Today’s news:

To The Point: Children, schools need top priority in funding

The snow is still lingering and has not melted as fast as we would have liked. The birds were happy to have us back. The many sparrows, starlings, two cardinals, two blue jays and two robins had a feast and were all lined up with bibs on. They had a mixture of seed, bread, cake, biscuits. My daughter gave me a beautiful mat with two robins on it nestled in an apple tree. I have a feeling that they want cut-up apples next.

It was great to read that major crime rate plummeted in many parts of Queens (with the exception of car thefts).

It was the government that declared Con Edison a monopoly and they went out and sold two of the largest plants. We must have generators otherwise we will not have the energy to heat and cool our homes and to run other equipment.

Children and schools must be on top of the list. We must obtain the proper amount of money per child and have enough certified teachers to bring the children up scholastically. Parents must work along with the schools and teachers to see that homework is done and studied. Charter schools are not the answer since the operators do not have to account for the money that they obtain from the Board of Education.

Ten steps for parents to be more involved in their children's education:

Read a book with your child.

Establish a daily routine for homework, chores and TV.

Discuss the day's events together.

Start planning for high school and college early.

Volunteer at your child's school.

Attend parent-teacher conferences and school or class events.

Take family outings to the zoo, library, museum or sporting events.

Coach a sports team or practice together.

Take community classes together in music, crafts or computers.

Join the PTA.

Decorum must be adhered to whether it is an elementary school, high school or college. The proper authorities should be contacted, if improper behavior prevails.

The Full Gospel Church expansion was turned down by Community Board 7.

Congratulations to the new officers of Community Board 7: Eugene Kelty, Chairperson, Robert LoPinto, 1st Vice Chairperson, James Crisafulli, 2nd Vice Chairperson, Frank Macchio, 3rd Vice Chairperson, Joseph Governale, 4th Vice Chairperson/Secretary.

The Rag Shop had its grand opening. It certainly was quite crowded on opening day. It would have to continue to be that, in order to maintain the cost of nine attached stores.

Condolences to the family of Glory-Jean Berlinquette

Speedy recovery to Angie Ronan.

We were happy to have Pastor James Hamilton return safe and sound from his holiday trip to Israel. He is planning another spectacular event at the church: a Mardi Gras with costumes, 730 p.m. Saturday Feb. 24, $20. Run and get your tickets - all his events are winners.

The annual St. Patrick's Dance will be held on Saturday, Feb. 24, with music is by the Boston Burglars, at Holy Trinity Church in Whitestone. The gift of song certainly is held by Al Barbarino and he sang at all the masses. He is a lay Franciscan of the Padre Pio Shelter. He has a new album, "Come Back To Me." Each week Al sings at different parishes throughout the country and abroad to help the poor, homeless and war victims of Croatia and Bosnia.

A hearty Congratulations to Helen and Fred Mazzarello - they celebrated their 50th Golden Anniversary with us at Caffe on the Green. Also a Happy Birthday to Fred, his daughter Rita and sister-in-law Rajean.

The celebration of the "Year of the Snake" will take place on Main Street, Flushing on Saturday, Jan. 27 from 10 a.m. to noon with a parade of extravagant floats, costumes, and flowers, with participation from all over multicultural Queens.

SABINA SAYS: I was affixed to the TV when PBS started airing "Jazz," a 10-part series by filmmaker Ken Burns chronicling the evolution of this American art form with many roots in Queens.

In the year 2002, the Louis Armstrong House, administered by Queens College, will open as a museum. The Armstrong archives can already be visited at the college's Flushing campus.

For information on the Jazz Trail, call Flushing Town Hall at (718) 463-7700.

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