2012-06-22 / Columnists


Dorothy Lavander of Hammels Child Care Center called to let us know that we had neglected to mention her facility in our recent June 1 article ‘Sanders and Day Cares Rally Parents To Save Centers.’ Apologies go out to Lavander and the center’s youngsters and parents for the error. Hammels, one of six day care centers in Rockaway slated for closure, will lose 55 slots if the mayor’s cuts go into effect and Lavander urged parents to get involved in the fight to save the center.

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows that New York City voters oppose Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sodas and other sugary drinks by a margin of 51 to 48 percent. Most of those who oppose the ban said that it would not do anything to cut down on obesity and that adults should have the right to make that decision for themselves and their children.

We understand that our infrastructure needs lots of work and we appreciate the fact that we have been waiting a decade for that work to begin, but we still wonder why it has to be done on all the major east-west roadways in the west end at the same time. One day this week, for example, eastbound traffic was pushed north off Rockaway Beach Boulevard at Beach 92 Street because of sewer construction. Since the Rockaway Freeway was under construction, and the roadway was closed, traffic had to continue on to Beach Channel Drive. New sewers were being put under that roadway as well, and it took the motorist a good 15 minutes to go east to Beach 87 Street, where a turn could be made to go back to Rockaway Beach Boulevard. In that area, The entire peninsula has three major east-west routes, and three of them were closed or clogged due to construction. That’s not the way that business has to be done.

Last week was the first Wave edition since early last summer that did not feature a story about the Peninsula Hospital Center. The problem is that only one person has the information and she is not talking. Lori Lapin Jones owes no allegiance to Rockaway. Her only allegiance is to the creditors of the hospital, but she could still be more forthcoming on the future of the shuttered facility and what it will become.

Police acted quickly after a rape on Beach 91 Street early on the morning of June 10. As documented in the front page of last week’s edition, the woman was first assaulted and her underpants were torn. Then, she was allowed to walk into a store, where she asked for help, but told neither the countermen nor the other customers what had happened to her. Then, she went across the street to another store, where she was told that there was no working telephone. When she walked out of that store, the man, later identified as Samuel Doctor, grabbed her again, pushed her up against a parked car, and raped her. After it was over, he walked away, his photo caught in a surveillance camera on a Rockaway Beach Boulevard storefront. She went to a cab stand and said she was beaten up, but still refused to go to the precinct to report the incident, police say. From evidence left at the scene of the rape and tips from the community, detectives quickly corralled Doctor.

Residents of Rockaway and Broad Channel who use the Cross Bay Bridge will be happy to learn that the resident rebate started anew last Friday. Sometime in July, all of the tolls those residents paid between April 1 and June 15 will be rebated to the motorist’s EZPass account.

Congressman Bob Turner, who is now running for the Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand, held a press conference on June 11 to announce that he had proposed a bill that would rename the Wildlife Sanctuary in the memory of Senator James Buckley, who was the Senator from New York when the enabling legislation for the federal park was passed. Buckley did a lot of things in his life, but he was never known as an environmentalist, and now many of the local environmentalists are pushing back against Turner’s bill.

The first drowning of the summer took place on June 12, and once again the victim was a non-swimmer visitor to Rockaway who was swimming on a beach not protected by lifeguards and who ignored warnings from locals that the tides are dangerous in that part of the ocean. Floyd Smith, an east end activist who has often argued for stronger warnings for the beaches in and near the East Rockaway Inlet now says that he is going to fight to have those beaches closed completely.

A number of City Council members have proposed a law that would make it illegal for any adult who owns, rents or otherwise controls a residence to knowingly allow the consumption of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21. If passed, the new law would be a Class A Felony, punishable by a year in jail and a find of $1,000, or both.

When Samuel Doctor was busted for rape last week, court papers gave his address and we dutifully put that address into the story. The owners of the home, however, say they have been stigmatized by the story and want everybody to know that Doctor was not even a legal resident at that address, that he lived with his girlfriend and her young son in a back apartment.

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