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11/04/2016

Dave Kuehn- an ALPCA Original

Nothing is more upsetting than to come on this blog to try to comprehend another death of a friend. Dave Kuehn was one of the first members of ALPCA I actually met in person. when I first joined back in 1994 my first meet was in New York City the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Some how I got my dad to drive me into Manhattan to a community center in the middle of the city. We arrived to ind a group of collectors from the area and surrounding states and sign on sheet. I vaguely remember actually meeting Dave but I remember him showing off rare and valuable Connecticut plates for sale. When someone inspected them Dave gave a brief history lesson on the plate, where it came from and if it was for sale. Usually he notice the young collectors at the shows and give them a few pointers on how to build  up their collections. Dave knew where we were coming from because he started collecting as a teenager himself. Dave joined ALPCA when the club still held their yearly conventions in school gymnasiums, I have heard stories of older collectors giving Dave rides before he had a drivers license. He even rode his bicycle to some meets, it was real dedication rarely found at such a young age. There have been members as young as three years old join the group, but usually the kid's father signs the kid up and pays for his dues. Dave was the older members "nephew/stepson/grandson" and they loved him, everybody loved him. They were there when he he got his license, graduated from high school, took over his father's printing business.
Dave was the start of the third generation of collectors and one of the last t o build a state collection literally one plate at a time. In today's world of eBay and e-mail groups, Dave remained "old school". He once chased a single plate for years, waiting for the owner to sell. Dave NEVER pressured anybody and appreciated the art of the deal as much as the plate itself. As Dave mentors in the club started aging, he took on more of an active role, helping run meets, taking over some, then becoming the Colonial Region's Treasurer. Dave was always good with numbers, h e helped his family printing business at a young age. Dave even printed the ALPCA Newsletter at an enormous discount, just because he want to give back to the club so much. He grew the Colonial Region to the point where the meets attracted members from across the country and around the world. I remember the first time I got to attend the Yorktown Heights meet, Dave knew how hard it was for me to attend those meets and smiled when I walked up to the registration desk. While the other members signed themselves in when it was time for me to attempt to write my name,I embarrassingly asked him for assistance. Without any fuss Dave slowly turned the book around and wrote my name. He started to write my last name and I could tell he would get stuck, everybody misspells my last name, I said "M-A-T-T-E-S" as clearly as possible. Dave smiled kind of an unspoken "Thank you". I struggled to get the bills out to pay for my admission, Dave just said what I heard millions of times before, "Take your time". Ever since that day h e has always remained my mentors.


My adventures at the 2010 ALPCA Convention were just horrible, my flight down was delayed, arrangements I thought were made fell through. When I requested a roommate, only two people responded. In dealing with the other member, he and I got our lines crossed and he wound up making other arrangements, I was left with a hefty hotel bill on my personal debit card, and no roommate. My mother back in New Jersey was horrified, I had to spend my entire bank account savings on a room. Without getting into details Dave heard of my problems and offered to split his room with me so I had money for the convention. When I assured him I would pay him back every cent, he told me he trusted me. He also reminded me he had met my folks many times an d had no problem calling them if I "got out of line". We both knew he was half joking and half dead serious. Dave always felt the need to give back, even though he gave back to ALPCA ten times over. That was who Dave Kuehn was, always giving a helping hand to people who needed it. He didn't do it for recognition, he did it because it was the right thing to do!!


Dave's sudden passing has stirred up all kinds of emotions throughout ALPCA. He remains a force within the club, not because he was an outspoken member, because of the way he treated fellow ALPCAns. Dave Kuehn LOVED ALPCA, you don't need me to write anything more. He loved the members like his own family. His knowledge of Connecticut license plate history is unmatched!Dave grew with the club, becoming one of its most caring members. Anyone that knew him, respected him, a quality few men can claim. I will miss you Dave, the talks we had, the wisdom you bestowed and the honor of being called your friend. God speed my friend!




Side note: Upon hearing about Dave's death there were immediate calls for his induction into the ALPCA Hall of Fame. In order to be inducted an ALPCA member must first be nominated and then voted on by the former ALPCA Presidents. If that happened, Dave would be the first member inducted so soon after his death. I objected not because I felt Dave isn't worthy of the honor, but the 2017 ALPCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony happens at the convention, in 2017 the convention is in Ontario California, 3,000 plus miles from Milford Connecticut, where Dave called home. The majority of Dave's ALPCA friends live on the eastern seaboard, it just wouldn't feel right. However the 2018 convention is in Valley Forge, PA. I wrote the following reply the best I could under the circumstances....it got overwhelming support


I wrote this in response to people's calls to induct Dave in the ALPCA Hall of Fame in 2017 at the convention in  Ontario California. I suggested we wait until 2018 at  the Valley Forge Convention!! 
I AGREE however talking it over with another member who was close to Dave , I think it would be best to wait until Valley Forge, PA in 2018 BECAUSE not a lot of Dave's friends can attend California. I KNOW folks might not agree, but we want to do this right. It's not a matter of IF, it's a matter of when. This is not like me but I'm not going to debate this to death. I gave my opinion, I'm basing on knowing Dave for 20+ years and I'll go along with whatever people decide.



