Saturday, March 30, 2013

Good Friday Procession

Faithful Take to the Streets

(Photos by Gary Quintal)

BRONX, NEW YORK, March 30- The Bible came alive when the faithful reenacted the Stations of the Cross on the Grand Concourse and 169th Street. As part of the Good Friday celebration, parishioners donned costumes to reenact Jesus' final moments on the way to being crucified.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bronx News ( City Politics

Bronx News ( City Politics: DEP Shell Game Continues 100 PERCENT By Robert Press BRONX, NEW YORK, March 28- The old shell game at the Department of Env...

City Politics

DEP Shell Game Continues

By Robert Press

BRONX, NEW YORK, March 28- The old shell game at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) continues with the ongoing building of a water filtration plant that was outdated years ago, and five time the original estimate when the plant was proposed. 

The original cost of the Croton Water Filtration Plant to be built in the Jerome Park Reservoir was placed at $600 million, and with cost overruns Mayor Giuliani at the time predicted that the water filtration plant would cost the city close to $800 million. $100 million was spent by DEP to put a dividing wall in the Jerome Park Reservoir even though the site did not have final approval for the plant to be built. Members of the Jerome Park Reservoir Citizens Advisory Committee said the proposed plant was too big as it was to filter much more raw Croton water than had ever flowed through the now 100 year old Croton Aqueduct, and that a different more modern lower costing filtering system should be used.

The meetings went on and DEP along with their consultants insisting that all three fresh water systems to New York City would have to be filtered as was the federal mandate on the Croton Water supply. Numbers kept changing, costs went up, and the more the JPRCAC fought the filtration plant in the reservoir the clearer it was that this was the wrong place and design, among other things. The JPRCAC finally had the project defeated, but DEP kept up their argument that this water system had to be filtered and built in the Bronx.

With a new mayor now in 2001, and federal mandates that were not met the city was being fined from the federal government for not building the water filtration plant. Mayor Bloomberg came up with an idea to place a pot of money over $200 million (it was listed as 240 million) for Bronx parks if the Bronx elected officials in the State Senate and Assembly would approve a plan to build the Croton Water Filtration Plant in a section of Van Cortlandt Park. 

Local Assemblyman Jeffery Dinowitz wanted no part of a water filtration plant in his district, but the lure of millions and millions of dollars to other parts of the Bronx was too much. Every Bronx state elected official but Assemblyman Dinowitz voted for the water filtration plant to be built in Van Cortlandt Park, and then lined up to slice the Bloomberg money pie.

Fast forward to the present, at the last Croton Facility Monitoring Committee Meeting nothing has changed as costs keep going up to the tune of over $3 billion now, and work projections keep getting pushed back. In comparing only the December 6, 2012 and the DEP March 2013 reports to the CFMC one can see examples of this. Scheduled projected completion dates for several items from the December 6, 2012 report have been pushed back on the March 21, 2013 report. The anticipated start-up and testing of the plant is listed as April 3,2013 on the December 6, 2012 report. That date has been pushed to June 7, 2013 on the March 21, 2013 report. DEP will also be closing Gulden Avenue completely again this year for several months, when they said last year would be the one and only time Goulden Avenue would have to be closed.

Apparently the DEP consultant Metcalf & Eddy/ Hazen and Sawyer have hit the lottery as their original contract cost of over $44 million has increased to a little under $300 million now. The Croton Water system only has supplied no more than 10 percent of the water supply to the city, and that was in times of a drought. The Croton water system has not been used in the past few years and with global warming and rising water levels it is unclear if the Croton Water system will ever be needed. By the way if you want to know just who is paying for all of this, just look at your water bill.
Mayoral candidate and current Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio came to the Bronx last week to the corner of Walton Avenue and East 183rd Street to speak about how small businesses in the outer boroughs face more inspections, violations, and fines from the Departments of Health & Consumer Affairs. You can go to my blog at to see photos of Public Advocate DeBlasio as he points out the figures on different charts that were made up, or go to to view the complete report.
If you have any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on my blog you can e-mail us at 100percentbronxnews@gmail .com or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press. Have a joyous and happy holiday.

Bronx News ( The latest rules for precinct councils

Bronx News ( The latest rules for precinct councils: Wakefield Area News By Mary V. Lauro We don't know why, but every 10 or 15 years the NYPD decides to change the format (By-laws of...

