Bronx Voice - August 11, 2021

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5th Year, No. 8


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Woman, age 70, raped Page 2 Man, age 91, KILLED Page 18

August 11 - 17, 2021

A photo taken from an Instagram video shows officers from the 46th Precinct, with guns drawn, attempt to surround the driver of a vehicle that plowed into several cars in order to make his getaway on August 4, 2021.

SCHOOL VOUCHERS AVAILABLE NOW! How to get outside services for special needs students

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Woman, age 70, raped in Belmont

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By Dan Gesslein Police are asking for the public’s help to catch a man who raped a 70-year-old woman at gunpoint inside her building. The NYPD released photos and surveillance video of the suspect who is seen brandishing a gun and masks. Investigators said the man wore two plastic masks, one red and one black, during the attack. At around 2 am on July 27, the 70-year-old woman returned to her apartment building in Belmont. She was approached from behind by the suspect who was wearing the two masks and brandishing a gun. The masked gunman forced

the elderly woman into the stairwell where he sexually assaulted and raped her. After the attack, the gunman fled but not before taking off the masks in front of a surveillance camera which was placed in the stairwell. This allowed police to get a clear photo of the suspect. Investigators said the victim sustained injuries but did not initially seek treatment or report the attack. On August 2, the woman went to BronxCare Health System for an evaluation. She then reported the attack to police. The NYPD's Bronx Special Victims Squad is investigating. The attacker is described

as a man with dark complexion. He is 5 foot 8, 170 pounds with a slim build. He was last seen wearing a black du-rag, a black hooded sweatshirt, a white t-shirt, blue jeans and black sneakers and carrying both the black and red plastic masks. He was in possession of a silver handgun. Anyone with information is urged to call CRIMESTOPPERS at (800) 577TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are strictly confidential.

Photo courtesty of NYPD

The NYPD released surveillance video of a man, they say, is wanted in connection with the rape of an elderly woman in the Bronx. The man is seen holding a mask, similar to the one described by the victim.

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Crazed car chase

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Smashes into cars, drives on sidewalk

By David Greene Several cellphone videos captured a police stop gone wrong that were posted to social media- the videos show the armed officers seemingly helpless with their guns out, as the driver called their bluff as to not discharge their firearms with the Fordham Road crowd. The driver proceeded to smash into several vehicles and making his getaway-- if not temporarily.

A green Mercedes goes airborne while trying to avoid cops. The car was seen driving on the sidewalk and taking out a pushcart vendor. Police later arrested the driver.

According to NYPD spokeswoman, detective Denise Moroney, the incident was reported by officers from the 46th Precinct at 5:05 p.m. on August 4. Moroney said of the incident, "Police attempted to conduct a car stop in the vicinity of East Fordham Road and Marion Avenue." Moroney continued, "The operator of the sedan refused to stop, struck seven vehicles, and drove down a public sidewalk.” Moroney added that 11 passengers were injured from the vehicles that were hit. One video posted to Instagram by "el_goldo718" that received nearly 60,000 views, shows police had their guns drawn on the driver of the vehicle, believed to be a high-end green Mercedes Benz GLC CONTINUED ON PAGE 7

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Woman sought in University stabbing

By David Greene Police are looking for a woman wanted in connection with the stab-

bing of a 43-year-old man outside of a bodega along University Avenue in Kingsbridge

Heights. According to police spokeswoman detective Denise Moroney,

Photo by David Greene

Police setup a crime scene around Jony Food Corp at University Avenue and West 190 Street after a 43 year-old man was stabbed in the abdomen after a dispute on August 5, 2021.

the incident occurred at 1:59 p.m. on August 5, outside of the Jony Food Corp, located at 2487 University Avenue at the corner of West 190 Street. Moroney stated, "Police responded to a 911 call of an assault... Upon arrival officers were informed by a 43-year-old male victim he was stabbed in the abdomen by an unidentified individual after a verbal dispute." Moroney added that the suspect fled on foot in an unknown direction. The unidentified vic-

tim was transported to St. Barnabas Hospital in serious, but stable condition. Police continue to search for the suspect, described as a 40-yearold female with a light complexion, with blonde hair and blue eyes and wearing a blue shirt and black pants. Anyone with any information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 577-TIPS or visit the Crime Stoppers website at: www.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS. COM. All tips remain confidential.

