State Senator Marty Golden will be hosting two annual Easter egg hunts for the children and families of his district. Each Easter Egg Hunt event, in Marine Park and Bay Ridge, includes games, music, and activities for the whole family, as well as prizes for the children.
The first one will be held April 6 at 2:00 p.m. in Marine Park, at Fillmore Avenue and Madison Place, followed by the second one, which will be held April 12 at 2:00 p.m. in Shore Road Park, at Shore Road and 79th Street.
To learn more, call Golden’s District Office at (718) 238-6044.
Fort Hamilton High School (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
One hundred and thirty students from Fort Hamilton High School (8301 Shore Road) were stranded on a Florida highway overnight after their charter bus broke down early Monday morning..
The kids were returning from Disney World, where they competed in a Disney Music Festival, when one of the two buses carrying the students broke down on Insterstate 4, just outside of Orlando.
The students were stuck for more than eight hours without power or air conditioning after the mechanical failure. Rather than split the kids up and let the functioning bus go on its way, Assistant Principal Tom Oberle decided to keep both buses together for their safety.
At approximately 9:30 a.m., a replacement charter bus arrived, allowing them to transfer and be on their way.
They got back to the school early Tuesday morning, safe and sound.
One of the student’s mothers wrote to Bensonhurst Bean about the ordeal, and praised Oberle for effectively managing the situation:
My daughter is a member of the FHHS Orchestra and is on the bus.
I spoke to my daughter early this morning, who said they slept on the bus on the side of the road awaiting the new bus which finally came at around 8:30 this morning. I lost communication with her as her cell phone battery died during the long wait for the new bus, however, I am confident in her safety with Mr. Oberle, the assistant Principal and Staff Chaperones.
The Principal and parent coordinator assured us through email and phone messages(see below) that safety and care is their number one priority.
Students will be provided food and beverages for everyone during the extended travel by the school . She said they will be excused from school tommorrow, but have to make up the work they missed.
I commend Tom Oberle, the assistant principal and Staff Chaparones for keeping the students calm and safe during the ordeal.
I can’t wait till their arrival this morning between 3 and 5 AM and finally breath a sigh of relief that they are home safe!
Here is the letter the principal sent out to the students’ families:
Dear Parents of Students on the Festival Disney Trip:
By now you have heard from your child about the delay in their return to Brooklyn from the Florida trip. The bus break down was unfortunate, but more problematic was the long wait for a replacement bus. Please know that Mr. Oberle has consistently pressed the bus company for more immediate responsiveness and information since the bus broke down late Sunday evening. We have been working together since early this morning and finally have confirmation that students are back on the road as of 9:30am today, Monday, March 24.
We are sorry about the inconvenience, but this is what we expect regarding students’ return to school:
3/24/14 9:30am Back on road to NYC
6:30pm Arrive Fayetteville, NC to exchange temporary bus with Coach USA bus for remainder of trip back to NYC
3/25/14 3:00am Expected arrival at Fort Hamilton HS.
Students will be excused from classes as though they were still involved in the trip, but they will need to make up the work.
The expected return of 3am may be modified once they are further into the trip. Please stay in touch with your child via cell or other means.
The safety and care for your children continues to be the number one priority. Resources to provide food and beverages for everyone during the extended travel will be covered by the school.
The delay in return also puts a delay in celebrating the students’ success in the competition, but we are proud of every student and staff member who participated in the Disney competition. Thank you for continued trust. Please let me know if you have questions.
A smart chip-equipped credit card. (Source: DennisSylvesterHurd/Flickr)
State Senator Marty Golden, citing a rise in credit card fraud in his district and beyond, is touting legislation he co-sponsored last month that would require credit card companies to install smart chip technology in every card issued to a New York State resident.