The latest rules for precinct councils

Wakefield Area News
By Mary V. Lauro
We don't know why, but every 10 or 15 years the NYPD decides to change the format (By-laws of its Precinct Councils). We don't know whether it is because all organizations have a tendency to break down, becoming more and more deliberate and less and less structured as they age or whether money finds its way to the wrong places. We thought of that possibility when we realized that Chief Phillip Banks III, Commander of NYPD Community Affairs Unit does not want Precinct Councils to fund raise more than $50,000 each year.
Fifty thousand is a nice sum. One would like to know which Precinct in this City can collect all that money in one year. In the Bronx it would take at least 10 years. It hardly seems fair.
Membership in the Council is free so long as one is over 18 years of age, crime free, lives or works in that particular precinct and applies by filling out the Personal Data Sheet. In order to have voting privileges, one must have attended 4 meetings prior to the vote. This is decidedly different. It used to be 3 meetings. Attendance is marked by one's signature on a special NYPD hard cover book which is kept at the Precinct.
Interestingly, we note that the new By-laws are being repaired especially where they were last time. This time, instead of seven executive members, Councils will have a choice of five or seven. They are President, Vice President, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms, (Corresponding and Assistant Secretary are not required for executive boards having less than seven members).
Now here is a nice touch and different. We have term limits. The president and other board members can only be chosen for consecutive two year terms. Even so, after a hiatus of a year, should that person want to run again and the members wish to re-elect him, that individual may run again.
Another interesting twist is the role envisioned for the Sergeant-at-Arms should partner with the president to keep order during the meeting and enforce any rules that seem to be going astray. The Sergeant-at-Arms will also be the bearer of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th edition.
Much in fact, most of the previous adjustments to the Precinct Council By-laws remain central in the newly revised By-laws. We understand that currently there are 85. Precinct Councils in the City. We have come a long way since 40', 50's and 60's. At that time it seemed rude to criticize the police and besides we didn't have as much crime then.
The entire set of new rules is available from the internet or by calling, the Community Affairs Unit.


Bronx News ( PASSOVER SEDER A SUCCESS!: Chopped liver, matzo balls, chicken, charoset, macaroons and all kinds of other goodies were part of the very successful Passover Seder co...


Chopped liver, matzo balls, chicken, charoset, macaroons and all kinds of other goodies were part of the very successful Passover Seder conducted by Temple Hatikva last Sunday.  

Almost 30 persons participated in the traditional reading of the Passover Hagaddah along with a sumptuous Kosher meal.

The Seder, led by Cantor Kyle Cherry and Rabbi Harry Hertzberg, was an absolutely wonderful experience for all involved. There was singing, reading and eating, as everyone participated in this event.

Passover, the Jewish Festival of Freedom, celebrates the liberation of the Hebrew nation from slavery in Egypt. It is a holiday that has universal appeal, bringing the messages of freedom and justice to the entire world.

Temple Hatikva was pleased to have been able to celebrate this wonderful holiday with our friends, families, congregants and neighbors, and wish the entire community a healthy, happy and peaceful holiday.  

Temple Hatikva is located at 2440 Esplanade. If you need more information, please call Temple Hatikva at (718) 792-1109 or e-mail  HYPERLINK ""


Bronx News ( HAPPYLAND 23-YEARS LATER: (Photos by David Greene) Emotions were still raw for family member's of the 87 people killed in the Happyland social club fire who we...


(Photos by David Greene)

Emotions were still raw for family member's of the 87 people killed in the Happyland social club fire who were remembered during a special mass held on Sunday, March 23, at St. Thomas Aquinas Church on Crotona Parkway. Joined by local officials, mourners marched to a nearby park dedicated to the memory of those who perished in the blaze. This year mourners were joined by Francisco Quezada, the Counsel General of Honduras as a majority of those killed were from Honduras. The deliberately set blaze remains the third deadliest blaze in New York City history.

Bronx News ( Easter Parade

Bronx News ( Easter Parade: BRONX, NEW YORK, March 28- Students in Castle Hill donned their Easter bonnets during the annual holiday celebration at St. Raymond Elemen...

Easter Parade

BRONX, NEW YORK, March 28- Students in Castle Hill donned their Easter bonnets during the annual holiday celebration at St. Raymond Elementary School. In addition to a parade there was a petting zoo and an Easter egg hunt.

Bronx News ( Co-op City ‘Enslaved?’

Bronx News ( Co-op City ‘Enslaved?’: Treasurer Blasts Management for Wasting $, Running Development as a ‘Dictatorship’  By Michael Horowitz BRONX, NEW YORK, March 2...

Co-op City ‘Enslaved?’

Treasurer Blasts Management for Wasting $,
Running Development as a ‘Dictatorship’ 

By Michael Horowitz

BRONX, NEW YORK, March 28- Riverbay assistant treasurer Daryl Johnson charged, this week, that Herbert Freedman and the Marion Scott Real Estate, Inc., have “enslaved” Co-op City by enforcing a dictatorial management in the local community and wasting the community's fiscal assets.

In November, Johnson was the lone board member who opposed giving a one-year contract to the Scott firm as a supposed price for finalizing the community's $621-5-million mortgage through Wells Fargo Bank and HUD.

Johnson, who is expected to endorse the candidacies of Frank Belcher, William Craft, and Dr. Amrendra Singh in the May 22 Riverbay board election, stressed, this week, that his overriding goal in this year's board election is replacing the Scott firm as managers of the Riverbay Corporation's day-to-day operations.

“Replacing Marion Scott is the overriding issue in this year's board election,” Johnson stressed. Real change in Co-op City, which is desperately needed, starts with changing the management firm that is responsible for a debt that is way out of control.”

Johnson, in recent weeks, has been the subject of repeated attacks from Freedman, who has attacked the board member's urgings for budgetary restraints as baseless “rants.”

