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New Community Board 12 Members No Strangers to Leadership

By Nigel Chiwaya | April 23, 2014 11:11am
  CB12's new members include former a co-op board president and a member of the Cabrini Movement.
New Community Board 12 Members
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WASHNIGTON HEIGHTS — Manhattan Community Board 12 has no shortage of new leaders.

The board welcomed nine new members Tuesday evening and several of them have experience in community leadership.

One of the new members, Washington Heights resident Yahaira Alonzo, was a member of the Cabrini Movement, the grassroots group of Mother Cabrini High School graduates who banded together and raised more than $60,000 to try to save the school after it announced in January that it would be closing. 

Alonzo, a union labor organizer, said the Cabrini Movement led her to the board.

"That's how I started learning about it, when [CB12 Chairman] George Fernandez came to one of our meetings," Alonzo said.

She said she is ready to transition her energy toward helping Northern Manhattan as a whole. 

"I love my community. I love Washington Heights," she said.

Litigation attorney Martin Restituyo is the former president of the Station Square Inn Co-Op Board in Forest Hills, Queens. He moved to Inwood five months ago.

"I figured it was time for a change," said Restituyo, 36. "I spent a lot of time up here, so I decided why not jump in?"

Restituyo said he's experienced a bit of culture shock in moving from the strictly patroled, privately owned neighborhood of Forest Hills Gardens to uptown, saying: "In Forest Hills every bit of litter was policed. Here dog poop is an issue."

Restituyo said he looks forward to working with the licensing committee to moderate issues that will have wide community impact.

Another new member, Terriell Peters, works for Allied Services Center New York City, a nonprofit that provides counseling, medical, mental health and other services for New Yorkers with HIV and AIDS. He said he was spurred to join the board after becoming concerned about a dearth of services for those who have been formerly incarcerated.

"It's a need that's not really addressed up here," Peters, 43, said. "Ex-convicts need to know what kind of resources are available to them."

Other new members include Inwood residents and frequent meeting attendees Osi Kaminer and Arlene Schulman. Felipe Sanchez, president of the Inwood bookkeeping and tax service Wealthspring Financial, and Washington Heights residents Kelley Boyd, Maurice Michane and Isidro Medina, are also joining the board.