JERSEY CITY BRIEFS

NEW CLASS OF ACTIVISTS – Joining CASA Executive Director Marla Higginbotham, left, and Superior Court Judge James Hely, center, are, from left: newly sworn CASA community volunteer advocates Lisa Harold of Elizabeth, Kevin Byron of Roselle, Soraya Fernandez of Cranford, Doris Johnson of Linden, Lori Leiter of Summit, Juliet Lehavi of Westfield, Shymaa Mansour of Jersey City, Susan Wright of Winfield and Barbara Whitaker of Union. CASA volunteers help advocate for local children in foster homes and similar situations.
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NEW CLASS OF ACTIVISTS – Joining CASA Executive Director Marla Higginbotham, left, and Superior Court Judge James Hely, center, are, from left: newly sworn CASA community volunteer advocates Lisa Harold of Elizabeth, Kevin Byron of Roselle, Soraya Fernandez of Cranford, Doris Johnson of Linden, Lori Leiter of Summit, Juliet Lehavi of Westfield, Shymaa Mansour of Jersey City, Susan Wright of Winfield and Barbara Whitaker of Union. CASA volunteers help advocate for local children in foster homes and similar situations.

Obscenity ordinance vote postponed

With dozens of people – including religious leaders – set to speak on a proposed ordinance that would loosen some regulations on what is considered obscene, the City Council agreed to postpone a vote at its meeting Wednesday night.
Although introduced in May, the council was set to hold a public hearing and adopt the measure on June 13, but postponed the hearing and the vote to review it.
Ward E Councilman James Solomon, who authored the changes after a burlesque show was shut down in early May, said that more changes may be needed after city officials received public responses
The original ordinance was adopted in the early 1980s as a means of shutting down strip clubs.
One of the provisions of the new proposed policy that appears to have raised the most red flags in the public would have lifted the ban on women appearing topless in public. Several council members objected to this provision.

Council rejects pleas to keep Polish monument at Exchange Place

Pleas by scores of Polish-Americans and others not to relocate a monument to thousands of Poles massacred by the Soviet Union during World War II fell largely on deaf ears at the June 13 council meeting, as the City Council adopted an ordinance that would allow the statute to be relocated one block south to York Street.
Protestors filled the council chambers waving Polish flags and bearing signs opposing the move. They raised questions about the cost and who would actually pay for the move, and whether there was a risk of damage to the statute.
The Katyn Massacre monument has been located at its current site in the Exchange Place Plaza for 27 years. Because it depicts an extremely violent act as tribute to the 22,000 Polish who were killed in the Katyn Forest during World War II leaders of the SID decided it was inappropriate for a park that would include play areas for young kids.
Councilmen Richard Boggiano and Michael Yun voted against moving the statue.
When first proposed, Mayor Steven Fulop said the city would pay part of the cost to relocate the statue and the construction of a new park. But City Business Administrator Brian Platt said at the June 13 meeting that taxpayers would incur no cost in moving the statue or developing the new park, but would be responsible for maintain the York Street memorial park once the statue was relocated there.
The Exchange Place Special Improvement District – which is supposed to pay for the construction of the new Exchange Place Park as well as the York Street memorial park – did not supply cost estimates or specific plans that several council members requested.
Some protestors also pointed out that the statue is being moved to accommodate a new Exchange Place Park and several new luxury rental and hotel projects, not the general public.
Also the city, the SID, and a committee associated with the statue were supposed to come up with a memo of understanding that would detail responsibilities of all parties involved. But not memo has yet been signed.

Project Eats kicks off summer

The Jersey City Project, Inc., in partnership with the City of Jersey City and the Office of Mayor Steven M. Fulop, will kick off the summer season with the annual outdoor food festival Project: Eats. The event, now in its sixth year, will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24 outside of City Hall on Grove and Montgomery streets, with more than 40 local food vendors in attendance.
“People in Jersey City really appreciate the great food options that have popped up in the city over the past six years,” said MacAdam Smith, a member of The Jersey City Project. “From the downtown, all along Newark Avenue, Journal Square, The Heights, and Bergen, the community has embraced so many great new restaurants, food trucks, and vendors. Project: Eats will bring many of those local favorites together, and is a chance for the entire community to get outdoors and enjoy music, games, and some delicious food.”
The festival will include both ready-to-eat and take home food options from a variety of tents and trucks. This year’s festival will be beach-themed, with a DJ, tables and lounge chairs, and special activations for attendees. The event is free and open to the public and will feature new vendors each day.
Extra food will be donated by the Downtown Community Church to St. Lucy’s Shelter, with monetary donations being made to The Sharing Place, the city’s largest food bank.
For more information visit: thejerseycityproject.com

Freeholders authorize funding for road improvements

On June 7, the Board of Freeholders approved an ordinance providing for various road projects, bridge improvement projects throughout the county and appropriating $12,754,493 in federal and state grants to finance the cost.
The County of Hudson will utilize a portion of these funds for projects in Jersey City that include road safety improvements on JFK Boulevard from Communipaw Avenue to Sip Avenue and bike lanes on Loop Road in Jersey City.

