oach Jason Zulauf is hoping for brighter days for his Tigers, who finished a disappointing 4-11 last year.
Zulauf's goals for this season are modest -- he wants to make the playoffs and win a game.
Still, even that may prove difficult.
"We lost about 90 percent of our scoring and rebounding to graduation," he said referring to Christophe Williams who averaged more than 25 points per game.
Zulauf is impressed with six new players to the team. "I am pleasantly surprised with the new players on how fast they are grasping my offenses and defenses and we are looking forward to our first game on Dec. 2," he said.
The coach said he will depend on remaining veterans to lead his team on the hardwood.
Senior Deon Foster is the point guard and one of the team's co-captains. The 5-feet-8-inch played in all 15 games last year and averaged 5 points and 3 assists. Zulauf called him "our coach on the court" and said his numbers will need to go up in order for the team to consistently win games.
Senior co-captain Aidan O'Brien, also about 5-feet-8-inches, is one of the team's best shooters. He will play opposite Foster but can switch to the point if needed. Zulauf is counting on him to be a top scoring threat.
Steven Calvo, a 6-foot-2-inch sophomore played in all 15 games last year as a freshman and gained valubale experience during games last season, Zulauf said.
Arnolj Kukaj, a 6-foot-5-inch sophomore center runs the floor very well, and has a nice mid-range jump shot, Zulauf said. "He is improving every practice with his post moves. I expect Arnolj to average double figures in points and rebounds this year."
Entering his 27th year at the helm of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) boys' varsity basketball team Johnny Mathis said he is looking forward to this season.
"We potentially could be a good team," Mathis said. We have a combination of size and good guards."
The Knights, who went 14-3 last year and made the PSAL playoffs, have a full cupboard to make up for the loss of high-scoring Ahmed Muhammed.
Mathis said to look for senior guards Juan Arias and Oscar Escarramon to man the backcourt.
Arias, who played little last year is expected to shine this season.
Mathis has plenty of height to go around. Look for junior Darius Webster and senior Lamar Henry, both 6-feet-6-inches to control the boards.
The Knights will also welcome back two football players to the squad. Junior Tyshawn Boykin, a 6-foot 5-inch power forward and center averaged six points and six rebounds last year. Anthony Cruz, a 6-foot-4-inch senior who can line up at either shooting guard or forward averaged 10 points per game last year.
American Studies High School at Lehman College
merican Studies Coach Chris Ballerini said his squad returns the core of its basketball team for this season with the exception of leading scorer and rebounder Andre Vogel, who graduated.
Top returners from last year's team with a record of 9-5, include 6-foot-3-inch senior power forward and center Rafael Ziotto and 5-foot-10 inch senior guard Stephen Watts. Both players can score while also distributing the ball to their teammates.
Other contributors are 5-foot-11-inch senior guard Keith Rodriguez and sophomore 6-foot-2-inch forward Dylan Klein. Both are well-rounded players who will provide excellent offensive and defensive productivity.
"We are young, inexperienced and rebuilding from the ground- up so we will struggle," said Wolverine Coach Sammel Brown. "I love this team though, it is full of high character guys who work hard in the classroom and give me everything they have on the court. We'll certainly be okay. We'll play every game down to the wire."
The Wolverines look to bounce back from a 4-10 campaign last year.
Brown said his best player right now is six-foot freshman guard Sam Shapiro.
Kwamena Nobedeah, a 6-foot-5-inch senior and feisty 5-foot- 9-inch point guard Ray Edelman are players to watch.]]>
The Bronx Science varsity girls basketball team will look to stay relevant in the Bronx A division after losing three senior starters from last year's team.
Coach Mike Mei said he recognizes that this is a rebuilding year, despite a 12-4 record last season and advancing to the second round of the PSAL playoffs.
Mei said an influx of young talent combined with the return of last year's leading scorer, Michelle Liu, who averaged 12.5 points and five rebounds last year, should help the team compete in the division with a chance to return to the playoffs for a second straight year.
Mei said Liu junior forwards Selina Lim and Eloise Kaehny provide support to Liu. The three are expected to carry the scoring load while the younger players develop.
Mei said keeping with tradition at Bronx Science, the team will rely on its defense to keep them in games and use it to generate transition opportunities and easy baskets.
Mei said the tough Wolverine defense figures to keep them competitive in all games.
hile boys basketball coach Johnny Mathis is an institution at John F. Kennedy (JFK), Michelle Pacheco is in her first year as coach of the lady Knights.
