In a move that apparently hopes to capitalize on her hefty voter numbers in last year’s Board of Education election, Amy DeGise – daughter of County Executive Tom DeGise – announced on May 10 that she will seek the chairmanship of the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO.)
An elected member of the Jersey City Board of Education, lifelong Jersey City resident and educator, DeGise hopes to gain the support of the majority of the county’s mayors as well as many other Democratic leaders. A full list of endorsements will be announced soon.
DeGise will challenge state Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack in a committee vote in June to replace outgoing HCDO Chair Vincent Prieto.
The move is part of a fight for control of the HCDO and is apparently designed to help rescue her father as county executive, who Stack hopes to defeat with a candidate of his own in 2019.
Stack, along with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, West New York Mayor Felix Roque and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, have said they would like to see a candidate other than Tom DeGise run for county executive in 2019.
The chair of HCDO would have a lot of influence in deciding which candidate will run on the official Democratic line on the primary ballot.
The campaign supporting Tom DeGise is promoting Amy DeGise as an example of Hudson County’s diversity.
“Hudson County is the most diverse, dynamic and exciting place in New Jersey and it’s time for our Democratic Party to reflect the energy and progressive values that our residents live every day,” said (Amy) DeGise. “I’m running to lead our county party into a unified, strong future that is open to everyone who cares about their community and wants to see progress in our county. I’m incredibly excited to begin this journey and look forward to working as hard as I can for each and every vote and for the future of our Hudson County Democratic Organization.”
But critics – even some supporters of Tom DeGise – are critical of the move, and believe Tom DeGise should run, not Amy.
The elected committee members of the Hudson County Democratic Organization will be voting on June 12.
Portions of main library will be closed on May 21
Library Director Priscilla Gardner has announced that two departments of the Main Library, Bonetti Children’s Room and Literacy, will be closed beginning Monday, May 21 to accommodate window replacements.
As part of ongoing renovations, windows throughout the Main Library have been undergoing updates. The aluminum windows will be replaced with historically-correct, energy-efficient wood.
Some departments of the Main Library are experiencing temporary closures on a rotating basis to accommodate the window replacements. Gardner said she anticipates Bonetti Children’s Room and the Literacy Department will reopen on Monday, June 11.
The Literacy Department office will be temporarily relocated to Greenville Branch Library during the closure at 1841 Kennedy Boulevard.
Students enrolled in a Literacy class or tutoring session that normally meets at the Main Library will be notified of where they will meet during the closure. Anyone with questions about the location of Literacy services during the closure should contact the Literacy Department at (201) 547-4518.
The Library’s digital resources remain available at www.jclibrary.org.
HCCC names new president
Hudson County Community College Board of Trustees appointed Christopher M Reber, Ph.D as the new president at the May 8 meeting.
William J. Netchert, chair of the board said Reber will be formally installed as the next president of the college on July 1. He will succeed Glen Gabert, Ph.D. who is retiring from HCCC after more than 25 years as president.
Netchert said Reber was chosen from several candidates in a national search that began in January and was conducted by the Association of Community College Trustees.
“The college was looking for an experienced leader with a record of excellence and innovation to continue building upon the framework that has been established during Dr. Gabert’s tenure, and Dr. Reber is that individual,” Netchert said.
Reber has devoted his 37-year career to higher education. He is currently president of Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) near Pittsburgh, Pa., having assumed office there in July 2014.
Before that, Reber served for 12 years as the executive dean of Venango College of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where he was the chief executive and academic officer. His career also includes 18 years at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, where he served on the senior management team as the chief of development, university relations, and alumni affairs officer and chief student affairs officer.
Reber holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin from Dickinson College, a master’s degree in college student personnel administration from Bowling Green State University, and a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Pittsburgh. He also holds a post-graduate certificate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.
City council postpones vote to relieve developer of affordable housing requirement
At the May 9 meeting, the City Council voted to postpone a vote on a resolution that would exempt the second tower at Metro Plaza of requirements for affordable housing.
Metro Plaza is a massive development that will transform a shopping mall site near the Hudson Bergen Light Rail line into a series of modern mixed use towers. The first of the towers has just been completed. But the developer was seeking relief from the city’s strict affordable housing rules for the next tower in the series.
Under changes imposed by the city, new development must set aside 20 percent of its housing as affordable in order to qualify for long term abatements.
Forest City, the developer of the project, is asking to be let out of the requirement to provide 87 of the 432 units as affordable, claiming that it can no longer afford to provide them.
Forest City is seeking to build all market rate units and void the abatement, so the property would instead pay conventional taxes.
But council members, who have become very conscious of the cost of rentals in the waterfront area, have been pushing to create more affordable housing, and are reluctant to cancel a deal that would provide them.
City changes rules for Newark Avenue pedestrian plaza
The City Council introduced an ordinance on May 9 that changes guidelines for the operations of the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza.
