2012-12-14 / Columnists


The National Park Service has announced that it continues to repair and stabilize a number of its parks in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Those closed areas include the Ryan’s Visitor Center, Breezy Point, Fort Tilden, Jacob Riis Park, Floyd Bennett Field and the Canarsie Pier. They are all currently off limits to visitors and will probably remain so into the New Year, officials say.

With a month gone since the storm, burglaries continue to grow in the 100 Precinct on the west end of Rockaway. In the period between October 25 and November 25 last year, there were five burglaries in the precinct area. This year during the same period, there have been 65, a rise of 1,200 percent. During the week of November 19 to November 25 last year, there were two burglaries. This year, the same time period saw 20, a rise of 900 percent. In the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway, the rise was less dramatic. The monthly number shows that burglaries rose from eight to 57, a rise of 612 percent.

In last week’s edition, we printed the information that the city had provided to us that postal worker Rick Gold 67, died when he stepped on a live wire and was electrocuted. In fact, he drowned in the basement of his home when he was trapped by the rising water. We regret the error and hope that it did not cause anybody embarrassment.

New York’s Congressional delegation announced on Wednesday that they have received $200 million in Sandy recovery money – the first step towards the billions that they seek to complete the state’s recovery. That first money will not be coming to Rockaway. $114 million will be used to renovate the NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan. Another $75 million will go to the NYPD to help it recoup its extra expense in relation to the storm. In addition, the Department of Agriculture has approved $13 million in food aid to storm victims who would normally not be eligible for food assistance.

Due to the storm, the Bayswater Players have rescheduled their production of “The Crucible” for Thursdays, January 3, January 10 and January 17; Saturdays, January 5, January 12 and January 19 and Sundays, January 6, January 13 and January 20. The show will take place at the Bayswater Jewish Center, 2355 Healy Avenue in Bayswater.

The MTA and the Graybeards, the premier fundraiser for the peninsula in the wake of Superstorm Sandy have joined together to merchandise what the Daily News calls “a hip hoodie.” The New York Transit Museum has launched “The Rockaway Collection,” sweatshirts, t-shirts, pins and magnets featuring the temporarily resurrected Rockaway subway shuttle set for the victims of Sandy until the real A Train runs once again. The original H Shuttle ran between 1956 and 1972. It was abandoned in 1972 and renamed the S – for shuttle. All the proceeds go to the Graybeards.

More than 500 residents showed up two weeks ago to “Demand the Sand.” Hosted by the Friends of Rockaway Beach, they demanded that the beach sand be replenished and that jetties be sited along the entire beachfront. The groups says that the beach and boardwalk in the area where the rally was held – Beach 86 Street -- held up well because of the jetty that juts out into the ocean at that point.

Parents at PS 114 are up in arms over what they consider to be the wrongheaded reopening of the Belle Harbor school. At a contentious meeting with school chancellor Dennis Walcott, the parents voiced a vote of no confidence at the chancellor and his staff, many of whom were present at the meeting. The parents want the walls torn down to search for mold and the water tested to make sure it is safe. DOE officials, however, say those moves are both expensive and unnecessary. A DOE functionary tried to keep reporters from the meeting, saying it was private and closed to the press. The DOE official, Thomas Fox, who is the cluster leader for the schools that include PS 114, even went as far as to push a reporter when he refused to leave. Finally, cooler heads prevailed and The Wave was joined by Channel 1 News and Channel 11 at the important meeting. It was clear that the DOE wanted to contain the information and the controversy surrounding the school to the 150 parents who showed up and not allow it to filter into the wider community.

Some call it the “Rockaway Cough,” because a great majority of locals who remained in Rockaway after Sandy or who came back early seem to have it. Medical officials say that it is real and that it comes from the mixture of dust and sand that still permeates Rockaway streets and driveways. Now, however, with the drying out process running its course, mold may soon be a major problem. Experts warn that most homes have wood lathe behind the sheetrock and that the organic wood provides the perfect medium to feed the mold when it is wet and in a dark place.

The Department of Education told The Wave that most Rockaway schools would have electric power and heat before Christmas and that the last several schools would be reopened immediately following the holidays – January 2.

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