2005-01-28 / Community

Beachcomber

Local environmentalist Bernard Blum, president of the Friends of Rockaway, called to remind us that the 1984 naming of Beach 38 Street in honor of famous Hawaiian surfer, Duke Kahanamaku, was all about water related activity and protection from storms and tsunami. Blum says that the plan for the eastern end of the Arverne Urban Renewal Area, which calls for a park, ignores that naming and all that it represents.

Some Rockaway teachers are pointing to a new study that shows that the number of adults who live in New York City and have a problem with speaking English has grown by 30 percent over the past ten years as one reason why Johnny cannot read. “When one in four New York City residents cannot adequately speak English,” one teacher said in an email, “it is no wonder that their children cannot learn to read and write well enough to become productive adults.” The teacher points to the fact that children must begin early to learn to read and that means books and periodicals in the home. “Very often, when the parents do not speak English at home,” the teacher said, “the children do not value learning English to any extent and turn off in school.”

Those who live under the flight path of JFK Airport (there are not many in Rockaway who do not), viewed the roll-out of the Airbus A-380 with some trepidation, especially those who remember the crash of an Airbus A-300 in Belle Harbor in 2001. The new aircraft is the largest in the world, with a 262-foot wingspan (so large that the runways at JFK have to be widened) and a capacity of nearly 800 passengers. The 308-ton aircraft will begin landing in New York sometime in 2006 and we can bet that residents will watch them pass over with memories of AA 587’s tail falling off over Jamaica Bay.

Donna Hanover is Rudy Giuliani’s ex-wife, but you would never know it from her new book, “My Boyfriend’s Back.” While Hanover talks in the book of living at Gracie Mansion as the wife of the ex-mayor, she never once mentions his name in the 278-page book. There are two theories as to why she does not name her ex-husband by name. The first posits that there is some sort of clause in their divorce settlement that does not allow her naming him. The second says that she hates him so much she cannot even stand to write his name.

It cost $1.9 billion dollars to build the AirTrain system, which runs from JFK Airport to Archer Avenue in Jamaica. The line has about 8,500 paying riders each day (many more ride free on the airport loop). Of those 8,500 who pay, 4,500 connect with Jamaica while 4,000 connect with the Howard Beach subway station. Those riders pay $5 each way. That comes to about $42,500 a day in revenue. If you discount operating costs, at that rate the AirTrain will take only 120 years to break even. What a bargain!

There is presently a tsunami warning system in the Pacific, but none in the Atlantic Ocean to protect the east coast of the nation. That will change shortly as a consequence of the deadly tsunami that recently wiped out a large chunk of East Asia. The plan calls for a $37.5 million deep-sea warning system that would take about two years to fund and to construct. The new system would provide several hours of warning should a tsunami be heading for America.

Under a new Department of Education (DOE) plan, high school students who fail their Regents exams can still get their diplomas if they appeal successfully to the chancellor. Right now, students must pass five Regents exams to get a diploma. A number of educational experts criticized that plan as causing a large drop-out rate as those who know they cannot pass the tests give up and move on. Nearly a third of the city’s high school students don’t even bother to take the tests, according to DOE statistics. Under the proposal, students who come within three points of passing (the passing score, by the way is 55), and who pass the subject on their report card and have attended 95 percent of their classes, can appeal and, if the appeal is successful, they can still get a Regents diploma. Talk about standards!

Those who love doo wop music should get themselves to Beach Channel High School tomorrow night, Saturday, January 29, for the annual Harry G. spectacular, featuring nine acts from the golden days of rock ‘n roll. One of those groups, Kenny Vance and the Planetones has ties to Rockaway. The show will begin at 7 p.m.

Brooklyn College, right down Flatbush Avenue from the Marine Parkway Bridge, has an institute for retired persons. The new program is called the Institute for Retirees in Pursuit of Education (IRPE). Classes for the next semester will begin on February 7 and there are 65 courses to pick from, including history, political science, computer and art courses. The membership costs $30, which allows access to all classes and lectures. Those interested should call 718-951-5647 or at http://irpe. brookly.cuny.edu.

One of America’s worst criminal acts was the erasing of 18 ½ minutes of the White House tapes detailing the Watergate cover-up. The erasure was done by a woman named Rose Mary Woods, the long-time secretary to President Richard Nixon. Woods, who never admitted the act, and who tried to laughingly show how the erasure was an accident, died last week at 87. Woods said at the time that she had leaned over to get the telephone and inadvertently hit the record button, erasing the tape. Experts, however, later proved that the erasure had been done in at least five separate actions.

The Rockaway Museum will soon host a number of educational programs for both adults and children. Those workshops will be held in local libraries. Those interested should contact the museum by Email at therockawaymuseum@yahoo.com. Look for a schedule shortly on these pages.

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