2007-08-03 / Community

Beachcomber

Mark your calendar for Sunday night, August 5 at 6 p.m. when Dean Karahalis and the Long Island Pops come to Fort Tilden as part of the RMAC's Sunset Picnic Concert series. This is always the most popular concert in the series, so get your beach chairs and blankets, pack a picnic dinner and come to Fort Tilden. Two weeks later, on August 19, Kenny Vance and the Planotones will perform their doo-wop magic at the Leon S. Locke Memorial Concert. Locke, the former publisher of The Wave, was a rock 'n roll aficionado and a longtime member of the RMAC.

The arrest of two men who were seen removing merchandise from the back door of the Mocean sneaker store on Beach 116 Street last week should put an end to the burglaries that have plagued the street in recent weeks. Neither of the two men, who were quickly caught by police on Beach 117 Street, comes from Rockaway, but a third man is still being sought in connection with the break-ins. Although money was taken at both of the recent burglaries, Mocean and Rockaway Crown, it seems that the perps were most concerned with taking the correct brand of sneakers from Mocean. Only Nike brand sneakers were removed from that shoe store.

The arrest of a Rockaway man who was already in prison for an unrelated crime when the police got a "cold hit" on his DNA that pointed to him as the person involved with two local rapes, once again points out how important the "building blocks of life" are to the criminal justice system. In this case, it helped cops catch a serial rapist, but in other cases, DNA evidence has freed people wrongly convicted of crimes in the past. There has been a call for a national DNA database that everybody should enter when they are born, just as everybody is issued a Social Security number at birth. Civil libertarians, however, cringe at the thought.

The City Council is at it again, getting involved in and attempting to control an area its members know nothing about. It wasn't bad enough that it banned aluminum baseball bats without the smallest proof that they are more dangerous than wooden bats. Now, they are attempting once again to work around the important school cell phone ban. Any teacher will tell you that the phones have been a real distraction in the classroom and they were often used for cheating on tests. That is why the DOE banned them from the schools. The council, however, did not like the ban and tried to overturn it, but the mayor vetoed their try. Now, they want to guarantee that students can bring their cell phones up to the school door and then retrieve them when they leave school. Schools once utilized lockers for each student to keep a coat, books and personal items, but most of those were trashed years ago. And, there is no way to guarantee that once a student was in the building, he or she would put the phone in a locker. If the council members had thought this through they would understand what a problem it would be for schools to take cell phones at the door, keep them safe for the day, and then return them at the end of the day. The schools would each have to hire four or five people just to take care of the hundreds of phones they would collect and safeguard each day. Think about what dismissal would look like each day as hundreds of kids lined up at an office to get their phones before their transportation left the school. What the politicians are trying to do is to make keeping the ban in place so onerous that the DOE will relent and end the ban entirely. The council should stick to what they are good at - naming streets.

A CD of the movie, "Rockaway" was released recently and is now available in stores and from Netflix, the on-line source for rental movies. The latter, in its promotion of the film, says, "This coming of age docudrama follows three high school seniors on the verge of graduation, trying to navigate the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Set in the Long Island neighborhood between the city and the suburbs known as Rockaway, this verite tale explores the borders that stand between us all." Wait just a minute! Rockaway has become a Long Island neighborhood in this movie, a neighborhood that stands "between the city and the suburbs." This, we have to see. At least, Netflix could have gotten the setting straight.

Most of the evacuation plans for Rockaway in the face of an impending Category three or four hurricane depend on getting people out three or four days before the storm hits. The most vulnerable, the residents of our two hospitals and numerous nursing homes, would have to be evacuated first, perhaps as much as four days prior to the storm. A new report, however, warns that New York City might not have enough warning to get its evacuation plan going that early in the game. Experts now say that Rockaway might have as little as 12 hours to get out of town - the time it takes for the storm to really develop when it hits the Outer Banks of North Carolina. From the time it takes to originate in the Caribbean and move up the coast, a hurricane predictably moves at five to fifteen miles per hour, giving coastal communities lots of warning. Upon reaching North Carolina, experts say, all bets are off because a storm may triple its forward speed at that point; In middle latitudes, the forward speed of a hurricane may exceed 50 miles per hour, in an extreme case. Hurricane Gloria, which hit in 1985, took just 12 hours to get from North Carolina to Long Island, a distance of approximately 500 miles, by sea. The problem seems to be that people will not evacuate voluntarily before they are sure the storm will strike, and by then, it might be too late. The city does not want to look inept by moving people too early and then have the storm go elsewhere, but it may well have to do just that to safeguard the frail and elderly. Perhaps its time to have some "hurricane drills," in which locals and officials play out just what would happen should a hurricane come onto the horizon.

A story on page 6 in last week's paper about an Arverne shooting makes it appear that neighbors actually saw the shooters. That is not the case, and we want to clarify that point for the safety of those neighbors. We want to apologize for any problems caused by the misunderstanding.

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