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Neighbor to Neighbor: Precinct community councils honored

Part of the exhibit, the "Panorama of The City of New York," is permanent and well worth a visit to the museum on its own merits. Our Queens communities, meticulously depicted in miniature, are viewed from a surrounded glass walk. As viewers travel around the miniature borough, the "daylight" dims to "twilight" followed by "night," making the city lights look like diamonds, just as they would from the sky over us. By the breaking of "dawn," we have completed an entire, fascinating tour of Queens. It is an interesting experience, to say the least. I had attended, not only as a member of the 105th Precinct Community Council, but also as a member of the Queens Coalition of Parks and Green Spaces with my teammates, Frederick J. Kress and Joseph Locoteta.We left the "Panorama of The City of New York," looking forward to mingling with Rose Funderburk, our council's president and her husband, Major; other board members; Helen Powell; Della Brown and her husband; Buella Wilson, Marion Hawkins and Amelia Kent. Community Affairs Officer Nicole Dean sat with us briefly as we munched on the cheese, crackers and fruit refreshments provided, as her community affairs sidekick, Pete Dwyer, circulated, greeting people and, I suspect, telling some people there not in the know that his retirement was about to take place. (We certainly wish him and former Laurelton Community Policing Officer James Walsh, lately in charge of auxiliary officers, happiness, good health and safety for ever after, in retirement or wherever their paths take them.)The 105th's Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector Steven O'Brien was with us as well, as was Assistant Chief Thomas Dale, Commander Patrol Borough Queens South; Sgt. Penny Walthal and P.O. Janice McDaniel, from his office. I suspect every Queens commanding officer was there too.We saw lots of friends from the Citizens' Police Academy, including Bill Buzzone, Heidi Chain, and my former academy classmate, Maria Thompson. Time moved too quickly for us to visit everyone. In fact, we unfortunately missed an opportunity to have our pictures taken with Borough President Marshall, because at that same time, were due at a nearby venue, taking a class given by Doug Still of the Department of Parks and Recreation for volunteers willing to be trained to trim Queens street trees to look for evidence that would indicate attacks on tree-damaging insects, such as the Asian Longhorned Beetle, blights, or whatever threatens the city's urban forests.Although we left the event honoring precinct community councils early, our pruning class was already well underway when we arrived. And that was to be our last class before we were scheduled to prove our skills on the streets of Woodside on May 21, a necessary part of the course if we were to be authorized to perform as future volunteer street tree "doctors." Again, there was a conflict of schedules, and I had to tell Ann Marie Illery that I could not attend (what I'm sure was) the very important wedding shower that same day and time for Andrea Monique Duncan and Councilman James Sanders, Jr., at the J.F.K. Radisson Hotel. Believe me, I thought of that special event as our class moved with our teacher, from tree-to-tree, dragging bags of mulch, garbage bags, saws, loppers, hand clippers, soil claws, twine, garbage bags and bottles of water.First, we identified the variety of tree, and were asked to repeat the good and bad qualities of each. Maple trees, for instance, are the favorite host of deadly Asian Longhorned Beetles (although many other varieties taste good to them, too). Maples, London Plaintrees, Oaks and others that grow tall have stabilizing roots that often tend to raise sidewalks.We were warned that the Ailanthus Altissim (that palm-like "tree grows in Brooklyn" tree) that grows like a weed, is not planted by the city because it breaks easily and has an offensive odor. Similarly, the city only plants male Ginko Biloba trees (trees with fan-shaped leaves) because female trees of that species have an odor to be avoided. Be warned!

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