bensonhurst and Bath Beach.

Source: William Alatriste

From the office of Councilman Vincent Gentile:

The New York City Council passed legislation yesterday providing a private cause of action for those unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of being unemployed – the first law of its kind in the nation.

Intro 814-A will prohibit employers from using a person’s employment status in a hiring decision and from posting job advertisements that require applicants to be currently employed. The bill has the strong support of City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer as well as the National Employment Law Project, which is a national advocacy organization for employment rights of lower-wage workers.

“Employers who weed out candidates simply because they are unemployed has become the new face of employment discrimination,” Councilman Vincent J. Gentile said. “If you are otherwise qualified, being unemployed should not prevent you from securing a job. This important piece of legislation will effectively end this perverse Catch-22 that has served only to deepen our unemployment crisis in New York City.”

Under the groundbreaking legislation, it will be illegal for an employer to base a hiring decision on an applicant’s unemployment without a substantially job-related reason for doing so. It will also be illegal for employers to post in job advertisements that current employment is a job requirement, or that unemployed applicants will not be considered for the position.

“If you are otherwise qualified, how does being unemployed make you ineligible for a job?,” Councilman Gentile asked. “Is a dentist somehow more qualified for a job as a bank teller than an out-of-work bank teller simply because the dentist is currently employed!? This bill will stop the phenomenon of discrimination against the unemployed before it becomes the next crisis.”

City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn stated, “Imagine spending every day and night for months upon months upon months looking for a job – only to be told ‘don’t even bother… unemployed need not apply.’ We cannot – and will not – allow New Yorkers who are qualified and ready to work have the door of opportunity slammed in their faces. The long-term unemployed face some of the greatest challenges in their job searches. Tomorrow, we will vote to remove one obstacle they simply should not have to face.”

“Discrimination against the unemployed is unacceptable, especially at a time when the jobless rate in our City hovers around 9%,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “A review of job postings by my office uncovered dozens of examples of New York City job listings that required candidates to be currently employed–and it is clear that New York’s hopes for economic recovery are undermined when a person can’t find work for reasons outside their control. I am proud to stand with my colleagues today in support of legislation that protects unemployed people against such damaging discrimination.”

At 9.4%, New York City’s unemployment rate far exceeds both the national average and the New York State average. More than half of unemployed New Yorkers were actively seeking work for more than six months and nearly a third were still actively looking for work after searching for more than a year.

Intro 814-A will be voted on at tomorrow’s Stated Council meeting and is expected to pass overwhelmingly.

Source: Google Maps

The brown and white checkerboard pattern of this place is nothing short of awesome. Way to go Bay Parkway Real Estate Insurance (2169 Bath Avenue).

Source: NJLA: New Jersey Library Association via Flickr

The Community Education Council District 21 posted a resource for parents who are unable to get their children to school because of the bus strike..

On their Facebook page, they write:

In the event that your child is not able to travel to school because of the bus strike, the DOE encourages you to support your child’s learning at home using the suggested study schedules and instructional activities posted below. These materials do not replace what your child is learning at school, but it is important that students continue to read, write, do science activities, and work on math problems during time out of school.

Here is the link to the Department of Education’s “Learn at Home” initiative. If you happen to be curious about the kinds of topics that a may appear on a classroom curriculum, this is a great place to brush up on your high school English skills.

A sample 11th grade student task in the English section is to create an advertisement campaign using rhetorical appeals as taught by Aristotle (logos, pathos, ethos and mythos). 

It’s my hope that if students in a classroom are asked to write these, the DOE doesn’t sell them to a marketing consultant.

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