2008-03-07 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. art B

We are extremely excited to hear Elliot Sander, Executive Director of the MTA, state that the opening of the old Rockaway Beach line of the LIRR is on the agenda. It goes to show you how a little hard work and persistence from a pit bull like me will pull it off. We will not rest until it happens.

Who said that miracles can't happen? It was a miracle to get another mailbox outside the Beach 114 Street Post Office. It would be a real miracle if half the mail sent to me reached my office. The Post Office has also been painted and the lobby got new tiles. We were promised sliding doors that will make it handicapped accessible. We will stay on this issue like white on rice to make sure that the Post Office improves its quality of service in the Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy communities.

I tip my hat to Rockaway Park branch manager Maxine Moore who has been responding to all of the complaints of the people and taking swift action to correct any mistakes. At the same time she has provided me with her personal cell number for any complaints. You have definitely impressed me with your hard work, availability and actions.

It was great to have Local 79 General Building and Construction Laborers' apprentice program speak at our meeting to recruit new, active members. We are proud to have had a large turnout of very capable young men and women of all races. Our community is a melting pot. We look forward to bringing down many of the other labor unions to do similar programs.

We are saddened by the death of three outstanding individuals. Lucy Pearlman was a great friend to the Rockaways. She was a community activist who stood up numerous times at community Board 14 and advocated for her community. She retired as public relations director for Poly Prep. She was married for 50 years to Dr. Hubert Pearlman, an outstanding orthopedic surgeon. They had 53 years of wedded bliss, sharing and caring together. Lucy was one of the finest, best educated and sweetest women you could ever meet.

We are also saddened by the death of Theresa Hepwell. I had the pleasure of meeting Terri more than 20 years ago, when I convinced her to become a Democrat to help with my election. She got very involved and showed her love for the Rockaway community. She was also very involved with the Neponsit Property Owners where she lived. She worked diligently on many community concerns. Terri was very loving and always smiling.

We are also saddened by the death of Lillian Hennessy, who I have known all my life. She was outstanding, loving, religious and community minded. She was always with Golden Age Clubs and the Knights of Columbus, helping a loved one or a friend. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother, great grandmother and aunt. Her beautiful smile lit up the room so no lights were needed. Her wit and humor were the best. During the last few years of her life, she had Alzheimer's and did often did not recognize her own children, but yet she always remembered me.

These three special angels are a big loss to the Rockaway community. My heart goes out with the deepest sympathy for the families.

Last Saturday we volunteered to help raise money for Theresa Mohr who worked as banquet manager for the Beach Club and has been operated on for cancer. Yours truly did the 50- 50's. We raised quite a bit of money that day, but it still is not enough. Anyone who would like to help can send a contribution to the Graybeards. We'd like to also give a special thank you to the Knights of Columbus and Richie Knott for donating the hall for the fundraiser as they usually do to help all in need.

I'd like to give a personal thank you to my other brother, Al Catanese of Total builders who brought his workers to personally shovel the snow near my house on the day of the big snow. A million thank you's. Total Builders is the best.

Our next Atlantic City bus trip will be on Saturday, April 12. The cost is $35 with $30 returned. Bagels and cream cheese by Beach Bagels. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 a.m. You have eight hours to enjoy. Tickets are going fast due to the large amount of money returned. Call my office at 945-1216 now for reservations.

This year the 33rd Annual Queens County St. Patrick's Day Parade was the biggest and best ever, lasting over 3 ½ hours. The sun shone down on Rockaway Beach as the late great James Conway Sullivan shined down on Rockaway's parade. Congratulations to Mike Benn and the Parade Committee for an excellent job.

At the Parade Breakfast, I had the honor and privilege of sitting next to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The Speaker and I discussed the Rockaway ferry. She told me that service should start by the end of the spring or early summer. The cost will be approximately $5 each way. I also reminded her of the old Rockaway Beach line and the need for all day and night and weekend express busses to Manhattan, She said that the MTA is a hard agency to deal with. We stated that Senator Malcolm Smith is currently working on this matter.

This year some people who do not usually have to file a tax return will have to file to get the rebate from Internal Revenue. Alice Barnes of the H&R Block office in the Dayton Shopping Center told us that the rebate will be between $300 and $600 ($600-$1200 for joint filers) plus $300 for each eligible child. Some may also be eligible for the NYC School Tax Credit which is $145 or $290 for married filing jointly.

Some may qualify for an IT 214 Renters Credit if their income is less than $18,000 and their rent is $450 or less.

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