2005-03-25 / Columnists

Simon says...

Lew M. SimonLew M. Simon

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23 rd A.D. Part B

The Good Government Regular Democratic Club is proud to announce the first meeting of the 2005 mayoral election series. We are proud and honored to hear Fred Ferrer, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination. Fred will address issues that affect the quality of life for the city.   Freddy is a great friend to the citizens of Rockaway. He assisted in the lawsuit to close down the Lawrence Hotel in 1994. In the past he supported reactivation of the Rockaway Beach line.

This is the chance for residents of the 23 A.D. to discuss issues such as transportation, education, public safety, employment and maintenance of streets, sewers and subways. This is your chance to hear what he offers. Coffee, cake, bagels and cream cheese will be served.

The meeting will be at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive opposite Waldbaum’s parking lot at 7:30 p.m.. All local residents concerned about the future of the city are welcome.

We are saddened by the loss of J.R. McDermott, a young man in the Roxbury community. J.R. was a volunteer at the Roxbury Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Sadly this occurred near the Reid Avenue booth  where a traffic light is desperately needed.

For many years residents of Breezy Point asked for assistance in obtaining a traffic light at Reid Avenue. Unfortunately the amount of traffic didn’t meet with DOT’s requirements. Now once again, we are trying our best to obtain a light.

During the past week, Chairman of the Board Steve Greenberg called to ask for my assistance in obtaining a light on Reid Avenue. It feels like deja vu. Those who remember in 1997, on the first night of Passover, I remember attending a wake for the two beautiful angels killed in Roxbury.

We did everything in our power to organize a rally, taking on the DOT to obtain a Roxbury light. It seems to be a pattern that a fatality is needed to obtain a light. We are committed to once again taking on the DOT. Several times this week we reached out to Queens DOT Commissioner Connie Moran who assured me a study will be done.

I would like to remind all residents of Breezy when you see a wire on the street that is a counter for DOT statistics. Keep going around and around until we get the number needed.

  On Friday night and Saturday during the Jewish Sabbath Yeshiva Mercaz Hatorah and the Hatzolah ambulance which is parked in their backyard was spray painted with swastikas, “Kill the Jews and other derogatory slogans. We thank the 100 Precinct and the Bias Squad which immediately responded.

We are now working with Rabbi Melvin Lerer to raise money to purchase a prefabricated building for the ambulance. We are asking for your assistance by making a donation to get this building. Checks should be sent to Hatzolah c/o Yeshiva Mercaz Hatorah, 505 Beach 129 Street, Belle Harbor NY, 11694. We are now in the process of working closely with the Catan-ese Brothers (Total Builders Inc.) to build an appropriate shelter for the ambulance.

Wednesday Proceeds night at Wendy’s has been a great success as a fundraiser to keep St. Virgilius school open. For three consecutive weeks Rockaway, Broad Channel and Howard Beach residents have come to eat and help St. Virgilius collect 20% of the money taken in. Proceeds nights have taken a break for the Easter holidays and are expected to resume in the middle of April.

  The St. Virgilius school has great parents who love and care about their children and school. The president of their Home School Association Stacy Spataro, and her committee, has been wonderful to work with. During all the trials and tribulations, including the death of one of the committee member’s husbands, we have become a tight knit family working together to keep the school open.

Special thanks to Wendy’s, Joie Fadde the Magic Man, and Tom Walsh for bringing his accordian for our sing-a-long with the children. I apologize to the parents for having to listen to my lousy voice leading the kids.

Once again on Wednesday morning the Rockaways were hit with another blackout. West End lights went out at 7:15 a.m. and returned at 8:40 a.m.. Signal problems stopped subway service. These problems seem to hit us when kids are getting ready for school and adults are trying to get to work.

  Community activist Virginia Carson reminded us that LIPA and Keyspan promised the community that when they moved the transformer from Beach 108 Street to Beach 112 Street new modern equipment would prevent blackouts. They said they would be able to handle all the new customers moving into this area. We are demanding an investigation to see what is causing constant blackouts. Are we entitled to financial restitution for our losses?

The other day a handicapped constituent who uses Access-A-Ride called me. This woman has a nervous stomach and from time to time needs to use a bathroom. She asked the driver to stop and let her use the bathroom at McDonald’s. He stopped but left her there.

I called the supervisor at Access-A-Ride who told me there are no rules covering this situation. They will make concessions if the passenger is the first or last on the van. There is definitely a need to change the rules for those who have medical documentation. We are working with the eligibility department to come up with a solution.

  On Saturday evening we attended the 70th birthday party for Alice Duck, a woman of valor, who was my mom’s best friend. For over 33 years the Ducks and Simons shared holidays, birthdays and trips. Alice has been going through very tough times. She had both hips replaced, surgery on her legs and other problems.

Through all that she manages to keep smiling and loving.

This Saturday her family and friends surprised her at Rockaway’s own Beach Club restaurant where the food is always excellent. The guests included Mrs. Duck’s children Marguerite, Billy and Steven, grandchildren Michelle and Wilhelm and friends Rozzy Kaplan, Liz Edwards and The WAVE’s own Felicia Edwards.

It felt like my mother was sitting with us. Alice was a real friend to the end of my mom’s life. congratulations to alice duck. We look forward to being at your 80th. 90th, and 100th birthdays. We love you. God bless you.

Our next trip to Atlantic City will be on Saturday, April 16. We leave at 5:30 a.m. and return at 8 a.m. The cost is $32 with $25 and a gift returned. Prepaid reservations are a must. Call 945-1216 now.  

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