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fist of fight back program

Fighting their neighborhood

The Fight Back Program is a 10-year-old jiu jitsu and self-defense program run out of the Mary Mitchell Center in the East Tremont and Crotona neighborhoods. Its senseis have trained hundreds of local kids to use martial arts to resist negative pressures all around them.

Posted in Bronx Life, Bronx Neighborhoods, Featured, Multimedia, North Central Bronx, Sports, VideoComments (0)

Police release video of murder suspects, NY Daily News

Police yesterday released a video of two men wanted for beating a Fordham father to death, mugging him for $15, according to the New York Daily News.  The suspects attacked Bimal Chanda, 59, on the second-floor landing of his apartment Saturday.

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As bus accident probe continues, riders are undeterred

As bus accident probe continues, riders are undeterred

By: Yiting Sun, Sana Gulzar and Mehroz Baig

On March 12, 2011, a bus carrying 32 passengers crashed on the Bronx/Westchester County Border, on I-95, killing 15 passengers and injuring 18 others. Since then, government agencies have launched an investigation into the accident.

Despite the accident in the Bronx, as well as others in New Jersey and New Hampshire, travelers are not deterred from taking these buses, and business is continuing as usual.  Watch what passengers lining up for a bus from Chinatown to Atlantic City had to say:

In a March 30 update, Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said that it is too soon to determine a cause of the accident, but that NTSB has so far determined that the driver of the bus was traveling at up to 78 miles per hour. The driver had said that another truck was involved in the accident. Another truck driver came forward saying that he had witnessed the accident. NTSB inspected his truck and found that it had not come in contact with the bus. The bus also had a camera attached to its windshield but the camera did not record the accident.

The NTSB is also holding a public forum on safety on May 10-11 to review progress since the last time the agency held such hearings, 12 years ago. This forum had been scheduled prior to the bus accident in the Bronx.

The NTSB is an independent government agency that investigates accidents to determine their cause and then makes recommendations. It does not have any power to enforce those recommendations or any responsibility in oversight of buses.

Oversight of commercial bus traffic rests with the New York State Department of Transportation and on a national level, the United States Department of Transportation. Since the bus accident, the state department of transportation held a three-day inspection of buses from March 18 – 20.  The agency set up 13 checkpoints and inspected 164 buses. Within Manhattan alone, inspectors checked 26 buses and found that 16 of them, or 62 percent, had violations that were significant enough to put the buses out of service. Outside of Manhattan, another 138 buses were inspected and 25 of them, or 18 percent, had violations that put those vehicles out of service.

According to the state department of transportation’s website, this agency conducts about 154,000 inspections a year and requires all buses to be inspected at least every six months. However, 80 percent of the inspections are done on buses used for school transportation services. The other 20 percent are parceled out among other services such as charter buses, line-run commercial buses, ambulette, and airport buses.

World Wide Travel of Greater New York is the operating company of the bus involved in the crash. CNN reported that the company was involved in two crashes since 2009, and cited five times for fatigued driving from December 2009 to October 2010. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website also lists two crashes for World Wide Travel, but does not specify when they took place.

The chart below displays the number of inspections the company had each year, and the number it failed, according to the New York State Department of Transportation. During the most recent fiscal year, from April 2009 to May 2010, the company did not fail any inspections. The company could not be reached for a response.

Source: NY State Department of Transportation

Posted in Bronx Neighborhoods, Former Featured, VideoComments (0)

[Video] Hot house!  A Caribbean ecosystem in the snow-covered Bronx

[Video] Hot house! A Caribbean ecosystem in the snow-covered Bronx

By Sana Gulzar & Manuel Rueda

Posted in Multimedia, The Bronx Beat, VideoComments (0)

[VIDEO] At the speed of snow

[VIDEO] At the speed of snow

The weather has slowed down all forms of transportation in Kingsbridge, except for one.

By Ethan Frogget and Manuel Rueda

Posted in Former Featured, Multimedia, VideoComments (0)

Fordham Shortstop Kownacki Enjoying Instant Celebrity

Tuesday evening was shaping up to be just another night at the ballpark for Brian Kownacki, Fordham University’s 20-year-old shortstop. Fordham, limping into its match against Iona College with a 12-22 record, trailed 9-3 at the bottom of the eighth inning, but a miraculous turn of events saw the Rams win 12-9 and Kownacki transformed into an overnight Internet phenomenon.

“I was just thinking about scoring a run,” Kownacki said. “It was a one-time thing. I’d never thought about it until I got to five feet away from the catcher.”

Kownacki, blocked from home plate by Iona catcher James Beck, improvised by leaping over the head of his befuddled opponent to score the game’s final run — a play that was caught on video by school officials and quickly spread worldwide.

“I knew the sports information director had sent it to ESPN. I thought it might get into the top plays,” said Kownacki, a native of Woodbridge, Conn., who is in his sophomore year of a business administration degree. “I woke up to 20 missed phone calls saying I had interviews on ESPN and that it had made No. 1.”

Kownacki’s life has since been turned upside down by a barrage of media requests. “It’s all a big blur right now,” he said this afternoon before boarding the team’s bus ahead of a flight to Ohio. “I’ve done 11 or 12 interviews. It’s really fun.” CBS’s “Early Show” awaits his arrival in Dayton, where the Rams play a three-game series this weekend.

Tuesday wasn’t the first time that Kownacki’s acrobatics have gained notice — he was featured in a Sports Illustrated photo spread earlier this year. But his latest dazzling maneuver has pushed unheralded Fordham firmly into the spotlight. Diana Mackie, a communications student who works part time in the sports office, said the school deserves the attention. “We have excellent sports programs here, and it’s about time we were recognized,” she said.

Mark Stevens, the team’s hitting coach, said he is surprised by the reaction but delighted by the exposure that Kownacki and the program are receiving. “It was an amazing play. He’s a very athletic kid,” Stevens said. “I think he needs an agent.”

The resulting media circus could be a distraction for the team, but Head Coach Nick Restaino is confident that his shortstop will not be affected. “Brian is the last guy that’s ever going to look for attention,” Restaino said. “He’s very grounded. I think he’ll handle it well.”

Restaino admitted that he had never seen anything like Kownacki’s leap in 18 years of coaching, but his reaction was straight out of the coaching manual. “He did a great job getting the run scored and that’s what really matters,” he said.

Any lingering thoughts that Kownacki might get carried away were quickly deflated by a sobering reaction from his family. “I talked to my parents,” Kownacki said. “They said it was a very nice play, but very dangerous and I shouldn’t try it again.”

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