Saturday, May 3, 2014

Klein Secures 100,000 Dollar For Emerald Isle 'Meals on Wheels' Program

  Senator Jeff Klein standing in front of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center located in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx announced that he has secured an amount of $100,000.00 for the centers Meals on Wheels program. Now the program may not only continue, but increase its outreach to seniors in need from 20 to up to 40 hot lunches to local seniors every day. 
  Senator Klein said that the Emerald Isle's Meals on Wheels program provides an invaluable service to seniors in the Woodlawn community, and that was why he helped secure the money not only to continue the program, but to expand it to even more seniors in need.
  The Meals on Wheels program was launched in 2011 thanks to a grant by Senator Klein, and with this years funding the program can be expanded to cover many more needed meals to other seniors said Siobhan Dennehy the Executive Director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center.


Left - Senator Klein speaks about the much needed services that the Emerald Isle Immigration Center provides.
Right - Siobhan Dennehy the Executive Director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center thanks Senator Klein for his funding.


Left - Senator Klein poses with volunteers who help on the Meals on Wheels program.
Right - It was time to load up the van to deliver the Meals.

Ben Franklin Democratic Club Dinner


  Thursday night was the 54th Annual Ben Franklin Democratic Club Dinner. The Ben Franklin Democratic Club covers the 81st assembly district. As usual over 200 people, all the local elected officials, and most club members were in attendance.Elected officials included Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., City Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Congressmen Eliot Engel and Charles Rangel, and several state senators and assembly members on hand to celebrate with Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz.

  Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz received the Distinguished Public Service Award, which was presented by his son Eric. The current Male District Leader Bruce Feld announced that he would not be seeking re-election, and it is quite possible that Eric Dinowitz may seek the position. Mr. Joseph Farkas owner of the new Riverdale Crossings shopping center on the site of the old Stella Doro cookie factory received the Business Development Award. The Community Leadership Award was given to longtime Riverdale realtor Marilyn Sopher. 
  The Ben Franklin Dinner Co-Chairs this year were Randi Martos, Heidi Schwartz, Eric Dinowitz, and Christopher McShane. 
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz speaks about his 20 years of service in the state assembly, as BFDC President Ellen Feld is with him in this photo.
Owner of Riverdale Crossings shopping center Mr. Joesph Farkas as he was introduced by Councilman Andrew Cohen. Current 81st A.D. Male District Leader Bruce Feld is also in the photo.

Bronx Conservative Party Dinner

  Wednesday night the Bronx Conservative Party hosted its Annual Dinner and award night where even in the pouring rain over 500 people were in attendance. Bronx Conservative Party Chairman William Newmark said that over 600 tickets were sold to the dinner, but with the heavy rain that was coming down he was glad that so many people did attend.
  There were several awards to various Law Enforcement personal, Business representatives and two political figures. Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich received a lifetime achievement award for his work in the council, while former candidate for governor Carl Palidino was given the Man of the Year award. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Left - Diane Cerino with Bill Newmark and her Businesswoman of the year award.
Right - CB 7 member Sandra Erickson, Bronx Chamber of Commerce President Lenny Caro, and Anthony Aquilino owner of Universal Towing.

Left - The bow tie and mustache just had to be shared.
Right - Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich also sports a bow-tie.

Left - Bx. Conservative Party Chair William Newmark, District Leader Jennatte Moore, Carl Palidino, and former Conservative Party chair Tom Cronin.
Right - Carl Palidino receives his Man of the Year award from Newmark and Cronin.



Bronx Chamber Logo   
The Bronx Chamber of Commerce
for an 
Energy Forum 
hosted by OnForce Solar!

Wednesday, May 7th
Hutch Metro Center Conference Center

Complimentary Lunch Provided!

RSVP to Alexandra at 718-828-3900 or

We hope to see you there!

Wave Hill Events May 16–May 23

Mark Twain had an affinity for squirrels. When he lived at Wave Hill, he even named them! Using our simple puppet-making techniques, make your own squirrel and its own little home. What’s your squirrel’s name? Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon. llustrious Residents event.

