2011-07-08 / Columnists

Beachcomber

There have been rumors bouncing around Rockaway that the beaches would be closed the last two weeks of summer because the city planned to lay off all of the lifeguards to save some money. The rumors turned out to be true, but the budget that was approved on June 29 saved the day. “We are delighted that the City Council voted on a budget that will keep all of our public pools and beaches open for the full season,” a Parks Department spokesperson told The Wave last week.

Once again, the Department of Education is funding food service locations for school kids during the summer months, when schools are closed. The local sites, which serve both breakfast and lunch, are: Carleton Manor (71-15 BCD); Ocean Bay (339 B. 54 St.); Ocean Bay Bayside (441 B. 51 St.); PS 105 (420 B. 51 St,), PS 225 (190 B. 110 St.); PS 43 (160 B. 29 St.), Queens Library – Arverne (312 B. 54 St.), and the Queens Library – Far Rockaway (1637 Central Ave.).

Despite the fact that former Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned his position in disgrace due to his sexting problem, the New York Post won’t leave him alone. One day they ran a story about him and his wife having coffee in Forest Hills, the next day, a story that he wanted to become the “Kingmaker” and decide who would replace him. The following day, it was a story about his plan to go into an “intense rehab program.” He is gone, and no longer a public person. Unless he decides to run for public office once again, it’s time to let it alone.

Wave editorial cartoonist Bob Sarnoff is also a filmmaker of some renown. The Long Island International Film Expo screened his award-winning documentary, “The ROMEOWS (Retired Older Men Eating Out Wednesdays)” last Thursday. Sarnoff’s short movie was also shown at a number of Florida festivals.

For more than 35 years, Rockaway resident Mary Ellen Murray has been guarding the kids crossing local streets at PS/MS 114 in Belle Harbor. She is there rain or shine, sickness or not. Perhaps it is time for her to be named the Grand Marshal of the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It would be a great and fitting honor for a loyal Rockaway Irishwoman.

Finally, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken some of the blame for the City- Time scandal that has rocked the city and which cost its taxpayers more than $60 million. “Certainly, nobody paid as much attention as they should have, from me on down,” he said at an unrelated press conference. Bloomberg promised that some of the money would be recovered. “The people who stole it didn’t spend it, and we’ll recover a lot of that.” We keep asking the National Park Service about what it means by “relevant programs and events.” Once again, this week, the service put out a brochure that said that the first step to “Connecting People to Parks, Rivers and Landmarks” is to “Establish a community outreach program that invites neighborhood associations, health and social service providers and local groups to cooperatively develop relevant programs, events, and outdoor spaces in both parks and communities.” So far, the only outreach the NPS has done is to force Rockaway community organizations out of business and put the fear into others that they will soon be out of business at Fort Tilden as well. NPS officials have indicated to us, for example, that little league fields may not be a “relevant” use for a national park. The final graduation at Far Rockaway High School late last month was a sad event for both residents who attended the school and those who have moved from Rockaway to make a life in other places. It was our alma mater that kept us connected and united. Now, the building that was once Far Rockaway High School is called the Far Rockaway Educational Campus and houses four small schools, none of which is called Far Rockaway High School. Nearly 15 years ago, when the school held a 100th Anniversary weekend, thousands of graduates flocked to the school and to an evening event at a Nassau County hotel. Now, the school is gone, thanks to Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his penchant for new, smaller schools – none of which, we are told, is any better than the original high school that once populated the building.

The Wave has been trying to tie down a story about package thefts from the west end of the peninsula. Seems that a middle-aged man has been watching deliveries from the post office, FedEx and United Parcel Service to local homes and then stealing the packages before the homeowners come home to collect them. Locals say that he has taken some valuable items, such as a collection of gold coins and more mundane items such as summer outfits. Local police say they are trying to locate a suspect, but that many people do not file reports that they have been robbed, some because they do not know they have been robbed and others because they believe that reporting the theft to the police will do no good. If you have been victimized, police say, report that fact, even if the item stolen is trivial.

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