Residents: Enough is Enough to Gun Violence in Williamsbridge

August 28, 2014 at 3:37 PM

JOE THOMPSON, president of the nearby 49th Precinct Council, speaks to a crowd during an anti-violence demonstration in Williamsbridge.  Photo by David Greene

JOE THOMPSON, president of the nearby 49th Precinct Council, speaks to a crowd during an anti-violence demonstration in Williamsbridge.
Photo by David Greene

by David Greene

They’re standing up to violence.

Residents of Williamsbridge and Wakefield joined in solidarity with representatives of several local officials from across the borough for Stand Up to Violence (SUV), an anti-crime demonstration at the site of a recent shooting where a bullet grazed a child.

Nearly two dozen people fed up with the senseless violence that has plagued the north Bronx recently gathered outside of the Corner Street Deli at White Plains Road and 226th Street on Tuesday, August 26. The message was simple: take back the streets.

Using a bullhorn to deliver his message to the community, Pastor Jay Gooding of the Fellowship Tabernacle Ministries on East Gun Hill Road sounded the alarm over this year’s wave of violence.

“We want to let this community know, no longer will we stand by while innocent babies are killed and our young people are shot down,” said Gooding.

Gooding, flanked by supporters, turned it to Joe Thompson, another seasoned community leader, telling passersby that “we will never stand by while any child is injured because of gun violence.”

“The most important thing we have is our children,” said Thompson, as a handful of demonstrators held signs reading “Don’t shoot, I want to grow up.”

Thompson heads the 49th Precinct Community Council, a neighboring precinct that abuts the 47th Precinct, a stationhouse that responded to the latest shooting. The bullet grazed a three-year-old child on Saturday, August 23, though cops say he was not seriously injured. So far crime within that precinct has spiked, largely from its increase in gun violence, with at least 55% more people hit by a bullet this year when compared to the same time last year.

And while major crimes including robbery, grand larceny and felony assaults have ticked down, murder rose dramatically, prompting the Four-Seven to change tactics. City Councilmen Andy King, Ritchie Torres and Andy Cohen, who all represent portions of the north Bronx, have since sent a letter to NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton requesting One Police Plaza incorporate the Shotspotter program to the precinct. The initiative pinpoints the origin of gunfire.

Another measure brought about by Albany was the introduction of SNUG, which has formerly incarcerated gang members quelling any potential tensions that could erupt in gun violence. More recently, an initiative pushed by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., which places gun offenders on a registry list, has been embraced by Councilman Ritchie Torres.

Brian Millford, a community resident and official representing Councilman Andy King’s office still worries for his little brother, offering “I don’t want him fearing for his life as he goes to school every morning.”


Assemblyman Rivera Dodges Second Debate In The Bronx

August 27, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Former CB7 district manager Fernando Tirado (left) is vying for the seat of Assemblyman Jose Rivera of the 78th Assembly District (right). Tirado has labeled Rivera an “empty seat.”  File photos

Former CB7 district manager Fernando Tirado (left), contender for the 78th Assembly District seat, is once again snubbed by Assemblyman Jose Rivera. 
File photos

by David Cruz 

For the second time this political season, Assemblyman Jose Rivera has turned down another debate, this one pegged as a political forum, dodging his opponent in the 78th Assembly District race, Fernando Tirado. The news came amid word of threatening phone calls to the center warning it could lose its non-charitable status should it move forward.

Rivera, a longtime legislator in the 78th AD covering Bedford Park, Fordham, Tremont and Kingsbridge Heights, wrote in a statement that his refusal stemmed from the venue chosen as the site of the forum, the Bedford Park Multi-Service Senior Center. The debate, having been organized by The Bronx Chronicle, was intended for tonight. Tirado plans to appear.

