Thursday, February 27, 2014
Wakefield News: Romeo Santos to Play Yankee Stadium: Romeo Santos to Play Yankee Stadium Bronx Native Santos to Perform First Latin Music Concert at Stadium By Howard Goldin ...
Romeo Santos to Play Yankee Stadium
Bronx Native Santos to Perform First Latin Music Concert at Stadium
By Howard Goldin
Yankee Stadium is arguably the most iconic sports venue in the world. It is not only the home of the world renowned New York Yankees, but also hosted world class soccer matches, championship fights, football bowl games, and NHL outdoor hockey contests.
Less known, but no less important is that in Yankee Stadium, three Popes celebrated Mass, Billy Graham preached, Nelson Mandela spoke after being released from prison in South Africa, a service was held less than 2 weeks after the 9/11/2001 attack on the World Trade Center and world famous entertainers performed concerts.
A two purpose press conference was held in the Legends Club of Yankee Stadium on Monday afternoon. An announcement was made of the first Latin music concert at the current Yankee Stadium. Bronx born vocalist Anthony “Romeo” Santos, termed the “King of Bachata”, will headline the July 12 show. The second half of the conference featured Santos, seated in a chair, calmly yet animatedly answering questions regarding his newest recording, “Fórmula Vol 2”, scheduled to be released on the following day.
With a large gathering awaiting the start of the press event, Yankees President Randy Levine and COO Lonn Trost moved to seats on the stage and were followed shortly by concert promoter Felix Cabrera and Santos. The multi-platinum selling recording artist took time to pose for many photos before the conference began.
Both Yankees executives expressed the happiness and pride of the organization to present the concert in July and predicted its great success, both artistically and financially. Santos follows such superstars of the entertainment world on the stage in the current Yankee Stadium as Jay-Z and Eminem, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters and a heavy metal concert with Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax.
Levine said, “It only makes sense” that Bronx born Romeo Santos headlines the first Latin music concert at the current Yankee Stadium. He added, “Romeo Santos is going to be a giant hit here. The show will be memorable.”
Cabrera explained the number of performances that Santos sold out at Madison Square Garden and predicted, “I know he can sell out Yankee Stadium in less than one month.”
The 32-year-old singer seemed to be awed and proud to be in these surroundings. He remarked, ”I was born and raised in the Bronx, and when I walked around the streets here I always visualized coming to a game with my dad. My father is a big Yankees fane as am I, although I don’t know a great deal about sports.”
His feelings about performing a solo concert at Yankee Stadium were expressed with much emotion, “This is a dream, thanks to God, to be here. It’s a tremendous honor to present myself here in a place of such magnitude, especially in the Bronx. It’s a privilege to be the first Latino artist. I am not just representing a genre [Bachata], a culture, but Latinos. [His father is from the Dominican Republic and his mother from Puerto Rico]. It’s a big responsibility, but I won’t let you down.” He termed it, “the most important event of my career.”
Many great musical artists performed in the first Yankee Stadium such as James Brown, Stevie Wonder, the Beach Boys, U2 and Billy Joel. The most recent Latin music concert there was held on August 24, 1973 by the Fania All Stars, more than 40 years ago.
To those who are not familiar with the musical sensation, it should be said that he has worked long and hard to reach his exalted position in the music world. After singing in a church choir as a boy, he, together with his cousin and two close friends formed a vocal quartet. They began as teenagers in 1994 and signed their first recording contract in 1999. After assuming the name Aventura, they had several hit records and attained status as a superlative musical group performing the Dominican genre, Bachata.
The foursome was honored during Bronx Week in 2007 as the group’s name was added to the Bronx Walk of Fame, the greatest honor given by the borough.
In 2010, the group disbanded, so its members could pursue individual projects. Romeo Sanchez recorded his first solo album, Fórmula Vol 1, which produced a unique feat of five #1 singles. The Sony Music Latin artist was the #1 in sales of Latin music in 2009, 2010 and 2012. This fact will most likely continue in the future as Santos has the most #1 discs in Latin music in the current decade.
