Tuesday, July 31, 2012

National Night Out

By Bill Ludwig
BRONX, NEW YORK, July 31- The 29th annual National Night Out (NNO) against crime will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 7th.
The 47th precinct will be holding NNO activities from 5-8 p.m. at Grenada Place between Ely Avenue and Laconia Avenue, across the street from the 47th precinct.
This year's theme is “Respect Your Neighbors - Think Quality of Life!” The opening ceremony will be at 6 p.m. The event is being co-sponsored by the 47th Precinct and the 47th Precinct Community Council. Deputy Inspector Paul DeEntremont and Community Affairs Officers David Belle and Gary Bucknell and the 47th Precinct Community Council have planned an enjoyable afternoon and evening for children and adults.
Our elected representatives have been invited. There will be representatives at tables from New York City agencies, and other organizations who will be giving out valuable free information. Refreshments will be served.
For children's activities there will be rides and games. There will also be entertainment for the community to enjoy. The slogans this year are: Say No To Drugs, Help Unite Our Community, No All Night Parties, Talk to Your Neighbors, Love Your Block, Do Not Block Your Neighbors Driveways, No Loud Music, and A Quiet Neighborhood is a Good Neighborhood.
Bring the family out, learn about crime prevention, and have fun at the same time.
So, what exactly is NNO? It is a unique crime/drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW). The NATW is a nationwide organization dedicated to the development, maintenance, and promotion of community-based, law enforcement- affiliated crime prevention activities.
NNO is designed to: (1) Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; (2) Generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs; (3) Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and (4) Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
Along with the traditional display of outdoor lights and front porch vigils, cities, towns and neighborhoods "celebrate" NNO with a variety of events and activities such as: block parties, cookouts, visits from local police, parades, flashlight walks, contests, and youth programs. An event doesn't have to be big or elaborate. It can be as simple as having a conversation in a neighbor's yard.
The important thing is to talk to your neighbors and plan to get together. NNO has proven to be an effective, inexpensive and enjoyable program to promote neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships in our fight for a safer nation. More than 37 million people are expected to participate in various anti-crime programs and activities this year.
Remember, the key to participating in NNO is: turn your outside lights on, come outside to meet your neighbors, and participate in your neighborhood's special events. This way you can be a part of the nation's largest annual crime/drug prevention event on Tuesday evening, August 7th.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dominican Parade

(Photos by Gary Quintal)
The Grand Concourse became a sea of celebration as thousands celebrated the annual Bronx Dominican Parade. In addition to various groups performing, many cultural dancers excited the crowd and celebrated Dominican Pride. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tennis Returns to the Bronx

BRONX, NEW YORK, July 27- Tennis
fans from around the world will once again descend on the Bronx next as part of
the yearly EmblemHealth Bronx Open.

The event is held from August
5-12, 2012 at Crotona Park, Bronx. This year's EmblemHealth Bronx Open is a
$50,000 USTA sanctioned Challenger Event, attracting some of best Women Tennis
Professional players in the world as they prepare for the US Open Championships
at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

EmblemHealth is the title
sponsor of the EmblemHealth Bronx Open, an USTA sanctioned $50,000 women's
tennis tournament Challenger Event. The tournament is held at Crotona Park, in
the Bronx, New York from August 5-12, 2012. Fans have the opportunity to watch
WTA Tour professionals from around the world ranked in the top 200, some of
whom who will compete in the main draw of the 2012 US Open Championships at the
USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens.

Tennis players, enthusiasts
and spectators are invited to a fun-filled week of free special events at
Crotona Park, the Bronx.

Activities include adult and
junior tennis clinics, EmblemHealth Fitness Day For Kids, New York's Bravest
(New York Fire Department) vs. New York's Finest (New York Police Department)
Tournament, and the Disney Kids' Around the World Day Parade displaying the
enthusiasm and artistic talents of NYJTL participants proudly marching with
their 10-foot banners. 

2011 EmblemHealth Bronx Open
Women's Singles Final Recap:

In its 18th year as title
sponsor of the 2011 EmblemHealth Bronx Open, EmblemHealth continued to partner
with the New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) to promote education and leading
a healthy, active lifestyle for children and families in New York City.

