2006-12-22 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The end of the year is always a time to take stock of what happened during the last 12 months. One of the ways we at The Wave measure success is by the number of pages we turn out each week. The size of the paper is a function of the advertising inserted in the paper and that advertising is a function of the peninsula’s economic health as well as an indication of the trust the people of Rockaway have in this paper. In 2004, we had one paper that ran 100 pages. That was the second in Wave history, the first being after the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. Last year, The Wave published five papers that were 100 pages or better. This year, with one issue to go, we have published 17 papers that were 100 pages or better, including two that matched the record – 112 pages. For that success, we thank our advertisers and our readers and wish one and all a happy and healthy New Year.

As part of the Arverne By The Sea development process, Beach 69 Street, from the Rockaway Freeway to the boardwalk will be closed for approximately two months beginning on January 15, 2007. The street is expected to be reopened on March 15, but construction delays could also delay that reopening. “Arverne By The Sea is committed to the growth and enrichment of the Rockaways and we appreciate your continued patience,” said Brendan Perlee, a spokesperson for the development.

We got a call last week from an old Rockaway resident who now lives in Michigan and is writing his memoirs. He remembered being in the movie theater with his father on Beach 116 Street on December 7, 1941. He says that when he and his father came out of the early movie, the news of the Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor was all over the news. He could not remember, however, what movies were playing that day and asked if we could help. The question was too intriguing to ignore. So, we pulled out the bound volume holding the 1941 papers and looked for the movie ads. We found that “It Started With Eve,” starring Deanna Durbin, Charles Loughton and Robert Cummings led the bill with the B movie being “Married Bachelor” with Robert Young and Ruth Hussey were playing that day. At least we made one person’s holiday season a little happier.

Congressman Gregory Meeks, who represents the east end of the Rockaway peninsula, is on the road again. He will fly to Venezuela soon for a sit-down with that nation’s notorious leftist President, Hugo Chavez. How this helps his Rockaway constituency is hard to figure, but Meeks always has a justification for his many trips abroad. This time, Meeks told the Daily News that he wants Chavez to sign an agreement to combat the trade in illegal drugs between his nation ours. You’ll remember that Chavez recently called President Bush “an alcoholic” and a “sick man.”

The controversial plan to place all the names of those who died on 9/11 randomly on the walls of the planned memorial has been scrapped under pressure from the family members of firefighters and police officers, who demanded that they be grouped by uniformed service and employer. “The change strikes the right balance,” Mayor Bloomberg said, after a long period of agreeing that the names should be random. There is precedent for the change. The city’s memorial to those who died in American Airlines Flight 587 on Beach 116 Street lists all of the locals together and all of the flight crew together as well as keeping family groups together.

In an attempt to find a compromise solution to the school cell phone ban, and its resulting protest by parents and students, the city will soon try an experiment at several Brooklyn middle and high schools. The pilot program will put small lockers at the door and students would have the option of paying a quarter or fifty cents to put their cell phones into those lockers. The payment would go to the private company that installs and maintains the lockers. The plan will run through the end of the 2007-08 school year and will then be evaluated. If the pilot is successful, each of the city’s schools would get the lockers the following year. Published reports say that at some schools, students already pay a dollar or two to a bodega owner who will hold their cell phones for the day.

Just when you thought it was safe to go out on the street again, here comes the Airbus A380, the world’s largest civilian aircraft from the company that built the A300 that crashed into Rockaway five years ago. The aircraft received its airworthiness certificate last week from both European and American authorities and can now fly into American airports. The first of the model is expected to be delivered to Singapore Airlines next October.

A few weeks ago, we reported in this space that we heard that the DOT was measuring Shore Front Parkway as well as Beach 73 Street and Beach 108 Street for parking meters. This week, the DOT press office called to say, “there are no current plans for parking meters on any of those roads. A number of people who live along those streets called to complain that finding parking there was hard enough without meters. This should make them stand easy.

Last week, we ran a story about the “Member Items” handed out by our state legislators. In that story we pointed out that Democrats in the Senate had less to pass around because the Republicans dole out the money. At least one local Republican pointed out that it was unfair to say that the smaller amount of money was due simply to Republican control, because there are far fewer Senators than there are Assemblymembers.

There were more than a few Rockaway residents who were angry as they watched Congressman Anthony Weiner march with Al Sharpton and others down Fifth Avenue last Saturday, calling on a boycott of white store owners and demanding what they call “justice” for Sean Bell, who was shot by police three weeks ago. We wonder what he was thinking?

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