2008-05-30 / Columnists

Beachcomber

If you are looking for Geraldine Chapey's column, "Chatting With Chapey," you probably will not see it for a while. The Wave's editorial board has suspended her column until she answers some questions about her non-profit senior citizen van service, for which she has received more than $1,000,000 in city funds over the past dozen years or so. We have queried Chapey at least twice in person and once by Email, and she has yet to respond with answers to questions about where the public money was spent.

The new ferry service seems to be picking up traction, particularly as the weather gets milder. For those who live in the west end and work in lower Manhattan, the trip can be a real treat, with beautiful vistas and a comfortable seat. We would still like to see, however, the boat make another stop after Pier 11 in Wall Street. Should the boat continue on to another stop somewhere on the east side of midtown, we believe that the ridership would expand exponentially.

Now that the plan to use the old courthouse on Beach 92 Street and Beach Channel Drive as a CUNY annex has died, we wonder what will happen to the landmark building. Years ago, we recommended that the building be taken over by the city as a community activity center, where Community Board 14 and other city agencies could have their offices, joined by other state and federal elected officials. Wouldn't it be great to have Social Security, Unemployment, CB 14, Audrey Pheffer, Joe Addabbo and Anthony Weiner all in one historic building?

The 100 Precinct's truancy patrol has been active of late. On May 14, for example, the local cops, joined by officers from Patrol Borough Queens South, picked up 28 truants in one early morning sweep. One arrest was made when one of the truants took a swing at a school safety officer. The underlying philosophy of the sweeps if that if a kid is not in school, he is not learning anything and he might well be looking for trouble

For the first time in recent memory, Curran's Meats on Beach 129 Street will be open on Sundays during the summer season. By popular request, the butcher will be open from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Rumors have spread like wildfire through the community that lifeguard lieutenant and Rockaway resident Janet Fash will soon be punished by the city's Department of Parks for blowing the whistle on the unfair and unsafe practices used by the department to hire and train Rockaway's lifeguard corps. We believe that any move to punish Fash for telling the truth about the process would cause an outrage on the peninsula that would rock the agency's leadership. We certainly hope that it is only a rumor, but in Bloomberg's city, you can never be sure.

Anumber of parents have contacted The Wave with the information that some stores in Rockaway Park are selling "singles," unpackaged cigarettes, to minors, something that is in violation of the law. The parents say that there is a code of sorts. Kids who go into the store and ask for "two candies," for example, are quickly sold two cigarettes, parents charge. We have not been able to corroborate the parent's contention, and local cops say they know nothing about it, but if it is going on, it certainly should stop.

We were remiss in failing to credit Timothy Aaron-Styles for the fine photos of the Parks Department's Learn To Ride A Bike Day..

What are the most popular baby names among New Yorkers? Probably not what you would think. The top girl's names are: Isabella, Sophia, Emily, Olivia and Ava. The top boy's names are Michael, Matthew, Anthony, Joseph and Daniel. The same five names have topped the list for the past two years, albeit in a different order.

The city's Emergency Medical Service (EMS) will have to use overtime to fill its shifts this summer because of a shortage of EMT's, city officials say. Fire officials report that there are 121 open slots that can't be filled. There are a number of reasons for the shortfall, officials say. First, many EMT's leave to become firefighters, a higherpaying job and a more prestigious job as well. About 80 EMT's will soon be leaving to fill firefighter slots. Then, there's the low salary paid during the long training program necessary to become certified by the state. One of the union officials pointed out that garbage collectors make 30 percent more than EMT's and need no training whatsoever.

One of the new, smaller schools coming to Far Rockaway High School is in dire need of students. The Queens High School For Information, Research and Technology will open its doors inside the high school building in September, if it can garner the necessary 81 students that will allow it to begin its program. Right now, The Wave has been told, there are only 17 students signed up for the program. School officials say that the program was approved after many students had already made their choices for September, making it tough to recruit. "We've got to get word out to the community," school leader Michele Williams told The Wave. "We don't care what level the students are at. When we finish with them, they'll be ready to go to college. They just have to hear our story." The school is partnered with the Queens Library, and will have all of those programs and facilities to work with. Parents who are interested, should contact Williams at the school.

Storeowners on Beach 129 Street are very unhappy with the mayor's plan to allow free parking at meters on Sundays. A number of local storeowners called to say that motorists park on the shopping street after 7 p.m. on Saturday and leave their autos parked until early on Monday morning. That effectively takes away any parking for their patrons the entire day on Sunday. People who can't find a parking spot simply go elsewhere, leaving the locals without a sale.

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