2012-01-06 / Columnists


There seems to be a new plan for redeveloping the decaying, unused courthouse on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 92 Street. The plan would turn the Rockaway landmark into a medical building that would include a radiology/ MRI group, an eye doctor performing LASIK and several cosmetic surgeons. “The turmoil surrounding Peninsula Hospital Center has created a unique opportunity to obtain a Certificate of Need from the state Department of Health. “We have a once-in-ageneration opportunity to remove a source of urban blight and create a new economic engine for the community,” said Uri Kaufman, one of the principals in the redevelopment plan. He had tried to take over the building a few years ago, but those plans for a day care center and offices fell through.

Hurricane Irene wiped out some of the central dunes from the beachfront in Belle Harbor and Neponsit. Homeowners say that were the dunes were washed away by Irene, the sand has been blowing without stop onto the streets on the ocean blocks. Those homeowners want the dunes restored so that eroding sand stops ending up in their driveways and garages.

The registration process for the Rockaway Little League 2012 baseball and softball season is now open. The season will start March 31 and run through June. Registration fees for 2012 are the same as last year – $150 for one child, $250 for two children and $350 for three or more children. Rockaway Little League is open for children born between 1997 (boys) or 1998 (girls) and 2008. Register before February 15 to avoid late fees. You may register online with your credit card at www.rockawaylittleleagueny.co m, and click the link for online registration. Dates for registering in person will be set as the group moves into the New Year.

There is a group of parents, staff and alumni forming to keep PS 215, on Briar Place in Far Rockaway, open. The Department of Education has announced that the school will be phased out and closed down, to be replaced by one or more new, smaller schools. There will be a meeting at the school at 6 p.m. on January 20, and the organizers are hoping that there will be a large turnout of those who want to keep the school open. They have high hopes that they can convince the Educational Priorities Panel to keep it open, but so many others, including those at Far Rockaway High School, Beach Channel High School and PS 225 in Rockaway Park, have failed in similar missions.

Actors Thomas Horn, Sandra Bullock and director Stephen Daldry were in Rockaway for several weeks last summer filming the new movie, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Recently, with the opening of the movie, the Daily News asked the three what they thought about shooting in New York City. Both Horn and Daldry had something to say about Rockaway. “I knew the city quite well, but making the film became another journey around the five boroughs,” Daldry said. “I didn’t know the Rockaways though, and since we’ve filmed there, I keep going back. I think the beaches and the people in the community are fantastic, it’s so welcoming.” Horn said, “I thought the Rockaways were quirky and interesting. There’s a neighborhood for everyone, a neighborhood of every type and I really love that.”

Congratulations to our former Congressman Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, on the birth of their first child, a boy named Jordan Zane Weiner, who checked in at seven pounds, ten days before New Year’s. We wish them luck and hope that Weiner still wants to run for Mayor of New York City.

The state plans to convert the city’s non-profit health insurer into a forprofit entity, a move that could bring in up to $1 billion in revenue for the state. The only problem with the plan is that it would probably cost the city $300 million and city workers, both retired and current, in the vicinity of tens of millions in health care costs. Mayor Michael Bloomberg opposes the plan, which is being pushed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The mayor has promised to pull the city’s health care plan out of the hands of Emblem Health should the state privatize it. Without city workers, Emblem is worthless, the mayor argues. “We are far and away their largest customer, and the company would be worth far less without us,” the mayor told reporters. “Nobody is going to buy Emblem without us.”

By age 23, almost a third of Americans have been arrested for a crime, according to a new study that researchers say is a measure of growing exposure to the criminal justice system in everyday life. The study found that 30.2 percent of the 23-year-olds who participated reported having been arrested for an offense other than a minor traffic violation.

A recent poll found that nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers would like to see the city approve casino gambling and table games at the present Racinos, such as the one at Aqueduct Racetrack. Governor Andrew Cuomo said earlier last month that he is taking a long, favorable look at the plan, but Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has said that he’s not so sure that the gambling plan would be well received by his constituents. The Quinnipiac Poll showed strength in all parts of the state, with New York City residents polling 65 percent for the plan.

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