Norwood News http://www.norwoodnews.org Serving Norwood, Bedford Park, Fordham and University Heights 2017-07-22T04:00:56Z hourly 1 2000-01-01T12:00+00:00 Norwood Football Club Scores on Youth Development http://www.norwoodnews.org/id=23914&story=norwood-football-club-scores-youth-development/ 2017-07-22T04:00:56Z   For the Bronx Buccaneers, a Norwood-based youth football program, the mission means more than the game. In the last 11 years, the club has found itself functioning more as a vehicle for cultivating the lives of young athletes, and espousing life lessons intended to enhance critical thinking and athletic abilities. The program throws a […]

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Norwood Football Club Scores on Youth Development
ELIJAH GIBBONS ABOUT TO catch pass from quarterback Darius Ramos.
Photo by Devin Dae Tucker

 

For the Bronx Buccaneers, a Norwood-based youth football program, the mission means more than the game.

In the last 11 years, the club has found itself functioning more as a vehicle for cultivating the lives of young athletes, and espousing life lessons intended to enhance critical thinking and athletic abilities.

The program throws a veil on the students, general manager Tasha Andrews admits proudly, saying the sport is used to “develop responsibility and focus” for the program’s boys and girls.

Andrews calls the program a bridge that brings players “together and to focus on creating young men who are going to be active and positive members in society; to have love for their community; to have pride in where they come from and to have unity.”

WAYNE GIBBONS, FATHER of Bronx Buc Elijah Gibbons, takes handoff from Darius Ramos during Father’s Day practice.
Photo by Devin Dae Tucker

And even in the face of seasonal hurdles (the team occasionally practices without adequate lights in the fall), the Buccaneers, or “Bucs” for short, seem to get by.

Bucs head coach and owner Dennis O’Neal, a Norwood resident for more than 20 years, says the players’ coming-of-age path starts the moment they hit the field. “Team discipline comes first and individual discipline comes second,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal once coached the Harlem Giants of the Pioneer League in the Concourse section of the Bronx, but the team dissolved after construction of the new Yankee Stadium on the Giants’ home field at Macombs Dam Park. “The location was great because of the subway and buses,” O’Neal said of the Concourse park. “There aren’t a lot of [football] fields in New York, so we ended up moving to the north Bronx.”

Forced to relocate, O’Neal left the Bucs in Norwood in 2006, sticking with the Pioneer League. The Bucs practice at Williamsbridge Oval Park, doubling as the home field. Players can be seen running drills Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The Bucs originally began as an 18 and under team called the Bronx Rebels. The team has a roster of 101 players and cheerleaders in four age divisions: 10 and under, 11- and 12-year olds, 13- and 14-year-olds, and 15- and 16-year-olds. Since then it has gone on to win several recognitions, including Program of the Year by league organizers in 2015.

Throughout the program’s inception, friendships have formed. “They always hang out at the park, practice or not, and are always there for each other,” O’Neal said. The mantra seems embedded in the team’s motto: “Once a Buc, always a Buc.”

The organization uses Facebook to promote itself and has recently partnered with St. Joseph’s School in Tremont and MS 80 in Norwood to directly recruit.

Recruitment is up, allowing staffers to watch their players grow and play a major role in their adolescence, which has been described as “amazing” and having a “serious” impact. Mentoring goes beyond the field. O’Neal frequently asks his players to bring their report cards, and periodically checks with players’ teachers to determine how well students are doing.

Life coaching is a common practice for Leslie Alvira, assistant general manager and Norwood resident. “The kids are staying off the street and can be productive and have a place to go,” she noted. “The best part is being so close [to Norwood] and seeing them outside of football. I go hard on them about being involved, doing positive stuff and staying out of trouble.”

Indeed, staffers have firsthand knowledge of what could happen if players go down the wrong path. One former player become involved with gang activities after leaving the Bucs and was arrested for his connection to a murder. “Up until that point [when he left], there were no issues with him,” Andrews said. “It was one of our biggest heartaches.”

An ongoing issue the Bucs face at the Oval is practicing with subpar lighting, forcing the team to move to DeWitt Clinton High School and to Evander Childs Educational Complex in the Olinville section of the Bronx.

“In the summertime it’s easy to practice, but in the fall we can’t go past a certain time,” O’Neal said. “We don’t want the kids playing [football] in the dark because it’s dangerous, and we also don’t want them in the park after dark.