Andrea Hlavackova, of the
Czech Republic, was the winner over Mona Barthel, 7-6, 6-3, in a hard-hitting
singles final played indoors at Riverside Tennis Club in Riverdale when the match
had to be moved due to torrential downpours. It was the second time in the
tournament’s history that the event final was played indoors.

Throughout the tournament, special events were geared to the dual messages of
using tennis to boost academic and athletic performance. Activities included
Kids’ Fitness Day, daily free tennis lessons, and distribution of more than
2,000 free books to kids. At the Disney Kids’ Day Parade, more than 2,000
children from NYJTL programs marched through in Crotona Park with banners they
designed during their summer programs.

Cablevision has supported the EmblemHealth Bronx Open for the six years
broadcasting the finals, filming ancillary tournament events, and packaging the
final product to air on Cablevision’s Neighborhood Journal. 

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jerry Seinfeld to Play Lehman

BRONX, NEW YORK, July 26- For the first time in 14 years, Jerry Seinfeld is presenting full performances of his signature stand-up comedy in New York City. Seinfeld will perform five stand-up shows – one in each New York City borough – on five Thursday nights this Fall.

Seinfeld, a New York native, got his start as a comedian in the City in the 1970s, but other than appearing at benefits and occasional short sets at local comedy clubs, he has not performed a full show in a NYC theater since his sold-out Broadway engagement, “I’m Telling You For The Last Time,” at the Broadhurst Theater in 1998, shortly after the final episode of his iconic TV show, Seinfeld.

"I was born in Brooklyn, went to school in Queens and started out as a comedian in Manhattan. I feel like New York City taught me how to be funny. I'm so excited to perform a special series of shows for my beloved home town," said Seinfeld.

Seinfeld’s five-borough performances will all fall on Thursday nights – the same as the television show that bore his name – and will feature special guest Colin Quinn, who Seinfeld directed in the hit Broadway show “Colin Quinn: Long Story Short” at the Helen Hayes Theater in 2010-11.
Tickets for all five-borough shows go on sale to the general public on Monday, July 30 at 10 am. All performances begin at 8pm. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 8pm
The Beacon Theatre located at 2124 Broadway
Tickets are available online at www.BeaconTheatre.com or by calling 866-858-0008

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 8pm
Lehman Concert Hall located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West
Tickets are available online at www.LehmanCenter.org or by calling 718-960-8833

Queens (Flushing)
Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 8pm
The Colden Auditorium at Queens College located at 65-30 Kissena Blvd.
Tickets are available online at www.KupferbergCenter.org or by calling 718-793-8080

Staten Island
Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 8pm
The St. George Theatre located at 35 Hyatt Street
Tickets are available online at www.TicketMaster.com or by calling 718-442-2900

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 8pm
The Walt Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College located at 2900 Campus Road
Tickets are available online at www.BrooklynCenter.com or by calling 718-951-4500

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Stop and Frisk Will Save Lives- Marine Says

By David Greene

BRONX, NEW YORK, July 26- A former Marine from Bedford Park has come out with a new video headed for YouTube, where he defends the NYPD's right in the 'stop and frisk' issue, now pointing to two incidents in his life, one being shot in the south Bronx, while driving a livery taxi-- and more recently, when young punks threw garbage at him in a subway near his home.

Over the years, Ronald James Sorenson, 73, a self-taught lobbyist, has come to the aid of the American flag, defending, "Old Glory," from flag-burning, he has walked to Washington, DC., carrying a monkey, to force law-makers to take a second look at a citizen's right to have exotic pets.

After a recent incident in Kingsbridge, Sorenson, a former member of the U.S. Marine's Boxing Team, decided to make the two-minute video in support of the NYPD. He recalled, "I was coming out of the subway and passed these young kids and as I passed, they threw garbage at me."

In his day, Sorenson would have flattened the trio, but now says, "These days you don't know who has a gun or who will shoot you for absolutely no reason."

