Funeral Arrangements Set For Bronx Teacher Justin Bravo

March 29, 2012

Arrangements for the funeral of late Bronx teacher Justin Bravo, who died in a motorcycle crash on Mosholu Parkway Wednesday morning, were posted in our comments section earlier today. Here’s a link to the obituary page, on the website of Johnstons’ Funeral Home, where visitation will be happening.

We’ve re-posted the arrangements below:


Johnstons’ Funeral Home
305 N. Wellwood Ave
Lindenhurst, NY 11757

When: Saturday, March 31, 2012 2:00am to 4:00am
Location: (At Funeral Home)

When: Saturday, March 31, 2012 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: (At Funeral Home)

When: Sunday, April 1, 2012 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Location: (At Funeral Home)

When: Sunday, April 1, 2012 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: (At Funeral Home)

When: Monday, April 2, 2012 9:00am
Location: Our Lady Of Perpetual Help RC Church
210 S Wellwood Ave
Lindenhurst , NY 11757

Motorcyclist Killed on Mosholu Parkway Was ‘Favorite’ Bronx Middle School Teacher

March 29, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Justin Bravo, who was killed while riding his motorcycle on Mosholu Parkway in Norwood yesterday morning, was a seventh and eighth-grade social studies teacher at MS 244 in Kingsbridge, the Norwood News has learned.

An employee at the school, the New School for Leadership in Journalism on W. 231st Street near Sedgwick Avenue, confirmed that Bravo, 28, was a teacher there, as did one of his seventh-grade students. That seventh grader had Bravo as a teacher for homeroom and social studies.

“He was very determined to help us,” she said. “Whenever you had a problem you could just go straight to Mr. Bravo and he’d be right there to help you.”

Bravo was supposed to join the class on a field trip yesterday to see the movie “Hunger Games,” the student said, but he never arrived. Students found out about the accident when they returned from their trip in the afternoon.

“It’s very sad to know that we lost one of our favorite teachers,” she said.

Bravo, who lived in North Babylon, Long Island, died Wednesday morning after after crashing on Mosholu Parkway in a tunnel that runs underneath Jerome Avenue. The crash site was just a short distance away from where a young pedestrian was struck and killed in a hit-and-run incident back in December.

Envisioning a New Bronx Side of the Harlem River

March 29, 2012

A view of the Harlem River from University Heights. (Photo by Adi Talwar)

What do you want to see happen along the largely under-utilized Bronx side of the Harlem River?

Here’s your chance to voice your opinion.

Last week, the Harlem River Working Group and Bronx Council for Environmental Quality kicked off a series of three “community visioning meetings” at Hostos Community College, with two more coming up, starting tonight. The idea is to brainstorm new ideas and re-affirm old ideas for usage of the borough’s west coast and come up with a visioning document that will help shape future development. Anyone interested is invited to attend.

The next visioning meeting are: tonight, March 29, at 6p.m. at the Bronx Community College faculty lounge, located at 2155 University Avenue and next Thursday, April 5, at 6 p.m. at the Lehman College Music Building faculty lounge, located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West. Free food, translation and activities for children will be provided. To RSVP or for more information, call Chauncy at (646) 719-0034 or email

It’s Budget Time: City Council Rallies for Restorations, While State Lawmakers Strike a Deal

March 29, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Council Member Annabel Palma and others rally at City Hall against proposed budget cuts to the city's social services programs. (Photo by William Alatriste, New York City Council)

It’s that time of year again–budget negotiation time, as lawmakers hammer out deals on how much the city and state governments should spend, and on what. City Council members have until the start of the next fiscal year, on July 1, to agree on a plan for the city’s spending. Mayor Bloomberg released a $68.7 billion preliminary budget proposal in February, which he boasted would close a $2 billion budget gap without raising taxes.

But not everyone, of course, is happy with the Mayor’s plan. Bronx City Council Member Annabel Palma, who represents Parkchester, Soundview, Castle Hill, and Classon Point, and heads the Council’s General Welfare Committee, rallied this morning on the steps of City Hall against cuts proposed to a number of the city’s social service programs.

Bloomberg’s budget, Palma said in a press release, would slash the budgets for a number of agencies and programs that serve the neediest and most vulnerable New Yorkers; many cuts that were restored in last year’s round of budget negotiations are again on the chopping block this year.

“Unfortunately, last year’s budget included many one-year fixes and that’s why we stand here today yet again to rally against those cuts that will directly and negatively impact the already-strained programs that many New Yorkers have to come rely on,” Palma said.

The Mayor’s proposal would reduce funding for the city’s Administration for Children’s Services, cutting slots for child care and after-school programs, and laying off about 100 Child Protective staff positions. Funding for case managers and supportive housing for residents living with HIV/AIDS could be cut by several million dollars, as would the budget of the Department of Homeless Services, which runs the city’s shelter system.

Read more

Bronx Lawmakers Sponsor Bill to Protect Facebook Passwords

March 29, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Bronx legislators Jeff Dinowitz and Jeff Klein want to ban the practice of employers asking job applicants for access to their private social media accounts.

Two Bronx legislators are looking to pass a bill that would ban employers from requesting social media site passwords from job applicants, a practice they say is growing in popularity and a threat to the privacy of job-seekers.

“This legislation will address a terrible and growing abuse by certain employers,” said Assemblyman Jeffery Dinowitz, who is sponsoring the version of the bill in the Assembly. “Employers should not be snooping on social media communications that are private, and they certainly should not be given passwords that are supposed to be kept secret. It’s like an employer asking for a copy of your house keys so they can have a look around your home.”

Reports have indicated a growing trend of employers who want to browse the Facebook and Twitter accounts of potential job applicants as part of their hiring process, demanding log-in information. Federal lawmakers, including New York Senator Charles Schumer, are also speaking out on the issue, asking the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice to launch a federal investigation into the practice.

“Even in this digital age, turning over your password to an employer is a bridge too far,” said Senator Jeff Klein, who is introducing the state law in the New York Senate.

Former Bronx BP Adolfo Carrion Leaving Goverment for the Private Sector

March 29, 2012

By Alex Kratz

Ex-Bronx BP Adolfo Carrion

Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, who has spent the past three years working for the Obama administration, is taking a job in the private sector with CSA Group, which bills itself as the “largest architectural, engineering, environmental services, consulting, and construction and program management company in the United States.”

