Last week Hoboken officials raised the Irish flag outside city hall in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Pictured are Mayor Ravi Bhalla, City Clerk Jimmy Farina, and Councilwoman Emily Jabbour. Photo by Jerry Lore
Last week Hoboken officials raised the Irish flag outside city hall in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Pictured are Mayor Ravi Bhalla, City Clerk Jimmy Farina, and Councilwoman Emily Jabbour. Photo by Jerry Lore

NJEDA awards city $100,000 for Innovation Grant

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority awarded Hoboken a $100,000 innovation challenge grant last week.

The city, in partnership with Propelify, Stevens Institute of Technology, and the Hoboken Public Library, will use the funds to create a co-working innovation center.

Hoboken was one of only five communities in the state to be awarded funding through the grant.

“I’d like to thank Governor Murphy and the NJEDA for recognizing Hoboken for this important funding,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “We are thrilled to partner with local groups … and this grant will further solidify Hoboken as a leader in promoting innovation and technology in New Jersey.”

“The industry-specific knowledge that Propelify brings to the City of Hoboken’s Innovation Challenge partnership will be essential to developing a plan that ensures the most critical needs of Hoboken’s entrepreneurial community are addressed,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “This collaboration between local government, industry, and academia will help to position Hoboken to continue to attract up-and-coming companies and talent.”

As a part of the grant, Hoboken, Stevens, the Hoboken Public Library, and Propelify will launch a planning process for the creation of a co-working innovation center that will make the vital resources of space, mentorship, capital, and community available to innovative practitioners and entrepreneurs.

The proposed innovation center will help support the incubation of Smart City small businesses in northern New Jersey.

For more information on Propelify and the technology community in Hoboken, click here.

Hoboken man pleads guilty to child pornography distribution

Hoboken resident Todd Walsh, 41, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, March 12, on one count of distributing child pornography in Newark federal court according to an announcement by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

According to the announcement Walsh admitted to distributing images of child sexual abuse.

From September 2016 through November 2017, undercover officers accessed an Internet-based video conferencing application and observed that a user, identified as Walsh, allegedly used the application to display images of child sexual abuse, including images of prepubescent children, to other users, according to the announcement.

The count of distributing child pornography to which Walsh pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 25.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

He also thanked the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and the Hoboken Police Department for their work on this case.

City budget presentations begin next week

Hoboken will begin hosting special 2019 city budget presentations to the Hoboken City Council and members of the public who wish to attend next week.

The workshops are scheduled to take place on Monday, March 25, in city council chambers on the first floor of city hall at 94 Washington St. and at the Multi Service Center at 124 Grand St. on Tuesday, March 26 and Tuesday, April 2.

On Monday, March 25, presentations will be given from 6 to 7 p.m. in the City Clerk’s Office, from 7 to 8 p.m. on the Department of Administration and Department of Finance, and from 8 to 9 p.m. on the Office of Corporation Counsel.

On Tuesday, March 26, presentations will be given from 6 to 7 p.m. on the Department of Public Safety Police Division; from 7 to 8 p.m. on the Department of Public Safety Fire Division; and from 8 to 9 p.m. on the Department of Environmental Services.

On Tuesday, April 2, presentations will be given from 6 to 7 p.m. on the Department of Community Development; from 7 to 8 p.m. on the Department of Health and Human Services; and from 8 to 9 p.m. on the Department of Transportation and Parking.

Open office hours announced

Hoboken’s tenant advocate, Andrew Sobel Esq., will hold open office hours for Hoboken residents seeking advice on housing matters. Sobel will be available during office hours, by appointment, between 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, in the basement conference room in city hall.

Hoboken residents wishing to attend the tenant advocate office hours must contact Sobel’s office via email gmccarthy@sobelhan.com or call 201-338-7411  in advance and provide a description of the issue to be discussed in order to schedule an appointment.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla will hold open office hours for residents on April 8 from 6-8 p.m. at Brandt School (215 Ninth Street), according to a notice from the city.

Also joining Mayor Bhalla will be Hoboken’s Chief of Constituent Affairs, Caroline Caulfield.