Sorenson knows about being shot, he was driving a livery cab in 1969, when he was held-up in the Fort Apache section of the Bronx. Sorenson recalls, "They shot me in one leg and it went through and hit me in the other leg."

Believing that the day of the suicide bomber coming to the New York City Transit system-- is right around the corner, Sorenson adds, "I'm all for Civil rights, but stop and frisk will save lives. The sooner they realize that, the more lives will be saved."

According to the New York Civil Liberties Union and the NYPD's own statistics, the police department has conducted 4 million stop and frisk searches since 2002, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office.
With 685,724 of those stop and frisks taking place in 2011, some 600,000 or 88 percent of those stopped were completely innocent of any crime.
On Tuesday, June 26, a Manhattan Appellate court supported Justice Peter Tom's decision to exclude a gun as evidence, after a Bronx cop arrested a teen found to be carrying the gun during a stop and frisk search.
On May 16, a federal judge approved a class-action lawsuit against the NYPD relating to stop and frisk.
Sorenson's, 'Stop and frisk' video can be found at: 

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cheer Up Supe, You Can Always Play for the Eagles

Superintendent Charged with Running Massive Dog Fighting Ring in Apartment Building
BRONX, NEW YORK, July 25- District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced that a grand jury has indicted building superintendent Raul Sanchez on numerous charges of animal fighting and cruelty, including the staging of dog fights, as well as breeding, training and selling dogs for the purpose of having them engage in fights.   
This indictment is the result of a long-term investigation conducted by the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Police Department. 
Sanchez, 57, of 1254 Sherman Avenue, the Bronx, has been charged with 63 counts of prohibition of animal fighting, 13 of which are felony offenses; 6 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals; 6 counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; and one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. The most serious offense, Prohibition of Animal Fighting, is punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 4 years in prison.
The charges in this indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Sanchez, who was arrested on June 21, 2012, was arraigned on the indictment before State Supreme Court Justice George Villegas. Justice Villegas adjourned the case to August 3, 2012 in Part 60. Sanchez is being held in lieu of bail set at $50,000 cash or $25,000 bond.        
It is alleged that the dogfights, as well as the breeding, training and selling of the animals occurred between October, 2011 and June, 2012 in the basement of 1254 Sherman Avenue. When investigators executed search warrants at that location on June 21, 2012 they recovered 50 Pit Bull terriers, six treadmills, several rubber tires, scales, and various medicines. Also recovered were a fighting ring and carpeting both of which were stained with blood. The dogs, found housed in cages which were stacked in a room at the rear of the basement, ranged in age from several weeks to five years and were in varying stages of health. Many of the animals had scars which were consistent with dog fighting.      
The dogs were removed and placed in the custody and control of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals where they are receiving medical treatment and being evaluated for adoption, if possible. 
District Attorney Johnson thanked the following for their hard work during the nearly year-long investigation: Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Brandler of the Rackets Bureau, Detective Investigators Rocco Galasso and John Reilly of the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, NYPD Detective John Zerafa of the Vice Enforcement Division, Major Case Bureau, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the not-for-profit animal welfare group United Action for Animals.

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Fight Over Barmaid Led to Cold Blooded Murder-DA

BRONX, NEW YORK, July 25- District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced the conviction of a 28-year-old man on murder and illegal gun possession charges stemming from a dispute over a barmaid in January 2008.
William Gay, of Washington Avenue, the Bronx, was found guilty on one count of murder in the second degree and one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree in connection with the death of Glenn Terrell. Terrell, 27, was shot once in the back of the head on the sidewalk in front of the Crystal Lounge Bar at 1035 Prospect Avenue.
State Supreme Court Justice Ann Donnelly set sentencing for Monday, August 6, 2012 in Part H96. Gay is facing a maximum sentence of 25 years to life on the murder charge and up to 15 years imprisonment on the gun charge. The jury deliberated for about five hours, following a nearly two-week long trial, before reaching the guilty verdict.
During the course of the trial, the jury heard testimony that the female bartender and the deceased had planned to spend time together at his apartment when her shift ended. As preparations were being made to close the bar, the woman stepped outside to smoke a cigarette and saw the defendant with whom she had also had a casual social encounter a few weeks earlier. When the woman greeted Gay and the two exchanged kisses, Terrell, the deceased, told her that she was leaving with him. Gay responded by shooting Terrell in the back of his head with a 9MM semi-automatic handgun.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Suzuki in Pinstripes

Yanks Obtain Future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki

(Photo by Ken Carozza)

By Howard Goldin

The days are winding down before the trading deadline of July 31. Teams that are currently in contention for a berth in the post-season are looking to obtain outstanding players to fill the positions in which they are weak from teams no longer in the running to be in the playoffs.

