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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, March 31

Weather: Cloudy and rainy today, and chance of snow showers tomorrow. Sigh

Story of the Day: Don't Fence Me Out
At a meeting tonight, Department of Environmental Protection officials are likely to get an earful from local residents who are livid over a recent agency report that puts an official damper on community hopes for access to the Jerome Park Reservoir. For decades, only city workers have been allowed in between the two chain link fences that ring the reservoir, which is currently empty but is part of the Croton water system that provides 10 percent of the city with drinking water. It recommends a pilot project of limited access over a 3-day period but throws cold water on the possibility of it being permanent, citing security concerns. The report will be discussed tonight at a meeting of the Croton Facilities Monitoring Committee at the DEP community office at 3660 Jerome Ave.
For more info, here are stories in the Daily News and the Riverdale Press.

Officials say the tour bus that crashed in the Bronx killing 15 people was going 78 mph, 23 above the speed limit.

In his weekly Daily News column, Bob Kappstatter provides some details about a new Target for the east Bronx that does not seem to be experiencing the heavy turbulence Walmart is facing, even though it uses non-union retail workers. Why not? Kappy says they're not using public subsidies, thereby avoiding the city's land use review process, and he's heard they may be using union labor to build the project.

Speaking of Bronx business, New Jersey officials are trying to lure the Hunts Point Market to the Garden State. NYC officials say it's their top priority to keep the market right where it is when its lease expires in May. The facility employs 3,000 union workers.

A study released yesterday ranks the Bronx as the least healthiest of the state's 62 counties. Brooklyn is next in line.

Kids in a Morrisania after-school program get their first taste of Broadway: they went to see Mary Poppins.

It's opening day at Yankee Stadium today with the first pitch scheduled for 1:05. (But the weather ain't cooperating.)

The Times reminds its readers that, while fans revel in the big day, three promised parks in the shadow of the new stadium are way behind schedule.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bronx Events: St. Barnabas Hospital Blood Drive, Today

Councilman Joel Rivera, St. Barnabas Hospital and the New York Blood Center are hosting a community blood drive at the hospital's Hemodialysis Unit, at 451 Third Avenue, until 5:45 p.m. today.

From the press release:
The need for blood is constant. New York Blood Center alone requires over 2,000 volunteer blood donations each day to meet the transfusion needs of patients in close to 200 New York and New Jersey hospitals. Each donation of blood can help save 3 lives following component into red cell, platelet, and plasma separation. Car accident and trauma victims may need as many as 50 or more red cell transfusions.

More details on this and other Bronx events can be found in our community calendar, below.

Editor's note: What did we miss? Send details to bronxnewsnetwork[at]gmail.com.

Bronx News Roundup, March 30

Weather: Another sunny day today, finally warming up a bit to hit around 50 degrees this afternoon. Temps will drop again tomorrow, with rain expected and a possibility of light snow on Friday.

Story of the Day: Snake Fever
The nation is captivated by the Bronx Zoo's missing cobra, which disappeared from the park's reptile house this weekend and then, mysteriously, started posting updates of its whereabouts on Twitter yesterday. @BronxZoosCobra has racked up 136,458 followers and has reached celebrity status, getting shout-outs from Mayor Bloomberg, Steve Martin and the Daily Show's John Stewart. According to Gothamist: "Some entrepreneurs have already started an 'I Egyptian Cobra New York' line of clothing and accessories." Collectors items, for sure.

Quick Hits:
Charles Kavanagh, the former pastor of St Raymond's Church who was defrocked after accusations that he molested a 17-year-old seminary student in 2002, is suing his accuser for defamation.

The 14 pitbulls that were rescued from an apartment fire on the Grand Concourse earlier this month are struggling with health and behavioral issues, according to the Times. Three of the dogs had to be put down shortly after the blaze because their injuries were so severe.

Bronx State Sen. Jose M. Serrano makes a case to reform the member item distribution process in yesterday's Times Union. Serrano argues the money should be doled out equally, instead of the most powerful legislators getting the biggest cuts, as is currently the case. Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget has cut pork project spending entirely for this fiscal year.

A Bronx man pleaded guilty yesterday to bringing an underage girl across state lines and forcing her to perform sex acts on NFL star Lawrence Taylor. Rasheed Davis faces up to 30 years in prison; Taylor was sentenced last week to six years probation and will have to register on the New York State Sex Offender Registry.

Ex-cop Eddie Coello was indicted by a Grand Jury yesterday and charged with the murder of his wife, Throgs Neck resident and mother of four Tina Adovasio, whose body was found in a wooded area in Westchester last month.

This Daily News slideshow takes a look at the wives and girlfriends of the New York Yankees.

Congress will renew discussions today of a bipartisan bill to strengthen safety regulations for buses, sparked by a series of recent deadly bus accidents, including the Bronx crash earlier this month that killed 15 people on the New England Thruway.

Activists are fighting the Department of Environmental Protection for access to the Jerome Park Reservoir, which has been fenced off from residents since World War II.

A string of recent Bronx bodega robberies have store owners and police on alert.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy Land Fire Remembered

Photos by Fausto Giovanny Pinto

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Last Friday, March 25 marked the 21st anniversary of the tragic fire at the Happy Land Social Club, on Southern Boulevard in East Tremont, where 87 people lost their lives after an arsonist set fire to the building.

Each year, Community Board 6 hosts a memorial mass at nearby St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and at the Happy Land memorial site. These pictures were taken during the service last week by Tremont Tribune reporter Fausto Giovanny Pinto.

Bronx News Roundup, Tuesday, March 29

Weather: Very similar to yesterday -- sunny and cold this morning, gradually warming up into the mid-40s in the afternoon and then cooling down again at night. 

To the news!

Story of the Day:
The legal morass deepened yesterday for Pedro Espada Jr. as federal prosecutors unveiled new charges against the ex-Bronx State Senator and health clinic mogul, as well as his son, Pedro Gautier Espada. The father-son duo were hit with new tax evasion and wire fraud charges, according to the indictment filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, where the Espadas are being tried. Both are out on $750,000 bail after being charged in December with stealing more than $550,000 from Pedro Jr.'s nonprofit health care clinic empire in the Bronx to pay for, among other things, a $49,000 down payment on a Bentley. Prosecutors indicated yesterday that they would be willing to offer the Espadas a plea deal that could lead to reduced sentences if he admits to wrongdoing. 

Quick Hits:
We'll start the hits with Vanity Fair's hilarious take on the Bronx Zoo's missing Egyptian cobra, which is apparently now Tweeting as it slithers about town. Already, the snake boasts a Twitter following of 10,000 fans. "Right now, it's the snake's game," the Zoo said in statement.