The cost of new lights at Oval Park is estimated at $1.5 million, according to a figure the New York City Department of Parks provided to the Norwood News in November 2015.

“Not having lights is discouraging and disheartening because we consider Williamsbridge Oval our home,” Andrews said. “It might actually add a little more security with lights because of such a big abode of darkness in the middle of the community.”

 

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Making the Grade: How Norwood and Bedford Park Eateries Fare http://www.norwoodnews.org/id=23911&story=making-the-grade-how-norwood-and-bedford-park-eateries-fare/ 2017-07-22T04:00:52Z Norwood and Bedford Park Behind in City Average of “A” Restaurant Grades More restaurants in New York City are earning more A grades than they have since the city Department of Health started issuing restaurants letter grades in 2010, according to numbers released by the city in late May. But while A grades dominate in […]

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Making the Grade: How Norwood and Bedford Park Eateries Fare
POPEYES LOUISIANA KITCHEN at 3411 Jerome Ave. is among the 93 percent of restaurants in New York City that have received an A grade from the city Department of Health.
Photo by Wendy Joan Biddlecombe

Norwood and Bedford Park Behind in City Average of “A” Restaurant Grades

More restaurants in New York City are earning more A grades than they have since the city Department of Health started issuing restaurants letter grades in 2010, according to numbers released by the city in late May.

But while A grades dominate in key commercial corridors of Norwood and Bedford Park, they still score a percentage point lower than the rest of the city, as of press time.

“Citywide levels are slightly higher [in A grades],” Health Department spokesperson Christopher Miller told Norwood News in an email, adding that the agency continues to help Bronx restaurants achieve or maintain an A through education.

Since the letter grading practice began in 2010, 154 restaurants in the zip codes covering Fordham, Bedford Park, Kingsbridge Heights and Norwood were closed because of unsanitary conditions, Health Department figures show. Last year, 17 eateries were shut down, (by comparison, 42 were shut down in 2010). In late May, Montezuma Restaurant on West Kingsbridge Road, which had previously scored a B, was shut down for a week after inspectors found evidence of mice and roaches, food items stored at improper temperatures, and other issues.

Justin Mashia, who lives in Kingsbridge Heights, says he usually eats out in the Bronx and Manhattan about three times per week.

“I used to pay attention to the grades, but lately it’s been seeming as if all of them have good grades,” Mashia said. “When I eat out, I’m generally just trusting that the restaurant is clean and my food has been prepared very sanitarily. However, I refuse to eat at a restaurant if it has less than a B grade.”

How Scoring Works
Restaurants are graded on a point system. The number of points earned is calculated to a letter grade: A, B or C. There is nothing lower than a C. If a restaurant scores in that range, the Health Department may conduct monthly visits until the restaurant scores better. If things haven’t improved, the agency can shut down the restaurant.

Restaurants are evaluated by a number of other factors that include the presence of mice, roaches, “filth flies” and other critters, as well as improper refrigeration, food handling techniques, cross contamination and personal hygiene. But, said Carmen Bermudez, the manager at Tequilaz Restaurant and Lounge on Jerome Avenue near East Gun Hill Road, what a lot of people don’t understand is that the Health Department considers things other than food in their score.

“The problem with the grading system is that people think it’s just based on food. The grade is based on other things. Say if you had a broken door handle, or a lightbulb went out [when the Health Department was inspecting],” Bermudez said.

“When people see an A, they understand that this is a place where they can be assured is kept clean, and they’re following health department procedures,” said Bermudez, who said she’s been in the foodservice industry for the last 15 years.” (Tequilaz was recently cited by the health department for not having a restaurant permit, and does not currently have a letter grade.)

When asked if the uptick in “A’s” means that restaurants are cleaner and safer to eat at, or if they are just better at following the Health Department rules, health inspection consultant Leon Lubarsky said it would have to be both.

“There is no way to cheat the system,” said Lubarsky, whose company, Letter Grade Consulting, works with restaurants to comply with Health Department regulations. “If an inspector comes in, there’s no way to really pretend that someone is wearing a hat when they’re not, or wearing gloves when they’re not. It’s a true combination of restaurants understanding and following the rules better.”

Still, restaurants that receive a C score on a follow-up inspection must wait roughly three to six months for another inspection, prolonging the chance of a higher grade.

