Monday, July 26, 2010

Join in Troy’s National Night Out Festivities!

The 27th Annual National Night Out is scheduled for August 3, 2010. Designed to deter crime through strengthening community and police partnerships, last year’s National Night Out campaign involved residents, police, businesses, and public officials from more than 15,000 communities. Troy will again participate in NNO on August 3rd with the following events:

- In South Troy, the Burden Iron Works Association invites Troy residents to National Night Out event at the Burden Iron Works Museum at the foot of Polk Street from 6 PM - Dusk. Meet your neighbors, free refreshments, museum tour and youth events. Contact Jane Snay at for more information.

- In North Troy, 8th, 9th, & 10th street residents, in conjunction with TRIP and Rensselaer County’s Communities that Care will be holding a festival at the 7th Avenue Park by Ingalls from 6–8PM. Refreshments, music, dunking booth, face painting, basketball, information tables and more. Contact to volunteer or for more info.
- In North Lansingburgh, the N. Lansingburgh Neighborhood Watch will meet at 6pm at the 112th Street Gateway Park @ 1st Ave and 112th Street.  Activities include planting, landscaping and a mini BBQ.  Jim Gordon is the contact.

Come out for fun, to meet your neighbors and partners, all while stopping crime! 

If your neighborhood wants to promote their event through TRIP and TNAC (Troy Neighborhoods Action Council), contact  For more information about National Night Out, go to

New Financial Reform Impacts Us All

If you are like most of us, chances are you have a credit or debit card and maybe even have bought a house or taken out a car loan.  The rules regarding those financial tools, and many more, will be impacted by the new federal financial reform law, the "Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" which was signed by President Obama on July 21, 2010. 

Below is a useful summary as printed in the Times Union on July 25, 2010.  We will provide you more information as it becomes available. 

Financial reform changes some rules on Main Street and Wall Street
By SPENCER GAFFNEY, Hearst Newspapers

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed into law the most wide-ranging reforms in the U.S. financial system since the 1930s.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which puts government hands on everything from credit card rules to derivatives trading, is named for Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who has announced he will retire when his current term expires, and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

The reforms will hold Wall Street accountable so we can help prevent another financial crisis like the one that were still recovering from, Obama said.

Here are some of the ways the nearly 2,000-page Dodd-Frank bill law change the way both Main Street and Wall Street do business.


Old System: Unlike credit cards, where the user borrows money from the creditor and pays it back at the end of the month, debit cards are directly tied to money in the cardholders bank account. When a customer uses a debit card, banks charge retailers a fee, called an interchange fee.
New System: Dodd-Frank will empower the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a new government agency under the Federal Reserve that will police lending, to cap interchange fees charged by banks with assets worth more than $10 billion. Retailers also will be allowed to set maximum and minimum purchases for debit card users.
Why Change?: Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., says that the fees banks charge for debit cards, roughly one or two percent of the purchase, are too high. These fees are a huge business for big banks, which collected almost $20 billion dollars in fees last year. Small business owners say they lose money when people purchase small items.
Old System: A key cause of the financial meltdown stemmed from subprime mortgages, which are home loans with high interest rates made to people with bad credit scores. Lenders were allowed to engage in NINA loans (No Income/ No Asset) where the borrower didnt have to prove he could pay back the loan.
New System: Mortgage lenders now must obtain proof of a borrowers ability to pay back the loan and borrowers will have to provide proof of income. Mortgage lenders must disclose how high the interest rate can go in an adjustable rate mortgage.
Why Change?: During the housing bubble, mortgage lenders made loans to increasingly less credit-worthy people. The policy was fine as long as house prices kept going up — home owners could use their now more valuable home as collateral to take out a newer, bigger line of credit and pay off their old mortgage. But when home prices started to stall, people who probably couldn't afford a home in the first place started to default on their mortgages. The housing bubble popped and brought down the economy with it.

Seeking -- and Rewarding -- Good Deeds

Public recognition for good deeds is a good thing! TRIP is happy to give such recognition to a “Troy Treasure” -- an individual, group or business who has done good deeds in Troy. It's easy to nominate a Troy Treasure; the simple form can be accessed from our website at  Nominations are being accepted through August 6th.  

The selected "2010 Troy Treasure" will be celebrated at the TRIP/RCHR Annual Dinner on October 20th at the Franklin Terrace Ballroom.  Also honored that evening will be E. Stewart Jones, who will receive TRIP/RCHR's Community Citizenship Award. 

Congratulations to the five years of Troy Treasure awardees, including:

TRIP’s Previous Executive Directors Vinny Lepera, Duncan Barrett, and Barbara Jones Higbee (2009)
Alane Hohenberg (2008)
The Friends of Prospect Park (2007)
Friends of Sixth Avenue/S.Lansingburgh Neighborhood Association (2006)
Osgood Neighborhood Association (2006)
Washington Park Association (2005)

Be Safe on the Streets and at Home

National Night Out, with events held across the country as well as in Troy on August 3rd, is about bringing people together to improve safety and deter crime in our neighborhoods. In addition to building community, every one of us can take important precautions to decrease the chance of becoming a victim. Here are important phone numbers to keep at hand, followed by safety tips to ensure your safety.

