Monday, October 22, 2012

Signs of the times

Wakefield Area News
By Mary Lauro
BRONX, NEW YORK, October 22- Some communities look like picture postcards and others as if a whirlwind of garbage had deposited its detritus on it. What is the difference? Are some people cleaner than others?
Not at all. It is not a matter of personal cleanliness. It is a matter of civic awareness. Children who drop their plastic soda cups on the sidewalk, or adults who throw garbage out of car windows would not do so in their own homes. Very possibly, their own homes are sparkling clean. They simply do not see the area outside their homes as part of their responsibility.
While we agree with some critics that the Sanitation Department, like so many other agencies in the city, spends more time and gives better service in communities that are in the higher income tax bracket, we also feel that the wealthier communities are more apt to voice complaints more quickly and effectively than the poorer ones. For example, think of the number of illegal vendors that are now moving on to White Plains Road. The same vendors would not dream of offering their wares in Riverdale. They know full well that the police would be on them in no time at all, not because the police are anxious to ticket them, but because members of the community would not tolerate their presence.
On White Plain Road, it is a different story. Barbecue chicken is roasted in the open behind a parked car or truck. Many ungloved fingers handle the chicken. On another block, a gleaming, well-structured conveyance sports utensils for boiling frankfurters and sauerkraut. It parks itself between two restaurants. And so on. Patrol cars whiz by. The one or two voices that dial 311 are lonely.
Another feature which downgrades communities is the proliferation of illegal signs. Actually, no signs are to be posted on city streets other than those designated by city agencies. Riverdale has no illegal signs. They are immediately reported and just as quickly removed by the Sanitation Department. We, too, can get such service, if we report the signs. We urge you to do that. It is simple enough.
See a sign anywhere in the community, note the address. You must have the address or a description of its location. Call 311. You will be connected with a person who will take your information and give you a complaint number. Call the next day to see if the sign was removed. Or, better yet, go yourself to the location to see if the sign was removed. If it was not removed, call 311 again, as well as CB 12 at 718-881-4455 to report that it was not removed. We must be persistent to get the service we deserve.
We asked you to do this once before and it worked for a while. But is has begun again with a vengeance. Those signs are now making headway into our side streets. Nothing can be so cheapening. Think of the money spent in upgrading our homes and the thoughtlessness of those who would destroy that effort. Report them!
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Google Helps Bronx Small Biz Get Online

BRONX, NEW YORK, October 22- This week, Google brought its New York Get Your Business Online program to NYC with events throughout all five boroughs. Launched last year in Albany and Buffalo, New York Get Your Business Online helps drive economic growth by giving small businesses the tools and resources to establish a website, find new customers, and grow their business.
The event, held at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, is the final one in a week-long series that has reached all five boroughs and included almost a thousand of NYC’s small businesses. At each event, Google has worked with small business owners to create their own websites courtesy of Intuit. Businesses have also received a customized domain name, free web hosting for one year, a local business listing on Google Maps, free tools, training and resources. Google experts have been on hand to train the business owners on how to reach more customers online.
“We are committed to making sure the City’s small businesses are online so potential customers can find them,” said Susan Molinari, Vice President, Public Policy & Government Relations, for Google. “Many small businesses do not have a website because they think it is too expensive, too difficult or too time consuming to create. New York Get Your Business Online helps small businesses easily and quickly create their own web presence and start growing their businesses online.”
New York Get Your Business Online is an easy and fast way for Bronx small businesses to get a website and become more visible online, where the majority of people are going to find goods and services. While 97 percent of Americans look online for local products and services, 53% percent of New York’s small businesses do not have a website or online presence.
“As a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee I am deeply involved in matters involving the internet and I know that having a presence on the internet is an absolute necessity today,” said Congressman Eliot Engel. “More and more, commerce is becoming e-commerce. This is an opportunity to raise your presence beyond your neighborhood and spread the word much further afield about what you can do for your customers and to attract new ones.”
During this morning’s session, State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson stopped by to visit and speak with the business leaders who were participating.
Businesses unable to attend the event can still get a free website, resources and more information about the program by going to
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Good, The Bad  & the Zombies

