2006-03-31 / Community

Beachcomber

On the front page of last week's edition, we published a picture that identified a young man being arrested by police as Lee Woods, who was later arrested for attempted murder, assault, resisting arrest and criminal possession of the knife used in the assault nearby McDonald's in Far Rockaway on Wednesday, Narch 22. Our identification of the man in the photograph as Woods was in error. He is, in fact, Davian Green, who was arrested but later released by police. Green's mother, Nerine Mowatt, said that her son was in the wrong place at the wrong time when police found the car that the assailant had fled in nearby where he was standing. We regret the error and any embarrassment that was caused Green or his family by the misidentification.

Rumors about what the site of the former Sunset Diner will become continue to run rampant throughout the west end. Most of those rumors get back to The Wave for confirmation, but we can't confirm or deny anything until the new owners file with the city and the new purpose goes on the Department of Buildings website. We have heard that it will become a new bank, an Applebee's, a GAP outlet, a Walmart and a two-story office building. All of them are plausible (except, perhaps for the Walmart - it's much too small for that). We will have to wait and see, along with the rest of you who "know" what is going on.

Tis the season to begin to worry about lifeguards again. During the past two or three seasons, the situation was horrendous, with numerous beaches closed both during the week and on the weekends. The decision of which beaches are open and which are closed is made at the whim of the lifeguard's union. That union has reportedly also put a stop to hiring part-time lifeguards to fully staff the beaches. It has also resisted changing the hours so that local residents coming home from a long, hot day in Manhattan might take a quick swim before dinner. Who owns the beaches? The answer to that question is that they are obviously owned by the lifeguard union. There was a kickoff to the lifeguard-recruiting season two weeks ago. It was held in Coney Island. Nobody from Rockaway was invited to participate. That gives you some idea about the priority Rockaway gets when it comes to beaches and parks. There was an old Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis song that went, "The Navy gets the gravy while the Army gets the beans." That might be true today, with Coney Island getting all the gravy and Rockaway stuck with the beans.

Lawyers for the two locals attacked by wild dogs on the boardwalk in 2001 are trying to prove that the city knew about the problem prior to the attack. They need the help of Rockaway residents who were menaced or attacked by wild dogs on the peninsula prior to December of 2001. The two lawsuits against the city argue that it failed to maintain a large stretch of vacant lots that make up the Arverne Urban Renewal Area, thereby creating a perfect environment for the wild dogs. Anybody with information about or experience with wild dogs in the vacant lots between Beach 61 Street and Beach 73 Street is urged to call toll-free 1-877-233-0515 (Ext. 10) with the information.

There is no depth to the Department of Education's capacity to be taken in by charlatans. In 2001 the school agency hired a man as an assistant architect in the consultation unit. For five years, he checked and vetted sites for the agency, approving them for schools and other uses. Unfortunately, he was not an architect as he said when he took the job. Now, the DOE has to go back and reinspect each of the properties that he approved. He will serve four years of weekends in jail and five years probation. He will also have to pay the city $10,000, but it will cost taxpayers much more than that to undo what he has done.

In last week's "Chatting With Chapey" column, Geraldine Chapey erroneously mixed Walter Blum with Bill Blum. It was the latter who was honored, not the former. We regret any embarrassment or invonvenience created by the error.

Only one member of the State Senate voted against a bill aimed at protecting teenagers from being forced to join violent gangs such as the Bloods and the Crips. Taking into consideration the fact that many gang initiations include a requirement for beating or stabbing somebody, the bill will make gang recruitment a felony punishable by seven years in prison. Velmette Montgomery, whose district includes Bed-Stuy, said that she voted against the bill because she's "representing the young people of her district."

City Councilman James Sanders is angry with Jessica Morris, the Director of Community Relations for the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It seems that Morris sent out an Email to Community Board 14 and a number of local activists that says there will be no mosquito spraying this summer because "Sanders did not reimburse them for last years spray costs." The Email goes on to say that it needs $100,000 in dedicated funds from the community or its "electeds" to do the spraying. Councilman Sanders says that it's a lie. He said in a letter to Morris that he also released to The Wave that he offered funds for spraying to the department, but never heard from them and earmarked the money for "education" instead. He was also angry at the fact that Morris did not try to contact him before sending out the email and that she keeps referring to him as "Sanders," rather than Councilman Sanders. This whole thing might sound funny to you, but mosquito spraying is no laughing matter in Arverne and Bayswater, and we hope this can be resolved prior to the summer insect season.

Hurricane experts say that a Category 3 or 4 storm would cause a 27-foot storm surge from Jamaica Bay that would completely inundate the Rockaway peninsula. "It would basically be totally covered in water," one expert said. A storm surge that high would cover the bottom three floors of many of the high-rise apartments along the ocean and rise higher than the two-story homes that line both the oceanfront and the bayfront.

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I find it a bit impossible for a 27-foot storm surge to originate from Jamaica Bay. I believe you meant the surge would come from the ocean --the direction the hurricane would move in heading northerly along the coast.


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