2009-11-20 / Columnists


The Rockaway Music and Art Council (RMAC) joined with the West End Temple last weekend for a highly-successful art and photography show that highlighted several local artists and photographers. The opening cocktail fundraiser on Saturday night was attended by more than 175 people en - joying the wine, cheese, art and photographs. The Sunday open session was also widely attended. We hope this turns into an annual affair.

Some Rockaway residents took advantage of the offer made by Applebee's Restaurant in Law - rence on Veterans Day for a free meal to any vet or serving military person. The place was mobbed, and the restaurant's manager, who checked paperwork to ensure that only vets got the free meal, went to every vet and thanked him or her for serving. It was a nice thing for the restaurant to do for those who served their nation.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg just threw $95 million to Coney Island to purchase seven acres of land that he wants to use for a new amusement area. That angered some locals who looked to the mayor to chip in a few million for the new YMCA being built on Beach 73 Street. No luck there, because Rock - away is not Coney Island. One of the plans put forth by Bloomberg would have leveled the Abe Stark Arena and the parking lot next to Key Span Park to build the new facilities. We hope that does not happen, because it would make it much more difficult to park for a Cyclones game. By the way, Bloom - berg paid more than $300 a square foot, much more than any of the priciest Manhattan real estate costs.

Congressman Anthony Weiner re - cently told the New York Times that he could have beat the mayor should he have stayed in the race. "[Bloomberg] was afraid of me," Weiner said. "I saw a way to beat Mayor Bloomberg, but it was a narrow path." Once again, Weiner said that he did not run because he had such important things to do in the House of Represen - tatives, particularly with the health reform issue. He kept his promise on that, becoming one of the House leaders pushing for the public option that eventually passed.

Only a few veterans and their supporters showed up at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to memorialize those who have died serving their country. It is a shame that few people seem to believe that attending such events is a worth the exercise.

Some local residents have been startled by their doorbell ringing late in the evening only to find two men who tell them that they work for National Grid, and have a way for them to reduce their heating and cooling costs. Turns out the men work for Columbia Utilities, one of the many companies that have the legal right under the 1997 deregulation law to sell electricity to residential customers. A number of people have called us to say they felt pressured to sign a contract on the spot because they thought they would lose their electricity if they did not. Residents should be warned that the men do not work for National Grid and that it would be imprudent to sign a contract while standing at their doorstep late in the evening.

The decision to sentence Brigitte Harris to the maximum sentence for the mutilation murder of her father in her Arverne apartment two years ago has sparked some anger among locals who believe that she was justified in killing him because he sexually as - saulted her and her sister from the time they were young children. The court disagreed, however, chiding the jury for finding her guilty of man - slaughter rather than murder.

There was a large demonstration at Stella Maris High School, with two hundred or so alumni and friends demanding that the Sisters of St. Joseph keep the school open and give them the chance to develop a plan for the future.

The New York State Legislature is running another scam against the interest of the state's residents. While motorists already have perfectly good license plates, the legislature voted to force every motorist to buy new plates in order to raise money for the general fund. The plates, which mimic those gold and blue plates used during the 1970s and 1980s will cost $25 — $45 if you want to keep your present plate number. This is all on top of the fact that the state increased both registration and licensing fees in September. What a racket! People are not taking it lying down, however. More than 10,000 New York State residents have signed an on-line petition to kill the plan. Gov - ernor David Paterson admits that the plan will hit middle-class drivers, who most likely drive to work each day, the hardest, but he argues that he has a budget hole to fill and the plate plan is the best way to fill that hole.

Surfers were out in force from Thursday to Saturday, as the remnants of a tropical storm pushed high waves onto the Rockaway shore. The myth in Rockaway has always been that surfers could do their thing no matter what the weather, but a mainland man was killed on Thursday when his tether caught on some rocks, and there were at least two rescues over the weekend where surfers got in trouble. The fact is that experienced surfers know the limit of their abilities, but there are many rookies who venture out where they should not trod.

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