2012-04-20 / Columnists


Now that Peninsula Hospital Center is closed, the recriminations can start. There are clearly some who deserve the community’s ire. They range from the management of the hospital under both MediSys and Revival, as well as our local politicians, who can’t seem to get out of their own way when the community needs them most. The real villain, however, is the state’s Department of Health, which closed the hospital for good without even bothering to inspect the vital clinical laboratory, instead relying on flawed paperwork sent in by an incompetent management team. Now, we are without a second hospital on the peninsula and St. John’s Episcopal is already feeling the strain. Wait until the summer, when beachgoers, surfers and hipsters crowd the peninsula. Rockaway is clearly the winner in the ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out Nicholas Garaufis’ ruling that said the adult homes in the community would have to be stripped of its residents, who would then become scattered in apartments and homes throughout the community. Since the great majority – some insiders say as many as 90 percent – of the residents are mentally ill, such a move might do well for the Constitutional rights of the residents, but it would wreak havoc and destabilize entire neighborhoods. Garaufis is also involved with the controversy over the fire department’s hiring policies and there are many who believe that his intended remedies are draconian and wish that his decision in that case would be overturned as well.

If you are a runner, remember to mark your calendar for Sunday, April 29, when the annual Sweet- ’N Low Rockaway Rotary Run will step off from Beach 116 Street and the boardwalk – rain or shine. The race will begin at 10 a.m., but registration will begin two hours earlier. There will be an after-party at the Irish Circle once again, where the race trophies will be distributed.

City Councilman James Sanders Jr. is staging a “Roc Your Hood March” on April 21. He says the march against violence is to “call for justice for Trayvon, Sean Bell, Stack Bundles and all the other victims of senseless shootings that have taken place throughout America in the past several years.” The march will begin at the Redfern Houses on Beach Channel Drive at 10 a.m. and eventually wend its way to Beach 84 Street and the Hammel Houses. We wonder where Sanders has been the last ten years, when dozens of black youth have been killed in Rockaway by other black youth. We guess those black on black killings did not deserve Sanders’ kind of justice. Those of you who have lots of junk – we mean priceless family heirlooms – to sell should link up with the West End Temple’s neighborhood garage sale, which will be held at the temple on April 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those who want to reserve a table should call 718-634-0301.

A rededication of the plaque honoring longtime resident and coach, Mal Bodenlos, is being planned by the family for May 22 at noon at the new Rockaway East Park on Seagirt Boulevard and Beach 11 Street. The Rockaway generation from the ’50s will remember Bodenlos, who coached and mentored generations of young men.

Friends and relatives of Teagan Doria, who was born in California on March 19, will host a benefit for the little girl at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Beach 90 Street at 7 p.m. on April 21. Teagan, the daughter of NYPD officer Mike Doria and his wife, Colleen, has a delicate heart problem and a doctor at the California hospital is the only one who has experience in that kind of operation. It is a very expensive proposition, Doria says, and he is counting on the community for help. After ten years under Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s governance, City public school students know little about history or geography. That’s because those two courses were shunted aside (along with science and foreign language) to make space for more math, reading and test prep lessons. This year, however, high school students have to pass the Global History and Geography Regents in order to graduate, a test that fewer than 6 in 10 passed last year. Last year, students only had to pass three of the five required tests to graduate. This year, they have to pass all five, and many educators are worried that the great majority of students do not have the skills or information to pass the test through no fault of their own. We tried to find a local high school teacher with whom to speak, but there are really no longer any local comprehensive high schools, so to speak.

Meteorologists for Accuweather.com say that March was more than just a month of scattered warmth – it shattered records across the country, becoming the only month ever recorded, with the exception of January 2006, that has surpassed its previous record by a large margin. The average temperature across the United States last month was 8.6 degrees above the 20th century average. The northeast, including New York, had its warmest March in 118 years.

It is no secret that Rockaway has more senior citizens living on the peninsula than any other community in Queens. Nevertheless, the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation is planning activities all over the borough specifically for seniors, but none of them is in Rockaway.

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