2002-09-21 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The memorial services for those lost in the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 ranged from one end of the peninsula to the other, from Far Rockaway to Broad Channel to Fort Tilden. They were all moving and very well done, but we have to wonder what it could have been like had all of the communities on the Rockaway peninsula come together for one all-encompassing ceremony. Perhaps, one day!

There are a few upcoming events on the local arts scene that should be noted. The Rockaway Music and Arts Council (RMAC) will hold its annual Fall Festival at Riis Park on September 28 and 29. Last year's festival was cancelled by the mayor's office in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attack, and this year's comeback festival promises to be a winner. On October 5, the Rockaway Artists Alliance will present Artsplash 2002. The event, which will run through November 3, will be held at Fort Tilden.

Now that both the Port Authority (PA) and the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) have admitted that a Concorde did, in fact, fly low over Rockaway in late July, it is time for the two agencies that control the planes that fly incessantly over our heads, to make a conscious decision to do the right thing and to cut down on those flights. We know that we live nearby two major airports and that Rockaway lies directly on a line between the airports and their ocean waypoints, but many airports in urban areas have set curfews that mitigate the problem. Why not ours? In any case, it is good to know that the eyewitnesses to the low overflight were neither unreliable nor subjective when reporting that plane's transgression. NTSB, take note!

The Wave continues to get calls opposing the closing of the boat ramp at Beach Channel High School. While the School Construction Authority (SCA) continues to tell us that it is in a very dangerous condition, those who have been using it for years continue to disagree with that assessment. The SCA is giving no promises that the facility will reopen by next year's boating season.

The Chamber of Commerce will host its next "Business After Hours" event at the Peninsula Hospital Center on September 23, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the hospital's executive dining room. While the meeting is designed to bring business people in the community together for an evening of networking, all Rockaway residents are invited.

The Wave received E-mail from Richard Sturiale, who lives on Beach 146 Street. He chides the woman who called us to report the silver canisters that we wrote about last week on Page one. He believes that she should have cleaned up the street rather than getting on the phone to call The Wave. He says that his son and another youth cleaned up the street and that we should have reported on that fact as well. First of all, there was no way that we could have known about the clean up. Secondly, we have to ask Sturiale which story he believes is the more compelling: the use of a dangerous drug in Neponsit or two kids cleaning up their block?

In relation to the previous note regarding last week's front-page story, several calls came into the office stating we were incorrect in reporting the canisters as amyl or butyl nitrate. Many claimed they were actually nitrous oxide, a less dangerous chemical agent, but the reporter who covered the story stands by his findings. The sample we obtained was given to the techs at St. John's Episcopal Hospital's Emergency Medicine Department, who ran it through their lab. The results came back as amyl nitrate.

A baby eagle that had been grounded by a virus will fly again thanks to a firefighter who works in Rockaway and his police officer wife. Robert Horvath is assigned to Engine 264 in Far Rockaway. He and his wife are certified volunteer wildlife rehabilitators. They were called to a home in Valley Stream recently to take charge of a sick bird that turned out to be a year-old eagle. After some veterinary care, the bird will be cared for by the couple, who will then release it back into the wild.

Those of you who use The Wiz store on Flatbush Avenue nearby Kings Plaza will soon have to find a new place to shop. The two Wiz stores across the street from each other will soon close down due to a company downsizing. The nearest Wiz outlet will then be in Green Acres in Nassau County.

The heavy winds and rain last Thursday wreaked havoc on Rockaway. Trees were down all over the peninsula and one large tree at the west end of the peninsula knocked down electrical lines that led to a power outage in the area. That outage lasted for seconds in some places, for hours in others.

Community School Board 27 will host a quarterly meeting for all parents at Middle School 180 on Monday, September 23 at 8 p.m. The meeting is designed to update parents on recent events and issues impacting on the school system as well as to give the parents a chance to ask questions of district staff.

The runaway wins of both Greg Meeks and Michelle Titus in the recent primary elections reminds us once again how difficult it is to beat an incumbent, even one who has been in office only a short time. The Democratic Party came through for its chosen candidates and that is something it has not been able to do in recent elections.

The idea of placing some debris from Ground Zero in the new memorial park on Beach 116 Street and the bayfront is gaining impetus in the community. It is important that the Rockaway "Tribute Park" actually represent what happened on September 11 and no piece of art, no matter how well intentioned or well presented can do what an artifact from the site can do. If you remember, the Vietnam Memorial with its wall of names, which has become one of the nation's most important memorials, had an added attraction of two statues depicting those who had died because the wall was considered by many to be not enough of a memorial.

Local police were kept busy around the middle of the week, investigating "suspicious packages" in a number of places, most notably nearby Floyd Bennett Field. It was a day for people to be both alert and on edge, and that led to many "unnecessary" calls that all had to be investigated.


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