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Palm Sunday at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church

Palm Sunday at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church

By: Yiting Sun St. Mary's Orthodox Church in the Bedford Park neighborhood mainly serves an Indian community of worshippers. It was established in 1972. As time passed, members of the congregation gradually moved to New Jersey, upstate New York, or Pennsylvania. But distance did not cut their ties to the church. On Apr. 17, they gathered again for Palm Sunday.

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Fr. A. K. Cherian is the vicar of the St. Mary's Orthodox Church.

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Slideshows, The Bronx Beat0 Comments

Death toll climbs to 15 in horrific Bronx bus crash

Another passenger of the doomed discount bus that crashed in the Bronx has died, bringing the death toll in the horrific highway wreck to 15, police said Monday. The fifteenth victim, a 70-year-old man, died of his injuries shortly after 7 a.m. A police source confirmed to the Daily News that a fifteenth victim died, but could not provide further details. None of the victims have been identified. Federal agents probing the cause of the Bronx crash were poring over the coach's "black box" and onboard videotape Sunday night. [NY Daily News]

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Angry parents, teachers protest Dept. of Education’s reaction to PCB levels in public schools

Outraged parents, teachers and elected officials will line the steps of City Hall Wednesday to blast the Department of Education's slow response to PCBs found in school buildings throughout the city. At Public School 68 in Edenwald, the latest to test positive for the toxic substance, dozens of angry families and teachers held an emergency meeting last week, but got few answers. School Construction Authority officials said that the removal team can only work at one school at a time - potentially drawing out the process for years. [NY Daily News]

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Bronx Riviera revamped: Orchard Beach expanded by 124 feet thanks to Army Corp of Engineers

Orchard Beach is bigger, better and reborn, thanks to a $13 million "renourishment" project completed last week. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dumped 268,000 cubic yards of pristine sand on the beach this winter to expand the shore and ease overcrowding. Every wave that breaks on the mile-long beach pulls sand out to sea and shrinks the sunbathed stretch known as the "Bronx Riviera," where 1.4 million people visited last year. Created by master builder and then-Parks Commissioner Robert Moses in the 1930s, the golden expanse in Pelham Bay Park was last renourished in 1964. Since last fall, when the project began, the beach has clearly grown - it is 125 feet wider. [NY Daily News]

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Cops, prosecutors supressed evidence while Bronx teen spent three years in jail: suit

A Bronx teen who spent nearly three years in prison before a jury acquitted him of murder is suing the NYPD, claiming cops and prosecutors suppressed key evidence in his case. Lawyers for Larry Bodden, 19, say authorities disregarded the testimony of alibi witnesses and withheld a video statement that would have exonerated him. "I'll never get back the time they took away," said Bodden, who has spent his past three birthdays at Rikers Island. "I don't think I can ever forgive them, because they knew I was innocent and kept me locked up anyway." Police claimed Bodden was among a group of rowdy teens who stomped Yonkers bus driver Fernando Maldonado to death as he left a party at the Melrose Houses on May 13, 2007. Bodden, who lives in the project, told cops he was home taking care of his little brother during the beating. [NY Daily News]

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Fingerprint, list of prior arrests points to suspect wanted in two Bronx rapes

A fingerprint and a laundry list of prior arrests helped cops nab a Bronx thug accused of raping two women a decade apart, police sources said Saturday. Suspect Terry King, 39, was arrested Friday and charged with attacking a 21-year-old woman in November after pushing her into his car at gunpoint. Sources said cops found a fingerprint at the most recent rape and matched it to King through his numerous prior arrests. DNA evidence from the November rape had been matched to a similar crime more than a decade ago, and the fingerprint led to the suspect, cops said. [NY Daily News]

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Bronx teen shot dead on street

A teenage boy was fatally shot in the Bronx on Sunday, police and relatives said. Jose Marte, 16, was shot once in the chest and once in the stomach about 10:50 a.m. on E. 184th St., cops said. He was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he was declared dead. [NY Daily News]

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One raindrop at a time

By Yiting Sun

Frances Knickmeyer cut open the wrapping of the water barrel. Photo: Yiting Sun

In the 14 degree cold, Frances Knickmeyer sawed away at a plastic pipe in the courtyard of 795 Garden Street, an apartment building close to the Bronx Zoo. She then handed the shortened pipe to Mike Mendez, who was sitting on the top of a 500-gallon water barrel, trying to connect the barrel to another pipe sticking out from the building’s red-brick wall. “Hope this one will fit,” said Knickmeyer, a conservation crew member of the Bronx River Alliance, which is a non-profit organization working closely with the New York City parks department to restore the river. The duo and two other colleagues were installing a rainwater harvesting system for the building, which then could direct rainwater from the roof into the barrel where it would be stored until it could be used later for gardening. Starting this spring, 795 Garden Street will have a new community garden in the building’s courtyard. But the value of a rainwater harvesting system extends far beyond one building’s attempt at water conservation and recycling for gardening. In fact, the Bronx River Alliance’s program also plays an important role in keeping the Bronx River, the only freshwater river in New York City, clean. “In the Bronx and most of the city, the storm water runoff goes into a combined sewer system,” said Robin Kriesberg, ecology director for the Bronx River Alliance. “When there is a heavy storm, it’s too much for the system and it can’t process all this water.” The excess unprocessed water ends up in the river, according to Kriesberg. During normal dry weather, all the sewage and rainwater automatically flows into underground pipes and is directed to sewage treatment plants. But when the amount of water exceeds the sewage system’s capacity, and the pipe swells up, as it often happens during storms, the excessive amount of water flows into the river. Kriesberg said this has caused a lot of water quality problems in the Bronx River and other bodies of water around the city, because the rainwater runoff picks up contaminants and bacteria as it flows. A state environmental official, who spoke on background, said this problem is especially demonstrated in urban areas with lots of impervious surfaces like paved roads. Rainwater harvesting systems, like that of the Bronx River Alliance, alleviates these problems by reducing the amount of storm water runoff discharged into the river. “When the snow melts, the water would carry salt and all kinds of potential pollutants with it into the combined sewage system,” said the state environmental official. “The harvesting system is a volume-reduction practice.” According to the state environmental official, the benefit of the harvesting systems is accumulative. The positive impact on the Bronx River’s water quality could only take place if they are installed widely. In 2009, the conservation crew received a grant of about $100,000 from the Bronx River Watershed Initiative, a program within the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that funds green projects through environmental violation settlement money. The grant has allowed the crew to install harvesting systems for free. So far, this grant has supported installations of rainwater harvesting systems at seven buildings along the Bronx River.

Mike Mendez was connecting the pipes. Photo: Yiting Sun

However, by this spring, this grant will run out. Knickmeyer said the grant would fund two more systems and then the rainwater-harvesting program would have to come to a halt. The conservation crew is not certain of additional funding sources yet, but they are thinking about some possible less costly methods to spread the word about the benefits of rainwater harvesting. “The ideal way would be for people to be educated through workshops to find out how to install their own rain barrels, so that they could do it themselves,” said Kriesberg. She also hopes the city would make these rainwater harvesting systems more affordable, and enticing, for residents with giveaway programs and financial incentives.

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