Carrion, who left the borough president’s office in 2009 to become the federal government’s urban affairs czar and then moved on to take over as the regional director of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will be CSA’s senior advisor for corporate development, according to a press release sent out this morning.

“We at CSA Group are very excited and honored that Adolfo has agreed to join our firm”, stated JJ Suarez, Chairman and CEO, CSA Group. “Adolfo’s proven track record in empowering urban communities throughout the United States, coupled with his economic development experience, will be of vital importance as we continue to position CSA Group as a first-in-class, full service project delivery firm in the Infrastructure and Building markets.”

CSA specializes in large municipal projects in the United States and Latin America. The company received billions of dollars in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, otherwise known as the economic stimulus package) to do several projects in Puerto Rico.

Bronx Notes: Board 7 Land Use/ Zoning Meeting Tonight

March 29, 2012

Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page..

The Land Use/Zoning Committee will meet tonight, Thursday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Board Office, located at 229-A East 204th Street.

 For more information, call (718) 933-5650 or visit

Motorcyclist Killed on Mosholu Parkway in Latest Deadly Road Incident

March 28, 2012

By David Greene

Police say a motorcyclist ran into this concrete underpass on Mosholu Parkway (below Jerome Avenue) this morning. (Photo by David Greene)

A young motorcyclist was killed this morning after crashing on Mosholu Parkway in a tunnel that runs underneath Jerome Avenue. The crash site was just a short distance away from where a young pedestrian was struck and killed in a hit-and-run incident back in December.

Officers from the 52nd precinct arrived on the scene on Mosholu Parkway, just after 8 a.m., and discovered the mortally-wounded motorcyclist who was identified as Justin Bravo, a 28-year-old resident of North Babylon, NY. Police say he was transported to Montefiore Medical Center where died on arrival.

Few details are available the this time, but police say Bravo, described as a white male, was traveling north-bound when he struck the concrete overpass (that runs under Jerome Avenue) and was thrown into the street. A police source not authorized to speak to the press said the victim was apparently thrown under the wheels of an oncoming SUV.

Read more

Bronx Links Wednesday

March 28, 2012

Happy Wednesday, and welcome back to Breaking Bronx. It’ll be cloudy and in the mid-60s today. Here are the news stories we’re following this morning:

Good news for museum-goers on a budget: in honor of its 40th anniversary, the Bronx Museum of the Arts is eliminating its $5 suggested admission fee starting tomorrow.

Is the South Bronx gentrifying? A New York Times piece this week says yes, pointing to an influx of white, middle-class professionals who are making their homes around the Grand Concourse area near Yankee Stadium. UNHP’s Gregory Jobo Lost, in a guest post on the new blog Bronx Matters, says the Times might be getting ahead of itself.

A 2-year-old boy in Parkchester was hit by a car while chasing after an ice cream truck Monday, the Daily News reports. He remains in critical condition.

Former Bronx State Sen. Pedro Espada and his son, Pedro Gautier Espada, are currently on trial for embezzling funds from their nonprofit health care clinics. Their accountant took the stand Monday and testified that the Espadas routinely listed personal expenses as businesses expenses for the company.  In one instance, Espada supposedly tried to expense the costs of his grandchild’s birthday party as “community children’s outreach,” according to the Post.

A New York City school administrator resigned this week after it was discovered he’d arranged a job for his wife in a Bronx Department of Education office. Angel Namnum allegedly arranged to have his wife hired as a community coordinator for the DOE, despite evidence that she was not qualified for the job.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo picked Bronx Assemblyman Peter Rivera to be his new Department of Labor commissioner, in spite of his “baggage,” as the Village Voice calls it. A few years back, a nonprofit the Assemblyman largely helped fund was the probe of a federal investigation, and its director, a law partner of Rivera’s, was slapped with corruption charges last year. Former Daily News columnist Bob Kappstatter, now blogging for Bronx Matters, predicts that Luis Sepulveda–an attorney who challenged Rivera in 2010 and lost–is likely to fill his empty seat.

Bronx New School Parents Meet With State Officials, Told Illness After Toxin Exposure ‘Not a Slam Dunk’

March 28, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly and Alex Kratz

More than two dozen former students and parents of former PS 51 students packed into the Community Board 7 office in Bedford Park for a meeting with state health officials. (Photo by Alex Kratz)

On Monday night, parents of current and former PS 51 students met with state officials to ask questions and discuss their concerns about potential health effects caused by contamination at the school’s former site on Jerome Avenue. The building, which was home to the Bronx New School for nearly two decades, tested positive last year for high levels  of trichloroethylene (TCE), a toxin linked to cancer.

Representatives from the State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation met with Community Board 7 members and PS 51 parents, who have been organizing with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition under the name PS 51 Parents United.

“It’s very scary when its your child, and it’s not something we really know much about,” said Helene Hartman-Kutnowsky, who sits on CB 7’s sanitation and environmental committee, and whose daughter, now 18, attended PS 51 for six years.

Lenny Siegel, of the California-based Center for Public Environmental Oversight (CPEO), was on hand to discuss some of the possible health effects linked to TCE exposure. After explaining how and why they believe the contamination was present ever since the school moved into the former lighting manufacturing plant 20 years ago, Siegel sought to allay parents’ fears that their children are at a high risk for illness.

Read more

Bronx Notes: Board 7 Education Meeting Tonight, Closure of MS 80 On Agenda

March 28, 2012

Bronx Community Board 7’s Education Committee will meet tonight, Wednesday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the board office, located at 229-A East 204th Street. A major topic of conversation will be the proposed closure and revamping of MS 80, which has already claimed the job of former Principal Lovey Mazique-Rivera who was replaced last week. A group of concerned parents and local residents have come together to advocate for, among other things, keeping the school’s name, Middle School 80, through the planned transition, which will include a complete overhaul of the school’s staff.

