Hoboken Housing Authority chair announces gubernatorial run

According to a press release, chair of the HHA and founder of New Jersey Awakens, Dana Wefer, has announced her candidacy for governor. 

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Wefer, a lifelong Democrat and founder of Hoboken’s Democratic Social Club said she will be running as a Republican. 

“If you told me five months ago that I would be running for governor, I would have thought you were crazy, never mind as a Republican!” said Wefer in the release. “It feels as if we’re living in some alternate universe, but our reality is that the Democrats and the Republicans together have rigged the political system against the People through gerrymandering and special interest money.” 

The release states her local battles with with the Democratic machine in Hudson County and Hillary Clinton’s election loss “pushed Wefer towards the belief that working to reform the Democratic Party from within is no longer a viable option for accountable government.”

Wefer said only 14 percent of the legislative seats are competitive in the November election “which means most elections are actually decided by a small group of people in the primaries.”

“The politicians know this, which is why they feel more accountable to that small but vocal group over the electorate at large,” said Wefer. “The fact is that if you want your vote to count, you have to vote in the primary elections, especially Republican primaries, because that is where most elections in the country are decided now.”  

According to the release, through New Jersey Awakens, Wefer and her allies have developed a five-point election reform platform aimed at crippling party bosses, forcing accountability from elected officials, and amplifying unaffiliated and independent voices, or, as Wefer bluntly puts it, “We want to break the machine.” 

“There are so many issues that we need to address as a state: high property taxes and cost of living, infrastructure issues, criminal justice reform, the pension deficit, healthcare, the opioid crisis, the legalization of marijuana, and much more,” Wefer says. “The thing is, there’s no shortage of information on these issues and on what steps we need to take to start righting the ship, there’s just a lack of will on the part of our leaders, which is why we need new leadership.”

Funeral held for former Hoboken First Lady Michele Russo

A funeral mass was held for former Hoboken First Lady Michele Russo on Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. at St. Francis church at 3rd and Jefferson streets. She was married to Mayor Anthony Russo and was the mother of current Councilman Michael Russo.

Russo passed away Feb.16 at the age 67 surrounded by friends and family after being diagnosed with a progressive neurodegernative disease two years ago.

Russo, a lifelong Hoboken resident, served her community throughout her life. She was an elected school board trustee, chairwoman of the Hoboken Democratic Organization, Hoboken Parking Authority Commissioner, board member of HOPES non-profit, and organizer of the annual “Hoboooken Haunted House” and countless other community events.

Russo had also founded what is today known as Hoboken’s Cheer Dynamic, formerly the Hoboken Devils Recreation Cheerleaders. She took pride in encouraging generations of young cheerleaders and could often be seen enthusiastically rooting them on.

Russo is survived by her husband Anthony of Hoboken, son Nicholas Russo, his wife Olivia and children Jenna Rae, Anthony Evan, Lucien Thomas, and Nicolo James; son Michael S. Russo, his wife Lisa and their children Lia Grace and Jack Anthony; and son Hoboken Police Officer Anthony P. Russo, his wife Aliesette and daughter Ava Liana; her brothers Anthony and George DeStefano, and a number of nieces and nephews.

Public hearing scheduled for Rebuild by Design project

The City of Hoboken invites residents to a public hearing on March 16 to discuss the environmental impact of the Rebuild by Design project. The project will be developed to help prevent flooding in Hoboken.

The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection announced the availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on Feb. 24. 

The DEIS describes the purpose and need for the project, the alternatives considered, the NEPA Preferred Alternative, anticipated environmental impacts, project benefits, and potential mitigation measures.

A 45 day public comment period began on Feb. 24 and will end on April 10.

The public hearing will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at DeBaun Auditorium at 24 Fifth St. and will provide the public an opportunity to comment on the project.

Electronic copies of the DEIS are available at www.rbd-hudsonriver.nj.gov and CDs and paper copies are available for review during regular business hours at Hoboken City Hall (94 Washington Street), Hoboken Library (500 Park Avenue), and Hoboken Housing Authority (400 Harrison Street), in addition to locations in Weehawken and Jersey City.

