Today’s news:

Dishing with Dee: Republicans’ meeting evokes strong emotion

Passover and Easter claimed most of the week’s activities, and, understandably, not many public events were scheduled. So I guess this will be a compilation of bits and pieces of the week’s slim pickings.

Our prayers go out to Janet Malone on the death of her husband, Tim, a moment of silence for him. Although Tim was a lifelong Republican, all the elected Democratic officials in his area stopped by to pay their respects at his wake. Truly a thoughtful gesture. Apparently, there are no politics in death; it is the ultimate equalizer.

The 109th Precinct sent a car as an escort from the funeral home to St. Andrew Avalino Church. Retired former St. Avalino’s Monsignor McAllister drove up from south New Jersey to assist current St. Avalino Monsignor Grace in performing the mass. We will miss you, Tim.

Councilman Dennis Gallagher was the guest speaker at the Bayside Republican Club. His subject was: “to tax or not to tax, that should be the question.” It was an interesting and informative evening, but not without incident.

When it came time for the question-and-answer period, Bill Lewis, president of the Bayside Conservative Party, stood up to ask a question, whereupon Frank Skala jumped up from the rear of the room and started shouting. Bill told him he was out of order, that he had the floor and to wait his turn.

Frank started screaming, “Bush is a warmonger, he kills women and babies.” This behavior was rude and unacceptable to the assemblage, and as we all stared at Frank in disbelief we watched his face and scalp starting to turn as red as a Santa suit. We thought he was about to have a stroke or a coronary.

Frank, get a grip on yourself. No matter what your opinions are on Bush and the war, are they worth dropping dead over? He then stormed out, slamming the door with a parting salvo of “I’m going to support Tony Avella,” leaving everyone in the room scratching their heads and wondering what the temperamental tirade had to do with the subject of taxes.

Calm down,Frank. Believe it or not, if anything happened to you, we would all miss you. You know you are our chief counter-irritant in residence.

District Attorney Richard Brown swore in the new officers at the Queens Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the LaGuardia Marriott. Most of the regulars were conspicuous by their absence; they said they preferred the luncheons rather than the breakfasts. The chamber inducted more than 30 members at the breakfast. That organization is like “Topsy,” it just grows and grows.

Billy McDermott of Whitestone TSI said that he is leaving them as of June 1 to embark on a venture of his own — more details to follow, stay tuned.

Joe Papillo and the Flushing Rotary gave Betty Letterese, the community affairs director of New York Hospital Queens, a surprise birthday party at the Reception House. A lovely party for a lovely lady. Some “attaboys” for the especially nice guys who put it all together.

Speaking of Betty Letterese and New York Hospital Queens, the EMS workers at the hospital started a program known as “FreeMat” to supply the men and women in the armed forces in Iraq with toiletries and personal articles. They had a kickoff at the hospital on Thursday; Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin donated a $5,000 check to help them get started. Paramedics Peter Kwaith and Freddie Noboa were the co-founders of the group.

Among the guests at the kickoff party were Miss USA Susan Castillo, Miss USO Jennifer Rose and family members of the troops. Joining them was Colonel Margie Farmer, chief of staff of the 77th Regional Support Command at Fort Totten, and Stephen Mills, president and CEO of NYHQ.

Mary Anderson, president of the East Flushing Civic Association, and I took Janet Malone out for dinner at Café Italiano Friday night. We thought it might help cheer her up a little and it did.

Seated at the table next to us was Judge Diccia Pineda-Kirwan. She was having dinner with her brother-in-law and family. In the midst of our exchanging pleasantries, she informed us she was leaving for a mini-vacation in the Dominican Republic. She is of Dominican origin. The more often we see her, the more we like her. She comes across as a warm, spontaneous, genuinely nice ladylike person. Are you listening, Frank?

Larry Warshaw, former Flushing High School teacher and guidance counselor, and I are taking a computer course together. So, you see, you can teach old dogs new tricks. He mentioned reading this column and how much he enjoys it; he said he chuckled at the reference to Frank Skala.

He said, “I taught school with Frank’s former wife. She even came to my retirement party, and she is living proof that opposites do indeed attract, if only temporarily.

“She is as different from Frank as night is from day, a lovely woman.” Small world, isn’t it?

Do you have something to say? Care to share? Upcoming events, information, call me at 718-767-6484 or fax me at 718-746-0066.

Till next week,

Dee

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