On Monday evening, it was announced that the Yankees obtained outfielder Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for two 25-year-old right handed pitchers in the Yankees minor league system, D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar. 

The recent announcement that leftfielder Bret Gardner needs surgery and most likely will not return to active duty this year and a recent injury to Nick Swisher have greatly depleted the Yankees outfield corps. Acquiring Ichiro will greatly upgrade defense in the outfield and the batting order for the Yanks. It is easier for Ichiro to more quickly join the team as the Yanks are currently playing a three game series in Seattle. 

The 38-year old has compiled one of the great records in baseball history. During nine seasons, 1992-2000, in the Pacific league in Japan, Ichiro batted .353. He led his league in batting average seven straight seasons and was MVP three times. 

He left his native land in 2001 to prove what he could accomplish in MLB in the United States. He wasted no time in exhibiting his talent as he was the second player in major league history to be chosen Rookie-of-the-Year and Most Valuable Player in his rookie year.

In his first 10 seasons in the majors, Ichiro was elected a member of the American League All-Star Team. His prowess in the outfield cannot be denied as he was a Gold Glove recipient in each of those 10 seasons.

Speaking of moving to left to replace Gardner, Ichiro commented, “I haven’t played left for a long time, to be honest with you. But the last time I played left was a playoff game, my first playoff game in Yankee Stadium, so it’s a very memorable position for me for that reason.”

After wearing #51 since he joined the Mariners, Ichiro chose #31 as he recognized wearing the number worn by Yankees icon Bernie Williams could prove to be an embarrassment.

After receiving a standing ovation from the Seattle fans on Monday evening before his first trip to the plate as a Yankee, Ichiro raised his cap and respectfully bowed to the crowd. The .322 lifetime average batter rapped a single to center. The hit was his 106th of the season and his 23,534th in the majors. He then showed the danger of allowing him to reach base as he stole second. The steal was his 16th in 18 attempts in 2012 and his 439th career steal.

The hit and steal will, almost surely, be the first of many for his new team in the Bronx. The new Yankee should get a big welcome when the team returns to the Bronx on Friday.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Soccer Debuts at Yankee Stadium

(Photos by NY Yankees)

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, July 23- Soccer, the world’s most popular spectator sport, made its debut at the most iconic sports stadium in the United States, Yankee Stadium, on Sunday evening. The current Yankee Stadium will be hosting two of the matches being played as part of the Herbalife World Football Challenge.

