Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Blizzard Overblown

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Blizzard Overblown: Blizzard Overblown ‘Historic’ Screwup Shuts City Down #Blizzard #Cuomo #MayordeBlasio Photo by David Greene By Dan Gesslein BRONX, NEW Y...

Blizzard Overblown

Blizzard Overblown
‘Historic’ Screwup Shuts City Down
#Blizzard #Cuomo #MayordeBlasio
Photo by David Greene


By Dan Gesslein


BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 27- You call that a Blizzard? Bronxites awoke to find the Storm of the Century was anything but as the city received half to three times less snow than was forecast.


Yesterday Mayor Bill deBlasio and Governor Mario Cuomo urged residents to stay in their homes because of the massive historical snowfall heading for New York City. Planes were grounded. The subways were shut down and the highways and roads were banned of all traffic except for emergency vehicles. Drivers breaking the ban were threatened with tickets costing up to $300.


The true effect on local restaurants is unknown since the mayor grounded takeout deliveries. The ban on non-


(Fear the snow. Gov. Cuomo told residents to stay home because of the "historic" blizzard)
emergency vehicles was extended to bicycles and scooters leaving restaurants to only deliver takeout by foot.


Instead of the big dig, Bronxites woke up to a mere 
sprinkling of the most 12 inches of snow not the 24 to 36 inches that were forecast. Many residents breathed a sigh of relief and were happy that the cleanup would go quickly.


There were no major outages reported throughout the borough by Con Edison.


(Road conditions the day BEFORE the blizzard were far worse than the blizzard itself. -Photo by Dan Gesslein)


“As of 11:30 am Tuesday I am getting reports that asphalt can be seen on main thoroughfares and that the Sanitation Dept. is well on its way to addressing side streets,” said Councilman James Vacca. "The fact that this storm was not as bad as anticipated will certainly mean a quicker snow cleanup on the week ahead."


Travel was worse the day before the storm with limited plowing and salting on the Hutch and I-95 which snarled the rush hour traffic home. Those who raced back from work to get home before the supposed massive storm were instead forced to brave snow and ice covered roads of the traffic snarled I-95 and Hutchinson River Parkway. Riders jammed subways before being stuck in the city.


As for the hysteria caused by the build up to the snowstorm, the reaction among officials was simply “My Bad.” The massive press conferences at a sanitation garage declaring the state of emergency by deBlasio was replaced with a simple one sentence statement issued this morning by the mayor’s stating that the roads were reopened. 


Who is to blame for shutting down the city? Well one weather forecaster took to Twitter to voice his mistake.


“My deepest apologies to many key decision makers and so many members of the general public,” tweeted National Weather Service meteorologist Gary Szatkowski. “This is a big forecast miss.”


Many took the screw up in stride but were not sure how this could be such a miss.


“They do realize that we get snow storms in January right?” asked one frustrated commuter. “This is the Bronx. A few flakes is not the end of the world.”


"I do not criticize forecasters," Gov. Cuomo said at a news conference after the storm. The governor said he would rather be "safe than sorry."

Monday, January 26, 2015

STORM UPDATE

STORM UPDATE
Roads to Close
Schools Closed
#SnowStorm #Blizzard 


Already slow going


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BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 26- Mayor de Blasio today updated New Yorkers on the approaching winter storm, warning people to refrain from travel as the storm’s intensity worsens this afternoon and through Tuesday. The mayor will issue a local Winter Weather Emergency Declaration restricting travel in all cases except emergencies beginning at 11 PM Monday. The latest forecasts anticipate approximately two feet of snow and near-blizzard conditions across New York City.

“Our message to New Yorkers is to not underestimate this storm. Make preparations to get home this afternoon before the worst of the storm hits. The combination of heavy snow and wind will make travel dangerous. We need cars off the road so that our equipment can do its work and keep streets passable for emergency vehicles. This will be mandatory at 11 PM tonight,” said Mayor de Blasio.

Latest Forecast
A blizzard warning will be in effect from 1 PM today (January 26) through Tuesday night (January 27). Snow accumulations between 20 and 30 inches are anticipated, with the heaviest snowfall occurring late Monday night into Tuesday morning. Heavy winds, with gusts reach up to 65 miles per hour, will severely reduce visibility.

