2005-01-28 / Letters


Blood Drive Thanks

Dear Editor,

Another successful Blood Drive, another tribute and thank you to all those who came to remember Walter Blum. Over 100 units were received which is quite an accomplishment considering the fact that there are so many people, many of them our faithful donors, who have been hit with the flu, colds and whatever else is going around.

This year’s blood drive was handled by Methodist Hospital who approached my daughter Elizabeth Marconi to see if they could run the drive. They had heard of the magnanimity of the people in Rockaway and their joy in being together for a great cause. They arranged to have a large and efficient staff and enough supplies to ensure there would be no delays when the donors arrived. They were true to their word!

The Blum family would like to express their gratitude to each and every one who came. Even if for some reason you were not able to donate, we appreciate that you came, stayed, visited, looked through and enjoyed the album of pictures of past years. We would also like to thank Dorothy Brenna, who year after year has assisted in setting up the drive, to Msgr. Geraghty, who so kindly allowed us to use the building and to Fr. Lou, who checked during the day to make sure everything was going smoothly and that nothing was needed. To Nurse Ellen, you are the best. To Eric McManus and the staff of Jamison’s, a great big thank you for always being so generous and kind and for opening yourselves and your establishment to refresh the donors and to let them all enjoy each others company. Jamison’s surely is where “The Elite Meet to Drink and Eat.”

Most of all, I thank my family for their untiring faithfulness of their father’s memory. There is probably no other way he would want to be remembered. He was a blood donor from the time he turned 18 years old, until his illness no longer allowed him to participate. The fact so many young and so many dear friends perpetuate his memory in this way is unbelievably consoling to all of us. If I had to encapsulate his way of life, I would say he lived for his family and friends, his God and his country. He would say, “Keep the faith, fly the flag and donate blood.”


What Happened To You, Howie?

Dear Editor,

After reading your column this week in The Wave, I was deeply troubled and truthfully quite upset with the scurrilous attack on William Fitzgerald. Please know that this “anonymous committee” does not speak for the whole staff at M.S. 202 and they certainly do not speak for me. However, I now feel that I must speak for myself.

I did not know about Mr. Fitzgerald until the start of the September ’04 school year. Since then I found him to be an outstanding administrator. He is young, energetic and very knowledgeable. We have worked together on various committees, where he has shown excellent leadership qualities. Fitzgerald is the type of administrator that I would go the extra mile for, because he would and has gone the extra distance for me. It is truly a shame that he has been the object of such an undeserved personal attack.

You mentioned in your column that you know this “committee of teachers” and therefore tend to believe them. Howie – what has happened to you and your standards? Why wouldn’t you do a more thorough investigation. This is not the Howie, I admired, respected and worked with for year at 226 and 198. You were always fair-minded and I thought scrupulous about your journalistic standards. To impugn the reputation of a fine young man without more research certainly is not up to your standards or the standards I thought you held.

I have been a teacher for many years and have worked under many administrations. Mr. Fitzgerald is one of the most outstanding. I am deeply saddened to see that he has been so harshly treated. I am also saddened to see that there seems to be a lapse in your journalistic integrity.


What Committee?

Dear Editor,

I was very disheartened to read the comments of the “committee of teachers” from M.S. 202. What committee? Who are they?

They don’t speak for me. If they did, they would be singing Fitzgerald’s praises.


Parents Have Taken Ownership

Dear Editor,

  Allow me to add a postscript to the Concerned Parents of St Virgilius’ letter of 1/21.

  I applaud Mrs. Phelan, her staff, teachers, parents, and the students, who make all the work worthwhile there.

The parents have taken ownership of their school and are willing to take on full responsibility and work to keep the school open. This action has its basis in a principle of Roman law which has also been incorporated in-to the canonical tradition of our Church.” What touches all, should be approved by all.”

The Bark of Peter is presently encountering tumultuous storms never before experienced in our Church.  Before this present crisis, we might have claimed ignorance.  Today we recognize the place for responsible questions and the cost of our silence upon so many innocent victims.  In order to find a safe and vibrant harbor we must take ownership of our proper role in the Church. And the Church must return to its ancient tradition of seeking the counsel and consent of the Faithful.


In Defense Of Fitzgerald

Dear Editor,

This committee from Middle School 202 was appalled at the written assault of our Assistant Principal, Mr. William Fitzgerald.

His professionalism and deep commitment to the educational needs of our students has steadily won the respect and support of our committee, none of whom are afraid to sign their names to this letter.

We sincerely hope you will honor us by printing it. Thank you.







Did The Wolf Change Clothing?

Dear Editor;

We are living in a world of political correctness, even if this correctness is far removed from the truth. Sixty-five years after the Germans committed the greatest atrocity ever by one nation against other people of the world, the phony historians are rewriting history. A ruthless killer led the forever trouble-making Germans into World War II. The rest is recorded in the hearts and minds of those who suffered during the reign of the self-proclaimed “master race” I have no need to read about what has transpired during that period. I lived it.

