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Rally opposing same-sex marriage slated for next month

Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. and Radio Vision Cristiana, a New Jersey-based Spanish-language AM radio station that broadcasts religious programming, are planning a march in opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage. The march, slated for May 15, will be held in the Bronx (starting at noon the participants will march from 149th Street and Third avenue to 181st Street). A similar rally was held in 2009, it attracted about 20,000 people and reportedly took many city officials by surprise.

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Suspect Sought In Bronx Purse Snatching

Police are on the lookout for a robber that targeted an elderly woman in the Bronx. The incident happened last Friday around 11:30 p.m. on Arthur Avenue in the Belmont region of the borough. Security cameras caught the suspect coming up behind a 78-year-old woman, grabbing her purse and pulling her to the ground. Two men walking with the victim immediately gave chase but the suspect escaped. The victim sustained bruising and swelling to her leg and hip. The suspect was last seen wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and a black jacket with multi-colored embroidery on the back. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1800-577-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted to the Crime Stoppers website or by texting CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577.

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NYPD: Fake Gun Recovered At Scene Of Officer-Involved Shooting

Investigators say they've recovered a fake pistol from the scene of a police-involved shooting in the Bronx early this morning, a NY1 report states. The NYPD says it all began around 3 a.m. when officers encountered a large group of people -- including a man armed with what appeared to be a hand gun -- outside the Cocoa House club in Highbridge. Police say the man was shot when he refused to drop the weapon. It was later discovered to be a fake. Emergency officials say the man, who is believed to be in his twenties, was taken to Lincoln hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. His condition is unknown. Police say he has not been arrested or charged at this time.

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DIGITAL BRONX: Thought you knew the Bronx? Mainland Media wants to open your mind

By Olivia Damavandi @OliviaDamavandi Companies around the world are using online social networks to personify their brands and enhance their images. Three Bronx natives are harnessing the digital frontier not just to promote their small business, but also to give their hometown a virtual makeover. The co-founders of Mainland Media —brothers Paul Ramirez, 29, and Anthony Ramirez II, 32, along with John Martin, 32—say their business, which produces the website FromtheBronx.com, is aimed at changing outdated perceptions of what they call New York's proudest borough. “When people think of the Bronx, they only think of burned out buildings and the projects,” Anthony said. “Even though the Bronx is 24 percent parkland, some people are amazed we even have electricity. People have asked us if we have running water. They don’t think about the Botanical Gardens, the Bronx Zoo or Edgar Allen Poe’s cottage. They just think about the borough’s history and assume it’s a bad place to be.” After working with a Bronx nonprofit in youth services and economic development, Anthony and John say they noticed the negative perception of the borough was affecting its younger generations. “When I was working with young people telling them to pursue their dreams, they would say to me, ‘what can we do? We’re from the Bronx,’” Anthony said. “They feel the negative stereotype. When we work with kids we need to make them really proud of where they’re from.” When it launched in 2005, Mainland Media began as a small project. The co-founders rented a helicopter and took topographical photos of the borough, which were then sold as posters and postcards. But thanks to social networking, Mainland Media’s website has grown to include Bronx souvenirs, apparel, custom prints, graphic design services, local artist management, event organization, social media and marketing. The company has become the go-to spot for everything Bronx. It even recently designed a Bronx-themed McDonald restaurant on E. 149th St. and Morris Avenue. Mainland Media this week re-launched FromtheBronx.com, which now serves as its exclusive online store. The website was originally created as a social network for Bronxites. But with more than 77,000 “likes” on its Facebook page, the co-founders realized that page was more powerful than any social network they could have generated on their own. FromtheBronx.com was up and running right before Facebook launched in 2004. It got up to 670 fans before the co-founders decided to advertise the site through social networking on Twitter and Myspace as well. “By doing that, our Facebook page got incredibly popular and it took off,” Paul said. “Instead of trying to force people to go to a different site, it made sense to just have fans on Facebook.” One of those fans is Steve Nallan, a seventh generation Bronxite who recently started The Bronck’s Beer Company. He says personal branding on the Internet is everything. “I wouldn’t be a company today if it wasn’t for social networking,” Nallan said. On Facebook and Twitter he goes by the alias Jonas Bronck, a 17th century Scandinavian immigrant after whom the Bronx and The Bronck’s Beer Company are named. Thanks to Nallan, Jonas Bronck now has more than 3,300 friends on Facebook and more than 5,033 followers on Twitter. “As a result of Facebook and Twitter, I think I have tens of thousands of people who now know who Jonas is and the original spelling of the Bronx,” Nallan said. “It has helped market my business tremendously. To gain more connections I ran a contest a month ago through my Facebook page, giving away Yankee tickets. That got a lot of attention.” Nallan also attributes a portion of his success to Mainland Media.“They have a really good fan page, lots of connections, and gave my company lots of support,” Nallan said. “They’ve done several postings on their fan page about my contests and my beer tastings, which has been very helpful in having people find my page and making them able to contact me,” he continued. “I’ve gotten emails and phone calls from local Bronx media. That’s probably the biggest thing.” Nallan’s company is one of several businesses that have reaped the benefits of social networking through Mainland Media. “Our FromtheBronx.com Facebook page is the strongest way to connect the borough. It’s our platform,” Anthony said. “Through Facebook we have a better ability to help change negative perceptions of the borough to the rest of the world. The page is a place for Bronxites to connect and talk and share stories. It helps the world understand why they’re proud to be where they’re from.” Click here for more stories on the Digital Bronx.