Quiet like a mountain, moving like a river, Tai Chi is a sequence of gentle movements based on images found in nature. In this beginner-level class, Irving Yee, a member of the William CC Chen Tai Chi School, introduces students to the internal martial arts and promotes an awareness of its benefits. Sessions are held outdoors as weather permits. Session fee: $25/$15 Wave Hill Member. Register online and, day of, onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center. (Reservations may not be made by telephone.) Online registration closes at 8AM on the day of the session. Cancellations must be made by 3PM the Friday before; after that, refunds will not be made.  Drops-ins will be accommodated as the limited space permits. Participants must present a Member’s ID card or a printed program registration form at the front gate.

Discover the fascinating history of Wave Hill’s architecture and landscape on a walk with a Wave Hill Garden Guide. Hear about the people who once called Wave Hill home, among them Mark Twain, Bashford Dean and Arturo Toscanini. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon. Illustrious Residents event.

Engage in a creative dialogue with your surroundings guided by professional artists working in various media. Artists often collect artifacts and images as part of the creative process. Work alongside Glyndor Gallery exhibiting artist Marion Wilson to collect visual inspiration in the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory and Flower Garden using paint and pencil, then use your artwork to create original small-scale artwork on salvaged glass library slides. $30/$20 Wave Hill Member. Registration recommended, online at, onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center or by calling 718.549.3200 x251; drop-ins welcome as space allows.

Join a curatorial assistant for a tour of Wave Hill's spring exhibition, Prickly, Tender and Steamy: Artists in the Hothouse, which assembles artworks that were created during Wave Hill's Winter Workspace program over the last five years. During their residencies, Manuel Acevedo, Gabriela Albergaria, Carrie Beckmann, Susan Benarcik, Matthew Burcaw, Asuka Hishiki, Nick Lamia, Lina Puerta, Naomi Reis, Anne-Katrin Spiess, Linda Stillman, James Walsh and Marion Wilson closely examined, and were inspired by, the living collection in Wave Hill's Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory. Representing a wide variety of mediums, the works on view give visitors multiple ways to observe the plants in the Tropical, Palm, Cactus & Succulent Houses. In the Sunroom Project Space, Brandon Neubauer's installation incorporates video projection, photographs and recorded sounds to create a portrait of the Wave Hill site that engages time, optical phenomena, topography and found objects. Tours take place Tuesdays and Saturdays at 2PM. Free with admission to the grounds.

Mark Twain had an affinity for squirrels. When he lived at Wave Hill, he even named them! Using our simple puppet-making techniques, make your own squirrel and its own little home. What’s your squirrel’s name? Free with admission to the grounds. llustrious Residents event.

Reduce stress, increase your energy and bring strength and flexibility to mind, body and spirit with a yoga practice. Classes are led by Yoga for Bliss director Neem Dewji and other certified instructors. Ms. Dewji is certified in Hatha and Therapeutic Yoga from The Yoga for Health Foundation, England, and The Integral Yoga Institute, NYC. All levels welcome. Sessions are held indoors until May. Session fee: $25/$15 Wave Hill Member. Register online and, day of, onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center. (Reservations may not be made by telephone.) Online registration closes at 8AM on the day of the session. Cancellations must be made by 3PM the Friday before; after that, refunds will not be made.  Drops-ins will be accommodated as the limited space permits. Participants must present a Member’s ID card or a printed program registration form at the front gate.

This spring, take a moment to release stress and reconnect with your inner self while practicing meditation. Each session includes instruction in simple techniques followed by 20 to 30 minutes of meditation. Classes are led by Yoga for Bliss director Neem Dewji and other certified instructors. All levels welcome. Sessions are held indoors. Session fee: $25/$15 Wave Hill Member. Register online and, day of, onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center. (Reservations may not be made by telephone.) Online registration closes at 8AM on the day of the session. Cancellations must be made by 3PM the Friday before; after that, refunds will not be made. Drops-ins will be accommodated as the limited space permits. Participants must present a Member’s ID card or a printed program registration form at the front gate.

Mark Twain enjoyed the antics of his favorite squirrels while residing at Wave Hill. Delve into the lives of these clever creatures and find out why Mr. Twain found them to be so entertaining. After a short indoor presentation, venture outside to look for squirrel activity on the grounds with Carl Heitmuller, an environmental educator from the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum. Ages six and older welcome with an adult. Registration recommended. Free with admission to the grounds. Illustrious Residents event.

Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.

Closed to the public.

Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.

Wave Hill closes at 3PM today to dress for the party.

A 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River  and Palisades, Wave Hill’s mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscape, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.

