HOBOKEN BRIEFS

The new exhibit “Sweep Forward” with work by Jean-Paul Picard will open next week at hob’art Cooperative Gallery. (See brief.)
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The new exhibit “Sweep Forward” with work by Jean-Paul Picard will open next week at hob’art Cooperative Gallery. (See brief.)

Woman injured in Hoboken train crash settles suit for $475,000

A woman who was injured in the September 2016 NJ Transit commuter train crash at Hoboken Terminal recently settled her lawsuit with the agency for $475,000.
New Jersey Transit and Metro-North Commuter Railroad are combined defendants. Metro-North will reportedly pay the settlement because the victim boarded the NJ Transit train in Rockland County, N.Y.
Megan McGuinness, 24, was riding N.J. Transit Train 1614, heading to the Hoboken train station from Pearl River, N.Y., on her way to Pace University, when the train crashed into the terminal.
There was one fatality, young mother Fabiola Bittar de Kroon of Hoboken, who had a daughter in day care in Hoboken. Her daughter and widower husband have since moved to Brazil.
The crash injured at least 100 people.
The train was traveling at twice the speed limit when it slammed into the platform. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the crash was caused by the train engineer’s undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that makes restful sleep difficult and can thus cause fatigue and drowsiness during the day.
McGuinness suffered facial and psychological injuries, according to a press release from her attorneys, including a laceration to her lower lip that ripped through the skin and muscle and required multiple surgeries.
Since the crash, NJ Transit has improved its sleep apnea screening process and has been installing positive train controls, which would help stop trains automatically.

City to host meeting on the future of the Multi Service Center

The city of Hoboken is looking for public input on how the underused Multi Service Center should be redesigned for the future. A community meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 25, at 6 p.m. at the Multi Service Center, 124 Grand St.
“This might be the most consequential meeting for the Multi Service Center that will shape its role in our city for generations to come,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla in a press release. “I urge everyone invested in Hoboken’s future to please attend the meeting and tell us what you want to see out of this space.”
After the meeting, the city will retain an engineering firm to conduct a feasibility study and cost analysis, based on public input.
“I hope city residents and officials will join me in determining how this space can best serve the needs of Hoboken,” Bhalla said.

Hoboken Democratic Committee replaces its chair

Monday night, the Hoboken Democratic Committee voted 47 to 4, with one abstention, to rescind its vote last year electing Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher as chair of the committee. The committee then elected Democratic committeeman and 1st Vice-Chairman Phil Cohen to fill the post.
Last year, Fisher supported a Republican candidate against Ravi Bhalla for mayor. Hoboken elections are non-partisan, but some in the committee said the Democratic committee chair should support the Democratic mayor.
Upon being elected, Cohen said in a press release, “I thank the members of the Democratic Committee for their support and look forward to accomplishing our goals of electing Democratic leaders, growing the party, and promoting Democratic values in Hudson County and across the state.”
In last week’s Hoboken Reporter cover story, Fisher argued that the committee had been trying to replace her since January, citing a bylaw change which she said was proposed by Rachel Hodes, recording secretary of the committee. But in an interview last week, Hodes clarified that the bylaw change was not her idea and came from another committeeperson who asked her to bring it up at an executive committee meeting.
Other leadership changes on Monday included the election of Nora DeBenedetto to fill the vacancy of 1st vice chair, and the election of Eileen Carvahlo as 2nd vice chair, previously held by DeBenedetto.
The Hoboken Democratic Committee is not a governmental group, but an independent political organization that promotes Democratic candidates.
On Monday, four other committee vacancies were filled after the members moved out of town.
Former Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her husband Stan Grossbard were appointed to two seats in the 4th Ward, 5th District.
Daniel Drobnis and Maria Azzolini were appointed in the 3rd Ward, 7th district.
“We are approaching some of the most important mid-term elections in recent memory, and it is important that we have a local party that is cohesive and working seamlessly with Mayor Bhalla, a prominent leader of the state’s Democratic Party,” said Cohen. “In the coming months, the Hoboken Democratic Committee will host a number of events in preparation for the upcoming November 2018 midterm elections.”

Summer scholarships now available for Mile Square Theatre

Performers from The Radio City Rockettes, “Sleep No More,” the Metropolitan Opera, the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, and an NYC casting director will lead some of Mile Square Theatre’s summer workshops.
The theatre – which has produced hits like “The Net Appear” and “The 7th Inning Stretch”– is also now providing scholarships for these summer workshop programs in dance and theatre.
Auditioning and theatre technique, hip-hop, ballet, conditioning, and choreography are among the offerings.
The scholarships are made possible by the support of Exec | Comm.
Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch will qualify for full scholarships and students who demonstrate financial need will qualify for full or partial scholarships.
Applications must be completed by May 18 and can be obtained at milesquaretheatre.org/mile-square-theatre-classes/summer-workshops/ or by calling (201) 683-7014.

