2010-10-22 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Rockaway resident Kevin Breslin recently got some good news. His short subject film “Living for 32,” revolving around a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre, has advanced to the second round of voting for an Academy Award nomination. The list has been cut to eight from 30 films, Breslin says. Three to five will eventually be chosen from those eight. An announcement on which films have made the final cut will be made on January 25.

The Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA) has arranged for a Rockaway First Responders Training Session for Marine Mammal Stranding. Jeanne Dupont, the head of the organization, points out that we have had a lot of strandings off our beaches in the past and this means that Riverhead Foundation needs to make the two hour trip to Rockaway each time to assist both the stranded mammal and in keeping the public away from the injured animal. The RWA wants to build a strong group of local residents who can be relied on to assist Riverhead Foundation and the Parks Department in coordinating emergency efforts when strandings occur. The Riverhead Foundation will be leading the training session, which will be held on Saturday, November 20 at 2 p.m. at the Peninsula Hospital Center Meditation Room.

In the wake of a report that Republican candidate for Congress Bob Turner underreported his expenses during the last reporting period, Turner has issued a statement stating that it was just a “technical glitch” that led him to report only $2,900 being spent on the campaign between July 1 and August 25 of this year. Matt Turner, the candidate’s son and campaign manager, said that Weiner’s campaign was focusing on the glitch to “draw attention away from the important issues of the district.”

On October 5, when hundreds of Rockaway residents were marching over the Cross Bay Bridge, demanding that the toll rebate program be reinstated, Congressional candidate Bob Turner was holding a fundraiser at the El Carib restaurant in Mill Basin. In fact, that entire day was spent on a “Take Back New York” bus tour. Turner’s campaign flacks called it a “Megastump tour” of the district, and there were nine stops beginning at 9 a.m. in Woodhaven and ending with the fundraiser. None of those nine stops were in Rockaway. When Turner’s campaign was asked why no Rockaway stops, the answer was “he spends a lot of time in Rockaway.”

Mayor Mike Bloomberg is considered by many to be the “Nanny Mayor” for his move to cut smoking from all public spaces and for his ban on transfat, but he is not that way when it comes to business. “Government shouldn’t be running small business,” he said recently in the wake of a city council move to force small businesses to pay for sick days for their employees. “That’s not what this country is all about. This is going down a path which is a terrible, terrible idea and would be disastrous to New York City.”

A new poll shows Democrat Andrew Cuomo with an 18-point edge over Republican Carl Paladino in the New York race for governor, just weeks after the same poll showed Cuomo just six points ahead. One of the poll officials speculated that voters were not reacting well to Paladino’s “angry outsider” approach, especially in light of reports that he has received millions from state government in relation to his rental properties around the state.

Right after the MTA announced that it was spending millions to facilitate cell phone and Wi-Fi service in the subways, a national website did a poll asking subway riders how important the services were to them personally. Twentytwo percent said that the new service should be a priority. Another 16 percent suggested the priority should be getting the trains to run on time. The vast majority, 61 percent, said that the money would better be spent lowering the fare.

City Councilman Peter Vallone has recommended a modification of Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to cut smoking in parks and on city beaches. Vallone recently proposed legislation that allows for designated “smoking areas” on the parks and beaches, with the remainder becoming smoke-free. “My bill offers a less severe compromise,” Vallone said, adding that “smoking areas did not work well inside, but would probably be fine outdoors.”

When the mayor attempted to close Beach Channel High School last year because it had become a “failing school,” many students and staff members argued that one of the reasons why scores slipped at the school was because the city took away the funding for the highly successful “smaller learning communities.” Department of Education officials scoffed at that contention, but now Senator Charles Schumer has funded the smaller learning communities at five other “struggling” high schools, stating, “We all know that at large schools, some kids fall through the cracks. But by creating small learning communities to focus on helping struggling students through increased teacher time and rigorous expectations, we can help kids learn and excell.” Why not bring the learning communities back to Beach Channel High School and give the school a chance to succeed before contemplating closing it down?

The grand opening of the new Super Stop & Shop Supermarket on Beach 73 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard today marks the first of the promised Arverne By The Sea amenities to come on line for the residents of the peninsula as a whole. Hopefully, the promised Y will materialize some time next fall and the new shops and restaurants shortly thereafter.

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