Today’s news:

Dishing with Dee: Queens’ Judge Siegal elected president of boro bar group

We usually start this column with either updated news of what’s going on in Queens or positive news about good things happening to friends, colleagues, VIPs, etc.

That’s not the case today. It’s rather sad news. For those of you who are regular readers of this column, you are aware of the fact that Janet Malone, president of the Northeast Queens Republican Club, has been a good friend of mine for more than 20 years. We are both members of the Ad Hoc Girls Night Out Group.

It is sad to report that Janet’s son, Larry Enterman, died Saturday after being hospitalized for two weeks. Larry was 58, rather young by today’s standards of longevity. The wake and funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized as of this writing. If you care to pay your respects, Janet’s phone number is 718-358-1988. There will be someone there answering the phone who will supply you with details. How sad it is for a parent to bury a child. In any event, say a prayer, as I do believe prayers help in many ways.

On Monday night, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley held a fund-raiser at the Woodhaven House on Woodhaven Boulevard. It was packed to the rafters. Her cousin, Queens Democratic Chairman U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, was there with his guitar and sang a few songs. Not only is he good, but you can see he really enjoys singing and playing. It was a fun fund-raiser. Liz is without question one of our prettiest electeds, if not the prettiest. There were many prominent officials at the event.

Tuesday night was a double-header. The first event was the Queens County Women’s Bar Association, which elected Bernice Siegal as its incoming president. Bernice was elected judge of the Civil Court in 2001 and then elected justice of the Supreme Court in 2008. She is chairwoman of the Brandeis Association and a member of the National Association of Women Judges. She is married to Kevin Lynch and they have two daughters, Rebecca and Sara. The dinner was held at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach. Congratulations to Bernice. The honor was long overdue.

The second event was Monsignors David Cassata’s and Jamie Gigantiello’s fund-raiser at Giando’s on Kent Avenue in Brooklyn. It’s a lovely restaurant/catering facility on the waterfront. It was held on the terrace with beautiful views of Manhattan. The name of the annual dinner is the “Cigar Dinner,” a fund-raiser to provide poor children with scholarships in their respective parishes — St. Athanasius Church and Mary Queen of Heaven Church, which are in Brooklyn.

The proceeds are shared equally. It was a great evening with a helicopter flyby and a fireworks display. There were many prizes and raffles shared in this period of camaraderie among good friends supporting a worthwhile cause. The dinner gets bigger and better every year. This year they had more than 300 people. Casata took over the microphone and gave the DJ competition. He has a good voice.

Both events and places were great, but they could not have been further apart. If they were any further, I probably would have had to hire a helicopter to get there.

On Saturday morning, the Bayside Marina held its annual Blessing of the Fleet. Conducting the blessing was the Rev. Tom Machalski of St. Josephat’s in Bayside. Former owner Jimmy Miranda was there with one of the new owners, Martin Munch. Joe Oppedisano, the proprietor of Il Bacco, was there with members of his family from Italy who accompanied him on his boat as he joined the procession of watercraft that came forth to receive their blessing.

Of course, the big news this week was the passage of the historic vote to legalize gay marriage in New York state. There is a great deal of controversy over the bill’s passage. The gay community is jubilant and says it was long overdue. On the other side, the Catholic community was upset and vowed to ban any politician who supported the bill from any Catholic church or school event. Bishop Nicholas Di Marzio of Brooklyn was quoted as saying, “This is a further erosion of the real understanding of marriage.” There are apparently many details and issues to be ironed out, and I am sure they will provide equality for all.

That’s it for this week.

I look forward to your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com.

Don’t forget to check out the Focus on Queens page.

Till next week, Dee.

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