“We expect restaurants to do better,” Lubarsky said. “Restaurants have to fix the violations, but fixing the violations will not fix the grade for that inspection cycle.”

What Isn’t Graded

Although delis and food carts are still tested and inspected by health inspectors and abide by the same rules and requirements, they don’t receive a letter grade that the consumer can see.

That’s changing, at least for food carts. In May, the City Council passed a bill that will require food carts to receive a letter grade (the regulation is set to go into effect 270 days from the day the bill is signed).

Those who want to order a chicken and rice meal or sandwich at a neighborhood deli will have to do their own research. Though delis are inspected by the city, they receive a pass/fail grade and are not required to post letter grades in the window because they are regulated by the state Department of Agriculture, not the city Health Department.

“I don’t think the letter grade would help us,” said Fouad Ahmed, who owns 169 Gourmet Deli on East 205th Street in Norwood. “There are a lot of delis all over the place. When it comes to restaurants, the letter grade helps them a lot because if you like the food, and you think the place is clean and that place is graded an A, you will walk a distance to go to the restaurant. But delis are all over.”

Editor’s Note: To find out how restaurants score, and to see a list of inspections and violations, visit http://on.nyc.gov/1f43UOp. This article was written as part of the Health Reporting Fellowship of the Center for Community and Ethnic Media and funded by a grant from News Corp.

 

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Out & About: Night Out at the Oval http://www.norwoodnews.org/id=23923&story=out-about-night-out-at-the-oval/ 2017-07-21T19:00:44Z Editor’s Pick  Night Out at the Oval  The 52nd Precinct invites the public to a free National Night Out at Williamsbridge Oval, on Aug. 1 from 3 to 6 p.m. Meet and greet the precinct’s officers and executive staff and enjoy snacks and drinks. Events include pony rides, face painting, music, bingo, and raffles. For […]

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Out & About: Night Out at the Oval
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT Against Crime will likely see the return of Wilma Alonso (l) and Daniel Bernstein, co-executive directors of the Fordham Road BID, sponsors of the Aug. 1 event (see Editor’s Pick for more details).
File Photo

Editor’s Pick 

Night Out at the Oval 

The 52nd Precinct invites the public to a free National Night Out at Williamsbridge Oval, on Aug. 1 from 3 to 6 p.m. Meet and greet the precinct’s officers and executive staff and enjoy snacks and drinks. Events include pony rides, face painting, music, bingo, and raffles. For more information, call (718) 220-5824.

Onstage
Bronx Council on the Arts presents free concert, Aug. 2 from 7 to 9 p.m., featuring John Benitez and his Salsa Band, at the Amalgamated Train Park, Orloff Avenue and Gale Place. For more information, call (718) 931-9500. 

Bronx Arts Ensemble presents free concerts: July 23 – Tango Dances, in Van Cortlandt Park, Rockwood Drive Circle at Mosholu Avenue and Broadway, at 2 p.m.; and at Fordham University (Keating Hall, 1st floor), at 4 p.m.; and July 30 – New Orleans Jazz, at Fordham University (Keating Hall, 1st floor), at 4 p.m. For more information, call (718) 601-7399.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. presents Bronx Summer Concert Series, at Orchard Beach’s Main Stage at Section 9, July 23 through Sept. 3, from 1 to 5 p.m. Included are salsa, freestyle, bachata, merengue, R&B, and pop. Zumba will also be provided. For more information, call (718) 590-3500.

Events
Williamsbridge Oval presents film, “Newsies,” July 24 preceded by Newsies Broadway performers at 6:30 p.m. (rain date: July 31). For more information, call (718) 543-8672.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will host a town hall forum on July 22 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse, at the Main Theater at the Center for the Arts and Culture.

Councilmember Fernando Cabrera presents Summer in the Park, at St. James Park, 2550 Jerome Ave., July 29, Aug. 5, 12, 19, and 26 from 4 to 9 p.m. Included are free refreshments, movies and giveaways. For more information, call (347) 590-2874.

Williamsbridge Oval presents free special events: July 21 – Hula Hoop Workout at 6:30 p.m.; July 22 – Learn to Ride from noon to 2 p.m. (bring bike and helmet); and July 26 – Community Art Project at 6:30 p.m. (create sculpture using recycled materials and paint). For more information, call (718) 543-8672.