"This is my first year coaching these girls and I am still getting to know them but the girls are working hard and seem very dedicated," Pacheco said. "The girls have to get used to the new system quickly and with new players coming up from JV and new freshmen players playing on varsity the girls also have to get used to playing with each other and building chemistry."
Pacheco said she counts on 6-foot-1-inch senior captain Treanda Foster to lead. "She's having a great preseason and doing everything that a leader should," Pacheco said. "It is her last year and she is going to give it her all and is making sure the team will too."
Meanwhile, Pacheco said 6-foot-2-inch sophomore Arta Krasniqi is the team's most versatile player and prolific scorer.
Junior point guard Moet Jenkins is showing great leadership and will control the team on both offensively and defensively, Pacheco said.
Five-foot-six-inch Olivia Nichols is also expected to contribute on offense and defense.
David A. Stein Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy
oach Will Cushing is upbeat about his Lady Tigers upcoming season.
"We have a much more experienced squad this season, as all anticipated starters have been on the team for at least two years now" Cushing said. "I'm excited for my backcourt of 5-foot-2-inch Tiffany Rodriguez and Isabella Lewis, both juniors and both decent ball handlers."
Cushing said Lewis missed most of last season because of knee surgery but is playing well so far in pre-season practices.
He said Rodriguez is playing with a new sense of confidence. "I'll look to them to control the tempo of the game and hopefully get out and fast break more than we have in years past," he said.
Cushing said the Lady Tigers, 8-10 last year, would also depend on 5-foot-7-inch senior forward Natalya Morgan to provide most of our scoring in the paint.
Cushing hopes to get more minutes and points from sophomore Karin Mendez.
"We're in a slightly tougher division, as the PSAL is doing away with the cross-over games against Bronx 'B' East teams, so we'll only have 14 games this season -- 2 against each of the 7 other Bronx 'B' West teams, Cushing said. "In the past several years, the West division has been a bit tougher than the East, so we'll have to battle every single game. My overall goal is to qualify for playoffs, which requires us to win at least seven games."]]>
True, it might have been an original litany of grievances against King George III, but it also became the liberal fountainhead for an expanding mandate of human rights.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed."
And the consent of the governed together with majority rule have guided us for some 237 years, until the current Tea Party revolt -- one intent on shutting down the government and disabling the president -- corrupted our democratic process. Suddenly, it was no longer rule by majority but by "ransom," "hostage," and "extortion." The government in turn came to a standstill with world financial markets under a fearful black cloud.
Early on, Mr. Adams warned that America in future history might "experience the brightest or blackest page according to the use or abuse of those political institutions by which in time to time come to shape the human mind." His formulations may have lacked the lyrical eloquence of Mr. Jefferson, seemingly always grounded in emergency and contingency. And, still faced with the scourge of slavery, there is no way he could have anticipated the impact of a future black president.
Mr. Jefferson, in turn, with eternal optimism, seemed to think that once unburdened from European luggage and British docks, our ship would find its sunset: "May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. All eyes are opened or opening to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few, booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others: for ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights and an undiminished devotion to them."
If only these words would wash over the Republican Tea Party in our capital today.
In 1824, the Marquis de Lafayette, the great French champion of American independence, paid a visit to America. Monticello and Quincy were the obligatory, required stops. Large crowds gathered and witnesses said they saw great ghosts from the past. Although the American Revolution had long passed, the contribution of our historic leaders loomed inviolable.
Where do men like Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams come from?
Somehow, when we look to these Founding Fathers and then to the noisy, nonsensical Tea Party, one is forced to consider that Charles Darwin -- in his historic, encyclopedic, evolutionary selection process -- just might have had it all backwards.
Richard L. Gilbert is a longtime Riverdalian and frequent contributor to Points of View. He is author of the e-book and memoir "I Was a MadMan" and serves as an advisor to the Board of Riverdale Senior Services. Points of View is an occasional column open to all readers.]]>
This cannot be good news, was my first thought.
I was surprised to hear the voice on the other end of the line, my old friend and former photo editor, Alan Zale. "Sorry to wake you," he said, "but they're saying there was a derailment at Spuyten Duyvil and it's a big mess."
That is how I learned about the 7:20 a.m. crash of Metro-North train 8808 that killed four people, injured dozens more and indefintitely suspended service on the commuter railroad's Hudson Line.
