2000-07-22 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes


by Howard Schwach

The bad news is that last weekend’s weather made the beach a washout, the good news is that the beaches are now fully manned (womaned? peopled?) with lifeguards. A number of beaches are still closed, however, not because of a lack of lifeguards, but for other reasons. Beaches 9 to 13 and 15 to 25 are open for swimming. Beaches 14 and 15 have been designated as "fishing only" beaches. Beaches 26 to 43 are closed because of severe beach erosion. Beaches 44 to 57 are closed due to Piping Plover invasions. The rest of the beaches are open.

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I have to say it again. What good is having a beautiful center mall full of plants on Beach Channel drive if all of the plants are dead?

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I wrote that I would update you on the PS 114 issue this week, but I am still not sure enough of what is happening to write a full School Scope column. Those of you who read the letter to the editor from the school’s C-30 committee last week know the basics and it has come down to "he said-they said." The committee sent five candidate’s names to superintendent Bromme. Bernard McCarthy, the acting principal, was reportedly not one of the people on the list. Indications that I have are that two candidates – Pat Tubridy (the then assistant principal) and George Giberti (acting principal at PS 106) -- were the two the committee wanted most and they indicated that to Bromme. One of the five candidates was appointed to a job in District 28. That left four candidates and Bromme asked the committee to add another name to the list. I have been told that the name he wanted was McCarthy’s, but I have no way of knowing that for sure. It is just conjecture on my part. In any case, the committee, still wanting either Tubridy or Giberti, refused. Bromme then appointed Tubridy to PS 47 in Broad Channel and Giberti to PS 225 in Rockaway Beach. That left only two candidates and Bromme (rightfully so) could not go to Level II with only two candidates. He then dissolved the committee. Was the committee right in leaving McCarthy’s name off the list? Should Bromme have given PS 114 its first choice at the expense of the other schools that also wanted the same people? Did Bromme purposefully "job" the PS 114 parents (as some of them are charging)? Who knows? The story is still developing and I will let you know more as soon as I know more. By the way, if anybody involved wants to let me know what is going on so that I can pass it on to the rest of you, e-mail me at the address below. Can’t wait to hear from you.

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There are two great Rockaway events coming up and you should note them on your calendar of things to do. The first is the 19th Annual Rockaway Irish Festival. The festival, which takes place on Beach 108 and 109 streets, will be held on July 29 and 30 from 12 noon until 9 p.m. There will be the usual fine food, Irish music, wares and more. This is always a weekend of great Rockaway fun. The second event is the National Night Out Against Crime to be held this year on Tuesday, August 1, at 7 p.m. at the beach and Beach 116 street. This year, the program will include a full "Day at the Beach," including a "Shack Attack" in which kids will repaint the lifeguard shack. The annual fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. Don’t miss either activity.

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Ronnie Weinfeld, an old Rockaway hand, e-mailed me to let me know that he and his wife have found a new and much cheaper form of entertainment. Ronnie writes: "Last Monday afternoon, my wife Diane and I saw a revival of the 1957 Academy Award winning movie, "The Bridge Over the River Kwai" at the Green Acres Theater for $1 each." Sounds like a bargain to me even if you do have to travel to Nassau County. He points out that only a dozen people attended. The next one dollar presentation will be "The Philadelphia Story," starring Carey Grant on Monday, August 7, 2000.

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Even though I am a long-time Yankee fan, there is do doubt in my mind that Roger Clemens threw at Mike Piazza with the intent not to move him off the plate, but to move him to the hospital. What makes it worse is that I have Piazza on my ESPN Fantasy Baseball team and I lost my best hitter and home run man for a few games. I remember baseball in the days of Sal Magle when throwing at a batter’s head was considered a pitcher’s major retaliatory tool. Few pitchers used the tool often because they had to come to bat sometime. That is no longer true, at least in the American league where the stupid DH rule holds true. The batter’s retaliatory tool was a bunt up the first base line. When the pitcher came over to field the ball, he was often run over by the batter. In any case, I would like to see headhunting gone for good. One solution would be for the aggrieved team to choose one player from the team whose pitcher hit the batter and sit that player down for the same time period the injured batter was out. In this case, the Met could have chosen Bernie Williams or Derek Jeter and that player would have had to sit it out as long as Piazza did.