Crazed car chase

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Coup, that has a starting price of $60,000. The vehicle was briefly pinned in gridlocked traffic, when the suspect then threw the car into reverse and slammed into one car, before speeding past officers and striking another car, the suspects vehicle nearly flipping over. At least two of the videos captured one man believed to be an undercover detective, seen jumping off a CitiBike and ducking around some vehicles, before pulling out a revolver as the car sped forward.

Both the civilian-dressed man and the other officers continued to pursue the vehicle on foot. Attempting to avoid impact with the daredevil, a mini van made a sharp right allowing the offender to continue through the intersection. The vehicle then struck another vehicle before jumping onto the curb and attempted to squeeze between a fire hydrant and two vendor's tables and the front doors of Old Navy-Knocking over the two vendor tables. The suspect continued to drive down Fordham Road on

the sidewalk, past McDonald's and made his getaway. In one video posted to YouTube by David Perez, one viewer "coolvidzman" commented, "Anyone who would willingly drive a lime green Benz obviously has criminal tendencies." While several viewers asked about Perez' background music during the incident. A second video posted by David Perez on YouTube later that same day, shows police with a crime scene set up around the vehicle parked on a side-

walk. Attributing 'police sources' both the Daily News and NY Post reported that the vehicle was located at Hughes Avenue and Crescent Avenue, in Belmont. The following day police arrested Francisco Padilla, 29, of Mount Eden. Padilla was charged with 11 counts of both reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident, as well as obstructing governmental administration, fleeing an officer, reckless driving, an illegal U-turn and an equipment violation, believed to be the tinted windows.

One resident of Padilla's building who stated she did not know Padilla personally, recalled, "I did see the video, I saw the car and all the damage that it did. Yeah, that was crazy to say the least. I was like okay, I don't know what that was about. It was weird." The resident added that she hadn't seen the vehicle parked near her building before. Officially the NYPD gave no reason for the car stop, but WABC-TV credited tinted windows and marijuana smoke as the reason for the police response.

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NYC to increase special ed services for Bx students following settlement

By Pooja Salhotra This story originally appeared in Chalkbeat New York A federal district judge has approved a settlement agreement between the education department and disability rights advocates in the Bronx, resolving a fouryear-old lawsuit that challenged the city’s process for allocating certain special education services.

The settlement, in effect for three years, requires the education department to make a series of changes to the way it provides what are called “related services,” which include occupational therapy and mental health counseling, among other

supports for students with disabilities. Many schools do not have enough on-site staff to provide these services to all the students who are entitled to them. When that happens, schools can give parents a voucher to cover the cost of the service. But a number of barriers prevent parents from using vouchers. Families sometimes struggle to find providers willing to travel to their neighborhoods, for example, and many providers are simply unresponsive or not taking on more clients. As a result, vouchers are often left unused. About half of the 9,154 vouchers issued went unused in the 2015-16 school year, according to a report from the public advocate’s office. The voucher

system disadvantages poor neighborhoods the most, particularly those in far-reaching corners of the city that are more difficult for providers to access. A 2017 class-action lawsuit brought by nonprofit Bronx Independent Living Services and two students with disabilities in the Bronx challenged the voucher system. The lawsuit argued that the education department was failing to provide appropriate related services and violated the law. Last month — four years after the initial lawsuit — a judge authorized a settlement that applies to students in the Bronx who have Individualized Education Programs, or IEPs. The agreement does not remove the vouchCONTINUED ON PAGE 9

