Republican governors, take note!

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i LOOOOOVED the story that broke nationwide yesterday about Gov. Sanford of South Carolina, who gave that rambling, tearful “apology” during a news conference about the affair he’d been having with an Argentinian woman. The most bizarre part was when he beat around the bush (pardon the expression) for at least 10 minutes talking about how he’d organized a hiking club (when was that, about 30 years ago?) in college. He was really getting into it, even recalling the price he’d charged them ($60). For a while i thought he was going to launch into a story about the time a wolf took their cookies, and completely forget the whole point of the news conference!

The best part, though, was when he FINALLY said he’d been having an affair, and then manfully announced his decision to resign … from the Republican Governors Association! Doesn’t he know that’s one of the few groups in the U.S. where he’ll always be welcome?

MEMO TO REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS: When you betray your wife, have the decency do it like New York’s governors do: Take the woman to a hotel room in THIS COUNTRY, so taxpayers don’t have to pay for your airfare to Buenos Aires!

New Contest: Think Like a Creep!

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OK, i’m sick of various police agencies not-finding Laura Garza. Either she ran away to join the circus, or she’s dead because some creep killed her and “did something” with her body.

The question is: Assuming it’s the latter, then WHERE could her body be?

I walk around Newburgh, every chance i get. I always learn something, meet someone new or someone i know, or find something fun, fascinating or photographable. I also can’t help noticing that there are a lot of places here where a creep could toss a body — and this is a city of only 3.8 square miles. Today I walked to Dairy Island–the best ice-cream stand in America, if you ask me. It’s only 6 blocks from my house, and on the way I counted four distinct places where a creep could throw a body.

Let’s start at Dairy Island itself. It sits on a small plot in the midst of an asphalt lot on South Robinson Avenue, also known as Rt. 9W, one of the most heavily-trafficked thoroughfares in the city. On a hot day, at least a dozen cars and trucks are in that lot at any given time from noon to 10 p.m. Some visitors sit on the narrow bench just outside the tiny building to eat their ice-cream or the fried food Dairy Island sells, and to drink their sodas or shakes. Others prefer to sit in their vehicles with their treats, listening to music or a game on the radio, air-conditioning going full-blast. Walk-ups stroll away enjoying their twist with jimmies or their root-beer float, as i did today. But not many are aware that just a few yards beyond the narrow stand of woods that surrounds that parking lot on two sides is a well-mowed field with a makeshift memorial featuring a cross that says: “RIP Robin Rivera Jr., March 2, 1987 – May 13, 2006.” This was a 19-year-old who crossed paths with one of Newburgh’s gangs a few years ago. He was murdered and his body dumped in the woods right beside Dairy Island, where hundreds of people hang out every single day and night from June through September, but where practically no one goes during the rest of the year. Robin Rivera’s body wasn’t found for weeks.

On my way home, i passed three huge, vacant lots bordered by trees, bushes and tall grass — two on Deyo Place and one on Bridge Street — plus one scary, vacant brick warehouse whose door is partly ajar. I peek inside, but it’s all pitch-black. Is anyone in there, dead or alive?

Sometimes i jog (OK, maybe it’s better described as “walking”) at Stewart Preserve, near Stewart Airport. It’s quiet and beautiful, and filled with wildlife. But if you wanted to toss a body somewhere, it’s not far from the parking lot to hundreds of acres of some pretty deep woods. And on my drive out to the Preserve, i can’t help noticing the swamp right across Rt. 207 from Little Britain Elementary School. Could Laura Garza’s body be in there? What about the woods off either side of the new Rt. 747, which leads to the airport? There are lots of “weird places” like that right in our own back yards where no one ever goes, but which might be a perfect spot to dump a body.

Do you see my point? I bet we all pass some “weird places” every day, where a body could be tossed and not found for weeks, months or longer. Weird places where no one would think to look for Laura Garza.

Her family hasn’t given up, and i’m not giving up. Join me: Let this be your summer to “Think Like a Creep!” Send in suggestions for places you know of where a creep might have put Laura Garza’s body. I promise to forward your best ideas to the cops.