2012-12-07 / Columnists

Beachcomber

Mayor Michael Bloomberg came to The Wave offices in Rockaway last week to talk about the peninsula and the recovery of the newspaper, which published a free issue last Friday – the first since Sandy inundated our Beach 88 Street office. During the interview, Bloomberg mentioned that concrete boardwalks would become the norm for not only Rockaway but the rest of the city as well. The story was picked up by the daily papers and became quite a sensation, quoting The Wave for the genesis of the story. In addition, both newspaper and television outlets rushed to cover the story of The Wave’s resurrection. On Friday night, Wave editor Howard Schwach was invited to take part in NY1’s prestigious “Reporter’s Roundtable,” a first for a community newspaper. More than 500 residents gathered on Beach 86 Street and the beachfront on Sunday afternoon, eschewing the Jets game for a “Demand the Sand” rally. Numerous local civic leaders and politicians spoke at the rally, calling for the completion of a federal study of beach erosion that was originally funded by Congressman Anthony Weiner and for jeties to be placed along the Rockaway beachfront. Congressman Gregory Meeks, who is probably the only voice that matters in getting funds for Rockaway, said that he was working with Representative

Michael Grimm, a Republican from Staten Island, to introduce a bill that would add disaster funds for the peninsula in any measure that addressed the fiscal cliff that is coming up at the end of the year.

When Mayor Bloomberg was at The Wave last week, he said that there was virtually no looting in New York City as a result of Hurricane Sandy and that most of the arrests for looting were voided by district attorneys in some of the boroughs. Kevin Ryan, the chief spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown told us this week that the mayor was disingenuous, at least when it comes to Queens. Twelve looters have already been indicted and eight other cases are pending. Only three looking cases were kicked by the grand jury.

The Gift is Love sent a long Email to all of its customers talking about the damage that was done to the shop by Sandy and urging all Rockaway residents to hang tough and come back to the peninsula. “To my dearest and most loyal customers, in the aftermath of Sandy it is hard to think back to what normal was. For such a small community we sure have endured a lot – and yet here we are again. I wanted to send out this email to let you know that you have been in our prayers and I miss seeing all the neighborhood faces. I hope that you are making out OK and that with each new day things are a little better,” the owner wrote. The shop hopes to be open before Christmas.

Whalemina has become an icon of Rockaway’s loss, at least in the mainstream media. Daily News reporter Lisa Colangelo wrote a piece in the December 2 paper that called the bejeweled whale statue “Rockaway’s mascot.” Some locals want to recreate the whale and one non-profit leader said that he is launching a fundraiser for a new Whalemina on Beach 94 Street. Eddy Pastore, one of the leaders of Friends of Rockaway Beach said that the statue “guarded out shorefront,” but our shorefront disappeared in the storm and Whalemina returned to the sea, leaving only her tail and some rhinestones behind.

CBS TV is producing a new reality baking show and is looking for “passionate, amateur skilled bakers to be on the show. A casting producer will be in New York City later this month. Anybody interested in taking a shot at immortality can contact Vanessa Bond at 323-790-8326.

The Republican Party is stalling in an attempt to keep the courts from approving the ballots of two upstate Democrats who seem to have won their elections but have not yet been certified. There are now 30 Republicans in the State Senate and Democratic Senator Simcha Felder of Brooklyn says he will caucus with the Republicans, giving them the majority of the 63-seat legislative body, at least until the two Democrats are certified. Because a majority of those voting can choose the new Majority leader and the election will be held soon, the Republicans believe that with the assistance of Felder and the court, they can elect a Republican to the seat.

One of the schools constantly mentioned by Mayor Bloomberg and his DOE minions is the It Takes A Village Academy in Brooklyn. The Flatbush high school graduated 86 percent of its students last year and was one of the top schools in the city on the recent high school report cards with a 98.7 rating. Now, the state says that only 11.8 percent of the graduates from that school are ready for college work or for work situations in the real world. It’s easy to graduate large numbers if you are not concerned with standards and that is what is happening in New York City in the quest to burnish the mayor’s legacy.

Congress is taking a look at doing away with the dollar bill and replacing it with a coin instead. According to the fiscal experts, that would save $4.4 billion over the next 30 years.

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