2012-08-31 / Columnists


Two weeks ago, we wrote that Peninsula Preparatory Academy (PPA) was going to open its doors in September “pending a judge’s ruling” as to whether or not the city’s DOE can shut it down for poor performance. We also said that the charter school would be opening at a new site – 710 Hartman Lane in Far Rockaway. The DOE now says that it is not sure if the school will open in September and if it does, it has no idea where it will be located. Turns out that the Challenge Preparatory, another school entirely, already occupies 710 Hartman Lane. We apologize for our error and hope that it did not cause the officials of Challenge Prep any embarrassment or confusion.

According to Huffpost, Rockaway had a “divinely whimsical” sandcastle contest two weeks ago, drawing “hipsters and art-lovers” from “the city – meaning Manhattan, and smart neighborhoods in Brooklyn.” It’s so nice to be noticed, even though a full-page story about the contest in the New York’s Times Art Section on Monday indicated that the people who ran the contest thought that it was a great idea and “were surprised that it had never been done before in Rockaway.” The tenor of the articles in the daily papers and the blogs is that it’s a good thing that the hipsters found us and brought us food and events, or else we Rockaway residents would not know what to do with ourselves during the summer months. There was another event that day and 20 locals paddled from Beach 108 Street to Breezy Point with a stop at Tribute Park for a memorial service for the heroes who died in the terrorist attack and in American Airlines Flight 587. That event got no notice from the daily press. Probably not trendy enough and not a sufficient number of hipsters involved.

The primary elections for state legislative seats are a week from next Wednesday. The election was moved from Tuesday, September 11, the traditional voting day, because that day is now a holiday, “Patriot’s Day,” in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on that day in 2001.

The battle over the proposed transient hotel in Edgemere goes on. Seems that the land that the developer wants to use is in the Edgemere Urban Renewal Area and belongs to the city’s Department of Housing Development and Preservation (HPD). James Sanders and other local politicians are trying to get the HPD to refrain from allowing the hotel on that site.

It may soon be harder to find a bathroom in public accommodations such as restaurants. New rules have been promulgated by the city and they say that small restaurants and coffee shops with occupancy of 30 patrons or less will now have to provide only one bathroom. Those with occupancy of 20 patrons or less do not have to provide a bathroom at all. Of course, the new rules only pertain to new construction. Those businesses that have been open prior to August 8 can still operate under the old rules, which depend as much on the size of the building and where it is as it does on the number of patrons.

Tonight, Friday, August 31, at 6 p.m. Rockaway historian Bernie Feuer will show a video that he produced to honor our military and our flag. The presentation will be made at the Seaside Branch of the Queens Borough Library, Beach 117 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

Mark your calendars for September 9 and the annual Richie Allen Memorial Surf Classic. The event, honoring the life of Allen, a surfer, lifeguard and firefighter who died on September 11, 2001 in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, will begin with registration at 8 a.m. The contests, which include events for younger surfers, will begin at 9 a.m. Events include surfing, boogie-boarding, sups and swimming. There will also be a traditional “paddle out” in memory of Allen later in the day. Whether you surf or not, it’s an event to witness. The number of city teachers who were granted tenure stayed low for the second year in a row after the standards were changed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his hand-picked chancellor Dennis Walcott. Before the change, nearly all of the teachers received their tenure with little vetting. Now, however, tenure is tied somewhat to student test scores and just 55 percent of those teachers who were up for tenure last school year were granted the lifetime achievement. Roughly the same percentage, about 58 percent, gained tenure in the 2010-2011 school year.

The Queens Library has gone mobile. Go to the website, www.queenslibrary.com, and you will have access to the digital, downloadable and hardcopy collections as well as the ability to ask librarians for help.

There have been more than a dozen shooting incidents in Rockaway since the summer began and our local politicians are just starting to realize that there’s a problem. The proposals to end the violence range from prayer to allowing church leaders to collect information and then decide whether or not to turn that information over to the police; everything but stricter enforcement

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