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It’s Thursday, Dec. 27 as I write this. The first thing I heard on the radio this morning was of the death of Benazir Bhutto, who would most probably have won the Jan. 8 election in Pakistan. She was loved by her people. Mrs. Bhutto never shied away from crowds or feared for her safety. Her father, a staunch fighter for democracy, had been hanged several years ago. She had friends, brothers, and followers who had also been assassinated in their fight for democracy, but she remained undaunted. It is a tragic loss for Pakistan and I don’t see how the country can recover from this tragic event. There doesn’t seem to be anyone to take her place.

Getting on now with the business a bit closer to home, here is birthday girl Thalia Becker on her first Christmas Eve birthday blowing out her first birthday candle. Ya Ya holds her precious charge and offers encouragement. Without any help, Thea (as she will probably be called) did the deed and is on her way into year number two. Thalia’s sisters are Josie and Georgia Becker; mom is Desiree and daddy is middle school teacher Jim Becker. Grandpa John Becker has been a lifelong Forest Park resident.

Welcome home to Ben and Jamie Curran from several stops in Utah where they visited family and old school friends from BYU. Ben is back at Loyola med school now.

David Jones and Rodney Paul began the Christmas season with a Caribbean cruise and ended it with a trip to visit family in Arizona. Dog Lars spent time with “Aunt” April and “Uncle” Ed Moroney.

Tai Chi classes at the Community Center begin Friday, Jan. 11 and cost $25. Call 771-7737 for more information. On Jan. 11 the movie “Hairspray” will be shown at the center at 1 p.m. No reservations required; free popcorn will be served. It’s a movie about the ’60s, big hair, lots of dancing. It starts at 1 p.m.

Dominican University has some exciting events planned for ’08. On Sunday, Jan. 27 the Ethel with Kaotic Drumline will be featured at 3 p.m. in Lund Auditorium. Tickets are $26. These Julliard trained musicians do not want to be called a string quartet, and prefer to be known as a band. Their exploration on American music seems to be a combination of grass-roots bluegrass, Jerome Kern and James Brown. The “Pacifica Quartet” will be on the program Feb. 17.

On to birthdays:

January 8, Kathy Leninger, Tina Marcantonio, Charlie Vederal; Jan. 9, Danielle Riske, Phil Bohnert and 1-year-old Brianna Dodge; on the 10th, Guy Lentini, John Boy, Kirsten Bjornson, Mary Gallela; Jan. 11, Victoria Burdett; on the 12th, Nancy Blum, Ryan Farrell, Ellen Krupa; Jan. 13, Jacqui Gillian, John Gillian, Sue Bracker, Erika Goodman, Sean Goodman, Martha Lichtenberg, Timothy X. Lane; on the 14th of January, Rajiv Hirandandi, Mary Virginia Sedlack, Michael Bjornson.

Ah choo, thanks for taking the time. Fah lah minderis.