2009-02-06 / Columnists

Beachcomber

In a recent issue, we wrote that the Peninsula Hospital Center has no free breast cancer-screening program. The truth, however, is more complicated. Peninsula Hospital Center, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, has a free breast screening and mammography program through its Family Health Center for women over the age of 40. This completely free program is offered one day each month throughout the year and during the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, more days of free screenings are offered. If a woman is over the age of 40 and has no insurance, all she has to do is call and make an appointment with the Hospital Center's Breast Clinic for a free breast screening. Patients will be seen by a physician and given a full breast screening - free of charge. However, a woman under the age of 40 can also be eligible for these free services, but must have an immediate relative (i.e., parent, sibling) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer within the past ten years.

The Brooklyn Aces, the local professional hockey team that plays at the Aviator Sports complex at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, will host an NYPD night on February 7 at 7:30 p.m. Word is that the NYPD hockey team will take The Nassau County Police Department team prior to the Aces game against the Jersey Rockhoppers. Speaking of the Aces, the first two winners in The Wave's Aces ticket contest are Chun Ho Tom of Arverne By The Sea and Timothy Kienan of Broad Channel. Look for the Aces advertisement with the coupon in each issue of The Wave to get yourself into the game.

A battle brews over the proposal to place a liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal nine times the size of Giants Stadium 13 miles off the coast of Long Beach, which puts it off the shore of Rockaway as well. The plan, funded by the Atlantic Sea Group, a consortium of private investors, will soon be reviewed by the U.S. Coast Guard. Opponents of the plan say that the LNG facility will endanger sea life and pollute both the air and the water. We wonder why Rockaway has not been notified of the plan and would hope that our elected officials, particularly those in the Far Rockaway area, will get involved in checking out the proposal.

Speaking of politicians, Rockaway now has as its State Senator the second most powerful man in the state (or, perhaps the third, but that doesn't matter). We wonder then, why we have not heard from Malcolm Smith on the issue of doing away with the Cross Bay Bridge toll rebate program. Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer has been leading the charge against the unfair toll for years, and it is time for Smith to step up to the plate for Rockaway. Perhaps he has to be reminded that he won't be Senate Majority Leader for long if he can't get reelected in his own district. All politics is local and he should listen to the folks at home and take care of his constituents.

Speaking of bridge tolls, another way the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) plans to save money is by doing away entirely with toll collectors on many of its bridges and tunnels, including the Cross Bay Bridge and the Gil Hodges Marine Parkway Bridge - Rockaway's two conduits to the outside world. Those with EZ-Pass would be able to blow right through the toll areas. For those who do not have the device, a photo will be taken of their license plate and they will then be billed at their home address by the city agency.

Take a close look at this month's electric bill from the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). Actually, take a close look at the envelope that you got to return your payment to LIPA. Up until this month, those envelopes were "franked," that is, the return postage was paid by LIPA. No longer. Now, you have to put a stamp on the envelope before you send it back. A LIPA spokesperson says that the cost to the company of paying the return postage is in the millions, and that the money is better spent on reducing electric costs. National Grid still franks their return envelopes, at least for the near future.

Senior citizens receiving Social Security will get a one-time payment of $300 under the House of Representative's stimulus plan. The Senate Republicans, however, are opposed to that particular handout (their words, not ours). The cost of the plan would be about $17 billion, and Republicans say that the stimulus plan would do better to cut tax rates for seniors than give them the payment.

Those who are looking for 2009 access permits for Gateway National Recreation Area, whether it be for off-road access, fishing, kayak or canoe launching or other activities, will have to wait until Sunday, March 1. Until that time, the 2008 permits will be honored. New permits will cost $50.

Anybody interested in buying a deserted former sanitation garage in Rockaway for the mere pittance of $4,700,000 should contact the city. The garage, located at 72- 11 Amstel Boulevard, was vacated by the city agency in August of last year, and so far there have been no takers. The garage, which covers nearly an entire block, has 31,955 square feet of warehouse space as well as 3,080 square feet of office space. Sounds perfect for that small family business.

City Council candidate Mike Ricatto showed disdain for the Rockaway community by scheduling the opening of his campaign headquarters for the same evening that the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association held its candidate forum. If Ricatto blows off the Rockaway voters prior to the election, what will he do for us if he gets elected?

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