Commenting this week, Riverbay board member Evelyn Turner, a sponsor of a board resolution calling for competitive bidding for Co-op City's real-estate-management, condemned Freedman's personal attacks against Johnson, calling them highly inappropriate.

Turner stressed, in a Co-op City News article and in a Director's Viewpoint this week, that Freedman and the Scott firm work for the board and the people of Co-op City, not the other way around.

Johnson, commenting this week, stressed that his attacks on the stewardship of Freedman and the Scott firm have never been personal in nature.

“What my comments are all about is trying to bring sanity to Co-op City's operations,” Johnson stressed, this week. “I have spoken repeatedly about ways Co-op City can cut its budget, but, rather than cut the budget, my fellow board members recently voted to increase the budget for Co-op City's various department by 11 percent.”

Johnson added, “I know, for sure, that we could have cut Co-op City's budget by at least 10 percent, but, instead, Scott management proposed unconscionable increases in the budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Unfortunately, I was the only member of the board who voted against this budget, which carried with it approval of a one-percent increase in carrying charges.”

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bronx News ( MARCH MADNESS for drivers

Bronx News ( MARCH MADNESS for drivers: By David Greene BRONX, NEW YORK, March 27- The warm weather hasn't even begun, but March Madness is underway along the boroug...

MARCH MADNESS for drivers

By David Greene

BRONX, NEW YORK, March 27- The warm weather hasn't even begun, but March Madness is underway along the borough's roadways.

A head-on crash outside a firehouse along Webster Avenue has claimed the life of one man and two others are reported to be in critical condition. The fatal crash, which took place on the first day of spring, was the third vehicular death along Bronx roads in just 19 days.

Police were called to Webster Avenue and E. 187 Street in the Fordham Heights section, at just after 4 p.m., on March 20. After a preliminary investigation police say a black 1993 Honda was traveling north on Webster Avenue, when it swerved into oncoming traffic and struck a 2010 Nissan Altima that was traveling southbound.

The horrific collision took place outside the quarters of the FDNY's  Engine 48 / Ladder 56. Members were at the carnage in seconds, but lost precious time as at least three of the victims were heavenly encased in the twisted metal.

Police say the 23-year-old driver of the Honda was declared dead on arrival at St. Barnabas Hospital. The name of the victim was not released pending notification of next of kin.

Two passengers pulled from the Honda were also rushed to St. Barnabas, where one remains in critical condition and the other is classified as stable.

The driver and passenger of the Nissan were also reported at St. Barnabas and also in stable condition.

The busy block surrounded by residential buildings, retail shops and schools is no stranger to roadway death, back in August, 2008 traffic agent Donnette Sanz, 33, who was seven-months pregnant, was mowed-down by an out-of-control van at the opposite end of the block on E. 188 Street.

The entire city took notice as several dozen residents and passersby would lift the 3-ton van off of Sanz. Sadly, Sanz would hang on just long enough to give birth and the premature child survived just a few days.

Van driver Walter Walker, 72, had 20 suspensions on his driver's license at the time of the crash. He was convicted after a jury trial and on October 28, 2010 Walker was convicted of two counts of Criminally Negligent Homicide. Walker was later sentenced to four-year's in jail, the maximum sentence allowed by law.

The fatal crash outside of Engine 48 / Ladder 56 is not the first fatal crash this month on the street's of the Bronx-- but the third in less than three weeks.

On March 2, grandfather Nelson Martinez, 61, was mowed-down along the Grand Concourse at Field Place by a hit-and-run driver. Martinez remained in intensive care at St. Barnabas Hospital until he succumbed to his injuries on March 17.

Police continue to look for the light or gray-colored sedan that fled southbound along the Concourse.

Ironically on March 17, 63-year-old nail salon worker and Bedford Park resident Sook-Ja Kim was hit from behind as she walked along a pedestrian path along E. Mosholu Parkway.

Witnesses stated that the out-of-control vehicle first drove into on-coming traffic before attempting to cross over a large patch of grass separating the two roadways, before striking Kim from behind. Kim later died at St. Barnabas.

After a preliminary investigation by the NYPD's Accident Investigation Squad, the unidentified driver apparently had some type of medical issue at the time of the crash and no charges have been filed, but the investigation is still on-going.

As this reporter was traveling north on Webster to the crash outside Engine 48 / Ladder 56, a police car from the 48th Precinct was following a man on an illegal dirt-bike. The biker and patrol car now in pursuit, sped past everyone waiting for the light and dangerously turned into oncoming traffic at E. Tremont Avenue.

The brazen motorcyclist and at least three NYPD vehicles played a deadly cat-and-mouse game up E. Tremont and back down Carter Avenue. It's not known if the NYPD ever caught the reckless biker, but it's safe to say the biker was unaware of the traffic death that had just taken place a half-mile up the road.

Norwood resident Marcelino Hernandez, who witnessed the crash that claimed Kim's life, reflected from that scene, saying, "These driver's today just don't respect life."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bronx News ( Biker Battles

Bronx News ( Biker Battles: Cops involved in another controversial chase of dirt biker rider leaving 1 injured     By David Greene BRONX, NEW YORK, March 27- ...