78th Assembly District challenger Fernando Tirado (c) outside the Bedford Park Multi-Service Senior Center with supporters.  Photo courtesy Northwest Bronx Democrats

78th Assembly District challenger Fernando Tirado (c) outside the Bedford Park Multi-Service Senior Center with supporters.
Photo courtesy Northwest Bronx Democrats

In a statement, Rivera said his absence is largely due to the venue’s status as a 501(c)(3) operation, which he believes should not hold “political partisan forums.” Though his position appears to be purely on the basis of a philosophical stance, Rivera’s interpretation of the law is questionable.

According to information found in the Internal Revenue Service website, a nonprofit is not in danger of losing its charitable status so long as it adheres to certain guidelines that include equal time given to both candidates, impartiality towards any candidate and lack of financial support. The law does get murky should a forum be held and an empty seat be present to represent the candidate who failed to appear.

Jose Rivera-High Line

A YouTube video posted yesterday by Assemblyman Jose Rivera shows him taking a stroll along the High Line in Lower Manhattan. Photo courtesy YouTube

Rivera’s absence was a slap in the face for Tirado, who had anticipated for Rivera to appear at the forum after getting snubbed during a debate on BronxTalk With Gary Axelbank. To many the move signifies a disregard and perhaps undemocratic stance made by Rivera, who hasn’t appeared in many debates when challenged in any political race over the years.

Rivera, known for his hats and propensity to film gatherings, represents a district that has the second lowest voter turnout record in the Bronx within the last decade.


Cohen Honors Mother Teresa With Food Drive

August 26, 2014 at 12:46 PM

By David Cruz 

Mother Teresa has long been regarded as a humanitarian, ailing the sick, traveling to Third World countries and instilling a sense of dignity to the less fortunate.

She passed away in 1997. Should she have been alive today she would have been celebrating her 104th birthday on September 5.

In the spirit of her humanitarian efforts, and in honor of her birthday, a food drive is sponsored by Councilman Andy Cohen urging everyone to demonstrate a sense of giving by donating nonperishable items beginning today through August 29th.

“A small donation can make a big difference,” said Cohen.

Dry soups, canned vegetables, rice, powdered milk, spam, packaged pasta, baby formula, baby food and cereal are preferred food items. They can be dropped off to Cohen’s office at 3636 Waldo Avenue in Kingsbridge Heights, where they’ll later be shuttled to St. Frances of Rome in Wakefield.

The Roman Catholic Church is known for its weekly food pantry, servicing over 1,000 people monthly. Each Friday, several dozen Bronxites often line out the door for food.

“The demand for food has risen substantially over the last couple of years,” said Patrick McCaffery, co-director of the pantry, adding Cohen’s drive is “wonderful.”

The volume of food stock is always a common problem for the pantry, said McCaffery, who has noticed an uptick in the number of fresh faces arriving to the pantry.

“Whatever food we get goes,” said McCaffery, adding the level of need fluctuates throughout the year. The holidays often are the busiest, though McCaffery admits the support is just enough for the pantry to remain open.

Still, Cohen emphasized locals should “do everything we can as a community to ensure that our food pantries are not forced to open their doors with the bare minimum on their shelves.”

Cohen’s office hours run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Klein and Koppell Spar In Bronx Televised Debate

August 25, 2014 at 9:30 PM

BronxTalk host Gary Axelbank moderates the highly anticipated debate between Councilman Oliver Koppell (l) and Senator Jeff Klein. Photo by David Cruz

BronxTalk host Gary Axelbank moderates the highly anticipated debate between former Councilman Oliver Koppell (l) and Senator Jeff Klein.
Photo by David Cruz

By David Cruz

It was an intriguing picture–State Senator Jeff Klein sitting alongside former Councilman Oliver Koppell. A year back, the sighting was relatively common. Now, with Koppell mounting a hard charging race against the incumbent Klein, the appearance was somewhat priceless. Read more


Neighborhood Notes

August 22, 2014 at 10:48 AM

HIV Medical Clinical Test
The Adolescent AIDS Program at Montefiore Medical Center is conducting a research study of a vaginal ring containing dapivirine (an anti-retroviral medication) for sexually active girls between the ages of 15-17, with parental permission needed. They will have the opportunity to use the ring for three months and will be paid for their time. This HIV prevention device already has proven safe in adult women. Call or text Gloria at 347-346-1535 to learn more about this study.