A Coastal Flood Warning has been issued for parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx during overnight hours. A Coastal Flood Advisory is also in effect for parts of Manhattan and Staten Island overnight as well. 

Travel
Streets and highways will be closed to all but emergency vehicle travel at 11 PM Monday night until further notice. Only vehicles related to emergency services, vital City services and delivery of vital supplies will be permitted on streets until the order is lifted. New Yorkers are also urged not to walk or venture outside once the worst of the storm hits this evening.

Schools
Schools are open today but will be closed on Tuesday (January 27). Regents exams scheduled for Tuesday will be rescheduled for Thursday. After-school programs, adult education programs and PSAL activities are canceled today and tomorrow.

Snow Removal
The Department of Sanitation has 12-hour shifts of 2,400 workers each on duty, with 1,800 collection trucks outfitted with plows (up from usual 1,500) and another 500 salt spreaders, also outfitted with plows. City agencies have dedicated a further 250 pieces of equipment, for a total of 2,550 vehicles now dedicated to the effort. Plowing progress can be followed via the PlowNYC feature at nyc.gov/plownyc.

Parking and Trash Collection
Alternate side parking and garbage/recycling collection are suspended Monday (January 26), Tuesday (January 27) and Wednesday (January 28) to facilitate snow removal. Parking meters remain in effect.

Emergency Response
911 should only be used in case of emergencies. All other snow related inquiries and reports should be made to 311. FDNY has added 110 additional ambulances to its operations this afternoon—bringing its total to 380 on duty. The agency is also adding a fifth firefighter to each engine company. More than 500 additional personnel will support operations over the next 24 hours.

Parks
City parks will close at 6 PM Monday and remain closed until further notice, to avert danger from falling tree branches weighed down
with snow.

Ferry Service
Staten Island and East River Ferry service are operating on a normal schedule until further notice, but modified service is possible as conditions worsen.

Heat and Hot Water
Any tenant lacking heat and hot water should immediately call 311. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development has crews responding.

Homeless Services
Code Blue protocols are in effect. No one seeking shelter in New York City will be denied. Anyone who sees a homeless individual or family out in the cold should call 311 immediately and an outreach team will be dispatched to assist them.

Further Notifications

For information and updates related to weather and travel conditions, visit NYC.gov/severeweather. New Yorkers are also encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC, the City’s free emergency notification system. Through Notify NYC, New Yorkers can receive phone calls, text messages, and/or emails alerts about traffic and transit disruptions and other emergencies. To sign up for Notify NYC, call 311, visitNYC.gov/notifynyc, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Ban sex offenders from shelters-pols demand

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Ban sex offenders from shelters-pols demand: Ban sex offenders from shelters-pols demand #SexOffenders #Homeless #Shelters BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 25- State Senator and Independent D...

Ban sex offenders from shelters-pols demand

Ban sex offenders from shelters-pols demand
#SexOffenders #Homeless #Shelters #NYPD

BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 25- State Senator and Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein), together with Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Councilman James Vacca, members of Community Board 10, the Ferry Point Park Civic Association and Friends of Ferry Point Park called on the New York City Department of Homeless Services to ban level two and level three sex offenders from temporary emergency housing and homeless shelters used to house families with children.

“Allowing high-level sex offenders to stay in family shelters where vulnerable women and children are trying to get back on their feet is not only troublesome but dangerous. With more than 60,000 homeless New Yorkers sleeping in New York City shelters and thousands more out on the street, we need to take every measure to protect those in our care,” said Senator Klein. “That’s why I have introduced legislation in the State Senate that would prohibit the NYC Department of Homeless Services from placing these risky offenders in shelters housing women and children. This is a critical measure in ensuring the safety and security of all homeless New Yorkers and I look forward to working with my partners in Albany to see this important piece of legislation passed in the coming weeks and months.”

The renewed call comes in response to shocking revelations and widespread press reports that two male sex offenders currently reside at the Crystal Family Residence, a new 95-room family shelter and former location of the controversial Capri Whitestone Motel in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx. Curtis Bolden, a 58-year-old male, convicted on two counts of rape in the first degree and released from prison in 2010, was found to be living at the shelter on January 15th. One week later, James Bryant, a 50-year-old male convicted of molesting a 7-year-old child, was also found to be living at the family shelter.  

