Tag Archive | "Soundview"

Jobless Bronx resident joins the march on Wall Street

Jobless Bronx resident joins the march on Wall Street


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On Wednesday, the Occupy Wall Street protest got a big boost as labor unions from across the city gathered near the courthouses at Foley Square for the movement's biggest march since it started in early September. (LINDSAY MINERVA/The Bronx Ink)

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Man charged in Albany burglary after DNA match, Albany Times Union

A Bronx man has been charged with a 2008 convenience store burglary in Albany, reports the Albany Times Union.

Sean Jackson, of Soundview, had broken the front window of the store and stolen a dozen pack of cigarettes, said police.

Police were able to connect Jackson to the crime from DNA of blood left on the broken window. Jackson’s DNA had been in the state database from two unrelated felonies, police said.

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Fighting gun crime one flyer at a time

Ruben Diaz Jr.: "We are sick and tired of being held hostage in our apartments."

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. raced from door to door in the Monroe Housing Projects in Soundview last Saturday, knocking on doors, handing out flyers, imploring residents to help clear guns off the streets.

“We’re sick and tired of reading about shootings on a daily basis,” said Diaz Jr., dressed in a Peace In Our Streets t-shirt promoting the borough hall initiative that implores residents to call an anonymous hotline if they know about illegal guns.

“We are all sick and tired of being held hostage in our own apartments,” Diaz Jr. said. He lives in Boynton Avenue in Soundview, and is fearful when his son goes out at night to walk his girlfriend home across the street.

The 10-year-old program, funded in part with private donations, offers a $1,000 reward for tips that end in arrest. Diaz Jr. claims that the program resulted in 109 Bronx arrests in 2009 and 158 in 2010. He said that 79 guns were confiscated because of the hotline last year, up from 59 the year before.

Soundview in the 43rd Precinct of the Bronx has seen a spike in gun crime over the last two years. Arrests for felony assaults increased from 352 to 378 between last year and today, an increase of 7.4 percent.

“We need some uniformity in federal gun control laws,” Diaz Jr. said. “What we’re seeing is many of the guns in our streets that are killing our children are coming from Virginia and South Carolina.”

His remarks came a week after Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke out against the new Right-to-Carry Act, a bill that would allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed firearms over state lines.

Ruben Diaz Jr.: Knocking Doors for Peace from Mohammed Ademo on Vimeo.

Some residents were skeptical about the borough president’s approach. “Paying people in the community to rat or squeal on those who have guns is one thing, but we still have killings,” said Martin N. Danenberg, an education advocate. “I don’t have much confidence in the people all around to get the job done.”

Danenberg believes education is more effective than anonymous tipsters. “If you educate them and they realize they can earn money without using guns,” he said, “you won’t even have to pay them $1000!”

Still, Diaz believes the program is so worthwhile, he was willing to walk the halls of the Monroe project to promote it. Diaz Jr. believes the 15.6 percent jump in arrests for felonies can be attributed to illegal gun smuggling and the glorifying of violence in popular culture.

“They only give individuals record deals where they promote violence,” he said. “There has to be more of an option.”

Monroe residents were surprised and a little skeptical to see their borough president knocking on doors. Local resident Rhonda said Diaz Jr. knocked just as she was getting ready to leave the house.

“I was like, I’ll be nice,” said Rhonda. “But I’ve never seen him before a day in my life!”

Miriam Sanchez has lived in Monroe housing for 23 years. She supported the mayor’s recent campaign to increase the minimum sentence for firearms offences to three and a half years.

“Now, I don’t feel the three years is doing any justice either,” Sanchez said. “It’s not working. They need to get five years mandatory.”

Sanchez supports the Peace In Our Streets initiative. “The more that the public is aware that this is anonymous, they’ll come forward,” she said. “But too many times the people who witness crimes are afraid. We need to take that fear away.”

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The Daily News reports hit-and-run in Soundview

Earlier this morning a man was fatally injured in a hit-and-run accident, The Daily News reported today. The unidentified man was walking on Story Avenue when a SUV hit him and never stopped to look back. The man died in the street. No arrests have been made but police are looking for a white Lincoln Navigator that may have front-end damage.

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Reggae star charged with possession of 310 pounds of marijuana

Cops spotted reggae artist of smash hit “I’ll do anything for you,” Denroy Morgan, leaving an apartment in Soundview with a brick of marijuana. They pulled him over for running a stop sign and noticed the car smelled of weed, a source told The Daily News. They found a trunk full of marijuana. Later during a search of Morgan’s house, cops found a pile of weed bricks with an estimated street value of up to $351,000. Morgan was charged with criminal possession.

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Top Stories of the Day

Flashback: Bush at Yankee Stadium after 9/11

On October 30, 2001, the Yankees played the Diamondbacks in Game 3 of the World Series. The Boston Herald recaps how, as President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch, everyone was considered a potential terrorist – even George Steinbrenner and Joe Torre.