For more information, call (718) 933-5650 or visit

Ed. note: Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page. Send your neighborhood notes to us at

Bronx Notes: Bronx Real Estate Summit

March 27, 2012

The fourth Bronx Real Estate Summit is a twice-a-year presentation that will be held on Wednesday, March 28, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts located at 1040 Grand Concourse. The event begins at 8:15 a.m. with a networking breakfast and at 9 a.m. a panel discussion will take place regarding strategies for opportunities in Bronx development.  The Bronx Real Estate Summit will also highlight the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO), a not-for-profit organization based in the South Bronx.  The suggested contribution is $25. All ticket proceeds from the event will be donated to SoBRO. To register, go to

Ed. note: Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page. Send your neighborhood notes to us at


Photo Exhibit Documents Bronx Housing Conditions

March 27, 2012

This Friday, the Bronx Documentary Center is hosting a week-long photo exhibit that chronicles poor living conditions in Bronx public housing complexes, photos that advocates say show a desperate need for the city to address the health threats posed by the city’s affordable housing stock.

The work of photojournalist Ana Brigida Moreira, How The Other Half (Still) Lives,” depicts tenants living amidst leaks, mold and crumbling ceilings. The opening reception is this Friday, March 30 at 5:30 p.m. Check the flier below for more information.


Bronx Sports Report: Monroe Lady Mustangs Repeat as National Champs and a Madness Wrap

March 27, 2012

By Alex Kratz

The Monroe College Lady Mustangs celebrate after repeating as NJCAA Division II champions with a victory over Lake Michigan on Saturday. (Photo by Ching Zedrick)

March and all the madness that accompanies it are coming to a close. We’ll wrap up all the insanity from a Bronx perspective, starting with a team of ladies representing the Bronx once again cutting down the nets as national champions.

Despite a nearly complete roster overhaul and the loss of their starting point guard on the eve of the season’s biggest tournament, the Monroe College Lady Mustangs repeated as National Junior College Athletic Association Division II national champions with a 78-73 victory over Lake Michigan in Peoria, Ill.

Alvah Parham, the only Lady Mustang returning from last year’s championship team, hit two clutch free throws to put Monroe in the lead for good after Lake Michigan had stormed back from an 18-point second half deficit to take a 71-70 lead with 2:24 left in the game.

Parham finished with 22 points and six rebounds and Jasmine Mcroy contributed 21 points and six rebounds. But it was Kashay Barnes who stole the show and tournament MVP honors after dropping 26 points and eight assists on Lake Michigan.

Read more

Bronx Notes: Bronx Historic Walking Tour (Soundview)

March 27, 2012

The Bronx County Historical Society (BCHS) will have a walking tour on Saturday, March 31 at 11 a.m. Angel Hernandez, the BCHS Educator, will be hosting the two hour long walk from the southeast corner of Hunts Point and Westchester avenues (one block away from the Lexington Avenue #2 train). The fee for BCHS members is $10 and $15 for non-members. To be a part of the “Soundview: The Gateway to the East Bronx” Historic Walking Tour, make reservations by contacting The Society at (718) 881-8900.

Ed. note: Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page. Send your neighborhood notes to us at

Bronx New School Parents Still Looking for Answers

March 26, 2012

By Alex Kratz

PS 51 Parents United, a group of concerned parents of children who attend or used to attend PS 51 (The Bronx New School), will be looking for support and answers from state officials at a Bronx Community Board 7 meeting tonight in Bedford Park. Last year, inspectors discovered high levels of trichloroethylene (TCE), a toxin linked to cancer, at the Bedford Park building (3200 Jerome Ave.) Bronx New School called home for two decades.

Several Community Board 7 members, including Chairman Paul Foster, Vice Chair Adaline Santiago-Walker and Helene Hartman-Kutnowsky, have children who attended Bronx New School, making the issue extremely personal. Many parents of PS 51 alumni have been upset with the lack of response from the DOE about their concerns. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott met with the current PS 51 administration and parents association, but not parents of alumni. Most parents of alumni found out about the toxins through media reports.

Tonight, parents will be directing their questions and concerns at three state officials: Dana Kaplan, Environmental Engineer for the Division of Environmental Remediation (NYSDEC); Dawn Hettrick, Public Health Engineer for the Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation (NYSDOH); Elizabeth Lewis-Michl Community Exposure Research for the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology (NYSDOH).

The state will be providing some background and updates, as well as some answers about what kind of health effects TCE exposure can cause.

According to a press release, at the meeting tonight, Bronx Parents United:

“Will call for the establishment of a Community Advisory Group to oversee the remediation process and further health studies. They want NYS DOH to establish clear recommendations to NYC DOH for the notification of all parents of students who attended school at 3200 Jerome Ave and their physicians and the creation of a medical registry and medical monitoring program for all students who attended school at that site. Parents say that their must be unified regulations for comprehensive environmental review of DOE leased and owned school facilities and the City must pass new legislation mandating the timely notification of parents any time the DOE conducts environmental testing in their school.”

Parents looking to get involved or receive more information can contact Helene Hartman-Kutnowsky,

Lawmakers Strike Redistricting Deal; How The Bronx Will Be Affected By Controversial New Lines

March 26, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Bronx State Sen. Jeff Klein's new district lines will stretch from the far southeast Bronx to Riverdale in the northwest Bronx. Unlike before, Klein's district will not include any parts of Rockland County.

After months of debate, state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a redistricting deal last week that will re-set State Senate and Assembly lines for the next decade, and establish an independent commission to take over the process after the next Census in 2020 — a plan that many local leaders are unhappy with.

The new lines, many Bronx leaders and community groups argue, split like-communities across legislative districts, diluting their voice in the political arena and violating the federal Voting Rights Act, which is designed to protect the voting power of minority communities.

“This plan violates federal law that protects minority communities from being split between several districts with the intention of diminishing the ability of minority communities to elect a representative of their choosing,” said Bronx State Sen. Gustavo Rivera in an e-mail. “Despite large population growth in the Latino community in the Bronx, no additional Latino majority senate districts were created.”

Read more

Bronx Notes: Help Clean Up Mosholu Parkway

March 23, 2012

Community Board 7 invites the public to its “Neighborhood Cleanup” event, Saturday, March 24 from noon to 4 p.m. along Mosholu Parkway. Volunteers will meet at the intersection of East Mosholu Parkway South and Webster Avenue at 11:30 a.m. For more information, call Fernando Tirado at (718) 933-5650.

Ed. note: Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page. Send your neighborhood notes to us at

Bronx Notes: Free Tax Prep Help in the Bronx

March 23, 2012

Only a little more than three weeks left before taxes are due. Here are some Bronx places you can find free tax prep services for those you qualify.

