2010-02-26 / Columnists


A new Rockaway tradition begins tomorrow at noon, when the “Freezin For a Reason” plunge hits the waves at Beach 86 Street. The fundraiser for the Special Olympics hopes to raise lots of money to fund sports programs in Rockaway and in other parts of the city. Registration begins at the site at 9 a.m.

The $75 million federal bailout for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), which runs all of the public housing complexes in Rockaway, will soon collapse unless Albany lawmakers sign off on the agreement in the next month. Under the agreement, 13,000 apartments in city complexes built by the city and state will become eligible for federal funding for the first time. Locals worry that the logjam in Albany and the investigations against some of our local state legislators will allow the agreement to remain on the back burner until it fades away.

Remember that the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade will step off a week from tomorrow, on March 6. The line of march again begins at Beach 129 Street and Newport Avenue, with a 1 p.m. time scheduled for the first units to step off. There will be a number of street closings and buses will be redirected during the parade. Captain Thomas Barrett, the commanding officer of the 100 Precinct reminds parade-goers that there will be a zero tolerance for alcoholic beverages on the streets of Rockaway prior to, during and after the parade.

Those who want to keep Stella Maris High School alive have formed a group called The Stella Maris Leadership Academy and Endowment. They hope to raise $4 million in four weeks, a herculean task in any sense of the word. The new school will be co-ed and would “empower tomorrow’s leaders established in Christian beliefs with a commitment to educational excellence and dedicated to service.” Although the school will be co-ed, the aim is to “operate in a hybrid fashion, maintaining certain aspects of a same sex school coupled with the benefits of a mixed population.” The group says that its endowment has been established through the Al and Peggy DeMatteis Family Foundation, and that it will accept donations on behalf of the leadership academy. All donations should be made payable to that foundation, attention: Stella Maris Foundation Funding, 10 Union Avenue, Suite 10, Lynbrook, New York 11563. The group has set March 15 as its first fundraising deadline.

Insurance companies are trying to cut their risk by reducing the number of homeowner policies they write in areas near the shoreline, experts say, and Rockaway residents have been dealing with that reality ever since Hurricane Katrina. State law allows the major insurance companies to cut a small percentage of its policies each year without cause, and the companies are using that option to reduce their risk in places like Rockaway, which is hemmed in by water on both sides of the peninsula. One expert suggested to the Daily News that those caught in the insurance trap should look to the Coastal Market Assistance Program, which has been in place for more than a decade. That program connects potential clients with insurance companies willing to write homeowner policies in waterfront areas.

While Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s ap proval rate is still above the 50 percent mark, it’s falling fast. His present rating, measured by a recent poll, is 61 percent, down from 67 percent in September of last year and 75 percent in October of 2008. Remember that he only won the election over a weak candidate by 4.4 percent in November. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn polled a 44 percent approval rate after running the council for four years. Worst numbers on the Quinnipiac Poll went to Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein, who polled at 39 percent, with three-quarters of those who responded saying that he is doing a poor job. Seems to me that nobody believes the smoke and mirrors job he is throwing at the public from his office at Tweed Courthouse.

Homeowners in the Arverne By The Sea Breakers neighborhood are warning that there have been a number of incidents where belongings have been taken from unlocked vehicles. Electronics and cash seem to be the big target, with I-Pods and GPS devices leading the list. ABTS resident Glenn DiResto, a retired police lieutenant, urges all residents to close all windows and lock all doors on their vehicles when they are parked in driveways. Keep items of value out of plain view and keep an eye out for suspicious activity. In addition, DiResto says, call 911 to report any suspicious activity.

There is growing opposition among the parents of students at the Goldie Maple Academy in Arverne to the Department of Education’s plan to put a charter school into the building. Parents say that shoehorning another school into the growing academy will retard the education of their children and force them to use their own amenities, such as the gym and the lunchroom, less often. This seems to be a growing reaction all over the city to the DOE’s plan to double the number of charter schools to 400 and to place the great majority of them into school buildings that are already running successful programs.

The producers of “The Bungalows of Rockaway” need your help. The Wave received the following email from producer Jennifer Callahan: “The producers of the independent documentary, ‘The Bungalows of Rockaway,’ announce that they are in the home stretch and are seeking a bit more in terms of research. Do you remember a representative from the city knocking on your bungalow, or a family member’s or friend’s bungalow, in the 1950s and announcing that it was to be condemned? Do you have any photos of the concessions/ food on the boardwalk – the Tuck-hee cup, a knish from Jerry’s, ice-cream? If yes to any of this, please write to: bungalowdoc@ yahoo.com. The Web site is: thebungalowsofrockaway.com

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