2011-11-25 / Columnists


If you favor Facebook, you might have seen the story about a young man in Rockaway Park who is stabbing women with needles filled with heroin. Good story, and it has been forwarded on to hundreds of Facebook pages. The problem is, like many Internet stories, that story is not true. Police sources say that there have been no reports made to them of any incident even vaguely similar to the Facebook story.

The turnout at the November 12 ceremony honoring those who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 was the largest in the past several years, perhaps because it was the tenth anniversary of the tragic crash or perhaps because the weather cooperated for the first time in the last few years. Many of the out-of-town family members with whom we remain in contact said that they could not come this year, and would probably not come in future years, preferring to commemorate that tragic day in more personal ways.

The fire department says that taking two ambulances from the Beach 64 Street firehouse will have no impact on response time, but many locals believe otherwise and worry that the peninsula will be left with inadequate coverage, especially on the midnight tour. Fire officials say that the two ambulances were placed in Rockaway because of the situation at Peninsula Hospital Center and its impending closure. Now that the hospital is alive and well, they say, there is no longer the need for the additional ambulances.

The Human Rights Project rates politicians each year based on their voting record on “progressive legislation.” Councilman James Sanders Jr. received an overall grade of B-, with his votes on voting rights, disability rights and housing rights getting much lower grades. In fact, he got an F for voting rights legislation. Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich, as you can imagine, got a lower grade, C-, with lower grades for his votes on criminal justice issues, disability rights and voting rights.

As the Supreme Court prepares to review President Obama’s healthcare reforms, a recent poll shows that Americans are roughly split on the issue, with 47 percent in favor of repeal and 42 percent opposed to repeal. With a plus or minus four percent error margin, it is clear that there is no clear consensus. Eleven percent had no opinion one way or the other.

The rumors were rampant last week that the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Brooklyn had turned down the petition from the new owners of the Peninsula Hospital Center, Revival Home Health Care. A quick check, however, revealed that the case is still wending its way through the court process and that the hospital is not in danger of closing in the near future. When Breezy Point resident Bob Turner was sworn in as our new Representative at a Forest Hills school last week, the ceremony did not go smoothly. An “Occupy Wall Street” heckler appeared and tried to stall the ceremony. A retired police officer quickly dragged the heckler from the room, getting cheers from the Republicans assembled for the ceremony.

New York City spent $110 for each person who voted in the November 8 election. Out of 4.2 million registered voters, only 150,000 showed up to vote in one of the least interesting elections in modern memory. While the statistics for Rockaway are not yet available, it is clear that few people showed up to vote for judicial candidates and a District Attorney who was running unopposed and endorsed by all the major parties. Had Governor Andrew Cuomo allowed the electorate to vote in the general election for candidates for the local Assembly and Congressional seats, as he should have done, the turnout, at least locally, would have been much higher.

The American Legion has once again delivered food to local churches to insure that those in financial straits that prevent them from having a holiday meal at Thanksgiving, would be taken care of. Post Commander Vincent Calimano and Vice Commander Jimmy Hurley delivered 75 cases of food to St. Rose of Lima, St. Camillus and St. Francis de Sales Churches on November 7.

Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis has appointed Mark Cohen, a litigator with a Manhattan law firm, as the person to monitor the fire department’s hiring for the next decade or so. Garaufis said that Cohen was the right person to do the job because neither the fire department nor the Vulcan Society, the association of black firefighters that brought the federal suit against the city, objected to Cohen. The judge ruled previously that the city discriminated against minority candidates for firefighter.

In the first ten days that it was open, the new gambling Racino at Aqueduct Racetrack took in more than $14 million in revenue, far exceeding even the brightest predictions. Of that amount, 44 percent goes to education in the state, 31 percent goes to Resorts World New York, the Racino operator, and the other 25 percent is distributed to the New York Racing Association and the vendors at the Racino.

When famed folk singer Joan Baez serenaded the protestors at Occupy Wall Street two weeks ago, only one percent of them had any idea of who she was. That is not a surprise, given that most of them had not been born yet when she became famous during the Vietnam War.

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