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Business Beat – Bolstering the Once Sleepy BID in Kingsbridge

January 28, 2015 at 12:00 AM

KATHERINE BROIHIER, the long serving executive director of the Kingsbridge Business Improvement District, is arguably the strip’s biggest booster. Photo by David Cruz

KATHERINE BROIHIER, the long serving executive director of the Kingsbridge Business Improvement District, is arguably the strip’s biggest booster.
Photo by David Cruz

By DAVID CRUZ

At an upstairs office just below a mechanic shop on Broadway, Katherine Broihier looks ahead. The yearly calendar out of the way, Broihier’s focus turns to a light fixture project for Broadway. The project, one of many for 2015, will likely be accomplished by her and her alone.  Read more

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Blizzard Not Exactly a Dud, But Bronxites Expected Worse

January 27, 2015 at 4:22 PM

MOSHOLU PARKWAY IN Norwood attracted plenty of sleigh riders a day after the winter season's first blizzard.  Photo by David Cruz

MOSHOLU PARKWAY IN Norwood attracted plenty of sleigh riders a day after the winter season’s first blizzard.
Photo by David Cruz


By David Cruz

The city’s first major snowstorm of the season did dump a batch of snow on the Bronx, but it wasn’t much to put Norwood in complete hibernation.  Read more

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Detective Begins and Ends Career at the 5-2

January 27, 2015 at 12:00 AM

KATHLEEN O'SULLIVAN, on her last day at the 52nd Precinct, poses with current commanding officer Inspector Nilda Hofmann and her predecessor, Deputy Inspector Joseph Dowling.  Photo by Adi Talwar

KATHLEEN O’SULLIVAN, on her last day at the 52nd Precinct, poses with current commanding officer Inspector Nilda Hofmann and her predecessor, Deputy Inspector Joseph Dowling.
Photo by Adi Talwar


By DAVID CRUZ
 

Detective Katherine O’Sullivan punched in at the 52nd Precinct on Jan. 13. The same day, she punched out as a detective one last time. Read more

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As Blizzard Revs Up, Bronxites Prepare to Hibernate

January 26, 2015 at 5:00 PM

DONNETTA REID SEALS off her vehicle with sheets of plastic ahead of the major snowstorm of the year.  Photo by David Cruz

DONNETTA REID SEALS off her vehicle with sheets of plastic ahead of the major snowstorm of the year.
Photo by David Cruz


by David Cruz

Friends of Donnetta Reid of Norwood thought her crazy by her nifty idea in protecting her car from a snowstorm–draping it with a thin sheet of plastic. But it seemed to work during last year’s horrendous winter. And as a historic storm settled into the tri-state area, Ms. Reid thought it’d be a good idea to bring back her technique.

“When I get ready to go out, I just pull off this plastic and I go,” said Reid, utilizing the thin, $1.19 sheets

THIS WORKER SHOVELS outside New Star Coffee Shop.  Photo by David Cruz

THIS WORKER SHOVELS outside New Star Coffee Shop.
Photo by David Cruz

to insulate the hood and windshield of her 1999 Dodge Caravan. She laughed at the notion, though she couldn’t think of the half hour of shovel duty should she just leave the car as is. “I’m lazy,” said Reid, a Virginian native still not used to New York’s weather extremes.

The car had been parked around the corner of the Fine Fare Supermarket on the corner of Hull Avenue and East Gun Hill Road. Ms. Reid, like several dozen shoppers storming the local grocer, prepared themselves for what officials are deeming a historic snowstorm unseen in New York, including the Bronx, in over one hundred years. Roughly two feet of snow is expected, though projections have waffled some.

But 2 p.m. Monday, residents still trudged around the neighborhood, stopping by bodegas, laundromats and the local CVS pharmacy carrying bags and moving with haste. “It’s already started,” said a woman carrying to bags of groceries.

CONDITIONS NEAR THE Norwood/205th Street Station were calm on Monday a few hours before the snowstorm intensified. Photo by David Cruz

CONDITIONS NEAR THE Norwood/205th Street Station were calm on Monday a few hours before the snowstorm intensified.
Photo by David Cruz

Inside the Fine Fare, shoppers buzzed about the aisles, loading up carts and baskets with meats, milk and fruits. A shopper who went by Carline stocked up on Ssips artificial drinks for her family. She had several more hours to go before heading to work an overnight shift at a nursing home.

“As long as they pay me, I’m good,” said Carline. “It’s all about the Benjamins.”

