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AGENDA & MINUTES June 11, 2013

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McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc.

Board of Directors Meeting

Tuesday, June 11, 2013; 6-8 pm

Rebecca Johnson School, Music Room

55 Catharine St., Springfield MA



6:00 – 6:15 pm:  OPEN MEETING, WELCOME

o   Introduction, Board of Directors

o   Audience Introductions



o   Children’s Study Home–Executive Director Eliza Crescentini

o   Arise for Social Justice—Michaelann Bewsee


6:45—7:00 pm:  New Business—Open to the Floor


7:00—7:15 pm:  OFFICER EPORTS  

o   PRESIDENT’S REPORT:(Walter J. Kroll)

o   VICE-PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Demetrios Panteleakis)

o   SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Jesse Lederman)

·         Minutes of May 14, meeting (see attachment)

o   TREASURER’S REPORT:  (Elizabeth Stevens)

·         Monthly financial report


7:15—7:30 pm:  New Business—Board

o   Election & Block Party


7:30—7:45 pm:  COMMITTEE REPORTS – Any committee updates

o   Standing Committees

·         Rail Trail (Liz Stevens) 

·         Public Safety (Walter Kroll) 

·         Housing & Code (Demetrios Panteleakis)

·         Good Neighbor (Ceil Lewonchuk)

·         Communications (Corey Singleton. Ben Swan Jr)

o    Ad Hoc Committees

·         Food Access (Synthia Scott-Mitchell)


7:50—8:00 pm:   Wrap Up—Final Business, Open to Floor    


8:00—Close Meeting

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

Board Meeting:  June 11, 2013

Meeting Called to order 6:10 p.m.:   (WK noting that there is not a quorum present—meeting to proceed, but no votes can be taken for measures requiring board approval.)

Board Members Present (4):  Walter Kroll (Pres), Elizabeth Stevens, (Treas), Lloyd Creswell,  Ben Swan, Jr, {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.

Board Members Not Present (10):  Demetrios Panteleakis  (Vice Pres), Jesse Lederman (Secy/Clerk), Brandi Gamble-Lucas (Asst Sec/Clerk);, Corey Singleton (Asst Treasurer), Donna Jordan, Ed Kelly, Ceil Lewonchuk,  Synthia Scott-Mitchell , Stephen Thibeau, Ed Kelly

Neighborhood Members:  Bryan McFarland

Guests:  Kristine Benitez, Michaelann Bewsee, Eliza Crescentini

Welcome by Walter K; board member introductions; audience introductions. 


o   Eliza Crescentini, Executive Director of the Children’s Study Home presented a history of the organization, founded in 1860 in McKnight and still operating at 44 Sherman Street, and outlined its mission and current program as it relates to the McKnight neighborhood.

·         Mission was to assist families, “friendless children and women”,  whose lives had suffered an “interruption” due to the death of a spouse, financial circumstances, illness, or other calamity

·         The Study Home is the oldest non-profit in western Mass

·         Founded by Rachel Miriam, spouse of Miriam-Webster dictionary founder and McKnight resident—who herself had lost her first spouse and had struggled to keep her family of four children intact, prior to marrying Mr. Miriam.

·         Playground property was donated to the Study Home by McKnight brothers, after  two Victorian houses burned down adjacent to the Study Home

·         In addition to the facility on Sherman Street, the Study Home has a pre-school, elementary school, and high school in Sixteen Acres, and programs on the Cape.

·         Study Home has become isolated over the years from the neighborhood, and receives most of its referrals from the Dept of Children and Families—but was originally meant to be much more integrated into the surrounding community and neighborhood

·         New programming being instituted with the goal of reintegrating with the neighborhood, including:  A half-day summer camp program for ages 7-12 to help kids develop social relationships;  an 8-hour class for Red Cross certification for babysitter;  “mommy and me” playgroups.

·         The Study Home will attend the block party on June 22 to help publicize these programs and is reaching out through neighborhood partners like the McKnight Council with regular notices to engage with the community and to give parents and children the opportunity to get involved.

o   Michaelann Bewsee, with Arise for Social Justice, presenting on three local environmental issues:

·         Arise has grant funding to identify and monitor pollution levels and sources in three key neighborhoods in the city, one of which is McKnight.  An intern from UMass is available to assist, but a local McKnight volunteer will be needed to work in the neighborhood.  High risk areas of concern for testing are school zones and high traffic intersections, especially in light of school children walking daily to and from school.  Gasoline Alley (Albany Street) also a high risk area.

·         Arise and Stop Toxic Incineration are currently working on requiring the Solutia plant (old Monsanto) in Indian Orchard to stop their current practice of burning coal.  Petition was offered for those at the meeting to sign.

·         Third issue is the discovery two months ago of hazardous PCE level s (a component in dry-cleaning chemicals) at the Springfield Day School on Armory Street, which is part of the public school system.  The PCE’s were entering the school from a nearby landfill. City has taken appropriate steps to identify and block the path of the contamination; but they have yet to hold a public meeting to inform parents of the problem. 

§  Arise is requesting a letter of support from each local civic association and neighborhood council asking that the City be required to notify the councils about issues of this nature if one is discovered at a school in their neighborhood—and offered a sample letter for use.

§  Board discussion raised the issues of whether or not councils were the right avenue of notification;  agreement that parents have a right to know;

§  Letter tabled until next meeting, since no quorum present.

o   Kristina Benitez, representing Hardbody Auto Sales, appeared before the board to request a letter of recommendation for a used car lot at 61 Armory Street.  Family based business—have always been in the car business.  Licensing will require three special permits.  Services offered would also include auto detailing, oil changes, and tire service.  Lot now vacant; has traditionally been a used car lot.  Hours of operation 10-6 with 25 cars for sale, and two employees.  Request tabled until next meeting, since no quorum present.



Secretary and Treasurer’s reports tabled for next meeting, due to lack of quorum to accept.


·         Election and Block Party—scheduled for Saturday, June 22.  Peter Pan Futurliner booked, The Management Band performing.  Sheriff’s Dept will have presence there with Iris Scan; Bounce house being handled by Liz S; Marianne W handling children’s art table; four community non-profits reserving tables, plus three local vendors.  Walter K purchased three 2’x8’ banners to be displayed at the three corners of Thompson Triangle to advertise the block party. Election planning on schedule, no nomination papers received as of yet.

·         Website—John R still working on site; hacking issues and viruses cleaned; “attack page” tag status resolved with Google and other services.  Should be ready by week of block party.  New web hosting includes hacking protection and back-up service.

·         Newsletter—Will be mailed week prior to block party; currently at printer.  Issue expanded from 8 to 12 pages, with $360 worth of ad donations.






8:00 ADJOURNMENT:    MOTION:   (BS moved) to adjourn; (LC seconded); (WK called); motion carried.