Biker Battles

Cops involved in another controversial chase of dirt biker rider leaving 1 injured



By David Greene

BRONX, NEW YORK, March 27- An elderly man crossing the street and an illegal dirt bike rider are recovering, after witnesses say an NYPD cruiser caused the crash.

According to police, the 77-year-old pedestrian was crossing Boston Road at Thwaites Place in the Bronxwood section at just before 5 p.m., on March 24, when he was struck by a still-unidentified 20-year-old illegal dirt bike rider, traveling southbound on Boston Road.


Witnesses and police have stated that the African-American dirt bike rider suffered a serious head injury and was bleeding from his noise. The elderly white male was reported to be face down in the roadway, the bike reportedly slammed into his legs.

On witnesses recalled, "He hit the old man that was crossing and the guy on the motorcycle was driving against the light. The guy on the motorcycle was with a group of more than 20."


Some witnesses have estimated the caravan of illegal dirt bikes, three-wheelers and all-terrain vehicles (ATV) was as many as 50, as the victim was crossing with the light, when he was rundown outside of the Steven Restaurant.


"The police were after them," the witness claimed, when the police cruiser from the 49th Precinct allegedly bumped the bike just before the intersection, causing the chain reaction crash.


One employee at the C-Town across the street, offered, “Customers were saying that the cop car hit the motorcycle and it crashed into the man.”


The police department has so far discounted claims that a police cruiser caused the crash and have stated the cruiser was making a U-turn when the motorcyclist lost control.


The officer behind the wheel of the police vehicle closest to the dirt bike was briefly questioned by a detective and a Highway Patrol investigator.

Both victims were reported at Jacobi Hospital in serious, but stable condition. One published report stated the bike rider was in police custody, and so far has not been charged.

Another witness said of the group of riders, "They saw their friend get hit and was on the floor, but they kept going."


The accident comes as biker Alberto Gonzalez is currently on trial regarding a similar incident back on August 11, in Hunts Point, where he faces resisting arrest and reckless endangerment charges.


Video released on March 24, clearly shows an NYPD cruiser from the 41st Precinct, striking the bike. That crash claimed the life of building superintendent Eddie Fernandez, 28, who was thrown into a pole.


On October 27, Ronald Herrera, 20, died and a passenger was seriously injured during a chase with a police cruiser along Walton Avenue.


Once again, the NYPD stated that the cruiser did not cause the crash, witnesses say the cruiser bumped the dirt bike.

Bronx News ( Bronxites have high hopes for new Pope

Bronx News ( Bronxites have high hopes for new Pope: Early into his Papacy, Pope Francis is already setting an exciting tone and direction for the Catholic Church. Officials from Fordham Un...

Bronxites have high hopes for new Pope

Early into his Papacy, Pope Francis is already setting an exciting tone and direction for the Catholic Church. Officials from Fordham University weighed in on his historic election and what’s to come.

"It has been a truly historic day for the Society of Jesus as we learned that our brother, Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio, was selected to lead the Catholic Church as Pope Francis I,” said Rev. Gregory F. Lucey, S.J. President, AJCU. “As Jesuits, we emphasize social justice in our ministry, and we are gratified to have a leader who will continue to live out this mission on a global stage. We pray that the Pope's grounding in Ignatian spirituality will guide him as he carries out this extraordinary calling to lead the Church of the 21st century."


“With the 266th successor to St. Peter now in place in Rome, Pope Francis has already stirred the minds of hearts of people throughout the world,” said Msgr. Joseph G. Quinn, J.D., J.C.L. Vice President, University Mission and Ministry Fordham University. “He is seen as a genuinely humble and holy man of God very much grounded in his spiritual formation and training as a Jesuit. We can only hope and pray that he remains the needed prophetic voice within our midst calling us all to truly live our lives in ever greater imitation of Christ.”


Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. issued the following statement in reaction to the selection of Pope Francis I:


“This is an incredible moment. The Catholic Church has selected Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires to serve as its new pope, Pope Francis I, thus bringing the world the first ever pope of Latin-American heritage.


“The Catholic Church plays an important role in the social and civic fabric of the Bronx and New York City, and today I congratulate the borough’s, and in fact the world’s, Catholic community on this history-making decision.”

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bronx News ( Fordham in Sweet Sixteen

Bronx News ( Fordham in Sweet Sixteen: Rams Score First Post-Season Victory Since 1980 (Photo by Gary Quintal) By Howard Goldin BRONX, NY, March 25, 2013- The slogan “Tradition ...

