Thursday, January 10, 2013

This week's Riverdale Review and Bronx Press

Here are the stories from this week's issue (January 10 -16) of the Riverdale Review:

* 300 units of senior housing planned for Retreat site > The Hebrew Home at Riverdale plans to construct a new 300-unit independent living senior residence complex on the 14-acre plot they purchased from the Passionist Fathers of Riverdale. When built, the facility will be the first in New York City to offer a continuing care retirement community. Officials from the geriatric center unveiled their preliminary design and development plans for the sprawling site at Monday night's Community Board 8 land use committee meeting. It is the first time the facility's authorities have spoken publicly about their vision for the land, which they acquired from the Passionists for $16 million in November 2011.
Police and firefighters were called to remove a grenade
from the Majestic building on January 4.
* Live grenade removed from Riverdale apartment building > Members of the NYPD's bomb squad removed a live hand grenade from the basement of the Majestic building in Riverdale--more than five years after it was placed there. Commanding officer of the 50th Precinct Deputy Inspector Kevin Burke said police were called to the 87-unit building located at 3660 Waldo Avenue just after 1pm on January 4.
* City officials refuse to enforce open meetings law at PS 24 > City officials deny that PS 24 principal Donna Connelly violated the state's open meetngs law when she shut the press out of last month's school leadership team meeting. After two weeks of phone calls and emails seeking a comment from the Department of Education, the Riverdale Review was informed by agency spokesman David Pena that the school's SLT meeting on December 18 might have contained private information.
* Large North Riverdale land parcel is back on the market > A 25,000-square-foot parcel of prime developable land appears to have hit the real estate market again for a whopping $9 million. The Riverdale Review can reveal that the t-shaped vacant site in North Riverdale located at 5278 Post Road and extending back to Broadway has been relisted for sale online. The property was taken off the market six months ago due to a lack of buyer interest.
* Commuter rail service set to expand on Metro-North line > The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will beef up Metro-North service on the Hudson Line beginning in April, adding trains during non-peak travel times to accommodate a growing ridership. Authorities last week unveiled details about the service enhancements ahead of a historic public hearing on the issue. Under the proposed changes, rail commuters at the Spuyten Duyvil and Riverdale Metro-North stations will see a total of 73 new train services each week--the Hudson Line is set to run 11 more trains on weekdays, 12 more on Saturdays and six more on Sundays. The changes will take effect beginning Sunday, April 7, with the implementation of the new spring timetable.
* City bungles gifted and talented testing site for local student > After a month long struggle with the Department of Education, young Riverdale resident Jacob Moglia will now be able to sit for the gifted and talented exam at PS 24. Set to enter Kindergarten this fall, the four-year-old was inexplicably assigned to take the test at PS/IS 54 on Webster Avenue, although his parents, Louis Moglia and Shira Atzmon, registered him to take the exam at PS 24, located just a 10-minute walk from their home.
* Focus on Business > i) Pure Energy Organic Cafe in North Riverdale has officially closed after just six months in business. According to a sign posted outside the store, located at 5802 Mosholu Avenue, tenants are currently being sought to lease the now-vacant 900-square-foot space; ii) River Delight, a glatt kosher restaurant with a varied menu that include middle-eastern cuisine as well as deli sandwiches, has closed for business. A board of health restaurant inspection in December found 38 violation points at the 3534 Johnson Avenue establishment, but the reason for closing is unclear; iii) Menchie's, a California-based frozen yoghurt chain, will expand and open their long-awaited store in Riverdale later this year. Menchie's will lease 1,400 square feet of space at 3555 Johnson Avenue, a site that formerly housed Washington Mutual Bank; iv) Could the ongoing construction next to Garden Gourmet at 5665 Broadway be a site for possible expansion of th  thriving produce and specialty foods emporium? According to filings submitted with the Department of Buildings and posted at the construction site, the space at 5675 Broadway is being converted from a clothing store to a food store. Further details are expected to filter through in the spring. Watch this space.

Also, in the Bronx Press:
* City plans to close 17 struggling schools > Robert Powell,  the newest addition to the Panel for Educational Policy, will be forced to sign off on a number of school closures--one of which could be for his own son's high school. Powell, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.'s selection to replace Wilfredo Pagan in the PEP, begins serving on the board this week, and the first order of business will be voting on school closures. In November, the Department of Education named 60 schools that are in danger of being closed this year. Since then, the list has dwindled down to 17 schools the DOE feels are too late to save at this point.
* Officials challenge software developers to create math app > Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott launched a software development competition to help middle school students excel in math. The Gap App Challenge encourages programmers and developers to create new innovative apps, programs and games that can be used by parents, teachers or students as a tool for learning math.
* Bronx man holds daughter hostage > A 31-year-old Bronx father allegedly held his infant daughter hostage for two hours and dangled her from his fourth-floor Mott Haven apartment window. Police allege that the man, whose name has yet to be released, locked himself inside the East 141st Street apartment near Cypress Avenue in the early hours of Thursday, January 3, and held his child hostage.

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