2007-03-30 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The Organizers of the Far Rockaway High School Class of 1957 Reunion are looking for lots of alumni to attend the upcoming event on June 23 at the Long Island Marriott. We've agreed to print some of the names of those they're looking for. If you know the whereabouts of any of these graduates, or have their email, contact Wave Editor Howard Schwach (a member of the Class of '57) at 718-634-4000 or at editor@rock awa ve.com: Don Ackerman, Aubrey Astrid, Linda Bruckner, Barry Feltingoff, Carole Greenberg, Steven Harr, Kenneth Handel, Dolores Jackson, Elinor Kaufman, Lillie Kirsch, Ann Klein, Charles Koppelman, Debra Koslowitz, Suzanne Levine and Robbert Lotto. More next week.

The piece of land adjoining the American Legion Post in Broad Channel has once again become a battleground between two vital community organizations The property, owned by the Broad Channel Athletic Club and utilized for its youth programs as well as a parking lot has been owned by the athletic program for some years now, but its ownership was challenged first by the Knights of Columbus, which wanted to build a new clubhouse on the property and now by the American Legion, who won't tell us what use it wants to make of the land. The mantra should be, "it's all for the kids," and the adult agencies should keep their hands off what amount to the kid's land. The recent lawsuit, which should have been brought against he city and not the BCAC in any case, is draining off much-needed funds that could be used for better purposes than fighting a frivolous lawsuit - like having a T-Ball program for the younger kids.

From January, 2005 to January 2006, the population of Rockaway grew by 5,500 people, surpassing by nearly 1,000 the 4,700 new residents in 2004. Together, the two-year surge comes to mare than 10,000 new residents and we have to believe that the 2006 numbers (due in January, 2008) will show an even steeper rise due to the new units coming on line in Arverne By The Sea as well as other new housing complexes throughout the peninsula. Once a sleepy winter community that grew out of proportion during the summer months when the bungalow communities came alive, Rockaway now has nearly 120,500 residents. There are those who believe that the peninsula will soon begin to sink into the sea due to the weight of all the new residences and the infrastructure to support them, but we still continue to think that the growth is a good thing. We just wish the Department of Traffic would come back to Rockaway and reopen the lanes on our major roads that they closed down last year.

The indictments handed down to the three police officers who took part in the shooting of Rockaway resident Sean Bell passed with little notice last week. Perhaps that's because at least some of the police officers were indicted or perhaps because Bell lived in Rockaway but spent much of his time in Jamaica and is little-known on the peninsula. In any case, the New York City Police Department was ready for any eventuality with extra cops spreading out over the peninsula on the morning that the indictments were unsealed. In any case, it is time for advocates on both sides to allow the judicial process to grind away and come to some conclusion on the case. The pronouncements of the Reverend Al Sharpton and others who complain that not all the cops were indicted or that the charge should have been murder will serve no good to Bell's memory except to create such an atmosphere that may cause the trial to be moved to another venue such as Albany.

City Councilman James Sanders is marshaling Rockaway residents to picket the City Planning Committee meetings beginning in a month of two. Sanders says that the city agency is "raping Rockaway" by allowing middle-income, single-family homes to be replaced by large, multi-unit expensive homes. "They are not doing right by my community," Sanders said. "We will have to disrupt their meetings in order to be heard." Sanders said that he made a proposal for downzoning much of the area several months ago and that the planning agency is dragging its feet in making the necessary changes.

Sanders also called to say that he was the "City Council Representative" that was mentioned in The Wave's story on the renovation of the Hammel Houses playground last week. "I was born in Hammels and I'm putting in $200,000 to fix it up," he says. "The park is dangerous for kids and it needs more than a coat of paint and some cosmetic changes."

All of the daily papers concentrated their stories about the shooting of a store clerk last week on the 11-year-old boy who was working in the store and survived by curling into a ball on the floor as the masked gunman started shooting. It was a good story for the papers, but nobody bothered to ask what an 11-year-old boy was doing working in a grocery store at 9 p.m. on a school night. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

The good news about the Federal Aviation Administration's new plan for area airports is that you will spend less time on the ground when you fly and your flights are probably going to be on time more often. The bad news is that the plan will push more flights over residential areas where they have never flown before because departures from JFK Airport will be dispersed on various headings rather than all flying the same departure headings during peak hours. What about the promise that planes won't fly over Rockaway because of the crash of AA 587 nearly six years ago? Forget about it. That was always a fiction and it will be even more so under the new FAA flight regulations.

There is a proposal in Albany to wipe out the state's scalping law. That would allow anybody to buy a ticket to a Broadway show, a concert or a sports event and the turn around and resell it for far more than the face value of the ticket. Those who favor dropping the law, and that includes Mayor Michael Bloomberg, say that people should be able to resell their tickets in a free market. They point to the fact that no other comodity is as controlled by the government.

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