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Bay Ridge civic stars come out to celebrate

Bay Ridge activists and luminaries turned out en masse on the evening of June 5 to celebrate the 63rd anniversary of the Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) and to pay tribute to longtime neighborhood activist Basil Capetanakis, who was the BRCC’s Civic Award Winner for 2014.

At a gala dinner-dance held at El Caribe Country Club in Mill Basin, members and supporters toasted the BRCC and Capetanakis, watching as outgoing President Renee Dorsa handed over the ceremonial gavel to the group’s new President, Vincent Bocchino. Bocchino and the executive board were also sworn in, by New York State Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic, to begin their year’s tenure.

Dorsa, who served back-to-back terms as the council’s president, told council members, “To serve the community is truly an honor. The past two years have been a wonderful experience and I will treasure the time I have spent with you.”

She was described as a “treasure” by BRCC Executive Secretary Robert Kassenbrock, who stressed, “Renee Dorsa spares nothing. She gives 150 percent.”

As for Capetanakis, after hearing his years of devotion to Bay Ridge lauded, he told the crowd, “My one goal was to keep Bay Ridge as wonderful as it has ever been. I could not think of a better place to live and raise a family.”

A touching moment occurred toward the beginning of the ceremonies, when former BRCC President Arlene Keating paid tribute to another former BRCC President, Maureen Stramka, who died last month, asking the group assembled at dinner to raise their glasses and toast the late, great community activist.

“Here’s to you, Maureen,” several hundred people said in unison, led by Keating.

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