City Councilman James Sanders held an "emergency meeting" last week to address the homicide of a young man who had been shot once previously in the same area. Last week our editorial was about black on black crime and especially about gun violence in Far Rockaway. The shooting of Mario Young, 16, only served to prove our point. The meeting, however, was the same old thing. Blame the police for not patrolling the area adequately, blame the city for not providing more evening activities for young people and blame the business community for not providing more jobs for black youth. By all accounts, not once did the question of community responsibility come up. Perhaps the only comment in that area came from NAACP President Ed Williams, who asked, "When is this community going to come together as a community?" Pretty weak stuff when Ed promised us nearly a year ago that his organization would soon begin to address the question of gun violence in his community. Sanders, Williams and State Assemblywoman Michelle Titus have to be the point people in addressing the growing gang and gun violence in the area. They seem reluctant to do so, mouthing the same old complaints and platitudes.
The "Wild Woman of Albany" is no more. State Senator Ada Smith has finally conceded the primary election victory to her challenger, Shirley Huntley. Smith has represented Broad Channel in the state senate for many years and most local residents will cheer her defeat. We have covered Broad Channel for many years and have never once seen Smith at a community event, with the exception of the annual Historical Day. She did not even bother to show when the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department dedicated its new ambulance (to replace the one lost in the collapse of the World Trade Center) a few years ago. Smith, a nine-term incumbent, was probably the only state official who had held office for any length of time to get bounced in a primary challenge.
Mark your calendars for a few upcoming community events, two of which fit right in with the recent and future revitalization of the peninsula. On Sunday, October 8, the new Addabbo Family Health Center will host a grand opening of its new facility at 6200 Beach Channel Drive. On Saturday, October 14, a portion of Beach 110 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, nearby St. Camillus Church, will be dedicated to the memory of Monsignor William Burke, a long-time pastor at the church and the driving force behind the church band. Then, on Monday, October 16, there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the new YMCA that is going to be constructed on Beach 73 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Come on out and show your support for our community's revitalization..
Long-time Irish activist and Wave columnist Harry McGuirk passed away last week at the Connolly Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. McGuirk, who was more than 90 years old, had been sick for some time, but was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. He was buried next to his wife, Margie, in a Dublin cemetery. He will be missed.
We have had lots of comments on the Rockaway map included with last week's Wave. The map was sponsored by City Councilman James Sanders with a $25,000 grant to three local organizations, The Rockaway Chamber of Commerce, the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation and the Margert Community Corporation. Those three organizations then became the "sponsors" of the map, which was produced by a company in Buffalo, New York. There have been a number of complaints about the map, including the fact that it is useless as a map and that it notes a number of churches while it notes no synagogues on the peninsula. We thought from the beginning that the map project was something of a sham, dedicated more to raising advertising revenue for the map's producer than in bringing the community together, and it looks as if we were right.
The meeting hosted by City Councilman Joe Addabbo to address the question of building a dog park on Shore Front Parkway between Beach 103 and 104 Streets turned out to be a typical Rockaway meeting. Dog owners who live in the area and think that it's a great idea showed up in numbers, but so did the plan's detractors. Those who oppose the plan say that the park will be noisy, unsightly and unhealthy for local residents. They add that it will draw people from outside the area to Beach 103 Street, perhaps undesirables. There is another site in the mix as well, an empty lot at the freeway at Beach 84 Street, near the Hammel Houses. That site is probably not acceptable to most dog-walkers, who do their duty early in the morning or late at night because the area is an unlit and dangerous one and few would venture there after dark. Addabbo spent only a few minutes at the meeting before moving on to other engagements. Could it be that he is disengaging himself from Rockaway and getting ready for a run on the mainland for the Senate seat now held by Serph Maltese?
The family of Schermiela Palmer, the Arverne teen who died after running a lap on the Beach Channel High School track two weeks ago announced plans to sue the city, arguing that a gym teacher pushed her too hard to run the lap in under three minutes and ten seconds. Their lawyer told reporters, "She had complained to them and they still pushed her. This is something that could bring closure for the family." A Department of Education source told The Wave, however, that there was no mandate to run a lap in a specified time.
Those who have the ever-growing disease should find the time to attend one of the monthly Diabetes seminars that are held at St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway. The discussion leader, a social worker at the hospital was great and medical personnel was on hand to answer questions. And, the group itself (about 25 local residents) was eclectic and interesting. The seminars are usually held on Monday afternoons in the hospital's board room.