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One more thing about baseball. The experts say that the ball is not juiced. If not, the players are. In 1990, there were 12 players who had more than 30 homers and 2 players with more than 40. In 1999, there were 45 players who had more than 30 homers and 13 who had more than 40. This year, the projected figures for those with more than 30 homers is 58 and those with more than 40 homers is 33. In 10 years, the numbers of regular homerun hitters has doubled. Something is juiced and something is wrong.

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The city finally bought two "mosquito magnets," devices that utilize carbon dioxide to draw female mosquitoes and then vacuum them into a net where they die. The MM’s will be placed at Dubos Point, one of the largest mosquito breeding grounds in the area. The devices, which costs about $1,000 each, are supposed to dramatically reduce the mosquito population in a one-acre area for one month before needing a refill of the Co2 gas. Let’s all hope that it works.

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I want to wish best of luck to one of the good people who make Rockaway work – Zandra Myers. She will soon become a managed care specialist for the Jewish Community Council. Zandra was the volunteer coordinator for the Claddagh I.N.N. when I first met her and she has since served on the community board and with Assemblywoman Pauline Cummings.

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Professor Edward Said is a professor at Columbia University. He teaches our young people. He is also a Palestinian nationalist. A French photographer captured his picture a few weeks ago while he was throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers across the Lebanese border. The university doesn’t care. "We don’t comment on the outside activities of our faculty," a spokesperson said. Would the spokesperson have said the same if the faculty member had been guilty of rape or murder, or of being homophobic? In the first two examples, he probably would have backed the professor, in the latter, the professor would have lost his job. I believe in free speech and I sure believe that you can’t be held responsible at work for what you do during your off hours, as long as you have not committed a crime. I do believe, however, that professors should not be throwing rocks at soldiers. What did the professor say? That he threw the rock into an empty space, not at a soldier. He added that his behavior "scarcely warrants a second thought." I think differently.

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District 27 middle school principal and Rockaway resident Rhia Warren was recently unanimously selected by the CSD 29 school board to become the community superintendent in CSD 29. She is a good choice for the job, and we will miss her in District 27. Her appointment has to be ratified by Chancellor Levy. With school politics what they are, that is never a done deal until Levy speaks. He has until mid-August to make his decision. Warren, who is married to ex-NBA star Johnny Warren, is the principal of MS 226 in South Ozone Park. The First Lady honored her last year after a visit to the school. I offer her my congratulations and the hope that the chancellor makes the right choice and gives her the job.

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If things go as they were announced (when do they ever in this city?) Far Rockaway High School will soon get a grant of $2.5 million from the "Take the Field Foundation," a non-profit group that wants to renovate school sports facilities. The money will be used to build new football, baseball and soccer fields and a field house. I remember when the present stands were called the "new stands." That was about 1960. It will be a welcome addition not only to the school, but to the Bayswater and Edgemere communities as well.

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Those who read this column with any regularity know that I am a NASCAR fan who occasionally travels to such places as the Pocono Raceway and Watkins Glen to watch a decent race. I would really like to see the cars come to Rockaway with a one-mile oval built on the Arverne Urban Renewal Area, but that is another story. I was excited that grand-prix racing was coming to Queens (at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park). It is not NASCAR, but it is a car race. As usual, the pols got together with the NIMBY group and the idea is gone even before it was born. Queens Borough President Claire Shulman was quoted as saying, "Over my dead body." Our Parks Commissioner stated, "They would have as much chance as they would turning Central Park into the Indianapolis Speedway." I’d have to ask when was the last time that somebody was mugged in the infield at Indianapolis. Why not give it a try for a year or so. If it does not work out, then get rid of it. It is certainly worth a try.

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That’s it for this week. Remember to send comments and complaints to newsie42@aol.com. Have a good week and safe home.

 


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