2003-12-19 / Columnists



Ten years ago this week, school investigator Ed Stancik issued a report stating that Community School Board 27 President Geraldine Chapey (the elder) was involved in a scheme by local William Sampol to insure her election to the school board by sending out phony endorsement letters on JHS 180 PA stationary and using address labels from the school’s ATS computers. Chapey denied any involvement in the scheme, but it tainted her reputation, Sampol’s reputation (he was also Jimmy Sullivan’s campaign manager, by the way) and the reputation of school principal Bob Spata (nobody could figure out how Sampol got the labels and the stationary). Sampol later became the president of the school’s PA and Chapey became a member of the State Board of Regents. Isn’t life interesting?

Also ten years ago this week, Chapey sent a letter on School Board stationary to the city’s Department of Transportation, warning of dire consequences if the city went ahead with a plan to close the west end of Cronston Avenue to traffic. She argued that school buses would not be able to get to PS 114 and that emergency vehicles, such as fire and ambulance apparatus, would be detained by the roadblock when responding to the school. Ten years later, traffic deaths in the area have declined to zero and there was never a problem with response time to the local area.

Rumors say that the Democrats have come up with a plan that might make Congressman Greg Meeks into Senator Greg Meeks. The scenario would call for Schumer to leave the Senate and run for Governor of New York in 2006. After winning the seat, he would appoint Meeks to serve the rest of his term. That would give Meeks a step up when it comes to reelection because he would be the incumbent (much like he was when he was chosen by the party to replace Floyd Flake). Of course, that presupposes that Schumer can win the election against a Republican who might just happen to be a guy you’ve heard of who is named Rudy Giuliani.

Time Warner Cable has announced that it is joining MCI and Sprint to provide telephone service through it cable networks. The service, to be called "Digital Voice," will cost subscribers a flat $40 a month for unlimited local and long-distance calling.

The Port Authority has announced that it will begin ferry service between LaGuardia Airport and Manhattan by the end of 2004 and between JFK Airport and Manhattan by the end of 2005. There may be a chance for Rockaway commuter service as well in that plan if our local politicians can get active on the issue in the next year. Service from JFK to Manhattan has to pass by Rockaway to get to Manhattan, and how hard would it be for the ferries to drop in on Riis Landing on the way? At least, it’s something to think about.

Those who love the great outdoors and plan an early night on New Year’s Eve should think about the annual "Walk On The Wild Side," a tour of the Fort Tilden beaches with naturalists Mickey Cohen and Don Riepe. The group will meet on the morning of January 1 at 11 a.m. at Building One in Fort Tilden to begin the invigorating walk.

The Graybeards are running a fundraiser for the firefighters in California who lost their homes in the recent spate of forest fires. The group, whose motto is, "Maybe old, but not extinct," remembers the outpouring of good will and gifts from around the nation to Rockaway in the wake of September 11 and Flight 587, and they want to repay some of that with this fundraiser. This weekend (December 20 and 21), volunteers from the organization will be going door-to-door, collecting donations for this worthy cause. Donations can be mailed to The Graybeards, 436 Beach 129 Street, Rockaway Park, NY, 11694.

The Wave will be closed on two successive Thursdays – December 25 and January 1. For those two weeks, deadlines have been pushed up so that all display ads for those two issues must be in the Wave office by Monday at 5 p.m. Classified Ads for those two weeks are due at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. All editorial matter, including columns, must be into The Wave by noon on Tuesday for each of those issues.

Kevin Boyle’s excellent book, "Braving The Waves: Rockaway Rises and Rises Again," is now on sale at The Wave. Proceeds from the special holiday sale will benefit the Rockaway Museum. Signed copies of the book will be sold for the special price of $22 as long as supplies last.

Speaking of the Rockaway Museum, that institution, located at The Wave building, has a number of local "stocking-stuffers" for sale, including "Old Rockaway, New York," at $12.95 a copy, the 100th Anniversary Edition of The Wave ($10), Rockaway Playland T-shirts ($10), Rockaway Playland sweatshirts ($20) and copies of this year’s 110th Anniversary Issue of The Wave ($5) and more.

On December 19 at 8 p.m., Rabbi Melvyn May, of the West End Temple will light the menorah in front of the synagogue. After the menorah lighting, the Rabbi will conduct Shabbat Services.

The new curb-cuts at each corner on the west end were made to insure that those with wheelchairs and pushing carriages could more easily transverse the street. They have caused a problem that was probably not foreseen by those who designed them. During the heavy rain and deep cold that came last weekend, the grooves in those curb-cuts froze solid, causing many slips and falls. The problem was not rectified until the temperature rose enough to defrost the grooves.

Far Rockaway High School got a black eye this week. With Chancellor Joel Klein and other union and city dignitaries attending a meeting on school violence at the Bay 25 Street school, a student got so violent and abusive towards security officers that he had to be subdued by three of those officers and handcuffed. The noise attracted Klein and he came out of the room where the meeting was being held to see what was happening. The youth was taken to the 101 Precinct in handcuffs, where he was given a DAT and reunited with a parent. When they went back to the school, however, he became so abusive and threatening to as assistant principal he had to be once again removed from the school. A Department
of Education spokesperson said that he would most likely be suspended for five days and then returned to the school. The incident once again points out the way disruptive youth are handled by the system and are allowed to do whatever they want to do without much sanction. It is good that the chancellor saw this for himself, however.

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