The Bronx, the home to natives of many nations from all corners of the globe, will welcome football stars from four world renowned teams representing four countries, England, France, Italy, and Spain, this summer.
The international appeal of soccer is illustrated by the number of nations represented on the rosters of the two clubs that played on Sunday, 11 on the English side (Chelsea) and 8 on the club from Paris (PSG). The manager of each side is an Italian national, Roberto Di Matteo of Chelsea and Carlo Ancelotti of PSG.
Fans of Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain or world class soccer in general were welcomed to the neighborhood by several of the area’s eateries, Billy’s, Crown Diner, The Dugout, Stan’s and Yankee Tavern miniature soccer balls inscribed for the special occasion were distributed at each restaurant.
Dr. Cary Goodman, executive director of the 161st Street Business Improvement District (BID), who inspired the promotion, described its purpose, “We’re used to having sports fans from around the world visit our district in The Bronx. We want them to see and feel how happy we are to greet guests. The souvenirs are our way of saying, ‘Thanks for coming’.”
As Yankee Stadium’s infield and outfield were transformed into a 110’ by 70”soccer pitch, two first division clubs took the field for a friendly match. The English entry, Chelsea FC, is visiting the U.S. in the wake of a superlative season. It captured the FA title in England with a victory over Liverpool. On May 19, Chelsea had a penalty kick win over favored Bayren Munich in the latter’s home field.
On July 18, Chelsea was victorious over the Seattle Sounders of the MLS in its first of three contests in the United States this summer.
The match at Yankee Stadium was only the third between the two soccer powers. Both previous matches occurred during the 2004-5 UEFA Champions League competition. Chelsea was the winner of the first match in Paris, 3-0, on goals by veteran John Terry and Didier Drogba (2). The second contest ended in a scoreless tie, 0-0.
Shortly after 7 p.m., the match on Sunday began. The happy rooters of PSG erupted in cheers in the 30th minutes of the first half as NenĂ© scored an unassisted goal. The Brazilian native, who celebrated his 31st birthday three days earlier, was PSG’s leading goal scorer during the league season. The fleet midfielder scored 21 of his team’s 75 goals.
PSG registered 7 of the 12 shots on goal during the first half, but none from either side was close to a score.
In the early minutes of the second half, both teams made many substitutions. As Di Matteo explained to reporters, “For us, it’s [each match in the U.S.] is preparation for our season.”
As the match neared its conclusion, in the 82nd minute, two Brazilians combined to tie the match. Ramires passed to Lucas Piazon who booted in Chelsea’s first goal. The match ended in a 1-1 tie.
Although neither side achieved a victory, the crowd of 38,202 knowledgeable and enthusiastic soccer fans demonstrated their enjoyment of the contest. 
After the contest, Di Matteo stated, “It was a great atmosphere. I think the folks enjoyed themselves.” Of the overwhelming support from the fans for Chelsea, the manager commented, “I want to thank all the fans; it was like a home game.”
Di Matteo gave his opinion about the venue, Yankee Stadium, “It’s the first time I’ve been here. It’s very impressive. It’s a piece of art. The pitch was better than we expected.”
As soon as the match concluded, many soccer aficionados in the crowd were already preparing for their attendance at the next match in the Stadium on August 8 when AC Milan will face Real Madrid.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Cops Step Up Security after ‘Dark Knight’ Massacre

Concern Over Copycats Leads to Beefed up Security
By Dan Gesslein
BRONX, NEW YORK, July 20- In the wake of the Colorado Massacre during the showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the NYPD is stepping up security at movie theaters throughout the city.
"As a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Colorado, the New York City Police Department is providing coverage at theaters where the 'The Dark Knight Rises' is playing in the five boroughs," said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.
Police in Colorado arrested 24-year-old James Holmes in the shooting which so far has left 12 people dead and 38 wounded. The youngest victim, an infant, is expected to recover. According to published reports, the gunman, clad in a gas mask and body armor, stormed the movie theater at North Aurora. The gunman entered through an emergency door and set off a smoke bomb. When the theater goers attempted to exit the gunman opened fire. 
“I, along with all 1.4 million residents of the Bronx, would like to extend our most heartfelt condolences to the victims of last night’s deadly movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. It is absolutely shocking that someone would look to hurt hard working individuals who wanted to do nothing more than relax and watch a movie with friends and family. 
“I and the residents of the Bronx will keep the victims of this devastating event, as well as the entire state of Colorado, in our prayers,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
This is not the first time violence has been linked to a Batman movie. During the showing of the 1989 Tim Burton film “Batman” an argument on line for popcorn at the Whitestone Cineplex led to the fatal shooting. Seventeen years later Ricardo Jimenez was arrested for the shooting. He is serving 22 years to life for the crime.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tough Guy Charged with Mugging Women

