Today’s news:

Queens Botanical Garden 9/11 fund blooms to $20K

A $10,000 grant from the Mushroom Trust in Scotland will be contributed to the fund named for Neil Levin, the executive director of the Port Authority who died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center two years ago.

"Our funding is roughly 60 percent government and 40 percent private," Board Chairman Frank Mirovsky said. "(It's great) that people from the other side of the Atlantic contributed."

Mirovsky is also a Port Authority employee. He said the fund was established on Sept. 16 with a $5,000 donation from the Port Authority and has grown from there.

Board member Magda Salvesen secured the grant when she was visiting her home country of Scotland last year.

"It's a trust that's interested in parks and public places and city gardens," she said. "They were extremely interested in the new ideas that had to do with sustainability."

Money was not the only new guest at the meeting Tuesday.

Three new trustees, Katie Fogarty, James Riso and Michael Celenza took their seats at their first official board meeting as well.

Fogarty, a former public relations specialist who is currently at home in Forest Hills with her two young children, said she joined the board because she has spare time now that she is not a full-time employee.

"It's a very active board and very skills-based," she said.

Celenza, the operations manager at Charmer Industries, a wine and liquor distributing company in Queens, said he lives in Brooklyn but works in the borough.

He said the former borough president, Claire Shulman, contacted him about the position on the board, which is why he decided to join.

The third new member, Riso, a developer in Bayside who no longer lives in Queens, said he is serving on the board as a public service.

"I've been a lifelong Queens resident, we've done work in Flushing," he said. "I felt it was my obligation to give back to the community."

Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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