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NEW RECRUITS – Jersey City swore in 25 new police officers at a graduation ceremony at City Hall on June 8. This latest class brings the size of the department to 932 total officers, its largest size in two decades.

Kushner Companies may lose tax credit for its Journal Square project

An exclusive report by WNYC radio reported that the One Journal Square project proposed by the Kushner Companies may be in danger of having a $6.5 million annual tax credit associated with its anchor tenant WeWork revoked.

This comes after the company was criticized for its attempted use of the EB-5 visa program to help raise foreign funds, and the decision by Mayor Steven Fulop to deny the project a 30-year tax abatement that was originally planned.

The mixed-use luxury tower would include residential housing, offices, and retail space, located in the heart of the Journal Square redevelopment area. The site, which once held a hotel and a number of businesses, had been vacant for years. Its redevelopment became a key piece in Fulop’s 2013 campaign to expand development beyond the Jersey City waterfront.

According to WNYC, WeWork, which has a 50-50 partnership with Kushner Companies for the project, missed a May deadline for extending its state tax credit.

According to a spokesperson from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, this disqualified the project.

WeWork, a workspace-sharing operation for technology startups, apparently decided to withdraw from the project previously, according to an earlier report by WNYC.

This will leave a large financial void for the project, although some city officials familiar with the project believe the company is already pursuing additional funding through promising EB-5 visas for foreign investors.

“This is a problem, but not one that is insurmountable,” said a former employee for Kushner.

Official Kushner Companies spokesman James Yolles told WNYC that the project would go forward.

Local control of schools may come soon

Almost a year after originally anticipated, Jersey City may regain local control of its school district’s instruction and programming after more than three decades under state control.

A resolution is expected to be passed by the state Board of Education later this year.

“This is affirmation of the hard work that has been made at many levels, including action by parents and voters to demand accountability and teachers and educators who for years have worked to change the direction of the schools from inside the classroom,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “Local control, however, is not the end but another step along the way in ensuring that our schools continue to progress and improve and that all students throughout the city are provided the quality education they deserve.”

Jersey City lost control in 1989 after a state evaluation determined that the district was failing on a number of key categories that included education, finance, and suspected corruption.

Much of the credit for regaining control has been given to Schools Superintendent Dr. Marcia Lyles, who, though controversial, has made this her mission.

Saint Dominic Academy holds 139th commencement exercises

On Sunday, June 4, Saint Dominic Academy, Jersey City, held 139th commencement exercises for the Class of 2017. Sarah Degnan Moje, Head of School, presided over the event at St. Aedan’s, the Saint Peter’s University Church on Bergen Avenue.

The 44 members of the Class of 2017 were collectively awarded $7,054,160 in college scholarships and grants. Class valedictorian Aolanie Vargas of Jersey City addressed those gathered at St. Aedan’s Church. Vargas, outgoing Vice President of the National Honor Society and a member of the National Champion Dance Team, also received the mathematics award for having achieved the highest cumulative average in that subject. After fielding offers from Cooper Union as well as Boston University, she will attend Stevens Institute of Technology in the fall. 

Class salutatorian Purnima Prasad of Wood-Ridge, did a reflective reading of the poem, “I Run Like a Girl,” penned by fellow classmate and outgoing Student Council President Lauren Kelley of Bayonne. Prasad, a member of National Honor Society and an officer of the Asian Interests Club, received an award for having the highest cumulative average in Science. She will attend New York University.

Degnan, along with Board of Trustees Chairperson Susan Mulvaney Odenthal ’73, presented additional academic awards to the following students: English to Maegan Duran of Bayonne who also received awards in Social Studies and Business; Spanish to Emily Torres of North Bergen who also received the Fine Arts award; French to Lauren Kelley of Bayonne; Religion to Alexandra Duran, also of Bayonne; Physical Education to Olivia Zaremba of Nutley, and Music to Christina Little, also of Nutley. Brianna Colletti of Hasbrouck Heights was honored for having had four years of perfect attendance.

At the Senior Honors Assembly held on May 19, Duran was honored as the Saint Dominic Academy Scholar Athlete for the Class of 2017. 

Commencement speaker, SDA Class of 1978 alumna, Maria Sasso reminded the graduates: “Over the past four years you have grown into mature young women. You are now independent thinkers who are ready to share the knowledge you have gained and hopefully your faith with those you meet along your path in life.”

In her closing remarks, Degnan thanked and congratulated the graduates and their parents.

Call for area artists for beautify Bayonne, deadline June 23

The Bayonne Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) Bergen Point Art Installation Project is calling for artists to submit proposals to help transform Broadway in the Bergen Point neighborhood into an art streetscape. Artists from Hudson County interested in painting call boxes, fire boxes, statues, and wall murals, to transform street features can apply using the official RFP application at the city’s homepage at bayonnenj.org and scroll through the slideshow at the top of the page. The deadline to enter is Friday, June 23.

After seeing the long-term success of the streetscapes on Central Avenue in Special in the Jersey City Heights SID, which started in 2009, Bayonne allocated $60,000 of UEZ funds to facilitate an initiative of its own, with the coordination of new local art spot, The Bridge Art Gallery, and the Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs.

The initiative will not only to beautify the shopping district, but attract visitors, renew old streetscapes, and prevent vandalism. Weathered, old, and otherwise boring traffic boxes and the sides of buildings are intended to become eye candy instead of eyesores.

The upgrading of Bayonne’s streetscapes will take place in one of 27 designated Urban Enterprise Zone across the state, which were instituted in 1983, and their main draw is a 50-percent reduction in sales tax, ideally to lower costs for consumers while allowing for more business overall. Businesses have to jump through a few hoops first. To participate in the UEZ Program, businesses have to be certified by the program, be in tax compliance, and be registered within one of the 27 designated zones.

Interested artists can direct questions to the UEZ office at bayonneuez@baynj.org, or (201) 858-6357; or the Bridge Art Gallery at connect@bridgeartgallery.net, or (201) 443-8921. 

CarePoint Health offers Diabetes Outreach Program on June 15

CarePoint Health will hold a Diabetes Outreach Program 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 15 at the Mary Bethune Center, 140 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The free seminar is for those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Dinner is included.

Individuals who want to attend should register with Nancy Aleman, CarePoint’s

Director of Community Outreach, at Nancy.Aleman@CarePointHealth.org.

CarePoint is the only hospital system in Jersey City that offers this program.

Jersey City’s summer AmeriCorps VISTA Associate Program has 15 spots open

Mayor Steven M. Fulop has announced the open application process for the city’s VISTA Summer Associate program, with up to 15 Summer Associates being accepted for summer 2017. The program’s goal is to target the needs within the city, focusing on at-risk and low-income youth.  Recruitment runs through June 30.

The eight to 10 week program stems from the year-round Volunteers in Service to America, or VISTAs. Mayor Fulop brought the federally-funded AmeriCorps program to Jersey City over two years ago to better address the needs of low-income residents. The mission of the VISTA program as mandated by Congress in 1964 is, “building permanent infrastructure in non-profit organizations to help them more effectively bring individuals and communities out of poverty.”

“This project is about making a difference in our community,” said Mayor Fulop. “It connects volunteers with a variety of program offerings serving the needs of our city’s youth. This is an opportunity for volunteers to serve their communities, while also advancing their job skills and workforce development.”

Those hired will be available to the community on a full-time basis, 40 hours per week. Summer Associates receive a subsistence allowance, and are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or end of service stipend. All applicants must apply using the my.americorps.gov portal. Links can be found on Jersey City’s social media sites and website.


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