 It is incredible that some anti-Semites and sympathizers of Hitler’s cause can say that the Holocaust is a fraud that never happened. How blatant can liars get, while eyewitnesses to that which transpired are still alive? They ignore the past sufferings of all that died at their hands and the few remaining survivors of the death camps, and those brave men of our Armed Forces who liberated the concentration camps. They even ignore the war criminals who were tried at Nuremberg, who, to save their necks, would not have hesitated to deny their atrocities if there was one shred of evidence to rebut those atrocities. But it was impossible to do so, and Goering, Ribbentrop, Streicher and company knew it.

 The media, politicians and even heads of state whose people suffered during the occupation of their lands lay the committed misdeeds before and during WWII on the Nazis. I would like to enlighten those politically correct but morally wrong people that even a large group of Nazi party members could not have caused the death of 50,000,000 people.

 The blame for crimes against humanity should be laid where it belongs, on the Germans. This will cover the Nazis too, where blaming the Nazis alone would clearly whitewash all the non-NSDAP card-carrying members.  Put the blame where itbelongs, on all Germans of that time, since they are the ones who brought so much misery to the world.

 During the time I lived under German occupation I never met a single German soldier or civilian that behaved toward my people or myself other than as a cruel beast with murder on his mind. After the war’s end, I resided in Germany from August 1946 until May 1951. Throughout all those years I never met a single German that knew what had transpired during WWII. Or so they said.

 Did the wolf change into a sheep? I doubt it.



  Thanks For Printing

The Poem

Dear Editor,

It is with great pleasure I write this letter. Firstly, Happy New Year to you and your staff.

I would like you to know that you did a wonderful Christmas deed. I had looked every week in the papers. It was only a couple of weeks, but I thought maybe my poem wasn’t good enough. Then one evening, I came home tired and achy. I took the mail from the mailbox and was flipping through the pages of The Wave.

I was thrilled to see my poem and those of the others. It was a dream come true and a good ending to a fabulous year.

I wish all your dreams come true. I can understand if our poetryis not good enough, but you allow us to dream aloud.


Transportation Improvements

Dear Editor,

The following letter was sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

As a Rockaway resident and New York City voter I’d like to ask you to address a serious issue concerning all who live in this fiercely proud yet sadly neglected peninsula nestled between the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and waters of Jamaica Bay: lack of viable transportation to Manhattan. At the urging of Democratic District Leader Lew M. Simon (23rd A.D. Part B), a tireless advocate of sensible action on behalf of his constituents, I am writing this letter in hopes you make improvement of bus, ferry and rail lines from Rockaway a priority this year, in particular revitalizing the now-misused Rockaway Beach rail line owned by the Long Island Railroad (which neglected right-of-way now serves multiple dubious functions as a homeless refuge, teen party-hangout, and unregulated municipal dump.) Surely this valuable land can serve a much broader base of citizens engaged in more productive (and taxable) pursuits?

Did you know that at one-time it was possible to commute from Rockaway to Penn Station in 35 minutes? Recently a long-time resident shocked me by revealing this little-known fact, since over fifty years ago the L.I.R.R. still ran service from Rockaway Park and Far Rockaway along the current “A” line, across this abandoned rail link to the main trunk lines of the commuter railroad, and into the East River tunnels and Manhattan. Certainly in transportation, among many areas (read: housing, jobs, schools, etc.) Rockaway has had the humiliating distinction of falling behind the times and off the political map, as patient and long-suffering Manhattan-bound residents, without the luxury of private helicopters or speedboats, possess no alternatives to the now one and a half hour to over two hour odyssey to Midtown. Can you blame anyone who would rather sit in mind-numbing traffic on the Belt Parkway than endure a 2 hour marathon on the “A” train; even as commuting times have greatly lengthened, people who can afford it would rather endure the hassle of driving than taking any public transportation, which seems merely choosing one form of hell over another?

Being a bit of an intrepid soul, my commute involves riding my bicycle from my home in Roxbury (in Breezy Point, just west of the Marine Parkway Bridge) along the bike path of the Belt Parkway (where I frequently seem to move faster than rush-hour vehicles inching along the roadway) to Sheepshead Bay, where I park and ride the B-train to my Midtown destination. Average time: 1 hour and 40 minutes one-way.

As you advocate to extend the “7” train to the West Side to spur development of that area, including the new Jets stadium, do not forget that that formula would work in the fringes of this great city just as well as its core: which in turn will improve education, housing, civic pride, and a whole host of positive ripple effects. I hope that you heed the essential lessons of former Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, who understood full well that improving the basic everyday needs of ordinary working people brings a mayor greater fondness in voter’s mind than delivering large-ticket items such as bringing the Olympics or professional sports stadium.


