Town recognizes local kids
Other business: contracts awarded, push for a smoke-free Secaucus
by Adriana Rambay Fernández
Reporter staff writer
Jan 27, 2013 | 2802 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AMBASSADORS – High School members of the Secaucus Chapter of Junior State of America, who are traveling to Japan in March, received special recognition from the town and the state. The group was selected to go to Japan as one of eight schools nationally for their efforts to collect donations to aid victims of the 2011 tsunami.
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The Town Council recognized youth achievements in soccer and student leadership and awarded a number of major professional contracts for legal and engineering services at its meeting Jan. 8.

The mayor and Town Council acknowledged young members of the local Junior State of America (JSA) chapter who will embark on a two-week trip to Japan in March. The trip will be paid for by the Japanese government in recognition of their donations to tsunami victims. Two years ago former student Thomas Abramowitz initiated and led “Operation Japan” to help collect donations and contributions to aid victims of the tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011.

Following that effort, 136 Japanese students and their chaperones visited Secaucus High School last October, after hearing about the local support. Secaucus was then chosen as one of eight schools selected nationally to visit Japan.
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“Secaucus is going smoke-free all the way.” – Michael Gonnelli
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“It was amazing,” said Michael Gehm, history teacher and JSA advisor, about the effort to help those affected by the tsunami. “[It is] one of those things as a teacher that you are really just so proud of.”

Councilman Gary Jeffas read a statement from the state Senate and Assembly recognizing the JSA members as ambassadors for the state and honoring them for their commitment to foreign affairs.

The town made a special proclamation and Mayor Michael Gonnelli presented the group with keys to the city to distribute to people in Japan at their discretion.

The JSA chapter has 120 members but only 23 can go on the trip.

Also, the mayor and Town Council presented each young member of the Girls and Boys Soccer Teams with a team jacket, trophy, and a certificate. Both teams were first place travel teams and the boy’s team went undefeated. John “Jack” McStowe, the school board president who also leads the Secaucus Soccer Program, thanked the mayor and Town Council for honoring the teams. Coaches Jerry Povolotsky and Hector Castro helped distribute the gifts to the winning team members.

Smoking

Gonnelli said that he will pursue an ordinance to ban smoking from all outdoor public spaces, a stricter measure than the partial-ban in place, after hearing a presentation from the director of GASP, a tobacco control and legal resource center. GASP Executive Director Karen Blumenfeld was invited to speak after appearing before the Board of Health and the county Board of Freeholders earlier in the day. She said that she was pleased about the positive response within the county to enacting smoke-free legislation. Representatives from GASP held up signs that can go up in outdoor areas to alert residents of the smoke-free zone, which were created with funds from the state. Towns that enact a full outdoor area ban are eligible to receive the signs – only 1,400 signs are left out of 3,000 for the state.

“You can rest assured we will have an ordinance to include the rest of our parks,” said Gonnelli. “Secaucus is going smoke-free all the way.”

Professional contracts awarded

The mayor and Town Council awarded a number of contracts for professional services.

Chasan, Leyner, and Lamparello, P.C. have once again been retained as town attorney and were awarded a contract not to exceed $200,000. Florio & Kenny, LLP were awarded a contract amount not to exceed $50,000 to serve as special litigation attorney.

Bowman & Co. LLP were awarded a contract to serve as town auditor, not to exceed $71,000. The law offices of David J. Heintjes were awarded a contract to serve as labor attorney, not to exceed $50,000. Rogut McCarthy Troy was awarded a contract not to exceed $20,000 to serve as bond counsel.

Leanza & Agrapidis, P.C. has been retained at $150 per hour, not to exceed $7,500, to serve as Alcoholic Beverage Commission Board Counsel. Michael Bukatman, will serve as the municipal prosecutor at $300 per session, not to exceed $55,000. Floria, Perrucci, Seinhardt & Fader will get $175 an hour, not to exceed $5,000, to serve as Planning Board attorney.

Remington, Vernick & Arango will continue to serve as town engineers and were awarded a contract not to exceed $165,000. The PMK Group will serve as a consulting engineer for an amount not to exceed $70,000. As town surveyor, Faraldi Group were awarded a contract for $7,500.

Other business

Secaucus was the recipient of a state grant, Recreation Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities (ROID), in the amount of $20,000 to support summer recreational programs that serve children with disabilities.

The town plans to crack down on forgotten clothing donation bins and has worked with the health department to register the bins to ensure that the owner keeps them clean and picks up the clothing donations on a regular and consistent basis.

The council announced that WiFi is now available in almost every public building.

Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at afernandez@hudsonreporter.com.

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