Golden held a press conference in Bay Ridge on Friday to advocate for the legislation, saying that merchants in his district have reported a spate of credit and debit card fraud, as well as “hackers” who have stolen data from local businesses. He was joined by Third Avenue Merchants Association President Robert Howe as well as Dimitri Akhrin, president of the Bank Associates Merchant Services.
“This legislation would require smart chip technology to be incorporated in our debit and credit cards to help protect against identity theft. Over the past few weeks, my district has been targeted by hackers who have been able to break through the security walls of some local stores. The false charges reported to my office have been made in Brooklyn, Long Island, Connecticut and event [sic] Puerto Rico,” said Senator Golden in a press release.
The senator cited Bureau of Justice Statistics reports estimating that 16.6 million people have suffered from identity theft in 2012 to 2013, 15.3 million of whom had an incident involving a debit or credit card.
According to tech site NerdWallet, manufacturers and advocates say smart chips are a safer alternative to magnetic stripe cards. Smart chips store encrypted account information and cannot be read by swiping. Instead they’re scanned into a terminal that reads the chip and can require a pin number to decrypt the chip’s information. They are not susceptible to common data scamming techniques as are magnetic strips, such as swiping, which allows fraudsters doubling as waiters or cashiers to discreetly pass your card through a handheld device that stores the card’s data.
Smart chips do have their own vulnerabilities, but the website notes that implementation in Europe has seen dramatic decreases in fraud.
The bill, which can be read here, was introduced on February 14 by upstate Senator Joseph Griffo with Golden as a co-sponsor. The Assembly version was co-sponsored by Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny.
American companies have been slow to adopt the technology because of the cost of replacing existing systems, including in-store point-of-sale systems and ATMs. The legislation does not address who will foot the bill, suggesting the business-owners will have to invest in new hardware if the law passes.
New York City’s only active military post could be shuttered in an upcoming round of base closures, which are expected to follow severe cuts to military spending.
Brooklyn Eagle is reporting that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposals to reduce military spending to pre-World War II levels may be accompanied by base closures. Fort Hamilton has been on the list before, most recently in 2005, but survived after vocal opposition from local leaders and the business community.
Advocates argue that it’s a vital post when major tragedies hit New York City, serving as the headquarters for recovery and response efforts:
“We’re going to have to start gearing up again to make our best argument for keeping it open,” Bill Guarinello, chairman of the Fort Hamilton Citizens Action Committee, told the Brooklyn Eagle.
… “Personally, I think they’d be crazy to close it, especially with everything the fort did during and after Hurricane Sandy”, Guarinello said. “It was the staging area for the recovery effort for the whole region. You couldn’t do it in South Jersey because it was devastated. We had all of the generals coming in and out of here. We will have to bring that to everyone’s attention.”
The fort was designated as a Base Support Installation to facilitate Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. The base provided soldiers and civilians responding to the disaster with staging areas, food and housing and logistical support.
The fort also played an important role following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to advocates, who said the base was a staging area for National Guard troops.
More than 50,000 active, reserve and retired military personnel and their families rely on the base for services. The Army Corps of Engineers’ North Atlantic Division is headquartered there, although indicated in 2011 that it would prefer to relocate to Manhattan – a proposal that at the time was seen as a death knell for the base.
No closure list has been drawn up yet, and the Department of Defense has nixed previous requests from the Defense Secretary to form a Base Realignment and Closure Commission, the first step to base closures.
Local guru and Made in Brooklyn founder Dom Gervasi is coming back to his native Bensonhurst, according to his Facebook account.
For those of you who don’t know who he is (gasp), Gervasi is the founder of a touring company called Made in Brooklyn Tours and grew up in Bensonhurst. The tour company takes customers on a guided trip through the borough.
The son of Italian immigrants, Gervasi grew up on the block where “Mama Sbarro opened her first Salumeria in Bensonhurst,” according to a Q&A we did in 2012. Dom is a licensed NYC Sightseeing Guide. And up until now he lived in Bay Ridge (for shame!).
