Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wakefield News: Santa Spotted in the Bronx

Wakefield News: Santa Spotted in the Bronx: BRONX, NEW YORK, DECEMBER 12- Santa had a busy time in the Bronx last week. First he attended the annual lighting of the Parkc...

Santa Spotted in the Bronx

BRONX, NEW YORK, DECEMBER 12- Santa had a busy time in the Bronx last week. First he attended the annual lighting of the Parkchester Christmas tree at the Oval. The event, filled with local singers and dancers, was capped off with the
holiday lights inside Met Oval. Then Old St. Nick was on hand for the tree lighting at the Fordham BID.
Arthur Avenue kicked off the holiday season with a tree lighting and a visit from Santa. In addition, holiday carolers sang to inspire the crowd.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Wakefield News: Holiday Train Show Returns

Wakefield News: Holiday Train Show Returns: (Photos by Seitu Oronde) BRONX, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 22- A critically acclaimed and always eagerly anticipated tradition, th...

Holiday Train Show Returns

(Photos by Seitu Oronde)
BRONX, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 22- A critically acclaimed and always eagerly anticipated tradition, the Holiday Train Show presents an enchanted New York enlivened by model trains amid the glow of twinkling lights in America’s premier Victorian-style glasshouse, the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. The exhibition showcases replicas of New York landmarks, artistically crafted of natural materials such as bark, twigs, stems, fruits, seeds, and pine cones by designer Paul Busse’s team at Applied Imagination. The original Pennsylvania Station and Yankee Stadium, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Radio City Music Hall, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Rockefeller Center are among the favorites in the Botanical Garden’s collection of more than 150 Holiday Train Show replicas.
Visit the Garden’s Web site,, to check dates and times for all of the Garden’s holiday offerings and to purchase advance timed tickets.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wakefield News: Red Cross Leading Relief Effort in Philippines

Wakefield News: Red Cross Leading Relief Effort in Philippines: Using Facebook to Help Those Hit by Tragedy (Photos courtesy of Red Cross)   WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 14- The American Red Cross an...

Red Cross Leading Relief Effort in Philippines

Using Facebook to Help Those Hit by Tragedy
(Photos courtesy of Red Cross) 
WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 14- The American Red Cross announced an initial contribution of $6 million in support of the global Red Cross response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. These funds will be used to distribute relief items, repair and rebuild shelters, provide healthcare and ensure access to clean water and sanitation systems.
“We are grateful for the American public’s generosity and compassion following what has been called one of the strongest storms in world history,” said David Meltzer, chief international officer for the American Red Cross. “The American Red Cross is in a unique position to help provide support by airlifting relief supplies from its warehouses around the world, providing trained disaster responders specializing in damage assessment and telecommunications, and by channeling its financial support to the Philippine Red Cross and its more than 500,000 staff and volunteers and our other global partners in the Red Cross network – all of which go to providing relief from this devastating storm.”
In addition to financial assistance, the American Red Cross is lending people, expertise and equipment to this effort with four specialists already on the ground in the Philippines. These include two people who specialize in telecommunication and who are traveling with satellite equipment, and two others who specialize in disaster assessment.
The Philippine Red Cross has extensive experience in search and rescue and large-scale relief and recovery programs. The Philippine Red Cross is the largest humanitarian organization in the country, with 1,000 staff members and an estimated 500,000 active volunteers engaged in this disaster response. Their volunteer relief teams continue to provide assistance in the hardest hit communities, including assisting in search and rescue efforts.
The Philippine Red Cross has begun distributions of emergency supplies and has provided meals to people affected by the storm. On Sunday, 6,000 packs of relief supplies were sent to Leyete and other affected communities. However, supply delivery in the worst affected city of Tacloban has been significantly constrained by destroyed infrastructure, blocked roads, and downed communication lines.
Specialized emergency response teams from Red Cross societies across the globe are moving into the Philippines to assist the Philippine Red Cross. These include teams with expertise in logistics, disaster assessment, shelter, health, water and sanitation.
“A global Red Cross relief effort is well underway and we are working closely with our international partners to help get aid where it is needed,” said Meltzer.
Despite the tragic aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, thousands of survivors are grateful for their lives. The Philippine Red Cross worked closely with local disaster authorities to support preemptive evacuations, helping move more than 125,000 families to safer shelter prior to the storm making landfall. The Philippine Red Cross also disseminated early warning messages and safety tips in areas along the path of the typhoon.
Here in the United States, the American Red Cross is helping to reconnect families separated by the typhoon and has activated its family tracing services. If people are looking for a missing family member in the Philippines, please remember that many phone lines are down. If people are unable to reach loved ones, contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross to initiate a family tracing case.
The American Red Cross expects to make additional contributions to support the humanitarian response in the coming weeks. Donations received from American Red Cross and other Red Cross partners will aid the Philippines relief and recovery efforts through the Philippine Red Cross and possibly other organizations as experts on the ground determine the best way forward.
HOW TO HELP Those who want to help can go to or call 1-800-REDCROSS to donate to typhoon relief. People can also mail in a donation to their local Red Cross chapter. Gifts to the American Red Cross will support our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific crisis, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other crises.
In a new partnership, Facebook is making it possible for users to donate directly to the American Red Cross either through a notification in News Feed, or directly on the Red Cross Facebook page. This is the first time that the American Red Cross has engaged in such a large-scale fundraising program with a social platform. For the Red Cross that means that with the click of a button on Facebook, we can connect people who want to help with those who are so desperately in need in the Philippines. This Facebook effort for the Philippines in the United States will continue through November 15.
Tags: Haiyan, Typhoon

