2005-08-12 / Community

Beachcomber

A group of Vietnam War veterans is planning on starting a chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America in Rockaway. The organizers need approximately 30 veterans who are willing to become charter members of the local group. Those who are qualified and interested in becoming members should contact Howard Schwach at The Wave.

John Lepore, who heads the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce, has received the “Hands in the Community” award from his company, AllState Insurance. The award of $500 for the Rockaway Partnership, the developers of Tribute Park, was given to Lepore for his volunteer work with the Rockaway community.

There are a number of events during August that should be noted on your calendars. On August 14, Riis Park will host a sandcastle contest of its own. The event will take place at Bay 5 at 1 p.m. The RMAC will host its last Sunset Picnic Concert with an evening of Ragtime at 6 p.m. on August 21. The Rockaway Theatre Company, just off its sell-out hit “My Fair Lady,” will present “Arsenic and Old Lace,” at the Fort Tilden Post Theatre beginning on August 19. Shows are evenings at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. The most colorful event of the year, the New York Kite Festival, sponsored by the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce will take place at Riis Park’s Bay 9 on Saturday and Sunday, August 20 and 21. Those who are interested in getting a first glimpse at the proposals for the Beach 116 Street AA 587 Memorial can view the final six at the Beach Club (B. 116 Street and the beach) on August 31, from 6:30 to 9:30. The artists will be available for comments and questions. Every Thursday night during August, the RAA will feature local bands and other entertainment at its ‘Moon Stage” at Fort Tilden. The free shows will begin at 7 p.m. each week. Finally, the RMAC will host its Fall Festival in front of the bathhouse at Riis Park on September 17 and 18. The festival includes arts, crafts, food and entertainment.

Republican challenger Tom Ognibene was knocked off the primary ballot last week after a series of challenges to his petitions by Mayor Mike Bloomberg. During Bloomberg’s first run (and win) for the office, he complained when party regulars tried to knock him off the ballot that every candidate should be given a chance to go before the electorate. Obviously, he changed his mind now that it is his ox that is being gored. Ognibene says that Bloomberg “wants to shut out the views of the people who support my candidacy” and vows to fight. He will still be on the November ballot as the candidate of the Conservative Party. By the way, Bloomberg is looking to revive the moribund Liberal Party so that he can use that line to draw Democratic voters in the upcoming election. That would make Bloomberg a Republican-Independence-Liberal Party candidate, something we haven’t seen in many a moon.

The full moon has been blamed for lots of things, but a new study shows that full moons mean more polluted beaches. A new study of 60 beaches, including a number of east and west coast beaches (although not Rockaway) concludes that water pollution varies with the lunar cycle, reaching the highest levels when the tides are ebbing during the New and Full Moon. The bottom line is that there is more bacteria in the water during those times and the city should make swimmers aware of the problem in a timely manner. Just a few weeks ago, the beaches at Riis Park were closed because of the bacteria count while the city beaches remained open. There has to be a double standard in there somewhere, one that needs to be addressed before some swimmers become ill.

Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is running for Mayor, seems to be running a one-man campaign about the waste of Homeland Security money. According to Weiner, the money, that is really needed in cities such as New York, Washington, San Francisco and other large cities, is being spent on such things as air-conditioned garbage trucks (Newark, New Jersey), a custom trailer for a mushroom festival (Madisonville, Texas), public speaking training for sanitation workers (Washington, D.C.), a trailer to transport lawnmowers to lawnmower races (Converse, Texas), eight large-screen plasma televisions sets (Montgomery County, Maryland) and decorative artwork, plants, kitchen appliances and fitness center equipment for the Transportation Security Administration headquarters.

Daylight Saving Time will now last longer under a bill passed two weeks ago. Now, we turn clocks one hour ahead on the first Sunday in April and back on the last Sunday in October. For now on, however, we will “spring forward on the second Sunday in March and “fall back” on the first Sunday in November. The move is designed to save energy.

Congressman Gregory Meeks was one of the 15 Democrats in the House of Representatives to vote in favor of the president’s free trade bill with Central America. In fact, the bill passed by a count of 217 to 215 and there are many who consider Meeks as the swing vote that put the bill over the top. While the organization that represents manufacturers lionized Meeks (the bill will mean windfall profits for companies that can manufacture their goods much more cheaply in other nations where there is no minimum wage or health insurance) and defamed by labor unions and worker’s rights groups. There are many who believe that the bill will exacerbate the move of jobs from America to other nations in the hemisphere. Whether Meeks will suffer with his own party’s leaders, where he was considered to be an up and coming star, particularly in the minority caucus, remains to be seen. There are reported moves on the part of the Democratic hierarchy to punish those party members who voted for the bill. Meeks met on Tuesday with community newspaper editors to explain his vote, but few were buying what he had to sell.

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