2012-03-23 / Columnists


Brother Tom Trager has returned to the Marianist community at the St. John’s Residence for Boys on Beach 111 Street after being away since October of 2010 due to charges of sexual improprieties which were finally dismissed by Queens DA Richard Brown. He most likely will not be there for long, because the Marianists say they are withdrawing from St. John’s due to “the advanced age level and health conditions” of the brothers in Rockaway and “an effort to consolidate” its houses, by June 30 of this year. Until that time, they say, Brother Tom will “play an active administrative role to assure a smooth transition.” The Little Flower organization will move in to take over some of the administrative functions once done by the brothers, officials say.

The Republicans might be embracing the Senate candidacy of Breezy Point resident Bob Turner but the vital Conservative Party line might well be out of his grasp. Tom Long, the all-powerful state party leader, has announced that his party will back Wendy Long (no relation), a longtime conservative activist and an attorney. Without that line, Turner faces a harder climb against incumbent Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. His run will be made more difficult by his lack of name recognition upstate and the fact that he has a war chest of $72,600 while Gillibrand has $8.1 million. You might say that money should not matter, but look what Bloomberg did in gaining his third term and in burying his opponents in television advertising.

The Far Rockaway Post Office on Mott Avenue is upgrading its handicap access due to a complaint by local resident Neil Dunker. Dunker, who needs a wheelchair to get around, has not been able to access the post office because it is a five-step climb to get in the front door. He complained to NY1 News, which covered his story. He was told that he could go to the back of the building, up the ramp to the loading dock, and somebody would take care of him. When he did that and nobody came, he complained again and was told that there was a long line at the window and nobody could come to him. Now, officials say that they will clear a path for him and set up a system where handicapped clients can call in advance so somebody will be there to meet and service them.

The majority of New Yorkers surveyed in a new poll believe that the NYPD treats Muslims fairly and approve of the way that Commissioner Ray Kelly is doing his job. Nearly 60 percent said that the police have fairly targeted Muslims in the light of the terrorist threat to Manhattan and have acted appropriately in its surveillance of Muslims. A number of local kids contacted The Wave last week to say that they had seen an orange object falling from the sky and are sure that it wasn’t a plane they saw. They described the object as being on fire, with a brown top and it was very high and moving very fast. A parent added that the kids were completely blown away by the sight (as were the parents who witnessed it). The parents say the object was in sight for about 30 seconds. We have checked with the FAA and other sources, but so far nobody admits to knowing about the object.

Local resident and department of sanitation worker Ed “Shevy” Shevlin has been named the Irish Man of the Year by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. If you follow the pages of The Wave, Shevlin should be well-known to you, because he often graces the pages of this paper. He once rode his motorcycle from Rockaway Beach, New York to Rockaway Beach, Oregon to raise money for a charity. Last summer, he was in Europe on a Fulbright Grant, studying Irish Gaelic. You might have seen him marching in the Irish Parade two weeks ago with the Sanitation Department Pipes and Drums.

Get ready for the vote on spending $1 million of City Councilman Eric Ulrich’s money. His participatory budgeting process is coming to an end and voting for the 25 proposals will begin on March 25. The polling places and the dates and times they are open is in the It’s What’s Happening section of this paper. Those seeking to vote will have to provide both proof of identification and residence. A driver’s license or other state ID will do. A database of voters will be maintained so that it becomes impossible to vote twice in two different polling places. The 25 proposals, drawn up by committees of local residents, are available in this week’s paper as well.

“The Forgotten Pioneers – Women of Rockaway Beach,” is the title of a presentation given by local resident Vivian Carter at the Rockaway Seafood restaurant on Beach 129 Street at 7:30 p.m. on March 27.

The move to reinstate the resident rebate on the Cross Bay Bridge has passed another hurdle and is actually part of the state’s executive budget, as promised. Now, when the state passes its budget, the plan will go into effect and we will once again be able to access parts of our community without paying a toll.

Once Coney Island gets its plastic and concrete boardwalk, Rockaway will be next, and that sounds like a good idea.

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