Local psychic Ima Fakir has once again bribed us with Viagra and fresh mozzarella slabs to give her the no-bid $17,999.99 annual contract as part-time Reporter psychic this year. Ima always pops in to tell us what's going to happen in Hudson County in the next 12 months. More insightful than Regis Philbin and cleverer than Martha Stewart, Ima has the goods on what everyone in our towns will be doing in 2003.
When the area's monthly nor'easter causes a plane to lose control and hit the Statue of Liberty, her robes fall off and reveal a large wire placed there by the U.S. Attorney's office. U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie explains that the wire is meant to catch corrupt politicians throughout Hudson County; then he runs to a panel headed by ABC news reporter John Johnson and singer Robbie Robertson on people with redundant names.
The conflict between Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham and his City Council escalates to the point where United Nations peacekeeping troops start attending twice-monthly council meetings. The dispute between the mayor and council is resolved when U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan personally brokers a peace settlement.
Because North Bergen is neither in Bergen County nor north of it, the town is renamed "West West New York." Realizing this is still confusing because West West New York is not in New York, they annex themselves to Union City and become the "Union City Union."
Secaucus Town Administrator Anthony Iacono retires. The town scrambles to find enough qualified people to fill the 15 positions he held. Iacono gets a letter of thanks from Gov. Jim McGreevey for helping to spur job growth in Northern New Jersey.
Following up the implementation of color-coordinated school uniforms in Jersey City's high schools in 2002, the Board of Education issues Kevlar vests matching the school colors of the particular high school.
County photographer John Shinnick loses his contract and is immediately hired to work on Steven Spielberg's new movie about marsh monsters rising out of the Meadowlands of Secaucus and Jersey City.
The proliferation of groups claiming to be reformers in Hoboken has spiraled out of control in the months leading up to May's election. Party names have become absurd and outlandish. One example is a group called "Reformers for Reforming the Reformers' Reforms."
Jersey City will use a newly developed time machine for council meetings that go past 12 midnight. The machine will send City Hall back to 5 p.m. the same day, allowing the meeting to run for another seven hours.
In related news, the West New York Board of Commissioners breaks its previous 7:01-minute record for Shortest Board Meeting by clocking in at a blindingly fast 2:12. Those in attendance are left scratching their heads when Albio Sires and the commissioners sit down, rap the gavel and stand back up, exiting the court chambers on Rollerblades. Sires later announces plans to have "virtual commissioners' meetings."
Hudson County politicians who are accused of having tried to extort Viagara explain that they only did it because they thought they heard Bob Dole say it cures Electoral Dysfunction.
In an effort to trim the Jersey City Incinerator Authority budget, the Asian Longhorned Beetles that are currently infesting the Newport section of the city are used to clean up wooden debris and aid in snow removal. The tree-devouring insects also begin the process of fielding candidates for the 2005 municipal elections.
"Life of Reilly," a movie depicting the life of Secaucus Deputy Mayor John Reilly, is filmed. Critics praise it, claiming it provided them with the best night's sleep ever. But the Federal Food and Drug Administration halts showings after several viewers slip into comas.
FBI investigators in Hoboken are looking into suspicions of voter fraud after the city's municipal elections when 48,000 people show up to the polls to vote in a town that only has 38,000 people. In other news, scientists at an undisclosed laboratory in the northeastern United States announced that they now have the ability to successfully clone adult human beings and have been doing so for months.
The FBI probe into corruption in North Bergen takes a new turn when agents seize records from the official North Bergen dog groomer. The anonymous groomer, who was taking care of the town poodle, Fifi, was also a part-time recreation worker, health inspector, housing inspector and construction code official. However, the records seized only pertain to the perfectly groomed dog, called the "Fifi files." One North Bergen official is overheard saying, "Now, we're really going to the dogs."
The Hoboken Arts and Music Festival pledges to get a musical act that's had a hit in the last 20 years. However, since the fair has a limited budget, the only group they can afford is Milli Vanilli. The matter is further complicated when it's revealed that one half of the duo has been dead for four years. In a bind, they simply book Milli.
Former Hudson Reporter staff writer Jim Kennelly, who was appointed county spokesman last year, stops talking for a few minutes, but resumes when he finds that it didn't do anything for him.
State officials are heard to utter the word "duh" after coming upon a gravestone in the old county burial ground in Secaucus that says, "Hoffa." But further research reveals that the remains are those of Muffy Hoffa, a Turnpike traveler who took a wrong turn and just kept going.
