2008-02-08 / Community


Community School District 27 supposedly has a rule that homework assignments should not exceed 10 minutes per grade. That is, 10 minutes for kindergarten, 20 for first grade, 30 for second, etc. Many parents have called The Wave complaining about the load their young children carry each night, but now that might be changing. The City Council is looking at a bill that would turn the "10-minute rule" into law. City Councilman Peter Vallone, who authored the bill, also wants to mandate one night each week when no homework should be assigned. We think that most parents, even those who want their children to exceed educationally, will agree with Vallone.

Long-time Rockaway resident Theresa Mohr, who now works at Aviator Sports, but was once the banquet manager at the Beach Club on Beach 116 Street, is battling invasive cancer. Her friends are holding a fundraiser to help her pay her medical bills. The event will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Beach 90 Street on Saturday, February 23, from 2 to 6 p.m.

With the race for President now moving into its final phase, many politicians are looking towards the 2009 election, when city and state offices will be up for grabs. One of the more interesting races could be for one of the most unneeded positions - Queens Borough President. Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who represents much of Rockaway, has always coveted that job. We have been told that she had been promised the Democratic nod for the slot, but now, with term limits in other city jobs, the position seems to be attracting lots of attention. Peter Vallone, Jr., says that he's already raised lots of money to run for the position. Fellow Councilmembers Leroy Comrie and Helen Sears have also indicated interest in the job. Queens Republicans have yet to pick a candidate, but whoever runs will probably turn into another of those sacrificial lambs that regularly run against Democrats in this borough.

As we have said in the past, Councilman Joe Addabbo is getting ready to run for the State Senate seat held now by Republican Serph Maltese. With the Democrats needing only two seats to take control of the Senate (turning Malcolm Smith into the second most-powerful politician in the state), Addabbo's election is important statewide, but it would take him out of Rockaway. The question that looms large is who would take Addabbo's place representing Rockaway in the City Council. Insiders say that the Democrats have already picked the party favorite, and he is Frank Gulluscio, a district leader and a district manager for a mainland community board. There is probably no lack of Rockaway candidates as well. We can think of a few perennial pols who might want to become candidates, including district leader Lew Simon and Geraldine M. Chapey (the younger). Without party backing, however, our locals have little chance.

For the first time, a number of black Far Rockaway leaders have come out publicly against gun violence and black-on-black crime, and it is about time. At a recent Day of Healing at the Redfern Houses, a public housing complex on the Nassau County border, officials from the NAACP did not waffle and speak about economic conditions, the disrespect shown to young black men by cops or the consequences of slavery. Instead, they came straight out and said that the violence that recently saw a stabbing and the shooting death of a teenage boy had to stop. At least that's a start. Now, it's time to take some action to actually take back the community from the gang-bangers and thugs that now hold sway.

Just a day after a state appeals court turned down a request by the three cops accused of shooting and killing Rockaway resident Shawn Bell to move their trial to an upstate venue, lawyers for the cops moved for a trial by judge rather than a trail by jury. The cops say they can't get a fair trial from a Queens jury and they will now take their chances with Judge Arthur Cooperman, who has always been considered one of the best and most unbiased judges in the Supreme Court in Queens. The trial is set for next month.

To those younger than 50, the names George Habash and Leila Khaled probably mean little For those older than 50, however, the names will take them back to 1970, when Habash, an avowed Arab terrorist and Khaled, who wore a bullet ring to prove that she was married to her Palestinian terrorist cause, took the world by storm by simultaneously hijacking three western airliners and parking them on the desert in Jordan. All of the passengers were released after some time and the planes were blown up. The story riveted the world for weeks and provided a voice to the Palestinian cause. Habash died last week at the age of 82. Khaled announced his death to the world.

It's still early, but mark your calendars for June 28 and 29, the date of this year's annual Relay For Life. This year, the event has been moved from Beach Channel High School to the Mall at Riis Park. As in the past, there will be the lighting of the luminaries and a survivor's lap to begin the overnight event. The American Cancer Society is looking for teams to take part in the event. Those interested in participating can contact events.cancer.org/RFLforttildenNY.

The city will soon begin to convert its senior centers from places where residents can eat lunch and interact with others their age to spa-like wellness centers with an array of services and social activities designed to promote health and well-being. The new services will include everything from nutrition and yoga classes to field trips to museums and Broadway shows.

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