JERSEY CITY BRIEFS
Feb 24, 2013 | 2729 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HAPPY NEW YEAR! – According to the Chinese calendar, 2013 is the Year of the Snake. The New Year was recently celebrated with a cultural ceremony at the Conwell School (P.S. No. 3) downtown. As is traditional when the New Year is welcomed, the ceremony included “dragons” and “lions,” courtesy of the New York United Lion and Dragon Dance Troupe. Photo credit: L. White.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! – According to the Chinese calendar, 2013 is the Year of the Snake. The New Year was recently celebrated with a cultural ceremony at the Conwell School (P.S. No. 3) downtown. As is traditional when the New Year is welcomed, the ceremony included “dragons” and “lions,” courtesy of the New York United Lion and Dragon Dance Troupe. Photo credit: L. White.
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St. Peter’s Goes Green

On Feb. 20 Saint Peter’s University welcomed its new Green Energy Command Center, located at Dinneen Hall at its Jersey City campus. In November 2011, the university began a green energy initiative on its west campus, which is now in the final stages of completion. The program involved the installation of solar arrays on several buildings on the campus to generate electricity. The solar arrays were installed on Dinneen Hall, Pope Hall, McDermott Hall, and the Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J. Recreational Life Center. According to the university, a co-generation plant was also built in the basement of Pope Hall that will produce low carbon heat and electricity for academic buildings on the west campus.

In addition to producing energy for the campus the Green Energy Center will also serve as a learning lab for students and will be used as an educational resource for students in several different academic programs.

Health Commissioner O’Dowd tours Jersey City Medical Center

New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd last week toured Jersey City Medical Center to see renovations recently made to the hospital, which suffered significant damage during Hurricane Sandy last fall.

During the storm, the first floor of the Medical Center took on several feet of water. As a result, the facility sustained substantial damage throughout the entire main hospital building, including the Emergency Department, the Port Authority Heroes of 9/11 Trauma Center, and other vital support areas.

The Medical Center campus also experienced flooding and significant damage to its medical office building and the Provident Bank Ambulatory Care Center, which houses the hospital’s programs for children with special needs. In all, the hospital sustained approximately $3 million in structural damage, in addition to losing eight ambulances and 40 other hospital vehicles.

During the storm hospital staff continued to serve patients on the facility’s second floor.

Velazquez, Fulop in Facebook flap re: judicial appointment

Radames “Ray” Velazquez didn’t have much to say two weeks ago after the Jersey City Council majority failed to approve his judicial appointment to the city’s municipal court. But he had plenty to say on Facebook last weekend.

By a vote of 5 to 4, the Jersey City Council rejected two judicial appointments recommended by Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy.

Healy had recommended Carlo Abad to be the chief judge for the Jersey City Municipal Court and Velazquez to be a full-time judge for the Municipal Court. Both men had also received the support of the Hudson County Assignment Judge, who agreed with Healy’s recommendations.

But City Council members Steven Fulop, David Donnelly, Diane Coleman, Nidia Lopez, and Rolando Lavarro Jr. all voted against Abad and Velazquez, arguing that they wanted more input in the judicial selection process and felt it was inappropriate for Healy to make these important appointments just three months before a municipal election.

City Council members Coleman, Lopez, and Lavarro are allied with mayoral candidate Steven Fulop and are running for re-election on his slate.

The assigning judge for Hudson County Superior Court has since appointed Abad to be the Jersey City municipal judge in an acting capacity. The next mayoral administration will make a recommendation on a permanent candidate for the post after the upcoming municipal elections in May. Abad becomes the first Filipino American to serve as Jersey City’s chief municipal judge.

But Velazquez took to Facebook last weekend and told of an interesting series of events regarding his own judicial appointment.

In one post he wrote: “Truth be told Steve Fulop reached out to me within hours of my resigning as deputy mayor to seek out my support for his campaign. He and his campaign manager took me to lunch at the Brownstone where we discussed the campaign for mayor. I was courted for my endorsement and was actually considering it. He told me our historical issues were behind us and that my perspective was valued. When the vacancy on the Municipal Court came up, I called him for his support. He told me to wait until he was mayor. I told him that I would not do that. So he and his running mates have chosen to use their political office to malign and defame me. I think asking me to wait until he was mayor was tantamount to quid pro quo and illegal. Councilman Lavarro went so far to say during the council meeting that my appointment was a payoff by Healy to me. This defamatory statement will be the subject of my lawsuit to be filed in the coming days. Shame on all of them for attempting to destroy me and my reputation for not going along with their program. See you all in court.”

After Fulop responded, calling Velazquez a “liar,” Velazquez uploaded screen shots of Facebook messages the two exchanged back on Dec. 19.

The screen shots read as follows:

Velazquez: “Are we meeting tomorrow?”

Fulop: “Affirmative.”

Velazquez: “Just wondering, is this just us, or should I expect Junior and Anthony? Don’t get me wrong, I like Junior and Anthony, but it might be a little difficult for me to speak freely.”

Fulop: “Junior set it up and John Thieroff is point person on the campaign…i [sic] think Junior is the guy that facilitated it and Thieroff on my end important. I think we can move past historical issues there is ok with you.”

