Monday, December 20, 2010

The Hard Work Pays Off: A Community Groups Review of 2010

It’s amazing that once you step back from your daily grind and think what actually has been accomplished over the past year it’s actually quit refreshing how much positive has been achieved. This is the case for our neighborhood group, the North Lansingburgh Neighborhood Watch.  This past fall the North Lansingburgh Neighborhood Watch celebrated its third anniversary of actively addressing the quality of life issues that exist within our neighborhoods. I believe it’s fair to say our group experienced a positive, constructive, and successful year once again.

Numerous issues concerning code enforcement, trash/litter, speeding, drug activity, vandalism, rowdy neighbors, and prostitution where reported, addressed, and resolved due to the diligence of our members and the exemplary work of our community police officer Chuck McDonald and our city partners.
It’s experiencing results like these that forces one to ask, “Why aren’t there more people getting involved?” Through our members reporting, our monthly guest speakers, and the special events our group participates in the spirit of “community” is growing each and every day.

Our group meets every second Tuesday of the month from 7 to 8:30pm at the Lansingburgh Boys and Girls Club. Stop by some evening and see what we are all about. On average 40 people attend to report issues, hear what is happening in the community, and to learn from our guest speakers.

Below is a list of our speakers and group events from 2010:

January: Now retired Police Chief Nick Kaiser provided an update on the TPD’s operation and a Lansingburgh neighborhood update.

February: County Executive Kathy Jimino and Randy Hall, Commissioner, Rensselaer County Department of Social Services discussed the social services offered through the county and  explained the mechanics of how the department and services work.

March:  Bob Aiken of the New York State Office of Real Property Services, along with the City Comptroller, City Assessor, and Mayor Harry Tutunjian gave a presentation on the process behind a reassessment and the general outcomes.  Also, Deb Carey, Crime Victim Liaison from Sexual Assault & Crime Victims Assistance Program for Rensselaer County provided us information on her organization.

April: We broke the group into three smaller groups with a speaker who focused on specific issues. The speakers were: Officer Chuck McDonald focusing on crime/policing issues;  Dave Sheeran focusing on code related issues, and  Donna Muckle focusing on DPW issues.

Also, in April our group spearheaded Lansingburgh’s Earth Day efforts. We focused on four locations this year:
  • Location 1 – our main focus was on the 112th St. Kiddie Park on 4th Ave. We will be cleaning, mulching, painting, and some planting.
  • Location 2 – Lansingburgh Historical Society’s Melville Park
  • Location 3 – Powers Park
  • Location 4 - Uncle Sam Bike Path
May: Lansingburgh School District Superintendent George Goodwin discussed the proposed school budget and the current school/community forum that several of us were involved in. Then, recently named Troy Police Chief John Tedesco introduced himself and discussed the changes the department will be experiencing soon.

June: Bob Reiter and County Executive Kathy Jimino discussed benefits available for Veterans who reside in the county. Also, Dir. of Rensselaer County Public Safety Kelly Paslow and Deputy Dir. Mark Balistreri to discussed who receives and dispatches emergency and non-emergency calls (270-4411 and 9-1-1) and how it works.

Also, in June we conducted our 2nd Annual Neighborhood Children’s Safety Day with Pastor Willie Bacote, the Troy Fire Department, Troy Police Department, Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Department, Lansingburgh School District, Troy Family YMCA, Whitney Young’s Troy Health Center, and the Troy Bike Rescue. The purpose to educate kids how to live and play safely.

July:  Maurice Padula, the Senior Consumer Fraud Representative in the Albany Attorney General’s Office discussed consumer fraud and identity theft. The presentation focused on the types of frauds and identity theft scams directed at consumers that the AG’s office is currently seeing in the Hudson Valley and ways people can better protect themselves from this activity.

Also, in July construction of Phase II of the 112th Street Gateway Park was completed. Two years ago our group initiated the funding and construction of this new city park.

Also, in July our group performed several boulevard improvement projects. Which included trimming trees and bushes, raking and cleaning the grass areas.

August: Elaine Gerwin from the Troy based, Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO) spoke about the programming and programs available to residents.

Also, in August we celebrated National Night Out with a picnic BBQ in our 112th Street Gateway Park. NNO is a community awareness celebration that brings community groups and public safety entities together to show strength and speak out against crime and drugs.

September: Dave Dean the City of Troy’s DPW Liter/Garbage Enforcement officer explained what his role with the DPW is and how residents can best utilize the DPW. Also, a representative/Project Manager from GAR Associates, the company contracted to assist the City of Troy with the reassessment project spoke about the role their company will have in the reassessment process. 

October: Marisa LaFrance, a representative from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Rensselaer County, spoke about the hazards lead-based paint poses and how you can have your home tested and properly addressed. Jim Lance from the Code Enforcement department discussed the progress of the NICE program and the results thus far.

Additionally, this meeting marked our Third Anniversary.

November: We were joined by Lynn Kopka of the Washington Park Association to discuss ways to deal with the growing feral cat issues in our community. Then, followed by an open conversation with our CPO Chuck McDonald about issues in our neighborhoods and ways to resolve them.

December: Was our annual holiday party and culmination of our 3rd Annual Toy Drive, where we collected an approximate value of toys of $1,000 that will be distributed to the children patience of Whitney Young’s Troy Health Center.

As you can see we’ve been busy this year. Above are some of the highlights of what our group has done. There were numerous other volunteer and cleanup projects we supported along the way. With everyone’s involvement we can only realize more successes. If you’d like to learn more about our group, contact me at

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

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