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DIGITAL BRONX: Seven of the top—and most fascinating—Tweeters in the borough

By Olivia Damavandi The Bronx Ink canvassed Twitter to find the most followed Bronxites with the most interesting tweets. This is not a comprehensive list, but an eclectic collection of Twitter users across a range of fields. Bronx Zoo’s Cobra @BronxZoosCobra 196,986 followers After escaping from the Bronx Zoo about two weeks ago, the Egyptian snake was nowhere to be found except on Twitter, where her alter-ago amassed almost 200,000 followers. The self-described “Egyptian cobra out on the town” had been slithering the streets of New York and uploading photos from Brooklyn all the way to Ellis Island. Celebrities such as Jon Favreau and Ellen DeGeneres gave suggestions as to where the snake should visit next. The tweeter has not yet been identified, but one public relations firm has already made him or her a job offer. The snake, which was missing in action, has appropriately been named Mia. Favorite tweet: "Got a bagel at H & H Bagels on upper west side. When I ordered I said, "I'll have the snakes on a PLAIN." He did not laugh. Tough crowd." CC Sabathia @ccsabathia 93,589 followers With opening day driving Yankee hype through the roof, it’s no surprise that the team’s 6' 7" pitcher CC Sabathia is one of the Bronx’s most followed tweeter. Yes, his feed is filled with shameless self-promotion, but also personal stuff you might not know about the Yank. Favorite tweet: “Saw my first Hockey game ever tonight! There was a fight, OT and a shootout! What a great time, next time I hope the @thenyrangers win” Charles Gasparino @CGasparino 5,853 followers Love him or hate him, reporter Charlie Gasparino is fun to watch. And when it comes to business and finance news, he knows his stuff. The Bronx-born senior correspondent for Fox Business Network frequently contributes to the New York Post, The Daily Beast and Forbes, among other publications. His Twitter feed reflects his aggressive reporting style (he has said his job is to "rip the lungs out of the competition for Fox Business Network”) and he’s never afraid to engage in a tweet war against anyone who calls him out. In our favorite tweet, he tells off journalist and documentary filmmaker Patrick Courrielche: @courrielche you exhibit a for the reason there is so little good reporting coming from the conservative media. sounds like another column.” Funk Flex @funkmasterflex 140,037 followers Funkmaster Flex (Aston George Taylor Jr.) was born in the Bronx and to many, his name is synonymous with hip-hop. He has reigned as one of America's top hip-hop DJ personalities for more than 10 years, reaching more than 2 million listeners a week through his radio show on WQHT HOT 97 in New York. In addition to his turntable talent, Flex is also well known in the automotive industry for his passion of car customization. He has his own MTV show, “Funk Flex Full Throttle,” which showcases the cars he customizes for high profile celebrities, professional athletes and music artists like Diddy, Ludacris , Manny Ramirez and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Flex’s Twitter feed is fun to read because it’s got all sorts of random news on it that you probably wouldn’t hear from many other outlets. Like this fun fact: Kobe Bryant Stars in Chinese Smart Car Commercial! http://bit.ly/fiKKXP Mickey Factz @MickeyFactz 21,601 followers In the past few years, the 25-year-old Bronxite dropped out of studying pre-law at NYU to pursue his dream of becoming a hip-hop artist.  