Jul 22, 2012 | 3582 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BAILE, BAILE! – Performers at the annual Raices de America delighted crowds on July 15. Caliente would describe both the temperature that day and the traditional dances on display at the festival, held at Exchange Place.
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Leaked Fulop e-mail references confidential ‘Cerf meeting’

The same week that Ward E City Councilman (and future mayoral contender) Steven Fulop had to explain more than $18,000 in campaign donations from a law firm with ties to Spectra Energy, an e-mail was leaked from the 2013 mayoral candidate’s personal gmail account in which he invites an inner circle of school board members to what appears to be a secret meeting.

Sent under the subject heading “Cerf meeting,” the May 2, 2011 e-mail from Fulop reads: “Please keep in confidence as always. We are meeting at 274 Arlington Ave. tomorrow (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. See you then.”

According to one source, 274 Arlington Ave. was a vacant residential property at the time of the meeting. Chris Cerf is the acting commissioner of education for the state of New Jersey.

The e-mail was sent to Sterling Waterman, who at the time was president of the Jersey City Board of Education; Carol Lester, vice-president at the time of the meeting; Carol Harrison-Arnold and Marvin Adames, who had been elected to the board just days earlier, on April 27 – but had not been sworn in yet; Ellen Simon, founder of Parents for Progress; and Shelley Skinner, deputy director of Better Education for Kids, a school choice advocacy group. Fulop’s e-mail was also sent to Leda Duif Shumbris, Mohamed Akil, and Tine Pahl.

The timing of the e-mail and Arlington Avenue meeting are significant as they came just one week after Fulop-backed candidates won control of the Board of Education. These events also took place at a time when the Board of Education was gearing up to oust Dr. Charles Epps as the superintendent of schools and conduct a national search for his successor.

School board members Suzanne Mack, Angel Valentin, and Sean Connors were not invited to the meeting.

Ever since the board majority voted last month to hire Dr. Marcia Lyles as the new superintendent Fulop has tried to deflect criticism that he worked in concert with Cerf and his staff to remove Epps and install Lyles in his place.

Last month Fulop told the Reporter that the school board is independent and he does not communicate with the trustees on a regular basis.

“Anyone who wants access to my phone records can have them with regards to this board and see I don’t talk to them regularly,” Fulop stated.

As for the more than $18,000 in campaign donations from attorneys who practice at DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick and Cole, Fulop told readers on Facebook last week that these donations came from individual attorneys he has known for years. The donations were returned after his campaign learned that DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, and Cole has done lobbying work on behalf of Spectra Energy. Spectra recently received federal government approval to build a controversial high pressure natural gas pipeline through Jersey City to supply energy to ConEd customers in New York. Many Jersey City residents, especially those in Fulop’s home base in Ward E, oppose the project.

Christ Hospital sale finalized

Hudson Hospital Holco, the for-profit company that already owns Bayonne Medical Center and Hoboken University Medical Center, officially took control of Christ Hospital last week. Sale of the hospital was made official after a Hudson County Superior Court judge gave final approval to the deal.

A bankruptcy judge approved the sale of Christ Hospital to Holdco in March after the company agreed to buy the struggling facility for $43 million. Last month attorneys for Christ Hospital and Holdco appeared in Hudson County Superior Court to request that the court expedite the sale. The hospital’s board of directors sought to expedite the sale to because the hospital was running out of money to meet expenses.

Last year Christ CEO Peter Kelly said the hospital loses approximately $800,000 a month. In February of this year the hospital filed for bankruptcy after a planned sale to a California-based buyer fell through. The hospital has been operating in the red for more than a year and expects the sale to Holdco to stem the bleeding.

Activists from Save Christ Hospital and New Jersey Appleseed had requested that some restrictions be placed and the sale and that the community have a role in how the hospital is managed. These requests were, however, not required in the final sale agreement.

Newport Beach Party

Anyone who still hasn’t checked out Newport Green – on the Jersey City side of the walkway between Jersey City and Hoboken – is really missing a fun treat. Designed to give a beachfront feel along the shores of the Hudson River, Newport Green includes all the accoutrements of the Jersey Shore, but without the annoying juiceheads.

Newport Green features an interactive water park, jungle gyms, rope-webbed climbing, and a Ping-Pong table.

On Wednesday, July 25 at 6 p.m. the Newport community will hold the Newport Beach Party and food festival. The event will feature signature dishes and cocktails from top-rated restaurants from the neighborhood, including Skylark on the Hudson, Babo Teahouse, Michael Anthony’s, and Boca Grande.

