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Monday, March 28, 2011

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.


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