The James V. Harmon Community Center in Hastings plays host to discussions of some of the most controversial current issues in the news. Every Tuesday and Thursday at noon, anyone who is interested can drop in and discuss some of the hottest topics ranging all the way from the war in Afghanistan to the scandal Anthony Weiner created for himself.
Nine men and women surrounded the long table in the community center Tuesday afternoon as a suited Stephen Stepanchev acted as the mediator of the group. Stepanchev, a retired Queens College professor, read from a list of topics and helped to generate discussions within the group. The most pronounced observation of the group was that nearly every person in attendance was a senior citizen. The group discussed the continuing United States presence in the Middle East with heated opinions flying around the room.
"You're not doing anything, but dying and wasting money and ruining American lives," said Hastings resident Joe Cohen.
Some disagreed with the recent killing of Osama Bin Laden as they tossed back and forth the idea of revenge as opposed to justice. Even the new era of stock markets was debated in the small conference room. As each of those in attendance has decades of experience dealing with national issues, the lagging economy became a hot button topic.
"You need to put people back to work and let them have a sense of accomplishment," Cohen said.
The group meets twice a week and it is clearly more than just a stimulating activity for the regular members. The current events discussions are filled with intelligent debates as many reel off one statistic after another to aid their arguments. This is not an event for the uninformed, but it is one that the members encourage new people to attend. More information on when the group meets can be found in the Hastings recreational calendar .
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