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He Plants Himself Into Job He Can Get His Teeth Into

June 25, 1986|JENNINGS PARROTT

--Steven (Wildman) Brill, the ecologist/naturalist whose taste for weeds ran him afoul of the law, decided that if you can't eat 'em, join 'em. Brill, who was arrested in March for picking and eating wild plants in Central Park, is the newest employee of the New York Parks Department, Commissioner Henry J. Stern announced. "I am glad Steve has agreed to curb his appetite in keeping with the department's concerns about rare and toxic plants," said Stern, who was joined by Brill at a news conference in the park. "Now people who want to savor some of our parks' plant species can do so--but only on his supervised walks." Brill handed Stern a handful of wild spinach he plucked by a tree stump. "Yuck," said Stern after a taste. Brill will receive $15 an hour to lead free eating tours of city parks, which he has done on his own since 1981. Brill picks out edible weeds and plants on his tours and he and the sightseers join in an impromptu feast. Brill, who traded in his pith helmet and "Wildman" T-shirt for a Parks Department hat and shirt for the new job ("He certainly took a wacky route to employment," Stern noted.) also had the criminal mischief charges against him dropped.

--Nobel Prize laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer says he sometimes says bad things about New York, but he's honored to be a part of it. "I never stopped loving it," Singer, 82, said. "I scolded it. I said bad things about it, just as we do with people we love." The Big Apple is a city of dreams, Singer said. "You get here everything you dream of." He made his remarks when he was presented by Mayor Edward I. Koch with the Handel medallion, the city's highest cultural award.

--A bill was introduced in Congress to honor comedian Red Skelton with a Congressional Gold Medal for his 62-year career as an entertainer. "Red has spent his lifetime making America laugh and has done so with dignity and honor. In every performance, he portrays his love and respect for America," Sen. Chic Hecht (R-Nev.) said in introducing the bill. Sen. Robert T. Stafford (R-Vt.) said he could remember serving with Skelton on a troopship during World War II. "There was always a constant group around him. They were always laughing." Hecht said that Richard Bernard Skelton, 73 on July 13, began his career in minstrel shows and vaudeville at the age of 10, starred in 48 movies, played on television for 20 years, is a painter, composer and author.

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