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Minutes of the General Membership Meeting of the Westmoreland Association
Minutes of the March 19, 2004
The meeting was called to order at 8:05 p.m. by President Walter Mugdan. Reading of the minutes from the January, 2004 meeting was waived. Treasurer Frank Keenan gave the Treasurer�s Report, indicating a balance on hand of $18,496.41 as of March 15th. Upon motion duly made and seconded, the Treasurer�s Report was unanimously approved.
We were joined by Captain Thomas Pilkington, Commanding Officer of the New York Police Department�s 111th Precinct. He was accompanied by Sergeant Burns (in charge of Community Affairs) and Officer Schmidt. The Captain identified the NYPD�s three main priorities as Quality of Life, Crime, and Terrorism. He provided statistics about serious crime in our area. Burglary is the biggest problem; �professional� burglars are attracted to the neighborhood because it is an affluent area, with easy ingress and egress, and with many homes empty during the day. The Captain reported that 20 burglars had been arrested in Queens over the previous two weeks, and the rate of new burglaries has dropped significantly since then, but they are still taking place. (Coincidentally, the morning after our meeting a house on Nassau Street was burglarized.)
Most of these burglars enter through the back or side, often coming into the yard from the next street behind the house, rather than the front. They typically spend only a few minutes in the house. Captain Pilkington recommended alarms, lights and dogs; and he stressed the importance of looking out for your neighbors. He urged residents to �be nosy� and call 911 if you see suspicious activity. He suggested that when away on vacation, you ask neighbors to take in the mail and otherwise look after your house. (You can also call Officer Hodges-Mathis at the 111th Precinct to schedule a free home security survey.
The Captain advised that if you are the victim of an apparent burglary, but can�t find anything valuable missing, check your personal papers, because these can be taken and used for �identify theft,� a crime that is increasing in frequency and is very burdensome to deal with. He suggested that people invest in a paper shredder and use it for all discarded paper that has personal information, such as social security numbers or bank account numbers. He also advised against carrying your Social Security Card or number in your wallet. He also noted that one can ask the three major credit reporting services to �flag�your name. This means that whenever a request for credit is made in your name (such as an application for a new credit card from a store or bank), the issuing institution is directed to call you back and confirm the request before approving credit. This makes it harder for identity thieves to open bogus cards that will be charged to you. Finally, he suggested care when using the Internet to make credit card purchases.
Car theft is also a concern in this area. The Captain recommended that people keep their cars in a garage or driveway if available. He strongly advised that you never leave any valuables in the car, and � above all � never leave the car running while you go into a store or run an errand.
All present were very appreciative of the Captain�s remarks during the hour he spent with us.
After the departure of the police representatives, the agenda continued with old and new business. First, elections were held for the Board of Directors. The current slate of Officers and Directors was re-elected unanimously. Mr. Mugdan gave updates on some issues addressed in previous meetings.
Councilman Tony Avella has reintroduced into the City Council his proposed legislation on community facilities and appeals from the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA). (Reintroduction was necessary because a new Council session started in January, and the legislation was not passed in the previous session.) Westmoreland Association is on record as supporting these efforts. Mr. Avella will hold a public hearing on the BSA legislation on April 19th at 9:30 a.m. in the Committee Room at City Hall.
Mr. Mugdan discussed the new construction on Morgan Street, with additional information provided by several neighbors. The construction has been temporarily halted due to objections to the plans noted by a Department of Buildings plan examiner.
Mr. Mugdan provided a brief update on the organization�s efforts to bring a particular homeowner into compliance with our Covenant restricting the placement of fences nearer than 20' to a street.
Mr. Mugdan noted that he had written to the Highway Department asking for the installation of four-way stops on 41st Drive at the intersections of Westmoreland, Morgan and Glenwood.
Mr. Mugdan noted that the annual meeting and wetlands cleanup of the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee will be held this year on Saturday, April 24, at 10:00 a.m. The meeting will be on Sandhill Road, known locally as �the Back Road,� north of the LIRR tracks and west of Little Neck Parkway. A free picnic lunch will follow for all who participate in the cleanup.
There was a very brief discussion of the idea of seeking Historic Landmark status for the Westmoreland area (which was a main subject of the January meeting). Because of the lateness of the hour, it was decided not to go into further detail at this time, but to place this item on the agenda for the upcoming May 17 meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
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