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The Civic Scene: Now it’s easy to keep telemarketers away

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A registry of New Yorkers who do not wish to receive sales phone calls is now being created. It is due to take effect on April 1, 2001. New York will now join some 18 other states in regulating the telemarketers in one form or another.

The state Consumer Protection Board expects that unwanted sales solicitations will be eliminated because a telemarketing company can be fined up to $2,000 for each call that it makes to a name on the registry. There are thousands of telemarketing companies across the country and they sell "sucker lists" to each other, but knowing they could be fined as much as $2,000 for one call can be a powerful deterrent.

Companies that solicit by phone will be required to buy the latest copy of the registry, which will be updated four times a year. (The Consumer Protection Board has not yet determined the cost of the registry). When a company obtains the latest registry it will have 30 days to remove from its telephone sales list numbers which are on the registry.

Residents who are interested in getting on the New York Registry can visit the consumer board's Web site, www.consumer. state.ny.us or by writing to the NYS Consumer Protection Board at 5 Empire State Plaza, Suite 2101, Albany, N.Y. 12223. The person should list the phone numbers, including cell phone and fax lines, to be on the registry. It is suggested not to try to call because of the number of people trying to register by phone. The number is 800-697-1220. Perhaps we can now have a phone call-free supper.

The Alley Pond Environmental Center has issued its November-December magazine, "Tidings." Years ago, when my children were younger, I used to take them to the Alley Pond Environmental Center, to walk the trails, visit the museum and buy bird seed. Years ago they were the only ones doing recycling of cans and bottles. We used to bring our aluminum and metal cans there and then crush them with heavy blocks of wood. I can also remember when the recycling of cans and paper took place adjacent to the power plant in the Fresh Meadows Development until they moved to Alley Pond.

APEC reminds people that they have a gift shop where one can buy holiday gifts. They have many adult programs such as planting trees, a slide show about the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway which currently is along 199th Street in Fresh Meadows, a bird walk at Jones Beach, a Winter Solstice Walk, how to build a graham cracker house and doing a bird census. APEC also offers children's birthday parties for a fee, toddler time events and children's nature club plus pre-teen and after-school events.

APEC is located at 228-06 Northern Boulevard, Douglaston. Their phone is 229-4000, their fax is (718) 229-0376 and their Web site is www.alleypond.com. It's great for kids.

Good and Bad News of the Week

I sometimes wonder how our Congress can spend so much money on things while trying to do good, but which are just wrong and wasteful. In 1948 the Congress decided that the Florida Everglades were an impediment to urban growth. The Army Corps of Engineers funneled 1.7 billion gallons of water into the ocean every day.

Now, they realize that the animal and plant life of the Everglades are in danger of extinction. The federal government will spend $7.8 billion to restore the Everglades over the next four decades It seems that the sugar industry, environmentalists, real estate developers and Indian tribes back this project. Of course, some Congressman tacked pork barrel bills onto this measure. If only some of these constituencies had not been so active decades ago we would have more money for important things like schools, parks and health care.

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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