2007-04-20 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Two long-time Rockaway women passed from the scene in recent weeks. They were active in the community and in their religious institutions and we would be remiss not to note their passing. Both Sylvia Rogoff and Faye Cohen added to the Rockaway scene in innumerable ways, with their temples, with the garden clubs, with community organizations and with their families. For more than 30 years, Cohen was the chairperson for the local Hadassah's Heart Luncheon. This year, the luncheon will be renamed the Faye Cohen Heart Luncheon in her honor. They will both be missed.

Mark your calendar for the RMAC's Literary Festival, which will be held at Fort Tilden on Sunday, April 22. The first-time Rockaway event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will feature workshops, local authors, readings and representatives of publishers and of agencies. If you're interested in writing or writers, this is the place to be.

On the front page of last week's paper, we said that the driver of the church van that overturned nearby Peninsula Hospital Center was transported to St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway. EMS workers called to say that he had been taken to Jamaica Hospital because neither Peninsula nor St. John's has a trauma center. Perhaps something should be done to change that fact, although we are not sure that either hospital really wants a trauma center because they are expensive and labor intensive. Even if the hospitals don't want a center, perhaps the community needs one.

The Rockaway Chamber of Commerce will host its annual "Bravest and Finest Awards Luncheon" at Russo's On the Bay in Howard Beach on April 26 at 12:30 p.m. The sponsors for the luncheon are Verizon, AllState Insurance, JetBlue Airways and Keyspan Energy. Contact the Chamber office on Beach 116 Street at 718- 634-1300 forreservations.

Everybody at The Wave wants to join in to congratulate columnist Emil Lucev on the publication of his first book, "The Rockaways: A Postcard History Series." Lucev, who writes the weekly column "Historical Views of the Rockaways" for the paper, has two loves - Rockaway and postcards. He has brought those two passions together in this book, which is published by Arcadia Publishing. It is a must-buy for those interested in the history of Rockaway and for new residents who want to seek out the "roots" of their new community.

Our two local hospitals often draw criticism in letters and Emails to The Wave. Unfortunately, a Wave editor had to use the services of Peninsula Hospital Center in the past week for a family illness that could have turned life-threatening. What he found was that the hospital staff, from the emergency room to the nursing staff and beyond performed professionally and with courtesy to both the patient and the family. That editor wants to use this space to publicly thank the hospital administration and the entire staff for its help in bringing the patient back to health.

Renaming streets seems to be the main task for a City Council that costs taxpayers more than $1 million a year for each of its 54 members. That's not so bad when the streets are renamed for people who actually deserve it, like firefighters, police officers and genuine city heroes who have lost their lives while serving the city. Many of those so honored, however, do not fit into those categories. For example, two years ago, Councilman James Sanders had a street named for his mother. Now, the council is debating naming a street for black activist Sonny Carson, who famously said that he hated all white people and was involved in forcing white teachers out of Ocean-Hill Brownsville during the teacher's strike in the 1960's. He was arrested for murder in 1974 and served more than a year in prison. He was also convicted of kidnapping. Now, Coun-cilman Al Vann, who was also involved in racial incidents during the school strike, says that he wants a street named for him. Perhaps it's time to do something to rein in the expensive and often do-nothing council.

In last week's edition of The Wave, Bernard Gassaway, the former principal of Beach Channel High School and a citywide superintendent for alternative programs hit the nail right on the head in his "It's My Turn" column entitled "Suicide by Educator." The column is a must read for anybody connected with the education community or for those who have children in the public school system. The Wave welcomes "My Turn" columns from the general public. The only requirement is that the column be less than 750 words and be literate.

Rockaway dodged the bullet in the Nor'easter that hit the entire east coast last Sunday evening. There was some home flooding in Arverne, Broad Channel and Bayswater as well as along Rockaway Beach Boulevard, but none of the major floods that were promised by weather forecasters. One thing that we did find from the storm, however, is that Rockaway needs more dunes, not fewer as some Belle Harbor residents have argued. Take a look at the beaches protected by dunes and you will see for yourself why dunes are revered everywhere in the world but New York City, where the Parks Department regularly bulldozes them flat in the name of "beach grooming."

Speaking of the Parks Department, that agency has announced that dogs can be allowed off their leash in a limited number of city park venues, including a number of parks in Queens. The only park listed in Rockaway where dogs will be allowed off the leash, however, is the Rockaway Community Park. That's kind of strange, because that "park really does not exist except on maps? That's the abandoned Edgemere Landfill, which is not only off-limits to dogs, but is off-limits to people as well. That property has been listed as a park since it was closed ten years ago, but it is still in the process of being closed up. We wonder what the people at Parks were thinking.

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