Police are searching for a body in Riverdale Park after two suspects told authorities they had killed a man and dumped him there 11 years ago.

Though details have yet to be released, two special needs schools in the Bronx are happy that their state funding has been tentatively restored.

Police are asking assistance in tracking down two armed robbery suspects.

Bronx native and two-time presidential candidate Ellen McCormack died on Sunday at the age of 84.

Bronx State Senator Jeff Klein launched a crusade against Four Loko, which returned to NYC stores last month minus the caffeine, but is still packing a stiff, 12% alcohol, punch and comes in brightly colored cans. He's calling Four Loko and other similarly-loaded and fashioned drinks, "alcopop."  (By the way, who knew Klein's girlfriend was neat-freak fellow state senator, Diane Savino of Brooklyn/Staten Island?)

100-year-old east Bronx resident Lily Rapaport is sharing her life story through a new federal program called StoryCorps.

Meet the latest super-sized Bronx rap sensation, Fred The Godson, who was the only NYC rapper featured on the cover of the hip-hop magazine XXL's "Freshman of the Year" issue.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bronx Events: Bronx Real Estate Summit, Wednesday 3/30

This Wednesday, March 30, will mark the 2nd Bronx Real Estate Summit at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and former Borough President Adolfo Carrion will offer opening remarks, and a number of real estate professional will serve as panelists at this networking event. See the flier below for more info.

Check out our constantly updated events calendar, below, to see what's happening in your neighborhood this week.

Editor's note: What did we miss? Send details to bronxnewsnetwork[at]gmail.com.

Bronx Tenants Rally for Rent Laws, But Cuomo Goes His Own Way

Members of the tenant rights group CASA at last week's Bronx rent reform rally. (Photo by J. Evelly)
Bronx residents, tenant organizers and elected officials held a rally last Thursday at the Bronx Library Center on Kingsbridge Road, calling for stronger rent laws under the Emergency Tenant Protection Act, which expires this June and sets guidelines for hundreds of thousands of rent regulated apartments in the Bronx, and about a million across the city.

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's tentative budget deal with lawmakers, announced yesterday, conspicuously leaves out any provisions relating to the state's rent laws--to the disappointment of local legislators and advocates who have been pushing the governor on the issue.

Summer Youth Employment Cuts Hit Bronx Hard This Year

Cuts to Summer Youth Employment from Bronx News Network on Vimeo.

Bronx News Network executive editor Jordan Moss recently caught up with Bob Altman, the associate director of the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center, to talk about how cuts to the city's Summer Youth Employment Program are affecting teens and organizations here in the Bronx.

Summer Youth Employment, a program run by the city's Department of Youth and Community Development which sets teens up with summer jobs, has seen it's budget whittled away over the past few years. Watch the video above for more.

Some thoughts on Census 2010 Population Changes

I was eager to get into the 2010 Census data at the tract level, but am a bit disappointed that the new American Fact Finder website has been down since Friday. Instead, I was able to download a limited amount of new data from the Department of City Planning website and look at the most basic of statistics, namely population change since 2010 (though the Mayor is officially challenging them).

The map below (click on the image to enlarge) shows changes in population by census tract since 2000 for NYC, not as a percent but by the actual number of counted residents. Much of the city shows in light yellow meaning the population stayed mostly the same (up or down by less than 150 residents). The reddish areas show decreases in population while the greenish areas show increases, with the intensity of the color matching the larger decline/increase.

While I can't back this up with the actual data until the AFF site gets back up and running, it will be interesting to see how strong the effects of gentrification in Washington Heights, Inwood, and Astoria were on the large drops in population there. Was the replacing of larger families with children with young single folks and smaller families a big factor in driving down the population in those neighborhoods?

Also, there are smaller but noticeable drops in parts of Brooklyn and Queens (and even a few tracts in Wakefield) where there have been large numbers of foreclosures. There could be some kind of correlation.

I've also been reminded of an older post of mine on how more people move out of NYC annually than move in, and that the growth in population has been spurred on by international immigrant and more significantly, a high birth rate.

A few other news sites have also brought up some of these questions:

In this article on DNAinfo.com, Queens College demographer Andrew Beveridge agrees that the cost of housing has had an impact on the drop in population in upper Manhattan, but also thinks an there was likely an undercount of undocumented immigrants.

WNYC investigates the first documented drop in the City's black population, mostly in Brooklyn.

AMNewYork believes that residents, especially in Queens, are partly to blame for not returning their forms. 

And Greg David of Crain's briefly discusses the lower-than-expected results here, though I am wondering his thoughts on the Bronx adding more people than any other borough this decade after he led off his "Who will save the Bronx?" piece in August by pointing out that we are the only borough to not eclipse our peak in population from 1970.

Bronx Weekend News Roundup, Monday, March 28

Welcome to Monday, Bronx folks. I woke up this morning to the sporadic hissing of the radiator and immediately went about locating my long johns. Despite the calendar's best attempts to tell us otherwise, it's clear winter is making an extended appearance in 2011. Indeed, it remains long john weather. Weather.com says it's 28 degrees this morning, but feels like 16. Temperatures are expected to rise to a less bitter 44 by the afternoon.

To the news!

Story of the Day: Budget Deal Cuts Health and Education Spending
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Albany legislative leaders, five days before the April 1 deadline, announced a budget deal last night that would decrease overall spending by 2 percent and include no new taxes. The deal would, however, cut $2 billion in spending on health care and education, drawing immediate criticism from advocates. Before the budget deal was reached, many city Democrats, including Bronx State Senator Gustavo Rivera,  said such cuts would not have been as substantial if Cuomo had renewed the so-called "millionaire's tax," which had increased tax rates for wealthy New Yorkers over the past two years, but was set to expire this year. On Friday, Rivera told BxNN he wasn't especially confident the millionaire's tax or the extension of rent regulations -- another Bronx Democratic priority -- would be included in this budget, but Democrats would be pushing for both in separate legislation.

On the plus side, state funding for senior centers -- the absence of which could have led to the closing of dozens of Bronx centers -- has been tentatively restored. Details on the budget will be hammered out this week. We'll have more as they come in.

Quick Hits:
In a story that went national, on Friday afternoon, the Bronx Zoo closed its Reptile House indefinitely as it looks for a missing Egyptian cobra. “We are confident that the snake, about 20 inches long, is contained in a non-public, isolation area within the building,” Zoo officials said. As of last night, the snake was still missing. Somewhere, Indiana Jones is terrified. No word yet on whether the Zoo has called in Samuel L. Jackson, who has a history of battling snakes on planes.

