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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bronx News Roundup, Jan. 26-27

Hello, everyone. We're back with your News Roundup for the past two days!

The sounds of protest from hundreds of students, families and teachers were not met as it was decided early this morning that 19 of the city's schools will be closed due to poor academic performance, the Bronx's Christopher Columbus High School included. By 2:40 a.m., over 300 people had spoken at the panel held at Brooklyn Technical High School, only a handful of which were in favor of the closings. Despite these opinions, nearly every closing was met with an overwhelming majority vote. One representative from Queens laments the decisions: “Listening means to hear but also to digest and allow the information to have an effect on our opinion."

In related news, the Bronx's Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School was one of lucky ones. The Department of Education decided to keep the high school's doors open, thanks to an outpouring of community support.

An update on the wildly successful Bronx gun buy-back program: $184,000 was paid for 1,186 guns. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, in reference to the very recent shootings of two Bronx women, "This is bittersweet. These 1,200 weapons symbolize...another Sadie Mitchell...another Vada Vasquez. Perhaps we'll avoid another Vada Vasquez with these weapons being here." Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is happy to announce that the guns will be melted down and turned into coat hangers: in his words, a "much better use of them." 

Several Bronx men were given the opportunity for employment in tearing down the old Yankee Stadium, only to be lied to and left where they started. David Phillips, the Goodwill job developer in charge of placing the men packed up and took off without notice. The "Back to Work" program's response: "move on."

Early this morning, a pedestrian was hit by a car and has sustained serious injuries. The driver of the car was also injured. The accident took place on East 151st Street and Grand Concourse. The area has been closed to traffic on the northbound side between East 150th and 151st street for investigations.

Congressional District 16 (Morrisania, Mott Haven and Bedford Park) has been found to have the highest household hunger rate in the nation, according to a report by Gallup and the Food Research Action Center. The figures are startling, as families were asked whether they had ever been in a situation in which there wasn't enough money to buy necessary food. The percentage of households suffering from hunger in District 16 were found to be as high as 36.9%.

The New York Post reports on a neighborhood's response to Praxis Housing Initiatives' plans for a permanent supportive housing development on White Plains Road in Wakefield. While the Q&A session on January 7th attempted to clarify the difference between "permanent supportive housing" and "homeless shelters," residents remain uneasy and skeptical.

The Westchester Merchants Association's case with the Department of Homeless Services has been tossed by a Manhattan judge. The Bronx merchants argued that Homeless Services should be required to do a comprehensive study of a neighborhood before creating a shelter there. Local leaders were disappointed by the verdict as well: John Bonizio, president of the Westchester Square Merchants Association, said, "They don't consult with the community boards. They find a spot and put it in."

To end on a brighter note, the sculpture in front of the Bronx River Arts Center in West Farms Square is still free of any graffitti, six months into its installation ("Knock on wood," as the Daily News said, undoubtedly with all pun intended).


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