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AGENDA & MINUTES December 14, 2010

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AGENDA

6:00 pm – Open Meeting
 Welcome from McKnight Council President Walter Kroll
Liz Stevens, Council Secretary Presents the Rebecca Johnson School Chorus
& Dinner Is Served
6:30 pm – Community Service Award Ceremony
           The McKnight Neighborhood Council has named five recipients for 2010 who are being recognized for outstanding contributions to the neighborhood.  Among those honored:
·          Atty Greg Hession, long time McKnight resident who has served the Council in many capacities, most recently as outgoing president. 
·          Sgt James Brown, of the Hampden County Sherriff’s Department is being recognized for his work with the Neighborhood Watch.
·          Sgt Reggie Miller, of the Springfield Police Department, for his work as community liaison.
Those being honored from the larger Springfield community include:
·          Aaron Williams, local videographer,  who was the inspiration and moving force that brought the basketball monument to life in Mason Square.
·          The Mason Square Health Task Force is also recognized for their ongoing work in area neighborhoods, and for their strong support of the rail trail being developed in McKnight. 
7:00 pm – Year End Reports from the McKnight Board of Directors
 OFFICER’S REPORTS   
o    PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter J. Kroll)
o    VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Tony Anthony)
o    SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Liz Stevens & Elizabeth Lederman, admin staff);
·         Approval of Minutes from November 9, 2010 meeting
o    TREASURER’S REPORT: (Marianne Winters)
 COMMITTEE REPORTS – Committee updates (5 minutes each)
o    Youth (Jesse Lederman)
o    Public Safety (Walter Kroll)
o    Housing/Code (Walter Kroll)
o    Communications (Marianne Winters)
o    Finance & Fund Raising (Marianne Winters)
Ad Hoc Committees:
o    Mason Square Library (Liz Stevens)
o    Rail trail/RJS Playground (Liz Stevens)
8:00 pm – Close Meeting

MINUTES

McKnight Neighborhood Council Minutes
Board Meeting: December 14, 2010
(Annual Community Holiday Pot Luck Dinner took place from 6-7 pm, with entertainment by the Rebecca Johnson Children’s Chorus.  Annual Community Service Awards Ceremony included presentations to Aaron Williams, Zaida Govan & Wanda Givens from the Mason Square Health Task Force, Sgt Reggie Miller, Sgt James Brown, and Gregory Hession.  Plenty of great food at pot luck; approximately 75 people in attendance (25 -30 remained for business meeting); attendees included Ward 4 Councilor Henry Twiggs and Daryl Moss from the Mayor’s office; television news coverage present; a good time was had by all.)
Business Meeting Called to order 7:00 p.m.:   (WK verified quorum present)
Board Members Present (9):  Walter Kroll (Pres.), Liz Stevens, (Clerk/Secy.), Marianne Winters (Treas.), Ben Swan, Jr, (Asst Clerk/Secy.),  Gregory A Hession, (Asst. Treas.), Donna Jordan,  Jesse Lederman, Ceil Lewonchuk, Denise Moccia, {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.
Board Members Not Present (6):  Tony Anthony (VicePres.), Frank Buntin, Katie Foster, Chip Gorra, Arthur Jones, Ed Kelly
Neighborhood Members Attending:  (Too numerous to list, see sign in sheet.)
OFFICER REPORTS
{Note:  Officer reports for this meeting offered to update the community on accomplishments and activities that have taken place throughout the year.}
PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter Kroll)
o   Offered brief comments on the list of Council activities that have served the McKnight community at large this year:  block parties, reclaiming the Mason Square Library, work on the rail trail, the basketball monument, local candidate debates, work on public safety, codes, and housing.  WK emphasized that the real assets in the neighborhood are the people who live here and common interest shared in the maintaining and improving on the quality of life and in protecting and preserving the unique and valuable historical character of the homes in McKnight.  WK praised the dedicated work of the Board and the members of the neighborhood who have contributed their valuable time, and urged greater involvement in the areas of public safety and housing from the community in order to continue building a safe and vibrant atmosphere for everyone who lives here.
VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Tony Anthony)
o   Absent, no report. 
SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Liz Stevens, Elizabeth Lederman, staff)
o   Minutes of Board Meeting, November 09, 2010, submitted for acceptance.
MOTION: (LS moved) to accept as presented; (DJ seconded ); (WK call for discussion) ;( WK called the question); Motion carried unanimously.
 
