2003-10-10 / Columnists



There were times this summer when it looked as if all 240 Park Enforcement Police (PEP) officers the city hired were in Rockaway, harassing surfers, boogie boarders and fishermen on our beaches. Now, a group of concerned activists citywide have asked the city council to put the parks in the hands of the NYPD rather than the PEP. They argue that the PEP should be under the police department; just as the school safety officers and parking enforcement officers were in the past few years.

While there have been published reports that a deal has been cut between the Belle Harbor community and the families of those who died when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into Belle Harbor, that has proved to not be true. Congressman Anthony Weiner, who has been negotiating the agreement for a memorial at the site, told The Wave last week that he would love to announce an agreement on November 12, the second anniversary of the crash, but that no such agreement has yet been reached. He added that there was not even an agreement to keep the ad-hoc memorial wall that has developed at the site in place until the anniversary.

Congressman Anthony Weiner says that a new study shows that New Yorkers spend more time commuting to their jobs than anybody else in the entire nation. The study also shows that those who ride the New York City subway system spend an average of an additional 36 minutes a day commuting over those who drive to work. For that reason, he is asking the feds to kick in $13.5 million in federal transportation funds over the next five years.

Attorney Michael Dowd has filed suit against the Brooklyn Diocese on behalf of young boys who were sexually abused by priests working for the church in the past. Among the priests who were named in the suit were Father James Russo, who was in charge of the altar boys at St. Virgilius Church in the 1970’s and Father Harold Cox, who was named for his actions at St. Gabriel in New Lots, but who reportedly also served such Rockaway parishes as St. Francis de Sales and St. Camillus. Calls to the Diocese to get confirmation on that fact got nothing but silence.

We know you have been waiting for this important information, so we are going to provide it here. The top dog name in New York City is "Max," with "Lucky" coming in a close second. While mixed breed is the most licensed breed in the city, Labrador Retrievers come in a close second.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has an in-house legal department that includes 21 lawyers and more than a dozen support staff, as a cost of more than $3.4 million a year. Despite that, the agency, which recently brought commuters higher fares and fewer trains and buses, spends up to $556 an hour to hire outside law firms. The total cost of the outside firms reportedly came to nearly $10 million last year alone.

Long-time Rockaway resident Joan Green has written a book entitled, "Don’t Forget To Pray: Gospel Poetry as its Finest." Copies are available at local bookstores or through Vantage Press.

Parents of high school students are angered, and rightfully so, at the new law that creates parent councils in each of the 32 school districts. It seems that the members of the councils will be chosen by the parent association members in the elementary and middle schools, with no input by high school PA’s. Something needs to be done to remediate that oversight and done quickly. We cannot see the feds approving the plan the way it is now constituted.

Daniel Vatsky, a researcher doing a television show about prizefighter Emile Griffith, has contacted The Wave asking for the community’s assistance in the project. Griffith’s trainer and manager, Gil Clancy, grew up in Rockaway’s Irish Town in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The researcher is seeking pictures or movies from that area during the period. Anybody with information that could help Vatsky with his project should contact him at his Website, skyvat@att,net.

It was nice of the Queens Council On The Arts to do a piece on Rockaway in its most recent newsletter. It could have chosen a better picture to illustrate the charms of Rockaway, however, than the Lawrence Hotel and Baxter’s Hotel. Calling them "Historic Hotels," is something of a misnomer.

Kevin Boyle’s wife, Kathy, found a block of wood on the beach in the Beach 130 area on September 27. On the block was written, "Kill Devil Hills, No. Carolina, September 20." Kevin, who writes Boyl-ing Points for The Wave, wonders whether it traveled that long distance because of Hurricane Isabel, or whether somebody is playing an early April’s Fool joke. In any case, it was an interesting find.

Those taking a close look at the site for the new Tribute Park on Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive have their doubts about the project being completed by the date set for its dedication, October 26. Those who have ordered mini-bricks, however, may now pick them up at the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce on Beach 116 Street. Those who want to do so are urged to call in advance to insure that somebody is at the office when they arrive.

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