2010-05-07 / Columnists


Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld, a DOE press secretary emailed to say that The Wave had slightly misquoted or paraphrased his comments in relation to the new school being sited in Beach Channel High School. The Wave wrote, “The DOE says that it has “no plans to change course in placing new schools into failing buildings. The court’s ruling involves closing failing schools, not placing new schools in those buildings,” Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld, a DOE press deputy told The Wave on Tuesday. “We are looking to provide better school options for all of our students and we will take the steps necessary to reach that goal.” Zarin- Rosenfeld said that his comment was, “The court’s ruling involves closing failing schools, not the siting of new schools. We have no plans to change course for the siting of new schools.” He said that he would appreciate this small but important fix, and we are making it here.

Have you heard the one about the politician who set up an organization and then called a community meeting but never showed up? Some might think that’s a joke, but it wasn’t funny to those who showed up for the first meeting of Operation Safe Peninsula, a group set up by State Senator Malcolm Smith, and found that Smith had business elsewhere. His representatives said that they would try to insure that he showed up for the next meeting.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg is hailing the federal government’s decision to place a wind farm of the shore of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. He said in a prepared statement that the approval bodes well for a similar plan to place a wind farm off the coast of Rockaway. Now that the man-made LNG Island has been nixed by New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the Rockaway wind farm seems much more likely to be developed.

Officials of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) are saying that all work on the Cross Bay Bridge, which has been going on for more than a year, will be completed by the end of May. That’s good news for those who use the bridge each day. Of course, the bad news is that the toll rebate program gets modified on July 1. So, have fun crossing the bridge free without construction delays for at least a month.

Rockaway has a great reputation. When a wisecracking criminal mouthed off to Justice Gregory Lasak in Queens Criminal Court two weeks ago, the judge told him, “Be quiet. We’re in court, not some street in Far Rockaway.”

The Department of Traffic (DOT) has announced that the official street renaming ceremony for Rockaway icon Beverly Baxter will be held on Beach 116 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 15. The stretch of Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Beach 116 Street to Beach 108 Street will be named for the former Wave columnist and Irish activist. Mayor Bloomberg was visiting another large city a few years ago when he became intrigued by the countdown clocks on all of that city’s street corners. After an exhaustive test in New York, most of the streets where a pedestrian has to cross two lanes to get to a center median or four lanes if there is no median will get the countdown clocks, which indicate how long the pedestrian has to cross the street before the light changes.

City Councilman James Sanders is taking credit for closing the doors of a jiggle joint on Rockaway Turnpike in Rosedale. The large sign picturing a semi-nude woman offended the sensibilities of many from the Far Rockaway Orthodox Jewish community who complained to Sanders. The councilman worked to keep the club from renewing its liquor license and the operators of the club failed to pay their rent to the landlord. The property owner has pledged to take down the offending sign as soon as the club’s eviction is finalized in court, sometime next month.

Two weeks ago, The Wave ran a story about the kidsmART program losing its city funding. As it turns out, there were two other local programs that will lose funding as well: The National Society of Hebrew Day Schools will lose funding for an afterschool program and the New York Junior Tennis League will lose funding for its afterschool programs, which runs in many schools in District 27.The Notify NYC program, which brings residents alerts on their computer or cell phone is being extended to cover missing person alerts. Notify NYC currently sends alerts about storms, road closings and other upsets.

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it was using sand dredged from New York Harbor in its Jamaica Bay restoration project, there were some who immediately thought, “toxic sand.” A call to Tom Shea, the project director for the Corps of Engineers told The Wave that the sand actually came from Ambrose Channel and not the harbor itself. He assured our readers that the sand being utilized in the bay is really just clean fill.

Teachers at Beach Channel High School continue to complain that officials of the Rockaway Park High School for Environmental Sustainability continue to wander the building, commandeering classroom, using computers meant for BCHS and generally bothering both teachers and students. Since a court ruling put a hold on the process of phasing out the comprehensive high school, there are questions about the efficacy of placing a new school in the building next year. Some union members have told The Wave that they believe that it is illegal for the DOE to continue plans for the new school’s placement until the legal process is completed once again. The mayor and the DOE apparently do not agree with that position, telling The Wave that the phase-out of BCHS might not begin next year, but that the new school is still slated to begin in September.

Congressman Anthony Weiner continues to be one of the biggest defenders of Israel in the House of Representatives. He issued a statement recently, stating, “Israel is our closest ally in the region, yet they continue to receive more criticism than deserved and less support than is required. The Obama administration should not continue to lash out at our closest ally.”

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