Who Got Paid Off?

Dear Editor;

What’s up with the Rockaway Freeway? I notice that it is closed between Beach 77 Street to Beach 73 Street. What was the purpose of this?

This the only road that you can drive straight to Far Rockaway. Now we are inconvenienced again because we now have to use Rockaway Beach Boulevard. With its bumps etc. and Beach Channel Drive, which is a roller coaster road. I guess somebody got paid off again from Breechwood development, DOT, and officials, Community Board etc. to have that part of the road closed.

The freeway is not a dangerous road like they say it is because I use this road every day to go the Five Towns with no problem. The ones that make this road dangerous are the people that drive their cars and speed on this road. This is just another inconvenience for those who drive in the Rockaways. It was an inconvenience when they made one lane under the freeway. We the people of Rockaway have never any say about this kind of thing.

Just go ahead and do it. The hell with the people here. What gives DOT and Beechwood the authority to do this and we have no voice in anything that is going on here, we live here too. Maybe we need to get together and pay some body off to hear us too. Help Please?


Keep The Faith

Dear Editor:

The Home School Association of St. Camillus totally supports the views and concerns of the St. Virgilus Parent Association.

With everything going on in the Church today, this is the time that we need to come together and support one another to allow every school and parish to thrive. Rumor and hearsay only create panic and benefit the ones starting them. The parents of St. Virgilus have our respect for their commitment and for the outstanding fundraising they have accomplished over the years to keep the school going. Like St. Virgilus, the St. Camillus School continues to work hard to provide a viable school for the children of Rockaway to learn not only the academic knowledge but to help them evolve into their spiritual beings. We are having an Open House this Sunday, January 30, 2005 after the 10:30am Mass. And our next major fundraiser is the Mardi Gras Card Party scheduled for Friday, February 4th at 7:00pm. Snow or rain, sleet or ice—hope to see you!

Thank you and keep the faith,



Good Things Are Happening

Dear Editor,

This letter was written to School Scope columnist Norman Scott:

In answer to the question of whether we have anything positive to say about those running the schools...

The assistant principals at PS/MS 43 are what truly make life bearable.  They always have our backs, as the expression goes, and are ever nudging us, not always gently, but not nastily, to keep up with all the various requirements placed upon us.  They are definitely overworked and under appreciated, and I know I speak for my colleagues in the upper grades when I say THANK YOU Sara Trezza, Debbie Otto, and Cindy Lee!  

I have been fortunate enough to be a recipient of part of the new $17 million grant for technology in the classroom.  We have a cartful of laptops and lots of peripherals to make learning more interesting to the students.  It is amazing how eager they are to do research and write now.  I have said we are “fooling” them into reading, because they’re reading webpages instead of books.  It is very exciting and uplifting, and my students are really working.  I teach two 7th and one 8th grade English class, and have connected the projects we do to the Social Studies curriculum to further enhance their learning.

Positive things are happening!



Needle Exchange And

Racial Profiling

Dear Editor,

The epidemiological research associated with the transmission of HIV disease has consistently demonstrated that for injecting drug users needle exchange programs retard the transmission of the virus that causes AIDS. This retardation process has been called, “hard reduction” appreciating the fact that drug addicted lifestyle has the probability of curtailing one’s life more rapidly than the degenerative process of HIV disease. Advocates of needle exchange programs have continually emphasized the “humanitarian imperative” to couple these programs with substance abuse treatment.

This is the question that should be asked the 21 community board members who voted to place the program in downtown Far Rockaway and by the way – don’t be so naïve as to believe you’re speaking on behalf of this community of color because you do not speak for us clearly in this matter.

If you did here are some of the questions you would have asked before saying ‘put the program anywhere but Belle Harbor’; has the community increased access to substance abuse treatment programs? Are there plans for increasing substance abuse treatment slots? Research has demonstrated that communities prepared and involved in “harm reduction” needle exchange programs are far more effective than those programs that aren’t embraced by the community.

For too long Community Board 14 and its members (you know who you are) have been divisive when the issues affect the east end of the Rockaways. Case in point, if you had proposed or recommended that this program be placed in Bayswater, Read Lane and/or Belle Harbor the board would have invited the religious and community leaders to a meeting at the Community Board 14 office for private consultation. I’m not angry at my brothers and sisters from those communities for their demands. The double standards are clear because not one religious leader of color or community leader was briefed before the board voted on this matter at the January 11 meeting.

So that we’re clear, the Far Rockaway NAACP supports the efforts to reduce and eradicate the prevalence and the transmission of HIV/AIDS in our community. The community board process is either flawed or reeks of racial profiling. For the record, as early as 1992, the NAACP recognized that “HIV/AIDS is a public health crisis in the African-American community.” Despite over a decade of work urging African-American leaders and organizations, government officials, and individual members of the African community to improve prevention and treatment for this epidemic, the problem has not decreased.



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