YOUNGSTERS BRAVE THE temperatures with a friendly game of football on Mosholu Parkway. Photo by David Cruz

YOUNGSTERS BRAVE THE temperatures during a friendly game of football on Mosholu Parkway.
Photo by David Cruz

By 4 p.m. Monday, snow had blanketed all of the Bronx. Vehicles trickled out of the roadways, heeding the warning by Mayor Bill de Blasio to stay off the streets. At a news conference, the de Blasio administration instituted a ban on all non-emergency vehicles or face a summons or perhaps an arrest. Schools in the Bronx, and throughout the city, will be closed Tuesday, the New York City Department of Education announced. The Archdiocese of New York also announced that all Catholic schools will be closed Tuesday. The MTA announced it will suspend service at 11 p.m.

Locally, Community Board 7 announced that a forum it had organized with several New York City Council members was put on hold for Tuesday, January 29. It’s been rescheduled for Thursday, February 5.

The snow will likely put a pause on many of the area’s daily tasks. Chelsea Turley, a mother living in Norwood, looks forward to fresh snow banks canvassed this Wednesday.

“I’ll take him out to play,” said Ms. Turley. “Why not?”

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Forum Tackling Heat Issues Postponed to Feb. 5

January 26, 2015 at 1:06 PM

by David Cruz 

Community Board 7 has postponed its forum that would have drawn several dozen tenants occupying apartments owned by Simply Better Homes.

The forum, which would have been Tuesday, January 29, was postponed to Thursday, Feb. 5 because of winter storm Juno. The blizzard is expected to dump over a foot of snow in the Bronx. The new meeting will be held at North Central Bronx Hospital, 3224 Kossuth Avenue, 17th Floor at 7 p.m. The forum is expected to discuss ongoing heating issues at the buildings.

Community Board 7 has sent notices out to tenants of the buildings scattered throughout the northwest Bronx. They advise anyone who knows a tenant living in a Simply Better Homes building to alert them of the change.

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Editorial – The Loophole Behind The Right to Know

January 26, 2015 at 12:00 AM

Back in November, when public sentiments for the NYPD further eroded following a summer of high-profile police-involved incidents around the country, the New York City Council proposed a bill that would add another layer of double-sided red tape for rank and file officers. Intro No. 541, or the Right to Know Law, proposes that officers ask a suspect’s permission whether they can be searched during a routine police stop, as per the Fourth Amendment. The consent must be documented via recording or written statement.

Twenty-four of the Council’s 51 members have backed the bill, including Bronx Council Members Andy King, Annabel Palma and Ritchie Torres. They’re the only Bronx legislators to publicly support the bill intended to curb the number of arrests where police officers demand suspects empty out their pockets. Torres has particularly advocated for the bill, arguing it secures a person’s constitutional right to privacy.

The law, if enacted, is triggered only if there is no reasonable suspicion, or probable cause, to be searched. It does not trump an officer’s right to a search during a stop, question and frisk encounter so long as that reasonable suspicion, which could range from just a hunch to their life being threatened, is established.

But in evaluating the premise of Right to Know, it seems a legal loophole is established, despite there being heavy legal justification under the Fourteenth Amendment. And it all comes down to reasonable suspicion, a broad legal standard subject to major interpretation and ambiguity. Police officers can work around the measure by swearing they had reasonable suspicion their life was in danger, which effectively trumps any law.

One simple example could be the routine stop. If a person is walking along the street and is asked by a police officer whether they will allow themselves to be searched, they can say no. But by denying an officer the right to be searched, it rises to a level where an officer can declare there was reasonable suspicion (i.e. unclear whether the alleged suspect is concealing a knife or small pistol) to frisk and search him. After all, anything can be a weapon. That exchange will likely hold in court, especially since it’s oftentimes an officer’s word against a suspect’s.

Still, one clear result from this measure could be the bureaucratization of any street stop, producing a chilling effect on police work. Should police be forced to record or get in writing a person’s consent to a search, it could force officers to second guess whether that stop will impose the headache of extra paperwork and scrutiny.

The bill was proposed before public opinion of the NYPD shifted to neutral after the fatal shootings of Brooklyn police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. Since then, the divisive rhetoric for extreme police reforms has leveled off, with many on the City Council wearing blue ribbons in support of police, a departure from when the Council seethed at the chance of changing the culture of policing last year.

Support for the law seems to be waning. In the first week of January, supporters of the bill told local media that more conversations are required on the bill. Reading between the lines, it seems even they may have been emotional when supporting this law in November.

Torres’ stance on the proposed bill runs counter to his former boss, and now colleague, Councilman James Vacca, representing the east Bronx. His coverage area, mainly Throggs Neck, Morris Park, and Pelham Parkway, is very favorable to police officers. In an interview, Vacca said the Council should not be “policing the police.”

