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Dishing With Dee: Summer events bring good food, good times

It was a buffet where you could eat and drink at your leisure. It also afforded the guests the opportunity of mixing and mingling, which they seemed to appreciate. At a sitdown dinner you are assigned a specific table and a seat which makes it rather difficult to network with anyone other than the guests on either side of you or perhaps the people directly opposite you. It was more informal and much more fun this way.The evening's honorees were, Jonathan Durst, co-president of the Durst Organization, for his commitment to environment consciences and sustainability. The other honoree was Timothy Carey, president and CEO of Hugh Carey Battery Park City Authority, for his long history of work toward improving the environment and for his promoting green design as well as recycling.The usual cadre of Queens movers and shakers were on hand to help celebrate and make it a memorable evening. We would like to give special kudos to Susan Lacerte, executive director of the Queens Botanical Garden; Stefanie Handsman, chairwoman of the Queens Botanical Garden; Frank Macchio, chairman of the Rose Ball Committee; and James Riso, the Journal chairman. It was indeed an enjoyable evening.On Monday, June 13, the Queen Theater in the Park had its final 2005 gala committee meeting. Jeff Rosenstock and crew thanked everyone for their help in making the gala the success it was. They ended the meeting with a champagne and cake celebration. An impressive way to end this year's very worthwhile project.On Wednesday, June 15, we had a double header. First was a Garden Cocktail Party at OHEKA, given by the Friends of OHEKA. OHEKA is the castle built by financier Otto Herman Kahn for his summer residence in Huntington, LI. Needless to say, OHEKA was built in the never-to-be-equaled extravagant days, when mostly all of the Gold Coast mansions of the North Shore were built. OHEKA is the second largest residence in the United States, containing over 120 rooms.OHEKA has gone through numerous and various stages of use during its many years of existence. At one point it was the home of the Eastern Military Academy. My husband his brother and his cousin all graduated from there. The new owner, Gary Melius, has spent a fortune restoring the castle and gardens to their original glory. They are available for weddings, etc.We do hope you are able to see OHEKA at least once. They sometimes have tours of the place. It's incredible to see how people with enormous wealth lived in such a lavish style.Our second stop was a Queens Public Television mixer for all the aspiring new producers to network with each other and establish working relationships to help one another to develop crews to produce their respective programs. QPTV provides an excellent environment in which to learn a fascinating profession. More about QPTV in a later column.Last Thursday, we attended a very different kind of party. It was a Luau in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. They had it under a huge tent on the new wooden deck where the Aquacade was located during both World Fairs. The organizations honored were Queens Center Mall, Con Edison, New York Community Bank and last, but not least, Bruce Bendell.When the guests entered, they were each presented with a lei and most of the guests arrived wearing Hawaiian shirts to really set the proper mood. The entertainment for the evening was provided by dancers who performed the traditional hula, as well as the fire torch dances. The evening's festivities finished with coffee and a fabulous dessert table. Each guest received a commemorative teddy bear as they departed. A most fun way to pass a summer evening.A much more serious type of event took place Friday. It was held in the Senate hearing room at 250 Broadway in Manhattan. It was sponsored by the Republican Assembly Members Task Force. They are trying to get the passage of two bills. One is The Child Protection Act of 2005 (A-3985) and Violence Against Women Protection Act of 2005 (A-3470). Both of these bills should receive our legislators' support and passage. They have both been passed in the Senate. However, they always seem to get bottled up in the Assembly. Why? Who could possibly be against protecting women and children, the most vulnerable of our citizenry?They are going to try again to get it voted on and passed this week in the Assembly before the legislators leave for their summer vacations. If it does not get passed, may we respectfully suggest you contact your Assembly person to see how they voted on it and why. It might prove to not only be interesting but most enlightening. By the way, how they vote is a matter of public record and therefore available to you.By now I am sure you are all aware and feel as badly as we do about the passing away of Ron Mayersohn, the husband of Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn. We want to write something lengthy. However, there isn't any room this week. Look for our comments in next week's column.Keep the voice mails coming at 718-767-6484, the faxes at 718-746-0066 and the e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com.Till next week, Dee.

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