In Troy,
Emergency situations: 911
Non-emergency:  270-4421
Drug Tip Line: 270-5004
When walking on the street:

• look and act like you belong in your surroundings; be confident

• make eye contact with and notice the people around you; attackers are less likely to go after someone who could provide an accurate description of them

• avoid carrying so many things that your ability to move quickly and efficiently -- should a threat arise – is hindered

• avoid carrying lots of valuables; if you must carry a purse or handbag, keep it close to your body to minimize the chances of theft. If your purse, wallet or cellphone is snatched, don’t fight. Turn it over rather than risk personal injury and report the incident as soon as possible.

• stay in well-lit areas; avoid short-cuts through parks, vacant lots and deserted places; walk with a friend when possible

• do not listen to music so loudly that you cannot hear someone approaching you

Home safety:

• Always keep your doors and accessible windows locked or secured; do not leave valuables around in plain view; use motion-sensor lighting around your home where needed

• Keep spare keys with a trusted neighbor or nearby shopkeeper, not under a doormat or planter, on a ledge, or in the mailbox.

• Illuminate or eliminate places an intruder might hide: the spaces between trees or shrubs, stairwells, alleys, hallways, and entry ways. Trim bushes so they don’t provide cover for criminals. Plant "hostile foliage" (i.e. roses or thorn bushes) in strategic locations to discourage intruders.

• If you are a homeowner or a landlord that has ongoing problems with people not respecting your property, such as strangers sitting on your stoop or porch, contact Troy’s Community Service Bureau at 270-4689 to see what your best recourse is. 

And in the spirit of National Night Out, make sure you know your neighbors and that everyone is looking out for everyone else's safety.   That is what makes neighborhoods -- and the people who live in them -- safe! 

For more information and useful strategies, go to the National Crime Prevention Council website at

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Department of Public Safety also has safety tips posted; go to

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Neighborhood watch groups turns three

Reprinted from The Troy Record

Neighborhood watch groups turns three

TROY — Members of the Osgood/South End Neighborhood Watch gathered at the Troy Area United Ministries building on Second Street Tuesday to celebrate three years as an organization. The celebration — like any birthday party — was complete with cake, decorations and party favors as the neighbors applauded the work done over the past three years and looked forward to the next steps to be taken.

“We asked everybody to put down three positive things about our neighborhood and then three issues that they saw in the neighborhood that might be problems,” said OSENW member Sidney Fleisher. “We have those sheets and we're going to evaluate those and come up with the results and next month we'll talk about that and develop some strategies to deal with some of those problems.”

The group, like many neighborhood watch organizations, was formed when a violent incident incited concern in the residents of the South End. After the beating death of a man at a neighborhood bar, neighbors gathered to discuss what had happened and develop ways to keep it from happening again.

“I think some of the real positive things that the neighborhood watch does is that it introduces everybody to each other, so you get to know who actually lives in your neighborhood,” said Fleisher. “You say hello to people a little bit more and you start to know who's not supposed to be hanging around or who might be looking to cause some problems.”

Monthly meetings generally attract between 20 and 30 people, and the e-mail mailing list for the group tops 100 subscribers. Unlike some neighborhood watch groups, the OSENW does not go out on formal patrols.

“It's more like window watching, in a way,” said Fleisher. “When you're walking around if you notice something you might note it. We fortunately don't really have a neighborhood that requires that kind of thing.”

Another positive resulting from the neighborhood watch group is the interaction and collaboration between the neighborhood and Community Police Officer Chris McDonald. McDonald attends every meeting and is a source of constant contact for neighbors to raise issues or report suspicious activity.

“He knows everybody,” said Fleisher. “I think the fact that we have a very active neighborhood watch really helps to keep crime down because people aren't afraid to call up Chris and say, 'I saw this' and he's willing to investigate it. The police are really helpful, and they like the idea of the neighborhood watch because it helps them, having that many more eyes in the neighborhood.”

At the other end of the city, the community police presence is a large component of the North Lansingburgh Neighborhood Watch, which is also celebrating its third anniversary later this year in September. NLNW leader Jim Gordon said that he is in contact with either code enforcement of Community Police Officer Chuck McDonald on a daily basis.

“He’s very involved,” said Gordon. “He comes to all our meetings, and he's one of the people I communicate with, just passing along the information that I've found or that others have given to me.”

Like the OSENW, the NLNW was formed when a neighborhood resident reached out to the community after an incident took place near his home on 4th Street. Now, nearly three years later, meetings pull an average of 40 to 45 attendees and focus on a variety of topics from consumer protection to veteran affairs to available funding programs.

“There's so much available to people out there so having different speakers from all levels and all types of agencies just gets everyone educated and keeps them more informed about changes and what's available to them,” said Gordon.

The OSENW meets the second Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at 392 2nd Street. The NLNW also meets the second Tuesday each month at 7 p.m. at the Lansingburgh Boys and Girls Club.

Cecelia Martinez can be reached at 270-1294 or by e-mail at

Friday, July 2, 2010

Vote to Help RCHR

Are you on Facebook? Chase Community Giving is offering grants to non-profit organizations. These groups need to be in the top 200 to win!
TRIP's rural component Rensselaer County Housing Resources is also asking for your vote. Vote for Rensselaer County Housing Resources to get $20,000!

Ends Monday, July 12, 2010 at 4:00pm

To vote, click on the link below and sign in to Facebook. Click the button at the top right of the screen that says "Click here to start to vote" Once you finish the windows, you are able to click the "Vote Now" Button for RCHR.

Rensselaer County Housing Resources, Inc