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Monday, March 14, 2011

Bronx Weekend News Roundup, March 14

Cool and partly sunny on this Monday in the Bronx, with a hint of wind just to make you realize it's still not spring yet. Looking ahead, we will probably see rain mid-week and then a dramatic temperature spike on Friday -- the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. And with that, to the news!

Story of the Day: Casino Bus Crash
A tour bus heading back to Chinatown from a casino in Connecticut crashed Saturday morning just as it entered into Bronx territory, killing 14 and injuring another 19. Riders say the bus swerved several times, probably still in Westchester County, before hitting a guardrail, tipping over and skidding into a sign pole that marked an on-ramp to Hutchinson River Parkway. According to the NY Times: "The pole burst through the front window and sheared the bus in half laterally, from front to back, along the passenger window line, the police said."

The bus driver, Orphadell Williams, told investigators he was clipped by a passing tractor-trailer, causing the crash. But the NY Post reports that the truck driver who was interviewed about his involvement said he didn't touch the tour bus and other passengers said Williams was driving erratically. The tour company, World Wide Travel, has been cited five times over the past two years for "fatigued driving" and investigated for two crashes over the past two years. Six critically injured survivors are on life support at the Bronx's Jacobi Medical Center. One of those critical victims has yet to be identified.

Quick Hits: 
The 13th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade was celebrated in Throgs Neck yesterday. 

Erica Diaz, the lesbian granddaughter of staunch gay-marriage opponent State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., is looking to re-enlist in the military after being ousted for outing herself to superiors three years ago. Erica says she gets along with Diaz Sr. despite their difference of opinion on gay issues. 

Speaking of Diaz Sr., the pol says he'll happily take all the contributions indicted amigo, Carl Kruger, spread around to fellow Democrats. Many are saying they will give Kruger's money to charity.

Most former workers at Stella D'oro, the cookie factory that left its Kingsbridge home in 2009 rather than deal with its striking workforce, still don't have a job. Meanwhile, HBO is working on a documentary about the lengthy 2009 strike.

More on the life of Bronx comedian Mike DeStefano who died recently of a heart attack. A quote from his 1999 book, "Bada Bing, Bada Buddha": "I am from the Bronx. I am Italian. I am sensitive. If you hurt my feelings I will kill you."

A group of Bronx tenants at eight deteriorating buildings are suing the bank that holds their mortgage for repair work. They are following a successful model established by the Milbank tenants who sued for repairs last year.

The owners of the parking garages at Yankee Stadium are expected to default on a $237-million tax-exempt loan issued by the city's Industrial Development Agency. In his state of the borough speech two weeks ago, Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. suggested one of the garages could be re-invented as the borough's only high-class hotel.

The Bronx Zoo is raising a rare salamander species to help save it from extinction.

Co-op City's "janitor from hell" goes on trial for murder this week.

And finally, set aside a nice chunk of time to read BxNN-hero Tom Robbins' comprehensive piece on Pedro Espada's political and legal troubles and how they are indicative of the ongoing problems in the state legislature.

1 comment:

  1. This note is in regard to Mr. Orphadell Williams and the now 15 people who died in that horrific accident. First and foremost, I would like to extend my deepest apologies to the families of all lost on that day.

    Having said that, my position is one which will probably create somewhat of an uproar. You see, I am convicted felon, recovering addict and I want anyone who will listen to hear this. We CAN change, and just because this man has a record, from some years ago I might add, does make for a murderer. This man has to live every day for the rest of his life knowing that the lives of those people were in his hands and he failed them.

    However, just because he is a felon, does not mean this accident could have been avoided. In other words, it could have happened to ANYONE. It is today's story that he fell asleep and if so, as horrible as that is, many NON FELONS have done the same, maybe not with a bus load of people, but nonetheless, they have done it.

    Orphadell, I don't know that you will ever see this, but as a convicted felon myself, I will be the first to say I also send my prayers out to you sir, for living with this tragedy is nothing short of unbelievable and I am not even sure I could do it, however, you must know that their are people out here who stand by you and wish you well, don't give up, and to all of you judgmental people out there, SHAME ON YOU!!!! This was truly an ACCIDENT, something that could have been avoided, maybe, but his intent was definitely NOT to hurt anyone here.

    To the State of New York, I see Cuomo is fighting to look into licenses and people's history. What in the world is that about? Just because someone has a record should NOT mean they cannot get a job, find a place to live and be able to become productive members of society. I HAVE. Although it took me 3 years or better to prove myself and still people JUDGE ME. I say to them "Whatever", but more importantly to those of you out there who think it is okay to call this man names, hunt him down and make his life more miserable than it already is, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    If you all would do just 1 thing for me and ask yourselves just 1 question: Have I ever done ANYTHING against the law and didn't get caught?" Cause that is the ONLY DIFFERENCE between me, Orphadell and any other people with convictions and yourselves. You just didn't get caught. We have ALL done things we are not proud of, whether it be having stolen a pack of gum, tried marijuana, took a drink and drove home, etc., etc., etc. but we ALL didn't get caught did we?

    Frankly I am better and a stronger person today for having gone through what I have, but I disagree every day with the treatment of people who have made mistakes. It must be nice for all you perfect people out there.

    And to those of you who sit in judgement of us "LOSERS"? Frankly, I sleep fine every night, but shame on you. For wasn't it God who said, "judge not, lest ye be judged."

    LET THIS MAN BE. What happened has NOTHING to do with who he was 15 or 20 years ago and even then, he paid his debt to society, so back off.

    Thanks for listening and try to be a little more positive in your outlook of other people. We (most of us), didn't do what we did because we are bad people, we just made bad choices. I learned in rehab 1 thing that sticks in my mind today as if I heard it yesterday and that is:

    I MADE a mistake, but I am NOT a mistake.

    God Bless everyone in this matter and again, Orphadell, if you ever get to see this, my prayers are with you as much as with everyone else. God Bless.


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