2015-12-16 / Front Page

Van Bramer Swears In New Dutch Kills Board Members

By Thomas Cogan

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (right) stands ready to swear in the new board of the Dutch Kills Civic Association.  From left to right:  Tony Benetatos; Debra Sheid; Alexandra Tselepi; Steve Moreno; Kim Teixiera; and John Zuk,  Another board member, Connie Stamatiades, was absent. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (right) stands ready to swear in the new board of the Dutch Kills Civic Association. From left to right: Tony Benetatos; Debra Sheid; Alexandra Tselepi; Steve Moreno; Kim Teixiera; and John Zuk, Another board member, Connie Stamatiades, was absent. The Dutch Kills Civic Association’s December meeting was of course the occasion for its holiday party, but there was a little business to take care of before the sandwiches, beverages and dessert could be enjoyed.  Two officers from the 114th Police Precinct had a brief crime report.  City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer made the meeting a stop on his busy schedule and swore in the association’s board members for the next two years.  DKCA President Thea Romano left copies of a notice for members and other attendees to take.  It referred to a rising number of quality-of-life offenses occurring in the neighborhood lately. 

Lieutenant Nicholas Morales and Patrol Officer John Glynn of the 114th Precinct reported a general decline in crime and a considerable drop (30 percent) in shootings but a rise in felony assaults, popularly associated with local night clubs.  The Verve Hotel, which became a homeless women’s shelter two months ago, was reported to be something less than a round-the-clock crime scene, with only one resident-on-resident assault on the blotter lately.  A street assault, seemingly of a homosexual nature (man grabs another man in the rear end), resulted in the arrest of the assailant.  Lieut. Morales said he is from Brooklyn and has no previous record of that kind.  “He has mental issues,” the lieutenant said.  

Councilman Van Bramer arrived and six pending board members assembled for their swearing-in.  But first, the councilman said of Thea Romano that she is “tough” and “principled” but with “an amazing heart.”  He then said that the City Council would soon be passing more vigorous legislation on hit-and-run driving.  He asked if anyone could guess the number of hit-and-run incidents in the city this year so far, hit-and-run being the flight of a vehicle driver after colliding with another vehicle or striking a pedestrian.  No one shouted a number, perhaps fearing that any would be far too small, as any number would have been.  In 2015 alone, there have been 38,000 hit-and-run incidents in New York City, the councilman said.

There were actually seven pending board members, but one, Connie Stamatiades, was absent.  The others, soon sworn in, were Tony Benetatos, Steve Moreno, Debra Sheid, Kim Teixeira, Alexandra Tselepi and John Zuk.

The president’s handout said that because of increasing quality-of-life offenses, “all those living and working in Dutch Kills” and having complaints should of course use 311 as a means to make them.  In addition, though, they are encouraged to email DKCA at President@dutchkillscivic.com., specifying the nature of the complaint, where and when it has occurred “and any pertinent details.”  Complainants can identify themselves or remain anonymous. “we intend to use this data,” the message continues, ”to identify potential downward trends and refer them to the appropriate city agencies before they become major community issues.”

Loitering, excessive noise, illegally parked or abandoned vehicles and alcoholic drinking or relieving oneself in public are among the offenses.

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