2006-03-17 / Community

Beachcomber

Things have not been quiet at Beach Channel High School, despite the Department of Education's contention that violence in our schools is a thing of the past. In last week's edition, we reported two stories about violence in that troubled school - the first a series of fights involving female combatants that resulted in 12 arrests and then reportedly spilled over into the next day, when a girl came to school with a knife, apparently to seek retribution for one of the battles the day before. The second story involved a young white student who was robbed on the A Train on his way home and then saw one of his attackers in the school's cafeteria. He pointed out the attacker and the 17-year-old was arrested. Subsequently, however, the student was attacked in the school building by a group of friends of the boy he had fingered. There is talk that the school will soon be placed on the DOE's impact list of the city's "most dangerous schools."

Mayor Bloomberg has egg on his face once again. Two years ago the mayor ballyhooed a deal he had cut with Snapple drinks to make that company the "official drink" of New York City, giving it access over all others to city facilities such as office buildings and schools. When critics pointed out that the contract was really a bad deal for the city, the mayor said they were just naysayers who didn't like any of the things he was doing to improve the city. Now, it turns out that Bloomberg was wrong and his critics were right all along. City Hall moved last week to water down the deal under which Snapple was to pay the city $66 million and spend $60 million on pro-city advertising in exchange for the five-year monopoly. The city now wants to reduce the deal to just $33 million for the original $126 million deal. At the time he signed the deal, the mayor said that Snapple would sell 2 million cases of juice and tea a year. Instead, it has sold only 120,000 cases over the two years that the deal has been in effect.

Officials from the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) remain mum on reports that it has suspended the coach of the St. Camilius team in the junior boy's basketball league for recruiting overage players and for falsifying some birth certificates. The Wave has received many complaints over the past month about the coach and the fact that the overage boys (most of whom were recruited from St. John's Residence) were running away with the league and that the other teams were becoming discouraged by the obvious cheating. The CYO's director, the parish's priest and the local CYO coordinator were all contacted and we were largely met with "no comment." The controversy is not really a story for this paper because no criminal acts have been committed and nobody involved in an official capacity wants to speak on the record. It's a shame, because the CYO means so much to the peninsula's quality of life.

The Wave is contemplating a new column called "The Brag Sheet," to be written once a month by local realtor Robin Shapiro. Shapiro says that the column will be a place to report the progress of your children, to brag about their accomplishments. Those who are interested in seeing their "kvelling" in The Wave should send their information to Shapiro at her Email, thebragsheet@aol.com.

There are many locals who were waiting with baited breath for the coming of video lottery terminals to Aqueduct Racetrack. The 3,500 terminals, which resemble slot machines but are run lottery-style, were slated to be in place by November of this year. Now, however, comes the announcement that they won't be ready until early in 2007. Don't hold your breath, however. The State Racing Commission, which will host the machines, has made similar announcements in the past and all deadlines have so far been missed.

A federal judge who struck down the state's highly-undemocratic election of judges has ordered that the system should remain in place for this November's election because there is no time for the state to come up with a new plan in time. Under the old system, party hacks such as Democratic District Leaders Lew Simon and Geraldine Chapey decided on the candidates who would be allowed to run for judge. That effectively cut out anybody who wasn't a party loyalist. The judge ordered the use of open primaries until the State Legislature can come up with a new plan.

There are lots of rumors around that point to the fact that Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein are on the brink of reorganizing the way our schools are run one more time. Seems that they are unhappy, the rumors go, with the cost and success of the infrastructure that begins on top with Regional Superintendents and runs downhill from there to the Local Instructional Superintendents and District Superintendents (many of who are also LIS). We hear that they are contemplating going back to the previous district structure. It sometimes seems that the whole system is moving backwards.

Every time somebody says that not all Moslems are alike, that many mainstream Moslem clerics support the war on terror and decry terrorist aims, somebody like Iman Umar Abdul-Jalil comes along. Abdul-Jalil is the executive director of ministerial services for the New York City Department of Corrections. At a recent Muslim Student Association conference in Tucson, Arizona, he told the students, "We have to stop allowing the Zionists of the media to dictate what Islam is to us," and "We have terrorists defining who the terrorist is... we know that the greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House." Then, he added, "Some [Muslim inmates] are literally tortured, and we find this in the Manhattan Correctional Facility in Manhattan. But they literally are torturing people." What would he do? "We have to be compassionate with each other and hard against the kufr." Who is the Kufr, the unbeliever? That's the rest of us, of course.

The Pier 92 Restaurant has reopened under new management and we can tell you from first-hand experience that the food and service are much improved from the old days. We found that the crab cakes were a delight and the home-made Ceaser Salad dressing was among the best we ever had. The steaks were done to perfection and you could cut them with a fork. Just a tip for those of you who are looking for a new place to eat on the peninsula.

Those who get their homeowners insurance through AllState had better start looking for a new company to insure them. AllState has decided to reduce its risk in areas that are at-risk for flooding. It will no longer write new coverage in Rockaway and it will selectively refuse to renew many policies that are already in effect. The company said that the recent spate of devistating hurricanes made the decision necessary, although the last hurricane of that magntide locally was in 1938. That hurricane was known as "The Long Island Express."

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