2005-12-30 / Community

Beachcomber

The transit strike negatively impacted many Rockaway residents and businesses. Coffee shops and restaurants nearby subway stops stood virtually empty during rush hours. A Wave reporter who went to the Last Stop Café on Beach 116 Street early Wednesday morning found only one person eating breakfast and the staff standing around with nothing to do. Hundreds of people pass through that station each morning, we were told, and many of them stop in for a cup of coffee and a bagel or muffin to take with them on the long trip to Manhattan. With the subway closed and the cold weather, very few people were coming out for a morning meal. Many Rockaway people utilized the Long Island Railroad to reach Manhattan and a number of long-time residents told us that it was the first time that they had every used the LIRR in all their years of commuting.

The city has ruled that the death of a school safety agent who was punched by a female student in a Brooklyn middle school was a line of duty death, making her the first female peace officer killed since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. The girl who hit Vivian Samuels used an excuse that she was angry at the officer for excluding a friend from a school dance, as if that justified the act. Although Samuels died of cardiac arrest, it is clear that the punch triggered the heart problem. School safety agents are the constant target of student ire because of their job, which is to enforce discipline in the school’s hallways and cafeterias. The girl’s lawyer argues that the punch had nothing to do with the death. There are few who believe that. We believe that the girl should be punished appropriately for the murder of the safety agent. It is time to teach students a lesson that neither safety agents nor teachers are legitimate targets for violent acts.

Police Officer Mike Rosenthal, who spent much of his long career with the 100 Precinct in Rockaway Beach, celebrated his retirement from the job last week. Rosenthal worked in many roles in his years in Rockaway, including crime prevention, community policing and graffiti prevention. He will be missed and we wish him good luck in whatever endeavor he pursues now that he has left Rockaway.

Last week’s Wave was 100 pages, the fifth time this year that the paper has reached the century mark. Prior to this year, in all of its 112-year history, The Wave had run two editions that reached 100 pages, including a September 2002 special World Trade Center Memorial Edition. The publishers of The Wave join the editorial staff, art staff and business staff in wishing all of you a very happy and healthy New Year and we thank you for your continued support of this paper.

The Beach Club will host a New Year’s Eve Party on Saturday night, December 31 at 9:30 p.m. The evening will include a cocktail hour, dinner, hats, noisemakers, an open bar and a DJ. This is the only non-organization celebration on the peninsula this year. The Beach Club is located at the beach end of Beach 116 Street.

Rockaway residents have one less movie theater option with the closing of the United Artists Theatres in Ozone Park. The seven-screen Crossbay II will close on January 2. The Crossbay I, on Rockaway Boulevard at Cross Bay Boulevard, closed down last summer. The nearest movie theater now is the Sheephead Bay multiplex just off the Belt Parkway at Knapp Street. With 110,000 residents on the peninsula, we really need a theater of our own. Perhaps, if they ever really clean up the toxic waste site at Beach 112 Street and Beach Channel Drive, that could become a local multiplex theater.

In a final push before the new council takes over in January, the City Council passed a number of bills this week. One of those bills will increase the translation and interpretation services available to the parents of students who don’t speak English. It will require that report cards be produced in the home language of the parent, something that we believe will be nearly impossible given the Automate The Schools (ATS) system used to generate the millions of report cards four times each year. The cost of the bill is estimated to be more than $20 million. Those opposed to the bill, which passed 35-11, say that the money could better be spent teaching English to students who can’t speak the language. We agree with them. Given the fact that a recent study shows that, while black students are making academic progress, Hispanic students have dropped significantly in English literacy. That is because the racist and costly Bilingual Education program keeps Hispanic kids trapped in poverty and ignorance because some educators are more concerned with multiculturalism and jobs for Hispanics than they are in the education of children. We are insuring that Hispanic children will fail in the name of educating them in their home language.

In last week’s edition, in a story on nursing homes, The Wave misidentified the administrator of the Park Nursing Home as Patrick Clark. He is, in fact, Patrick Russell. We apologize for our error and for any misunderstanding our error may have caused.

Two men are fighting for control of the world’s largest media conglomerate – Time Warner. Both of them grew up in Queens and one of them, Carl Icahn, grew up in Bayswater and graduated from Far Rockaway High School. Dick Parsons grew up in Ozone Park and went to John Adams High School. He is the present chairman of Time Warner. Icahn grew up living on Healy Avenue and is an independent investor and corporate raider. Icahn, who is 69, says that Rockaway was a “tough neighborhood” when he was growing up there and that he had “a lot of tough friends” at Far Rockaway High School. Since he is talking about Rockaway in the mid-1950’s, we don’t remember either Bayswater or Far Rockaway High School as being particularly “tough” in those years, but one man’s memory is as good an another’s, we guess.

The Wave has learned that parking spaces in the new luxury condominium building on the beach between Beach 116 and Beach 117 Street will go for Manhattan prices. An indoor spot will reportedly cost $35,000 for the year while an outdoor spot will go for only $20,000.

There will be an important vote next week, but you won’t get to vote. The City Council will pick a new speaker to replace Giff Miller, who is term-limited. Of all the people who live in Rockaway, only James Sanders will be able to vote. Of course, Joe Addabbo will vote as well. Problem is, they will definitely vote for the person dictated by Tom Manton, not on who is best for Rockaway.

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