2003-11-28 / Columnists



Things have gotten so bad with information flowing from the Department of Education, that when The Wave called Beach Channel High School for permission to take pictures of its blood drive on Monday, we were told we had to get permission first from the department’s press office. Everything in the schools is such a dark, deep secret these days that not even positive news stories about our schools are getting out.

City Councilman James Sanders, always quick with the quip, gave a good line to reporters on the day that Mayor Mike Bloomberg endorsed his reelection. Speaking of Rockaway, Sanders said, "We’ve been forgotten for so long, that people have forgotten to forget us."

The Independent Bikers of Queens will once again hold its annual Toy Run to the Bernard Fineson Development Center in Howard Beach this year. The run, to be held on December 7, effectively ties up Cross Bay Boulevard at the Belt Parkway for several hours. Rockaway residents should be warned that it will once again be tough to get to the belt from Cross Bay for several hours – from noon to 3 p.m. on that day.

Each police precinct in the city will be collecting warm winter coats through the New York Cares Coat Drive beginning on December 1 and continuing for the entire month. The drive asks for "gently used" coats for both children and adults.

The Reverend Henrietta Fullard, the pastor of the Bethel AME Church in Arverne was recently named as Newsday’s Queens Profile. Congratulations to Fullard, who was recently named as the president of the Southeast Queens Clergy for Community Empowerment, the first woman to hold that post.

The City Council is fighting a middle east war all of its own. When a council resolution to denounce Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed for his anti-Semitic comments was put before the council, ex-Black Panther Charles Baron said, "I will be voting against any pro-Israel resolution in this council until this council has the heart to be fair with the Palestinian cause and come up with a similar resolution for them." Speaker Gifford Miller said that the resolution was not pro-Israel, but anti-bigotry.

A number of Rockaway residents who saw the Concorde sitting on a barge in Jamaica Bay accompanied by a large crane, called The Wave to ask if a plane had crashed into the bay. The floating Concorde was a majestic sight, moving through the bay protected by several police launches.

The Rockaway Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner at Russo’s On The Bay was again as sold-out hit. Awards went to a number of unsung locals who really deserved the recognition, people such as Coach Greg Carter, environmentalist Dan Mundy, community activist Barbara Smith, garden lady Nadia Murphy and the officials of FPL Energy. Usually, some politicians who gives grant money to organizations get all of the recognition at these dinners and this year’s awards were a breath of fresh air in the process.

The Republican deputy minority leader in the State Assembly has introduced a bill that would allow any bar or restaurant that now holds a liquor license to file for an application to allow smoking in their facilities. They would then have to announce the fact that they were a smoking establishment so that people could choose to patronize the restaurant or not.

The Chamber of Commerce and Community Board 14 have issued a statement offering a space in the Tribute Park on Beach 116 Street and Beach Channel Drive in memory of those who died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 587. Whether or not the families of those who died on the plane will accept that off-site tribute is another story. Many of the family members have told The Wave in recent days that they will accept nothing less than a memorial at the site of the crash – Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue.

Community School Board 27 (yes, Veronica, there is still a community school board) will meet at Middle School 180 on Thursday, December 11 at 8 p.m. With all that is going on in terms of school reorganization, this meeting should be a sell-out. School board members tell The Wave that the law requires that they hold public hearings and then vote on any zoning changes, and that Kathleen Cashin’s plan to reorganize Rockaway’s schools, outlined in last week’s paper, is a zoning change. By the way, we hear through the grapevine that some of the bosses at the Department of Education are not too happy with minority dissatisfaction over Cashin’s plan.

There will be a street renaming in memory of Irish activist Jimmy Sullivan at Beach 105 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard on December 6. The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. with City Councilman Joe Addabbo as the master of ceremonies.

The Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center will hold a commemoration of World Aids Day on December 1, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at its facility at 1288 Central Ave.

In response to a recent story in The Wave that denoted some irregularities in the running of the soup kitchen, the Claddagh Inn now has a sign in front of its Beach 73 Street facility saying that it will no longer accept donations of food or clothing and that it is "closed to the public."

Community School Board 27 has a vacancy due to the resignation from the board of Ronni Schwab. Anybody who is interested in filling that vacancy should send a resume to the board’s secretary, Hazel Washington at 82-01 Rockaway Boulevard, Ozone Park, New York 11416. Board members must be registered voters in the district or parents of children in the district schools and may not work for the Department of Education.

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