2001-12-01 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

Thanksgiving: A Time To Reflect
By Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

Thanksgiving: A Time To Reflect

The Thanksgiving Holiday this year gave us an opportunity to reflect on our values and priorities. We realize the importance of being with our family and friends.

I am thankful to have known Father Francis McGee who has long been a fixture at St. Rose of Lima Parish for over 35 years. It is with regret that I heard that he had passed away. He was a natural for an assignment in the Rockaways. He loved fishing. His nephews told me at the wake that they were two and three years old when he was transferred to Rockaway. They have many wonderful childhood memories spent with Father McGee as he introduced them to surf casting. Since they were so young (initially) he would never let them try it but he shared his love and enthusiasm for the sport with them.

Chocolate was a favorite of his. He would always have a few Hershey’s in his pocket. One of the floral arrangements at the wake was shaped like a Hershey’s kiss. Father McGee was an avid reader and shared an Irish love of music of many different types. He enjoyed serving in the Rockaways. He leaves a wonderful legacy of a truly dedicated priest who touched our lives in many significant ways.  

In order to bring our community up to date, Congressman Anthony Weiner sponsored an informational forum at PS 114 on Monday evening November 19th.

Congressman Weiner is introducing legislation that would require the FAA and air traffic controllers to assign outgoing JFK flights a route that follows a path along the Jamaica Bay to the Atlantic Ocean rather than over the Rockaway peninsula and would impose fines as much as $10,000 per incident on airlines that fail to follow assigned water routes.

As a community activist I have been a vocal opponent of airport traffic over our area, the Doppler radar and the Concord flights.  I have testified at public hearings and participated in numerous rallies opposed to airline abuse of the Rockaway residents.

Given the severity of the losses to the Rockaway community it is imperative that the airlines be forced to
protect our lives, property and quality of life. They routinely violate the airspace over our houses thereby endangering the lives of our residents. Since the airplane crash on November 12th, my mother, Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey, a member of the NY State Board of Regents, has been working with NYS Education Commissioner Richard Mills, Chancellor Harold Levy, Superintendent Matt Bromme and with the parents of children at P. S. 114 to ensure that our children are receiving the appropriate educational services needed to properly prepare them to move ahead in these trying times.

Peninsula Hospital Advisory Council, co-chaired by Anne Levine, held a
very informative meeting in the Meditation Room in the Rehabilitation Center.

Robert Levine, the president of Peninsula Hospital, gave a very interesting presentation. Among many other advancements, Peninsula Hospital will be getting a new state of the art MRI. He explained the many advantages of this highly technical machine to the health and welfare of the residents of the Rockaways.  The new Director of Nursing spoke to the group.  She has had extensive experience in hospital settings and will bring her educational expertise and professional background to her new position. Everyone wished her well.

Many of those at the meeting took advantage of the opportunity to get their flu shot.

Fun and socialization were the order of the day at the Sea Breeze Seniors Anniversary party at the Beach Club. The food was superb as always at the Beach Club. The music was great. Everyone was on the dance floor or tapping their feet and enjoying a great afternoon.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Cultural Committee had its first fundraiser of the season this past Sunday at the Beach Club. This is the kickoff event for our March 2002 parade. The Beach Club was filled to capacity and everyone enjoyed a wonderful evening. Please join us at our next event, the Hearts and Shamrocks Dance on January 20th at St. Camillus.

On Thursday, December 6th the Regular Democratic Club of the Rockaways will be holding its Holiday party at 104-02 Rockaway Beach Blvd.  Please join us at 8:00 PM and share a wonderful evening with friends and neighbors.


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