2007-05-18 / Columnists



Local activist Barbara Hillary, 75, has made it into the record books. According to the Associated Press, while record keeping is not perfect on the issue, it is believed Hillary is the first black woman to reach the North Pole. On April 23, she and two guides took a daylong ski trip from their base camp to the top of the world. Hillary, a cancer survivor, said she hopes her feat will help inspire other survivors. Hillary is getting lots of national notice, appearing on several news shows as well as Good Morning, America. On last weekend's "Saturday Night Live" program, weekend update reporter Seth Meyers held up a photograph of Hillary and said, "a 75-year-old nurse was the first black woman to reach the North Pole. That is the worst Katrina relocation in history."

Lew Simon called to point out that the reason the City Council's Transportation Committee met in Broad Channel was because Councilman Joe Addabbo wanted it that way. "Quinn told me that Addabbo asked to move the meeting from Rockaway to Broad Channel to give his Howard Beach constituents an easier commute in order to attend," Simon told The Wave. Simon points out that the meeting was originally to be at Beach Channel High School, The Scholar's Academy or PS 114. The Democratic District Leader pointed out that he got a bus to run from Rockaway to the meeting because some people here told him that they were afraid to travel to Broad Channel on the subway or bus.

Several black lawmakers are going after City Councilman Joe Addabbo and the other white councilmembers who voted against renaming a street in honor of racist activist Sonny Carson, who admitted his hatred for whites and did everything he could to drive them out of black communities. He also hated Asians, taking a large part in leading the Korean grocery boycott that split the city along racial lines in 1990. "How does it look to this city that three white male members of the City Council tell an entire black community no, and then say it's not racial," asks ex-Black Panther Councilman Charles Barron. The question should be, how can you attempt to rename a city street after a racist and expect to get away with it?

"If a cop calls for money, it's not a cop, it's a con," says the New York City Police Department, warning that it never solicits charitable donations. So, if somebody calls you and says that the money is to support the NYPD or to help widows and children of slain officers, call the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau at 212-741-8401. The only approved fundraising organization affiliated with the NYPD is the private New York City Police Foundation.

The good news from Delta Airlines is that it will make helicopter service from John F. Kennedy to Manhattan available on a regular basis. The bad news is that the service will cost a minimum of $159 plus taxes and a service charge for a one-way trip. This news will probably make many of Bloomberg's friends happy, but that is way beyond the means of the majority of people who travel through the airport on the way to Manhattan.

The United States Department of Interior, the agency that runs our national parks, will soon mark the 75th Anniversary of Riis Park with a summer-long series of events at that venue. Those events will include an Old Fashioned Bathing Beauty Contest, a Big Band Sunday, featuring swing music on the beach and a "Kick Off To Summer Parade" that will wend its way through the streets of Belle Harbor to Riis Park. The parade will take place on May 26. Keep on eye on the It's What's Happening Section" of The Wave each week for times and places.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) never gives up. It fought the ban on cell phones in schools all the way to the State Supreme Court and it lost. The court said in its ruling that the ban was proper because the phones are disruptive to education. The NYCLU, however, believes that the ban forces the students who want to have their phones in school, and the police who have to confiscate them, into an unwanted confrontation. It also believes that student searches are unwarranted and take up time that the kids could be using for education. The ACLU said, "The cell phone BAN (emphasis ours) has caused enormous disruption in the education of New York City's children - distracting them and their teachers from the business of learning, putting them in frequent confrontation with police personnel and eating up class time." They ask the mayor to voluntarily lift the ban. We often wonder what world those people live in? The ban has been good for the schools and therefore good for the kids who attend those schools. Only a handful of parents and the NYCLU seem to care enough to fight it.

Five and a half years after the tragic crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into Belle Harbor the unidentified remains of some of the victims were buried in a Bronx cemetery. What took so long? There was an initial battle among family members as to whether the remains should be buried at the Rockaway crash site, at a cemetery in New York City or a cemetery in the Dominican Republic. The decision that the Rockaway site was not a cemetery was made early, but the fight over which cemetery to use went on and on. Recently, the city decided that the remains would be buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx and family members were sent a letter with only a few days to plan a visit. The letters were dated April 9 and did not get to many families until late last month. The ceremony took place in early May. Many families were up in arms that a Catholic ceremony was forbidden at the gravesite. That was the final step for many of those whose loved ones were on the plane, but there are still nine death suits still going on in Federal Court by family members of those who were on the flight or were killed on the ground.

The lock-out by the management of Madelaine Chocolate was a shocker for the community. With the exception of Peninsula Hospital Center, the chocolate factory is the peninsula's largest employer. Experts say that lock-outs are legal to protect the company from sabotage or from protracted employee walkouts, but neither seems to be the case in Rockaway. We just hope that the two sides can get together and get it settled for the good of the company and the workers.

A reminder that dogs are not allowed on the beach from May 1 through September. Many local residents found that out the hard way when they were given tickets last weekend. In addition, remember that the summer "No Parking Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays," paradigm began anew this weekend. A word to the wise should be sufficient.

The parent who complained in a letter to the editor that she can't park nearby St. Francis de Sales School to drop off her child should complain to her neighbors who make up the leadership of the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association. They're the ones who pushed for the malls on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and for the parking ban that came with it.

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