HOURS  Open all year, Tuesday through Sunday and many major holidays: 9AM—4:30PM. Closes 5:30PM, March 15October 31.  
ADMISSION  $8 adults, $4 students and seniors 65+, $2 children 6—18. Free Saturday mornings until noon. Free until noon on Tuesdays in May. Free to Wave Hill Members and children under 6.

PROGRAM FEES  Programs are free with admission to the grounds unless otherwise noted.

Visitors to Wave Hill can take advantage of Metro-North’s one-day getaway offer. Purchase a discount round-trip rail far and discount admission to the gardens. More at

DIRECTIONS – Getting here is easy! Located only 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan, Wave Hill’s free shuttle van transports you to and from our front gate and Metro-North’s Riverdale station, as well as the 242nd Street stop on the #1 subway line. Limited onsite parking is available for $8 per vehicle. Free offsite parking is available nearby with continuous, complimentary shuttle service to and from the offsite lot and our front gate. Complete directions and shuttle bus schedule at

Information at 718.549.3200. On the web at

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Job Fair sponsored by NYS Rivera & Assm. Pichardo


Landmark agreement will bolster classroom innovation, retain good teachers, save more than $1 billion in health care costs, and empower parents

   Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the City of New York and the United Federation of Teachers have reached a preliminary contract agreement.

The 9-year agreement will implement a number of groundbreaking reforms that will make New York City schools laboratories of innovation and improve public education for every student, while also making important changes that will provide more than $1 billion in health care cost savings over the next four years, and support excellence in teaching.

“Our administration knows that every child matters, the status quo isn’t working, and we must improve public education across the board. Working together with our dedicated teachers—instead of being locked in rancorous debate—we have found common ground today that moves us closer to those critical objectives,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Everyone needs to play a positive role in our children’s future, and this agreement deepens parental engagement, recognizes quality teachers, and ensures our students will benefit from a new era of educational reforms that will improve learning and performance in the classroom.”

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said, “Mayor de Blasio said we could make the city better if we all worked together in a spirit of respect and cooperation. This agreement—which works for students, parents, teachers and the city—is proof that with leadership like his, we can do it.”

“Today, you are seeing the results of educators coming together and doing what is best for our students. We believe the very essence of this city’s success is in our schools, and by restoring the dignity and respect to the people who teach our children, we are laying the foundation of grand reform and cultivating the next generation of great educators,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen FariƱa, a lifelong educator. “We are validating that teaching is a craft and should be a highly respected profession, marking a new era of inclusivity. We are changing the way teachers, school leaders and families work together to enable the highest quality learning for all students.” 

The agreement respects workers with a fair deal and provides pathways for teachers to help their colleagues while earning additional pay. The agreement also protects taxpayers, because it can be fully funded within the city’s current budget framework, without the need for tax increases.

The UFT’s 110,000 professional employees have worked without a contract since November 2009, and this agreement, once ratified by the union’s membership, would constitute the first major labor agreement struck by the de Blasio administration. It fulfills the mayor’s pledge to achieve an agreement that is respectful, fair, fiscally responsible, and embraces reform. The agreement covers the past four and a half years in which teachers went without a contract, and extends until 2018.

Those raises are made achievable in part through a historic and sweeping reform of public employee health care, amounting to more than $1 billion by 2018, along with additional city resources. Were these reforms, designed to save money while protecting current member benefits, extended across the municipal labor force, they would yield at least $3.4 billion total over the same four years, effectively bending the curve of rising health care costs for the first time.

Details of the agreement include:

Transforming Public Education to Better Serve Our Students and Schools

  • Bring Innovation to Scale in Public Schools: The new contract provides a pathway at up to 200 schools for innovations, ranging from reworking the school day and year, to giving teachers a greater voice in hiring decisions and wider variations in how a school day is programmed. The changes will be accomplished through exemptions to certain Chancellor’s Regulations or UFT contract provisions. A joint DOE-UFT panel will review proposals and select schools for the program—ultimately representing more than 10 percent of all public schools. For a school to participate, the principal and 65 percent of UFT staff in the building must agree to the proposal. 
  • More Parent Voice: The agreement repurposes existing time through a pilot program that dedicates 40 minutes every Tuesday for teachers to reach out to parents by email, letter, telephone, or face-to-face meetings. Teachers can also use this time to create newsletters, school or class websites, or other strategies to increase contact between parents and teachers. It increases the length of the parent-teacher conferences from 2.5 to 3 hours and doubles the number of evening parent-teacher conferences from 2 to 4 each school year. Evening conferences will be held in September, November, March and May.