How to get outside services for special needs students CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8

er program altogether, but it does include policies meant to reduce the city’s reliance on that system. The education department must increase the number of occupational therapy supervisor positions in the Bronx from three to five, for example. It will also increase funding by 25% for a loan forgiveness program to attract university students studying to become related services providers to the education department. Hiring decisions must also be made earlier, ahead of the fall semester. “The focus is on moving the hiring up earlier in the summer with the hope that this can allow the DOE to better plan their needs for the upcoming school year,” said Rebecca Serbin, staff attorney for Disability Rights Advocates, which served as the plaintiffs’ counsel in the lawsuit. Other policies in the agreement are meant to make the voucher system work more efficiently for families in the Bronx. In some cases, students wait weeks to receive

their vouchers, which in turn delays the start of their services. The settlement outlines detailed timelines for issuing vouchers. (In most cases, they are to be delivered within 16 days of when school starts.) Schools are also required to appoint a non-school-based “related service authorization liaison” whose job is to support parents in using their vouchers or getting make-up services. The education department must also ensure the provider list is accurate and updated. “It’s vitally important to our community that they are able to access the services they need when they need them,” said Brett Eisenberg, executive director of Bronx Independent Living Services, a nonprofit that served as a plaintiff in the case and works with students with disabilities. “This agreement really makes sure that happens.” The settlement comes at a time when the education department has been struggling to provide adequate services to CONTINUED ON PAGE 17

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Health Matters

The importance of screening for lung cancer By Brendon M. Stiles, MD We go to our primary care doctors to undergo screening tests almost every visit. Routinely we are being tested for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and for a variety of other silent ailments. Often, we’re also referred for cancer screening: a breast exam and mammogram looking for breast cancer, a prostate exam and PSA for prostate cancer, a colonoscopy for colorectal cancer, or a pap smear for cervical cancer. All of these tests are understood to be part and parcel to our visit. The practice of screening is thus fairly ingrained in our healthcare system and seems to make logical sense. Why not try to find a problem before it causes irreversible harm? However, it probably comes as a surprise that we don’t routinely screen for the most deadly cancer in men and women – lung cancer. This is despite the fact that the test is a simple and non-invasive. The National Lung Screening Trial, published in 2011, evaluated more than 50,000 patients for lung cancer. Half were screened with

a low dose CAT scan, while the other half had a simple chest X-ray. People screened with a low dose CAT scan were much more likely to be diagnosed with early stage, highly curable lung cancer and were 20% less likely to die from lung cancer than patients who did not undergo low dose screening. Remarkably, screening with a low dose scan for just two years decreased a person’s chances of dying from any reason by 6.7%, which should be considered the gold standard for any population-based cancer screening study. These National Lung Screening Trial results were later validated by the NELSON trial, a study from Europe which demonstrated a 24% decreased risk of dying from lung cancer in men who were screened with a low dose scan. Clearly, lung cancer screening works. Why is Lung Cancer Not Seen as a Routine Cancer Screening?

Why then, is lung cancer screening not a topic

of routine conversation? In fact, less than 10% of eligible patients undergo lung cancer screening. The reasons are complex. Among all cancers that are screened for, lung cancer has the strictest entry criteria, requiring people be of a certain age and have a significant history of cigarette smoking. This association of lung cancer with smoking has led to stigmatization of the disease and perhaps stigmatization of lung cancer screening. It is too often assumed or implied that it is the patient’s fault if he or she gets lung cancer, despite the high prevalence of social tobacco use in earlier generations and the known addictive potential of nicotine. Lung cancer screening also came of age in a time of general skepticism towards cancer screening, a time when the “harms” of screening were highlighted and the concept of “over diagnosis” was often discussed. Decision aids for lung cancer screening suggest that the number of people who have complications from screening is similar to the number whose lives are saved from screening. What these decision aids fail to clarify however, is that most “complications of screening” actually occur during the course of diagnosis or treatment in the cohort of patients diagnosed with lung cancer, a sometimes unavoidable