Gervasi writes in his post, “After an intense, emotionally draining search, I found my new home in Bensonhurst, my native land, where we still close the lights and doors and demand that you sit down for a cup of eXpresso when you come in.”
He notes that the neighborhood isn’t exactly the same one he left.
“No longer the domain of Italian-Americans alone, Bensonhurst is ethnically diverse – looking forward to traveling without leaving the country,” he wrote.
In the Q&A, Gervasi reveals that he has a sixth sense to actually “taste” neighborhoods. He then describes Bensonhurst’s taste:
Today? It tastes like Szechuan raviolis smothered with red sauce and a side of rice and beans. It’s a mix of swaggering attitude, pragmatic thriftiness infused with the indomitable spirit of Rocky Balboa.
Welcome back, Dom. We’re happy to have you. Just… y’know, don’t try to taste us or anything.
He’s holding a telephone town hall tonight at 7:00 p.m. for residents of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. He’ll be reviewing some of the things he’s working on in the district and in Albany, as well as discussing his response to the governor’s State of the State address, which took place yesterday. There will then be time for questions and answers from those on the line.
To call in, dial (877) 228-2184 at 7:00 p.m. and enter code 19647.
Do you live in Bensonhurst, Bath Beach or Gravesend? Don’t fret; Golden is planning a similar event for those areas in February.
Community Boards that cover Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Gravesend want action on illegal curb cutting and are hoping that Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio steps up enforcement on the issue. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle is reporting that Community Board 11 Chairman Bill Guarinello is hopeful that de Blasio will provide leadership on the issue.
Curb cutting is an illegal practice where homeowners cut the curbs in front of their houses to create makeshift driveways. The problem with this practice is that it takes away parking options for the rest of the community desperate to find spaces.
In October, we reported that Guarinello was fed up with the practice and was asking the Department of Transportation (DOT) to enforce the issue more heavily. The DOT has noted that they do fine homeowners for illegal curb cuts, billing them for any repairs the city makes in correcting them. Guarinello has argued that the city rarely enforces this rule.
Guarinello is set to increase his crusade against curb cutting. The Daily Eagle is reporting that he has recently formed a task force and is hoping to recruit Brian Kieran, chairman of Community Board 10, to face the issue head on. While future action from de Blasio is not yet known, Guarinello indicated that newly reelected Councilman Vincent Gentile would be working on legislation to fight the practice.
Bensonhurst resident Charles Ritter, outside of his polling station on election day, said he’s satisfied with the neighborhood’s police presence but has issues with stop and frisk. (Photo by Ashley Rodriguez)
By Scott Klocksin
Jacob Hunt was stopped by police and asked for identification as he left a parking lot in Bay Ridge several years ago. He fit the description of a suspect in a crime. But Hunt wasn’t worried.
“Ninety percent of calls you hear on the police scanner are ‘Hispanic, Black, 5-foot-9, 200 pounds. That’s me,” Hunt said.
“But if I’m doing nothing wrong, I have nothing to worry about,” said Hunt, a registered Republican who counts several cops as friends. “I don’t hold no animosity toward them. It’s a scary job.”
Hunt was one of dozens of people interviewed throughout Southern Brooklyn amid the November 5 mayoral election. The interviews revealed a wide breadth of views on policing.
Some expressed strong support for the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy. Others expressed personal bitterness over such tactics. But all agreed on the importance of safety.
While most members of Congress were concerned with a government shutdown, Congressman Michael Grimm was concerned with getting down – with a gal in a Bay Ridge bar bathroom, according to witnesses.
Brooklyn Magazine is reporting that the Republican congressman spent the Friday before the start of the shutdown “drinking and behaving boorishly” in a Bay Ridge bar, ultimately escaping into a bathroom for a presumed romp with lady-friend.
Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, spent the evening at the Bay Ridge bar with two couples and a woman in whose back pocket he repeatedly placed his hand, and whose ass he slapped more than once, the witnesses said. He drank wine and insisted each drink be served in a fresh glass.