Wakefield News: SHAMELESS!

Wakefield News: SHAMELESS!: Con Men Ca$h in on Typhoon Tragedy Prey Off People Trying to Help the Philippines WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 14-  The Dep...


Con Men Ca$h in on Typhoon Tragedy
Prey Off People Trying to Help the Philippines

WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 14- The Department of Justice, the FBI, and the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) remind the public that there is a potential for disaster fraud in the aftermath of a natural disaster. 
Suspected fraudulent activity pertaining to relief efforts associated with Typhoon Haiyan should be reported to the toll-free NCDF hotline at 866-720-5721. The hotline is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the purpose of reporting suspected scams being perpetrated by criminals in the aftermath of disasters.
NCDF was originally established in 2005 by the Department of Justice to investigate, prosecute, and deter fraud associated with federal disaster relief programs following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. Its mission has expanded to include suspected fraud related to any natural or man-made disaster. More than 20 federal agencies—including the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Offices, Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Secret Service—participate in the NCDF, allowing the center to act as a centralized clearinghouse of information related to disaster relief fraud.
In the wake of natural disasters, many individuals feel moved to contribute to victim assistance programs and organizations across the country. The Department of Justice and the FBI remind the public to apply a critical eye and conduct due diligence before giving to anyone soliciting donations on behalf of hurricane victims. Solicitations can originate as e-mails, websites, door-to-door collections, mailings, telephone calls and similar methods.
Before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, including the following:
Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including by clicking links contained within those messages, because they may contain computer viruses.
Be cautious of individuals representing themselves as victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.
Rather than following a purported link to a website, verify the existence and legitimacy of non-profit organizations by using Internet-based resources.
Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, because those files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
To ensure that contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make donations directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.
Do not be pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do not use coercive tactics.
Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions. Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by debit or credit card or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals.
Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services.
Most legitimate charities maintain websites ending in .org rather than .com.
If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud by a person or organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of disaster victims, contact the NCDF by phone at (866) 720-5721, fax at (225) 334-4707, or e-mail at
You can also report suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at

Tags: Haiyan, Typhoon

Friday, November 8, 2013

Wakefield News: Red Panda Cubs Make Their Zoo Debut 

Wakefield News: Red Panda Cubs Make Their Zoo Debut : BRONX, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 8- Four red panda cubs are debuting at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo and Prospect Park Zo...

