After reading the letter from Jessica Lopez about the school system failing our children (10/22) and the follow up response by the PS 225 Parents Association (10/29), I was not surprised to see that this battle is still going on years after my daughter was a student there.
I don’t know Mrs. Lopez, but I DO know what she is going through. My daughter attended Kindergarten at PS 225 and I faced the same issues that Mrs. Lopez faced. My daughter had been taunted throughout kindergarten by the students for various reasons. She was even hit by two other students right in front of my eyes as I hid behind the classroom door in the hallway. I rushed into the classroom, removed her and immediately went to the principal demanding something be done. Instead of removing the 2 kids from the room, my daughter was switched to another class. He was unaware of the complaints I previously filed, that were nowhere to be found. My daughter had been hit, spit on, teased, had her hair pulled several times, and had her lunch thrown away on several occasions. And this was Kindergarten!! The principal’s answer to me....”kids will be kids....your daughter looks different (she was one of 3 white children in the class) and her hair is different (long and dark brown) and it’s a novelty to these other children, that’s why they pull it all the time”. Now just remember, that was HIS prejudice answer, not mine. Even still, what kind of an answer is that???!!! Is that justification for why my daughter was being taunted by these other children?
The principal was of no help so I proceeded to appeal to the district. That too was a dead end road. Their answer...”Do you know how many complaints we have about the same thing happening at your school? If we gave a variance to everyone who complained...”.
I fought for a year to get my daughter out of PS 225. I finally won, but not for the reasons you might think. She was finally given a variance to go to PS 114, but only because I had another daughter that went to a different school because she is disabled and her bus pickup was at 8:10, the same time as school started in PS 225. So my claim that I couldn’t be in two places at once was the ONLY reason I was granted the variance.
My heart goes out to all those parents who share Mrs. Lopez sentiments and to the children who have to endure what my daughter did. Not wanting to go to school because of this will most certainly affect a child’s education, no matter how good the teachers might be. My daughter was fortunate and received a wonderful education in PS 114
We’ve since moved and my daughter is now in the 6th grade and doing incredibly well in the Great Neck school system (The NYCDOE could learn a lot from them). Had she stayed in PS 225, I’m not sure she would have been doing as well as she is today.
On a positive note, I would like to say “Thank You” to the wonderful staff at PS 114, especially Mrs. Borak, Mrs. Manishor and Mrs. Daly, whose dedication and caring have helped my daughter become the wonderful student and person she is today.
Broad Channel Angels
On our way home from the city,
Things were grim and not very pretty.
Our van sputtered, coughed and backfired.
The situation was one that was that was not to be desired.
It was a very dark and cold night.
Like a miracle, Tom Larkin came into sight.
He was caring, concerned and very polite.
Then Tom and his friends from the Volunteer Fire Department and EMS came at a time that was just right.
Like guardian angels you came into view.
You knew, how to help us, you knew just what to do.
Shaun Dooley, Joel Martin, Mo Sartor and Tom Larkin,
You all lifted our hopes right off the ground.
And made sure that we got home safe and sound.
We really can’t thank you enough,
For helping us out of spot that was very tough.
That in meeting you all, we both confessed,
We must have really been blessed.
IRVING AND RUTH ADATTO
BCHS Crew Needs
Crew (rowing) is known as a sport of prestige and distinction. Traditionally crew is only offered at private and preparatory schools across the country. Many of your may not be aware that this sport exists here on our peninsula.
Founded by now-retired teacher, Mr. Bill Stein, the Beach Channel HS Crew Team is entering it’s 31 st season. Since it’s inception in the 1970’s, it has remained the only rowing team to represent the NYC public schools. Funding from the Department of Education has been little or non-existent, with some assistance coming from local politicians (to whom the team is grateful). Students who wish to participate in crew must pay dues and run fund-raising events to get the dollars needed to run a season.
While the “elite” schools train with top-of-the-line equipment at beautiful boathouses on rivers and lakes across the country, members of the BCHS Crew Team are running their program against all odds. Not only do they row with antiquated and often broken equipment (a situation they hope to rectify this year), their “boathouse” is an abandoned ammunition shed on the grounds of Floyd Bennett Field. This shed has no electricity or plumbing, and comes complete with holes in the roof and it’s own family of raccoons! Training takes place in the “questionable” waters under the Belt Parkway drawbridge. Being part of this team not only requires an enormous amount of determination, it requires guts to persevere no matter what.
Many of you may know someone that has participated in this program. I’m sure they will tell you what a worthwhile experience it was. It gave them an opportunity to partake in a sport that not only helped to make them a stronger individual, but benefited them academically as well. It would be a shame to let this program fall apart. Therefore, I encourage all the members of the Rockaway community to come out to support the BCHS Crew Team’s first fundraiser this year – A Giant Yard Sale – on Saturday, November 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of Beach Channel High School. Rain date (11/7). You will have an opportunity to meet the young people who represent their school, as well as purchase some fabulous merchandise at great prices. They need the help of the entire community to help to make this event a success.
JFK Flight Patterns
(The following letter was sent to Senator Charles Schumer.)
This is in reply to your letter on behalf of your constituent, Thomas Fitzpatrick, concerning flight patterns and aircraft noise over Belle Harbor, New York.
The Belle Harbor community is primarily impacted by commercial aircraft departures from Runway 31 Left at John F. Kennedy International Airport. A flight procedure in place between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 p.m. is specifically designed to avoid direct aircraft overflights of this community. This procedure is referred to as the PELUE2 procedure.
The six-hour window from 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. is generally the busiest at JFK. This time period had to be preserved to efficiently manage operations at the airport, and to avoid or reduce potential delays.
