Every Saturday, The Week in Rewind spotlights the wide-ranging editorial work of the Bronx Times.
Soundview’s 1471 Watson Ave., NYCHA’s first all-electric building conversion in 2023
By spring 2023, Soundview’s 1471 Watson Ave. NYCHA complex will become the first all-electric building conversion in the nation’s largest public housing complex portfolio, based on promising results of a gas stove replacement pilot program intended to better health outcomes.
The program by environmental group WE ACT for Environmental Justice replaced gas stoves with induction cooktops for 10 residents, and compared indoor air quality results with 10 others who did not switch. For environmental advocates, the transition from gas to induction stoves reduces exposure to both nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide – two pollutants that have adverse health impacts.
The pilot program, which began in February 2022, is the first in the U.S. to monitor indoor air quality in homes transitioning from gas stoves to electric induction stoves with residents in-place in affordable housing.
A comprehensive 10-month review of the program, which was also implemented in Buffalo, New York, shows a 35% reduction in concentrated nitrogen dioxide and a 43% decrease in daily carbon monoxide exposure for participating buildings.
Bronxites grapple with January’s legacy of devastating burns
Multiple Bronx communities spent the end of January reeling from three major fires that happened over the course of just five days — which collectively displaced at least 61, injured at least seven and killed one.
The blazes, reminiscent of the last year’s tragedy at the Twin Parks North West apartment building in Fordham Heights, underscore the prevalence of structural fires in the borough.
The first, a four-alarm fire at a Wakefield apartment building last week, sent three firefighters and one civilian to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The cause of the fire was still under investigation last week.
Just three days later on Jan. 29, one person was killed and two others injured in a two-alarm fire at a Soundview residence, which police believe was arson.
On Jan. 30, Police said they were seeking a female suspect who was caught on a security camera in the area, in connection to the Sunday afternoon blaze in Soundview.
The third major blaze was reported in the Crotona Park East neighborhood around 11 a.m. Monday. The three-alarm basement fire at 843 Freeman St. was deemed under control just a few hours later, around 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 30.
The cause of the Crotona Park East fire was still under investigation earlier this week.
Ferrara elected first female CB11 chair as she prepares to primary Velázquez
Bernadette Ferrara, who plans on challenging Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez in the June Democratic primary, became the first woman elected to chair Community Board 11 last Thursday, raising questions about a potential conflict of interest.
Ferrara, who is president of the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance, defeated board member Richard Reynoso for the position.
It is unclear how many board members knew Ferrara had plans to run for City Council at the time she was elected chair, and representatives of CB11 are on a different page than the Bronx Borough President’s Office about whether she will need to step down if she gets on the ballot.
CB11 District Manager Jeremy Warneke said he isn’t aware of any legal issues with Ferrara running while she chairs the board, as long as she keeps her campaign separate.
However, Arlene Mukoko, spokesperson for Borough President Vanessa Gibson, told the Bronx Times that community board members must step down or take a leave of absence if they run for political office, citing a memo sent from Gibson’s office to the borough’s 12 community boards last March.
However, the memo was not so clear cut, and left board members thinking Ferrara is OK to run while serving as chair.
Presence of Liberty’s Jonquel Jones at Bronx girls basketball clinic looms large for next generation of hoopers
It was fitting that on National Girls & Women in Sports Day, much of the NYC basketball talk revolved around the New York Liberty and its emerging superteam after two-time WNBA champion Breanna Stewart announced her intentions to sign with the team on Wednesday.
Stewart joins emerging star guard Sabrina Ionescu and former MVP Jonquel Jones in a star-studded Big Three that will vie to bring the WNBA’s original eight franchise its first championship in 26 years. On Wednesday, Jones — acquired from the Connecticut Sun in a blockbuster trade just last month— got a chance to instruct and teach the ins and outs of the game to the next wave of WNBA hopefuls in a Grand Concourse gym at BronxWorks’ Carolyn McLaughlin facility.
With Beyonce’s “Run the World” blasting in the background, Bronx middle schoolers were getting a crash course in ball-handling, rebounding and the subtle intricacies of the game from one of the WNBA’s top stars.
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