2007-01-19 / Letters


Problems In

PS 225 Cafeteria

Dear Editor,

Some of the parents from the school [PS 225] were trying to get together with the PTA. When they showed up 7:30 on a Monday night the school was closed and the meeting was cancelled. The reason why the parents wanted to have this meeting was because of the dangerous situation that is going on in the cafeteria with the kindergarten and first grades eating at the same time as the junior high school and special ed students.

There has been food fights. Parents weren't even notified. Also snacks have been taken from them. They cannot even feel safe going to the bathroom.

There is very little staff at that time and these children are afraid to go to lunch. Parents have complained but still nothing was done.

Kathleen Cashin wanted to keep the JHS children in the elementary school and make 180 a special school. So now PS 225 and the other schools have to handle both elementary and middle school students that would have been in 180. Many of the children when they graduate from elementary school go out of Rockaway because 180 was really bad.

Why can't they make two separate schools like they did for Beach Channel and Channel View? The younger children should not be eating with the older students, especially when they have very little help at that time.

They parents were told that the principal called off the meeting. He doesn't know what to do either. Something has to be done soon before someone is seriously hurt.

My grandson was one of the students hit in the back of the neck with an apple. Also, a student came over to him another time to ask for a cookie; when he went to give him one because he was taught to share, the students grabbed the whole bag and walked away. He couldn't go to anyone because the workers were so busy. I hear they are also worried because lunchtime is so out of control.

My son-in-law, Evie, went up to make a complaint. First, that no one ever contacted the family when my grandson was hurt, and why are the younger children eating with the older ones. He was told that they now have more help. But unfortunately, it is getting worse instead of better. The students just returned to school and again the older students are bothering the younger ones.

The principal's job is to keep the students safe and so far he is not doing a good job.

I feel parents need to come together and insist that they keep the children separate even if they have to make another lunch period or have the younger ones eat in their classes.


A Suggestion For

The Arverne Firehouse

Dear Editor,

I would like to make a suggestion for the now abandoned firehouse building on Beach 56 Street.

As a resident of that community, I believe that this building should be used to create jobs in the community instead of as a vocation training center. There are other centers available where adults in this community could do their GED and other adult training programs. I believe that a privately-owned business such as a restaurant, where we could sit with our families and enjoy a well-prepared dinner after work instead of having to go into Nassau County or Brooklyn, would benefit our area much more. We could also use a bookstore, like Barnes and Noble, and a Starbucks to get your coffee before jumping on the train. Jobs would be created, and the look of hopelessness in Arverne may go away. People would then have more pride in this area. We are already plagued with abandoned cars on our main streets not being towed; our subway stations have been the dirtiest in all of New York City, and our beaches are the least cleaned and developed.

This area already has a Public Assistance office and a job center. Our neighborhood should also have entrepreneurs and other people willing to invest in making us look good. We are surrounded only with nursing homes, whose owners, though providing jobs, do not invest in the upkeep or beautification of Arverne. There is also a Daytop Drug Rehabilitation Facility of Arverne. The residents here need to see commercial development in Arverne. We are also taxpayers, yet our community continues to be used as the peninsula's dumping ground.

Please, let there be no more facilities to accommodate the youth unwilling to do anything in high school. Let them see businesses willing to provide them with jobs other than home attendants and nursing assistants, when they strive for a college education.


Call It A Christmas Tree

Dear Editor,

In answer to Mr. Greenstein's response to Joseph Costa-

It seems a bit of an overreaction to say that Joe was inciting violence. He was merely angry about the politically correct b.s. of calling a Christmas tree a "holiday tree." He was angry at the wrong people, but his anger is still understandable and even justified. I don't know if the Chamber of Commerce also erected the Menorah, but if so, I am mystified at how Christmas can't be specified but another religion's holiday can be. Do any other religions celebrate a winter holiday with a tree? I think not, so how is it appropriate to misname the tree- to avoid hurting anyone's sensibilities? Instead they have angered a whole lot of Christians, most of whom won't say anything about it for their own reasons.

In a country that is a melting pot of religions, ethnicities and beliefs, it seems wrong to try and force the ingredients to blend together and lose their distinctiveness. Peppers and tomatoes are delicious parts of chili, and you can still see them and taste them while eating the dish. Why not allow the differences in our beliefs to remain as distinctive flavors in our incredible country? Stop trying to turn us into mush! Christmas trees are Christmas trees, just as Menorahs are part of the Jewish winter holiday. I don't want my children to see the "holiday candelabra" and not know its history and significance, any more than I want them to have a "holiday tree."


Inconvenient Weather

Dear Editor,

Rut ro!!! It's January 6, 2007 and it's going to be 70 degrees today. That would be astonishingly good news, to actually have a beach day in Rockaway in January, if it weren't so earth shatteringly scary.

