Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Senator Jeff Klein Announces Re-election Bid

   With over 200 friends, community activists, community board members, and fellow elected officials State Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein announced his intention to run for another term in the state senate. The elected officials who came to support Senator Klein were Current Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., former Bronx BP Freddy Ferrer, State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. Assembly members Mike Benedetto, Marcos Crespo, Mark Gjonaj, Jose Rivera, and Luis Sepulveda, Council members Fernando Cabrera, Ritchie Torres and Jimmy Vacca. Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Carl Heastie conveyed his support through Bronx BP Diaz due to the illness of his daughter. The only elected official missing from the 34th district was Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz of Riverdale where Senator Klein's possible opponent former Councilman Oliver Koppell is also from.
   As you will see in the photos below there was only high praise for the job that State Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein has done from every elected official who spoke. Councilman Ritchie Torres the Rookie of the elected officials said that it is Jeff Klein who I look up to. State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. spoke the longest since he is in the senate with Senator Jeff Klein, and Diaz Sr. said that he has seen Klein work with both sides of the isle to get things done adding just like it is done in Washington. Former Bronx BP Ferrer said that he appointed Jeff Klein to his first position, that being as a community board member. Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. gave his endorsement of Senator Klein yesterday at the press conference with Mayor de Blasio in the Riverdale section of the 34th district when he said that the Pre-K initiative was made possible because of the efforts of Jeff Klein. Mayor de Blasio said the same thing, but when asked if he was supporting Senator Klein for re-election, while trying to skirt the question the mayor did not say yes, but he did not say no.The best line from an elected official had to come from Assemblyman Mike Benedetto when he said "Thank God we have Jeff Klein".

Left - You can see the packed house for Senator Klein.
Right - Councilman Jimmy Vacca has only words of praise for his long time friend Jeff Klein.

Left - Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. speaks of the accomplishments that Senator Jeff Klein has done.
Right - Senator Ruben Diaz sr. Talks about what it is like in Albany under the leadership of Jeff Klein.

Both Bronx Borough President welcome Senator Klein to the podium to address the hundreds gathered.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio Visits Riverdale Pre-K Site

  Mayor Bill deBlasio came to Riverdale to visit one of the longest running Pre-K site that has successfully been in operation since the 1940's according to Daniel Eudene the Executive Director of the Riverdale Neighborhood Neighborhood House. Currently 70 children are being served with half day Pre-K that will increase to full day Pre-K starting at the beginning of the new school year in September. As he arrive Mayor de Blasio stopped to chat with Ms. Melissa Shields mother of a soon to be Pre-K child and her one year old sister. The mayor and the local elected officials then toured the Riverdale Neighborhood House to see the Pre-K program in action. They also learned that the RNN is also a teen after school center and much more.
  The mayor and other elected officials then came outside to discuss what they had seen and just what the mayor's Pre-K program was all about. As he spoke Mayor de Blasio thanked State Senator Jeff Klein in getting the funding put into the state budget after the mayor was unable to have a Pre-K tax passed in Albany. Senator Klein said as Co-Leader of the state senate that he was not going to approve a state budget that did not have a Pre-K plan in it. Klein and other elected officials who spoke said that when children go through a Pre- K class that the students do better in school than others who do not receive the benefit of a Pre-K class. 
  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. echoed Senator Klein's words with the story of his two children who received a Pre-K program, and now both are in college with one graduating soon. Riverdale Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Councilman Andrew Cohen were also on hand, and both gave examples of the virtue of the Pre[-K program.
  The deadline for public school sign up was Wednesday April 23rd, but with many public schools not having enough space (if any) Community Based Organizations such as RNN will be called upon to fill the over 50,000 Pre-K seats that are projected for the beginning 0f the September 2014 school year. Mayor de Blasio said that when the Pre-K program is fully implemented in its second year that 70,000 Pre-K seats will be available citywide.

Left - Mayor Bill de Blasio chats with Mellisa Shields mother of 3 1/2 year old  Isabella and 1 year old Zoey.
Right - Mayor de Blasio explains the Pre-K plan as Senator Jeff Klein watches with Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. and schools chancellor Carmen Farina also in the photo.

