2006-03-10 / Columnists

Simon says...

Lew M. SimonLew M. Simon

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

The past few weeks have been the coldest of the winter. People have been complaining how expensive it has been to heat their houses. Some have paid $500 to $1,000 for oil. We have been hoping for some relief from the high cost of gas and oil.

As I write my column on Sunday March 5, the price of gas in the West End of Rockaway is $2.53 to $2.57 a gallon. The Getty station across from Beach Channel High School charges $2.42 a gallon for regular. The Sunoco station on Pitkin Avenue off of Cross Bay Blvd. charges $2.35 a gallon.

Why is there such a discrepancy in prices in Rockaway? It is time now for Consumer Affairs Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra to find the Rockaways and start fining the stations for gouging our residents. It is ridiculous that we are held captive and have to pay more.

Two weeks ago on Saturday we attended the 101st dinner dance of the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department. When I was called up to speak, Lt. Brian Williams introduced me.

Brian was just a teenage junior member when he trained me to be a dispatcher and handle radio calls in 1992.

Now he has grown a mustache and is also balding like myself. I ribbed him on the mike that he is trying to look like me with his mustache. The whole audience laughed and cheered. Brian is a good sport who works endless hours as a volunteer for the BCVFD. We need more people like him.

It was great to see Daniel McIntyre reinstalled as Chief of the department.

He was the first chief I served under. He is a hard, tireless worker who works as a team with his lovely wife Dawn.

We urge everybody to kindly make a donation to help keep the BCVFD operating. Checks are tax deductible.

Send them to the BCVFD at 15 Noel Road Broad Channel NY 11693.

This past Saturday was the 31st annual Queens County St. Patrick's Day Parade. The weather was extremely wicked with winds gusting to 25 to 35 miles an hour. It was nice to see so many people braving the cold to cheer everyone on.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg,Speaker of the City Council Christine Quinnand Congressman Anthony Weiner led the march with Grand Marshal Thomas Ryan, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 74 SEIU.

It was a great day for our Honorary Grand Marshal Council Member Joseph Addabbo; Honorary Female Grand Marshal Kelly T. Casey; Gael of the Year Inspector Michael Morley; and Deputy Grand Marshals Mary Rooney, Timothy Rohrs, Thomas Flood, John Duddy, Anne McGovern, Edward Shevlin III, Erin Baumann, Ed O'Hare andJohn McManus. Congratulations to all.

It's a great feeling to be riding in the back of a beautiful car owned by Joseph DiCanio Sr. Of Neponsit who, for the past two years, has given his time to use his beautiful Mercedes and gas to drive the leader through the parade route.

This day definitely makes up for the other 364 days of hard work, aggravations, and constant fighting for deserved credit for helping our community. I love what I'm blessed to do. This is surely a reward showing your continued support.

Our annual parade breakfast was once again held at Rockaway's own Beach Club. I had the pleasure of sitting next to three fantastic women; Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, who came despite tearing a tendon in her foot in a fall in City Hall, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The Public Advocate and I talked about our beach and boardwalk, the need for lifeguards and staggering of their hours to allow beaches to remain open to 7:30 or 8 p.m.

We discussed the return of much-needed safety ropes and barrels. Assemblywoman Pheffer and Public Advocate Gotbaum are collecting information on how ropes and barrels made swimming safer in the past. Anyone who has information on these safety ropes should contact the two officials and myself.

After the parade we proceeded to St. Rose of Lima for our awards ceremony. Each year Sara Berger and I donate trophies in memory of her late husband, Sam Berger, and my mom, Jennie Simon. This year's recipient for the best Catholic school was St. Rose of Lima. The principal, Mrs. Anderson, her staff, children and their parents were extremely proud to receive this honor.

After the ceremony we attended a number of parties. We started by going to the American Legion in Broad Channel. The party was hosted by Business Agent James Mahoney Local 580 Ornamental Iron Workers. Jim and his union family always make you feel welcome. DJ Teddy always sings great tunes.

Then we went to Pier 92 where the food and ambience is the best. This party was hosted by Deputy Grand Marshal and Republican Leader Eddie O'Hare. Congratulations to my great friend. We know you made your wife Ginger and little Eddie Jr. and all of your family and friends proud of you. I would swear that your dad was looking down on you.

We proceeded to the Breezy Point Catholic Club party as guests of Terrence Williams, President of The Breezy Point Catholic Club Pipe and Drum Band. It is quite a moving experience when the bagpipers from age eight and up perform such a beautiful show.

It was great to be sitting with the wife of the band's founder, the late Finbar Devine, who started it over 40 years ago. His lovely widow Pat is a wonderful mother who instilled the proper values in her son Finbar Jr. It was great to talk with her and the many residents of Breezy Point and Roxbury communities. They sure know how to throw a party and make you feel part of the family.

Thank you my special sweetheart date who spent the day after the parade going to the parties and events. I had the best time at our St. Patrick's Day parade ever because of you. You are a special lady.

We also have some sad news. We lost a number of fine outstanding individuals. James Moriarity was a pillar of this community and a kind philanthropist who donated a lot of money to various organizations and churches. He was a great father, grandfather, loving husband and a man with a heart of gold. He will be missed by us all.

Another dear friend, Joseph McKeon, was a court officer who I worked with closely in the late 70's and early 80's. Joe served as a troop leader of the St. Francis de Sales Troop 81 of the Boy Scouts. His leadership for the youth of the community went on tirelessly.

He was a loving father, grandfather and husband as well as a good friend.

Ora Todd was another great friend who knew me since I was a child. This beautiful, loving woman lived for her children and grandchildren. She knew how to make you smile and laugh.

She lit up the whole room.

Her happy go lucky sense of laughter made the difference.

We believe God has a plan forthese three loving individualsand they will be special angels in heaven. My deepest sympathies to their families and loved ones.

John Baxter, Rockaway television producer, taped some programs of our demonstrations on Beach 116 Street and at the Staten Islandhome of the owner of the porno shop. John's show is usually on Channel 35 (Queens Cable) at 4 p.m. on Thursdays. Watch for it. 

Our door is always open for all who need my assistance. We do not see or care about political lines, party affiliation etc. Feel free to call us any time at (718) 945-1216.

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