2005-04-22 / Letters


A Great Man And Neighbor Dear Editor,

I too would like to share some thoughts about the late Robert Krinis, the proprietor of Rockaway Hardware Store. Mr. Krinis (whose religion I am not sure of) personified what Christians are supposed to be like. He was always polite, kind to the many downtrodden who reside around Beach 115 Street, never seemed to look down on anyone, and was a really nice neighbor. It is easy for anyone to be nice to their own, to those they deem important or powerful, but Mr. Krinis was nice to those who were not his own, not ‘important’ nor were powerful. May he rest in peace and my condolences to his family.


Loved Rockaway

Dear Editor,

I am writing in regards to my brother, Robert Krinis’ obituary placed in the April 8th edition of “The Wave”.  My brother was not a resident of the Rockaways for only 10 years.  My brother was born here and lived here for most of his 41 years. 

  As many of our friends still recall, our family lived in Belle Harbor originally, and moved to Arverne when Dad purchased our first home.  Robert attended PS 42, St. Rose of Lima School and Beach Channel High School. 

  He worked with Dad in the original “House of Decor” on Beach 88 Street since he was 9 years old.  Later Dad purchased the old “A & P” which was 2 doors down and remained there (the building where “The Wave” is now) until opening the store on the corner of 115th Street and Rockaway Beach Blvd. 22 years ago.  Robert worked with Dad, and besides owning and operating the store, they also painted many of Rockaway and Belle Harbor residents’ homes.       

Robert took over full control of the store at the young age of only 20. As many of his customers know, there was not a question that you could ask him that he couldn’t answer in regards to painting, plumbing, and nuts and bolts!  He was one of the most kindest men around, always with that amazing smile, and ready to shake your hand as soon as you came into the store. 

  He loved Rockaway and Rockaway loved him back.  Although circumstances surrounding his death are unclear, I hope that we all get the answers we are seeking soon enough.

  I want to thank the Honorable Lew M. Simon, leader of the Democratic Club here in Rockaway, for his most kind words in his column in regards to my brother, Robert.  I thank him also for attending the wake.  Seeing Mr. Simon after so long brought tears to Dad’s eyes as well as ours, for we knew Mr. Simon for many years, and we knew of the friendship Robert and Mr. Simon had.  We also knew how Robert was always readily available to help with any worthy cause.  Mr. Simon, I know Robert is smiling down upon you!

  I want to thank all of Rockaway, its residents, and all of Robert’s friends (especially Bill and Steve) and customers who took time out of their busy schedules to attend Robert’s wake and funeral.  It meant so much to us his family and was a chance for all of us to see old friends who will never be forgotten, you all know who you are!  We felt honored that you all came to say goodbye to Robert and he must be so proud to have known you all!

  Special thanks to Dragon’s Den Florists for the beautiful arrangements they made us!

  Many thanks also to the Denis S. O’Connor Funeral Home for all the help that they had given us to honor Robert.  Tom, you are the best!  Vincent, Vincenzo, and Anthony, thank you for everything!

  Father, thank you for the most beautiful mass at Robert’s beloved St. Camillus Church.  Thank you for the kind words you said about Robert and thank you for visiting with him every now and then in the store.  I know it meant a lot to him that you were with us.

  Lastly, special thanks to our Uncle Neil and Aunt Sue, who honored Robert by fulfilling his last wish, which was to be buried with Grandma Mary Hyland at Calvary Cemetary.  They flew in from California and stayed with us, supporting us and Mom, Uncle Neil’s little sister, especially.

  Our hearts ache with the loss of our Robert.  We love him and miss him!


Court Sanctioned Starvation

Dear Editor,

This letter is regarding the Terri Schiavo case in Florida that gripped the nation for two weeks surrounding Easter. Her court ordered death came after having gone more than 13 days without food or water, and her only crime was that she suffered from brain damage from a tragic incident.

