2009-06-12 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Two weeks ago, in a story about Kareem Bellamy and his fight to stay out of prison, we said that the Queens District Attorney did not file court papers in a timely manner, leading to a postponement of his hearing until September. A spokesperson for DA Richard Brown called to say that prosecutors had asked for a three-day extension and that it had been granted with the concurrence of the defense. "We had a large document to review, and it took the extra time," the spokesperson said, adding that they did send the papers to the defense within that three day period. The judge will now rule on the motion to send Bellamy back to prison sometime in late September or early October. Part of the problem in covering a story such as the Bellamy epic, which has now been going on since 1994, is that the defense is more than willing to speak with the paper, but the prosecutors are not.

Jacques Leandre is running hard for the east end City Council seat now held by incumbent James Sanders Jr. Leandre said in a recent press release that he has been endorsed by "a number of influential community people, including Assemblywoman Michelle Titus." The problem with this is a statement by Titus' office that she has not yet endorsed anybody in the Council race. Now, this may well be a misunderstanding on Leandre's part, but it's not good starting out a campaign by misstating the names of those who endorse you. There are at least four candidates running against Sanders, and The Wave will host a candidate forum somewhere in Far Rockaway after the primary so that locals have a chance to question the final candidates.

There's a new phone number that could come in handy and that you should put on your cell phone speed dial. It's a new free service from Google. Simply dial 1-800- goog411. The automated voice asks you for the name of the business or person, the city and the state. After you answer, the voice not only gives you the number, but connects you for free. We have tried it, and it works.

Michael Feldman, who runs the Pennies for Paws organization, called to say that he was unhappy about a recent Beachcomber item that intimated that his organization might not be above-board. We did so because he was not registered with the state as a nonprofit organization and because we left messages for him as at least two different telephone numbers and he never returned our calls. Local activist Susan Jasper emailed us that Feldman donated $100 to ARF-ARF at its recent "It's My Bark Day." He also donated $75 to the ASPCA. Feldman says that he is awaiting state notification that he is a non-profit, adding that he now operates under an umbrella organization called NYC-DOG, which, he says, is tax-exempt.

Local Democrats are pushing hard for the party's slate in the upcoming November election. At the top of the slate is William Thompson for Mayor. The Dems like John Liu for Comptroller, Eric Gioia for Public Advocate, Helen Marshall for Borough President, Frank Gulluscio and James Sanders Jr. for City Council and Jodi Orlow Mackoff for Civil Court Judge.

A few weeks ago, we identified the author of our It's My Turn column on the rights of those abused by clergy as "a former nun." In fact, Sister Maureen is still a Catholic nun and a member of the diocese of Wilmington, Delaware. She was brought to our notice by some local members of the Voice of The Faithful. We regret the error and hope that it did not cause Sister Maureen any discomfort or embarrassment.

If you believe the internet experts, Rockaway will be under water late in this century if the Greenland Ice Sheet continues to melt as fast as it is at present. Those experts say that sea levels off the coast of the entire northeast region could rise by 12 to 20 inches more than any other region on the east coast due to a strange but erratic water current. That could put residents from Nova Scotia to New York at particular risk, experts say.

The number of firearms recovered at crime scenes in New York City dropped to 5,129 in 2008 against 5,913 the previous year, according to information released to the press by the federal Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The great majority of the firearms confiscated in the city came from other states, notably Virginia, Florida and Pennsylvania, where buying multiple guns is relatively simple for residents. Experts tell The Wave that a Rockaway resident will often drive to one of those states, pick up a resident at a bar and offer the resident a few hundred dollars to go to a gun shop and buy several handguns. The guns are then transported to Rockaway, where they are sold out of the trunk of the car in Redfern or Hammels, or on some Far Rockaway street corner. More than 1,000 of the guns were confiscated from people younger than 21-years-ofage, and at least of few of them were recovered in Rockaway.

Some of the rules for using the beach and the boardwalk have changed this year, so make sure you take a look at the new signs that were recently placed on the boardwalk. Of course, reading the signs will not guarantee that you won't get a summons for something, because the signs are confusing and because this is likely to be the year of the summons on the beach.

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