Funeral this week
Five children to be laid to rest after Union City fire
by Reporter Staff Writer
Jul 22, 2018 | 863 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ANGELS – Photos from the GoFundMe page set up by the city after brothers Jason Gonzalez and Christian Gonzalez and cousin Mailyn Wood passed away.
ANGELS – Photos from the GoFundMe page set up by the city after brothers Jason Gonzalez and Christian Gonzalez and cousin Mailyn Wood passed away.
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Union City residents were still in mourning last week after a five-alarm blaze on 25th Street on Friday, July 13 took the lives of five children and injured firefighters. Officials said a visitation and mass will be held this Tuesday and Wednesday at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Union City. Leber Funeral Home is handling the services. Brothers Jason Gonzalez, 2, and Christian Mendez, 7, and their cousin Mailyn Wood, 5, passed away on the 13th. Then, early last week, officials confirmed that a fourth and fifth child, 13-year-old Jose Tejada and a 4-year-old Shamira Lopez, had succumbed. All of the children were siblings except for Wood, a cousin, officials said. A public visitation will be held from noon Tuesday through 9 a.m. this Wednesday, followed by a public mass at 10 a.m. The fire was reported about 9 a.m. at 416 25th St., between Bergenline and New York avenues. Firefighters battled the blaze for about a half hour, cutting holes into the roof to let out heat and smoke, while at the same time rescuing the occupants of the building. The fire spread through two buildings before it was brought under control at about 9:30 a.m. The cause of the fire was under investigation at press time. Mayor Brian Stack said the town is accepting donations for the victims. A GoFundMe has been set up here: https://www.gofundme.com/union-city-fire-victims-fund
_____________ The aging housing stock and the town’s density in Union City makes homes particularly susceptible to fires.
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Union City is particularly susceptible to fires due to its aging housing stock and the town’s density. As a Reporter story from 2011 noted, “Many older buildings have a small airspace, known as a cockloft, that’s situated between the roof and ceiling of the top floor units. Where buildings are of the same height and are adjoined, the cockloft often runs the entire length of several buildings, which can be an entire city block. A continuous cockloft can make it easier for a fire to spread rapidly from one building to the next.” To help the residents, you can also make checks payable to the Union City Fire Victims’ Fund at Union City Fire Victims’ Fund, City of Union City, Office of Mayor Brian P. Stack, 3715 Palisade Avenue, 3rd Floor, Union City, NJ 07087.
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Weehawken High School principal passes away
Jul 22, 2018 | 254 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Anthony Colasurdo, 67, Weehawken High School's principal, passed away on Thursday, July 12. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Zywicki confirmed the news on his Twitter account. "Tony touched the lives of thousands of Weehawken children during his four decades of service to the Weehawken [schools]," Zywicki wrote. "Please keep Tony's family in your thoughts and prayers." Colasurdo was also a former English teacher, baseball coach, and assistant coach for other sports at WHS. His family issued a statement on a GoFundMe page started to fund the Anthony P. Colasurdo Memorial Scholarship. The fundraiser raised $6,664 of its original $1,000 in only two days. "He was truly one of a kind-an incredibly gifted musician & performer, a coach, leader, and mentor to thousands of students across four decades in the Weehawken School District, and most importantly a man of the highest character, who approached life with humor, charm, integrity, and an ever-present smile on his face," the family said on the GoFundMe page. The Mack Memorial Home in Secaucus planned to hold a memorial service for Colasurdo on Wednesday, July 18. The home is located at 1245 Paterson Plank Rd.
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Stevens seeks zoning change
New rules could allow two proposed dorms to grow higher
by Marilyn Baer
Reporter Staff Writer
Jul 22, 2018 | 394 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President of Stevens Institute of Technology Nariman Farvardin asks the council to pass an ordinance to create a University District on the city’s zoning map.
President of Stevens Institute of Technology Nariman Farvardin asks the council to pass an ordinance to create a University District on the city’s zoning map.
