2004-08-27 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23

Lew M. Simon
Lew M. Simon

rd A.D. Part B

Last Sunday was a very special day for Sara S. Berger, the president of the Good Government Regular Democratic club. She celebrated her 80th birthday with her friends and family.

 Sara is one of the best, most honest, sweetest, kindest and hard working individuals you could ever meet. She will never lie to protect anyone, even herself. Her respect and honesty is profound. She is a tower of strength who has become a second mother to me. She is my best friend, my confidante, adviser, and colleague. She has taught me so much that I can’t thank her enough.

When I say I have been blessed, I really have. When my mom passed away, Sara stepped in and took over the duties of being a mother to me, including yelling, stepping on my foot telling me to shut my big mouth and putting me in my place when needed.

  Sara has made a wonderful name for herself as a true pioneer woman in our community. Each and every day she has reached out and touched many lives. She has advised people with problems, led voter registration, blood drives, Jewish War Veterans meetings, senior citizen outreach and ombudsman to nursing and adult home patients. She educated children as a beloved homebound teacher. I met a number of former students and families who love her immensely.

Sara is a shining star, a woman of valor, a World War II WAC veteran and a woman we all love. Special happy birthday, we look forward to attending your 100th birthday. Keep doing all the wonderful things that you do. We love you.

I’d like to tell you about a wonderful plastic surgeon who is also a mother, a wife and a great loving community member. Stephanie Cooper Vastola is currently on the staff of Peninsula Hospital where every day she does plastic surgery.

  On the late evening of my birthday, August 11, I had a great time sitting in the Sunset Diner chatting away with Stephanie. She started to tell me there seems to be a large cancer cluster in the west end of the peninsula. She has been doing a lot of breast reconstruction after mastectomies. We both agreed that a study needs to be done to determine the cause of this problem.

After sitting and speaking about many things it was past midnight. This wonderful, hardworking surgeon said she was going back to Peninsula hospital to check on a woman who had a breast reconstruction that day. Talk about dedication, loving, and kindheartedness and you think of Stephanie. God bless you for being the loving professional you are. You are indeed a great asset to all.

The next story is also a humanitarian one. Quite late one evening I went into Duane Reade to shop. While there I met a lovely woman whose name escapes me. She had just found a dog in Forest Park. She had spent a lot of hours trying to find the owner, but had no success. She decided to take the dog with her.  

She asked me to see the lovely dog she had found. She was looking for a loving home for the dog.

Hansel, one of the night managers of Duane Reade asked the woman if she would bring the dog back in the morning when he got off from work. He took the dog and now has it for over a month. He named the dog Pal and says he has a new best friend. Remember folks dog spelled backwards is God.

We commend the woman who found the dog and Hansel for adopting the homeless dog. We commend this fine gentleman for the love he now shares with his new dog pal. There needs to be more people like you.

We are in desperate need of several volunteers to help in our community office. I am a non-paid elected official who is always there to help all. We need people with good writing and computer skills to help with the daily operations of our office. If you have any spare time between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., your help will be greatly appreciated. Call my office at (718) 945-1216 if you can help.

St. Rose of Lima will hold a yard sale on Sunday August 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 P.M. for the benefit of their Life Teen program. Donations of new and gently used items are needed. Refreshments will be sold. Call the Rectory at (718) 634-7394 and leave a message for Patti if you have any questions.

We have received an official fact sheet and notice of a public meeting concerning the LILCO Rockaway Park MGP (Manufactured Gas Plant) site. The site is bordered by Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Freeway and Beach 108 Street. Some nearby areas are also affected.

Gas production began at the site in the 1880’s and continued until the mid-1950’s. The final owner of the site while it was still producing gas was the Long Island Lighting Company. It merged with the Brooklyn Union Gas Company in 1998 to form KeySpan.

This is a contaminated site.

Chemicals of concern include volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile compounds and cyanide. The volatile organic organic compounds are benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene andxylene. The semi-volatile organics are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. They are the main byproduct of gas production.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a Proposed Remedial Action Plan Meeting on Wednesday, September 8 at 7:00 p.m. at The Beach Club on Beach 116 Street. NYSDEC will present their plan and accept comments from the public.

Fieldwork at the site from 1999 to 2002 was done to test surface and subsurface soil, groundwater, soil and air samples. The MGP tar was found as deep as 110 feet below the surface and appears to be migrating northward. Evidence of groundwater contamination was found on the east side of Beach 108 Street and on the north side of Beach Channel Drive.

The proposed remedy includes excavation to eight feet below the surface, installing liquid migration barriers, installing a soil cover, installing liquid recovery systems and soil gas vapor control methods under any existing or newly constructed structures on the site.

Copies of the plan are available for review at Peninsula Library, Community Board 14 and the New York State DEC in Long Island City. Written comments may be sent in until September 22.

When the Mobil station was being rebuilt workers became ill. The DEC stopped construction. We still question if the chemicals have leaked to my side of Beach Channel Drive. On a number of occasions we had DEP here to check a God forsaken smell in our vent. They said the readings were low and there was no need for alarm.

We are wondering if the chemicals are getting into our drinking water pipes. When they took apart the old power station at Beach 108 Street and moved it to Beach 112 Street terrible smells were released. Did they do proper work on the contaminated soil? When planting was done to beautify the area, did the digging release any more noxious chemicals?

Will the property ever be used for development or are the costs prohibitive? It is time we get united, attend this meeting and don’t let them pull the wool over our eyes.

The highlight of our year will be our annual Dinner Dance on Thursday October 21.

We will be at the Beach Club on Beach 116 Street from 7:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Dinner, live music, raffles and 50/50 will be available.

We are honoring seven outstanding community leaders. They include Dr. Kathleen Cashin, Regional Superintendent of Region 5, James Mahoney, Business Agent of Local 580 Ornamental and Architectural Ironworkers, Charlotte Kulovany, Community Activist, Steven Greenberg, Chairman Breezy Point Cooperative and Outgoing School Board President of District 27, May Hegarty, Community Activist (Miss Rockaway), Gerald D’Albora, President of Dayton Towers, Rockaway Beach, and Grace D’Agostino, Community Activist. Tickets are $60 per person or $720 for a table of 12.

Please RSVP by October 1.

It is definitely worthwhile to take an ad in the WAVE newspaper.

Our last Atlantic City bus trip was sold out after I took a ¼-page ad.

It pays to advertise in the WAVE.

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