2010-12-17 / Columnists


There are no depths too low for con artists trying to scam money from local residents. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is active in Rockaway this time every year, with a collection box outside the Neponsit Avenue home of Joe and Maritza Mure, who host the “Little North Pole,” that takes donations. There are no people going door-to-door for donations, a Mure spokesperson says. However, somebody has been knocking on doors in the west end asking for donations to the JDRF. The local cops have been notified, and if a stranger comes to your door collecting for the charity, give 911 a call.

It is clear that approximately 800 schools in New York City are contaminated with deadly PCBs. A number of those schools are in Rockaway and Beach Channel High School was recently cleaned of the killing substance. The city says that it will cost a billion dollars to clean all of the schools, money it does not have. Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, the mayor’s chief education advisor, said recently that “there is no immediate health risk for either students or staff.” The Environmental Protection Agency sees it differently, however. “If you smoke a cigarette today, you’re not going to die tomorrow, there is no immediate risk,” an EPA spokesperson said. “That doesn’t mean you’re not going to die of cancer ten years from now because of that cigarette.” So far, the DOE has declined to provide a list of those Rockaway schools that will need cleaning.

City Councilman James Sanders Jr., has what he thinks is a great idea. He is calling on the Department of Probation to include Rockaway in its list of communities being considered for an “Opportunity Center,” which means a place where those fresh out of jail can come to meet with their parole officers and learn about educational and professional opportunities in the community. Sanders believes that Rockaway is “ideally suited to take advantage of the prospects that such a center would offer” Rockaway parolees. “We make mistakes in life all the time,” Sanders said in a prepared release, “and everyone needs a second chance.”

A spokesperson for National Grid called to say that the Transco Energy Company, which is surveying in Rockaway waters for a new pipeline, has all the necessary permits to survey the area, but it still needs some permits to actually build the pipeline. Transco says that it will get the necessary permits when they are needed to proceed with the construction project.

In the December 3 Business Spotlight column we inadvertently left out the contact information for Rockazumbaway. The classes are taught at the former Stella Maris High School building, now Peninsula Preparatory Academy, on Beach 111 Street off Rockaway Beach Boulevard. To contact Lisa G, call: 917-446-9988, or email: lisa_george83@yahoo.com.

The head of the city’s taxi drivers union is urging his membership to use racial profiling before they pick up a passenger, especially in the more dangerous parts of the city. “I don’t care about racial profiling,” said Fernando Mateo, who was involved with the controversy about where an American Airlines Flight 587 memorial should be placed in Rockaway. “Sometimes it’s good when you’re racially profiled, because God’s honest truth is that 99 percent of the people that are robbing, stealing, killing my drivers are black and Hispanic.” Mateo is an Hispanic activist and is involved in many Hispanic organizations.

So, the state is broke and has to cut subsidies to schools and hospitals. At the same time, Governor David Paterson, the lame duck who will be out of office next month, recently doled out $17 million in pork-barrel spending, including $5 million to promote the 2014 Super Bowl at Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. Money also went to Chess in the Schools and maintaining state offices in such nations as Chile and Brazil.

What is the most-trusted profession? The answer changes from year to year, but this year’s winners are nurses (83%), military officers (73%) and pharmacists (71%). The least-trusted professions? Members of Congress (9%), lobbyists (7%) and automobile salespeople (7%). At least journalists didn’t make the bottom of the list this year, as they did a few years ago.

In the wake of the front page story in The Wave about the Stop & Shop supermarket on Beach 73 Street, a few people from Broad Channel wrote and emailed to say that they no longer come to Rockaway to shop because of the toll on the Cross Bay Bridge. “The only reason that I checked [Stop & Shop] out was because I was already coming to Rockaway for a doctor’s appointment,” one such missive read. “As long as there is a toll on the [Cross Bay] Bridge, I know that me and my neighbors will head to Howard Beach for our shopping needs. Thanks to the MTA for that.”

St. Rose of Lima Church on Beach 84 Street has a deal with Stop & Shop. You can convert your supermarket points earned when you use your Stop & Shop card to cash for the church’s parochial school.

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