2003-02-01 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Rockaway has to get used to being in the new School District 5 that was recently set up by the chancellor to replace District 27. On Monday morning, Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced that Kathleen Cashen, formerly the superintendent of District 23 in Brooklyn will become the Supervising Superintendent of District five. That leaves the present superintendent, Matt Bromme, out in the cold. When asked what would happen to the other present district superintendents (only four of the 32 were offered positions), Bloomberg said that many of them would run the "clusters" of schools that would be set up within each of the ten new districts. We would expect that the two District 27 deputy superintendents would wind up similarly or as school principals.

There are two upcoming events that are worthy of note as we move into February. On Tuesday, February 4 at 4:30 p.m., the Chamber of Commerce and Community Board 14 will host an open house so that the organizations can get feedback on the final proposals for the Rockaway September 11 memorial that will be place at the new Tribute Park on Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive. Those who designed the memorials been invited to make presentations and to speak with residents. The following Saturday, February 8, the Plunge for Cystic Fibrosis will take place on Beach 98 Street and the beachfront at 2:30 p.m.

In last week's paper, Mark Sherman was misidentified as the Director of the AIDP Program for District 27. In fact, Sherman is the director of the attendance office for the district, while Neal Rothenberg is the director of the Attendance Improvement-Dropout Prevention (AIDP) program and has been for a number of years.

The Long Island branch of the Voice of the Faithful, an organization which recently held a meeting in Rockaway, has withdrawn an offer to help the Diocese of Rockville Centre to raise money for the Bishop's Appeal because Bishop William Murphy has refused to open its books to parishioners. The organization opposes the use of church funds to pay for settlements of alleged sexual abuse by priests.

Helen Marshall mentioned Rockaway several times in her recent State of the Borough speech last week. She called for an affordable commuter ferry service for Rockaway residents and cited Arverne By The Sea as an example of what government and the private sector can do by working together. "The 100,000 people on the Rockaway peninsula deserve a ferry," she said. "I will be there to christen it."

The daily newspapers have begun the conjecture game. The latest round of the game is "who will the Democrats run for mayor against Bloomberg the next time around? Two of the ten candidates mentioned are local representatives: Tony Weiner and Greg Meeks, our two men in Congress. One would have to wonder why a person would give up the House of Representatives for Gracie Mansion.

A reminder (as if you still needed it) that starting this week, you will have to dial "1" plus the area code plus the seven-digit telephone number in order to make a call even within the same area code. Remember to reprogram your cellular phones, fax machines and computers as well as your home phones. Remember, to call The Wave, even from Rockaway, you will have to dial 1-718-634-4000. If you think that is a pain in the neck, we agree with you, but the phone company had no place else to go with all the new cell phones, fax machines and computers coming on line.

Bill Mauldin died this week, and Willie and Joe are no longer laughing. Those of you who think that World War II was a recent movie will not know what we are talking about, but those who have reached senior citizen stature will know that Mauldin was the premier cartoonist of the era, following our fighting men and women through numerous World War II campaigns, showing those who stayed on the home front what was going on. He did so through the eyes of two dogface soldiers, Willie and Joe and he did it better than any writer (with the exception of Ernie Pyle) could. He will be missed.

A number of local activists and politicians are beginning to question the deterioration of the subway elevated structure that runs the length of Rockaway. Anybody who rides under the el along the Rockaway Freeway for any length will easily see that the concrete is separating from the steel all along the bottom of the structure and that many support pillars are in disrepair as well. People are beginning to worry that the entire structure will collapse one day when a train is passing over it and a number of cars are riding below.

Gene Michael's the Rockville Centre restaurant that was recently dedicated to Firefighter Eugene Whalen, a Rockaway resident who lost his life on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center, has become a popular destination for Rockaway residents. One night last weekend, several table were filled with Rockawayites enjoying the ambiance and the fine food.

Last year at this time, Congressman Anthony Weiner held a meeting at PS 114 where new flight paths for planes coming over Belle Harbor from JFK's Runway 31L. The new flight paths were promised for February of last year, and they are still being promised both by Weiner and by the FAA. If this can't be done, why not just tell us and get it over with, rather than promise and promise again, never keeping the promise.

The Wave is seeking an experienced and talented associate editor, preferably one who lives in Rockaway and knows the entire peninsula. Anybody who is interested in the position, which will be available in the middle of February, should send a resume to The Wave.

The Wave has received a number of letters and e-mail from relatives of those who died in Belle Harbor with the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in November of 2001. They all argue of a memorial at the site of the crash, while many Rockaway residents, particularly those who live in the area, want a small memorial away from the crash site. It is becoming clear, however, that a number of the lots where homes were destroyed may now up for sale. Some of the owners have moved away, others have purchased homes elsewhere on the peninsula and one recently passed away.


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