QCP was also proud to have restaurateur Lidia Matticchio-Bastianich as a special guest. Lidia has a public television show, "Lidia's Family Table." She also signed her latest cookbook for anyone who might want to buy a personalized copy. Some of the other past chefs of the year also participated in the food samplings. They included Joel Miele, Frank Macchio, Gloria D'Amico, as well as everyone's perennial favorite, Joe Previte with his famous linguine with white clam sauce. Borough President Helen Marshall was the evening's honorary chairwoman.There was quite an impressive participation by some of Queens' prestigious restaurants known not only for their delicious food but their ethnic diversity as well. It was a terribly tempting evening for anyone trying to diet as well as for those seriously trying to shed those accumulated extra pounds gained during the holiday party season. From Terrace we drove into Manhattan to the Lotus Club on West 14th Street to attend a fund-raiser being held for Peter Vallone Jr. If you are in that area, it's a nice upscale cub to visit. Aside from Peter's dad, Peter Sr., who was the former speaker of the City Council, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, current Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and the new Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer all dropped by to wish him well. It must have been quite a successful fund-raiser, as there were lots of expensive suits and ties wandering around the party sampling the latest in the drinks of the month. Our third and last stop for the evening was at the New York Press Club, in mid-Manhattan at West 42nd Street. The guest speaker was Carl Bialik, who writes an online column for the Wall Street Journal titled "The Numbers Guy." Bialik checks the numbers and statistics in the news, politics and health. He says some numbers are flat out wrong, misleading or biased while others are valid and useful. He believes reporters owe it to their readers to check the facts thoroughly before they incorporate numbers or statistics in their stories. Bialik has degrees both in mathematics and physics from Yale University. Believe it or not, he was able to turn statistics into an interesting and informative evening.Thursday the Jefferson Democratic Club announced that it would have a surprise guest speaker. The most surprised person there was me, as the speaker was Steve Blank, the publisher of the paper you are reading. Blank gave his own personal history and how he wound up as editor and publisher of the TimesLedger newspaper chain. When he purchased the company 15 years ago there were only two newspapers, the Bayside Times and the Little Neck Ledger. Since then he has increased the number of papers he publishes to 16, covering almost all of Queens.Blank also spoke of his concern about the future of the print media due to the current trend toward electronic media. Blank said that he believes there will always be a need for community newspapers, as they are the only way for people to find out what's happening in their respective communities. It was an interesting change of pace to view the news industry from the publisher's point of view rather than the reporter's. That will be enough on this subject before I am accused of being an apple polisher, but, frankly, it was a good show, Steve!Ann Margaret Carrozza was there accepting congratulations on the birth of her second little boy in December. Being a mother must agree with Ann, as she looks younger and prettier now than she did 10 years ago when we first met her as a single young lady. Carrozza has special interests in seniors and elder law. She says the new Medicare Part D is going to cause a tremendous amount of confusion as well as many accompanying problems. She said that the legislators are trying to iron out all the wrinkles, and there is much additional work to be done.The Jefferson Club and its members were all speculating as to whether or not City Councilman Tony Avella would run for Frank Padavan's state Senate seat, and how many intended to actually run for Brian McLaughlin's state Assembly seat. There were those who said that, for whatever reason, Avella felt he was qualified to take on Frank Padavan. There were others who thought it would be easier for him to win McLaughlin's seat. The political wisdom says that it is much easier to win an open seat than to challenge a popular incumbent. The speculators there were coming up with a list of candidates for Avella's Council seat should he win either of the aforementioned positions. Some of the names were John Frank, Debbie Markell, Dennis Saffran, Phil Ragusa, Jim Rodgers, Bob Nobile, Jerry Iannace, Arthur Cheliotes, as well as John Dorsa and Morshed Alam, who said they were interested in Brian's Assembly seat. In the event that Tony might run for it and win, it's conceivable they might then set their sights on the 19th Councilmanic seat. If that seat becomes available, it will become a special election where anyone can run no matter what district they live in as long as they obtain sufficient signatures in order to get on the ballot. The winner would then have one year to move into the district. Assemblywoman Carrozza is collecting Valentines for Vets at her office, 213-33 39thAve., Bayside. That's it for this week; we look forward to receiving you voice mails at 718-767-6484, your faxes at 718-746-0066 and your e-mails at email@example.com Don't forget to check out the photos on the "Focus on Queens Page." Till next week, Dee
©2006 Community News Group
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