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TPS help for city’s Haitian community

New York City officials are trying to make it easy for Haitians residing in the city to apply for temporary protected status (TPS).

To that end, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will be holding information sessions to help those who want to apply to fill out applications, with one of the first sessions scheduled for Brooklyn, at the CAMBA office, 2211 Church Avenue, Room 301, on Saturday, February 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A key to the city’s role, stressed Charles Glover, of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, is to make sure that applicants for TPS are “not deceived by scammers. The whole process should not cost more than $400 or $450,” he told members of Friends United Block Association, gathered at Temple Shaare Emeth, 6012 Farragut Road, in Canarsie, for their February meeting.

The sessions will be staffed by attorneys and immigration specialists, who will aid applicants who bring proof that they are Haitian, were in the United States on January 12, 2010, and have been residing in the U.S. since that date.

Several pieces of identification are required. To prove that an individual is from Haiti, he or she must provide either a passport, a birth certificate with additional photo ID, or a Haitian national ID with photo or fingerprint.

In addition, applicants must bring proof of their presence in this country on January 12: a passport; I-94 arrival/departure record; employment records; rent receipts, utility bills or letters from companies indicating service dates; school records for themselves or their children from U.S. schools; medical records for treatment received by them or their children in the U.S.; attestations by houses of worship, unions or other groups with identification by name; or other documents that establish the fact that the individuals in question were in this country on January 12.

Also, applicants must bring two passport photos and a money order made out to USCIS for $470 for individuals requiring employment authorizations or $130 if employment authorization is not required.

Additional documentation is required if a fee waiver is requested by those who cannot afford the cost.

People convicted of two misdemeanors or one felony are not eligible for TPS. People with criminal arrests should speak to an immigration law expert before applying for TPS.

To RSVP, or for further information, call 718-940-6311.

Additional TPS events will be held on March 4th, March 20, April 17, May 22, June 12, June 26 and July 10, at locations to be determined.

Jay and Conan have nothing on this Williamsburg ‘drama’

The producers of Sweet & Nasty Burlesque, Jonny Porkpie’s Bad Ideas, and The Legs Malone Show announced this week that they will no longer produce their monthly events at Public Assembly, 70 North 6th Street in Williamsburg, once home to Galapagos.

Legs and Nasty had their final shows on the first and third Mondays of last month, and Porkpie’s swansong was in December. Porkpie insists that the departure is amicable on all sides, and that it would be “ridiculous” to draw parallels between this situation and the recent late-night television wars, “especially since none of the shows received a multi-million-dollar severance package.” Overall, Porkpie said in a statement that the move is a positive one, although he “did have a brief moment of doubt [about leaving] when I heard that they finally got rid of the rats.”

But leaving a venue isn’t enough to deter Sweet & Nasty, which has proudly dubbed itself “The Most Cancelled Show in Burlesque!”

The monthly show will continue uninterrupted in February with “Sweet & Nasty’s Little Monsters” at Pink (at Blvd), 199 Bowery at Spring St. on Monday, February 22 at 10 pm.

Contractor named for

Barclays Center

An Indianapolis contractor was awarded the contract to do construction for the Barclays Center arena at the Flatbush/Atlantic avenue intersection.

The Barclays Center, which will house the NBAs Nets, is the conerstone and first building of the $4-plus billion, 22-acre Atlantic Yards development.

Infrastructure and underground plumbing construction is already underway on the facility, which upon completion, will have 18,000 seats for basketball and 19,000 seats for concerts, 104 luxury suites, public concourses on two levels, a suite level club restaurant, and an adjoining basketball practice facility.

“Hunt has an outstanding construction team that has built many of the best sporting venues in the country,” said project developer Bruce Ratner, Chairman and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies.

“We are excited to team with Hunt for the Barclays Center and to bring major professional sports and entertainment back to Brooklyn,” he added.

Brooklyn housewife booted?

Rumors are swirling about the fate of Boerum Hill’s Simon van Kempen and wife Alex McCord — the oddball couple from the show “The Real Housewives of New York City.”

According to one report, the pair are not connecting with viewers, who don’t have a positive reaction to the couple. But sources told Hollywoodlife.com that the reports are bad gossip.

“None of the Housewives have signed on for the fourth season yet. Why would Alex leave? It’s simply not true,” according to the Web site.