Red Panda Cubs Make Their Zoo Debut 

BRONX, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 8- Four red panda cubs are debuting at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo and Prospect Park Zoo. 
Two cubs are at the Himalayan Highlands at the Bronx Zoo and two are at Discovery Trail at the Prospect Park Zoo.
Both litters consist of a male and female and were born this summer.
WCS has a successful history breeding red pandas at the Bronx, Central Park and Prospect Park Zoos as part of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums designed to enhance the genetic viability and demographic stability of animal populations in accredited zoos.
Red pandas are native to Nepal, India, Bhutan, China, and Myanmar. The subspecies of red panda at the Bronx Zoo (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) is found in the western part of their Himalayan range. The Prospect Park pandas (Ailurus fulgens refulgens) are a subspecies from the eastern portion of the range and are characteristically darker in color and slightly larger.
Panda cubs are born with a very soft, plush coat. They reach adulthood at around 18 months.
Adult red pandas have reddish-brown and black coats that serve as camouflage in the wild. They have an adaptation on their wrists much like a thumb that enables them to grasp food items like bamboo as well as tree branches.
The species is listed as “Vulnerable” by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss caused by deforestation for timber, fuel and agricultural use. Their population is declining. WCS works in China and Myanmar to save red pandas and other Asian wildlife. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wakefield News: Bronxites Walk to Find Cure for Breast Cancer

Wakefield News: Bronxites Walk to Find Cure for Breast Cancer: By Patricia McDow BRONX, NEW YORK, OCTOBER 24- Marie Barbarto, along with her Mom Dorothy are breast cancer survivors. On October...

Bronxites Walk to Find Cure for Breast Cancer

By Patricia McDow
BRONX, NEW YORK, OCTOBER 24- Marie Barbarto, along with her Mom Dorothy are breast cancer survivors. On October 20th, Marie joined thousands of local breast cancer survivors, volunteers, business and community members at Orchard Beach as they united to fight breast cancer and save lives at the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 3K walk. This noncompetitive, inspirational event raises awareness and funds to fight breast cancer and provides hope to all people facing the disease.
More than 229,060 women and men in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year, and more than 39,920 will die from the disease. Funds raised through Making Strides will help the American Cancer Society save lives and create more birthdays by helping people stay well by taking steps to prevent cancer or find it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking research; and by fighting back by encouraging lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight.
Many of the participants are already looking forward to next year October 19, 2014, hope you can join. If interested visit their website to join, donate or create your own team.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wakefield News: Summer’s Over But Bullets Still Flying

Wakefield News: Summer’s Over But Bullets Still Flying: Residents on Edge as Bloody Mayhem Continues By David Greene BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 4- The NYPD's own statistics show t...

