Today’s news:

Use common sense when in public places, at home

It seems when we pump gasoline at gas stations, we have to worry about thieves running off with women’s pocketbooks and packages. Community Board 8 District Manager Marie Adam−Ovide reported that thieves position themselves at gasoline stations and, while women pump gasoline, slip up to the car and steal pocketbooks and packages left on car seats. One has to be alert.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center is visiting communities to educate people about the rise in prescription drug use. Such drugs are available online. People use prescription drugs to get the same kind of high which can be obtained from illegal drugs. People who abuse prescription drugs often end up using illegal drugs. Be aware of the amount of prescription drugs you or your parents have in the house to prevent teens from stealing them. For more information, call the center at 718−670−5540.

The city Sanitation Department warns people that you must remove snow by four hours after it has stopped falling before 9 p.m. After that, you have until 11 a.m. to remove the snow. If people walk on snow at night and the temperature falls below freezing, the footprints will turn to ice, which is hard to remove. Sanitation inspectors will ticket people if they see snow on sidewalks or receive a complaint from people fearful of falling on icy sidewalks.

The city Health Department alerts people to the dangers of disease, which can come from pigeon and rat droppings. Do not feed pigeons because excess food brings rats and droppings. Garbage should be kept in hard plastic or metal containers. Do not leave debris in your yard because it becomes living places for rats. If you find your plastic garbage bags torn open, put ammonia in them or use a can.

The NYPD Traffic Enforcement Unit is enforcing the “don’t block the box” rule. Do not move into an intersection if you will be caught in it when the light changes. You can have 2 12 points added to your license plus a fine.

The traffic enforcement agents along Union Turnpike are giving tickets if you stop for any reason at a bus stop. We remind you that the police are out along the Clearview Expressway catching speeders. Remember that the speed drops to 45 mph as you come off the Throgs Neck Bridge going south. Police cars wait there.

Television stations nationwide will switch to all−digital broadcasting June 12, but TV stations can change now if they want. You need a converter box, which costs $40 or more, to receive digital broadcasts. The federal government has a program which gives free coupons to buy converter boxes, but the money has been used up. If you have cable service, you do not need to buy the box. Call CB 8 at 718−264−7895 for information.

CB 8 has sent letters to officials concerning the proposed service cuts on the Q30, Q31, Q74, Q75 and Q76 buses and proposed increased cost to ride Access−A−Ride. All these actions depend on the budget results in the state and federal governments. They say some of the money from the federal bailout programs can help us pay for these local services, but I thought the federal money was to create jobs by fixing infrastructure and promoting green energy sources.

Our federal government now has a $10 trillion deficit and are now adding $2 trillion more of deficit to fix the weak economy, banks and credit. We want these local services, but how will we pay off the deficit?

GOOD AND BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: The Internet is a wonderful invention that permits information dissemination and facilitates worldwide communication. It is ironic that al−Qaeda uses the Internet to send messages, spread propaganda and teach terrorist methods to people who want to destroy our way of life. Terrorists have their own Web sites, where they communicate and teach each other terrorist techniques and make plans.

The National Security Agency has computers to sift vast volumes of e−mails, but we are sensitive to protecting people’s rights to privacy here in the West and have to watch out for plots against us by groups like al−Qaeda. China sifts vast volumes of Internet material to keep out democratic ideas.

We do not want to follow their techniques.

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