2001-12-08 / Columnists

Simon Says…. From the Desk of Lew M. Simon,

Simon Says….
From the Desk of Lew M. Simon,

Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

On Wednesday, October 17 LIPA and Keyspan addressed a Town Hall meeting Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer set up at Rockaway’s own Beach Club.

At the Beach Club I personally served a 30-day notice on Keyspan to clean up their act at the old LILCO site at Beach 108 St. Some of the demands were as follows:

1. Replace the old, broken fence that ran under the Freeway from Beach 108 to Beach 110 St.

2. Put in a pedestrian walkway such as the one I got DOT to put in on the other side.

3. Plant trees and flowers around the perimeter of the whole site working in conjunction with our garden clubs in the Rockaways.

We are proud to announce that John Chiesa of Keyspan kept his promise. On Wednesday, November 28, the old, ugly, broken gray fence was replaced with a brand new stockade fence. Within the next week or two they will be replacing the adjacent sidewalk under the Freeway and any other broken sidewalk at the site.

John Chiesa and I have been in constant contact. Hats off to John Chiesa and Keyspan for their prompt, reliable response.

We are saddened by the death of Richard J. Berke, who died after a long battle with cancer. Richard worked in Peninsula Hospital. He was very kind and wonderful to my mom during her many stays in Peninsula.

Richard was the son of Betty Berke, whom many of us know. At the age of 37, many of us question why? We say God needed a special angel. We extend our deepest sympathy to the family.

It has come to the whole world as a shock that music icon George Harrison, who has suffered for years with various forms of cancer, succumbed to his illness. As a Beatles fan, I had to pull my car over because tears were rolling off my face, when the announcement came over the radio.

I think back a number of years to the murder of John Lennon and the stabbing of George and his wife. A group of concerned citizens put together a memorial in Strawberry Field in Central Park each year.

For the past few years Beatles fans have been denied a permit for an all night vigil by Parks Commissioner Henry Stern and Mayor Rudy Giuliani. This year in light of the death of George Harrison, hundreds of Beatles fans want to gather and sing Beatles songs. You can help by calling Parks Commissioner Henry Stern at (212) 360-1305 and Deputy Mayor Joseph Lhota at (212) 788-3137 and urge them to grant the permit.

On Sunday afternoon we attended the rally at JFK to bring attention to the problem of the airplanes over our heads. Over 50 adults and children marched and chanted, "What do we want?" "Fly over our bay!" "Now!" "Where are we from?" "Rockaway!"

We led this chant until our voices were sore. The rally was chaired by my best petition carrier, Linda Ruscillo and her daughter, Jennifer Parisi. These two fine ladies worked diligently, reaching out to all community and civic leaders throughout the peninsula, as well as Howard Beach and other areas.

Linda and Jennifer went in and tried to speak to an American Airlines official. They were told someone would come out and greet the group momentarily. After 40 minutes it was apparent they didn’t care.

We urge everyone to pick up the phone and call our Senators Charles Schumer at (212) 486-4430 and Hillary Clinton at (212) 688-6262. We want to remind you that they can patch the phone call to Washington. Our taxes pay for this. For shame on Senator Clinton’s office for not connecting callers to Washington.

For Senior Citizens who are finding it harder to heat their homes, HEAP grants are once again available. Benefits range from $40 to $400 depending on the applicant’s income, household size and type of fuel bills. Monthly income limits are $1554 for one person and $2032 for two. Emergency assistance is available for fuel, repair or temporary relocation. To request an application, call the NYC Department for the Aging at (212) 442-1000.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday, December 15. The cost is $25 with $14 returned. Eleven people will win $10 on the bus. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. Call 945-1216 for reservations.

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