Make no mistake, brain damage is not the same thing as being terminally ill. There were no extra special machines keeping Ms. Schiavo alive, just a plastic tube through which she received her nutrition and water each day. There are quite a few Rockaway residents, both adults and children, who get either all or some of their nutrition and water in this manner. My child is one of them, suffering brain damage following a near fatal reaction to a vaccination shot when she was 18 months old. What the federal and Florida State court judges did in the Schiavo case was to order a court-sanctioned execution for a handicapped brain-damaged woman by the barbaric method of slow starvation. The judicial system showed that it often can be an enemy of the people, in addition to holding Congress in contempt.

The action that Congress took, in an effort to save Ms. Schiavo’s life, was called the “Palm Sunday Compromise.” It was a valiant effort to get the various courts that were involved in the case to look at this issue fresh, especially since there were conflicting medical opinions regarding Ms. Schiavo’s condition and since her husband, who fought for the past seven years for her to be starved to death, was a husband in name only. The Senate passed it with hardly a dissent and most of the House got back to Washington for the vote. Thankfully, Democrats and Republicans, for the most part, looked at this vote as a human or civil rights issue in attempting to give Ms. Schiavo and her family another chance for fighting for her life in the courts. While most Republicans voted for this extra chance for this family, only 47 Democrats, with 53 Democrats opposing it.

Of Rockaway’s two representatives, Rep. Gregory Meeks was not there for the vote and Rep. Anthony Weiner was there, and incredibly, was one of the main representatives fighting against the bill. Why, Congressman Weiner? Don’t multi-handicapped children and adults deserve the same right to life and protection as the rest of us? Brain damaged people are not like a broken toy or table that you just discard.

Rep. Weiner’s vote was disgusting and a total affront to any person who is brain-damaged or handicapped, to every family that has a member like this, and to the many doctors, nurses, special education teachers and therapists who work with these people and care for them every day. Did you miss the civics class that said the elected official’s job description included protecting the rights of all people? Our greatness as a nation is shown by how we care for those less fortunate and certainly those who are so ill, especially when they cannot defend themselves and cannot talk. We won’t forget Rep. Weiner’s vote from Palm Sunday and we will remember as you run for Mayor.


Caring And Loving

Dear Editor:

I would like to share with my fellow Rockaway residents my exceptional experience dealing with the Howard Beach Animal Clinic. My dog became critically ill so I went to the Howard Beach Animal Clinic for a second opinion. It was at this time that my family and I had the good fortune of meeting with Dr. Adams

Dr. Adams proved to be caring, loving, and compassionate. Although my dog could not be saved, Dr. Adams provided her with extraordinary care. Between October through March this doctor did not have my dog endure unnecessary tests that would of not been beneficial in prolonging her life

Dr. Adams’ final show of humanity was when she euthanized our dog; afterwards, she hugged all of us and expressed her sympathies. I wish I could find a doctor for my family and I, as my dog encountered with Dr. Adams.


Draconian Beach Rules

Dear Editor;

The move to designate a surfing beach for Rockaway where surfers can come at any time and try out their skill is an idea that is long past being the right way to go. Surfers do not need lifeguards to make sure they are safe. They need ocean and waves and little else.

The fact that it took nearly two years for the city and the state to get together and get the deal done, however, remains disturbing.

With another beach season rapidly approaching, only two months away, there are lots of questions remaining about beach use and boardwalk access that need to be addressed before the lifeguards come and this year’s ticket blitz begins.

First of all, where can you legally fish on Rockaway’s beaches? This is a question that concerns hundred of us who like nothing better than to take our rod and reel out into the surf and try to pull in the big one.

For most of my life, I was allowed to cast from the rocks. When three young foreign girls died nearby Beach 9 Street, that right suddenly ended. We were told that it was too dangerous to do something that we had been doing for more than 20 years. I dare you to find a story in your paper about a fisherman who drowned after he fell off the rocks. I don’t think you will find that story because I don’t believe it ever happened.

The city, however, concerned about large payouts after lawsuits, decided that we had to be protected from ourselves, so there was no more fishing off the rocks.

Then, about a year later, Park Enforcement Police Officers started coming around, giving tickets for “swimming without a lifeguard present” when we walked into the surf up to our ankles to cast our lines. It was clear to all that we were not swimming and the only thing that could have happened to us is if a large whale took our hook and pulled us out to sea.

So, who could not fish off the rocks and we could not get our feet wet casing our lines.

