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With high hopes, boro GOP will settle differences soon

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There is so much happening these days that it is hard to try and decide which places to go. Unfortunately, as hard as you might, it’s just impossible to be at several places at the same time, although we do give it our best shot.

On Sept. 26, presidential candidate Ron Paul held a rally at Webster Hall on East 11th Street in Manhattan at 7:30 p.m. There wasn’t room for even a skinny sardine to squeeze in. It would seem Paul is the Pied Piper of young adults. Paul is living proof that young people will get involved if you have the right message.

There were a number of people there from Queens and our own City Councilman Dan Halloran introduced Paul, whose rally was billed as “How to Energize Your Republican Party.” And energize them he did!

Things are getting pretty interesting in the Queens Republican Party. On Sept. 28, it held its election for county leader for the next two years. The interesting thing about this election was the fact it held two elections for two different leaders. One was held in Flushing by supporters of current Chairman Phil Ragusa; the other in Howard Beach by supporters of challenger former Councilman Tom Ognibene.

Both men claimed victory and declared the other candidate’s election invalid. What’s the answer to this quagmire? Why, the courts, what else? From the information I’ve gathered, the case was to be heard Tuesday and it could be decided then or drag on for another six months. Stay tuned, as there’s never a dull political moment. After 16 years of infighting, hopefully the party will be unified.

Last Thursday, Barbara Leonardi invited about 25 of her closest friends to join her in her birthday celebration. She held it at Tequila Sunrise on Bell Boulevard in Bayside. What a fun place to have a party. They put a Mexican sombrero on the birthday person’s head and a musician played the guitar while singing happy birthday. Happy birthday, Barbara! It was a fun evening.

On Friday evening at Queensborough College, there was an art exhibit and reception. The artist was Wenzhi Zhang, who was born in Guangzhou, China. Part of her exhibit was “New Mankind: My Family.” The other part was, “Please Don’t Forget the Dragons.” One of the most generous sponsors of the exhibit was Stephen Chen of Crystal Windows and Doors. Some of the elected officials from our part of Queens at the event were Halloran, state Sen. Toby Stavisky and state Assemblyman Mark Weprin — all of whom joined in the festivities.

On Saturday, the New York Press Club Foundation held its 19th-annual Journalism Conference at New York University’s Kimmel Center. This year’s theme was “Crisis and Change.”

Gabe Pressman is the club’s president and was present for the entire day. I teased him at lunch by saying that he and I were the official perennial teeny-boppers of the club. We have both attended these conferences more years than either of us care to remember. Gabe is a great guy who has fought tirelessly to protect the rights and status of all members of the press.

They had a wonderful selection of panelists. The particular sections I opted for were “How to Put the Fire Out Quickly,” which of course was all about damage control, and “Crowdsourcing in a Crisis,” which dealt with finding sources and using social media during breaking news. The general topic for everyone was “Parachuting In,” which referred to covering a crisis when it’s not in your own backyard.

Sam Roberts was inducted into the New York Press Club Journalism Hall of Fame. Sam worked for 15 years at the Daily News and joined The New York Times in 1983, where he remains today. He has authored three books and hosts a weekly news and interview program on NY1.

The keynote speaker was Juan Williams, a regular panelist on “Fox News Sunday.” I found him to be a fascinating man who spent 21 years at the Washington Post and a number of years at NPR as a senior correspondent and has authored five books. His latest is “Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate.”

Williams used his public firing from NPR as a launching pad to discuss the ways in which honest debate in America, from Congress to town hall meetings, is stifled. The book’s a great read.

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