(Photos by Robert Press and Ken Carozza)
Comic Con 2012 – Review
By Robert Press
BRONX, NEW YORK, October 15- If you did not attend the sold out Comic Con 2012 here is just a little recap of what you missed. 
As soon as you got near the Javits Center you entered another dimension. A dimension of comic characters coming to life as many Comic Con 2012 attendees were dressed as their favorite comic characters for the daily costume contest. There were the usual Supermen & Supergirls, Batmen & Robins, Vampires & Zombies, many of the new comic characters, and even characters that were made up that people might want to see. When I asked some people why they came in their outfits, the answer was “This is the only time other than Halloween that I can dress up like this”.
While there were dozens and dozens of booths selling comics going back to first issues of almost any and every comic book printed, and artists signing and posing for pictures. Comic Con 2012 was more than just comics. There were “Spotlight Comic Guests”, “Featured Comic Guests” “Spotlight Entertainment Guests”, (such as Adam West T.V.'s 
original Batman, Julianne Moore of Carrie, Kevin Bacon of the Following, Vanessa Williams of 666 Park Avenue, Christopher Lloyd of Back to the Future fame, Lou Ferrigno of the Hulk fame, WWE star Booker T, and Divas Kelly Kelly and the Bella Twins Brie and Nikki, and former boxer/wrestler Butterbean to name only a few. Each day was a different line up of stars and characters.
I went Friday and went back on Sunday to the Javits center for “Kids Day”. Sunday was the most crowded as line waits were about one half an hour or more at several “hot” booths. On Sunday three stars of wrestling Tito Santana, Brutis “The Barber” Beefcake, and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, were taking photos with the attendees. Greg Valentine appeared in April at St. Francis Xavier “Wrestling Night” event in the Morris Park area of the Bronx. Also with a Bronx connection was Gregory Lamberson author of the “FRENZY WAR”, who with his Bronx partner Marc Makowski made the “SLIME CITY” cult film series of movies.
You can go to my blog at to see photos of Comic Con 2012 for Friday and Sunday at posts that are sandwiched around the Liberty Democratic Club 5th Annual Award Dinnerand post. Check the archive section for other items that were related to Comic Con 2012. People who attended Comic Con 2012 said that they can not wait for Comic Con 2013.
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Thursday, October 11, 2012


Ibañez Homers Inch Yanks Closer to WS
(Photos by Gary Quintal)
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, October 11- Game 3 of the ALDS was a classic. The definition of the word for this story is taken from the 2012 book written by managerial great Tony La Russa, “The game has to have serious stakes. The competition between the two teams has to be both fierce and equal. The performances of individual players have to be of extremely high caliber. The outcome should be in jeopardy until the final moments. The action has to arrest your attention because of the brilliant, the surprising, or the unique nature of the performances or the personalities.”
The closeness in the competition between the Yanks and Orioles continued at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night when the ALDS shifted from Baltimore to the Bronx. The two clubs split 18 contests during the regular 2012 season. The teams also split the first two games of the ALDS.
Wednesday night’s contest featured an old fashioned pitchers’ duel between Miguel Gonxzalez of Baltimore and Hiroki Kuroda of New York. The rookie hurler for the O’s pitched with confidence and poise for seven innings. Only five batters reached base, all with base hits. His control was outstanding. Seventy percent of his pitches were strikes. No Yankee batter drew a walk, but Gonzalez fanned eight. The only Yankee run off him came in the third frame. Russell Martin doubled and scored on a triple by Derek Jeter.
Although his first appearance in the majors was May 29, Wednesday was his third start at Yankee Stadium. He earned a win in each of his previous outings in the Bronx on July 30 and August 31. He pitched a total of 13.2 innings, surrendering four earned runs for an ERA of 2.63.
Before the game, O’s manager Buck Showalter said of the 28 year old, “The guy does so many things that give himself a chance to be successful…We’re real proud of him.”
Kuroda accomplished what would normally result in a win. He pitched 8.1 innings, a mark he reached only twice in 33 previous starts this season. He also only gave up five hits, but two were crucial, a first pitch solo homer by Ryan Flaherty in the third and a solo first pitch home run by Mario Machado in the fifth. The two rookies showed no fear of playing in the postseason in Yankee Stadium.
In the pre-game press conference, Joe Girardi commented on the native of Japan, “I feel good about him on the mound because I’ve seen what he’s done all year for us.”
The Yanks tied the contest at two with one out in the ninth. Girardi removed the designated hitter, Alex Rodriguez, for pinch hitter Raúl Ibañez. The New York native parked the baseball in the right field seats to electrify the sell-out crowd of 50,497.
After the game, Girardi explained the decision that reporters called a genius move, “It’s a tough move. I just had a gut feeling about a left-hander who’s a low ball hitter. Raúl came up with some clutch hits; he’s been doing it all year. Sometimes you have to do what your gut tells you.”
The game ended in a most spectacular fashion as Ibañez led off the 12th with a walk-off home run. The unbelievable event prompted Yankee starter Kuroda to say, “It seemed like it was something out of cartoon.”
Ibañez whose wife gave birth earlier in the month remarked humbly, “I’m a very blessed man. I have a healthy baby boy; my wife is healthy.” Of the two home runs, he explained, “I was just trying to get a good pitch. I was not trying to do too much. Fortunately, it worked out.”
In game 4, Phil Hughes will start for New York against lefthander Joe Saunders, who was announced as the starter by Showalter in a post-game press conference. If the Yanks win on Thursday they will advance to the ALCS.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wakefield News: Wakefield Gives Plenty of Shelter

