2001-09-01 / Columnists



Those of you who graduated from Far Rockaway High School will enjoy a weekly chat with other graduates on the web at http://communities.msn.com/

FarRockawayHighSchoolchat. The site, maintained by Carol (Solomon) Marston (Class of ’56), has become a popular Tuesday night destination. The chat begins at 9 p.m.

Breezy Point resident Steve Greenberg has just been elected as the president of the cooperative. Greenberg is also the president of Community School District 27 and a vice president with Solomon Smith Barney. Must keep him busy.

Many Rockaway residents joined the caravan to Connecticut last week to play the Powerball lottery game. Why doesn’t New York State participate in the Powerball? That is a good question. The lottery agency wants to participate. In a recent news release, lottery director Margaret DeFrancisco said, "New Yorker’s shouldn’t have to cross the border to play. New Yorkers should be able to play Powerball here in New York State."

Local activists want the beachfront between Beach 9 Street and beach 20 Street closed until the city puts up larger, more explicit signs warning of the dangers in that stretch of water. The City Parks Commissioner, however, says that the signs that are now on the site are just fine and that no plans are being made, at least for this summer, to replace the present signs.

Republican candidate for mayor, Michael Bloomberg, will be the guest of the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce and The Wave at 12 noon on September 5 at Pier 92. Bloomberg will discuss the issues facing Rockaway. The cost of the luncheon is $15. Tickets will be available at the door.

City Councilman Al Stabile, who has been missing in action since allegations were made about the way he handled finances for the Ozone-Howard Little League and about the financing for his daughter’s wedding, surfaced at a candidate’s forum last week. Stabile says that he is still very much in the running for Queens Borough President and that he believes that he will be "fully vindicated" of all the charges against him.

Twenty-seven discarded "Redbird" subway cars were unceremoniously dumped into the ocean off the coast of Delaware last week. They will form a reef that will protect the beach from storm damage and will also provide a habitat for fish. The hope is that the new reef will revitalize the fishing industry in the area. There was an earlier plan to dump the excess redbirds off of Rockaway, but that plan was killed by the city. We have to wonder why it is good enough for Delaware, but not good enough for us.

The annual Rockaway Music and Arts Festival is scheduled for September 22 and 23 at Riis Park. The festival features arts, crafts, a flower show, music and food galore.

The EZ-Pass program is important to Rockaway residents because it is their link to a free trip over the Cross Bay Bridge. That is why it is so disconcerting that motorists who use the device and want monthly statements will have to pay a $6 yearly fee in order to get those statements. Those who do not pay the fee will get statements every two months instead. Many local politicians are making the fee an issue in the upcoming election. We haven’t heard from any of the Rockaway candidates, however.

District 27 was one of the leading school districts in the city in promoting students who failed the standardized tests at the end of summer school this August.

Rockaway residents are elated that Natasha Smalls, who had been missing in South Africa for the past month, has been found safe and sound and has been returned home to her parents in Wavecrest Gardens. It is good once in a while for such a story to have a happy ending.

We remember the time when baseball players were glad to sign autographs for young rooters. Not anymore. Clay Bellinger, a minor Yankee fill-in will be at a Howard Beach store to sign autographs soon at $20 a pop. Derek Jeter will soon do a private autograph session at a store in Roosevelt Field. The charge: Signed flats (such as a picture or a card) are $400, and if you bring your own bat or glove for signature the freight is $300 bucks.

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