FEMA grants now available to Hoboken homeowners
The city of Hoboken announced Friday morning that the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs will begin accepting applications for the reNew Jersey Stronger Housing Grant programs. There are two programs available, one for homeowner reconstruction, rehabilitation, elevation and mitigation (RREM) and one for homeowner resettlement.
The first program, RREM, provides up to $150,000 for eligible homeowners to repair, elevate or rebuild their primary residences in the affected communities. The RREM program is intended to “fill the gap” between the cost of repairs and other funds the owner has received to repair the structure.
The second program, for resettlement, provides a $10,000 grant award to eligible homeowners whose primary residence was damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
Visit www.renewjerseystronger.org for more information.
Business owners are reminded that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is also accepting applications for the Stronger NJ Business Grant program: http://application.njeda.com/strongernjbusinessgrant.
The DCA Superstorm Sandy Housing Assistance hotline is also open at 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946) to answer any questions you may have about the application process. Para español marque 1-855-SANDYHM.
Shunned Hoboken IT official cleared of hacking charges
A former Hoboken information technology (IT) official who was fired in May 2011 after being accused of forwarding emails between Mayor Dawn Zimmer and people within her administration to third parties was cleared of all charges Thursday, according to a report on Hoboken Patch.
Administrative Judge Evelyn Marose dropped the charges against Jonathan Cummins after concluding that Cummins did not knowingly forward classified emails to third parties at the behest of former IT Director Patrick Ricciardi, according to the report.
Ricciardi was arrested on similar charges in November 2011. The city’s charges against Cummins were based on testimony from former city attorney Mark Tabakin and administrator Arch Liston, who said in October that Cummins confessed to them that he had knowledge of Ricciardi’s actions and forwarded emails to third parties at Ricciardi’s behest.
However, in court, Cummins countered Tabakin and Liston’s testimony, stating that he had never forwarded any classified emails. Marose’s decision said that Tabakin and Liston’s testimony “lacked credibility” and said that “Hoboken presented no actual evidence that Cummins was responsible for the email leaks or any writing or recording which corroborates the claim that he confessed to the charged conduct.”
Cummins will be free to return to his job in City Hall and could be awarded back pay and attorney fees. Marose’s ruling is still pending the approval of the state’s Civil Service Commission, which can still reject or modify the case’s outcome.
City spokesman Juan Melli said Thursday the amount of back pay and attorney fees owed to Cummins has not been determined. He said the administration had no comment on the decision.
Ricciardi pleaded guilty to intercepting communications meant for Zimmer and top city officials, and passing some of those emails on to other officials. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 1.
Mayoral candidate Ramos kicks off campaign and website
Assemblyman Ruben Ramos (D-33rd Dist.), so far the only challenger to Mayor Dawn Zimmer in the upcoming November mayoral election, announced the unveiling of his campaign’s website on Thursday. He also held an official campaign kickoff last weekend.
The website, Vision4Hoboken.com, showcases the platform for Ramos and his entire slate, comprised of Laura Miani, Eduardo Gonzalez and Joe Mindak.
“We got into this race because we are sick of the political stalemate in City Hall,” said all four candidates in a press release. “Hoboken is a place with a deep sense of community. [It] deserves leadership who can bring people together for a better, more vibrant Hoboken. We hope our website, Vision4Hoboken.com, can serve as a place where the community can rally together to effect real change.”
The Vision for Hoboken kickoff last weekend was at Teak, a restaurant near Hoboken Terminal.
Thus far, Ramos’ campaign has designated flooding, infrastructure, parking, public space and recreation as its main focuses.
Zimmer has declined to comment on Ramos’ campaign until she officially begins her own re-election campaign, saying that she’s “focused on governing.” The deadline to declare candidacy is Sept. 3.
Local churches to hold Fun Fest on June 1 and 2
The Church of Our Lady of Grace (OLG) and St. Joseph’s in Hoboken have announced the schedule for the eighth annual Fun Fest this week. The community event will take place on Saturday, June 1 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sunday, June 2 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Activities and fun will expand throughout Church Square Park, the OLG parking lot and on to the streets adjoining OLG property – Fifth Street between Clinton and Willow and Willow between Fourth and Fifth streets.
The Funfest will include children’s rides, ponies, festival foods, face painting, a biergarten, games of chance, 50/50 raffles and a book sale.
Saturday night’s entertainment will feature Eric DeLauro and his Rat Pack Band/Swing Party Rock Orchestra playing many music formats, genres and hits – pop, rock, soul, swing and party favorites (www.theratpacks.com).
Sunday’s entertainment will include performances by Ron Albanese, a.k.a. Polka Dot. As Polka Dot, the energetic Albanese will perform his brand of kid-friendly rock music (www.ronalbanese.com).
For more information on the Funfest, please visit www.olgfunfest.com or by calling the Our Lady of Grace’s Rectory at (201) 659-0369 between the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hoboken resident tries to save life of her brother, a former Bayonne resident
Steven J. Kilianski, a native of Bayonne, desperately needs the support of his community. Kilianski was diagnosed a couple of years ago with a very rare malignant tumor located in the pineal gland of his brain. After having survived life-threatening surgery, he underwent radiation treatment in hopes of shrinking the tumor, and it did, but not 100 percent. He remained in remission for 14 months.
