2010-07-23 / Columnists

Beachcomber

The Wounded Warrior weekend was again a rousing success. Nearly 40 wounded service men and women came to Rockaway for a round of parades, fundraisers and adaptive water sports. Those locals who hosted the wounded soldiers and marines have to be congratulated. They indeed showed once again the Rockaway spirit of giving to others.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that his decision to close 19 schools, including Beach Channel High School is vindicated because few students have registered for those schools. In fact, approximately 25 students have registered for BCHS for September. Bloomberg believes that the low number is a function of the fact that it is a low-performing school, what he calls a failing school. A study by union officials, however, shows that the low number of students is due more to the fact that the DOE announced his determination to close the school, and few students want to start their high school career in a school that might not last more than one more year.

Don’t forget that at midnight tonight, Friday July 23, the toll rebate program for the Cross Bay Bridge, which has been in effect for a decade, ends for good. Beginning at 12:01 a.m., Rockaway and Broad Channel motorists, if they have an EZ-Pass device, will have to pay for the first two trips across the bridge each day. All other trips across the bridge that day will remain rebated. Those without the EZ-Pass will have to pay the full fare no matter how many times they use the bridge.

If you read last week’s paper, you will know that political petitions were due at the Board of Elections on Thursday. For the first time in many years, each of the incumbent democrats who represent Rockaway and Broad Channel in both state and federal elections, are being challenged for their seats. Most often, incumbents run unopposed, but this has been a difficult year for incumbents, and challengers can smell the blood in the water. It is important for you, as voters, to get all the information you can about all of the candidates in order to make a reasoned vote in September’s primary elections and in the general election in November. Follow The Wave for news and informational stories about all of the candidates and what they have been up to. You can also get information about their past activities at our website, www.rockawave.com. Use the search feature by typing the politician’s name into the search box at the top of the home page.

On Monday, July 23, the youth who killed Patrick Hernandez on a Far Rockaway street in July of 2008, will be sentenced. Hernandez’s parents will finally get some sense of justice, but there is still another injustice out there concerning the former football star. Community Board 14 voted a year ago to name a Far Rockaway street in memory of Hernandez. At the same meeting, the CB voted to rename a west end street for civic activist Beverly Baxter. The ceremony for Baxter was held months ago. Where does the Hernandez ceremony stand? From the beginning, City Councilman James Sanders Jr. apparently bungled the paperwork that would have led to the renaming ceremony. Now, it seems to be on hold because Hernandez “no longer meets the criteria” for a street memorial. We wonder if the Hernandez family will ever see the memorial to their slain son.

There is good news for Broad Channel. Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and State Senator Shirley Huntley have pushed through a bill in the state legislature that would give the state’s Department of Transportation and the Dormitory Authority the right to sponsor and build a new firehouse for the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department. The money for the project was allocated in 2005 by Congressman Anthony Weiner and then-Senator Hillary Clinton after Clinton’s visit to the island community. The city administration, however, refused to sponsor the project, as required by law, even going so far as to say the volies are not necessary to the safety of the Broad Channel population. The present vote was a pleasant surprise, and we hope the volies will get their much-needed new home on Cross Bay Boulevard.

Our editorial about the need for ropes and barrels along the Rockaway shorefront sparked lots of interest. One correspondent pointed out that warning signs and parks enforcement police officers are a lot cheaper than the ropes and barrels, and that’s what Mayor Bloomberg is aiming for – cheap. Another person who emailed a comment pointed out that the ropes and barrels would cost a lot less than the constant response of police and fire units with their expensive boats and helicopters. He added that it would be a lot less expensive in human life as well.

For those Stella Maris graduates who need school transcripts even though the school is closing for good this month, the administration has set up a process to access that information. Transcripts will not be available from July 26 until August 15 because all of the school’s records will be moving to the Brentwood (Long Island) headquarters of the Sisters of St. Joseph. After August 15, transcripts will be available be fax at 631-273-6184 or by letter to S. Mary Ryan, SCJ; Sisters of St. Joseph; 1725 Brentwood Road; Brentwood, LI; 11717; Attn: Stella Maris Transcripts. Be sure to include your name, year of graduation and where you want the transcript sent.

The Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance last week that allows the city to fine banks and other financial institutions up to $100,000 for allowing property they have taken by foreclosure to deteriorate and become a public eyesore. Sounds like something our city council should take into consideration.

Two weeks ago, The Wave ran a photograph of Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer that was taken at Tribute Park. We neglected to provide credit for the photo, which was taken by Richard Santaga. We regret the omission, and hope that it did not cause anybody embarrassment.

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