Comments can be submitted using a number of methods, including email: rbd_hudsonriver@dep.nj.gov.

Hoboken Green Team is seeking vendors for green fair

The City of Hoboken Green Team will host the sixth Annual Green Fair on Saturday, June 3.

The annual fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Church Square Park at the corner of Fourth and Garden streets, and will feature live music and organic food vendors.

The fair is intended to introduce sustainable lifestyle choices to the community, raise awareness regarding environmental issues, and demonstrate how consumers can reduce their impact on the earth by selecting sustainable, eco-friendly products and services.

Green businesses or non-profits whose mission aligns with environmental sustainability are invited to participate in the Green Fair.

The Green Team is also reaching out to involve the local arts community. Interested vendors can submit the online registration form at www.hobokennj.gov/greenfair and contact Jennifer Gonzalez at jgonzalez@hobokennj.gov with any questions.

The final day for registration is Friday, May 26.

Fundraiser to fight kids’ cancer March 11

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation will host fundraising event “Brave the Shave” to fight kids cancer on Saturday, March 11 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Mulligan’s Pub, 159 First St.

Hoboken barber-coordinator, Nicole Appice Davis, returns this year to shave the heads of sponsored shavees who wish to show solidarity with kids and their families facing their cancer battles.

“It’s a cause that brings everybody together,” said event coordinator Jim O’Brien, of Hoboken who will “brave the shave” for the seventh time. “Think of what the kids and their families deal with each day against this enemy.”

Inspired by the story of a courageous 6-year-old boy who died of cancer seven years ago, O’Brien first brought St. Baldrick’s to Hoboken in 2011 as an offshoot of an annual St. Patrick’s Day party he and his buddies had hosted since college.

A total of $28,339 has been raised by the local events over the years.

There will be drink specials, and live music by Adameus Live, Neil Nathan, and Undercover.

The national St. Baldrick’s Foundation, established in 1999, has contributed more than $200 million to fight the scourge of childhood cancer.

Interested shavees, volunteers or donors are invited to go to: https://www.stbaldricks.org/events/kickkidscancer or contact O’Brien at JOBINHK@aol.com or 212-781-8831.

Art in the Park Registration to Open March 1

Online registration for Art in the Park will be open on March 1, 2017 at www.hobokennj.gov/register.

Art in the Park is a 6 -week creative arts program hosted by the city for toddlers ages 4 and under which includes songs, story time, sensory play, and an art project, all in the shade of Hoboken’s local parks.

There are eight 6-week sessions which take place on different days, in different parks, at different times.

Interested residents can choose either early morning, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., or mid-morning, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. sessions:

Elysian Park on Mondays: June 19, 26, July 10, 17, 24, 31

Elysian Park on Tuesdays: June 20, 27, July 11, 18, 25, Aug 1

Pier A on Wednesdays: June 21, 28; July 12, 19, 26, Aug 2

Elysian Park on Thursdays: June 22, 29, July 13, 20, 27, Aug 3

Cost per 6-week session is $25.

Each session will accept 60 children.

According to the announcement children must be accompanied by parent or guardian and are instructed to wear “messy clothes as clay or paints may stain clothes.”

For more information contact 201-420-2207 or gfallo@hobokennj.gov.

Hoboken building acquired for $77M

Advance Realty, developer of The Harlow and sponsor of the winter village under the 14th Street Viaduct, acquired nearby property The Metropolitan for $77 million last week.

The Metropolitan, a residential and retail property at 1300 Clinton St., comprises two parallel, five-story apartment buildings with ground-floor retail.

Connected by an elevated, landscaped courtyard, the community’s two buildings feature 128 residences, an aboveground parking garage and amenities, including a fitness center, residents’ lounge, clubroom, and a package concierge system.

According to a press release from Advance Realty, “Advance will make significant upgrades to The Metropolitan, which was built in 2000.”

“Our investment in The Metropolitan is an important step in our continued effort to grow Advance Realty’s dedication to Hoboken,” said Peter Cocoziello, president and CEO of Advance Realty. “We love Hoboken, and the acquisition of this beautiful apartment community reflects our commitment to the city. Like Harlow, we view The Metropolitan as a long-term investment.”

