2010-05-21 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Broad Channel residents tried hard to convince DOT officials to put a halt to the plan to renovate Cross Bay Boulevard and “make it safer” by reducing each roadway by one lane between the town and the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge. Instead, the city agency came up with some cosmetic changes and a promise to keep the highly-used walking/jogging lane on the southbound side – at least for now. It is widely expected that the changes will slow down traffic to a crawl, at least during the summer months, and perhaps that’s what the DOT wants after all.

Another of the community boards in Queens has revamped its policy on naming streets for deceased residents. From now on, a person has to have been a resident of the community board area for 10 years and must have made a “significant contribution” to the community. That leaves out police officers and firefighters who may have died for the community, but have never lived there. While we like the idea that the honored person must have made a significant contribution to the community, there certainly should be an exemption to the resident rule that allows first responders to be honored by the community they served.

Traffic on all of Rockaway’s eastwest roads was tied up early Thursday morning because the Marine Parkway Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge was closed for some time due to an accident on Flatbush Avenue, on the Brooklyn side of the bridge. All traffic seeking to leave Rockaway via the bridge was turned around to use the Cross Bay Bridge instead, causing the traffic massive Rockaway traffic jam. It makes one wonder what is going to happen when a similar incident happens in the summer.

With the warm weather coming, more people are walking their dogs on the beachfront. While there is a leash law in New York City, many of those dog walkers, particularly in the west end, allow their dogs to run free on the beach, causing problems for joggers and for other dog walkers who are obeying the law by leashing their dogs. Remember, if you walk your dog on the beach, use a leash and make sure you pick up after your pet. Feces-born disease is on the increase in the city’s beachfront areas once again, the DOH warns.

Congressman Anthony Weiner riled against the cuts made to the city’s Department of Homeland Security budget, which cut funds to New York City by a quarter in both transportation and port security. “Cutting Big Apple homeland security funding to the core is mind bogglingly bad judgment,” he said. “We got lucky when the Times Square bomber failed. Now, instead of increasing our odds, the administration is pushing our luck.”

Governor David Paterson ordered that state workers be put on furlough one day a week in order to cut the budget. Then, he ordered raises for his executive staff. In the face of a hue and cry from unions, Paterson rescinded his staff raises. An official of the state’s budget office was on Channel 1 News last week, facing off with a union official. They told the union officials that the furloughs were necessary to cut the budget. When the union official asked if the budget executive was going to be furloughed, the man indicated that his job was much too important to shut down, even for a day. What a great disdain for the workers of this state.

The National Park Service has renovated an old hospital on the grounds of the Presidio National Park in San Francisco and turned it into a luxury rental building. The NPS says that the new facility will help the park reach its goal of self-sufficiency. It’s an intriguing idea, and it might serve Rockaway well if the service would take over the old Neponsit Health Care facility adjacent to Riis Park and turn it into a usable facility to raise money for the park. Right now, the former hospital, owned by the city’s Health and Hospital Corporation, sits fallow with no future development in sight. Perhaps the city should give the property to the feds and let them do something with it.

Students who graduated from the Hebrew Institute of Long Island

HILI), class of 1960, will be holding a 50th reunion at the auditorium of the former site of the school on Seagirt Boulevard at Beach 19 Street. The event will take place on June 6 at 4 p.m. Event coordinators say that 40 of the original 88 graduates will be attending. The school was founded in 1937 in Arverne and was moved to the Far Rockaway site in 1939. In 1978, when an orthodox Jewish Yeshiva took over the site, the school merged with another and moved to the Five Towns, renamed the Hebrew Academy of Far Rockaway and the Five Towns (HAFTAR).

The City Council will soon vote on a bill that mandates companies provide paid sick days to their employees. Employers will have to pay sick pay for either five or nine days a year, depending on how many employees the company has. The nine-day requirement will be only for those who employ 20 or more workers. The five-day requirement will be for those with fewer than 20. Business groups are fighting the proposal.

Because of the Jewish holiday Shavuot, the 101 Precinct Community Council meeting for May has been moved to Monday, May 24 so that local Jewish residents can commemorate the holiday and still be able to attend the this month’s meeting. As always, the meeting will take place at Beth Abraham located at 18-21 Cornaga Avenue in Far Rockaway at 6:30 p.m.

The owners of the Mott Avenue Check Cashing Corporation in Far Rockaway called to say that the police department was wrong in its assessment that $140,000 was stolen from the establishment on May 8. “The amount was considerably less,” a spokesperson for the corporation said, adding that the police were never given the correct amount that was taken at gunpoint. Police are still searching for the two men who took the money.

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