Three new movies starring Robert DeNiro are shot in Hoboken: "Analyze Those," "Analyze the Other Thing," and "Wait, I Have A Few More Things for You To Analyze." They all win prizes in the Hoboken Film Festival after competing with art films such as "Muriel the Urinal" and "Not Another Mob Movie."
To attract a wider variety of students, Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken greatly expands its Liberal Arts Department. New students are attracted by courses like Philosophy 201, featuring the groundbreaking book The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer by William Irwin.
Development on the Jersey City riverfront continues at such a furious pace that an entire section falls into the Hudson River and floats to one of the beaches at Sandy Hook. But residents are pleased when they look out their windows and realize it's the nude beach.
After dozens of town meetings and hundreds of hours of public input, the consultants hired to rewrite the Hoboken's Master Plan for development are unable to find a citywide consensus on development. While the process that cost $270,000 is considered a failure, the consultants did crack one unsolved mystery. "At least we know now," says consultant John Shapiro of Abeles, Phillips, Preiss and Shapiro, Inc, "that diet Dr. Pepper really does taste better."
Jersey City's Downtown parking problems are alleviated when, instead of booting illegally parked cars, the Parking Authority begins nailing tires to the street.
Former Jersey City Mayor Gerry McCann says, after being abducted by a UFO, that he will no longer seek public office in Hudson County. Instead, he has struck a deal with men from Mars to become mayor of the red planet's second largest city. He plans to rename his city Martian Jersey City.
Union City Mayor Brian Stack announces at a commissioners' meeting that in his continuing effort improve the "quality of life" in Union City, he is declaring the city New Jersey's first "dry" town. Still, New Yorkers and assorted homeless people start coming there to smoke.
After the successful opening of a dog run at a luxury condominium development on the West New York waterfront, and not wanting to be seen as "petist," the West New York commissioners decide to have a "Take Your Cat to Work Day" at Town Hall. The event takes a sudden violent turn when the felines become fed up with "witnessing Hudson County politics up close" and go on a spitting, clawing rampage. Damage is in the tens of dollars. One cat is seen bounding down the Turnpike toward Trenton, hissing at the mayor's Jaguar.
The Army Corps of Engineers uncovers a pirate treasure from the 1890s while digging out the marina at Harmon Cove. Property owners and Hartz Mountain immediately go into court, each claiming the treasure as theirs. Local environmentalists propose that the gold should go towards the preservation of geese. The court agrees and orders the demolition of Harmon Cove Towers for a goose preservation area.
Former county executive Bernard Hartnett is revealed to be the biological father of young actor Josh Hartnett ("40 Days and 40 Nights"). Together, they make a new movie called "Long Days and Sleepless Nights" about serving as county executive.
Affordable housing units in Hoboken institute new rules stating that people living in them who own buildings in other towns must pay full rents or rent out those other buildings to the homeless.
A new civic group is formed in Weehawken, called Weehawken Environmental Lovers Limited (WELL). WELL is very concerned about waterfront development. "Well, with WELL, we'll fight underground wells," notes one flyer. The group also supports township public safety director and co-director of the North Hudson Regional and Fire Jeff Welz.
The Hudson County Commuters' Choir releases a new hit song, "I'm dreading a white Christmas. Especially if it's as messy as the one we had last year."Front Page photos:
PET OF THE WEEK - "Fang" was orphaned in Jersey City after his owners, a family of five, were found mysteriously dead and drained of blood in their kitchen Christmas morning. "Fang" was finishing up a tuna hoagie that had been left on the table. By the way, every year, morons give pets as gifts without regard to whether the recipient really has the responsibility, time and commitment to take care of that animal for the next 10 to 15 years. If you have room in your home and heart for a sweet pet, and you can commit to that pet, please call the Assisi Animal Shelter in Jersey City at (201) 547-4286 or come to 235 Jersey City Blvd. The shelter is open seven days a week between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. You can also view the animals at www.libertyanimalshelter.petfinder.com . There are many great pets waiting for loving homes, and none of them are like "Fang."
EH? - When 170 members of the federal and state government happen to go on vacation at the same time, West New York Mayor Albio Sires is named acting president of the United States for three hours. Twenty minutes into his term, the mayor/assemblyman/acting president gets a phone call announcing that Canada has declared war against the United States.Pictured Above:
NEW JOB FOR PEREZ? - Former North Bergen Parks and Recreation Commissioner Peter Perez (center) will have a new job as part of his sentencing on corruption charges, as the official greeter with his two close friends at Disney World.
THIS BIG - Former Hoboken Mayor Anthony Russo puts a curse over the Hoboken City Council so that every time Tony Soares says something political, the other councilpeople instantly get migraine headaches.