Homebuying Assistance
The Northwest Bronx Resource Center hosts a homebuying counseling workshop on Friday, Aug. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to prepare residents in purchasing a home. Appointments can be made for the first or third Friday of every month. For more information or to RSVP to meet with a HUD counselor, call (718) 933-3101.

Find a Job
Workforce1 Career Center offers daily job listings for Bronxites. Four locations can be found in the Bronx–University Heights, Fordham, Hunts Point and Melrose. To find a career center near you, visit www.labor.ny.gov, or call the Fordham Road location at (718) 960-2458.

Free Summer Meals
Free summer breakfast and lunch is available for students ages 18 and younger at local public schools until Aug. 29. For more information, call 311 or text NYCmeals to 877-877.

Recycle Clothes and Food
Recycle old clothes, food scraps for compost, and other textiles at GrowNYC’s Poe Park Greenmarket, 192nd Street and the Grand Concourse, Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., through Nov. 25. For more information, call (212) 788-7964.

SNAP Food Stamp Program
Sign up for food stamps at the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center, 3450 DeKalb Ave. New changes make it easier to apply. For more information, call (718) 882-4000 ext. 304.

NCBH Seeks Volunteers
North Central Bronx Hospital seeks volunteers to join its Auxiliary unit that helps plan special projects and group events. To apply, call (718) 519-4746. To volunteer to help with patients or elsewhere in the hospital, call (718) 519-4840.

Community Meeting
Bedford-Mosholu Community Association will meet Wednesday, Sept. 3 at 8 p.m. at 400 E. Mosholu Pkwy. So., apt. #B1 (lobby floor). For more information, email bedfordmosholu@verizon.net.


Accepting Applications For Bronx Youth Heard Fall 2014 Semester

August 22, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Bronx Youth Heard (Fall application deadline September 18.)

The Norwood News runs the Bronx Youth Heard (formerly known as the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative), a free after-school journalism program for Bronx high school students. There are two sessions each school year: one in the fall and another in the spring.

We are currently accepting applications for our fall 2014 semester, which is scheduled to start on Thursday, September 25.  Classes are held at Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse, on Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6:00p.m., and run for 12 weeks.

[ATTENTION: Fall applications are DUE THURSDAY, September 18. Download your application now!]

Students learn the fundamentals of writing, reporting, and photojournalism through classroom instruction and hands-on reporting in their own neighborhoods. We take them on field trips – including the newsroom of a daily newspaper. They learn about community activism and civic responsibility, how their neighborhoods work (or don’t), who has power, who doesn’t and why. Guest speakers include public figures in the Bronx and professional journalists. Student work is published in a special youth supplement called Bronx Youth Heard, which appears in the Norwood News, giving youth a powerful voice in their own communities. Students who complete the course will receive a recommendation letter from our program coordinator. Depending on the school’s policy, there’s also the possibility of students earning class credit. We are looking for students of all academic abilities, but they should be highly motivated, love to write, be naturally inquisitive, and care about what’s going on in their communities.

To apply,click here and download the application form or fill it out online here. On a separate piece of paper, please also tell us about yourself, your academic and extra-curricular interests, and why you are applying to this program. Your essay should be at least 400 words long and must be typed. Mail your completed application form and essay to Bronx Youth Heard, c/o Norwood News, 3400 Reservoir Oval East, Bronx, NY 10467. Or fax to (718) 324-2917. The application deadline is Wednesday, January 29.