Part of this tribute was published in the December 2016 PLATES Magazine. 





10/25/2016

7th Garden State Meet`



For the third  year in a row the American Legion Post 157 in Elmwood Park NJ played host to 62 ALPCAns and visitors. Collectors joined us  from as far away as Utah and South Carolina which made the meet all that more successful!!  Tables filled with plates made for quite of selection to buy and sell. Brothers Jon and Phil Leib once again brought an impressive collection of rare and odd New Jersey plates.  My hats off to my cohost Ed Butler who  manned the registration desk and kept the entire show running smoothly!!  Adam Garstka did another wonderful job as the official photographer for the meet . We have a great group of volunteers to keep these meets running smoothly!!   The party continued when we went over to Charlie Bloods for a late lunch and lively discussion. I again want to thank everyone who came ou t and am looking forward to doing it all again in 2017!!

Submitted by Justin Mattes, ALPCA 6748

10/19/2016

Final Debate Questions

Unlike my postings on Facebook, I have stayed away from the circus known as the 2016 US Presidential Election on my  blog. For the record I don't believe we're voting for the lesser of two evils, I believe we're voting for the lesser of two absolute psychopaths. I could spend the rest of the post outlining my thoughts on why neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton should be president. I could also lay into the sitting President of the United States for not taking a cue from the previous Commander-in-Chief and keep his mouth shut. We know who he's supporting in this race, there was never any question. It never ceases to amaze me how the first black president feels he always has to remind us he is the first black president and has to test every single boundary set forth by the men who proceeded him . Out of the many issues I had with Bill Clinton I need to give the man credit, he never went after George Bush when he and Al Gore were running. Sure he wanted his sitting VP to win, but he let the race play out even during the recount, Clinton stepped back and accepted the decision, even though it wasn't the outcome he desired.  Clinton beat Bush's father eight years earlier and Bush conceded gracefully. It's too bad, if Trump wins,  Obama won't follow the Bushes' and  Clinton's lead. Ironically if Trump wins, Hillary Clinton supporters will indeed say it was rigged

Tonight Chris Wallace moderates the third and final debate in Las Vegas, which tells me the debate commission does indeed have a sense of humor even in this serious of times. ,One of the overriding themes of this election is tone. Both Clinton and Trump have had major gaffs and have done little to recover. They both have loyal surrogates trying to smooth over the rough patches. Something to keep in mind while Trump does his rants on Twitter, Clinton seems to think all of Trump's supporter are racists. She also has a chance, as the first woman nominee of a major party to highlight other women in politics, both Democrat and Republican, who gave her this platform
OK down to business, for a better part of a year I have found the true meaning of "bipartisanship". One of my hopes for Donald Trump is he would have truly pivoted. Instead of complaining about a "rigged system" he could have over come it by suggesting ways to work aro und it. He started to do this when he stood up for Bernie Sanders during the primaries, too bad Bernie supporters or Bernie himself didn't acceptt it.  I feel sorry for Bernie in some way. Other ways I think he's completely nuts. I think I found a way to get the parties a little closer together. Chris Wallace should ask the following questions to both candidates:

1) Name one thing the opposite party represents that you support.

2) Name one thing in your own party that you don't support.

3)Let's say you had to appoint a person from the opposite party to your cabinet,what position would they hold?

4)Presidents have a special bond with their predecessors, would you seek advice from former presidents?

5)  How would personal troubles you've had in your own life affect the decisions you make as president?

6) Name something about the United States you would want the world to know that they don't already

7) What, if anything, did campaigning teach you about yourself? How can you use what you learned to help the country

8) What was the biggest risk you took during this campaign?

9) It's the day after you received your respective nomination. Besides family and your VP pick, who is the first  person you would seek advice from?

10) What is the best piece of  advice you have gotten on the campaign trail? How would you use this advice in running the country?

Again Chris Wallace has more important questions to ask than these, but I believe these  questions really give insight into both Donald Trump  and Hillary Clinton. I will post these on Facebook and Twitter




9/30/2016

Plenty to say about Speechless

ABC, the company behind hits like Rosanne, Home Improvement, Modern Family and Last Man Standing, my now second favorite show on the network, once again nailed it with Speechless. Speechless stars Micah Fowler, a teenager with CP who plays JJ  Dimeo, who has moved into a new neighborhood, going to a new high school. He uses a wheelchair and can't speak but uses a pointer and pictures to convey his thoughts and feelings. JJ's mother, Maya, played by Minnie Driver, is his protective, sometime overbearing mother is out to ensure he gets a decent education. This causes Maya and her husband, Jimmy, played by John Ross Bowie, to move JJ, their other son Ray, played by Mason Cook, and their daughter, Dylan, playeds by Kayla Kennedy

