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Sheepshead Bay • Brighton Beach • Marine Park • Manhattan Beach • Coney Island • Flatbush • Gerritsen Beach • Mill Basin • Bergen Beach

It’s your newspaper – you count!

Vol. 6 No. 13, March 17 - 31, 2010

End of community boards? Page 4

Also Insi de


• NEW! K ids for ki ds • Man lo ses his home – a Buick • A Russ ian Pass over • Holistic dentistry • A first for College Brooklyn • I. Fried in: Free s tuff!














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Member of the New York Press Association Staff writers Kateryna Stupnevich Heeyen Park Dominique Carter Fern Sidman Arlene Brenner

David J. Glenn Publisher

Suzanne H. Glenn Editor

Arthur Melnick

Contributors I. Friedin Michael Schlager Kerry Donnelli Jacqueline Donnelli Matt Lassen Dale Nesseman

Associate Editor

Patrick Hickey Jr. Sports Editor

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ADVERTISING Bay Currents & Bay Currents Margin & Margin Maker Maker (a division of the PeopleSales Group) have now partnered to develop the newspaper to the fullest for you, OUR READERS. To find out more about our results-driven creative advertising programs, contact 347-869-5638 or e-mail:

Publisher’s Notebook David J. Glenn

A death in the family Community Board, a lifelong resident of New York City, impact of his youth. He convened monthly meetings, prepared agendas, and gave the residents speaking time. died today after a long illness. He was 59 years old.


r. Board suffered from a worsening case of impotency, spread by the Bloomberg Virus. He finally succumbed to complications due to the Charter Revision Bacillus. Born in 1951, Mr. Board had a healthy and active childhood and young adulthood, nurtured by several succeeding city administrations. Early on, he empowered residents of Brooklyn and the other boroughs have a direct effect on city policies and actions. But after Mr. Board was first diagnosed with the illness in the 1990s, he soon became frail and unresponsive. In the months before his death, he put up appearances, trying to convince residents that he still had the vitality and

But his rapidly deteriorating health became evident as his chairpersons would continually say, “We have no authority to do that,” or “We can only make a recommendation to the City Council.” Residents tried to strengthen him, urging him, for example, to take a stand against the proposed $64 million boondoggle in Asser Levy Park, or deal with critical zoning issues in Brighton Beach. But his failing health rendered him incapable of doing so. At Mr. Board’s internment, Mayor Bloomberg eagerly shoveled the first pile of dirt into the grave. Reporters overheard him saying to an aide, “I never got along with him.” In lieu of flowers, community residents are asked to donate time to local advocacy groups.

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Write to us at: or LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Bay Currents 2966 Avenue U, Suite 108 Brooklyn, NY 11229

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Bay Currents

BNA shouldn’t be on the list In the last issue (Vol. 6 No. 12), you listed the Brighton Neighborhood Association among agencies to which tenants could turn for help with housing issues. In reality, the BNA does little to help tenants, but much to help landlords and developers. In fact, a local landlord – who had been hit with scores of building violations –

served for years as vice president of the BNA before he was forced to officially step down following articles in your own newspaper. Tenants, beware of the BNA! Zev Yourman Brighton Beach

Create and Keep Jobs in U.S. President Obama is promoting a new $300 billion economic stimulus program. When he took office in January 2009 he said the $787 billion stimulus program would CREATE 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010 and unemployment will remain below 8.0%. Unemployment is hovering around 10.0%, and the jobs promised by Obama might hit 1.5 million by the end of 2010, but during the last 13 months we lost 5 million jobs. The stimulus saved the jobs of municipal workers, and provided additional unemployment benefits, but it has not provided jobs in the private sector. The money went to government agencies, colleges, non-profit organizations and entitlement programs. These programs will generate an-

nual deficits of $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion for years to come. Our government has squandered our financial resources on failed economic programs, and the American work force continues to suffer. The domestic priority should be creating millions of new jobs, and other domestic initiatives, including health care reform, should wait until the economy improves. The Administration and Congress have to reduce the size of government; cut business taxes; and give U.S. companies incentives to operate in this country, and disincentives to move operations and jobs overseas. Donald A. Moskowitz Londonderry, New Hampshire

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March 17  31, 2010

Help your community paper ... and maybe earn a few bucks, too! With corporate conglomerates gobbling up our news media at every level, Bay Currents remains the only independent newspaper serving the communities of southern Brooklyn. And that is what Bay Currents is all about The publisher, editors and most of the writing staff live here. We are your neighbors. We share your concerns. Bay Currents brings you stories that are untold or underreported elsewhere.

Our reporters and columnists write about issues with your needs and interests in mind. We have been adding exciting new features – such as Holistic Wellness by expert Arlene Brenner, and our latest, ‘Tween Currents, Kids for Kids by the gifted students of Mark Twain Intermediate School. And we are continually seeking to add more. Our writers are professionals, largely unpaid, who contribute their efforts simply for love of journalism and of their

community. But it still takes more than is available to produce and distribute on a regular basis. We are coming to you, our neighbors, to help out. As you do your shopping, please make merchants aware that this is the media you trust; this is the place their advertising dollars will get the most respect. If you would like to sell ads yourself, you will be provided with a media kit and receive a full sales commission. Simply approach potential advertisers while shopping or just taking a stroll.

Maybe your doctor, lawyer, accountant, or car mechanic wants to reach out. If you’d like to help out your community newspaper by being a Bay Currents community representative, please contact us at 347-492-4432, email: By working together, we can continue to grow by bringing you the best in local journalism. Our community needs Bay Currents; Bay Currents needs our community!

Bay Currents Advertorial

AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR PATERSON Dear Governor Paterson: At a March 10 meeting of the board of the most respected and largest organization of the Russian-American community of New York, a resolution was passed supporting your initiatives on ethical reforms of the state legislature. We fully support your view of the necessity and timeliness of this reform, and declare our readiness to assist you in this cause in any way possible. The current practice of some politicians in Albany is to allocate the taxpayers’ money among their favorite organizations, giving contracts to their political sponsors, and for their personal enrichment. This not only causes severe damage to the economy of the State, but it takes away funds necessary to improve living standards for New Yorkers. This also inflicts irreparable harm to the younger generation, who are in urgent need of moral guidance. Because you have taken the initiative to reform the system in Albany, and the courage you have displayed in the struggle for its implementation, the board of the Russian-American Community Coalition of New York has nominated you for the Prometheus-2010 award, named in honor of a mythological hero – and a victim of the injustice of the gods of Olympus due to his desire to be helpful to the people. We congratulate you on this prestigious nomination! Sincerely, Board of Directors, The Russian-American Community Coalition of New York The Russian-American community of New York consists of more than 625,000 Russian- language speaking people of different nationalities, cultures, psychology, religions and traditions, who emigrated from 15 now-independent states of the former Soviet Union. They come together as a community because they have a common cultural background and share many perspectives as well as social and life goals that are particular to those who have emigrated from the former Soviet empire. The Russian-American Community Coalition, Inc. (RACCNY) is an actively growing non-profit organization 501 (c) (3) that serves this unique immigrant community of New York. The RACCNY, founded in 2001, now has more than 30 affiliates and representations in all boroughs of the New York City, as well as in Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester, Orange and other counties. This number continues to grow as more volunteers from different parts of the city and state join the in the activities and efforts of the RACCNY. THE RACCNY consistently has been rated as the Number 1 nonprofit organization by the Russian-American community of New York. The group has caught the attention of at least 220,000 Russian- and more than 650,000 English-speaking residents

of New York, thanks to the many volunteers and both the Russian and American media. The RACCNY board of directors vote to approve the Open Letter to Gov. Paterson

The RACCNY’s operations: Division of community small businesses Substance and alcohol addiction prevention and help

Member Support Technical support Membership data Business Education & Improvement Division of national and international business development, public relations and sales promotion: Development of business relationships Promotion of immigrant-owned businesses Political & Social Activities Division of Special Programs for community positive-image building Project “Prometheus” Project “Our Stars” Project “R.A. Constituent” – community newspaper in English Project “People’s Reception” – educational consultation Project “CO-Operation” – consultation for co-op shareholders Community Ombudsman Division of immigrant rights

Connections Division of relationships with other immigrant communities International Russian-speaking community relations Sociology and Community Data. Division of data collection Division of community surveys Education Education online Education by community media Elderly Services Division of public communication & information Division of retired-people activities Family & children services Out-of school free time organizing

March 17  31, 2010

Domestic violence prevention Health Division of alcohol and drug abuse treatment and prevention services: -- Project “No One Left Behind” Division of health for the elderly History Preservation Museum of immigration history: -Hall of Fame -Book of Glory Jobs Division for volunteers and retired people Job training and placement Leisure: Arts, Culture, Travel, Sports Community talents promotion ‘“The Russians Are Here!” – entertainment and educational program for English- speaking population of New York Project “Be our Welcome Guest!” (New York State for national and international tourists) Page 3

• Brighton Beach

• Marine Park •

Manhattan Beach

• Coney Island

• Flatbush • Gerritsen

Vol. 6 No. 13,

Beach • Mill Basin

March 17 - 31,

• Bergen Beach


boards? End of community Sheepshead Bay

r – you count!

It’s your newspape

Page 4

Also Inside:

• NEW! Kids for kids • Man loses his home – a Buick • A Russian Passover • Holistic dentistry • A first for Brooklyn College • I. Friedin: free stuff!

