Drive begins to help fire victims

A five-alarm fire at 754 Manida Street destroyed a four-story apartment building on March 9 afternoon and led to over a dozen injuries to firefighters and residents of the building.The fire also claimed the possessions of the families who lived in the building. The Point Community Development Corp. has begun a drive to help them.The Point is accepting donations at its community center, 940 Garrison Avenue. Every cent collected, The Point says, will go to the families. More at The Hunts Point Express.

New, Improved Foodtown Rises From the Ashes

Slideshow: Watch as Foodtown burns to the ground and then opens up last Saturday. (All photos by Adi Talwar)By Jordan Moss and Lulaine CompereNorwood’s popular Foodtown supermarket which was razed in a suspected incident of arson at the end of 2009 is back in business.The store, now 50 percent larger with many more offerings, has taken up two neighboring storefronts that were home to a diner and a dental office that were also destroyed in the blaze. “We expanded the store, we have a bigger seafood department, bakery department, produce department, and we have expanded the deli,” said Noah Katz, a member of the family that has owned the store since 1956. Organic produce and frozen goods are new additions as are an olive and cheese counter and a section with a variety of coffee beans called Brewed Awakening. Katz led the design of the new store, he said, and his pride in the store’s bright, spacious new look was palpable throughout a quick tour on Tuesday.

Community Centers Hit Hard By Govt. Budget Cuts

By JEANMARIE EVELLYMajor cutbacks in government spending, on both the local and federal level, have left several community centers in the northwest Bronx struggling to make ends meet this year.Mosholu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC) in Norwood, which runs dozens of after-school sites, a senior citizen center, and other programs serving more than 28,000 Bronxites each year, has been appealing to neighbors for donations over the last few months in an effort to keep the center afloat.“Bottom line, we are probably close to a million dollars in cuts,” said Executive Director Donald Bluestone. “We’ve been closing programs, laying off staff. It’s a serious problem.”MMCC relies largely on funding from legislators and government agencies that have seen their budgets slashed in the face of ballooning deficits. “The staff here didn’t have a raise last year, and we’re probably looking at the same situation this year,” Bluestone continued. “It’s just a very bad time.”The center is losing out this year on federal funding in the form of member items or earmarks — money provided by legislators to projects or organizations in their home districts — an act banned this year by Congress in an effort to cut back on spending.

Bedford Park Seniors Facing Loss Of ‘Second Home’

Editor’s note: this article was published in the latest edition of the Norwood News, out on streets now. By Rachel Sander Proposed budget cuts could shut down 105 senior centers citywide this year, 22 of which are in the Bronx, including the Sister Annunciata Bethel Senior Center, also known as the Bedford Park Senior Center, and the Van Cortlandt Senior Center.Local politicians are gearing up for a fight, while regulars at the Bedford Park center, on East 204th Street near Mosholu Parkway, emphasized how devastating the loss would be. Erneszstin Bakos, an 89-year-old member and volunteer for the center, works at the front door, greeting the 60 to 70 seniors that attend the center daily. “I love this place,” she said. “It’s my second home.” “I’m so happy here!

Critics Of Homeless Program Fight To Save It

Advocates for the homeless have long criticized the Bloomberg administration’s approach to getting people out of shelters. But with the state threatening to end funding for the program, most advocates have joined the city to oppose the cuts.