Fordham Business Improvement District presents film, “Dirty Dancing,” July 22 at sundown at Fordham Plaza (3rd Avenue and 189th Street), preceded by music and games at 5 p.m. Bring chair or blanket. Popcorn is provided. For more information, call (718) 562-2104.

Van Cortlandt Park, West 242nd Street and Broadway, offers a variety of summer activities including: Rowboating on VC Lake: Fridays through Sept. 1 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. (free; enter the park at VC Park South and Bailey Avenue; meet near the lake); Barefoot Dancing: featuring demonstrations and teaching, on the VC House Lawn from 6:30 to 8 p.m.: July 27 – Sufi music; and Aug. 3 – Salsa (info: (718) 430-1890); Horseback Riding Instruction: Daily lessons by the Riverdale Stables (for more information, visit riverdalestables.com); Fishing: Join the Rangers on Aug. 13 at noon for free fishing program catch and release only (NYS fishing license is required); Swimming: Free outdoor pool open daily through Sept. 10 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (closed from 3 to 4 p.m.; also offered are learn to swim programs (info: (718) 760-6969 ext. 0) or 311); Learn to Play Tennis: For beginners, through Aug. 11, from 9 a.m. to noon at Indian Field Courts (info/register: (718) 760-6999); and Art Classes: Tuesdays from 2 to 3:30 p.m. from July 19 to Aug. 9 at Woodlawn Playground for Painting Nature; and on Fridays through Aug. 25 at 6:30 p.m., for Twilight Hike & Draw (meet at Nature Center). For more information and a detailed schedule, call (718) 601-1553. 

Wave Hill, a Bronx oasis at 675 W. 252nd St. in Riverdale, offers Family Art Projects: July 22 and 23; July 29 and 30; Aug. 5 and 6; and Aug. 12 and 13; all in the WH House from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (call for details). Also scheduled is Libby Richman & Co., musical group performing classical, Latin and current music, July 26; Salsa Bruja featuring singer and dancers, Aug. 2; and Orquesta SSC Salsa Band, featuring male 11-member group, Aug. 9; all on the grounds at 7 p.m. ($10/ticket; $6/students/seniors 65+; $4/ages 6 to 18). Grounds admission is free until noon Saturdays and Tuesdays all year. For more information and a schedule of events including tours and walks, call (718) 549-3200.

Library Events
The Bronx Library Center, 310 E. Kingsbridge Rd., presents for children: T-Shirt Making (ages 5 to 12), July 20 at 2 p.m. (all supplies provided; in-person preregistration required); Hands-on Projects (ages 7 to 12): Popsicle People Making, July 23 at 3:30 p.m.; Picture Frame Making, July 27 at 2 p.m.; and Box Making, July 30 at 3:30 p.m.; and film: 90-minute feature film, July 25 at 2 p.m. Adults can enjoy: film: “The Great Gatsby,” July 22 at 2:30 p.m. For more information, call (718) 579-4244/46/57 or visit www.nypl.org.

The Mosholu Library, 285 E. 205th St., offers for children: Harry Potter Party: (ages 5 to 12), enjoy games, crafts and stories, July 27 at 3:30 p.m. (registration required); and film: “The Lego Batman Movie,” July 22 at 1:30 p.m. Adults can attend: Knitting Circle: Thursdays at 3 p.m. For more information, call (718) 882-8239.

The Jerome Park Library, 118 Eames Place (near Kingsbridge Road), offers for children: Kids Get Active Fridays at 2:45 p.m.: (ages 5 to 12), dance moves on the Wii game console, July 21, 28, Aug. 4 and 11; and films at 2:30 p.m.: July 29 and Aug. 12 (“The Labyrinth” and “The Never Ending Story”). Teens/young adults can enjoy: A Day With Clay: to create objects out of clay, Aug. 16 at 4 p.m. Adults can attend: Computer Basics at noon: July 20, 27, Aug. 3, 10 and 17. For more information, call (718) 549-5200.

NOTE: Items for consideration may be mailed to our office or sent to norwoodnews@norwoodnews.org, and should be received by Aug. 7 for the next publication date of Aug. 17.