After founding his own label, Factz (whose real name is Mickey Williams) is about to release “The Achievement,” his first album under a major record label. Favorite tweet: Truthfully: I DO know, Liz Taylor made men MARRY her. Remember that concept ladies? Ronnie Magro @mtvronnie 403,108 followers He may play a Guido from Jersey on TV, but Ronnie from MTV's “Jersey Shore” hails from the Bronx. If you’re a fan of the show you’re probably already following him on Twitter, where his on-camera persona is resonated through his poorly punctuated tweets about his favorite burgers or his success with the ladies.  For some reason, more than 400,000 people find it endearing. Especially when he tweets to put other guys in their places. Like this one: “Let me know if u ever find ur muscles? Think u left them in the pizzeria? Wit ur tan and ur hairline..Clowns. Ruben Diaz Jr. @rubendiazjr 520 followers Yes, Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz tweets. He made our list not because his Twitter feed is funny or witty, or because of the number of his followers, but because it’s a quick and easy way for Bronxites to stay up to speed on what he’s doing in the borough. Mr. Diaz, we apologize in advance for any increase in protests. Favorite tweet: Moroccan News featuring Borough President Diaz's Proclamation declaring Moussem of Tan Tan Day in the Bronx http://bit.ly/edOlwv (The number of followers were recorded on April 6, 2011) Click here for more stories on the Digital Bronx.

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Bronx River Parkway flooded

Authorities have closed portions of the parkway, including all lanes where it meets the Sprain Brook Parkway and the right lane of the southbound side of the parkway around Palmar Road in Bronxville, due to flooding. More sections of the road are expected to close as rain continues to fall. The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for Putnam, Rockland, Westchester and Fairfield counties through 10 p.m. One to two inches of rain is expected through the night.

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St. John’s guard Dwight Hardy, a Bronx native, named to All-Big East first team

St. John's guard Dwight Hardy, a Bronx native, has been named to the All-Big East first team, the conference announced Sunday. According to a report by ESPN, the 6-foot-2 senior finished the regular season averaging 17.9 points per game, fourth in the conference, and led the Red Storm to a tie for third place with Louisville and Syracuse. This is St. John's best finish in the league since it placed third in 2002. "Dwight Hardy is as deserving of the All-Big East conference recognition as any player I've coached," St. John's coach Steve Lavin said in the ESPN report. "The dominant performance and leadership Dwight has provided over the course of his senior year has been a catalyst in St. John's successful season."

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Third Target store to open in the Bronx

With plans to add another store, Target and local developers have bought an old postal building in the Bronx for $35 million, according to a report by Real Deal. The transactions comes amid heated controversy over Walmart’s plans to move to N.Y.C. The chain retailer already has two stores in the Bronx. The third location comprises 7.9 acres in Throgs Neck. The plan is reportedly to develop a 300,000-square-foot mall in which Target would have a store. The building was closed in September and since has been used as an equipment transfer station until now.

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