–Take advantage of the free tax services offered at the BronxWorks Morris Innovative Senior Center (ISC) at 80 East 181st Street by the Food Bank of New York or Ariva at the CheckSpring Bank building at 69 East 167th Street. The qualifying income cap is $18,000 for individuals and $50,000 for families. To learn more about tax prep services at the Morris ISC, call (718) 933-5300. For more information on Ariva’s services, please call (718) 292-2983. BronxWorks Morris Innovative Senior Center tax prep hours: Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ariva headquarters tax prep hours: Monday and Thursday, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. What to bring: Photo identification, Social Security card, W-2 forms from all jobs, documentation for child care credits, and any other tax documents. If married couples are filing jointly, both must be present.

–LIFT-The Bronx, a non-profit organization serving the Bronx for the past 12 years, offers numerous services for those in need, including job searches, housing, childcare and healthcare services, and legal services. The new office at 2381 Belmont Ave., will host several tax prep events to assist low-income individuals and families. For more information or to sign up, call (718) 733-3897 or email

–The University Neighborhood Housing Program, is sponsoring free Federal and State Income Tax Assistance to low-income residents of the Bronx provided by IRS certified tax preparers at Refuge House, 2715 Bainbridge Ave. (near East 196th Street), by appointment only. Services are provided on Wednesdays from 3 to 8 p.m. on March 28, April 4, and 11; and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 24, 31, and April 14. For more information or to RSVP, call (718) 933-2539.

Bronx Links, Friday

March 23, 2012

Happy Friday everyone. Here are the Bronx stories we’re following today.

Above is the anti-piracy Public Service Announcement video produced by Bronxite and Lehman High School student Samantha Olivares.

Things aren’t looking good for ex-Bronx pol Pedro Espada. At his trial yesterday, several witnesses testified that Espada paid them for personal services (like a videographer for his grandson’s birthday party) through his nonprofit healthcare network and then tried to make the services look like they were business expenses.

Take a look at Via Verde, the huge shiny new income-regulated co-op complex near The Hub.

A group of South Bronx activists calling themselves South Bronx Unite has started a boycott of FreshDirect, the online grocer moving into the Bronx after receiving $130 million in city and state subsidies.

40-year-old Michael Clare, a married leader of the Harvest Worship Center in Wakefield has been accused for a second time of having inappropriate contact with under-age girls who are part of his ministry. He is being held on $700,000 cash bail, and faces 32 years in state prison if convicted of the two rape charges.

The family of Ramarley Graham, along with approximately 200 supporters gathered Thursday for a peaceful vigil and march in honor of the fallen teen. The demonstrators then marched to the 47th Police Precinct in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx, to demand that the officers involved with the shooting face criminal charges.

“What’s Your Vice” is an adult-only art exhibit that explores society’s obsession with beauty, drugs and sex. Started last summer, the artist group known as Collective X wants to “depict vices and spinning off stereotypes of the Bronx without reinforcing them.”

A Bronx woman was shot and wounded by police on Friday after allegedly throwing knives at officers responding to a 911 call. One officer fired at least twice, striking the woman who was taken to Jacobi Medical Center with wounds that were not considered life-threatening.

The second annual Bronx Film Festival, which will take place during Bronx Week in May, will be accepting submission through next week. Any Bronx filmmaker or anyone who has a film shot in or about the Bronx is encouraged to submit their films.

Bronx Stars of Tomorrow: Chess Master Justus Williams

March 23, 2012

Bronxite Justus Williams is the youngest African-American to be awarded the title of Chess Master. (Photo by Emily Piccone)

In his first year as a teenager, Bronx native Justus Williams has already become the youngest African-American chess player to be awarded the title of Chess Master in the country, and he is the first to tell you about the hours of studying and dedication that he is continuing to put towards his game. Williams sat down with the Norwood News at IS 318, the Brooklyn middle school he attends, which boasts a nationally ranked chess team, to talk about his past tournament in Brazil, his favorite chess piece, and his secrets to match preparation.

You were just in Brazil for the World Youth Chess Championship, welcome back! How did it go down there?
It was very good out there, very hot. I got 26th out of probably 200 people. I was there for two weeks and I played one game a day and the games usually last somewhere between three and four hours with a 90-minute time limit per move. I played against a top rated player from Russia who was 14 and it was a draw (a tie). When I went to Brazil, all my opponents were from different countries. I prepared for each one so I wouldn’t be blindsided by their moves and so I wouldn’t get into opening trouble. When I go to continental tournaments I bring my own chess set because I feel more comfortable with it. The pieces are wooden and are not too big, not too small; I just like the way it feels.

How did you prepare for a game?
I look at my opponents’ past games, see what they’re good at and see what openings they had trouble with. I would build a database for them, and try to get the best position, so I felt that I had a good edge.

How did you begin playing chess?
It started at P.S. 70 (in the Bronx) with the Bronx Bomber chess team. I didn’t really know how to play, but my mom was just pushing me to do it. I moved to IS 318 (in Brooklyn) in 2009, because it would be a good chess team, and I felt that I should be challenged. I’m glad now that there are more people into chess than just me. Now, playing [with my classmates] is a challenge. I will probably win, but it’s challenging. I used to not study a lot, but now I’ve gotten more serious about chess and I’m trying to study an hour a day, like reading books and looking at top games. I used to just play in tournaments and think that it was helping me but it really wasn’t.

Read more

Lighting the Way Toward ‘Responsible’ and Community-Based Armory Development

March 22, 2012

By Alex Kratz

More than 200 community activists rallied outside of the Kingsbridge Armory last night to demand that any development coming into the long vacant building benefit the community. (Photo by Adi Talwar)

At a rally outside of the Kingsbridge Armory last night, more than 200 activists gathered to send a message to Mayor Bloomberg and other city officials that whatever comes into this enormous historic building needs to benefit the community.

Submissions for development proposals were due today and activists from the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance and Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition made it clear they would be advocating for community benefits throughout every step of the process. During the last effort to develop the Amory — into a shopping mall, a project by the Related Companies supported by the Bloomberg administration — KARA and the Coalition spearheaded opposition to the project because it didn’t guarantee living wage jobs ($10 an hour, plus benefits or $11.50 without benefits).