Wakefield News: Wakefield Gives Plenty of Shelter: COMMUNITY BOARD NEWS N’ VIEWS By Father Richard F. Gorman Chairman Community Board #12 (The Bronx) BRONX, NEW YORK, October 10- ...

Wakefield Gives Plenty of Shelter

By Father Richard F. Gorman
Community Board #12 (The Bronx)
BRONX, NEW YORK, October 10- I remember an occasion while in college that I was supposed to be completing a foreign language assignment in the language lab for one of my professors. 
Not being especially fond of the designated project, the professor, or the course on the whole, I soon found myself not responding in a foreign language to questions posed to me, but listening to a favorite song of mine that was a hit by the iconic British rock band, THE ROLLING STONES. It was called Gimme Shelter and it initially was released in 1969 as the opening track of THE STONES’ successful album, “Let It Bleed”. It was a fascinating musical masterpiece created by the combination of band member Keith Richards’ expertise on the rhythm guitar and the matchless and distinctive voice of lead vocalist, Mick Jagger. One of the noteworthy and appealing highlights of this tuneful tour de force was the performance of a guest vocalist, Merry Clayton, who was purported to be any number of other female singers. Her presentation with its idiosyncratic high notes is a significant contribution to the overall appeal of this composition, which is ranked thirty-eighth on the list of the trendy music, liberal politics, and pop culture magazine, ROLLING STONE, enumerating “The Five Hundred Greatest Songs of All Time.”  
Oh, before I forget, please permit me the opportunity to finish telling you my story about chilling with THE STONES rather than doing my college course work! To cut to the chase, my professor just happened to meander into the language lab for some reason or another at the time and, in the process of checking with the lab technician on the whether or not I was hard at work on my assignment and what sort of progress I had made with it, he discovered my preference for Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Company rather than for his work of art.  Interrupting my musical enjoyment, the professor barked through the system and into my headphones that while THE ROLLING STONES might be giving me shelter, he was going to give me the grade of “F” for the assignment if I did not complete it forthwith. Some people just cannot stand to watch other people having fun!
Some people living in good neighborhoods apparently cannot abide by other people enjoying an equivalent quality of life where they live. An article was published almost two weeks ago in THE BRONX SECTION of THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS entitled “Won’t Give Shelter.” Apparently, the caption editor of the newspaper, like myself, is a fan of THE ROLLING STONES and an aficionado(a) of one of their greatest hits. (S)He is not, however, too masterful in creating captions for newspaper articles, at least not in this instance. Far from not wanting to afford shelter to our homeless brothers and sisters, Wakefield, as the article in question aptly reports, is very quickly becoming a great, big colony of shelters servicing one group or another within the homeless population at-large.
With three facilities in short walking distance of each other already slated for Wakefield, it is shamefully unacceptable that this bucolic residential neighborhood would be compelled to assimilate yet a fourth. The people of Wakefield undertook a sustained and hard-fought effort to re-zone their neighborhood in such a way so as to facilitate the construction of higher-density residential and mixed-use development along White Plains Road. They like their neighbors throughout Community Board #12 (The Bronx) sought to attract both new apartment buildings and businesses to this commercial boulevard in desperate need of revitalization. It is simply catastrophic, as it has lately turned out, that most of the new, higher-density structures so far being planned in the re-designated “R-4” Zone encompassing White Plains Road are social service facilities.  Are the citizens of Wakefield and of Bronx Community District #12 to be condemned for dreaming of a better quality of life and of a more vibrant neighborhood for themselves and their children? Are they to be criticized for wanting to reinvigorate commercial and residential life along a street with a long and proud history both in our District and the Borough of The Bronx?
Criticism in the aforesaid article comes courtesy of THE ACACIA NETWORK, formerly known as BASICS/Promesa, which seeks in collusion with Westchester developer Mark Stagg to fill 4453 White Plains Road at East 240TH Street with homeless individuals and families. ACACIA Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) Raul Russi, a former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Probation, contends that Community Board #12 (The Bronx) has less homeless shelters than other Districts. I do not dispute this fact nor do I disagree with Commissioner Russi if he is arguing that the siting of shelters should be done on a fair and equitable basis. Kindly tell me, therefore, in all fairness, what other District is being saddled with four facilities in the last year and a half? Moreover, if other Community Boards have been unduly burdened with a overabundance of homeless facilities, is it either fair or sensible that the same injustice and unfairness be recreated in Community Board #12 (The Bronx)? I likewise take note of Mr. Russi’s admonition that the homeless person denied adequate and compassionate care might be one’s own blood or next-door neighbor. To this I say, let the residents of Bronx Community District #12, who have family members or local friends who are in fact homeless, bring them forward and I shall work along with Commissioner Russi to see that they are housed in one of the three shelters already intended for Wakefield.
Mark Stagg built 4453 White Plains Road for those who wished to live in our area as apartment dwellers. The fact that he included an underground garage for nearly 30 motor vehicles in his project is obvious proof of this. If Mr. Stagg was enough of a businessman to build this apartment house, then he should be enough of one and as smart as one to market and to rent them as planned. If not, Mr. Stagg should stop scheming with the folks at ACACIA NETWORK to recoup his investments and to balance his books on the backs of the people of Wakefield.
The cottage industry for the homeless forging social activists, special interest advocates, attorneys, Government bureaucrats, retired Government bureaucrats morphed into not-for-profit (N-F-P) bureaucrats, and conniving developers in a conspiracy against local neighborhoods needs to be blown up. It is high time that, at last, we neighborhood residents blow our stacks at it!
Until next time, that is it for this time!
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Wakefield News: Cardinal Dolan comes to Wakefield