Fordham in Sweet Sixteen

Rams Score First Post-Season Victory Since 1980

(Photo by Gary Quintal)
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NY, March 25, 2013- The slogan “Tradition begins now” adopted by the women’s basketball program at Fordham University (26-8) at the start of this season has proven to be quite prophetic. The Rams, after 16 consecutive losing seasons, have compiled the second highest total of victories, 26, in the history of the program.
Its list of successes this year is unique since the university joined the Atlantic-10 conference in 1995. Veteran coach Stephanie Gaitley, in only her second year at the helm of the team, has created a culture of success under a leadership of decency that hopefully will set a tone that will be followed in the future.
Its season of achievement has led the Rams to be invited to a post-season tournament for the first time since 1995. One day after being denied an automatic entrance to the NCAA Women’s National Tournament by a one point loss, 47-46, to St. Joseph’s in the final of the Atlantic-10 Championship, the Rams were one of 64 invitees to the WNIT.
In the first round on March 20, the Rams hosted Army (22-7) at the Rose Hill Gym on Fordham’s Bronx campus. The Black Knights received an automatic berth as they were the regular season champions of the Patriot League.
Both teams started slowly and missed most early shots, perhaps because of nerves or effective defense. The two were highly ranked this season nationally for their scoring defense; Army ranked 7th in the nation and Fordham ranked 16th as the stingiest in surrendering points.
The Black Knights were the first to reach double digits as a three by Jen Hazlett gave them an 11-6 advantage at 13:09. A basket by sensational freshman Kelsey Minato raised Army’s lead to a game high six, 15-9. The Rams then awoke and scored 15 unanswered points to take their game high advantage, 24-15 with 2:34 left in the first half.
On a 9-2 scoring run, Army knotted the score at 26 with 15:40 remaining in the contest. After a third tie at 28, the Rams led through the remainder of the second half. The action was intense and physical as each team made a supreme effort to gain the victory. Fordham treated its fans to a joyous experience by earning a 55-46 victory.
The Fordham starters, with the exception of freshman Samantha Clarke who sat out much of the game, contributed mightily to the win. Abigail Corning achieved a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. Graduating players Marah Strickland (15) and Arielle Collins (14) netted double digits. Erin Rooney fell short of double figures but led the team with six assists and showed her defensive capabilities with four steals. Gaitley said of Rooney’s contribution, “With Erin, there was a lot of residue from Saturday’s game. It’s a testament to her.”
Minato, Patriot League Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, played outstandingly with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 4 steals. Her backcourt mate, Anna Simmers, played equally well, 15 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Gaitley explained the importance of the twosome, “We’re a really disciplined team. The key to the game was to make things tough for 5 [Minato] and 25 [Simmers].”
With its win, Fordham moved to round two of the tournament. The Rams played host to Boston University (24-6), the victor of Sacred Heart in round one on Saturday afternoon, March 23 in the Bronx.
Gaitley had high hopes for her team, “I think we’re going to be much better on Saturday. We needed to get this game out of our system.”
Her prognostication proved true as the Rams dominated the Boston University Terriers on Saturday afternoon. The visitors took an early 6-2 lead, but a 15-2 scoring run by Fordham that culminated in consecutive threes by Strickland and Rooney put Fordham ahead, 17-8, at 13:28. A three by Charlotte Stoddard at 5:03 gave Fordham its first double digit advantage of the contest.
Three straight baskets by the Terriers cut the deficit to five, 28-23, with 18:34 remaining in the contest. That Fordham lead was the lowest since the first five minutes of the game.
A critical moment came at 15:19 as Rooney, a hardnosed defensive specialist, was called for her fourth foul. The lead was cut in half, 41-35, with her on the bench for the next five minutes, which led Gaitley to return her to action. Gaitley explained her reasoning after the contest ended, “I felt they were going on a run. She’s [Rooney] a calming presence.” A layup by Rooney at 5:26 brought the lead back to double figures, 45-35, where it remained for the rest of the contest. Fordham qualified for its first “Sweet Sixteen” finish with a 58-44 win.
Starters Strickland (14), Rooney (12) and Collins (12) scored in double digits. Clark and Corning failed to net at least 10, but each grabbed six rebounds.
After the contest, Gaitley spoke to reporters of the reason for the Fordham win, “The key to the game was defense and rebounding.”
Fordham topped Boston University in rebounds, 41-33. The Rams held their opponent to fewer than 50 points for the 14th time this season.
Fordham will next travel to Virginia to face James Madison University in the Sweet Sixteen round of the WNIT at 7 pm on Wednesday, March 27.
The outcome of the above contest cannot erase the accomplishments of the Fordham women this year. Gaitley expressed her happiness of what they achieved, “I’m just so proud of the team. I’m so happy for them. This never happened at Fordham before. It will live on in their memories forever.”
Of the future, she proclaimed, “It sets a tone for the future. Women’s basketball has arrived at Fordham.”

Bronx News ( Bunny Breakfast

Bronx News ( Bunny Breakfast: (Photos by Gary Quintal)   BRONX, NEW YORK, March 25- State Senator Jeff Klein joined over 300 children and their parents for his 18 th...

Bunny Breakfast

(Photos by Gary Quintal) 
BRONX, NEW YORK, March 25- State Senator Jeff Klein joined over 300 children and their parents for his 18th annual Easter Bunny Breakfast. The breakfast included activities for children, including a magic show, face painting, a “build-a-bunny” station and photos with the Easter Bunny. Families from Senator Klein’s district were invited to attend.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bronx News ( The sieve

Bronx News ( The sieve: Wakefield Area News By Mary V. Lauro BRONX, NEW YORK, March 22- If we had our way, we would forbid the City Council and the State Legi...