The three couples also each slipped in turn into the bar’s only restroom, including the congressman and his female companion, who stayed in there together for “a long fucking time,” one witness said—15 minutes or more, so long that people at the bar were talking about it. ”I was surprised someone so sleazy could be a congressman,” one witness said.
“It just so happened a couple people [at the bar] knew exactly who he was and kept an eye on him,’’ said one source, a Brooklyn Democratic political operative who received a phone call from one disgusted eyewitness.
“Dude, I think he was in there having sex,’’ the source said, quoting the witness at The Owl’s Head on 74th Street in Bay Ridge, part of Grimm’s district, which straddles Brooklyn.
“I think it was pretty f–ing obvious what as going on in there,’’ the source said. “They said Grimm was in there with a girl for 17 minutes. I guess they were timing him.
Grimm is single, having briefly married in 1994.
The fearless reporters over at Politicker went and snapped a photo of the bathroom, which they describe as “gender neutral” and “small and handicap accessible with blue walls.”
“This never happened, and I will not dignify this absurd distortion of the facts with a response, except to to say that this is nothing more than a typical Democrat-led smear campaign,” the congressman told the Post by e-mail.
It’s not the first time Grimm has raised eyebrows with bar-room shenanigans. In 2011, the New Yorker reported on a 1999 incident at a Queens bar, while Grimm was still an FBI agent, in which Grimm got into a tussle with his date’s husband. Tough guy Grimm allegedly said the man didn’t “know who he’s fucking with … I’ll fuckin’ make him disappear where nobody will find him.” He then vanished and returned with a gun, confronted the husband, and bandied about his FBI credentials, the magazine reported. He left and returned again, this time with fellow FBI agents and NYPD officers, forced bar-goers up against the wall, and allegedly ordered the “white people” to leave the bar while he searched for the husband. Grimm has denied those allegations, too.
Congressman Michael Grimm and Councilman Domenic Recchia
The upcoming race between Congressman Michael Grimm and Councilman Domenic Recchia has already been contentious, and pundits have yet to point to a clear favorite. Politicker is reporting on Recchia’s strategy to unseat Grimm, New York City’s only Republican representative to Washington D.C.
The bad blood between Recchia and Grimm has been brewing since Recchia announced his intention to challenge the two-term congressman for his seat. Most recently, Recchia blasted Grimm over the ongoing government shutdown and his ties to the Tea Party. Speaking to members of the Bay Ridge Democrats, Recchia revealed that his strategy to capture the 11th congressional district relies heavily on drawing votes from Brooklyn.
“We have to win Brooklyn big. We win Brooklyn big, we take the North Shore, we fight Michael Grimm on the Mid-Island and we get all the Italian-Americans on the South Shore. That’s our focus. People laugh but this district has one of the largest number of Italian-Americans than any other congressional district in the country,” Recchia said.
Politicker laid out how shifting demographics Recchia could carry the councilman to victory as well as the roadblocks he’ll have to overcome:
But evolving demographics could buoy Mr. Recchia. Staten Island’s North Shore is home to a growing number of minorities and immigrants who are more likely to vote Democrat. And the conservative and heavily Italian South Shore could be willing to vote for an Italian Democrat, as Mr. Recchia contended.
Working against Mr. Recchia, however, is history. Brooklyn Democrats have traditionally fared poorly in the district.
Grimm dismissed Recchia’s strategy, comparing it to someone playing fantasy football.
“When someone’s strategy is running on their ethnicity, it is pretty obvious they have nothing of substance to offer – even after a decade in the City Council,” a Grimm spokeswoman said. “This is the exact same tactic used by Grimm’s 2010 primary opponent - also from Brooklyn – and he lost by almost 40 points. Recchia’s strategy is just like fantasy football – a lot of fun, but it’s not real.”