Saturday, November 16, 2013

Con Edison - "Dig They Must"

  On Wednesday November 13th Con Edison started construction on a high pressure gas line to replace a 100+ years old gas line on West 238th Street in Riverdale. What should have been a three day construction project ending on Friday (as I was told) has lasted into the weekend and will not be done for at least another 4 or 5 days. Of course Con Edison has hired a contractor since it would be to costly to Con Ed to have their own workers do the work. 

  Having been on the scene several days and taking many photos of what has gone on I can not believe the lack of concern on Con Edison's part. The contractor for Con Ed has closed the street to any metered parking on both sides of West 238th Street between Riverdale Avenue and Greystone Avenue. West 238th Street has been closed during the day to southbound traffic from Riverdale Avenue. As you will see in the photos below huge gas piping is strewn on the side of the road, on the sidewalk, and even resting on the city street light poles. Northbound West 238th Street finally was closed at Greystone Avenue after the contractor was detouring vehicles  into Fieldston Road (a one way street) against traffic.

  Dozens of vital parking spots to the merchants on Riverdale Avenue, and nighttime parking spaces to the community, not to mention the dollars that are being lost to the city as these metered spaces can not be used. The roadbed will also have to be repaved as the patchwork done by Con Ed will soon become loose causing potholes and exposing the heads of the gas mains to the plows of the sanitation trucks. All this and no notification to the residents and merchants of the area affected by this construction work as to when it would start, how long it would last, and when it would end. This matter will be taken up at the Community Board 8 Joint Traffic & Transportation/ Environment & Sanitation committees meeting on Tuesday Night - 7:30 PM at the Riverdale Y located on at 5625 Arlington Avenue off West 256th Street.
Click on any photo to enlarge it.


Left - This is what greeted you as you tried to make a left turn onto West 238th Street from Riverdale Avenue.
Right - The trench dug by Con Ed on West 238th Street.


Left - In the daylight.
Right - In the dark at night.


Left - More piping and other equipment.
Right - The roadbed will never be the same as chunks of the upper base are now missing to be filled in by tar that will leave potholes in a few months.

Left - A view from across the street.
Right - A view looking down the street showing the piping on the sidewalk. I don't remember those cracks in the sidewalk at the base of the street light.

Left - High pressure gas line with main, but why was this section marked Valentine Avenue put on Riverdale Avenue?
Right - Work done by Con Edison on West 238th Street and Waldo Avenue 6 - 8 months ago for a high pressure gas conversion at the Manhattan College Dorm there. Is this what the entire streech of West 238th Street from Riverdale Avenue to Waldo Avenue will look like?

Senator Klein Graffiti Clean up in 45th Pct.

Jeffrey D. Klein

 State Senator Jeff Klein & 45th Pct. Commander Capt. James R. McGeown in their regular attire.

  However as you will see in the photos below both were dressed in jeans along with the Chairman & District Manager of Community Board 10, and many others volunteers who helped rid the 45th Pct. of some of its graffiti. 

  Gallons of paint, cans of graffiti remover, boxes of gloves, dozens of paint brushes and rollers, greeted the volunteers at the 45th Pct. when they met and Senator Klein addressed the problem . Klein said that as soon as graffiti is put up photos must be taken for evidence to ID the person who did it. The next step is to get rid of the graffiti, and go to the District Attorney for prosecution of the offender. Sen. Klein added that his court monitoring program then sits in on cases to let the judge know that the community wants more than just a slap on the wrist to the offender, they want that person off the streets in jail.

  Senator Klein presented citations to Mr. John Rebetto and Mr. Sidney Flores for their excellent work in helping to rid the community of graffiti. 


 Left - Senator Jeff Klein stresses the importance of wiping out graffiti as soon as it appears.
Right - Senator Klein, 45th Pct. Captain James R. McGeown with Mr. Flores and Mr. Rebetto.


Left - the paint and supplies that greeted the clean up volunteers - Right.


Left - Senator Klein mans the wall roller as he paints over some recent graffiti on an underpass of the Cross Bronx Expressway.
Right - CB 10 District Manager Kenneth Kearns puts the roller to the wall.


Left - CB 10 Chairman John Marano climbs up along the highway to paint over this graffiti.
Right - What the wall now looks like after being painted over.

Bronx LGBTQ Center Wants to Talk to Cardinal Spellman High School

  This comes from the New Bronx LGBTQ Center who are expressing their desire to engage in dialogue with Cardinal Spellman High School regarding its intention to have a speaker from an organization that advocates "treating" LGBTQ individuals to "cure" their "gay addiction" using principles of 12-step programs address the school.