Left - State Senate Co-Leader  Jeff Klein speaks about how he would not approve a state budget that did not include the funding for the Pre-K program by Mayor de Blasio.
Right - Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. tells of the success story in his family of his two children going to college. He adds that it was the Pre-K program that they attended that built the solid educational foundation for them.
RNN Executive Director Daniel Eudene explains the success of the RNN Pre-K program that dates back to the 1940's. It currently has 70 children in its Pre-K program. 


  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. issued a negative recommendation on the proposed construction of a new City Island Bridge. The recommendations come as part of the borough president’s charter mandated responsibilities in the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).

“The entire process surrounding the planning and construction of this bridge has been flawed from the very start,” said Borough President Diaz. “The previous administration simply ignored the valid criticisms of the residents of City Island regarding this project, and I cannot support its construction at this time.”

Borough President Diaz noted that he was pleased that Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was reevaluating the current project, specifically looking to see if the current plan can be swapped for a more muted, scaled-down design that is more in line with community suggestions.

“Without question I believe this entire matter could have been better addressed by the previous administration.  The ushering in of a new administration, however, provides an opportunity to address the current bridge design.   I am committed in pursuing an alternative vision for the City Island Bridge, which has for so long been sought by the City Island community,” stated Borough President Diaz in his ULURP recommendation.

The complete ULURP recommendation can be read at: http://on.nyc.gov/1ixUD51.

“My office will continue to work with Commissioner Trottenberg and the Department of Transportation, local elected officials and the City Island community to develop a reasonable solution to this issue,” said Borough President Diaz.

Mayor de Blasio to Visit Riverdale Pre-K

  The Daily Politics is reporting that Mayor Bill de Blasio will be visiting a Riverdale Pre-K with State Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein this afternoon. The Pre-K location was not identified in the story, and it was also said that there would be a press conference after the visit.

  Stare Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein was the first to agree with the de Blasio Pre-K tax plan. After the tax hike failed Klein continued to rally on behalf of the mayor for Pre-K and after school programs that were put into the recently passed state budget. 

  Check back later for more information on what happened.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

DiNapoli Halts $24 Million in Suspicious Tax Refunds

  New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced that his office stopped more than $24 million in questionable personal income tax refunds so far in 2014, after finding 7,482 improper filings –an 18 percent rise from last year. To date, DiNapoli's office audited and approved 4.8 million state refund requests totaling $4.3 billion.  Another 346,000 refund requests totaling $352.5 million are expected to be paid in the coming days.
“Those who break the rules will not profit at others’expense,”DiNapoli said. “Tax cheats are continually coming up with new schemes to get money they aren’t entitled to. My office works diligently to make sure only legitimate refunds are paid.”
DiNapoli’s office audits all New York state bills prior to payment, including personal income tax refunds. The majority of questionable returns were filed by taxpayers who claimed refundable credits based on incorrect information such as fake or inflated number of dependents or understated income.
Questionable personal income tax refunds stopped to date include:
Reason for Stopping Tax Refund
Number of Refunds
Dollar Value of Refunds
Taxpayer claimed ineligible refundable credits (e.g., fake or inflated number of dependents or understated income)
Tax preparer submitted returns with refundable credits based on incorrect information
Taxpayer had questionable social security number
Taxpayer failed to claim correct income
Taxpayer had questionable itemized deductions
Taxpayer claimed incorrect wages and withholding tax
Total Refunds Stopped
The Comptroller issued a separate report summarizing the results of his office’s audit of refunds during the period January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013.  During that year, DiNapoli’s auditors stopped 12,746 questionable refunds totaling over $93.3 million.  Of the $93.3 million in questionable refunds, DiNapoli's auditors estimated their efforts produced $62.6 million in savings.