The myth that there is a scientific debate still going on about man caused global warming is continually perpetuated by our politicians. The fact is there is NO scientific debate about this. Virtually all of the scientific community worldwide now agree that the off the charts warming trend is caused by man.

The reason our politicians are so anxious to continue the myth that there is a scientific debate is because if they embrace the fact of man caused global warming they will be ethically and morally compelled to actually DO something about it. It's time to move our priorities away from the petty issues that have consumed our interests and our dollars. It's time to hold our politicians' feet to the fire and demand that huge changes be made to catch the USA up to all the rest of the world and immediately begin to affect the CO2 emissions we are putting out into the atmosphere.

Even those of us who have had our heads in the sand on this issue must agree to become part of the solution. That would include using less energy resources. Even small changes can make a big difference. It's a place to start. Further, insisting that our politicians focus on our planet health, and not on making war.

Our local politicians MUST be bringing this message to Washingiton.

If you haven't seen the movie "An Inconvenient Truth," you simply must. This is not a political film and has no bearing on whether or not you are a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Independent. If you are a human being you need to see this documentary. It says it all much better than I could ever hope to.


Connolly's Goes International

Dear Editor,

On a recent family vacation to Rome we stayed in a hotel almost in the shadow of the ancient Coliseum. Nearby, of all things, was an authentic Irish pub replete with Irish bartenders and English-speaking clientele.

While there, I spied an amazing but familiar sight. On the wall was a bumper sticker that I have on my car. It was a Connolly's/Rockaway Beach sticker.

Upon inquiry, the bartender related that one of his coworkers had a friend who was a fireman in New York. He bought a round for us. Thanks Connolly's!


Where Have All

The Turkeys Gone?

The following letter concerns the "Turkey Giveaway" advertised by Councilman James Sanders Jr., 31st District, where residents could pick up free turkeys on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Councilman's Far Rockaway office on Birdsall Avenue. CoCo Williams provided a copy of the Sanders advertisement, which makes no mention of the term "First Come, First Served."

Dear Editor,

At about 5:30 p.m. I was at Councilman James Sanders' office. I saw a few people leaving with turkeys. A few of us were waiting in the rain for our turkeys, and we were told there were no more turkeys. The man there was telling us, "If you read at the bottom of the paper [advertisement], it said 'First Come First Served.'" We told him he's telling a damn [sic] lie! The paper said, "6 p.m. to 7 p.m." A lady came out of the office, telling him what to say: "There are no more turkeys."

My point is these papers [ads] were put in the project buildings: Edgemere, RedFern, Hammels, etc. Plus, it was printed in The Wave. I heard someone wrote a letter to The Wave trying to cover up about it. I called the Councilman's office and never got a return call.


Missing Bus Stop Sign Causes Frustration

Dear Editor,

I am writing to inform you of an urgent problem in my neighborhood. The bus stop sign and location is missing where I live. There has been construction in Far Rockaway. The bus stop for the Q-22 was on the north side of the street on Beach 80- Beach 81 Streets. This stop and sign was moved to Beach 79 Street-Beach 80 Street.

The construction has stopped, but the bus stop sign has been removed. There is no indication that this is the stop. Instead there is a fire hydrant and a row of parked cars. The Q-22 bus driver refused to stop in this area because there is no sign. I demand an investigation to why there is no bus stop from Beach 75 Street to Beach 82 Street in this area. Why are construction people allowed to take over public bus stops and allow parked cars?


Somebody Might Die

Dear Editor,

Today was the last straw- for the last month and a half, I, along with everyone else who tries to get from the west end of the peninsula to Far Rockaway, have been subjected to major traffic jams from Beach 66 Street, all the way to Beach 56 Street along Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

What once was a 20-minute trip at 8 a.m. is now 45 minutes.

What first topped it off today was while going to work, I noticed an ambulance that was trying to go in the same direction towards Far Rockaway.

There was nowhere to move to give him room to get by. It could very well have cost someone his or her life. Secondly, on my way home, going from Beach 56 Street towards Beach 66 Street, a fire truck with its sirens on was trying to make its way down this same road. When later talking to a fireman he described the roads as "worse than Chinatown." And it's not like you can drive under the freeway because that is closed off at major points of Beach 66-56 Streets. I've tried to go down one way to go another way and go along Beach Channel Drive only to eventually need to get to Seagirt Boulevard but that almost took an hour.

Does no one think of the roads when building so many new houses and apartments and the excessive amounts of people, especially if an evacuation was necessary? What would happen? What would we do?

Safety for those of us who already live and have lived here all our lives should have been a priority before letting all the new construction and housing go up.

I do have two temporary suggestions: Synchronize the lights at Beach 58th and Beach 56th Streets as well as creating a left turn signal. Secondly -Reopen the "L."

Our community representatives must do something about the very dangerous situation or we will all surely be in grave danger.


