2003-04-05 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Beachcomber

The Wave would like to honor those men and women from the local area who are fighting within the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. Any Wave readers who would like to submit a story and a picture of somebody in our armed forces may do so by email at editor@rockawave.com, by mail to Box 97, Rockaway Beach Station, Rockaway Beach, New York 11693 or by fax at 718-945-0913.

We were in Manhattan on Sunday and it was obvious that the threat level is up and so is the level of security. Passing through the Midtown Tunnel, armed police and military personnel stopped all of the trucks that were going onto the tunnel for inspection while other groups stopped random SUV’s. Once in Manhattan, we stopped at a parking garage at 55 and Lexington. We were not allowed into the garage until our trunk was inspected to insure that it was not packed with explosives. We are glad to see somebody is taking the threat seriously.

Those who want to show support for our troops fighting in Iraq and in Afghanistan may do so this week at a rally that will be held on Saturday, April 5 from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the boardwalk and Beach 116 Street. Organizers ask that those who attend bring flags and signs. Many Rockaway and Broad Channel residents have already begun to show their support for our fighting men and women. The entire stretch of Cross Bay Boulevard from the bridge to Gateway National Park are marked with yellow ribbons and American flags. Likewise, the stretch of Rockaway Beach Boulevard behind Dayton Towers has been decorated with yellow ribbons.

The Claddagh Inn, Rockaway’s oldest food bank is looking for a few good men and women to volunteer their time to help those in need. People are needed to pick up excess food at nearby nursing homes, to pack food and prepare hot meals and to help with fundraising. Those interested should contact the Claddagh Inn at 718-945-2897.

The "Take The Plunge For Cystic Fibrosis" event that took place in the ice and snow of the coldest part of the winter was a huge success, according to its organizers. The event raised more than $30 thousand. In the past three years, the event has raised almost $100 thousand for the charity. The organizers wanted to thank those who took the plunge on a day when there were four inches snow on the beach, a 34-degree temperature and a 30-degree water temperature.

We understand that journalists are not supposed to be cheerleaders for our government, but they are equally not supposed to give aid and comfort to the enemy. That is what Peter Arnett, who once reported for CNN but now works for National Geographic Explorer, did last week when he did an interview on Iraqi television, telling the Arab audience that reports from the Iraqi capital are helpful to the U.S. antiwar movement, that the American government had underestimated the desire of the people in Iraq to fight, and praising the Iraqi government’s treatment of American reporters. Arnett later apologized for his remarks, but one has to wonder what he was thinking.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and officials from New York City have seriously been talking about taking over the Green Bus Line and Jamaica Bus, along with several other private lines that get millions in public subsidy. The plan, which may now be a done deal, has been on-again, off-again many times over the years, because the lines get about $100 million a year from the government and officials think the lines could be run cheaper and better by the government agency. The word as The Wave goes to press is that a deal has been cut that would give the MTA the lines by June 30, but money is still a sticking point.

Those who think that the city’s anti-smoking laws, which went into effect last week (although few are enforcing the law) is draconian should look at the new state law that was passed recently by the Senate (57-4) and by the Assembly (97-44). The new law, which takes away most of the exemptions granted by the city law, will take effect in four months. It does not allow smoking in a separate ventilated room (as the city law allows until 2006) and it does not smoking at owner-operated bars with no employees.

Local resident Charles Marquendt let us know that there are still good people in this world. He recently lost his wallet at the playground on Beach 70 Street. A few days later he received the wallet in the mail with a note that the sender’s six year old son had found the wallet at the playground and had given it to her to return. "I wanted the sender to know that I appreciate her honesty," Marquendt told The Wave. "It is great to see a young person growing up with good ethics and values."

Patrick Clark, the artist whose work will be on view at the Tribute Park on Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive, is fighting mad over the Duane Reade sign that will one day overshadow his work. Clark is calling for a boycott of Duane Reade. So far, sentiment seen here at The Wave seems to be in his favor, although a few people have wondered aloud why he is picking on a viable business where there are so many other things wrong in Rockaway.

The last of the Rockaway college students involved in post-season tournaments is now out of the game. Connecticut, the premier women’s basketball team for the past several years, left nothing in doubt as it beat Boston College and Belle Harbor resident Clare Droesch and left them out of the NCAA’s. BC has nothing to be ashamed of, however, getting to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time.

The baseball season is underway, and whether you root for the Yankees, the Mets or the Cyclones, it is time to get out and support your team. While sport might seem frivolous in a time when our troops are fighing for their lives halfway around the world, baseball serves as a diversion from those worries that devil us.


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