2010-02-19 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. art B

The blizzard of 2010 has dropped so much snow that the Department of Education was able to announce a school closing the night before. Last Thursday, right after the storm, Governor David Paterson held a town Hall meeting in Far Rockaway High School. The Governor was hosted and introduced by the Rev. Dr. Les Mullings of the Church of the Nazarene in Far Rockaway. Rev. Mullings was absolutely brilliant. He serves the community with distinction providing clothing, food and shelter assistance to those in need.

Governor Paterson addressed our community with distinction, being knowledgeable, and speaking from his heart. He spoke against the senseless teen murders which have occurred in our community, for a longer school day, and in favor of clean energy job creation to reduce the unemployment in Queens.

My main purpose in attending this meeting was to get Patterson to support us in our fight with the MTA. Our main goals are: 1. Retain the Rockaway resident rebate on the Cross Bay Bridge. 2. Continue transit passes for students to attend school. 3. Maintain Access-A-Ride for the needs of our disabled community.

I brought a huge sign reading “No More Tolls -- Cross Bay Bridge” After I spoke, the governor’s senior staff got back to me. They asked Jay Walder, head of the MTA, to get back to me. They are true to their word.

While on the topic of the toll fight, we will remind you that we are in the fight of our lives. We need all of us to work together as a team. On Tuesday, March 2 at 6 p.m. there will be a MTA public hearing at the Sheraton LaGuardia, 135-20 39 Avenue, Flushing. We will be providing buses for the Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy communities. If you plan to go to the hearing directly from work, please call us to let us know if you will need a bus ride back from the hearing. Call 945-1216, press 4 and leave a message. Do not bellyache every time you have to pay a toll crossing the bridge. We need to have an overwhelming showing or we will fall flat on our butts.

The 22nd Annual Dinner Dance of the Good Government Regular Demrsday, April 15, at El Caribe in Mill Basin. Our honorees include Richard Feuerstein, Vice President of the Dayton Towers Coop, Joseph Lynch, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Breezy Point Coop, Tom McClellan, President of the Rockaway Point Association, Maria Thompson, Woodhaven Development Association, Mary Ellen Barnes, Breezy Point Teen and Parish Show Director, Dermott Tuohy, Postmaster Rockaway Post Office, Marva Hanlin, neighborhood community activist, Nancy Vardakis, community leader who will receive the Barbara Eisenstadt Memorial Award, James Morton Sr, Chief Roxbury Fire House, Jack Allen, President Broad Channel Athletic association, Sean A. Brennan, Director of the Mason Tenders Training Fund, Sister Agnes White, Principal of St. Camillus School, Lawrence Kelly, Knights of Columbus, and Cliff Miller, a Howard Beach resident who is VP and Director of Emergency Services at Wycoff Hospital. Tickets are $75 a person. A table of $16 is $1200. Call 718-945- 1216 for your tickets now.

Our next bus trip to Atlantic City will be on Saturday, March 20. The roll back price of $40 continues this month. You get $30 back for the machine or table. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 7:30 a.m. Call for your paid reservations.

We are deeply saddened by the deaths of three outstanding individuals. Monica Devlin McCabe, mother of Sister Eileen McCabe of St. Mary’s Star of the Sea, was quite an outstanding lady with a wonderful personality. She raised wonderful children and was definitely a class act.

Beatrice M. Miller was another friend of mine. She lost her fireman son, Henry Miller Jr. on 9/11. She was another class act who had a lot of love and a big heart for the community. Her smile lit up the room. She was absolutely one of the most special people you could ask to meet. She was class personified. There were many times we laughed and cried together.

The next gentleman is Dominick Lasaponara, who was one of the kindest gentlemen you could ever meet. I met Dom in 1977 when he owned a Quik Stop on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 108 Street. His love and passion to help the Rockaway community always shone, He was a great friend and gentleman. My deepest sympathy to the families.

Representative Anthony Weiner held a Town Hall meeting at P.S. 114 on Tuesday evening. Most of the evening was devoted to discussing beach replenishment and protection with three Army Corps of Engineers representatives. The Army Corps is asking for $2.5 million to complete a six year study of a long term solution to our beach erosion problem.

The Corps now has a contract to dredge a boating channel in the East Rockaway inlet. As a short term solution, they intend to dump this sand to extend the beach in the Beach 20’s and Beach 30’s. They would like to build a pipe to transport the sand down to the Beach 90’s to Beach 115 Street where it is needed. The Corps said they need additional funds of 1 ½ million to pay to extend the pipe. When a question about the danger of unusual ocean currents caused by the new sand was asked, Rep. Weiner got the Corps to promise to release their plans to rebuild beaches to his office as soon as they are ready. Rep. Weiner will post them on his website so that knowledgeable local residents can comment about any safety issues they foresee.

On other matters, Rep. Weiner said the failure of the city to make use of the $15 million he obtained to buy three ferries was the most frustrating part of his career. He urges residents to call 311 to demand the city accept the money to buy ferries and the $2 million he obtained for a new fire house in Broad Channel.

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