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Neighbor to Neighbor: Good and bad news about SE Queens life

By Barbara Morris

One afternoon around Thanksgiving, I stopped in at Pathmark at Merrick and Springfield boulevards to pick up film left to be developed. To the left of the customer service desk, I noticed a pile of empty jewelry cases on the floor in disarray. When I called the situation to the attention of the manager, he just shook his head in disgust and told me it seemed someone had stolen all the watches that had been in those boxes. Shame on that person!Equally obnoxious as far as I'm concerned are those people who pick up packages of perishable food, carry them around while shopping, and then decide they are unwanted and stash them away in some far distant, unrelated area of the store where they stay long enough to spoil. These people would not admit to being thieves I suspect, but those running any store would likely classify them as such. And they could possibly cause someone purchasing that spoiled product to become ill. Remember that store operators must control their losses by raising prices. If you see someone who is just too lazy to return an unwanted item to its proper place, please at least alert a store employee. In the case of Pathmark, I must admit – especially after my efforts against that company building in that location – they have trained their employees well. They are extremely accommodating and are to be commended.This unusual weather has been somewhat of a blessing to our area of southeast Queens because it has permitted the Department of Parks and Recreation to increase the number of tree pits along Merrick Boulevard and to plant new trees to try to help clean the air. We would prefer to think the best of everyone, but when we see so much willingness to disregard the rules for proper courtesy and behavior, the most generous thing I can think of to say about repeat offenders is that they are thoughtless. Let's all try harder to make our area as nice as it can be and we'll all be better for it.Luckily, a lot of good things are happening, too.Representatives from Citizens Against Graffiti Everywhere (CAGE), civic groups and other citizens, attended the sentencing of a notorious graffiti vandal named Kiko.This individual was deemed so dangerous that he was escorted into the court by multiple officers. His sentence, six months on Rikers Island, was the first time a graffiti offender has received this sentence in Queens. Additionally, he is to pay $25,000 restitution. Once released, Oliver “Kiko” Sciandre will be on parole for 4-1/2 years. Jamaica Postmaster James Burns hosted a holiday party at The White House Restaurant, 10-24 154th St., in Whitestone, for members of the Jamaica Postal Advisory Council and Jamaica Post Office staff who have been involved in special postal activities. The Jamaica Post Office and its Postal Advisory Council has earned the reputation of being the most involved with the communities it serves.Through work in the Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces, many groups now share information and activities apart from their own areas. Some southeast Queens resident volunteers were fortunate enough to be invited to other holiday events as well as those that were local. Although I much appreciated all invitations, there were many I couldn't attend. Three of those events were the Federated Blocks of Laurelton, Assemblyman William Scarborough's holiday open house and Good Shepherd Church's Christmas presentation, “Angels On the Avenue.” I'm sorry we couldn't have joined all those good folks in their fun time, but certainly wish them and all of you a safe, healthy, and happy 2007.I am glad we could get to visit with old friends and new at North Bellerose Civic Association, Queens Colony Civic Association, Inc., Lost Community Civic Association and Rocky Hill Civic Association. State Sen. Frank Padavan attended the latter civic as well as one at Queens Colony, where he swore in elected officers for their new term. Congratulations to all of them.I enjoyed the fellowship, food, drink and the excitement of surprise re-acquaintances and door prizes. Even as Fred Kress, president of Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces, his family, and I attended wonderful Christmas concerts at St. Francis Preparatory School, we met folks with whom we are acquainted: Rosedale's Mrs. Chimienti; TimeLedger's Joanne Gazzara, whose sophomore son was a performer; and the most informative speaker from the Queens Zoo, Tom Hurtubise, who educated us about the zoo's new exhibits and other good works while we attended the great party at Rocky Hill Civic Association, and whose daughter is one of the talented students.We hope all the holidays have been happy and safe for everyone and we hope that same good fortune extends into 2007 and beyond. Make at least one “keeper” resolution for 2007…visit Queens Zoo, 53-51 111th St., in Flushing.

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