2007-07-13 / Community

Beachcomber

We wouldn't call the Smalls family a typical Rockaway family, but it's instructive to take a look at the family's fortunes over the past year or so. Ronnie Smalls was arrested last week for attempted murder in connection with the shooting of a 15-year-old girl. Police say that the girl was shot by accident as Smalls took aim at another gang-banger. Smalls was shot twice in the back in June of last year but would not cooperate with police searching for his assailant. Cedric Smalls, Ronnie's brother, was killed last December. His suspected murderer, Latron Spurgeon, was shot and killed by another Smalls brother, Andrew, last February. All of the brothers are reputed to belong to GIB - Get It In Bricks (referring to bricks of heroin, police sources say). In May of 2006, the brothers were arrested when they were found to have a gun in a stairwell of one of the buildings in the Hammel Houses. Both Ronnie and Andrew were arrested in that incident, but Cedric was not.

Nassau County police are searching for a hit and run driver who mowed down an assistant district attorney who was walking along the Nassau Expressway - the road that separates Far Rockaway from Nassau - nearby Mott Avenue early on Wednesday morning. Police say that the driver of a dark-colored SUV hit Robert Johnson, 58, briefly stopped to see what happened and then continued on without reporting the accident or trying to help the injured man. Johnson suffered severe head trauma in the accident.

The Parks Department is spreading the word about how to break the grip of a rip current, the roaring current that can pull unsuspecting swimmers to their deaths. If you get caught up in a current that is pulling you out to sea, the agency says, don't fight the current. Let it pull you out until you feel that it is weakening. It will. Once it weakens, swim out and parallel to the shore until safely away from the current, then swim back to land. If you need help, wave your arms and yell for assistance. Don't try to fight the current until it weakens. No matter how strong a swimmer you are, you probably will not be able to break its grip. A few other tips: Don't swim where there are no lifeguards on duty; know your capabilities before you go into the water; never swim alone and don't drink and swim. The basic rule: If in doubt, don't go out.

Keith Goldberg, better known as "Bugsy" in all of his community activities, emailed us to say that the mystery little league photo in the June 29 issue of The Wave was his team. He says that he is front row center in the 1969 photo. John Blum, he says, is front right. Paul Kenny is top left and Anthony Bratton is next to him. Brian Cori is top right, he believes. Who are the others in the photo? He doesn't remember their names.

These days a starting pitcher in the major leagues is limited to 100 pitches in a game no matter how well he is doing. It is significant to note that on July 4, 1934, a pitcher named Satchel Paige won two complete games in one day, against two different teams and in two different cities. Pitching for the Negro League Pittsburgh Crawfords, Paige had a no-hitter against the visiting Homestead Grays, winning 4-0. Then, Paige drove to Chicago where he shut out the Chicago American Giants, 1-0 in 12 innings. How many pitches do you think that Paige threw that day? Nobody seems to know. By the way, Paige had an interesting take on exercise. "Never run when you can walk, never walk when you can stand, never stand when you can sit down, never sit down when you can lay down, and never look back, because somebody is probably gaining on you," he famously said. He pitched in the major leagues into his 50's, although nobody was ever sure how old he really was.

City Councilmember Tony Avella is on a crusade to bring religion back to the public schools. He wants the Department of Education to change its holiday rules to allow Nativity Scenes and Créches in classroom displays. Avella says that Menorahs and the Star and Crescent are religious symbols and that Christmas Trees and snowmen are not. He wants equal billing for Christians by installing the créches. "This resolution is clearly about equality and inclusion," the Councilman said. "By adding a Nativity Scene/ Créche to the holiday display, Christianity will receive equal representation with other religious faiths during the holiday season." We wonder if Avella has ever read the Constitution - that pesky little Establishment Clause that demands separation between church and state.

You can support both the Wounded Warriors and the Special Olympics by attending the Beach 134 Street block party being hosted by Flip Mullins and his family. The fundraiser event will take place on the beach block of Beach 134 on Saturday, July 14 from 6 to 10 p.m.

The annual Steve Belson Memorial Swim and Music Festival will take place on Saturday, July 14. The event will begin at 10 a.m. at Beach 92 Street - Bell's Beach - with a memorial half-mile swim. At 6 p.m., the action will move to the Rockaway Lobster House on Beach 92 Street and Beach Channel Drive for an evening of music and a scholarship awards ceremony, which will start at 7 p.m.

Speaking of fundraisers, mark your calendar for the August 23 Tribute Park event, held at the Beach 116 Street park.

The Rockaway Music and Arts Council has three Sunset Concert Picnics left this summer. All concerts are held at 6 p.m. at Fort Tilden. The concert on Sunday, July 22 features the Road House Band, a Country-Western band. The Long Island Pops will be on hand on August 5 and Kenny Vance and the Planotones, a famous local doo-wop group, will be featured in the Leon S. Locke Memorial Concert. All concerts are free.

Also mark your calendar for the RMAC's Annual Fall Festival, which will be held at the Riis Park Mall (in front of the bath house) on Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9.

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