His new recording, which features Drake, Nicki Minaj, Carlos Santana, Marc Anthony, Tego Calderón and comedian Kevin Hart introducing it, has been eagerly awaited and should be another best seller.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
(Photos by David Greene)
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 26- For two weeks, Norwood residents have taken to social media websites as well as phoning 311 and local elected officials to complain about unpaved streets and ice covered sidewalks.
Residents began to complain after vehicles were becoming stuck on streets that had small patches of ice that looked as if the road was incorrectly or only partially plowed.
The city's 1-year-old program PlowNYC, a multi-million dollar program that outfitted snow-plows with GPS tracking devices, showed that the street's in question: Decatur and Hull Avenue's between East Mosholu Parkway and E. 204 Street, Kossuth Avenue between E. 208 Street and Mosholu Parkway and Tryon Avenue at East Gun Hill Road-- had all been cleared.
I personally learned the perils of driving on Decatur at E. 204 Street, as the undercarriage of my vehicle became wedged on a three-inch slab of solid ice, in a metered parking space outside of the U.S. Post Office.
One in such a predicament quickly becomes aware of the two-manned teams of traffic enforcement agents who wrote up tickets to any snowed-in vehicles in metered spots or no-standing zones.
Without the help of four complete strangers, neighborhood guys who used sheer strength to get me out, I think I might still be there today.
Keith Mellis, a spokesman at the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) defended his worker's and opened my eyes when he said the icy-patches were, "caused by people who throw it back into the middle of the street and we go through it with a plow and can't pick it up."
Now that made sense, but residents scored another point when they stated that if crews had put down rock salt, the ice would have melted.
Decatur and Hull Avenue's was completely cleared shortly after my inquiry however, Kossuth Avenue remained encased in two-inch blocks of ice for several more days.
Drivers have it bad but pedestrians had it worse as Mosholu Parkway resident Jennie Jones discovered walking along Van Cortlandt Avenue East and Mosholu Parkway South with her cousin.
Holding onto her cousin and careful to maintain her balance or the two women would surely fall, Jones fumed, "I think it's unfortunate that we have to walk on an icy sidewalk. My cousin here, Emily, her balance isn't so great and she almost just fell right there on the corner."
"Something needs to be done," Jones continued, "about these sidewalks where people can walk to the grocery store, which is where were going, without fear that their going to fall down and hurt themselves."
Van Cortlandt Park resident Jerry Sorensen agreed with Jones when he described his dilemma, "I live two blocks from the store and I can't get there."
Norwood residents took to Facebook about an ice covered street outside of Williamsbridge Oval Park. A television news crew aired the story, quickly prompting the shamed Bainbridge Avenue business owner into getting workers to clear the narrowest of paths.
A similar ice condition existed outside of the Williamsbridge Oval Park, one source stated the delay was caused by a jurisdictional dispute between the Parks Department and the Department of Transportation.
A New York Times article revealed a similar condition awaited strap-hangers outside of the E. 174 - E. 175 Street Station of the B and D train along the Grand Concourse.
Shortly after the article a crew from an unknown municipality cleared the section featured in the story, but left an entire sidewalk covered in ice and snow that greeted subway riders at a second exit.
No doubt a finger-pointing match of wills between the State and City Department of Transportation as the city has jurisdiction over the Grand Concourse however, the state may control a portion of the street as it's an overpass of the Cross Bronx Expressway.
The NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Department of Sanitation could also be in charge of the property.
Using the aid of a cane, Concourse senior Joseph Llanos was walking over the newly paved section of the Concourse when he explained, "When it snows it always gets icy here and they never pick it up. I don't know who cleaned it over here, someone must have complained."
Last week, the DSNY hired nearly a dozen private garbage companies who's trucks carted off tons of snow from the North Bronx to the parking lot at Orchard Beach.
Several days later, two days with the temperature flirting with the fifty-degree mark, most of the ice and snow is now gone, just in time to bring back the alternate side parking rules. I hope your car starts.
Wakefield News: Police Commish Talks to Monroe Students: Police Commish Talks to Monroe Students BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 26- NYPD Commissioner William Bratton spoke to a gathering of M...
Police Commish Talks to Monroe Students
BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 26- NYPD Commissioner William Bratton spoke to a gathering of Monroe College School of Criminal Justice students during a meeting of the Latino Officers Association in the college’s Mintz Auditorium.
