City offers to purchase NY Waterway, ferry founder asks for petition signatures
Mayor Ravi Bhalla has announced that on March 23 the city made an offer to NY Waterway Chairman Armand Pohan to purchase the Union Dry Dock property for $11.6 million. The following day, founder and president of the company, Arthur Imperatore, emailed a letter to commuters urging them to sign a petition in favor of NY Waterway keeping the property for their homeport.
“Will you stand with us and tell the city of Hoboken’s leaders that you don’t appreciate having your time and money wasted on a political stunt?” Imperatore said in his letter.
NY Waterway purchased the property last November to be used for ferry maintenance and repair facility. But Hoboken city officials have stated that they would like to acquire the property for more open space. On March 15, the City Council authorized the city to acquire the former Union Dry Dock Property currently owned by NY Waterway by friendly acquisition or by eminent domain, as a last resort.
“In my letter to NY Waterway, I stated that condemnation or the use of eminent domain would only be implemented if all parties are not able to engage in voluntary negotiations,” said Bhalla.
Imperatore’s letter states that NY Waterway plans to make improvements to the walking path on their property as well as build and maintain a kayak landing and fishing pier, and that the city’s claim that Hoboken can’t have a beautiful waterfront without seizing their property is a “false choice.”
Bhalla said, “I have made it clear that I will do everything within my lawful authority as mayor to ensure this land is secured as open space for the public benefit, and my offer to purchase this property is a means towards this end.”
As of Thursday morning, Waterway’s petition at defendourferries.com had 2,705 signatures.
Ordinance for council to appoint Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board members vetoed
Mayor Ravi Bhalla has vetoed an ordinance by the City Council that would have allowed them to transfer appointment authority of three full Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board members and two alternates, letting the City Council appoint them instead of the mayor.
The quasi-judicial nine-member Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board is comprised of residents. It hears cases such as those of landlords who are applying for a hardship exception to the city’s long-term rent control laws, which keep rent increases to a few percent each year.
Earlier this year, Bhalla failed to re-appoint two members to the board who had supported his political opposition in the mayoral election. Some of the council members are supporters of these volunteers.
The veto came after the city’s Legal Department issued a memo stating that the city council’s proposed actions would violate New Jersey state statutes and the Faulkner Act. After receiving this memo, the council disputed the legal opinion and voted to approve the ordinance on March 15 with a 6-3 vote.
“First, the ordinance is unlawful for the reasons stated in the attached legal opinion from the Law Department,” Bhalla said in his March 23 veto statement. “Second, even if the City Council had lawful authority to transfer appointment authority of board members of the Rent Leveling & Stabilization Board away from this office and to the City Council, the City Council has failed to articulate a compelling public policy purpose in support of the ordinance.”
Bhalla charged that the ordinance was driven by the council’s dissatisfaction over the fact that two political allies of its leadership were not re-appointed to the board.
“While the City Council has made unconvincing attempts to couch their purpose in policy terms, it is strikingly obvious that their conduct is driven by politics, not good government.”
Both former board members Michael Lenz and Cheryll Fallick, who were supporters of Councilwoman Jen Giattino’s mayoral run, were not reappointed by Bhalla. Instead the mayor has nominated Warren Hall and Heath Urban. The council has not voted yet on whether to confirm their appointments.
Last month, Bhalla vetoed another measure by the council that would allow a referendum be placed on the November ballot enabling voters to choose whether to reinstate runoff elections. The council overrode that veto with a 7-2 vote.
The council needs a minimum of a 6-3 vote to override a mayoral veto.
Hoboken schools take away spring break day due to fifth snow day
The Hoboken public schools have had five snow days this year. As the district must have 181 days of school, they updated their calendar this month.
High school graduation, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 20, will now be held on Friday, June 22. The last day of school will be the following Monday, June 25, and it will be a half day.
Originally, three days of early dismissals were scheduled for Monday through Wednesday, June 18 through 20. Now, school will run for a full day on June 18 and 19, and there will be half days Wednesday, June 20, Thursday, June 21, Friday, June 22, and Monday, June 25.
The last day of spring break (Friday, April 6) was changed into a regular full day of school.
NOTE: This calendar is subject to change, so before making plans, consult the district.
Over 5,000 participants in annual Easter egg hunt
For the second year in a row the largest Easter egg hunt in Hoboken exceeded expectations, with registrations reaching over 5,000.
The annual event hosted by Hoboken Grace Community Church featured two hunts and brought families together from across Hoboken to participate in free activities including the Easter egg hunt, a variety of lawn games, pictures with the Easter bunny, face painting, arts and crafts, and more.
“This event gets bigger and bigger each year. Everywhere you look people are smiling and having a great time,” said Chris High, pastor of Hoboken Grace. “It’s Hoboken Grace’s mission to serve and love our community here in Hoboken and we are able to do that with this event in such a big way. We look forward to it all year and we’re already excited for next year’s hunts.”
The event was held at Mama Johnson Field and more than 200 volunteers from Hoboken Grace Community Church and the local community helped to make the event a reality.
Pictures with the Easter Bunny will be posted at www.hobokengrace.com/bunny.
