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Neighbor to Neighbor: Friedrich hopes to give Weprin run for money in Albany race

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Weather often seems to like to surprise us. That has been the case in this new year. So far we have seen no hint of global warming. In fact, on a bitterly cold Jan. 9 former City Council candidate Bob Friedrich held a press conference to announce his candidacy for the upcoming state Assembly seat formerly held by current Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Hollis), who recently replaced his brother David Weprin on the Council.

Early in Mark Weprin’s campaign, he said he wanted to be in the city instead of upstate so he could watch his new baby grow up. That wish having been granted, Uncle David had hoped to change seats with his brother unopposed. Many thought that would be the case because the Weprin brothers followed in their father’s footsteps carrying on what they consider “the family business.”

Politics is a strange business and sometimes, like the blast of cold air that made its presence known Jan. 9 and many days before and after, things do not go the way as planned — and nothing need be personal.

Sometimes, in the case of Friedrich, a candidate is not a politician. He has long tried to fix things he considers wrong — too high taxes, too high water bills and, all too often, the inability of many political people to make progress for their constituents because they are deeply controlled by their party and concerned for their own future.

Although Friedrich is a lifelong Democrat with no intent of leaving the party, his active community work and cooperation with state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and others in the Republican Party, including Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa, has earned him their support. He said he still plans to continue his civic activities, but believes some positive changes need to be made in many quarters and Albany is one of those areas.

David Weprin will no doubt be a tough opponent. He has a strong team supporting him and name recognition, but if local support on that cold day is any indication of grassroots support, Friedrich brought out a lot of enthusiastic activists. Proving himself to be unlike martyr politicians who call press conferences, I suspect he further endeared himself to the crowd by being on time and grateful for those who braved the cold to join the group at Glen Oaks Village.

Election Day for this race will be Feb. 9. We will soon know who the winner will be. In the meantime, we hope candidates, voters and everyone else stays healthy. In cold weather, it is always good to wear a hat or something covering your head since the top of your head is where much of your body’s heat escapes from. Layer your clothing, since the air trapped between the layers will also help keep you warm. Gloves should also be worn because your hands are susceptible to frostbite. Should that happen, do not put your hands in hot water immediately. Start with cool water and warm it gradually.

Remember that drinking alcoholic beverages in freezing weather inhibits the flow of blood, which will eventually make you feel colder. Hot soup would be a great substitute. Remember that ice is dangerous no matter where it is. One little spot of ice on a sidewalk can cause an injury. Ice on the roads can cause all kinds of accidents and ice on water can de deceptively welcoming.

Avoid walking on it unless it is absolutely necessary and if need be, test it carefully first and make sure you have someone to monitor you. Ice and snow at crosswalks are particularly daunting to people who use a carriage or shopping cart. We wish shopkeepers would realize that because improperly cleaned crosswalks will deter customer traffic.

Please remember our furry and feathered friends in the winter. They need liquid water, unfrozen food and shelter — the furry ones preferably indoors. The furry ones need their paws washed if they have walked in salt because salt will damage their paws. Having them wear dog boots is a possibility, but some dogs do not tolerate them.

Keep warm and keep smiling: March 20 is the first day of spring!

Updated 5:44 pm, October 10, 2011
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