Wave Associate Editor Brian Magoolaghan had the pleasure of meeting former Belle Harbor resident Evelyn Conti and retired Uniformed Firefighters Association President James J. Boyle - a regular at The Harbor Light - at the New York Press Club's annual awards ceremony June 26 at The Water Club in Manhattan. Conti and Boyle had very nice things to say about Rockaway and The Wave, which is always great to hear, and it just goes to show how many wonderful people have a connection to the peninsula. The fun part is meeting them when you don't expect it.
The Wave unfortunately missed the picnic that marked the closing of the St. Virgilius School in Broad Channel due to a miscommunication between the Parents Association and the newspaper. Joe Young of the Broad Channel Civic Association tells us the event was very well-attended and that there was plenty of good food. The children, he said, seemed to have lots of fun. We're sorry we missed it, but we will do our best to bring readers other people's photos from the event, perhaps as soon as this issue.
Captain Charles "Butch" Neacy, the commanding officer of the 100 Precinct, is about to mark his one year anniversary in Rockaway. "I've really come to like the ladies and gentlemen of Rockaway and the cops down here," he told the audience at the precinct's community council meeting last week. Neacy, who was sporting a wide grin, has a few other reasons to smile: a recent plunge in crime and 25 additional cops assigned here for the summer.
Channel Drive Service Station on Beach 59 Street and Beach Channel Drive has a summer special that can't be beat in this day of extremely high gas prices. Every Saturday and Sunday during the summer, the station, which also has a full-service car wash and repair bay, will charge only a couple of cents more than they pay for gas. Right now, Channel Drive is selling regular for $3.10 a gallon for full serve, about 30 cents less than most of the other stations on the peninsula.
Seems that Mayor Mike Bloomberg does not like our Congressman very much. It probably has something to do with the fact that Anthony Weiner ran for the Democratic candidacy for his seat in the last election, dropping out only to preserve party togetherness. Weiner was unhappy that our mayor met with President George Bush and forgot to mention that he was angry about a massive cut in homeland security funds made by the president's minions. On his weekly radio show, Bloomberg took Weiner to task, albeit not by name. "There was on Congressman who said that I should have screamed at the President right there," the mayor said. "You wonder how anybody like that could get anything done."
Each year, members of the State Legislature get money to spend on their pet projects. Called "member items," the money, which totals more than $200 million, can be used as the legislator sees fit. Most of that money is well spent for little league teams, volunteer fire departments, arts organizations and the like. The problem is, what the money is spent on is kept a secret unless the individual Senator or Assembly person wants to reveal the expenditures. The Albany Times Union is suing Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Assembly Majority Leader Shelly Silver for the information. We hope the paper wins, but meanwhile, we're going to ask our locals to reveal their individual expenditures.
Only in New York City. A cop sees a man with a heavy beard rifling through a purse on a Manhattan Street. Concerned that the man had taken the purse from a woman, the cop approached him and found that he had indeed stolen the purse. He was charged with possession of stolen material and robbery. He argued in court that the cops had no right to check him out because it's common for transgender men to carry purses. The judge agreed, ruling, "holding and looking inside a handbag is not something that justifies [police] inquiry." And so, another criminal beats the system to steal again.
Once again, west end residents are questioning the need to have a large group home full of at-risk teens in its midst. The St. John's Residence for Boys is once again in the news thanks to some of its residents who decided to go on a robbery spree in Belle Harbor and Rockaway Park. We understand that those young men were quickly expelled from the building, but we have to question whether they belonged there in the first place. Add the most recent story to the two-year old story of two residents who burned down a local restaurant and apartment and the even older story of two residents who cut up a priest on the subway. Then, there are the almost-weekly police calls at the residence and at the nearby PS 225 playground and one can understand why residents are leery of the residence. The facility is not a secure one. The teens who are placed there by the city because they cannot any longer be controlled at home have a curfew that is only honored in the breach. Part of the problem seems to be that the city makes inappropriate placements to the residence, placing teens with real criminal problems rather than simply "at-risk" teens.
The Rockaway Chamber of Commerce and the Rockaway Partnership are once again selling memorial bricks that will be placed in Tribute Park (Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive). Commemorative bricks will cost $250 for a four-line eight by eight brick and $175 for a three-line four by eight brick. Memorial bricks, dedicated to somebody who has passed away and inscribed with the "Tree of Life" are similarly priced (that reduces the number of spaces you have for your inscription). All orders must be in by July 28. Checks and money orders should be made out to Friends of Tribute Park and mailed to PO Box 930015, Rockaway Beach, New York 11693. Information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A large number of seniors who live in Rockaway have called or emailed to say that they are having lots of trouble with the "Donut" provision of the new Medicare prescription plan. One senior says that the medicine he needs is not available under his plan and they keep giving him something that is doing him no good. A Social Security employee reportedly told him to go to his Congressman to complain, but that won't do much good. Last week's Wave had two columns that addressed the problem. We hope that somebody will straighten it out because many seniors are not getting the meds that will keep them alive.
The drowning of a young Brookln man at Riis Park reminds us once again of the danger of the rip tides that circulate around Rockaway, especially in the late summer afternoons. While it is unusual for a Rockaway swimmer to drown, we want to remind everybody that the water can be dangerous even for a competent swimmer.