 

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Sen. Jamaal Bailey Opens Norwood Office, Extending Presence http://www.norwoodnews.org/id=23931&story=sen-jamaal-bailey-opens-norwood-office-extending-presence/ 2017-07-21T14:36:25Z   A satellite office for State Senator Jamaal Bailey of the 36th District opened at the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center with a ceremonial red-ribbon cutting to mark the occasion. The Norwood center will reserve the new office every Wednesday so that constituents may discuss issues they are dealing with to Bailey’s staff, namely Kenny Agosto, […]

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Sen. Jamaal Bailey Opens Norwood Office, Extending Presence
SEN. JAMAAL BAILEY at the opening of his constituent office at MMCC.
Photo by Reggie Francois

 

A satellite office for State Senator Jamaal Bailey of the 36th District opened at the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center with a ceremonial red-ribbon cutting to mark the occasion.

The Norwood center will reserve the new office every Wednesday so that constituents may discuss issues they are dealing with to Bailey’s staff, namely Kenny Agosto, deputy chief of staff for Bailey. Agosto serves as the community liaison between the senator and locals.

The office, found on the first floor, will be open the first and third Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and every second and fourth Wednesday 1 to 5 p.m. For Norwood residents, Bailey’s new outpost signifies a more available representative when compared his predecessor, former Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, who was criticized by Norwood residents for not being as available as they wanted.

“It’s very important to me to insure that communities feel like representation is not just happening in me showing up to events, but in them having a satellite office,” said Bailey. “So here at MMCC, we offer services, the same that we would at our main district office at 233rd Street, but you don’t have to travel as far.”

Bailey represents the large 36th Senate District, which covers Norwood, Bedford Park, Williamsbridge, Co-op City, Wakefield and Baychester neighborhoods. His coverage also extends into Mount Vernon in Westchester County.

The issues within the district vary widely. But Agosto said one of the many issues that local seniors bring up is affordable housing, lack of senior affordable housing, and help with benefits.

“They’re either applying for SNAP or they need to find a supplement to pantry. So those are some things we try to help them out with,” said Agosto.

Francisco Lopez, a Norwood resident attending the ribbon cutting, thought the new office would be helpful in the future. “I have problems with my landlord,” said Lopez, hoping to get solutions.

Keeping cooling centers open longer during severe heat spells is one of Blossom Rhoden Henry’s priorities. Henry, who lives on White Plains Road, worried that cooling center facilitators were not staying with guests to engage them during the longer hours. She is also concerned about affordable housing.

“I apply, apply and apply,” said Henry. “I don’t want senior housing, I want affordable housing because I can afford to pay my rent.”

Bailey introduced a new plan for seniors in which they may enter a drawing to apply for a government job. He also addressed one guest’s concern about senior safety.

“Seniors are being displaced at an all-time high,” Bailey said. “I want to make sure seniors stay in their communities and stay safe.”

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Inquiring Photographer: War on Rats http://www.norwoodnews.org/id=23904&story=inquiring-photographer-war-on-rats/ 2017-07-20T19:27:18Z Following the city’s announcement to combat rats through a $32 million initiative, this week we asked readers how bad the rat population is across the Bronx. I just saw one run into Van Cortlandt Park and run down a hole. I see them sometimes; they come out of an alley and run onto Gun Hill […]

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Following the city’s announcement to combat rats through a $32 million initiative, this week we asked readers how bad the rat population is across the Bronx.

I just saw one run into Van Cortlandt Park and run down a hole. I see them sometimes; they come out of an alley and run onto Gun Hill Road. I do think it’s an epidemic. They say they don’t have enough inspectors, so they should hire some more. It’s ridiculous. There are kids in this park and people enjoying cookouts. It’s a beautiful park, but people see that and they’re afraid to come out.
Michael Elliott
Norwood

 

There are a lot of rats around here, they cross the street right there. It is an epidemic. I see them along the Grand Concourse when I take the bus. They have to put out more poison.
Eleanor Berlman
Norwood

 

 

The rat problem is definitely an epidemic. I see them in the subways, on the streets. It’s pretty bad. The D train is horrible over here on Kingsbridge; they’ll run right over your feet on the platform. I’d rather see cats than rats. As long as the cats aren’t being mistreated, I don’t see a problem with it. I’ve noticed where there are a lot of cats and urine…it’s a deterrent to the rats.
Ogoby Gonzalez
Crotona Park

 

When I take the trains I do see rats, but I don’t see them on the street, so I don’t know. Definitely [I see them] on the D train and along the Grand Concourse. I’ve never seen them on the number 4 train or out here. It’s a big shock to me that it is a big epidemic out here.
Ronald Rojas
Foxhurst