After the uploaded exchange generated a few negative comments regarding Fulop, the councilman responded with a post of his own.

“Ray. I think you are losing it,” Fulop wrote. “Our judges should be professional at all times and I think this highlights the point. Why don’t you post the entire thread of emails and exchanges that you wrote on fb pre and post lunch. I am happy to share.”

“Steve I’ll see you in court,” Velazquez responded. “Please do not contact me.”

Chet Richey, a Velazquez Facebook friend, finally interjected the famous quote from Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along???”

The answer is no, apparently.

The Healy campaign is already prepared to make the flap over the judicial appointments a political issue in the campaign.

Over the Feb. 16-17 weekend the mayor’s campaign made a series of robocalls to Filipino households in the city stating that Fulop and his allies tried to block his appointment of Abad.

Fulop challenges Healy campaign to public debates

In an open letter sent to the reelection campaign of Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, Ward E City Councilman and mayoral contender Steven Fulop is challenging Healy to a series of six public debates, to be held throughout the city beginning next month.

Fulop campaign manager John Thieroff sent a letter to Team Healy campaign manager David Parano inviting Mayor Healy to participate in a series of 90-minute debates to be moderated by local media.

While no concrete dates have been set, late last week the Healy camp tentatively agreed to participate.

“By holding these debates around Jersey City, voters will have the opportunity to hear first-hand from the candidates,” Thieroff wrote to Parano. “I hope you’ll agree with me that Jersey City voters will benefit by being fully informed about their choices in the upcoming election.”

New York City’s Bloomberg endorses Healy

Thursday morning, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced he has endorsed Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy for re-election in the Jersey City municipal election to be held on May 14.

“Mayor Healy has been an excellent partner in the effort to eliminate the scourge of illegal guns and he has been a thoughtful leader on economic development and environmental issues that are so important to our region,” said Bloomberg. “America needs mayors like Jerramiah Healy and he has earned another four years to keep the progress going in Jersey City.”

A release from Healy’s campaign says, “Mayor Healy was a founding member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns – a coalition formed by Mayor Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino that now includes the support of more than 800 mayors who advocate for gun control initiatives to fight illegal gun trafficking and violence…Due to Mayor Healy’s leadership, Jersey City’s homicide rate dropped last year to a historic low. While other major New Jersey cities laid cops off to close budget gaps, Jersey City hired new officers. Well over 1,300 weapons are now off the streets because of Mayor Healy’s gun buyback program and the effective strategies implemented by the Jersey City Police Department. In addition to being New York City’s western neighbor, Mayor Bloomberg has another connection to Jersey City: his late mother, Charlotte, grew up in Jersey City and graduated from Dickinson High School.”

Healy’s main challenger in the election is reform-oriented Ward E City Councilman Steven Fulop.

Purim in the Stadium!

The Chabad Jewish Center of Hoboken will on Sunday, Feb. 24 celebrate Purim at the Hoboken Elks Club, at 1005 Washington St.

Fun for the entire family will begin at 3 p.m. and will include a magic show, plate spinning, balloon sculpting, ventriloquism, and a multi-media Megillah reading from the kids of the Chabad Hebrew School.

The celebration will include a buffet dinner, hamantashen, a concession stand, and an open bar.

Folks who dress up in their best “sports fan” attire have a chance to win a prize. (This is where the “in the stadium” part of the celebration comes in!)

Admission is $25 for adults and $15 for children. Children enrolled in the Hebrew School pay the discounted rate of $7.50.

For more information, or to RSVP, call (201) 386-5222 or visit www.JewishHoboken.com.

Hudson County CASA recruiting to help foster kids

Hudson County CASA, a non-profit organization, 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 (Court Appointed Special Advocate) 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.

An information session for those interested will be held on Tuesday, March 5, at 6 p.m. in Room 400 of the Hudson County Administration Building, located 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 mgarcia@hudsoncountycasa.org or visit our website at www.hudsoncountycasa.org.

Hudson County Community College celebrating sixth annual community literacy day

Hudson County Community College (HCCC) announced this week that it will hold the Sixth Annual Literacy & Family Day on Saturday, March 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the college’s Culinary Arts Institute/Conference Center, located at 161 Newkirk St., just two blocks from the Journal Square PATH Station in Jersey City. There is no charge for admission, but all children must be accompanied by an adult.

HCCC President Dr. Glen Gabert said the event, which is prepared and presented by the college’s Academic Affairs Division and the Culinary Conference Center, is an annual celebration of the birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel, who is better known to generations of Americans as Dr. Seuss, author of “Green Eggs and Ham,” “The Cat in the Hat” and 44 more beloved children’s books.

The event will include a whole host of interactive activities for children of all ages, including a Dr. Seuss Reading Theatre, a preschool reading station, game table, arts and crafts, Dr. Seuss-themed refreshments and giveaways.

“This is a great opportunity for families from all over the County to come together for a lot of fun, and more importantly to teach our youngest children about the importance of reading,” Dr. Gabert said. “It’s also one of the few family events to be found that is free,” he added.

For additional information, call HCCC’s Academic Affairs Office at (201) 360-4010.

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