Summer’s Over But Bullets Still Flying

Residents on Edge as Bloody Mayhem Continues
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 4- The NYPD's own statistics show that the city is on pace to have the lowest murder rate in the last 50 years, but that offers little comfort to family members of those killed or wounded by the almost daily, random street violence.
Detectives are still hunting the gunman who shot and killed Raymond Hernandez, 22, who was shot in the hallway of 2860 Grand Concourse on July 15.
On August 3, officers from the 46th Precinct reported a person shot and killed at 2377 Creston Avenue. Police were looking for two black males seen fleeing the scene.
Kahleed Adams had returned to the ruff and tumble streets of Fordham Heights where he was shot in the buttocks a week earlier. At 12:30 a.m. on August 19, he was approached by a group of men at E. 184 Street and Morris Avenue, when someone opened fire, striking Adams in the head.
Despite being in full view of an NYPD surveillance camera, installed after Adams was shot the first time, detectives continue to hunt for the young man's killer.
But the most blood-spilling, effecting the most people are the random acts of violence that often go unreported. Information can now be found on social media websites as the community seems to be trying to keep itself informed, but rumors continue to be almost as big a problem as the violence itself.
Officers from the 52nd Precinct responded to calls of a person stabbed at 12:10 a.m. on August 3. The victim was reportedly stabbed at the intersection of Morris Avenue and E. Kingsbridge Road. Police were looking for a black male wearing a white and gray shirt and dark jeans. 
At 7 p.m. on August 4, a livery taxi driver was stabbed in the chest an neck as he sat behind the wheel at Bainbridge Avenue and E. Fordham Road. An unidentified resident of the block reportedly tossed a large rock at the car, causing the suspect to flee the stolen car.
Police reportedly discovered Luis Ferrierra, 22, hiding in a backyard. He has since been charged with felony assault and robbery--his eighth arrest for 2013.
When asked about the member of the community tossing the rock, one resident responded, "This area is flooded with crack and crime and I think the residents are fed up with it already." 
Residents near PS 8 at Mosholu Parkway South and Bainbridge Avenue reported hearing shots during the night of Friday, August 9.. Residents awoke the following morning to discover a bloody park bench. So far the incident remains a mystery.
At just before 11 p.m. on Sunday, August 11, a person was reported shot at E. Gun Hill Road and Decatur Avenue. However, this incident could not be confirmed.
Police say it was a drug dealer who shot a potential customer on August 13, outside of 2685 Valentine Avenue in Bedford Park. The 31-year old victim was shot in the left hand and right thigh and was treated and released from Jacobi Hospital.
That gunman was described as a male wearing a white shirt and blue hat.
On August 15, Yonkers police were apparently in pursuit of a vehicle that crashed as it exited the Major Deegan near the Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course, the armed suspect reportedly fired at least one shot at pursuing officers before making an escape into the woods.
On August 16 three people were shot over the period of two-hours. At 12:15 a.m. a victim was discovered inside of a building at 2725 Webb Avenue. The 19-year old victim had been shot in the hand and leg and was expected to survive.
Residents of the Fordham Manor block that intersects with W. Kingsbridge Road don't even flinch when they hear gunshots anymore. The block has had two other recent shooting's. A 51-year old man was shot in the arm back in April and two men were shot outside of a bodega on July 28.
Police were still looking for the gunman in the July 28 case, described as wearing all red and carrying a black plastic bag.
Forty-five minutes later officer's from the 46th Precinct in Fordham were called to another 24-hour deli at 375 E. 188 Street. The victim in that shooting was transported by a civilian vehicle to Jacobi Hospital and was also recovering.
At just before 2 a.m., a man was wounded outside of 2258 Grand Avenue in University Heights. The 25-year old victim suffered a gunshot to the right leg and was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital where he was treated and released.
EMS reported the transport of a stabbing victim from the intersection of the Grand Concourse and E. 197 Street at just before 10 p.m. on August 17.
At some time after 4 a.m. on Sunday, August 18, a man was shot in the leg outside of 275 E. Gun Hill Road. The unidentified victim was transported to a nearby hospital in stable condition. Police were reportedly looking for two male Hispanics who fled the scene.
Recently police did announce an arrest in the May 29 shooting of Alex Rodriguez, who was shot in the head at the intersection of E. 184 Street and Tiebout Avenue in Fordham Heights. Rodriguez died after being taken off life support.
Jamie DeJesus has been charged with manslaughter in the case.
Outspoken Bedford Park resident Ron James Sorenson who was shot as a young man as he drove a livery taxi in the South Bronx back in the late 1960's, recently stated about the judge's recent decision to re-evaluate the NYPD's stop-and-frisk, offering, "None of these people who are against stop-and-frisk have ever been shot. I have and I think the practice saves lives."
Despite the recent surge in killing, NYPD statistics show murder is down over the same time period as last year. So far this year there were 42 homicides in the Bronx, compared with 68 last year.
Community Board # 7 is still in a transition as it's new District Manager Socrates Caba and Chairperson Adaline Walker-Santiago are in the process of taking over the day to day operations of the board. But a blind man can see they have their work cut out for them.
Anyone with any information on any violent crime are asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1 (800) 577-TIPS. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wakefield News: Ramarley Graham: The next sad chapter

Wakefield News: Ramarley Graham: The next sad chapter: COMMUNITY BOARD NEWS N’ VIEWS By Father Richard F. Gorman Chairman Community Board #12 (The Bronx) BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST...

Ramarley Graham: The next sad chapter


Father Richard F. Gorman
Community Board #12 (The Bronx)

BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 14- On the 15th of May this year, Bronx Supreme Court Justice Steven L. Barrett, after hearing evidence in the trial of Police Officer Richard Haste for manslaughter in the shooting of Ramarley Graham on 2 February 2012, ruled that the indictment of Officer Haste was dismissed in light of the improper instructions given to the grand
jury that had voted to indict the Forty-seventh Precinct cop. 

Justice Barrett decided that the grand jury may have come to a different decision if its members had fully considered that Officer Haste’s fellow Police Officers had informed him that Ramarley Graham was armed. The grand jury had been directed by prosecutors in the Office of the District Attorney of Bronx County not to give any weight to this fact in considering whether or not to indict Officer Haste. A second grand jury was quickly empanelled to weigh a re-indictment of the Police Officer and was clearly told this time to take into account that Richard Haste was warned that Mr. Graham possibly had a gun. 

