2002-04-20 / Columnists


With the exception of Matthew O’Brien, the father of the child was who was killed in a tragic fire at Beach 87 Street two weeks ago, all of those who were injured by the fire have been released by Nassau County Medical Center. Cynthia Maschi, the family’s mother, was released last Saturday. According to hospital sources, O’Brien remains in "critical but stable" condition.

More than 50 demonstrators showed up on Saturday afternoon to show their support for keeping the Beach 59 Street firehouse at the present site. Officials of the Uniformed Firefighter’s Association joined local politicians and residents in the one-hour demonstration. City Councilman Joe Addabbo joined with demonstrators and pledged to help them fight the plan to move the firehouse to Beach 48 Street.

The scene at Beach Channel High School on Friday, April 12 was something out of a television movie as EMS personnel, officers of the 100 Precinct, the NYPD’s Aviation Unit and officers from other citywide units teamed up to airlift a burn victim from Rockaway to the Nassau Medical Center’s burn unit. Fifty-seven year old James Luter of Shore Front Parkway was burned on 45 percent of his upper body. Police and fire units escorted the EMS ambulance from SFP to the school field. Aviation 14 landed on the field, picked him up and rushed him to the Nassau facility, the nearest burn unit to Rockaway. At press time, he was listed as "extremely critical" by the hospital.

There was a large crowd on hand on Saturday afternoon for a mock trial at the new courtroom at Beach Channel High School. The trial, which featured real judges, lawyers and court personnel, was a joint project of the magnet program at Middle School 180 and Beach Channel High School. Many school and district administrators were on hand, including school board president Steve Greenberg.

Members from the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department are once again going door to door in the community raise money for the coming year. The volunteers, who respond to every medical and fire emergency in the community, are asking for $75 from each home in the Broad Channel community. This group does a great job and deserves the support of everybody in Broad Channel.

Those of you who are still fascinated by the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into Belle Harbor should look at the updated time line that Vic Trombettis has put on his website at www.usread.com. It is a real eye-opener. With this issue, Vic will write a series of updates on a regular basis that will appear in The Wave. We all owe Vic a vote of thanks for all of the hard work he is doing on behalf of all of us who want to know what really happened to Flight 587.

The city has reversed a ruling that it made in the wake of September 11 to ban all fireworks within city limits. Professional fireworks displays will now be allowed, and that gives the Chamber of Commerce some hope that there will be a couple of fireworks displays on Beach 116 Street this summer.

It seems clear that Lew Simon cannot continue to say one thing when speaking in Rockaway and then another thing diametrically opposed to that when he speaks to mainland groups. He got caught again two weeks ago when he urged the 106 Precinct commanding officer to do something about the number of officers pulled from that precinct for the Rockaway Summer Detail. "Can’t you stop that from happening," Simon reportedly asked. He has repeatedly voiced his concern that there would not be enough cops in Rockaway for the summer when speaking to Rockaway groups. He should have learned by now that you can’t have it both ways and that people are just waiting to report his faux pas to local papers.

The Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaway will be hosting its next Business After Hours at the Beach Club (Beach 116 Street), from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, April 22. A buffet dinner will be served and there will be a number of door prizes, including tickets to a Broadway show. The event is free. Those interested in making reservations should call the chamber office at 634-1300.

The law dictates that Assembly and State Senate district be contiguous. That is, there has to be voters living all along the lines of the district. That has been honored more in the breach than in its actual use the past 20 years or so, but this years districts are perhaps the worst in that regard. In the Fourteenth Senatorial District, for example, the line meanders through central Queens, then to the boundaries of JFK Airport and then down Doughty Boulevard to Far Rockaway. It then takes in the remainder of the peninsula. As we all know, there are no voters living alongside Rockaway Boulevard nearby JFK, nor are there any along that whole stretch of business from Guy Brewer Boulevard all the way to Central Avenue. The district is not contiguous because there are no possible voters living on that "line." The Governor should laugh at the breach of law and send the lines back to the Senate for correction.

Anybody who has kids in the public schools should be busy writing letters to the mayor and to the city council members who represent Rockaway. Those letters should tell our elected officials that the proposed cuts to the education budget are unconscionable. Send those letters today. Tomorrow might be too late.

Don’t miss the final performance of "A Baker’s Dozen", 2 p.m., on Sunday, April 21, at the First Congregational Church Chapel, 320 Beach 94 Street. Twelve aspiring Rockaway actors perform 13 "delicious scenes" chosen from the best of 20th Century theatre, including "Gypsy", "A Streetcar Named Desire", "The Good Doctor", "All My Sons" and more.

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