by Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B
We are very happy to inform the community that the QM16 Manhattan express bus stop will return to Beach 116 street. We want to thank Deputy DOT Commissioner Anthony Fasulo for his quick attention to this problem. Good things happen when we work together.
St. John's Hospital alerted the community on Monday, November 15 that they have filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Everyone there is hoping that the Episcopal Health Services will continue to make payments for their staff as promised. We expect the hospital workers to continue to give our community the wonderful health care they usually do.
The long waiting time to cross the Marine-Gil Hodges bridge continues to inconvenience residents of Rockaway and Breezy Point. We are calling for an immediate rebate on tolls paid during the peak hours of 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. so that all of us who are inconvenienced will be compensated for the extra time and hardship we suffer. We recall that the MTA gave rebates to LIRR commuters when service was curtailed. We deserve no less.
On Monday, November 1, one day before Election Day, P.S. 114 elected their student council from grades three, four and five. Elected president was Kelly Magee; Rachel Vonsanger was elected vice president; Tara Mullin, secretary; and Ashley Fallon, public relations. The principal of P.S. 114, Gerard McCarthy, is very proud of his student council as well as all the other students. Congratulations to all the elected officials.
On last Friday afternoon we attended a press conference held by Congressman Anthony Weiner. The Congressman managed to get $450,000 for a five-year facelift in Riis Park. This is a major accomplishment for a freshman member of Congress. The repairs include year one FY 2000, $62,000 to rehab and expand the East Tot Lot and $50,000 to rehab and expand the picnic areas. Year two includes $125,000 to expand picnic areas. Year three includes $100,000 to rehab 18 handball courts, two paddle tennis courts and four shuffleboard courts. Year five will bring $112,500 to rehab two baseball fields. Repairs will begin within the next 10 months and will occur in phases over five years. All repairs will be completed by 2004.
Many residents of the west end, under the leadership of Mrs. Steven Lefkowitz, whose constant lobbying of elected officials and petitions helped make this park a reality. We would like to commend all concerned residents who stayed on top of this issue as well as former Wave columnist Large Mouth, who has been constantly getting Congressman Weiner's ear about this situation.
Saturday evening was the annual St. Rose of Lima card party. Thank God the place was packed, the gifts beautiful and the people were generous. All the money raised was for the school. We worked the whole night selling raffles, having a great time and talking with all my friends, or as I call them, my family.
One of the ladies asked me how much I make as district leader and what my office budget was. I responded by laughing. She said, "What's so funny?" I responded that I thank God I've been elected district leader. The pay is excellent. Either all the love you get or all the aggravation you get. She said what do you mean? I told her I work 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the betterment of Rockaway, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, Howard Beach, Ozone Park and part of Woodhaven. I receive no state, city or federal funding. We keep our office going by membership in the Good Government Regular Democratic Club, our Atlantic City bus trips and other small fundraisers. It is constantly getting more difficult to raise money. We do what we do because God has blessed us to share our love and happiness with all. She immediately got up and hugged and kissed me and responded by giving me a check for dues for her family and her sister's family. She ended by saying… "Keep the faith. We love you, we need you, you are our guardian angel in Rockaway."
We want to personally thank Wave publisher Leon Locke, editor John McLoughlin and the staff of the Wave for the nice layout and display on census 2000 jobs. Our goal was to help employ residents of Rockaway, Breezy Point and Broad Channel and lower the unemployment rate. Congratulations. We succeeded with a record 234 people. The Wave deserves an award for making a difference in our community.
We will be going to Atlantic City on this Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m. We return at 8 a.m. The cost is $23 with $17 returned. Call my office to see if seats are still available. I am listed in the Rockaway phone book.
I am available to help with community problems. If you have any questions about this column please call my office. I always return my calls.