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Dishing With Dee: Lunar New Year and political parties take spotlight

Needless to say, these festivities overshadowed the regular Queens organizations' programs. That being the case, this might be a good time to play catch up.Of the non-Lunar events we attended were the Black History Month celebration at Langston Hughes Library in Corona, the Dwarf Giraffe Little League Annual Awards Dinner in Whitestone, the Queens Village Republican Club's Annual Lincoln Day Dinner at Antun's in Queens Village, the first Annual Valentine's Ball hosted by Councilman Leroy Comrie, also at Antun's, and the Northeast Queens Republican Club February meeting at the Reception House in Flushing.On Saturday the Langston Hughes Dinner was held in the library on the second floor. They also had an impressive award ceremony. A talented group of young people provided the musical entertainment, among them were the Kim Thompson Quartet as well as the Flushing High School Chorus. Some of the committee members we spoke to were Borough President Helen Marshall, Co-Chairman Curtis Archer of the Rockaway Development Corporation, William Jefferson, chairman of the Queens Library board of trustees, Marc Haken from Community Board 8, Andrew Jackson, executive director of the Langston Hughes Library and Chet Szarejko of the New Americans Organization of New York.On Saturday, the turnout for the Dwarf Giraffe Dinner was overwhelming. You have never seen so many children, parents and coaches. They must be one of the largest Little League groups around. We don't know whether they rent or own their building in Whitestone. Here is a bit of Queens trivia for you. Many years ago when we first moved to Queens that building was a local movie theater affectionally referred to as "The Itch."Children spent all Saturday afternoon there for a ridiculous sum of money. For some reason 26 cents comes to mind. It's good to see in its recycling phase the building is still put to use for the children.Sunday was a double header at Antun's. The first event was the First Annual Valentine's Day Ball hosted by City Councilman Leroy Comrie. The distinguished citizens of Southeast Queens did themselves proud. They packed Antun's largest rooms. Just about everyone you could think of was there and they all do surely love Leroy and his wife Marcia Comrie.They had four honorees: Oscar Hopkins, Jo-Ann and Dennie Whitehead, Bill Jones and Chelsea Brown, a beautiful talented lady. Perhaps you remember her from Rowan and Martins's "Laugh In."The other half of the Antun's gig was the Queens Village Republican Club's 130th Anniversary Lincoln Day Dinner Dance. They aso had four honorees: Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Assemblywoman Barbara Clark; Richard Hellenbrecht, chairman of Community Board 13; and posthumously to PFC Francis Obaji, who gave his life Jan. 17 in Iraq for the cause of freedom. His tearful father accepted the award.So far so good. The mayor had been invited and he accepted for the Sunday, Feb. 13, dinner, both as an honoree and the club's keynote speaker. Now how do you explain the club president, Phil Sica, going to the county Republican headquarters meeting Feb. 10 and voting for the mayor's rival, Tom Ognibene?In addition to which, when the mayor arrived and he had given them the precise time for his arrival, Tom Ognibene was seated as a guest at one of the tables. Is it me, or is there something wrong with this picture?By all means Tom had the right to pitch the club for support, and they had the right to listen to him, but wouldn't it had been a lot less tacky if Tom had made his appearance either before the mayor arrived or after the mayor left. That would seem to be a much more acceptable way to handle the situation.The mayor was very gracious and after he thanked the group for honoring him, he acknowledged Tom's presence before he left for his next event. A few more Republican escapades like that and the mayor may decide that being a Democrat wasn't so bad after all. Aren't politics fun?On Wednesday we attended the Northeast Queens Republican Club's February meeting. One of the guest speakers was Queens DA Richard Brown, who spoke about how pleased he was with the drop in all types of crimes in Queens. The DA had another meeting to attend and therefore couldn't stay long. The other speaker was Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, who addressed the rezoning of different parts of Queens as well as the McMansion problem. She stayed quite a while discussing the problems and taking questions and answers. It would appear there is a lot more work to be done on solving the zoning problems.Peter Boudouvas topped off the evening by announcing he is one of the Republicans who is planning to run for Tony Avella's Councilmanic seat. As we receive them we will update you with more of the details. All things considered, this will not be a dull election year after all.We almost forgot that Mayor Mike on Tuesday had a party at B.B. King's on West 42nd Street as a kick-off for the volunteers who will be working on his campaign. It was a mob scene. The Queensites we know of on board were Vinny Tabone, Joe Gravagna, Joanne DeMartino and her friend, name unkown, and Peter Boudouvas. A fun time was had by all. The mayor sure knows how to give a party.Keep the calls coming at 718-767-6484, the faxes at 718 746-0066 and the e-mails at deerrichard@aol.co.Till next week,Dee.

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