2004-07-23 / Community


Approximately 350 locals showed up for Lew Simon’s “Take Back Our Beaches” rally on the Boardwalk last Tuesday night, far fewer than there were last year for a similar rally, when at least 1,500 people showed up. Perhaps it was the inclement weather or perhaps it was that people are tired of the issue, but the poor turnout does not bode well for the movement to revise the beach and boardwalk access rules. By the way, not one local politician showed up for the rally.

The Tribute Band “Pride – The U2 Show” is returning to Rockaway. The band will play at the Irish Circle (101-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard) on August 13 at 10:30 p.m. Sean Minardi, the band’s drummer and backup singer is from Rockaway Park.

Larger cities such as New York complain that the majority of federal anti-terrorism money goes to states that have very little chance of being attacked by terrorists. A Vermont sheriff has struck back, claiming that the money is needed in sates like Vermont to keep terrorists from entering the United States from neighboring Canada. “The people who made it to the World Trade Center made it though Canada,” he said recently. “We may have to block the roads leading to a Boston and New York City.”

The massive changes in the way the Department of Education does business included new positions – Local Instructional Supervisors (LIS) – who worked under the direction of the Regional Supervisor and who each supervise several school principals. That sounds like a good job with top pay, but something is apparently amiss. According to DOE statistics, a little more than 25 percent of those who were appointed to the job last September have left the system or were replaced for cause during the school year. A full 28 of the 113 people who were appointed to that slot quit, resigned or were demoted.

The criminal trial charging local attorney Howard Sirota with assault and harassment is over. Sirota, who was found guilty of Harassment in the second degree by a Queens Supreme Court jury last month, was sentenced last week to 12 sessions of anger management training. John Baxter, perennial political candidate, who never gets more than three percent of the vote despite the fact that he is the local district leader for the Independence Party, claims that Sirota sucker-punched him on the beach, leaving lasting damage. It’s hard to understand that lasting damage claim when Baxter still does his weekly television show and can be seen all over the west end of the peninsula on his bicycle. In any case, now that the criminal trial, which wasted lots of taxpayers money on a protracted discovery period and trial for what turned out to be a legal violation, is over, Baxter’s $8 million civil suit can proceed. Both Sirota and his attorney, the famed criminal lawyer Bruce Cutler, believe that Baxter’s civil case is going nowhere.

The Graybeard’s will host their annual Family Run on July 30. This year, the run will begin and end at Beach 110 Street and Shore Front Parkway. The events will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The Skate Park being built by the city at Shore Front Parkway Between Beach 91 and Beach 92 Streets is due to open on July 29, but it is already causing problems for local police and Parks Department enforcement officials. An NYPD supervisor told us that the phones at 311 have been ringing off the hook with complaints about teenagers breaking into the closed park and causing all sorts of noise problems for local residents in the Dayton Towers complex. Many residents argue that the residential area is not the place for a skate park but the teens and the Parks Department say they would rather have the kids skateboard in a safe, dedicated park rather than on local steps and railings. It looks like the city agencies will have to keep a tight rein on the park once it opens. Kids under 18 who want to use the skate park will have to present signed parental permission to do so.

The bomb scare faced by the NYPD two weeks ago was all too real to responding bomb squad officers. An eight-block area of downtown Brooklyn was evacuated when officers from the Emergency Service Unit (ESU) found a Middle-Eastern man kneeling on a rug with what appeared to be explosives strapped to his body. The ESU officers took down the man and threw an anti-explosive blanket over the “explosives,” which turned out on closer inspection to be a fake. The “bomb,” which had a clock on the outside and bolts protruding into a bag, proved to be filled with nuts, bolts, cooking pans and a calculator. This time, the bomb was a fake, but police officials and others worry that the real thing might well be along at any time.

Those Republicans that are trying to replace Alexander Hamilton with Ronald Reagan on the ten dollar bill have no sense of history. Hamilton may have been from the wrong party, but there were no Republicans until late in the Civil War. Hamilton was a Federalist, arguing for a strong federal government and against the ‘democracy of the people” that was sweeping America in the wake of Thomas Jefferson’s writing. He started the national bank and made America solvent. He had a large role in shaping the Constitution. We wonder what Reagan did that can top that. One New York Times writer joked that if the GOP was dumping Hamilton, he should be picked up on waivers by the Democrats.

Soprano’s gangster “Paulie Walnuts” joined Rockaway Republicans at a fundraiser for President Bush at the BelleHarbor Yacht Club last week. Actor Tony Sirico, who plays the part on the hit show, joined more than 100 locals who took part in the event. Sirico told reporters that he was there because he is “a far-right Republican”. It was unclear how many came to the event to back Bush and how many came to see Paulie Walnuts.

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