2002-05-11 / Columnists


The Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department will host a christening of its new ambulance on Sunday, May 19 at the North Channel Yacht Club in Broad Channel. The new ambulance will replace the one lost at the World Trade Center, where four of the organization’s volunteers were injured.

Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska would like to remind all community residents and organizations that the Mayor’s office requires that all street activity permits be submitted to the community board at least 60 days in advance of the intended street closings. There will be no exceptions to the 60-day rule. Those interested in further information or in obtaining applications should call CB 14 at 471-7300.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently held a "press availability" in relation to the crash of flight 587 in Rockaway. That press conference was held in Langley, Virginia, far from the press reps who have the most interest in the crash. We understand that part of the deal was to look at the tail, and the tail is in Langley, but the final report will be issued from that area as well. Why can’t the agency hold its press conferences closer to where the event actually took place?

A signed print of the famous picture of three FDNY firefighters raising an American Flag over ground zero, a picture that includes Rockaway resident George Johnson, sold at auction at Christie’s last week for $86,625. The company estimated that it would go for $5 thousand. The money will go towards the disaster fund set up by The Record newspaper in New Jersey.

Those of you who remember district school superintendent Marvin Aaron will be surprised to learn that he has begun a unique second career of sorts in Florida. Aaron, now 71, has become an expert on the life and times of Charlie Chaplin and he often dresses as the comedian to do shows for both school students and senior citizens.

The governor’s plan to redistrict the state’s senatorial districts created such an outcry that he has backed off on his plan. In fact, he has chastised his aide for even distributing the plan before he was ready to do so. Sounds to us like he floated a trial balloon and it burst before it reached altitude. The state legislature will take up the question this week and we will finally see a real plan. There is no doubt, however, that the state has to lose two seats and those seats will probably come from New York City, rather than from upstate, where the population drop dictates that they should be.

The Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation will hold its annual Rockaway Means Business Awards on May 15 at Russo’s On The Bay. Among those being honored are Congressman Charles Schumer, Joel Miele, Marco Minuto, Linda Plummer Ralph Richardson and The Wave. Also being honored are a number of police officers, firefighters and EMT’s.

Rockaway residents are being urged to attend a city council subcommittee hearing at City Hall on May 14 at 11 a.m. to address the plan to move the site of the firehouse on Beach 59 Street to Beach 48 Street. Opposition to the plan has come from residents, civic associations and the firefighters themselves. City Councilmember Joe Addabbo, who is leading the fight, says that this is Rockaway’s last chance to kill the controversial plan.

Stella Maris High School will host the fourth annual Evelyn Fecht Walk For A Cure event on Saturday, May 18. The walk, which benefits a number of school and cancer-related activities, will begin at 11 a.m. from the

School’s parking lot.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has guaranteed that he will raise reading scores within three years if he is given control of the school system. We think that the legislature should take him up on his bet and give him control for those three years. If he fails, however, then he should be required to submit his resignation. He is all in favor of accountability, and what more can he ask for. Fail, and he’s gone.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had changed its mind. The sand that they will soon dredge from the outer entrance of Jamaica Bay was to be used on the beaches of Breezy Point and as a stockpile for Rockaway beaches as well. Now, the plan is to use the sand only for Breezy. No explanation given, but if you have a comment on the plan, call the Corps at 212-264-9030.

OK, lets see if we have this straight. The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) does not generate electricity and does not own any of the generating facilities in Rockaway. What it does is maintain the grids that use the electricity that it buys from such energy companies as KeySpan Energy and Florida Power And Light (FPL). So, when we said last week that the facility in Bayswater is a LIPA generating plant, we were wrong. The world of power generation seems awfully confusing and we sometimes think that those involved in the business like it that way.

It sometimes seems to us that city agencies go out of their way to keep the public from finding out what they are doing. For example, we called the school district a few times to find out how much the district was spending on renting and renovating its office in Ozone Park. We never got a response, so we filed a Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL) request. That was in early April. Just this week we got a letter from the central board saying that the Record’s Access Officer for District 27 would be forwarding the information we requested to Marge Feinberg, a PR flak for the board. She, in turn, would give us the information by June 3. Why not just pick up the phone and tell us what they are doing with your money?

Beach Channel High School is dedicating its annual spring concert to the memory of four graduates who perished on the World Trade Center on September 11. The families of the four – Ezra Aviles, John Heffernan, John Moran and Stephen Russell – have been invited to the concert, which will be held at the school on Saturday, May 18 at 7 p.m.

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