Arverne East

A 'Dangerous Venture'

The following letter was sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

This letter is in reference to the proposed Arverne East Development in Rockaway, but I want to begin with these comments:

- The recent black-on-black killings here are sad and frightening.

- Mothers living in the Hammels Housing Project have to tell their children to keep away from the windows in fear of stray bullets. This terrorizes all of us.

- In the near future the YMCA will hopefully provide constructive and skill building activities for all neighborhood children and youth to help prepare for productive lives.

- The recent closing of a boxing place for young people was just plain wrong.

Now to the proposed new homes in Arverne East by the Bluestone Organization:

- I urge you to prevent this dangerous venture and instead use the power given to you by the people, for the people and dedicate this already park-like area as a Forever Wild space.

- There is an abandoned firehouse at the western edge near the Ocean Bay Housing Complex that would make a great visitor center in the future and could right now become a home base for long term outreach programs, to support and guide children and teens in the right direction.

Please look at enclosed info pages and consider the following points against more homes:

+ The proposed site is in a Zone A and Zone B area, designated as such by the City on the "Ready New York" map.

+ The westward moving long shore current sweeps around the jetty at the western end of Long Beach and hits Rockaway Beach in the thirties. This is where the Atlantic Ocean would plow across Rockaway into Jamaica Bay should there be a storm surge at high tide.

+ To add to existing housing in this location, which includes PS 106 and PS 43, would be irresponsible in my opinion.

+ Major insurance providers now reject longtime clients in Howard Beach. Government insurance - taxpayers pick up the tab- cannot replace lost lives!

Have all of us not seen the death and destruction and suffering during and after the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina?

"It's easy to think a hurricane of that magnitude could not happen on Long Island, but that would be untrue. If a hurricane hit today, the destruction would be catastrophic." This quote is from a letter sent to customers by LIPA after Katrina.

The Rockaway peninsula is just a sand spit at the edge of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Let's keep the area in question as a "Place of Beauty" with easy access for all New Yorkers, providing recreation, inspiration and much needed long-term jobs for local residents.

Dear Mayor Bloomberg, I urge you to ask Mr. Bluestone to use his investors $1.35 billion to build homes on higher, solid and safe grounds.

I am trusting in your wisdom.


Sallie Mae Does Us Wrong

Dear Editor,

When Congress amended the Higher Education Act ten years ago, defaulted student loans became the easiest and most lucrative debt to issue and collect.

The amendments imposed huge fees on defaulted student loans and took away bankruptcy protection for student borrowers. It banned refinancing of many student loans, and also allowed draconian collection measures to be taken against student borrowers, including: wage garnishment, tax garnishment, withholding of professional certifications, termination from employment, and even social security garnishment.

Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren told the Wall Street Journal that "student loan debt collectors have power that would make a mobster envious."

And no one makes the mobsters greener than Al Lord and his Student

Loan Marketing Corporation. Also known as Sallie Mae.

Lord and current CEO Tim Fitzpatrick have made about $367 million since 1999, making them some of the highest paid executives in the country.

Sallie Mae stock has also gone up almost twenty times in the same period. Way more than Microsoft.

There are only two ways to get that kind of growth with that kind of profit: You do things smarter, better, faster. Or do what Sallie Mae did: Get into a business where government assumes all the risk - guaranteed student loans - but where a private company gets all the reward.

They quite wisely chose the latter. And as a result, Sallie Mae became the largest student loan company in America, bigger than most of their rivals combined.

In the company's annual report, Lord attributed his company's 29% core cash earnings-per-share growth in large part to fees collected from defaulted loans. He forgot to mention that the law allowed him to forbid Sallie's customers from refinancing with competitors offering better deals.

Meanwhile, the borrowers suffer.

Many student loan debtors in default find themselves unable to function in society, and are faced with a decision to either continue the paralysis and live in fear, or begin making payments on a massively inflated amount - often double, triple or quadruple what they originally borrowed.

StudentLoanJustice.Org has received thousands of stories from citizens whose lives have been shattered by their student loans.

These stories are from decent citizens who have been forced to live "off the grid"; postpone marriage and children; leave the country and even commit suicide.

That is not being overly dramatic. That is simply reporting to you some of the thousands of stories that people tell us.

People who default on student loans are typically decent citizens, who for one reason or another, were not able to capitalize on their education.

Most agree that they are responsible to pay back what they borrowed,

but most cannot afford to pay back the wildly increased amounts that the Federal Law has allowed to be imposed upon them.

The Student Loan system in America has been hijacked by Albert Lord and his friends.

Let there be no mistake: These are not creative geniuses who invented a new product or service. These are not captains of industry who built markets, and competed their way to the top. Rather, these are nothing more than well connected executives who took an existing market, and used their weight in Congress to erect insurmountable barriers to competition.