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Community boards were once powerful By KATERYNA STUPNEVICH

Amid recent discussions over how the upcoming Charter Revision may affect community boards, it may be easy to forget that once upon a time the boards were given power, rather than stripped of it.


n 1951, Robert F. Wagner, then the Manhattan borough president, set up 12 experimental “Community Planning Councils” around Manhattan in response to residents’ fears that city officials were giving scant attention to local concerns. The councils advised Wagner on budgetary and planning issues. When Wagner was elected mayor three years later, he structured a system of “Community Planning Boards,” which were expanded to cover the other boroughs. In the early 1970s, Mayor John Lindsay, in his second term, created “Little City Halls” in selected areas around the boroughs, and

appointed district managers to ensure that city services were properly provided to communities. “Service Cabinets” were also established to improve the organization between higher-up officials and local representatives. In 1975, an approved City Charter created community boards, ultimately combining the visions of both Wagner and Lindsay. The Charter granted power to the boards to review all special permits, zoning actions, renewal and redevelopment plans, and acquisition and disposition of city property under the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP). The Charter also allowed the community boards to develop and present “197-a Plans” for their districts. These were recommendations on the preservation and enhancement of the communities. While city officials weren’t required to approve any of these plans, they were compelled to review and consider them. Although some of the 197-a plans were successfully accomplished, most continue to be denied to this day. From 1990 to 2006, only seven 197-a plans were approved and carried out by the City. Not much has changed in the appoint-

ment process of community board members in the last 35 years. They are still formed of 50 volunteer members, who are up for reappointment every two years. The City Council nominates half of the board members; the borough president makes the final selection of all 50.All boards have district service cabinets and an appointed district manager, whom they report to. Over the years, many community boards have been faced with budget cuts – some of the boards in the Bay area are hard-pressed to even buy office supplies. Today the boards are essentially advisors to the City Council – they have no real power. This often proves frustrating to residents,

who vent their concerns at the monthly meetings, only to hear the board chair say, “We’ll make a recommendation to the City Council” – if that much. If the new city charter does dissolve the community boards, we may not be able to tell the difference.

Come study the


with us Wednesday evenings at

Young Israel of Bedford Bay We will welcome you in a warm, spiritual environment 8 p.m.

Free and open to members and non-members Call us about the many other programs and activities for all ages at Young Israel 2114 Brown Street (off Avenue U) Marine Park


Page 4

March 17  31, 2010

Around the Bay A new Luna Park?

Luna Park is to rise again in Coney Island.

At least, that’s what Central Amusements International, an affiliate of Italian rides manufacturer Zamperla in contract with the city, is promising. CAI President Valerio Ferraro says a 21st century version of the iconic park will be open by the end of May. Coney Island supporters are not doing cartwheels over the city’s plans for Coney Island – they fear the high-rise hotels planned for Surf Avenue will turn the legendary amusement mecca by the sea into a cookiecutter tourist trap.

In the Mood Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College concludes its 20092010 Arts in the Afternoon series with the 1940s musical revue In the Mood on Sunday, March 28 at 2p.m. Featuring the String of Pearls Big Band Orchestra and a cast of six singer/dancers, the show takes a nostalgic look back at the 1940s, a time in America’s history when music and dance set a mood intended to inspire hope, promise and prosperity in the face of World War II.

“In New York City’s growing film and television production industry, there are two separate, yet equally important groups,” said Bloomberg. “The production companies that spend money in the city, and the New Yorkers they hire. These are their stories.” “Fighting unemployment doesn’t just mean creating new jobs – it also means Participants of the “Made in NY” Production Crafts Training Program – roughly two dozen in its pilot year – will be taught technical skills and basics of production. All participating trainees will be provided with a year of job placement assistance. The program’s pilot year is supported with $120,000 in City Council-allocated funds and funding from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. A recruitment event for the program will take place this spring at New York City College of Technology. Ideal candidates are individuals who have shown their commitment to working in TV and film production, as well as display an active interest for the grip department, but who now lack the opportunity to enter and advance in union positions. For more details about the recruitment event, visit

Civic Association Meeting

currently on sabbatical from Cooper Union for Science and Art and is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor to City Journal. *** The Senior League of Flatbush is sponsoring a day trip to the Museum of

Natural History in Manhattan on Tuesday, April 13. Seniors will have the opportunity to explore all four floors of the museum. The $2 cost includes a bag lunch. For more information or reservations, call 718-438-7771.

Nor’easter hits Bay area, too

The March 13-14 weekend nor’easter that pummeled the metro area left a collection of downed trees – like these on East 18th Street – flooding (including a portion of the Belt Parkway) and a general mess in the Bay area, but thankfully, there were no reported injuries here. Tragically, though, a 73-year-old retired teacher from Kensington was killed when a tree toppled by the storm fell on her in Bay Shore, Long Island. Julia Hughes, who had taught at P.S. 217, was walking to her car after leaving the birthday party of her 5-year-old grandnephew. BAY CURRENTS PHOTOS

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association’s next meeting is set for Thursday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m., at the King’s Chapel, Quentin Road and East 27 Street. Local elected officials are invited. The program includes representatives from the NYC Public Advocate’s office and from the 61st Police Precinct, and a tribute to the memory of the association’s long-time president, Mary Powell. For more information, call 718-375-9158.

In the age of the Internet For tickets or more information call 718-951-4500, or visit

Made in NY Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting Commissioner Katherine Oliver, and “Law & Order” actor Anthony Anderson have launched the “Made in NY” Production Crafts Training Program to help women, minority and struggling New Yorkers prepare for and get jobs in film and television production. The City selected Brooklyn Workforce Innovations to administer the pilot program. Classes, which will begin in the spring, will take place at Brooklyn Workforce Innovations on Degraw Street in Brooklyn and Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, Queens.

A distinguished collection of journalists and media experts came together at St. Francis College on Tuesday, February 23 in Founders Hall for the symposium: Journalism in the Age of the Internet, co-hosted by St. Francis and the Manhattan Institute. One of the panelists, WABC-TV anchor Diana Williams, coming to the panel immediately after her appearance on the 6 p.m. newscast, said that predictions of the end of old media were premature because most content still comes through traditional media. Williams said she is a strong supporter of the way the industry has been changed by the Web; noting that it has opened up journalism to countless more people and at the same time given a much broader audience to journalists already practicing. She also cautioned about the downside of the Internet: “A lot of us in the business can get lazy. We can Google everything. We don’t have to pick up the phone as much and that’s a danger because you really have to know what your sources are on the internet.” The symposium was put together by Visiting Professor Dr. Fred Siegel, who is March 17  31, 2010

Page 5

Sign honoring fighting troops ‘must be replaced’ By HEEYEN PARK

When the “Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom Way” street sign on the corner of West End Avenue and Corbin Place in Manhattan Beach was stolen earlier this year, it was not just a routine theft.


t represented “disrespect to the troops, which is devastating for their families and the people supporting them,” said Antanina Kapchonava, executive assistant to the president of the Be Proud Foundation, which had sponsored the sign that had been officially installed on May 5, 2005, with a replicate sent to the 773rd Transportation Company serving in Iraq. Last month the foundation held a press conference at the corner to generate awareness of the theft. “Our opinion is that it was a hate crime,” said Kapchonava. She expressed hope that the more the crime was known in the community, the better chance there would be of finding the thief. “It is painful to see what happened, said Leonid Rozenberg, president of the American Association of Invalids and Veterans of World War II. “The sign has to be reinstalled.” Theresa Scavo, chairwoman of Community Board 15, complained that her requests to the city Department of Transportation to replace the sign had gone unheeded. DOT officials “don’t realize the importance of this sign to the community,” she said. . District 47 Assemblyman William Colton told the gathering, “Whenever someone does something that is hateful, good people can never be silent. Taking down the sign was an evil act. It must be replaced quickly.”


Families of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and veterans gathered to call for immediate replacement of the “Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom Way” street sign in Manhattan Beach. BAY CURRENTS PHOTO (Heeyan Park)




Young man with fake gun killed by police


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olice shot and killed a 23-year-old Gerritsen Beach man Monday afternoon, March 8 when he allegedly pointed a fake gun at them in the P.S. 194 schoolyard on Knapp Street near Avenue W. Police answering a 911 call of a man with a gun, shot George D’Amato Jr. of Ebony Court when, they said, he refused their orders to drop the imitation pistol and

March 17  31, 2010

pointed it at them. He died from the gunshot wounds shortly later at Coney Island Hospital. It was not known by press time why D’Amato was in the school yard with the toy gun, which reportedly had been painted silver to resemble the real thing. The incident occurred after school hours; no children were present.

”My grandparents celebrated Passover secretly”

Why is this Passover different from all others? This story originally appeared in Bay Currents for Passover 2009. We felt that its poignancy warranted re-publishing it this season. By Olga Privman Bay Currents writer


he warm aroma of grandma’s matzo ball soup, the sweet, tantalizing taste of Seder wine and an inviting, familial atmosphere are all stalwart symbols of Passover for many American Jews. For many residents and frequenters of Brooklyn’s Bay area, however, a long tenure of life in the former Soviet Union had nearly robbed them of such rich cultural gems. “The Soviet Union was atheistic, but it wasn’t like [religion] was completely shattered,” said Igor Ostrovskyi, a first-generation immigrant from Belarus, who runs an ambulette service in Sheepshead Bay. “We had synagogues, but they weren’t popular.” Holding any religion went directly against the doctrines of communism, which often led to social, political or financial penalties for the practitioner. “If you were religious in the Soviet Union, you couldn’t get promoted. If you were in the Communist Party, then you know that you’re going to get promoted and move up. It was not a good thing to be religious. My grandparents celebrated it secretly,” said Ostrovskyi, to whom Passover is more of a family holiday than a spiritual celebration, much like New Year’s Eve is for many post-Soviet residents.