Senator Klein’s legislation would prevent harmful predators, including level two and level three sex offenders, from being housed in family shelters and require by law that they be placed in adult-only shelters or shelters without children. This important legislation would bring the shelter system up to speed with current social services law that bars level two and level three sex offenders from living in public housing.

“The Department of Homeless services had acted with arrogance when they forced this shelter upon our community and refused to work with with elected leaders in finding an alternative site,” said Assemblyman Benedetto. “Now they have apparently shown incompetence in selecting a managing agent who doesn’t bother checking whether they are putting sex offenders in a shelter where young children are being housed. This is intolerable.”

“Our shelters are safe havens for families and children experiencing the most difficult of hardships,” said Bronx Councilman Vacca. “We cannot, in good conscience, accept the risk of allowing sex offenders to live in close quarters with these already vulnerable families.”

“We fully support this positive change directed at the safety and welfare of residents at the Crystal Family Residence. This is a significant first step in making New York City shelters safer for the women and children who reside there, but there is still work to be done,” said Martin Prince, Board Chair of Community Board 10. “The homeless population in New York has increased astronomically in recent years. Making sure that each and every person who needs a home is provided with the safe haven they so deserve is of the utmost importance.” 

“As we try to adjust to this ‘surprise’ homeless shelter that was placed about 200 ft. away from our very populated park, with no security cameras and or Parks Enforcement Patrol we are now shocked by the knowledge that sex offenders imported from other areas are also living among the families without their knowledge,” said Dorthea Poggi, President of the Friends of Ferry Point Park Organization and member of the Citizens Advice Board for the Crystal Family Residence. "This is unacceptable by any responsible standards.” 

“In our opinion, while it’s nice to provide shelter to those in need, it is not without consequences. It has been brought to our attention that there are registered sex offenders residing at the former Capri Motel, now known as the Crystal Family Residence. The proximity to Msgr. Scanlan High School, Ferry Point Park and the newly developed Target location, as well as residents and homeowners of Ferry Point, is questionable,” said Jo Anne Sohmers, President of the Ferry Point Civic Association. “Furthermore, sex offenders should not be placed in a home that clearly houses women and children. We fully support Senator Klein's efforts to pass a bill which would ban registered sex offenders from residing in any family homeless shelter.”


The Crystal Family Residence is a family homeless shelter located at 555 Hutchinson River Parkway in the Bronx. The new residence was converted from the former hot-sheet hotel, the Capri Whitestone, in September, 2015. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Restaurant Owners Busted for Tax Evasion

Bronx News (Bxnews.net): Restaurant Owners Busted for Tax Evasion: Restaurant Owners Busted for Tax Evasion  #Taxes #NYPD #Restaurant BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 23-  The New York State Department of Taxat...

Restaurant Owners Busted for Tax Evasion

Restaurant Owners Busted for Tax Evasion 
#Taxes #NYPD #Restaurant
BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 23- The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance announced that the co-owners of three restaurants in the Bronx have been arrested for sales tax evasion.
The defendants were identified as Marlon J. Muentes, 58, of Allerton Ave., the Bronx, and Teodoro Mosaurieta, 67, of Woodhaven, NY, and their three equally co-owned Bronx-based restaurants, which have previously closed: King Steak Corp. at 500 East 149th St., 463 Willis Ave. Corp. at 463 Willis Ave., and 849 Castle Hill Corp., located at 849 Castle Hill Ave.
The defendants were charged on January 20 with multiple felonies, including grand larceny and criminal tax fraud.  They allegedly collected $100,000 in sales tax from customers at the three restaurants but failed to remit those funds to the State as required by law.
The next court date has not been set. The defendants, if convicted, could serve from 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison.
The case was investigated by the Tax Department's Criminal Investigations Division and will be prosecuted by the Bronx County District Attorney's office.
A criminal complaint is an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Each year, New York State businesses collect more than $25 billion in sales tax from their customers. The vast majority of the funds (97%) are remitted voluntarily by businesses to the Tax Department for state programs and distribution to local governments.

Taxpayers who believe a business hasn't collected the proper sales tax, or has collected it but failed to remit the funds, can report tax evasion and fraudonline at the Tax Department's Web site or by calling 518-457-0578. The information is kept confidential.