Today’s news:

By Kenneth Kearns

This year’s holiday season is also the budget cutting season, first it was buses in Pelham Bay and City Island, and now its firehouses. The Fire Department of the City of New York plans to shut down the firehouse on City Island overnight.  This is an island community that is accessible through a highway system and two bridges. The nearest firehouse is on Bruckner Boulevard or in Co-op City. By the time the fire company arrives from either firehouse to City Island, a fire could devastate a property or a medical emergency could be aggravated. The board finds this proposal on the part of FDNY to be completely unacceptable, and will work our elected officials to reverse it.

The board is fully aware that today’s economic realities require cost cutting measures. However, the board questions why each measure must come at the expense of the taxpayer.  The board believes that each agency faced with a budget cut, should examine its own operations, its purchasing practices, leasing arrangements, use of contractors, property inventory and personnel management factors, before cutting vital services and exposing the public to significant risk.            

With the heating season upon us, the New York State Public Service Commission has published a booklet and informative pamphlets on energy conservation, consumer tips and protection.  Additional information can be obtained by contacting 1-888-Ask-PSC-1 or  The New York State Consumer Protection Board has published an informative pamphlet for customers, who use oil and propane for heating their homes.

The pamphlet entitled “What Consumers Need To Know” describes different purchasing strategies, contractual information, conservation tips, assistance programs and complaint resolution.  Additional information can be obtained by contacting the board at 1-800-697-1220 or at  The New York State Energy and Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), through its HeatSmartNY program also offers energy savings tips. Additional information can be obtained by contacting 1-877-NY-Smart or at The Home Energy Assistance Program offers grants to income eligible tenants and homeowners ranging from $40 to $400 for eligible clients.  The Bronx office for the program is located at 1932 Arthur Avenue in the lobby of the building.

Each year, the flu makes many of us miserable. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is offering the flu shot for free at walk-in immunization clinics, up until December 22.  The Bronx center is opened on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 1826 Arthur Avenue, 1st floor, between the Cross Bronx Expressway and Arthur Avenue. This location is accessible from the BX 40 and 42 buses.

The Bronx Health Link has assembled an informative guide that is filled with information concerning programs and services that are available to parents of newborn children.

Additional copies of this booklet can be obtained by contacting (718) 590-2648 or at  We all know of the health risks and the truly terrible results associated with smoking.  The Bronx Einstein Alliance for Tobacco Free Health sponsors the BronxBREATHES,  program and operates one of the Tobacco Cessation Centers in New York State, which offers Stop Smoking Programs. The Bronx sites are located at Jack D. Weiler Hospital at 1824 Eastchester Road, (718) 430-2200 and Jacobi Hospital, South Building, 1400 Pelham Parkway South, (718) 918-3784. Program participants will receive individual or group counseling, telephone counseling and medication, if needed via the nicotine patch.   

The Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) is offering free foreclosure prevention counseling, legal services, information concerning predatory lending practices and financial and budget informational services.  This organization also provides low interest rate grants for home repairs and a low-cost training program for homeowners that teaches repair skills.  Additional information can be obtained about these programs by contacting (718) 881-1180 or at

If you are interested in learning a construction trade, the Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills is offering pre-apprentice and apprentice opportunities.  These apprenticeships lead to skilled, well paying jobs in the construction industry.  The Bronx CB 10 site offering these services is Harry S. Truman High School. Additional information can be obtained by contacting            

The New York Public Library’s Pelham Bay Branch offers a series of entertaining and enriching programs to the public for free.  For young children and toddlers and pre-schoolers, there are programs throughout December and January. For the knitters among us, there is a knitting club which will meet on January 8, for ages 9 to 12. On Saturday, December 13 at 2:30 p.m., the library will be hosting an afternoon of Irish culture. The library will also be hosting an Introduction to MS Word class on January 17 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. All of these programs are at the Pelham Bay Branch of the New York Public Library, located at 3060 Middletown Road, (718) 792-6744. Additional information on these and other programs at the branch libraries throughout the Bronx, can be obtained by contacting

The board Office is ready to assist you with any problem or concern that you may be having with a city agency.  Our office is opened from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Our phone number is (718) 892-1161, fax number is (718) 863-6860 and our e-mail is


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