Although many older generations of Soviet immigrants remember the religiously-restrictive lifestyle in the communist dictatorship, their offspring were raised in an environment conducive to religion, often leading to a renewal of the celebration, if not always of faith. “Even my non-religious siblings celebrate,” said Berryl Tyetelbaum. “Usually my family gets together for the first Passover Seder, but this year my parents are traveling to England for Passover and six of my siblings will be celebrating at my sister’s home in Brooklyn.” The Kingsborough Community College student’s grandmother continues to tell the story of her father, who often risked his life to uphold the tenets of Judaism. “My great grandfather hid my great grandmother and their children in a synagogue so that they could freely practice the Jewish religion,” he said. “This eventually led to my great grandfather being shot in the head by the KGB.” For many descendants of Soviet Jews, the decision to adhere to Jewish practice is

wrought from hardship and sacrifice. “My grandparents upped their religious practices after the Holocaust,” said KCC tutor Esther Michelle Gabay, part of whose family comes from Poland. “I think it was because they were so thankful for getting out alive. After going through something like that, I’m sure you have no idea who to thank and can’t imagine how or who spared your life.” For recent KCC graduate Julia Fishenfeld, religious interest rose out of the spiri-

tual deprivation in Soviet Poland. “I think that the reason Passover, or any other Jewish holiday, is important to my family is that it wasn’t part of their childhood,” Fishenfeld said. “It’s after they came here that it became more a part of their lives. When my grandparents died [13] years ago, my mother and uncle became more observant – particularly my uncle. He was the head of the family now and as such felt that it was his duty to maintain the Jewish traditions and legacy.” Fishenfeld’s family augments the children’s hunt for Afikomen, the hidden matzo, with puzzles and riddles, courtesy of her father being his “wonderfully creative, playful self,” Fishenfeld said, while Tyetelbaum’s family makes a unique egg soup, composed of mashed, hard-boiled eggs mixed with cold salt water. “I, personally, am not religious,” said Tyetelbaum. “But I think the fact that my grandmother and parents fought so hard to keep their Jewish heritage, has had a major impact on my family as a whole.”

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Sports Currents

Next in line in high school basketball By ROBERT BREWER

When it comes to discussing who is the best high-school basketball player in New York City, the conversation begins and ends with one name: Jayvaughn Pinkston.


ailing from Bishop Loughlin High School, Pinkston is currently ranked by to be the seventh-best power-forward in the entire country and he is taking his dynamic skills to Villanova University in 2010. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound forward averaged 23.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game last season and chose Villanova over marquee programs such as Tennessee, St, John’s, Seton Hall, and Marquette. “I’m very excited to be committing to Villanova,” Pinkston said. “It’s one of the top programs in the country. I want to play with and against the best players in the country and playing for Villanova will afford me that opportunity. I’m excited and thankful.” In mid-November of 2009, Pinkston scheduled a press conference at Bishop Loughlin and it was widely speculated that he was headed to Tennessee. However, the star senior ended up cancelling the entire event. According to Pinkston’s AAU coach Kimani Young, the high-school standout just needed extra time to make a decision. “He was [simply] weighing his options. Villanova had been at the forefront for a long time,” Young said. “Jayvaughn just wanted to think about it. He wanted to watch the teams play a little bit. At the end of the day, he felt the

time was right to commit [in December] and there were just too many positives about Villanova. “ In the fall of 2010, Pinkston will join a very deep front-court at Villanova, who is ranked third in the nation as of January 28th, according to the Associated Press. The Wildcats are well-stocked at forward with players such as Taylor King, Antonio Pena, and Maurice Sutton who are all expected to return next season. In addition, James Bell and Markus Kennedy are two in-coming freshman forwards who also figure to battle for front-court minutes. However, Coach Young insists that playing time is not a concern. “If you’re a player, you want to play with other [good] players,” said Young. “You’re not worried about playing time. I don’t know any coach who’s not going to put a player on the floor who can help the team win. It’ll be hard to keep him off the floor. Jayvaughn is fierce competitor. He’s a win-at-all-costs kind of kid. He’s tough and then he’s highly skilled as well. I think his best basketball is ahead of him. “ Pinkston’s high-school coach Ed Gonzales echoed a similar sentiment regarding playing time at the college level. “I’m not sure how Coach Wright will fit him into the lineup, but that will all work itself out. [Pinkston] is a terrific player, and he is one of the finest athletes that I have ever coached and if he puts his mind to it, Jayvaughn will not be denied. He is a take charge kind of player who is not afraid of the big moment so I know he will play well. [Pinkston] can play inside or outside, so his versatility will really help him in college.” As is the case with most young players, there is quite an adjustment from highschool to college athletics. Coach Gonzales feels that maintaining a level of consistency

will be the most important key to Pinkston’s success at Villanova. “Once he learns to bring the same level of intensity every night, I think he will be un-stoppable. He is a complete player with a high basketball IQ, so I don’t see any reason why he can’t become a great contributor for the Villanova [Wildcats].”

Perhaps the toughest challenge of Pinkston’s career thus far occurred on January 18th in the 2010 in the Big Apple Basketball Invitational at Baruch College in Manhattan. It was in this high-profile battle where Pinkston’s Bishop Loughlin Lions squared off against University of Tennesseebound Tobias Harris of Half Hollow Hills West. Jayvaughn finished the contest with a game-high 34 points, including a buzzer beating three-point shot to send the game to

overtime. However, Pinkston’s effort was not enough to ensure victory as Harris and Hills West were 75-72 winners. Never at a loss for confidence, Pinkston believes that despite the loss, his play in the tournament sent a message to everyone that is following this heated New York City basketball rivalry between Pinkston and Harris. “Hands down, nobody’s better than me right now. I proved who the better player is. [Harris] is alright, but I see myself as being the best player.” Pinkston was also quick to point out that Harris did not fare very well on the defensive end of the floor as he fouled out during the overtime session while tallying 19 points for the game. “I don’t think he can move his feet very well,” Pinkston said. “He had five fouls while I was still on the court.” Pinkston’s prolific high-school career has drawn comparisons to Jamal Mashburn, another New York City basketball great. According to New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski, Pinkston’s perimeter skill set is quite similar to the former NBA star. “He’s a Jamal Mashburn clone,” said Konchalski. “He has very soft hands and has very good skill with the ball. He can [also] handle the ball on the perimeter. Jayvaughn can pass the ball, can get to the basket, and he can shoot three-pointers.” Konchalski also understands that interior play is an extremely important element to Pinkston’s game that will allow him to succeed at the college level. “He has a strong body where he can post and score inside. Jayvaughn is a really skilled player who has a mature understanding of the game and a high basketball IQ. He’s got to learn to bring it every single night, which hasn’t always been the case in the past, but he’s as good as we have in the metropolitan area.”

A first for Brooklyn College – dorms! By HEEYEN PARK

Brooklyn College, long a “subway school” catering to kids from the five boroughs, mainly Brooklyn, soon will host an actual dormitory to attract students from out of town.


he CUNY school’s first new residence facility, built by a local private developer, is nearing completion two blocks off campus on Kenilworth Place at Farragut Road. It’s expected to be available for occupancy starting with the fall semester. Nearly all the 15,268 undergraduate and graduate students are from the five boroughs, with more than three-quarters from Brooklyn. College officials hope to add a little geographic diversity by housing. up to 290 students in 220 full-furnished units of varying configurations, including: * Two-bedroom units for students and three students with one shared room and one private room. Page 8

* Two-bedroom units with private entrances – two students with two private rooms * Studio apartments, either one or two students (shared or private) The rent – shared rooms from $4,250 to $6,125 per semester, private rooms from $6,125 to $7,625 per semester. – will include all utilities and a range of amenities: * Kitchenette * Wi-fi internet * Cable TV * Large window * Air conditioning * Laundry facilities * 24 hour security * Meeting and study rooms * Exercise room * Terraces * Courtyard * Lounges The space is limited and demand is expected to be high, so interested students are encouraged to apply as early as possible March 17  31, 2010

In the Stars Chile earthquake powerful enough to shorten the day By DAVID J. GLENN

The days in our Northern Hemisphere are getting longer as we emerge from winter – but not quite as long as normal, due to the recent earthquake in Chile.


he Feb. 27 quake – the seventh strongest earthquake in recorded history, registering 8.8 on the seismic magnitude scale – actually was powerful enough to affect the earth’s rotation and likely will shorten the day by a little more than a thousandth of a second, a NASA scientist reported. “Perhaps more impressive is how much the quake shifted the Earth’s axis,” NASA officials said in a statement on the findings of Richard Gross, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The statement referred to the earth’s “figure axis” – not the north-south tilt – which measures the balance of the Earth’s mass.

This is not the first time that a powerful earthquake has altered the day. The 9.1-magnnitude Sumatran earthquake in 2004, which set off a deadly tsunami, may have shortened the day by 6.8 microseconds and shifted the figure axis by about 2.75 inches. The Chile earthquake was much smaller than the Sumatran temblor,

but its effects on the Earth were larger because its epicenter was in the Earth’s mid-latitudes rather than near the equator as was the Sumatran event, and the Chilean fault line is at a steeper angle than is the Sumatran fault, NASA said. Gross said his findings are based on early data from the Chile earthquake, and that his prediction of the effects may change as more information comes in. The death toll of the Chile quake totaled more than 700 by press time; it caused widespread property damage throughout the area. Although it was some 500 times more powerful than the 7.0-magnitude quake in Haiti, it caused far less damage – mainly because Chile’s infrastructure was is much more earthquake-resistant than Haiti’s.