During the rally, which concluded with a candle-light vigil and featured fiery speeches, songs, chants and a spoken word performance, KARA and the Coalition laid out their vision for the Armory. It would include:

  • “Wall to wall” living wage jobs for local residents.
  • A new public school.
  • Community space for arts programs and events.
  • Priority access for Bronxites.
  • “Green” and sustainable development.
  • No Big Box retail and limited retail.
  • Non-competitive small business development and training programs.

Stay tuned. We’ll have some video and more Armory coverage tomorrow.

An Entrepreneur Takes Advantage of Still Empty Kingsbridge Armory

March 22, 2012

By Marcos Sierra

Some 3,500 people showed up for a concert at the Armory in February.

The future of the Kingsbridge Armory is still undecided, though Mayor Bloomberg’s new round of RFPs (Request for Proposals) for plans on redeveloping the site are due today. In the meantime, one Latin American entrepreneur is taking advantage of the enormous space.

Pedro Zamora, a music promoter and restaurant owner with Mexican roots, had been hosting concerts and other events at vacant armories in Brooklyn for years until 2010, when the city told him the sites were no longer available for rent.

Searching for locations that were large enough, Zamora found the 5-acre Kingsbridge Armory sitting dormant in a largely Hispanic section of the Bronx, perfect for his plans for the space, which include hosting a number of popular Latin musicians and even a full-fledged rodeo scheduled for March.

“[The Armory] hadn’t been used in quite some time and needed repairs to bring it up to code, so I did the repairs myself,” he said. “In exchange for the repairs, I got a good deal on the rent and the Department of Buildings helped expedite the necessary permits.”

On Feb. 11, Zamora hosted his first concert at the Armory, featuring bachata singer Hector “El Torito” Acosta and popular norteño ensemble Los Tigres del Norte. The show drew thousands, including representatives from the offices of Bronx elected officials.

“I went to the concert with my cousin and brother, and we had a great time,” said Jose Zapata, taking a break from playing soccer in St. James Park. “The place was really big and the music was just like home.”

Read more

Bronx Youth Journalists Report: What Would You Like to See at the Kingsbridge Armory?

March 22, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Editor’s Note–The following was filed by student reporters in the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative. They are: Alexa Silver, Claudia Seda, Camryn Clarke, Paige Ruiz, Tatyana Turner, Patience Cournoo, Brittney Williams, Brandon Alleyne, Alexis Butler, Brenda Sichini, Nayeh Yisrael, Kassidy Washington, Terrance Washington, Selena Marte, Ricky Mieses, Celeste Pasian, Jasmin Lino, Andrea Jewth, Kavon Wilson.

Proposals for redeveloping the long vacant Kingbridge Armory are due today. (Photo by J. Evelly)

Today’s the big day–the deadline for interested developers who want to set up shop at the Kingsbridge Armory to submit their applications to the city. A spokesman for the Economic Development Corporation, charged with sorting through the proposals, said they were due in at 4 p.m. today.

We know, and we’ve written about,  a few of the groups that are interested in coming to the Armory: a bicycling and basketball sports mega center, a hockey rink, and maybe even an Evangelical church.

Student reporters with the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative interview residents on Kingsbridge Road.

But what do Bronxites want to see at the Armory? To find out, we dispatched our team of student reporters (right) from the Bronx Youth Journalism Initiative, the free after-school journalism program run by the Norwood News. They hit the streets around Kingsbridge Road, armed with a notebook and pen, to ask the question: what you like to see at the Kingsbridge Armory?

The overwhelming response from those asked matches well with several ideas that have already been proposed for the space. Nearly everyone said they’d like to see the building used for some kind of community benefit, either in the form of a school, recreational programs for kids and the elderly, or a sports complex.

“My choice would be afterschool programs, especially for the elderly,” said Joe Laubriel “Maybe we could turn it into a museum. That would be good for tourism.”

Read more

DOE Plans to Close Middle School 80

March 21, 2012

By Alex Kratz

MS 80, a school with a long history on Mosholu Parkway, is slated to be closed this spring and re-opened as a new school in the fall. (Photo by Destiny DeJesus)

Ed. note: This is an updated version of a story that appears in the March 22-April 4 edition of the Norwood News, which is being distributed today and tomorrow.

Amid a backdrop of plummeting test scores, gang problems and a bitter showdown between the teachers union and the Department of Education, Middle School 80 in Norwood is facing closure and a complete overhaul of its staff and administration.

If the overhaul plan is approved, MS 80, and 32 other city public schools, will undergo a dramatic re-organization that will include replacing its administration, at least 50 percent of its current staff and undergoing a name change. Students who have not graduated before the start of the next school year will be given a guaranteed seat in the new school.

The DOE has already moved to replace Lovey Mazique-Rivera, MS 80’s principal since 2004. A new acting principal, Lauren Reiss, was introduced on Monday.

The Panel for Education Policy still needs to approve the re-organization, but based on recent history, that appears to be a formality. The PEP rarely rejects a DOE-recommended re-organization plan.

Read more

Be Healthy! Wednesdays: Proposed Medicaid Savings Could Mean Financial Hardships

March 21, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, Breaking Bronx features a health-related story, event or tidbit as part of an online expansion of our Be Healthy! column.

Can a couple live in New York City on $1,159 a month?

That’s the maximum combined income allowed for spouses to qualify for home healthcare coverage under the state’s Medicaid law. For years, those caring for an ill, disabled or elderly spouse at home through the public insurance program have been able to protect their savings through a provision known as spousal refusal — which allows someone to separate their income and assets from their partner who needs care in order to meet the strict income limits required by Medicaid.

As part of a cost-savings measure proposed in his budget for the upcoming fiscal year, Gov. Cuomo wants to eliminate spousal refusal, a move that advocates and elder care lawyers say would deal a financial and emotional blow to many couples and families.

“It will be devastating for people. It would force people to get divorced in order to pay for health care,” said Bernard A. Krooks, an elder care expert with the law firm Littman Krooks LLP, and former president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. “It’s bad public policy.”

Read more

Bronx Activists Push for ‘Sustainable’ Armory

March 21, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

In 2009, Adolfo Abreu and other members of the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance wrapped yellow tape around the Armory, declaring, "It's our Armory" in English and Spanish. KARA and the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition is once again calling for responsible development at the Armory that will benefit the community. (File photo by Adi Talwar)

Two Bronx groups that were integral in leading the City Council defeat of a shopping mall plan for the Kingsbridge Armory in 2009 are continuing their efforts to see the space redeveloped responsibly, pushing for a community use for the long-vacant building.

