2007-12-21 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The joke is that nothing moves in Albany, that our legislature is stuck in some sort of toxic mud that keeps both the Senate and the Assembly from getting anything done - unless it entails giving themselves a raise. Senator Eric Adams was typical of those in that house of the legislature who refused to give judges a welldeserved raise (New York State judges are 48th out of 50 in pay scale) until he got a raise as well. "Show me the money," Adams yelled. "I don't know how some of you are living, tell you the truth, on $79,000. You qualify for public assistance." Of course, Adams also gets a $9,000 stipend for his parttime job. He also has a police department pension as a retired Captain. He works 67 days a year in the Senate and he's calling $88,000 a year for those 67 days substandard wages. We wonder what world he lives in? Most of his constituents would be happy to earn $88,000 for the year, nevertheless 67 days.

You just can't make this stuff up. Two weeks ago, the Department of Education (DOE) announced that Far Rockaway High School was being closed because it no longer met the educational needs of students. This week, the School Nutrition Association, along with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, named Far Rockaway High School as one of the 25 healthiest schools in the nation. The award recognized schools that "went the extra mile to promote healthy lifestyles for their students in light of the teen obesity epidemic.

Parents who have looked at the Department of Education's website to get a copy of the application for admission to the Scholars' Academy found instead this warning "The Page Cannot Be Found. The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed or is temporarily unavailable. Please try the following: if you typed the URL in the address bar, make sure that it is spelled correctly. Open the home page and then look for alternate links to the information you seek. Click the back button to try another link. The DOE doesn't make it easy, does it? Some parents complained to The Wave that the directions, particularly for those who are not all that computer literate, are daunting.

The Citizens Committee For New York City is recruiting 40 youth to participate in an after-school program. They must be between the ages of 14 and 17 and must be available for the program, which will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on school days. The recruits will develop and work on community service projects and will be eligible for a $1,500 scholarship. For further information, call Henry Smart at 212-822-9571.

A Board of Regents member labeled as "most contemptuous" the mixed message of a city grading system that gave an Arating to some schools that the state has said are "failing." "[The DOE] can do whatever they want to do, but at the end of the day, I think the public deserves better," said Merryl Tisch, the vice chancellor of the State Board of Regents. "When the state says that it's a failing school and the city says that the school earned an A, what does it mean?" Of the 26 city schools on its Schools Under Register Review (SURR) list denoting failing schools, nine earned either an Aor a B from the DOE. Only six of the schools on the state's failure list also got an F from the city. Experts say that the discrepancy comes from the fact that the state measures how many kids in the school are passing standardized tests, while the city measures progress. In many schools, there is lots of progress but the majority of kids still fall below state standards.

Democratic District Leader Lew Simon had a problem on Saturday night. A large windstorm was approaching, and a large section of the sign on his office was falling down. Simon called the Broad Channel Volies. Past chief Tom Larkin and firefighters Falcone and Grey responded and secured the sign for Simon.

The Canadian Transportation Safety Board recently found that the rudder fell off an Airbus A310 aircraft because the laminate that held the tail together had disbonded. They faulted Airbus Industries for not having a stringent testing program to detect the possible disbonding program. There are many who believe that the disbonding problem was the fault of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587, which crashed into Belle Harbor in November of 2001. Our transportation Safety Board said at the time that it was pilot error, but the recent incident is chillingly reminiscent of the Rockaway crash. Perhaps it's time to reopen the AA 587 investigation in light of the recent Canadian report.

Those Rockaway residents who signed up for the mayor's new program, NotifyNYC, found that it was up and running on Saturday night. A Wave staffer who signed up for the program got an alert on both his cell phone and on his computer that read, "The National Weather Service forecasts a Noreaster to impact the city on Sunday. Mixed precipitation along with strong winds expected. Minor coastal flooding forecasted for immediate coastal areas on Sunday evening." The alert was sent out at 5:55 p.m. on Saturday evening. To sign up, go to nyc.gov and then follow the directions.

The Riverhead Foundation saves stranded and injured sea animals and often responds to Rockaway for that kind of event. During this time of the year, many sick sea creatures float up on ocean beaches, and the foundation is asking the help of Rockaway residents to alert the foundation when they come upon such a creature. Locals are urged to patrol the beaches for sick and injured marine mammals and sea turtles and to report any sightings to the foundation at 631- 369-9840, extension 15, or by e-mail to sightings@riverheadfoundation.org. Kids can also adopt a dolphin, whale, seal or sea turtle through the foundation.

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