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New 111th Pct. head gets earful from civic group

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Capt. Thomas Pilkington, the new commander of the 111th Precinct, got a crash course in Bayside issues Tuesday night at a meeting of the East Bayside Homeowners Association.

Pilkington replaced Capt. Julio Ordonez Aug. 4 after Ordonez’ two-year stint, a typical duration for a precinct commander in New York City.

After civic members complained of improper construction and then passed a resolution calling upon the proper authorities to crack down on commercial vehicle parking on residential streets, Pilkington introduced himself to the group, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in January.

The new commanding officer hails from the Property Crimes Task Force of Patrol Borough Queens North. He has a patrol-oriented background, having served in Astoria’s 114th Precinct, East New York’s 75th Precinct and in the housing division in Long Island City.

Pilkington asked the civic association members to be patient while he learned about the community, which unlike his old beats is composed mainly of one-family homes.

“I’m still getting my feet wet and settling in,” he said.

Civic member Melvyn Meer asked Pilkington about staffing levels at the 111th, which some community leaders believe to be disproportionately low.

The commanding officer would not discuss specific numbers but said that in the city’s fiscal crisis, “we’ve got to do more with less.”

Although he acknowledged that more officers would be a great help, Pilkington said of the job his force was doing, “I’m satisfied with what I see.”

Loretta Napier thanked Pilkington for finding a child who had disappeared in Bayside Monday, and the captain asked her to relay the message to his officers.

“A little thank-you goes a long way,” he said.

Turning to other matters, an aide to Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) informed the meeting that developer Tommy Huang, who owns a now-vacant property on 223rd Street, had recently received a violation from the Health Department for rats and possibly another for mosquitoes on the lot.

East Bayside Homeowners Association President Frank Skala said Huang had refused offers by neighbors on both sides of the property to buy it.

Skala also said the Francis X. Hatton Funeral Home on Bell Boulevard had been sold, although he did not know to whom.

Funeral director Dennis M. Hatton Sr. told the Bayside Times last week that the home was merging with another funeral home that was wheelchair-accessible, an attribute his current building lacked.

In other news, Skala said he expected his directory containing the names and contact information of 23,000 Bayside High School graduates from 1936 to 2003 to be published in March.

Skala asked for help in locating 1977 graduate Mark McKeller, whose class ring was mailed to Skala by a Westchester nun who found it washed up on a beach.

The EBHA will invite Avella and his challenger for the November City Council election, Phil Ragusa, to a candidates’ night at the All Saints’ Episcopal Church Oct. 21.

The civic group now stands at nearly 500 members — an all-time high for the association, said Skala.

“It does not show that things are getting better in the community,” said Skala of the level of activism in the area. “It shows that things are worse.”

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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