2004-03-26 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The Wave wants to apologize to Arthur Strauss, the principal of PS 106 and to all of the school’s students, staff and parents for a typo in last week’s issue. In a chart comparing Rockaway schools, we had PS 106 listed as "Be low Average," when, in fact, it is one of only 64 schools in the city (and the only one in District 27) to be rated as "Above Average" based on last year’s scores and the school’s demographics. This is the second year in a row that the Edgemere school has made that elite list. Congratulations to all concerned.

The statistics from the 2003 Eng lish Language Arts tests are in and they are generally confusing. One thing is clear, however. Middle School 198 is tied for the distinction of being the third worst middle school in the city. The Arverne school tested 472 students and only 8.1 percent, or 38 kids, are reading on grade level in the entire school. The school ranked 192 in the city in 2002, but fell to 213 (out of 216) in 2003. The school has the second largest percentage of special education students and is one of the highest in violent incidents. Next year, it will become a K-8 school with a gifted component, but it is hard to understand why anybody would want to put a five-year-old student in with 15 and 16-year olds who have learning and discipline problems.

For many years, John Tanacredi was the chief scientist at Gateway Na tional Park, concerned with the bird sanctuary and with the loss of marsh grass in Jamaica Bay. Now retired from the National Park Service, Tanacredi has become the chairman of the Earth and Marine Sciences Department at Dowling College in Oakdale. The Wave wishes him good luck and health in his retirement and in his new position.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) may soon put Rockaway on the map, or at least on an envelope. Wave cartoonist Robert Sar noff is in discussion with the USPS to use his "Rockaway Beach Jetty Station" artwork as a cache on envelopes along with a Rock away Beach cancellation stamp.

Steve and Kenny Good, the proprietors of the Rockaway Sunset Diner have come up with a way to address the needs of families that have both spouses working long hours each week. The diner will now serve family-style dinners to go. For $21.95, a family can get a dinner for four (choice of roasted chicken, turkey or meatloaf) with three side dishes, bread and rolls, desert and soda.

It’s difficult to understand why the government should give Al Sharpton $100,000 in tax money to stay in the presidential race when the race is over. The six members on the Federal Election Commis sion (FEC) say that it is in the public interest to give funds to candidates, and that might be true. It makes no sense to do that, however, when the race is over and all of the other candidates have gone home.

Last May, when a Manhattan judge said that undercover police officers had to testify in open court even if it meant that their cover stories would be blown, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, "The identity of an undercover officer is a life and death matter." He was right then and he is right now to praise the state appellate court justices who overturned that decision, ruling that officers can testify in open court without showing their faces in order to safeguard "both their lives and their effectiveness." In the May case, Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Shafer denied a request for undercover officers to testify without their faces being shown to the public. She said that the officers would have to show their faces and the cases against several drug dealers were dropped rather than risk the officers’ lives.

Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer urges all those who are interested in seeing surfing rights returned to Rockaway’s beaches to contact the state and have their voices heard. Comments should be sent to William Johnson, Department of Health, Division of Legal Af fairs, Office of Regulatory Reform, Corning Tower, Room 2415, Em pire State Plaza, Albany, New York 11237. Comments must be postmarked by April 30, but locals are urged to get them in earlier. The new rule change will allow the city to designate surfing and fishing beaches during beach hours (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and for "at your own risk" activities at other times.

When is a dune not a dune? When the city says that it is not an "official dune." A number of local residents noticed a bulldozer flattening out natural dunes nearby Beach 123 Street last week. When they confronted the Parks Department workers who were leveling the dunes, the work stopped. Parks says they want to level the beach for "safety reasons," and that the only "official sand dunes" on the beach are those between Beach 109 and Beach 111 Streets and those in Neponsit. It seems that a dune cannot become "official" until the community requests that they be so designated. We hope the Parks Department never gets to the national seashore on Cape Cod.

The renovation of the Rockaway Museum has picked up speed and plans are being made for its first exhibit of the year, "A Playland Retrospective." Any local residents who have memorabilia from Playland, pictures from its glory days or who want to write remembrances of their visits to Playland should send that material to the museum in care of The Wave, 88-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Beach 11693 or by Email to editor@rockawavecom.

The city has finally agreed to use the federal money it has been holding to buy new buses for the seven private bus lines, three of which service Rock away on a regular basis. Don’t hold your breath, however. It will take at least two years for the new buses to appear on the street. The MTA has offered some buses that it is retiring to the private lines as well. It seems that the old MTA buses are in better shape than most of the buses now used by Green Bus, Jamaica Bus and Triboror Coach. That fact makes clear everything that local riders have been complaining about for years.


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