In kicking off his tenure and distancing himself from Howell, Krause listed a number of goals for his leadership: to rebuild a fractured relationship with the civic groups of the adjacent Frankford neighborhood, help develop the Frankford Avenue corridor, bolster Northwood civic attendance, combat vacant and poorly maintained homes and other efforts.
Krause's vice president and the lone new board member, Frank Bennett, an attorney who moved to the neighborhood a year ago to renovate a Castor Avenue home with his family [sidebar]
, said he wants to lobby for more police presence:
"We are a fairly dedicated tax base here in Northwood, and yet we don't seem to have the dedicated police force for it," he said.
Krause's promotion and Bennett's nomination aside, the board is full of familiar faces, including years-long members Gina Panchella, Renee Hudson and Lou Kubik, the latter of whom said he has more than a decade on the board. Longtime board treasurer Bill Rodebaugh remains in his position, though Krause said his work schedule has kept him from attending regularly, if at all, in recent years, and so he may also step down.
Until that happens, the big changes to the board are a fairly young lawyer joining and a rough-hewn, former longshoreman union boss leaving.
Howell, the retired union manager who cites his boxing and hardscrabble Fishtown upbringing often, has become something of a controversial leader during his time, a role he seems to relish.
With Howell, all of the board members, save newcomer Bennett and apparent bystander Rodebaugh, were part of the insurgency that led the fall 2007 ouster of Howell's predecessor and frequent critic Joe Menkevich, whom they criticized for disorganization and inaction, and Menkevich's collaborator Len Williams. The vote to remove Menkevich and put Howell in power remains a point of division in the neighborhood four years later.
Despite the turnover, Howell, who said he left the board to focus more on his St. James Lutheran Church parish fundraising, was in attendance and about as vocal as ever.
In a less than subtle jab to another critic of his, Howell implored the new board to focus its efforts in 2012 on investigating grants and other funding efforts by local nonprofits that he claimed aren't truly benefiting the community, calling out by name the often-treasured Historical Society of Frankford.