Why so much more? You may have wondered why the Chilean earthquake, measuring not even two digits higher on a scale than the one in Haiti, has been described by seismologists as about 500 times more powerful. This is because the scale, modeled after the one devised in 1935 by Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg of the California Institute of Technology, is logarithmic. If you forgot, or never did quite grasp, your high school math class on “logs,” here’s a short refresher course: A logarithm is simply the power to which a base number, usually 10, has to be raised to get a particular calculation. For example, the log of 100 is 2 – you have to raise 10 to the power of 2, or 10 times 10, to get 100. The log of 1,000 is 3, and so on. (If it’s not specified it’s understood that the base is 10. If another base is used, let’s say 3, you could say that the log-3 of 9 is 2, because you have to raise 3 to the power of 2 (3 times 3) to get 9.) It’s not hard to see how a change in just one digit on a logarithmic scale makes a big difference. With a base of 10, the difference between 2 and 3 is the difference between 100 and 1,000.

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March 17  31, 2010

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Possibly the greatest breakthrough in the rehabilitation of patients suffering from stroke, head trauma, Parkinson’s, or other neurological problems is the use of interactive video games in physical therapy. The best known of these games is the popular Nintendo Wii (pronounced like the pronoun “we”). These devices consist of a console, which plays the video games, and a controller, which is an advanced type of remote control. The games are displayed on a television. Another common accessory is the Wii balance board, which is similar to a computerized scale. Tennis, ping-pong, boxing, skiing, baseball, and balance activities are just a few of the games available for Wii. They can be played while sitting or standing, all in the comfort of one’s living room. Initially developed for children, interactive video games have slowly made their way into rehabilitation centers. Ben Weinstock, PT, president of Weinstock Physical Therapy, PC, brings Wii to the homes of his patients. “I am astounded by the amazing results,” Weinstock said. “The patients love it, because it is fun. It took many months for one of my stroke patients to regain partial use of his paralyzed arm. However, after only five 30-minute sessions of playing the tennis video game, he started using his arm more regularly and with a greater range of motion.” Amazingly, this is effective not just for the exercised limb or limbs. A recent study on Wii for Parkinson’s patients March 17  31, 2010

found that not only did patients show improvements similar to those found with Deep Brain Surgery–fewer tremors, improved movement, decreased rigidity– but also every patient reported that their feelings of depression completely disappeared. Depression is common in approximately 50% of people with the disease. It is believed that interactive video games trigger a change in the biochemistry of the brain. Dopamine, a key neurotransmitter needed for learning movements, is increased with the technology. “Wii takes exercise to a whole new level,” said Weinstock. “I predict that common exercise equipment will take a second place to interactive video games.” To learn more about Wii for physical therapy, contact: Ben Weinstock, PT Weinstock Physical Therapy, PC “The Physical Therapy Office That Travels to the Patient”™ (718) 891-0780

Kids for Kids Standing: Michele Wallach, creative-writing teacher; Julia Witkowski; Carol Deng; Sharon Cai; Jason Duong; Julianna Emilio; Orie Cepeda; Anna Mo; Bryan Chu; Lia DeGaetano; Julie Checkett, photography teacher Kneeling: Caroline DeSantis; Arina Bykadorova; Dana Leventhal; Marissa Fabricant; Delphine Douglas; Irissa Cisternino; Will Koganov; Carol Moore, principal

Welcome to our first edition of KIDS FOR KIDS, a forum for young writers to showcase their talents. Here we present students from Mark Twain I.S. 239 for the Gifted and Talented, who recently won the Gold Key and Silver Key regional essay awards. Teacher Michele Wallach gives the details:

Mark Twain students bring home the gold By MICHELE WALLACH Special to Bay Currents

Eighth graders from Mark Twain Intermediate School 239 for the Gifted and Talented entered the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition earlier this school year.


o the delight of students, parents, teachers and administrators, eight writers and photographers recently learned that they won Gold Key awards, the highest regional honor, and another eight earned Silver Keys. “I’m thrilled that my students’ hard work is being acknowledged in this prestigious contest,” said principal Carol Moore Five of the Gold Key winners are currently eighth graders in Mark Twain’s challenging creative writing program. Julia Witkowski won for her memoir; Arina Bykadorova Sharon Cai, Will Koganov, and Anna Mo were honored for their submissions in the short fiction category. Bryan Chu, Irissa Cisternino, Carol Deng, Caroline DeSantis and Jason Duong also received Silver Key awards for their writing. Fifty of Mark Twain’s young writers submitted work in a dozen categories, including opinion, novels, journalism, humor and science fiction. The aspiring writers enjoyed the opportunity to write their favorite genres. They worked for weeks, brainstorming plots, writing, editing and revising. Arina Bykadorova, whose fiction piece takes place in a college library, said, “Winning a Gold Key, even though I didn’t expect it, made me realize that winning writing contests can be a reality, not just a dream.” Anna Mo, who penned a dark murder mystery, said, “When I found out I won a Gold Key, I was ecstatic! After all, I earned a prize doing what I love most- writing.”

Three photographers – Ori? Cepeda, Delphine Douglas, and Julianna Emilio – earned Gold Key awards for their entries. Lia DeGaetano, Marissa Fabricant, and Dana Leventhal earned Silver Keys for their photos. The winning students’ submissions included landscapes, cityscapes and a still life. Julianna Emilio, whose photograph was called “Oasis in New York City,” said, “I am grateful to know that other people appreciate my work.” She shot her award-winning landscape in Central Park. Ori? Cipeda titled her cityscape “In with the Old, Out with the New.” The delighted Midwood resident said, “It’s not just an inspiration for me, but for other aspiring photographers as well.” More than 150,000 submissions were judged by the regional panel, and Gold Key entries are still being reviewed on the national level, with awards up to $10,000 in scholarships. Select artwork, photos and writing will also be published by Scholastic. Winners from the New York City region are invited to attend an awards ceremony on Saturday, April 24. The winning submissions:



he azure water loomed before me, and I stared at it. I breathed deeply as I walked up to the edge of the pool. “Just swim to the end when I blow the whistle,” Coach Bill told me before my first audition for the swim team. “Good luck.” A whistle screeched through the sound of parents gossiping, waiting for their children to be finished so they could watch Oprah and sip premium blends of Starbucks coffee. I trembled, realizing that was my cue to dive into the water. “If only

I knew how to dive like the Olympians,” I thought to myself. I imagined how they would glide through the water, then bellyflopped in. I began to swim doggie-paddle, with my head over the water at all times. “I can’t be swimming the right way,” I thought, defeated by exhaustion on the ninth stroke. As the depth of the water increased, my body began to sink. This isn’t good. I gasped for air, swallowing mouthfuls of chlorinated water. Seeing no end in sight, I began to tug on the plastic, royal blue lane line. Pulling towards the finish, I was drained, using all of my remaining energy to get myself to the ladder. I barely got myself out of the pool. I couldn’t believe the swimming pool had conquered my dignity. What happened? I practically grew up on the beach, always swimming in the water. How was that so different from what I had just experienced? I didn’t make the team that year, but I still had a spark of hope that Coach Bill would call and congratulate me. That call never came. When that summer came by, I was embarrassed to even go near a pool. What do I look like when I swim? What do people think of me? I might as well never swim again… No, I must learn how to swim correctly. My mother signed me up for multiple swim courses to improve my diving, breathing techniques, and the four major strokes: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle. At first, I was put in a group with children younger than me. We blew bubbles underwater and swam with kickboards to stay afloat. I practiced every day until I could zoom past the younger kids. I graduated to a group of children my age, where we perfected our dives, learning to glide through the water and increase our speed. I learned how to swim all four strokes and

March 17  31, 2010

could stay afloat for twenty five yards while doing each one of them. I believed I was fit to join the swim team. I hoped Coach Bill would agree. On the day of try-outs, I performed fairly, primarily gliding into the water, with my head faced down, turning sideways for breaths. I swam across without holding onto the weak lane line this time. I felt accomplished as I pulled myself out of the pool without the ladder. That was great. Maybe I could have taken one less breath, but at least I swam better than before. As I left the pool, Coach Bill patted me on the back and scribbled something on the clipboard he held in his hand. What did he write? I hope he calls me onto the team. The next day, I sat by the phone waiting for a call from Coach Bill. Why isn’t he calling? Maybe I didn’t do as well as I thought. Maybe I will just never be able to swim… I can’t act upset. Mommy can’t know I’m upset. She spent a lot of money on those classes. Just act normal. The next week my mother confronted me after she hung up the phone. “Why have you been sulking around the house?” Was it that noticeable? Was I that bad at trying to act normal? “Would it make you feel better if I told you were on the swim team?” she asked, watching my eyes widen with each word she spoke. I did it! I’m going to work really hard. I can’t wait to show Coach Bill how I improved. This is amazing! I raced towards my mother and wrapped my arms around her, squeezing her tight. “I’m so proud of you,” she whispered to me, and I was content. Just then, I couldn’t ask for anything more. Continued on p. 12 Page 11