Brendon M. Stiles, MD., is an Associate Director for Surgical Services, Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center, Professor and Chief, Thoracic Surgery and Surgical Oncology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System.

percentage in high risk patients. In fact, the chance of having moderate to severe complications in people who aren’t diagnosed with lung cancer is on the order of 4 in 10,000, not much higher than baseline rates of complications after any radiographic study. Similarly the concept of over diagnosis, was largely debunked in a long

term follow up study of patients in the National Lung Screening Trial. A Step in the Right Direction

The benefits of lung cancer screening for patients with a significant history of cigarette smoking are readily apparent. Recent recommendations have suggested lowering the age of screening to age

50 years old and have suggested to screen any person who smoked at least a pack per day for 20 years. These recommendations should expand the number of people eligible for screening and should help to find lung cancers earlier. With more effective treatment options for both early and late stage lung cancer, screening should lead to more lung cancer cures and to more lives saved. It is time that we broadly adopt lung cancer screening. Brendon M. Stiles, MD., is an Associate Director for Surgical Services, Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center, Professor and Chief, Thoracic Surgery and Surgical Oncology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System

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COVID-19 vaccination is more important than ever By Dr. Cariane Morales Matos Most of us did not expect to be talking about COVID-19 more than a year after it first appeared in the US. This virus has changed all aspects of our daily lives, from its constant presence on the news and social media, to having a mask as a routine accessory. Sadly, over 600,000 people (and counting) have died in the US from COVID-19. Thankfully, science and medicine have made some great advancement – most importantly, the development of three highly effective and safe vaccines. When I received my first dose in December, I felt hopeful and sensed the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. While I had some doubts – this was a novel vaccine, and my colleagues and I would be among the first to be vaccinated outside of a clinical trial – I was also grateful for the opportunity to be immunized so early. My patients’ questions now resemble my initial doubts: Are the vaccines safe? How were they developed so quickly? Why get vaccinated if I have not gotten the infection yet? In the Bronx, vaccine rates are 34% and 39% among Black and Hispanic people, respectively. Some of the hesitancy is based on a history of mistrust in the healthcare system; many other patients are wary of these new vaccines that seem to have emerged from thin air. After many months, though, we are now seeing a slow

increase in vaccination rates in these populations. This slow increase is so significant because the Bronx was one of the hardest hit boroughs in New York City, with Black and Hispanic people among the most impacted. COVID-19 highlighted racial disparities in healthcare and further amplified them in this time of crisis. It’s more important than ever to keep this momentum going in our communities. For those still hesitant, let’s review what we know about the COVID-19 vaccines. One year was indeed a record-setting timeline to develop these vaccines, but the high death toll from COVID-19 created a worldwide urgency. The vaccines have gone through the most intense safety monitoring process in US history. To understand this monumental achievement, we should also understand what goes into vaccine development. All vaccines, including the ones for COVID-19, go through clinical trials to evaluate safety and effectiveness prior to being approved by the FDA. In

the first two phases, information is gathered on side effects and immune response. The third phase is about protection – how well the vaccine prevents disease and how vaccinated individuals fare compared to the unvaccinated when they become infected. After completing a trial proving it is safe and effective, the FDA will grant an approval and make the vaccine available to the public. These vaccines currently have an emergency use authorization (EUA), which are held to all of the standards of a regular FDA approval, plus additional measures to give them priority for production and distribution. None of the previously mentioned steps were skipped or shortened for this vaccine; funding provided by the federal government made it possible for the clinical trial to occur in this short timeline. As of August 1, 2021, 346 million doses have been administered in the US; 164 million people are fully vaccinated, with minimal side effects being reported. Anaphylaxis – an allergic response that causes shortness of breath – occurs in two-to-five people out of every one million vaccinated; only 39 cases of blood clots were reported among 13 million doses. These remarkable numbers highlight the vaccine’s safety. Herd immunity is the end goal, which most experts agree will require 70

