Whitestone Times honors three columnists at party

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Three columnists of the Whitestone Times, including two who have written for the newspaper since it was founded in 1991, were honored at a celebration last Thursday commemorating the 10th anniversary of the newspaper.

Alex Berger, who lives in Whitestone and writes “Berger’s Burg,” a humor column about life in Queens, Sabina Cardali, author of “To The Point,” and George Tsai, the newest columnist who writes “Point of View,” provide readers with the kind of coverage that reflects the wide range of opinions in the Whitestone and College Point area.

“I’m not sure what it is about Whitestone and College Point that makes people so knowledgeable and opinionated,” Steve Blank told the more than 230 people who attended the celebration last week. “But as publisher, I will just say that I am very grateful. And the people of Whitestone and College Point are very lucky.”

The anniversary party for the Whitestone Times, one of 13 papers that are part of the TimesLedger Newspapers chain, was held last Thursday at Caffe on the Green in Bayside, an event that attracted 237 people including elected officials, political hopefuls and community members. Last year the Bayside Times, the flagship newspaper of the chain, celebrated its 65th anniversary at Caffe on the Green.

Apart from the hard news coverage and feature stories that the newspaper publishes each week, columnists like Berger, Cardali and Tsai provide different perspectives to readers in northern Queens.

For Berger, the path to becoming a columnist was as much luck as it was a natural progression. As an employee of the city Housing Authority, Berger was responsible for sending out a newsletter — one that he thought lacked spice and flair when he inherited it. So up until the time he retired in 1991, Berger made the newsletter his pet project, a job he enjoyed since his goal was to write, especially humor writing.

He fulfilled that objective in 1991, when he sent in a column to the TimesLedger and it was published. “I realized the Whitestone Times was just starting out,” he said, “so my timing was great and I hit it right.”

Before joining the Whitestone Times in 1991, Cardali worked as a columnist for the Tribune, a weekly newspaper in Queens. Her lead has always been the same: “Welcome to the Point. The point being College Point.”

“When you write, you have to have something that is steady, a point that is steady,” Cardali said. “So for the new people who have just arrived and picked up the paper, it is like ‘Welcome to College Point.’”

After writing for the Whitestone Times for 10 years, Cardali recommended her neighbor, George Tsai, as a columnist for the newspaper. Having worked for a variety of daily papers from Texas to Indiana and most recently for Gannett Newspapers in Westchester, Tsai, 66, was the perfect candidate to shed light on the changing face of Queens, Cardali thought. Blank and the managing editor, Roz Liston, agreed.

“I wanted to be a reporter when I was 15 years old,” said Tsai, whose first job as one came nearly 40 years ago at the China Post in Taipei, Taiwan, an English-language newspaper. “I said, gee, I admire reporters, they can say anything they want to say.”

Reach reporter Chris Fuchs by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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