A wild car chase on Friday night (early Saturday morning) between police and a fugitive ended in a traffic jam on the Major Deegan, near Alexander Avenue, with cops firing 19 shots and killing 28-year-old Bronxite Orlando Santos, who had an extensive criminal record, but was unarmed. Police said Santos tried to run officers down with his car and would not stop despite repeated warnings. Santos' sister said the shooting was unjustified and friends of Santos orchestrated a protest by slowly retracing the chase route and causing more traffic jams. Here's a map showing the chase route.

According to Census data, the areas of Melrose and Morrisania experienced some of the highest rates of growth in the city, with population up 27.1 percent since the last Census in 2000.

UniverSoul Circus performed in the Bronx this past week on 149th Street. (A toddler was hurt during one of the shows.) Just for fun, here's a youtube clip:

Two lawsuits have been filed in the deadly tour bus crash in the Bronx two weeks ago.

Local residents who live around Yankee Stadium are dreading the coming of Opening Day on Thursday, saying parking in the area turns into a huge, complicated problem.

Speaking of the Yankees, Forbes said the value of the famed Bronx franchise went up 6 percent this past year and is now worth $1.7 billion, almost double the value of the next most valuable team, the Boston Red Sox ($912 million). The average major league team, Forbes says, is worth $543 million.

To operators of the struggling Yankee Stadium parking garages might want to tap into some of those substantial team resources to help dig themselves out of debt, sources told the Daily News.

We'll have more on this, but the City Council last week approved the rezoning of Webster Avenue.

Montefiore Medical Center has revamped its intensive care units and it's working.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bronx Sports Column: Lady Mustangs are National Champs; Kemba's Killing It in the Big Dance

The Monroe Lady Mustangs won the national junior college championship last weekend.
 So much good basketball going on, it's enough to make your head spin. Before we get to the Big Dance, we'll start with the littler dances, which produced at least one Bronx champion.

Lady Mustangs Bring Home Hardware
With its 78-74 victory over Pima Community College (Ariz.) last Saturday night, the Monroe College Lady Mustangs basketball team took home its third national junior college title and first since moving to the Division II level two years ago. Sophomore Shanee Williams led the 11th-seed Lady Mustangs in scoring throughout the tournament, averaging 15.5 points per game and was named MVP.

"All year we talked about the difference between being great and being special," said Coach Goodman. "These players have worked so hard and now they can say they are truly special. Years from now people will remember that the Monroe Mustangs, an 11-seed, became national champions."

Meanwhile, Monroe's mens team finished third nationally.

Wings Takes Girls Title, Clinton Falls in Final Four
The Bronx's Wings Academy girls -- the Lady Wings -- team beat Curtis 46-43 for the PSAL Girls A Division title during a raucous championship game (bout) that featured a bleacher brawl. Just minutes after hitting the game-winning three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left, senior Aquillin Hayes announced she would be attending the University of New Haven to play hoops next yer. Here's photos from the game by the NY Post.

The Lady Wings were scheduled to play today at 1:30 p.m. in the State Federation tournament, but I haven't been able to find a score anywhere on the internet.

The 29th-seeded DeWitt Clinton boys team's shocking underdog run through the PSAL boys A tournament came to a screeching halt in the Final Four a week ago, as the Governors fell to eventual champion Midwood. 77-53.

Bronxites Move on to Elite 8
Soundview product and University of Connecticut point guard Kemba Walker is turning the NCAA men's basketball tournament into his own personal showcase. Walker, an IS 174 alumnist, absolutely abused the higher-seeded San Diego St. Aztecs last night, scoring nearly half of his team's points during the Huskies 74-67.

A dancer who performed at the Apollo three times as a youngster, Walker, a 6-foot-1, 175 puma of a ballplayer scored from everywhere and every which way imaginable. Plus, the kid's got personality.

The LA Times' columnist Bill Plashke swooned: "Just like that, the tiny guy with the wide-eyed smile and scraggly chin hair that he refuses to shave has become the best thing about this billion-dollar tournament. After a weekend filled with average basketball and questionable officiating, college basketball needs Kemba Walker, a star who is not too big to act like a child, a 20-year-old who laughs his way through giant games with playground guts."

Walker's UConn team plays Arizona, which features Bronx-bred forward Kevin Parrom (St. Raymond's High School), on Saturday for the chance to play in the Final Four in Houston. 

One final note: On Saturday afternoon, at 4:30 p.m. in Yonkers, the St. Brendan's School boys fifth and sixth grade team plays for some type of state championship.

Bronx Pols Push Cuomo On Rent Reform; Jeff Klein’s Name Absent

The following story appeared in this week's issue of the Norwood News.

By Jeanmarie Evelly

A number of local elected officials are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to renew and strengthen rent regulation laws, in favor of renters, as part of his budget negotiations with the legislature this month.

Last week, about 90 lawmakers signed a letter to the governor pressing the issue, which requested that he not only renew the existing Emergency Tenant Protection Act that expires this spring but that he include provisions to repeal vacancy decontrol — the law that lets landlords hike rents of stabilized apartments once tenants vacate them, essentially deregulating the city’s housing market.

State Senator Jeffrey Klein
Every Bronx state representative put his or her name on the letter with the exception of one: State Sen. Jeff Klein, whose district covers parts of the Bronx and Westchester. Klein, who recently formed a four-member Independent Caucus among centrist Senate Democrats, has been a target of housing advocates’ campaigns in the past, criticized for his inaction on pro-tenant legislation and for receiving substantial campaign contributions from landlord and real estate groups.

“Jeff Klein is an operative for the real estate lobby,” said Michael McKee, of the Tenants Political Action Committee. “He works behind the scenes to make sure that pro-tenant legislation does not pass.”

Klein’s camp, however, said that the senator was never given the letter to sign.

Bronx Foodie: Black Bean Enchiladas

I'm so glad it's going to be both sunny and chilly this weekend, because that's my favorite weather for cooking. It's the perfect weather to make stews or soups that need to sit on the stove for a while without the whole apartment getting hot and stuffy.

Here's a good recipe that I made for dinner recently. Now, I'm not claiming that my recipe is authentic in any way. (Even though I'm Latina, and have eaten my fair share, I'm not an enchilada expert.) It's just a fun dish that I put together one evening using ingredients that I found at my local grocery store or that I already had in my kitchen. And that's what we've tried to focus on with Bronx Foodie. Feel free to search the web for similar recipes and have fun cooking! And stay tuned for future posts on spring cleaning, Bronx food trucks, and easy recipes that I'm working on for fish tacos and Dominican chicken stew.

