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Parks Department Reaches Out To Queens Woman Thanks To A Little Help From CBS 2

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A Queens woman who was stumped by the Parks Department was smiling on Wednesday night.

Janice Derr’s handwritten list of tree troubles was initially rejected, but has since been accepted thanks in part to a little help from CBS 2.

Derr is proudly analog in an increasingly digital world.

“I still write letters. I’m a calligrapher,” she told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

Earlier this year Derr did a survey of her Queens Village neighborhood. She sent a handwritten list of 69 trees and stumps that needed attention, to the Parks Department.

Derr received a reply informing her that her list was appreciated but not acceptable. Each one of the tree troubles would have to be reported by calling 311 or logging onto the city’s website.

“You get slammed in the face with a door. They don’t even consider this list,” she said.

Since the Bloomberg administration, and continuing with Mayor De Blasio the city has tried to be at the technological forefront when connecting with residents.

There is a 311 app for smartphones that lets New Yorkers report everything from graffiti to rats, but there is still a place for list makers and letter writers like Janice Derr.

“That still counts in government. We do accept letters,” Mayor Bill Deblasio said.

On Wednesday, CBS 2 brought Derr’s situation to the mayor’s attention. He agreed that the Parks Department should have accepted the handwritten list.

“Clearly a citizen still has an opportunity to send a letter and send documents in, and we will make sure that in this case this is followed up on,” Mayor De Blasio said.

CBS 2 gave the list to the mayor’s office. Derr was ecstatic.

“I’m excited and I hope I get results, and it seems like I am if the mayor is paying attention thanks to you and Channel 2,” she said.

An assistant parks commissioner has already reached out to Derr and a forester will be inspecting every tree on her list.

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