The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) and the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance (KARA) are scheduled to hold a candlelight vigil outside the Armory on tonight — the day before the city’s deadline for developers to submit their proposals for re-vamping the site.

In a press release, the groups said they plan to pray and to publicly testify their hopes for the Armory’s future uses, which they describe as a “vision of sustainable development.” In the past, both groups have advocated fiercely for new school space and living wage jobs at the site.

Bronx Notes: Board 7 Housing Meeting Tonight

March 21, 2012

Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page..

The Housing Committee will meet tonight, Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Board Office, located at 229-A East 204th Street.


1. Introductions

2. Distribution of Housing Information

3. Intake Form Template

4. Chair and Committee discussion

5. Old Business

6. New Business

7. Adjournment

For more information, call (718) 933-5650 or visit

With Overhaul on Horizon, MS 80 Principal Replaced

March 20, 2012

By Alex Kratz

After recently announcing Norwood’s MS 80 was slated for closure and a complete overhaul of its administration and staff, the Department of Education moved swiftly to replace the school’s principal since 2004, Lovey Mazique-Rivera. Her last day was Friday. On Monday, parents received notice that the school would be led by acting Principal Lauren Reiss.

The DOE is proposing to designate MS 80 as a “turnaround” school, which would mean replacing its administration, at least 50 percent of its current staff and undergoing a name change. Students who have not graduated before the start of the next school year will be given a guaranteed seat in the new school.

The Panel for Education Policy still needs to approve the re-organization, but based on recent history, that appears to be a formality. The PEP rarely rejects a DOE-recommended re-organization plan.

And now it appears they are already beginning the overhaul.

A joint public hearing for this proposal is scheduled for April 16 at 6 p.m. at MS 80, 149 East Mosholu Parkway. Oral comments can be left at (212) 374-5149, and written comments can be sent to

We’ll have the full story on MS 80 in this week’s print edition of the Norwood News.

Bronx Links, Tuesday (Deluxe Edition)

March 20, 2012

The Norwood News is hard at work on producing this week’s print edition. In the meantime, intern extraordinaire Destiny DeJesus has compiled a thorough listing of links to get you caught up on all the latest Bronx news.

A 24 year old Bronx man shot in the face and killed at the Monroe Houses on Sunday night.

New York Yankees pitcherFreddy Garcia expresses bitter feelings about Andy Pettitte returning to the team.

12 BU students spent their spring break in the Bronx to work with Junior Achievement, which teaches students K-12 bout the importance of financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness.

A 7-year-old boy from the Bronx has been anxiously waiting at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian in Washington Heights, for a  heart transplant for over a month.

Louie’s Restaurant, located in the Bronx, was discovered to be the location of one of the best scenes in “The  Godfather.”

Filipino-American student Oliver Oliveros was mugged in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx, just after walking home from the local Chinese food place.

A Bronx man was shot after breaking up a fight that resulted from a dance floor battle at a party. Read more

Bronx Notes: Senior Safety Day, Wed., March 21

March 19, 2012

On Wednesday, March 21, Bronx Community Board 7 is hosting a Senior Safety Day. The event will start at 2 p.m. at Scott Towers, 3400 Paul Ave. Guests will include representatives of the 52nd Precinct and Bronx DA’s Office. They will be providing safety tips for seniors.

Ed. note: Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page. Send your neighborhood notes to us at

Bronx Notes: The Planting of the Green at Williamsbridge Oval Park

March 16, 2012

Tomorrow morning, Mosholu Preservation Corporation (the nonprofit that publishes the Norwood News) is holding a planting and clean-up event at Williamsbridge Oval. Those who want to participate in beautifying Oval Park should meet up at 11 a.m. at the park’s north entrance, between Putnam Place and Reservoir Place.

Ed. note: Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page. Send your neighborhood notes to us at

Bronx Sports Report: The Madness Begins!

March 16, 2012

The “One Shining Moment” montage at the end of every NCAA Basketball Tournament is probably my favorite three minutes of television all year. I’ve included last year’s rendition above because (1) It’s awesome and, (2) It features several highlights and smiles from Bronx boy Kemba Walker who ruled last year’s Big Dance when he led the University of Connecticut Huskies to an improbable run to the title.

Walker’s now in the NBA playing for Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats and there doesn’t appear to be a native son emerging to take his place in this year’s tournament. But that didn’t stop us from looking through every roster of every team in the tournament to see how the Bronx is being represented. This is what we found: Read more

Bronx Notes: Community Board 7 Environment/Sanitation Meeting Tonight

March 15, 2012

Bronx Community Board 7’s Environment/Sanitation Committee will meet tonight, Thursday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m. at the board office, 229A E. 204th St.

For more information, call (718) 933-5650 or visit

Ed. note: Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page. Send your neighborhood notes to us at


Bronx Notes: Discussion on School Re-organization Plans

March 15, 2012

To talk about the re-organization of MS 80 and other Bronx schools, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is inviting elected officials, education activists, community leaders and parents to a forum next Thursday, March 15, at 6 p.m., at the Morris Educational Campus Auditorium, 1110 Boston Road. Elaine Gorman, the chief executive of the DOE’s turnaround program, will be on hand to speak. Diaz is imploring stakeholders at these schools to “Share your vision for the future of your schools – your input matters.”

Besides MS 80, several Bronx schools are facing so-called “turnaround” programs, which would essentially close the school, replace the administration and at least half of its staff and then be re-opened under a new name this coming fall. In April, the DOE will hold hearings at these schools. Here’s the complete list of schools on the verge of major changes and their hearing dates:

  • Alfred E Smith Career- Tech HS (4/16 @ 6 p.m.)
  • Herbert Lehman HS (4/2 @ 6 p.m.)
  • Banana Kelly HS (4/4 @ 6 p.m.)
  • JHS 22 Jordan L. Mott (4/3 @ 6 p.m.)
  • IS 339 (4/5 @ 6 p.m.)
  • Bronx HS of Business (4/12 @ 6 p.m.)
  • JHS 80 Mosholu Parkway (4/16 @ 6 p.m.)
  • MS 391 (4/4 @ 6 p.m.)
  • Fordham Leadership Academy (3/30 @ 6 p.m.)
  • JHS 142 John Philip Sousa (4/19 @ 6 p.m.)