Black Bean Enchiladas
1 can of black beans (I cooked them from scratch, but canned is a great time saver)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons of chili powder
1/4 cup of chopped roasted red pepper
2 cans of tomato sauce (I used Goya)
1/2 white onion chopped
1-2 tablespoons salt (taste as you go)
handful of cilantro
4 corn tortillas
Shredded jack cheese to put on top (handful)

Empty the entire can (beans and water) into a pot. Add another cup of water along with tomato sauce, garlic, onions, pepper and spices. Taste as you go and feel free to add other spices. Let everything come to a boil for about 30 minutes until you get a nice thick sauce. Add the cilantro when the mixture is almost done.

Then place beans in the tortillas and wrap them with the fold on the bottom. Place the extra sauce on top of the tortillas and then sprinkle the cheese. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.And your done. Enjoy!

Bronx News Roundup, Friday, March 25

Weather: Sunny, but still, sadly, cold. That goes for the whole weekend.

Story of the Day: The Holy Grail -- A High-Class Bronx Hotel
During his February state of the borough speech at Clinton High School, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. dared mention the Holy Grail of Bronx BPs -- the creation of a high-class hotel in our fair borough. Adolfo Carrion and Freddy Ferrer both tried to prioritize a new hotel to no avail. But Diaz believes he's recognized a simple solution this time: use one of the failing new Yankee Stadium parking garages that are "going belly up," Diaz says in an article in the Daily News. Bronx Parking Development, which operates the garages, owes the city $10.6 million in back rent and a $6.9 million bond payment is due April 1. The garages are only being filled to 63 percent capacity on game days -- perhaps it has something to do with the $35 fee -- and their future doesn't appear bright. Bronx Parking negotiated a year reprieve with bondholders to make something happen. Either build on top of one of the garages, Diaz says, or just knock one down entirely and build a hotel in its stead. Some local residents said they'd like to see something for the community replace the garages, but Diaz says building a park won't pay off Bronx Parking's bonds. Plus: it's the Holy Grail!

Quick Hits:
City Limits breaks down the Census data released yesterday. A couple of Bronx tidbits that we didn't mention in yesterday's Census post (which includes an interactive map): Staten Island (+5.6%)) was the only borough that grew more than the Boogie Down ([Corrected] +3.9%, which still makes it the state's second fastest-growing county). However, the Bronx's white population dropped by 22%. Bloomberg says the city was "shortchanged" by some 225,000 people.

Lawyers for the four men convicted of planning to bomb two Riverdale synagogues have asked a judge to overturn the convictions.

Today is the 21st anniversary of the Happy Land fire, which killed 87 people in the Bronx, the largest mass killing in the city before 9/11.

The son of Bronx salsa legend Willie Colon was busted on pornography charges, police said.

A dead body was found floating in the Hudson River near Riverdale.

Speaking of Riverdale, the head of Shervier Nursing Care Center stepped down amid a lengthy investigation into the 350-bed institution's finances and other problems.

Landlord Group Chief: Espada Saved Real Estate Industry

Joseph Strasburg, the head of the Rent Stabilization Assocation, a landlord lobbying group, praised former Bronx State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. for saving his industry at this event a couple of nights ago. Comments starts at 0:19 in after the tenant protest.

Bronx Tenants Paying Rent Under $1,000 Dealt Blow by Court

A state court ruled that landlords can impose extra charges on tenants paying under $1,000 a month rent. Landlords say it's fair because the low rents don't cover their costs.

The Legal Aid Society had brought the suit on behalf of affected tenants and call the charges a "poor tax."

For more about this from the Times, click here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bronx Adds 52,458 People: Census Data

The interactive map below, provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, charts the population change in New York. According to Census data collected last year, the Bronx gained 52,458 people over the last 10 years to bring the borough's population total up to 1,385,108, an increase of 3.9 percent.

The Bronx's growth outpaced that of Queens (+0.1%), Brooklyn (+2.1%) and Manhattan (+3.2%). (Totals for Staten Island weren't readily available.)

New York City as a whole saw an increase of 2.1 percent to put the total number of Big Apple residents at 8,175,133.

In reaction to the report, Bronx Congressman Jose E. Serrano said he thinks -- no, he's "certain" -- the Bronx population wasn't completely accounted for due to the fears and non-participation of the borough's many undocumented residents.

In a press release, Serrano said: "I am pleased to see that New York City is growing including a healthy increase in the numbers of people in the Bronx. I am certain that there was a slight undercount in the Bronx, as there are still many undocumented who are fearful of visits by government officials. I’m also concerned that other areas of our great city were undercounted in the Census, and that this will have an impact on our federal funding going forward.

“That said, the increase in our Bronx community by more than 50,000 people shows that our borough is on the rise and is a desirable place to live and do business."

'Battle for the Bronx' Skate Event Moves to River Ave. Skate Plaza

The "Battle for the Bronx" skate boarding competition (above is a clip from last year's competition) returns this spring, but to a new location: the River Avenue Skate Park Plaza. The third annual BFTB will be the first of its kind at the new skate plaza, which opened in August 2010.

Last year, the event was held at the skate park in Bronx Park East.

Maloof Money Cup, 5Boro and Indigenous Skate Shop are hosting this year's competition.

The event, scheduled for Saturday, May 21, will feature a jam-style contest (a more relaxed, group setting where competitors try out new tricks), product toss (prize giveaway) and other festivities. Spectators are invited to come out and witness local skaters showcase their skills.

"With over 200 competitors from the tri-state and beyond expected, the 2011 "Battle for the Bronx" promises to be an event you don't want to miss," said Bert Correa, the "Battle for the Bronx" event organizer, in a press release.

Corea added that "competitions in NYC skate parks offers anyone interested a safe place to hone their skills while participating in an activity which promotes a healthy body."

Young Bronx Thespians Take a Crack at August Wilson Material

On Tuesday, Fordham High School for the Arts students gathered for the start of the 3rd Annual NYC August Wilson Monologue Competition hosted by Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAp).

Participating students chose a two to three-minute monologue from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson to perform. Wilson is best known for his 10-play depiction of the African-American experience, called the "Pittsburgh Cycle."

The winners!
Three winners were Chasity Tuck, John Reyes, and Shantal Melendez. Vianca Peguero was selected as an alternate.

The winning trio will compete in the NYC Competition against students from Curtis High School (Staten Island), Hillcrest High School (Queens), Repertory High School for Theatre Arts (Manhattan) and Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School (Brooklyn) on April 12.

Winners from the citywide competition will then advance to the National Competition on May 9, at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway, where they will compete against students from Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston, Seattle and Atlanta.

