2005-04-22 / Community


Many Yankee fans were excited about the prospect of collecting “The Immortals Medallion Collection” put out by the New York Post this week. The problem is, there are no outlets in Rockaway selling the medallions. We heard that the local distributor did not want to be bothered and calls to The Post went unreturned.

Governor Pataki and leaders in the legislature have come up with a plan to create a commission that would study the question of which of the state’s hospitals and nursing homes should be cut down in size or closed completely. The commission will be appointed some time in the next 45 days, and we hope that some people who understand the needs of Rockaway are on that panel. Rockaway now has more nursing homes than the rest of Queens combined and three very-necessary health care facilities – Peninsula Hospital Center, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center, which is federally funded. The three facilities are necessary, particularly in light of the housing development now going on throughout the peninsula. The problem will come if nobody on the panel knows Rockaway and the pure statistics are skewed to a closing. We hope that will not happen.

Those who surf Rockaway’s beaches are looking forward to today’s ceremony, which will formally open the first “Surfing Only” beach in New York City. The choice of Beach 92 Street for this honor is no surprise because it has long been looked at as the premier surfing beach on the Rockaway shore. Surfers will now be able to use the beach at all hours of the day and in all seasons “at their own risk.” No swimming will be allowed at any time. The city has long been reluctant to designate such as beach because of liability problems. When state rules changed, allowing such a designation without liability problems, however, the city reluctantly went along. Today’s 2 p.m. ceremony will be hosted by Adrian Benepe, the Commissioner of the Department of Parks, assisted by local pols Audrey Pheffer (who got the state to change its rules) and City Councilman Joe Addabbo (long an advocate for the surfing beach).

The Rockaway Rotary 27th Annual Ocean Run, sponsored by Sweet ‘N Low, will be held this year on Sunday May 1 on the Boardwalk at Beach 116 Street. The post race party will be held this year once again at the Irish Circle on Beach 102 Street. The 5K race (there will be an earlier kid’s race as well) will take off rain or shine at 10 a.m.

Sometimes it pays to have a small neighborhood store that pays more attention to customer service than to mass sales. While large pharmacies have taken over a large portion of the market and many residents who work for the city have had to switch to using ExpressScripts mail order service for prescription drugs, the Belle Harbor Chemists on Beach 129 Street continue to quietly remain as a neighborhood stalwart. Just this week, the pharmacists on duty took the time on a very busy day to take care of a prescription for a local woman who needed it quickly. None of the large chain drug stores on the peninsula would have done the same. Just after writing this, we got Email from Congressman Anthony Weiner, who has introduced legislation in Congress that would allow the small, independent pharmacies to bargain as an entity to get the best prices and the best deals from the HMO’s, something that now goes only to the large chains. Weiner says that small pharmacies such as Belle Harbor Chem-ists are losing a battle to the likes of Duane Reade and CVS, with those chain stores growing in the city by 263 percent while small independents declined by 28 percent.

Congressman Gregory Meeks needs to spend more time on his press releases and less on his travel. In a recent release, Meeks said that he was a “long time champion for the undeserved .” We think that he means “for the underserved ,” but it is funnier the way he said it. We would hate to think that Meeks really wants to provide services to those who don’t deserve it.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is saying officially that it will not reopen the investigation into the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 until the Canadian investigation into the failure of the rudder in an Air Transat Airbus A330 is completed. Canadian officials tell The Wave that the investigation could take up to two years, especially if the rudder, which is floating somewhere in the Straits of Florida, is not recovered. We wonder how many Airbus A300 series aircraft will suffer “upsets” or even fatal crashes before the NTSB takes another look.

Those who are interested in Rockaway history and those who graduated from Far Rockaway High School during its long tenure should save June 12 for the Rockaway Museum fundraiser to be held at Pier 92 restaurant right here in Rockaway. The fundraiser will feature music, good food, some fun raffles and perhaps some surprise guests from among those who once trod the floors of the high school. Watch for further information in this space in future issues.

Plenty of Community Board 14 members turned out for the monthly meeting last week, but the boisterous side conversations and general joking around were reminiscent of a grade school cafeteria at lunchtime. One has to wonder how business people or their representatives, who have important matters before the board often involving considerable financial investments, can be bothered to sincerely consider a board member’s concerns when fellow board members clearly can’t be bothered.

The Wave and other media outlets often have trouble getting public information from city, state and federal agencies. That information is often necessary to give the public a clear picture of what their government is doing for (and, to) them. For that reason, the Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL) was passed a number of years ago. Unfortunately, government agencies that would rather keep the public in the dark have often found a way around the law. Now, however, the state legislature is updating the law to make that information more readily available to media outlets and, by extension, to the public. The new law mandates agencies to provide material upon requests that are “reasonable under the circumstances.” We certainly hope that the new law is passed and signed by the governor, but many agencies are pressuring the governor to veto the new law because they would rather the public not know what they do.

In last week’s paper, we pictured a few gas stations and the prices that they charged for various grades of gasoline. When we pictured Bulloch’s Gas Station on Beach 129 Street, however, we did not note that the higher charge was for full service, while the other stations were noted at their self-service price.

The daffodils are once again in bloom, and the local garden clubs asked us to remind everybody that each bloom is a prayer for a person who was lost in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania that day in September of 2001.

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