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Take time to volunteer and improve your community

Are you proud of your community? Many people and groups have been working hard to make improvements to theirs.

The folks from Evangel Temple on Merrick Boulevard between 227th and 228th streets have been and are still doing their share. Their new church building is gorgeous. While the work was being done, each night the work area was left clean.

Farther down the boulevard, Walgreens had trouble with the folks it had hired to maintain its landscaping. When I stopped in and spoke to one of the folks in charge, the situation was corrected immediately.

Many businesses have new awnings, and both City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) and state Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-St. Albans) have invested some of our tax dollars in additional, fancier street refuse baskets.

Neat new stores have been added nearer to Springfield Boulevard. Some business people have tried to plant flowers or bushes and the city Parks Department has tried to improve things by adding new trees.

Lack of adequate parking has long been a problem, which could be alleviated if local residents walked to stores. Walking is one of the most highly recommended forms of exercise, which most people, unfortunately, do not attempt. Double-parking is a serious problem that is not only dangerous, but gives the impression that there is little community order.

Added to that notion, just look at the mess on the sidewalks and in the streets, tree pits and trees. Trees are special plants. They have the ability to help turn dirty air into clean air. This is a valuable quality for any community, but especially so in a community where people suffer from asthma.

Damaging street trees is a punishable offense. Only people approved by Parks are permitted to prune street trees. It gives courses in tree pruning periodically for both ground and climbing pruning. There is a charge, but the city often hires proficient climbers. For more information, call 311.

We are faced with a challenge. All too often at meetings, I hear attendees express the feeling that other communities may be given better services than we in southeast Queens. I will tell you one thing I have noted, especially when I was working with a group painting over graffiti in one of those neater communities: You will be stopped if you are suspected of wrong-doing.

We were spraying a mailbox one day when two women drove up and started hollering at us, threatening to call the police. I have no doubt they would have done that had they not been satisfied with our explanation. When neighbors have seen me scold people for littering, they tell me, "You'd better watch out. You never know how someone may try to retaliate."

We must find solutions to fixing mess-ups. If you have a solution, tell any organization to which you belong or write to me at: Laurelton Times, 41-02 Bell Blvd., Bayside, N.Y. 11361. We will all be grateful.

P.S. Prison work release people will not be available until 2009.

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