In a press release, LeAp said its goal is to not only introduce hundreds of students to one of America's greatest playwrights, but also to see "that August Wilson will live through our education system in the same manner and reverence as the works of William Shakespeare.”

Bronx News Roundup, Thursday, March 24

Weather: Welcome to spring! Call me crazy, but doesn't spring in the Bronx look and feel -- the snow, the biting cold -- a whole lot like winter? Temperatures will remain in the low 40s today, but skies should clear up this afternoon. 

Story of the Day: Husband Pleads Not Guilty to Murder Charge
Throgs Neck resident Eddy Coello, the former NYPD housing cop whose wife's strangled body was found in Westchester County woods last week, pleaded not guilty to murder charges at Bronx Criminal Court yesterday. Prosecutors said evidence linking Coello to the murder of his wife, Tina Adovasio, is overwhelming and includes Coello's own statements. Bronx DA Edward Talty: "We have video surveillance, forensic evidence and statements from the defendant's own mouth that the night of March 11 and morning of March 12, after strangling her, he carried her dead body, put it in his car and dumped her in Westchester County."

Quick Hits:
Kappy talks redistricting rumors that are ruffling Congressman Charlie Rangel; a scuffle between Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz and former Council candidate Tony Cassino about a proposed ice rink in Van Cortlandt Park; says they should given ex-Mayor Ed Koch's name to a bridge in the Bronx -- where he was born -- not the Queensboro Bridge, which the Council voted to do yesterday.

The Bronx Museum will host a Negro League baseball exhibit from March 31 through April 6. On April 2, former Negro League star Jim Robinson will sign autographs, along with former Yankee Bill White, at Stan's Sportsworld on River Avenue.

Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera introduced a bill that would require medical care providers to scan the palms of their patients before offering them services. Rivera says the $20 million cost of implementing the technology would save the state "billions" in fraud problems.

A state committeeman wants signs leading to the Bronx to say: "The Bronx: The Birthplace of Hip Hop."

Michelle Parris, a recent Stanford law school graduate from Queens, is doing a fellowship at Bronx Defenders.

Middle Eastern and West African Bronxites talk about the turmoil in the region and the antics of embattled Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy.

Homeowners in the Bronx and other outer boroughs continue to struggle paying their mortgages. Advocates say they need government help.

State Democratic say it will be difficult to get rent regulations extended in through the budget process. (Side note: Affordable housing advocates and elected officials who are pushing for the extension of rent regulations will be rallying tonight at the Bronx Library Center, on Kingsbridge Road, at 6:30 p.m.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hopes for Harlem River Park in the NW Bronx Tied Up in Red Tape

A view of the Harlem River waterfront where Regatta Park is supposed to be created. (Adi Talwar)
Editor's note and update: This story appears in the latest edition of the Norwood News, which hits streets today. The update is that Parks Department spokesperson Jesslyn Moser told me today that the agency is, in fact, going to go ahead with a scoping for Regatta Park. Previously, Moser had said a decision had not been made on whether to hold a scoping. The decision to hold a scoping is news because Councilman Fernando Cabrera had requested a scoping in December, but Parks has not responded. Perhaps our inquiry spurred them into action. Also, just to be clear, the creation of Regatta Park is called for in the city's new comprehensive waterfront plan, but there is no money allocated for the project in the three-year "action" plan.

By Alex Kratz

Regatta Park does not exist. It is an idea. A collective vision — shared by Harlem River enthusiasts, Bronx water access advocates, a community board and a local politician — to see a public, usable green space on the Harlem River waterfront in the northwest Bronx.

Ozzie Brown can see what Regatta Park is now from his Fordham Hill apartment, which looks down at the Harlem River waterfront, just north of the historic University Heights Bridge. “It’s a dump,” he says of the area, which is also known as Fordham Landing.

The creation of Regatta Park is called for in the city’s recently released comprehensive waterfront plan and is a vital cog in advocates’ dream of creating a continuous greenway that would travel along the Harlem and Hudson rivers from Westchester County to the south Bronx.

But the city money once allocated for Regatta Park has all but evaporated, forcing residents like Brown and other park advocates to keep hope and the vision of waterfront access alive.

Bronx News Roundup, March 23

Weather: Snow, then rain, maybe a little more snow, rain, a little sleet thrown in for good measure, more rain.

Story of the Day: Friends Wrongly Thought They Pulled a Fast One
Busted! Last summer in Highbridge, police say a group of eights friends came up with a money-making scam. In the middle of the night, they piled into three cars, drove around searching for a secluded block and then coordinated a fender bender. Though there wasn't much damage, police said all eight claimed injuries to the insurance companies. Skeptical invesigators eventually found videotape of the allegedly staged crash and discovered that the group of eight were all pals. The Daily News has video of crash released by the NYPD:

Quick Hits:
Last few hits have been filled with crime and gore. A little relief today. 

The First Lady of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, will deliver the 42nd annual Lehman Lecture at Lehman College's Lovinger Theater. Not able to make it to Bedford Park this morning. No problem.Watch live on the school's website.

More on the arrest of Eddy Coello, who was charged with murdering his wife, Tina Adovasio, on the day of her funeral.

A Massey Knackal broker, David Simone, is starting his own real estate brokerage firm focusing on the Bronx and Northern Manhattan.

Here's a fun fact: A breakdown of New York City school names reveals that "Bronx" appears in 65 names, the most appearances of any borough, by far.

DN columnist Michael Daly rails against Bronx Council member Fernando Cabrera for his residency flap.  

Montefiore Medical Center will announce a campus-wide no smoking policy today.

For all you science geeks out there, this website breaks down the new technology being used at the Croton Water Filtration Plant that is taking shape in Van Cortlandt Park. [Link fixed]

Bronx hip hop duo Camp Lo are teaming up with producer Pete Rock on a new album titled, "80 blocks from Tiffany's," a shout out to the recently released documentary about 1970s Bronx street life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bronx News Roundup, March 22

Our apologies for the late roundup today, but we're hard at work on production of this week's Norwood News, which hits the streets tomorrow.

Weather: Don't be fooled by this morning's sunshine and mild temps. The weather folks are calling for a mix of rain and--ugh!--snow later tonight, with more snow expected tomorrow. Sorry.

Story of the Day: Ex-Cop Arrested in Murdered Mom Case
Eddy Coello, the former cop whose wife, Tina Adovasio, was found dead in the woods in Westchester last week, was arrested today and brought to the Bronx's 45th Precinct. Coello supposedly had a history of domestic violence against his partners and had been named a "person of interest" in the case. The funeral for Adovasio, a 40-year-old nurse and mother of three, took place earlier today.

