Thursday, February 6, 2014

Gunmen Chicken Out?

Gunmen Chicken Out?
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By Dan Gesslein
BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 6- Maybe they should have just ordered the combo deal. A pair of crooks who tried to rob a Morrisania takeout restaurant left empty handed but left cops with some good images of the gunmen.
At around 1 a.m. on January 25, two men walked into the Kennedy Fried Chicken on East 169th Street and demanded cash. One of the men pulled out a handgun and tried to rob the takeout joint but left empty handed.
Police released surveillance video of the attempted stickup. Both men wore hoodies but only one covered his face. The gunman wore a scarf or ski mask over his mouth but his accomplice did not. His face is seen on the video appearing to talk into a cell phone before the holdup.
The thieves are described as two men in their 20s. Anyone with information is urged to call CRIMESTOPPERS at (800) 577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
All calls are strictly confidential.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Westchester Square News: Open Season on ‘Obama’

Westchester Square News: Open Season on ‘Obama’: Open Season on ‘Obama’ Impersonator Denied Justice in Presidential Assault By David Greene BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY ...

Open Season on ‘Obama’

Open Season on ‘Obama’
Impersonator Denied Justice in Presidential Assault
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By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 5- Despite the not-guilty verdict there will be no presidential pardons granted here, no coming together at a beer garden.
Louis Ortiz, a Puerto Rican who thinks it was his uncanny resemblance of President Barack Obama that had placed a target on his back on that night in question-- and it apparently did not help him with a judge who decided in favor of the Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) Sergeant accused of cold-cocking him inside a Bronx deli.
Ortiz, the moonlighting Obama-double formerly of the Morris Park section who has been featured in commercials, rap videos and spoofs imitating the president, claims he was minding his own business inside the J & R Deli in Morris Park, when he and HHC Sergeant Romeo Vairo got into the dispute in the wee-hours of December 26, 2009.
"He was found not guilty," Ortiz grimly recalled hours after Acting Supreme Court Justice Joseph Dawson's decision was announced late Thursday, January 17.
He continued, "You don't know the hell I went through when I heard the news."
Ortiz, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, suffered a bruise under his cheek in the brief skirmish and claims he has suffered from headaches ever since.
Feeling that the dice was loaded against him from the start, Ortiz says he called officers from the nearby 49th Precinct, who refused to make a report against Vairo. Ortiz also charged that officers told him a report would be made when he went to the Eastchester Road station-house two-days later.
Eventually, Ortiz got the ball rolling with calls to the Internal Affairs Division, HHC, the Inspector General and the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
The dispute, Vairo slugging Ortiz and Ortiz retaliating by striking Vairo on the chin with a grapefruit was believed to have all been caught on store surveillance video. However, the video mysteriously disappeared and was never introduced at the trial.
Ortiz says, "The NYPD lied to me and I tried to prove that and they put up that blue wall of silence."
Ortiz, who received immunity from tossing the grapefruit at Vairo, in exchange for his testimony-- Ortiz was facing a class b-felony and still must answer to a disorderly conduct charge that is expected to be dismissed by the Bronx DA.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Osman Abbasi who was assisted by special prosecutor Peter Kennedy, both men with the Bronx DA's Rackets Bureau.
Speaking of Abbasi, Ortiz recalled, "He truly felt bad that the case went the way it did, he thought the judge didn't believe me when I said that I didn't mean to provoke him."
Ortiz then asks, "If a citizen verbally engages an officer is the correct response a right hook?"
Justice Dawson may have also struggled with Ortiz' decision of waiting nearly 12-hours before seeking medical attention, before deciding the bench trial that lasted a little over a week.
The Bronx District Attorney's office stated that they could not comment on the case because it had been sealed.
A source at the Bronx District Attorney's office offered, "Since the defendant was acquitted everything related to the case is sealed and we are not able to discuss anything."
Vairo was found not guilty of assault, harassment, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing and official misconduct and will apparently be going back to his job at Jacobi Hospital.
Sergeant Romeo Vairo, who did not take the stand in his own defense, has been with the HHC police since 1987.
Contacted by telephone, defense attorney Bert Oberlander stated, "He was acquitted of all charges yesterday and he's looking forward to getting back to work and getting on with his life."
"Mr. Ortiz wasn't credible," Oberlander continued, "His story was fabricated from the beginning and I think the court determined that in the courts decision."
Oberlander also stated that no video was retrieved by investigators, adding, "There was no video of any incident or anything recorded in the store."
However, the deli in question has had a state-of-the-art video system since before the incident took place.
Despite the headaches, Ortiz is getting on with his life as well as he is starring in a new reality show he co-created titled, "South Bronx" that began shooting in Westchester Square on January 17 and is expected to debut on YouTube.
Ortiz recently screened his new bio-flick, "The Audacity of Louis Ortiz," by Brooklyn filmmaker Ryan Murdock and expects to be participating in this months Fashion Week festivities.
In 2010 an official from HHC stated that Vairo was suspended without pay, however HHC officials now say Vairo had been suspended with pay since the incident took place.
HHC stated that Vairo earned $47,560.50 for 2013.

Westchester Square News: Get help with your finances

Westchester Square News: Get help with your finances: Get help with your finances Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University Comes to the Bronx   BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 5- More than ...

Get help with your finances

Get help with your finances

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University Comes to the Bronx
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BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 5- More than two million families have positively changed their financial future through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU). Updated in summer 2012, the now nine-week course provides families and individuals with practical tools to gain control of their finances and set themselves up for long-term financial success. The course meets once a week where a different lesson is taught by Dave on DVD followed by a small-group discussion. Lessons include budgeting, relationships and money, getting out of debt, saving for emergencies and investing. FPU will be held in Bronx at:
•Crossway Christian Center located at 2730 Bruckner Boulevard in Bronx. The classes will begin Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. Contact Nik Adwalpalker at (718)597-3840 for more information or to register.
Since its inception in 1994 FPU has helped more than 1.5 million families positively change their financial future. Through common-sense principles and small-group accountability, FPU gives people the tools they need to change their behavior and succeed financially. On average families who complete FPU pay off $5,300 and save $2,700 in the first 90 days. Following the class nearly 94 percent of those families budget regularly.
“FPU will not only transform the way you handle money, but also your marriage and other areas of your life,” says Ramsey. “This isn’t a boring financial class. We make learning about money fun and easy to understand so people in every situation can benefit from the information.”
Ramsey knows first-hand the pain that financial stress can cause. After creating a net worth of more than a million dollars by age 26, he quickly lost it all. Since then Ramsey has helped families and individuals across the country learn how to get control of their finances and avoid debt so they don’t have to experience the same pain he did.
FPU lessons also include guest speakers Rachel Cruze, speaker and daughter of Dave Ramsey, and Chris Hogan, counselor and speaker for the Dave Ramsey organization.
For more information or to purchase a membership, go to

Monday, February 3, 2014

Westchester Square News: Let it Snow? No more

Westchester Square News: Let it Snow? No more: Snow Day Photo by Dan Gesslein BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 3- Another snowstorm sure looked pretty as long as you did not have...

Let it Snow? No more

Snow Day
Photo by Dan Gesslein
BRONX, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 3- Another snowstorm sure looked pretty as long as you did not have to get around in it.