2009-05-22 / Columnists

Beachcomber

After being away from Rockaway since her running well behind both winner Eric Ulrich and fellow Democratic District Leader Lew Simon in the recent race for the City Council seat vacated by Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., Geraldine Chapey is back in town. People tell us that she and her mother showed up for some affairs at Russo's on the Bay, and at a Queens Democratic Party dinner recently, but that she has been keeping a low profile on the peninsula. The storefront office that houses Chapey Trinity Services has been closed on most days, but has been open during evening hours on occasion. There is no word from the Chapey camp on whether or not she will run again for the Council seat in November.

A number of Broad Channel residents, who still use bottled gas for cooking and heating, have received bills from StarLite, the Bay Shore (Long Island) company that furnishes the gas. Some of them no longer use the company, while others are still active customers. In any case, the bills ask for hundreds of dollars in "Tank Rental" fees. When one woman called and told them to come and pick up the tanks, because she no longer uses them, she was told that she would have to pay the fee anyway. Several locals have told The Wave that they have been told by their legal advisors that they do not have to pay the fee, and they will not. "This is just another scam," said one man who still uses the service. I have two tanks filled with gas that I purchased from them and haven't used. Now, they want me to pay $260 extra because I have the tanks."

Last week's NC-4 ceremony was the first indication that the National Park Service is finally becoming interested in the historic flight. For those of you who do not yet know about the flight, the NC-4 was a Navy flying boat that was the first aircraft to make the transatlantic flight from the United States to England, and it took off from Jamaica Bay right off what is now the Riis Park parking lot. Some locals have been complaining for years that the park service highlights far fewer historic events in some of its national parks, and that the NC-4 and Rockaway deserve more attention than they are getting. Now, there is a permanent exhibit to the flight in the Riis Park bathhouse. Next, how about the United States Post Office issuing a stamp to commemorate the 1919 flight?

The multi-family home at 315 and 317 Beach 87 Street, which we reported about in last week's edition, is turning into a massive, abandoned and deteriorating eyesore. Judging by what we were told by neighbors, the onceempty lot was meant to be a community garden. A number of neighbors chipped in to buy the lot, but then one of them paid off the others and sold the lot to a developer, who built a McMansion on the site, using the entire property and leaving no room for the mandated parking slots. Because the homes were built quickly and cheaply, neighbors charge, the owner could not get a certificate of occupancy from the city. In fact, tracking the construction process on the Department of Buildings website, it is clear that the entire project was wrong from the beginning. Now, the homes attract rats, city summonses, drug dealers and squatters. On the day The Wave was there, workers from the city's Department of Health were putting rat poison down on the dumping ground that the side yard of the home has become. Neighbors want it torn down, but the owner seems resistant to doing anything about either the house or the summonses it has drawn.

The fire department is using the threat of closing entire companies to force the union to accept a change that would allow four firefighters on each rig rather than five. The firefighter's union says that such a change would be dangerous and would probably cost both firefighter and civilian lives. The city says that it would save enough money to keep all of the firehouses open. This might sound solely like a union-management disagreement, but it could easily also mean more fire deaths.

A Brooklyn federal judge is weighing arguments that would allow thousands of mentally disabled residents to move out of adult homes, such as the Surfside Manor and the Park Inn Hotel, to state-supported apartments spread throughout the community. The argument is that moving from the homes to apartments would allow the mentally ill patients to live more independently and enjoy a better quality of life. Proponents for the mentally ill say that the adult homes are "essentially functioning as satellite mental institutions where residents are left to languish." That may be true, but do you want them living next door or upstairs?

Don't forget to attend one of the Memorial Day activities that will take place on Sunday and Monday. The Rockaway Memorial Day Parade will begin with a 10:30 a.m. memorial mass at St. Francis de Sales Church on Beach 129 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The parade will step off from that corner at 11:30 a.m. It will stop at the Memorial Circle on Beach 121 Street for a quick ceremony and then step off once again, ending at Beach 94 Street. The Broad Channel Parade will once again be held on Sunday, the day prior to Memorial Day.

Multiviz Health Services in Far Rockaway recently received a $100 thousand grant from the New York City Department of Health to institute a program of family medicine in the Far Rockaway community.

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