Kids for Kids Continued from p.11

Remembering Yesterday By SHARON CAI s I walk down Bay Parkway, a sense of nostalgia consumes me. I can’t help but wonder what you might be doing right now. Homework, I presume? After all, your parents always send you to prep programs on the weekends on top of your regular classes. Then again, I still remember how you claim you tend to slack off; the very thought triggers a smile. Like you of all people would procrastinate. I stuff my hands into my jacket pockets, staring at the ground as I stroll along. Reds, oranges, and yellows decorate the bland slategray concrete slabs. The soles of my boots come crashing onto unsuspecting leaves, producing satisfying crunches. I grin, hopping around to step on as many as possible. I still remember how we used to do this all the time while we walked home from school together. The breeze swirls the leaves around in circles and flutters my shoulder-length hair. I brush the stray strands away from my eyes and tuck them behind my ears. I suddenly realize how far my strides have taken me as I find myself staring at my favorite park. Laughter and chatter travels to my ears, urging me to run in. I dart across the grass, ducking my head under the low branches, until I reach the open playground. A smile immediately breaks out as I watch the children chase each other around the play sets and hang from the monkey bars. My vision flashes toward the swing sets, which, for once, are near empty. I dash around the two feet tall kids so I wouldn’t knock any of them down like helpless bowling pins. My fingers curl around the cold, metal chains as I situate myself on the swing, kicking my boots against the rubber padding. Higher and higher I fly. I allow the contraption to toss me back and forth before it finally comes to a stop and my feet dangle over the floor again. I sigh, feeling content. “Come here!” a little boy yells for his friend, a girl, who runs after him. My lips curve upwards as I watch him grab hold of a swing. “Let’s play!” “Aww,” I coo quietly, as he struggles to push her. How old are they? Six? Maybe seven? “WEEEEE,” she shrieks happily. “Higher!” My smile slowly fades as I remember how you used to swing me like that. I focus on the swing to the direct left of me and stare at the vacant spot, emphasizing your absence. The seat stays unmoved and suspended, stressing my vulnerability. Loneliness erupts from the pit of my stomach, coaxing out tears. I blink, forcing them away. “This is fun!” he calls out. “Yup!” she responds, throwing her head back and laughing. I’m forgetting what your smile looks like, what your laugh sounds like. “STOP! STOP!” the little girl screams as she is hurtled upwards at a faster pace. I gasp as she suddenly jumps off, landing with a soft thump. He laughs at her acrophobia, but upon seeing her unmoving body, his eyes widen as he scrambles to aid her. “ARE YOU OKAY?!” he cries frantically, hovering over her. She winces as she sits up, rubbing her arm and dusting off her clothing. She nods, embarrassed, as he embraces her tightly. “Here.” I see him slap a Pokemon band-aid on her palm, causing the girl to giggle. I chuckle; their little actions prompt the memory of me pulling the same act on you.


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You were infuriated, but it was nothing a little begging and pouting couldn’t fix. Whipping out my phone, I quickly capture a picture of them in that pose. I forget how much I miss your hugs as well. “Come on; let’s tell our mommies to take us home. We’ll play again tomorrow,” he takes her hand and leads her away. Tomorrow. I miss using that term. My eyesight blurs as my lips tremble. “We’ll see other tomorrow.” I wish I could say those words to you again, but since there’s no today, there’s no tomorrow. All I can do now is remember yesterday.

Just Kept Living By ARINA BYKADOROVA oud, uneven footsteps resounded closer and closer to the library door. Someone outside sighed and carelessly swung it open. The only person inside was a girl working on a large cross-stitch of a sunset, and she didn’t even look up. She had a comfortable mass of slightly wavy hair, a quaint little nose, and calm, grey eyes. Her work with the embroidery was measured and methodical – needle down from the front, up from the back, and down again. The young man that burst in on her solitude unceremoniously collapsed in the nearest armchair, ran his hand through some unruly gold locks, and sighed again. Raindrops slid halfheartedly down his jacket and made little patches of moisture on the red patterned cushions. The girl still didn’t react, and the room was suspended in silence for a few minutes. “Terrible rain out, huh? Couldn’t bear walking home in such a downpour, jumped out into the street and in here right away. Stupid weather forecast, promised partly cloudy, so here I am without an umbrella.” The couple of sentences that came out of the young man’s mouth crashed violently into the quiet milieu of the room. Even the crooked, rusty “Whispering only” sign above the door seemed to gape at such impropriety, but the girl merely glanced at him with an expression of very mild surprise, murmured some mundane agreement, and resumed her work. “Awesome that I got in here. Thought it would be closed already.” “Mhm.” He looked across at the girl. Her slender, pale hands were busy forming the picture on the canvas. He decided she was moderately pretty, in her own quiet way. “Don’t talk much, I guess?” “Only when necessary.” “Ah. Perhaps I should learn that. Sometimes I think I talk too much for my own good. Friends always yelling at me to shut up.” Halfexpecting some sign of reception from his companion, he paused slightly. Realizing none was coming, he went on. “So, er, hi. I think I’ve seen you around campus. Your name is… um…?” Seeing he was bent on being sociable, the girl answered, “Margaret.” “Cool. I’m Jerome. Hey Margaret, this is a really awkward question, but did you ever have a boyfriend?” His bluntness caused a hint of amusement to pass across Margaret’s lips, but she answered him seriously. “No.” “Really? That’s the smartest solution, I think. No love, no heartbreak.” The needle in her hands moved almost imperceptibly quicker, but Jerome picked up the signal. “I mean in general terms, of course. Not my business about your personal stuff – didn’t mean to make it sound like that. Not really my


thing either. Don’t like to mind other people’s business – sorry.” “It’s okay,” answered Margaret, wondering why this boy was so flustered, and why he was talking to her about this at all. The library slowly sank back into silence. Jerome looked lost in thought. Margaret’s face betrayed little emotion – she seemed fully attentive to the rosy clouds made out in neat x’s on the canvas. Finally, but more softly this time, Jerome spoke. “My girlfriend left me earlier today.” Something strange in his voice made Margaret’s eyes bound up from her thread. They met his, and held. For the first time she thoroughly noticed the look in those quick brown eyes of his. It was deep and sad, yet it had something almost wild about it. The same desperate undertone that could be sensed through his chatter streaked blatantly across his eyes. They pleaded for a confidante. Suppressing her reluctance for much talk, all Margaret managed was a lame, “Really?” It was enough for Jerome. “Sixth grade I told her I loved her, and she went all blushing and said yes, she liked me too. We had been together ever since then…holding hands, kissing in theatres, sharing drinks…” he trailed off and thought for a couple of moments. He looked carefully at Margaret. “You are probably thinking, ‘Poor boy. So misled by some girl, thought she liked him. Relationships between teenagers don’t last that long anyway. Six years? Yeah right. They were probably friends most of the time, and now he thinks he’ll never get over it.’ I don’t blame anyone for those thoughts, but I know they exist. But there are exceptions to rules.” His voice grew more passionate. “Charlotte and I, we were in love. Not cheap teenage love. The real type of love. The real type of love like the Romeo and Juliet type of love, the type in the movies that you can’t watch enough of that makes everything else seem dull and boring, that makes you sigh and sigh until your heart bleeds. Damn, I sound like some sort of poet or something. But it’s true.” The way this boy talks, thought Margaret, like a little child and an old man at the same time. She wanted to say something, but only dumb common things like “it’s okay” came to mind. She decided on simply sympathetic silence. Meanwhile, Jerome went on. “And she just left, you know, just like that. A couple of words that I barely understood. Something about her moving on. I was so sad, I couldn’t say a word.” He appeared to look out the window, as if searching for a reason. A strange, melancholy smile crossed his lips, and he started to giggle. The laugh was mirthless, and so desperate it almost frightened Margaret. “Ha – sad enough to think of killing myself!” He crumpled into nervous titters. Margaret was watching him closely, and saw that he was frantically trying to convince himself he was alright. She frowned at his last sentence, understanding he wasn’t joking. “Stop,” she commanded sharply. Jerome sobered up instantly. He brushed a strand of hair from his eyes, which had regained their former sad look. He directed them straight at Margaret. “You see through me, I think,” he said, cocking his head. Margaret only held his gaze for a few seconds, and then continued her stitching. The lull in the conversation allowed the air to settle down again and Jerome’s pulse to resume its usual rhythm. “Margaret, how did people do it? I mean, all those people in history, how did they make it through life?” “Some had noble causes.” “No, not them. The everyday people, with all their troubles and hard times.” “I don’t know. Just kept living, I guess.” Jerome’s expression was pensive and wist-

March 17  31, 2010

ful. The rain’s gradual stop of its steady beat on the roof made him suddenly remember the reason he had entered the library in the first place. “Just kept living,” he echoed, stood up, and left the room, closing the door gently behind him.

The Watcher By WILL KOGANOV s Joe walked down the dark, dim street coming home from the movies, he couldn’t help but feel that another pair of eyes was staring at his back. It was an eerie feeling, almost as if a nighthawk was tracking his every footstep. Feeling uncomfortable, Joe quickened his pace. His hand tightened around the neck of his coat, and his teeth clenched against one another. His footsteps echoed behind him, but perhaps they were not his. Perhaps, just perhaps, they were those of one with the intention to harm. Still, the presence of someone – or something – was ever present. The feeling of this creature glaring at Joe was arousing inside him, taunting him to confront whatever it was. “Who’s there?!” Joe finally yelled, unable to force himself to keep his internal equilibrium any longer. Nothing but an empty street responded. The glowing, fluorescent lights only seemed to feature Joe’s voice rolling down the pavement, and his ominous thoughts savagely consuming his mind. It’s nothing, Joe reassured himself, just my mind playing tricks on me. A nervous laugh escaped his mouth. Turning back, he quickened his pace yet again, trying to leave the abandoned street and return to the warmth and comfort of a busy night avenue in Brooklyn. I knew I shouldn’t have let Roni convince me to watch that movie. I mean, look at me now! I’m going insane; psshhh, what kind of insane person follows other people down alleys at such a late hour? Right? Unexpectedly, Joe heard a leaf crunch. Abruptly, he stopped. Looking down under his feet, Joe saw no remnants of a crushed leaf. His eyes started to widen with angst, and a twinkle arose in the center. The misty city air was moist around Joe. It settled on his lips and started to dance as he breezed through it, rushing to get to the nearest intersection and out of the alleyway. The tinge of popcorn was still on his tongue. Oh, how he wished to have remained in the movies for a while. He missed the smell of the warm butter and salt on the cheap, flaky snack. Slowly, the taste faded from his tongue, and Joe could feel the taste of intimidation – no, it wasn’t intimidation. It was a taste he hadn’t felt in too long of a time – the taste of fear. With this taste now settled in his mouth, Joe’s knees began to wobble. Again starting to move faster, Joe felt a sudden jerk. Slam! He had tripped over his bleach white shoelaces, hitting the ground with exceptional force. His fingertips slid across the cold, harsh concrete and went numb. Behind him, Joe knew that his possible killer had a chance now. This could be his last breath. Heart racing, Joe struggled to convince his mind he had to hoist himself to his feet. Eyes flying from corner to corner, he raced to beat his chanced murderer for his own life. Suddenly, Joe felt a river rush of adrenaline course through his veins. Gaining strength and courage, he lifted himself to his feet and rushed on. Finally, the smell of burning gas and the view of blurry taillights up ahead brightened Joe’s mind and made him forget about the fear behind him. Now, with the knowledge that there was an intersection about twenty yards ahead, Joe turned around to stare into the face of his fear. His pride had deceived him, for once he turned his head, Joe was staring dead in the bloodshot eyes of his killer.