Bronx Week 2012 To Kick Off May 10

March 15, 2012

This spring, Bronx Week will start on May 10 and run through May 20, culminating, as always, with a weekend of festivities that will include the Bronx Ball, a parade  and street festival (usually on Mosholu Parkway) and inductions into the Bronx Walk of Fame. For updates on events and information on participating, go to


Bronx Notes: Charter School Open House

March 14, 2012

Tech International Charter School invites students in the 5th grade interested in becoming part of its middle school, and their parents, to its open house at the Kingsbridge Library, 291 W. 231st St., Wednesday March 14, from 6 to 7 p.m. The school is scheduled to open in August 2012. For more information, contact Steve Bergen at or call (781) 953-9699.

Ed. note: Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page. Send your neighborhood notes to us at

Be Healthy! Wednesdays: Bronx Advocates Condemn Proposed Tabacco Control Cuts

March 14, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, Breaking Bronx features a health-related story, event or tidbit as part of an online expansion of our Be Healthy! column.

Anti-smoking groups in the Bronx and across the state are deriding a proposed budget plan that would slash tobacco control funding by $5 million this year, a cut they say could reverse the strides New York has made in getting residents to quit the habit and could lead to more young people taking up smoking.

“While we have seen a decrease in smoking rates, we still have over 850,000 smokers, many of whom are the most vulnerable populations,” said Sheelah A. Feinberg, the Director of the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City. “We still have much work to do, as we continue to protect the next generation of New Yorkers from the harmful effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke.”

Advocates point to a recent report released by the United States Surgeon General about the dangers of the tobacco industry’s insidious marketing campaigns aimed at young people. The report, “Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults,” calls for tougher action against cigarette aids aimed at young people.

Read more

Finance Chief for Nonprofit Founded By Ruben Diaz, Sr., Arrested for Embezzlement

March 14, 2012

Photo courtesy of the Attorney General's Office

Clement Gardner, the financial officer for a charity founded by Bronx State Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr., was arrested yesterday for stealing $75,000 from the organization, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman– funds that were intended for programs to serve Bronx children and seniors.

Diaz, Sr., founded the organization, the Christian Community Benevolent Association, in 1977 and served as the executive director for the nonprofit  until 2002, and directed nearly $500,000 in public member item money to the group in 2006 and 2007, according to the New York Times. Diaz told the paper he was “shocked” by the news.

In a press release sent out this morning–one of his now very regular “What You Should Now,” blasts–Diaz addressed the charges and said Gardner, whom he called a “former staff and
close ally,” had brought “shame to one of the best Bronx not-for profit organizations that ever existed.”

According to an article in the Daily News, another charity associated with the Christian Community Benevolent Association, called Christian Community in Action, was investigated by the FBI in 2008 for a home attendant program largely funded with public money secured by Diaz and his son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., who was a state assemblyman at the time. Both men served on the charity’s board of directors then, according to the article,

Diaz Sr. has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the case against Gardner, according to the Times.  He defended himself in today’s press release.

“For now, my dear reader, you will have to wait for the results, but I assure you that if I ever lose my salvation, it will not be for taking money because I am in the business of giving not in the business of taking,” Diaz wrote.

In Response to Bias Incidents, Fordham Students Demand Change

March 14, 2012

By David Greene

Students and alumni walk out of Fordham University's Bronx campus to rally and demand change after a series of hate messages were found on campus. (Photo by David Greene)

Fordham University students and alumni took to the streets last week to demand change in how the Bronx Jesuit school approaches multiculturalism and how it handles acts of racism and bias.

More than 150 students walked out of the Rose Hill campus on Thursday evening, March 9, after a series of hateful messages were reported at Rose Hill and the school’s Lincoln Center Campus.

Taking a page from the Occupy Wall Street movement, students used the “public microphone,” where the crowd repeats what a speaker is saying, to demand that the school’s administration re-examine its current policies on investigating and reporting bias incidents. Read more

Bronx Links, Wednesday

March 14, 2012

Good morning! Welcome back to Breaking Bronx. We’re in for another beautiful day of spring weather today, with plenty of sunshine and a high of 68. Enjoy it. Here are the local news stories we’re following this Wednesday:

Local leaders and politicians are once again looking for ways to battle the ongoing problem of dog poop on sidewalks here in the Bronx. Raising fines and increasing funding for enforcement of the city’s pooper-scooper law are among the suggestions, according to the Daily News.

Opening arguments being today in the corruption trial of former Bronx State Sen. Pedro Espada. Espada and his son are accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the network of nonprofit health clinics they ran.

Bronx student activists, including those from Sistas and Brothas United, the youth arm of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, are protesting what they are calling overly punitive punishments in schools doled out to Bronx students of color. Recently released data showed that nearly half of the 532 summonses that school safety officers issued to New York City students during the last three months of 2011 were written in the Bronx alone.

A grand jury will decide whether or not criminal charges should be sought against the NYPD officers who shot and killed unarmed Bronx teen Ramarley Graham last month.

Students at Bronx Regional High School and Arturo A. Schomburg Satellite Academy, which share a building, are fighting the city’s plan to co-locate a charter school for teens involved in the criminal justice system into the space.

A new Fine Fare supermarket is coming to Williamsbridge, at East Gun Hill Road and White Plains Road. The city is giving $4.5 million in tax breaks to the project under the FRESH initiative, which looks to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods that lack major grocers.

Nonprofit group Project Enterprise is helping entrepreneurial Bronxites get their businesses off the ground by providing them with small loans.


Bronx Redistricting Update

March 13, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Some updates in the ongoing redistricting saga. The federal judge in charge of redrawing New York’s Congressional districts–since lawmakers in Albany couldn’t come to an agreement of their own–released a second draft of maps yesterday.

The new versions make some tweaks in Brooklyn and a few districts upstate but leave the proposed Bronx lines the same as those proposed last week (read our story on this here), potentially merging Kingsbridge and Norwood with a district in northern Manhattan currently represented by Charlies Rangel–which State Sen. Adriano Espaillat is now saying he might make a run for.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are still trying to get Gov. Cuomo to approve their maps for State Senate and Assembly districts. The lawmakers introduced a bill Sunday night that included revised maps, which apparently don’t differ all that much from the old ones introduced last month. Many Bronxites blasted those maps for senselessly carving up the communities of Bedford Park and Norwood--along what many assumed to be racially-drawn lines–between the 33rd and the 34th State Senate Districts.

