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SNAPSHOT – Community salsa demo/lesson at Creative Grove Under Siege, May 31.
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Council runoff election on June 11

Jersey City residents are encouraged to vote this Tuesday, June 11, in the City Council runoff election.

Residents throughout the city will be asked to again cast ballots for three at-large City Council representatives, since no at-large candidate met the required vote threshold needed to win the election on May 14. For the same reason, residents in wards A, B, C, and D will also go to the polls to select their City Council representatives.

To win a race under Jersey City’s nonpartisan election system, a candidate must receive at least 50 percent of the vote, plus one, to claim victory. Since not candidate did this in wards A, B, C, D, and F, by state law, a runoff election was scheduled for the top two vote-getters in these wards.

Since no at-large candidate reached the 50 percent plus one vote threshold, the top six vote-getters were expected to compete in this week’s runoff.

In a bizarre turn of events, however, several second place finishers went to court to have their names officially removed from the ballot, and several back-of-the-pack candidates went to court to be included in the runoff.

Thus, in the at-large race, the candidates who will compete for three seats include Joyce Watterman, Rolando Lavarro Jr., Daniel Rivera, Viola Richardson, and Sean Connelly. Watterman, Lavarro, and Rivera ran on the slate headed by Mayor-Elect Steven Fulop. Richardson ran on the ticket of outgoing Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy. Connelly ran independently.

In Ward A, Dr. Charles Epps will compete against Frank Gajewski in the runoff. In Ward B, Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal will compete against Esther Wintner. In Ward C, Richard Boggiano is up against City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez. And in Ward D, Michael Yun is running against Sean Connors.

Gajewski, Ramchal, Lopez, and Connors are allied with Fulop and ran on his slate. Wintner, Boggiano, and Yun all ran independently. Epps ran on the Healy slate.

Councilwoman Diane Coleman is running unopposed in the Ward F runoff, since Jermaine Robinson went to court to officially remove himself from the ballot and none of the independent candidates in that race wanted to replace him on the ballot.

A few residents have asked what will happen Tuesday if some of the candidates fail to get 50 percent plus one of the vote. According to City Clerk Robert Byrne, in a runoff, “It’s winner takes all,” meaning the candidates with the most votes win.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Barclays still seeking volunteers

As the best players on the PGA Tour look toward qualifying for the FedExCup Playoffs over the next two months, tournament officials with The Barclays say they are still looking for people to volunteer for the event when it returns to Jersey City’s Liberty National from Aug. 20 through 25.

The 1,850 men, women and children who volunteer their time at The Barclays each year are an integral part of the event’s success, both during tournament week and in its ongoing support of local charities. The volunteers support every element of the tournament, from tracking statistics, greeting guests and feeding fans, to keeping the grounds beautiful throughout the week.

The Barclays volunteers are divided into 24 committees and work a combined 33,300 hours leading up to the tournament and during tournament week. Volunteers will have the opportunity to be close to some of the game’s top players, while working as part of a world-class tournament.

For a $75 fee, each volunteer receives a weeklong pass for themselves and one guest to The Barclays, good for admission, even on days when he or she is not working), an official cap and t-shirt, lunch vouchers, and an invitation to the Volunteer Appreciation party.

Those interested in volunteering should visit and follow the link for “volunteer” under the “Information” tab. Volunteers must be at least 12 years of age to participate.

‘Release’ reopens

“Release,” a collaborative art installation by Charlotte Becket and Roger Sayre, reopened on Friday June 7 and will, hopefully, remain open through the end of the month. We say “hopefully” because the exhibit initially opened last month but was quickly shut down by the Jersey City Fire Department.

Becket and Sayre created ArtBloc, a mobile art gallery inside an old shipping container. For their “Release” installation, the pair installed fog machines inside the ArtBloc and programmed them to periodically emit fog. The project was meant to arouse both wonder and suspicion in people passing by.

Unfortunately, when the exhibit opened last month, it seemed to arouse more suspicion than wonder, and led many people to call the JCFD, fearing there was a fire inside the shipping container.

Now, “Release” is back and Becket and Sayre are hoping that with more/better publicity, residents will understand that there may be smoke, but there is no fire. The container will emit smoke twice a day at noon and 8 p.m.

“Release” was organized by Brendan Carroll, and is being presented by Silverman development, and the Hamilton Square Condominium Association.

The shipping container can be found on McWilliams Place, near Hamilton Park.

Citizenship classes at the library

The Jersey City Free Public Library is this month holding citizenship classes for intermediate and advanced English speakers. These classes will be held over a period of five Saturdays from Saturday, June 15 through Saturday, July 20. (There is no class on Saturday, July 6 due to the Fourth of July holiday.)

Class times are from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and classes are held at the Main Branch library, 472 Jersey Ave.

The class is free, but registration is required. To register, call (201) 547-4518.

