2002-12-14 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The Wave received a call from City Councilman Joe Addabbo, Jr. regarding last week's Page 2 story, "It's A Hard Pill To Swallow." Addabbo praised the reporter and The Wave for practicing what he described as "fair and balanced" journalism, but he also noted that there was one slight problem with the piece. We wrote, "The councilman noted that when the state provided $21 billion for revitalization of Manhattan's downtown area, specifically earmarked for the World Trade Center site, none of the money was aimed at alleviating the budgetary chokehold on the city." However, it was not the state that issued the $21 billion to the city. The federal government was responsible for dispensing the money. Sorry about that.... "Jazzy Joe."

There is a catch-22 in the flight 587 investigation that has both Vic Trombettas (usread.com) and The Wave frustrated. There is an indication that pieces of the aircraft as well as luggage from the plane's cargo hold, were found in Jamaica Bay. The NYPD was contacted, but that agency says that it can't turn anything over to the media because it is from a "crime scene." The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that the crash was an accident and no crime was involved. The NTSB also says that it does not want to "interject itself in the document release procedures of other agencies," so it refused to tell the NYPD that there is no crime involved. All that does is limit the information that the public has access to and we do not want that to happen. It may be that we will have to file freedom of information requests to get the information that that could take months.

Ten years ago this coming week, Rockaway was hit by a monster Northeaster that flooded much of the peninsula. City resources were strained to the limit and many of our volunteer units came through with flying colors, making numerous rescues from one end of the peninsula to the other. One of the most frightening episodes saw the NYPD Emergency Service Unit cutting a hole in the fence at PS 42 so that students could be taken from the building through the schoolyard. Both of the streets that border the school's doors were under water.

The Breakfast With Santa sponsored by the 100 Precinct Community Council was a big hit, with both sittings oversubscribed. One of the highlights of the day was the arrival of Santa Claus, ably portrayed by Harold Rochelle, who seems more like Santa each year.

We have lots of problems at JFK Airport. Just this Monday, an American Airlines MD80 landed at the airport with smoke in its cockpit. We don't, however, face the same problems as a Warrenton, Oregon airport. Last week, a Learjet taking off from the Astoria Regional Airport hit an elk that had wandered onto the runway. None of the four people aboard were hurt, but the plane was damaged and the elk was killed.

A reader from Cleveland, Ohio emailed us to say that he had found a old, 1910 token that says "Delevan House, Edward H. Schlueter, Broad Channel, L.I., telephone 291-L Hammell." He wants to know if anybody can fathom what the token is and what it was used for. Anybody who knows the answer to those questions should let us know.

The NTSB has just held a final report hearing on the January 31, 2000 crash of an Alaska Airlines crash in California. That hearing was held this week, almost three years after the fact. It is possible that we will have to wait until sometime in 2004 for the final report on American Airlines Flight 587.

Congratulations to Nadia Murphy, who was named as one of Newsday's "Everyday Heroes." According to the story, Murphy and her "flower ladies" have "single-handedly transformed Beach 116 Street" with their plantings.

Anybody heading for Rockaway over the Atlantic Beach Bridge is looking for trouble. The road to Rockaway is a quick right turn just after a motorist passes through the tollbooth. The three booths to the right, however, take only coins and tickets. Since only Nassau County residents can buy the tickets, Rockaway residents without the exact change have to use the forth booth from the right and then quickly cut across the other three lanes to get to the Rockaway exit. That sets up a very dangerous situation, one that needs to be rectified before somebody is badly hurt.

Don't have that last drink before hitting the road. The State Senate has passed a bill similar to one in the Assembly that would lower the legal blood alcohol level to .08 percent from .10 percent. The new law will go into effect shortly. According to experts, the average man would reach the .08 level after four beers in one hour without eating any food.

A transit strike would have a large impact on Rockaway residents who use either the subway or the city bus to get to work in Manhattan each day. The alternatives that the mayor has outlined - dollar vans, etc., -- will not make much of a difference for peninsula residents.

The death toll from accidents that involve people talking on cellular phones has risen significantly, both nationally and in New York City. The "hands-free" law seems to have made little difference to drivers in this city. Ride around on any given day and you will see at least a third of the drivers or more chatting as they drive.

It seems that some sort of compromise has been made between the mayor, who does not want anybody to smoke in public, and the restaurant owners, who want everybody to have the right to smoke in their establishments. The new bill would most likely ban smoking in bars and restaurants, outdoor sidewalk cafes, pool halls, bowling alleys, hotel lobbies and such. The possible exceptions to the new law (something that Bloomberg said would never happen) will be cigar bars, small bars owned and operated by the same person and designated smoking rooms inside bars, where employees would not be required to work.

In last week's Sports Section, an article featured Taylor Murphy from Belle Harbor, a freshman basketball player at Monroe Junior College of New Rochelle. The article neglected to mention that Christine Mastros, Taylor's biological mother, is also very proud of the accomplishments of her son, who is attending on a full sports scholarship.


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