2004-05-21 / Columnists


West End residents were startled and dismayed on Thursday afternoon when more than a thousand Beach Channel High School students went on a rampage, tearing down Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 110 Street, trying to get to the beach to witness a large fight. Police officers from the 100 Precinct, perhaps anticipating the problem when they saw all the kids heading in one direction, got to the scene quickly and in force and forestalled the fight.

One of the more successful programs run by the Board of Education was the Attendance Improvement/Dropout Prevention Program (AIDP) that funded a full-time person in each school dedicated to working with at-risk kids to make sure that they stayed in school. Unlike the Attendance Teachers (the old truant officers), who went after kids after they went missing for a set amount of time, the AIDP program worked with kids before they disappeared. Now, Region Five has done away with the program, using the funding instead to hire more attendance teachers. That is truly locking the barn door after the horse has left for other climes. Another mistake by our education experts.

Speaking of Police, we have to apologize to 100 Precinct Sergeant Michael O’Sullivan for calling him "Jerry O’Sullivan" in the last edition. Sorry, sarge.

Now that the City Council has put an end to bullying in schools and is working on a new bill to end daytime, Congressman Anthony Weiner has chimed in with a bill that would stop sexual harassment on college campuses. The bill would require all colleges and universities to identify acts that constitute sexual harassment and to notify students that sexual harassment is against the law (as if they didn’t already know that) and would mandate that the schools "describe procedures to be followed to file sexual harassment grievances and obtain victim assistance." Some day, our legislators are going to wake up and realize that you really can’t legislate human behavior unless you are willing to put people in jail for criminality. Making a pass at a member of the opposite sex or telling him or her that they look good that day is not criminality, and cannot be done away with by signing a bill any more than a law can do away with bullying.

We have heard that many more lifeguards will be available for Rockaway’s beaches this year than in previous years. That is good news for locals because it may mean that the majority of the local beaches will remain open this season. Of course, we still have to deal with eroded beaches and Piping Plovers, but that has become a yearly burden for Rockaway. We can only hope that the increase in lifeguards will be coupled with a realistic enforcement of beach and boardwalk rules as well as a relaxing of the asinine curfew that Commissioner Benepe and his minions have put on our beautiful beach. City Councilman Joe Addabbo has told us that the first time a local resident gets a ticket for walking on the beach or the boardwalk after the imposed curfew, he will act to get the curfew extended. The Wave wants to closely monitor the situation, so we are asking anybody who is harassed in his or her use of the beach let us know immediately so that we can keep track of the situation and work to remedy it.

The federal government has said that the prices of gasoline will continue to rise, perhaps hitting more than $3.00 a gallon. Pump prices are up more than 50 cents from what they were last year at this time. The government says that the prices have climbed because of a strong demand for gasoline, tight petroleum supplies and the high cost of crude. Of course, OPEC, the consortium of Middle East nations that control our oil and gasoline supplies and that want nothing more than the highest prices they can get, controls those last two items. By the way, we wonder what ever happened to cheaper prices for those who pump the gas themselves. At one time, that was the norm. A motorist could save ten cents or more per gallon by using the self-serve pumps rather than the full-serve pumps. That seems to have gone the way of buggy-whips. Stations now charge the same whether you pump your own gas or not. There are still a few stations, such as Channel Drive Service Station on Beach Channel Drive in Arverne that are still completely full-serve and still charge lower prices.

Rockaway residents, have hope. A brand new pool (Tony Weiner would call it a Natatorium) was opened recently in Manhattan only thirty years after construction began in 1973. Under that paradigm, we still have a couple of decades to go before we get a pool at Riis Park, as Chuck Schumer promised and Tony Weiner agreed.

A number of local residents have called us to remind bicycle riders that, now that the summer is approaching and more people will be using bikes, it is imperative that riders have reflectors on their bikes so that they can be seen at night and that they use some sort of turn signal to let motorists know their intentions.

This is Asian-American Pacific Heritage Month, and Bernie Blum called to remind us that surfing star Duke Kahanamaku, who has Beach 38 Street named in his honor was a member of that heritage and that we should honor his street naming with a sign and with some respect.

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