Tag Archives: citizens

Glendale community garden awarded compost grant

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Glendale community garden is getting $750 of seed money from the Citizens Committee of New York City to expand its composting capabilities.

“Soil is complicated stuff,” said Gian D’Elia, a Glendale resident who runs the garden, located on 88th Street and 74th Avenue, and applied for the grant  in March. “People just buy a bag of soil and that’s it. They don’t really think about what goes into it.”

The community garden was opened in 2009 by Community Board 5 member Dorie Figliola. Since then, D’Elia became increasingly involved in the garden and it now boasts a bee colony, and all kinds of herbs and fruits.

The garden also has a composting system, the process of breaking down organic trash into a soil additive, but with the grant money they will be able to add three new bins that will churn out fresh compost at a higher rate. D’Elia hopes to get more Glendale residents involved in the process at a time when the community is undergoing its own compost conversion under the city’s pilot program.

“The idea is to get the community involved,” D’Elia said. “Because it’s really a shame that we’re throwing all this usable trash into landfills.”

For now, there are three, sometimes four, households that supply the garden with trash for the compost and they’re hoping that by getting more people involved they will also be able to expand the garden. D’Elia wants to get a few chickens and plant more fruits and vegetables at the site.

“I want to get some chickens here. Chicken poop is great for compost,” D’Elia said. “As we continue to grow we’ll be able to process more compost and supply the whole neighborhood [with compost].”



New citizens sworn in at Queens Center

| amanning@queenscourier.com


“I pledge allegiance to the flag…” rang out the voices of 30 children who had become citizens of the United States just moments before the patriotic ceremony held at the Queens Center Mall.

The young men and women were administered the Oath of Allegiance to the United States in the 11th Annual Citizenship Ceremony held by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It was an exciting day for the children who represented 16 countries, ranging from Haiti to Thailand.

As children anxiously fiddled with their American flags, Dawn Simon, senior marketing manager of Queens Center, described “one of the best events” at the mall, saying that it is “driven, strong, and purposeful… and encapsulates Queens’ ethnic diversity.”

Joseph Cardinale, field office director, was the master of ceremonies. While he led the children, who ranged in age from five to 15, in proudly waving their flags, he reminded them that this is “once in a lifetime, so make the most out of it, make the best out of it.”

Wenxu Chen, 14, realizes the importance of Cardinale’s message. “This day is very important,” he said, adding that he will never forget it. Originally from China, Chen has been in this country for six years. Although he was admittedly very nervous today, he still had fun, a sentiment that would probably resound with all of the other children who took part in the ceremony.

The patriotic event included a keynote address from Borough President Helen Marshall, herself the daughter of Guyanese immigrants. She repeated a common theme, telling the children to make sure that they go forth and serve the country that is now officially theirs.

“We want to encourage you to continue in the spirit of giving back to your community through service and volunteering, and to never, ever give up your dreams,” said Simon in her welcoming remarks.

The newly minted young citizens were even shown a congratulatory message from President Barack Obama, who urged them to “keep the beacon that is America burning bright for the world to see.”

“U.S. citizenship is the best gift that the Citizenship and Immigration Services can bestow upon someone, so we value having that authority,” said Shyconia Burden-Noten, Community Relations Officer of the USCIS. “Just the look on the faces of the citizens. It’s phenomenal. It makes you proud to be an American.”