North Bergen awarded $150K grant to combat drug and alcohol addiction

Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners announced at the commission meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 26 that the North Bergen Prevention Coalition is receiving a $150,000 federal grant via the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to combat drug and alcohol addiction, with the possibility of adding an additional $1.25 million in funding over the next 10 years.

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The Coalition was only one of three in the entire country to receive this grant.

Led by Chairman John Belluardo and Coordinator Nick Biamonte, the North Bergen Prevention Coalition is committed to battling the opioid epidemic and youth substance abuse. As part of the grant, the Coalition will be mentored by Partners in Prevention and the Hudson County Coalition for a Drug-Free Community. Partners in Prevention is a Secaucus-based organization whose mission is to improve wellness and prevent substance use disorders and related health challenges in Hudson County and New Jersey.

The Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program, created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, is the Nation’s leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance use. Directed by the ONDCP, the DFC Program provides grants to community coalitions to strengthen the infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance use.

Extended tax collector hours on Nov. 9

The tax collector’s office will have extended hours on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.  The office will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the payment of property taxes.

The tax collector’s office is located in Municipal Hall, 4233 Kennedy Blvd.

Kennedy Library celebrates 5th Anniversary with kids carnival

The Kennedy Branch of the North Bergen Free Public Library celebrated its fifth anniversary with a carnival on Sept. 22. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon kids got to enjoy numerous free rides and games, along with free hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, sno-cones, churros, and more.

Mayor Nicholas Sacco was among the hosts of the event, joined by Commissioners Julio Marenco and Allen Pascual, Freeholder Anthony Vainieri, Parking Authority Director Robert Baselice, and other township officials. Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez visited with numerous detectives from the prosecutor’s office to hand out free smoke detectors and entertain kids with fingerprinting demonstrations. They ended the day by raffling off a free iPad.

Library Director Sai Rao and the library staff worked overtime to ensure everyone had a great time – with one staff member even going so far as to climb into the dunk tank and endure repeated spills into the chilly water. Nearby was a miniature golf course and several bounce houses, including a vertical climbing challenge and slide. The event even included a magic show for kids, complete with live animals.

This year the carnival expanded to encompass not only the library parking lot, but the Dunkin Donuts lot next door, and 22nd Street, which was closed to traffic to allow even more games and attractions. Inside the library itself, face painters created elaborate designs, while the North Bergen Health Department held a bone marrow drive to sign up potential donors.

The Kennedy Branch officially opened on Sept. 20, 2013 at 2123 Kennedy Blvd. It was established on the south end of town to ensure that every resident throughout North Bergen has access to the many services and activities the library system provides. The site also serves as a community center in the area, with teachers, police, and other groups holding activities there in addition to the many educational and entertainment programs the library provides.

Dominican American Parade kicks off in North Bergen

The second of three parades taking place during Hispanic Heritage Month proceeded down Bergenline Avenue on Sunday, Sept. 23. Marching in the Dominican American Parade of Hudson County were Mayor Nicholas Sacco and Commissioners Hugo Marenco, Julio Marenco, and Allen Pascual; Police Chief Robert Dowd; Congressman Albio Sires; Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez; Assemblyman Pedro Mejia; Freeholder Anthony Vainieri; Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, and many other Hudson County officials.

Kicking off at the corner of Bergenline Avenue and 79th Street, the parade made its way south to 43rd Street in Union City. Joining the officials were elaborately decorated floats, marching bands, costumed dancers, military formations, various organizations, and more.

Among the many other dignitaries participating in the parade were Union City Mayor Brian Stack and Commissioners Maryury Martinetti and Celin Valdivia; Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner; Guttenberg Mayor Wayne Zitt and Councilpersons Richard Delafuente, Monica Fundora, and John Habermann; West New York Mayor Dr. Felix Roque and Commissioners Cosmo Cirillo, Susan Colocurcio, Margarita Guzman, and Gabriel Rodriguez; and many others.

Closing out the Hispanic Heritage Month parade season will be the Hispanic State Parade of NJ on Sunday, Oct. 3, starting around noon and marching down Bergenline Avenue from Braddock Park to 32nd Street.

Want to get your writing published? ‘Byline Bible’ publishing talk Nov. 2

Interested in writing and publishing essays, novels, memoir, and more? Come to a reading/publishing talk with “Byline Bible: Get Published in Five Weeks” author Susan Shapiro and “Carrie Pilby” author Caren Lissner, joined by New Jersey writers Kimberlee Auerbach, Darnell McGee, Cara O’Flynn, David Sobel, Doreen Oliver, and Jennifer Byrne. Includes Q&A on how to get your writing published, for all genres. Friday, Nov. 2, 7-8:30 p.m., Little City Books, Hoboken, a six-block walk from the Hoboken train terminal.

Susan Shapiro is an award-winning writing professor at NYU and The New School. Her work appears in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and New York Magazine. She’s the bestselling author of 12 books her family hates, including “Five Men Who Broke My Heart,” “Lighting Up” and “Unhooked.” Her new book “The Byline Bible,” is a funny and inspiring writing guide based on 25 years of teaching what she calls “the instant gratification takes too long” method that has helped thousand of students publish essays and books. You can follow her on Twitter @susanshapironet or Instagram at @profsue123

Caren Lissner is a novelist, essayist, and full-time newspaper editor in New Jersey. Her humorous first novel, “Carrie Pilby,” was recently turned into a comedy film starring Nathan Lane, Bel Powley, and Vanessa Bayer, currently running on Netflix. In the last year she’s published articles, essays, and satire in the New York Times,, Lit Hub, and McSweeney’s. Her writing, photographs, and advice for writers can be found at and her photos can be found on Instagram at @carenlissner. In the last year she has spoken to classes about both investigative journalism and creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania and at SCAD Atlanta.

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