Pehrson, Farina, Burke, Wilson, others to be honored at March 6 St. Pat’s Parade
The Hoboken St. Patrick’s Parade Committee announced Monday that Bernadette Cunning Pehrson has been named the 2010 Grand Marshal. The parade will take place Saturday, March 6 at 1 p.m. on Washington Street.
“We are extremely honored to have Bernadette Cunning Pehrson as this year’s Grand Marshall,” said Bill Noonan, co-chair of this year’s parade.
Bernadette has been on the parade committee since its inception in 1985 and has worked tirelessly on its planning and logistics year after year. Additionally, Bernadette has been active in Irish unity and cultural pursuits, including having served as president of the Irish American Unity Conference – Hudson County Chapter as well as national secretary of the conference. Bernadette was also part of a small coalition that brought Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams to the United States for the first time in 1998, just before the signing of the historic Good Friday peace agreement.”
Additionally, the committee announced that Carol Ann Wilson, long-time Hoboken resident, director of health and human services for Hudson County, and an activist for numerous Catholic charities, has been named Irishwoman of the Year. Similarly, Dr. John Crowe, superintendent for the Woodbridge Township School District and recipient of numerous statewide and national educator awards, was named Irishman of the Year. James J. Farina, Hoboken City Clerk and a long-time supporter of the parade, has been named Honorary Irishman. The Community Service Award winner is Patricia Scribner for her work aiding the homeless and supporting other community causes. Irish Firefighter of the Year is Hoboken Battalion Chief Brian Greene and Irish Policeman of the Year is Detective Nick Burke.
“The committee looks forward to honoring our Grand Marshall and our other honorees at our upcoming Irish Party,” Noonan said. “These individuals represent all of the great things about the Irish-American community in Hoboken. They are all energetic, hard-working individuals whose vigorous support of local charities, schools and civic organizations is remarkable. We hope that many people from our community will turn out to honor these fine people at our Irish Party to be held on Sunday, Feb. 21 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Our Lady of Grace School Auditorium on Willow at Fifth Street.”
The Hoboken Irish Party will feature live music, dancing, a hot corned beef dinner and an open bar. Tickets for the party are $50 each and can be purchased in advance at Mulligan’s and Willie McBride’s, or call 201-420-7842.
The Hoboken St. Patrick’s Parade Committee has also made arrangements for the Annual St. Patrick’s Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church to take place at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27.
County’s schools could lose $44 million via Christie’s state budget cuts
Among cuts in Gov. Christie Christie's current and subsequent state budget are $44 million to school districts in Hudson County. Some have gotten off easy and others have not.
The biggest cut will be a proposed $29.3 million slice in the aid sent annually to the Union City School District, according to reports.
Last year, the district received approximately $150 million in state aid for its budget.
The district closed its two high schools last year and opened its newly built Union City High School this past September. It also runs nine elementary schools, two middle schools, a freshman academy, and early childhood programs.
On Friday, Mark Albiez, a spokesman for Union City Mayor/Democratic State Sen. Brian Stack, said the mayor was not ready to comment on the tentative cut yet. They planned to have more comments later this week.
Last year, Republican lawmakers questioned some spending in the district, including $300,000 paid in overtime to school bus drivers in densely populated, 1.3-square mile city.
Jersey City will lose approximately $3.5 million in aid, and North Bergen will lose about $2 million. Bayonne and West New York will not lose anything. A few districts will lose less than a million, according to published reports: Guttenberg may lose $816,301, Hoboken $669,521, Weehawken $500,013 and Secaucus, $75,974.
The Abbott system provides extra funding to 31 urban "special needs" districts, in response to a series of state Supreme Court cases. However, the fairness of the funds and the funding formula has been debated for some time.
Chiappone opposes proposed options for Bayonne Bridge
During an Assembly committee held in Trenton on Monday, Feb. 8, Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone addressed the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee on the issue of their resolution AR-54, which called on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to formulate engineering and funding solutions for the Bayonne Bridge. Container ships travelling under the Bayonne Bridge already have a hard time fitting. But the next generation of cargo ships won’t make it under the bridge.
Chiappone (D-Bayonne) asked the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee to consider not just the potential impact on Bayonne residents and businesses when coming up with potential solutions for the bridge, but to look for alternative solutions as well.
“Any expansion or replacing of the Bayonne Bridge will result in a severe hardship to Bayonne,” Chiappone said. “While I understand the regional concerns in regards to Port Elizabeth and Port Newark, the local concerns regarding Bayonne need to be considered and respected as well.”
Chiappone questioned how many homes would have to be taken as a result of the project, and said the alternate route over the Turnpike Extension is already overtaxed with traffic.
Chiappone questions all of the proposed plans which involve either raising or replacing the Bayonne Bridge, or building a tunnel.
"Raising the bridge means increasing the span and that means expanding the span into existing neighborhoods. That means the loss of homes through eminent domain. Too me, that's intolerable,” he said. “Replacing the bridge or building a tunnel would be even worse. In my view, none of the options are good for Bayonne.”
Chiappone said larger ships can be and should be accommodated on the New York Bay side of Bayonne through either the expansion of the existing Port Jersey or through the use of part of the former Military Ocean Teminal. Chiappone emphasized that any study done regarding the Bayonne Bridge include an exploration of those options.
Residents with thoughts and opinions on this issue can contact Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone at 201-436-0473.
Lesniak-Cunningham Bill for non-violent drug offenders passed by state Senate
Legislation sponsored by Senators Raymond J. Lesniak and Sandra Bolden Cunningham to amend New Jersey’s drug-free school zone law to give judges more discretion in sentencing nonviolent drug offenders was approved by the Senate last by a vote of 24-11.
The bill, S-1866, would amend the State’s drug-free school zone law to replace the existing mandatory minimum drug sentencing guidelines with more discretion for judges. Under the bill, a judge would be required to consider certain factors when deciding whether or not to waive or reduce parole ineligibility or place a defendant on probation, rather than incarcerate the individual.
These factors include the extent and seriousness of the defendant’s prior criminal record; the location within the drug-free school zone of the present offense in relation to school property, including the distance from the school and the reasonable likelihood of exposing children to drug-related activity; whether school was in session at the time of the offense; and whether children were present or in the immediate vicinity of the location when the offense took place.
The Drug-Free School Zone Act was originally passed in 1987 to supplement New Jersey’s drug laws and increase penalties for drug crimes which expose school-age children to the illegal drug trade. However, since the school zone law was implemented, a vast majority of school zone cases have been found not to involve students, and most do not take place on school grounds.
Health care union wants hospitals to adopt conflict of interest policies
Citing an IRS review that said two-thirds of hospitals had business relationships with their own board members, the state’s largest union of nurses and health care workers, HPAE, will testify on Monday in support of legislation (A656) before the Assembly Health Committee which requires hospitals to adopt policies to disclose and limit such insider business dealings.
“Our communities, patients, and staff deserve to know that our hospital board members – the stewards of scarce patient care funds – are always acting solely in the best interests of their mission,” said Jeanne Otersen, Policy Director for the 12,000 member Health Professionals and Allied Employees, which represents members at Bayonne Medical Center. “In these difficult economic times, there should be no doubt that hospitals are focusing every dollar on meeting patient care needs, rather than serving any personal interest of board member or officer.”
Bills introduced in the state Senate and Assembly would require hospitals in NJ to adopt conflict of interest policies. These policies would include annual statements of conflicts by hospital boards of trustees; recusal where there is a conflict; and competitive bidding on contracts over $25,000 involving board members.