U.S. Army Under Secretary Joseph WestphalEluyn Gines and his staff, complimenting the base military staff and civilian workers.While we were not privy to the briefing, being aware of Westphals background and visits to other Army facilities, he more than likely also discussed the current fiscal constraints and budgetary challenges the Army is facing which Im sure also affect Fort Hamilton.What are somewhat worrisome to Fort Hamilton supporters like me are Westphals reputation as a budget analyst and his prior service as an assistant to the chair of the U.S. House Committee on the Budget. Is Fort Hamilton again under a budget-cutting microscope? ***Congratulations to fellow Brooklyn native Jon Paul Lupo who was tapped by Mayor Bill de Blasio as his director of city legislative affairs. We got to know Jon Paul well when he first served as former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitzs communications director, and later as his chief of staff. Lupo more recently was a close aide and campaign consultant for newly minted City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. *** The Bay Ridge Chapter of the AARP announces two area sites that will be offering free income tax preparation services for low to moderate income taxpayers. Once again, the AARP Foundation is providing IRS-trained and certified tax aid volunteers on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Patricks Rectory, 9511 Fourth Avenue (718-238-2600), and on Fridays at Our Lady of Angels Rectory, 7320 Fourth Avenue (718-836-7200). Walk-ins are permitted at both sites.To avail themselves of the free tax prep, taxpayers are encouraged to bring with them last years tax returns, W-2 and any 1099 forms. These are the only two free AARP tax prep sites being offered in southwest Brooklyn. A third, more distance site is the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, 1 Grand Amy Plaza (718-230-2100), on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ***Giddy-up and gong hay fat choy! The Lunar New Year 4712 Year of the Horse started on Friday, January 31. Locally, the Brooklyn Chinese American Association with headquarters on Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park is expected to herald the New Year and start its annual parade with its traditional barrage of firecrackers on Sunday, February 2.The colorful march blasts off at 1 p.m., along Eighth Avenue from 50th to 60th Street. The annual parade is the brainchild of Paul Mak ***A big high five to Councilmember Vinnie Gentile
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