by Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B
Last Wednesday evening there was a memorial mass for the late John F. Kennedy, jr. at the St. Francis de Sales Church in Belle Harbor. It was co-sponsored by the Queens County St. Patrick's Day Parade and Cultural Committee, Division 21 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (John McManus, president), and Division 22 Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians ( Betty Keller, president). Mike Keller is the Queens County board vice president.
The gospel and homily was given by Rev. Coln Campbell, who spoke so eloquently that we were in tears. Seth Krakaeur spoke of being a recipient of the Kennedy fellowship. The Kennedy Foundation usually gives grants for programs for handicapped children, but they gave Seth a fellowship to help children.
Joe Feetherson, who is chairman of the St. Camillus Special Olympics, spoke of these activities for the handicapped. The Special Olympics were started by the Kennedys in the 1960's. The mass was done by Msgr. Martin Geraghty and Father James Devine of Our Lady of the Skies at JFK Airport. Father Devine was formerly at St. Rose of Lima and is a great Rockaway resident and spiritual leader. The choir was under the expert direction of Mr. And Mrs. Herman Schmitt. The-choir was music to your ears.
The County Tyrone Pipe and Drum Band led the dignitaries and elected officials to this wonderful mass. The pipe and drum band is led by Dr. Peter Galvin, who is a great community doctor who contributes some of his spare time to his Irish heritage. The band played for the private Kennedy mass in Manhattan and is nationally known. The event was definitely something to remember.
Prayers for the faithful were read by Michael Keller, Barbara Morris, John McManus, Tom Harmon, Joe Burns, Harold Rochelle, Joe Featherston and Dr. Peter Galvin. The event was chaired by Brian Heffernan.
Some notable people mentioned or not mentioned at the mass were Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer; Assemblywoman Pauline Cummings; yours truly; and Owen Baxter, vice president of the Queens County St Patrick's Day Parade Committee, who was escorted by the lovely Beverly Baxter, secretary of the committee and columnist of On The Beach, who always looks stunning. Also present were parade committee members Mike Foley, Joan Boden, Ed Rice, John Brennan, James Conway Sullivan, and Sanitation Commissioner Kevin Farrell, as well as many other parade committee members and community members of all faiths.
Later we attended the St. Camillus annual card party. Msgr. Burke was in all his glory because it benefits the band which he founded. Msgr. is always very gracious in thanking the people for attending. The St. Camillus card party committee wishes to thank all the donors of the beautiful gifts.
The Army Corps of Engineers has proposed dumping toxic waste from Astoria, Queens in Jamaica Bay or in the Atlantic Ocean off our shore. During the last 11 years we as a community have stopped these plans. From Far Rockaway to Breezy Point we must work together in unity. We must thank Congressman Weiner, Assemblywomans Audrey Pheffer and Pauline Cummings, State Senator Al Waldon and community leaders Gloria Warshofsky of Bayswater Civic Association, Jack King of the Belle Harbor Civic Associations, Mike O'Connor of the Neponsit Property Owners and Dolores Orr of the Rockaway Beach Civic for getting involved in this matter. We must thank Bernard Blum of Friends of Rockaway who attends numerous public meetings and alerts the local community to plans which would harm us. We need mass involvement to once again stop the dumping. We have petitions available. Call my office or come up to 112-20 Beach Channel drive on Thursday evening to pick up a petition. Please let us work together to fight this ridiculous proposal.
We would like to recognize Jack and Matthew Safos for turning Beach 115 street around by purchasing the Harriet Ann Hotel and cleaning it up. They are definitely a breath of fresh air to the Rockaway community. We would like to thank them for the wonderful birthday gift of a mid-size refrigerator which we needed for our club room.
Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday September 18. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. The cost is $23 with $15 returned. Call now for reservations.
The Good Government Regular Democratic Club is now doing a membership drive by reaching out to Democrats in our community. We are located at 112-20 Beach Channel drive (second floor) opposite Waldbaum's parking lot. We have an air conditioned, modern, large facility. Membership dues is $25 for a family, $18 single and $12 for seniors and Young Dems. We urge all to get involved in their community. In order to vote in this year's charter referendum in November and the presidential primary next March you need to be registered before October. We have registration forms available. If you have not voted in four years, have moved or need to change your party registration stop at our office on Thursday evening.
We have just been told that the Breezy Point site for pre-K classes has been closed. Fifteen children who are zoned for P.S. 114 will have to attend other schools. Stay tuned for more details.
If you have any questions or comments about this column or need help with any community problem, call my office at any time. I am listed in the Rockaway phone book.