To the Editor:
I am sending in my response to your [online] article on the planting of trees at the end of Diamond Drive in West Riding. In addition to things already mentioned by JoAnn Schimke, our homeowners’ association president, there is the importance of having a field and forest that was already a buffer to the creek.
The letter that was mailed to 13 houses in our neighborhood — all addressed to “occupant” — was written with no plan for how many trees would be planted. With a previous planting in our neighborhood on Quince Orchard Boulevard, we had an idea that they would probably plant a few rows of trees next to the already existing trees. And because the letter stated that “the City of Gaithersburg is planning to reforest [areas] depending upon available funds,” it was easy to interpret that the City Council was in charge of this and we’d hear more as the funds were found.
It is well known that funds are tight in the city and county, but [Planning and Code Administration Director] Greg Ossont said the fund is from developers who had to pay a fee to the city if they couldn’t plant enough trees on some project they had developed. So they really already had the funds.
The citizens who were actually contacted by mail were totally misled.
[Environmental specialist] Gary Dyson stated in the letter that “stream buffers are important to overall stream health because they provide shade to regulate water temperature, provide wildlife habitat, improve groundwater recharge for the stream and help filter pollutants before they enter the stream.”
To address the above reasons given for this project:
“To provide shade to regulate water temperature”: There is already shade, and if you want more shade, it should actually be by the creek.
“Provide wildlife habitat”: Green space is not to be trivialized either. A field that has been in place for 40 years is used as a field — in all seasons for many reasons. We need the field to keep the deer from actually living full time in our yards. I’ve had twin fawns dropped off for the summer by their mother. I’ve learned a lot about deer over the years. They have a babysitting deal with the year-olds watching the babies. We don’t need any more “wildlife habitat” provided by the city.
“To improve groundwater recharge for the stream and help filter pollutants before they enter the stream”: According to Greg Ossont, there was no water quality impact study regarding the runoff of phosphates and nitrates from yards in West Riding going into the creek and then on to Clopper Lake. It appears that nearly all the runoff from rain on Diamond Drive comes through the storm drain system into Longdraft Creek. Very little rain goes across the field to warrant planting any trees at all. There is already a large stand of trees between the creek and the houses.
Yes, the trees should all be removed. The city didn’t do any study to warrant the destruction of this field. The deer ticks are still here, but the city will not be mowing this field anymore because of the new trees. Truth wasn’t told in the letter about the funds nor the number of trees. Six hundred trees and bushes planted in two days. Staggering.
— Nancy Mulholland
Nancy Mulholland is a resident of the
West Riding neighborhood in Gaithersburg.
Running the New York City Marathon
Well, the third lottery year was a charm. My son Michael got in last year but deferred, hoping this would happen and we could run New York together. So now it was off to the homeland for the kid from the Bronx, accompanied by his wife, Suzanne, to rendezvous with Michael; he was flying in from Germany to run my dream marathon in the memory of my dad, who drove the streets of New York in his cab for more years than I can recall.
Arriving in New York City on the Friday before the marathon, it was off to pick up my bib and spend way too much money on shirts, jackets, gloves and hats to remind me where I was and that I now had an opportunity to share the limelight with 45,000 of my newest running companions from all over the world. I set a personal goal for myself of beating Jared and the Chilean miner, not worrying about Al Roker, who didn’t appear to be much of a challenge. And besides I have been very fortunate in having my best training season with my multi-marathon running friends who still do their training under Montgomery County’s First Time Marathon program.
First thing I learned is New Yorkers, in general, are keenly aware “the five boroughs” is not the name of a Mexican mariachi band. Second thing I learned is that they give you no slack whatsoever when you try to pick up someone else’s bib even if you have an e-mail with a passport picture on it. So, it was back to expo on Saturday to get Michael’s bib and figure out the “running together” logistics so he could run with me from my 10:40 start time.
Sunday morning and it’s off to the Staten Island Ferry. It’s amazing to me that the only place New York City cab drivers seem to want to go (if you can get a cab) is the airports. Now I remember why I moved. Uneventful crossing of N.Y. Harbor; waved to the Statue of Liberty; got on a bus and wandered our way into the green corral where I was accosted by one of the foreign visitors who had this overwhelming urge to reach down and squeeze the big toe of my five-finger running shoes (which he thought were hilarious) in a friendly gesture to test my threshold of pain.
Race Time: Anyone Caught Urinating From the Top Level of yhe Verazano Bridge May Be Disqualified (guess the lower level is fine). Yes, now I remember why I love New York! At 10:40 the gun sounds, and 20 minutes later the start line is just up ahead. Crossing the lower deck of the Verrazano turned out to be a dry experience. Uphill to the center span and then a nice downhill into Brooklyn’s 4th Avenue. Fifteen miles through Brooklyn filled with cheering spectators from a melting pot of ethnic neighborhoods. No way could you walk and feel good about it.
Water stops were one mile apart throughout the race. Reached the halfway point at 2:22:36 and knew that a new PR was in the making; hoping for a sub-five-hour finish in spite of a sensation of an impending blister on the ball of my right foot. OK, ignore the pain — the water stops were meant for wetting down your shoes, right? And besides, Michael and I were going to finish no matter what.
Next it was across the Queensboro Bridge and First Avenue that felt like it went on forever! More people — friendly and supportive crowds — lots of runners with rather strange costumes and way too many large groups of Galloway runners who obviously had no runner’s courtesy training.
Twenty miles to the Willis Avenue Bridge and into the Bronx. Time to 35 kilometers: 4:12:00 — the dreaded wall time! Another 4.3 miles to go. Both Michael and I were hurting, but we ran together this far, so just suck it up and finish together. Over the Madison Avenue Bridge into Manhattan on to 5th Avenue and Central Park — 40 kilometers, time: 4:49:57 — and along comes Tinkerbell, or a reasonable facsimile (N.Y.-style). Michael yells out, “Go, Dad! Don’t let the Fairy beat you.” That’s all Tinkerbell needed to hear. She takes off like Captain Hook was after her with a machete. Probably ran her first 5-minute mile. Bad news is I never caught up with her — good news is she did not appear in my finishing photo.
Did not make my sub-five-hour marathon, but it was a good day at 5:05:44 and a new PR with Michael finishing at 5:05:43. Loved every minute of it — collected memories for a lifetime.
— Steve Scharf