All are welcome and admission is free.

Ex-Dickinson student files lawsuit against JC school board, five teens over alleged beating

A former Jersey City public high school student has filed a lawsuit against five of his former fellow students and the Board of Education over a beating that allegedly took place last fall at Dickinson High School.

An attorney for John Rivera, a former Dickinson High School student, has filed a lawsuit in Hudson County Superior Court alleging that the Board of Education failed to adequately protect Rivera’s safety by not having security personnel assigned to the school’s basement. According to the civil complaint, the alleged beating took place in the school’s basement on October 26, 2011. Louis Zayas, Rivera’s attorney, also alleges that at the time of the alleged beating security cameras in the school were inoperable.

The complaint, which was filed on July 3, alleges that Rivera was “severely” beaten by five other students in basement of Dickinson High School basement and states that he required medical attention, including 12 staples to the head. Following the alleged incident, Rivera allegedly feared another similar incident and transferred to another school outside of Jersey City.

According to the civil complaint, “Dickinson High School [allegedly] had several other assaults and fights on school premises and should have taken reasonable precautions to deter such assaults on school grounds…The cameras in the basement of Dickenson High School were either damaged or rendered inoperable. Had the Board of Education assigned security guards to physically patrol or monitor surveillance cameras in the basement, [Rivera] would not have been attacked, or the attack would have been stopped before the plaintiff was injured as severely as he was.”

An attorney for the school board said through a district spokeswoman that the Board of Education does not comment on pending lawsuits.

Rivera’s five alleged assailants are also named in the suit as co-defendants. Rivera has asked for a jury trial and that any damages be determined by the jury.

The Madox, Jersey City’s first residential ‘green’ development, set to open in October

The Fields Development Group has announced that the company is on track to open what the company says will be Jersey City’s first “green” residential property in October. The 131-unit development, known as the Madox, is currently being built at 198 Van Vorst St. in the Paulus Hook neighborhood.

The eco-friendly, seven-story building for is expected to receive Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Certification at the silver level and is being built in accordance with U.S. Green Building Council guidelines for sustainable buildings. According to the Fields Development Group, the Madox includes energy efficient design and sustainable materials that are expected to create an environmentally-sensitive urban living environment. The building will also boast a 100 percent smoke-free environment, a rarity in most apartment buildings.

LEED points are achieved throughout the planning and development process. Once complete, the USGBC (US Green Building Council) reviews the documentation and renders a certificate of completion and grants the level of certification, in this case goal of a Silver Rating.

Green elements being incorporated into Madox include a PV Solar Array and vegetation on the roof, electric car charging stations, and systems to reduce water consumption by over 45% and energy consumption by 14 percent. The building will also be under contract for at least two years to provide 35 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Madox will also offer an abundance of outdoor space with a landscaped courtyard with outdoor children’s play area.

“Now more than ever, residents are conscious of their surrounding environment and have shown an increased desire to live in buildings which are energy efficient, sustainable and LEED Certified,” James Caulfield Jr., a Fields Development Group principal, stated in a release. “Madox will offer a unique blend of artistic living and common spaces, exciting indoor and outdoor amenities and responsible development practices that will inspire people to set down roots here.”

Learn CPR at Jersey City Medical Center

Jersey City Medical Center will next month offer an American Heart Association CPR course (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) course using the practice-while-watching method. The two-hour course will be offered on Wednesday, Aug. 29 from 10 a.m. to noon and will be taught by the hospital’s Emergency Medical Service staff. People who want to learn CPR but who do not need a course completion card are encouraged to participate.

The class will take place at 415 Montgomery St. and is limited to 16 participants. The cost is $5 per person. For more information, call (201) 547-6126 or email To register, visit

Attic Ensemble to hold auditions for “The Dining Room” by A.R. Gurney

The Attic Ensemble, Theater for a New Jersey City, will hold auditions for the first production of its 42nd season, a non-union production of A.R Gurney’s drama “The Dining Room.” Auditions will take place Tuesday, July 31 and Wednesday, August 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Attic Ensemble, 83 Wayne Street. Director Wanda Maragni will be casting three women and three men. The actors must be flexible and imaginative, with the ability to portray various ages from eight to 80.

Familiarity with the script is strongly encouraged; sides will be provided for cold readings, monologues are not required. There are no appointments necessary; auditioners will be seen on a first come/first served basis. There is no pay/no fee. Sides will be posted on our website for review.

Performances are for Sept. 14 through 23. Rehearsals will be held in the evening, with weekend rehearsals as needed. For more information, call phone (201) 413-9200 or e-mail

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