On Wednesday, 7 August 2013, this second grand jury declined to present a second indictment of Police Officer Haste for manslaughter. Understandably, the family of Ramarley Graham, most particularly his parents, Constance Malcolm and Franclot Graham, reacted with great indignation and resentment to the ruling of this second grand jury.

Among other actions undertaken, there was a rally this Saturday afternoon past, 11 August 2013, on Laconia Avenue directly in front of the main entrance of the Forty-seventh Police Precinct to which Officer Haste and his colleagues involved in this tragic incident had been assigned.

Reflecting on this serious and sad matter that has held such a foremost place in the recent life of Bronx Community District #12, I would like to share a few thoughts and feelings with my neighbors and fellow Bronxites. First, and most importantly of all, irrespective of any legal issues at argument or of any personal opinions concerning the parties to this matter, the shooting of Ramarley Graham is a tragedy. A young man is dead. The facts that may have led up to it aside, the loss of any human life always involves pain, always entails grief. Ramarley Graham’s Parents and other loved ones are now deprived of his presence and his company. As I said, whatever else that can and
should be said about this unhappy episode, let us not forget or be
insensitive to the human cost at stake, not only to the young man who is dead but to those who must survive and go on in the wake of his passing. The loss of a loved one is always a heartache that is practically unbearable to abide and to accept. 

Our sympathy and compassion must not be absent or withheld from those who mourn. Further, I can likewise understand the frustration of the Graham Family and others who question the vitality and the veracity of a legal system that appears not be working on behalf of their interests and needs. There is no argument, even from those involved in law enforcement and the judicial process, that our system of laws and courts is far from perfect. It definitely has its defects. It also depends upon the work of people, folks just like the rest of us, who work hard and honestly and who attempt to do the best that they can with the resources allocated to them. People are not perfect. The only two perfect human persons ever to walk the face of this earth, so far as I know, are Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Mother. All the rest of us have our weaknesses, shortcomings, and flaws. No system, judicial or otherwise, reliant upon people can be any more perfect that the people who comprise it.

This being said, while not unflawed or unfaultable, our system of laws and courts is the envy of the entire world. It may not always get the job done or accomplish things as we would wish, but, more often than not, it works. Moreover, realizing that mistakes can and are in actuality made, it provides for appeals and various means by which one can seek justice and pursue the satisfaction of one’s cause. In the immediate case of Ramarley Graham, his Parents can, and have been successful in seeking, a review of what has taken place in The Bronx by the United States Department of Justice (U.S.D.O.J.). The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York has determined that it will investigate whether or not the shooting of Ramarley Graham violates any provisions of our Federal Civil Rights laws. Additionally, the possibility of a civil action on behalf of the Graham Family can be instituted. Reports are that such an option is seriously being pondered at this time. If feasible, a civil cause of action should be introduced.

However, in the upset and unrest of the moment, let us not fail to
remember an equally important truth  --  viz., that the members of the New York City Police Department (N.Y.P.D.) are, by and large, truly “NEW YORK’S FINEST.” You and I are able to live comfortably in our homes, shop on our commercial strips, pray in our Churches, have our children educated in our schools, and live in relative safety because of the dedication of the men and the women of the N.Y.P.D. Even as they were preparing to accommodate the Graham Family’s decision to have a demonstration in front of the Forty-seventh Precinct on Saturday, the Supervisors and the Officers of the “4 -7” and Patrol Borough Bronx (P.B.B.X.) were investigating a murder a mere stone’s throw away from the Precinct on the intersection of East 233RD Street and Paulding Avenue. Is New York City  --  and Community Board #12 (The Bronx)  --  safer than was the case ten years ago?  ABSOLUTELY . . . . . and the most significant factor in this development was the commitment of our Police Officers to serve and to protect us, even at the cost of their own personal safety, physical well being, and life.

