2011-04-29 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Far Rockaway resident Peter Charles was one of the thousands of runners who finished the Boston Marathon on “Patriots’ Day” last week. Charles ran the 26.2 miles in 5 hours, 12 minutes and 37 seconds. Congratulations.

The city has announced plans this week to give the section of Beach Channel Drive from Beach 69 Street to Beach 64 Street a new sheet of much needed pavement. The stretch of road is littered with patches, potholes and debris left over by capital projects. A commencement date for the project has not been announced yet, according to Community Board 14. There are many who have called that stretch of road “the worst in New York City,” and the problem is exacerbated by the fact that construction on other east-west roads, most notably Rockaway Beach Boulevard, forces motorists to use the dangerous stretch of road.

Speaking of new amenities, the Department of Transportation is planning to put turn arrows on the traffic signal at Beach 108 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, long a dangerous intersection with numerous fender-bender accidents.

There have been numerous letters to The Wave about the article published in an earlier issue about the air gun that was taken from an eighth grade student at Middle School 114. Two elementary school parents interviewed at the school the afternoon of the incident indicated that they had concerns about their children sharing the building with the middle school teens and pre-teens. The comments, which were shared by many other parents waiting for their elementary school children to be dismissed, were that most of the good middle school students left PS/MS 114 for the Scholars’ Academy, leaving many problem students and low-functioning students behind. They saw this as a legitimate concern. The letters, however, point out that many high-functioning students prefer to stay at MS 114 rather than transferring to the highpressure halls of Scholars’. The parents also complained that having the middle school students in the building meant less time in the gymnasium and labs for their children, and forced them to eat their lunch too early in the day. Until the middle school establishes itself at MS 114, this is not an issue that is going to fade away.

We understand that “kill the guy with the ball,” and dodge ball can be dangerous games and should be banned in summer and afterschool programs even though they are student favorites, but Whiffleball and red rover, kickball and tag? The state’s health department went too far when it announced its list of recreational games that can no longer be played in public programs, because they are “potentially dangerous, and carry a significant risk of injury.” We thought that the list was a little over the top, and the controversy that grew from the published list got so hot that the state agency pulled the list and promised to make it more reasonable.

While Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik- Kahn have said publicly that bicycle ridership has doubled since the city began to put in mile after mile of bike lanes on busy city streets, a new study by New York University shows that the city’s statistics are not correct. In fact, the NYU survey shows that bicycle ridership actually plunged from 2007 to 2009.

with a map graphic showing the areas of the city that achieved the highest population growth. In Queens, that was Arverne, which, the story says, saw a 14.6 growth in population over the last ten years – thanks to the new homes in Arverne By The Sea. On the graphic that accompanies the story, however, the map shows Arverne as not being on the Rockaway peninsula, but in northwest Queens.

When the federal government recently posted a tax-calculator program on the White House Website to show where tax dollars are used, one of the case studies presented was a married couple in Rockaway, who make $162,000 in combined income. He’s a veteran city schoolteacher, she’s a school administrator. According to the program, they paid $16,032 in federal income taxes and $11,054 to Social Security and Medicare. Where did the great majority of their tax money go? To national defense ($4,216.42) and health care ($3,895.78).

A statewide poll by the Cuomo administration shows that, while student enrollment in the state is down more than four percent, the number of teachers has grown by 9.8 percent. The shocking statistic is that the number of school administrators has grown by a massive 34 percent. One only has to look at New York City with all of its new, smaller schools and charter schools to understand the growth. In Rockaway alone, there were once 17 principals. Now, there are 28.

There was lots of mystery in Rockaway and Broad Channel last week. The body of a still-unidentified black man floated up on the bayfront in Broad Channel, a black teenager went missing from Arverne, and another from Bayswater. We hope that this isn’t a pattern developing.

Representative Anthony Weiner continues to quip about his desire to be the next mayor. Recently, Weiner was talking about former White House staffer Rahm Emanuel, who recently became mayor of Chicago and who, like Weiner, is Jewish. “Emanuel knew what it takes to become the mayor of a large city; a hot-tempered, arrogant, loud Jew with 9 ½ fingers. And, in other news, I’ve taken a job at Arby’s as the meat cutter.”

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