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The City Council will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, July 25 to discuss changing zoning laws on the Stevens Institute of Technology campus to make it easier for the university to build two proposed dormitory towers on the cliffs, along with other projects. The rezoning would create a “University District” intended to support development of the campus that maintains the character of the area. But the immediate change will be that the university will be able to erect two buildings on the edge of campus, on the cliffs of Castle Point, that are higher than existing buildings. Roughly 20 members of the public spoke about the matter at the council meeting on Wednesday, July 11, most in favor of the rezoning. At the July 11 meeting, the council also discussed a time extension on the Washington Street Redesign project, which now may not be completed until 2019. (See sidebar.) Public comments Speakers were a mix of Hoboken residents and people from the Stevens community. Most said the rezoning would be a way for the university – a prestigious engineering university on the city’s bluffs –to meet continued growth. Resident John Capua said, “Moving the students back to campus is the right thing to do for the students and the town.” According to the university’s website, as of fall of 2017, Stevens has 3,123 undergraduate students and 3,793 graduate students. According to U.S. News & World Report, roughly 68 percent of students live in university operated housing. Stevens has seven student housing buildings. For students who live off campus, Stevens operates shuttle busses to take them to and from campus. Capua said it would help with congestion on the streets if the shuttle buses don’t run. Resident Nicholas Dinallo said he felt the two student housing towers would create construction jobs as well as permanent ones, and would be a “landmark project for our city.” University President Nariman Farvardin noted Stevens’ involvement in the community over the years, including working with the school district on various programs and helping the community during Hurricane Sandy. He said Stevens students completed 41,000 hours of community service last year. “This university is on a tear moving forward,” he said. “We have done a lot of good for the city and our country. Young men and women come to us; we educate them, and provide a terrific experience before they are unleashed on the rest of the world to help make it a better place. Help us achieve that goal.” But a few took issue with proposed building heights, which could climb to 225 feet (a story is generally 10 feet high). Resident Cheryl Fallick said she opposed the change primarily because the tall buildings will eventually serve as a barometer for future development. She also said the off-campus housing the students have been utilizing needs to be monitored to ensure that the units are returned to rent control rates when they leave. Dan Tumpson said he feels the campus is a “beautiful breath of fresh air” but that if the zoning is changed there will be less scrutiny involved in future projects on their property. Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher said she felt the majority of the public was unaware of the potential change. She said that after sending an e-mail blast, 75 percent of respondents were concerned with the height. The council may take a final vote on the zoning changes during the July 25 special council meeting. Residents can voice concern or support.
_____________ The change would allow two proposed dormitories on the cliffs to grow to up to 225 feet.
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University District The proposed University District will include three subareas. The Transition Sub-Area extends from Hudson Street to about Castle Point Terrace from Fifth Street to Eighth Street. The purpose of the Transition Sub-Area is to create a buffer between the residential areas of Hudson Street and Castle Point Terrace and the campus. Development would be reduced in scale and respectful of character of the adjacent historic neighborhoods. The maximum building height would be 40 feet. The Core Sub-Area takes up the majority of campus and extends roughly from Fifth Street almost to Tenth Street. Here the building height can be no more than 120 feet. The final subarea, the Edge Sub-area, is located on the southeastern portion of campus abutting the cliffs bound by Sinatra Drive. There, building height could not exceed 225 feet. Marilyn Baer can be reached at marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.
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A prescription for engagement
Pharmacist caps off a year of involvement, free events
by Hannington Dia
Reporter Staff Writer
Jul 22, 2018 | 394 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PHARMACY
Quinee Patel, the owner of Live Smart Pharmacy, outside her store.
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Ever since Live Smart Pharmacy opened at 61st Street and JFK Blvd. a year ago in July, owner Quinee Patel has worked to provide North Bergen residents with free educational seminars, medical consultations, and presentations around town at fairs, schools, and senior buildings. The events came out of an impromptu meeting up, during the pharmacy's ribbon-cutting ceremony last year, between Patel and local Health Department head Janet Castro. Castro said she wanted to work with the pharmacy on immunizations, and the pair started planning. That August, Patel and the department conducted a joint presentation on immunizations at the North Bergen Uptown Library. That same month, Patel also conducted a medication safety presentation at the Active Day of North Bergen senior center. In September 2017 the pharmacy set up a table at the Brain Health and Wellness Fair, held in Braddock Park. Patel has given free safety presentations and educational talks at all three senior complexes in town. She’s also taken extra steps in helping local residents with their health. Her pharmacy offers free blood pressure checks. After promoting the free checks at the Wellness Fair, some participants came back to Patel's pharmacy for follow-up blood pressure screenings. There, Patel spoke to them about lifestyle modifications, like including low-sodium, high-fiber diets and 30 minutes of exercise, five days per week. Another free service Patel offers is medication consultation. She helps people set up their medication pill boxes for weekly or monthly doses. “Medication can get pretty confusing, especially when some elderly are on 20 to 30 medications,” Patel said. She also consults people on when it is best to take certain medications (e.g. 30 minutes before a meal, or one hour afterwards) and their specific side effects. The pharmacy also has free delivery for medications. And when she's closed for the day, Patel offers to personally visit her patients to help organize their pill boxes, if they cannot come to her. “I try my best to help,” she said.