  The new Bronx LGBTQ Center is deeply concerned after learning that Cardinal Spellman High School has invited Father Donald Timone to speak at its school about LGBTQ issues.
While we respect freedom of speech, we do not respect bullying and hate speech, especially when it negatively impacts the lives of at-risk teenagers. Fr. Timone's misinformed and unenlightened rhetoric adds to the toxic environment that drives so many LGBTQ youth to despair—and beyond.
"No educational institution should be so irresponsible as to invite someone whose entire approach to LGBTQ individuals is based on bad science. Exodus International, a Christian ministry that formerly advocated attempts to 'pray away the gay' (i.e. conversion therapy), recently disbanded after admitting that a person's sexual orientation cannot be changed and that reparative therapy is in fact harmful," Peter C. Frank, the Center's secretary stated.
Fr. Timone is affiliated with COURAGE, an organization that treats gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people as addicts curable by participation in a 12-step program, instead of accepting and respecting them as the loving individuals they are. Courage's "free speech" promotes self-loathing among LGBTQ individuals and encourages others to hate LGBTQ people simply for being who they are, thus putting them at a greater risk of being bullied.
We strongly condemn the notion that being LGBTQ can be "treated" with 12-step programs or by any other method. Mr. Frank added, "Cardinal Spellman High School should instead, like Pope Francis's recent statements, be sending a message of love, inclusion, and acceptance.”

We join with LGBTQ spiritual leaders in calling for dialogue with Fr. Timone and the Archdiocese of New York, as these types of belief systems lead to violence and homelessness.
Rev. Carmen Hernandez
We at the Bronx LGBTQ Center want all youth to know that you are fine just as you are. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, whether you're straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. We accept and celebrate you for who you are," Rev. Carmen Hernandez, a board member of the Center, said.
"The Bronx LGBTQ Center is a safe space for all who are struggling with issues of sexual orientation or gender identity. Our Youth Group meets at 4pm every Friday at Union Community Health Center, 260 East 188th Street, 5th Floor, the Bronx," Mr. Frank noted.

Bronx Democratic County Holiday Celebration

Chairman Carl E. Heastie,
Bronx Democratic County Committee
& Bronx Young Democrats
Cordially invite you to our
2013 BDCC 
Holiday Celebration
When: December 9th, 2013
Where: UFT Bronx Headquarters
2500 Halsey Street
Bronx, NY 10461
Time: 6:00PM – 9:00PM
PLEASE CALL 718 - 679 -9000 OR
The BDCC Holiday Party is a free event and open to Bronx Residents.

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj Job Fair

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj
Proudly Presents the For those looking for Employment, Networking Opportunities, or a Change of Career
This is the place for you!
Please join us for a Community Resource Fair!
Take your career into a new direction and unite ability with opportunity
Tuesday December 3, 2013
4:30pm - 8:30pm
Bronx House
990 Pelham Parkway South
Our Partners:
Companies participating will be looking for full - time, part - time, and internship positions.
Please attend in professional attire and bring at least 25 resumes with you.
For Sponsorship/Participation Information:
(718) 828 - 8228
For Additional Information:
(718) 409 - 0109
Open to all ages and experience levels.
2013 Job Fair

Friday, November 15, 2013


   At its Stated Meeting on Thursday, November 14, 2013, the Council approved a bill, co-sponsored by Council Member Oliver Koppell, to permanently change the name of “South Road,” between Merrick Boulevard and Remington Street in Queens, to Tuskegee Airmen Way and to amend the New York City Map accordingly.
The Tuskegee Airmen were African-American pilots who fought in World War 11 and were the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces.  In total, 996 pilots were trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama from 1941 to 1945 with approximately 445 men deployed overseas.
The Tuskegee Airmen, who were known as Red Tails because of the distinctive red paint predominately applied on the tail section of their aircrafts, had an impressive combat record. They were credited with 15,533 combat sorties and 1478 missions flown. 150 Tuskegee Airmen, including 66 pilots, lost their lives in accidents or combat, and 32 fell into captivity as prisoners of war. They received numerous awards and decorations for valor and performance, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.
Koppell said, “Not only have the Tuskegee Airmen been recognized for their bravery, they have  also been recognized for helping spur the desegregation of the United States Military and their contributions during the Civil Rights movement.”
Surviving members still take part in educating and inspiring youth at the Queens Library Center in Jamaica and at York College.  In 2009, York College opened an exhibition consisting of photographs, a replica of the Congressional Gold medal, a replica of the P-51 Mustang with its distinctive “Red Tail” and a life-sized statue of a Tuskegee Airman.   
“I feel privileged to have as a constituent Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, a Tuskegee Airman and former President of Bronx Community College. He is someone of whom I have always been very proud and I am pleased that the Council has voted to acknowledge his service and that of his fellow airmen by naming a street in their honor,” Koppell said.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Obama Takes Hit For Poor Roll-Out of the Affordable Health Care Act