The sieve

Wakefield Area News
By Mary V. Lauro
BRONX, NEW YORK, March 22- If we had our way, we would forbid the City Council and the State Legislature to enact new laws until all the current ones are enforced. 
To begin, enforcing our current ones would assist us in our current financial difficulties. It is not something which can not be done. Con Edison did it for years. If one did not pay one's bill in a timely manner, one's gas and electricity would be shut off. While in some cases it was sad, in most cases, it was just.
We have always noted that when there is an NYPD Patrol Car close by, other cars do not double park or park near a hydrant or slip though a red light. In fact, whenever we inadvertently drive through a red light, most of us automatically look behind us to ensure that a patrol car is not in our wake. Why are we so nervous?
It is not that we are ashamed of the summons. Not at all. We have witnessed entirely too many traffic infractions to think we have done something shameful. It is the fine we do not want to pay; which is interesting since we pay so many other fines without a struggle, probably because we call them something else. Think of auto license, drivers license, tax of all kinds, etc. . The difference between the fee for a driver's license and a red light summons is that one's (driver's license) is universally applied while the other is not.
It is the, haphazardness of our law enforcement that leads to an escalation of disrespect, for our regulations. (Crime is another story.) Last month, The Daily News ran a story on one of our favorite topics: Illegal conversions. The story praised John Liu, our current controller and contender for Mayor for excoriating the Buildings Department (DOB) on its poor showing after the city had vowed, years before to crack down on illegal landlords that chopped up apartments creating firetraps.
While the Daily News seems to think that Queens has the most illegal conversions, we disagree. If it is so, the Bronx is a close second. But it really does not matter. The Bronx has had its share of lost lives due to the fact that its buildings also burn. In any case the trend to illegally convert is growing city wide. In the article, John Liu is quoted as saying, "The Buildings Department is just dysfunctional and incapable of improving itself.”
In April 2011, here in the Bronx, a fire in a converted house took the life of a 12-year-old boy and his parents. It turned out that DOB inspectors had gone to the building twice but was not let in, so they dropped the case. We know that story. In response to Liu's investigation, DOB responded that landlords had become more vigilant about letting inspectors enter their houses. An audit showed that from July 2010 to June 2011 the failure rate of inspectors to gain access to buildings rose to 80 percent. We all know that Inspectors can and should get judicial clearance to force access. Lots of Luck! Consider that in 2008, DOB requested and received 13 judicial permissions to enter illegal conversions. In 2011 it rose to 80, but in view of the 5,577 conversions to which the inspectors could not gain access, that increase amounted to nothing or more that 1.4 percent!
Meanwhile during World War II when all one and two-family houses were asked to convert so as to house returning soldiers and moving families, a house on Bronx Boulevard converted the basement. That was 60 years ago. With the war and the emergency behind them, they rented the little apartment to a relative. That was 50 years ago. When a DOB inspector knocked on their door, they thought they had nothing to hide. Little did they know. According to the law the owners must now return the basement to its original condition! Go figure.

Bronx News ( Bloomberg's Soda Ban Lost it's Fizz

Bronx News ( Bloomberg's Soda Ban Lost it's Fizz: 100 PERCENT By Robert Press BRONX, NEW YORK, March 22- Many people are happy that N.Y. State Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling s...

Bloomberg's Soda Ban Lost it's Fizz

By Robert Press

BRONX, NEW YORK, March 22- Many people are happy that N.Y. State Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling shot down Mayor Bloomberg's ban on large size sugary soda for one reason or another. 

It is not that the soda is good for you, but its how Mayor Bloomberg went about it Judge Tingling said. I watched The David Letterman Show the night that Judge Tingling stopped the mayor’s soda ban, where Mayor Mikey was going to announce the ban and just how it would go into effect. Letterman blew what could have been his best line in many years by not saying “Gee Mr. Mayor I guess your soda ban lost its fizz”. Instead we heard Mayor Nanny go on about how bad soda with sugar is, how obese people are due to drinking soda with sugar, but the one bright thing to come out of the mayor’s mouth was the fact that more people are now dying of overeating than of starvation. Arguments now coming from people are why is the mayor not going after people who drink alcohol in excess like soda. People get drunk and then can and do hurt others, many who are innocent bystanders.

On the steps of City Hall Sunday afternoon City Comptroller John Liu made it official that he was running for mayor. Liu made some good points in how he has been the watchdog over the city's resources, and how he exposed over billing and fraud such as the CityTime scandal. We hate to see Liu leave the comptroller’s office after doing such a great job in his four short years as comptroller. We also understand that it would be tough to run in four years against an incumbent mayor, and that could be a major reason that Comptroller Liu and Public Advocate DeBlasio are running this year for mayor when both still have another term to serve in their current offices. Mayoral candidate John Liu also made a five borough bus tour ending up in the Bronx at the home of Community Board 8 Vice Chair Maria Kurry in Riverdale. You can check my blog for more details and photos of the Liu Riverdale House event at .

