2012-09-21 / Editorial/Opinion

Chill Out, Rockaway

During the summer, when we first heard that the Martin de Porres School, a special education facility, had rented the former Stella Maris High School building and would be moving in early in September, we tried to contact the school and the Sister’s of St. Joseph to verify the story. We were still checking it out when we got an email burst from a west end activist that painted the school in the worst terms and posited that it would destroy the Rockaway Beach community. About five minutes after that email was sent to hundreds of people, we began to get telephone calls asking if it were true, if hundreds of at risk, criminal teenagers would be roaming the community, virtually raping and pillaging its residents. It turned out that the school is a normal special education school and that its students would be bused in and out of Rockaway each day. Only a small group would use the subway and those students would be transported to and from the train station by bus. At the same time, the fact that a dozen criminal teens would be placed at St. John’s Residence for Boys left the community angry. We began to get emails based on rumor that barbed wire and guard towers were already being placed on the property to contain the criminals. There are always rumors rampant in Rockaway. In the last few days, we have received a good number of calls and letters from Breezy Point residents decrying the fact that the National Park Service will soon close down its oceanfront beach clubs and sell that land to a developer who will build high-rise luxury condos on the beachfront property. We have checked and found that the NPS has no such plans. Then, there’s the panic over what will happen to the former Wendy’s site now that the restaurant has closed down. Some believe that another bank will soon take that slot and went so far as to put a sign in the window stating, “We don’t need any more banks.” Others think it will become a parking lot. Everybody is upset, but the fact is that even the owner of the property has no idea what it will become. The point is, chill out. Take a deep breath and let The Wave find out the truth. Don’t panic the population with emailed rumors until you have the facts. That will make life more pleasant for all of us.

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