_____________ “I've made a difference in many patients' lives.” – Quinee Patel
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Battling the flu After a 6-year-old North Bergen girl died from the flu in February (see “Girl dies from flu-like symptoms,” Feb 18), Patel came up with an idea to hold germ awareness presentations in the town public schools. She contacted Castro. After some back and forth, she launched “Your Health is in Your Hands” with the Health Department. The first two presentations took place at Horace Mann Elementary and the Robert Fulton Annex Schools, in April and May. “The subject is important to address,” Patel said. Each seminar educates kids on how to avoid the flu and spreading germs. The students learned how to properly wash their hands and for how long. According to Patel, that's something many adults don't even know how to do. Since the talks are geared at kids, Patel purposely did not get into how to treat fever, as she feels it is best for an older audience. “If their parents were to come to me, I could give my opinions as a health professional,” she said. Patel plans on bringing the program to older students this fall. For the summer months, Patel wants to hold more education programs with local seniors. Because flu season can start as early as the end of August, she wants to raise more awareness about immunizing the elderly. A family atmosphere Patel's biggest hope for her pharmacy is fostering a local, mom-and-pop-esque feel. “The Walgreens across the street, they're great, too,” she said. But “I know every single one of my patients by name. Our goal is to do more hands on-things in the future.” One of those things could be a walk around town with her patients, she said. “Not only seniors, but everybody,” she said. Patel, who lives in Guttenberg, said she realized that getting used to running a local business take time. “It's not a sprint, it's a marathon,” she said. “I've made a difference in many patients' lives.” Hannington Dia can be reached at hd@hudsonreporter.com
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Celebrating Hoboken’s ‘Cove’ beach
Family-fun events at City of Water Day
by Marilyn Baer
Reporter Staff Writer
Jul 22, 2018 | 571 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WATER
Free kayaking and paddle boarding were available during the City of Water Day at the Hoboken Cove.
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Residents celebrated the Hoboken waterfront last weekend during City of Water Day, where they could kayak for free or learn about the Hudson River Estuary by participating in workshops. The event was hosted at Maxwell Place Park by the Hoboken Cove, the only natural sandy beach along the Hudson River south of the George Washington Bridge. Some participated to raise awareness for their fight to keep part of the waterfront as open space, since ferry company NY Waterway has purchased the former Union Dry Dock south of the cove to use for ferry maintenance and refueling. The city is fighting to obtain the area for open space. Each year thousands of people enjoy the cove for kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing and more. The beach is not for swimming or lying on a blanket, but is an access spot for the water. According to Jon Miller, who runs the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse located on Sinatra Drive North, roughly 6,000 people visit the cove per year to kayak or paddle board. “This spot is a mecca for people to get into the Hudson River,” said Ron Hine of the Fund for a Better Waterfront. “It’s completely unique.” Protecting the cove According to Hine, the future of the Hoboken Cove is at risk. It’s unclear yet whether Gov. Phil Murphy and NJ Transit will permit NY Waterway to locate their new homeport nearby, for ferry maintenance, storage, and refueling. Currently the land is not in use, as NY Waterway is awaiting permits. “If they move in and we lost the battle to protect our waterfront, it would be such a major defeat,” said Hine. “This is so important.” At one point, the city floated the idea of acquiring the property by eminent domain. Jon Miller of the Hoboken Cove Community Boat House said he has seen a resurgence of life in the Hudson River. “Over the past few years we’ve had seals, whales, and dock worms come back to the river,” said Miller. “The last thing we need is an oil spill.” He noted that he was worried about the safety of those who kayak, as the homeport may see as many as 80 ferry trips per day for maintenance and refueling. “My kid kayaks here,” said Miller. “My nightmare is that a ferry backs up and doesn’t see him.” All day long, participants in the day’s activities tweeted at Governor Phil Murphy through the FBW’s Twitter account, urging him to “#SavetheHobokenCove.”
_____________ “I wanted to learn more about the ecosystem and how I can help.” – Hannah Alter
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Hands-on fun and education Naturalist Noelle Thurlow led several educational workshops for children including a BioBlitz, which is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within the area. She also led workshops testing the rivers water quality and one called Trash Free Seas in which participants documented the trash that washed up along the shore. Union City resident Lydia Sardinas said she and her family go to the Hoboken waterfront every weekend. “It’ is wonderful to give so much exposure to nature and the water to the youth,” she said. 11-year-old Hoboken resident Hannah Alter attended with her parents Dave and Camille. “I wanted to learn more about the ecosystem and how I can help,” said Hannah. Camille Alter said, “It is so easy to become disconnected from nature when you live in an urban area. Places like this are becoming even more important.” The event was sponsored by the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse, Resilience Paddle Sports, Fund for a Better Waterfront, and Hoboken Residents for a Public Waterfront. The nonprofit Waterfront Alliance based in New York City is sponsored several City of Water Days throughout the metropolitan region the same weekend. City of Water Day at the Hoboken Cove was supported in part by a grant from the Waterfront Alliance and the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program. Marilyn Baer can be reached at marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.
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