This essential point must be borne in mind as well, even as the adjudication of the Ramarley Graham shooting continues. I conclude by expressing genuine thanks to Franclot Graham, Constance Malcolm, and their supporters for the peaceful and dignified manner in which they conducted themselves this Saturday past. I trust that they know that they have been, are, and will always remain uppermost in our thoughts and prayers. I likewise give thanks for the fine and professional performance of our Police Officers. My special appreciation goes to Assistant Chief Carlos Gomez, Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Bronx (P.B.B.X.) and his leadership team for their presence and thoughtful attention during some rather difficult days.

Closer to home, my hat is off to Deputy Inspector Brian Mullen, Commanding Officer of the Forty-seventh Precinct, and all of our local Police Officers for their sensitive care and comportment, in particular our Community Affairs Officers Dave Belle and Jason Soto.

I pray that all in Community Board #12 (The Bronx), as we continue to face the challenges of each day, will continue to act with calm dignity and to strive for peace in our neighborhood.

Until next time, that is it for this time!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bronx News ( 'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting

Bronx News ( 'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting: BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 8- Political leaders expressed "shock" and "sadness" over the grand jury's refusal to indic...

Bronx News ( 'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting

Bronx News ( 'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting: BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 8- Political leaders expressed "shock" and "sadness" over the grand jury's refusal to indic...

Wakefield News: 'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting

Wakefield News: 'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting: BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 8- Political leaders expressed "shock" and "sadness" over the grand jury's refusal to indic...

'Shock' that Cop Not Indicted in Graham Shooting

BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 8- Political leaders expressed "shock" and "sadness" over the grand jury's refusal to indict a police officer in the shooting of a Bronx man.

"I am deeply saddened and extremely shocked by today's news of a failure to indict the police officer responsible for the death of Ramarley Graham," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. "I am especially sorry for the Graham family, who has seen their quest for justice for their son twice denied.

"The NYPD must now pursue departmental charges against Officer Haste. Whether criminal or not, his reckless actions led to the death of Ramarley Graham, and the police department needs to take a serious look at his qualifications to serve our city," said Diaz.

On February 2, 2012, Officer Richard Haste chased after Graham as part of a drug investigation. The officer cornered Graham in the bathroom and identified himself as a cop. Police officials said Haste opened fire after he mistakenly thought Graham had a gun. A bag of marijuana was discovered near the body and investigators believe Graham was trying to flush it down the toilet.

Haste was charged in the shooting but a Bronx judge tossed the charges because prosecutors made a mistake when presenting the charges to the grand jury.

"We are surprised and shocked by the Grand Jury’s finding of no criminal liability in the death of Ramarley Graham," said Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson. "We are saddened for the family of the deceased young man and still believe that the court’s dismissal of the original indictment was overly cautious.”

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cops Hunt Not-Too Bright Robbers

By Dan Gesslein
BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 7- Keeping a low-profile does not appear to be on a trio of robbers’ minds. Cops released surveillance video of three suspects wearing bright yellow and red shirts when they allegedly went to stickup a Wakefield woman.
On July 24, cops say a trio of thieves walked into 645 East 231 Street, sported a handgun and tied up a woman inside the building. The thieves took jewelry and an undisclosed amount of cash. Before fleeing, the suspects images were captured on the surveillance video in the building’s lobby. 
The trio wore day-glo yellow an red t-shirts. Cops say the suspects are black men in their 20s and at least two members of the group had a Caribbean accent.
Another pair of robbers tried to keep a lower profile but were not exactly masters of disguise. The men, both large and in their 40s, looked a little too overweight and old to be bike messengers  like the way they were dressed. 
The pair struck an apartment building near Pelham Bay Station in broad daylight. At around 11:30 a.m. on June 11, the men armed with backpacks walked into 3104 Wilkerson Avenue near the local Keyfood Supermarket. The pair made their way inside an apartment and woke the 24-year-old resident. The resident struggled with the suspects who then fled with only about $150. The robbers tried to make a quick getaway but their images were captured on the lobby’s surveillance camera.
Anyone with information should call CRIMESTOPPERS at (800) 577-TIPS. 
The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers' website at or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577.
All calls are strictly confidential.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bronx News ( Taking a Stand Against Crime

Bronx News ( Taking a Stand Against Crime: National Night Out By Bill Ludwig The 30th annual National Night Out (NNO) against crime will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 6th. The 47th ...

Baychester News: Taking a Stand Against Crime

Baychester News: Taking a Stand Against Crime: National Night Out By Bill Ludwig The 30th annual National Night Out (NNO) against crime will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 6th. The 47th ...