Dr. Cariane Morales Matos is the attending physician, Infectious Diseases, Montefiore Health System; and assistant professor, Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

percent of the population to be fully vaccinated. Currently, only about 50% of the population is fully vaccinated. Herd immunity will reduce person-to-person transmission of the virus. There are many people in our communities who will need the public to reach herd immunity in order to be protected themselves because they won’t develop antibodies from the vaccines as a result of having a weak immune system, like those who’ve received organ transplants, are living with AIDS or who are undergoing certain cancer treatments. As new variants continue to emerge, it is more important than ever before to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Breakthrough infections can occur, but

in most cases, fully immunized people will be asymptomatic, will not need ICU care and will not die from the infection. Vaccines are now widely available, with many walk-up centers around New York City. It will take as many of us as possible to be vaccinated to be able to beat this pandemic. Visit, or call (844) 444-2819 and press option 1 after your language preference selection, to find a Montefiore vaccination site for walkin or vaccination appointments. Dr. Cariane Morales Matos, attending physician, Infectious Diseases, Montefiore Health System; and assistant professor, Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

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Why keeping an eye on your vision health makes sense By Dr. Richard Dal Col, MD Eye Health Concerns are on the rise in the United States and younger patients are being affected more than in previous generations. Blurry vision is the top reason why patients will seek an eye doctor, but other conditions like diabetes, and Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), are increasing the likelihood that someone may seek an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Changes in our lifestyle are the cause of eye conditions increasingly affecting patients, but with the help of our specialists at AdvantageCare Physicians and BronxDocs, we can help you make sense of why you should factor in eye health to your well visits. Here’s a quick look at reasons you may want to consider scheduling an appointment with your eye doctor. Blurry Vision For patients with no underlying ocular disease, the most common cause for blurry vision is a refractive error due to the shape of the eye changing in a way that prevents light from focusing on the retina. There are four types of refractive errors—myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. People with these conditions are usually

prescribed glasses or contacts. It’s especially important for children to be screened by their doctors because sometimes it’s easy to miss when they are struggling with their vision in school. August marks Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Now is a good time to schedule a checkup for your child, ple with diabetes may just before the start of have diabetic macular edema, a build-up of the school year. fluid in the macula —an area in the center of the Diabetic Eye Issues According to a survey retina — that can distort by the New York City vision and lead to blindDepartment of Health, in ness without treatment. some neighborhoods in the Bronx, up to 14% of the adult population has been diagnosed with diabetes. There is also a rise in young people being diagnosed with the cause mainly attributed to poor diet and inactivity. A recent study by the University of Michigan revealed a troubling trend in poor eye health for diabetic patients under 21. In the study of 4,000 people under 21, 1 in 5 with type 1 diabetes and 7% with type 2 diabetes were diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Up to 7% of peo-

Computer Vision Syndrome

People are staring at their computers, phones, and tablet screens for hours at a time, which puts a great deal of strain on one’s eyes. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is similar to repetitive strain injury. As we are staring at our screens all day, our eyes follow the same patterns, continually shifting our focus between the screen and the keyboard or reading from left to right,

Getty Images

which contributes to eye strain. Research shows that 50%-90% of people who work on a computer have symptoms of CVS, which include headaches, blurred vision, neck or back pain, and dry or irritated eyes. CVS also affects kids who use computers or tablets during the school day. The problem is worsened by not wearing correct prescription glasses or contacts. Age-Related Eye Problems

Presbyopia is a condition that makes focusing on close objects more difficult. It’s a normal part of the aging process that begins to happen at around early

to mid-forties, and it plateaus at around age 60, but doesn’t cause blindness. Cataracts are cloudy patches over one’s vision. Almost half of US adults over the age of 75 have cataracts. It can substantially affect vision but can be removed via surgery. Finally, Glaucoma, if left untreated, can cause blindness.

