It’s tough to be upbeat when the last two weeks of the old year are replete with homicides and calls of “shots fired” throughout the peninsula, but we remain positive about the changes the peninsula is undergoing despite those setbacks. Even those shootings seem to have a silver lining of sorts. For the first time, local politicians and activists are beginning to address the violence, and black on black crime and gang activity endemic in our city housing projects. This Saturday, December 30, Liz Bishop-Goldsmith, the President of Mothers Against Guns, will host a community meeting at the Evangelical Holiness Church to address gun violence in Far Rockaway. Mothers Against Guns is a true grassroots movement; just what Rockaway needs if this murder spree is to end. In addition, City Councilman James Sanders has called for a larger police presence in Rockaway to stop the killing spree. Sanders has a plan that includes lots of involvement on the part of city agencies, something that typically takes months to get any traction. He plans on holding a community march against violence on January 15, but has not yet set the details. We can only ask that the other politicians who recently marched in support of Sean Bell join in this march for several Rockaway residents who have died as a result of gun violence in the past year. And, despite the fact that gun violence tends to override other community coverage, there are many things to look forward to in the coming year. Arverne By The Sea will begin construction on its next residential community, bringing not only new middle-class residents, but a new supermarket, new stores and restaurants and a YMCA as well. Work will soon begin on a new and improved Rockaway Beach Boulevard, which will remediate some of the problems motorists face in driving the east-west axis. In addition, the new sports Aviator Sports complex has brought a new dimension to the quality of life in Rockaway, bringing a nearby multi-sports venue to the Gateway National Recreation Area. The arts community at Fort Tilden continues to grow with new venues and new programs that add to our quality of life as well. We look forward to 2007 with optimism and the hope that we can run fewer stories about crime and violence and more about the peninsula’s renaissance.