Wakefield News: Taking a Stand Against Crime

Wakefield News: Taking a Stand Against Crime: National Night Out By Bill Ludwig The 30th annual National Night Out (NNO) against crime will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 6th. The 47th ...

Taking a Stand Against Crime

National Night Out

By Bill Ludwig

The 30th annual National Night Out (NNO) against crime will be held on Tuesday,
Aug. 6th.

The 47th Precinct will be holding NNO activities from 4-8 p.m. at Granada Place
between Ely Avenue and Laconia Avenue, across the street from the 47th

This year’s theme is “Respect Your Neighbors - Think Quality of Life!” The opening ceremony will be at 5 p.m. The event is being co-sponsored by the 47th Precinct and the 47th Precinct Community Council. Deputy Inspector Brian Mullen and Community Affairs Officers David Belle and Jason Soto and the 47th Precinct Community Council have planned an enjoyable afternoon and evening for children and adults. Our elected officials have been invited. The 47th Precinct Clergy Coalition will have a prayer march in the vicinity of the 47th precinct starting at 4:45 p.m. before the opening ceremony.

There will be representatives at tables from New York City agencies and other
organizations who will be giving out valuable free information. The League, which is
celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, will have a table and will be distributing
McGruff “Take a Bite Out of Crime” 48 page memo pads. Food and refreshments
will be served. For children’s activities there will be rides and games. There will
also be entertainment for the community to enjoy. Bring the family out, learn about crime prevention, and have fun at the same time.

The slogans this year is: “Get Involved, Help Unite Our Community, Say No to
Drugs, No All Night Parties, Talk to Your Neighbors, Love Your Block, Do Not Block
Your Neighbor’s Driveway, No Loud Music, and A Quiet Neighborhood is a Good

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-bases, 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 door 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 backyard.

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. The event involves 15,000 communities
from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.

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 6th.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wakefield News: Community Fighter Remembered

Wakefield News: Community Fighter Remembered: By Dan Gesslein  BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 12 - One of the strongest voices defending Bronx communities has been silenced. Communi...

Community Fighter Remembered

By Dan Gesslein 
BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 12- One of the strongest voices defending Bronx communities has been silenced. Community leaders and residents said goodbye to Wakefield Taxpayers Associaton president and Bronx News columnist Mary Lauro. 
Lauro passed away last week after a bout with cancer. The 87-year-old former chemist has been fighting to keep Wakefield and other Communities strong for the past 25 years.
"This is a void that can never be filled," said Carmen Rosa, district manager of Community Board 12.
For years Lauro fought through her organization and her column to correct the issues that were impacting the communities. One such issue was the OTB in Wakefield. She railed against the impact the run down betting parlor had on the surrounding community. The tiny location attracted large crowds that would spill out on to White Plains Road with drinking, garbage and public urination. The community Lauro focused through her column started a letter writing campaign which led to the relocation of the site to a new facility. Eventually OTB was shut down throughout the city.
"Her articles started conversations. Residents would buy the paper to see what Mary had to say this week," Rosa said.
Another major issue Lauro fought was the problem of widespread illegal conversions. In Wakefield and in many Bronx communities, homeowners illegally converted one and two-family homes into multiple family rentals. In addition to the fact that many of these rents are not claimed, the community suffers from lack of services. The populations from these illegal apartments are not counted in the official population and therefore the communities receive fewer services in terms of police and other city services.
"The passing of Mary Lauro is a grievous loss not just for this local Bronx community, but for the borough and city as well because she represented the epitome of what civic involvement is supposed to be about," said Edwin J. Day, Rockland County Legislature. "She was always 'community first' and as a former commander of the 47 precinct detectives and a past civic association president in my hometown, I can make that observation both with absolute certainty and my utmost respect. While Mary will be missed, more importantly she will be remembered as a true beacon for this community."
Friends said even though this month her illness was wearing on her from her hospital bed she was concerned about finishing her latest column.
"I don't know who can take Mary's place," said Elizabeth Gil, president of the 47th Precinct Community Council.
During meetings Lauro questioned beat cops and police commissioners equally when they cited statistics she did believe were accurate.
"Mary was a true believer in community service," Rosa said. "She could have walked away years ago but didn't."

