2001-11-10 / Columnists


A number of people in Rockaway have begun to plan for the World Trade Center Memorial here in Rockaway. At a recent Chamber of Commerce event, organization president Liz Sulik said that one interesting proposal includes two bronze hands holding up a globe made of bronze strips. If you look at the sculpture the right way and line it up with the horizon, you will be able to see where the twin towers once stood. There are others, however, who believe that any memorial has to include the names of those Rockaway residents who fell in the terrorist attack. A "Rockaway Memorial Committee" has been formed and Community Board 14 will reportedly have oversight of the project. The Chamber of Commerce has raised approximately $30 thousand for the memorial and the Empire Development Corporation may chip in up to $100 thousand in city money.

Board of Education sources have announced that suspensions are down 80 percent in the city schools this term. While school officials are saying that the drop is due to the events of September 11, teachers are telling The Wave that the drop is because district superintendents do not have the required in-house suspense programs in place and that they refuse to allow principals to suspend even the most recalcitrant student. During the first two months of school last year, there were 6,910 suspensions system-wide. This year, there have been just 1,455. "Principals and superintendents are just not suspending children anymore," union president Randi Weingarten argues.

Belle Harbor resident Eugene O’Brien has left the post of president of the Suffolk County Bar Association. After some years of living in Suffolk, O’Brien has reportedly returned to Belle Harbor on a permanent basis.

Paul Richter, a Belle Harbor resident, recently ran the New York Marathon as the Queens representative of the "Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge." Richter, 49, ran for Ladder 137 on Beach 116 Street. Richter says that he runs the boardwalk and across the Marine Parkway Bridge on a regular basis to "relieve stress and work through his problems."

The stories about casino gambling in the daily papers have focused on the Indian casinos in both Niagara Falls and in the Catskill Mountains. Few have mentioned the one casino planned for New York City, a casino that is mandated for Rockaway. It is almost as if the Rockaway casino is off the radar scope, and we have to wonder why.

The impact of September 11 has been felt by many of the small businesses in this city, including some in Rockaway. Fleet First Community Bank will be hosting a free small business loan seminar at its Far Rockaway Branch (231 Beach 20 Street) on Wednesday, November 14 from 6:30 until 8 p.m. Those who are interested in attending should call the bank.

Governor Pataki has announced that the Port Authority will soon spend about $6 million to build infrastructure and to subsidize a new Staten Island ferry service to "service those residents who commute between the central part of the borough and lower Manhattan." The governor says, "the tragic events of September 11 underscore the need to find new ways for New Yorkers to get to and from work, school and recreational activities." He is right, but why not for Rockaway. If the state can find the money to build docks and subsidize another Staten Island service, why can’t he find the money for a like service in Rockaway? Perhaps our state legislators should be asking that question, not this paper.

If you like basketball and want to see how "Rockaway-ball" is played, beg, borrow or steal a ticket to the St. John’s women’s basketball game against Boston College at the local school on February 23. This year’s team features not one, but two Rockaway B-ball standouts. Janelle McManus is in her Soph year and she will be joined by top prospect Claire Droesch. It will be a "can’t miss" game for B-ball aficionados.

It’s tough to pick on Mariano Rivera for his poor showing in the final game of the World Series against Arizona. After all, look at all the games he won for the Yankees in that kind of spot. It really bothered me, however, that the Arizona fans cheered when Yankee star Derrick Jeter went down at second base in that final inning. That is a bush league response in any sport.

It seems as if the residents of Dayton Beach Park are not as happy as we thought they would be over the bankruptcy settlement announced recently. The settlement provides for no rent increase, but does include a capital improvement charge that would amount to a two-year rent hike of approximately 10.5 percent. The plan would also abrogate the complex’s contract with its unions. The next hearing on the issue will be held on November 30. Transfer of the property by the bankruptcy court to Metrovest could take place as early as mid-December.

Beach Channel High School will host a college and career fair on Thursday, November 15 at the school. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the school has received acceptances from more than 100 colleges, universities, technical schools, community colleges, branches of the armed services, and "other careers which are hard to categorize."

The World Trade Center fundraiser held at the Knights of Columbus last week reportedly raised more than $60,000 for the families of victims of the attack.

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