2010-08-20 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Deputy Inspector Thomas Barrett, the commanding officer of the 100 Precinct is warning west end residents to keep their bikes out of view and locked up. Barrett told The Wave this week that there has been a spate of bicycle thefts in Belle Harbor recently. In most of the cases, he said, the victims left their bikes unlocked sitting on driveways or porches.

Those who use the beach regularly might have noticed a lot of helicopters travelling east over the ocean. That’s because the preferred route from Manhattan heliports to the tony east end beaches was to fly around Brooklyn and then over the west end of Rockaway and along the oceanfront all the way to the South Fork. The FAA, however, has just changed the route and helicopters departing Manhattan will now have to fly over the Long Island Sound instead, crossing the island in the area of the Pine Barrens, where there are no homes.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s popularity rating is dropping like a stone, according to a new poll released last week. Bloomberg dropped to 49 percent from 56 percent from June to July, the poll shows. The great majority of those who changed their minds about the mayor said they did so because of his support of the mosque planned for nearby Ground Zero, although there are other issues as well – his stewardship of the school system in light of the new test scores, his seeming love of Manhattanites and tourists over outer-borough residents and his nannyism were all mentioned.

HBO will begin showing its 12-part series, “Boardwalk Empire,” directed by Martin Scorese on September 19. The show tells the complex story of fictionalized booze king Nucky Thompson, who ruled Atlantic City in the 1920s. Steve Buscemi plays the role of Nucky. Because Atlantic City is no long what it was in the 20s, a large portion of the series was filmed in Rockaway, from the still-standing bungalow colonies in Wavecrest to Fort Tilden, with its old, disused buildings near the beach.

Kate Rose Eichen was killed by a passing automobile in front of her Long Beach home in June, leaving a firefighter husband and two young children. There will be a fundraiser for the family at The Inn (943 West Beech Street, Long Beach) on August 29 featuring Rockaway band Wine With Sue and others.

A group of shifty Senators tried to keep New York City from getting a retired space shuttle for the Intrepid Air and Space Museum. Two Florida Senators inserted language in the bill allowing the shuttle to be loaned to museums that would have restricted the loan to places “with a historical relationship to either the launch, flight operations or processing of the space shuttle orbiters.” That would have limited the loan to sites in Florida and Texas. Senator Kirsten Gilibrand, however, inserted additional language that added places involved in the “retrieval of NASA manned space vehicles.” The Intrepid participated in picking up several astronauts at sea after their space missions in the 1960s.

Despite the fact that voters have already indicated twice that they favor term limits for city elected officials, the question will once again be on the November ballot. The Charter Revision Panel voted a week ago to put the question on the November 2 ballot. If the ballot question passes for a third time, city officials will once again be limited to two four-year terms. That changed last year, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg convinced the City Council to go along with his plan to give him, and them, a third term.

Fighting to stay alive in a declining economy and faced with competition from the Internet and private firms, the United States Post Office said it wants to increase the price of first class postage by two cents, to 46 cents, starting in January. Other postal rates would rise as well. The post office lost $3.8 billion last year. Officials say that they are selling “Forever” stamps at the present price that will still be good when the prices go up. Voters will experience an entirely new system when they go to their polling places for the primary elections on September 14. Rather than step into a voting booth, pushing some levers and registering their vote, they will have to mark a paper ballot, which will then be scanned into the system. That will allow for an electronic vote while retaining a paper trail should there be problems with the system. Be prepared for a long wait as voters figure out just how to do it for the first time.

The recent warning from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that there are flaws in the rudder control system in the Airbus Industries A- 300 series aircraft came as no surprise to Stan Molin, a former Eastern Airlines pilot and the father of Sten Molin, the first officer on board American Airlines Flight 587 when it crashed into Belle Harbor on November 12, 2001. Molin told The Wave that he had trained his son well, and that his son would never have overused the rudder sufficiently to tear the tail structure off the plane, the original NTSB finding. “The NTSB bowed to Airbus pressure to call the cause of the accident pilot error,” Molin said. “It’s about time they recognized the real cause of the accident.” The NTSB’s finding came in the wake of an Air Canada upset very much like AA 587 where the pilots managed to get the plane down on the ground.

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