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Queens Chronicle

New council launched in 104th Precinct

Community outreach, Hurricane Sandy relief top group’s agenda

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Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 2:20 pm, Thu Dec 13, 2012.

The newly reconstituted 104th Precinct Community Council is up and running with an interim board, regular elections set for 2013 and an already ambitious agenda.

The board consists of President John Perricone of Ridgewood, Vice President Mario Matos Jr., a teacher at Maspeth High School, Treasurer Tania Broschert of Glendale, Recording Secretary Amy Lassell of Maspeth and Sergeant at Arms Vincent Perricone of Ridgewood.

The group hosted its first full-scale meeting on Nov. 28 in the community room at The Shops at Atlas Park.

The council’s previous incarnation had been inactive between this past spring and early October when the previous president, Michael Hetzer, was arrested on a grand larceny charge that was unrelated to the panel’s work.

At the same time, according to Deputy Inspector Michael Cody, commanding officer of the 104th, the NYPD was working on a major overhaul of its community council program.

The 104th, he said, thus became the department’s test subject.

“We were the only precinct without an active council,” Cody said. “We were starting from scratch.”

The new group was on board and organized in time for a meeting on Nov. 27 in Manhattan that included all councils in the city and Commissioner Ray Kelly.

The function of each council is to serve as a liaison between the precinct and the community. And while Cody and John Perricone still are calling the interim group a work in progress, Perricone and the other officers said they are eager to get moving.

Lassell said anyone logging onto and liking the group’s Facebook page will automatically begin to get all updated information on meetings, issues, initiatives and activities planned.

“My Facebook and email are listed on the site, and we hope to soon have a regular website set up,” she said.

The group also agrees with Cody’s preference to rotate the sites of monthly meetings to various places within Maspeth, Glendale, Ridgewood and Middle Village, in an effort to avoid a sense of parochialism that some felt harmed the council in the past, with some residents not coming to meetings that were not in their neighborhoods.

Matos, for example, said Maspeth High school — with its ample parking — could serve as one site. Maspeth Town Hall also was offered up as a possibility.

The group is allowed to conduct fundraising for its expenses and activities, and is planning to do so. Members also have several ideas for things like family-friendly uses of Grover Cleveland Park in Ridgewood.

Several people also spoke about and began expanding upon the possibility of collecting food and other items to take down to the Rockaways for Hurricane Sandy victims.

“I smell a committee,” Cody said with a smile.

Officer Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct’s Community Affairs Office said there will be another meeting in December, with the time, date and place yet to be determined.

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