Thursday, October 14, 2010

FH Civic Discusses Storm Aftermath and Rise in Robberies

By Eric Yun

There was plenty to discuss at the October meeting of the Forest Hills Civic Association. In the past month, neighborhood residents voted in the primaries, and of course, braved the tornados that brought down hundreds of trees and wrecked havoc across central Queens.

Barbara Stuchinski, President of Forest Hills Civic, praised the NYPD and FDNY for their work after the September 16 storm.

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) updated the community on the status of receiving federal emergency relief money. Hevesi and other legislators urged the Governor David Paterson to declare an emergency, which he did last Friday. Now, the city and state must wait to see if Federal Emergency Management Assistance agrees with that designation.

Hevesi is hopeful that the city receives public assistance—money that will help restore public properties like downed trees and city sidewalks. There’s a possibility that the federal government could provide individual assistance, but Hevesi cautioned the residents
about being too optimistic about receiving individual assistance.

No matter what happens, Hevesi promised he and other legislators like Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) and Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) will keep working to bring whatever aid is possible.

Officer Gigi Redzematovic of the 112th Precinct Community Affairs Unit updated the community on crime. Robberies are up, but the majority of those incidents involve children taking iPhones and other electronic devices from their peers. Redzematovic said the police offered etching services to kids to help prevent theft at local schools.

Another popular crime topic was the rise in scammers. “This is the time of the year the scammers come out,” Stuchinski said. With the holidays approaching, people will be looking to steal whatever they can. Stuchinski and Redzematovic urged residents to never give personal information over the phone, and to keep doors and windows firmly closed and locked.

Finally, with the election just weeks away, City Board of Elections representatives gave
residents a final chance to learn the new optical scanning machines. New York switched to the new machines under a federal mandate to have verifiable ballots. The new paper ballot system gives the state an easily verifiable backlog of ballots that can be checked in the case of recounts or fraud.

The biggest concerns with the new voting process from the primaries—small print and lack of privacy—were addressed. All voting centers will have nearsighted and farsighted magnifying glasses to enlarge print and more privacy booths will be provided.

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