Bronx has 4 of NYC’s most ‘dangerous’ schools

The New York State Education Department posted a list “persistently dangerous” schools on its website last week. The New York Post reports that of the nine New York City schools on the list for 2011-12, four are in the Bronx – Aspire, Soundview Academy for Culture and Scholarship, PS 11 Highbridge, and IS 190. The Post says that Aspire Prep’s 554 students tallied 88 “violent and disruptive” incidents in 2009-10. These included sex crimes, robbery and assaults.

Bronxites help farm devastated by Irene

Two busloads of Bronx families traveled to Schoharie in upstate New York on Saturday with emergency supplies for a farm devastated by the remnants of Hurricane Irene, says an Associated Press report in the Wall Street Journal. These families from the South Bronx were just a few among the 1,000 and more that Richard Ball’s farm has been feeding since 2009.


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Skulls and Rosaries

Audio slideshow by Elettra Fiumi and David Patrick Alexander.

A local Soundview botanica owner counts on days like Saint Michael’s Day on September 29th to boost his flagging business.

“People aren’t going to the saints as much as before,” said John Santiago, owner of the Botanica store, which manages to maintain a steady revenue of approximately $53,000 per year. His is one of the last standing local botanicas. Three others closed down in the last year.

In a city still trying to recover from high jobless rates and a global economic collapse, this Botanica maintains a faithful clientele by offering religious tidbits of advice and a little generosity alongside wooden crucifixes, or bath soap that wards off evil. When someone in need can’t afford to buy something, he might give them a candle for free.

Santiago said sales of merchandise that includes skulls, rosaries and candles have gone down since the 1980s except for a brief surge around 9/11.

“People were getting scared and thinking they were going to die so they should clean their souls,” he said. “People only believe when something tragic happens.”

Sales increase drastically mostly around religious days like the day after Halloween, Christmas day and New Year’s Eve. Most clients don’t remember other saint days throughout the year, but when Santiago reminds them, he recalls them thanking him by giving him “muchos blessings.”

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A Challenger Emerges for Bronx Senate Seat

Carlos Ramos is a candidate who says he knows firsthand the challenges of living in the poorest areas of the Bronx. Ramos, who is challenging New York State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., in the 32nd District in September’s Democratic primary, said he grew up in a single-parent home in Soundview with little guidance, mingled with friends from similarly low-income backgrounds and fell into trouble with the law.

Carlos Ramos (Photo courtesy of Carlos Ramos)

Carlos Ramos (Photo courtesy of Carlos Ramos)

“My journey was not an easy one,” said Ramos, 40, during a telephone interview Friday. As a teenager, he was sentenced to a short time in prison for a drug-related offense. “Eventually I did some soul-searching and I realized there was more to life,” he said.

Since that realization, Ramos said he has been dedicated to helping others in his community through his involvement in public service initiatives and grassroots organizations. He first became involved with a local Hispanic Democrats club in Westchester in 1998 and has since worked for national campaigns in Florida, Arizona and Pennsylvania before  returning to the Bronx to work for  William C. Thompson Jr., the former New York City comptroller.

It was during the 2009 Thompson campaign for mayor that Ramos said he found the inspiration to step forward as a candidate for the Senate. “There was a guy there helping us every day,” Ramos said. “I was sharing my idea with him that I was thinking about running, and he told me ‘If you run against Ruben Diaz, I promise to give you my last $20.’ ” Ramos said the volunteer was HIV-positive, living in a homeless shelter, surviving off government benefits and hurting because of a lack of political leadership. “The only way you’re going to get some leadership in there is to run,” he said.

Ramos thinks there is currently a lack of political leadership in the Bronx because elected officials have been pushed into office without obtaining the proper skills to lead. He attributes this to weaknesses in the current education system in public schools — one of the top priorities that he proposes to tackle if elected to the state Senate.

“We need to be prepared for all these new people that are moving in and have the proper school system for them,” he said. “And we need to better prepare the next generation of Bronx leaders.”

Job creation and affordable housing are the other big issues for Ramos. Too many residential buildings, he said, are owned by conglomerates who are dealing with the fallout of the recession. “What happens is their problems trickle down to the tenants,” he said. “Sometimes their services are not being met, their apartments are not being painted, or there’s no repairs being done. Many times the tenants don’t even know how to address these problems.”

Ramos says there is a “stark contrast” between himself and Diaz, both in their political ideologies and in their campaign methods. Social media plays an important part in getting his messages across and he thinks that the use of digital technology gives him an edge in fundraising. Diaz could not be reached for comment on the coming election.

Ramos said he received about 4,000 messages, mostly supportive, on the day his campaign went live, and that he has attracted campaign donations from across the United States.

“When we run the campaign, we’re going to have the latest technology to be able to micro-target voters,” Ramos said. “Diaz doesn’t have that advantage. They run campaigns the old-fashioned way.”

In an age where indiscretions by public figures are also amplified by social media and the Internet, Ramos believes that the mistakes of his past will not become an issue. “Many people in my community can identify with some of my challenges, so I’m not even worried about it,” he said. “When I talk to people, I’m very frank about it. It’s not something that I’m hiding. They’re actually glad that I’m doing what I’m doing.”

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