2004-09-10 / Columnists

Beachcomber

While the government is officially pooh-poohing the report that a shoe bomber brought down American Airlines Flight 587 in Belle Harbor, many locals are taking the story very seriously. There are some frightening connections in the story. The captured al Qaeda operative who told Canadian officials that Jdey was on a suicide mission to bring down an airliner also trained with Richard Reid, the would-be shoe-bomber who was captured trying to light the bomb in his shoe. The captured terrorist, Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, testified against Reid and it looks like Jdey, Reid and Mansour were all training at terrorist camps in Afghanistan at the same time. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will probably issue its final report on the crash shortly after the November election but prior to the third anniversary of the crash on November 12. The NTSB will most likely blame the crash on Sten Molin, the First Officer who flew the plan that day. You will hear no mention of Jdey or terrorism at that final report.

The City Council’s Transportation Committee has scheduled hearings once again on the takeover by the MTA of the private bus lines that serve Rockaway – Green Bus, Triboro Coach and Jamaica Bus Lines. That takeover is now scheduled for December 4, but many observers believe that this will be just another missed deadline in a series of missed deadlines going back more than a year. The hearings will be held at City Hall on September 8, October 6 and November 4.

The Wave editorial this week has become something of a tradition. Often, tradition loses meaning over time, but we want to publish the list of those Rockaway residents who were lost in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center three years ago tomorrow. Each year we print the names of those local residents who were lost at the World Trade Center as well as the list of those who were lost when Flight 587 crashed into Belle Harbor. Those who were lost in the terrorist attack and those who were lost in the tragic accident only two months and a day later speak out to us to remember them and keep those memories alive.

Some locals sent The Wave a copy of a Daily News story about a volcano in the Canary Islands that might erupt and cause a tsunami that could flood all of New York City and turn Rockaway into another Atlantis. “A tsunami triggered by a volcanic eruption on an island off the coast of Africa could result in mountainous waves up to 75 feet high crashing into New York and other east coast cities, scientists are warning,” the lead for the Daily News story reads. Our own historian, Emil Lucev, has been warning of disastrous volcanoes and hurricanes for years, but I doubt that there is anything any of us can do about such freaks of nature except to worry, and what’s the use of that.

In the “CFR Benefit Fair Enlightens Community Leaders” article in last week’s issue of The Wave, the captions for the photos identifying Marcia Loyd with RN Winnie Spence (of the Visiting Nurse Service of NY) and Teresa Scott (of the Queens Independent Living Center) with Andrea Blair-Dawson (of the Caribbean Women’s Health Association) were mistakenly put under the wrong photos. The Wave regrets the errors and any inconvenience that might have occurred.

The Rockaway Republicans have gone hi-tech with the opening of its new Website. The site can be found at www. rockawayrepublicans.com.

The storm that hit Rockaway a few weeks ago, flooding many local streets, impacted Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and City Councilman Joe Addabbo, whose offices are only a few blocks apart on Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Floors had to be ripped up and replaced in Pheffer’s office. Addabbo’s office was soggy for a week. Both offices, however, are now back up and running.

This weekend will find many local residents flocking to Riis Park for the Rockaway Music and Arts Council Fall Festival. This is the 20th anniversary for the two-day event, which will run Saturday from 11a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking and admission are free and there will be lots of activities for both adults and children. For kids, there will be a petting zoo, pony rides and a chance to take part in arts and crafts activities. The adults will enjoy a juried arts and crafts show, music and food. On Saturday at noon, there will be a brief ceremony honoring those who died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

We understand that the Transportation Committee of Community Board 14 will present a report at the board’s next meeting concerning changing the “No Parking Any Time” signs on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Rockaway Park. We have heard that the committee will recommend that the board leave the final decision up to the Department of Transportation, but it should be an interesting meeting. The meeting will be held at the American Legion Hall on Beach 92 Street on September 14 at 7:45 p.m.

The new traffic light that fronts the Duane Reade parking lot at Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive is now working and traffic can once again make a left turn out of the parking lot onto the drive or go straight south on Beach 116 Street. Department of Transportation sources say that all other traffic in both directions is frozen when those come out of the Duane Reade lot have a green light. That should solve some of the problems of the area, where there have been several accidents in past months.

School opens for students on Monday on what might prove to be one of the more interesting Rockaway school years in memory. Many of the local elementary schools are beginning the progression towards becoming K-8. There will middle school gifted programs at both PS 114 and PS 105 and a K-2 gifted program at MS 198. A new charter school, run by Victory Schools, will take over portions of MS 53 and will most likely take over the school entirely over the years. There are many new principals and lots of new teachers. This should be a year of both transition and, possibly, turmoil for the local schools.

Two west end residents who live in the Beach 123 Street area went to the lifeguard shack to complain that there have been no guards on their beaches. They were told that they would have to speak with “JR” by a Parks Department worker on the beach. At the shack, a man identified himself as JR but refused to give his name. He gave glib, unsatisfactory answers. When one of the residents said she was going to The Wave with the story, she was told “I don’t give a ___ what The Wave says. We often wonder who city workers actually work for.

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