Thug beat mother in front of her child

BRONX, NEW YORK, July 19- District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced the arrest and indictment of a 32-year-old Bronx man in connection with a series of four armed robberies of young women within a two-week period at the end of May and beginning of June 2012. The last of the victims was cornered and beaten as she held the hand of her three year old daughter.
Pedro Gomez, of University Avenue, was arraigned before State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Clancy after being returned to the Bronx Wednesday night following his arrest in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gomez, who waived extradition, was ordered held without bail.
The grand jury indicted Gomez on three counts of robbery in the first degree, four counts of robbery in the third degree, six counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree, four counts of petit larceny, two counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, four counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, three counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, three counts of menacing in the second degree, endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of attempted assault in the third degree. The most serious charge, robbery in the first degree, a Class B felony offense, is punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 25 years imprisonment on each count.
The charges in this indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The string of robberies in this case began on May 25, 2012 at approximately 9:30 p.m. when Gomez allegedly followed a 19-year-old woman into an apartment building on Grand Avenue and accosted her on a third floor landing. Gomez is accused of placing a sharp object against the woman’s chest and ordered her to turn over her money. He allegedly fled with $4.
The next day, on May 26, 2012 at approximately 1:20 in the afternoon, Gomez allegedly followed a 27-year-old woman into a building on University Avenue and ordered her to remove an ankle bracelet and earrings. It is alleged that Gomez demanded the valuables after placing a sharp object on the victim’s stomach.
The third incident occurred on June 2, 2012 at about 3:15 in the afternoon in an elevator in a building on Jerome Avenue. The defendant was already on the elevator when a 32-year-old woman got on. When the elevator stopped on the third floor, Gomez allegedly grabbed the woman from behind as she was exiting and placed a sharp object on her neck before fleeing with her purse which contained approximately $1,500 in cash.
A week later on June 9, 2012 Gomez allegedly robbed a 25-year-old mother who was on an elevator with her three-year-old daughter. The incident occurred shortly before noon in a building on Sheridan Avenue. When the victim attempted to leave the elevator, Gomez allegedly pushed her back inside, hit her, and covered her mouth with his hand. He allegedly grabbed her purse and ripped a gold necklace off her neck before fleeing.
Detectives retrieved a security video recording of the last incident which the NYPD released to the news media. As a result police received information which led investigators to a location in Philadelphia where the defendant was arrested.
Assistant District Attorney Debra Guarnieri of the Trial Division is prosecuting the case.  

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Apartment Scammer Pleads Guilty

BRONX, NEW YORK, July 19- Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced the conviction of Cecilia Casabuena, 53, on multiple counts of grand larceny for stealing more than $20,000 from families seeking apartments to rent. Some of the victims were recipients of assistance through the New York City Housing Authority’s Section 8 Rental Voucher Program.

Casabuena, of Broadway, Manhattan, pled guilty to seven counts of grand larceny in the third degree, four counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree, and one count of petit larceny covering the 12 victims named in the indictment.
The plea was entered before State Supreme Court Justice Martin Marcus who set sentencing for Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Part 78. Under the plea agreement Casabuena is to be sentenced to a term of three to nine years in state prison. The agreement also provides for the filing of a civil judgment requiring Casabuena to pay approximately $183,000 in restitution to the twelve victims named in the indictment and 40 other victims who were not included.
Casabuena misrepresented herself as a licensed real estate broker or agent for several Bronx based realty companies and would attract clients either as a result of ads placed in the Spanish language newspaper El Diario or through personal referrals. She promised to obtain apartments for them and collected security deposits and fees upfront, which averaged a little over $2000 per client.
The investigation which led to the guilty plea began when people who had paid Casabuena the upfront deposits and fees began coming forward to complain that they never received leases or keys to the apartments. Victims of the scam told investigators that they had made numerous requests to Casabuena to return the money but that she refused to do so.

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RIP- Bronx Business Alliance


By Mary V. Lauro

BRONX, NEW YORK, July 16- The Bronx Business Alliance (BBA) began with the best of intentions. It ended up as all smoke and mirrors. In the process, it wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars. That, my friends, is your money and my money. Never forget that the government, whether city, state or federal, has no money of its own. Any money it supplies, whether for schools, bridges, removing graffiti or food stamps, etc., is our money collected through taxation or fines. It is with pride that a citizen views his two cents used for good purposes and grouses when he sees his money wasted.