After visiting with a number of Monroe administrators, the Commissioner addressed the audience of more than 275 about a variety of criminal justice issues. He also took questions from the Latino Officers members as well as Monroe students.
In response to a query about the need for the Department to work closely with local communities, the Commissioner was emphatic.
“That is such an essential element of what we need to do,” he said. “We the police can’t do it by ourselves. We need to do it in partnership. A lot of the trust we lost because of the stop question and frisk is so critical because if they don’t talk with us, trust us to use information, we can’t do it by ourselves. We need information, we need participation, and we need cooperation. And you get that by having trust.”
“We are grateful to the Latino Officers Association and Commissioner Bratton for coming to the Bronx and Monroe,” said School of Criminal Justice Dean Michele Rodney. “These kinds of activities bring the real world of education to life for our students. This will make them more enthusiastic about their studies and also give them a better sense of what they need to do to achieve when they become CJ professionals.”
Monday, February 24, 2014
Blood Pool is Bad for Biz
Three Wounded as Gunfire Erupts Along Busy Shopping Strip
(Photo by David Greene)
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 24- Dozens of residents and shoppers walking along Morris Park Avenue had to duck for cover as gunfire erupted and three people were wounded.
Police were called to Morris Park Avenue at Victor Street at just before 3 p.m., on February 19. EMS transported two teens and a 79-year-old woman who cops say was an innocent bystander.
Sources said an 18-year-old male was shot in the arm, a 19-year old-male was shot in the leg and the unidentified senior took a stray bullet to her hand. All three were removed to Jacobi Hospital and expected to recover.
One local resident stated, "I understand it was a dispute involving two groups of young men and someone just started shooting."
As police shutdown the entire street with crime scene tape, a pool of blood could be seen outside of a dollar discount store where the elderly woman was shot as she exited the store.
A baseball bat was left on the ground outside a hardware store and several shell casings littered the sidewalk outside of a multi-service agency.
Police would quickly announce the arrest of 18-year-old Christopher Lopez, who was picked-up on Morris Park Avenue on Friday morning.
Lopez was charged with three counts of attempted murder, felony assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.
Police now say that the two teen victims were the intended targets of Lopez who is said to be a member of a rival gang. Lopez has eight previous arrests.
One business owner of a local video store claims he lost $200 in business when police refused to let him meet customers on the street. The owner explained, "I cooperated as much as possible. They wanted me to close the store I had no problem with that."
The owner continued, "I told them (the police) that my customers could call me and I'd come out and give them their movie... and they wouldn't let me do that. They didn't care."
Meanwhile, local law makers have introduced new gun legislation titled, "Luisito's Law," that calls for a tougher minimum sentence for anyone who shoots a child under the age of ten or fires a weapon near a park or a school.
The legislation is named after Luis Oyola, Jr., now 3, who was wounded in the arm inside Vidalia Park last summer.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Wakefield News: Gang banger convicted in beat down: Gang banger convicted in beat down BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 21- District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced the conviction o...
Gang banger convicted in beat down
BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 21- District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced the conviction of Idelfonso Mendez, a reputed leader of the Latin Kings Goonies street gang, for his role in a gang assault which occurred on October 3, 2010.
Mendez, 26, of East 197th Street, the Bronx, pled guilty to one count of gang assault in the first degree, a Class B felony offense.
The plea was entered before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett who set sentencing for March 31, 2014 in Part 60. Under the plea agreement Mendez will be sentenced to a term of 14 years imprisonment followed by post release supervision for five years. Mendez also waived his right to appeal the conviction.
Mendez admitted that he “acted-in-concert with others with intent to cause serious physical injury to Victor Pellot, and being aided by two or more other persons actually present, did cause serious physical injury to Victor Pellot.” The assault occurred in a basement apartment at 1910 Osbourne Place where the gang members congregated.
Six other defendants were previously convicted in connection with this incident which involved three victims at two separate locations. The case against a seventh defendant, Luis Garcia, is still pending.
