2007-05-25 / Community

Beachcomber

Beachcomber

Far Rockaway resident James Barnett came to The Wave two weeks ago with photographs that he had taken at a boat fire the day previous. We used his photos, but did not give him the proper credit. We apologize to Barnett for his name getting lost in the shuffle and we hope he brings us other photos of breaking news stories in the future.

Police officers have been active over the past few weeks giving tickets to fishermen who ply their sport in the little park under the Cross Bay Bridge. One man who got a ticket for fishing came to The Wave to complain and say that there were more than 15 tickets given out on the evening of May 10. We checked, and can find no restriction against fishing off that park.

The lockout at Madelaine Chocolate Novelties on Beach 96 ended with a whimper earlier this week. The company agreed to end its lockout of workers in return for a promise not to strike while both sides, assisted by federal mediators, work out the details of a new contract. We can't help feeling sorry, however, for the workers who have toiled on the candy line for decades and still earn less than $9 an hour for their labor. Madelaine is one of the peninsula's largest employees and we hope that the Federal Mediator assigned to the dispute can pound out an agreement that is fair both to the company and to its workers.

The problems with the homes at Ocean Pointe At Bayswater, which is really in Edgemere (we guess that Bayswater sounds more high-class than Edgemere), which we chronicled in last week's edition, will have some resonance with other new home buyers on the peninsula, which seem to the uninitiated to be constructed more for speed than for long-term stability. In any case, the developer should not build, collect his money and then disappear into the woodwork, but should meet the needs of the new homeowners.

There were many touching tableaus on Mother's Day at the memorial dedicated to those who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587. We would be remiss in not commenting on what a fitting memorial that is to the 265 people who died on November 12, 2001 when the Airbus A300 crashed into the intersection of Newport Avenue and Beach 131 Street. Family members looked for the name of their loved one etched into the stone wall and then left flowers either on the ground in front of the name or in one of the many irregular openings in the wall. The openings allow the sky to be seen from inside the memorial, but served as flower holders for the families. A few went to visit the crash site as well, but perhaps not as many as in the past.

The front-page story in last week's Wave detailing the new FAA procedures for using all four of JFK airport's runways simultaneously, even in high crosswind conditions could have disastrous results for Rockaway. It will mean a greater number of flights coming over the peninsula in a shorter period to time and in a more restricted airspace. The decision seems to have more to do with moving more planes to make more profit and to limit delays than it does with safety and that always spells problems for communities that sit under airport arrival and departure routes as we do.

One of the building inspectors attending a workshop on preventing corruption was surprised last week when he was arrested by Department of Investigations Detectives for taking a $100 bribe from an undercover officer. Seems that the inspector was called to an unidentified Queens building (we're told it was not in Rockaway) for a heat complaint. He found an illegal basement apartment in the building and allegedly told the landlord that he would forget about what he saw for $100. When he went back to headquarters, he did not report the illegal apartment and said that the heat was just fine. Turns out that he was fired once before for taking a bribe, but a hearing officer who said that there was "no compelling evidence that he took the money for his own gain" reinstated him. See why we have problems in New York City.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates six tunnels and bridges including the Geothals Bridge, the Outerbridge Crossing, the GWB and others, is planning on doing away completely with tollbooths. If you don't have EZ Pass, forget about crossing the bridge. As a rule of thumb, the agency says, a toll taker can take cash from up to 400 vehicles an hour, while an electronic system can handle about 1,400 cars an hour. In addition, moving to the electronic toll would allow the agency to do its own version of "dynamic pricing," where motorists could be charged more during peak hours without ever knowing about it until the monthly statement comes in.

Keith Williams, whose wife Kathy was killed in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in November of 2001, called to say that he liked the article The Wave published two weeks ago about the airline's request for his young daughter's gynecological records in connection with the pending lawsuit. Williams said that Airbus Industries, who is named in the lawsuit as well because that European company built the Airbus A300-600 aircraft that lost its tail and crashed into Belle Harbor that day, is even nastier to the family members than American Airlines. "Neither American nor Airbus seem to have any concern that they killed their loved ones," Williams said recently. By the way, Williams sent The Wave article to American Airlines noting that asking for those records harms the airline's reputation. Now, he says, they seem to be backing off their request. Perhaps they don't want to tarnish the perception that the airline is friendly and family oriented.

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