  In a press conference today President Obama admitted that he thought the Affordable Health Care Act would be rolled out with only minor glitches. The President said that a fix of having Americans continue with their current coverage, "even if the coverage does not meet the standards of the AHCA" for one year. He spoke for over one hour answering the many questions that were asked of him. 

  The President however opened the meeting by discussing the tragedy that had occurred in the Philippines, and what the United States was doing to help the people of the Philippines.

  It is believed that continued pressure from Democrats who were beginning to hear from their constitutes that their health care was being or had been cancelled due to the roll-out of Obama Care. Calls also were that it was very hard for people to get thru so they could enroll for the new Affordable Health Care. One new problem with this new fix is how are Insurance companies going to undo cancellations that were already done?

  Here is a link to a story in the Washington Post with the full transcript of the news conference by President Obama.



Bronx Chamber Logo 
President & CEO of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce
Lenny Caro, Ph.D
to be honored by
on Thursday, November 21st
at the Marina del Rey

With any questions, please contact


  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. released the final report of his Community Board District Office Management Taskforce, outlining various ways that the borough’s 12 Community Boards can work together to improve service delivery for the residents of the Bronx.

“Our community boards are often the first line of defense when it comes to our neighborhoods, be it concerns over new development, quality of life and the many other issues that the 1.4 million residents of this borough care about, and are focused on every day,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “This report outlines some new ideas that can make our borough’s community boards, which already play a major role in the lives of the people of the Bronx, even more relevant.”

"Like the City and Borough we are comprised of the role, image, and function of the Community Boards has changed and evolved over time.  Our charge from the Borough President has been to analyze the constantly evolving roll of the Community Boards and provide our recommendations to adapt this crucial element of our city governance to accurately reflect a modern dynamic,” said Jose Rodriguez, District Manager of Bronx Community Board #4 and chairman of the task force.  “As such, it is the assessment of this Task Force that the aforementioned recommendations take the most effective and cost efficient approach in ensuring the stability and function of the Community Boards while increasing services and the manner in which they are delivered.  The recommendations highlighted provide a multi-disciplined approach including policy, social service, and technology.  It is the belief of this Task Force that this multi-pronged approach is vital to promote the continued growth and success of our city and Borough."

The full report features a number of recommendations regarding Bronx Community Boards and service delivery on a variety of topics, including land use, improved service delivery, board member training and improved social media use, in order to better inform both board members and the community at large.

The full report can be read at:
Under the New York City Charter, Community Boards have specific responsibilities relating to the delivery of municipal services, the city budget, land use and zoning.   The Taskforce will examine how the delivery of city services has changed over the last 10 years and make recommendations on how Community Boards can leverage these developments to improve oversight, execution and equity.

The duties of board member include participating in recommendations regarding city budget priorities that affect the social, economic, health and safety needs of the community.  Members also advise government agencies and elected officials on matters relating to the welfare of the district and its residents.   


City to Recoup $50 Million and Achieve $10 Million in Additional Savings
Following Delays on Component of Emergency 911 Call-Taking System

  Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Comptroller John C. Liu today announced that Verizon (NYSE: VZ) will repay the City $50 million to settle cost overruns caused by the company’s delays on the Emergency Communications Transformation Program project and work with the City to provide up to an additional $10 million of cost savings achieved through a knowledge transfer program over the term of Verizon’s renewal agreement with the City. In 2006, the City hired Verizon to develop and maintain software that handles call transferring for the new 911 calling system. When Verizon fell behind on delivering the software, known as VESTA, because it did not meet the City’s rigorous testing standards, the City ceased payments for the delivery until a settlement was reached to compensate for the delay.

“With this settlement, Verizon is compensating the City for the considerable costs associated with the delay of a key component of the new 911 system,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Since that component was finally delivered in December 2011, the City’s state-of-the-art 911 system has successfully handled more than 21 million calls, and we look forward to continuing to work with Verizon as we complete the first comprehensive overhaul of the system in more than forty years.”