  • Ongoing Learning: The agreement establishes a pilot program to provide 80 minutes of professional development time each Monday, a repurposed block of time teachers will use to strengthen their craft through peer-to-peer learning, coaching and training to better meet the needs of our students.

Rewarding and Retaining Great Teachers

  • Support Quality Public Schools in Underserved Communities: The agreement establishes new incentives to attract and retain quality teachers in high-need schools. The “Hard to Staff School Differential” will additionally compensate each instructor at up to 150 schools, selected at the Chancellor’s discretion.

  • Reward the Best Teachers and Keep them in the Classroom: The contract establishes an unprecedented career ladder for excellent teachers through new Ambassador, Model and Master Teacher positions, compensated with an additional $7,500, $7,500 and $20,000 per year, respectively. These positions, created at the Chancellor’s discretion, will give teachers who excel additional responsibilities beyond the classroom, including coaching their colleagues.

  • Streamline Teacher Evaluations: The new contract clarifies and simplifies the evaluation process, and significantly reduces paperwork. Evaluations will now be focused on eight components, instead of the current 22. Under the current system, teachers in grades or subjects not covered by tests can be evaluated in part on school-wide measures that include results for many students they do not teach. Under the new contract, teachers in non-tested subjects or grades will now have the ability to be graded only on the performance of students they actually teach.

Reforming Our School System

  • Fire Teachers who Behave Inappropriately: The agreement expands the definition of sexual misconduct to include behaviors like inappropriate texting.

  • Improving the ATR process: For the first time, there will be a clear, effective and expedited process requiring no more than 50 days to permanently remove teachers from the Absent Teacher Reserve pool for behavior inconsistent with the expectations established for professionals. Hearings are not to exceed one day. There will be no forced placements. The contract respects and preserves mutual consent hiring.

Delivering Significant Health Care Cost Savings

The City and the UFT have identified a menu of potential significant health care cost reductions. Pending approval by the Municipal Labor Committee, a range of cost-control measures designed to save costs while maintaining benefits will be implemented to achieve targeted savings. These initiatives include more efficient purchasing of health care services and other actions. Those changes will yield more than $1 billion over the next four years.

Providing Fair Wages

Under the proposed agreement, teachers would receive similar raises to those that had been granted by the previous administration to much of the municipal workforce of 4 percent each for 2009 and 2010. The raises will be restructured and provided to teachers in increments from 2015 to 2020. The agreement includes a one-time $1,000 ratification payment. Wage increases constituting a new pattern for the following years are on the schedule below:

·         May 2013:       1%

·         May 2014:       1%
·         May 2015:       1%

·         May 2016:       1.5%

·         May 2017:       2.5%
·         May 2018:       3%

The proposed 9-year contract would begin, retroactively, on November 1, 2009 and expire on October 31, 2018. The terms of the agreement must be approved by the union’s full in-service membership.


Preliminary Contract Agreement Between the City & the UFT
“Our teachers have long deserved a contract and a raise, and I applaud the Mayor and the UFT for reaching a responsible agreement that is good for the city and good for our workforce. This contract agreement contains fair and reform-minded terms, and I look forward to working with both Mayor de Blasio and President Mulgrew on making our schools work well for all our children,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Councilman Andy King Free Food Giveaway

  Councilman Andy King had his district office on Gun Hill Road set up with bags of groceries to be handed out to residents of his district who are in need. About one hundred of his constituents from the Eastchester Garden area were expected, but do to the heavy rain there were fewer people than expected who showed up. This being his first free food giveaway, and with some cans of food left Councilman King then set off to organize his second free food giveaway. 

  The non-perishable food was donated by the nearby Fine Fare Supermarket on Boston Road, The Palm Tree Market Also f Boston Road, and the Food Fest Depot at the Hunt's Point Market according to Councilman King's Chief of Staff Lee Lewis.

  I was able to ask Councilman King a few questions as to why he was hosting a free food giveaway. He said that this is just another service that he wants to offer his constituents. His believing in the lord and good family values has also taught him to help his fellow people without the thought of any rewards. As for the new city council, and the eagerness in making new laws and rules Councilman King (who was elected in a 2012 special election and will be able to serve more that just eight years) said that the new council members are learning their job. He added that he expects this council to be one that makes it mark that is recorded in NYC history, and is proud to be a part of it. 

