2005-07-15 / Community


Despite the promise of west end traffic jams on Sunday night, hundreds of locals joined many from around the tri-state area for the Rockaway Music And Art Council’s second Sunset Picnic Concert of the season, featuring Kenny Vance and the Planotones. The popular Rock ‘N Roll group, whose big hit was “Looking For An Echo,” apparently has a large following that followed him to Rockaway. The weather was beautiful and the concert was one of the best ever in the series.

Speaking of Sunday Night, the annual Guyanese-American Family Fun Day was far less of a problem than last year, when the immensity of the crowd caught both park officials and local police unawares. This year, both groups were prepared with many police officers being brought in from other precincts. Rockaway Beach Boulevard was closed off at the far west end of Neponsit and everything was kept cool. The only problems involved a few lost children who were quickly found.

The city recently dismissed more than 1,100 “unlicensed” teachers as part of an agreement with the state that it would staff classrooms with only certified teachers by the coming September. Many of the teachers have been teaching for years and could not pass the city’s tests. A number of them taught subjects that are hard to fill, such as mathematics and science. “This will ultimately give our kids a better education,” a Department of Education spokesperson told reporters. That, unfortunately, is probably not true. More likely, it will be difficult to find replacements for the fired teachers and those students they would have faced in September will be inundated with unqualified subs and coverages for the first few months of the new term.

An editorial in the Rockaway Point News points out that even in a highly-controlled gated community there are problems with underage drinking. “This past July 4 weekend, several cases of unintentional alcohol poisoning occurred with a few of our teenagers,” the editorial said. “In each case, the teens were ‘having fun’ and the end result was not too nice.” The editorial ends with the words, “We need to be aware of what our children are doing. We can no longer condone the drinking saying ‘they’ll learn how to drink safely’ but from what occurred this past weekend, we are very lucky not to be burying one of two of them today.” That is a lesson that all of Rockaway should take to heart.

The National Park Service banned swimming at Riis Park last weekend because of high levels of bacteria. The city says that the water in Rockaway was just fine. That is hard to understand. One local said that it is a little like saying half of a bathtub full of water is fine while the rest is polluted. Either the NPS was being overcautious or the city was playing with the health of those entering the water at city beaches.

Nicholas Minucci was sentenced to five years probation for stabbing Broad Channel resident John Rich three years ago. The penalty for the brutal stabbing probably would have been worse had not Rich died under the wheels of an A Train at Beach 98 Street. Now, Minucci is charged with the savage racial beating of a black man in Howard Beach and reports say that his parole in the Rich case will be revoked on July 20 when he appears in court in the new case. It is not clear just how long Minucci will serve for the Rich case because the Minucci was treated as a juvenile offender and the case records were sealed.

Virginia Fields were creeping up on Giff Miller in the race for Democratic candidate for mayor until her staff sent out a flyer that was designed to show the diversity of her campaign. Behind her in the main picture on the flyer were people of all races and colors. The problem was, the photo was a montage of people taken from other photos that had nothing to do with her campaign. In fact, a number of the people came forward to say that they did not support her. The Manhattan Borough President quickly fired her campaign guru, but he fired back, saying that she had approved the montage picture.

The NYPD has disconnected cell phone service in all of the city vehicular tunnels in the wake of the recent bombings of subway tunnels in London. According to published reports, terrorists have used cell phones to trigger bombs and the NYPD wants to forestall any use of the phones for that purpose in our city. Not being able to talk on a cell phone while driving through a tunnel seems to be a cheap price to pay for increased security.

While some people don’t believe in coincidences, we had a good one at The Wave in the July 1 Issue. On page 41, we ran a picture of a young man who was supposed to be guarding the halls at Far Rockaway High School in 1942, but had fallen asleep. We asked

if anybody knew the young man and where he was today. In fact, he was in the pages of The Wave

in that issue on page 36, looking

at a monitor as his blood pressure was being tested at a health fair. Seymour Argule, the person in both pictures got a chuckle out

of the juxtaposition of two pictures of him in the same issue of The Wave, but taken 63 years apart.

We have to wonder that the firefighters in Bayside were thinking about when they found what appeared to

be a pipe bomb in a garbage fire

and decided to take it back to their firehouse rather than calling in the NYPD bomb squad. They could have blown away not only their firehouse, but part of the neighborhood as well. We understand the “battle of the badges” and the fact that FDNY hates to ask NYPD for help, but this is getting ridiculous.

For years, lifeguards had only to put their orange shirts in their car windows nearby the beach to insure that they did not get a ticket. That ended this year because too many non-lifeguards put orange shirts in their car windows. Now, there is a system of permits that lifeguards are issued to keep them ticket-free. Seems, however, that some traffic enforcement officers did not get the word. A number of lifeguards parked on Beach 117 Street got tickets last weekend while legally parked.

Two of our favorite writers passed away last week on the same day – Evan Hunter and Ed McBain. Actually, it was no coincidence. Both are the same man. Using his real name, Hunter wrote dozens of novels, including “Blackboard Jungle.” He also wrote the script for the movie, “The Birds.” As Ed McBain, he wrote the highly-popular police procedurals, “The 87th Precinct” mysteries. All in all, he wrote more than 100 novels, short stories, plays and film scripts over 50 years. He will be missed by his fans, who purchased more than 100 million books over the years.

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