2003-02-08 / Columnists


The entire Rockaway community should grieve the loss of two of the peninsula's great ladies. Last week, we had the passing of Evelyn Mauss, who fought all of her life against war and oppression. This week, we mourn the loss of Gloria Warshofsky, who led the Bayswater community for so many years that it seems as if she was there forever. Perhaps it is time for the Community Board and our local officials to begin to think of naming an appropriate piece of Rockaway real estate in the memory of these two fine women.

There were several calls to police on Thursday by people who saw teenagers out on the ice in Jamaica Bay. Police responded to at least four calls in the late morning and early afternoon, when the kids should have been in school, and at least three more in the afternoon, after school let out. Police units, aviation units and, in at least two of the cases, harbor units responded, but found that the teens were gone on arrival. Schools in Rockaway should remind kids of the danger involved with going out on half-formed ice.

The Rockaway Chamber of Commerce wants to remind everybody that it is selling bricks that will be placed in the walkway of the new Tribute Park that will soon be built on Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive. The organization's executive director, Liz Sulik, says that bricks need not be in memory of somebody who died on September 11, 2001. She says that many people are buying bricks in the name of their children or to commemorate their parent's name. There are also a limited number of benches available. While the price for those benches has not yet been set, two have been sold at $800 a piece. Those who are interested can contact the chamber at 634-1300.

The 101 Precinct Community Council will host its first annual Fellowship Luncheon on Wednesday, March 12 at the Beach Club. The luncheon will honor Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lindhal, the commanding officer of the 101 Precinct. Those interested in tickets should contact PO Willie Olmeda or PO Mike Valentino at 863-3441.

Speaking of precinct community councils, Howard (Jate) Doremus has been named as president of the 100 Precinct Community Council. The vacancy in the top seat came when past president John McLoughlin resigned the post suddenly just prior to the last meeting of the organization.

Local artist and author Steve Yaeger and his wife, Judy recently visited the Museum of the City of New York in Manhattan, where they found on exhibit a fire alarm box that originally stood on Beach 116 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The box was built in 1933 and was removed from Rockaway's streets in 1971.

Bishop Kearney student and Rockaway resident Caitlin Boyle recently became only the sixth player in the school's history to score 1,000 career points for the basketball team. When Boyle hit the running shot in the third period, the ball was taken from play and was awarded to the player.

The Broad Channel Volunteers will hold their 98th Annual Officers Installation Dance on Saturday, February 22 at 9 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Broad Channel. Those interested in tickets should call the firehouse on Noel Road at 474-6888.

It is sometimes amazing and sad how rumors sweep a community. When an altercation broke out between young men from the Yeshiva Mercaz Hatorah on Beach 129 Street and a number of Catholic girls, the rumors that it was a sexual assault made the rounds in the community. While there are varying versions on what actually happened, depending on who you talk to, it is clear that it was not a sexual assault. Something is going to have to be done and done quickly to address this religious rift in the community. The burden, we think, lies with the parents of those involved and with the religious leaders in each of the communities involved.

The New York State Department of Transportation has reportedly told the developers of the new mall on Rockaway Turnpike across from JFK Airport that they cannot build on that land because it is already earmarked for the right-of-way for the Nassau Expressway that will one day connect the two end pieces of the road, nearby the airport and at Burnside Avenue. If that holds up, it will be a victory for those who have been trying to put a stop to the project.

The Wave Poll for the past few weeks has asked the question, "Where should the memorial for Flight 587 victims be located?" The two choices offered are "at the site of the crash," and "at a site not too far away." As of press time this week, the results were a virtual tie. 110 people said that the memorial should be on site, while 109 said that it should be at a site nearby. It does not get much closer than that.

The Olive Garden restaurant at the new Gateway Mall in Brooklyn (one exit west from Cross Bay Boulevard at Erskine Street) is obviously a big success. On Saturday, there was a line about 150 people long a half-hour prior to the 4 p.m. opening and there was still a waiting line two hours later. Those arriving at 6 p.m. were told that there would be a two or three hour wait.

Congressman Greg Meeks has stepped down as chairman of the Black Elected Democrats. In that position, Meeks was the spokesperson for all of the Black elected officials in the Democratic Party on the state, city and federal levels. Meeks said that he gave up the post because he cannot be an officer of a political group that accepts soft money (a relatively new law) and the Black Elected Democrats accepts soft money donations. There are those, however, who say that Meeks has decided to take a low profile because of his involvement in a brewing political scandal involving the Correction Services Corporation (CSC) and many Assembly members. The contentions are that, while a member of the Assembly, Meeks funneled money to CSC.

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