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Feds to investigate housing projects in the Bronx, Brooklyn, NY Daily News

Tthe U.S. Labor Department and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development are probing underpayment and kickbacks at affordable housing projects in the Bronx and Brooklyn, the NY Daily News learned.

At the Bronx construction site site – 780 Prospect Ave. – workers are reportedly due $575,000.

The Bronx apartment building opened with fanfare on Oct. 7 to low-income seniors and the homeless. The project was subject to prevailing wage requirements because it received federal funds.

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Bronx volunteers join citywide effort to plant 20K trees in one day, NY1

As part of an initiative to plant a million trees in the five boroughs by 2017, about 500 volunteers from the Bronx planted trees at the Van Cortland Park on Saturday morning, NY1 reported.

Organizers hope to plant 20,000 trees during the one-day event.

“We have our crews out in all of our parks to help maintain the trees, but we also invite New Yorkers to volunteer with us,” said Morgan Monaco of the Million Trees program.


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New York’s wet season sends mushroom hunters in frenzy, NY Times

The year 2011 is New York City’s fourth wettest year ever recorded and it is keeping mushroom hunters busy, the NY Times reported.

“It’s that kind of year that people will talk about in the future: ‘Remember 2011, the year the hen took over New York?’ ” said Gary Lincoff, author of “The Complete Mushroom Hunter” and an instructor of a mushroom-identification class at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

Even in a normal year, Mr. Lincoff said, “The city is a phenomenal place to go mushrooming.”

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Bronx school welcomes celebrity visitor, NY Daily News

Students from the Bronx’s High School for Teaching and Professions welcomed former supermodel Tyra Banks, who made a surprise visit to the school to promote her book, the NY Daily News reported.

The Bedford Park school has recently beaten 90 other schools so far in a nationwide competition to improve attendance rates, and Banks urged students to keep on working.

“It’s so important to understand your good attendance ups your chances of graduating,” she added. “Everybody has a dream, right?”

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Guilty plea in teen death at Rikers, WSJ

Two former officers of the New York City Department of Correction are facing jail time after pleading guilty of their roles in the beating death of a teenage inmate at Rikers Island, according to an AP report published in The Wall Street Journal.

Michael McKie and Khalid Nelson were spared lengthy prison sentences in exchange for guilty pleas to charges of assault and attempted assault, respectively, in the death of Christopher Robinson.

Robinson was beaten to death by other inmates on Oct. 18, 2008, after he dared to defy the authority of gang members with links to the two dismissed officers.


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Internet scam victimizes Bronx homeowner, CBS NY

It’s been home to Robert Brant and his family for eight years, but now the two-bedroom, two-bath in the Bronx is up for sale, and it’s getting attention.

The Bronx homeowner, who is trying to sell his property, has fallen victim into an Internet scam posting rental properties online, CBS NY reported.

The Better Business Bureau warned both homeowners and would-be renters to be cautious of online advertising promoting house rentals.


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Raccoons spotted at Bronx train station, MyFox NY

A group of raccoons has been spotted roaming an area near a No. 4 Bronx train station, according to MyFox NY.

At least eight of the animals were seen at the end of the platform of the Bedford Park Boulevard Station.

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Bronx botanical garden debuts world’s largest pumpkin, NY Daily News

A giant pumpkin from Quebec, Canada will be the center of attraction at the New York Botanical Garden’s Halloween celebration this year, the NY Daily Daily reported.

Weighing close to one ton, the pumpkin will be carved on Saturday at the popular Bronx venue.

“Every year they just go after bigger and bigger ones,” said Michael Nee, a curator at the Botanical Garden. “There’s no end in sight”

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