Tag Archive | "Morris Heights"

Teen girl shot in Morris Heights – NY Daily News

An 18-year-old girl is clinging to life after being shot in the head Sunday morning, reports the Daily News. The Victim, whose name has not been released was shot while walking with two men at 2:15 a.m. near West Tremont and Grand Aves. She was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital.

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A new digital divide? Tech volunteers say support, not access, is the problem

Geraldine Miner watches as volunteer Cate Burlington workes on her laptop. Other volunteers sit behind them. (C.J. SINNER / The Bronx Ink)

Geraldine Miner frequently uses her laptop to navigate around Facebook, play games and keep up with her two children and three grandchildren, and always tries to keep the virus software updated. Still, the 69-year-old checked in for help at the Tech Day being held on a Saturday in mid-November in her west Bronx apartment building to find out why her laptop’s processing has slowed down so much.

The all-day Saturday Tech Day, run by iGotITtoo, a technology outreach nonprofit that volunteers in 10 underserved communities around the city, was the second such event held at River Watch, Inc., a nonprofit outreach organization housed at Riverview Apartments in Morris Heights. Neighbors came by the building and dropped off their computers of different ages and sizes, some heaving large desktop setups over their shoulders. The 11 volunteers were trained to fix many computer issues and they came armed with coffee.

Tables of monitors filled the room and a bin full of mismatched and used internal parts sat on the floor. Power cords twirled on the floor and miniature tools were arranged by color and size in case an ambitious volunteer wished to take the screws off a device. Volunteers and iGotITtoo employees donned T-shirts that read “Smart is the new gangsta” on the back.

The group is responding to somewhat of a new digital divide, said iGotITtoo cofounder Santana Kenner. Low-income communities have more Internet access than ever because of lower prices for small laptops and smartphones. What they lack is affordable access to technical help and it often costs hundreds of dollars to diagnose and repair the machines.

“Normally, access is the issue people talk about, but that has changed. Now, it’s digital inequality – that’s the usage, the fluency,” Kenner said, adding that it’s common for users across the board to unwittingly trust every file download or game. Corrupted material often leads to problems. “We’re out that the underserved communities just don’t have the resources to get things fixed.”

Nationally, studies have shown that the digital divide, typically identified between ethnic groups, has been gradually narrowing since 2000, and a July report from the Pew Research Center showed that more blacks than whites owned smartphones. Morris Heights sits in Community District 5, which is almost entirely black and Hispanic, according to the city planning department’s latest data.

“People know that they should have access and they can get the access, but then sometimes they’re not sure what to do with it,” said Clare Chiesa, the other iGotITtoo cofounder.

Chiesa and Kenner started iGotITtoo in Lafayette Gardens in Brooklyn in 2007 because they were looking for a way to offer computer literacy classes to underserved communities and narrow the digital divide of access. In 2009, the group, whose name is a play on words for the abbreviation for information technology, received a $250,000 grant from Google to expand their reach. They now serve three locations in the Bronx as well as their original Brooklyn centers.

Chiesa said that at the first River Watch Tech Day in August, eight technicians fixed 25 computers in 10 hours. This time around, only 12 people brought their computers by, even though Chiesa said she expected growth.

Head volunteer Ilya Feldshteyn said he didn’t think the event was advertised well enough this time. Most of the flyers were only posted around the building or handed out around the neighborhood on the morning of the event.

Miner, who knew about the event because she sits on the board for River Watch and has taken computer education classes through iGotITtoo, has a laptop for herself and an older desktop computer that she lets her grandson use.

“He downloads all sorts of stuff, I don’t even know what’s on there,” she said. “But I don’t let anyone on my laptop, so I have no idea why it’s slow.”

Ilya Feldshteyn, left, shows what to look for on a computer. (C.J. SINNER / The Bronx Ink)

Free downloads and games are often the culprit, said Feldshteyn. Two-thirds of the issues he handles result from spyware and viruses. In fact, running a virus scan is the first step each technician takes when a computer is brought in.

“It takes a lot of time to fix, and we tell them not to do it, but it’s hard to change behavior,” Feldshteyn said. “We explain it to them, you know, please refrain from the free software and the free music, but they don’t listen very often.”

So the 28-year-old JP Morgan employee and other tech volunteers hunker down in rows of computers, running scans or digging for troublesome programs.

Afterward, Miner, who only brought in her slow personal laptop for repairs, said her laptop was working well, though she wasn’t sure what the technicians did to resolve the problem or how to prevent it from happening again.

“They just cleaned it out, I guess, and they took out whatever was making it slow,” she said. “They just told me to be careful about which websites I go to and downloading things.”

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Two found dead in apparent Bronx murder-suicide, NY1

Police found a man and woman dead in a Bronx apartment in an apparent murder-suicide, NY1 reports.

