2011-07-22 / Columnists

Beachcomber

A number of Rockaway businesses chipped in to make the 50 wounded warriors and their families feel welcome in Rockaway. One of those was Strands, a nail and hair salon on Beach Channel Drive, which catered to the wives and daughters of the warriors, giving them free manicures, pedicures and haircuts. We ran into some of the wives and they just gushed about Rockaway and its hospitality to strangers.

The strike by worker’s at Dayton Beach Park on Shore Front Parkway turned nasty last week when striking workers tried to keep a private sanitation truck from picking up the garbage. An armed security guard, one of many hired by the co-op board, allegedly pulled a gun on one of the strikers. The police were called, and the incident was worked out to everybody’s satisfaction, but the confrontation could have turned deadly, and neither the workers nor the people who live in the seven-building complex want that kind of outcome.

Lots of Rockaway residents are logging on to the city’s website and putting their applications for a job with the fire department into the system. This is the first FDNY test in four years, because a federal judge has kept the department from hiring, ruling that its test is flawed and racially skewed. Now, under pressure to hire new firefighters, however, the judge is allowing another test without resolving all the issues that were cited in the last ruling four years ago.

There are a few major events coming up in the next few weeks. On July 22, the Friends of Tribute Park will host its annual fundraiser, “Sunset in the Park,” at the memorial on Beach Channel Drive at Beach 116 Street. The fundraiser will include music, a light repast, and the best sunset you have ever seen. By the way, as the sun goes down, an FDNY fireboat will show up to augment nature, and it’s quite a sight. The next day, July 23, the Belson memorial swim and music festival will be held. At 10 a.m. the swim will begin from the beachfront at Beach 92 Street, now called “Bell’s Beach.” In the evening, the venue will move to the Bungalow Bar at Beach 92 Street and Beach Channel Drive, where the annual lifeguard scholarships will be awarded and the music will begin. The memorial honors, Steve Belson, a firefighter who died on September 11, 2001 in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

The incident that stranded a bleeding man and his elderly wife in the McDonald’s parking lot on July 1 has caused the MTA to make some procedural changes. The man and his wife were on the way home to Belle Harbor when the Access-ARide driver told them he would have to go to Brooklyn first to drop off another passenger. The call center clerk ordered the drive to complete his route by taking them to East New York even though the husband was bleeding from his legs. Now, the MTA says, whenever a medical emergency is indicated, the call center receptionist will have to notify a shift supervisor to make the call on what the driver should do. We hope that, from now on, common sense will prevail.

This could only happen in New York, and you couldn’t make it up. A few months ago, the National Plan Association spent big bucks studying the needs of New York’s three airports, all of which are owned and run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. There is no doubt that at least one of the airports needs more runway capacity, and the association came up with several plans that not only angered local environmentalists, but turned out to violate federal law as well. Now, the PA is planning to spend thousands more to study the study that was put out by the association. We wonder who will study the study that will be done by the PA over the next few months.

The mayoral race is still two years away, but with the favorite, Anthony Weiner, out of the way, the politicians who plan to seek the job have been busy fundraising. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is far ahead of all the other candidates, records show, with a war chest of $4 million – not quite Bloomberg standards, but still a good start. Manhattan Borough President Scott Springer has already raised $2.5 million, while Bill de Blasio has $1 million on hand for the run.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill that will toughen penalties for drivers who are caught texting while piloting their automobiles. The law, which takes effect immediately, allows police to pull over any driver who is using a handheld phone. Previously, drivers had to be pulled over for another offense before being charged with a texting-while-driving offense. The new law also adds a point to the penalty – from two to three points for the offense. Those points could cause motorists to pay more for their mandated insurance

The blood drive run by Transit District 23 two weeks ago drew local residents who donated a total of 34 pints.

An incorrect police report led The Wave to say that a shooting two weeks ago happened at 20-17 Seagirt Boulevard in the Wavecrest Gardens complex. In fact, the shooting happened at the Laundromat at 25-17 Seagirt Boulevard, several blocks away from Wavecrest Gardens. We understand that the management of Wavecrest Gardens has been trying to upgrade the way people view the complex, and we apologize for the error.

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