David Rivera, 24, of Sedgwick Avenue, pled guilty to one count of burglary in the first degree, a Class B felony offense, for his role in the gang related incident. Rivera admitted that he, acting in concert with other gang members, entered the home of two of the victims, displayed what appeared to be a gun, and took cash, credit cards, and personal property, including a television. Rivera also pled guilty to one count of robbery in the third degree, a Class D felony offense, stemming from an unrelated crime. Rivera was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Nelson Falu, 20, of Hennessey Place, pled guilty to one count of robbery in the first degree, a Class B felony offense, for his involvement in the October 3rd incident during which he admitted stealing personal property after threatening one of the victims with a baseball bat. Falu was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Elmer Confresi, 26, of Loring Place, pled guilty to one count of attempted gang assault in the first degree, a Class C felony offense. Confresi admitted that he acted-in-concert with the others to cause serious physical injury to one of the victims. Confresi was sentenced to four years in prison.
Jose Dominguez, 26, of Loring Place pled guilty to one count of attempted assault in the first degree and was sentenced to four and a half years in prison.
Ruddy Vargas, 26, of Colden Avenue, pled guilty to one count of robbery in the third degree and was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in prison.
In urging the court to accept the plea agreements in each case, Senior Trial Assistant District Attorney Theresa Gottlieb told the court the pleas were offered after lengthy consultation with the victims who wished to avoid having to testify, which might have had the effect of victimizing them again. ADA Gottlieb told the court that the People believed that the pleas served the interest of justice from society’s perspective as well as that of the victims.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Assistant District Attorney Theresa Gottlieb.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Always the Captain
Jeter on Season: It’s not about me
Derek Tried to Focus on Yanks’ Season Rather than Retirement
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 20- Derek Jeter will be missed by the New York Yankees and their fans when his wonderful career concludes this season. Others will also miss his presence, including members of the media. And there are many reasons why the media will miss Jeter.
Derek Jeter was not a friend to the dozens who followed and chronicled his career on the field the past 20 years, rather we referred to Jeter as the professional who answered every question and never ducked an issue. He appreciated this end of the baseball business, and that was displayed again Wednesday at his retirement press conference down in Tampa Florida.
This was the start of Jeter’s retirement press tour. Time and time again, he will answer similar questions as he makes the final rounds around ballparks the Yankees visit. He was patient and understanding.
Then, there was this comment showing his concern to the media: “You can go off to work if you have to.” A few seconds after commenting about his retirement decision, Jeter momentarily took notice of some reporters leaving the pavilion at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Jeter once again, as he has been so accustomed to doing, did not want to be the center of attention. He was the story, and he will be this Yankees 2014 season. But, Jeter also is aware that the media has a job to do. With those words, to those few leaving the press area, Jeter was handling business.
This is spring training, about the New York Yankees quest and hopeful return to the post season in October. This day, according to Jeter, should not be about him. However, that is the side of Derek Jeter that we have all come to know. It was again, more about the Yankees and not about Derek Jeter.
His comments were to the point:
“I feel the time is right. There are other things I want to do. Physically I feel great and I look forward to playing a full season. The thing that means the most to me is to be remembered as a Yankee. Yeah, I’m emotional. It’s kind of difficult because we still have a season to play.”0
He did not laugh. Jeter did not cry. He said it was not a retirement press conference. “I have feelings,” he said.
And there have been times when we knew Derek Jeter had feelings. There have been the many times, and many more this final season when reporters await him by his dressing quarters. At the old and new Yankee Stadiums, the proper answer would always come from the Yankee captain.
Then there was this comment, so typical of what we always get to hear when Derek Jeter speaks.
“Every time the Yankees win,” he said about his favorite career moment. That had to be the toughest answer Wednesday, but one expected from Jeter. And if everything follows the Yankees illustrious history, the Yankees biggest win will come with a sixth World Series ring in the final season for Derek Jeter.
He said, “I think it would have been more of a distraction if I did not mention it,” referring to his retirement announcement on his social media Facebook page last week.
The point is, Derek Jeter has never been a distraction. He has done everything right as a New York Yankee and playing in the New York spotlight, well he handled that like a true professional.
He especially handled it right with the media. He will be missed. The good news is we get to enjoy watching Derek Jeter play one more season and like he said, baseball is fun to play.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Snow Doesn’t Slow Down Cops
(Photo by David Greene)
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 19- The repeated snow-storms have not sidelined detectives who continue to respond too and solve local homicides.
