2003-09-26 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B
Simon says...

Simon says...

Lew M. SimonLew M. Simon

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

L’Shana Tova, a happy, healthy and sweet New Year to all those of the Jewish faith. May this year be special for you and your family and may there be peace in the Middle East and no more fighting.

On Saturday morning tribute was paid to a wonderful young man, the late firefighter, Stephen Russell, who was killed on 9/11 in the line of duty saving the lives of others.

Stephen Russell was born and raised in Arverne. At the time of his death he still lived in the same home he lived in his whole life. On Saturday they honored Stephen by renaming Bayfield Avenue Stephen Russell Way.

We feel God must have had a special plan for this great person and hero fireman in heaven. It was an honor and pleasure to have known him.

The ceremony honoring Stephen featured an invocation by Rev. Peter Gillen of St. Rose of Lima, remarks by Congressman Anthony Weiner, Councilman James Sanders and Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Assemblywoman Michelle Titus and District Manager Jonathan Gaska. There were a few words from his mother, Marie Russell, greetings from his brother, Clifford Russell Jr. and remarks from John Early, Business Manager of Local 45 of the Carpenters Union, actor and director Steve Buscemi, a former firefighter and firefighters Lt. Rocco Battista and Drew Polinsky.

Mr. and Mrs. Russell were presented with a Declaration of Honor from Borough President Helen Marshall. Sisters in law Christine Russell and Adrienne Russell read letters from Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor Giuliani.

After the street sign was unveiled by the family, Dennis Brady played the bagpipe. After closing remarks by Cliff Russell Jr. the fireboat in the bay sprayed water in the air in a salute.

After losing their wonderful son, Marie and Clifford Russell chose to get involved in the memorial park on Beach 116th Street and Beach Channel Drive. They never missed a meeting or event and spoke out giving advice and working diligently for our community. From the bottom of my heart, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the Russells for all they have done. God bless you from the bottom of my heart.

This weekend the sun was shining in Rockaway. The RMAC annual fall festival was a huge success. The outstanding original arts and crafts, the musicians who enjoyed performing as much as the visitors who heard them and all the local people who came out made this a day to remember. If you missed it this year you will have to wait until September 2004 for another.

What’s next? Some members of the State Legislature are proposing a ban on drivers who smoke with children in the car. I think this is ridiculous, ludicrous and idiotic. After the last legislation banning cell phones without a hands free holder in cars, we will see many cell phones in cars without them. We understand that an accident could be caused by pressing a button while driving.

We do not understand how a cigarette can cause an accident. What is next? Will they ban cigarette smoking on city streets? Is it time for everyone to write their state assembly and senate members.

We are saddened by the loss of an outstanding individual who was a great friend and supporter. William Murphy was one of the kindest and most decent gentlemen in our community. He passed away only one week ago. Mr. Murphy was always involved in civic, political or church activities in the community.

A great father, grandfather, wonderful husband and wonderful citizen, I would be sure God has given him his wings in the Kingdom of Heaven for he is well deserving of the honor. My deepest sympathy goes out to the family.

On this Saturday, September 27, the Rockaway Park Waldbaum’s invites all to Customer Appreciation Day. At 11 A.M. Rockaway’s Bravest and Finest will be there for a fire prevention drill to teach the children how to be prepared in case of an actual fire. At Noon there will be free pony rides. At 2 P.M. there will be a puppet show. Waldbaum’s is at 112-15 Beach Channel Drive opposite my office.

One note of sadness. Why did they choose Rosh Hashanah, the holy day for this great event? This prohibits observant people of the Jewish faith from participation.

Just this past week people came up after reading about Mildred and Al Schulman. They wanted to go with me to see them. They had never been up to my office. They expected a little lousy hole in the wall. They were quite impressed. They even joined the Democratic club when they found out that we are not paid to provide services. We get absolutely no government or party support to pay rent or phone bills. None of the local elected officials pay for our office. We agreed with them that it would be nice if there were funds for the office and phone.

Unfortunately this is a dream. We thank all of those who are kind enough to send in donations or become members of the Democratic club. One does not have to be an enrolled Democrat to join. We do not ask what party you belong to or on which side of the district line you live. When somebody needs us to help, our door is always open to help.

Dues for new members and renewals may be sent to the Good Government Regular Democratic Club at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive Rockaway Park 11694. Dues are $25 for a family $18 single and $12 for seniors and Young Dems.

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