TREASURER’S REPORT: (Marianne Winters)
o   MW gave an overview of the Council budget, explaining that the main source of funds comes from a Community Block Development Grant of $13,500 for the year, which provides for basic operating costs and the salary of a paid administrative assistant.
o   The rail trail work which was done this year was funded by a grant from the Mason Square Health Task Force, and that funding had ended.  Council had applied for a new grant from MSHTF to continue the work and will hear results of that application later in December.  With or without the grant, community will need to continue ambitiously pursuing fund raising for the project to cover costs of planning and construction once the City acquires the land.
o   (See financial report, attached.)
MOTION:  (BS moved) to accept report as presented; (LS seconded); (WK called the question); Motion carried unanimously.
COMMITTEE REPORTS
YOUTH COUNCIL: (Jesse Lederman, Chair)
o   JL introduced all Youth Council members present, as well as future Youth Council members, (the kids twelve and under). 
o   Described two major Youth Council projects for the year: 
o   Campaign against Violence which involved Public Safety Forum last January and attendance of the City Council Police Overview committee hearings, and;
o   Extensive work with Toxic Action Center and other city-wide community groups to oppose the building of a biomass incinerator in Springfield.
o   Explained that Youth Council had remained small but effective, and may branch out to invite youth to participate from throughout the city.
o   BS encouraged adults present to urge more involvement from other kids in the neighborhood.
PUBLIC SAFETY: (Walter Kroll, Chair)
o   WK introduced Neighborhood Watch members present.
o   Explained that the Neighborhood Watch has a strong and mature core group, and that the Public Safety Committee and Watch have developed strong relationships with law enforcement in McKnight.  Stressed the concept of neighbors watching out for neighbors, that what gets reported gets fixed.  Working on goal of a street captain for each street and strengthening this network.
HOUSING/ CODE: (Vacant  Chair, Walter Kroll reporting)
o   Reported on cell phone reporting system being developed by City to text in code violations and problems.
o   Looking for active contributors to work on code reporting and housing issues, which is one of the major ongoing areas of concern expressed by residents.
COMMUNICATIONS/FUNDRAISING: (Marianne Winters, Chair)
o   Distributed petitions from MSHTF for signing to audience.  Petitions call for a full service grocery store in Mason Square area.
o   Announced Communication meeting for Jan 5, 2011.  Goal for the coming year is to enhance web site and engender more interaction by incorporating social media venues.  Move communication to a greener stream, more email/text, less hard copy where possible.  Increase advertising streams of newsletter and website. 
o   Newsletter now being designed to present theme based issues, e.g. home improvement, finance, green ideas, and other areas of interest related to the neighborhood.  
AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORTS
RAIL TRAIL/ RJS PLAYGROUND: (Liz Stevens, Chair)
o   LS observed that Rail Trail update already covered in other reports.
o   RJS Playground moving forward; ground broken and construction has begun; LS pointed out that this actually encompasses the first section of the Rail Trail.
MASON SQUARE LIBRARY: (Liz Stevens, Chair)
o   LS deferred report to Kat Wright who reported that after 8 long years, the Mason Square Public Library is back in the hands of the City. 
o   The February grand re-opening is planned around a three day theme, “Celebrating a Brighter Future in Mason Square”, which will focus on building education, partners in the community, and community culture and history.  Audience invited to contribute ideas and activities.
NEW BUSINESS
o   WK introduced Officer Jose “Charlie” Ramos of the Hampden County Sherriff’s Department, who is taking over the role of liaison for the Neighborhood Watch from Sgt James Brown.
o   WK opened the meeting for questions from the audience.
o   Samantha Kroll asked when AIC was going to start reconstruction on the fire house.
o   Ward 4 Councilor Henry Twiggs answered that he will be finding out and report back, and shared that he was putting tree planting and general upkeep within the neighborhood high on the list of priorities.  Encouraged residents to “use his office” to get concerns met.
o   LS shared information with HT about the Green Arbor Project in collaboration with the Parks Dept where residents had used Google mapping to plot needed areas for tree planting and would forward this information to him.
o   JL added to the Youth Council Report activities that they had co-sponsored with the adult council two highly successful candidate debate forums for district attorney this year, and intended to continue these forums in the future.
o   HT allowed that he certainly hoped they would do so next year.
CLOSING REMARKS FROM BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Walter Kroll, President, Board Representative, District 2: 
o   Reminded audience that it was not just the energy of the Board of Directors, but everyone’s energy that was needed to support initiatives like the Rail Trail and other projects desirable in our neighborhood.  These things don’t just happen, that there is strength in numbers and that we must help to build a strong coalition.
o   Invited the other Board members to introduce themselves and offer remarks.
Donna Jordan, Board Representative, District 1:
o   Observed that it is a pleasure working within the community to bring visions forward, and emphasized that everyone’s help is needed.
Denise Moccia, Board Representative, District 2:
o   Shared that her main interests are housing and codes, and is always active on various issues in the neighborhood.
Ceil Lewonchuk, Senior Representative At Large:
o   Observed that she is one who keeps her eyes open all the time and reports what she sees.
Jesse Lederman, Youth Representative At Large:
o   Reported that HT had asked him to make an announcement, but that he must first offer the disclaimer that the McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc, is a non profit organization with no political affiliations.  Invitation then extended to all to attend the annual Eggnog Sip Fundraiser for the Ward 4 Democratic Party to be held at the Eagles Club on December 16.
Ben Swan, Jr., Asst. Secy/Clerk, Board Representative, District 1:
o   Observed that the Board is an all volunteer group of individuals, and that no one receives a salary.  The work is done because we all have a vested interest.
Elizabeth Stevens, Secy/Clerk, Board Representative, District 2:
o   Shared her love of trees and work on tree planting in the neighborhood.  Joined by DM in requesting everyone to bless the trees, and to focus in particular on the health of the tree recently planted by the mental health center on Worthington Street.
WK thanked everyone for coming, and called for motion to adjourn.
8:00 pm ADJOURNMENT:    MOTION:   (JL moved) to adjourn; (LS seconded); motion carried.
NEXT MNC MEETING:                    Tuesday, January 11, 2011
REBECCA JOHNSON SCHOOL, 55 Catherine Street
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Submitted by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 01/11/2011.

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