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On Monday, March 6, Weehawken Elks lodge1456 held their annual Drug Awareness Award Ceremony and Pizza Party for winners of their Poster, Essay, and Video contests. The winners received certificates and checks for their accomplishments. Pictured above are, back row: Salleyh Ortega 1st Place, 5th grade poster; Naishme Hache, High School Video; Carolina Castro, High School Video; Lisa Rovito PER, East District Drug Awareness Chairman; Connor O’Flannagan, 1st Place, 7th grade essay; Rosemary Lavagnino, 2nd Ward Councilwoman; Colin Shevlin, 1st Place 8th Grade essay; Front row: Lucia Pardo-Rea, 1st Place 6th grade essay; Gabriella Bortone, 1st Place 3rd Grade poster, and Abigail Kielty, 1st Place 4th Grade poster. Abigail Kielty, Lucia Pardo-Rea and Collin Shevlin also won first place in the Elks East District and are advancing to the state competition.

Daniel Webster School hosts ‘Math March Madness’

The Daniel Webster Elementary School recently hosted a ‘Math March Madness’ event. The March 23 showcase featured eight math game stations for children to play at. One such game, for instance, was called ‘Hulk Smash’ (named after the Marvel character), where students punched holes through cups with paper coverings, then answered the equations hidden inside. Another, ‘M&M Math,’ had students create graphs using M&M candies. After opening the candies, they had to count how many of each color they had, and then properly sort them out. In keeping with the Weehawken School District’s Blended Learning initiative, the night also featured a station for ‘ST Math,’ an interactive game students play using tablets. “I love the event,” said Lorraine Irizarry, a pre-K teacher at the school who helped organize it. “Children come with parents; they get to do math in fun ways. There’s no paper and pencil.”

Hudson County CASA is seeking volunteers

Learn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. You may attend an information session at the Hudson County Courthouse, 595 Newark Ave. Rm 901 on Tuesday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m.

Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. 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. Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures. 

For further information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org

Former Weehawken resident’s movie premieres in theaters, also available on Amazon

Former Weehawken resident Caren Lissner, who wrote the humorous novel Carrie Pilby in 2003, just saw it turned into a movie starring Bel Powley and Nathan Lane. The film premieres in theaters March 31 through April 6, and is already available for preorder on Amazon to watch as soon as next week. In theaters, it’s at the Village East Cinema in New York City, and also can be found in four other cities. For more information, put the film name and date into moviefone.com to find local times and ticket information. Follow the film on Twitter at @carriepilby.com.

Aetna may split from Jersey City Medical Center

The contract between RWJBarnabas Health, which includes Jersey City Medical Center, and insurance carrier Aetna will expire April 22, according to the March 17 letter the company sent to its subscribers who had been treated at a Barnabas hospital in the past year. 

The disagreement is over reimbursement rates, Aetna spokesman Walter Cherniak Jr. said Monday, as reported in NJ Advance Media.

Aetna is the second-largest health insurance company in New Jersey. The carrier notified 45,000 policy holders that contract negotiations will have to improve soon with Barnabas, the state’s largest hospital network, or else patients will have to pay more expensive out-of-network rates or select another hospital.

Cherniak claimed that RWJBarnabas, which is affiliated with 11 acute care hospitals, wants “a significant rate increase we do not believe can be supported in the market.”

Cherniak said the 1,267 doctors who hold admitting privileges exclusively at RWJBarnabas hospitals are also affected. Patients requiring hospital care would have to find another doctor if their physicians could not quickly obtain admitting privileges at other hospitals.

RWJ Barnabas Health’s spokeswoman Ellen Greene, called Cherniak’s letter a ”routine communication that HMOs and insurers must send to participants 30 days before the contract expires.”

“RWJBarnabas Health and Aetna continue to negotiate with the desire to create a new contractual agreement,” Greene’s statement said. “It is our goal and expectation that a new agreement will be reached with Aetna before our current contract expires on April 22. Aetna patients can still receive services at all RWJBarnabas Health facilities as contract negotiations continue.”

Aetna and Barnabas Health reached an impasse over contract negotiations two years ago, but the two sides reached a deal three days before the contract expired.

U.S. premiere of ‘Ameluk’ to be presented in Union City

On Saturday, April 8, 7 p.m., the 2017 NoHu International Film Festival will present the U.S. premiere of “Ameluk”, a film by Mimmo Mancini. This free event, presented in Italian with English subtitles, takes place at the Union City Performing Arts Center, 2500 Kennedy Blvd., Union City.

In the film, it’s Good Friday in a small town in Italy, and everything is ready for the re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross. But Michele, scheduled to play Jesus, sits on the crown of thorns and is sidelined. Ameluk is then volunteered by the local priest to step in and play the part of Christ.

Just one problem – he is Muslim.

The news spreads and public opinion is divided. Ameluk also finds himself running for the mayor’s office. As the story mixes drama and comedy, it will become Ameluk’s job to unite the two sides again.

The film stars Mimmo Mancini, Rosanna Banfi, and Paolo Sassanelli.

For more information, including sites where free transportation will be available, visit http://www.unioncitypac.com.

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