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Monday, July 28, 2008

Bronx News Roundup

Library and Reservoir Still Problems

The New York Times followed-up on two stories the Norwood News has been covering for years: the Times confirmed that there is still no timetable on redeveloping the closed and contaminated Old Fordham Library, and residents are still fighting against blasting at the Jerome Park Reservoir and the permit-lacking water filtration plant in Van Cortlandt Park.

Stadium Land Value on Steroids

Congress is investigating whether the city inflated the value of the land for the new Yankee Stadium so they could issue nearly $1 billion in tax-free bonds, the Daily News reports. The Norwood News has previously covered the Yankees stealing parkland and not providing local jobs or construction contracts.

Courts Conned Cadavers

Bronx court officials are being probed by City Comptroller Williams Thompson after having allegedly improperly invested $20 million left by New Yorkers who died without wills, the Daily News reported last week. Lawyers and accountants got $2.1 million in fees, while heirs have received nothing.

Workers Win Overtime

Two hundred and eighty-four construction workers in the Bronx will receive a total of $1.23 million in back pay as part of a settlement over unpaid overtime, the New York Times reported last week.

Union Offers Foreclosure Help

District 37, the municipal employees union, is offering free legal services to any member looking to buy a house, refinance or has been a victim of predatory lending and may be facing foreclosure. The northwest Bronx neighborhoods of Fordham and University Heights have the highest per-capita rate of foreclosures in the city, the Norwood News discovered.

Hunts Point Renaissance?

Hunts Point is getting rezoned, with protection for residents from the smelly sludge plants (Hunts Point Express), junkyards and scrapyards while paving the way for retail and cultural organizations, the Daily News reports. Will the gritty neighborhood be gentrified?

Bronx Dominican Hopes for State Assembly

The New York Times' City Room blog has a profile of Nelson Castro, who's hoping to become the first Dominican-born member of the Legislature from the Bronx. The Bronx Democratic party surprisingly selected Castro (Daily News) over incumbent district leader Hector Ramirez for resigning Assemblyman Luis Diaz's seat. Dominicans comprise a third of the Bronx's population.

Deport-a-Dad Under Fire

Immigration advocacy groups are fighting against the deportation of Angel, an undocumented Mexican immigrant construction worker from the Bronx, the Daily News reports. He would be forced to leave his wife and five children after being convicted of drunken driving.

Closed Courthouse Not Yet a School

Despite community groups clamoring for development in the shuttered former Bronx Borough Courthouse, it will continue to remain empty, the New York Times City Room blog reports. The community had been hoping a sorely-needed school would be in place for the fall. Maybe next year?

EBC Battling Bureaucracy

City Council approved legislation to revamp the Environmental Control Board (ECB), which overhears quality of life violations, the Gotham Gazette reports. One of the changes to reduce bureaucracy is that it must provide translation services, which street vendors – who receive five to 20 ECB violations a year -- should be glad to receive.

Is The Hub the Next Harlem?

The South Bronx’s The Hub/Third Avenue shopping district, the Bronx’s first Business Improvement District, will soon be getting long-awaited retail and office development, the Daily News reports. Developer Related, who’s been chosen for the Kingsbridge Armory project, may help plan a vacant site on 149th Street. The Bronx’s sixth Starbucks may be coming too! Westchester Square is similarly on the rebound, the Daily News finds.

Workers Comp for Livery Cab Drivers

Since yellow cabs rarely come up to the Bronx, livery cab drivers in the borough and statewide are likely glad to now have better access to workmen’s compensation, the Daily News reports. The Norwood News previously wrote about Naomi Lozado, a taxi dispatcher on Webster Avenue.

Shopping Districts Draw Across Country

The Daily News has a fascinating feature on how downtown Jamaica, Queens receives more than 12,000 out-of-town visitors every year. Similarly, the Bronx’s popular Fordham Road commercial corridor receives more than half of its shoppers from outside of the borough, according to the Fordham Road Business Improvement District.

Bronx Ballers Hop to Europe
Lehman College hosted the second annual Eurobasket Summer League where 86 college and professional basketball players hope to hop the pond and play overseas, the Daily News reports. In a few years we may be seeing the same with the Bronx's brilliant cricketers.


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