These changes aim to reduce late-night noise from the area’s rooftop bars, as well as updates to the operating plan to help stagger the crowds leaving local bars at closing time. The city expects to continue to see an increase in rooftop establishments along this corridor, and believes that these proposed changes can help create a safer and more manageable environment for the community.
“During the past few years, the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza has attracted new businesses and restaurants that have helped to create a vibrant and lively community space,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “We want to encourage the growth of this restaurant row without compromising the well-being of local residents. The proposed changes to the bars and restaurants on the plaza will help us to find that balance, and create a space that can be enjoyed by visitors and the community alike as we head into the busy summer season.”
Under the new ordinance restaurants with rooftop service will no longer be permitted to operate outdoors after midnight, but can continue to serve patrons inside the establishment until closing time. Currently, sidewalk cafes are permitted to operate until midnight on Friday and Saturday, with earlier closing times during weekdays.
In addition, changes to the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza Operating Plan are being proposed which will require bars and restaurants to restrict re-entry after 1 a.m. Hoboken has previously enacted a similar ban on re-entry to help curb late-night activity and make closing time crowds more manageable.
“These are small, yet important, changes to operation of our local bars and restaurants that will greatly impact the community’s quality of life. Building a safe space that is respectful to our residents is our ultimate priority,” said Fulop.
Jersey City awards bid for bicycle master plan development
On May 9, the Jersey City Council awarded the bid for the development of the city’s first Bicycle Master Plan to Miami-based firm, Street Plans Collaborative, Inc. The award-winning urban design firm will take charge of the research, outreach, and development of the Master Plan in order to help the city create an effective and comprehensive city-wide bicycle network that will improve cycling safety, connectivity, and desirability.
“During the past few years, we have begun to rethink our city’s transportation structures and have committed to enhancing pedestrian and bicycle accessibility in all neighborhoods,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “Through the development of this Bicycle Master Plan, the Street Plans Collaborative team will help us continue to build upon this important work, while offering the expertise necessary to build a truly comprehensive and forward-thinking strategy for anyone who bikes in Jersey City.”
The proposal focused on meaningful community engagement with several group bike rides with residents, handlebar surveys, and workshops. The technical approach emphasized equity in every phase of the development of the plan and focused on leveraging the most immediate and effective solutions first. Street Plans Collaborative has done similar projects in Miami, Florida, Burlington, Vt., Nyack, N.Y., Westminster, Col., El Paso, Texas, and New Haven, Conn.
“Street Plans is thrilled be working with Jersey City and its citizens to develop the city’s first Bike Master Plan. This is a wonderful opportunity to create an actionable blueprint for cycling, one that focuses on creating a low-stress network that appeals to people of all ages and abilities. We are very excited to get started and look forward to meeting many people in the community at the upcoming Ward Tour and other events we have planned over the coming months,” said Mike Lydon, Principal at Street Plans.
The team will work with the city to develop a detailed map of the proposed citywide bicycle network and design guidelines for bicycle facilities, as well as a comprehensive bicycle master plan with specific policy recommendations and implementation framework. The Bicycle Master Plan will provide the city with a clear guide to creating a more bicycle-friendly environment and position the city favorably for future implementation funding on its streets.
Mana Contemporary gala honors community leaders and holds concert
A gala concert on Thursday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. will celebrate the culmination of Pegasus: the Orchestra’s 2017–18 season at Mana in its full forces as a symphony orchestra. Pegasus’s concert will take place at the Mana Theater, and will close with a reception and jazz entertainment. The gala will also honor four community leaders: Steven Fulop, the Mayor of Jersey City; Louis K. Meisel, art dealer, and Sherman and Joan Silber.
The program will include world-class performances of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (performed by virtuoso pianist, Dror Baitel), Beethoven’s powerful Symphony No. 5 (conducted by Karén Hakobyan), along with others to be announced.
Ticket proceeds will support Pegasus’s upcoming plans to create new jazz, world music, youth, and education programs.
For more information go to http://manacontemporary.com/.
Kennedy Dancers Repertory Company opens Hispanic youth talent search
The Kennedy Dancers Inc., a non-profit professional dance company, dance school, and educational cable television productions, is proud to announce they are the opening performance at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).The Kennedy Dancers Repertory Company (professional dancers) will open The Hispanic Youth Showcase with an homage to Josephine Baker, featuring Angelica Cassimiro, choreography and re-enactment by Diane Dragone, Artistic Director at the Kennedy Dancers, Inc.
In addition to the Kennedy Dancers Repertory Company performing, The Kennedy Dancers, Inc. will send four members of their Inner City Youth Junior Dancers Company (known as the” Dream Team”) to compete in the Hispanic Youth Showcase. This showcase supports Hispanic youth in their pursuit of dance and music with several scholarships.
The four-member team includes Joyce Najm, Ebony Greene, Leah Murphy, and Brianna Karioki. The four dancers are of Hispanic decent are the chosen finalists for this talent competition. The Inner City Youth Junior Company will perform to Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life” choreographed by Diane Dragone.
For more info, please call (201)-659-2190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.