“Taxpayers should be confident that when companies do not live up to their commitments we hold them financially accountable and this agreement delivers what taxpayers deserve,” said Comptroller Liu. “Transferring a significant portion of E911 operations to our talented City workforce will not only save $10 million in taxpayer money but also ensure that we are no longer reliant on high-priced outside consultants for public safety. An added benefit of this cash settlement is that it will provide a much-needed and immediate $50 million cash infusion to our Fiscal Year 2014 budget.”

As part of the approved agreement announced today:

·         Verizon will pay $50 million to compensate the City for the delay it cost taxpayers.
·         Verizon will work with the City to provide up to an additional $10 million of cost savings over the next four years as part of a “knowledge transfer” program. This innovative collaboration, between Verizon and the Mayor’s Office of Citywide Emergency Communications, will provide City employees with the requisite skills and training to assume significant responsibilities associated with the operations and maintenance of the VESTA system.
·         The City will issue a Request for Information to understand the latest public safety technology offerings from a broad base of suppliers to ensure that E911 continues to use state-of-the-art hardware and software that requires as little customization as possible to serve the needs of the largest 911 system in the United States.
As part of its planned scope of work that began earlier this year, the City is also expanding on-site locker rooms and eating space, to enhance working conditions for personnel at the Public Safety Answering Center in Brooklyn.


  Bronx Chamber Logo

We are proud to announce that our
Chairman Joseph Kelleher
will be honored at
The Home Sweet Home Gala -
A Benefit For Jacobi Medical Center
and North Central Bronx Hospital

Thursday, December 5, 2013
6:30 - 9:30 PM 
Villa Barone Manor

or contact Linda Loeb at
for various ways to participate in the
celebration and help pay tribute to Joe.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Apple Green Boro Taxis Have Provided Nearly 300,000 Rides, and All 6,000 Boro Taxi Permits Available for 2013 Have Now Been Sold

New Website Asks New Yorkers Where Boro Taxi Stands Would Best Serve Their Communities

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky and Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Victor Calise today announced that more than 1,000 of the new Boro Taxis are now on New York City streets, dramatically increasing the availability of legal, street hail taxi service to the millions of New Yorkers who live or work outside of Manhattan’s Central Business District. The apple green colored Boro Taxis are equipped with taximeters, roof lights and credit card machines and began operating in early August, providing nearly 300,000 rides across the five boroughs since the launch. The Taxi and Limousine Commission has already sold the first 6,000 Boro Taxi licenses allotted for the first year, of which 1,200 – or 20 percent – are earmarked only for use on wheelchair accessible vehicles. An additional 6,000 licenses will be made available in June of 2014, and 6,000 more will be sold in 2015 for a total of 18,000 licenses issued over a three year period. The Mayor was joined by Boro Taxi drivers, industry leaders, and disability advocates at Cine Magic Riverfront Studios in Williamsburg to celebrate the milestone.

“Boro Taxis have quickly proven themselves to be immensely popular, with almost 300,000 rides having already taken place,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “For decades, millions of New Yorkers were denied safe and legal taxi hails in their own neighborhoods – something we believed was wrong and set out to fix. The new taxis have been a hit with both riders and drivers, and they will become an increasingly common sight in communities that previously lacked taxi service.”

“This was a monumental undertaking,” said Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Yassky. “This effort required an unprecedented level of communication, cooperation and coordination with the neighborhood livery companies who have long served the boroughs, and I am as proud of the process that brought us to this milestone as I am of the service itself. The fact that this initiative is helping livery drivers and their families realize an American dream while they are helping their neighbors and their communities makes this a win for everyone involved.”

“People with disabilities have been waiting for alternative accessible transportation options for a long time,” said Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Calise. “Now, thanks to the Mayor’s leadership, the outer borough livery HAIL plan that is putting accessible liveries on the streets provides just that. We are looking forward to seeing more accessible taxis and liveries throughout the five boroughs.”

The Boro Taxi plan was originally announced by Mayor Bloomberg in his January 2011 State of the City address in Staten Island, and was envisioned as a way of bringing the same quality hail taxi service that is available in central Manhattan to other areas throughout the City.  Legislation enabling this new mode of transportation passed both houses of the New York State Legislature, and was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in December 2011. The legislation authorizes the apple green taxis to pick up passengers by street hail anywhere in the City outside of the central Manhattan Business District, including north of West 110th Street and north of East 96th Street in Manhattan, and with the exception of John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. In addition to the 6,000 vehicle permits, the legislation authorizes up to 450 permits for bases of which the vehicles must be affiliated. Due to the dual use of the Boro Taxis, offering both street hail and pre-arranged service, these bases will dispatch Boro Taxis for non-metered, flat fare rides in addition to street hails. There are approximately 130 of these bases currently in operation.