I am 66-years-old and I have been with The Press for most of my adult life, but readers have rarely seen my byline. I am not usually a frontline writer unless something happens when the office is closed. Then I am the first to get the call.
My name is closely associated with the paper and my home phone number is in the book. As a result, if you sift through our "morgue" you would not find it affixed to sunny feature stories, instead you would see late night fires, bodies in duffle bags dumped under parkway bridges and derailed trains.
I admit, I took some pride in being the first responder for The Press, although reporter Andy Gross and photo editor Marisol Díaz soon took over to flesh out the story.
By the time I had thrown on my clothes, grabbed my wife's camera and something to jot notes with and raced to the scene, Palisade Avenue, Independence Avenue, Johnson Avenue and Edsall Avenue were all clogged with emergency vehicles of every description; police cruisers from unfamiliar precincts, EMS, hospital and private ambulances, fire department pumpers, hook-and-ladders and rescue trucks.
Police helicopters were hovering overhead in a cloudless sky and several of the force's police boats were fanning out along the Harlem River shoreline beneath the Henry Hudson Bridge. TV news vans were beginning to arrive and jockey for position.
It was, without question, the biggest, fastest and best-organized disaster response this community has ever seen -- all within a tightly confined space on a steep hill.Many residents of apartments overlooking the scene came out onto the street to seek comfort in the company of one another and compare notes about what they heard and saw of the crash. One, who was reluctant to give his name, said he had just lifted his morning coffee to his lips when he heard what sounded like a landslide.
College student Eli Mernit, who uploaded the first photos of the crash to our website, slept through the crash itself only to be awakened by the sound of firefighters using the jaws of life to pry open the doors of train cars lying on their sides.
Some reached out to help train riders who, though not injured, appeared stunned and confused.
Peter Stillman, a white-haired Manhattanite, offered a grisly description of his train car with "blood everywhere." I offered to give him a ride to the subway when I was finished at the site -- it was something I had done the last time a derailment disrupted service on Metro-North's Hudson Line just last summer. But an anonymous man from Palisade Avenue already had Mr. Stillman covered.
As I made my way closer to the horrific tangle that was once a commuter train, I was impressed with the calm, somber demeanor and the overwhelming numbers of the city's first responders. Firefighters pulling survivors from the wreckage, paramedics setting up an improvised triage unit along Edsall Avenue, police establishing a command post to coordinate the activity. They all earned tremendous respect and gratitude.
I am grateful, too, for the many in the community who came to the aid of The Press in covering the story, from Alan Zale's initial call to former editor Kate Pastor's update on the hasty creating a reception center on the John F. Kennedy high school campus for families of lost or injured passengers.
athan Muir, a Spuyten Duyvil resident I met at the scene, was kind enough to share his excellent photos with our readers, and friends and neighbors called throughout the day, including City Limits editor Jordan Moss and my brother and one-time co-publisher, Buddy Stein. His sharp-eyed editing improved my web posting and then he disseminated my story on his Facebook page.Even as her husband, Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, was participating in a late morning press conference, Lorraine Coyle was thoughtful enough to e-mail her own photos to The Press.
What could be more emblematic of a community's involvement with its newspaper?]]>
I want to share with you how I came to residing in a senior residence, and why I am happy I did.
I was living alone in Toronto, Canada since the death of my second husband. I have 6 children, none of whom live in Canada. At 85 years old, I really felt the stress of doing it all on my own. I had bills and finances to worry about, a big house and car to maintain, health concerns, and I thought I was supposed to tough it out as long as possible on my own. It never occurred to me that moving before I was in crisis was the best thing I could do for my family and myself.
My children who live in New York began visiting senior housing facilities near them and came to visit me armed with information. They convinced me to come to New York to see the facilities for myself. I was very hesitant at first, but something inside me knew they were right, so I returned with them to the city for a visit.
After careful research, we chose Atria Riverdale because it was vibrant, warm and is located in the heart of bustling community full of shops, community resources, and synagogues, all accessible without having to drive a car. In addition, even though I did not require any services, they were available if I ever needed them. Atria Riverdale was also close enough that my children could visit. Finally, having been married to two rabbis, it was important to me to be in a place populated with Jewish residents where I could maintain my lifestyle and access kosher food.
I looked at living in a private condominium as well, but at 85 I did not want to start buying property. In addition, living alone again meant having to rely on others to take me places and bring me things. It was time to give up driving. I did not want to burden my children. Instead, I wanted more independence.
