2002-11-16 / Columnists


It has been proven once again that certain news stories do have an impact. Over the weekend, Wave Associate Editor Gary G. Toms had his car vandalized in a section of Far Rockaway. The hood of his car was scratched up, and the air was let out of his front tires. The estimated cost for the damage is close to $300. Toms feels that the act was committed in retaliation to his Page 2 story in last week's issue, which looked into the death of hip-hop star Jam Master Jay and the thugs that have infiltrated the rap music industry. "I know the code of the streets, and someone is trying to send me a message. I knew there was a chance that people would retaliate, but the story had to be written. I won't be intimidated by them or anyone else for that matter," said Toms.

The New York City Police Department has opened a toll-free terrorism hotline that residents can call to report anything that they believe might be terrorism-involved behavior. The telephone number for the hotline is 1-888-NYC SAFE (1-888-692-7233) and all calls will be kept confidential.

Kevin Boyle's new book, "Braving The Waves," is now available for sale at The Wave offices at 88-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The cost of the book, which documents the impact of both September 11 and the crash of flight 587 in Rockaway, is $22, with a percentage of the sales going to the Graybeards.

Jeffrey Dretler is a lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts. He has reached out to The Wave and to its Rockaway readers because he represents a client who allegedly was a victim of child abuse at the hands of Father Romano Ferraro, who served for a time at St. Rose of Lima Church here in Rockaway during the 1970's. After a Wave story about Ferraro ran in early April, we got a number of calls from men who said that they had been victims of Ferraro as well. While they didn't want to come forward publicly at that time, Dretler would like to speak with them so that he can get some information that would be valuable to his client. Dretler can be reached by telephone at 617-456-8130 or by E-mil at jadretler@plgt.com.

The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) has acceded to a request from Congressman Anthony Weiner that no planes fly over Rockaway during the memorial service to those who died when flight 587 crashed into Rockaway. "It is imperative that the FAA do everything they can to prevent this mournful morning from being disrupted by the sounds of overflying planes," Weiner said. We agree. If however, the FAA can ban flights over the west end of the peninsula for a morning whenever it likes, why not for a day, or a month, or a year? The FAA promised just that nearly a year ago, and yet it has not happened. Rockaway residents still look up in fear whenever a plane flies over and young children still remember the smoke and fire the crash caused. Many are fearful of overflights. Why can't the FAA do as it promised in January and take all of the flights over Riis Park? Weiner says the FAA has substantially kept its promises. We know that it has not. It is time for the agency to honor its pledge to Rockaway residents.

The City Council has involved itself in the disappearance of marsh grass in Jamaica Bay. The chair of the council's Environmental Protection Committee recently took a scenic boat ride around the bay. He says he will use his office as a "bully pulpit" to push for money to remediate the problem. That is all he can do, however, is keep the issue before the public. It is up to the feds to do the job, and they want to pump toxic dredge spoils into the bay and call it a "reclamation project." There are rumors that Florida Power and Light, the company that recently and responsibly placed some new generators in Bayswater, might bring some bucks to the table to get the ball rolling. In the spring, engineers will bring in a dredge to pump sand onto Big Egg Marsh to see if that will build up the marsh and help to restore the lost grass.

Those of you who watch the morning show on Channel 2 will have seen four young firefighters from Breezy Point who competed for an all expenses paid trip to Florida by living for a week in a New York City taxicab. The four locals are Timmy O'Brien, Thomas McGoorty, Brenden Johnson (all from Breezy Point Volies) and Jimmy Sands, who is a West Hamilton Beach volie.

Both the Liberal Party and the Right To Life Party lost their automatic ballot line because they did not poll 50,000 votes for governor in the recent election. Without a guaranteed ballot line, neither of the parties will retain any power to draw candidates to its ticket. If the party wants to run candidates in the coming elections, it will have to get voter signatures and file petitions.

Disney On Ice is once again coming to the Nassau Coliseum. The show, which features Cinderella, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, will begin on November 19.

The memorial for those who died on Flight 587 that was held in Astoria Park on Saturday, November 9, was a very moving ceremony. A bell was rung for each of those who died in the crash, including the flight crew and those five Rockaway residents who died on the ground. A grove of twelve trees was planted right under the Triborough Bridge, overlooking the East River. Unfortunately, there were no Rockaway residents in attendance. The majority of those who were present were media representatives, who outnumbered the relatives of those who died in the crash.

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