Quick Hits:

The Bronx's own Assemblyman Peter Rivera is one of several lawmakers looking to ban the psychedelic herb salvia.

Police have identified the body of the 400-pound man, found stuffed in a suitcase this weekend at the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Houses in Soundview, as 52-year-old Angel Rondon.

A Bronx woman has been accused of encouraging her 11-year-old son to lift wallets and shoplift. The two were caught stealing by security cameras at at least two locations.

Two tax preparers in the Bronx were busted for filing fraudulent documents for clients. 

A pastor accused of raping a then-12-year-old member of his church rejected a plea deal in Bronx Supreme Court yesterday. Michael Clare will go to trial and could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Former Giants player Lawrence Taylor was sentenced to six years' probation today after pleading guilty in January to sexual misconduct for allegedly paying a Bronx teenager for sex.

A group of students from Bronx High School of Science are one of just a few all-girl teams to compete at the FIRST Robotics Competition.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fans of BronxTalk take note

Fans of BronxTalk should know that there was a flood at Bronxnet today and so we couldn't do a live edition of the show. We'll be running reruns all week and will have a live show next Monday. 

I watched one tonight and it was actually pretty interesting, even to me. So pop in on the show this week, maybe you'll see something important that u missed.

Bronxnet - Cablevision 67, Fios 33
9:30am, 3:30pm, and 9:00pm

Questions Raised Again About Bronx Councilman Cabrera's Residency

Cabrera at his Kingsbridge Heights apartment in 2009. (File photo)
An article in today's Daily News, one in a series the paper is running that chronicles the misdeeds of City Council members, reports that Bronx City Councilman Fernando Cabrera claimed a home he owns in Westchester County as his "primary residence" on tax forms.

The move scored Cabrera a $1,513 tax break via a property tax credit known as School Tax Relief, according to the article, which names three other council members from other boroughs as having done the same.

Although Cabrera himself would not comment about the finding, his office confirmed its accuracy. Cabrera's camp told us the listing of the Westchester property as his primary residence was an "honest oversight" and that Cabrera did not know the tax relief credit would be automatically renewed each year. They said the councilman is in the process of paying the money back and that he does, indeed, live in his Bronx district, as required by law. They couldn't say who lived in the Westchester home. 

Legitimate residency was a hot-button issue in 2009 when Cabrera was running for City Council against then-incumbent Maria Baez. His opponents sought to portray him as a Bronx outsider and "Pelham Republican," chastising him for having been formerly registered with the Republican Party.

Though he had lived in Pelham, Cabrera maintained Bronx connections: he founded New Life International Church on Morris Avenue two decades ago, and served for a few years as a member of Community Board 7. He officially moved into his Bronx home, on Sedgwick Avenue near 197th Street, back in July 2008, a few months before he announced his intentions to run for Baez' seat.

During his campaign, Cabrera gave one of our reporters a tour of his home, which appeared legitimately lived-in. At the time, he said that he still owned his home in Westchester and that his daughter and her family lived there.

Bronx Weekend News Roundup, Monday, March 21

Weather: straight ugly. Sn-rain is thankfully supposed to stop by the afternoon.

To the news!

Story of the Day: Bronxite The Real Baby Biggie
The afro-puffed baby posing in his diaper on the cover of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G.'s seminal "Ready to Die" album is a Bronxite. Keithroy Yearwood, 18, now a high school senior, says he was chosen for the shoot after a casting call by a modeling agency hired by Sean "P-Diddy or Puff Daddy or just plain Diddy" Combs' recording label, Bad Boy Records. Combs' office couldn't confirm this, but Yearwood's baby pictures appear to cement his claim. The album has sold more than 3.3 million copies, but Yearwood says he only received about $150 for two hours of modeling work. Sadly, he's since trimmed the 'fro. Here's video from the Daily News:

Quick Hits:
 Lots of blood in the hits this morning. Just a warning.

The decomposing body of 400-pound man was found stuffed into a duffel bag by police in the man's apartment at the Justic Sonia Sotomayor Houses in Soundview. The unidentified man was found in a kitchen closet in his blood-stained, ransacked kitchen. 

In Morris Park last night, police shot and killed a man who was apparently wielding a knife while fighting with a roommate.

Thomas Riley, a 23-year-old father, was killed in a hit-and-run incident Sunday morning near Fordham University. He was reportedly hit by a drunk driver in a mini-van.

The kids of murdered Bronx mom Tina Adovasio are struggling with her death.

Police say a Bronx man was killed in Mt. Vernon on Saturday morning. 

Preliminary hearings began for two police officers facing assault charges for allegedly beating a man on White Plains Road while off duty.

In other, less bloody, news:
The Times' "Habitat" feature takes a look at a Mott Haven Queen Anne-style row house where Carol Zakaluk's family has lived for generations.

One suspect was arrested, but the armed bodega robbery spree in the Bronx continues.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bronx Events: Positive Bronx Stories Tonight at Bronx Museum

As we mentioned in yesterday's news roundup, the Bronx Museum of the Arts is holding a really cool free storytelling event tonight, "Bronx Talks: Bronx Stories," starting at 6 p.m. Here's the write-up in the Daily News about it. Find more Bronx events going on tonight and this weekend below and every day by clicking on our "Bronx Events" calendar, which is updated constantly. Enjoy the weather and the Bronx.

Editor's note: What did we miss? Send details to bronxnewsnetwork[at]gmail.com.

Embattled Commander of Bronx's 52nd Precinct Replaced

D'Adamo at his desk at the 52nd Precinct in early 2010.
New York City precinct commanders, by rule, don't stay in their jobs long -- two, maybe three years, tops. Then, they move on. It's an unofficial policy the NYPD employs to avoid stagnation or possible corruption.

On Monday, however, the commanding officer of the 52n Precinct, Deputy Inspector John D'Adamo was replaced less than 17 months after taking over the job and less than a month after his wife was caught lying to Clarkstown police about being attacked, a story that made headlines in the city and upstate.

The 40-year-old D'Adamo -- a rising star in the NYPD who took on his first commanding role as head of the 50th Precinct in 2008 at the age of 37 -- will be replaced by Deputy Inspector Joseph Dowling, formerly the commanding officer of Manhattan's 33rd Precinct, which covers Washington Heights. On Tuesday night, Dowling introduced himself at Community Board 7's general board meeting at Scott Towers in Bedford Park. Dowling said he spent more than five years at his last post.

It happened so quickly, the NYPD has yet to change the information on its website. That isn't surprising, but D'Adamo's tenure in the Five-Two does appear to have come to an abrupt end. 