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn must now realize that Bloomberg was only using her as a blocker in the City Council of the bills that the mayor did not want to be voted on, and Quinn will now pay for her allegiance to Mayor Bloomberg. Voters must not forget that it was Speaker Quinn who pushed through the City Council four years ago the mayor's bill to extend term limits so that New Yorkers could enjoy four more years of a Bloomberg/Quinn administration. 

Speaking of mayoral candidates I must ask Adolfo Carrion, “Now that you are not going to get an iota of a chance of getting the Republican line when are you going to end your fantasy of becoming the next mayor”? All you are doing is pulling votes away from the Democratic candidate so another Republican has a better chance of getting elected mayor.

Speaking of elections the money seems to be pouring into the 15th council district, or should I say to the candidates at least. Close to $220,000 has been collected by 8 candidates who filed their March 15th filing with the Campaign Finance Board. Only a little over $32,000 has been spent by the eight candidates, and leading the way with $55,203 on hand is candidate Richie Torres. Torres got a big boost in donations from attendees of Councilman Jimmy Vacca's birthday party at Villa Baron Manor in Throggs Neck. You can read about and view photos of the event in my blog archive section titled Jimmy Vacca birthday party/Richie Torres at

Also in the archive section you can find a story on the fund raiser Albert Alvarez had complete with photos of the “Albert Alvarez shuffle”. Kenny Agosto “The Dancing District Leader” is not the only one who can tear up a dance floor anymore. Getting back to the 15th council race, Mr. William Rivera is second in the money race with $35,003 on hand currently for his campaign. It will take a lot more money than the candidates currently have to win, and the political endorsements are starting to come in. I am hearing some push back though to the Richie Torres campaign about the support of neighboring Councilman Vacca's influence in his backing of the Torres candidacy. I was even told that it may be a good idea to teach Jimmy a lesson by giving him a primary.

Last week the Bronx Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Irish Heritage Luncheon. You can go to my blog to see the honorees and many photos of the event. BCC President Lenny Caro and his staff have done another fine job in this event. You can check the BCC website at for upcoming events in April or check my blog for details as they come in.

Also Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is hosting his Irish Heritage Month Event tonight at the Rambling House in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx. The event starts at 5:30 PM and you must RSVP to the BP's office at 718-590-3989 as space is limited. I will have details of the event on my blog and in next weeks column.

If you have any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on my blog you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.

Bronx News ( No three-peat, Mustangs

Bronx News ( No three-peat, Mustangs: By Gary Axelbank BRONX, NEW YORK, March 22- The Monroe Mustangs women's basketball team will not three-peat. After a ferocious effort...

No three-peat, Mustangs

By Gary Axelbank

BRONX, NEW YORK, March 22- The Monroe Mustangs women's basketball team will not three-peat. After a ferocious effort, the two-time defending national champs who came to the NJCAA Division II Women's Basketball National Championships as a #9-seed, were narrowly defeated 53-50 by the top seeded Mesa Thunderbirds in Thursday's quarterfinal.  

So Monroe will play in the loser's bracket against (#12) South Suburban (IL) beginning at 3:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m. EST) on Friday.  If they win, they will face #6 Highland (KS) on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. EST) for fifth place in the tournament. 

"It was a great game," Coach James Robinson Jr. said in an interview. "It could have (gone) either way. We put ourselves in a position to defend our national championship. I'm proud of my girls. They gave it all they got." 

Down by six at the half, Monroe was able to capture a few slim leads in the second half, but were not able to sustain them. After All-AmericanJasmine McRoy put back a Ly'Nasha Frazier miss with 2:20 to go, the Mustangs were down by a point, 51-50, but they did not convert their opportunities down the stretch.

The game was a defensive battle from the start with neither team able to establish the things that earned their reputations. Mesa was not in their comfort zone, able to move the ball to the open man and Monroe was never really able to get their up-tempo offense in gear. The Thunderbirds finished below their 60-point scoring average and Monroe was well below it's 70-point average.

Frazier led Monroe with 13 points, McRoy had 12, and Danielle Forrest had 10. Monroe had a 42-35 rebounding edge, with Tiara Brown capturing 14 of them, high for either team.  Mesa shot 12 free throws while the Mustangs shot only 6, which was one of the keys in the game.

"It's a tough loss because we're built as national champions at Monroe, that's what we do," Coach Robinson said. "When we come up short, we feel it, it's a sting. But we'll bounce back.  We've got another game tomorrow at 3:00 and we'll show the championship caliber of basketball that we're capable of playing."

Tip-off on Friday is slated for 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. in NY. If Monroe wins they play Saturday at 2:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. EST) for fifth place in the nation and if not, their season will be over.

"We'll persevere," he said. "The way I see the girls, we'll be back next year.  We'll work hard enough to do it."

Monroe hosted 60 children from the South Side Mission, who they had visited a day earlier. They came to the game to root for Monroe, sporting the caps the Mustangs distributed and autographed.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bronx News ( Mustangs Show Heart

Bronx News ( Mustangs Show Heart: Claw Back to Win Round 1 By Gary Axelbank BRONX, NEW YORK, March 20 - It looked for all the world like the dream of a three-peat was dying....

