Today’s news:

Northeast Queens GOP group elects new president

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We hope all of our readers had a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah and are having a Happy Kwanza and a happy whatever other celebration that happens at this time of year.

Was Santa good to you this year? Were you a good Santa to all those on your gift list? I hope you were also able to brighten the day of someone less fortunate.

The last holiday party we attended this past week was Dec. 21 at the Clearview Golf Course club house. It was the Northeast Queens Republican Club’s combination of its regular December monthly meeting and holiday party.

The highlight of the party was the annual gift auction. The way it works is that everyone brings a wrapped, new gift of a minimum value of $10. Then the auctioneer puts each item up for bids. No one knows what’s in the wrapped gift package. It’s lots of fun and raises a nice amount of money for the club each year.

By the way, the auctioneer for the evening was attorney Alan Laufler, who did an excellent job and is to be commended.

Some of the items are great and there are also some that are not so great, but remember it is for a good cause. If you really want to be wicked, you can rewrap your unwanted auction item and regift it as your auction donation next year. Perhaps that’s how that particular unwanted item wound up on the auctioneer’s table this year.

Think about it. That item could have a career of its own making the rounds annually without anyone ever really liking it enough to give it a permanent home — it’s just a random thought!

They had a changing of the guard at the Northeast Queens Republican Club. The current president, Janet Malone, after serving eight years in that capacity, has finally stepped down. The club held its election of officers and the new president is John Watch, of Flushing.

Some of the electeds invited to the party were U.S. Rep. Bob Turner, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos and City Councilmen Peter Koo, Eric Ulrich and Dan Halloran. The only elected official gracious enough to make the effort to find the time out of his busy schedule to put in an appearance — albeit a short one — was Maragos. Way to go, George!

At election time, constituents have a tendency to remember who supports them. Just another idle thought. For those of you who are not aware of the fact, George has announced his intentions to run against U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Good luck, George!

The constant dichotomy of the Queens Republican Party seems to be neverending. The Northeast Queens group seems to favor Newt Gingrich for president, while the Southeast Queens group seems to favor Mitt Romney.

At least, that appeared to be each faction’s choice two weeks ago, but as we all know it’s a long time from now till November and anything can happen and usually does. There is still time for new candidates to jump in and time for some of the original candidates to cut their losses and drop out.

Get well wishes to Joan Vogt, who recently fell and severely injured her ankle but is now comfortably resting in rehab. Not much of a fun way to spend Christmas Day. Janet Malone was also out of commission for a few days due to her picking up some sort of bug.

Congratulations to Brian Rafferty on his new job as information officer for the Long Island Rail Road. When I first met Brian, he was assistant managing editor for TimesLedger Newspapers and then moved over to the Queens Tribune as editor of that paper. This new job is a big promotion. Again, congratulations, Brian, as it is always good to hear positive news about old friends.

Former state Sen. Frank Padavan made a trip to Spain to spend the holidays with his daughter Allison, who has lived there for a number of years. I do hope they are both enjoying the visit.

That’s it for this week.

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip. I also look forward to your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com.

Till next week, Dee.

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