2011-01-07 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. art B

I’d like to wish everyone a healthy, happy New Year. May this year bring peace and happiness to all.

We are fighting to save Beach Channel High School. We used to have a good, comprehensive high school that was the envy of people around the city. With good innovative programs it served most of the students from the west end of the peninsula and many from the east end, as well as some from other southern areas of Queens who applied and were accepted onto the special programs like oceanography that were not available anywhere else.

Gradually the Board of Education and later the Department of Education closed down these special programs. They were replaced with students who often were not officially part of the school. These included students who were expelled from other high schools, released from prison and enrolled in special education programs.

The dedicated teaching staff struggled to maintain the quality of the school. Many students continued to get a good education, but the image of the entire school declined. Now the city wants to close the school. They have never explained how they will provide a good high school for good and excellent Rockaway students who prefer to attend a local school on the Rockaway peninsula.

Tonight (Friday, January 7) we are meeting with parents, students, alumni and other interested community residents to discuss what we need to save and improve the quality of the education available to Rockaway high school students. We will meet at Baxter’s Rockaway Playhouse at 160 Beach 116 Street at 7 p.m. to put our ideas together and plan for the public hearing to be held at BCHS on January 13. If you are interested in good education for Rockaway high school students, now is the time to get involved.

We are quite baffled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s lack of attention to the major snowstorm that had been predicted for at least three days. OEM tells us that we should evacuate Rockaway at least three days before a hurricane. Why didn’t they have a snow emergency plan in place before the snow actually came down.

We know that Rockaway transportation is the first to go. The A train tracks always freeze. With an A train stuck near Aqueduct, no effort was made to provide food, beverages or heat. Doors should have been opened and people removed by bus to the Grant Avenue station which is only 8 minutes away. Several of my constituents are now sick from the flu after being stranded.

With sanitation workers struggling with huge mounds of snow and now garbage, many sanitation workers are concerned that they may be laid off, and firefighters are concerned that some firehouses will be closed at night.

I used my phone to get help for people who were suffering. One lady was begging to get her street cleared because she was out of oil and the truck couldn’t get through. With Rockaway transportation at a standstill, I wish we had the power to recall Mayor Bloomberg and vote him out of office. Where are the trucks to load snow and dump it on the beach or into the bay? I don’t fault District 14 Sanitation workers, but poor preparation by the mayor’s office. Why are we always the forgotten area? We pay the same or higher taxes as Manhattan.

Chris Kelly 347-252-2814 did great work clearing driveways and sidewalks when he could get through blocked streets. I wish to thank the police, firefighters, EMS, Broad Channel, Roxbury, Rockaway Point and Breezy Vollies for keeping us safe and sound in this major blizzard.

We’d like to correct a statement regarding Waldbaum’s. During the last month there were rumors and allegations flying around regarding robberies at our new Stop & Shop. People would tell me that they heard about this. None of this was true. The people who said this were not Waldbaum’s employees.

I spent a special Christmas having dinner at the Lindell’s – Derrick, Janet and their children, Leah, Ra-chel, Kyle and family. Janet is the chairperson of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club’s annual Dinner Dance. She is always there helping the community and making a difference. The dinner was absolutely wonderful, the company fantastic and I was overwhelmed when each one of them gave me a gift.

Derrick is the owner of Eye Q Optical on Queens Boulevard. They have lived in Arverne by the Sea for about three years and are a great addition to our community. Thank you for having me over.

We are saddened by the deaths of two outstanding individuals. Suzanne, the wife of Rabbi Allan Blaine, was a class act, an educator and an outstanding individual with a heart of gold. Howard Jate Doremus, former president of the 100 Precinct Community Council and community activist, passed away. He was an outstanding individual who was always there to help the community. His wife, Sandee Doremus, works for Joseph Addabbo, now a State Senator.

We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of these two individuals who are a major loss to our community and who I know will be special angels in heaven.

Our club will be celebrating our 25th anniversary with a dinner dance at El Caribe on Thursday, June 2. You can’t miss this special event. For tickets, special arrangements for your group table or to volunteer on our dinner committee call 718-945-1216. You may send your club dues of $25 to the GGDRC at 112- 20 Beach Channel Drive, Rockaway Park 11694.

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