After a lifetime of taking care of others, I was ready for a bit of pampering. I had done enough cooking for lifetime and was ready to be served for a change. I also liked that there were so many activities available at Atria especially exercise, musical programs, intellectual and social opportunities and painting.Once I found the place, the next challenge was how to move a lifetime of belongings into a smaller apartment in another country. My kids helped me select my most treasured belongings and we set up a gorgeous apartment that meets my needs perfectly!
Knowing that I could make a change if it was not a good fit at any time, by giving 30 days notice, gave all of us peace of mind. What did I have to loose? It was time to make a change. To make it manageable, we did the move in phases. Phase one was bringing my important treasures to the city and either using them in my apartment or giving them to my children. If I decided I liked it, Phase two would involve going through the rest of my non-essential belongings and close my house. Going through a lifetime of belongings, slowly over time and with my children's help, was a huge relief.
I now have my independence and I feel more secure. I have my kids nearby, but I have my own life. I have made new friends and enjoy participating in a full life without the stress of doing it all alone. I stopped loosing weight now that I am eating three healthy meals a day. The staff at Atria Riverdale is always kind, patient and helpful. I feel very lucky and am enjoying life, even with the difficulties of aging. I am an active member of a great community full of resources.
Although moving out of a big house in another country was a huge challenge --; and I had many moments when I said, "no I am not ready" --; I know I made the right decision.
My only regret is that I waited so long!
Sara Schafler Kelman is a retired genealogist who moved to Riverdale in March. Her daughter, Rena Hyman, who is a Housing Consultant specializing in senior living, helped write this piece.]]>
The Times team captured an incomprehensible scene in video, photos and text. Where homes and businesses once stood in this city of 47,000, there were only debris mounds in all directions. Wooden boards poked out of the massive piles like campfire kindling. Barren palm tree trunks were the only high points on the horizon, their once-lush fronds blown away by Haiyan's merciless winds.
Many, if not most, people evacuated the city. Who knows when they might return? Some stayed behind, fashioning makeshift shelters out of tarps amid the squalor. They are so grateful for any aid they might receive.
"The day after the typhoon, we were so hopeless," Mary Ann Mercado told the reporting team. "We felt like we were dying. Then the Americans came, and we felt safe because someone is helping, and we're so thankful."
Haiyan was the Philippines' Sandy, only far more devastating. According to the Weather Channel, Haiyan's 20-foot tidal surge was nearly double the size of Sandy's, and its sustained 195-mph winds, with gusts up to 235 mph, packed a far greater punch than Sandy's 75-mph, tropical storm-force winds.
Imagine tornado-like gusts battering your community for hours on end. The Moore, Okla., tornado last May generated 210-mph winds. It lasted 39 minutes, destroying a 17-mile stretch of the city.
Take Sandy's hours-long time frame and its tidal surge, only higher, and combine them with the Moore tornado's winds, only more forceful and across a wider swath, and you have Super Typhoon Haiyan.
Its winds, in large part, explain the mass casualties in the Philippines. According to NBC News, the death toll surpassed 5,200 on Nov. 22. Initial reports were that the storm had killed 10,000, but those estimates were later downgraded. Sandy killed 148.Haiyan caused an estimated $700 million in losses, according to the Insurance Journal. Sandy, by contrast, wrought $68 billion in damage over 24 states. Don't be fooled by those numbers, though. The devastation in the Philippines was far worse than here. The dollar amount of the damage was smaller simply because the Philippines is less developed than the U.S.'s East Coast. But Haiyan leveled -- leveled -- many parts of the Philippines.
Aerial photos before the storm showed magnificent green jungles surrounding coastal communities. Afterward, for miles around, there were only brown fields, the vegetation shredded by Haiyan's winds and swept out to sea by the tidal surge.
It was strange, ominous even, that Haiyan wreaked such havoc in the Philippines as the United Nations convened its annual Climate Conference in Warsaw, Poland, from Nov. 11 to 22. A bloc of 132 poor nations walked out of the convention because rich nations, including the U.S., the United Kingdom and Australia, refused to discuss whether developed nations should be required to compensate developing countries such as the Philippines for losses during extreme "climate events" such as Haiyan, according to The Guardian. The developed countries' representatives said they would discuss the question after 2015.
