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MAN GETS TO KNOW HIS NEIGHBORS.



Byline: Dennis McCarthy Dennis McCarthy may refer to:
  • Dennis McCarthy (composer), (born 1945), an American composer
  • Dennis McCarthy (congressman), (19th century) Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1885
  • Dennis McCarthy MBE (radio presenter), British radio presenter
 

NORTHRIDGE Everybody likes Michael.

He's the neighborhood host, town crier CRIER. An inferior officer of a court, whose duty it is to open and adjourn the court, when ordered by the judges; to make proclamations and obey the directions of the court in anything which concerns the administration of justice. , traffic cop, pet finder finder, in law. Ordinarily the finder of lost property is entitled to retain it against anyone except the owner. It is larceny, however, for the finder to keep the property if he knows or can easily determine who owns it.  and father confessor father confessor
n.
1. A priest who hears confessions.

2. A person in whom one confides.
 on this stretch of Chase Street in Northridge, where he lives.

Every day, weather permitting, this warm, affable af·fa·ble  
adj.
1. Easy and pleasant to speak to; approachable.

2. Gentle and gracious: an affable smile.
 52-year-old quadriplegic quadriplegic /quad·ri·ple·gic/ (-ple´jik)
1. of, pertaining to, or characterized by quadriplegia.

2. an individual with quadriplegia.
 leaves the home he shares with his parents, Marie and Chuck MacCannell, and makes the rounds of the neighborhood in his wheelchair - stopping to talk, listen and keep his neighbors posted on what's happening on their block.

On the good days, when his strength holds up, he heads over to California State University, Northridge CSUN offers a variety of programs leading to bachelor's degrees in 61 fields and master's degrees in 42 fields. The university has over 150,000 alumni. It's also home to a summer musical theater/theater program known as TADW (TeenAge Drama Workshop) that leads teenagers through an , about half a mile away, to talk to the students on campus and see how they're doing.

Maybe it's the wheelchair or maybe it's the warm smile on his face, but everybody seems to want to give Michael their time without question.

``I just like to talk to people and listen to their stories,'' he says, modestly.

The guy would have made a heck of a politician or newspaper reporter if given the chance. But he wasn't.

An airplane accident in 1971 while serving as a Navy pilot killed any dreams Michael had of an active career after Vietnam. But it couldn't kill his active mind and big heart.

Take a stroll down Chase Street with him now, and it's easy to see why everybody likes Michael. He cares.

``Michael stops by my house just to talk and see how I'm doing, always asking after my kids and grandkids, too,'' says Mickey Kommel, who has lived on Chase Street for 43 years. ``You can tell he cares, that he genuinely wants to know.

``He's like our town crier, knows everybody, and everybody knows and likes him. Michael just makes you smile and feel good when you see him coming down the block toward you.''

It's that way up and down Chase Street, and over on Sunburst Street where Judy and Milt Rosen live.

``I've been watching him for years riding around the neighborhood in his wheelchair, stopping to talk to people and make them smile,'' Judy said.

``We've had long talks about the neighborhood and life, and I always come away from them feeling so good and positive about things,'' she said. ``He's such a sweetie, and a brave guy.''

A special guy, too. An active guy who climbed mountains for the challenge before he went into the service and came home a quadriplegic.

But you'll hear no old war stories from him, his mother says, because that's not what her son is all about.

Being out there in his wheelchair now visiting the neighbors, or online over the computer with friends, or talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
lecture, speech

rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to
 the students over at CSUN CSUN California State University Northridge  about anything that's on their minds, that's what Michael MacCannell is all about.

``He'll come home from being out most of the day and be anxious to tell me about all the people he met and talked to,'' Marie says.

``About the lady with the trained doves, and the kids flying electric airplanes An electric airplane an airplane that runs on electric motors rather than internal combustion engines, with electricity coming from fuel cells, solar cells, and/or batteries.  with their dads. About the beautiful new flowers coming up in a neighbor's yard, and the lost kid he gave directions home to.

``My son just loves to talk to people and listen to their stories.''

And that's why everybody likes Michael.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Michael MacCannell chats with Mickey Kommel, a resident in his Chase Street neighborhood. MacCannell serves as the greeter and town crier for his Northridge neighborhood.

Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer
COPYRIGHT 2000 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Article Details
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 16, 2000
Words:571
Previous Article:NEW CHILD-CARE CENTER CONSIDERED.
Next Article:BABYDOL SENTENCED TO 3 YEARS.



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