2009-10-30 / Columnists


Wave staffers were surprised and pleased last week when the Village Voice named the paper "The Best Neighborhood Paper" in New York City in its recent "Best of New York" issue. The Voice praised The Wave, saying, "The Wave diligently reports its stories, from 'Shootings Incidents Rip Rock - away' to 'New Diner Management Hopes to Erase Nightmare Beginning." The Voice particularly singled out the series, written by Wave Editor Howard Schwach, about the "investigations that freed Kareem Bellamy after 14 years for a murder he didn't commit." The paper says that the series of stories "would do honor to any city paper." Columnist Stu Mirsky, who writes "The Rockaway Irregular" was also given special praise by the Voice for "[making] more sense than David Brooks and Ross Douthat put together." We thank the Voice for its kind words and its designation.

If meeting deadlines is any indication of the worth of a politician, both of the candidates running for City Council in the 31st district failed miserably. The Wave submitted questions to all four of the candidates running for the council in the coming election, setting a firm deadline of October 20 at 1 p.m. Both of the candidates for the 32nd district - Eric Ulrich and Frank Gulluscio met that deadline with time to spare. On the other hand, both of the candidates for the east end seat - James Sanders Jr. and Scherie Murray were very late. Murray did not send her answers to The Wave until the following morning, while Sanders was nearly 24 hours late, submitting the answers at noon on October 21. We ran the answers in the interest of informing our readers.

A reader who lives in the boardwalk building that was partially evacuated because of rusting, rotting fire escapes wrote to say that not everybody in the apartments facing the beachfront was evacuated. "The first floor apartments did not have to vacate for obvious reasons," the tenant said. "I don't want people to think that my apartment is abandoned, because people are already looking in my windows to see what's inside."

Remember to vote this coming Tues day, November 3. Voting will take place at the traditional poll - ing sites from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. At stake this year are several citywide seats, including mayor, comp troller and public advocate, as well as borough president, several judgeships and both of our City Council seats. For The Wave's endorsements and statements by the council candidates, see last week's paper.

State Senator Malcolm Smith and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer re - cent ly got back from a junket to China. Smith announced that the trade delegation, sponsored on the trip by the Asian American Business Develop - ment Corporation, opened new doors in China for local businesses. We wonder what business those two local leaders have brought back that will help Rock - away in any way.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have found a way to reverse the loss of marsh grass in Jamaica Bay, but at a high cost. The corps, at a cost of about $15 million, molded a mountain of sand around the scattered remains of Elder's Point, one of the islands in the bay that was rapidly disappearing. They rooted a million salt marsh grasses on the island by hand.

Convicted murderer Kareem Bellamy remains at home as the case seeking to send him back to prison moves slowly through the justice system. A hearing on the Bellamy case was adjourned on October 21 to November 11, when prosecutors must present their papers to the court. If you have been following the series of stories in The Wave, you know that Bellamy was convicted in 1994 of stabbing another Rockaway man to death. New evidence was presented last year and Bellamy was freed pending a new trial. That evidence, however, turned out to be phony and prosecutors seek to send him back to prison to serve the rest of his sentence.

The abrupt closing of Stella Maris High School has angered both students and parents. A number of parents have called to say that they are actively looking now for spots at other schools for their daughters, preferring not to wait until the end of the school year to make the move. They are particularly angered that the school gave them no advance warning of the closing and that the Sisters of St. Joseph, the order that sponsors the school, made no attempt to save the school.

The new hockey team at Aviator Sports in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn A's, will open its home season at the Floyd Bennett Field rink on November 6. In fact, its first four games will be at home, on November 6, 13, 15 and 20. Then, the team moves on for games at the New England and Rhode Island venues. Tickets are priced for families, with adults at $10 and kids at $8.

Ever since the surf shop, FTW, opened on Beach 116 Street, the shopping street has become a magnet for skateboarding youth. They have become something of a hazard to motorists as the kids zip on and off the sidewalk right into the street when cars are backing up, with an obstructed view of the street. One of these kids is going to get hurt, and perhaps the owner of the store, which sells skate and surf gear, could talk to them about the dangers of their actions. There is a skateboard park just a mile away that makes a much safer venue for the skateboarders.

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