2001-06-23 / Columnists

Rockaway Short Takes

by Howard Schwach

I wonder if the skeleton in Lew Simon’s closet might not be his phony teacher’s license or his padded resume, but rather, the deposition that he gave back when he was battling the late Sy Sheldon for the district leader slot. The question that will be answered shortly is whether Simon answered questions truthfully while he was under oath. Stay tuned.

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Speaking of political scandal, there is a new allegation against Al Stabile, as if he did not have enough trouble already. According to published reports, Stabile spent about $5,000 on flowers for his fundraisers when, in fact, there were no flowers at his fundraisers. It does seem, however, that the missing flowers somehow found themselves at the wedding of Stabile’s daughter. Isn’t that surprising?

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The picture that ran on the front page of The Wave last week showing cancer survivor Karen Jackson-Campbell looking over hundreds of "luminaries," struck a chord with many residents. Those who were present at the event tell me that the candles burned well into the early morning hours and that they served as a beacon for those at the site as well as a reminder that the disease has touched so many local people.

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Speaking of the Cancer Relay for Life, there were lots of cold bodies early on Sunday morning because it had turned chilly and most of those who stayed and walked overnight were sleeping in the open or in flimsy tents. Help came in the form of coffee from Dunkin Donuts and bagels from Harbor Bakery. The repast was well received and much appreciated.

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For two days (Thursday, May 31 and Friday, June 1) during the most critical part of the school year, the time when decisions have to be made about summer school and about next year’s program, all of the middle school principals in the district attended a two-day meeting of the Middle School Principal’s Association at a conference center in Rye Brook. Bob Spata, late of MS 180, is the past president of the association, but I am not at all sure if he was invited. Who did go from District 27? Rose Molinelli (our assistant to the superintendent for middle school instruction), who is going to be the new president of the organization, her husband, Steve Molinelli (a retired principal who works for the CSA), Ray Gregory, the principal of MS202 (a mainland school), his wife, Sherry (the principal of MS 217M), Charles Dluzniewski (the principal of MS 53), Tom Lehey, a past principal in the district and many others who should have been back in their home schools, keeping their schools safe from yahoos.

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Those of you who want to buy a book for your teenager that is unique and is written by a local author should go to the website, iuniverse,com, where the book can be purchased. The book, "Ian and the Woodins," is written by Steve Yaegar, of Belle Harbor. It is a science-fiction action adventure story in the mold of Harry Potter.

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Congratulations to Mitch Podgorsky, an old Rockaway hand who was formerly with the 100 Precinct for many years. Mitch has just been promoted to Detective Investigator by the NYPD brass for his work in the Queens Warrant Squad.

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With the summer comes the smell from the Rockaway water treatment plant. One reader in Dayton Towers West e-mailed me to say, "now that the nice weather is here, do you think that I can open the bedroom windows in my apartment? No way! If you do, and the wind is out of the West, you get the odor from the water treatment plant. Sometimes, we are awakened by the odor because the wind has shifted while we slept. The writer asks if there is anyone who they can contact so that they can go back to enjoying nice warm breezes. The problem is the EPA already knows about the problem and the answer is that the city does not keep the tanks clean. Perhaps a letter-writing campaign would force the city to clean the tanks more often. Where is Lew Simon when you need him? Smelly stuff is right up his alley.

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The supersonic Concorde might be winging its way back to JFK as early as September, according to reports by Air France, the airline that will fly the supersonic transport to our shores despite the argument that it is loud, polluting and downright dangerous. The problem is that only the FAA and Air France itself can stop the plane from coming to JFK. Neither local politicians nor the Port Authority (which operates the airport) have a say. Of course, Chuck Schumer and Tony Weiner and Greg Meeks and Hillary Clinton can keep the FAA from getting any federal money as long as it allows the Concorde to return, but the chances of any of them doing that are slim and none. The FAA, of course, says it has no choice in the matter. The agency says that it will certify the airplane if the French do. "We would normally accept their certification," a FAA spokesperson said. "They’re just as competent for their aircraft as we are with ours." That translates from bureauspeak to English as "if we don’t certify their plane, they won’t certify ours to land at Orly." See how it works.

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See how easy it is for a newspaper to be taken in by a con artist. The Daily News and Newsday ran the story on the front page. "Thug stole my wheelchair," the News said. Well, the handicapped man who made the claim and front page news and got all sorts of offers for new equipment reportedly had sold his wheelchair to pay off some gambling debts. He was arrested and charged with filing a false police report. We all have to learn to be a little more careful about jumping on the news scoop bandwagon.

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Congratulations to Rhia Warren, the local woman who is the principal of MS 226 (a mainland school) and to Khadija Vann, a Science teacher at Far Rockaway High School. Both were awarded the "Black Women of Distinction" award by several organizations at York College. The awards were well deserved.

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The RMAC will soon begin its summer series of open-air concerts at Fort Tilden. Watch this space for dates. The highlight of the summer will come in late July, when a Rock and Roll concert will honor Leon Locke, the former publisher of The Wave, who passed away recently. Locke was a rock and roll aficionado who could tell you after a few notes what the song was and who sang it in what year.

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That’s it for this week. Remember to send comments, complaints and story ideas to newsie42@apl.com, hschwach@nyc.rr.com or editor@rockawave.com. Have a good week, and safe home.


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