Residents planning to attend may email her in advance to advise of any issue they would like to discuss.

Caufield can be reached at ccaulfield@hobokennj.gov.

Hoboken’s new Office of Constituent Affairs is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the first floor of city hall, 94 Washington St, for residents to receive assistance with municipal services.

Residents can make an appointment in advance or outside of those hours with Caufield by calling (201) 420-2000 ext.1311 or by emailing ccaulfield@hobokennj.gov.

Waterfront walkway to get upgrades

 According to a press release from the city, Hoboken and the South Waterfront Corporation will upgrade the walkway and bike paths on the south waterfront between Sinatra Drive and Newark Street, and along Pier A.

The improvements include restoring the surface, replacing trees and vegetation, and upgrading pedestrian and bicycle safety features.

Residents can review the plans at a community meeting on April 30 at the Multi-Service Center, 124 Grand St. at 6:30 p.m.

The project will restore portions of the walkway from the intersection of Sinatra Drive and Fourth Street to the intersection of Sinatra Drive and Newark Street.  Upgrades are proposed to the railings, benches, and lighting; there will be planting of new trees and vegetation.

It will also improve the south waterfront bicycle path in that area to enhance bicycle and pedestrian mobility, and provide a connection to the waterfront walkway at Fourth Street and Newark Street. The design includes pedestrian safety improvements connecting to the west side of Sinatra Drive. Upgrades to the bicycle path will be considered, as well as additional tree plantings and vegetation east and west of the bicycle path.

“Our waterfront is what makes our city special for both residents and visitors,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla in the release. “These upgrades will greatly enhance the experience when walking and biking along our waterfront, increase pedestrian safety, and improve the connectivity of our city.”

Last month, the South Waterfront Corporation, which jointly maintains the public and open space along the south waterfront with the city, approved a contract with Kimley-Horn and subconsultant ENGenuity to oversee the upgrades.  The South Waterfront Corporation consist of the City of Hoboken, the Port Authority, Ironstate Development, SJP Properties, and Mack-Cali.

The project team is completing a field review of existing conditions, including soil testing.

Celebrate Purim with the Chabad Jewish Center

 The Chabad Jewish Center will host its Grand International Purim Party on Purim which is Thursday, March 21, at 4:45 p.m. at The Multi-Service Center, 124 Grand St.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and all are welcome regardless of affiliation or background.

This year’s theme –   celebrating Purim in the Chocolate Factory – will feature a delicious buffet dinner, chocolate Hamantashen, and lots of goodies. There will also be great entertainment for all ages including face paint, balloon shaping, experiments by MadScience, and a bar for adults.

To register, visit https://www.chabadhoboken.com/tools/events/register_cdo/eventid/8622

Hoboken Garden Club to host houseplant workshop

The Hoboken Garden Club (HGC) in partnership with the 14th Street Garden Center, will present a Houseplant Workshop on Sunday, March 31, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 14th Street Garden Center, 793 Jersey Ave. in Jersey City.

Colin Wright, New York Botanical Garden Herbalist and Environmentalist, will lead the workshop.

Whether you are new to the houseplant scene or a veteran, find out how to grow like a pro.

Wright will show attendees how to select the best soil and pot for your indoor plants. He will review the best plants to clean the air, along with plants with amazing foliage and textures.

Admission is free; refreshments will be served.

Other HGC events include spring and fall plant swaps, field trips to New Jersey specialty nurseries, tours of select public gardens, and participation in Hoboken Historical Museum’s fundraiser, The Secret Garden Tour, on June 2.

For more information regarding the Hoboken Garden Club, visit www.HobokenGardenClub.com.

Grassroots activist workshop announced

The Hoboken Municipal Republican Committee and the Hudson County Young Republicans invite conservatives, libertarians, small-government activists, and Republicans of all types to join them at a Grassroots Activist Workshop.

The workshop will teach attendees about the fundamentals of grassroots activism including best practices for building coalitions, managing organizational frameworks, and holding elected officials accountable.

