2002-12-07 / Columnists


There will be lots of pre-Christmas activity on the peninsula this coming week. On Saturday, December 7 at 6 p.m., this year's Little North Pole will be revealed at 144-03 Neponsit Avenue. The festivities will begin promptly at 6 p.m. Earlier that same day, the 100 Precinct Community Council will host its annual "Breakfast With Santa" at the Beach Club with two sittings (9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.). The Rockaway Chamber of Commerce will host its tree lighting ceremony at Beach 116 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard on Monday, December 9 at 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 7 is the 51st Anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Almost anybody who was over the age of five on that day in 1941 remembers where they were when they heard the first reports of the attack, just as later generations remember the assassination of John F. Kennedy and still later generations will remember the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

The Hanukkah Party held by the members of Congregation Derech Emunoh was reportedly a real success, with more than 35 people attending. You'll remember that the landmark temple was destroyed by fire in May of this year. The party was held in the temple's temporary digs, a double trailer at Beach 73 Street provided by the developers of Arverne By The Sea.

Ten years ago this week, the Broad Channel Park was finally completed. The opening of the park marked something of the beginnings of revitalization for the community.

Stu Mirsky, a new Wave columnist, was introduced in his first column as a former New York City "Deputy Commissioner." In fact, Mirsky was an Assistant Commissioner. They are not the same thing, Mirsky tells us, and he wanted to straighten it out.

Even though it is twenty degrees outside as we write this, the beach problems of last summer have yet to be ironed out. State Senator Malcolm Smith wrote a letter to the Park service asking for a clarification of the rules. In a return letter, Alexander Brash, the Service Chief, said that the service is "constrained from providing any exceptions to our consistent policy of allowing swimming during the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day, until we can develop an alternative policy which does not open the city to substantial liability risks." That means no surfing off-season and perhaps no fishing as well. We hope that the city can work out that "alternative policy" prior to the next summer season.

A group to address the needs of fire and EMS personnel who responded to the crash of Flight 587 in Belle Harbor is being set up. The group will meet on Mondays at 12 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Beach 90 Street beginning on Monday, December 2. Those interested in more information should call Shondell at 212-570-1693.

With the city facing massive budget shortfalls, many transportation experts are urging the city to put the 82 bus routes now in the hands of private franchises, such as the Green Bus Line and Jamaica Bus, out for competitive bids. Those experts say that the demands of the present employees of those lines can be met simply be giving them preference in any new hiring scheme by the new franchise owners.

A follow-up to a story we did in The Wave last week. The Rockaway Farm store on Beach 116 Street has received a clean bill of health by the state's Department of Agriculture and Markets. It seems clear that there was never a problem in the first place, but the agency has yet to comment on the issue despite repeated calls to its Albany offices.

Local author Kevin Boyle will sign copies of his popular book, Braving The Waves," at the Wave offices on Saturday, December 7 from 12 noon until 1 p.m. On Sunday, December 8, from 1 to 2 p.m., local author Debbie Mandel will sign copies of her book, "Turn On Your Inner Light."

On the front page of The Wave last week there was a picture of police talking to a group of men during a drug raid on Beach 113 Street. In the background is a white house. The owner of that house called us on Monday to let us know that the raid was on the house next door, not her house, which is in the picture. While The Wave did not indicate in the photo caption that the house in the picture was the one that was raided, we do apologize to the owner for any inconvenience or embarrassment that was caused by the picture.

We checked back on Eugene Michael's, a new restaurant in Rockville Centre that honors a Rockaway firefighter lost at the World Trade Center. We found one of the best brunch menus we have seen in a long time. Try the Eugene Michael's Omelet. It is worth the trip.

Three local civic organizations, the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association, the Neponsit Homeowners Association and the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association will team up to host an annual cocktail party that will be held on Sunday, December 8 at 7 p.m. at the Beach Club. The honorees for the cocktail party are Monsignor Martin Geraghty, the pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church, Peggy DeMatteis, Barbara Eisenstadt, and Nadia Murphy. Tickets cost $30 per person.

The Parent-Teacher Association at PS 256Q at PS 43Q on Beach 29 Street, a school that serves students with significant learning or emotional difficulties, is seeking educational toys, books, scarves, gloves and hats to use as holiday presents for the students. Money will also be accepted to purchase additional gifts. Anybody interested in contributing should contact the PA President, Norma Hessic or special events coordinator Tish Walsh at the school.

The Wave is pursing a line of inquiry on the crash of flight 587 that posits that luggage and other debris from the aircraft fuselage were seen floating in the bay. Witness statements from the NTSB Docket indicate that some people saw luggage in the bay (and may have photographed it), rubber items such as a life raft or the rubber slide that pops out when a door is opened in an emergency, etc. If you or anybody you know saw such debris in the bay, please contact The Wave.

"Pictures and Punchlines" has become an enormous hit with many readers. We received a number of phone calls this week about the new feature, and, surprisingly, many of the people that have been "targets" have been very good sports. RDRC Executive Director Curtis Archer, NAACP Far Rockaway Chapter President Ed Williams, Assemblywoman Michele Titus, and Democratic District Leader Bob Simmons recently spoke with its creator, Gary G. Toms, and told him, "Whatever you do, please keep this feature going." Each stated that they got a good laugh out of it. We hope that others are doing the same, as we continue to try and remain on the cutting edge of most newspapers.

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