Our prediction is the law will not pass, though just by a hair. Mayor Bill de Blasio, now trying to mend relationships with the NYPD, could likely veto the measure. But one conclusion could be a new wedge driven between City Council members wishing to progressively change NYPD tactics to preserve Constitutional rights and those looking to change it at a snail’s pace.

Editor’s Note: Letters to the editor are always encouraged. Please send them to David Cruz, Norwood News editor-in-chief at dcruz@norwoodnews.org. 

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Taking Up Space, Illegal Vendors Narrow JGHBID Sidewalks

January 26, 2015 at 12:00 AM

Illegal Vendors Swarm The BID (Picture) (640x427)

MARCIA CAMERON (RIGHT) chats with a licensed vendor along the Jerome-Gun Hill Business Improvement District. Cameron faces the constant threat of illegal vendors settling along the Norwood business strip, which she says steers business away from brick and mortar stores. Photo by Adi Talwar


By KIMBERLY C. JACOBS

As one of the busiest shopping corridors in the Bronx, the Jerome-Gun Hill Business Improvement District in Norwood is an attractive area for vendors, both licensed and unlicensed, to set up pop-up businesses on the sidewalk.

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Bronx Bracing For 2015 ‘Historic’ Blizzard

January 25, 2015 at 7:42 PM

Snowstorm (Picture) (640x480)

FLAKES FALL ON the Williamsbridge Oval on Monday, the early signs of a major snowstorm of 2015. Photo by David Cruz


By David Cruz

The relatively dormant winter is slated to unleash a record snowstorm along the tri-state area, and the Bronx is no exception.  Read more

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P.S. 94 Top of the Class With Family Involvement Program

January 25, 2015 at 12:00 AM

A PARENT VOLUNTEER with Learning Leaders offers writing tips to this student from P.S. 94 in Norwood. Photo courtesy Learning Leaders

 

PS 94 Kings College School in Norwood is rising to the challenge set by New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña by engaging students’ families in creative new ways.

Over the last couple of months, school Principal Diane Daprocida incorporated a Newcomers Academy to acclimate its new immigrant families, and a Parent Think Tank to bolster school-family relationships.

“Effective family involvement is a vital component of success,” said Daprocida. “It is my job to work out what will get the parents through the doors, which means being willing to listen to ideas and advice and to take risks.”

PS 94 emphasizes family involvement to support student success, working for seven years with Learning Leaders, an experienced family engagement Manhattan-based nonprofit, implementing successful family volunteer and parent information workshop programs.

The school is comprised mostly of working families, 30 percent of whom are non-English-speaking and includes a large proportion of newly arrived immigrant families from Spanish-speaking countries, and countries in Asia and Africa.

The new initiatives are expected to ease assimilation for new families, improve communications between home and school, and increase opportunities for parents to participate.

The Newcomers Academy consists of a core group of teachers, parents and students, who meet with new immigrant families weekly to offer a consistent support network. The children are paired with a buddy from the same grade to help them navigate the system and spend time reading together. Parents and teachers help to translate and provide support and information based on the new families’ needs.

The Parent Think Tank teachers and Learning Leaders parents meet monthly to identify the barriers to family engagement and discuss how to build relationships, trust and encourage new families to be more involved with the school.

To fit these activities into the school day, PS 94 uses the 40 minutes each Tuesday that were allotted for family engagement within the new teachers union contract of 2014.

Currently, nearly 20 Learning Leaders parent volunteers help in the classrooms and in the school library and act as translators for new families, in Spanish, Arabic and Bengali. Learning Leaders also runs parent information workshops on topics including Common Core, homework help and transition to middle school. Fifteen sessions are planned this coming year, based on parent feedback about what they would find most helpful to learn.

“[Ms. Daprocida] has a great rapport with the parents and is constantly coming up with creative ideas to improve the school community and support the children’s learning,” said Jane Heaphy, executive director of Learning Leaders.

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Neighborhood Notes

January 24, 2015 at 12:00 AM

Donate Blood
St. Brendan’s Church will host its annual Day After the Super Bowl Blood Drive on Feb. 8 at the St. Brendan’s School cafeteria, 268 E. 207th St. from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, call (718) 881-5313.

Clothing Drive
Winter clothes are needed for victims of a fire at 3971 Gouverneur Ave. Jackets, sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves, and other basic necessities are needed. Items can be dropped off through Jan. 28 at three locations: Community Board 8, 5676 Riverdale Ave., Suite 100; 50th Precinct, 3450 Kingsbridge Ave.; and Engine 81, 3025 Bailey Ave. For more information, call the office of Councilman Andrew Cohen at (718) 549-7300.  Read more

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