Wakefield News: Cardinal Dolan comes to Wakefield: Wakefield Area News By Mary V. Lauro BRONX, NEW YORK, October 10- Hey! According to legend, the devil was once an angel too. Please be...

Cardinal Dolan comes to Wakefield

Wakefield Area News
By Mary V. Lauro
BRONX, NEW YORK, October 10- Hey! According to legend, the devil was once an angel too. Please bear that in mind as we praise 300 boys and girls who walked from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Elementary School on Baychester Avenue to St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church on E. 236th Street, a distance of 7 or 8 blocks. They walked quietly and swiftly, their uniforms accentuating their orderliness. It is true they were accompanied by some teachers, assistants and police, but their brown and black faces shone with purpose. They knew that something important, perhaps historic was going to take place. These mostly non-Catholic children were going to meet Cardinal Dolan.
Cardinal Dolan had come to St. Frances of Rome (SFR) to inaugurate the reopening of its school building on Barnes Avenue as annex to St. Francis of Assisi. The Barnes Avenue School had been closed since 2008. The annex will be used for kindergarten and pre-kindergarten children.
The new facility for preschoolers will be known as the Catherine Corry Early Childhood Academy. It is named in honor of the mother of Rev. Francis J. Corry, the pastor of SFR and administrator of the churches of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony in Wakefield. The three parishes are collectively known as the Catholic Churches of Wakefield.
Cardinal Dolan is a special person. It is always a delight to be in his presence. His homilies are clear and concise. One is struck not by showmanship or pageantry but by an abiding humility which defines him. Nonetheless, with all due deference, our column is not about him but about the well behaved students that sat through the mass without a single sigh of boredom, hands clasped and bright eyes following the action on the altar.
The principal of this amazing school and its students is Mary Jane Helmrich. She said her classes usually hold 25 to 30 students, sometimes more. We mention this because our newspapers are full of reports regarding problems encountered in public schools from teacher inadequacy to student failures. More problematic is the lack of civility found between teachers and students as well as between the students themselves.
While the problems in our Public Schools are various and many, some are perfectly obvious to the layman. They are like a childhood disease which, unfortunately, sometimes persists into adulthood. They are lack of respect for others and lack of civility. It is these two elements of social order that are inculcated in a Catholic School education from Pre-K to graduation. It begins with dressing uniformly. Time is not spent on observing who wears what. Nor is time spent on imitating what is seen on TV. A school uniform emphasizes the principle of equality as does, indoctrination in civility.
As the body needs food, the brain needs to know. Remember that other myth: God forbid Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge. They ate one apple and haven't stopped chewing since. The brain loves to learn. Once the distractions are removed, children will learn.
Also necessary are caring parents. It is not cheap to send one's child to Catholic School. It is amazing how many non-Catholics choose to do so at great personal sacrifice. It is enormously sad that they must do so when they and we pay our share of taxes for education. It is sadden still for the children who do not receive a fundamentally sound education. What is the point of public education if it cannot vie with Catholic and private education?
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Friday, October 5, 2012

Bring on the Rings?