Then, the tickets started to come for standing on the beach and fishing. After getting two of those tickets, I gave up my passion and decided to move somewhere that I could fish. I never did, but a lot of job came out of my life.

At the same time, surfers and boogie-boarder’s were getting tickets for surfing on beaches where there were swimmers or on beaches where there were no lifeguards.

People got tickets for drinking on the beach, for leaving their blankets and other belongs while they were in the water, for noise, for being on the beach after curfew, for being on the boardwalk after curfew.

When I was young and the boardwalk held all sorts of fascination, we spent the entire night on the boardwalk. Before air conditioning, we spent hot nights on the beach, sleeping there all night. That was what Rockaway, a beach community, was for. It drew people from all over the city.

Two years ago, new signs went up with new rules. Off the beach by 9 p.m. Off the boardwalk by 10 p.m. One hot night that summer, I was walking on the boardwalk with a friend and we were told by two cops that we would be arrested because we were on the boardwalk after curfew and we had no identification.

Is this Rockaway? Is this America? Why can’t I be on the boardwalk on a hot night? Why must I always carry identification when I leave my apartment?

The beach should be open for those who want to sit and contemplate the calm seas. The boardwalk should be open all night long for those who obey the law. If the cops want to arrest somebody who is drunk and disorderly, let them do it. If somebody, however, wants to sit with his best girl or guy on a bench and feel the cool ocean breezes, why should that mean a summons and an order to get out of there or go to jail?

We have been told in the pages of your paper that the harsh rules will not be enforced as stringently this year as it was last. That is meaningless. Why have a law if you do not intend to enforce it? The only reason for that kind of foolishness is if the police want to selectively enforce the law, and that brings a slippery slope where the law is enforced unequally and often unfairly. I understand that people pay lots of money for beachfront property and don’t want to be bothered by people on the beach or boardwalk after dark, but they have no right to make sure that demand is enforced by the government. You have to expect that kind of activity when you buy a home next to the beach.

I urge the city officials to change the stupid and draconian beach and boardwalk rules.

The boardwalk should be open all night to those who don’t break the law. The beach can be open until 1 or 2 a.m., as long as nobody (but surfers and fishers) go into the water.

That is what a beach community is for and we should take back our rights to use it as we would like.

Bill Foehn

Will Miss Lashin

Dear Editor;

I found Karen Lashin standing at the end of a yellowish hallway, shiny gray floor reflecting a thin ray of midday light. She beamed a smile, eyes serious. We huddled together in her shoebox-office, metal-gated windows dripping hexagon shadows across curious faces in midday warmth of August. Together we brainstormed my possible role in the team of which she was Coach.

I found Karen and I found a star.

I found Karen and I found a mentor.

I found Karen and I found action and access.

I found Karen and found strength and endurance.

I found Karen and found more about my own potential.

Karen is not simply defined. I use great care and caution to define a person by their livelihood or profession. Karen, however, simultaneously is consumed by and consumes her daily reality with a unique intensity of warmth and love and sincerity often absent from the walls in which she walks tall.

Karen is the Far Rockaway High School Instructional Support Services Department Assistant Principal whom I found at the end of that silent hallway. Soon, that vision will be a fond memory in the nebulae of my mind, likewise for the dozens upon dozens of students she has ‘beamed’ at for the past two years.

I knew not the gem I found in Karen when we first met. There are times a light is obvious, though its source is unclear.

She beamed a smile today and I knew her unmatched sharpness and laughter cannot be replaced at Far Rockaway High School. She began her journey as a paraprofessional, brought sandboxes and empathy to her students as a teacher in District 75, and assembled a team with a unique style of focus, drive, empathy, and purpose as an administrator at Far Rockaway.

Finding Karen was my blessing and so too will she be a blessing to Region 3 as Local Instructional Superintendent for Instructional Support Services.

Finding Karen has made my two-year journey amazing and awesome. Karen’s intention was to create a family. Karen, your success is hardly measurable, though apparent by those wishing upon many stars you would stay. You are irreplaceable.

And so…

Far Rockaway will miss you dearly.

May Region three thank you dearly.

You have created something great quite clearly

‘She beamed a smile’ I will remember, clearly…


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