Bronx News Roundup, Friday, May 27

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Happy Friday and Memorial Day weekend everyone out in the Bronxosphere. On to the news!

Weather: Hot and muggy with a chance of thunderstorms tonight. Isolated thunderstorms could break through the sunny humidity throughout this Memorial Day weekend.

Story of the Day: Late Bronx Soldier Honored with Street Sign
Fittingly, on this Memorial Day weekend, Army Sergeant Jose Velez, who was killed in Iraq five years ago, will have a street corner, E. 156th and Courtlandt Ave., named after him during a ceremony tomorrow morning. Velez grew up near the corner that will bear his name in the Jackson housing projects and attended school in the northwest Bronx at DeWitt Clinton High School. After spending several years as a truck driver, Velez (nicknamed “Cafe Joe” because of his affinity for coffee at home and abroad) joined the Army in 2004, where he was assigned to a transportation battalion in Queens. In February 2006, the friendly, jovial Bronx boy was shipped to Iraq, where he was stationed in Baghdad. Just four months after his arrival and two months before his 36th birthday, Velez was killed when an explosive device exploded near his Humvee. Velez's buddy Rafael Rodriguez, who spearheaded the renaming effort, said Velez, who had two kids and was engaged to be married when he died, “always had a positive attitude.”

Quick Hits:
The Post says Bloomberg is enlisting Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., a recent adversary in Bronx development deals (see: Kingsbridge Armory and the Muller Center in Wakefield), to push his plan to create a new fleet of hail-able taxis in the outer boroughs.

During a drunken driving trial against a former Bronx prosecutor, the Bronx trustee for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Joe Anthony, was heard on wiretaps talking about fixing tickets, or as officers are now calling it, “professional courtesy.”

Students at the Bronx's Samuel Gompers High School want the same federal help other low-achieving are receiving through a new “re-start” program.

Not leaving for the extended weekend? Daily News movie critic Joe Neumaier says you can chill out and watch some classic New York movies at site throughout the five boroughs starting with a showing of “The Red Shoes,” showing at the Eastchester Library at noon. (On a side note: Libraries will be closed for the rest of Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30.)

A union rep called the negotiations between New York and New Jersey over the Hunts Point market “tense,” and said if the market's lease expires without a deal on Tuesday, then the cooperative will operate on a month-to-month basis.

Bunch of good stuff in the Riverdale Press this week, including this story about 50th Precinct cop Matthew Delaney who moonlights as a crime novelist and this story about the complicated battle for control of the 15-building, 234-unit Sholem Aleichem housing complex in Van Cortlandt Village. The owners, who are in foreclosure, say they want to hold on to the building, but tenants aren't sure that's a good thing. (Side note: longtime tenant and former state senate candidate Dan Padernacht says “Sholem Aleichem” is the correct spelling, although it's apparently debatable. The Press says its “Shalom.”)

Editor's Note: BxNN will keep posting this clock in our daily news roundups – tallying the days until the NYPD releases neighborhood sector crime stats, which we requested from them via a Freedom of Information Law request last year. For some background, see our Norwood News' editorial here.