The poor nations' argument was this: Wealthier countries have long emitted far greater amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through their industrial activities, including electricity generation, than developing nations have. Often, developing nations' carbon output is a mere fraction of that produced by the leading industrial countries, including China, the world's biggest carbon emitter.We know that carbon dioxide emissions are the main driver of climate change, a.k.a. global warming, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A hotter world brings warmer oceans, which produce more forceful Atlantic hurricanes and Pacific typhoons, causing greater devastation, particularly in island nations such as the Philippines, which often do not have the resources to recover from catastrophic weather events. A single storm can set a country like the Philippines back decades.
In short, the logic goes, the developed world caused global warming. Therefore, it should compensate developing countries when they suffer because of our drive to industrialize as rapidly as we have over the past 250 years.
Whether developed nations decide to aid poor countries that are battered and bruised by climate events, we should all lend a helping hand to the degree that we can right now.
Scott Brinton is senior editor of our sister newspapers, the Bellmore and Merrick Heralds.]]>
Your article on Councilman Koppell in last week's Riverdale Press truly captured his many years of outstanding service to our community.
I am writing to publicly thank Councilman Koppell for his strong opposition to the urgent care, outpatient facility Montefiore wants to build on Riverdale Ave. He has always put the needs of our community first and we should all be grateful that he understands the impact that this huge facility designed to attract 1,000 patients a day would have on the basic character of Riverdale.
It is truly impressive that even in the last months of his term, Councilman Koppell continues to fight for what is right. We all owe him a great debt of gratitude and will miss his commitment and advocacy on behalf of our community.]]>
Your article on inBloom just touches the surface of the sleazy deal inBloom has become for the citizens of New York State.
The article did not mention that NYS Comptroller DiNapoli had rejected the original contract with Wireless Generation, the company promoting inBloom, since it was a division of the News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdoch and embroiled in the hacking scandals involving the interception of cell phones and violations of people's privacy.
Moreover, Wireless Generation was led by Joel Klein, the former Chancellor of the NYC public schools, who had strategized his lightening quick role change from one entrusted with overseeing NYC public school kids to one who reaps enormous profits from them.
The only reason that inBloom made it into the city's education policy is because the Gates Foundation gave over $40 million towards payment for it.]]>
Educators should revisit an April 20, 1994, mandate from The New York State Legislature that states, "In order to promote a spirit of patriotic and civic service and obligation and to foster in the children of the state moral and intellectual qualities which are essential in preparing to meet the obligations of citizenship in peace or in war, the regents of the University of the State of New York shall prescribe a course of instruction in patriotism, citizenship and human rights issues, with particular attention to the study of the inhumanity of genocide, slavery, and the Holocaust, to be maintained and followed in all the schools of the state."
Certainly, implementing this mandate in schools would be a big step today toward ending the growth of intolerance in the future.]]>
As with any tragedy, scores of smaller narratives played out in the shadow of the primary event.
Eli Mernit's story is one of those accounts.
Mr. Mernit's close-up shots of the wreckage alongside the tracks appeared on The Press' website in the hours following the derailment Sunday morning.
The Northeastern University economics major's family lives on Palisade Avenue overlooking the derailment site.
Back home for the Thanksgiving holiday, Mr. Mernit said the sound of first responders using a large hydraulic tool commonly refered to as the Jaws of Life to reach passengers out of overturned train cars awakened him.
Mr. Mernit said he walked toward the train tracks to snap his pictures. By the time he arrived at the site, emergency personal were already on the scene, with more en route. He stayed throughout the day and witnessed the various press conferences, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo's brief address offering payers for victims of the accident.
Mr. Mernit said he grew up in the neighborhood and knew how to get close to the tracks for his shots. He descended the stairs at Half Moon Overlook and then went through the woods until he was, as he described, "almost eye-level with an overturned locomotive 12 feet above the tracks."
Mr. Mernit said he had planned to visit relatives in Westchester on Sunday with his father and brother, but emergency vehicles clogging the street would have prevented the family from driving back onto Palisade Avenue. He said that by evening, police officers began checking people's identification, allowing only residents into the area surrounding the crash.
"It was hard to process all that was going on," Mr. Mernit said. "Our quiet street was overrun with media. You can get in and out now. I left to go back to school at 5 a.m. this morning [Monday], and the police were still all over."
Mr. Mernit said Sunday night was not particularly restful. "All night the crash scene was illuminated with very bright lights," he said. "Media trucks and emergency vehicles all night long."]]>