A million new trees

As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s visionary PlaNYC, the Parks Department is hard at work on a comprehensive plan to plant one million new trees and expects to release details this fall.
We are already fully funded to fill ALL open street tree pits around the city and to reforest almost 2,000 acres of natural areas and are assembling a task force of experts who will advise us on all aspects of the plan. Planting locations will be determined based on the greatest need for canopy cover.
Abby Lootens
Press Officer
NYC Parks & Recreation

Points on citizenship
I recently received mail from the Board of Elections. It contained information regarding upcoming elections and my polling place. Half the announcement was in English, the rest was in other languages.
Consider this:
1) Only citizens can vote in these elections.
2) To be a citizen one has to have been born here or naturalized.
3) To be naturalized, one has to demonstrate a basic understanding of English as well as some fundamental knowledge of government and civics.
C. Tan

Queens Courier gets a note of thanks
I want to thank both The Queens Courier and your reporter, Victor G. Mimoni, for the very nice article that appeared in your paper this week. We at Lifespire Bowling are very proud of our bowlers and our volunteers who help make our program so successful. Each year our bowlers cannot wait for the season to begin. I would love for one of your reporters to come to Jib Lanes and watch our group in action. I do wish to make one thing clear however; Lifespire is not based in Queens. Our corporate offices are in the Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. We serve as many as 5,000 Mentally Challenged people, including those with Down syndrome, autism and brain damage. Thanks again for the article.
Larry Hirsch

Good catch!
In response to the August 30, “Easy pass for airport lines,” LaGuardia Airport is not an international airport.
Martin Newbrief
Howard Beach

Fed up with forecasters
For the last several days, the weather forecasters have been constantly talking about a weather disturbance sitting off the East coast. Some of these experts, AccuWeather, even had the audacity to predict that this would evolve into a Category 2 hurricane. Now, these clowns are predicting that it will not even be a tropical storm. Every forecaster, from Weather Channel to AccuWeather to TV and radio should stop the unnecessary media hype. I am fed up with your continually inconsistent and incorrect forecasts!
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Go Direct program
I read Jim Miller’s Savvy Seniors column in The Queens Courier’s last issue that included tips for seniors on how to avoid scams. One of his points was to avoid fraud by using direct deposit. I thought your readers would benefit from learning about the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Go Direct campaign, which encourages Social Security check recipients to use direct deposit to safeguard their payments.
Go Direct makes signing up for direct deposit easy. All beneficiaries have to do is call the Go Direct bilingual toll-free helpline at 1-800-333-1795 or they can enroll online at www.GoDirect.org (English) or www.DirectoASuCuenta.org (Spanish). The process is free and it takes just a few minutes.
“Currently, New York state residents receive more than 740,000 federal benefit payments each month by paper check instead of direct deposit - which puts them at greater risk for fraud and identity theft,” said Alvina McHale, Go Direct project director for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Management Service. In fact, according to Treasury, more than 57,000 federal benefit checks - totaling $54 million - were forged in 2006 alone.
Alexandra Gorbokon
Go Direct Campaign Coordinator

New principal uproar
I cannot believe the tasteless nonsense that continues to surround the changes to Nativity BVM School and Sister Marguerite Torre. As a product of the parochial school system and someone who respects the excellence that a Catholic education brings, I am floored by the din that has erupted over bringing in a new principal to what is essentially, a new school.
No merger is easy, whether in the world of business or education. Human beings in general do not like change, and some feathers are bound to be ruffled. However, what I have seen, heard, and read regarding Sister Marguerite is worthy of the Jerry Springer show. I wonder if the media would be so concerned about it if her brother were Joe the butcher, instead of Yankees manager Joe Torre.
Instead of being grateful that the parishioners of both Nativity and St. Stanislaus still have a Catholic school to send their kids to, we see this petty, childish behavior that is more at home in a schoolyard than in the offices of those professing to care about quality education.
I do not know Sister Marguerite, but I have no doubt that much of the loyalty she inspires is due to her gifts as an educator. I do know Sister Frances (the new principal), and she is a gifted, responsible, and warm person who has already served as a beloved principal at St. Stan’s.
Will everyone please move on? Let Sister Frances do her job and let Sister Marguerite retire in peace. The foundation of a good, Catholic education is a gift to every child lucky enough to experience it - and the NY Yankees have nothing to do with it!
Ann Rychlenski
Ozone Park

Letters To The Editor
Email us your letters to editorial@ queenscourier.com for publication in The Queens Courier or send them to The Queens Courier, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361, attention: Editorial Department. Please include name and contact information.

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