The fourth season of the show, which chronicles the life, love and shopping habits of a group of housewives, premieres March 4 on Bravo.

Stop school closures

School District 22’s Community Education Council (CEC), a volunteer parents group representing Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach and parts of Midwood, Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay, opposes the recent string of school closures.

At its meeting last week, the council passed a resolution supporting the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) in its bid to stop the closures.

The city Department of Education (DOE) will close Metropolitan Corporate Academy at 362 Schermerhorn Street — and possibly eight other schools in Brooklyn. They are Boys and Girls High School at 1700 Fulton Street, Automotive High School at 50 Bedford Avenue, School for Global Studies at 284 Baltic Street, Cobble Hill School of American Studies at 347 Baltic Street, Franklin D. Roosevelt High School at 5800 20th Avenue, John Dewey High School at 50 Avenue X, William E. Grady Vocational High School at 25 Brighton 4th Road, and Sheepshead Bay High School at 3000 Avenue X.

“The Department of Education’s mission should be making every school an excellent school or as darn close to that as they can achieve. By closing these schools, it’s as though they’re throwing their hands up,” said Michael Benjamin, the CEC’s first vice president.

The DOE defends the practice of closing schools considered underperforming, saying, “Since 2003, the city has phased out 91 schools and created 335 new schools. High schools citywide, on average, graduate 60 percent of their students, while our new, small high schools graduate 75 percent of their students. When we know we can do better for our students, we must, especially when these high schools are graduating less than one in two of their students. That simply does not meet any standard of success.”

CB 15 sets hearing on

E. 12th Street property

Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo was on the road last week putting out notices by hand informing residents the owner of 1882 East 12th Street is seeking a two-year extension to build a four-story building.

According to Scavo, the owner of the property, prior to the 2006 down zoning of the area, built a “mini-highrise” on top of the existing house on the property, which got him an approval from the city’s Department of Buildings to be considered vested enough in the project to have beaten the down zoning.

However, since that time, the owner hasn’t done anything to the property and now he is coming to the community board for recommendation of a two-year extension, said Scavo.

The hearing is set for 7 p.m., Feb. 23 at Kingsborough Community College.

Special plunge

Call it a New Year’s tradition with a new twist.

Dozens of borough residents are expected to jump into the frigid Atlantic Ocean on February 27, but not to welcome Baby New Year.

Rather, they will be “Freezin’ for a reason” — supporting the athletes of the Special Olympics as they participate in the Special Olympics Polar Plunge.

Participants are asked to raise $100 for the Special Olympics and then do what very few brave — or, some would say, foolish — people do — jump in the Atlantic Ocean.

If one raises $100, he or she will receive an official plunge sweatshirt as well as a memory that will last long after the frostbite goes away.

The Brooklyn Cyclones will be among many groups who hope to raise thousands for the Special Olympics. The Cyclones, for example, are hoping to raise $2,500 before two of their staff members take the big dip.

Registration for the New York Polar Plunge is expected to kick off at 9 a.m. at Rockaway Beach, Queens, just over the Marine Parkway Bridge. The big dip is scheduled for noon.

Anyone wishing to learn more can visit http://www.kintera.org/faf/home/.

McCarren is January’s

Park of the Month

One of the most utilized parks in the city’s system, Williamsburg’s own McCarren Park, has been selected as January’s Park of the Month, the Parks Department announced.

Named after a former State Assemblymember one hundred years ago, the 36-acre park, bordered by Nassau, Driggs and Lorimer avenues, is home to soccer fields, bocce, handball and basketball courts, several softball/ kickball fields, a running track, and a new skate park. In November, Parks officials broke ground on the $50 million McCarren Park Pool, which should be completed by 2012.

Remembering Frances

This paper would like to take a moment to tip its hat and honor the memory of a stalwart Brighton Beach activist who passed away last week.

Frances Kaplan died suddenly on February 3, sending friends and neighbors in a tailspin.

Kaplan, who ran a dry cleaning business in Brighton Beach for years before her retirement, was extremely active in the 60th Precinct Community Council, the Shorefront Y and the local Democratic club, colleagues said.

“She was very concerned in what was happening in her community,” recalled 60th Precinct Community Council Judd Fischler. “At any meeting she would be the person you would rely on to help out and get things done.”

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