Investigators say they found Marie Jannette Lawrence, 30, shot to death in her apartment at 2084 Grand Avenue in Morris Heights Friday afternoon.

Batu McClary-Griggs, 37, was also found dead on the floor with a gunshot wound to the head.

 

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Gunmen Tie Up Family In Their Own Home, Wpix

Three men broke into a family home in Morris Heights on Sunday afternoon, tied up a father and his two children in a back room and robbed them of their valuables, Wpix reports.

The three Hispanic males forced their way into the apartment at 1705 Andrews Avenue at 2pm on Sunday. The man who lives there sustained minor injuries as he tried to stop the thieves from entering.

Once inside, the suspects brandished a gun as they tied up the victims and robbed the house of cash, jewelery and cellphones, police said.

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Neighbors rally to fight increased gun violence in Morris Heights

Neighbors look on as Assemblywoman Vanessa L. Gibson speaks about crime in Morris Heights. (DIANE JEANTET/The Bronx Ink)

Sandra Cuevas has already started looking for a new apartment — anywhere but Morris Heights, where her 20-year-old son was shot and killed 12 days ago.

The circumstances surrounding the death of her son, John Vasquez, are still unclear, but the shooting was the impetus for a “Community in Crisis” rally Wednesday night. About 100 neighbors gathered at a playground on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx for a candlelight vigil to protest the rising rate of violent crime in the area and pray for the people they have lost.

“No one should have to live like this,” said Cuevas, 47. Her eyes were red and puffy from tears as she talked about her son. “I don’t want to live here anymore,” she said. “It’s too dangerous.”

According to the latest crime statistics from the 46th Precinct, which encompasses Morris Heights, there have been 15 murders so far in 2011, compared to nine at this point last year – a 66 percent increase. The number is up 7.1 percent since 2001.

Many shootings go unreported, said Jackie Mercer, 57, Vasquez’s paternal grandmother. Mercer has lived here for 21 years and said she’s steadily watched the violence increase. She’s also planning to move.

Vasquez was discovered shot in the torso at the intersection of Sedgwick and Cedar avenues at 2:21 a.m. on Sept. 24. A 56-year-old man had been shot in the arm and was transferred to Lincoln Hospital. The case is still under investigation.

Cuevas and Mercer said they’ve heard multiple stories about the altercation, but are adamant that Vasquez was not involved in drugs or gangs.

“It was an act of pure stupidity,” Mercer said. “He was a good kid, but he wasn’t a punk. He’d fight you, but he’d use his hands. Not like these other people.”

Cathy Stroud, executive director for River Watch Inc., a community outreach nonprofit, organized the Wednesday night rally and said the anger over the rising violence is justified.

“It’s almost like you are being held captive in your own home,” said Stroud, who has lived on Sedgwick Avenue for 39 years and is known in the neighborhood as Miss Cathy. “The seniors especially might as well have gates on their doors because they’re afraid to come out of their houses. They’re prisoners. And yes, it hurts.”

Stroud said she was disappointed at the event’s turnout. She’d hoped for hundreds more. Still, the ones that showed up were active, chanting “stop the violence, increase the peace,” over and over with Assemblywoman Vanessa L. Gibson, who emceed the rally from a podium at the center of a circled-up crowd.

Gibson, who lives in the area, said young people need “something better to do” than be on the streets late at night.

“There’s nothing positive in this community at 2 or3 a.m.,” she said. “Give them the education, give them the resources and tools they need to make better decisions.”

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Morris Heights double shooting leaves 20-year-old dead, NY1

Police responded to a 911 call just before 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning in Morris Heights, finding 20-year-old John Vasquez and a 56-year-old with gunshot wounds, reports NY1. Vasquez was pronounced dead. The 56-year-old, as yet unidentified, is in stable condition at Lincoln Hospital.

The shooting occurred at the intersection of Cedar and Sedgwick Avenues. Police are investigating.

 

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107-year-old Bronx woman remembers hard life, Daily News reports

It’s hard to imagine, but 107-year-old Bronx resident Louise (Big Momma) Mitchell can remember going to pick cotton in Georgia when she was 5, with “not a penny to show for it.” The New York Daily News honored her latest birthday.

Mitchell now lives in Morris Heights with house-call medical care. Instead of completing school past the third grade, Mitchell went to work. After the cotton fields, it was washing clothes for a wealthy landowner, the Daily News reports.

Eventually, she relocated to New Jersey to work as a housekeeper, and then did the same wealthy Jewish households in Manhattan, but lived in Harlem and in the South Bronx.

She said young people “should pray to God their life isn’t hard like mine.”

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A Bronx Baptist church celebrates Easter

A Bronx Baptist church celebrates Easter

By Camilo Hannibal Smith

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