Police officers in Morrisania were called to the Forest Houses on Friday, February 15, where Darin Capeheart, 25, who suffered from spina bifida, was shot several times in the chest outside of the E. 166 Street building and died at Lincoln Hospital.
A second victim and friend of Capeheart, described by police as a 26-year old male, was shot several times in the legs and buttocks and survived.
Just six days later police charged Bronxites Salim Wilson, 22, the suspected trigger-man and his accomplice Julio Velasquez, 20. Both men were charged with murder and attempted murder and Velasquez was also charged with possession of a weapon.
Investigators needed less than two days to solve the January 26 stabbing death of Leobardo Garcia, 29. Garcia was stabbed in the chest while visiting a building on Grant Avenue in the Concourse section.
Police have charged Pedro Torres, 32, with murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
New Mayor, Same Result: Bronx Gets Shortchanged AGAIN!
Officials blame residents for icy streets
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 12- Residents may not know if theirs is a tertiary or secondary street, but you don't have to be a genius to know that the city's new web site to track snow removal is a flop.
Residents in Norwood realized that when New York City's PlowNYC web site showed their area was plowed however, several secondary streets were not plowed enough or missed completely after two storms battered the area over three days.
Norwood residents took to Facebook after snowplows left a narrow path and large patches of ice along Decatur and Hull Avenues between East Mosholu Parkway North and E. 204 Street-- causing more than a few vehicles to become stuck.
Shortly after the latest storm of February 5, PlowNYC reported the roadway's were clear. The following Thursday angry residents took to the social media web site that apparently generated calls to both 311 and Councilman Andrew Cohen's office.
The source, who noticed the problem when she attempted to assist an elderly woman cross one of the ice covered streets, recalled, "They came and plowed, but I called them again and said it wasn't good enough, so they came back."
Sources say a plow again returned late Monday and eventually cleared the roadway.
Unpaved streets were also reported along Kossuth Avenue as well as Tryon Avenue, both in the Norwood section.
Meanwhile, traffic agents appeared to be engaged in a ticket blitz as two-man teams patrolled down Bainbridge Avenue and across E. 204 Street, converging on any vehicle in a no standing zone or metered spot.
The two-manned teams of ticket writers were also spotted in force in the Morris Park, Tremont and Fordham sections as hundreds of cars remain encased in blocks of solid ice two or three feet deep.
PlowNYC has been tracking the progression of snow removal by the Department of Sanitation of New York (DSNY) since Feb, 2013 and was created in response to the snow removal fiasco of 2010.
The PlowNYC program outfitted 1,700 plows and salt spreaders with GPS tracking devices that send the information to a central computer that uploads the information to an on-line map.
Keith Mellis, a spokesman at DSNY defended the department, claiming, "The block had been plowed by DSNY," but added that the situation was caused by careless residents.
Mellis claimed, "It's caused by people who throw it back into the
middle of the street and we go through with a plow and can't pick it up."
He explained that the tossed ice becomes embedded into the blacktop by passing vehicles.
Pleading with the public for cooperation, Mellis, now gearing up for the next storm, urged, Please don't put it back in the street."
Monday, February 10, 2014
Wakefield News: Former Gang Bangers Reach Out to Stop Gun Violence...: Former Gang Bangers Reach Out to Stop Gun Violence BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 10- A cutting-edge statewide gun and gang violence p...
Posted by Bronx News at 10:51 AM
Former Gang Bangers Reach Out to Stop Gun Violence
BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 10- A cutting-edge statewide gun and gang violence prevention program – Operation SNUG – received a $300,000 award from State Senator Jeff Klein to operate in The Bronx’s Jacobi Medical Center. The hospital also generously chipped in another $50,000 to the anti-gun violence effort.
Operation SNUG – guns spelled backwards – is an aggressive, on the ground program that brings reformed gang members and criminals to hotbed street corners to teach their hard-learned lessons to troubled youths. Acting as “violence interrupters” these individuals will be on the front lines, facing down potentially violent confrontations in some of New York City’s toughest neighborhoods. Expanding on the program’s past success, violence interrupters will be on the ground in the Bronx to mediate disputes before guns are drawn.
