Friday, November 12, 2010

FBI Seeks Public Help to Thwart Attacks by Stephen Geffon - Queens Chronicle

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An FBI program designed to help keep the city’s infrastructure safe from future terrorist attacks needs your help.

Special Agent James Capozzi of the FBI’s New York field office explained to Community Board 10 last Thursday that the program, named InfraGard, a collaboration for national infrastructure protection between the FBI and the InfraGard National Members Alliance, seeks to share information with the public in an effort to prevent future attacks.

“We’ve got to be vigilant,” said Capozzi, coordinator of InfraGard for the New York field office. “We need extra eyes and ears. By raising your awareness you are better positioned to let us know what you might see that we should respond to.”

Though still not widely known, InfraGard has been in existence since 1996. The Department of Homeland Security took over responsibility for it in 2003.

According to, the effort is an information-sharing agreement between businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies. It was designed to harness private-sector expertise for investigative efforts in the cyber and physical security arenas.

Today, InfraGard’s protection efforts involve a close working relationship between the FBI and the private sector, as well as other agencies, including DHS, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Small Business Administration.

Each InfraGard chapter is geographically linked with an FBI field office. Information is shared to mitigate threats to the nation’s critical infrastructures and key resources.

Membership in the InfraGard program, which is free, is, according to a published pamphlet, “a unique opportunity for both industry and government to unite in a cooperative effort of national security.”

To join, or for further information, contact infragard at or go online to

Also discussed at the meeting was that the development of affordable senior housing in Howard Beach is on track.

Board members were advised by CB 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton that Bernard Fineson Senior Housing developer Catholic Charities is now expected to close on the building by the end of the year and break ground shortly thereafter. Construction is projected to take 18-months. The affordable housing is to be located on Crossbay Boulevard in Howard Beach.

The new complex will have 96 apartments. Twelve of the units will be set aside for the developmentally disabled. There will be 83 apartments for seniors, 27 studio apartments and 56 one-bedroom apartments. Seniors living in the Community Board 10 area will get priority for these apartments with half of these units being set aside for them, Braton said.

Rents are determined based on income. Braton said the studio apartments require applicants to have an income of no more that $30,800. The estimated rent for those units is $550 to $650 a month. For the one-bedroom apartments the applicant’s income is required to be no more than $49,280. The estimated rent is from $600 to $1,050 a month.

Catholic Charities has stated that six months before completion of construction it will advertise that applications will be accepted. Those interested must write a letter requesting an application, which will be reviewed for age, disability and income eligibility. Braton the community board and area elected officials will help in writing letters and filling out the applications. The CB 10 chairwoman noted that seniors should be aware there will be a deadline for filing the application.

A group of Aqueduct flea market vendors concerned about their fate also came to the meeting to ask for the board’s help.

Darrel Sukhdeo, a spokesman for the group, said the vendors would like to coexist with Genting’s racino.

“We believe that they can help us and we can help them,” he said, adding his belief that the flea market shoppers would go to the casino complex after shopping.

Not everyone, however, would be sorry to see the flea market close. Some local residents consider it a source of garbage and crime.