2005-12-30 / Columnists

Simon says...

Lew M. Simon
Lew M. Simon

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23 rd A.D. Part B

We’d like to wish everyone a joyous, holiday season. Happy Kwanza, Happy Chanukah and a healthy, happy New Year.

We had a great time at the 92nd birthday of Theresa McCloskey. She is the mother of Grace McCloskey. A great time was had by everyone who attended. Grace takes absolutely great care of her mother. We know God will bless her because when you love and care for your mother, love and care will come back to you.

This past holiday weekend on Christmas, I had a great time at a party hosted by Grace D’Agostino and her family.  Grace is my Ozone Park, Howard Beach and Woodhaven coordinator. This loving, kind, wonderful lady knows how to throw a party. It was also great to be in the company of Andy and Maureen McGee, who are like parents to me. Andy is brilliant and also comical. He can be the life of any party. Maureen’s love, wisdom and kind heart makes you feel welcome and a part of the family.

On Sunday afternoon at 4:45 p.m., we were at Beach 116 Street for the Menorah lighting. Rabbi Marjorie Slome and many of her congregation from West End Temple and Rabbi Tomsky of Oheb Zedek and Principal of Yeshiva of Belle Harbor participated. It was great to see that the Jewish tradition went on even in the pouring rain. We Jewish people are resilient. At the same time we recognize Barbara Morris of the Rockaway Rotary Club and West End Realty for also attending. We had great songs, cookies donated by Steven Good of the Beach Club, and chocolate gelt donated by Brown’s Hardware. Noni Brown is always there sharing, loving and caring

That evening was not only Chanukah, but also Christmas night. We ate our official holiday dinner with my great friends Carlos and Dawn Laza and their family. Carlos is the head cook of Rockaway’s Beach Club and the best cook in the world. His wife Dawn is a wonderful, kind, loving person. She is also a Tupperware dealer.

Their two boys, Ryan and Brandon, are perfect young gentlemen. I enjoyed playing pool with them. We’d also like to thank Dawn’s mother Karen Rosenthal and her other daughter, Jennifer Fisher. We also all spent Thanksgiving together. It’s great to be welcomed and be part of a family.

At the end of the evening we stopped for a cup of tea at the McGee’s, Andy and Maureen and their wonderful daughters, Eileen and Maryann. They had a great time reminiscing about high school days and taking a look back at Rockaway and discussing the future. It’s great to sit with such intelligent people and have such a great conversation.

There are two upcoming events I’d like you to attend. On Saturday January 7 at 7 p.m., the great Beach Channel High School Band is having their winter concert. The money raised allows the band to continue their fine work. The BCHS band is always there to support Rockaway community events. Please, can we hope to see you there?

On Saturday January 28, is the annual Susan G Memorial Scholarship Fund Concert, otherwise known as the 50’s Doo Wop at BCHS. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. For further information call my office at (718) 945-1216.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday January 14. We leave at 5:30 PM and return at 8 a.m. The cost is $33 with $25 returned. To join us call my office for reservations.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Sands Point Physical Therapy Christmas party. I was pleasantly surprised to get an invitation from Tim Rohrs, therapist and owner. For casino night they had tables with gambling machines that did not take money or give money rewards, but were a lot of fun. It was great spending the evening with his wonderful and dedicated staff. If you ever need physical therapy, it is the place to go.

In looking back at 2005, we think of the terrible days following Ash Wednesday when the Brooklyn Queens Diocese announced that 32 Catholic schools would close. When they announced that two schools in my district, St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr School in Ozone Park and St. Virgilius in Broad Channel were on the list, we took swift action. I immediately went to their Business Plan committee and made my commitment as follows:

1. Wednesday night would be Proceeds Night at Wendy’s. It was extra profitable.

2. We set up and stood with parents and children of St. Virgilius at Rockaway Park Waldbaum’s, putting in long hours on nights and weekends to collect money.

3. We helped get universal Pre-K for the school. This was later turned down by the diocese.

Once this pit bull sinks his teeth into something, he never loses. Thank god both schools continued to stay open. God bless the parents and committees of both schools. We made a great team.

At the same time we must remember to thank Congressman Anthony Weiner, the only other elected official to step up to the plate. His brilliance showed in setting up a forum for all of the Catholic schools threatened with closing at Midwood High School. We met with the Vicar of Education, Msgr. Hardiman. None of us in that room stopped advocating for our Catholic schools. 

We feel parents should have a choice whether their children should attend public schools or choose a religious education. Many parents choose to educate their children in the Catholic schools and Yeshivas or other private schools, which cost a great deal of money.

Other fights this year included our continuing efforts to get lifeguards for all the Rockaway beaches, the successful effort to establish a real surfing beach, our continuing fight to bring back the Rockaway Beach branch of the LIRR, and our continuing fight to get much needed traffic lights on Shorefront Parkway.

We must not forget to weigh in on another issue that affects the children in our community. Council Member Joseph Addabbo was instrumental in seeing that a skateboard park on Beach 91 Street and Shorefront Parkway was opened. However, the park is closed from October to April and open only limited hours from April to October.

We always hear people that kids get themselves in trouble because they have nothing to do. This park has to be a tease for the children of the Rockaway and Broad Channel community. Why don’t they use a WEP worker to open the park at least from the hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 12 Noon to 6 p.m.?

It is unacceptable to constantly hear the BS from the Parks Department about money. Why doesn’t the Councilman use discretionary funds to open the park to children? The children are the future and I stand with the children. Right on. Keep up the good work kids. 

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