2002-09-28 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The Far Rockaway chapter of the NAACP is looking to increase its membership. At a recent meeting, members indicated that one of their major goals in the coming months is to bring more people into the chapter and to increase awareness about issues that will have a profound impact on the black community. Those interested in joining or acquiring information can call Far Rockaway's NAACP branch President, Ed Williams, at (917) 577-1368.

One of the major events at this weekend's Rockaway Music And Arts Council Festival at Riis Park is the juried flower show. That show got lots of play in this week's Newsday with a full-page article by Merle English with lots of pictures of beautiful flowers. The show will be held at Riis Park on Saturday and Sunday September 28 and 29. Artist Mike Greenstone will be on hand to sell some of his works. Proceeds from the sales will be donated to Cancer Walk.

Faced with not meeting its goal of recruiting more women and minorities for the fire department, and under pressure from the city council's Black and Latino Coalition, the FDNY has extended the deadline for applications to join the fire department to October 31. Fewer than 20 percent of those who have applied for the test are minorities.

There have been lots of rumors that the new apartment houses on Beach 92 Street nearby Holland Avenue are now seeking tenants involved with the Section 8 program. That is not true, at least according to the developers, who continue to say that the apartments will be market-rate and that no subsidized programs will be allowed.

Those of you who were asking where Arverne By The Sea had gone to have only to go down to the site and take a look. On Monday, the site was teeming with workers, the project office was open and doing business, and large piles of sand stood where homes will stand in a few months. It is an exciting prospect for those of us who have waited half of a lifetime for something to happen in the Arverne Urban Renewal Area.

The school district officers were set up to deal with the schools run by each of the local school boards. Those school boards will soon be gone. There is now some indications that the school districts will not be far behind. The new school chancellor, Joel Klein, is looking for ways to save money by cutting administrative costs. If he is looking to do that, then the district offices are the place to go - not the schools. There are now 33 school districts, each with its own superintendent, several deputy superintendents, coordinators, staff developers, administrators, etc. The building that houses our school district, for example, costs the taxpayers close to $600 thousand a year without staff. Officials at the new Education Department say publicly that there are no plans to do away with the local districts, but in private, they tell a different story. They hope that doing away with the expensive district offices will not only cut expenses but increase accountability as well.

The City Council is once again busy addressing items that have little to do with the problems facing those who live in this city. There is a proposal for a bill that would make it mandatory for public places that cater to 250 or more people to have baby-changing stations. Then, there is the proposal for America to have an "evenhanded" policy in the Middle East (that one was from Black Panther Charles Barron), the proposal that every city park fly a POW/MIA Flag along with the American Flag, and, of course, the street name changes. Add to that the bill to ask the House of Representatives to investigate Flight 587 and more street name changes. It is good to see that the council members are keeping busy.

The AirTrain, which will link JFK Airport with the transportation hub in Jamaica and with the Howard Beach station of the A Train will begin operation by the end of the year.

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has announced that it set new records for electricity delivered to its customers, including those in Rockaway, this past summer. According to LIPA, the call for electricity in Rockaway was ten percent higher this summer than last, and last summer also set records.

The Breezy Point Cooperative called The Wave last week to ask permission to reprint the front-page story about the use of small containers of gas to get high. Those who run the cooperative thought the story important enough to bring it to all of its members.

On September 10, somebody who had purchased three Jewish memorial candles left them behind in a local car service vehicle. When nobody claimed them, they were given to a person who was going to ground zero to enter the Family Circle. One of the candles was lit at family circle to honor those who had died on September 11. The other two were given to a person who had lost a loved one on that day and were used to memorialize that person as well as all the others. The car service owner told The Wave this story so that the original owner would know that the candles were not "lost" after all.

Forget about ferry service for Rockaway. The rest of Queens might get it and all of Brooklyn might have service, but Rockaway will be left out once again.

Don't forget to purchase your memorial brick from the Chamber of Commerce. The inscribed bricks will make up the walkway to the Tribute Park now being planned for the triangle of land at Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive, right on the bay. Small bricks are $75 while the larger version is $100. The Chamber can be contacted at 634-1300.


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