Upcoming cultural events at JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center in late April and May 2014:

  Fri. Apr. 25th: “You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet”: The Life and  Times of Al Jolson by Jan Hernstadt, Pres. of the International Al Jolson Society, will present live vocal music plus video clips at 1:00 PM. Delectable kosher lunch served at 12:15 PM. Recommended senior meal contribution is $2.00 and $1.00 event contribution.
 Sun. Apr. 27th for FELICITAS, a play with music written and performed by Libby Skala with music written and performed on mandolin by Steven May. The true story of the youngest of three Austrian-emigre sisters born under the Hapsburg Empire, a sought-after baby nurse who showers gentle love on newborns and tough love on parents, while working to balance her personal life with her professional devotion. A nutritious kosher lunch will be served at 12:15 PM followed by FELICITAS at 1:00 PM. Recommended senior meal contribution is $3.00 plus $2.00 for event. Non senior meal contribution is $6.15 and $3.00 for event.

  Sun. May 4th: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Chameleon, a music group that performs the traditional music of Latin America including Brazilian choros, walzes, sambas; Venezuelan joropos, meringues; Argentinian tangos; Colombian cumbias and music from Cuba, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Performance at 1:00 PM. Recommended senior meal contribution (Moroccan sole) is $3.00 plus $2.00 for event. Non senior meal fee is $6.15 and $3.00 for event.

  Thurs. May 8th: aTmA Duo: violinists Allyson and Melissa will perform classical and pop duets in celebration of Mother’s Day at 1:00 PM. Recommended senior meal contribution is $2.00 plus $1.00 for event. Non senior meal fee is $6.15 and $2.00 for event.

  New Music & Memories Course with Yael Acher, Musician/Educator starts on Wed. May 14th at 11:00 AM. View dvd's of legendary performances by musicians, orchestras,ensembles across many genres and share your responses and experiences with other participants.

  Wed. May 21st Belated Israel Independence Day celebration with the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale Community Choir at 6:30 PM preceded by an ethnic dinner at 5:30 PM. Recommended senior meal contribution (chicken cutlet Francaise) is $3.00 plus $2.00 for event. Non senior meal fee is $6.15 and $3.00 for event.

  Thurs. May 29th: The Meetles, a Rock Tribute Band will play 50’s and 60’s rock classics at 1:00 PM. Recommended senior meal contribution is $2.00 plus $1.00 for event. Non senior meal fee is $6.15 and $2.00 for event.

Please call in special event meal reservations to the senior center office 718-549-4700 in advance.
A nutritious kosher lunch is served at 12:15 PM daily.

Please call the center office for specific menu information. An alternate meal choice is available daily. Daily recommended senior meal contribution is $2.00.

  JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center offers Senior Fitness on Mon., Exercise, Tai Chi and Ballroom Dance on Tues., Gentle Exercise and Flowing Yoga on Wed. PM, Yoga on Thurs. and Tone & Stretch on Fri. All exercise instructors are certified. Call the center at 718-549-4700 for dates and times of these classes.

  All meals at JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center are catered by Mauzone (kosher) Meal Service. We offer a daily alternate choice of main dish. Refreshments are served at all cultural arts events.

  We are located in the Van Cortlandt Jewish Center at 3880 Sedgwick Ave. (on the first floor). Take the Bronx #1, 2 or 10 bus to the intersection of Sedgwick Ave. and Van Cortlandt Ave. West. For more information, please call the center office at 718-549-4700.

  JASA Van Cortlandt Senior Center is funded by NYC Dept. for the Aging, UJA- Federation of NY and by special grants from  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Bunny Comes to Allerton Avenue

  No it was not an escaped animal from the Bronx Zoo, but the Easter Bunny that was spotted on Allerton Avenue this morning.  This Easter Bunny was looking for children to help paint Easter eggs and have their photos taken with the Easter Bunny. 

Left - As the Easter Bunny walked down the street there were children and parents who greeted the Easter Bunny.
Right - Children are painting their Easter eggs.
Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj who was sponsoring the event holds a proud little girl who is showing off the Easter egg she made.
Here the Easter Bunny is with Assemblyman Gjonaj, Bronx Democratic County Organization Executive Director Iashia Bravo, and her son.