Hoboken Police Department arrests two people in connection with early February shooting

Police charged 19 year-old Hoboken Housing Authority resident Danial Padilla with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes for allegedly firing three rounds from a handgun toward the Jersey City hillside on Feb. 9.

Police also charged Thomas Burgos, age 20, of Union City for unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, and tampering with physical evidence, and hindering arrest in the same incident.

According to a media release police were called to the area of 560 Marshall Dr. on Feb. 9 at about 11:50 p.m. on a report of shots fired.

Officers responded and canvassed the area for “potential actors and evidence of a crime” and found several spent shell casings near the rear door of 560 Marshall Dr.  

Members of the Investigation’s Bureau conducted a field interview of potential actors believed to be involved in the incident and were able to identify an apartment in 560 Marshall Dr. associated with the incident. 

On Feb. 12 at approximately 6:46 p.m. Sergeant David Olivera and Police Officer David DiMartino, of the Emergency Services Unit, were patrolling in the area of 401 Jackson St. when they saw two individuals they believed matched the BOLO (Be On The Look Out For) that was generated by Det. Adam Colon of the Investigations Bureau. 

Det. Arturo Gonzalez responded to the scene and was able to corroborate the information relating to identity. 

Padilla and Burgos were charged and transported to the Hudson County Correctional Facility.

Request a tree

In preparation for the spring 2017 tree planting, the City of Hoboken’s Shade Tree Commission is seeking property owners who would like a tree planted near the sidewalk adjacent to their building and who will agree to care for and water the tree. Qualifying property owners can have a street tree planted in exchange for a suggested $100 contribution towards planting costs and a pledge to keep the tree well-watered.

The city has planted hundreds of street trees through the program in the last few years.

Property owners who would like a tree planted in a sidewalk tree well in front of their home should complete the online request form at www.hobokennj.gov/boards/stc/treerequest. Requests will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to available funding.

Each location requested will be surveyed by a professional from the Department of Environmental Services to ensure there are no conflicts with the surrounding infrastructure and that the site is a suitable one for a tree to grow and thrive.

Requests can be made for existing empty tree beds as well as paved sidewalk locations. If a tree well does not exist, one will be opened. Trees will not be planted on private property; only in sidewalk tree wells.

Hoboken Police Department arrests alleged burglar

On Feb. 15 Detectives Michael Miranda, Nicholas Burke and John Quinones began investigating a burglary that occurred at an apartment high rise located in the area of 15th and Washington streets.

During the same time frame, Detectives Andrew Perez, Edward Lepre, Christine Collins and Officer Schelmety began to investigate three other reported burglaries in the area of Park Avenue and Madison streets.

While following up on leads and speaking to potential witnesses, police determined that one suspect may have committed all the burglaries.

It was estimated over $4,000 in cash and property was taken from these residences.

The detectives joined their efforts and proceeded to follow up on the cases together. With the help of several outside agencies, including Guttenberg Police Department, their focus turned to Richard Medina, a 51-year-old Guttenberg resident.

On Feb. 20, at approximately 4:06 p.m. Medina surrendered himself to the Hoboken Police Department where he was charged with five counts of burglary, five counts of theft, four counts of criminal mischief, and four counts of burglary tools.

Medina was transported to the Hudson County Correctional Facility.

Police catch homeless man who allegedly had BB gun

On Saturday Feb. 11 police arrested Hoboken homeless man Julius Walker, age 37. He was charged with possession of a handgun, hindering apprehension, tampering with evidence and bail jumping.

The arrest stems from an incident that occurred on Saturday Feb 4 in which Diego Castellano was arrested for allegedly having a BB gun in his possession. 

After investigating further it was determined that Julius Walker allegedly took possession of the weapon from Castellanos and left the scene.

While on patrol, on Feb. 11, Sgt. Jason Falco noticed Walker near the Second Street Lightrail station. He was arrested and remanded to the Hudson County Correctional Facility.

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