2012-10-26 / Columnists


It was a sad end for a once-proud institution. With no additional bidders, all of the property that was Peninsula Hospital Center and its nursing home were sold by bankruptcy trustee Lori Lapin Jones to nursing home operator Michael Melnicke and two of his partners. The hospital served Rockaway for more than 100 years before it was mismanaged and eventually closed by the state’s Department of Health.

The guilty plea entered by Meeks’ money-man, Edul Ahmad, last week has led to conjecture that federal prosecutors allowed the guilty plea only because Ahmad had agreed to speak on the record about his relationship with Meeks. The House Ethics Committee has already ruled that the “loan” of $40,000 from Ahmad to Meeks was not really a loan because it had no repayment schedule or interest statement attached to the money. Meeks repaid the money and reported it on his financial disclosure forms only after the FBI came around and started asking questions. Insiders say that the feds are waiting until after the November 6 election to indict Meeks. Another Meeks’ money man, Alan Stanford, went to jail recently in connection with a billion dollar Ponzi scam. Residents of Belle Harbor were amazed and angered last week when they found out that an aging biker was selling guns and explosives out of his Beach 128 Street home. Early on the morning of October 16, NYPD detectives and federal cops swooped down on the bay block and closed it off. Armed with a search and arrest warrant, the detectives took Scott Brannigan, 61, out of the house in cuffs and then carried out evidence. Undercover cops had bought lots of guns and explosives from the garage and from a tattoo parlor on Rockaway Beach Boulevard run by Brannigan and his biker gang. A shocking sidebar to the story was the fact that Brannigan’s wife was running a day care center on the first floor of the home while her husband was dealing guns and explosives upstairs and in the garage.

Officials at Arverne by the Sea have said that they are awaiting the judge’s decision on whether or not the Peninsula Preparatory Academy charter school will be closed down before proceeding with the charter school the developer is mandated to build in the development. PPA was ordered closed by the Department of Education last year, but got a restraining order in court to keep it open. It is presently operating at 711 Hartman Lane in Bayswater after losing its lease at the former Stella Maris High School.

Newsweek Magazine, which has been around for 80 years, will stop issuing a print edition in January and will go to a digital platform instead. “We’re transitioning Newsweek, not saying good bye,” the publisher said. Subscribers will be able to access the magazine on computers, tables and smart phones.

The new Y planned for Beach 73 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard will open sometime next summer, developers say. The long-awaited facility will host the largest aquatic center of any Y in New York City, an outdoor multi-purpose playing field and a 6,500 square foot enclosed gymnasium.

The city’s housing authority, under attack for its management of the public housing complexes throughout the city, has come up with a solution. That solution is to pay $200,000 to a public relations firm to come up with a campaign that would make the agency look good without it having to actually do anything about the problems.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder called to insure all of our readers that the resident rebate on the Cross Bay Bridge will remain in place despite the toll raises that were recently announced.

Some Brooklyn politicians are moving to allow motorcycle riders to park free throughout the city, citing the fact that there is no place on a motorcycle windshield to secure a Muni-meter receipt. “The receipt will either blow away or be stolen and the bike rider will get a ticket,” said Peter Vallone. “That is unfair.”

Shed a tear! The Botel that opened with much fanfare two years ago behind a gas station on Beach Channel Drive at Beach 57 Street is closing its gates. The Botel became a hipster haven and drew people from all over the city for a night’s stay on a decaying but well-decorated boat.

It seems that if you’re a businessman, you’re OK with Mayor Michael Bloomberg no matter what you do. On Wednesday of last week, Bloomberg endorsed wealthy Westchester Republican pol, Bob Cohen, for office even though the city has sued Cohen several times for allowing drugs and gambling in his Manhattan buildings. The mayor said that Cohen is “honest and ethical” despite the suits.

The state legislature is mulling the idea of moving the primary elections to June from September next year, just in time for the critical mayoral election. The state’s Board of Elections asked for the primary to be moved to accommodate the federal primary elections, which have already been moved to the earlier date to comply with the need for military absentee ballots.

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