The workshop will take place on Sunday, Mach 31, from 11 a.m.to 5 p.m., at the Barsky Gallery, 49 Harrison St.

Parking is free; lunch will be provided.

Free diabetes program offered at Hoboken University Medical Center

Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, supported locally by Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc. (HQSI), continues its partnership with CarePoint Health by offering free diabetes education as part of Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC).

The EDC program is a national initiative of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The program offers free self-management workshops open to people with Medicare who have diabetes, their family members, and caregivers.

The free workshops, which take place once a week for six weeks, are designed to educate individuals about diabetes and help them learn how to manage it through various tools and techniques. Participants learn about diabetes and its risks, preventing complications, healthy eating, exercise, how to deal with stress and depression, managing medications, and more.

The free workshop will be at Hoboken University Medical Center at 308 Willow Ave. on Mondays, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, and May 6, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Participants will receive complimentary snacks, literature, and giveaways.

The workshop is open to the public; all attendees must register by the second session. Call Maureen Williams at (201) 858-5219.

Visit www.qualityinsights-qin.org to learn more about Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, or to read success stories about people with diabetes in New Jersey who completed this program and experienced positive results.

Hoboken resident to run Boston Marathon for Mass General Pediatric Cancer Team

Hoboken resident Sandy Curko will run in the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, in support of the MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) Pediatric Cancer Team.

Curko will join an estimated 30,000 runners along the 26.2-mile course from Hopkinton to Boston.

The money raised by Curko and her team will support research, clinical initiatives, and quality-of-life services including art and music therapy at MGHfC, helping pediatric cancer patients cope emotionally and developmentally with their illnesses.

“The single most important thing that I have learned from watching so many loved ones battle cancer is to live your life to the fullest every day,” said Curko in a press release. “We are not promised a tomorrow, or even a tomorrow that resembles today, so it’s important to really enjoy your life no matter how hard things get.”

Thanks to a partnership with John Hancock, the Fighting Kids’ Cancer…One Step at a Time team is targeting a goal of more than $1,075,000 this year.

Participants include former patients and their family members, MGH employees, and longtime program supporters.

Since 1998, the team has raised more than $14.2 million for care and research.

“So many of us are touched by cancer in some way, but you don’t have to be a caregiver at the bedside to leave an imprint on a child undergoing cancer treatment,” said Howard Weinstein, MD, chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at MGHfC and 22-year captain of the pediatric team. “Every year, we see runners step up and become our partners in fighting childhood cancer. Their support is vital to our holistic approach to cancer care, and I’m proud to run alongside them on April 15.”

To learn more about the MGHfC Pediatric Cancer Team, visit https://giving.massgeneral.org/boston-marathon/pediatric-cancer-team/.

Second annual Baseball For All Maria Pepe Series announced

Hoboken will host the second annual Baseball For All Maria Pepe Series, the East Coast’s largest all-girls baseball tournament, from June 29–30.

Named after local baseball trailblazer, Maria Pepe, the eponymous event will provide more than 150 girls ages 8–18 from New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Washington D.C. Canada, and other neighboring areas the rare opportunity to play baseball with and against other girls their age.

While the first game of baseball was reportedly played at Elysian Fields, Hoboken is equally significant in baseball history as the home of local legend, Maria Pepe. After playing only three games on her team in Hoboken Little League in 1972, she was removed and banned from playing,as parents and coaches cited the 1951 “Tubby Rule” that prohibited girls from playing Little League baseball. The National Organization for Women filed a gender discrimination suit on her behalf and won, aiding the passage of Title IX and future federal regulations giving females the right to play sports.

“Maria is a legend, and because of her sacrifices as a child, these girls today can play baseball,” said Justine Siegal, founder of Baseball For All and the first woman to coach for a Major League Baseball organization.

This event will take place just weeks before the 5th annual Baseball For All-Nationals, the largest all-girls baseball tournament in the country.

At this year’s Nationals, Baseball For All will add a nine-and-under division and anticipates nearly 400 girls ages 7–18 will be taking the field.

Baseball For All is a nonprofit that provides girls with opportunities to play, coach, and lead in baseball.