Notes From the Neighborhood

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311 Mess-ups Confuse Local Parents

Upper East Side Assembly Member Micah Kellner alerted Our Town to a snafu in the 311 information system that has been giving parents incorrect information about their children's school enrollment. Kellner said several parents have called his office over the past week to complain that 311 operators have apparently been referencing school zoning maps from the current academic year instead of the updated maps for the 2012-2013 school year. As a result, some incoming kindergartners' parents have been told to enroll their children at P.S. 151 when in fact they have been rezoned for the new P.S. 527, which will open in the Our Lady of Good Counsel building next fall.

"They need to correct this right away because parents shouldn't be put through this," Kellner said. "You want to be able to go register your child and have peace of mind."

The deadline for kindergarten enrollment is March 2, and though 311 is still relying on the old maps, the DOE's website has updated information and says that they are working to update 311. P.S. 158 and P.S. 290 are also affected by the misinformation, so parents are encouraged to call schools directly to make sure that they are enrolling in the correct zone.

Legal Battles Become Book Fodder

Local attorney Eric Dinnocenzo has turned his experiences working in housing court and providing pro bono legal assistance to tenants into a new novel, The Tenant Lawyer. We asked the Upper East Sider about his new book.

How did you craft your main character?

The character was loosely based on my experiences working as a legal services attorney straight out of law school in the early 2000s. I wanted to create a protagonist who struggled with insecurities and self-doubt along with anxiety about career and success. I also wanted him to have a complex relationship with both the more blue-collar town he grew up in [Worcester] and the more sophisticated place he ended up [the Back Bay in Boston, working for a high-powered law firm].

How were you influenced by your work as an attorney in writing this book?

Without that experience, I couldn't have written this book. I would have had no insight into what goes on in the housing court [or the] one-strike law that propels one of the plotlines. [That law] allows innocent tenants to be evicted from public housing if a family member or guest engages in illegal drug activity, whether the tenant knew about it and whether it was on or off the property. It shows how courts will harshly penalize low- and middle-class people but bend over backward to assist and enable the powerful.

Free Screening of Gasland

Nonprofit advocacy group Food and Water Watch is hosting a free screening of the Academy Award-nominated film Gasland, a documentary by Josh Fox about the effects of hydraulic fracturing on surrounding water supplies, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m. at Lenox Hill Hospital, 100 E. 77th St., Einhorn Auditorium. Reserve a spot at or call Assembly Member Micah Kellner's office at 212-860-4906.

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