Drag Queen Story Hour met with protesters

Young children and their parents attending a drag queen story hour on Saturday afternoon at Little City Books were greeted by protesters who held signs such as “God made them male & female,” and “Honk to protect our children.”

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Members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property stood outside the bookstore with the signs targeted at the LGBTQ community while families were inside enjoying an afternoon with Harmonica Sunbeam, who founded the North Jersey Chapter of Drag Queen Story Hour.

According to a press release from the Hudson County Democratic Organization’s LGBTQ Caucus, parents in attendance at the event proudly stood up for equality, teaching their children that intolerance is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our community.

“This kind of divisive language and intolerance has no place in Hoboken, Hudson County or anywhere in our country,” said Chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization’s LGBTQ Caucus and Hoboken Councilman Mike DeFusco. “We should be teaching children to embrace diversity and acceptance, not spreading hateful rhetoric that aims to set us back on the strides we have made to get closer to full equality. I am incredibly proud of all the Hoboken parents and families who took a stand against the intolerant actions of these protesters and hope we can join together for a community dialogue to discuss these prejudices and injustices.”

“While free speech is protected under our Constitution, let me make it absolutely clear that Hoboken will never stand for any hateful rhetoric targeting our LGBTQ community,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla in a statement. “Hoboken is and always will be an inclusive and welcoming place that is accepting of people of all identities, sexuality or gender expression.  We stand firmly behind Little City Books, Harmonica Sunbeam, and all those who help teach our children the importance of diversity.”

DeFusco and the Hudson County LGBTQ Caucus will host a drag queen breakfast in June, at which all members of the community are welcome to kick off Pride Month and “to show that Hoboken will not be swayed” by protesters who discriminate, according to the press release.

The event will bring the community together for an open dialog about teaching inclusiveness and equality to younger generations and will be held at Roost Outpost, 55 First St., on June 1 from 10 a.m. to noon.

New learning center launches 

The Hoboken Public Library, in cooperation with the Hoboken Housing Authority, will open a new Learning Center next to the authority’s Mama Johnson Field on Thursday, May 2, at 4 p.m.

The center is an extension of a longstanding partnership between the two organizations. Three of the authority’s housing complexes already have “Library Corners,” where residents can pick up free reading material.

At the Learning Center, which is focused on serving younger readers, customers will be able to borrow books and videos, use Library Center laptops, take advantage of free Wi-Fi, and sign up for library cards.

“We are always looking for ways to broaden our service to the community,” said Library Director Lina Podles. “We’ve transformed a former security station, which was unoccupied for some time, into a community hub of life-long learning and enrichment. It’s in keeping with our mission, part of which is to connect people with ideas and support community development. We are very excited about this Learning Center, and are grateful to the authority for helping make this happen.”

The center will be staffed by library professionals and it will be open weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m.

“This is an extension of our continuing partnership with the library to bring services to our residents, and it’s great,” said Marc Recko, executive director of the Housing Authority.  “Now our residents have what is, in effect, a mini-library, right in their own front yard. This Learning Center is going to be really good for us.”

Pop-up park features need new homes

Hoboken invites residents to provide feedback on the proposed locations for the amenities currently located at the temporary Northwest pop-up park. Those amenities will be relocated to other parks and public spaces in the city when construction of the permanent Northwest Park begins by the end of this year.

The survey can be found at https://forms.gle/KGNf5GxaVjG6V81b6. For more information on the Northwest Park, please visit: http://www.hobokennj.gov/nwpark

Last weekend to catch Mile Square Theatre’s ‘Bunnicula’

Mile Square Theatre at 1400 Clinton St. is presenting the family-friendly production of “Bunnicula” now until Sunday, May 5.

“Bunnicula,” based on the book by Deborah and James Howe, follows the Monroe family, who after going to the movies returns home to their two pets, Chester the cat and Harold the dog, with a new addition to the family, a bunny they found in the movie theatre.

However, this is no ordinary rabbit — this is the extraordinary Bunnicula!

When the family’s produce starts losing its juice, Chester thinks he knows what is causing the fantastic phenomenon: Bunnicula is a vampire who sucks the color out of the vegetables. Or, maybe Chester’s imagination is getting the better of him.

Singing and dancing their way through this hilarious mystery, the furry friends find room in their hearts, and in their home, for one unique bunny.