What’s new in the legislation proposed Sunday is an amendment that would allegedly reform the redistricting process for the next time (which would happen after the 2020 Census), something lawmakers have been promising to do for a while now.

Read more

Bronx Survey: How Often Do You Use The Post Office?

March 13, 2012

By Jeanmarie Evelly

The Postal Service has proposed closing over a dozen Bronx post office locations. (File photo)

With the threat of more Bronx post office closures looming, State Sen. Gustavo Rivera is asking residents to fill out a survey about how often they use their local post office locations.

Facing serious budget constraints, the USPS closed three Bronx post offices last year — the Van Nest, Oak Point and Crotona locations — and more closures are pending. In Rivera’s 33rd Senate District, which encompasses much of the northwest Bronx and the Norwood News’ coverage area, two post offices are on the chopping block: the Botanical Gardens Post Office, at 2963 Webster Avenue, and the Van Cott Post Office at 3102 Decatur Avenue.

“With two post offices being targeted in the same community, I am concerned that if thesepost offices do close, it will be a burden for the disabled and elderly,” Rivera said in a press release. “But there is still plenty of time for individuals in the community to voice their concerns and to save these local post offices.”

Results from the survey will be shared with the USPS before the agency makes its final decision on the pending location closures, which will be announced on May 15.

You can fill out Rivera’s survey in English here, or in Spanish here.

Bronx Notes: Community Board 7 Economic Development Meeting Tonight

March 13, 2012

Bronx Community Board 7 will hold its Economic Development Committee meeting tonight, Tuesday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the board office, 229A E. 204th St.

For more information, call (718) 933-5650 or visit

Ed. note: Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page. Send your neighborhood notes to us at

Bronx Irish Heritage Month Celebration at Rambling House

March 12, 2012

Last Thursday, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. hosted an Irish Heritage Month Celebration at the Rambling House in Woodlawn, the borough’s Irish enclave. Thanks to the BP’s office for putting together this video. As spokesman John DeSio would say: production value! Good work.

Bronx Notes: Community Board 7 Youth Services Meeting Tonight

March 12, 2012

Community Board 7’s Youth Services Committee will meet tonight, Monday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Board office, 229A E. 204th St.

For more information, call (718) 933-5650 or visit

Ed. note: Every weekday, we highlight Bronx programs, announcements, services, opportunities, public meetings/hearings or community events. Find a full listing on our Neighborhood Notes page. Send your neighborhood notes to us at

Construction Begins on Low-Income Development Mosholu Gardens

March 12, 2012

By Destiny DeJesus

Two  Fridays ago, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for Mosholu Gardens, an eight-story housing development with 63 low-income units located at 245 Mosholu Parkway North, in the Norwood neighborhood of the Bronx.

The building will be developed through a partnership of Acacia Network, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and other groups.

The units will be available to individuals earning no more than $34,860. Residents of Mosholu Gardens will have access to on-site services such as laundry facilities, a 24-hour concierge, resident attendant services and a computer facility. Other services will include case management and access to Acacia’s network of healthcare, housing, educational and social services.

Thirty-nine of the units will house members of the special needs population and formerly homeless residents. Each unit will include private kitchens and bathrooms and have access to indoor and outdoor communal garden areas.

In total, the project cost roughly $15 million. Many funds have been received from HPD, The National Equity Fund (NEF) and other organizations in order to help develop the new housing. The construction of the Mosholu Gardens is expected to be completed by August 1, 2013.

Stop & Frisk Rates Spark Call for Reform; A Bronx Man Tells His Story

March 9, 2012

By Alex Kratz

A Bronx driver is pulled over and searched by police. (Photo by David Greene)

Ed. note: In response to latest statistics showing a sharp increase in stop-and-frisk tactics, police reform activists have painted a mural in Hunts Point to alert passersby of their rights when stopped by police. A version of this story appears in the March 8-21 edition of the Norwood News.

Whenever he ventures out into his University Heights neighborhood, whether by car or foot, Blandon Casenave thinks there is a strong possibility he might be stopped and searched by police for no other reason than the color of his skin.

“I’m conscious of it all the time,” Casenave said.

As a black man living in New York City, Casenave has good reason to believe his travels might be interrupted by a police encounter.

Last year, police officers stopped people and questioned them 684,330 times, according to a report recently released by the New York Civil Liberties Union. Many of them were also searched and the vast majority of those stopped — 87 percent — were black or Latino. Nearly 90 percent of the stops did not result in an arrest or a ticket and most of those that did result in an arrest or summons, were for low-level offenses. Read more

Bronx Sports Report: Borough Catholic Boys Teams Representing and Other HS Hoops Updates

March 9, 2012

By Alex Kratz

[The Evander Childs Campus boys team would prevail in their match-up, captured in the slideshow above by photographer Adi Talwar, against Benjamin Banneker Academy, 58-42,to move into the PSAL Boys A Division quarterfinals. But with a birth into the Final Four at stake on Wednesday night, the Tigers fell at 4th-seeded Bedford Academy in Brooklyn.]

This is the penultimate weekend of New York City high school basketball playoff games. All of the public school divisions have semifinal match-ups and the Catholic league will crown a champion. A handful of Bronx teams still in the running have legitimate title shots.

The Boogie Down was heavily represented in the Catholic High School Athletic Association boys semifinal round, with three teams in the Final Four: St. Raymond’s, Cardinal Hayes and Mt. St. Michael. Read more

All-Girls Academy Works to Be ‘Charity Champions’

March 9, 2012

By Destiny DeJesus

The Academy of Mount St. Ursula, the oldest Catholic girls school in New York, located in Bedford Park, has entered a contest in order to win seed money to continue supporting its students’ charitable work at the Concourse House.

Sponsored by Cablevision, “Charity Champions” gives high schools the opportunity to host events that support a charity of their choice. The school that does the best job wins $5,000 for its selected charity organization. The contest has previously allowed AMSU to support POTS, a local soup kitchen and multi-service center.

This year, AMSU is competing in hopes to donate towards the mission of the Concourse House, a group home on the Grand Concourse that offers safe shelter to homeless women and their children. Read more

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