A series of unfortunate events led up to D'Adamo's departure.

Bronx News Roundup, March 18

Hopefully you are reading this on a laptop or iPad/Phone in Van Cortlandt or Crotona or Soundview or Pelham Bay or Roberto Clemente or Williamsbridge Oval or any one of the Bronx's many parks. And if you're not, hopefully you'll get to one later today as temperatures will soar into the 70s! Less warm over the weekend, but it will still remain jarringly comfortable.  

To the news!

Story of the Day: Spotlight on Ex-Cop Husband of Dead Bronx Mom
Yesterday morning, Eddy Coello, a former NYPD housing cop, walked unprompted into the 45th Precinct with his lawyer to talk with police one day after the dead body of his wife, Tina Adovasio, was discovered in a wooded area in Westchester County. Medical examiners said Adovasio died from asphyxiation. Coello, who has a history of domestic violence, refused to give police a DNA sample and walked out of the precinct 24 minutes later. At this point, police are saying he is the only "person of interest" in this case. A former girlfriend told the Daily News Coello was volatile and prone to violent outbursts. As police continued to gather evidence from Coello's car and the Throgs Neck home he shared with Adovasio and her four children, Adovasio's lawyer told the Post the case was "plodding toward an inevitable conclusion."

Quick Hits:
Here's our story on the decision to close the Oak Point post office

The state revoked the license of Ophadell Williams, the driver of the Chinatown tour bus that crashed on I-95 in the Bronx, killing 15 passengers and leaving six others in critical condition. Transportation officials and state police are also clamping down on other tour bus drivers.

On "Match Day," some 200 medical students at the Bronx's Albert Einstein College of Medicine found out where they will be going to be resident physicians. Many are surprisingly choosing the lower-paying family medicine route. Students will disperse throughout the country, but one, who will stay in the Bronx at Montefiore Medical Center and pursue family medicine, said, “This country needs more primary care doctors. It’s the best way to deliver care, in terms of prevention, in terms of long-term follow-up, patient satisfaction, and reducing cost."

A new exhibition at the Lehman College art gallery is highlighting the resurgence of so-called "fiber arts" -- knitting, weaving, embroidery, that type of thing. 

Woodlawn Cemetery and the union representing its workers have reached a tentative agreement that would increase wages and lead to the cemetery cutting only 12 staffers, down from the original 23.

Bronx/Harlem State Senator Jose M. Serrano says he's much more excited about the new Puerto Rican and Latino caucus than he was last year, when it included Pedro Espada Jr. (ousted by voters, facing criminal charges) and Hiram Monserrate (ousted by the senate after being convicted of beating his girlfriend). The new caucus includes Bronx reps Serrano, Ruben Diaz Sr., Gustavo Rivera, Adriano Espaillat as well as Martin Milave Dilan (Brooklyn) and Jose Peralta (Queens).

Many Bronx tenants continue to benefit from oil donations given out by Citgo, the oil company controlled by Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan government.

Check out all the planned work-related service changes on Bronx subway lines this weekend. Every line in the borough will be affected.

The Riverdale Press unmasks the "phantom painters" behind the giant shamrock painted every St. Patrick's Day on W. 238th Street and Review Place.

Yet Another Bronx Post Office to Close: Oak Point Station

Another Bronx post office -- the Oak Point Station, located at 839 East 149th St. -- is going to close. 

According to a press release from the United States Postal Service, the Oak Point post office will close its doors on April 22.  “Given the extraordinary decline in mail volume — a decline of nearly 26 billion pieces last year alone — we must take action to reduce the size of our retail and delivery network,” said William Schnaars, the New York district manager

Two weeks ago, the USPS announced the Crotona Park Post Office will also be closing on April 22.

Spokesperson Darleen Reid said that since December 2009, the Crotona Park, Oak Point, and Van Nest offices have been on the consolidation list. The Van Nest Post Office, located at 715 Morris Park Ave., could be the next branch to close. She said that the decision should be made in the coming weeks.

The USPS assured us that postal employees who work at Crotona Park and Oak Point will be reassigned, not laid off.

Reid also said the USPS is considering moving the mail processing unit of the Bronx General Post Office to Morgan Distribution Center in Manhattan. The retail unit there would remain open in the Bronx. Reid said the USPS is still in the study phase and it will probably take another six months before making a decision.

For now, Reid said, customers wishing to conduct postal business at a local retail office can continue to do so at the following alternative sites:
--Hub Station, 633 Saint Ann’s Ave, Bronx NY 10455
--Mott Haven Station, 517 East 139th St, Bronx NY 10454
--Hunts Point Station, 800 Manida St, Bronx NY 10474
--Melcourt Station, 754 Melrose Ave, Bronx NY 10451
--Bronx General Post Office, 558 Grand Concourse, Bronx NY10451

In a press release, Bronx Congressman Jose E. Serrano said he sent a letter yesterday to the Postmaster General, saying "the plan to consolidate and close postal facilities in the Bronx was an unwise idea that unfairly impacts the Bronx community." A full text of the letter is below and after the jump:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Year After Tragedy, Megan Charlop's Work Endures

It's been exactly one year since our good friend and colleague Megan Charlop (she was a good friend and colleague of many, many people) died in a tragic accident while biking to PS 55 to plan a summer camp fair. From what I can recall it was a gorgeous pre-spring day much like today. She is still deeply missed but we are glad to bring you this report from the Norwood News about her incredible work in public and community health and those that seek to continue it.

Bronx Sports Column: A Borough-Centric Tournament Breakdown

Bronx boy Kemba Walker has UConn dancing.
Today marks the beginning of the best four-day stretch in all of sports: the opening two rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Nothing compares to the drama of the Big Dance. Every game -- there are 16 today, 16 more tomorrow and another 16 over the weekend -- is a dogfight. Every game contains potential for heroism and heartbreak. It's 18- to 22-year-old kids playing the biggest games of their lives. The quality isn't as high as you'll see in the NBA, but the desire and hustle and passion is immeasurably greater.

Let the Madness begin!

(For the record, I'll be rooting hard for my hometown Washington Huskies, a 7th seed, who face Georgia Friday night with a matchup against 2-seed North Carolina looming. I've also become an increasingly fanatic St. John's supporter. The Johnnies, led by Bronx-bred point guard Dwight Hardy, play a tough Gonzaga team in Denver tonight without senior DJ Kennedy, who blew out his knee during last week's Big East tournament. Final Four Picks: Ohio St., Pittsburgh, Purdue, Duke. Champion: Ohio St.)

