2006-12-01 / Columnists


If there are residents who want to see a dog park on Shore Front Parkway, they better get busy and let Councilman Joseph Addabbo know about their desire. The opposition to the plan, which would place the dog park on SFP between Beach 103 and Beach 104 Streets, has mobilized and presented a petition of opposition that was signed by more than 300 local residents. There has been only silence from those who favor the park. That silence could lose the day even before a trial run to see what downsides there are to the plan.

Cedarhurst, one of the vaunted Five Towns, knows how to do the deal. In order to draw shoppers to the town's large shopping area, officials have declared that all of the municipal lots will have free parking from December 9 to January 2. Contrast that to the city's policy of providing extra summonses to local parkers during the holiday season and you can see why many locals go off the peninsula to the large shopping malls in Nassau County and Brooklyn to do their shopping. A little thing like deleting the meters during this time of year might do wonders for major shopping streets such as Beach 116 Street, Beach 129 Street in the west end and the Central Avenue shopping area in Far Rockaway.

In its issue last week, The Wave ran a two-page spread providing the names and addresses of all the Level 3 and Level 2 sexual offenders living in Rockaway. We run those pages once a year in the community interest, but we usually get a couple of calls asking why we ran the pictures and names. That question can be answered with a story about a local activist who told us that one of the men in the report (there were no female predators) sits each morning on the steps in front of the stores at the Ocean Village complex and watches the young kids who live there get on their school buses.

We want to add our best wishes for a speedy recovery to those who were on the bus to Atlantic City on Saturday, November 18, when the bus crashed after the driver died of a heart attack. There were 46 locals on that bus, all participating in a trip to the Trump casino sponsored by Lew Simon and the Good Government Democratic Club. Luckily, none of the Rockaway contingent was badly injured, but we shudder to think what would have happened if the driver had his heart attack on the highway at 70 miles per hour rather than on local Brooklyn streets at a much slower speed.

We have to wonder what kind of weirdo would tie a dogs paws together and then tie it to a light pole on a busy street in the middle of the night. The dog was rescued by a local man who saw it lying next to the pole and decided to investigate. The veterinarian who treated the dog said that it was in good health and well cared for, so he does not think the owner tied the 110-pound Labrador Retriever to the pole, but that somebody took the dog from the owner and wanted to watch it die. If anybody saw the person who tied up the dog at Beach 108 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, we are asking that person to contact the proper authorities.

Those teachers who live in Rockaway are reminded that ballots for the vote on approving the new contract are due at the American Arbitration Association by December 8 if they are to count. Those on sabbatical or leave must have them in by December 11. The ballots will be counted by the AAA and the results are expected to be announced on December 14. While the contract brings the top salary to more than $100,000 a year, many experienced teachers are looking closely at the wording of the health care section to see if there has been any diminution of that important benefit. There are many who believe that the early contract was a sell-out for the union's support of the 2009 legislative vote to renew mayoral control of the system, but that probably will happen with or without the union's support.

It's entirely possible that Rockaway residents will never have to suffer being overflown by an Airbus A380 jumbo jet. The delivery of the first aircraft in the series has been delayed once again because engineers can't seem to get the electronics right. At least two international carriers who had placed orders for the planes, which can hold up to 800 passengers, have cancelled those orders and turned to American manufacturer Boeing for its version of the jumbo jet. Airbus is the manufacturer of the A300 series, the plane that lost its tail and crashed into Belle Harbor in November of 2001 and there are many who think that the plane's rudder system is flawed and dangerous. Lawyers for some of the family members of those who died in the crash of Flight 587 are now in France taking depositions from Airbus engineers.

Religious fundamentalists have made the argument recently that evolution is only a theory and that it should be taught alongside intelligent design, which posits that God created the Earth and everything on it in seven days. Scientists get closer each day to prove, however, that evolution is a theory that has been proven by evidence as opposed to intelligent design, which is based on belief and faith. Most recently, some researchers who tested the DNA from a fossil bone have come up with the fact that Neanderthals, the forerunner of man on the evolutionary scale, has genomes that are 99.5 percent the same as those of modern man. The great similarity is considered to be one more proof that Charles Darwin had it right when he penned "The Origin of the Species," a work that posited the fact that all life descended from a common ancestry whose genes were passed down and modified through the ages.

How bad is the city's high school graduation rate? City officials say that 58 percent of the class of 2005 graduated, up from the 54 percent who graduated in the class of 2004. The state, however says that only 43 percent of the class of 2005 graduated. Critics say the city uses its own method of figuring the numbers and that its method is designed to get the best possible outcome for the mayor, who has based his legacy on improving the school system - or, at least the statistics the system puts out. The city counts those students who got a GRE and subtracts special ed students and students who move to other schools without determining if they ever showed up or not.

What could the 101 Precinct have in common with the hit television show 'Dancing With The Stars'? Well for one thing, telephone numbers. According to the precinct's commander, Captain Brian McMahon, the 101 got at least 30 extra calls on Tuesday nights when viewers of the show would call in to vote for their favorite couple. The reason, said McMahon, is the show's 868 exchange telephone numbers for voting are similar to the numbers for the precinct, whose main number is 718 868-3400. For a while, the officer on the precinct's switchboard was busy taking calls from people who wanted to vote for his or her favorite as the winner of the popular show. Emmett Smith won.

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