2012-09-14 / Columnists

Simon Says . . .

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

Good news. On Wednesday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. Local 79 of the Construction and General Building Laborers Apprentice Program will open their recruiting at the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. Applicants must be at least 18-years-of-age and have a high school diploma or a GED.

You must be capable of performing the work. There will be a drug test at your expense once you are chosen. Two hundred applicants will be chosen in the next 9 to 24 months. The Good Government Democratic Club is located at 114-20 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. A $1.00 donation will be requested at the door. Assembly District Leader Lew M. Simon is sponsoring the meeting with the Democratic Club. Simon urges all qualified applicants to come to the meeting.

In our last column we wrote about a number of programs that have come into the Rockaway community. On Thursday, September 6 we attended a meeting set up by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder with the new Martin De Porres High School which is moving into the old Stella Maris building at 140 Beach 112 Street. Among the community leaders attending the meeting were 100 Precinct Community Council President Danny Ruscillo, Rockaway Civic President Noreen Ellis, Belle Harbor Property Owners President Hank Iori, District Manager Jon Gaska and Chair Dolores Orr of Community Board 14.

The meeting was opened by Mr. Ed Dana who is Director of Related Services of Martin De Porres and on teleconferencing Michael Moriarty and Principal

Jo’Anne Brancato, who is a local resident. The school will have 270 students from 8:15 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. except Wednesday when school will end at 2:05 p.m. The teacher ratio will be 12 to 1 to 1.5. There will be 23 classes with 12 students each. Each class has 1 to 1.5 assistants. There will be 118 staff members with one psychologist and two guidance counselors. It is a co-ed school with a 12-month program from September 10 to June 26 and reopens on the Monday after July 4. It is an 853C school. Martin De Porres has a 5-year lease on the property. Originally in Brooklyn, they moved to Rosedale in 2008. They signed the lease for Stella Maris one week ago. Our information is that they had no problems at their Rosedale location. The students will be bused in from Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island by private school buses. The buses will be parked in the Beach 111 Street parking lot. Eleven to 20 children will ride the A train. They will be escorted by staff members to the station platform at Beach 105 Street.

We asked whether the boys and girls would be unsupervised while walking outside during lunch. We were assured that they will not be allowed out for lunch. The only time they would have interaction with the community would be when participating in community projects with supervision on hand. Forty students are expected to work in businesses such as Home Depot. Many of the 270 adolescents are on medication. We are all pretty pleased with the commitment of the staff and principal to make sure that the school becomes community friendly. In the next Five years there will be no growth in the number of students. They are at full capacity. Yours truly suggested formation of a community advisory board which they agreed to set in place.

Earlier on Thursday there was a meeting held at St. John’s Boys Home which I was not invited to. Agency for Children’s Services was in attendance. According to information given me by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder they will have 12 boys 12-17 in non-secured detention on the 3rd floor. The average stay is seven months. The boys may have been involved in low level criminal activity such as graffiti, turnstile jumping or possession of marijuana. They will not leave the facility unsupervised. They will have 3 to 6 staff during the day and 2 overnight. There will be interior and exterior cameras.

We are putting a clear message out to the special program at St. John’s Boys Home. We are watching you closely and carefully. In the summer of 1997 we protested every Saturday until we got the number of residents in St. John’s cut in half and got rid of a number of major problems. We had many community meetings with St. John’s and stayed on top of the issue. We will not tolerate any more dumping in the Rockaway community.

As you are all aware my bullhorn is ready to go at the drop of a moment. Rockaway his tired of being the dumping ground for the city and state of NY for the last 50 years.

Thank God that Saturday’s tornado didn’t cause any major damage in Breezy Point or other parts of our community. There was only minor damage and thank God that no one was hurt.

On Wednesday evening I attended a meeting at the Knights of Columbus for a new community organization which may be for the Rockaway Beach community or another All Rockaway Planning Council. My dear friend Vincent Castellano was the chair. The All Rockaway Planning Council was a group which brought together representatives from civic groups and communities throughout the peninsula and Broad Channel to work on minor and major problems from the whole area. We fought the continued dumping of all sorts of urban problems, including garbage, in our community. When I got up to speak, I was treated very rudely by Mr. Castellano. Eighteen of the 75 people attending were candidates for a nine-member exploratory committee to propose the goals of the group. The nine people elected to this committee were John Cori, Megan Duchon, Joe Hartigan, Bridget Klapinski, Alex Karinsky. Andy McCracken, Karen Sloan Payne, Milan Taylor and Chun Tom. We wish them great success and look forward to working together with them.

Like every family and business, the Good Government Regular Democratic Club needs money to keep going. We have to pay rent, phone and utility bills. Accessible office space in our community is not cheap. We do not receive support from the city, state or federal government. Our funds come from our members who pay dues or make contributions to keep our office open. We are in a difficult time financially at this time. Your dues of $25 or a contribution sent to the GGDRC at 114-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd. Rockaway Park NY 11694 will help us to continue to serve you and all in the community who need our help. Our accessible, air conditioned office is available for your community, civic, educational or religious group at various times during the week. We invite professionals like accountants, lawyers, tax preparers or adult educators to call at 718-945-1216 to discuss how you could use our office.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of a great friend and outstanding person, Kathleen Lovoi, wife of Breezy Point and Roxbury icon Al Lovoi. Kathleen spent many hours on Facebook and on the phone reaching out to all of our community to save Peninsula Hospital. She was always available to help all of those in need.

Each and every day we spoke on Facebook or the phone to discuss the dilemma of our community. She was a class act, brilliant, smart and witty. God must have needed a loving, caring angel in his kingdom. My deepest sympathy to the family.

We always love to support one of our own, who is a friend.

Michael Davila of Nissan of Queens, 85-24 Rockaway Boulevard, sells new and used Nissans. His phone is 718- 835-5200 or 917-929-9720.

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