2002-03-09 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Beachcomber

Some of our local school board members took a tour of the peninsula last week to see for themselves the new housing already begun or planned for the community. What they found delighted them in one way and frightened them in another. They were, of course, glad that the Rockaway revitalization had begun, but the worry about where the children living in those new homes are going to attend school. Their rough estimate is that there are 700 new one and two-family homes going up in Rockaway, or planned – and that does not even take into account the 2,300 homes in the planned Arverne By The Sea development. Since most of the Rockaway elementary schools are now overcrowded, where will those thousands of new students find a seat in a local school?

This year's parade was probably the biggest and best St. Patrick's Day Parade that we have seen in many a year. The parade officers deserve the kudos of the community for a job well done. There were nearly 100 units marching and thousands packed the parade route watching the parade pass by. There were so many units that it took nearly an hour and a half for the parade to pass any given point on the parade route.

While the parade was a tough act to follow, the Rockaway Catholic-Jewish Council Awards Breakfast on Sunday morning more than held its own. The ceremony honored more than two dozen Rockaway school children that submitted exemplary essays on "Brotherhood and Sisterhood." Many local clergy attended as well as the winners, their teachers and principals.

Hillary Clinton held a breakfast for Queens weekly newspapers last Saturday (during the local parade). Clinton assured Wave editor Gary Toms that she would keep an eye on Rockaway and that she was concerned with Rockaway issues such as Flight 587, assistance for senior citizens and transportation. She said that she was also interested in issues flowing from immigration.

The Queens library system will have to reduce its staff by more than 200 full-time positions and cut hours at most of its branches, including the branches in Rockaway, should the city budget cuts come true.

A recent poll has found that an overwhelming majority of Muslims do not believe that Arabs were responsible for the World Trade Center attack and do not believe that America should be making war on Afghanistan. Many of those questioned blamed Israel for the attack and nearly 80 percent said that it was "immoral" for America to attack the terrorists in Afghanistan.

While the bus strike against two private bus companies ended as scheduled, there is a good chance that there will be a one-day strike on Monday, March 11, according to union officials.

Police officials in the 100 Precinct are telling residents that the beach rules are the same for both the summer and the winter. That means that walking dogs on the beach is not legal during winter months even though fewer people use the beach. The same holds true for fishing and surfing. "If you can't do it in the summer, you can't do it in the winter," the police point out.

There is conjecture in one of the daily papers that Representative Gregory Meeks has not been pushing Governor George Pataki to hold a special election to fill the open Assembly seat in the east end because redistricting will open up a seat in an area where his aide, Patrick Jenkins, happens to live. Meeks says, however, "it would be difficult for the governor not to call a special election to fill that seat." The rumors are that, should Carl McCall lose the primary for governor, that Meeks would support Pataki rather than Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

Seventy-two cops are resigning from the NYPD this week to join the Port Authority Police Department. After five years, an NYPD officer earns $51,978 while a PAPD officer with the same number of years earns $70,344.

The group "Comfortable Shoes" will be performing in a free concert at Beach Channel High School on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The concert, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, is the second in a series of Carnegie Hall concert.

The Wave website gets an average of 1,200 hits each day, according to the company that maintains the site. That puts the paper number one for all of the company's weekly paper sites. Last month, the site was hit more than 22,000 times. The top usage for the site, of course, came on November 12 and the few days following, when everybody in the world was interested in the news coming from our small peninsula.

In the February 23rd issue, we told the story of Allison Frances-Johnson, the five-year old girl who is trying to get people in the community to write letters or draw pictures for the troops in Afghanistan. We have not received any letters or drawings as of yet, and we would like to see the community get more involved. With one week left, the cut-off date is March 15, we hope that people will step up to assist Allison in her effort. All materials can be sent to The Wave. Make sure to write "For Allison" on the envelope.


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