Health Currents

Holistic Dentistry By Arlene Brenner

to improve health,” she said. Some of these changes come at great cost to the doctor for new equipment to support holistic technology. She writes very few prescriptions because they are not needed in her practice.

Let me say at the outset of this briefest introduction to Holistic Dentistry that both holistic and traditional dentists may share certain practices in common. It would be unfair, then, to categorize dentists as there is often crossover in certain practices. However, there are practices that tip the scale and I’ll note them. Ultimately, according to Dr. Irineo Marvin DDS of the Center for Natural Dentistry in San Diego, Calif., “Truly holistic dentists are dentists who perform dentistry that is good for the body as well as the teeth and gums.” There has been an on-going debate for decades on the efficacy of using mercury in tooth cavities because mercury is so toxic. Mercury is cheap, effective and easy to use. And therein is the problem. There are many possible health issues linked to mercury. While this article is not specifically about mercury, I would be remiss if I didn’t include some considerations regarding it.

What the Experts Say According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the effects on health from the use of mercury include but may not be limited to the following symptoms: “tremors, emotional changes (e.g.) mood swings, irritability, nervousness, excessive shyness); insomnia; neuromuscular changes (such as weakness, muscle atrophy, twitching); headaches; disturbances in sensations; changes in nerve response; performance deficits on tests of cognitive function.” According to Dr. Marvin, “Mercury vapor which is considered the deadliest form of mercury is inhaled, passes through the lungs into the blood system which carries it to virtually all the body tissues.” According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in the Guide for Dentists for Managing Mercury and Amalgam Wastes: Mercury is a persistent bioaccumulative toxin that can cause damage to the human brain and nervous system. It is especially harmful to a developing human child. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation states “New York Law forbids the use or possession of elemental mercury in the practice of dentistry.” Amalgam capsules must be used. Using amalgam capsules render the mercury confined and more safe. The American Dental Association notes, “Although mercury in the form of dental amalgam is stable, amalgam should not be rinsed down the drain…” Additionally, “some mercury is released into the air eventually collects in the waterways where it enters the food chain.” You may recall from history that in the 1800s, workers in hat factories that used mercury in the making of felt became ill, causing them to have tremors, mood swings and behave irrationally. The phrases “mad as a hatter” and “Mad Hatter disease” were born out of this. While it is inappropriate for me to caution the reader or make any claims, I have advised my own dentist to not use mercury

The key differences

in my teeth if I need fillings. The plethora of information about mercury and warnings by the government have caused me to consider removing the present mercury in my teeth.

A Visit to a Holistic Dentist On a lighter note and more to the point of this article, I decided to visit a holistic dentist, right here in Brooklyn. I visited and interviewed Dr. Eugenia Rosenthal, who has been practicing since graduating in 1980 from the NYU School of Dentistry. I arrived early to study the office and while waiting for her, I had a chance to appreciate it. The atmosphere in the waiting room created a calming effect. The staff was pleasant, and there was a small lovely waterfall, soft furniture and a pleasant staff. There was also a number of books on holistic health including holistic dental health (quite remarkable to see in a dental office.) But the most remarkable thing I noticed was the patients. There were three patients who came in and left, and each was smiling! Yes, smiling going to and from the dentist! I asked one woman why – she said that the whole experience was comfortable and she felt at ease knowing that no unnecessary procedures or drugs would be used. She brought her whole family there. The whole experience was comfortable??? I was really looking forward to meeting with the doctor now! Although most of the questions I had could be researched on the Internet, I was excited to be getting answers from an in-person interview with a real holistic dentist. Here is what I learned: Dr. Rosenthal, with sincerity, referred me back to the Hippocratic Oath that begins, “First do no harm.” I asked her to explain why her patients were smiling. She explained that she uses the least invasive procedures. “It’s much about the relationship between the doctor and the patient,” she said. “It is a partnership.” For example, most of us know that sugar is bad for our teeth, but there is a lot more to know about the nutritional implications. Dr. Rosenthal actually takes the time to educate and guide her patients so they can better be a partner in their dental care. Other modalities she may use are: an acupressure point for gag reflex and Rescue Remedy (a flower essence preparation) for the frightened patient. “It is necessary when striving for excellence to change techniques and methods

Remembering that there is often crossover in practices, here is generally what the holistic dentist may do differently: * Eliminate the use of mercury fillings * Use composite fillings (there are different compositions including glass, quartz and porcelain.) * Eliminate the use of fluoride (Some research shows that fluoride reduces the risk of cavities while other research links serious disease to fluoride.) * Use digital x-rays instead of traditional x-rays. (Digital x-rays utilize less radiation units. More pictures can be taken in less time so there is less exposure to radiation) * Laser surgery may be used. It is bloodless or involves less blood, and actually sterilizes the gums as it cuts thus supporting healing of the gums. * Alternatives to root canal are used first

* A test for biocompatibility may be used to see if dental materials that go into the body are safe for the patient. * Acupuncture may be used instead of strong anesthesia * Treating the underlying symptoms that cause dental/gum problems. The best advice I can give, is to read up on it and ask questions.

Resources Reversing Gum Disease Naturally by Sandra Senzon. This book is more than just about gum disease. It is about how the mouth is a reflection of overall health. It is easy to read. I think of it as a course in Holistic Dentistry 101. The Periodontal Solution-Healthy Gums Naturally by James Harrison & Constance Clark This book is also an introduction to holistic dentistry and reader friendly The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) has produced a You Tube video called Smoking Teeth = Poison Gas. This video is quite dramatic and disturbing but very informative as to the effects of using mercury for dental cavities. Using a team of scientists, the BBC produced a startling video also about the effects of mercury. Poison in the Mouth 1994 Dr. Eugenia Rosenthal 2371 Ocean Parkway (718) 615-1770 Dr. I. Marvin DDS website is extremely informative. Go to Dr. Marvin Center for Natural Dentistry

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Senior Currents

Too old for dating – not! Don’t settle

If you’re a senior and find yourself thrown into the dating scene once again, you may think you’re simply too old for it. Think again.


es, it might be a little more challenging than when you were a teenager or young adult (although it’s never easy at any age), but no one has ever placed any age limit on seeking companionship and romance. Here are some tips from relationship experts:

Face it! If you find yourself suddenly single as a senior, it may be hard to accept. After all, you’ve spent the last 30, 40, 50 or more years with someone, and the last time you even thought about going on a date was when Harry Truman was in the White House. But you have to avoid denial, and face up to the reality with self-confidence. You’re not alone – millions of people past age 50 find themselves single again.

Many seniors may think they can’t be too choosy at their age and will fly into the arms of anyone who pays them a little more than scant attention. Don’t sell yourself short. “If somebody isn’t right for you, don’t hesitate to move on and look for a more suitable companion,” says Kristina de la Cal, dating editor at BellaOnline. “At this stage of your life, there is no sense in wasting any of your own or your date’s precious time by settling for a partner who doesn’t meet your expectations. As long as you have given serious consideration to what you want and developed a reasonable and realistic set of expectations, there is no logical reason why you should accept anything less.” Of course, this shouldn’t mean that you become so choosy that no one is good enough for you. There’s a happy medium.

Explore You may think that online dating is just the province of the young, but it’s certainly not. A quick search under “senior dating” yields an array of senior dating sites. But, as


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in any Internet search, you have to be careful. Many sites are legitimate, many are not. And personal ads from seniors are neither more nor less likely to be exaggerations or outright falsehoods than are any other personals in print or online. And, if you arrange to meet in person anyone you’ve contacted through a personal ad, make sure it’s in a public place during the day. Of course, there are many other, probably better ways for senior singles to meet. The many senior centers in the Bay area offer a comfortable way to meet people, and most places of worship offer programs and activities for seniors.

The first date As is dating at any age, the first date can be the hardest to get through. Here are some tips from for easing the experience: Get Up and Dance. Whether you’re the belle of the ball or have two left feet, dancing is a great way to get close, have fun, and check for chemistry. Many ballrooms and other dance facilities sponsor group lessons before the real dancing begins to help people who are rusty get back in the swing of things or learn a few new steps. Spread a Blanket. Nothing is more romantic than a picnic in a beautiful spot. Make it even more special by shopping together to choose the food and wine that will fill your basket. It’s a great opportunity to share some of your favorite things with someone you’re just getting to know.

