Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004 21:58:21 EST
Subject: column 12 14 04
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="-----------------------------1103079501"
X-Mailer: 9.0 for Windows sub 5035
We wish all our readers, friends, family and constituents a joyous, happy,
healthy and peaceful holiday season. Whether it is Chanukah, Christmas or
Kwanzaa may your wishes, dreams and prayers be fulfilled. May there be peace on
earth and peace in Iraq and all of the Middle East. We must keep all of our
soldiers, men and women, in our prayers for peace and safety. God bless the
soldiers for protecting us and God bless the families for having such courageous
On Thursday December 2, Borough President Helen Marshall was the guest
speaker at the Town Hall meeting of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club.
The audience overflowed out the door. They heard the B.P. tell us of her great
pride in the Borough of Queens. She called Rockaway the Hamptons West.
Helen said that her staff refers to plans for improvements in Queens as the
Marshall Plan.These include an expo center in Willett's Point, a new Shea
Stadium and major residential development in Queens West. She recalled discussing
Rockaway with Audrey Pheffer and Liz Sulik. She said that Liz spoke frankly
of Rockaway as two communities, one poor and minority and one working class to
wealthy and nonminority.
The Borough President believes all of Rockaway is improving. She referred
to new tennis courts, restoration of Jamaica Bay marshes and Health Department
efforts to reduce mosquitoes. Marshall praised the efforts of Dr. Kathleen
Cashin, Superintendent of Region V, to improve local education. She referred to a
new high school for nursing.
After recalling her own experience as head of education committees in the
State Assembly and City Council, she proudly told of her role in obtaining
funds for turning the old Rockaway Courthouse into a branch of the City
University. She even managed to tour the vandalized building. $3 million has been set
aside for construction. Marshall thanked five local CUNY presidents, and local
legislators Audrey Pheffer, Michelle Titus, Malcolm Smith, Joseph Addabbo and
James Sanders for their cooperation.Until the courthouse is ready for
occupancy, students will use the J.H.S. 180 building after 3 P.M. and on weekends.
The B.P. welcomed the development of market rate housing in
Arverne-by-the-Sea and affordable housing in Edgemere. 40 two family houses in Edgemere have
been sold and 112 have been funded. An RFP for the eastern part of the Arverne
area has been issued.
Marshall was challenged on some issues. When she said that Almost
Paradise,the diving center and restaurant on Beach 9 th Street was saved, local
residents pointed out that the owner had relocated and the facility was closed this
past year. When I pointed out that some ferry owners were ready to begin
service from Rockaway to Manhattan, the B.P. said that Deputy Mayor Doctoroff said
there would be no money for ferry subsidies.
Helen recounted her efforts to see that new busses were provided for the
lines serving southern Queens. She does not believe we can survive with the old
busses. Helen has asked the M.T.A.to release 100 busses now.
John Fazio, a Howard Beach civic leader, who is a member of Community Board
10, described the benefits of reopening the old Rockaway Beach line of the
LIRR. He asked for the Borough President's support, but she only said that she
was looking into it. The Borough President's staff has been unable to obtain a
copy of the MTA study on a one seat ride from southern Queens to Manhattan
which was done at the request of former Borough President Claire Shulman.
Marshall did offer support to homeowners who said that their neighborhood
was being overwhelmed by out of scale construction. The Seagirt Beach community
of small homes near the Atlantic Beach bridge said that their quiet community
was being destroyed. The B.P. said that she could support a moratorium on
construction in the area.
As District Leader my hair stood up when the Borough President discussed
the Rockaway Task Force. During her election campaign three years ago, Helen
addressed our Democratic club and announced formation of a Rockaway Task Force
that would discuss and decide policy for the Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy
Point communities. She also mentioned that she would be so happy to have me on
it (another free job).
Here we are three years later and we questioned her about the Task Force
that must be Rockaway's biggest secret. She immediately got defensive and
grabbed my wrist and said that we have a Task Force.I asked how many people were on
the Task Force and who they were. She stated that there were 30 members and
that I knew some of them. I asked for a list, which we still have not received.
Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday January 15, 2005. The cost
is $32 with $25 returned and a 100 minute phone card. We leave at 5:30 P.M.
and return at 8 A.M. Bagels and cream cheese courtesy of Beach Bagels are
served. Call 945-1216 for reservations.
On Monday evening we attended the annual meeting of the Dayton Towers
Cooperative. We stopped by as usual to lend our full support to the residents,
Board of Directors and management on any problem regarding quality of life. We
have always made ourselves available to help out.
On Wednesday evening we attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at Channel
View School for Research located at Beach Channel High School. The school was
formerly known as ALPS and was located at JHS 180. It is a fantastic program that
is the brainchild of Patricia J. Tubridy. Through her leadership, committment
and constant lobbying they have succeeded.
Pat and her PTA Board fought diligently for a larger building with a great
staff, security and education on the cutting edge. It is the best of the best.
It will serve students in grades 6-12. Pat lobbied Dr. Kathleen Cashin even
before she was installed as our Regional Superintendent and won her confidence
and support. Dr. Cashin has been a breath of fresh air in this community.
Assistant Principal Joseph Featherson is an outatanding individual, a
dedicated and devoted educator who goes above and beyond as head of the Special
Olympics. He has given endless hours of devotation and committment to those with
special needs. We believe that this dynamic duo in conjunction with the PTA
President Sharon Hall-Frey and her board will make this program one of the best
in Region V.
We were very impressed with the tour of the special wing being used by
Channel View Academy. We went into each and every classroom and saw the students'
research work. We spoke with a number of teachers and saw their devotion and
dedication to the program. We wish to give this program our complete support.
We attended the annual tree lighting on Beach 116 th Street this past
Friday. Unfortunately Mother Nature provided rain. Thanks to the graciousness of
Steve and Kenny Good of Rockaway's own Beach Club, a tent and refreshments were
provided for all who attended. President John LePore of the Chamber of
Commerce which oversees this event was wonderful as wonderful could be. The
Chamber's Director Joan Orme participated.
The St. Francis choir was absolutely beautiful. Yes, even a Jewish man like
me enjoyed and sang all the Christmas carols.We must not forget Noiri Ostroy
Signoretti of Brown's Hardware who provided all the children and parents with
glow sticks. Noiri is a real wonderful person with a heart of gold, a great
mother and community activist. We loved her hat which was a menorah with
candles. We must remember to tank Santa Claus who was Harold Rochelle, one of our
best community activists, a gentleman and scholar who has real love for the
Rockaways. Harold and his lovely wife, Rochelle made it special. If I left anyone
out, I'm sorry.
We wish a speedy recovery to a man who always has the best interests of
Rockaway at heart. Bernie Blum, get well soon.
We are saddened by the death of an outstanding individual, former NYPD
detective John Heslin. John passed away after a long illness.Last year he served
as a Deputy Grand Marshal of the Queens County St. Patrick's Day parade. A
decorated World War II veteran who served in the army and navy, a great community
neighbor, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, he was devoted to many
community causes. We know he earned his wings in God's Kingdom in heaven. My
sympathy to his lovely wife Ann who has devoted so much time at Claddagh Inn
to feed the hungry. My sympathy goes out to you.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of a great community activist Melvina
Lester. Often referred to as Sister by her church peers, Melvina lived in the
Beach 41 Street Houses. She lived, ate and thought Rockaway. Although she was
physically handicapped she attended community meetings all over with her cane.
This unselfish community leader will be missed by all. We know that God must
have blessed her in heaven and cured her of her handicap and made her a special
–by Norman Silverman, recording secretary.