Today’s news:

CB 13 asks Con Ed for inspections after deadly blast

After 40−year−old Ghanwattie Boodram was killed in a gas explosion that leveled her home, Community Board 13 urged Con Edison to inspect utility systems under the board’s jurisdiction and to develop an evacuation plan in consultation with the community and elected officials.

CB 13 Chairman Richard Hellenbrecht also informed the board that he would not be running for another term as head of the body after being elected to that post eight consecutive times.

In a unanimous voice vote, the board moved to draft a letter to Con Ed, asking them to explain the circumstances surrounding the gas explosion to CB 13.

The board also asked the utility to do an overall inspection of utility lines in neighborhoods covered by CB 13, which stretches from Glen Oaks along the Nassau County border to Rosedale.

It also demanded Con Ed develop an “appropriate evacuation plan” with the city Office of Emergency Management and the community.

Hellenbrecht noted that the infrastructure in CB 13 neighborhoods is aging.

“Most of the utility lines were put in when the community was built 50, 60 years ago,” he said.

Hellenbrecht has been the chairman of CB 13 since 2001 and told CB 13 members that he would not seek the post when the board is scheduled to hold elections in June. He did not elaborate on his decision during the CB 13 meeting Monday night in Bellerose.

The board also heard from Jacqueline Boyce, a Democratic district leader, who urged the board to endorse the Laurelton Local Development Corp.’s efforts to receive $75,000 in city grants.

Boyce said the group submitted three proposals and asked for $25,000 apiece.

One of the grants, Boyce said, was for business attraction, which she said should help the LDC put together a database of business owners’ landlords. The database could be used to help potential business owners get in contact with the landlords to set up a business, she said.

The second proposal was for merchant organizing.

“The BIDs [business improvement districts] out there need organization,” Boyce said.

The third proposal was to help the community organize street fairs where merchants could advertise their business.

CB 13 gave its approval to the proposals in a unanimous voice vote.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

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