2002-02-16 / Columnists


Many Rockaway residents were shaken up on Friday just after noon, when two F-16 jet fighters on afterburner came roaring low over the peninsula from the vicinity of JFK Airport, obviously heading out to sea. While the FAA is not talking, sources tell The Wave that two men were acting strangely on an American Airlines Airbus A300 flight from London's Heathrow Airport to JFK. The fact that they repeatedly walked back and forth from their seats to the bathrooms at the back of the plane got the eye of several passengers, who were understandably nervous about the behavior and reported it to the flight crew. When the crew reportedly confronted the men, they locked themselves in the bathroom. The pilot radioed the problem to the FAA and the two jet fighters were assigned to escort the plane to JFK. Nobody is saying what would have happened had the plane diverted from its flight path towards Manhattan, but it did not happen. The plane landed at JFK without incident and the fighters departed on afterburner to go back to patrol. The men were reportedly questioned, searched, and sent back to London on the next flight.

The police get calls every day about "quality of life issues." There is even a new telephone number that residents are supposed to use to address those issues, rather than clogging up the 911 system with things that do not require an immediate, emergency response. According to the police, the majority of quality of life crimes in the 100 Precinct in Rockaway Park are for public drinking, disorderly conduct and drug sales. The majority of calls in the 101 Precinct are for public drinking.

Residents have been calling The Wave all week to report an increase of flights over the peninsula rather than the decrease promised by the FAA. A Wave editor counted the number of planes flying over Rockaway Park after 11 p.m. in the evening on Sunday night and the number ran into the dozens. What are we to make of the FAA's promise when it seems that there are more, not less flights over the peninsula during the "quiet time" promised in a press release only two weeks ago?

Governor George Pataki has announced that the state has launched a new website that will provide physician's profiles. The site contains information about doctors licensed to practice in New York State, including their specialty, the insurance that they take and their malpractice history. The site can be accessed at www.nydoctorprofile.com or through the New York State Department of Health home page at www.health.state.ny.us.

Clare Droesch, the Belle Harbor resident who plays basketball for the prestigious Boston College program, was a good friend of Charlie Heeran, who was a victim of the World Trade Center attack. Every game, Droesch writes a dedication on a piece of tape on her shoulder to NYC and to CH, her friend.

The city might soon grant corporate naming rights to portions of city parks and beaches in exchange for the cash to run them, city officials announced recently. We can see the sign on Beach 116 Street now, "Welcome to Enron Beach." "It's not a new concept, selling rights to name a facility," a city official says. "It is done in the sports world all the time and nobody seems to care."

The new elementary school scheduled for Far Rockaway was originally to open in 2003 and was then cancelled entirely. It was then put back on the front burner for 2003, but its completion date was later moved to 2004. Now, the word is that its completion has been moved back once again to September of 2005. Will we ever see the school? Your guess is as good as ours.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has reportedly accepted an invitation to march in the Rockaway St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 2.

"Take The Plunge For Cystic Fibrosis." The organization's fundraiser held on Beach 98 Street last Saturday was a large success. At least 100 people went into the water on the cold but sunny day to show their support for the organization as well as to raise money for research and treatment. Another two hundred stood huddled on the beach to watch those who went into the water.

PS 43 in Edgemere is the focus of a cover story in "Teaching/K-8," a magazine for teachers that is widely read throughout the nation. The article is called, "The School By the Sea," and the magazine said that it was "enormously impressed with the school."

The last chances to register your children for the Jamaica Bay Little League will be Saturday, February 16 and Saturday, February 23 at the Broad Channel Athletic Club's clubhouse on 1st Road and Cross Bay Boulevard. Opening day will be held on Saturday, April 27 with a parade honoring hometown heros.

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