Midtown Community School named for William Shemin

Midtown Community School was officially renamed William Shemin Midtown Community School during a ceremony created by faculty and students on Nov. 15. It completed a trifecta of public spaces named after Bayonne’s three Medal of Honor recipients.

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Shemin was a World War I veteran who received the Medal of Honor posthumously, due to the fact that Jewish soldiers were not afforded that distinction at any point in his lifetime.

He received the Medal of Honor in 2015 after his daughters campaigned to make it happen.

Shemin is one of three Medal of Honor recipients with roots in Bayonne. The other two are Nicholas Oresko and Stephen Gregg, who have an elementary school and county park named after them, respectively.

Shemin was born and raised in Bayonne. He was an army rifleman who fought in France after joining the military in 1917. Shemin earned the highest military honor after running through an area in which he was in the direct line of machine gun fire in order to rescue wounded brothers-in-arms.

During that rescue effort, he took a bullet to the head and was wounded by shrapnel, but survived after a three-month hospitalization.

Shemin received the Purple Heart posthumously in 1996.

The board reached a decision to name the school after Shemin unanimously, after other names were floated, such as Dr. Patricia McGeehan, a former superintendent in the Bayonne School District who spent 45 years working there.

Mike Saviello to host art exhibit in Bayonne

Mike Saviello, a barber who spent a lifetime dreaming of breaking into the art world, is now one of Bayonne’s most popular painters.

After hitting the easel during breaks while managing a barbershop for more than 40 years, he had a massive breakthrough at the E.S.P. Gallery in Chelsea, where his works were shown with artists across the globe.

The press has been buzzing about “Big Mike” in recent months, and he’s bringing an exhibit back to his home town of Bayonne. In his contemporary portraits and flower paintings, he channels works by Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cezanne.

The exhibition, run by a venue called Dollhaus II in Bayonne, at 23 Cottage St., will feature Saviello’s works until Jan. 5. Dollhaus II is open from 2-7 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

Bayonne craft vendors will raise funds for Relay For Life

The Bayonne Community Museum will host a Bayonne Holiday Vendor and Craft Fundraiser on Dec. 1 from noon to 6 p.m.

Funds will be raised for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life Foundation.

Vendors and crafters are still needed. To find out more about the event, contact Joanna Baran at or 201-858-2380, or call Linda Freeman at 201-823-4508.

American Legion hosts annual coat and toy drive

Bayonne’s American Legion Post 19 will hold a coat and toy drive until Dec. 20. Last year, it donated more than 400 coats to homeless veterans and school children. It’s hoping to break that record. All coats and toys can be dropped off at the Post on 683 Broadway, between 31st and 32nd Streets from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Coats will be donated to the Hudson County VA clinic in Jersey City and a nonprofit called Community Hope. The American Legion will also donate children’s coats to the Bayonne School District.

For more information, contact Mike Wilson at the American Legion location, or at 201-858-9349.

Sweeney, Scutari seek recreational cannabis referendum

Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Nicholas Scutari announced that they introduced legislation to seek voter approval of a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational use of cannabis by adults in New Jersey.

The ballot question reads, “A concurrent resolution proposing to amend Article IV, Section VII of the New Jersey Constitution by adding a new paragraph. Proposes constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis for personal, non-medical use by adults who are age 21 years or older, subject to regulation by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission.”

“We will have the Legislature vote on the plan during the current legislative session and expect the proposal to be on the ballot in 2020, when voter turnout will be maximized for the national election,” Sweeney and Scutari said in a joint statement. “We are confident it will be approved by the Senate, the Assembly, and the voters. … We will now move forward with a plan that helps correct social and legal injustices that have had a discriminatory impact on communities of color. …”

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