Arthur Ave. Xmas Tree Lights Out

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

This year, it didn’t take a grinch to steal Christmas in The Bronx.

The Belmont Business Improvement District has had to forego its annual Christmas tree and tree lighting ceremony this year, after an influx in homeless panhandlers forced them to hire a full-time security guard, they said.


Toys for Kids, Zoo for You

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

The Bronx’s annual toy drive kicked off  with fifth-graders from Public School 205 hand-delivering the first presents of the season to the Bronx Zoo. The drive, coordinated by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz and the Wildlife Conservation Society, benefits children of military families.

New, unwrapped toys will be accepted until Dec. 31 at New the York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, as well as the Bronx Zoo. Donors will receive one free ticket to the Bronx Zoo or New York Aquarium.

Latinas in Motion Go Social

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Four years ago, Walesca Marmolejos hated anything to do with exercise. Then her father suffered a massive heart attack and she began a new job as a bereavement counselor. She said she founded the New York chapter of the women’s running group Latinas in Motion after running became her way to process the stresses in life.

“A lot of our group runs almost turn into therapy sessions,” Marmolejos said. “ We really talk about our jobs, our families, our friends. You know, any issues we’re having.”

Latinas in Motion is a national running group dedicated to encouraging Latina women to exercise. Founded in 2012 in Philadelphia, the group exemplifies the changing face of running in the U.S: It’s becoming more female-dominated, diverse and social. On Nov. 1, Marmolejos completed her first New York City Marathon, running alongside more than two dozen other women from her group.

Scott Bush, of Running USA, a nonprofit that analyzes and advocates for the running industry, said the sport is in the midst of a boom.

“A lot of races have really opened it up to the masses,” said Bush. “Bringing in more Latinos, bringing in more African Americans, bringing in more people from diverse backgrounds, I feel that that’s definitely the next wave that’s coming.”

Elaine Johnson, the founder of Latinas in Motion, said she began the group to bring attention to the health challenges that Latinas face, but the group is open to all women.

“There aren’t many organizations that do what we do exclusively for Latinas,” said Johnson. “So yes, we encourage all women to join us, but the platform had to be created.”

Cultural barriers like gender roles have historically played a role in lower rates of sports participation for Latina women, but this is changing, said David Marquez, associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Marquez said that hypertension, high cholesterol, depression and stress are heath issues that disproportionately affect the Latino community.

“One of things that could help with running is that the social bonds and social networks – which tend to be stronger in woman than in men – that emotional support, especially in Latino women, that could really be something that helps to motivate and to empower Latino women to run,” Marquez said.

Noelia Rosado, a member of Marmolejos’ group, said she started running in 2013. After her sister was killed in a hit-and-run accident later that year, she began running longer distances. The New York City Marathon will be her first marathon.

“I found running to be my therapy, my solace. It keeps me sane, so that’s when I started running longer distances, and this marathon I’m dedicating to her,” said Rosado.

Jazmine Espina, who has run four marathons, finished her first New York City Marathon with Latinas in Motion. She said she resumed running last year after taking a hiatus during two high-risk pregnancies. She discovered the women’s group by chance.

“I actually woke up one morning next to my husband and said I want to go to Central Park and run, and he thought I was crazy cause it was five in the morning,” said Espina. “But he drove me to Central Park with my two kids.”

That morning Espina met a group of women from Latinas in Motion and decided to join.

“I find that the more that we talk to each other while we’re running, the easier the run is,” she said.

Fighting a Solitary Battle

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Correctional officers brought Tama Bell’s mentally ill son to the brink of suicide for throwing a rag on a table, she says.

Bell’s son, Masai, was at Mid­-State Correctional Facility in Marcy, N.Y., in 2014 for a psychiatric evaluation and had gotten a job there. Inmates and officers were making fun of him when he was cleaning tables and told him to redo it, she said. He grew resentful of their prodding, threw the rag on the table and walked away.

The officers then made the other inmates leave the room. They beat him up, Bell said, and sent her son to solitary confinement for 23 hours a day at Auburn Correctional in Auburn, N.Y. He stayed there, wallowing for three months. By the time he entered his second month of 23-hour-a-day solitary, he started talking about suicide, she said.


A Walk in the Parks

Thursday, September 10th, 2015


Friday, June 19th, 2015

They Bake and Break Bread

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Producing More Cowbell

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015


Friday, May 29th, 2015