2009-05-01 / Columnists

Beachcomber

City Councilman James Sanders, Jr. called to say that he is unhappy with a recent story that said the majority of his discretionary money goes not to Rockaway, but to the mainland portions of his district. He pointed out that he was recently named to the list of top ten councilmembers in terms of giving money to their districts, and that he gave a million dollars to the new YMCA project. He said that he would have given more, but he wanted to see a community advisory committee in place first, something with which we agree. YMCA officials, who have the final say, however, want the facility to be built before the community advisory board is seated. The Y says that their common practice is to open the facility and then ask for a community advisory committee, but the plan for the Rockaway facility, which has been contentious from the beginning, really needs some community support and input.

Broad Channel residents are screaming for more stringent enforcement of speed limits on Cross Bay Boulevard in the wake of a fatal accident that killed a local who was walking along with her dog two weeks ago. The speed limit on that portion of the six-land road is 40 miles per hour, but most motorists drive the long, open stretch with no traffic signals, at 60 or even 70 MPH. Police at the scene of the fatal April 16 accident say that the Elmont man who was driving the car (The Wave originally reported that the driver was a woman due to a misunderstanding with the accident report) that lost control and smashed into Joanne Kodetsky and her dog was driving "at a high rate of speed," and that tells the story. There have been a number of fatal accidents on that isolated stretch of road that separates the west and east portions of the National Park Service's Wildlife Sanctuary, and for a while the speed was monitored by Highway 2, but that ended. Perhaps the police should come back in force and make sure that the speed limit is observed.

When Arverne residents got notices on April 17 that the city was going to take their land by eminent domain, many believed that they were about to lose their homes. A quick call to Community Board 14 revealed, however, that the notices were about accommodating a new sewer project, and that the city was planning on taking some of the front lawn property from some homeowners in the area to allow the streets to be widened. Some residents in the area, which is bounded by Beach Channel Drive and Conch Road and includes Beach 43, 44 and 45 Streets, will not be impacted at all. Others, however, will lose varying portions of their property, says CB 14 General Manager Jonathon Gaska, who adds that, in many cases, the land belonged to the city in the first place.

Breezy Tours is looking for some interns to work for school credit. They are looking for two students who want to give 20 hours a week to learn the travel business. Those interested should send a cover letter and resume to Breezy Tours Internship, PO Box 213, Fort Tilden, NY 11695.

While there is something of a frenzy about the cost of parking meters and the number of tickets being issued for illegal parking in this city, Rockaway residents seem to be more laid-back than residents in other areas. A quick, unscientific survey in west end parking areas last week showed that many people simply ignore the meters entirely and don't really care about the increase in cost. A number of locals told us that there is so little parking available, especially in shopping areas, that they just do their owns thing and pay a ticket if they get it. "It's the cost of living in a beach area like Rockaway," one parker on Beach 129 Street told us.

This is truly a small world full of coincidences. Fran Cornell, a descendent of Rockaway's first family, called to say that she had been reading last week's page two story about FDR's flight on a Nancy Boat that took off from Naval Air Station Rockaway in 1919. One of the pilots on the NC-3 that day in 1919 was Dave McCulloch. Years later, in 1942, Cornell worked for the Navy at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, and McCulloch was the training officer for the active Naval Air Station New York. He could no longer fly because of his age and his arthritis, she said, but she remembers him as a quiet man who was really good at his job.

One of the six candidates for the City Council seat now held by the outgoing John Liu is James Wu. That name should be familiar, He ran the losing City Council campaign of Geraldine Chapey a few months ago. If he is he one who advised Chapey to remain mum on her expenditures for her non-profit van program, he probably should rethink the strategies he will use for his own campaign. As you all know, Chapey ran third in the race, behind winner Eric Ulrich and perennial candidate Lew Simon. By the way, Chapey has reportedly not been seen in Rockaway since the loss.

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA has announced a 3.2 percent electric bill reduction beginning on May 1, essentially rolling back a like increase in January of this year. The reduction will save an average household in Rockaway about $5.11 cents a month. LIPA says that the average household monthly bill will be $154.64 cents after the cut.

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