In any case, BBA was incorporated in 1997 under the directorship of Kathy Zamachanski, Richard Gidron and Greg Gonzales. Their objective was to revitalize the business district; in Boards 10, 11 and 12. We did not know that in the year 2000 when this writer was asked to be on the Board of Directors. Everything we had seen, read and heard indicated that the focus of the group was on White Plains Road from the City line to Gun Hill Road. That suited us perfectly since we had seen the White Plains Merchant Association die when shop after shop shut down due to rising rents and customer abandonment of local merchants for close-by shopping malls. In their place we saw arise a plethora of nail and hair salons as well as dozens of store-front churches. BBA seemed to be full of ideas on how to restore White Plains Road. Furthermore, we were already working with Kathy Zamachanski, a realtor currently a vice-president of Friedlander Realty, on moving the OTB. Not only did we join, but we put Kathy in touch with Margaret Arrighi who became the CEO of BBA. Kathy took up the title of Consultant. At this time and for the next 16 years, Shirley Tripico was President of the Board of Directors. None of the Directors were ever paid a single cent.
Kathy Z, as a consultant received a yearly fee, Margaret Arrighi and other office personnel were paid. The money (our money) to pay them and all other expenses including rent for the office, telephone, business breakfasts, etc., etc., came from grants supplied by all or at least one of the following throughout the years: Assemblyman Carl Heastie, Senator Jeff Klein, Councilman Larry Seabrook, Councilman Jimmy Vacca, Councilwoman Annabelle Palmer, Senator Ruth Hassel-Thompson and others.
Margaret Arrighi and Kathy Z worked hard. They tried many things, but the merchants on White Plains Road did not respond. Suddenly, and without consulting with the Board of Directors, Margaret moved the whole operation to Westchester Square area.
While we were stunned by her abandonment of White Plains Road, nothing can be compared to the blow we received when Margaret and Kathy Z informed us that Praxis was going to build a 70-unit supportive housing for HIV/aids homeless individuals and families in the lot opposite the Food Town supermarket! They said it was a “done deal.” It was sold to them by Friedlander Realty for whom Kathy Z works. Although she denied that she was party to it, one can take that with a grain of salt.
Margaret seemed to be in thick with Praxis people. She tried very hard to inveigle me to consent to the project. When I refused to be a party, she had the nerve to write a letter of support on BBA stationary claiming this was the best thing that could happen to reinvigorate White Plains Road!
Talk of deception and betrayal! We will continue next week.

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Yanks, Mother Nature Beat Jays

Yanks head to Oakland after rain shortened game and sweep of Blue Jays

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, July 19- This time claps of thunder, lightning, and rain stopped a New York Yankees game in the Bronx Wednesday afternoon. Their offense also continued to excel before the weather caused a rain shortened 6-0 win and sweep over the Toronto Blue Jays after six innings.

