2000-11-25 / Columnists

Short Takes

It’s all too good to be true. First we find that we are going to get a Glatt Kosher deli in the west end. Then, there is word that the refurbished gas station across from the Exercise Club will soon be both a Subway and a Krispy Kreme outlet. What more can we ask for?

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Rockaway’s own Kenny Vance (of Planatone fame) is the musical arranger for a new movie, "Looking for an Echo," which opened recently at theaters near you (unless you live in Rockaway). The movie is about a topic close to Kenny’s heart – the Doo Wop scene in Brooklyn in the 1950’s. See it and you’ll enjoy it.

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The boys from Broad Channel deserve our congratulations. The Shamrock Pee Wees defeated a tough Seaford team 26-12 in front of a huge crowd at Memorial Field in the Channel last Sunday. Quarterback Ronnie Lonnborg and running backs Frank Laino, Jack Tubridy and Brian Wallace led the team. Wallace scored the firs touchdown for the Shamrocks with a 20 yard run. The team will host the championship game this Sunday against an extremely tough West Babylon team. The kickoff will be at 1 p.m. It is recommended that drivers park their cars along Cross Bay boulevard, as the parking field will fill quickly for this big game.

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The election fiasco in Florida reminds me a bit of "Freedonia," the mythical and dysfunctional land created by the Marx Brothers in their 1933 film, "Duck Soup." Who will win? Who cares? Let’s just get it over with and move on. One of the pundits on television made the point that only half of the nation voted and that they split roughly in half on the issue of who would be president. That means that only one-quarter of the population will have elected the new president in any case. Perhaps it is time for ballot reform. Rather than looking to do away with the Electoral College (it still serves a useful purpose), why not standardize the ballot, standardize the hours so that all polls close at the same time, and standardize the machinery used to count the votes? That would go a long way to stopping problems, but nothing would have stopped the problems seen in this election because it was just too close and there were too many problems with the logistics of the vote.

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Speaking of politics, my son and I traveled to Boston (MA) last weekend for an all-day seminar on the life and times of Robert Kennedy held at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum. On the panel that day were such old Kennedy hands as Joe Dolan (RFK’s administrative assistant), Ed Guthwin (RFK’s press liaison at the Department of Justice), Tony Lewis (covered politics and the supreme court for the New York Times. Wrote "Make No Law"), John Seigenthaler (administrative assistant to RFK at Justice), Ted Sorenson (policy advisor to both JFK and RFK and a prolific author about the era), Harris Wofford (special assistant to JFK specializing in civil rights, US Senator from Pennsylvania) and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (RFK’s oldest daughter and the Lt. Governor of Maryland). There were a couple of thoughts that struck me as I listened to them talk about both John and Bobby. The first was that they don’t make government officials like those any more. The second was that they will all soon be gone and there will be nobody left to tell us what it was really like to sit in the oval office and plan the reaction to missiles in Cuba or to meet with Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez to discuss the events going on during the dark days of the 1960’s. Just listening to them spin tales of those days brought back the horror and the futility we felt over the events of 1968, but strengthened the belief that it takes strong leadership to successfully live through them. There are no strong leaders such as that today. That fact has been made even clearer by the recent events that point out that all we have left today are "spin doctors" and lawyers. With all of their faults (and they had plenty) there are no politicians today that can inspire and move the population to action like both JFK and RFK could. Compare JFK with either Gore or Bush and compare RFK with either Hillary or Chuck and you will see what I mean.

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In a pulse-quickening 3-1 loss to Bayside High School, the Far Rockaway soccer team was knocked out of the playoffs late last week. Far Rockaway scored first, in the game’s 25th minute, but Bayside came back to score and win the game just minutes later. Despite the loss, the Seahorses had a very successful season and can utter the old Brooklyn line, "Wait till next year."

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The arrest of the building commissioner of Queens (A Rockaway resident, by the way) has had ramifications that still affect us today. According to those in the know, the arrest has "made day to day business at the housing agency almost an impossibility." That inability has led, for example, to a lack of permits to repair the Dayton-Seaside buildings despite the fact that the permit papers were filed during the summer.

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I want to add my condolences to those of the community upon the passing of the Reverend Maddox. The reverend was one of the most fervent workers for his community in particular and for the Rockaway peninsula in general. He will be missed.

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Most of my readers will not remember Robert Trout. He was one of the "Murrow Boys," the CBS team who joined Edward R. Murrow in reporting World War II from the continent. He began his career in 1932, covering president FDR for CBS radio, when both he and radio were young. He covered D-Day from the front. He moved to television in 1948 and retired in 1996, at the age of 87. He died last week, and all who remember his singular and distinctive reports will miss him.

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I have to admit that I have become an Ebay junkie. I have more than doubled my collection of old military manuals and books by bidding for them on the Internet website. It is great. It is fun and it is also cheap. The first thing I do each day is check the site to see how I am doing in the auctions I have bid in. Perhaps there should be an Ebay Anonymous for people such as me. Meanwhile, I have to go and see how I am doing on that 1916 copy of the Bluejacket’s Manual that is going for only $56.00.

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It has been nine years since the Edgemere Landfill (a.k.a. The Dump) closed down. Those who have been around for a while remember the fight to close it down and the worry that we were being taken in when the final decision to close it was made. Today, the landfill is capped by a thick lining and by compost, topsoil and hedges. The site is reportedly being monitored and it will be only 21 more years (July, 2021) before a permanent structure can be erected on the site or before it can really be used for the Rockaway public park that has been marked on maps of the area for decades.

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


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