New gallery exhibit announced

Hob’art co-operative gallery, located in The Monroe Center at 720 Monroe St., announces new work by member Jean-Paul Picard in his latest show “Sweep Forward.”
“Sweep Forward” runs from April 19 to May 12 and features digitally-shaped photography produced with an iPhone.
“Sweep Forward” displays Picard’s latest work since his highly-acclaimed solo exhibit at the Hoboken Historical Museum 13 months ago.
Picard defines his “sweep” as a photograph that records time and movement. By using the panning view on his camera, Picard creates a sweeping effect that is like a painter’s brush moving across a canvas. With his camera he brushes beyond the viewfinder’s boundaries. The results are captured memories.
Some parts of the image are clear and sharp while others break up, fade, or disappear. This enables the shapes in his works to come directly from the camera free from the constraints of the view finder.
“Centuries old aesthetic rules that imprison the photographic image in the camera’s rectangle are completely broken in Picard’s work,” states the press release. “His images take on a gorgeous patina of photographic pigment prints that float free like dream images.”
An artist reception will be held on Saturday, April 21 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
On Saturday, April 28 at 3 p.m., Picard will talk about his artwork and welcome questions from visitors. Gallery hours are Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to 7p.m., Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment by contacting Jean-Paul Picard at (201) 264-1037.
Gallery information can be obtained on the website www.hob-art.org and via France Garrido at (201) 319-1504 or director@hob-art.org.

Hoboken mayor and more than 9,000 others set record on ‘Turban Day’ in Times Square

Mayor Ravi Bhalla and over 9,000 people celebrated Turban Day in Times Square on Saturday April 7.
The Sikhs of New York organized Turban Day “to bring awareness among all Americans about Sikhism and to help correct misperceptions and to share their values of love, faith, equality and social justice,” according to the organization’s website.
Their website states the organization received an official certificate of attempt from the Guinness World Records for tying 9,000 turbans in eight hours.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who is of the Sikh faith, attended the celebration with his family. He is New Jersey’s first Sikh mayor.

Lecture announced exploring if Hollywood can make the world a better place

On Thursday, April 26 at 6 p.m. Professor John Bredin will give a lecture on how Hollywood can play a role in creating a kind and peaceful world at Symposia Bookstore at 510 Washington St.
Bredin, who hosts the weekly TV show Public Voice Salon, will explore questions like; Can movies make the world a better place? Is cinema a potential source of humanistic education, or a fluffy distraction from the critical social issues of our time?
As justice loving films like “Selma,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and “Bulworth” prove, when motivated Hollywood can indeed “Do the Right Thing” (a la Spike Lee) by raising social consciousness.
Bredin, who is related to Blanche Walsh, the first American movie star, will lead a hopeful conversation on how Hollywood can get its “act” together for the sake of a better world for all. A $10 donation is suggested for those who wish to attend.

New Jersey Audubon to celebrate 35 years of the ‘World Series of Birding’

Anyone involved in the “World Series of Birding” agrees: It sure is an exhilarating way to spend 24 hours. This treasure hunt of sorts, which serves as a key fundraiser for New Jersey Audubon, happens every year, this year on May 12, rain or shine. That’s when the last of the wintering birds are still here, and when new migrating and breeding birds arrive.
Great local spots are the Cape May Bird Observatory, Cape May Point State Park, or the NJ Audubon Hoffman Sanctuary in Bernardsville, or Sandy Hook, Armstrong noted. There is also a separate competition for children, from grades 1-5, grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. For a full list of competitions, and for further information visit http://worldseriesofbirding.org/.

Mayor Fulop will be honorary chair for Race for the Cure

The Susan G. Komen North Jersey 11th Annual Race for the Cure at Liberty State Park is coming up on May 6, and everyone is gearing up to rally and raise awareness (and funds) in support of Komen’s bold initiative, targeted at reducing the number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50 percent by the year 2026.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop will take on the role of this year’s Honorary Race Chair.
To join the race register online at https://tinyurl.com/ychhgbqw.

