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Thursday, April 17, 2014
Year In review

Top stories of 2013: disaster, development and schools

By Shant Shahrigian
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Police, Fire and other officials responded rapidly combing through the wreckage of a deadly early morning Dec. 1 commuter train derailment near the Spuyten Duyvil train station.
Miyan Levenson/The Riverdale Press
Pedro Espada Jr. is swarmed by reporters, as he enters a Brooklyn federal courthouse on his way to prison on June 14.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
The family of Drane Nikac, holds a press conference after the sentencing of former NYPD detective Kevin Spellman in the death of Mr. Nikac.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
A Press investigative series found lawyers with strong Democratic Party ties netted thousands in fees as court appointed supervisors of troubled assets.
Osjua A. Newton/The Riverdale Press
Twelfth-grade student Fatima Uddim, bottom right, protests during a public hearing on the Department of Education’s proposal to place new schools inside DeWitt Clinton on Feb. 21.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Jaylyn Torres and Kira Aska receive awards from Rev. Thomas Lynch at the final graduation ceremony at Our Lady of Angels School on June 15.

In a northwest Bronx echo of city and national headlines, there was never a dull moment on the pages of The Press this past year. 

The lively campaign for city offices kept our political writers busy through the fall, while area schools endured controversy and closures. In 2013, residents saw triumphs, such as Baron Ambrosia’s swim down the mainland borough section of the Bronx River, and tribulations including corruption and development scandals. 

Meanwhile, consequences of the deadly train derailment at Spuyten Duyvil station earlier this month will reverberate into the coming year.

Here are The Press’ top stories of 2013. Please share your own lists on our Facebook page.

Public and parochial schools in crisis

While the Archdiocese of New York shut down parochial schools throughout the borough, several public schools were on the brink of closing as well.

Even though supporters of Our Lady of Angels School raised $232,000 to try to save the institution, the archdiocese decided to shutter the school in January. The move was part of a plan to consolidate parochial schools.

Meanwhile, two high schools once considered the pride of the Bronx continued a downward spiral. Seniors tried to make the best of things at John F. Kennedy High School (JFK), which is in its last year. DeWitt Clinton High School’s third consecutive F on Department of Education Progress Reports suggested the institution is destined for the same fate as JFK, in spite of a change in leadership in the fall. 

In contrast, the New School of Leadership and the Arts earned its third straight A — one of a number of bright spots throughout the community.

Patronage prevails in Bronx courts 

A series of reports The Press published in February and March found several of the area’s elected officials reaping the benefits of a system of court patronage in the borough.

The series, a Press collaboration with investigative journalism students from CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, found judges giving lucrative court appointments to politically connected lawyers including elected officials.

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