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Community Board 14 (representing the communities of Flatbush, Midwood, Kensington and Ocean Parkway) returned from summer recess on Wednesday, September 14th, at Edward R. Murrow High School.

In what was a concise meeting, the conversation was mostly concerned with accounts of summer events and minor issues recurring across the community.

Beginning with District Manager Shawn Campbell’s praise of the Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs), she commended them on behalf of the community on both their responsiveness and effectiveness. Some of the matters they’ve been dealing with include:

  • An increase in the number of cars being towed, regardless of whether the vehicles are abandoned or parked for commercial reasons.
  • An increase in the number of homeless individuals in the district, especially around the Junction. However, Homeless Outreach and Breaking Ground are aware of the increase and know many of the individuals by name.
  • More applications for street activities, likely due to new programs by the DOT to administer event permits. The Board is hoping to strike a balance between social and community-based activities and events that are costly and ill managed.
  • Sanitation issues with receptacle collection on avenues M and J. Consequently, additional receptacles and additional pickup services have been assigned to these areas. November through March there is an additional day of service for pickup in the southern end of the district. Illegal dumping of household garbage remains a problem. NCOs have requested additional enforcement and attention be given to illegal dumping. Mrs. Campbell reminds residents not to bring household garbage into street receptacles.

Following the district manager’s report was Chairman Alvin M. Berk, beginning with hearings on two items brought to the Board from the public hearing on Wednesday September 7:

The Board voted in favor of the relocation of 15 adult males experiencing severe medical challenges and cognitive impairment. The new location is 1138 Ocean Avenue in Apartments 5D, 6F and 6H between Farragut Road and Glenwood Road. The apartments are considered Individualized Residential Alternatives (IRAs). There will be supervisory and residential staff on duty 24 hours a day.

A neighborhood advisory committee will be established as a liaison between the community and the residents. The New York Office For People With Developmental Disabilities will license this residential program as a Community Residence for the Developmentally Disabled.

The second hearing was for a special permit filed with the Board of Standard Appeals (BSA) to enlarge a single or two-family detached or semi-detached residence within the designated R-2 district bounded by Avenue I, Nostrand Avenue, Kings Highway, Avenue O and Ocean Avenue. The special permit was granted.

Chairman Berk then acknowledged members of the 70th Precinct for their attendance and the successful work of the Precinct over the summer.

Speaking on their behalf was Captain James Palumbo. Captain Palumbo delivered an overview of accounts and statistics for the last 28-day period.

Overall crime in the 70th Pct. for the 28-day period is down 36 percent, it is down 100 major index crimes from 156, great for the 28-day period.

Year to date period, crime is down in the 70th Pct. 10 percent, with 998 major index crimes compared to 1,102 by this same time last year. This is a positive trend that the precinct hopes to see continue through the end of the year.

Recently there has been gang-related activity at the northern end of the precinct, particularly on E 21st Street and Woodruff Ave, the most recent occurring on Woodruff. Three shootings in the last 28-day period all involved gang members, however, it is still under investigation.

For the year violent related incidents are down 10 from 17. While victims of shootings have decreased by 16, from 26 to 10 victims.

Despite the violence during the J’Ouvert festival, there wasn’t a single shots-fired incident within the precinct. With the request of 100 more cops, the event was considered a total success.

There were no issues, injuries, or matters of public safety at the Pakistani Street Fair. Captain Palumbo thanked the community and the Community Board for making it a successful event.

The next and final event for the summer is the Flatbush Frolic on Sunday, September 25.

Captain Palumbo asserted that street violence is the top priority and number one concern of the Precinct.

Other announcements included:

  • A doctor’s office was burglarized on Newkirk Avenue, ending with the establishment being set on fire. The perpetrator was arrested on scene without incident or injury. The individual was identified as a parolee. Unfortunately he is deaf and unable to speak or communicate.
  • A young girl was struck and killed on Empire Boulevard. The suspect was driving while intoxicated, and in part with Vision Zero enforcement, was arrested under condition of Heinous Homicide.
  • The entire borough is currently undergoing the Vision Zero Initiative from the Mayor’s office. Part of a two-week program, the first phase is education, with the intent of educating the community, especially motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians on preventing traffic related incidents in terms of violations and car related accidents and collisions.
  • There is currently an alarming trend of traffic related incidents for the year to date. However, the number is down for the recent 28-day period. The second phase of Vision Zero is enforcement. In the event of increased accidents in a specific location, enforcement and attention is increased for that location.
  • Across the district, there is an increase of 311s, typically involving noise complaints from house parties. Due to the trend of house parties becoming violent, the Precinct is taking 311 calls very seriously, citing the July 4th incident where nine people were shot in the Bedford Stuyvesant area at a BBQ house party.
  • A resident offered and extended “thank you” from the residents on Woodruff and Flatbush for getting rid of the phone booth.

As Edward Powell has stepped down from his position on the District Assembly, the board welcomed Joshua Pierre, his replacement. Pierre’s main platform, he said, is civic engagement. Less than seven percent came out to vote in the state elections, and that is a direct result of poor civic engagement. He will work to increase civic education and participation.

Former Committee Member Mathieu Eugene addressed the Board, announcing the move of his office to 900 Rogers Avenue. Eugene also announced the success of October 9 in NYC as National Haitian Day, a proposal he made in 2015. October 9 marks the date of the Siege of Savannah, Georgia, when 500 Haitian men joined the colonial forces as ‘free men of color.’

Youth Services announced the tenth annual youth conference for the spring of 2017. They are looking for volunteers to help, with the offer that anyone helping to coordinated the event can receive community service hours, experience as interns or resume experience.

The Taskforce on the Revitalization of the Junction Area is reportedly “unhappy” with new sanitation crew at the Junction. Apparently there is a lot of dirt along the corridor, with reports of “sporadic” litter removal.

There is reportedly a new Director of Target at the Junction. And with the hiring scheduled for October, the Task Force asks residences to remind the Director that Target was allowed to come to Flatbush under the stipulation that locals be given precedence in the hiring process.

The Vocational Supervisor of the Jewish Board of Transitional Housing at Brooklyn Community Services addressed the board on the behalf of 12 young men currently in their care. All of the individuals have aged out of foster care and are on their last stop before getting their own apartments.

It is the supervisor’s job to send them on interviews, try to prep them for interviews and to stay at their jobs, claiming that they need constant guidance and motivation. He requested any information about job opportunities for these young men. Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Vocational Supervisor at 646 244 9294.

Events sponsored by Jumaane Williams as reported by Jacob Gold are as follows: The Youth Market at the Junction, from 8:30 am-3 pm, and runs every Saturday from July 9-November 19. The Office of Jumaane Williams is seeking senior volunteers. For more information contact Chief of Staff Rance Huff at 718 629 2900 or rhuff@council.nyc.gov

Council Member David Greenfield is hosting an E-Waste Recycling event for the disposal of discarded electronics. The event will take place at the Midwood Public Library, 975 E 16th Street between avenues I and J on Oct 30th.

Upcoming events include for residents and members of Community Board 14:

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Edward Olean

Edward Olean is a writer and designer from Massachusetts. Since graduating in 2015 from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, Ed has been freelancing in design and writing, and maintains illustration...

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