“I encountered this extremely entertaining young audience play about 25 years ago when I was working with Seattle Children’s Theatre,” said MST Artistic Director Chris O’Connor. “It’s funny, engaging, entertaining, and wonderfully adapted from the well-known book by Deborah and James Howe. It’s another great example of theatre for young audiences that goes from the page to the stage. I love how plays like this ignite the imagination of young people and also get them enthusiastic about reading the source material. This will be a great show for school groups and for families looking for a rich family experience.”

“Bunnicula” brings back some recognizable artists to the MST stage including Joelle Zazz, Cameron Blankenship, Rachel Eddy, and Andrew Baldwin.

The show is an hour and 20 minutes. Tickets are $15 to $30 and can be purchased online at www.milesquaretheatre.org or by calling 201-683-7014. For group ticket sales email abaldwin@milesquaretheatre.org or for school bookings email estehli@milesquaretheatre.org

Discount Parking is available at The Harlow at 1330 Willow Ave. and at Little Man Parking at 1300 Jefferson St.

City survey on street design 

The city is currently completing the Complete Streets Design Guide that is designed to help improve all methods of transportation in Hoboken, as well as providing the city with the tools to achieve the goal of no traffic-related injuries or fatalities by 2030.

Residents are encouraged to view the proposed recommendations, as well as fill out an online survey to give feedback by visiting this link: http://streetdesign-cityofhoboken.opendata.arcgis.com/pages/survey.

Hoboken launches Hydration Station Program

The Hoboken Hydration Station Program is an initiative by the Hoboken Green Team to reduce the number of single-use plastic water bottles in Hoboken. Participating local businesses (restaurants, cafes, bars, etc.) will now allow you to refill your reusable water bottle for free.

Look for a Hoboken Hydration Station sticker in the storefront window to identify participating businesses. For a full list of Hydration Stations visit www.hobokennj.gov/hydration.

Businesses and schools invited to join composting pilot program

Hoboken and Community Compost Company offers free curbside pickup of food scraps services to local businesses and schools. To learn more about free compost pickup, visit www.hobokennj.gov/compost.

Register for Spring Fling cleanup day

Members of the community are invited to join Hoboken’s third annual Spring Fling, a community-wide day of service dedicated to cleaning up Hoboken parks and public spaces. Hoboken residents, businesses, and community groups work together on a hands-on, high-visibility service project.

Spring Fling will be Saturday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For the first time this yearparticipants can register for the project that interests them most using VolunteerMatch. They can register as groups or individuals.

By registering through VolunteerMatch, participants can learn about future volunteer opportunities with the city.

Community cleanup projects may include mulching tree pits; planting; weeding; painting benches, railings, or other public areas; and removing debris from public property. More than 500 residents participated in 34 projects in the 2018 Spring Fling.

To register and for more information, visit:www.hobokennj.gov/springfling.

College and graduate students can apply for cybersecurity program

On Friday, April 5, a national cybersecurity program, Cyber FastTrack, designed specifically for undergraduate and graduate students, was launched by 25 governors to encourage more young people to pursue careers in cybersecurity.

Undergraduate and graduate students who want to participate in the free program must be at least 18 years old and registered at a regionally accredited community college, four-year college or graduate school to qualify. The program awards top scoring participants with scholarships to advanced cybersecurity courses, with a total prize value of up to $2.5 million to win.

The program is delivered online so that students can complete it alongside their other studies.

The program awards top scoring participants with scholarships to advanced cybersecurity courses, with a total prize value of up to $2.5 million to win.

The program consists of three stages: CyberStart Assess, CyberStart Game, and CyberStart Essentials. Each stage features a series of digital challenges that are designed to introduce participants to important concepts in the field of cybersecurity.

When registered, participants will be sent a link to the first stage, CyberStart Assess, which consists of a series of questions that measure problem-solving skills and the potential for a career in cybersecurity. The second stage, CyberStart Game, involves tackling more than 200 real-world challenges, including identifying security flaws and uncovering a cyber criminal’s digital trail. Finally, CyberStart Essentials will build on these foundational skills while working through exercises, quizzes and interactive labs.

To register for the program, undergraduate and graduate students need to sign up here: https://www.cyber-fasttrack.org/. 

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