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AGENDA & MINUTES September 10, 2013

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McKnight Neighborhood Council, Inc.

Board of Directors Meeting

Tuesday, September 10, 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


6:15—6:45 pm:  New Business—Board

o    Committee Discussion & Assignments

o    Website Discussion  


6:45—7:00 pm:  OFFICER EPORTS  

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

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

o    SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Brandi Gamble-Lucas)

·         Minutes of August 13, 2013 meeting (see attachment)

o    TREASURER’S REPORT:  (Elizabeth Stevens)

·         Bookkeeping proposal and Budget Amendment


7:00—7:15  pm:  New Business—Open to the Floor


7:15—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 (Ben Swan Jr)

o    Ad Hoc Committees

·         Food Access (Ben Swan, Jr)

·         Debate (Ishaq Harris)

·         Community Center (Demetrios Panteleakis)


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


8:00—Close Meeting

Board Meeting, September 10, 2013

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

Meeting Called to order 6:05 p.m.

Board Members Present (11):  Walter Kroll (Pres);  Demetrios Panteleakis (Vice Pres); Brandi Gamble-Lucas, (Secy/Clerk), Elizabeth Stevens, (Treas);  Ishaq Harris (ClerkAsst Treasurer), Tawreak Eddington,  Greg Gavin, Donna Jordan; Colin Kirby,  Elizabeth O’Ogilvie; Ben Swan, Jr, {Elizabeth Lederman, Adm. Staff}.

Board Members Not Present (2):  Lloyd Creswell Asst Sec/Clerk); April Mitchell-Edwards,

Retired:  Ceil Lewonchuk, Senior At-large Representative

Neighborhood Members:  Madeline Kroll, Stephen Gray, E. Rodriguez

Guests:  Michael Jachym, Willie and Thomas Palmer; Ed Whitley; Alicia Days

Welcome by Walter K; board member introductions; audience introductions.  Walter K announced the regretful retirement from the Board of Ceil Lewonchuk who has moved from the neighborhood to an assisted living facility in another part of Springfield. 


o    Committee Discussion and Assignments—Walter K stressed the importance of the work of the Committees, which is where the real “work” of the neighborhood gets done through attention to detail and follow-up.  Each Board representative to be assigned to at least one committe

·         Ben S—Chair, Communications; member Food Access, and Public Safety

·         Elizabeth O—Chair, Food Access;  Chair, Good Neighbor; member Housing & Code

·         Ishaq H—Chair, Debate

·         Walter K—Chair, Public Center; member Debate and Rail Trail

·         Demetrios P—Chair, Community Safety; member Housing & Code

·         Colin K—Chair, Housing & Code

·         Elizabeth S—Chair, Rail Trail; member Debate

·         Braidi G—Member Housing & Code

·         Tawreak E—Member, Debate and Housing & Code

·         Greg G—Member, Food Access

o    Website Update

·         Website is up and running, but populated with outdated material from previous website.  New format discussed at Executive Board meeting.  Consensus reached that front page should have some static information.  Will have four articles—tentatively historic McKnight, Rail Trail overview, Public Safety overview, and an overview on the Council itself.  Front page will also feature a slideshow of McKnight photos; and a most recent posts preview. 


o    SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Brandi Gamble-Lucas)

Secretary Brandi G, submitted the minutes of the Board Meeting August 13, 2013, for acceptance. Call for corrections or additions.

MOTION: (GG moved) to accept as presented; (CK seconded); (WK called )  Unanimous vote. 

o    TREASURER’S REPORT: (Elizabeth Stevens)

Liz S continued discussion from last month about converting bookkeeping to Quick Books Online vs the desktop software version.  Desktop software cost $250 one time, with an external hard drive purchased at an additional cost to keep the database stored—can also back up to the Quick Books Cloud for $60 annually.  Quick Books Online cost would be $275 annually, complete.  Discussion points:

·         Desktop option cheaper, but not readily accessible to someone other than the current treasurer should the need arise.    Data less secure on someone’s machine rather than in the cloud, could be permanently lost.  Hidden costs may arise down the road with product revisions and support issues.  Online subscription more transparent—a significant point because MNC handles public funding.

MOTION:  (DP moved) that MNC purchase the online subscription to Quick Books; (LO seconded); (WK called for discussion); Ben S offered a friendly amendment that non profit pricing option be investigated; (WK called); Unanimous vote.


NEW BUSINESS—Open to the Floor

o    Steve G expressed concerns about the numerous car break-ins and burglaries—he feels the neighborhood needs to engage with the City to limit the number of halfway houses and group homes which he feels lead to significant criminal activity or we will begin to lose residents.  Also had complaints about the noise of dumpster emptying in the early morning hours at MHA on Worthington.  Noticing less policing at Magazine Park, and more vagrancy and drinking in that area.

o    Mr. Rodriquez from the Children’s Study Home reporting that they have been having multiple disturbances around the Sherman Street property and that the police have been slow to respond.

o    Extensive discussion about neighborhood break-ins; agreement that some of the perpetrators may live in the neighborhood because they seem to know people’s movement.  Walter K and Ben S reminded everyone that it is important to call in any suspicious activity because the Police may be able to piece together the bigger picture with the various reports.

o    Demetrios P  observing that the “system” is not working—feels the neighborhood needs to demand a planned strategy, rather than what appears to be a pattern of the police responding on an incident by incident basis only.  Makes the point that this is preventable crime.  Liz O in agreement—the police should not have to be “flagged down”; and not take crime “for granted” in the neighborhood.

o    Walter K says they do have a target strategy in place—with details rotating through on different nights between 4 pm to midnight. Ben S stressed that they do respond to the data reporting and target hot spots—but they also respond to community outcry.   Overall agreement that the neighborhood needs to keep up the pressure for continued police response.   Walter K stressed that these concerns need to be brought to the monthly Police Beat meeting.

o    Discussion about illegal tag sales taking place weekly on Florida, St James, and Bay.  Walter K will follow up with Code Enforcement if people will get the house numbers to him.

o    Greg G expressing concerns about the need for call button and crosswalk at Catharine and Bay.   Agreement that St James and Dartmouth needs these as well.  Also, issue of period lighting still on the table.  Inquiries to be made with DPW.



o    Rail Trail (Elizabeth Stevens, Chair)

Liz S reporting that the City got a $35,000 grant from CDC for a feasibility study.

o    Public Safety (Walter Kroll, Chair)

Walter K reporting on Mason Square Initiative for public safety linking people in the community together—business, school, residents, and community groups.  Meeting open to all residents, the second Tuesday of every month during the day.

o    Housing & Code (Colin Kirby, Chair)

Colin will schedule a date for meeting in near future.



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