2009-04-03 / Columnists


In the "Nero fiddles while Rome burns" category, take note of our State Senate Democrats, who can't find the time to bail out the MTA so that locals can commute to work and eat during the same month, but can pass a law that mandates that motor vehicle accident reports note whether or not cell phone use played a part in the accident. This is such an important issue that New York is only the second state in the union to mandate an addition noting cell phone use on state accident reports. You would think that the Senate has more important things to think about.

Far Rockaway High School graduate (Class of '67) Bob Matson, who now lives in Brooklyn sent a letter to the Daily News recently about another FRHS graduate, Bernie Madoff (Class of '55). "As a graduate of FRHS, I fondly remember one intimidating history teacher, Mr. Tietze. When he would find a student who skipped class earlier in the day, Mr. Tietze would chase the student right to the dean's office, roaring, "Don't you dare cut my class." Now, I can imagine Mr. Tietze intimidating FRHS graduate Bernie Madoff, chasing him up the courthouse steps and roaring, "Don't you dare cut my pension." Only an old-Rockaway hand would remember Tietze, who did, in fact, intimidate generations of Far Rockaway students (including The Wave's editor). Unfortunately, Tietze passed away a number of years ago, or else he might well have chased Madoff up the courthouse steps.

New York Daily News reporter Brendon Brosh, who once worked for The Wave, ran a story last week detailing the political contributions that Howard Bovers, who heads the Atlantic Sea Island Group made to local legislators. That is the company that wants to build a massive sea island off the coast of Rockaway, an island that would house a terminal for liquefied natural gas tankers bringing the fuel from other nations. The one man who can stop the project dead in its tracks, as many locals want, is Governor David Paterson. Brosh says that Bovers contributed $5 thousand to Paterson's campaign. He gave money to Representative Peter King, former Governor Eliot Spitzer and Hillary Clinton. A spokesperson for Paterson told Brosh that he would not be swayed by a campaign contribution, but that remains to be seen.

Dan Mirkin, the president of the Rockaway Rotary Club, would like to hear from local adults who, as students, were honored at the Rotary's Annual Award Luncheon.. Each year, Rotary honors one student from each of the Rockaway and Broad Channel schools at a luncheon. Last week, Rotary member Barbara Morris brought Broad Channel resident Margaret Wagner to the meeting. Wagner revealed that she had been the honoree from the St. Virgilius School in 1978. Former honorees are urged to contact any Rotary member or to call John Howley at 718-945-2700.

One of the new schools coming next September to PS 225 will be called The Waterside School for Leadership. Catchy name. PS 225 is one of the schools being closed by the city because of continual failure. The school promises to educate the entire child "through music, drama, visual arts, technology, film, writing and dance."

Those of you who viewed the inaugural showing of "Kings" on February 15 got a good view of Arverne By The Sea, even if you didn't recognize it. The battle scene, in which David conquers the tank named "Goliath" was filmed at a vacant section of the massive project last May. What took four days to shoot in Rockaway took up about two minutes of film in the actual program. That's show biz.

Arverne By The Sea officials have notified the Rockaway Beach Civic Association that the infrastructure improvements mandated under its contract with the city will be commenced in short order. The 60,000 square-foot Super Stop & Shop supermarket still has some issues with the MTA and its right-of-way along the elevated subway line, but those should be settled in "early 2009," although the work clearly has not begun. The Transit Plaza, which will include stores, is awaiting a Department of Buildings permit, but contracts have been signed for the inclusion of a "American Grill Brick Oven" restaurant. ABTS is also expecting to sign contracts with a dry cleaner, a bank and a dental office shortly. As for the YMCA, an issue that has become a controversial one in Rockaway, ABTS says that it is awaiting a Buildings Department permit and the piles will be driven in the next month or two. Total construction time is expected to be between 14 and 16 months from the time the piles are driven.

The northeastern United States is most likely to see the largest sea level rise from man-made global warning, a new study warns. However much the oceans rise normally by the end of the century, add an extra eight or ten inches for coastal areas of New York City (that includes Rockaway) a computergenerated model shows. University of Maryland scientists, who did the study, say that all of the coastline will go, as will the subway system and large chunks of Manhattan and Long Island. Don't worry too much about it, however, because the scientists say you have until 2100 to pack up and move out.

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