A good example of how insular the Department of Education has become when dealing with the media came last week when The Wave's Sports Editor went to the new Scholar's Academy at MS 180 to cover a visit by New York Jets Safety Erik Coleman. The football player was there as part of a citywide program designed to make our students healthier through exercise and activity. The academy's gym teacher was there for the event and our editor asked to speak with him as part of his story. The gym teacher said that he would have to get permission and he went to a Region Five official on scene. The region official refused permission for him to talk with the editor even though all of the newspapers in the city were invited to cover the event. By the way, The Wave was the only paper to show up. It is often easier to get information from the NYPD and the Queens DA than it is to get information from the DOE.
We have always said that competition is healthy, particularly in the political arena. When one party wins all of the elections each year without anybody running on the other lines, the political process begins to stagnate and politicians have to work less hard for their constituents. That is why we welcome Stu Mirsky's surprise announcement that he will run for the Assembly seat long held by Audrey Pheffer. The race between Mirsky and Pheffer should be a good one for many reasons, not the least being that they are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Both of them, of course, are columnists for The Wave. In the interest of fairness, we are going to suspend both of their columns until the election but we will continue to cover the race and both of the contenders in a fair and equal manner. In addition, we are publicly offering both the candidates the opportunity for a debate sponsored and moderated by this paper sometime in October, time and place to be announced after they both agree. By the way, Mirsky has a uphill battle to fight. There are 56,986 registered voters in the 23 rd Assembly District, and there are 2.76 Democrats for every Republican.
The MTA has not kept up very well with telling Rockaway commuters about changes in routes, schedules and service. The agency, which took over the Queens private bus routes over the past several months, has, for example, added buses to its Q21 route, which runs from Beach 116 Street in Rockaway Park and connects with the A Train at Liberty Avenue. Beginning at 6:59 a.m. the buses run every half hour rather than every hour. That route stops at Beach 112 Street, Beach 95 Street, 4 Road and Cross Bay Boulevard, 157 Avenue and then Liberty Avenue.
Many Rockaway residents with young children or grandchildren will be heartened to learn that the Nellie Bly Amusement Park on Shore Parkway in Brooklyn, slated to be closed last year, will be revitalized and reopened sometime this coming summer. According to published reports, the park's new owners have been busy demolishing some of the older rides and clearing the park for the installation of several new attractions. The owners hope to have parts of the park open by early summer with the rest to come along in stages.
The highly-regarded Newcomers Guide for 2006-2007 will be distributed with The Wave on May 26. The guides are distributed with the paper and then given away free in various locations around the peninsula.
Our call for a Rockaway gun summit has been received favorably by many in the black community. The local president of Mothers Against Guns called to say that we are right on target with our demand that something be done by that community to address the problem. We have been promised cooperation from that group as well as the NAACP. A black clergyman, speaking at the funeral of a two-year-old tot who had been killed by a random bullet while sitting in his car seat, said, "God is sick and tired of our weapons. He's sick and tired of our guns and our foolishness. How may more children are going to die from stray bullets before somewhere, somehow, guns are taken off the streets of our city?" He is right. In fact, everybody from the mayor on down seems to be focusing on the problem. The NYPD is forming a task force that will target illegal weapons (like the discredited but highly-successful "Street Crimes Unit" did in the past). The only group that does not seem to grasp the importance of doing away with guns is Congress. The House of Representatives has passed a law that forbids the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from discussing which states the illegal guns that impact New York City come from. In fact, one Congressman (from Texas, of course) has proposed a bill that would forbid a national database of gun sale records. Talk about the power of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Rents in the public housing units that line Rockaway will soon be going up, according to a statement by the city's Housing Authority. Those households with an average income of $67,367 (about seven percent of those living in the projects) will see their rent climb by 40 percent. Those with household incomes of $41,137 a year (about seven percent of the units) will see a 20 percent rent increase. Those with household incomes of $29,119 (about 13 percent) will see a 10 percent increase. Seventy-three percent of the households, with a yearly income of $11,587, will get no rent increase at all.
The new and improved Joseph Addabbo Family Health Center will move to 6200 Beach Channel Drive on Monday, May 8. The brand new building promises to provide state-of-the art medical care to its patients both old and new. The old building on Rockaway Beach Boulevard will soon be demolished to make way for stores and restaurants as part of the commercial development of Arverne By The Sea.
The Rockaway Rotary Ocean Run, sponsored by Sweet 'N Low came off under beautiful skies on Sunday. The boardwalk was crowded with nearly 200 runners and a like number of observers. It seemed like a "young persons" race with a 14-year-old Sean Lynch taking the overall race with a time of 17:07 for the 3K race.
If you want to see your neighbors trodding the boards in a ClareBooth Luce play, get yourself to the Post Theatre at Fort Tilden this weekend for the Rockaway Theatre Company's production of "Women." The local production, sponsored by the RTC and Gateway National Recreation Area, will be shown at Fort Tilden venue beginning tonight, May 5 and continuing with shows on May 6, May 12, May 13 and May 20, all shows at 8 p.m. In addition, there will be two 2 p.m.matinees on May 7 and May 14. There will be a production at 3 p.m. on May 20 as well.
Tickets for the show are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and children, but there will be special opening weekend discounts at the May 5, 6 and 7 performances. If you come with a friend, there will be one paid admission at the regular price and one for $10. Call 718-850-2450 for reservatoins and info.