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wakefield News: Searching for Answers

Wakefield News: Searching for Answers: Fire Destroys Shops, Injures 10 in Wakefield (Photos by David Greene) By David Greene BRONX, NEW YORK, May 6- Investig...

Searching for Answers

Fire Destroys Shops, Injures 10 in Wakefield
(Photos by David Greene)
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, May 6- Investigators continue to sift through the ashes from a devastating fire that wiped-out an entire city block, leaving a row of stores and an apartment building in ash and rubble.
Officials say at least 11 shops were destroyed in the fire that broke out at just after 6 a.m. on May 2. The fire was officially under control by 9 a.m., but firefighters would battle pockets of fire that would flare up, for most of the day.
Destroyed was a cell phone and check cashing store, a deli, a laundromat and a mosque.
Fire officials say the 5-alarm fire started in a garage on E. 225 Street and quickly spread to the shops. The bustling White Plains Road and the overhead subway were shut as the billowing black smoke could be seen for miles on a clear spring day.
Officials say 200 firefighters battled the blaze, leaving 11 with minor injuries. An 11-year old girl was also treated for smoke inhalation.   

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wakefield News: Wakefield Fire

Wakefield News: Wakefield Fire: Wakefield War Zone Fire Rips Through Businesses Could Lax Rules and Wooden Structures Been the Cause of Blaze? By Dan Gesslei...

Wakefield Fire

Wakefield War Zone
Fire Rips Through Businesses
Could Lax Rules and Wooden Structures Been the Cause of Blaze?
By Dan Gesslein
BRONX, NEW YORK, May 2- As the embers from an early morning Wakefield fire continue to smolder, merchants and residents are trying to piece together how it happened and how to rebuild.
“It looks like a war zone,” said Rev. Richard Gorman, Chairman of Community Board 12 of the damage along White Plains Road. 
Seven stores and apartment buildings as well as a mosque have been gutted by the fire that tore through the wooden structures of East 225th Street. Some 25 to 30 have been displaced by the blaze.
A meeting for merchants affected by the fire will be held at 8 a.m. tomorrow at Community Board 12.
The landlord is helping to relocate his tenants who have been displaced. In the coming days Gorman said civic leaders will work to keep the merchants in the community and help them rebuild their businesses.
“It’s going to have a huge impact. It wiped out a whole of stores,” said Councilman Andy King.
Seven businesses have been impacted including a mosque, a deli, laundromat, salon and check cashing. Fire officials are still assessing the neighboring apartment building to see if residents can return.
King, who sits on the small business committee of the NY City Council, said his office has been reaching out to other businesses in the community who can lend a hand. One of the businesses gutted by the fire is a salon. King’s office has arranged for a nearby salon to have the beauticians work out of there.
They are also working on finding space for merchants to reopen their stores. One thing King stressed was that the displaced merchants will pay market rate rents.
“We’re not going to take advantage of these merchants.”
King has already worked out a plan in which members of the mosque can have services in another house of worship in the community.
The fast moving fire started in a private garage behind the White Plains Road stores. It is unclear if the fire was a result of someone performing car repairs but Gorman said such sights are common in the area. Residents frequently work on cars, sometimes as a business and others as personal repair on the street and in the residential garages in the area.
“This points to a problem of people working on cars out of their own garage,” Gorman said.
News columnist Mary Lauro has frequently documented the problem of illegally converted apartments and people performing tasks in a residential area that they should not be. The fear that in a community of connected wooden buildings a fire could cause serious damage. 
Gorman pointed to an example of a man cooking jerk chicken on an open flame out of the back of a truck. This makeshift food truck posed a potential fire risk since the flames would rise out of the back of the truck near other cars on the street.
“You can’t do that here. People are living closer together and there are things like gas and power lines to worry about,” Gorman said. “The rules are not here to harm but to protect people.”
Gorman said the administration should take notice of how fast the wood framed stores went up in flames. Ladder 39 was two blocks away from the fire and yet the row of stores still were gutted. 
The FDNY moved Ladder 39 out of Woodlawn and up the road from the community of wood-framed houses as a cost saving measure. Gorman fears a fire would be able to spread throughout Woodlawn by the time firefighters arrive.