2010-01-15 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Mark Goldfarb, one of the owners of Wavecrest Gardens called to say that his housing complex has no community center, and the argument that led to a shooting that took place further west did not start there. He said that the front page photo was taken where the gun used in the shooting was found, not where the action began. Our story, based on the information from police on the scene, was inaccurate. We apologize for any embarrassment to Goldfarb and Wavecrest Gardens.

A number of Neponsit residents have called to say that the Parks Department has not yet erected the windbreak fences along the beachfront. Those fences serve to keep the wind from blowing sand onto the beach block streets during the windy winter. They wonder if the city agency is trying to save money by not erecting the fences, but so far Parks has not responded to our questions. Keep tuned.

Although Rockaway residents are protective of their institutions, we have rarely seen the anger that Beach Channel High School alumni, staff and parents showed on January 6 at a hearing to determine whether or not their school would be closed down by the Department of Education. Speaker after speaker, more than 70 in all, took the microphone to excoriate the DOE Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm. Often, they chan ted as she tried to explain why the school had to be closed. Speaker after speaker called her a “liar,” and said that the statistics supplied by the DOE in its impact statement were false, adding that the decline of the school program came only after the agency took 32 teaching positions from the building and diverted much-needed resources to the Channel View School and the Scholars’ Academy. There will be a January 26 vote at Brooklyn Technical High School to determine the future of the school.

Congressman Anthony Weiner has dug up the money to provide sand for those Rockaway beaches that were devastated in recent storms. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will dredge sand from the East Rockaway Inlet (Reynold’s Channel) at the eastern end of the peninsula and deposit it between Beach 81 and Beach 110 Streets – the hardest-hit stretch of beachfront. The work will begin in February and should be completed by April 1.

“The Little North Pole,” an event held each year by Joe Mure and his family at their Neponsit home, raised $195,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and for the Angels By The Bay unit at the Peninsula Hospital Center. Mure says that the amount is the highest ever for the December event.

Thirty-five seniors arrived at the Aviator Sports complex in Brooklyn on Monday, January 4, ready to renew their Seniors In Shape fitness program. The problem was, Aviator had cancelled the program at the end of the year, without notifying any of the participants. In fact, Susan Lavin, a Rockaway resident who ran the program was told of the cancellation that morning. Aviator says that the program died because there were not enough participants. Seniors paid $5 a day for the program and those who were left out in the cold say that they are very disappointed. They say they were urged to join the gym at the complex, but they argue that the gym program is much too expensive.

Many of those who use debit cards believe that it makes no difference if they pay for the purchase as credit (by signing the receipt) or as debit (by punching in their PIN). It apparently makes a big difference to the store. A recent report in the New York Times says that when you sign a debit card receipt the store pays your bank an average of seventy five cents for every $100 you spent, more than twice as much as when you punch in your four-digit PIN. Some stores, such as Costco, will not allow customers to sign for their debit purchases.

National Grid, the company that supplies much of our electricity, is planning to outsource much of its North east operations to other nations, causing the loss of a large number of jobs across New York State. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recently wrote a letter to the company’s CEO asking that he not outsource the positions, the great majority of which would be in the company’s call centers.

According to the MTA’s own statistics in this year’s report, toll revenue for the agency’s bridges, including the two impacting Rockaway, was up against planned revenue by $5 million, “primarily due to increased traffic.” At the same time, total expenses were $1.5 million less than planned. Where does that money go? To mass transit. The report says that through September of last year, $568.8 million was used for “support of mass transit.” One has to wonder why, then, it is necessary to take away our toll rebate.

The city has just announced that the Arverne Library will be closed each weekend. That library, which is under renovation, is one of the most heavily used on the peninsula, with many students utilizing its facilities.

The telephone number of the Mini-Mart owner whose Inwood store was burned down was incorrect in last week’s paper. The correct number is 646-515-1008. The owner is seeking information leading to an arrest.

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