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Dishing with Dee: Alan King, former Forest Hills resident, dies at 76

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The month started off on a rather sad note. Frank Principe, “the Unofficial Mayor of Maspeth” died at the venerable old age of 94. He was a terrific man who spent his whole life serving his community, his family and his friends unselfishly. The last time I took a photo of him was in January at Queens College when borough President Helen Marshall presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in the form of a plaque.

If I can, I would like to find a copy of that photo so I can give it to his son, as I have already had a request from the family for same. When I shot 35mm I was swamped with boxes of negatives, which made it rather easy to get a reprint. Now that I — and it seems everyone else — have gone digital, it’s a different story. Once you erase the image on a compact flash card, it’s all over. The images are lost forever. However, I have started burning my photo files on CDs so that they can be reproduced. Now, I’m up to my naval in CDs in storage boxes. Maybe I should just stick to writing as you don’t encounter storage problems. But, nah, taking photos is just too much fun. Rest in peace, Frank.

We also lost former Forest Hills resident and comedian Alan King at the age of 76 on May 8. The last time I photographed Alan was at the U.S. Open tennis matches. I also remember reading this very funny book of his entitled “Anyone Who Owns His Own Home Deserves One.” Alan was also the Abbot of the New York Friars Club and as such he hosted many roasts of famous celebrities. At the time of his passing he had moved from Forest Hills to Kings Point. He was a truly funny man whose schtick was the easily identifiable problems of everyday living. His passing leaves quite a void, not only in the world of comedy but in the world of humanity, as he was a most generous man.

On a happier note, congratulations are in order to state Sen. Frank Padavan on the birth of his first grandchild, a baby girl named Sofi. Mom Tisch and dad Dr. Scott Padavan are doing well. The senator flew out to Hawaii to see his grandbaby and visit with his son and daughter-in-law. May this be the beginning of many happy, joyful days to come.

Speaking of Padavan, he proposed a bill, No. S-2791. The purpose is explained in the following excerpt from the bill: “Brutal violence against animals, so often a precursor to violence against humans, goes on largely undeterred and entirely uncompensated because criminal and anti-cruelty measures often aren’t enforced, and our civil tort law still treats animals the same as inanimate property, like tables and chairs.” Without legislative guidance, courts are hesitant “to relinquish the common law’s antiquated, scientifically obsolete assumption that animals are just ‘things.’”

Americans entering the 21st century recognize the importance of our relationships with animals, which has been demonstrated in study after study. According to recent reports in USAToday, more than two-thirds of pet owners say they consider their pets a member of their family; 50 percent of pet owners said they would be “very likely” to risk their own lives to rescue their pet, and another 33 percent said they would be ‘somewhat likely’ to do so.

If this bill is important to you, you may contact Padavan’s Queens Village office at 718-343-0255.

Way to go, senator! As an animal lover myself, I appreciate your efforts on their behalf. As nanny always said, “Some dogs are more human than humans and some humans don’t deserve to be called dogs.”

City Councilman Alan Jennings was trying to get a new committee to investigate the sexual harassment allegations against him, apparently without any luck. Since Alan was 35 at the time the charges were made and the one woman was 60, it doesn’t seem very plausible. I’ve heard of young men liking older women but that does seem rather ridiculous. That isn’t the only possible tribulation that Alan might be facing. The rumor mill has it that Patrick Jenkins, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks is considering challenging Alan for his seat next year. If true, that will be a powerhouse struggle. Stay tuned.

While we are talking politics, as I mentioned in a previous column the Republican Party is backing Assemblyman Howard Mills for U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s seat, while the Conservative Party is backing Dr. Marylin O’Grady for the same seat. If both parties are serious about wresting Chuck’s seat away from him, it would seem to be a much smarter move for them to get together and back one candidate rather than split the vote between two parties whose combined totals are somewhat lacking in the numbers game. It doesn’t sound like a very bright or productive move by either party, but good luck, Republicans and Conservatives, miracles do happen and from here it looks like that is exactly what you will need. (See photos of both candidates on the Focus on Queens page.)

Councilwoman Melinda Katz has started her Yellow Ribbon program again this year and would like everyone to join her by tying Yellow Ribbons on all appropriate items to show our patriotism and support for all our servicemen and women. Melinda would also like you to remove or freshen up all the old, faded ribbons. So spruce everything up in time for all the Memorial Day parades in Queens. Thanks for reminding us, Melinda, that makes you one of the good guys.

As usual we’ve lost the time and space battle and must close. Please contact me via voice mail at 718-767-6484, fax at 718-746-0066 or e-mail at deerrichard@aol.com.

Till next week,

Dee

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