MINUTES OF MEETING MAY 16, 2018
Approximately 35-40 people attended. Candidates for office were also present – Vito Sheeley for the Florida House of Representatives, Nicole Carr for School Board, and Rebecca Hamilton, for 6th Circuit Judge.
As the meeting got off to a late start and there was concern that some members would have to leave before the vote on the by-laws, Secretary Hunt conducted the vote immediately. Becky Launchi made a motion to forego any discussion since the by-laws had been posted on the web site for 2 months with no suggestions for substantial or appropriate changes, and Donna Penrod seconded. The vote to adopt was unanimous. The signed and dated by-laws have been posted to the web site.
CSO Derrick Nelson presented the crime statistics.
President Judy then introduced the board, with the only absence Pete Robison. Judy explained that Pete is a nationally recognized industrial safety expert much in demand and is often traveling to remote parts of the world.
Kent Rodahaver then conducted Tell me Something Good, Lakewood, and received several accounts of the ways we take care of each other. Among the reports was the latest contribution by our dedicated members Bev and Scott White, who on their own and at their own expense replanted the neighborhood identity sign at 31st Street.
Assistant Chief Joe Dente was introduced and spoke briefly about the current state of the PD, including plans to cope with the cost in dollars and manpower to meet the state’s new school safety requirements. (The burden of funding has been passed to the county School Board.) The Chief also advised that because the PD no longer needs to staff the schools, we will maintain all 8 of our CSOs for this area.
It was noted that what we had mistaken for car break-ins on the STAT map were in fact directed patrols aimed at preventing the break-ins and the consensus was that the map is clumsy and hard to use. Chief Dente agreed that there has been considerable distress among the crime watches about this tool.
A representative from the Parks Department, whose name we apologize for not getting, thanked us for our annual contribution to swim lessons and brought the group up to date on the programs to prevent drownings. (At meeting’s end the total contributions were $472 so that with Association matching funds, this year’s check was for $944, allowing lessons for 69 underprivileged kids.)
Melanie Henson spoke about the current state of the Animal Fund, and Judy added a brief outline of the way the various county services have combined to increase statistics on adoption and return of lost pets, and greatly reduce the rate of euthanasia.
Sheena DeFreece announced plans for a food truck rally at the Sunshine Plaza on June 9th as part of the ongoing effort to revitalize that mall. This is a combined neighborhood effort to try to bring a dying shopping area back to life.
Patsy Wedding presented the Finance report.
Judy then announced that with school about to get out and the recent uptick in break-ins and residential burglaries, the Association wanted approval to spend the $3000 left from the security guard exercise of last summer, and the group voted to move forward with 5 weeks of coverage.
Ola Bryant said that she had been unable to make contact with the principal of Lakewood High School to discuss plans for a joint memorial effort for Bryson Williams, the senior killed in a car accident on April 26th. We will continue to reach out to see if we can come up with something appropriate.
Judy presented 3 neighborhood items:
- The drug addict who shanghai-ed a house on Fairway a couple of years ago was finally sentenced but since she was given only 3 years and a lot of credited time, she won’t be in jail for long.
- There were no calls for service at the group home for the entire month of April, which is odd and not explained; current count for calls is 91 but neighbors report that the house is quiet and not presenting problems.
- The traffic median at 31st Terrace/Columbus is finished and while it is a vast improvement, it is not the exciting entrance we had hoped for when we gave the city our design plan — none of our elements was incorporated. The group voted to spend $100 or less to buy solar lighting for under the trees.
There was some discussion at the Open Forum about the need for serious financial attention to be paid to Lakewood High School, with which the attending candidates agreed, but Dennis Russo announced that there are $11 million worth of repairs and updates going on now that might meet the group’s concerns. We will track this. Helen Simon then got up to talk about the by-laws, and although informed that the matter was closed, refused to leave the podium when the allowed 3 minutes were up, resulting in a shouting session. The Board is working on ways to prevent disruptive behavior at future meetings.
Door prizes were distributed and Donna Penrod won the 50/50, which she donated back to the swimming lessons fund.