Hoboken Grace Community Church at 301 Garden St. is also hosting services this weekend for Good Friday and Easter.
Good Friday Service was scheduled to be on March 30 at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Easter Celebration service on Saturday, March 31 will be at 5 p.m. and on Sunday at 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1 p.m.
30-pound tumor removed from Hoboken resident
Hoboken resident Kevin Daly was surprised to find out that the beer gut he had for years was in fact a 30 pound tumor, according to reports from news organizations around the country.
Daly, 63, realized something was wrong after he had open heart surgery in 2015. He dropped 34 pounds, but still had his beer belly.
Years later, Daly convinced his doctor to perform a CAT scan that showed he had a massive cancerous mass in his abdomen.
“I thought they literally left stuffing and tools in me from surgery,’ Daly told the New York Daily News.
The tumor, identified as liposarcoma, was successfully removed in December along with a kidney that it had enveloped.
Liposarcomas, according to the Mayo Clinic, are a rare form of cancer that starts in fat cells and occurs in the muscles of limbs or abdomens.
Hoboken bookstore to host author readings and discussions
David Goodwin, author of “The Left Bank of the Hudson: Jersey City and the Artists of 111 First Street,” will appear at Little City Books, 100 Bloomfield St. in Hoboken, on Wednesday, April 4 at 7 p.m. for a reading and discussion.
In the late 1980s, a handful of artists priced out of Manhattan and desperately needing affordable studio space discovered 111 First St., a former P. Lorillard Tobacco Company warehouse. Over the next two decades, an eclectic collection of painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, filmmakers, and writers dreamt and toiled within the building’s labyrinthine halls. The local arts scene flourished, igniting hope that Jersey City would emerge as the next grassroots center of the art world.
The following day on Thursday, April 5 at 7 p.m. the bookstore will also host a free workshop for new mothers or mothers to be with author Dayna Kurtz who wrote Mother Matters: A Practical Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom.
From postpartum depression and baby blues to healing meals and postnatal exercise, Kurtz guides new and veteran mothers alike through the best practices to care for themselves while caring for their little ones.
For more information contact Little City Books at (201) 626-READ.
The Hudson School’s sixth graders strive for world peace
Over two dozen Hudson School students participated last week in the World Peace Game, created by Virginia teacher John Hunter in 1978.
The game is an experiential simulation in which students hold political, economic, military and tribal roles as leaders of four nation teams, as well as officers of the World Bank and the U.N. Their goal for the game is to solve all 50 crises and to raise the prosperity level of each nation with the least amount of military intervention.
The game is played every weekday during humanities class for thirteen days. Players manage the world’s natural and manmade resources, which they place on a four-level, plexiglass board standing alone in the center of the room. The levels represent underwater resources, the earth’s surface, the sky and outer space. Each day students are presented with the threat of imminent war as they respond to new crises, unexpected natural disasters, and attacks by an unknown saboteur among them. They independently negotiate international treaties and trade agreements, invent new technology and procedures, ask critical questions and develop new ideas to solve the world’s problems.
The World Peace Game was brought to Hoboken by Hudson’s sixth grade teacher Catharine Baldwin, who introduced it in March 2017 to her classes. The game was so successful that Hudson offered it as a free summer program to 27 students representing Hoboken’s district, charter, and independent schools along with students from Jersey City and the larger area.
The World Peace Game Foundation is dedicated to teaching children the work of peace. Guided by the life work of educator John Hunter, the foundation uses the World Peace Game to foster the concept of peace not as a utopian dream but as an attainable goal to strive for, and to stimulate the creative development of educational tools for this effort.
Theatre ensemble presents children’s play
Silly on Sixth Children’s Series of Hudson Theatre Ensemble presents “The Three Little Pigs” and “The Ugly Duckling” adapted by Diana London and directed by Beatriz Esteban-Messina.
The all-adult cast of Laura DiCerto, Diana London, Florence Pape, David Plotka, Dave Silberger, Erika Yesenia, and Claire Conover is for children ages 3 to 9 while entertaining their families in the 20th season of the Hudson Theatre Ensemble Children’s Series Silly on Sixth.
Performances take place on March 31, April 7 and April 8 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Hudson School’s performance space at 601 Park Ave. Shows run about 40 minutes long. For more information or to get tickets for $10 call (201) 377-7014 or email email@example.com.
Hudson police participate in texting while driving ticket blitz
Several Hudson County police departments and the county sheriff’s office plan to join a state-wide crackdown beginning Sunday on motorists who text while driving, according to local media reports.
The state Division of Highway Traffic Safety has awarded 211 local departments, sheriff’s departments and other agencies a total of $1,401,830 in grant money to participate in the “UDrive. UText UPay”enforcement campaign to start April 1.
Officers plan to use undisclosed special strategies to catch motorists who use their cell phones behind the wheel, a campaign that resulted in over 15,000 summonses last year.
Distracted drivers could face fines of up to $400, according to the attorney general’s office.
The local departments participating in this year’s crackdown include Jersey City, North Bergen Township, Secaucus, Union City, and West New York.