 

It’s possibly an epidemic, but it’s a species of animal that’s going to be hard to eliminate. I don’t see them every day, but we see them, mostly on the trains.
Joey P
Mt. Hope

 

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Latest Edition of the Norwood News is Out! http://www.norwoodnews.org/id=23897&story=latest-edition-of-the-norwood-news-is-out-40/ 2017-07-20T17:30:08Z The latest edition of the Norwood News, covering the Bronx, is out with plenty of community news you can use. Our 15th edition of the year runs for four weeks as the Norwood News takes a break from producing its print publication. With that out of the way, we can start with the beginning…and page one! This […]

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The latest edition of the Norwood News, covering the Bronx, is out with plenty of community news you can use. Our 15th edition of the year runs for four weeks as the Norwood News takes a break from producing its print publication.

With that out of the way, we can start with the beginning…and page one! This week we look at illegal barbecues that swept through Mosholu Parkway during the July 4 weekend, and longtime residents rage over NYPD not enforcing the rules along the parkway. We hear from park advocates and police on could be done about it in the near future.

We then take a look at the resignation of Community Board 7 District Manager Andrew Sandler, who stepped down following a six-month medical leave. Find out what will happen going forward.

Devin Dae Tucker and I have two pieces on the town hall forum hosted by Mayor Bill de Blasio. One offers a broad view while the other takes a look at de Blasio’s position on an impending homeless shelter/affordable housing development happening in the Fordham section. Residents, as you might expect, are pretty unhappy about it.

We then have two special reports: Reggie Francois explores how much Norwood’s commercial landscapes have changed while Wendy Joan Biddlecombe, in part with the Center for Community & Ethnic Media (CCEM), presents a report on the state of health grades among Norwood’s restaurants.

The regular staples are in this monthlong edition–Inquiring Photographer, Neighborhood Notes, and Out & About–all there to tickle your cultural and civic interests over the next few weeks.

So take a look at the latest edition of the Norwood News, and you can always send thoughts my way, dcruz@norwoodnews.org.

We will also keep putting out original work on this news site, so please don’t hesitate in sending story pitches, complaints, compliments, our way.

 

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As Shelter-Housing Rises, Fordham Hill Shareholders Mobilize http://www.norwoodnews.org/id=23894&story=shelter-housing-rises-fordham-hill-shareholders-mobilize/ 2017-07-20T15:00:22Z   Mayor Bill de Blasio may have received the Bronx political machine’s endorsement, but he could have lost hundreds of votes from shareholders of a Fordham cooperative after telling its representatives at a town hall that an impending homeless shelter/affordable housing development just blocks from their home will be there to stay. In an exchange […]

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As Shelter-Housing Rises, Fordham Hill Shareholders Mobilize
(L-R) FORDHAM HILL COOPERATIVE Board of directors, including Board secretary Chad Royer, Board president Myrna Calderon and Board Vice President Rachel Miller-Bradshaw.
Photo by Miriam Quinones

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio may have received the Bronx political machine’s endorsement, but he could have lost hundreds of votes from shareholders of a Fordham cooperative after telling its representatives at a town hall that an impending homeless shelter/affordable housing development just blocks from their home will be there to stay.

In an exchange with Chad Royer, secretary for the Fordham Hill Owners Cooperative board, de Blasio backed the shelter project by the Bowery Residents Committee (BRC). The setup is unique: a 200-bed men’s only homeless shelter will double as a 135-unit affordable housing complex for low-income residents. The site is a block and a half from the 72-year cooperative that’s home to several hundred residents. In his 2013 election, de Blasio had won 189 votes in the precinct overlapping with Fordham Hill, aligning with his overall win of the Bronx.

“[W]e have an obligation in every community to take care of folks who’ve come upon hard times, who want to get back on their feet,” de Blasio, a staunch Democrat grappling with a significant homeless population, said. “And we’re gonna do that in every part of this city, and it’s ultimately going to be in proportion to the population.”

Royer’s rebuttals were immediately shot down.

“It’s not a back and forth, I’ve answered your question,” de Blasio said. Royer, who attended the town hall with board president Myrna Calderon and board vice president Rachel Miller-Bradshaw characterized the mayor’s stance as dismissive.

“It was a very disrespectful for Mr. de Blasio at the very least not to answer the question,” said Royer, who asked de Blasio whether his administration considers the potential drop of property values in neighborhoods near shelters.

