Thursday, July 1, 2010

JPCA Tackles Crime, Trash Trains and West Nile

By Tamara Best

Crime, the transporting of trash through the area and preventing West Nile virus were key discussions at the Juniper Park Civic Association meeting held last week.

Crime in the 104th Precinct

Crime is up 34 percent for the year, according to Lt. James Lombardi of the 104th Precinct. Felony assault is up 65 percent for the year, of which nearly half of the assaults are domestic related. Grand larceny continues to plague the 104, with Toyota Highlanders and vans popular targets. Lombardi said the precinct has received intelligence that the vans being stolen are being used in South Jamaica as dollar vans. There is some good news however, as robberies and burglaries are on the decline.

The civic association recognized Lt. Lombardi with the 2010 Community Service Award for his work.

Garbage Train

Ashley Pillsbury, legislative director for Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills), gave an update on legislation aimed at changing the way trains haul waste through the area. Of the four bills, Pillsbury said two are alive and well.

Bill 10819 requires that anytime the MTA enters into a lease agreement with another company, that they insert terms and conditions up to set environmental standards about how waste is carried while on their line. Bill 10176 spells out requirements for how waste must be covered, before it can leave a waste transfer station. Both of the bills are in the rules committee, which is the last step before a bill reaches the floor for a vote. Pillsbury said she is confident that they will be voted on before the end of the year.

Two other bills, one dealing with emergency response and the other with penalties, will not resume discussions until next year due to their committees not meeting.

The first bill would create an enhanced penalty structure for companies not adhering to environmental standards when hauling waste. The second would require a shipping company to pay a municipality anytime an emergency response is called to where a hauler is shipping waste.

West Nile concerns

With the start of West Nile virus season here, John Zuzworsky from the Department of Health spoke to residents on the importance of being vigilant against the virus.

“People have stopped being worried and that is not good,” he said.

To help protect homes from breeding mosquitoes Zuzworsky and the department advise residents to dump out anything that has standing for water. Zuzworsky said that water that stands for four days or more provides the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Residents should also make sure that windows and doors have screens and make repairs to any leaky faucets or broken screens.

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