Senator Klein was the only elected official in New York City to secure SNUG funding for his district in 2014. The new program builds on the anti-gun momentum Senator Klein began last year when he co-authored and helped passed the NY SAFE Act, a new law which finally gives New York the toughest gun laws in the country.
“I’m proud that I was able to deliver $300,000 to the people in the Bronx who need this program the most. SNUG’s aggressive and proven approach makes it clear to our young people that guns and gang violence do not need to be a way of life,” said Senator Klein. “Our violence interrupters can reach these kids in a way that no one else can. Their inspiring stories teach kids that gun violence is not worth the tragedy and jail time that too often tear apart our communities. This initiative, along with the NY SAFE Act, are essential tools in our fight to eliminate gun violence,” Klein added.
The state’s Division of Criminal Services (DCJS) selected Jacobi Medical Center Auxiliary, Inc. to run the Operation SNUG program. Thanks to Senator Klein’s advocacy, the Bronx was one of only seven areas selected across the state for part of $2.18 million in funding for the initiative this year.
The funds present an exciting opportunity for Jacobi Medical Center to take an active role in the community it serves.
“More and more hospitals have to operate without walls. The funds we have obtained through DCJS and Senator Klein’s office will allow us to have a community based Injury Prevention program. Now our Auxiliary will be able to help patients in many more ways than ever before. Additional resources including violence interrupters, focused recreational programs, clinical social work intervention and follow-up will provide us with the opportunity to take preemptive measures and ensure that young adults are safe from violence” said William P. Walsh, Executive Director of Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital.
Violence interrupters will target areas that are known to police as breeding grounds of violence, places where, unfortunately, problems have in the past been solved by guns.
“As a doctor, I have seen too many kids killed or maimed for life as a result of the senseless destruction of bullets. I became an activist because treating wounds just wasn’t enough, we need to attack this problem at is source. Thanks to this DCJS grant and Senator Klein’s efforts, we’ll be able to do just that. Approaching the gun violence epidemic with a community-centered violence prevention program is the most effective way of ensuring these kids never get injured or have to cross through the doors of our Emergency Room.‘ said Dr. Sheldon Teperman; Trauma Service Director and Board Member of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.
“Empirical evidence shows that hospital-based interventions are extremely effective. This new program and the research it produces will allow us not only to gain an insight to those who are affected by gun violence but also to make an impact on these individuals lives,” added Dr. Stephen Blumberg.
The program could shield another mother from the agony that Elizabeth Thompson went through when her 19-year-old son, Shawn Lamont Williams, was fatally shot nearby her Bronx home.
“As a mother who has lost a child, I’m doing everything in my power to prevent another parent from enduring the same pain I have experienced. A Bronx SNUG program may be too late for my son, but if it saves one young person’s life it’s worth every penny. Thank you Senator Klein for listening,” said Thompson, member of North Central Bronx Hospital’s Community Advisory Board and a member of the North Bronx/Westchester Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, Inc.
Some of the violence interrupters will be recruited by a local pastor, who has experience in counseling high risk youth.
“This is a very significant program that we are bringing to The Bronx. In my line of work I eulogize a lot of young men from street violence. I believe that this is a way that we can save lives. This program will be a definite blessing to the community,” said Rev. Joseph Gooding of Fellowship Tabernacle Ministries.
Operation SNUG was heralded by Community Precinct Councils across the borough, Community Board No. 10 and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Gunmen Chicken Out?
By Dan Gesslein
BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 6- Maybe they should have just ordered the combo deal. A pair of crooks who tried to rob a Morrisania takeout restaurant left empty handed but left cops with some good images of the gunmen.
At around 1 a.m. on January 25, two men walked into the Kennedy Fried Chicken on East 169th Street and demanded cash. One of the men pulled out a handgun and tried to rob the takeout joint but left empty handed.
Police released surveillance video of the attempted stickup. Both men wore hoodies but only one covered his face. The gunman wore a scarf or ski mask over his mouth but his accomplice did not. His face is seen on the video appearing to talk into a cell phone before the holdup.