Mustangs Show Heart

Claw Back to Win Round 1

By Gary Axelbank

BRONX, NEW YORK, March 20- It looked for all the world like the dream of a three-peat was dying. Flat-footed and down by 22 points to a top-flight (#8 seed) Iowa Central team in the first half of their first round game in the NJCAA Division II Women's Basketball National Championships, the (#9 seed) Monroe Mustangs women's basketball team hustled and clawed their way back to an 87-84 win that spoke volumes about their resolve and their moxie as defending two-time national champs.  

The Tritons led 31-9 with 8:52 to go in the first half as Monroe was being out-classed by Iowa Central shooters who seemed to be hitting from all corners of the court.

"In these games you have to reach inside yourself and decide how you want it to go," said Coach James Robinson Jr. "We decided we weren't going to try to come back all at once, but chip away as best we could. Getting it down to nine points at the half let us know that we could get it done. There's no doubt the experience of our sophomores was a big factor."

Predictably, Monroe's comeback was led by All-American Jasmine McRoy, who was the game's high-scorer with 24 points, despite an uneven first-half and off night from the foul line (1/6). But McRoy's stablity and leadership in handling the ball and creating on offense was indispensable. When she hit a four-point play (a three-pointer and foul shot) to cut the lead to 52-51 with 12:55 left, the signal was sent that the game was up for grabs.

Even though Iowa again extended the lead to nine, Monroe got a big contribution during crunch time from sophomore Ly'Nasha Frazier, who had her biggest game of the year, scoring 19 points and dishing for four assists. The best of it was in a stretch in the second half when she found the stroke on two three-pointers and showed confidence in the lane and at the line. It was a sign that Frazier had come all the way back from a difficult knee injury that sidelined her for last year's nationals and forced a lengthy rehab that lasted well into this season.  

Another soph who showed her big-game savvy, undoubtedly picked up in part from last year's championship run, was Christina Jones, who had 12 points and five rebounds, much of it during Monroe's furious second half run.

Monroe had a huge rebounding advantage in the game, 56-40.  Brianna Perlmutter nabbed 14 of them.

"Anyone who thinks this is not a team sport, doesn't know Monroe women's basketball," Coach Robinson said. "You can look up and down our bench and see contributions from everyone. We look at obstacles and as a team navigate our way around them or through them and that's why we won today."

The task for the 23-7 Mustangs is about to get tougher. After a day off on Wednesday, they will face Mesa (AZ), the tournament's #1 seed in round two on Thursday beginning at 6:00pm (7:00pm EST). 

The Mustangs will be making good use of their time off on Wednesday. They plan to visit the South Side Mission to support the youngsters there with homework help and some on-court fun.

Bronx News ( Yanks Will Honor Sandy Hook Victims

Bronx News ( Yanks Will Honor Sandy Hook Victims: BRONX, NEW YORK, March 20 - The New York Yankees announced that they will honor the community of Newtown and the memory of those lost in ...

Yanks Will Honor Sandy Hook Victims

BRONX, NEW YORK, March 20- The New York Yankees announced that they will honor the community of Newtown and the memory of those lost in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

On Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on April 1, the Yankees and their opponents, the Boston Red Sox, will stand together in dedicating the game to the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, their families and the greater community of Newtown. Pregame ceremonies will feature joint honor guards of Newtown police and firefighters, along with a moment of silence, during which a list of the Sandy Hook victims’ names will be recognized on the center-field video board.

The Yankees and Red Sox will wear a special ribbon on their uniforms for Opening Day to honor those lost and those affected by the tragedy. This ribbon will also be prominently painted on the field in front of both dugouts. To show Major League Baseball’s solidarity in remembering the victims, their families and the greater community of Newtown, Commissioner Bud Selig has asked the 28 other teams to follow suit in wearing the ribbon during their respective Opening Day games.

On Sunday, July 7, approximately 3,000 children, families and members of the Newtown community will be invited to celebrate summer recess by attending the Yankees’ 1:05 p.m. game vs. Baltimore. The Yankees have proclaimed the date “Newtown Day at Yankee Stadium” and look forward to hosting members of the community at a time of year after the school calendar is complete that allows for the most children and families to be able to attend.

“On Opening Day, we will reflect upon more important things and play the game to honor the community of Newtown,” said Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner. “Since the day of the tragedy, our hearts and thoughts have been with those who were affected. We hope that bringing the families of Newtown together at Yankee Stadium later in the summer will give the community an opportunity to create new memories and aid in the difficult process of moving forward.”

“Months have passed, yet we are still trying to come to grips with this incomprehensible tragedy,” said Red Sox Principal Owner John W. Henry. “As our teams look to face each other on Opening Day, we will stand united in support of the families affected as we remember and honor those who were lost.”

“The Yankees organization has supported our community in several ways since the tragic events of December 14,” said Pat Llodra, First Selectman, Town of Newtown. “Their generosity and compassion during this difficult time means a lot to all of us. We also would like to thank Commissioner Selig, the Red Sox and Major League Baseball for this meaningful tribute to our community.”