Mile Square Theatre announces new comedy

The Mile Square Theatre at 1400 Clinton St. will perform Y York’s young audience adaptation of “The Garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi” throughout April.
Restaging its 2011 production for a new audience, MST is thrilled to reunite much of the creative team from the earlier production, including MST Artistic Director Chris O’Connor and actor Blaire Brooks (“Bull,” “Blacklist”) as Darzee the Tailor Bird. The cast includes MST regular Andrew Baldwin (“Frog and Toad”), Cameron Blankenship (Lyric Rep), and Arielle Legere (“Princess K.I.M.”).
York’s adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling story playfully dramatizes the conflict between Nag the Cobra and Darzee the Tailor Bird, Chuchu the Muskrat, and Rikki the Mongoose. Darzee, the diva, is incensed when Rikki washes up in her pristine garden. She and Chuchu attempt to run off the pesky, cheerful mongoose, until they see the cobra Nag and run in fear when Nag discovers that a mongoose is on the loose. This comedy about sharing, cooperation, and growing up will appeal to all audiences 4 years and older.
Public performances are April 14 through May 6 Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at milesquaretheatre.org.
For information about Thursday and Friday daytime performances for school audiences email estehli@milesquaretheatre.org.

WNY Mayor Roque’s son gets $75K job as town clerk

Joseph Roque, son of West New York Mayor Felix Roque, was named town clerk in February at an annual salary of $75,000.
Joseph, 27, previously worked for the Hudson County Department of Roads at an annual salary of $27,000.
Joseph Roque was convicted on Oct. 1, 2013 of a misdemeanor, hacking into a political website run by one of his father’s political opponents. (Felix Roque was acquitted of a related charge.) Nevertheless, the younger Roque was also chosen as the chair of the town’s local Democratic party last year.
Mayor Roque said his son was qualified for the job and applied when the position opened.
“My son is a good worker, and someone who I know will do a good job,” Mayor Roque said. “I have every confidence in him.”
Mayor Roque said he did not believe that the public should be concerned since he believes his son will provide good service to the town.
Although a municipal clerk can be removed without cause, a person in the position can gain tenure after three years, at which time he cannot be fired without some dereliction of duty.
“We all want to see what’s best for our children,” Mayor Roque said, seeing nothing wrong about hiring his son for what is considered an extremely powerful job with the town.

Prosecutor seeks help identifying dead infant

Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez is asking the public to help identify an infant found dead on the PATH train tracks near Journal Square on April 11.
At about 12:30 p.m., the Port Authority Police Department received a report of suspected human remains being recovered near the train tracks underneath the Tonnelle Avenue Bridge, just off Broadway in Jersey City.
A preliminary report by the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office (RMEO) has revealed that the infant was a Hispanic or African-American female, approximately 10-months-old.
The findings as to the cause and manner of death are pending a determination by the RMEO. The Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit is actively investigating this case with the help of the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office and Port Authority Police Department.
Investigators are urging anyone with information about this incident or anyone who remembers seeing something suspicious in this area to contact the Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit at (201) 915- 1345 or leave an anonymous tip on the prosecutor’s website at http://www.hudsoncountyprosecutorsofficenj.org/homicide-tip/. All information will be kept confidential.

Hudson County launches online ‘Homeless Services Navigator’

Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise announced that the Hudson County Division of Housing and Community Development has gone live with a new “Homeless Services Navigator” page on the county website, www.hudsoncountynj.org. The new page may be found at this link: http://hudsoncountyhomeless.com.
Residents experiencing or faced with the prospect of homelessness or their friends and families can, with a mobile device, choose “Homeless Services Navigator” from the county’s mobile homepage “Quicklinks,” to see the link to the Homelessness Services Navigator. The same one-click process is available from a desktop computer.
The Homeless Services Navigator offers a wide range of services, including an explanation of how to connect with homeless shelters, and an explanation of eligibility for services. A “Services” tab then provides a list of services with full contact information (phone and email) available for those facing homelessness provided by the Hudson County Alliance to End Homelessness listed in alphabetical order and a map showing where these services are in relation to the person’s current location so they can “navigate” their way to help.
The list of services can be narrowed with an editable checklist with categories like “Domestic Violence Services” or “Emergency Food Assistance” to reduce scrolling. The “Services” page also allows a user to narrow their search by age for, say, appropriate services for teens rather than seniors.
Those concerned about homeless policy matters can find the Twitter feed for both the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Interagency Council Homelessness on the navigator main page. A “Downloads” section provides .pdf files with homelessness resource guides for all residents, youth and veterans in Spanish and English that can be printed.
The Homelessness Services Navigator will be updated and expanded regularly as new services and information for those seeking them become available. To learn more about affordable housing and homelessness prevention efforts in Hudson County, contact the Hudson County Division of Housing and Community Development at (201) 369-4520. If you believe an additional resource should be added to Navigator, please email Katelyn Cunningham kcunningham@hcnj.us