2004-12-31 / Columnists


Those who enjoy the great outdoors should join other Rockaway residents at Fort Tilden at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning for the annual “New Year’s Day Beach Walk” led by naturalists Mickey Cohen (Bayswater) and Dan Mundy (Broad Channel). The group will once again use mirrors in an attempt to contact a like group at Sandy Hook in New Jersey, an attempt that has been unsuccessful for lo these many years.

If you’re up for more than a walk on the beach on New Year’s Day, join the members of the local Polar Bear Club who traditionally hit the surf at noon on January 1 at Beach 146 Street. Those who participate say that it’s a great way to start the year, but we’re going to have to take their word for it.

Congressman Anthony Weiner is not waiting to begin his first salvos in the 2005 war for mayor. In a recent press release, Weiner wonders how capable the Bush administration (and, Mayor Mike Bloomberg by extension) has been if a terrorist like Yasser Arafat can hide his money by putting it into a Greenwich Village bowling alley. Weiner’s remarks were spurred by news reports that Arafat had put more than a million dollars of Palestinian money into Bowlmor Lanes in Manhattan.

The Rockaway Museum has closed its doors for a two-month hiatus, in which the volunteers who keep the museum going will prepare for its next major exhibition, “Far Rockaway High School Revisited,” which is expected to open when the museum reopens in March. Material for the exhibit will be accepted, however, while the museum is closed. Those interested in lending memorabilia from their high school years at FRHS or in donating it outright may do so by contacting Exhibition Chairperson Howard Schwach at The Wave, 718-634-4000.

A veteran priest has publicly accused the administrators of Christ The King, a prestigious Catholic High School, of covering up a rash of student violence at the school. “We were careful to keep violent incidents from becoming public,” a published report says, adding that he believes that the cover-up was “Potentially detrimental to the safety of the students.” A former dean at the school has filed a lawsuit arguing that she was fired after going to the police to report a bomb threat in 2002.

A teenager in Lexington, Kentucky is suing her school district for barring her from her high school prom because she wore a dress styled as a large Confederate battle flag. While some at the high school were worried that the dress would cause a fight at the prom, the young girl says that she had a right to celebrate her heritage any way she liked and that the ban violated her First Amendment right to free speech. She acknowledged that her dress might have caused a problem, but said, “Everyone has the right to their own opinion.”

Congressman Charles Schumer has earned a 96 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters on its “Environmental Scorecard.” The rating is based on how many times Schumer voted on issues favored by the league.

The annual Harry Gross spectacular doo-wop concert will once again be held at Beach Channel High School on January 29 at 7 p.m. And, once again, Gross promises nine acts that will prove to be old favorites, including local favorites Kenny Vance and the Planotones (“Looking For An Echo”), Earl Lewis and the Channels (“The Closer You Are”), Emil Stucchio and the Classics (“Till Then”) and the original Chantels (“He’s Gone). Tickets are available for the show, which is always a sell-out, at 516-244-3262.

We urge all those who attended Far Rockaway High School and want some contact with fellow graduates to log onto the Website at www.farrockaway.com . You will be surprised at all the old photos and memorabilia that the site contains.

The annual “Plunge For Cystic Fibrosis” will take place this year on February 5 at Beach 98 Street and the beachfront. Registration at Vaughan’s Pub begins at 1 p.m., with the plunge itself coming at 2 p.m. After the quick dip, there will be a party back at Vaughan’s. All funds raised by the event go to fight Cystic Fibrosis.

We have often said that the pool of those willing to join the National Guard and reserves would dry up once people realized that a tour of either Iraq or Afghanistan would be the reward, and it has begun to happen. There is a 30 percent shortfall in the 2004 recruitment numbers and experts fear that this year’s goals will fall even shorter. What that means, should the war continue, that the dreaded “D-Word” (the reinstitution of the draft) will be heard once again in the halls of Congress. There is just no way around it if the war continues apace, we believe.

NASCAR promoters have spent $100 million to buy a parcel of unused commercial land in Staten Island, nearby the Goethals Bridge for a new raceway. Right off the West Shore Expressway, the 450-acre site will be perfect for the racing venue’s latest super speedway. While racing at the site is probably still five years off, the new track, which is expected to draw 80,000 people on race days, will be a big plus for the city and for race fans, who have had to travel to Pocono Speedway, Dover, Delaware or to Watkin’s Glen to see a race live.

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