The program was founded in 2008. To read about an earlier semester, and students’ experiences, here’s an article that appeared in City Limits. And here’s an article that appeared in DNAinfo. The program is currently being funded through the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development thanks to the support of local Councilman Fernando Cabrera and former Councilman Joel Rivera. Bronx Youth Heard is also supported by Hostos Community College’s College Now program. For more information, please call David Cruz at (718) 324-4998, or e-mail bronxyouthheard@gmail.com.


It’s Here! A New and Improved Look For The Norwood News

August 21, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 8.58.30 AM

by David Cruz 


The Norwood News has been anticipating this moment for quite some time, waiting for the perfect moment to re-introduce the newspaper to the readers, and it’s finally here…the new Norwood News. Same news spirit. Fresh new look. In it you’ll find an entire color page full of news stories impacting the community, and familiar features the Norwood News has ran for years, including Inquiring Photographer with David Greene, Business Beat, Be Healthy (fascinating piece on the 10-year separation procedure of conjoined twins), and Judy Noy’s Out & About. They’re complemented with a new feature dubbed Norwood News Online, a collection of news stories you’ll only find on www.norwoodnews.org.

Making the news this edition is the eviction for 13 homeless families housed in a cluster site on Mosholu Parkway. Check out Imani Hall’s piece on what tenants, both homeless and renters, have to say about the changes. Also, read all about a trio of thieves on the loose in the northwest section of the Bronx, robbing the elderly.

Also, we want as much feedback as possible so we urge you to email David Cruz, the editor-in-chief of the Norwood News, at dcruz@norwoodnews.org. So check out the digital edition of the Norwood NewsWe want your thoughts so please send them on our. Welcome to the new Norwood News.


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Norwood Cluster Site Evicting Homeless Tenants

August 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM


NYDIA VARGAS (pictured) sits unsure where she and her husband Emilio will be relocated to after receiving a notice to leave the cluster site shelter operated by Aguila, Inc. Photo by Adi Talwar

NYDIA VARGAS (pictured) sits unsure where she and her husband Emilio will be relocated to after receiving a notice to leave the cluster
site shelter operated by Aguila, Inc.
Photo by Adi Talwar

by Imani Hall 

Homeless families at a cluster site homeless shelter in Norwood will have been slapped with relocation notices, terminating a controversial approach to housing the homeless. Read more

Comments (1)

NYS Clears 16-year-olds to Join Community Boards

August 19, 2014 at 11:38 AM

By David Cruz 

In a move intended to infuse young blood into community boards, Albany has approved a measure that allows Bronx residents as young as 16 years old to serve on a local community board.

The bill, dubbed Resolution 115, came from the city level, with Councilman Ritchie Torres drafting the law that needed approval from the State Assembly and Senate.

“With civic engagement rates among young people at critically low levels, we need to put forward every effort to replace apathy with enfranchisement, disengagement with opportunity,” said Councilman Torres, himself one of the younger members of the Council, representing the 15th Council District in central Bronx.

The move is intended to also develop activism and future leaders of tomorrow.

In the Bronx, civic engagement is relatively low, and it’s seen on the community board level. There are twelve boards in all, with many panels having little to no members under the age of 30. Within Torres’ district, members under the age of 45 are scant.

The law takes in effect immediately, though the Boards will begin their new session next month. Anyone interested must apply to their local Board office by next year. Recommendations are made by the local City Council Member and approvals are made by the Bronx Borough President’s Office.



On 25th Anniversary, The COVE Thanks Community

August 17, 2014 at 8:34 PM

Kids spent last Sunday sprinting throughout Gates Place, cordoned off for a celebration of the COVE's 25th anniversary block party. Photo by David Greene

Kids spent last Sunday at an organized basketball game on Gates Place, a Norwood neighborhood cordoned off for a celebration of the COVE’s 25th anniversary block party.
Photo by David Greene

By David Cruz

Last week, a crowd assembled at Gates Place wishing a neighborhood staple a happy 25th birthday. And the celebratory venue for Community Organized with a Visual of Excellence, also served as a tribute to a community center that’s sparked a teen’s interest in the arts. Read more