Left - One of Councilman King's staffers fills bags with the non-perishable canned food.
Right - Councilman King speaks with his Chief of Staff Lee Lewis to make sure everything is ready.

Left - Councilman King gets into the middle of it as he gets bags of groceries to hand to the people waiting.
Right - Some of the many people who came pose with Councilman King.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Staten Island Congressman Hit With 20 Count Indictment

  Republican Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm seems to be in a grim situation after being slapped with a 20 count federal indictment that can be found here . The 20 counts include Income Tax Evasion, Conspiracy to defraud the United States, 3 counts of aiding or assisting in the preparation of false or fraudulent tax returns, Health Care Fraud, 5 counts of wire fraud, 5 counts of mail fraud, 2 counts of perjury, obstruction, and unlawful employment of aliens. U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch is handling the case for the government.

  A statement from Grimm's lawyer Elizabeth Kase said that the embattled Republican Congressman has no plans to resign. She added that the indictment is part of a "Calculated campaign of leaks, rumors, innuendos, and speculation. Congressman Grimm is up for re-election this year and will probably face Democrat former City Councilman Dominick Recchia if Grimm makes it to the November general election.


   Oversight Hearing on Operation Crew Cut and Crime Reduction Strategies at NYCHA

  In 2011, approximately one-third of all shootings in New York City were committed by youth gangs, known as “crews” that are centered on specific blocks, communities and housing developments. The Committees will examine the cooperation and coordination between the NYPD, NYCHA, and the City’s District Attorneys to address this growing problem and to work with these entities, stakeholders and the public to eradicate crew violence throughout the City.

  On Monday, April 28, Council Member Ritchie Torres, chair of the Committee on Public Housing, Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, and Council Member Fernando Cabrera- Chair of the Committee on Juvenile Justice will hold a joint oversight hearing on the effectiveness of Operation Crew Cut and other anti-violence initiatives in reducing gang and crew related violence among youth.

  WHO: Committee on Public Safety, Committee on Juvenile Justice, and Committee on Public Housing, Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Council Member Fernando Cabrera, Council Member Ritchie Torres, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, NYPD Chief of Housing Carlos Gomez and Deputy Chief Michael Harrington; Steve Goldstein, Chief ADA at the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor;  Carlos Laboy Diaz EVP of Operations for NYHCA, and NYCHA representatives from Community Operations and Family Services.

WHERE: Council Chambers, City Hall

WHEN: Monday, April 28, 1:00 PM


Sunday, April 27, 2014

ECPW Wrestling St. Francis Xavier School 2014

  ECPW professional wrestling returned to St. Francis Xavier School in the Morris Park section last night. It may not have been John Cena or the Rock, but Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Bushwaker Luke, and Marty Jannetti were among the wrestlers on hand. The fun started before the first match as the wrestlers greeted the audience, signed autographs, and took photos (some for a fee) with those on hand to see the matches. The night was also special to one of the wrestlers who had his mother in the audience as he announced his retirement from wrestling after 20 years. There were 8 matches in all including 2 that were tag team ones. During the intermission the wrestlers came out again to meet the audience. The end result was that everyone in attendance had fun, that is except for the losers of the matches. You can click on any photo to enlarge it.

Left & Right - Wrestlers took photos with audience members.

Left - Some wrestlers were seated at tables.
Right - NY State Athletic Commission inspector John Scalesi checks out the ring.

Left - Buswaker Luke has his opponent in the corner.
Right - The Punisher is about to slam his opponent.


Left - Arron Bradley is picked up and then dropped to the mat by Luca the Freak.
Right - ECPW Champ Andrew Anderson on his way to the ring.

Left - ECPW champ Andrew Andersongoes at it with the crowd.
Right - Anderson and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine in a test of strength.
Left - The Hammer accidentally knocks down the ref and is Disqualified.
Right - Marty Jannetty can only watch from the corner as his partner is taking a beating.


Left - Marty Jannetty gets tagged in and is pounding his opponent in the corner.
Right - The New Dynamite Kid is joined by his partner tonight Marty Jannetty and his mother (who was at ringside) after he announced his retirement from wrestling due to back and knee problems.