Compliance with the PELUE2 departure procedure is the subject of regular analysis and review by FAA management. To ensure the execution of proper procedures by Air Traffic personnel, management at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (NY TRACON) routinely requires all JFK area personnel to complete Mandatory Briefing Items (MBI) specifically addressing the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that relates to Runway 31 L/R departures at JFK and noise relief for Rockaway Peninsula residents. It is important to note that aircraft may be deviated from the PELUE2 departure procedure for reasons such as safety, emergency, weather and needs based on air traffic volume.
The FAA acknowledges the quality of life issues impacted by aviation activities. We value the cooperative relationship we share with elected officials, community organizations, and individual residents when addressing the difficult issue of aircraft noise abatement. We will continue to work diligently to achieve our noise abatement commitments and responsibilities as we oversee the safest aviation system in the world.
ARLENE B. FELDMAN
FAA REGIONAL ADMINISTRTOR
It’s Parks Fault
If Rockaway has a flood from the coming winter storms, give a lot of the credit to the Parks Department. Last week the tides almost hit the boardwalk in the 90’s, and were close to the beach wall in Belle Harbor.
Why? Because Parks bulldozes the beaches to be perfectly flat, so nothing stops the water from going up the beach as far as it can. Even as I write, I can see a bulldozer undermining the dunes at 110th St.
What is the Park Department thinking? It seems to be first of all to waste lots of money. Pay the bulldozer operators to burn fuel to flatten the beaches. Next, waste lots more money with another multimillion-dollar contract for the dredging company. Parks creates the need to pump sand, which fixes nothing, and the cycle goes around again year after year. What a colossal waste of money.
Why don’t other South Shore beaches pump sand like Rockaway does? In part, it’s because they don’t destroy the natural protections like sand dunes that nature gives us at no cost . And if you call Parks and ask why there’s no American flag at the park on 109th St. while our servicemen and women are dying in Iraq, they’ll tell you they don’t have any money to buy one.
ARTHUR P. CHOLAKIS, PHD
Hi! It’s me again with another one of my poems for you to share with your readers.
As I walk through shadow of death
With nothing but a feeling of fear
I think of the past in my life
And of the memories that were so dear
I can remember those bright summer days
When my friends would meet at the beach
As we raced toward the roar of the sea
And the sky appeared within our reach
Then as summer drew to a close
And the leaves began to fall
All those bright and fiery colors
Would bring much joy to the young and old
And on the days when the rain kissed my window pane
And the winds howled an angry sound
I would listen to the crackling of the fireplace
For there is where my peace was to be found
The days of my youth were happy days
With memories I would never forget
There were things in my past I would do over again
And things I would probably regret
But life has its ups and downs as we all know
And things aren’t always at their best
But oh, how I wish I could relive my life
As I walk through the shadow of death
JOHN M. JOANNOU
The Hamptons Of Queens
With years of perseverance and patience we are finally watching the Rockaways turn around, as well they should. Oceanfront property is a premium item all over the world and now the Rockaways have an opportunity to become the “Hamptons” of Queens. Yes, there is pride in ownership and very shortly all the new homes you see going up all along the Peninsula will be occupied by proud homeowners.
Leadership played an important role in turning the Rockaways around: The tireless efforts of past and current members of Community Board 14; the various civic associations; the dedicated leadership in the 100 and 101 Precincts; strong clergy leadership; and all of the concerned residents that care about this seaside community.
Kudos must be given to our State Assemblywoman, Audrey Pheffer, for her political leadership. With her personal interest and knowledge of the political process she was able to open many doors for us which help facilitate and overcome many of the obstacles we faced as lay leaders.
We must appreciate and acknowledge our other elected officials that have helped us to achieve our goal of a beautiful Rockaways. So I say ‘thank you’ to Congressman Gregory Meeks, City Councilman James Sanders, Jr. and State Senator Malcolm Smith. This was a team effort and a job well done.
PRESIDENT WEST LAWRENCE
Reviewing The Boulevard Parking Rules
The following letter was sent to New York City Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall.
We have advised residents within our community to contact you by phone or letter. This was to make you aware the majority of our community is in favor of our proposal for one lane of traffic in each direction (on Rockaway Beach Boulevard between Beach 125 and Beach 139 Streets) and the reinstatement of our seasonal parking.
Since this is a residential area with limited traffic flow, two lanes in each direction are not warranted. CANPAS, the Coalition Against No Parking Anytime Signs, is continuously receiving calls referring to speeding because of the four lanes. Hopefully the D.O.T. review will prove on lane in each direction is sufficient.
Our Coalition is concerned a small number of somewhat influential residents will attempt to influence the D.O.T. final decision. We will not find their unjust influence acceptable. We respectfully request a copy of the final report (review).
DANIEL & LINDA RUSCILLO
Subway Celebrates Birthday
Congratulations to all subway workers and retirees on the 100 birthday of the NYC Subway.
My father, Michael Tully, was a conductor on the IND Line for 39 years and my husband, Jim Kelly, was a signalman for 35 years.
Growing up in Astoria, the subway was the most reliable means of transportation for our family. We visited the Callaghan and Higgins family in the Bronx and the Kevin’s cousins in Manhattan via subway. My dad would attend his union meetings with Mike Quill and return home via the subway to inform the family that if Mayor Lindsey didn’t provide more money, it was time for the T.W.U. to call a strike.
There was a delightful documentary on T.V. entitled, “The History of the Subway.” The reporter’s favorite ride was on the “A” train, especially the ride over Jamaica Bay, from Howard Beach to Broad Channel to Rockaway.
Hopefully with political clout and increased population the “A” train service will improve and we’ll get facelifts for our Rockaway stations. What a perfect way to celebrate the subway’s 100 birthday.
MARY DEVER KELLY