We arrived at Asheville, North Carolina after a short, two-hour trip on Delta Airlines. Our destination was the historic, gracious Biltmore Estate. It was our first visit to the lush, green land of North Carolina.
For 50 years, since my graduation from NYU College of Dentistry, I have been affiliated with a hospital. I have been witness to hundreds of young dental graduates who are now experienced and successful practitioners.
In an August 11 press release, County Executive Ed Mangano complains that “Assemblyman Charles Levine” was unduly critical of his plan to reduce the effective Nassau County Police presence for the entire North Shore by merging the 2nd and 6th Precincts.
Throughout the 11-plus years I have been writing this column, I have always appreciated mail. Mail lets the columnist know what his/her readership is thinking. In the past month I have received some interesting letters (e-mail) and I will pass them on to you.
From my pal Joey in the Bronx. A former teacher, Joey (Yussel) reads the column online every week. This is his response to the column Ellen of July 23:
Stan, beautifully written! That is all.
Shorebirds, especially small ones, are difficult to distinguish from one another. I first became familiar with a few shorebirds, large and small, in their brilliant summer plumages on Cape Cod beaches in the 1990s. Last winter on a Longboat Key, Florida beach I slowly came to recognize a number of shorebirds in their dull winter plumages and observed things about them, which I hadn’t before. These accidental discoveries gave me a fuller picture of each bird’s behavior and a greater appreciation of them.
A group of 35 to 40 red knots are feeding on a raised wet sand mound that resembles a whale’s back beginning to rise from the water. Plump sandpipers, their breasts appear covered with small pale dots. In late February those breasts appear to be getting darker, a sign that the knots are morphing into their rust colored breeding plumage. One bird has both a green and a yellow tag on its legs, showing that it was banded twice. Because they plunge their pencil-thin black bills into the wet sand, which come up glistening, I’ve begun calling them “pencil pushers.” These birds take hard-shelled tiny creatures from the sand, which are crushed in their sinewy stomachs.
There has been a profound change in My Old Gang. I guess, at 75 years of age, I would still like to see my old friends as they were at 17 years of age.
Lorraine and I attended a 75th birthday celebration (not a surprise party) for one of my oldest pals. He is my age, but has gone through a difficult bout with Mesothelioma. He lost a lung, but he keeps on ticking.
I’m writing to invite veterans and Boy and Girl Scouts to participate in a unique initiative I am bringing to our community: The Library of Congress’s Veterans Oral History Project. Too often, the sacrifices that our veterans make are forgotten with time. As the years go by, the stories and legacies of the Greatest Generation – those who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II – are passing with those who fought.
Last spring brought the tragic news of the death of Yeardley Love, a member of the University of Virginia (UVA) women’s lacrosse team, allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend, a UVA men’s lacrosse team player, in an alcohol-fueled fit of rage. Both teams competed in NCAA championship tournaments after Love was buried.
The last two weeks, Lorraine and I were involved in “Surprise Parties”. At a surprise party, you are not allowed to be late…or you will ruin the surprise. That is the most callous thing a person can do- ruin the surprise.
One of the very best judges I worked with when I practiced law was Michael B. Mukasey, who went on to serve with great distinction as our Attorney General under President George W. Bush. Judge Mukasey had a favorite saying: “If not for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.”
Of the six years I have been privileged to serve in the State Assembly, this is the first in which Albany has failed to deliver an on-time budget. While some might say that five out of six is not a bad average, every New Yorker has now experienced the havoc and anxiety resulting from the failure of state government to produce New York’s budget before the expiration of “the last minute.”
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