Councilman spruces up Hamtramck - RPCV Guatemala

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By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 4:02 pm: Edit Post

Councilman Joseph A. Strzalka spruces up Hamtramck after serving in Guatemala

Councilman Joseph A. Strzalka spruces up Hamtramck after serving in Guatemala

Councilman Joseph A. Strzalka spruces up Hamtramck after serving in Guatemala

By Christopher M. Singer / The Detroit News

There's a politician who takes money out of his pocket -- not yours -- to boost the quality of life in his community.

With help from the city's beautification commission, freshman City Councilman Joseph A. Strzalka has planted 200 trees in his city. And he paid for many of them. Others were bought with grant money from the Detroit Edison Foundation.

Hamtramck lost 500 trees in the July 1997 tornado.

"There's probably 100 trees in Hamtramck that were damaged in the tornado that have since died," Strzalka estimates. "They will have to be cut down before they fall on somebody or on power lines."

Strzalka, who once worked on a Dole plantation in Belize, is a pesticide specialist. He is employed as an inspector for the state Department of Agriculture pesticide and plant pest management division.

"After being in the Peace Corps in Guatemala," the 38-year-old attorney said, "and seeing total deforestation, I appreciate trees. It (a tree) enhances the beauty of the neighborhood."

As a response to Hamtramck's continuing economic crisis -- the city is $1.7 million in debt and nearly went into state receivership -- Strzalka proposed the five City Council members cut their own pay of $12,000 a year.

The proposal was loudly hooted down by three other councilmen. Only Kwik backed the idea. So Strzalka is spending part of his council salary on trees.

What does he get out of it? "I get to see a tree," he said, "they're nice."

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Guatemala; Special Interests - Forestry



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