Today’s news:

Dishing with Dee: Electeds pay respects to Queens County clerk, kin

Old man winter has arrived with a vengeance. We were all spoiled with the mild December weather we enjoyed. It’s time to get the long johns, ear muffs, scarves, hats, gloves and sweaters out of the moth balls or cedar chests or wherever you stored them last year.

They may not be the most fashionable attire, but they sure do feel good. This kind of weather not only makes it easier to understand the snowbird mentality but actually makes you think about joining them on their annual trek south.

Talk about starting the New Year out right — after nine years of going steady, Joe Papillo finally broke down and bought Betty Letterese a lovely engagement ring for Christmas. Way to go, Joe. I hope you set the wedding date during my lifetime, as I would like to attend the celebration and don’t know if I still will be here if you wait another nine years for the big day.

Seriously, I love you both and wish you all the best. You two were really meant for each other. So, Joe, when is the date?

Judge Joseph Dorsa and his wife, MaryAnn, tell me their son John has also gotten engaged. His wedding is scheduled for 2005. Congratulations to all. I will fill you in with more details as we receive them.

At this month’s Community Board 7 meeting, Terence Park showed me a photo of his new baby boy, Wesley. Terence just happened to have a photo of the baby in his wallet. When asked how old the baby is, he promptly replied “67 days.” Now there is a proud daddy who knows exactly how many days old his son is. Good luck to mom, dad and Wesley.

Congratulations to Michael McSweeney on his appointment to deputy clerk to City Clerk Victor Robles. Michael is leaving LaGuardia Community College and his director of legislative and community affairs position. Michael is the son of Gene McSweeney, who works for Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza. Congratulations.

In last week’s column I mentioned that former Assemblyman Doug Prescott was employed by Jamaica Hospital. I would like to correct that. He is employed by Elmhurst Hospital. Sorry about that.

In the midst of all these glad tidings, we must report on a sad one. Leonard D’Amico Sr. died in early January. Leonard was the husband of Gloria D’Amico, the Queens County clerk and clerk of the Supreme Court.

I usually try to list the names of all the prominent people who attend Queens events. Due to the unbelievable number of people paying their respects, the only way to list everyone is to simply say that all of Queens was there. It was a veritable who’s who of elected officials, judges, lawyers, district and community leaders and just about everyone else you can think of.

The amounts of floral pieces were incredible. Leonard apparently liked to play cards, and not only was there a deck of cards in his casket but also at the foot of his casket was a large floral piece designed as a playing card. The card was the ace of hearts, which was comprised of hundreds of white carnations representing the card and red carnations to designate the heart. I am sure he was aces with his friends and family just as I am equally sure he was Gloria’s king of hearts and she, of course, was his queen of hearts.

The D’Amicos have two sons, Louis and Leonard Jr. As well as being a prominent Queens family, they are also one of the nicest Queens families. While Leonard Sr. will be missed, he lived a long life, a life he lived well and where he was well-loved. Rest in peace.

The Eastern Queens Democratic Club had its holiday party at the Fame Diner.

District Attorney Richard Brown did the honors by swearing in the new officers just as he has for the past 10 years. Mark Green stopped by to say hi. It looks like he is testing the waters in his possible run for mayor.

Former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman did the honors for the Stevenson Regular Democratic Club by swearing in their slate of officers. The party was in the cocktail lounge of the J.I.B. building. The room was packed and a good time was had by all.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg had standing room only at his State of the City address at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City. Just about everyone showed up, including former Mayor Edward Koch, Herman Badillo, former Parks Commissioner Henry “Starquest” Stern, Borough President Helen Marshall and state Comptroller Alan Hevesi as well as at least 400 other attendees. The security was sort of scary. It made you long for the good old carefree days when no one had to give a thought to security.

We also hear that Arthur Flug has resigned from his position as Councilman David Weprin’s chief of staff. Rumors have it that Alan Friedman is replacing him. More to come later.

After long deliberation and due to the request of many sources, I have decided to try using my e-mail address, deerrichard@aol.com. We can try it for a while, and if it works we will keep using it, but if not we will discontinue it. I will still be using my voice mail, 718-767-6484, and fax, 718-746-0066, so keep the messages coming anyway you choose.

Till next week,

Dee

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