In just over three months of operation, the Boro Taxi service has been an enormously popular service among New Yorkers and visitors. Ridership numbers as of November 8th include:
·         280,455 Trips
·         34 percent of trips paid by credit card
·         885,610 miles driven
·         130 bases with Street Hail Livery Endorsements

In order to solicit important feedback from passengers, Mayor Bloomberg also announced a new web site that will encourage New Yorkers to suggest locations in their communities for new stands where Boro Taxis will be available for hail. The website - – was designed by the same team that created the successful Bike Share web site that sought public input for the siting of bicycle docks. The site allows visitors to select a location on an interactive map, and then answer questions about why they believe a stand would be useful in that location, and when it would be most valuable.

“We are on track to achieve another record year for tourism, with at least 53 million visitors expected by year’s end,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company. “The apple green cabs offer our visitors another convenient way to explore and enjoy the world class attractions, restaurants, retailers and cultural organizations spread across all of New York City’s boroughs.”


  With the holiday season fast approaching and Puerto Rican Heritage Month underway, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, MARC Academy and Family Center and South Bronx Job Corps  have joined together to host the third annual special cooking presentation and tasting in the 33rd Senate District on Wednesday, November 13 at 10:30 am. The presentation will celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the Bronx and encourage healthier eating among parents and children.

The cooking presentation, which will be conducted by Chef Denis Williams, will teach attendees how to prepare healthier versions of household classics and favorites, such as sancocho, collard greens, falafel and much more, by making small alterations to the traditional recipes.

WHO:    NYS Senator Gustavo Rivera
               MARC Academy and Family Center
               South Bronx Job Corps.
WHAT:     Food demonstration featuring healthier versions of household classics and favorites

WHERE:   MARC Academy & Family Center
                  2105-2111 Jerome Avenue, 
                  Bronx NY 10453
WHEN:   Wednesday, November 13 at 10:30 AM
MARC Academy and Family Center, Inc. is a non-profit EarlyLearn NY program providing quality early childhood education, Family Day Care Network and school age support programs to children in the Bronx.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Senator Klein Hosts Annual Veterans Breakfast

  It was a warm up to the annual Bronx Veteran's Day Parade that goes through the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx Sunday Morning at Villa Barone where State Senator Jeff Klein hosted a breakfast for over 200 Veteran's of the many past wars the country has been involved in. Veterans from the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Korea, and even from WWII were on hand to celebrate Veterans Day with Senator Klein and the four honorees Joseph Chabriel, James E. Connell III, Eugene Lynch, and Johnnie H. Williams Jr. 
  The New York City Transit Pipes and Drums Crop played for the presentation of the colors. Mr. Pat Divine gave a short speech on Veterans day and introduced Senator Klein who thanked the veterans in attendance for their service to the country. Klein said that young people need to be educated on how veterans of wars have given of themselves so the young people of today can enjoy the freedoms they currently have. Klein added that the unemployment rate of returning veterans is to high so he has introduced legislation to give any business in New York State a $5,000.00 credit for hiring a returning veteran. 
  Klein added that only two days earlier he was at the Bronx Chamber of Commerce Veterans Luncheon where he had the honor of being with several members of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen of World War Two. Klein said that these were Black soldiers who could not fight by their white counterparts due to the segregation of the times, but these men formed their own unit to go on to become famous WW II hero's.
  The four honorees Joseph Chabriel, James E. Connell III, Eugene Lynch, and Johnnie H. Williams Jr. were then given citations from Senator Klein. There was a moment of silence as Albert Nicotina (Bugler) played taps to honor the many fallen soldiers. Lois Salveggi from the Theodore Korony post 253 then sang God Bless America. After a few closing remarks it was out side to line up for the Bronx Veterans Day parade. 


Left - The New York City Transit Pipes and Drum Corp play. 
Right - The colors are presented. 


Left - A photo of one of the many tables of Veterans enjoying the breakfast.
Right - Mr. Pat Devine introduces Senator Klein.


Left - One of the attendees was 95 year old WWII Veteran Mr. Dominic Macchia.
Right - Mr. Luis Salveggi sings "God Bless America".


Left - Senator Klein with the four Honorees.
Right - A Photo of other veterans standing with two of the Honorees.


Left - Another group of Veterans posing.
Right - After the breakfast it was outside to line up behind this fire engine for the Annual Bronx Veterans Day Parade