2008-08-08 / Columnists


Some wonder why The Wave did not publicize the fact that parts of Arverne, Edgemere and Bayswater were about to be sprayed with insecticide last week. The fact is, the city's Department of Health told the newspaper on Tuesday that the spraying would take place on Wednesday and Thursday, a day prior to the paper's publication date. Similarly, this week the DOH notified us on Monday that the spraying would take place on Wednesday and Thursday. We have asked the agency to let us know a week in advance so that we can alert the public, but that seems to be outside of its ability.

When two men were stabbed inside the grocery store at Beach 113 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard on Thursday afternoon last week, police believed that somebody at the St. John's Residence was involved and units responded to Beach 110 Street looking for the man who reportedly did the stabbing. While information was sketchy, The Wave reported that fact in last week's paper. As it turns out, the man who stabbed the two workers was a customer and not from St. John's. We regret any pain the story caused the St. John's family, but The Wave reported correctly on the police action that day.

The Graybeards Family Run, held on July 25 on Rockaway Beach Boulevard at Beach 129 Street, has become one of the premier events of the summer. More than 500 runners, most of them children, participated and everybody had a great time. The event seems go grow larger and more diverse as the years go by. Congratulations to the Graybeards for another job well done.

The latest cell antenna controversy to hit Rockaway seems to have major differences from the brouhaha that West End Temple went through in May. First of all, this cell installation, according to city officials, will not be used for better access to private cell phones, but primarily for first responders to use as a data transfer system between headquarters and units in the field. The way it was explained to The Wave, police officers will be able to use national databases to check fingerprints and mug shots right from their patrol cars. Fire officials will be able to transmit building floor plans to firefighters trying to put out fires in those buildings. Those seem to be important technology uses, and we applaud the city for pushing the system. On the other hand, should an antenna that powers up each day be installed in a residential neighborhood, directly above a playground where little kids play each day? That is a question for experts, and so far, experts have not been able to find an answer. In May, one expert told The Wave, "We can't research the medical impact of cell installations because the technology changes every six months and our studies become useless very quickly." Perhaps the city should use its own municipal buildings, such as the precinct house and firehouses as sites for the antennas. That would take the controversy out of the private sector and move the antennas from residential neighborhoods.

Rockaway's beaches took a hit for the second consecutive year from the National Resources Defense Council, a non-profit that keeps an eye on our national resources, such as beaches and forests. Jones Beach got four stars, the highest rating. Orchard Beach, a city beach in the Bronx, got only one star, the lowest rating possible. Coney Island got three stars. How did Rockaway do? Rockaway Beach, from Beach 116 Street west to Beach 126 Street got three stars, as did Rockaway Beach, from Beach 59 to Beach 80 Streets. The beaches in Belle Harbor and Neponsit, from Beach 126 Street, where the boardwalk ends to Beach 149 Street got only two stars, primarily due to the lack of amenities such as bathrooms and a boardwalk.

State Senator Malcolm Smith, who represents Rockaway in the state legislature and is the Senate Minority Leader, decided a few years ago to do something about teen violence by holding weekly "Jump and Ball" tournaments. The tournaments take place every Saturday and Sunday and include basketball games, dance, jump rope, tennis, chess and karate. Sounds like a good deal to provide something for teens to do, but there is one problem. The event is held not in Rockaway, where the gunplay has been endemic, but in St. Albans, where there are apparently more votes.

Google is taking over the world. In conjunction with its "Google Earth" project, it has been sending vans with multi-directional cameras around the nation, taking pictures street by street for its Street View Mapping Service. One family in Pittsburgh, who say they bought their home for its privacy value, sued the company for putting photos of their home on the web. Google contends that it has the right to put photos of everything in the universe online. "Today's satellite-image technology means that even in the desert, complete privacy does not exist," Google answered. The company is probably and unfortunately right both that it is within its legal rights to publish the photos and that the web will make individual privacy much more difficult to maintain.

The Daniel M. O'Connell Post of the American Legion, Rockaway's post, wants to send summertime gift packages to locals serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in order to make their lives a little more comfortable and to bring a taste of home. Family members or others who are interested in participating in the program and who know such a service person should contact Mike Honan at 917-685-4974 or Vinnie Cazimano at 718-318-4625.

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