2003-01-25 / Columnists


Ten years ago this week, one of the worst house fires in Broad Channel history took the lives of a 75-year-old woman and her 35-year-old nephew. The fire was first fought by the Broad Channel Volunteers, housed on the same block, but the volies were quickly joined by a number of FDNY units.

When a garbage truck pulled down a number of electrical lines on the Beach block of Beach 129 Street last Tuesday night, both fire units and a LIPA repair truck quickly came to the scene. After the fire unit checked to insure that the downed wires were no danger to local residents, the single LIPA repair worker took to the bucket and had the four homes back on line in about 45 minutes.

The Rockaway Perfume Store at 115-02 Rockaway Beach Boulevard now carries Kevin Boyle's best-selling book, "Braving The Waves." Those of you who have not yet read the book should do so quickly and then the book should be saved to let future generations what the twin disasters of September 11 and November 12 were like for the Belle Harbor community.

The Geraldine Frazer Realty has moved to its new location at 437 Beach 129 Street in Belle Harbor.

School Chancellor Joel Klein has lined up Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, to lead his new academy to train New York City Public School principals. He is billed as a great motivator and a role model for what principals can be. We guess that many principals will now strive to take after Welch by cheating on their wives and demanding massive perks, leaving the company with the stockholders (parents?) holding the bag.

When we were young, we often headed for the old Madison Square Garden to use our GO Cards for an NBA double-header or Ranger game. Our first stop was always the Nedick's in the entranceway to the Garden for a hotdog and an orange drink. Now, Nedick's is back, hotdogs, orange drinks and all. This new restaurant is in Penn Station, on the Eighth Avenue side nearby the new, improved Madison Square Garden.

Last Thursday, an unknown person spray painted a building on Beach 84 Street with a swastika, along with Anti-Semitic and Anti-Black graffiti. The incident is being investigated as a bias crime by the detectives from the 100 Squad.

The Veteran's Administration is studying the possibility of changing the VA Hospital system. The plan reportedly calls for razing some of the present facilities and selling off the land to developers. Both the St. Alban's Hospital and the hospital at Fort Hamilton are involved in the plan.

The meeting hosted by LIPA to address its long-term plans for Long Island power, which was held at the Beach Club on Thursday, turned into a discussion and debate on alternative forms of energy such as solar and wind power.

John McLoughlin has resigned as President of the 100 Precinct Community Council, effective immediately. It seems, however, that nobody wants to fill the vacancy.

The Voice of the Faithful, the Catholic lay group that seeks to redress the problems in the church, is forming in Rockaway. There will be a meeting of the organization on Wednesday, January 29 at the American Legion Hall on Beach 92 Street. The meeting will begin at 7:30.

On February 4 at 4:30 p.m., the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce will host an Open House at the Beach Club for the community to view the final submissions for the memorial to those Rockaway residents who died on September 11 in the attack on the World Trade Center. The memorial will be place in Triangle Park, on Beach 116 and Beach Channel Drive. All of the artists who made the submissions have been invited to make presentations and to meet the community.

Ex-Rockaway resident Craig Vaden, FRHS class of 1967, was honored at the Golden Globe Awards this week as the executive producer of "Chicago." The movie walked away with many of the awards.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg is not satisfied with destroying many small businesses in New York City with his draconian smoking regulations. Now, the city is suing those who sell cigarettes over the Internet for not paying New York City taxes. The courts have long ruled that local municipalities have no right to regulate the Internet, and this case will probably cost the city millions to pursue and will come to nothing.

The tragic death of a subway conductor who hit her head on an obstruction on a train leaving Rockaway, tied up the A Train for many hours and forced many local residents off the train and on to the often less-reliable bus service.

By February, the city will have a help number at 311 that will tie the caller into all of the city agencies. The city promises that those dialing the number will get a one-stop complaint center for everything from potholes to loud noise. Complainants will be provided with a complaint number that will allow them to track the city's attempts to address their complaint.

One of the topics brought up at a meeting at the Beach Club sponsored by LIPA last week was alternative forms of energy. One firm wants to put up windmill farms, hundreds of windmills on beaches and on offshore areas of Long Island. Those windmills would generate electricity that is then sent to substation and then to homes. The company has proposed sites at Jones Beach, Fire Island, Shirley and Westhampton, but it will probably not be long before somebody realizes that Rockaway would be a perfect place for the 40-foot high windmill towers.

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