Commentary From the Desk of Lew M. Simon,
Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B
It has been a reallly disastrous week. As you are probably aware our monthly Atlantic City bus trip on Saturday November 18 was a disaster. Our usual fantastic bus company and driver were unavailable due to another five- day charter trip to Ohio. Our company farmed us out to another company, which is standard procedure for many small companies.
The day started off nicely by having a full busload of people ready to have a good time and hoping to become a millionaire. After going over the Marine Parkway Bridge one of our new passengers asked for heat. Since this was an older bus the driver had to get out and bleed the system in the back of the bus, a half hour job.
As we were going down Avenue U, I observed the driver slumped over and the bus was headed for a pole. I was thrown from the rear to the front hurting everything and everywhere. I noticed the bus driver was dead by observing the death rattle.
Many of the passengers were hurt; one heart attack, one slight stroke, fractured jaws, hips, broken teeth and noses, whiplash and chest pain. A major catastrophe was avoided thanks to a miracle of God. How could it have been worse?
Had we not stopped for the driver to turn on the heating system we would probably would have been on the Verrazano Bridge or the Staten Island Expressway doing 50 miles an hour. We could have hit the bridge or turned over causing numerous fatalities. My heart goes out to all who have been hurt. I know the feeling. I too have been hurt badly. We wish speedy recoveries to all. We look forward to only good things in the future.
Thursday November 16 was a joyous night. It was the 19 th Anniversary Dinner Dance of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club held at El Caribe country club in Mill basin. Although the rain and wind was like a hurricane, the evening was beautiful.
El Caribe, owned by Phil Kelly Jr. of Belle Harbor, was magically superb and wonderful. The food, service, and ambience were something out of a dream. We definitely would recommend the El Caribe for all occasions. It is par excellence.
These dinner dances give us an opportunity to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to our community during past years. The Stephen Lefkowitz Memorial Award was presented to Marina Callaghan, Education Program Coordinator of the Rockaway Artists Alliance and Co-Director of Camp Kidsmart. Stephen Lefkowitz was a community leader who was lost on 9/11/01.
The Outstanding Union Leadership Award was presented to John O'Connell, Queens Business Agent for Local 638 Steamfitters. The Outstanding Educational and Community Leadership Award was presented to Sister Francis Marie, Principal of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr School. This school was on the list of schools to be closed by the diocese. Sister Francis and the community convinced them to keep it open.
The Alphonse Catanese Sr. Memorial Award in honor of a builder who constructed fine buildings in our community was presented to Anthony Allia, who is the Region 3 Representative on the Citywide Council for High Schools. The Outstanding Union Leadership Award in memory of Dominick (Mickey) Cincotta, a local developer of fine local construction, was given to Edward Watt, a leader of Local 100, Transport Workers Union.
A Community Service and Leadership Award was presented to Hank Iori, an Educational Specialist and Community Leader who initiated a program to train local young people to become lifeguards. Outstanding Community Service and Humanitarian awards were presented to Arthur (A.J.) Smith Esq., Treasurer of the Breezy Point Cooperative, Margaret Wagner, Executive Director of the Athletic Club of Broad Channel and Janice (Two Zee) Selleck Breezy Point community and church leader.
The dinner could not have been a huge success without the hard work and long hours put in by a number of people who had to put up with my constant whining and bellyaching. As fantastic Dinner Co-Chairs, Barbara Reiche and Lorraine Shiel put their heart and soul into this success. Virginia Minardi helped us tie up all the loose ends. John Socha edited our beautiful dinner journal. Irv and Harriet Fiebert, Leo Fahy, Dolores Sachs, Bill Gelhaus, Patty McCabe, Kim Hennessy, Patricia Reid, Andy McGee, Johanna Mazza and Grace D'Agostino all did a great job.
We thank Johnny and Yolanda Nash for bringing an aroma therapy oxygen bar which added something which was safe and unique to our party. People will remember it long after the event is over. Go to www.O2barny.com or call 866-02-Barn-NY. Thank you, Johnny and Yolanda for making this night very special.
A special thank you to DJ Muggsy, Adam Funtleyder of Busy Bee Educational Store for donating his time and services as our great DJ. Special thank you to Julio Rodriguez, merchandise manager of P.C.Richard & Sons on Ralph Avenue Brooklyn, for their beautiful donation of a flat screen TV and personal DVD player.
Thanks to Christy of Mr. Big Deal .99 store next to Pickles & Pies for donating such beautiful baskets and goodies. We would also like to thank many of the merchants and friends who took ads in our journal. We urge you to pick up a copy and shop at these stores and businesses.
We would also like to thank the over 850 people who purchased tickets to help us keep our office serving you the public. From the bottom of my heart thank you. God bless you and your families. Thank you to the great labor unions that made this night exceptionally special. We love you and we'll be there.
We are saddened by the death of Army buck Sgt. Patrick Cotter who fought in the Vietnam War to protect us and came home and was forgotten by this country. Pat was a wonderful kind and loving individual. He suffered from flashbacks and depression. He was a kind hearted loving soul who loved and cared about his mother, brothers and sister. He was extremely charitable in donating to many great causes. Our heart goes out to the family. We know Pat will get his reward as a special angel in God's kingdom in heaven.
Yes, we are taking our bus trip to Atlantic City on Saturday December 16. We leave at 5:30 PM and return at 8 AM. The cost is $35 with $25 returned. Call 945-1216 for reservations.