2008-09-19 / Columnists


The memorial service held at Tribute Park on Thursday, September 11, was indeed memorable and there were several tableaus that strained the heartstrings. Most of the family members were absent, because they were either at Ground Zero for the city's memorial or they were at the firehouses where their loved ones once worked. That is as it should be, but there was one group that was glaringly absent, and that was our local politicians. Neither of our two City Councilman was present. Perhaps Joe Addabbo was out campaigning for the Senate seat now held by State Senator Serph Maltese. There were a few east end victims of the terrorist attack, but City Councilman James Sanders was nowhere to be seen. Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer came after the ceremonies were over. Assemblywoman Michelle Titus never showed. So much for community involvement in an event that touches the very core of their constituents soul.

There was an eerie sight at the September 11 memorial at Tribute Park. Just after the ceremony began on Thursday morning, the sun came out. With the sun came a funnelshaped cloud that hung right over the site where the World Trade Center once stood. The phenomenon caused a gasp from some of the onlookers, and some were rather chilled by the sight. Those residents who are awaiting the Department of Transportation's redesign of Shore Front Parkway, promised for this year, should not hold their breath. The city agency now says that due to budget cuts, the project, which will align the curb cuts with the entrances to the high-rise buildings that line the road, has been delayed to 2012. Meanwhile, locals will continue to get tickets for driving over the striped-off areas to get home.

The Peninsula Preparatory School, a charter school that previously ran in Far Rockaway, has moved into the trailers at Beach 67 Street in Arverne By The Sea, where they will remain until a new building is constructed for the school sometime in the future. The new school, which has 300 kids, caused something of a traffic jam last week when parents drove up to pick up their children.

Community Board 14 officials say that there will soon be a formal request to our two federal lawmakers, Congressmen Anthony Weiner and Gregory Meeks, to provide the $150,000 necessary to keep the Rockaway Youth Court up and running. It will be money well-spent.

It's tough to talk about democracy when you talk about Donovan Richards, who wanted to challenge Assemblywoman Michelle Titus and was bounced off the ballot by a Democratic challenge that, to us, was pure boloney. Richards was thrown off the ballot by a judge who was chosen and seated by Democratic party officials and district leaders like Lew Simon and Geraldine M. Chapey. Those judges are beholden to their party for their high-paid positions. When Richards, who works for City Councilman James Sanders, jr., appealed the decision because the judge threw him off without even studying the evidence, the appellate court judge ordered the case back to the Supreme Court and to the same judge that threw him off in the first place.

The Wave has received word that the city is planning to build a waste transfer station on the bay behind the new Rockaway Dog Park and adjacent to the planned marina at Beach 80 Street and Beach Channel Drive. That is not good news for Rockaway. The waste transfer station will consist of a giant trash compactor that will be utilized to store garbage that is picked up from the beachfront, and we all know what rotting chicken bones and pizza smells like. One of the amenities planned by Arverne By The Sea for the marina is a catering hall, the first in Rockaway since the Washington Hotel and the Beach Club went out of business. What kind of caterer would buy into a facility next door to a waste transfer station? Perhaps the mayor, who is driving the plan, will rethink his plan if the community and Arverne By The Sea officials complain loudly enough.

There are a number of schools in the city and around the nation that have robotics programs, and there is a national convention for those in the program to show their expertise. Norman Scott, a retired teacher, who writes the "School Scope" column for The Wave, is involved in the program and would like to bring it to a Rockaway school. The competition is for children 9-16 years of age using robots built out of LEGO pieces. Any school or parent group interested in the program should contact Scott at normsco@gmail.com or through The Wave.

The Triboro Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) has announced the next phase of the Cross Bay Bridge rebuilding program. The northbound ramp from Beach Channel Drive to the bridge will be closed as of September 15 and will remain closed through December and perhaps into the New Year. Motorists are urged to use the ramp from Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 94 Street. Don't follow the detour signs that the DOT will soon put up, or you'll wind up on Beach 84 Street and then will have to come back under the elevated structure.

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