By Barbara Morris
A lot of important things have happened since my last column appeared in this paper. Our prayers for rain have begun to be answered but drought regulations have become a reality; The Constellation, “The Newsletter of the Local Development Corporation of Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens,” hit the streets; and some very deserving folks received awards.
Save water is the rule of the day. Pull out your broom to clean your sidewalk and street instead of hosing it; turn off ornamental fountains; don’t wash your car; make sure your dishwasher and washing machine each has a full load before turning it on; refrigerate drinking water and be creative about other ways you can conserve this very precious resource.
Protecting water should be everyone's goal. Manuel Caughman has been doing just that and was honored by Assemblyman William Scarborough at the Radisson Hotel on March 29. Caughman has been very concerned about the environment for many years and joined the Queens Coalition for Parks when it was formed. Caughman’s other work with the Brinkerhoff Action Association alerted Assemblyman Scarborough and others that we would have to try to prevent toxic water from being introduced into our drinking water by using some area groundwater.
Besides receiving a beautiful plaque, Mr. Caughman has been made head of the related committee working with Mr. Scarborough's task force. Incidentally, those task force meetings usually are held the last Saturday of the month, are extremely informative, and are open to the public. For more information, please call 718-657-5312.
Another honoree that evening was Bess DeBetham, well known to our communities through her work with Community Board 13, as office manager for Juanita Watkins while she was our New York City council member, and as a board member of The Federated Blocks of Laurelton. In mid-year 2001, Assemblyman Scarborough conceived an idea that turned into the Local Development Springfield Gardens. DeBetham is chairwoman of that organization, with Assistant Chairman Frederick J. Kress.
That organization’s newsletter, The Constellation, notes that the Local Development Corporation’s purpose is “to improve the residential and business communities by advocating for improved services, attracting government and private funding to the area, and by being a resource for information and education in the target areas.” Through Scarborough, the LDC is pushing to have Merrick Boulevard resurfaced from Cross Island Parkway to Baisley Boulevard.
Brighter lights will replace present lighting along Merrick Boulevard from the county line to Springfield Boulevard, enhancing security at night, and, I hope, attracting shoppers. This project also was funded by Scarborough at the request of Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens. Similar street resurfacing and lighting will begin soon after on the 243rd Street commercial strip in Rosedale. The LDC/LRSG already has had many meetings with various groups including the police, sanitation, merchant representatives, and other service providers.
The LDC/LRSG Board also is privileged to have the district manager of Community Board 13 as a member. The group, De Betham as its chairwoman, already has made considerable progress and we are expecting to see more exciting initiatives in the near future.
Education is another major concern being addressed by Scarborough. The organization known as Positive Directions has been working very hard with young people for more than 25 years. Although youths seek them out for basketball, they soon discover that to participate they must achieve and maintain good grades. The honors given those who run this program certainly were well deserved.
Honors also went to William Thompson, comptroller of the city. Everyone wanted him to receive an award because he takes care of our money. Thank you, Mr. Scarborough, for good choices.