Here are just two examples: Sallie Mae convinced Congress that allowing borrowers to reconsolidate student loans would cost taxpayers money, so they banned it. Then they sidestepped the law against inducements (also known as kickbacks) by permitting Sallie Mae to loan schools money to make student loans in the

school's name, then sell them to Sallie Mae for a "commission."

Imagine if any other business tried that. It would be ridiculous.

Or illegal.

For Sallie Mae, it was a business model.

This cannot be what Congress intended when the Higher Education Act of 1965 was created.

And must be among the first things the new Congress fixes this year.


Supporting Sanders Is

"A Beautiful Thing'

The following letter was sent to Councilman James Sanders Jr.

Dear Councilman Sanders,

What creates a leader's brilliance is that he or she can advocate and convert their sacrifices into rare talents; complementing and developing communities. Supporting Councilman James Sanders Jr. can be a beautiful thing.


Roads Will Run People

Out Of Rockaway

Dear Editor,

I'm surprised that there was no coverage in the January 12 edition of the newspaper regarding the traffic that has been plaguing those of us who need to drive from the Cross Bay Boulevard Bridge on the Rockaway side to Peninsula Hospital and beyond. I will tell you, if I were looking to buy a new home in Rockaway, I'd turn away and forget it. The traffic has been unnerving. Who would want to buy a house and spend 30 minutes fighting ten blocks of traffic?

With the road under the el closing, and the remaining roads becoming single lanes, the traffic situation in Rockaway is only getting worse. The bicycle lanes are ridiculous. Bicycle riders, and I haven't seen one yet on my way to or from work, would take their life in their hands riding in the bike lane. Frustrated motorists cross into the bike lanes to pass cars waiting to make turns.

How do builders expect to sell their homes when the present residents are so affected by the traffic?


Nothing Like It

In Memory, Or in Reality

Dear Editor,

I had to write and tell you about the many happy memories of summers spent at 137A Beach 36 Street when I was young.

We lived in that bungalow every summer in the early 50's until '59 when my dad passed away quite suddenly.

As kids, my sister, brother and I spent our long summer days on the beach on our "canvas," part of a carnival tent given to our family by an uncle in that business.

We lived for collecting shells, riding the waves, eating soggy egg salad sandwiches and just enjoying ourselves. We made many summer friends and looked forward to being with them every year.

I remember going shopping on Edgemere Avenue around Beach 35 Street at a "schlock" store. This store had everything one could imagine, from dishes to bathing caps and we went there with our grandma who loved a bargain.

There were fruit and vegetable stands, a dairy restaurant, a public school and a synagogue nearby.

Going to the village in Far Rockaway was special for the theater, and once in a while we'd take the Roxbury bus there-or walk. Ah the memories. Honeysuckle grew all around; their scent always takes me back.

At night: THE BOARDWALK!!! Fireworks, Sally's Pizza. Knishes (Baba's were better!) custard, waffles and ice cream- I could go on. Walking up to PLAYLAND was an effort but well worth it for the thrills!!

There never was nor will there ever be a place like it... in memory or in reality.


Support Rockaway Lifeguard Programs

Dear Editor,

Within the last month I attended the clinic that Chief Janet Fash has set up in Rockaway for our children 16 and over who wish to become city lifeguards. This program will definitely help any youth pursue a summer lifeguard job in Rockaway.

The past history of our children attending the city lifeguard course, held on the West Side in Midtown Manhattan has many stories of our high school children not being treated justly. How can someone be the captain of a high school swimming team and not qualify to be a lifeguard? Better than that is why should a Rockaway youth take the course and then be forced to work in a pool in Brooklyn because they are short people.

Rockaway Beach has gone through a transition where the city has gotten away with closing our beaches. For some strange reason our children come home from college and are failed on the test the whole month of June and then put to work for the Fourth of July weekend.

The college kids depend on this job. How is Chief Janet Fash supposed to train these new lifeguards when they show up in July?

My son, Charlie, was a lifeguard under Chief Fash's supervision and he only had good things to say about her. As we can see by her resume, she has spend half her life saving people on Rockaway Beach. For the first decade, she has trained and supervised our youth in probably one of the busiest areas in Rockaway. As far as challenging the Chief to a 400-yard swim, that's not the point. I think she realized when she had the nerve to open up this bag of shells, that she was wide open for cheap shots and harassment.

As for you Arthur Cholakis, I have not seen or heard you at any of the public meetings held in Rockaway. I wonder what you have to say to Chief Dan Mundy FDNY. Better than that try retired fireman Bob Fash, who I was a lifeguard with.

This program was started for our youth and deserves our support.


All letters submitted to The Wave, including those sent via e-mail, must contain names, addresses and phone numbers. All letters are subject to editing and publication at the discretion of the editors. The Wave will no longer publish letters in which the name is withheld, unless, in the opinion of the editorial board, there is a compelling public interest to do so.

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