2003-09-05 / Columnists



The Port Authority has announced that it will facilitate a ferry service between lower Manhattan and JFK Airport by 2005. Ed O’ Hare, the Republican District Leader, sent a letter to Governor George Pataki asking that a Rockaway stop be added to the plan, making a loop that would go from Rockaway to JFK and then to Manhattan. O’Hare figures that the PA and Manhattan interests can easily subsidize the Rockaway riders, keeping the cost affordable for commuters.

No more than 70 people showed up at Congressman Anthony Weiner’s Town Hall Meeting at PS 114 last week, despite the fact that representatives from both the NYPD and the Department of Education were present. While the crowd was small, it was vociferous, challenging Weiner, Supervising DOE Administrator Kathleen Cashin and Chief Lawless, the CO of the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Queens South command on such items as school choice, beach rules, flight paths out of JFK Airport and a memorial for the victims of Flight 587.

Most of the Rockaway peninsula, from Bayswater to the Cross Bay Bridge, was sprayed (from the ground, not from the air) by the city on Wednesday night in an attempt to wipe out the West Nile Virus in Rockaway. While the DOH finally admitted that three birds found on the peninsula tested positive for the virus, there has been an increased report to The Wave of dead birds being found in relatively large quantities in other parts of the peninsula as well. Those who come upon dead birds are urged not to touch them, but to call 311 to report the location to DOH officials, who promise that they will be promptly picked up and tested. Whether individuals who call will be able to find out what the tests found is another story. Dead birds can also be reported on line at www.nyc.gov/ html/doh/html/wnv/wnvbird.html.

The summer ended just as it began – with a washout because of the inclement weather. Many local businesses suffered loss upon loss this summer, what with the bad beach weather and the blackout that caused many to throw out rotting food. There was a third hit for businesses in Rockaway as well. One Beach 116 Street business owner is quoted in the Daily News as saying, "It wasn’t only the weather," the storeowner said. "It was the city. The little bit of people who came were chased away by the city, by the special." He told the reporter that he meant by "special," the cops ticketing beachgoers for drinking, plus traffic and sanitation workers ticketing storeowners and people who parked on the street."

The Senate has approved $60 million to develop an anti-missile system for commercial airliners. Such a system already exists, however. The Israeli government is already installing them on all El-Al aircraft and the Air Force is placing the existing system on its slow-moving transport aircraft. The system sends out phosphorus flares that fool many of the older systems. The Senate is planning to require the new anti=missile system be placed on all of the 6,800 commercial airliners in the fleet (at a reported $1 million per plane).

Disappointed with the number of applicants for its upcoming test, the NYPD has extended the filing date for the police officer exam. In addition, the agency is waiving the $35 filing fee for the test (those who have already paid will get their money back). The new deadline is November 14, and city officials say that they will be heavily recruiting at colleges until that time. Originally scheduled for October, the test will now be administered on January 30 and 31, February 5 and 8 in both morning and afternoon sessions.

A charity race to benefit the NYPD’s Emerald Society’s children’s scholarship fund will take place on Saturday, September 13 at 10 a.m. on the boardwalk at Beach 102 Street. Check in will begin at 8 a.m. at the Irish Circle. Applications are available by Emailing brendan110@juno.com. A reminder to local residents that the NYPD ties up all of the parking slots along Beach 102 Street for the event by posting "No Parking" signs the day prior to the event.

The newly-renovated children’s park in Broad Channel was the target of graffiti vandals over the Labor Day weekend. Parents of young children have written to The Wave, worried about the new park and the problem of older teens defacing the site. Now that it has happened, the town and local police will have to work out a plan to protect the park. Locals told The Wave that they are "100 percent sure" that the crime was committed by local teens. The Broad Channel Civic Association has offered a $500 reward for the conviction of the kids who defaced the park (at the local school, PS 47) as well).

The Rockaway Music and Arts Council’s (RMAC) Fall Festival will be held on September 20 and 21 on the mall in front of the Riis Park Bathhouse. The festival will feature fine art, crafts, food and entertainment. It is a "don’t miss" event each year.

Another Rockaway hero firefighter who died on September 11, 2001 will be honored with a street-renaming ceremony. Stephen Russell loved Jamaica Bay and lived on the bay within sight of the Twin Towers. The renaming ceremony will be held at that site, 69-02 Bayfield Avenue at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 20.

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