HCCC to showcase works of 18 artists from its Foundation Art Collection

Eighteen artists, whose works in portraiture, photography, graphic arts, and other media are included in the Hudson County Community College (HCCC) Foundation Art Collection, will be featured in an upcoming exhibit.
The College’s Department of Cultural Affairs will host the exhibit from June 13 through July 31 at the College’s Benjamin J. Dineen, III and Dennis C. Hull Gallery at the Gabert Library Building, 71 Sip Ave. in Jersey City, across the street from Journal Square PATH Transportation Center.
The event is open to the public and there is no charge for admission.
The artists featured in the exhibit are John Chamberlain, Darryl Curran, Edward S. Curtis, Robert Fichter, Suda House, Eti Jacobi, Mickey Mathis, Heidi McFall, Judy Mensch, Tracey Moffatt, Nancy Scheinman, Bonnie Schiffman, Jacqueline Spellens, Ann Sperry, Robert Von Sternberg, Melanie Walker, Todd Walker, and Nancy Webber. The exhibit will be curated by Michelle Vitale, Director of Cultural Affairs.
The HCCC Foundation Art Collection, valued at over $1 million, represents America’s and New Jersey’s rich artistic and cultural history, from the Hudson River School period to the present. Included are more than 1,000 paintings, lithographs, photographs, sculptures, American craft pottery and more by major artists such as Man Ray, Ben Shahn, Joan Snyder, and Marcel Duchamp.
A growing collection of emerging and established New Jersey artists is included. Themes include diversity, urban life, science, technology, United States history and culture, and architecture. The collection was established in 2006 to coincide with the initiation of the College’s Fine Arts program. The Foundation Art Collection is displayed throughout the College’s Journal Square and North Hudson Campus buildings.
The Benjamin J. Dineen, III and Dennis C. Hull Gallery summer hours are Monday through Thursday, from 12 to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed Friday to Sunday and holidays. Information on upcoming events at the gallery may be obtained by visiting www.hccc.edu/cultural-affairs, emailing gallery@hccc.edu, or phoning (201) 360-5379.

Jersey City resident volunteers to speak up for abused Union County children

Among the latest class of community volunteers to complete child advocacy training and take their oath from Superior Court Judge James Hely to become Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Union County is Jersey City’s Shymaa Mansour.
Volunteers with CASA serve as extra eyes and ears for family law judges hearing cases involving abused, neglected or abandoned children removed from home and placed in foster care. They have court-ordered access to all parties in a foster child’s life, including foster parents, doctors, caseworkers, therapists and teachers, and incorporate findings into court reports from these contacts as well as time spent with the youth. In addition to ensuring their needs are met and best interests protected, the CASA volunteers aim to become a constant in the life of their assigned youth, who are living amid unknowns about their future, changing caseworkers and multiple foster homes.
The new advocates are ages 28 to 72 and include parents and non-parents; professionals in business, technology, education and law enforcement; students; retirees; and homemakers. Most had no prior knowledge of the foster system. Each will soon receive their case and meet the foster youth for whom they will advocate.
CASA has branches in both Hudson County and Union County, and both offer monthly trainings. Watch the Hudson Reporter briefs and hudsonreporter.com for announcements.

Saint Dominic Academy junior Attends HOBY

Claire Roake, a Saint Dominic Academy junior, was SDA’s representative at HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar) the weekend of June 8-10. Created by the late Hugh O’Brian, an American TV and film actor, HOBY’s mission is to “inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation” and has as its core values, volunteerism, integrity, excellence, diversity and community partnership. The three day event held at Kean University included activities, workshops, reflective time, group time, a dance, a parents program, and several keynote speakers.
“It was the most amazing experience,” Roake said. “I spent the weekend with the most driven high school rising junior leaders from across the state of New Jersey. I made friendships that will last a lifetime. They inspired me to do great things. We spent the weekend listening to talks given by successful people like published author, Jean Clervil and successful entrepreneur Brian Selander. We also spent the weekend working on service projects like making blankets for Project Linus, a non-profit that makes homemade blankets for children in need, and Light the Candle, a non-profit that makes birthday cards for children in group homes. This weekend, I learned a lot about myself and how I can be a leader in my personal and school life. I can’t wait to take what I learned and return to the SDA community and put it to good use.”