Dr. Richard Dal Col serves as Chief Medical Officer for the EmblemHealth family of companies. If you have questions or concerns about scheduling an eye exam or need additional services, our team at AdvantageCare Physicians and BronxDocs can point you in the

right direction.

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Omega Health Urgent Care clinic opens in West Bronx

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Residents in the West Bronx community will now have access to a new urgent care, Omega Health, conveniently located in the Burnside Jerome Tremont (BJT) district at the intersection of W. Burnside Avenue & Jerome Avenue, just under the 4-train subway entrance. “We’re excited to expand our services throughout the Bronx. The opening of this urgent care will provide immediate care and immediate results for patients with non-life-threatening symptoms,” said President & CEO Mari Millet. “Omega Health will allow for us to ensure continuity of care and allow for our patients to continue seeing the same medical professionals that they trust.”

Omega Health Urgent Care, located at 1 West Burnside Avenue, opened its doors to the community on May 18, 2021. The new urgent care clinic will provide residents with a range of medical services from treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, cold and flu like symptoms, STD & STI screenings, COVID-19 services, and other urgent non-life-threatening conditions. This state-of-the-

New Omega Health Urgent Care Clinic opened on 1 West Burnside Avenue.

art facility offers 2500 square feet of space with 2 exam rooms, 1 procedure room, a radiology suite to perform onsite x-ray services and contactless selfcheck-in kiosk. “Health is one factor in an individual’s life that should never be taken for granted,” described Pamela Williams, Site Director of Omega Health.

“With the opening of Omega Health, residents in the West Bronx now have access to prompt and reliable care.” Patients can walk-in today and be seen almost immediately by one of the medical staff. The new urgent care clinic is accessible weekdays from Tuesd a y - T h u r s d a y, 12pm-8pm and from 10am-6pm

on weekends. Omega Health Urgent Care Clinic accepts most insurances. Payment assistance is available for noninsured patients. No appointments needed. To find out more information about Omega Health Urgent Care please visit their social media page @ OmegaHealth, or call (929)-2387400

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NYC to increase special ed services for Bx students following settlement CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9

students with disabilities across the five boroughs. During the pandemic, staffing shortages and virtual learning meant thousands of students missed out on crucial services, such as physical and occupational therapy, that were difficult to administer virtually. In an acknowledgment of those disruptions, city officials announced an intensive effort to help students with IEPs. All of those students, roughly 200,000, are eligible for special programming after school and on Saturdays. A Saturday programming option is also laid out in the settlement agreement. Bronx students who are eligible for make-up related services can make use of “Saturday Sites,” which will offer occupational therapy and speech therapy. For

all other make-up related services, the education department will make alternative arrangements. In a statement, the education department recognized the settlement as progress for students with disabilities. “It is critical that the needs of all students with disabilities are met, and we’re pleased to have reached this settlement through which we will invest in new programs, processes and resorces that will make it easier for families to get support,” education department spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon wrote in an email. “We look forward to the progress and real results students will experience as a result of the settlement.” Still, some question whether the agreement goes far

enough in addressing the problems with the voucher system. Lori Podvesker, a policy expert at INCLUDEnyc, an advocacy group that focuses on special education, noted that to receive make-up

services, families must request the education department, a process that puts the burden of accessing services back on parents. “It’s outrageous that they are putting the onus back on families,” said

Podvesker. She added that she’d like to see the obligations in the settlement document expanded beyond the Bronx to the other four boroughs. “These issues are not just limited to the Bronx,” she said. “This is pervasive.”

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Cops arrest ‘utility worker’ in connection with beating death of 91-year-old

By David Greene Police have announced an arrest in the beating death of a 91-year-old senior, who was discovered by neighbors inside the garage of his Pelham Gardens home.