As JJ enters his new high schoolne of the requirements Maya makes to the school is to provide JJ with a full-time aide, at first they choose a hyper-active woman, but she didn't work out. I thought the writers ripped this scene out of my own life! I was cheering at the Tv he school was also physically ill-prepared to get JJ into the building and wind up getting into the building using a ramp  to take trash out. While there, they run into the janitor, Kenneth, played by Cedric Yarbrough, connection formed. JJ's first aide is this woman who babies him and is trying to please Maya too much.It's obvious she's headed out the door. The show can only handle one crazed woman, and that's Maya for sure. Halfway through the pilot JJ and Kenneth bump into each other at a fair and things click. Maya marches into school and says Kenneth should be JJ's new aide. Kenneth understands what JJ needs socially, which is  where I hope the show goes. I'm hoping Maya will let go a little and  Jimmy won't be a total dufus going forward. Although based on the shows, I listed above, it doesn't look

I went on IMDB and Facebook just to take a peek at the reviews, they were about right on par for every new show. Some loved it, most of the negative comments stemmed from Maya's treatment of other people who she thought crossed her son. While I understand this is often the basis of the comedy, it's going to grow old quickly! The writers need to lay off Maya, and focus\ on teen issues, like they did in the shows I mentioned earlier. I lost  interest in Modern Family because they overplayed their diversity message big time!!   T he audience was constantly reminded, "We're different, so you needaccept us". There wasn't any true push back to resisting inclusion, something wasn't right, it had to be corrected by the end of the show. Although some might say this is the point of these shows, I want Speechless to be "different". It's this mentality and writing style  that attracted the negative feedback.

Having Micah Fowler play JJ is a big step  in the right direction in including people with disabilities in our culture. One of the show's writers has a son with CP, which is another step in the right direction. It would be another big step if they allowed someone with CP to offer an idea for an episode or two. Someone who has been through it and knows what JJ is going through. If I were Micah I would be dropping ideas and hints to the writers, I would even allow someone t o  voice these ideas for me. If I knew the show's creators greenlighted an episode written by someone with  CP, that would leave me..........speechless.

8/17/2016

Dove in head first

When my folks put the Woodcliff Lake house on the market to move to Cape May, I made a promise to myself. I knew the Cape May had more opportunities for me for all kinds of reasons, but I needed to act quickly. The VFW next door provided a perfect n etworking tool. Unlike other bars where either my brothers and/or friends usually served as ice breakers, I marched into the VFW alone. It was again a struggle connect with folks who saw past the awkward body walking around, but I soon made friends without any external assistance. Over the course of my visits to the VFW I befriended the then police chief who immediately recognized both my skills, whit and fascination with politics. Being the radio geek and fire buff, I usually pester him with some police talk. He, seeing my genuine interest and perseverance was more than happy to comply. Of course during that time we formed a bond, hey I can't help it, and given my interest in both public safety and politics, saw me as a sounding board. It wasn't long until he was picking me up for a ride-a-long, not really just a tour in an unmarked car with his top lieutenant. I was made aware the police department and the mayor didn't always see eye-to-eye, the mayor is a real micromanager to the extreme and that caused scuffles. The current mayor resented the police chief and his head officers and has done everything to make their lives a living hell. Without tipping my hand thde chief unjustly, and in some opinions illegally, got demoted. The "ex-police chief" was, and still is, embroiled in a so-called "scandal" complete with trumped up charges and the whole nine yards courtesy of the mayor, I can't and won't go into details right now but there's no doubt the entire department is getting screwed because the current mayor is an overzealous prick. I honestly can't describe him any other way. He has to micromanage every single little things with the city, including the police, when the chief resisted, the mayor declared political war on the police. Of course me being an ardent supporter of law enforcement and my interest in politics, I managed to insert myself into this dust up. I ca n't tell you how upset I am over the treatment of the former police chief and one of his now retired lieutenants. It's weighing heavily on the entire department, every move they make under scrutiny because of a mayor intoxicated with his own power. The problem is this isn't the first time the mayor has injected himself into somewhere he doesn't belong.Being Cape May is a small town, all of this is buzzing arou faster than Flight of the Bumblebee! I could go into details but I more than likely make a major mistake and want this post to be as factual as possible! The retired lieutenant was burned and burned bad, he needed to do something. The current mayor has a history of overstepping his boundaries and the only way to stop him is to get him out of office! So my friend the lieutenant has decided to challenge the current mayor this November. This fellow has the will, desire and drive to bring honor back into the Cape May Mayor's Office. He needs a tech-savvy person to show him what happens when politics and the digital world intersect.. Take one part my interest in politics, my computer skills and my need to find a niche in my new hometown, I was drafted for the position! Now i'm assisting with Facebook updates, trying to explain twitter and getting a man into the position I feel only he can fill.