With threatening weather in the forecast, the game was delayed 51 minutes. However, in a season where the Yankees seem to be hitting the ball all over the place, delays don’t seem to matter.
New York got on the scoreboard early when Mark Teixeira hit a two-run home run, his 19th, in a four-run first inning off Toronto starter and loser Ricky Romero (8-6) who lost his fifth straight, a career low.
The inning started when Derek Jeter, inserted as the designated hitter, led off with a double. There were four extra base hits that included two straight doubles from Andruw Jones and Robinson Cano. The hit from Cano extended his career best hitting streak to 21 games.
“You got to get contributions from everyone,” said Jeter who went 2 for 3. It was the Yankees third straight win, nine in their last 11, a season-high 23 games over .500.
And the Yankees continue to get those contributions with guys off the bench. It enables manager Joe Girardi to give his starters some rest, in particular, during this 13-game stretch that continues Thursday night with three games in Oakland and three at Seattle.
DeWayne Wise had an RBI double in the fourth inning off Romero and a run scoring single in the sixth. He gave Curtis Granderson a day of rest out in center as once again the strategy, Girardi getting the best from his bench, worked to perfection.
“It’s been really special what these guys have done for us, you kinda’ want to talk about giving some other guys off during this run of 13- games,” commented Girardi about how Wise, Jayson Nix with two hits, and Eric Chavez have contributed off the bench.
That gave the Yankees a 5-0 lead. They added another run in the sixth and the weather got worse. The tarp came on the field, and after a delay of 58 minutes the Yankees packed and went to Oakland also propelling Hiroki Kuroda (9-7) to his third career complete game victory.
“His slider was good, he kept away from getting the first hitter on and made some good pitches,” said Girardi about Kuroda.
In his last start Kuroda gave up five runs, 11 in his last two starts. But he bounced back tossing seven shutout innings, limited the Jays to four hits, no walks and striking out five. Though it was a shortened game, the outing by Kuroda leads to more encouragement.
With Kuroda bouncing back, CC Sabathia healthy after missing two starts, and with Andy Pettitte recovering well from a broken ankle, Girardi has to be pleased.
“Pitching is the one constant that you have to have to win on a daily basis and we’ve been getting that,” said Girardi. New York has also scored three runs in 42 consecutive games.
“I think our guys set the tone early,” said Girardi about how his team tacked on runs, off Romero, a pitcher that has given the Yankees problems in the past.
The Yankees have pitched well, swung the bats, and tacked on runs late. That also had led to them widening their gap on first place in the American League east. Girardi alluded to those factors in taking five of six games on the home stand from the Angels and Blue Jays,
Now they hit the road with right hander Freddie Garcia (4-2), who won his last start Saturday against the Angels, getting the start against Oakland.
“It’s a lot of fun coming to the ballpark every day,” said Nick Swisher. 
e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rash of Crashes

Summer Madness on the Roadways

(Above- The back of the vehicle is gone after a serious crash on the New England Thruway near Co-op City. Below- An investigator walks past the scene of a car that crashed through a building on Overing Avenue. A family waiting for their belonging's in Maryland will have to wait after a driver lost the load along the Hutchinson River Parkway.--Photos by David Greene)

By David Greene

BRONX, NEW YORK, July 18- At least six serious crashes in the past week have resulted in the deaths of several individuals, several more have been injured due to speed, alcohol and reckless or careless driving.

At just after 9 p.m. July 11, a vehicle crashed on the northbound New England Thruway at Exit 8C, just outside of Co-op City. The victim in this crash was not expected to survive.

At just before 1 a.m., on, July 12, a driver would lose control of his vehicle as he traveled along E. Tremont Avenue at a high rate of speed and crashed into the wall of a store at 1648 Overing Street.
One victim died and a second was removed in critical condition,

At just after 2 p.m. on July 12, a driver of a moving truck lost his load as he traveled southbound on the Hutchinson River Parkway, on his way to Maryland, when his trailer struck the overpass at Westchester Avenue.

Not aware of the 10-foot, 2-inch limit, the unidentified driver told the highway patrolman, "I was following the GPS," unaware that trailers are not permitted on, "Parkways."

The NYPD would next respond to back-to-back hit-and-runs, the first reported at 11:20 p.m., on July 13, at E. Gun Hill Road and Webster Avenue, where a bicyclist was mowed down and left for dead.

The victim, later identified by police as David Ellis, 18, of Marion Avenue, was rushed to Montefiore where he died upon arrival.

Police were looking for the driver and passenger of the 2001 Nissan Maxima, both reported as male Hispanic, who abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot.

Less than an hour later, at 12:07 a.m., on July 14, emergency crews were called to the Grand Concourse and E. 170 Street, for two pedestrians hit by a fleeing vehicle.

EMS would remove two Hispanic males, ages 34 and 42 from the scene with, "severe body trauma," and were rushed to Lincoln Hospital.

The 42-year old victim did not survive, police are waiting family notification before releasing his name.

After striking the two men, the driver in the 2011 Honda continued north where he struck an ambulance head-on at Mt. Eden Avenue.

The still unidentified 37-year old driver, reported as a white male was taken into custody and charges were pending.
Days after signing with the NY Knicks, Jason Kidd was arrested for drunk-driving on Long Island, after a single-vehicle accident on the Hamptons.
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