Nov 03, 2013 | 4288 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
FALL FEVER – Cindy Nino and daughter Malani Rahman, 4, of West New York recently enjoyed a day of apple picking and autumn celebration at Giamarese Farm & Orchards in East Brunswick.
FALL FEVER – Cindy Nino and daughter Malani Rahman, 4, of West New York recently enjoyed a day of apple picking and autumn celebration at Giamarese Farm & Orchards in East Brunswick.

Union City and West New York residents can vote in local and statewide races

Union City and West New York residents have several reasons to go to the polls on Tuesday.

Residents of West New York may vote on whether the school board will change from appointed by the mayor to elected. Currently, Mayor Felix Roque appoints board members. In some towns, board members are elected.

In Union City, residents can vote to replace departing Commissioner Chris Irizarry. Union City has five commissioners, including Mayor Brian Stack. Delin J. Valdivia, Alejandro J. Romero and Julio Fernandez are seeking the seat. The election is an opportunity for critics of Stack to try to secure a seat on the commission, which they have failed to do for several election cycles.

Valdivia, 51, was appointed to temporarily replace Irizarry in March, and is supported by Stack. He is employed by the Union City Board of Education as transportation director, and graduated from Rutgers University in Newark with a degree in political science. During his temporary stint as commissioners, Valdivia has largely carried on Irizarry’s agenda.

Romero, a business owner and former radio show host, is campaigning on a platform that says taxes are too high.

Fernandez, 50, an employee of UPS for 27 years, is a well-known critic of Mayor Stack, running unsuccessfully for commission in 2005 and again in 2009. He has been a vocal critic of the administration.

Speaking of Stack, he is up for re-eleciton to state Senate in the 33rd District, including Union City. He faces Republican challenger James Sanford of Hoboken. Stack has held his seat since 2008. Sanford is the former head of the Hudson County Young Republicans.

Stack is running on a ticket with the two Democratic nominees for the Assembly, Carmelo Garcia of Hoboken, who is the paid director of that city’s federally funded Housing Authority (HHA) projects, and Raj Mukherji, a Deputy Mayor of Jersey City.

They face two Republicans– Jude Anthony Tiscornia and Armando Hernandez, of Jersey City and Union City respectively. Tiscornia is an attorney while Hernandez is a former municipal judge. They described their campaign as a mission to give a voice to “urban conservatives.”

West New York is part of the 32nd District. In the 32nd District race, candidates are vying for one state Senate seat and two Assembly seats.

State Sen. Nicholas Sacco of North Bergen will face off against challenger Paul Castelli of Kearny for the Senate seat. Sacco is also the North Bergen mayor.

For the two seats on the Assembly, Assemblyman Vincent Prieto of Secaucus and Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez, both Democrats and running on the Sacco line, face Maria Malavasi-Quartello and Lee Marie Gomez, two Republicans who live in West New York and are running with Castelli.

Residents may also vote on county sherrif and governor. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. – Dean DeChiaro

Hudson Learning Center needs your votes

The Hudson Learning Center, a local education and tutoring center based in Union City, has applied for a $250,000 grant from Chase as part of a newly launched program, Mission Main Street Grants, and is seeking your helping in getting it.

The center must submit a questionnaire outlining a business plan that will result in growth of the business and receive at least 250 votes to be eligible for the monies.

Customers, supporters, and community members can show support for the center by voting at using Facebook Connect. The deadline is Nov. 15, 2013.

The Hudson Learning Center’s mission is to provide affordable learning solutions to the urban community.

Fashion group to hold show for kids

A company called iFashion is hosting a competition on Nov. 2 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. in Union City. They noted, “The iFashion Show is a competition between kids ranging from 5 to 19. It provides a platform for inspiring models. This will enable the models to shine and gain exposure in front of professionals who seek talent in the fashion, entertainment and modeling industry.”

The show with be held at 522 38th St.

Lookaheah Media, an online media site, is in charge of the show. Eight judges will participate, and winners will receive a celebrity photo shoot and electronic press kit.

Garden State Episcopal Community Development Center and PERC announce merger

In a major move between two Hudson County nonprofits, Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation (GSECDC) of Jersey City and Palisades Emergency Residence Corp. (PERC) of Union City announced their alignment on Oct. 24. Under the terms of agreement, PERC is now a subsidiary of GSECDC.

“GSECDC and PERC are a great fit, and we are committed to growing our common mission,” said Carol Mori, now executive director of both agencies. “Our merger will improve services to all of the people we serve, creating a stronger continuum of caring, which leads from emergency relief to housing stability.”

Since 1986, GSECDC continues to be a regional leader in affordable housing development, social services, and supportive housing. Founded in 1981, PERC is Hudson County’s first homeless shelter. PERC provides emergency shelter, a soup kitchen, food pantry, and other social services, including PERC Kids Homework Club.

The Rev. Birgit Solano, past president of the PERC Board of Trustees, said the idea for the merger began more than two years ago when the agency was struggling financially with reduced federal and foundational support at a time of dramatically increasing need.

“The board met to explore options and concluded that its primary duty was to ensure the long term continuation of its mission,” Rev. Solano said.

“In the past four years, PERC nearly doubled the number of shelter nights provided, the number of meals served, and we have tripled the number of families receiving groceries through our food pantry,” Rev. Solano continued. “This merger will provide stability to PERC, and more importantly, improved services to the community.”

Mori said that the agencies worked closely for the last couple of years, leading to better client outcomes. “We are very excited about our future together. GSECDC continues to expand our housing and program services. North Hudson County is an important part of this strategy, and we will continue to provide the same or better levels of supportive services to this area.”

Palisades Medical Center holding community health screening

Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen takes an active role in the community by partnering with the North Hudson Community Action Corporation, Christ Hospital School of Nursing, and Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey to provide free health screenings and education programs.

The next of these events is Sunday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at St. Anthony’s Church, 615 8th Street, Union City.

There will be free screenings and information on: blood pressure, heart rate, percentage of oxygen in the blood, peak flow/respiratory, body mass index, sugar, and cholesterol.

Palisades Medical Center’s community outreach and education programs are funded in part by the TD Charitable Foundation, Abbott Nutrition, the Aetna Foundation, The Provident Bank Foundation, and Schering-Plough Corporation.

For more information, call Joanne Riggs at (201) 854-5793.

Child advocate group holding informational session on Nov. 12

Are you interested in helping children in the foster care system? If so, Hudson County CASA (court appointed special advocate) is recruiting volunteers to advance the best interests of abused and neglected children.

An informational session, addressing the program and the role of its volunteers, will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 6 to 7 p.m. in Room 400 of the Hudson County Administration Building, 595 Newark Ave., Jersey City.

CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Its volunteers speak for children in court, serve as fact finders for judges, and safeguard children’s interests while they are in the foster care system.

Hudson County has nearly 700 children in foster care; most have been removed from their homes for abuse or neglect.

For more information, call (201) 795-9855, e-mail or visit

Learn about those little swine

The Meadowlands Environment Center (MEC) will present “New Jersey Swine – Bringing Home the Bacon,” a program for all ages, on Thursday, Nov. 7, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., at the center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst.

“New Jersey pigs, or swine as they were called, were much sought after in colonial and early America for their lard and meat, and our state was known to have the biggest and best pigs,” said Brian Aberback, MEC spokesman. “Find out more about the Burlington Ham, also known as Newbold Ham – a little-known and forgotten delicacy – as presenter Judith Russo explains why New Jersey swine were so special.

Tickets are $5 for the public; $4 for MEC members.

For more information, call (201) 460-8300 or visit

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