The thieves are described as two men in their 20s. Anyone with information is urged to call CRIMESTOPPERS at (800) 577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
All calls are strictly confidential.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Open Season on ‘Obama’
Impersonator Denied Justice in Presidential Assault
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 5- Despite the not-guilty verdict there will be no presidential pardons granted here, no coming together at a beer garden.
Louis Ortiz, a Puerto Rican who thinks it was his uncanny resemblance of President Barack Obama that had placed a target on his back on that night in question-- and it apparently did not help him with a judge who decided in favor of the Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) Sergeant accused of cold-cocking him inside a Bronx deli.
Ortiz, the moonlighting Obama-double formerly of the Morris Park section who has been featured in commercials, rap videos and spoofs imitating the president, claims he was minding his own business inside the J & R Deli in Morris Park, when he and HHC Sergeant Romeo Vairo got into the dispute in the wee-hours of December 26, 2009.
"He was found not guilty," Ortiz grimly recalled hours after Acting Supreme Court Justice Joseph Dawson's decision was announced late Thursday, January 17.
He continued, "You don't know the hell I went through when I heard the news."
Ortiz, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, suffered a bruise under his cheek in the brief skirmish and claims he has suffered from headaches ever since.
Feeling that the dice was loaded against him from the start, Ortiz says he called officers from the nearby 49th Precinct, who refused to make a report against Vairo. Ortiz also charged that officers told him a report would be made when he went to the Eastchester Road station-house two-days later.
Eventually, Ortiz got the ball rolling with calls to the Internal Affairs Division, HHC, the Inspector General and the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
The dispute, Vairo slugging Ortiz and Ortiz retaliating by striking Vairo on the chin with a grapefruit was believed to have all been caught on store surveillance video. However, the video mysteriously disappeared and was never introduced at the trial.
Ortiz says, "The NYPD lied to me and I tried to prove that and they put up that blue wall of silence."
Ortiz, who received immunity from tossing the grapefruit at Vairo, in exchange for his testimony-- Ortiz was facing a class b-felony and still must answer to a disorderly conduct charge that is expected to be dismissed by the Bronx DA.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Osman Abbasi who was assisted by special prosecutor Peter Kennedy, both men with the Bronx DA's Rackets Bureau.
Speaking of Abbasi, Ortiz recalled, "He truly felt bad that the case went the way it did, he thought the judge didn't believe me when I said that I didn't mean to provoke him."
Ortiz then asks, "If a citizen verbally engages an officer is the correct response a right hook?"
Justice Dawson may have also struggled with Ortiz' decision of waiting nearly 12-hours before seeking medical attention, before deciding the bench trial that lasted a little over a week.
The Bronx District Attorney's office stated that they could not comment on the case because it had been sealed.
A source at the Bronx District Attorney's office offered, "Since the defendant was acquitted everything related to the case is sealed and we are not able to discuss anything."
Vairo was found not guilty of assault, harassment, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing and official misconduct and will apparently be going back to his job at Jacobi Hospital.
Sergeant Romeo Vairo, who did not take the stand in his own defense, has been with the HHC police since 1987.
Contacted by telephone, defense attorney Bert Oberlander stated, "He was acquitted of all charges yesterday and he's looking forward to getting back to work and getting on with his life."
"Mr. Ortiz wasn't credible," Oberlander continued, "His story was fabricated from the beginning and I think the court determined that in the courts decision."
Oberlander also stated that no video was retrieved by investigators, adding, "There was no video of any incident or anything recorded in the store."
However, the deli in question has had a state-of-the-art video system since before the incident took place.
Despite the headaches, Ortiz is getting on with his life as well as he is starring in a new reality show he co-created titled, "South Bronx" that began shooting in Westchester Square on January 17 and is expected to debut on YouTube.
Ortiz recently screened his new bio-flick, "The Audacity of Louis Ortiz," by Brooklyn filmmaker Ryan Murdock and expects to be participating in this months Fashion Week festivities.
In 2010 an official from HHC stated that Vairo was suspended without pay, however HHC officials now say Vairo had been suspended with pay since the incident took place.
HHC stated that Vairo earned $47,560.50 for 2013.
Posted by Bronx News at 9:23 AM