Ironically, Councilman Fernando Cabrera, who recently moved into the complex, hosted the town hall. Though he remained publicly silent on the issue, Cabrera has been praised by shareholders for facilitating meetings between the 52nd Precinct and BRC. Calderon and others toured the site and were not impressed, labeling it an eyesore that’s “built like a prison.” In a statement, Cabrera didn’t completely address where he stood on the shelter.

A petition has now circulated across the Fordham complex and the surrounding neighborhood demanding BRC reconsider the men’s only shelter for one that will accommodate homeless seniors, Vietnam veterans, or domestic abuse survivors. The BRC development, partially financed by the New York City Department of Homeless Services, is at the tail end of construction. It’s settled on a residential lot at 233 Landing Rd. that’s near a nightclub, Dallas BBQ, and storage facility.

Board members have found support from other shareholders, who have also forwarded letters and emails outraged over the development, Miller-Bradshaw said. “They are frightened and concerned and scared,” said Miller-Bradshaw, emphasizing that she and the board are not anti-homeless. “It’s just the adult male aspect is really concerning to people. It’s concerning to me as a woman.”

Though shareholders felt blindsided, the project has long been in the public eye. Community Board 7’s Land Use/Zoning & Housing Committee presided over a presentation from Muzzy Rosenblatt, executive director of BRC, at a November 2014 meeting. CB7 ultimately voted against the proposal. As in every case, CB7’s vote is simply advisory. It cannot blunt a project based on its recommendation.

Still, Calderon wished more community input could have been given.

“Fordham Hill has been a stabilizing force in this community,” Calderon said. “If people start moving out, I don’t know what’s going to happen in this community.”

In a statement, Rosenblatt said, “Much of what we all read and hear about homelessness and homeless shelters is indeed concerning.  That is precisely why we at BRC are building this facility. We know that shelters can be better, that how a program is run matters more than what it is, and that there is a need for improvement in how these services are provided in our City; indeed, this is at the core of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to change and improve the shelter system.”

A spokesperson for DHS, the agency that will refer homeless clients to the Fordham Landing site, said it looks “forward to welcoming neighbors to this innovative mixed-use site that will provide New Yorkers’ with both affordable and temporary housing opportunities, including giving Bronxites experiencing homelessness the opportunity to be sheltered closer to their support networks and community they called home as they work to stabilize their lives.”

The spokesperson added, “[W]e’re confident that our clients will be warmly welcomed to the neighborhood—and that, together, with support and compassion, we will make this the best experience it can be for these individuals as they get back on their feet.”

De Blasio said the development is expected to open in October.

Editor’s Note: More news on the town hall forum can be found on page three.

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At Town Hall Forum, de Blasio Hears Bronx Matters   http://www.norwoodnews.org/id=23889&story=at-town-hall-forum-de-blasio-hears-bronx-matters/ 2017-07-18T15:31:54Z Mayor Bill de Blasio’s latest town hall in the Bronx once again saw the mayor bring an impromptu, though somewhat scripted, approach, batting around his ambitions while tackling issues of rats, public housing, and crime. The issues were on the minds for those living within the 14th Council District, where the town hall was held. […]

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At Town Hall Forum, de Blasio Hears Bronx Matters  
MAYOR BILL DE Blasio opens the town hall forum expressing grief over the shooting of NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia.
Photo by Devin Dae Tucker

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s latest town hall in the Bronx once again saw the mayor bring an impromptu, though somewhat scripted, approach, batting around his ambitions while tackling issues of rats, public housing, and crime.

The issues were on the minds for those living within the 14th Council District, where the town hall was held. Councilman Fernando Cabrera hosted the forum with de Blasio, with commissioners from key city agencies on tap.

The two began the evening offering support for the Bronx community and NYPD following the death of Dr. Tracy Tam in the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital shooting rampage and the fatal shooting of Police Officer Miosotis Familia.

“We go through these tragedies and we get so angry, so pained, we also see a lot of what’s so good about this community, and about this city shine through,” de Blasio told the crowd inside Creston Academy on July 12.

During the town hall, de Blasio announced “a war against rats,” which he claims can unite New Yorkers. “Thank you, Lord,” one lady shouted.

“If you’re a real New Yorker, you don’t like rats,” de Blasio quipped.