A day after the killing of Nicholas Rappa, 91, police released these photos of the suspect who police say was apprehended on August 9. On August 9, the NYPD announced the arrest of 32-year-old Luis Bonilla of Fordham Manor, who was charged in the beating death

of Nicholas Rappa, 91. Rappa was found dead at 12:34 p.m. on August 3, inside the garage of the home located at 2400 Wickham Avenue. Police officials stated at the time that Rappa was found "unconscious and unresponsive with injuries to the head," and died on the property of the corner home at Wickham and Waring Avenues. On August 4, police released four surveillance photos of the white flatbed truck and two photos of the suspect dressed in dark work clothes with a yellow vest, safety helmet and face mask. The assailant was described as a lightskinned adult male in his 30s, with a thin build. An accompanying video also released by the NYPD, shows the suspect drive up to the home, walk over to the house and also shows the suspect running from the scene and tossing several bags into the back of the truck before speeding off. "Shandra" a 20-year resident of the block, whose

house is across the street from Rappa's home, was reached by telephone on August 9. Sadly, Shandra said of her peaceful, tree lined block, "Nobody in this neighborhood has relationships, hardly anybody even says hello and that's how it is." She continued, "That's why it was sad to see something bad had to happen for people to come out and get together. I saw people I never even knew lived on my block.” Recalling her neighbor of 20 years, Shandra said, "But Nick was okay, he'd say hello to you and stuff. He was a nice old man.” When told that the police had made an arrest in the case, Shandra replied, "They did! Oh beautiful, now that's beautiful, he said they made an arrest." As the woman hung up her phone she could be heard saying, "Oh Erica, I am so happy to hear they caught that..." before the call went dead. Attempts to reach family members of Bonilla were unsuccessful. Bonilla was charged with murder, manslaughter, robbery and assault. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Culinary Road

By Morris Gut

NYC restaurants now require proof of vaccination

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio has issued a mandate requiring proof of vaccination for patrons dining indoors, at concert venues and gyms starting August 16th. Full enforcement of the new guidelines will begin September 13th. The decree is one of the first of its kind in the nation, and it appears to be spreading. It is meant to get more of the public vaccinated. Up to this point, restaurants were able to set their own masking and Covid policy voluntarily. Restaurants throughout NYC and in the Bronx are gearing up for the new policy. Some restaurant owners are saying: at least it sets a standard for all. So, if you are dining out be careful, and don’t get rid of those masks just yet. Better safe than sorry. Follow the rules and stay calm. Better yet, get vaccinated if you haven’t yet done so! FRESH SEASONAL TOMATO SALAD & MORE AT MAMMA’S! When Nick DiCostanzo was growing up on the Island of Ischia on the Coast of Naples in Italy, his earliest memories where of the simple seaside meals he would enjoy with his family, farmto-table and of course sea-totable. As proprietor of Mamma Francesca for over 30 years, located on the banks of Long Island Sound with 6-story views of the ‘Queen City’s’ seafaring boat clubs, this culinary philosophy still holds true, albeit with a sprinkling of contemporary taste. Nick is in the kitchen preparing a seasonal menu of robust specialties: fresh to-

mato Ischia Salad; brick oven pizza; Giant Meatballs; hearty retro versions of Chicken, Veal or Shrimp Parmigiana; Mamma’s Chicken Breast Europeo, stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella, mushrooms and spinach in a Marsala wine sauce; a fine version of Rabbit Cacciatore; a big platter of Misto Frutti di Mare loaded with shrimp, clams, calamari and mussels in a red sauce over linguini; and Pork Chops or Sirloin della Nonna, served with sliced potatoes, peppers, mushrooms and onions. New Pizza & Vino Bar. Daily Happy Hours. Party facilities & off-premise catering. Free parking. Mamma Francesca, 414 Pelham Road, New Rochelle. 914-636-1229 SUNDAY BRUNCH AND ALL THAT JAZZ BACK AT ALVIN’S!

