2008-12-19 / Columnists

Beachcomber

While alternate side parking was suspended from December 8 to December 10 for the Idul-Adha holiday, street sweepers were seen in Rockaway, One streetsweeper was on Beach 73 Street at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night, trying to sweep the curb, and we were wondering why the sweeper was at work on a night when street cleaning was called off.

Glenn DiResto, who is running for the City Council seat being vacated on January 1 by Joseph Addabbo Jr., called to say that he did not start the petition against the Cross Bay Bridge toll rebate change, as reported in The Wave two weeks ago, but that he whole-heartedly agrees with it. The petition can be accessed from Broad Channel's website at www.broadchannelny. com/forums/petition.asp.

President George Bush seems to be rushing to push through some last-minute executive regulations before he leaves office. One of those regulations might well impact Rockaway. The Interior Department published a rule last week that will allow loaded, concealed weapons in our national parks. The rule, which will take effect next month, will allow concealed weapons to be carried at Gateway National Recreation Area, including events such as hockey games and high school basketball games at Aviator Sports despite the fact that city and state laws outlaw concealed weapons in the city except for those who have been granted carry permits by the city.

Approximately 79,000 people in Queens will lose their television service on February 17, 2009, experts say. That's when the government-mandated transition from analog to digital television nationwide takes place. There are a number of methods for making the transition smoothly. Perhaps the best way, although it is not cheap, is to subscribe to a digital cable service or get a dish attached to your home. A cheaper way it to buy a cable converter box that attaches to your television set. To help cover the costs of the converter box, coupons are available from the government, but they are going fast. The box costs about $70 and the coupon is good for $40. Residents should also know that many older sets that are not connected to cable may not be DTV ready and may have to be replaced when the transition comes. The coupons can be found by logging on to www.dtvanswers.com, www.dtv. gov, or by calling 1-888-388-2009.

The City Charter separates politics from public service by barring city officials from holding political positions such as district leaders. Not so, however, for the people who work for the Board of Elections, an agency that has recently been under fire for doling out expensive dinners on the taxpayer's dime. Board of Elections members can be political officials and can even run for office. Eric Ulrich, a part-time board employee, who is running for the seat on the City Council vacated by Joe Addabbo, is a perfect example. The Daily News recently reported that Ulrich has raised money for his campaign from other BOE workers. He also earned a salary from the Queens Republican party for working on the campaign of Tony Nunziato, who ran last year for City Council.

A good deal of the anger in Rockaway over the proposed draconian fare increases recommended by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is focused on the increase in the express bus fare to $7.50 from $5. The express buses from Rockaway to Manhattan, the QM 16 and QM17 have become highly-popular since the MTA took over from the private bus companies - Triboro Coach and Green Bus. The extra $5 a day for the round-trip ride would quickly have become a dealbreaker, many riders said. That would have put bus riders back into their automobiles for the long and expensive trek to Manhattan, because very few consider the A-Train any kind of alternative because of the service provided on that line. Even Mayor Mike Bloomberg reportedly ordered his representatives on the MTA board to vote to retain the $5 express bus fare.

Belle Harbor resident Clare Droesch once graced the sports pages of The Wave often as a standout basketball player for Boston College. She helped take her team to the Sweet Sixteen and then moved on to play basketball in Europe. Now, she is back in Queens as the head team manager and video coordinator for the St. John's woman's basketball program, perhaps the first step in a long coaching career, since she already coaches a team in the St. Francis de Sales CYO league. The

Wave staff wishes her well.

We saw a tragedy waiting to happen last week. A young man was riding his bicycle eastbound on Rockaway Beach Boulevard at Beach 115 Street. He was towing another young man who was riding on his skateboard. They were in the shared bicycle lane recently installed by the DOT and the two kids were almost sideswiped several times as cars and buses attempted to sneak around them into oncoming westbound traffic. You might say, as the city will, that the vehicles should have given way to the kids, following them slowly until they could safely pass, but that's not real life. Cars, buses and vans are not going to drive at eight or ten miles an hour behind a bike rider on a vital east-west roadway for long. Rockaway is not the only community complaining about the chaotic and quixotic bike lanes. In one Manhattan neighborhood, the bike lanes so clogged the narrow street that fire apparatus and buses had to be rerouted and now have to make longer runs to reach their destinations. The mayor's dementia about placing bike lanes where they do not belong will cost lives, but he and his minions at the DOT do not seem to care.

There seems to be a new horse in the race for Joe Addabbo's City Council seat. The new entry is Howard Beach resident Mike Ricatto, who says that he has been busy creating jobs for New Yorkers his whole life. We don't yet know much about Ricatto, who has yet to file with the Board of Elections, but he says that he is in the race to stay, in what is getting to be a crowded field. We have been getting calls from local residents and mainland newspapers, asking what we know about Gerladine Chapey's candidacy, but so far the Democratic district leader has been silent on that issue. Three Rockaway candidates would split the vote.

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