2011-10-14 / Columnists

Beachcomber

If you believe the published reports and the rumors, and we do, then we might soon be losing another elected official. As reported in last week’s edition, Greg Meeks might soon be forced into retirement by his Democratic colleagues, just as Anthony Weiner was earlier this year. Meeks is under investigation for wrongdoing by so many agencies that it’s hard to keep count. If he does bend to the pressure and resign his seat, Rockaway will once again be looking at a probable special election to fill his seat in the House of Representatives. The Democrats reportedly want Malcolm Smith to move up from the State Senate, but Smith is involved in as many probes as Meeks, and in many cases the two were involved together in their political scams. Should Meeks go, that will make three longtime elected officials that we have lost in the past several months – Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who moved on to the Queens courthouse, Weiner, who left over a sexting scandal, and Meeks. There must be something in the water.

The Rockaway Rockies roller hockey league will host a fundraiser at the home opener of the Brooklyn Aviators at Aviator Sports at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn on October 29. The Aviators are entering their second season in the Federal Hockey League and will be skating against the New Jersey Outlaws, a team that features former Aviators favorite, Matt Puntereri. Tickets will be available for the next two Sundays at the Beach 108 Street hockey rink (at Shore Front Parkway) and by phone at 347-204-1194.

The statistics are dramatic. Because of what might well be a one-man burglary crime wave in the west end, burglaries have gone up 325 percent over the past two months and 119 percent for the year to date. The percentage rises are staggering, but the actual numbers are less so. Last year, to date, there were 42 burglaries in the 100 Precinct. This year, over the same period of time, there have been 92. Over the past 28 days this year, there have been 17 burglaries. Last year, there were just four. As soon as the cops catch the young man committing all the burglaries, the crime spree will end and the numbers will drop once again. Police officials tell The Wave that residents need to be more careful about locking doors and windows. Now that the winter is upon us, that will happen naturally, and the burglar will find fewer targets of opportunity.

There is a rampant fear on Beach 116 Street. While there have been no reports of panhandlers actually attacking anybody who refuses to give them a couple of bucks, their very presence in large numbers is intimidating and it drives people from the shopping street. One example, a young woman who usually stops on the street in the morning to use a bank ATM and to pick up coffee and a newspaper on the way to work on Long Island, says that she no longer feels safe. “I stopped and parked, and all these guys were hanging around the Muni-meter machine, all asking for money,” she said this week. “I was very uncomfortable, so I went to Howard Beach to do what I had to do.” We know that the law says the street’s residents have the Constitutional right to panhandle, but something must be done to take the vital shopping street back from the denizens of the adult homes and half-way houses.

During his campaign for Congress, Bob Turner told us that he did not support the radical “Tax Reform Pledge” which protects tax loopholes and tax breaks for millionaires. As soon as he got elected, however, he signed the pledge.

Community Board 14 meetings, which have started at 7:45 p.m. for many years, will now begin at 7:15 p.m. in the hope that meetings will end at a reasonable time.

Halloween Madness, Graybeards style, comes to Rockaway on October 29, when the group hosts a fundraiser at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club (Beach 126 Street and Beach Channel Drive). “Get your costumes out and get your voices ready,” the group says, as it plans for an evening full of Karaoke, food and fun. The doors will open at 8 p.m., and event coordinators warn not to be late or you’ll miss out on some of the fun.

A group of Coney Island activists who do not want to see a concrete boardwalk in their community, are reporting that the trial concrete section put in place last year is literally crumbling away. “There are well over 2,000 cracks in the first two small sections of the boardwalk,” said Todd Dobrin, who runs “Friends of the Boardwalk.” He added that all the concrete sections are turning brown as well. Parks Department has plans to rebuild the Rockaway boardwalk with the same material, and some of the new material is already in place. We have seen few signs of the cracking and discoloration reported by the Coney Island group, however.

The Red Door, the St. John’s thrift store, will close its doors for good at the end of November, officials have told The Wave. “Anyone who knows the Red Door knows that it was much more than a store,” says a longtime St. John’s official. “It was a gathering place, a home away from home and a store that gave many needy Rockaway residents furniture and other goods.” The store, located on Rockaway Beach Boulevard at Beach 101 Street, and long run by Brother Tom Trager as a fundraiser for the boy’s residence is closing due to “escalating operating costs,” the official says.

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