At the end the Yankees seem to have it all together as they await the next step
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, October 5- The Texas Rangers or the Baltimore Orioles are awaiting the New York Yankees Sunday night as the new wild card format this season has the lower seed teams hosting the higher seed in the divisional series. But, the Yankees don’t care where they go, or who they play.
Momentum has become a major player the last month or weeks of the baseball season. The Yankees have that right now, so similar to what the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals had in 2010, and last year. Their late season surges continued right to a World Series championship.
And, as every baseball or sports fan knows, a New York Yankees season is not complete, or a success, unless they bring a World Series trophy back to the Bronx. They finished with the best record in the American League, decided when they clinched their second straight division title Wednesday night with a sweep over the Boston Red Sox.
Home field advantage for the first two rounds of the post season goes to the Yankees with a 95-67 finish, second best in baseball to the Washington Nationals. Though sweeping the lowly Boston Red Sox to finish off, and scoring 14-runs in their final game, don’t make that a barometer that they will dominate from here on in.
This was the Red Sox. Not the Rangers, Athletics, Tigers, or the Orioles where pitching, with perhaps the exception of the Rangers collapse, won them games this time of year. The Yankees inconsistency of their pitching staff could be their obstacle as to getting a 28th championship.
“Now the real season starts,” commented Derek Jeter, the Yankees captain who knows something about the meaning of October baseball with five World Series rings.
So, with a September that was one to remember, the Yankees had to fight to the end with Baltimore. The 27-time world champions are confident. Yes, momentum is on their side as the pitching and hitting have come together, as well as a healthy compliment of players off the disabled list.
The season of adversity, one key pitcher or starting player hindered by injuries hurt the Yankees as they struggled and surrendered a 10-game AL east divisional lead to the Orioles.
“This year we had to fight, scratch and claw,” said Nick Swisher who had his struggles and finished with a strong September.
The Yankees at one time or another this season, and Girardi utilized what he could from the roster, saw different players at third, first, in the outfield, at DH, and on the mound.
The losses of pitchers CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, and other role players, for a short or extended period of time had an impact but they overcame the adversity.
That also included losing all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera, with a freak season ending injury in the outfield shagging fly balls prior to a game at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City. Rafael Sorinao stepped in the closer role, and overall with 42 saves but had the tendency to throw the home run ball in the late going.
Gardner is back and could be on the post season roster, but getting on base and speed came when the Yankees acquired the able Ichiro Suzuki in the second half. Robinson Cano struggled, and the final three weeks the all-star second baseman had the highest hitting percentage in baseball.
The last seven years, New York has won the World Series once, so the obvious dynasty in baseball is a thing of the past with parity an obvious part of the game. However, as was the case with the Giants and Cardinals, pitching wins games this time of year.
“To have the best record and not know where you’re going is strange,” says Yankees manager Joe Girardi. They probably would prefer the Orioles. They split the 18-games between them and scored more runs. The Rangers, though struggling, know how to handle this time of year.
And when it comes to the Yankees and Rangers in October, Girardi is aware that Texas has come up short the last two years in failing to win the World Series, but the Yankees have never done well at the ballpark in Arlington in October baseball games.
The tentative starting rotation in the best- of- five opening round will be Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Pettitte, and Phil Hughes. It looks good, though Hughes has been ineffective in his last three starts and gives up the home run ball. Hughes getting the ball in a game three or four could be detrimental.
“The fact we struggled, we overcame the adversity, I am proud we are at this point,” says Girardi. Driving in the timely run has been the inconsistency and striking out to much, and Curtis Granderson had a team high in strike outs when he was not hitting the home run ball.
Just about every position player is liable to hit the ball out of the park. The Yankees finished 2012 with a club record in round trippers. But we saw something the past few weeks that started to develop.
The Yankees played small ball with the bunt, steal, and that produced some run production that helped them win some close games on the road. They finished four games over .500 away from the Bronx.
The team works out at Yankee Stadium early Friday evening and will watch the wild card game between the Orioles and Rangers. From the Bronx they will have the bags packed and ready to begin the next journey.
The new season begin Sunday evening. The quest with momentum is to bring championship number 28 to the Bronx in a few weeks.
E-Mail Rich Mancuso: it in the Ring
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