2011-09-09 / Columnists

Beachcomber

In our article “Violent Crime Up In 101 Precinct” in the August 26 issue we erred in saying that an arrest had been made in the homicide that occurred at 51-11 Almeda Avenue on August 2. Officer Maurice Roper, of the precinct’s Community Affairs unit, called to tell us that case is still active. The arrest of which commanding officer Deputy Inspector Michael Lipetri was speaking, during a community meeting on August 17, was one made in regard to a shooting that took place in Redfern. We apologize for any problems this error may have caused.

The good news is that the board of directors at Peninsula Hospital Center found a way to keep the vital hospital open and operating near normal. Congratulations go to the board members who worked around the clock for the past month, fighting to find a solution that would keep the hospital open, to Rockaway residents who rallied and fought, to the hospital’s employees who never gave up and to the State Department of Health, which gave the locals a chance to solve the problem without shutting down the hospital for good.

The Wave has been covering the Kareem Bellamy story for more than two years. We first ran a story about Bellamy in 1994, when he was arrested, tried and convicted for the murder of James Abbott in Arverne. Fast forward to 2008, when a number of sources told us that he was not guilty and that a legal team was working to get him a new trial. In the ensuring years, we have interviewed most of the players in the drama – ex-NYPD detective Eddie Henson, who found the new evidence that later turned out to be tainted; Bellamy; Mike Green, who made the tape that turned out to be false; Levon ‘Ishmael’ Melvin, who was noted on the original 1994 detective report as a potential suspect; attorneys Tom Hoffman and Steve Silberblatt; and the Queens District Attorney. Our interview with Green was noted in the court’s decision to free Bellamy and his original attorney credited The Wave stories with helping to free Bellamy. Sometimes, things just work out. With the special election coming up next Tuesday, September 13, we want to urge everyone to get out to the polls and vote for her or his favorite (or, least-objectionable) candidate. Special elections are won by the party that can turn out the vote, because traditionally there are low turnouts for those elections. Remember, the races are for the State Assembly (to replace Audrey Pheffer) and for the House of Representatives (to replace Anthony Weiner). For The Wave endorsements, see page 4. Overall subway crime is up for the first time in a number of years. Chief Joseph Fox, who runs the Transit Bureau, says that electronics theft is the main cause. Fox warns people not to stand near open subway doors with their iPads, iPods or other electronic devices in full view. Statistics show that larcenies are up 28.2 percent and robberies are up 4.2 percent.

The ceremony at Tribute Park on Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive will be a special one this year, on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. This year, a large piece of steel from the World Trade Center will be consecrated at the park, making our park the first public park in the city to have a piece of the steel. Many Rockaway residents have said from the beginning that the park, as beautiful as it is, needed some reminder of the attack. Now, those who remember the attack can bring their children and grandchildren to the park and explain what it really means and what it symbolizes.

Now that the effects of Hurricane Irene have worn off, it is worthy to note that Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s contention during the storm that 80 percent of Rockaway residents obeyed his evacuation order is just plain hyperbole. By all local accounts, about 40 percent left and 60 percent stayed the course. One local voiced the majority of the community when he saw a man pushing a shopping cart full of only beer away from Beach 129 Street on Saturday morning. “Now, that’s the real Rockaway evacuation plan,” he said, and he was right. By the way, LIPA says that 1,157 customers in Rockaway lost their electricity in the storm and that by Wednesday, 560 customers had been restored. The rest should be on line by the time you read this.

Police officers from the 100 Precinct caused anger and resentment by ticketing all the cars on the central median on Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel the day after Hurricane Irene passed over the island community. Residents traditionally park on the median whenever a storm hits because the majority of the streets flood quickly, even in a really high tide. Community leaders quickly went to complain to the new precinct commander, Captain Scott Olexa, and he decided to void all the tickets. It was the right thing to do and he should get the community’s approbation for voiding the tickets.

Two weeks ago, The Wave ran an obituary for Edward McGeary. Due to an error on the part of the funeral home, the name of his son, Peter McGeary, was left out of the obituary. We regret any embarrassment the omission has caused.

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