2005-08-18 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

Helen Marshall Addresses Chapey
by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

Dr. Geraldine ChapeyDr. Geraldine Chapey Queens Borough President Helen Marshall addressed the Regular Democratic Club. Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, the Democratic District Leader welcomed Helen Marshall.

Helen Marshall is uniquely qualified to be the Borough President. She served for 10 years in the New York State Assembly and for 10 years in the City Council prior to running for election as Borough President. Now going into her 5th year as the Borough President, Helen brings to the position a wealth of knowledge and a breadth of experience as well as her personal energy, dynamism and enthusiasm.

Helen Marshall spoke to a packed audience at the Regular Democratic Club and thanked Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, the Democratic District Leader (me) for inviting her. She noted that my belief in people helping people is truly admirable and inspiring. She also recognized my mother Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey, saying that we are fortunate to have her as the Queens Regent. Helen had high praise for our club members whose presence at the meeting sends a message of community concern and pride and sets a wonderful example of community involvement for others to follow.

Helen Marshall is passionate about education. She served as the chairperson of the higher education committee in the City Council and on the education committee in the New York State Assembly. She noted that education has and continues to be an important issue for everyone, and had high praise for Dr. Kathleen Cashin, our regional superintendent in Region 5. Dr. Cashin has brought an innovative approach to education according to Helen Marshall. Dr. Cashin is supporting the restructuring of Beach Channel High School. A wonderful new addition has been added to Region 5 – PS 253 – a new elementary school located on Central Avenue in Far Rockaway that opened last year.

Helen is actively supporting opening a Rockaway Education Center – which would service southern Queens. She has identified the former Rockaway Court House as an excellent site for a City University of New York satellite, and has put $3 million dollars in the Borough President’s Capital fund to rehab the building and to set up the appropriate facilities.

I support this effort.

It has been a long time idea of mine to bring CUNY to the Rockaways. Many of our residents go to college. They go to Kingsborough in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, Brooklyn College at Avenue H and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, York College in Jamaica, LaGuardia College in Long Island City, Queens College in Flushing or Queensborough College in Bayside. Some students go to St. John’s University on Utopia Parkway.

Each of these campuses requires significant travel from Rockaway. By placing a college in our community more students would be able to attend. This would not just help our recent high school graduates. The satellite would draw people from Rockaway, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Ozone Park and Richmond Hill. The average age of the students in CUNY is 44 years of age. Therefore, the college would help working people who are upgrading their skills or changing careers.

Helen spoke about attracting tourism to Queens. Her office is developing strategies to make sure that Queens gets its fair share of visitors to New York. Borough President Marshall has requested and obtained a retired Redbird Subway car which is now located on the lawn of Borough Hall. It is being used as a Queens Tourism and Information Center. The Borough President is sponsoring with the Queens Economic Development Corporation several tourism round tables, and the Borough President is now sponsoring the borough’s first Restaurant Week. Queens Restaurant Week will run from September 19 to September 23. Special menus at the participating restaurants will charge $19.64 in celebration of the 1964 Worlds Fair in Queens. The Irish Circle is one of the participating restaurants.

Queens also has a first ever-custom license plate, which was unveiled on July 19 in front of the Unisphere. The initial cost for the plates with an assigned number by the Department of Motor Vehicles is $43. There is an annual renewal fee of $25 which will be credited to the Discover Queens Fund. A personalized plate is available at a cost of $68 with an annual renewal fee of $50.

Helen Marshall praised the Rockaway Music and Arts Council for its outstanding program. I hope that you will join us on Sunday, August 21 at 6 PM for a Tribute to Ragtime. The concert will be held at Fort Tilden. Bring your beach chair.

Borough President Marshall has expanded the Tack force on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. This task force also will address Child Maltreatment and Elder Abuse. There will be a domestic violence conference on Thursday, October 24, 2005 at York College’s Women’s Center. This conference is held annually. If you would like to register please call York College in September.

The Borough President also spoke on the Far Rockaway Re-zoning and on the mosquito prevention program in the Rockaways.

The borough of Queens also has an office of Economic Development. It is reaching out to present the Borough of Queens as a business and tourist attraction. Queens is the home of several important economic hubs such as JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport and the U. S. Tennis Open. The 2005 Tennis Open will offer the highest annual purse in sports. It is expected to top at $17.7 million and may even reach $20.6 million.

The US Tennis Open attracts the biggest stars in Tennis. This year the US Tennis Open is celebrating its 125th year.

Queens is the place to be and Helen Marshall is the right person to lead us.


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