This past January a follow up MRI revealed that the tumor had grown back. Now the reality has set in that this tumor is aggressive and grows very rapidly. He was advised by his team of doctors to undergo Cyber Knife treatments. Renee Kilianski, a Hoboken resident and Steven’s sister, said her family was hopeful, but now their concern has since grown.
“We were all hopeful that this would do it, rid him of this crippling disease, only to be told after another follow-up MRI that only 30 percent of the tumor is gone,” she said. “This was, to say the least, devastating news. His team of doctors has informed us that there are no other options for treatment and surgery is not a viable option either. They advised us to look into clinical trials and medical expenses not covered by insurance that may be an option for Steven to prolong his life, but unfortunately is not covered by insurance.”
The Kilianski family, including Steven’s 2-year-old son Christian, is now reaching out to the public for help. They are asking for donations to cover the cost for the clinical trial and medical expenses not covered by insurance. According to Renee, “Whatever gift you can give, big or small, will certainly help us in this fight for our loved one’s life and will be greatly appreciated.”
The family will hold a fundraiser in Hoboken at Room 84 (http://room84hoboken.com/) on May 30, from 7 – 10 p.m. Tickets are $65, which include a three-hour open bar and food. People can go on the Give Forward website to donate or mail donations to Patricia Kilianski, 266 Avenue F, Bayonne, N.J. 07002. Checks must be made out to Steven J. Kilianski Brain Cancer Fund.
For those who want to come to the fundraiser on Thursday, tickets can be purchased through PayPal on the following link:
Hoboken inaugurates 14 new firefighters
The Hoboken Fire Department welcomed 14 new recruits into its ranks in an inauguration ceremony at City Hall on Thursday. The firefighters all recently completed training at the Bergen County Fire Academy and will start work immediately.
The ceremony was led by Assistant Business Administrator Stephen Marks, who was standing in for Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who is at a United Nations conference in Switzerland. Also in attendance were Public Safety Director Jon Tooke, chairman of the Hudson County Board of Freeholders Anthony Romano, and 1st Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano.
Chief Richard Blohm welcomed the new recruits and wished them all luck. The full list of new recruits is as follows: Tyrell Drotch, Jimmy Principe, Tom Worley, Anthony Richards, Joseph Radigan, the chief’s son Ryan Blohm, Dominick Casolaro, Matthew Velez, Marc Calbismonte, Patrick Cappiello, Jose Martinez, Matthew Florio, Kristopher Koukounas, and Christopher Lugo.
Brad Pitt crashes advance screening of ‘World War Z’
It’s not Hollywood, and it’s not even New York City, but once in a while Hoboken is graced with the presence of the Silver Screen’s biggest stars.
On Thursday night, Brad Pitt, the star of the new political action thriller ‘World War Z,’ showed up before a special advanced screening at Clearview Cinemas, prompting movie-goers to whip out their smartphones and cheer.
According to a source who spoke to the Hollywood gossip site JustJared.com, Pitt “wanted to make sure that the screening was for the fans, the people that he made the film for.”
Pitt handed out t-shirts to fans before the screening began at 10:45 p.m.
Citizens groups protest Christie’s tax abatement on Hoboken waterfront
A handful of advocates from various citizens groups protested the $66 million tax abatement given to Pearson Education by Gov. Christopher Christie on the Hoboken waterfront Thursday. Last year, Pearson, which makes textbooks, decided to move its Bergen County offices to Hoboken, along with about 900 jobs.
Pearson is currently building a new office building in Hoboken for the relocation.
“The governor continues to find money for corporate subsidies,” said Bill Holland, the director of the New Jersey Families Alliance.
According to one report, Holland said his main objection to Christie’s abatements is that they continue even as Trenton makes cuts to several other areas, including schools.
Hudson Theatre Ensemble to premiere ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’
The children’s theater wing of the Hudson Theatre Ensemble, Silly on Sixth, will premiere its new production of “Jack and the Beanstalk: A Zany Adaptation,” at the Hudson School Performance Space, 601 Park Ave., on Saturday, June 1 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Further performances will be held Sunday, June 2 and Sunday, June 9, at the same times.
Tickets for the show, which runs about 40 minutes, can be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (201) 377-7014. Tickets are $7 for children and $10 for adults.
For more information, visit www.hudsontheatreensemble.com.
Hudson County CASA to hold information session June 4
Are you interested in helping children in the foster care system? If so, Hudson County CASA (court appointed special advocates) is currently recruiting volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to insure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes.
CASA and its volunteers speak for children in court, serve as fact finders for the judges and safeguard the interests of the children while they are in the foster care system.
Please attend an information session to learn more about the program and the role of its volunteers on Tuesday, June 4 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Room 400 of the Hudson County Administration Building, 595 Newark Ave., Jersey City.
Hudson County has nearly 700 children in foster care; most have been removed from their homes for abuse or neglect. For further information, please call (201) 795-9855, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org.