High Tide

High Tide
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Merry Christmas! And here’s a gift: days are getting longer now. It’s officially winter but after the darkest day of the year, December 21, we’re getting about a minute a day more sunlight.

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With the omicron variant wreaking havoc here there and everywhere, we would like to see and hear more than just the number of cases. It’s an incomplete picture without the number of hospitalizations and deaths reported as well. Meanwhile, testing is proving a challenge and some urgent care places have cut hours because of staffing issues and in-home test kits quickly sell out. Check www1.nyc.gov/site/coronavirus/get-tested/covid-19-testing.page  for updates from the City.

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The Rockaway Times position is that the peninsula should be one Congressional District.

One redistricting plan currently has the peninsula being divided at Beach 130th Street. Most of that district would be in Brooklyn. An independent, bipartisan commission, composed of ten members, was tasked with reaching a consensus on redistricting maps and then submitting those maps to the New York State Legislature. So far, the New York Independent Redistricting Commission cannot reach a consensus (dems to the left; repubs to the right). The deadline for submitting final maps is the first week of January. A planned public meeting for the final vote is set for Monday, January 3. Before that happens, you can weigh in and give your opinion or even submit your own map. Go to nyirc.gov/home and click on the “participate” tab near the top of the page. If you really want to get in the weeds of the process, be forewarned.  The site is not particularly easy to navigate. A tip for those who visit the site: when you view “draft plans” you can click on either “letters” or “names” to get a view of what democrats and republicans have drafted (democrats are “letters”; republicans are “names”). Once you click, you must download and then open a zip file to see the various maps across the state. For your convenience, we are providing the proposed maps of congressional districts. See Page 13.

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On-again off-again guest columnist, John Sica, says he’s retiring, this time for real. Sounds like he’ll have more time to write for us. Check out his most recent contribution, on Page 49, in this week's Rockaway Times, especially if you want to hear some Kevin Costner and Julianne Moore stories.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio is the gift that keeps on giving. Speed cameras seem to be going up every day. They’re really too numerous to report. On Shore Front Parkway, one is placed a few yards from a speed bump. Maybe when he runs for governor, he’ll propose speed bumps on the Thruway. When he’s no longer being driven around town by a police detail, who’ve been known to speed and go through red lights, we wonder how much he’ll enjoy getting around.

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The City announced that a Health and Fitness Text Amendment has removed the need for special approval from the City’s Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) that had been required to open a gym, spa, or licensed massage therapy studio. Since the 1970s, in an attempt to curb houses of ill repute (brothels), all businesses that could be categorized as a “physical culture establishment” had to get special permits and community approval, which could take months. That’s no longer the case. That’s also good news for incoming gym Orangetheory, expected to open some time in the new year. 

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