After outlining plans for the city, guests raised questions on crime, homelessness, and the New York City Housing Authority. The housing authority stood as the most talked about topic from a weary public.

“What are you going to do to stop the privatization of NYCHA, and why are you allowing it?” a guest, a board member of Bailey Houses in the Kingsbridge area, asked.

De Blasio quickly countered, declaring “there is no privatization of NYCHA.”

“I’ll get even closer to you,” de Blasio joked, now face to face with the guest. “People like to say there is privatization but cannot back it up with the facts. Every NYCHA building is publicly owned on public land, and it will remain that way.”

Despite the open forum setting, one group attending the town hall criticized Cabrera’s handling of it.

“Cabrera called on everyone that he funded and knew by first name, not anyone from the community,” said Fordham Heights resident Darney “K. Born” Rivers. “It was a ‘friends hall,’ not town hall.”

Rivers and others had stormed out the town hall without asking questions.

In a statement, Cabrera defended the style of the forum, arguing that “98 percent of people who raised their hands were covered.”

Cabrera added, “cards were given to all who came and their issues will be followed up by the mayor’s office whether they raised their hands or not, because we are looking to be solution-focused.”

Still, residents were grateful de Blasio holding the discussion in their community.

“I appreciate it was even in the Bronx. I feel that the Bronx has been ignored for some time,” said Vivian Ortiz of Fordham Manor. “[The mayor] is very attentive to our needs and wants, and having this town hall meant a lot to the Fordham section and Kingsbridge. It was about time; it was overdue.”

 

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Pop-Up IDNYC Office Comes to MMCC http://www.norwoodnews.org/id=23886&story=pop-idnyc-office-comes-mmcc/ 2017-07-16T14:30:21Z The city is opening a temporary IDNYC center at Norwood’s community center. Representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) will set up an office at Mosholu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC) for the week to get Norwood residents signed up to the city’s official identification card. The card comes with several perks, including 50 […]

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The city is opening a temporary IDNYC center at Norwood’s community center.

Representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) will set up an office at Mosholu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC) for the week to get Norwood residents signed up to the city’s official identification card.

The card comes with several perks, including 50 percent off prescription medications at participating pharmacies, discount movie theater tickets, and free membership to 35 of the city’s museums.

Representatives will be there first thing Monday morning, July 17 through Friday, July 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Appointments are absolutely necessary. To make one, call 311 or go online to https://www1.nyc.gov/site/idnyc/card/make-an-appointment.page.

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Deaths of Toddlers in Van Cortlandt Village Ruled Homicide http://www.norwoodnews.org/id=23868&story=deaths-of-toddlers-in-van-cortlandt-village-ruled-homicide/ 2017-07-12T19:03:30Z Police have ruled the deaths of two toddlers in the Van Cortlandt Village section of the Bronx as a homicide. No one has been charged.

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Deaths of Toddlers in Van Cortlandt Village Ruled HomicideDetectives have ruled the deaths of two toddlers found inside the Amalgamated Houses and Van Cortlandt Park as homicides. Investigators determined that the two were beaten to death.
According to officials, police and paramedics were called to 80 Van Cortlandt Park South at 1:20 a.m. on Monday, July 10, for a report of two children in respiratory arrest.
The children were transported to Montefiore Hospital and officials stated the girl died at 2:10 a.m. and her brother at 2:12 a.m.
Police within the 50 Precinct identified the deceased as Olivia Gee, 2, and her brother Micha, age 3. Late Monday, detectives returned with members of the NYPD’s Crime Scene Unit (CSU), after the medical examiner determined that Olivia died from blunt force trauma.
Police sources say a second autopsy conducted on Tuesday Micha showed the same conclusion, as marks were found around both of the victims necks.
Both the child’s mother Jade Spencer, 31, and her boyfriend Novell Jordan, 31, were questioned by police, but no arrests have been made.
Meanwhile, police were also investigating the death of an elderly man reported missing last month.
Deaths of Toddlers in Van Cortlandt Village Ruled Homicide
AN NYPD CRIME Scene Unit outside where the two children were found not breathing.
Photo by David Greene
Officials could not immediately give an exact time of the discovery or a name of the victim, but said a 65 year-old man, “was found fully clothed at the 15th hole pond” at the Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course on Monday.
Police would only add that the man “suffered from poor mental condition,” and had been missing since the beginning of July.
Police continue to investigate both cases.

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