2005-09-09 / Community

Beachcomber

The Wave broke something of a record of its own last week. For the first time in its 112-year history, the newspaper ran 100-page papers back to back. In addition, this is the first time the paper has published four 100-page papers in one calendar year.

Sometimes it gets difficult for The Wave to get information on important stories to pass on to our readers. Dealing with city agencies has always been the most difficult, which is unfortunate because many of the stories we do concern city agencies. Most recently, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs set up a meeting for local residents to view the proposals for the Rockaway American Airlines Flight 587 Memorial, which will one day be built at the southern end of Beach 116 Street. The meeting was set for Wednesday, August 31. On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the agency called and said that a special press briefing had been set up for Friday, September 2 in Manhattan and that the press would not be allowed at the local meeting. We decided, however, that it was a waste of time for us to travel to Manhattan a day after the paper went to bed. We showed up at the meeting. The press official met us at the door and told us that we were not welcome, that the “community did not want us there.” We explained that we were the eyes and ears of the community and that we were going to take pictures of the six proposals so that all Rockaway residents could judge for themselves. The press aide was adamant that we should go and threatened to have us “kicked out.” We ignored her and took our pictures. Joanne Ariola, who works for the mayor, tried to quiet the situation down and suggested that we should leave immediately. We explained that we were holding two pages for the story and were going to get the pictures. Finally, we agreed to take the pictures and leave without speaking to any of the family members, which we were not going to do in the first place. The pictures were in last week’s paper, no thanks to the city bureaucracy.

Mark your calendars for the Rockaway Music And Arts (RMAC) Fall Festival at Riis Park next weekend. The festival, which promises fun, food, entertainment and lots of artwork and crafts for sale, will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 17 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 18. Be there.

The shootings centering on the Ocean Bay Houses have only increased in number as the summer ends. There were six shooting incidents in the 101 Precinct from August 10 to August 24. There was another shooting on August 27 that seems to have sparked a vendetta that threatens to go on and on. On August 31, a teenager and another man were shot by a youth on a bike at the Ocean Bay Houses. The man who was shot in the leg was allegedly the gunman in the August 27 shooting. The 17-year-old youth was killed. Then, on September 1, a man who might or might not have been connected to the first two shootings was shot and killed on Beach 20 Street in Far Rockaway. Newsday recently did a story about the rise in gun use throughout the city. That story conjectures that the disbanding of the NYPD’s Street Crime Unit in the wake of a fatal mistaken shooting is one answer as to why there are more guns on the street. While the unit was proactive in targeting guns, particularly in the minority community, it did take hundreds of illegal guns off the street. Perhaps it is time to decide whether we want to be politically correct or we want to be safe. Sometimes, you can’t have it both ways.

The next meeting of Community Board 14, which will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Beach 90 Street, promises to be exciting. The major agenda item is the proposed parking plan for Beach 116 Street, the major shopping street on the west end of the peninsula. Some local civic associations and business people have rejected the Department of Transportation Plan, which calls for a central mall with parallel parking on all four curbs. The meeting will begin at 7:45 p.m. and public speaking is allowed on the parking issue.

The major topic of conversation on the peninsula in early September has been the cost of gasoline. Of course, Rockaway is not the only area impacted by the massive increase in pump prices, but the isolation of the peninsula makes our problem more compelling that other areas of the city. At a number of gas stations, the price went overnight from $2.78 a gallon for unleaded regular to $3.45 a gallon. City Councilman Joseph Addabbo said that he called the Department of Investigation to check whether or not price gouging is involved in the wake of the recent hurricane in the south.

Schools are open and there are some notable changes in Rockaway this year. The major change takes place at Middle School 180, which will become a gifted school for the entire peninsula. Principal Brian O’Connell has moved over from Public School 114 to MS 180 (which might soon be renamed) to take over the gifted component. The program seems to have kept many students who would normally run to Brooklyn at home on the peninsula. We wish the program well.

When the Nassau County Police Department found a woman’s body floating in Mott Basin, the border between Inwood and Bayswater, they thought that they had another Rockaway murder on their hands. Turns out that the body was identified as that of Dina Sadeghi, a California native who police believe was an “escort” in California before moving to Brooklyn and who probably continued her business since she came to New York. She had no identification on her person, but police say they found a pocketbook with a credit card in her name nearby and then identified her from fingerprints. Police are waiting for an autopsy before declaring the cause of death, but NCPD officials say there was lots of trauma to her body.

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