Because this is a borough-centric blog, I'm going to highlight all the Bronxites playing in the tournament and break down their teams' prospects for advancement.

Bronx News Roundup, March 17

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Bronx. Enjoy the beautiful sunny, 60s-ish day. Everyone deserves it after enduring that slog of a winter. (If you're of age and find yourself getting thirsty later, see our post on the borough's best Irish bars. Also, please weigh in on our ongoing debate: Is it St. Patty's or St. Paddy's? Here's one answer.)

Story of the Day: Museum Highlights Bronx Positives
I positively had to make this wonderfully-headlined story in the Daily News -- "Stick it, Glenn Beck! The Bronx Museum of Arts touts borough's positive stories" -- the roundup's story of the day. Tomorrow night, starting at 6 p.m., the Bronx Museum is holding a free event called "Bronx Talks: Bronx Stories,"  featuring the showing of a documentary, "Richie Perez Watches 'Fort Apache: The Bronx,'" followed by four storytellers spinning yarns about their Bronx experiences. The audience is invited to share their experiences as well. "The goal is to challenge the stereotypes of the Bronx," one of the event's creators, Bridget Bartolini, told the Daily News. This, of course, falls right in line with our borough president's new combative approach to defying old, out-dated depictions of the Bronx. Stick it, Glenn Beck, indeed. The Museum is located at 1040 Grand Concourse.

Quick Hits:
The body of missing 40-year-old Throggs Neck mother Tina Adovasio was discovered in Westchester County yesterday by some kids riding ATVs. Adovasio's husband, Tony Coello, who police say has a history of domestic violence, is being called a "person of interest" in the case. Video from the Post.

The DN's Bronx columnist Patrice O'Shaugnessy says the Adovasio case and other recent domestic clashes -- including a Kingsbridge murder-suicide poisoning -- show how quickly domestic violence can spiral out of control.

Three special needs schools in the Bronx -- St. Joseph's School for the Deaf, the Lavelle School for the Blind and New York Institute for Special Education -- could be crippled by Gov. Cuomo's plans to slash their state funding.

More on the casino bus crash: details on the driver Ophadell (formerly Eric) Williams' 1990 conviction for manslaughter; fatigue always a factor for low-cost tour-bus drivers; Police finally identified a 76-year-old survivor who remains in critical condition as Kin Chai Mock; A family friend says Williams is struggling with all the media scrutiny. 

A bodega in Mt. Hope was robbed on Wednesday morning. Police say the two suspects could be the same duo that has hit seven other Bronx bodegas since January

Two Haitian youngsters will receive critical heart surgery at Montefiore Medical Center this week.

Kappy's back this week with thoughts on Ruben "The Rev" Diaz Sr. being the last-amigo standing following the indictment of fellow State Senator Carl Kruger and the ousting of Pedro Espada Jr. and Hiram Monserrate. Says Bronx Assemblyman Peter Rivera's confirmed and denied rumors he's leaving office after his term is up next year. Quote: "Wonderful turnout, wonderful weather and just enough sprinkled boos at Mayor Bloomberg to make last Sunday's Bronx St. Patrick's Day in Throgs Neck great."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bronx Foodie: The Best Bars to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

If you want to celebrate St. Paddy's Day, but don't want to have to go all the way downtown for the Saint Patty's Pub Crawl, here are a few Boogie Down Irish bars to check out. The BxNN staff are partial to Bronx Ale House, because it's close to our office and has a great selection of craft beer (plus Guinness). Last year they had live musicians playing the bag pipes. The Piper's Kilt, on W. 231st Street, is another, more traditional, favorite. Riverdale Pressers swear by An Beal Bocht.

The Woodlawn community has some great Irish pubs. Check out Katonah and McLean avenues.

The Norwood community used to be home to so many Irish pubs -- 18 at one point -- back in the 1980s and early 1990s that they called the area "Little Belfast." Now, only two remain: McDwyer's and MacMahon's on E. 204th Street.

In Bedford Park, many current and former Irish Bronxites head to Shea's Emerald Bar on Jerome Avenue, where they usually offer some complimentary traditional Irish fare. Madden's near the D train station also usually serves up some Shepherd's Pie and corned beef.

And we haven't even mentioned the east Bronx, which is home to classic joints like the Throgg's Neck Clipper.

Below is a list of some terrific Irish bars in the Bronx:

Bronx Pol Joel Rivera Rallies to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts

Photo courtesy of the official website of the Ultimate Fighting Championship
Bronx Councilman Joel Rivera is ready to rumble over the fate of mixed martial arts.

Rivera, the Council's majority leader, attended a rally today at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan to legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York, one of eight states where the sport is illegal.

Rivera and fellow Councilman Jumaane Williams sponsored a resolution that supports Assembly and Senate bills which would allow MMA competitions and exhibitions throughout the state.

“Mixed Martial Arts has been a success in numerous markets across the United States and the World,” Rivera said in a press release. But it's not all about the money, Rivera said, “as a sport it has proven to be as safe as or safer than boxing and other contact sports."

Bronx News Roundup, March 16

Rain today in the Bronx will supposedly give way to sunshine tomorrow.

To the news!

Story of the Day: Bronx Bus Crash Story Continues
Federal investigators met yesterday with Ophadell Williams, the driver of a tour bus that crashed on I-95 in the Bronx on Saturday morning, killing 15 passengers and severely injuring six others. Legal experts say Williams, an ex-con who served time for manslaughter, is unlikely to be charged with a crime unless he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if he demonstrated a pattern of reckless driving before the crash. The NY Times staked out the crash site, near the on-ramp to the Hutchinson River Parkway, to find tour buses passing by ever so cautiously. On Monday night, another Chinatown tour bus bound for Philadelphia crashed on the Jersey Turnpike, killing two. Here's some video on the Bronx crash from USA Today:

Quick Hits:
As they search for a missing Bronx mother of four, Tina Adovasio, police are focusing their attention on the woman's husband, Edwin Coello, a former NYPD cop who has a history of domestic violence. A month ago, the woman filed for divorce. Video from NY1.

Continuing in this vein of alleged fatal domestic violence, the comatose Bronx woman who police say was injected with cyanide by her husband (who later killed himself by injecting the same poison) died yesterday.

Crain's on the averted Bronx building workers strike.

The bandits targeting Bronx postal workers are taking the mail carriers' keys.

And finally, SOME GOOD NEWS: The cheerleading squad at MS 127 in Castle Hill earned a trip to the national championships in South Carolina, but it needs some extra funding for its trip. Send donations to: MS 127 Cheerleaders, 1560 Purdy Street, Bronx, NY 10462