Thursday, December 20, 2012

This week's Riverdale Review and Bronx Press

UPDATE: Community Board 8 aging committee chair and City Council candidate Andrew Cohen donated festive lights and lit the Christmas tree at the Riverdale Monument earlier this afternoon.

Here are the stories in this week's issue (December 20 - 26) of the Riverdale Review.

* PS 24 music gets $19,000 boost from Klein > Local elected official and newly minted state Senator Jeffrey Klein will allocate $19,000 towards arts enrichment at PS 24. School principal Donna Connelly announced the funding injection at last Tuesday's parents association meeting. Klein, who visited the school in October, said he was happy with the educational offerings but was interested in helping to expand the school's music program.
* Community board rejects proposal for fundraising affiliate > Members of Community Board 8 have nixed controversial plans to establish an auxiliary organization that would raise money to support board operations. Members last week voted 21-13 against a proposal to create a Friends of Bronx Community Board 8 following frenzied discussion and opposition. Three members abstained from voting. Under the proposal, conceived fours years ago, the Friends of CB8 group would raise extra funds by soliciting bids from vendors to host street fairs and other public events.
* Commission approves project rejected by Board > The Landmarks Preservation Commission has voted to approve the building of a four-story mansion in the Riverdale historic district--almost a month after Community Board 8 unanimously rejected the project. Under the preliminary plans, the vacant lot at 5241 Independence Avenue would be developed into a seven-bedroom house equipped with eight and a half bathrooms, an indoor swimming pool, two laundry rooms and a maid's room. Members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 10-0 on December 11 to approve the mansion after its architect proposed several modifications. Among the revisions is the elimination of a proposed tower on the side of the house. The mansion will also have a semicircular driveway and will be set back from the street to match the houses around it.
* Six new cops for 50th > Six new police officers have joined the ranks of the 50th Precinct, providing the command with a slight boost in manpower. Commanding officer of the 50th Precinct Captain Kevin Burke said the new cops have been tasked with responding to 911 calls and with patrolling high-crime areas within the precinct.
* In slap at board leadership, new rules set for street permits > Community Board 8 has overhauled its street activity permit procedures in a push to become more transparent and to maximize community input. CB8 members last week voted 23 to 13 to change the process governing how street activity permits for street fairs, block parties and farmers market are issued. One member abstained from voting. Under the changes, all street activity permit applications submitted to CB8 for review will now be directed to a committee for approval, approval with conditions, or denial.
* Dog walker slashed on Palisade Avenue > A man walking his two poodles at around 6 a.m. Tuesday on Palisade Avenue at Kappock Street was accosted by two men and was slashed across the face with a knife by one of the men. According to police, Richard Marshall, 65, of 2621 Palisade Avenue, was attacked by two black men who appeared to be in their early 20s, before the pair ran east on Kappock Street. The men demanded no property, Burke said, and ran away after inflicting the wound.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly breaks ground on
the new student commons building, set to open in 2014
* MC breaks ground on new student commons > Manhattan College has ceremonially broken ground on its long-awaited Raymond W. Kelly '63 Student Commons, a $48 million multipurpose complex scheduled to open in fall 2014. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly joined more than 200 people, including college officials, local politicians, faculty and students for the ground-breaking event last Thursday. The five-story complex will be located at the intersection of Manhattan College Parkway and Waldo Avenue--a site that is now a parking lot.
* Press can't be barred from Board meetings > The chair of Community Board 8 has conceded that executive committee meetings are subject to the state's open meetings law and are therefore open to the public. CB8 chair Robert Fanuzzi Robert Fanuzzi made the declaration at last Tuesday's board meeting after receiving an official ruling from the New York State Committee on Open Government. The determination came less than a week after a reporter for the Riverdale Review was asked to leave the Board's December 5 executive committee meeting when members objected to the media's presence. But referencing the determination from Robert J. Freeman, the executive director of the Committee on Open Government, Fanuzzi said the executive committee was required to comply with the law.
* Jewish leader concerned over missing Christmas tree > Ari Hoffnung, the community leader widely thought of as a potential candidate for the City Council seat being vacated by the term-limited G. Oliver Koppell, has expressed his personal dismay that Riverdale, for the first time in memory, will not have an official city Christmas tree. The city's Parks Department has scrubbed the annual display due to "budgetary constraints."
* Hurricane Sandy relief concert > Local storm victims will benefit from the proceeds collected at Sunday night's Hurricane Sandy Relief Concert at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, but they would also benefit from knowing that so many professionals donated their time and extraordinary talent to help out during this event. Children's choirs, a legendary a capella group, a unique rock band, and Broadway and TV stars joined Riverdale's own indigenous performers for a great evening of entertainment.
* Stringer gets Bronx support for Comptroller bid > Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has vowed to help advance The Bronx's economic agenda if he is installed as comptroller during the 2013 citywide elections. Stringer, who last month abandoned his plans to become mayor and announced his candidacy for comptroller, committed to including The Bronx in the city's wider long-term financial plan. The popular Democrat believed his comments after enjoying breakfast with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. at the Riverdale Diner on December 12. If elected, Stringer said, he would be fiercely independent and would work with the mayor and all borough presidents to drive change and progress--and that The Bronx would benefit from these efforts.
* Issues raised at town hall meeting > Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz held the first of four town hall meetings at the Riverdale Senior Center in a bid to answer the questions of local senior citizens. "In order to do my job, I really have to know what people are thinking," Dinowitz said to a packed room of seniors last Monday.

Also, in the Bronx Press:
* Community prays for miracle at St. Jerome school > Nearly 100 people stood at 230 Alexander Avenue in front of St. Jerome Catholic School on December 12 to protest a plan to close down the school. It was cold and classes had just let out, but parents, local politicians and students stayed to fight for their school. Many held signs written in Spanish and English, and chants of "save our school" and "don't close St. Jerome" echoed through the streets.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr lights the menorah
during Chanukah celebrations at the Bronx County building
* FreshDirect modifies plan > Online grocer FreshDirect has bowed to community opposition and will give up three acres it had planned to use as a parking lot for trucks when it moves into its new headquarters in the South Bronx. The supermarket giant filed court papers last Thursday indicating that it would adjust its plans and integrate the trucks within its new main facility site.
* Chanukah celebration at the Bronx County building > Latkes, jelly donuts, indoor and outdoor menorah lightings, and a few Chanukah songs performed by the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale Community Choir are annual traditions now at Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.'s festive Chanukah event at the Bronx County building. Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman was again mistress of ceremonies at the December 12 bash, where hundreds of community members heard the borough president express his support for Israel and his affinity for the Jewish community.

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