March 17  31, 2010

Get Moving. Maybe you both enjoy tennis or golf, or just like going for long walks. Sharing a physical activity on a first date can help create a bond that may bring you closer together while you stay in shape. Is This Art? Create an artful senior dating experience by attending a gallery walk or touring a museum. Everyone has an opinion about art, so the conversation is sure to be lively. Cast Off. Rent kayaks, a row boat, or a canoe and set sail on a mini-cruise around a local lake or lagoon. Being on the water will shift your perspective and make it easier for you and your date to navigate any awkward moments. To Market, To Market. Check out a farmers’ market or flea market in your area. Browsing among the stalls and having so many different things to see and discuss will help keep the conversation flowing. Fruit of the Vine. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or have trouble telling Cabernet from Merlot, visiting a local winery or attending a wine tasting together (several wine stores in the Bay area offer this) is a great way to get to know each other while learning something new and sampling one of life’s true pleasures. Literary Interlude. If you both enjoy books, this is a natural senior dating idea. Attend a reading at a local bookstore or library, and then browse the shelves comparing notes about your favorite authors and titles. Follow that up with coffee and dessert, and you’ve got a first date that could be the start of a new life chapter.

Each Bay Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached


without guessing. Enter digits from 1 to 9 into the blank spaces. Every row must

Flounder (or fluke), prevalent in our northern Atlantic waters, have a particular characteristic that’s, well, weird: Both eyes are on one side of its head. They’re not born that way. In their life span they undergo a metamorphosis – one eye migrates to the other side of the body so that both can face upwards when the fish routinely lies on one side on the ocean floor. It seems they’re the ultimate couch potato…

contain one of each digit. So must every column, as must every 3x3 square.

by Matt Lassen

March 17  31, 2010

Page 15

63-year-old loses his home – a 2004 Buick By DAVID J. GLENN

Ken Wecker can’t seem to catch a break.


he 63-year-old Brooklyn native not only has cancer, and not only has been homeless for more than two years, but now his car – in which he was living – was repossessed, and, he says, he was beaten up by agents of the towing company when he argued with them. He’s suing Gaddid Towing on Foster Avenue, Crossland Group of Suffolk County that handled the repossession order, and HSBC bank, which had issued the car loan. Manhattan Attorney Joseph Palmiotto said he agreed to take the case on contingency (he is not charging Wecker but will get a percentage of any court award or settlement) because Wecker is “a very nice guy, and has really been victimized. They repossessed his home.� Mangers of Gaddid Towing and lawyers for Crossland and for HSBC did not return calls for comment.

Wecker says the towing agents confronted him at his car, and that when he told them the payments were supposed to have been made by an insurance company handling his disability claims and that they had no right to take the car, they started hitting him and throwing him against the vehicle. “He suffered injuries to his head,� Palmiotto said. The light-gold 2004 Buick LaSabre is now sitting in an auction yard in New Jersey, and Wecker is in a local hospital being treated for stomach pains and other conditions. He’s scheduled to be given rehabilitation in a few days, but he doesn’t think he’ll have the time needed for effective rehab. “I have to try to get my car back and try to find an apartment,� he said. He’s been staying at a friend’s apartment in Sheepshead Bay, but it’s very short-term. He doesn’t know how much longer his friend is able to keep him there, and in any case, he has trouble climbing the stairs to the apartment. Wecker, who grew up in the Bay area, had worked as a payroll accountant for 15 years. He was laid off in 1993; he says he couldn’t look for another job because he had to

take care of his ailing mother. When she died the next year, he moved to Florida where he thought he would have a new apartment (he could no longer afford to stay in his mother’s apartment where he had lived since he was 6) and better job opportunities, but a series of misfortunes befell him there, too – including being diagnosed with non-Hodgkinson’s lymphoma – and he made his way back to New York in 2000. He stayed for a while at a Staten Island hotel as he looked for work. “As soon as they found out I had cancer, no one would hire me,� he said. “I couldn’t lie about it.� For the past two years he had been living in his Buick, having his disability checks sent to his old apartment building and picked up by his former neighbor. He’d been a regular visitor to the Council Senior Center on Quentin Road and East 10th Street, where he was able to get a hot lunch for a dollar and take a respite from living in his car. Wecker doesn’t know how long he can depend on the kindness of his friend, or if he’ll ever be able to get his car and its contents back. “I just have to take things day by day,� he said. “I have to keep fighting.�

Ken Wecker’s car was his only home when it was towed. BAY CURRENTS PHOTO

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Place QUIZNOS RAJ NEWSSTAND Mill Basin 14 Hillel Various Sheepshead Bay FLATBUSH apartment 33 Hillel American Place Sud (at Brooklyn College) 37 Hillel Place 2811 Glenwood Road (off Business District: buildings LaVILLA RESTAURA NT Laundromat SICILY NEWS (at Brooklyn College) (at Brooklyn College) Flatbush Avenue) 6610 Ave. U 718-434-5326) newsstands Circles Bistro 2155 Utica Ave. banks MANHATTAN Chase Bank' An array of other Your Body Only fitCoffee Spot BEACH Mill Basin Convestores, apartment ness club UPS store Apartment buildBay Currents in Coney Island: nience buildings 5012 Ave. N Dunlin’ Donuts ings and stores along Key Food Kings Plaza NewsBrooklyn Library– .FSNBJE"WF – /FQUVOF"WF El Greco Diner Key Food WestPublic End Avenue Door-to-door along GERRITSEN McDonald’s Walgreens Drug Storesofnear Kingsstand Sunshine Coney Island Deli – BEACH Store – /FQUVOF"WF several sidestrreets borough Commu.FSNBJE"WF CVS – /FQUVOF"WF Best Seller Real KINGS HIGHWAY nity College “Th e Junctionâ€? Rite Aid – .FSNBJE"WF. Peggy O’Neill’s -4VSG"WF BRIGHTON Estate MIRAGE DINER Shakespeare & Co. – 4VSG"WF Key Food – /FQUVOF"WF American Suds Laundromat BEACH Bagel Shop 7-Eleven CONEY ISLAND Shorefront YM- MadeleineKey Key Food Jones Day Care – /FQUVOF"WF Communitybook Carestore Pharmacy – 4VSG"WF Other stores and resFood Starbucks On-The-Go taurants along Kings CVS Circles Bistro – $POFZ*TMBOE"WF Saul’s Pharmacy & Surgical Supply –YWHA McDonald’s Corbin Street SeniorSurf &Brooklyn Door-to-door along Highway .FSNBJE"WF Public Turf Grill – 4VSG"WF Apartment buildings Library Burger King Center several sidestreets Major Meats – .FSNBJE"WF

March 17  31, 2010

"Hamas started a culture war. We decided to be pro-active rather than defensive.”

‘Artists 4 Israel’ counter anti-Israel rhetoric By FERN SIDMAN

Hip Hop artists and graffiti virtuosos from New York painting their way throughout Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Sderot?


ho could imagine it? But it appears that a new organization, Artists 4 Israel, will be doing just that. Founded about a year ago following Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, young artists in the New York area had just about enough of anti-Israel rhetoric. A cadre of young artists led by Craig Dershowitz, Tara Lyn Gordon and Seth Wolfson and several others were determined to debunk myths of Israel being a racist, apartheid state and a callous war machine, as portrayed, for example, by the Goldstone report (which Bay area state Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny has rallied against; see the Bay Currents interview with him on Artists 4 Israel was born as an umbrella organization for graffiti and street artists, alternative poets and playwrights, hip hop musicians, modern dance troupes, photographers, sculptors and rap chanteurs to express their support for Israel as a pluralistic society that fosters artistic license and expression, using original street theater and an array of other creative outlets. “Hamas started a culture war. We decided to be pro-active rather than defensive,” said Craig Dershowitz, a founding member of the group. “Artists 4 Israel is the offense. Rather than countering the misconceptions, lies and hate preached by the terrorist funded Hamas culture war against Israel, A4I utilizes the arts to tell our own stories and create our own narratives highlighting the rights, beauty and strength of Israel.” For the past year, this seminal movement of collective artists and culture war-

riors has exploded within the chic art scene by garnering support in the bastions of the art-gallery world. “When the war in Gaza broke out, our artists started painting really great signs for the pro-Israel demonstrations that were held, and people took notice of the fact that our signs were way more powerful than those of Israel’s detractors,” said Dershowitz. “We held a proIsrael art-gallery showing in Manhattan that drew close to 500 people, and 85 percent of those in attendance were contemporary artists under the age of 30. It was then that we knew that Artists 4 Israel could really have a major impact in the liberal arts community.” The group has taken other initiatives – including the “Keffiyah Exchange Program” modeled after the NYPD’s Cash for Guns program. While the keffiyah fashion craze has gripped the artists’ community, many are disturbed by the jihadist symbolism that it represents. Accordingly, Artists 4 Israel offers “Free Stuff for Stupid Scarves” in partnership with a number of clothing brands, bars and restaurants – giving away gifts to anyone who gives up his or her keffiyah at any of a number of drop-off locations. The group also conducts programs on high school and college campuses..”What makes our organization effective is the fact that we are totally inclusive and we reach out to everyone, irrespective of religion, race or nationality,” said Dershowitz. “While we are an advocacy group for Israel, we are non-political and we do not

take stances on issues pertaining to the conflicts between religious and non-religious factions in Israel or the disparity of viewpoints between the left wing or right wing parties.” The highlight of this year’s A4I activities will take place from April 24 until May 2, when Artists 4 Israel will send some of America’s most famous street and graffiti artists to Israel on a “Murality” project. “Murality,” joining the words “mural” and “morality,” expresses an ideal of justice through art. “Israel is a country that is predicated on the highest levels of morality and ethics” said. Dershowitz. “We want our artists (who are not Jewish) to experience this first hand.”

Don’t get eaten in this Korean game! By HEEYEN PARK

Yut-Nori is a traditional Korean game featuring moves named for animals, often played when families gather together on holidays.