Jersey City Medical Center to host bilingual program on congestive heart failure

Jersey City Medical Center will host a new series of bilingual (English and Spanish) educational program on Congestive Health Failure on Monday, June 24 at the hospital from 6 - 7 p.m. Congestive Heart Failure (or CHF) affects nearly six million Americans, with an estimated 670,000 people diagnosed each year. It’s the leading cause of hospitalization in people older than 65. Heart failure means that the heart’s pumping power is weaker than normal. Blood moves through the heart and body at a slower rate, and pressure in the heart increases. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs. The chambers of the heart may respond to this by stretching to hold more blood to pump through the body or by becoming stiff and thickened. The heart muscle walls may eventually weaken and become unable to pump as efficiently. The kidneys, meanwhile, may respond by causing the body to retain fluid (water) and salt. If fluid builds up in the arms, legs, ankles, feet, lungs, or other organs, the body becomes congested, and congestive heart failure is the term used to describe the condition.

Heart failure is caused by various conditions that damage the heart muscle, including coronary heath disease, a heart attack, cardiomyopathy, or conditions that overwork the heart (such as kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure). Symptoms typically include fluid backup in the lungs, ankles, legs and abdomen; dizziness and weakness; and rapid or irregular heartbeats. The objective of the educational program at Jersey City Medical Center is to provide both patients and their families with the tools to give them a better understanding of CHF. The goal is to help them reduce their visits to the emergency department and hospital, and enhance their quality of life. To register for the event, contact Raul Pamplona, patient advocate, at (201) 915-2041 or email to

Habitat for Humanity of Hudson County to host family selection open house

Habitat for Humanity of Hudson County will host family selection sessions on Saturday, June 15, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., and on Saturday, June 22, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington, 663 Kearny Ave.

Habitat welcomes all low-income families interested in home ownership to attend the Family Selection sessions to learn more. Eligible applicants must have lived in Hudson County for at least one year.

Habitat for Humanity does not give away houses. If selected, a family must agree to work sweat-equity hours by volunteering in various ways in Habitat’s building program. When all requirements are met, the family may purchase a Habitat home with an interest free mortgage.

To become a Habitat for Humanity homeowner the family must meet income guidelines, have an ongoing ability to pay the mortgage, and be willing to partner in the program. Additionally, applicants must be willing to participate in financial planning and budgeting workshops, and approve a credit check.

The home application and evaluation process is divided into three core phases. For more information, please contact Habitat for Humanity of Hudson County at (201) 204-0585. More information and application forms will be available at the family selection sessions.

Hudson County Long Term Recovery Committee teams with World Renew to assess Sandy damage

The Hudson County Long Term Recovery Committee (HCLTRC) has partnered with World Renew, an international recovery group, to have teams of volunteers open several walk-in centers and conduct home visits of Hudson County residents who have been affected by Superstorm Sandy, primarily in the flood-prone areas. The surveys will be conducted from June 5 through June 18.

World Renew volunteers are known as the “Green Shirts” because of their uniforms. The Green Shirts have been conducting the surveys in response to disasters around the country for 20 years and plan on bringing survey teams to all of the heavily impacted communities.

The Green Shirts will staff walk-in Centers for Sandy-affected residents to share their unmet needs. Home visits will be arranged through the call-in number (551) 333-5080.

Jersey City Walk-in center sites include Our Lady of Mercy Church, located at 40 Sullivan Drive in Country Village and Barrow Mansion in Downtown, located at 83 Wayne Street. The Country Village dates are Wednesday, June 5 through Saturday, June 8, and the Downtown dates are Wednesday, June 5 through Tuesday, June 18.

The Hoboken centers are located at the Jubilee Center, located at 601 Jackson St. and the Hoboken Public Library, located at 500 Park Ave. The Jubilee Center dates are Monday, June 10 through Thursday, June 13. The library dates are the same.

Stack ticket wins big in Democartic state legislative primaries

Incumbent state Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack and his Hudson County Democratic Organization-endorsed (HCDO) General Assembly candidates, Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Carmelo Garcia and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Raj Mukherji, prevailed in Democratic primaries held throughout the 33rd Legislative District on Tuesday night. Those three candidates will face three largely-unopposed Republicans in a November general election.

The 33rd District is comprised of Hoboken, Union City, Weehawken and parts of Jersey City, and is represented by one state senator and two assemblymen.

Stack, who ran unopposed, won 99.84 percent of the votes. Garcia and Mukherji captured 46.12 percent and 41.74 percent respectively, with 151 of 159 voting stations reporting. That means they get the Democratic nod for two open Assembly seats and will face Republicans in November.

The third-place finisher was far behind. Jersey City activist and attorney Peter Basso won 6.34 percent of the votes, while populist candidates Anthony Mills and John Hilt IV, who ran together, came in fourth and sixth places, respectively. Hoboken City Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla, who dropped out of the race after a lawsuit failed to knock Garcia, his main competition, off the ballot, came in fifth. He recorded 445 votes.

In the Republican contest, Hoboken resident James Sanford won the state Senate primary, running unopposed. Jude Anthony Tiscornia (Jersey City) and Armando Hernandez (Union City) will represent the party in the November Assembly election. - Dean DeChiaro

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