By Barbara Morris
When southeast Queens was deeply engulfed in drug and other criminal activity, walking along Merrick Boulevard one afternoon, I noticed a cute little poodle sticking its head out of a parked car. It was so cute, I stopped to talk to the owner, a young man sitting behind the steering wheel waiting for his wife to finish shopping in a nearby fruit store.Although he was probably a little surprised to have a stranger approach him as I did, he was very polite and willing to chat. I confessed that I have always loved animals and had worked for the American Kennel Club, where many people employed had been involved in law enforcement. Strangely enough, the little poodle's owner told me he, too, was involved in law enforcement, as an assistant district attorney. I was impressed. As we exchanged concerns about local crime and problems with local youths, I became hopefully confident that things here might get better sooner than I had anticipated.When I was told our communities were going to try to work closely with the district attorney's office, I did not hesitate to suggest our nearby neighbor/poodle owner, whose name is Kenneth Holder.Through the years, Kenneth Holder has proven himself to be honest, just, brave, forthright and enthusiastic about seeing things improve. It wasn't too long ago that one of my columns congratulated Kenneth Holder on becoming a judge. It was quite an accomplishment, but he remained unpretentious. All of us who have followed his career and have long ago considered him our friend felt there would still be more to come some day.Immediately following a very busy year-end holiday season, during the first 2008 meeting of the Jamaica Postal Advisory Council on Jan. 8, one of my fellow members, Manny Gaughman, who works for Assemblyman William Scarborough and is involved in an endless number of other community projects, passed around a photograph taken at one of the many events he attends. As the photo came my way, someone asked him about the other gentleman in the picture. Manny answered, “That's Ken Holder, now a Supreme Court judge.” I quickly joined the conversation and said, proudly, “He's my friend.” We are so proud! We are also happy to find that someone deserving has been rewarded. We have nary a doubt that he will keep up the good work. So, we truly hope that everyone who has been inclined to ignore or disobey the laws meant to protect our communities will be forewarned and turn over a new leaf. Let's all cooperate so that Ken Holder's (now Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder's) vision of an improved, safe southeast Queens is met. Everyone will benefit.Happy, healthy, prosperous, safe 2008 to everyone, particularly our very own Queens Supreme Court Justice Holder.