(“horse”) and you move five steps and get another chance to throw. If one stick faces the back and the other three face the front, then you have to move one step backward. Your opponent’s stick can be “eaten,” and then he or she has to start all the way from the beginning.


t consists of a game board and four sticks. On the game board are dots connecting to form a square and X in the middle. The idea is to throw the four sticks – if three of them face the front, this is called “Do” (“pig”) and you move one step. If two sticks face the front it’s called “Gae” (“dog”) and you move two steps. If one stick faces the front that is called “Gul” (“goat”) then you move three steps. If all four sticks face the back, this is “Yut” (“cow”) and you move four steps and get another chance to throw. If the four sticks face the front it’s called, “Mo”

March 17  31, 2010

The artists plan to travel to Sederot, Kiryat Gat, Herzliyah, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to battle terror and rockets with messages of unity and peace. In Sderot and Kiryat Gat the artists will conduct art therapy classes with the children of these war-torn communities who often experience posttraumatic stress disorder. In Sederot, the artists will paint bomb shelters, Chabad’s rocket defense walls, army bases, the Jewish National Fund’s Indoor Recreational Center and Ateret Esther, the only school not fully protected from rocket attacks. In Kiryat Gat, they will transform bombed-out buildings into living art installations. In Jerusalem, they plan to design murals for “The Story of Hope,” a haven for Jewish women trapped in abusive relationships with Arab partners. In Tel Aviv, the artists will organize a large-scale art exhibit of their works for the entire community in one day. “Our art ambassadors will paint from the time they wake up in the morning until the time they go to bed”, said Dershowitz. Artists 4 Israel also has attracted the attention of Israeli performance artists, including Meital Dohan, a leading actress in the Showtime series “Weeds,” who contacted A4I indicating her interest in becoming involved in this endeavor and has been chosen to be the official spokesperson for the “Murality” project in Israel. “It is our fervent hope,” said Dershowitz, “that this trip to Israel will prove that America’s avant garde arts community supports Israel by sharing a message of hope and peace from America to Israel.”.

Poetry Currents Childhood By DOMINIQUE CARSON My childhood was amazing. . It was filled with lots of love and family holidays. It was filled with lots of homework, class work, bicycles, and block parties. . Sorrows knocked on my door only briefly. It was a time when poetry and writing first entered my life at the age of eight. It was a time when I was innocent. It was a time when I was small in age, but not in mind. It was a time when the world seemed fair. It was when the universe revolved around my Barbie dolls. It was a time when everyone was selfless and everyone appeared to be my friend. My childhood was the time which is long gone, but Tears of joy and sturdiness flow down from eyes when I go back in my childhood. My childhood will never come back But the child in me will never go away!

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Census participation is vital! By Assemblyman ALAN MAISEL

April 1 is Census Day. The short, 10-question forms – which are showing up in your mailbox this month – must be postmarked and mailed by the April 1 deadline. Residents who fail to respond can expect a call or visit from a censustaker, so mail in your forms today.


determine government representation. An accurate headcount ensures that your

needs and interests are on Albany’s – and Washington’s – radar, and local area gets

Answers to the Bay Sudoku from page 15

Answers to the Bay Crossword from page 15

our participation is not only required by law, it’s vital to our community’s future. The results of the national population tally decide the allocation of more than $400 billion in federal funds each year – money local area depends on for schools, hospitals, roadways, fire and police stations and more. Without doing your part by filling out the census forms, our infrastructure would suffer, and critical funding for health care, day care and job-training could dry up. What’s more, census data are used to

the aid and attention it deserves. And with the new, shorter questionnaires, participating couldn’t be easier. Ten minutes’ time promises 10 years of reward. Despite the myriad benefits, however, there remain those worried their responses could be used against them. But they needn’t fear: The Census Bureau maintains the strictest of privacy policies. Federal law (Title 13, U.S. Code) prohibits the Census Bureau from sharing personal information with anyone, be it the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or any other government agency. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, there’s no excuse not to participate. Fill out your form and send it in today. For more information on the 2010 Census, call my office at 718-968-2770 or e-mail me at

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March 17  31, 2010


Everything you need (or want) for your computer absolutely free – No strings attached! By I. FREIDIN

To sum up the rants usually associated with this column; ignorance and greed has contributed to establishing the United States as a corporate empire as quality of life sinks lower and lower, and the Bloomberg tyranny has been the scourge of lower and middle class New Yorkers, making the city unaffordable and chasing many away. That said, the rest of this space will be dedicated to a subject more immediately useful.


ne of our editors here at Bay Currents, although not a real techie, is into the exploration of his computer and the Internet, often volunteering useful tidbits of information. Foremost of this wisdom is how much out there is free. When I suggested he do an article, he barked back, “Why don’t you do it?” So here it is. By the way, for you techies or near techies, most of this will be no surprise, but for everyone else who is mystified by their computers and the Internet, this will be an eye opener, as it has been for me. The Internet, as a relatively new medium, is constantly being studied, improved upon and added to. “Freeware” and “open source” are terms that apply to software that you can download to your computer and use for free. It may be created by developers, dedicated to producing and improving their work, by companies that charge businesses but offer their products free for personal use while some are versions with a sales pitch for a for-pay upgrade; usually unnecessary. It’s very important however to download only from reputable sites because danger lurks. Following a few simple rules, I went to some recommended sites and did a bit of research on my own to find that just about all the software you may need or want can be had for free, generally just [or almost] as good as the for-pay equivalent. Rule one: DON’T ACCEPT UNSOLICITED OFFERS; they’re often a scam. Yes, if you’re not careful, the Internet can be a very dangerous place. You can do grave damage to your expensive equipment or compromise your privacy. Rule two: ONLY DOWNLOAD FROM TRUSTED SITES. (See sidebar.) Okay, you just unpacked your new computer, plugged

it in and connected to the Internet. Now what? Before going any further, you must be sure your security software is up and running and your system is up to date. Find Windows Update in your Control Panel, which can be found on the Start Menu. Set it to update automatically and do an immediate scan. This is vital because security holes are patched by the updates. Several manufacturers bundle security software with their computers (a trial version that expires) so simply be sure it’s running. When your free subscription runs out, you can replace it with a freebie. If not, install immediately; DO NOT SURF THE WEB UNPROTECTED! You will need one anti-virus program, one firewall and two or more anti-spyware programs. More than one anti-virus or firewall will create conflicts but only one anti-spyware may not catch all the malware that can infect your computer. Most Internet service providers include security software in the deal and Microsoft offers their own free package, although the built in firewall can be improved upon. Now you’re ready to surf the web, so click on your browser, your window to the web. Windows machines come with Internet Explorer (IE) already installed (Mac’s have Safari) but there are other options. Firefox, by Mozilla, an open source organization, is a great alternative, safer to use and offers numerous extensions, or add-ons, to enhance your experience. Google’s Chrome is lightening fast (you can have more than one browser installed). IE and Chrome also offer extensions but not nearly as many

as Firefox. A must have extension on any browser is Web of Trust (WOT) which indicates the level of trustworthiness of a site and warns of danger. Remember, you can never be too safe! But computers are not simply for surfing the web. The standard for productivity software is Microsoft Office, expensive and necessary for students and those in the corporate world. For those not required to conform, OpenOffice consists of the essential

programs, is largely compatible with Office and is absolutely free. Now that you’re set with security and productivity, you can surf and play. Listed in the sidebar is a general site where you can find a wealth of safe and free software and a few suggestions. But the beauty of it is that you can go wherever you want, play whatever you want and learn whatever you want. Simply follow a few rules and the world of cyberspace is yours...all for free!

Okay, so where do I find the free stuff? Everything listed here is trusted and safe to download. Although some of the individual sites may urge an upgrade to a for-pay version or request a donation, everything listed is absolutely strings attached! Be careful to click on the free version; not the trial or upgrade. CNET is one of the best, most trustworthy all around download sites but everything listed is not free. It’s easy enough to find the free stuff though and the site includes reviews and descriptions. Most of the software listed below can be downloaded right from CNET or from their own site. Generally regarded as the best free anti-virus programs: Avast Avira AVG Microsoft Security Essentials (Microsoft finally came out with their own security suite which can only be found on their site.) ThreatFire is a different kind of anti-virus program that complements the others...a worthwhile addition to your security arsenal. ZoneAlarm Basic is one of the best firewalls around at any price. Although Windows includes a firewall, it’s not nearly as good. If you do heavy surfing or are concerned, install this program and turn off the Windows firewall. Highly regarded anti-spyware programs: Ad-Aware Malwarebytes Many more free, anti-spyware programs can be found on CNET and other trusted download sites. Ccleaner will clean your hard drive and your register, allowing your computer to run more efficiently...a highly recommended utility. Each of these browsers has its own personality and each is safer to use than the built-in Internet Explorer. Mozilla Firefox Google Chrome They can be enhanced by extensions (add-ons) and toolbars (a bar on your browser with search and links to often used categories) that help secure and enhance your browsing experience. Toolbars are offered from Google, Yahoo, MSN and others. Check out the list of add-ons offered for your browser. You’ll be surprised at the scope and number of items available. Get started by installing the WOT add-on to your browser for added security while surfing the net. A different toolbar that’s of interest to dedicated web surfers is the Stumble Upon Toolbar, which sends you to different sites on a subject of your choosing or completely at random. If you’re not required by school or work to use the costly Microsoft Office, a free office suite is OpenOffice. And then there is Google Pack. Offerings range far and wide, including the noteworthy Google Earth. Whatever your interest, it’s out there. You can install a planetarium on your computer, fly a plane with a flight simulation program, create music or a work of art or play a game...all for free. Just remember, all the security software will not protect you if you don’t take precautions. Be careful where you go on the net. Don’t answer unsolicited offers or pop-ups and don’t open email attachments from strangers. Check out any software with which you’re unfamiliar by finding a review by a known trustworthy source before even thinking of downloading. Just to prove it could be done, someone loaded up a computer exclusively with free software. Check out Freeware Mission at

March 17  31, 2010

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vol6 issue 13  

Community newspaper in Brooklyn, NY