Proprietor, artist, model, actor, and consummate host Alvin Clayton has been marking his 10th year in New Rochelle with solid doses of American Soul Food, a taste of the Caribbean. Alvin & Friends has a sophisticated Manhattan vibe: Alvin’s colorful paintings dramatically line the walls, big hanging lighting fixtures, a sparkling bar and community table, a grand piano, and a staff that makes it all very inviting. If you visit check out the Classic Jambalaya, Shrimp & Grits, Fried Chicken, and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops. Burgers and Mac & Cheese. Indoor/outdoor seating. Sunday Brunch is back, too. Alvin & Friends, 14 Memorial Highway, New Rochelle. 914-654-6549 w w w. a l v i n a n d f r i e n d s -

HEARTY TAVERN FAVORITES AT MORRIS PARK INN! There’s a new reasonably priced chef driven tavern menu at play here. While enjoying a cocktail recently, I could not help but notice a big German-style soft pretzel with side of cheese sauce served to a nearby patron. Enough to share and tempting presentation. Tried the wings and they were delish. Boneless or Bone-in Wings; Burgers and Sliders; Baby Back Ribs, and Panko Crusted Fish & Chips. Beers and cocktails, too. Open 7 days. Bustling bar and dining room. Happy Hours. Live entertainment nights, check ahead. Morris Park Inn, 1024 Morris Park Ave., Bronx. 718-239-4109 SHUCK THOSE OYSTERS!

National Oyster Day was August 5th. Oyster aficionados cannot seem to consume enough of them and more eateries throughout the area are serving these slippery delicacies than ever. Check ahead for availability. Here is where I have been indulging… Cosenza’s Fish Market, 2354 Arthur Ave., Bronx (718-364-8510), right in the heart of Little Italy. It is a full-fledged fish market with counters set up as an Oyster Bar & Clam Bar. Take your pick and enjoy a fresh platter with all the fixin’s right on the bustling sidewalk. Dubrovnik, 721 Main Street, New Rochelle (914-637-3777), offers a popular Bar Menu daily

Fresh tomato salad, sliced provolone cheese & housemade pizza bread at Mamma Francesca.

featuring regional oysters on the half shell. This restaurant, the first to specialize in Croatian cuisine, excels in fish and seafood so you won’t go wrong here. Happy Hours are back, too. Caffe Regatta, 133 Wolf’s Lane, Pelham 914-738-8686 Veteran chef/proprietor Anthony Labriola offers an eclectic contemporary mix of pristinely fresh fish and seafood specialties along with a good dose of alternative meats. Oysters and clams at $1 per piece are offered as a Wednesday special thru Labor Day. Kee Oyster House, 128 E. Post Road, White Plains (914-437-8535), has a daily raw bar with a selection of oysters from all over the region. The blackboard lists the daily catch. And they are pristine, served with house made cocktail sauce, ground wasabi root and Champagne sauce. Artie’s Steak & Seafood, 394 City Island Ave., City Island (718-885-9885), lists big Blue Point oysters on their daily blackboard and they are terrific served with all the accoutrements. Wash it all down with one of the

house specialty cocktails. Craft beer selection. www. Bread & Brine, 119 Main Street, Hastings-On-Hudson (914-479-5243), where ‘summers in Maine’ is the theme and fresh oysters are served in abundance along with a menu of seafood specialties. www.

HARLEM YACHT CLUB CORRECTION… In a previous Culinary Road article that ran July 28th, I stated incorrectly that the dining room at Harlem Yacht Club on City Island is open to the public. We stand corrected: the Harlem Yacht Club is private and is only open to members and their guests. Thanks to membership chairman Anthony Rosco for pointing out the error. (Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in the Bronx and Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at: 914-2356591. Email:

20• BRONX VOICE• August 11 - 17, 2021

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