Housing Authority schedules public meetings on Vision 20/20
Housing Authority Executive Director Carmelo Garcia announced three public meetings on the controversial Vision 20/20 housing plan this week, responding to criticism from the plan’s opponents who say that there has been no public process to the plan. The public forums on Vision 20/20 are currently scheduled for Sat., July 31 at 221 Jackson St.; Fri., Aug. 9 at 411 Marshall Dr.; and Sat., Aug. 24 at Fox Hill Gardens, located at 311 13th St., according to a local news site. Specific times for the meetings have yet to be determined.
The Vision 20/20 plan would demolish substantial sections of Hoboken’s affordable housing and replace them with mixed-income buildings, and has caused considerable controversy since it was introduced.
To read up on the issue before you attend the meetings, read our cover story at http://bit.ly/1aXTTEe.
Hoboken school district to require uniforms for upcoming school year
According to a document posted on the Hoboken Board of Education’s website this week, the district will require students in grades 7 through 12 to wear uniforms starting this school year.
According to the policy, high school students will wear red or white polo shirts and students in grades 7 and 8 will wear black or gray polo shirts. White or light blue button-up shirts with a collar are also an option.
As for pants, students will choose between khaki and black Dockers long pants, khaki shorts or knee length skirts.
Crewneck, V-neck, cardigan sweaters and fleeces are permitted, but have to match the grade colors.
Hoodies, hats, sweatbands, bandannas, scarves or sunglasses will be forbidden on school grounds, unless they are kept in a student’s locker.
There are certain state laws that go along with the implementation of school uniforms, including a law that says the district must give the public three months notice prior to implementing the policy, so it’s unclear when students will be required to begin wearing their uniforms. The school year starts in September, though the policy cannot be introduced until October.
Superintendent of Schools Mark Toback did not return a call for comment by press time.
Hoboken mayoral candidate Ramos asks when new pool will open
Hoboken mayoral candidate and state Assemblyman Ruben Ramos took issue with the fact that on the hottest day of Hoboken’s year, a new pool expected to open sometime this month at the Boys and Girls Club was closed on Thursday. Ramos claimed that the pool was supposed to be open by July 8, and though the city has maintained that it will open at some point this month, city spokesman Juan Melli said there is no date set yet.
Capitalizing on the high heat levels, which were expected to reach 103 degrees on Thursday, Ramos turned the temperature into a political issue, lambasting the city’s readiness for the heat wave.
“Heat indices have been in the hundreds all week, but this pool is still not open for anyone to use,” said Ramos. “Some of our residents are in life-threatening danger from this heat and the city can’t even fill up a pool for our kids.”
However, the city has opened the pool at Hoboken High School for residents to use five days a week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Aug. 21, and has set up cooling stations at City Hall. Additionally, spray features are present in several city parks, including Church Square Park, Jackson Street Park, Madison Park, Elysian Park, Stevens Park, Pier A, Pier C, and Columbus Park.
Earlier on Thursday, the city sent out a heat advisory message, urging residents to check in on their elderly neighbors as well as to stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible, to wear sunscreen outside, along with loose fitting light colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible, to drink water regularly, to not leave children or pets alone in a car, and to avoid exertion in the hottest part of the day.
Calabro Elementary will have new principal in September
Joseph P. Vespignani, a former Spanish teacher, middle school vice principal and soccer coach, will take over as principal at the Salvatore Calabro Elementary School.
Vespignani will replace outgoing Principal Laurinda Pereira and will earn an annual salary of $129,200.
Through a united effort between home and school, we will ensure that all students receive a “quality, comprehensive education,” Vespignani said in a letter to parents that was posted on the district’s website. “Our goal will be to foster the academic and social development of each child.”
Vespignani has worked in the Clifton and Belleville school systems for the past 10 years.
Calabro Elementary is located at 524 Park Ave.
Business owner says he’ll fund protest at Pennsylvania home of HHA commissioner
Joe Branco, a local business owner, said at a recent Hoboken Housing Authority meeting that he would fund a protest trip to the eastern Pennsylvania home of Jake Stuiver, the former chairman of the Hoboken Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, who has drawn the ire of public housing residents because he has opposed Executive Director Carmelo Garcia on various issues, according to a report on Hoboken Patch.
Stuiver moved to Pennsylvania several months ago, but there is nothing in the law that says a housing commissioner must live in the municipality he or she serves, or to prevent Stuiver from serving on the board as a “holdover” until the City Council can appoint a successor.
Stuiver, an ally of Mayor Dawn Zimmer, opposes the Vision 20/20 project, a plan supported by Garcia to demolish sections of Hoboken’s public housing and replace them with modern, mixed income buildings. Zimmer’s allies on the housing board have failed to support the proposal, saying more information on it needs to be made public.
Recently, public housing residents have protested against Zimmer’s allies, including one protest at the Hoboken high rise complex where two of the allies live. The residents trust Garcia and want Vision 20/20 to move forward.
At a July 11 HHA meeting, Branco reportedly made his offer when Stuiver asked Garcia to provide an itemized list of his donations to HHA functions during his time as a commissioner, according to Patch.
Branco, an ally of Garcia’s who has said he will assist the director with his upcoming campaign for the state Assembly, reportedly shot back at Stuiver: “I’m pretty astonished that you would actually ask for a total of how much [Garcia] donated to the housing authority. If you give from the heart, you give. You don’t ask to keep track of how much you gave.”
“I think Jake feels left out, that nobody’s protesting in front of his house in Pennsylvania,” Branco continued. “So tonight, I am going to pay for the bus with money out of my pocket so we can go to Pennsylvania to Jake’s house so his neighbors can see what Jake does to us in Hoboken.”
According to the report, Branco said he would take no part in organizing the protest, but would be happy to fund it.
Stuiver, according to the report, has alerted both the Haverton, Pa. and Hoboken police departments, and contacted his lawyer.
“I need to prepare for the very real possibility that it’s not going to be a safe situation for me,” he told Patch. “It wouldn’t surprise me if I come back with windows broken.”
On Friday, Stuiver said in an email that he would be requesting a memorializing resolution from the HHA Board stating that if anyone in HHA’s administration became aware of threats against a commissioner or anyone else, that the proper authorities be contacted.
Mile Square Theater to perform Tony Award-winning “Art”
Mile Square Theatre (MST) will present a one-of-a-kind production of Yasmina Reza`s Tony-winning comedy “Art,” starting July 24 and running through July 30.
What is art? What does it mean to be a friend? What does it mean to be a friend when your friends have terrible taste in art? Chris O’Connor (MST Artistic Director, “Scapin”), Charlie Kevin (MST Associate Artist, Moss in Merrimack Rep’s “Glengarry Glen Ross”), and Matthew Lawler (MST Associate Artistic Director, currently shooting “God’s Pocket” with Philip Seymour Hoffman) – three veteran actors and long-time friends – explore these questions.
In 2011, Mile Square Theatre presented their highly acclaimed and sold-out run of Reza`s “God of Carnage,” which examined the raw nerves that lurk beneath the skin when it comes to matters of friendship and family. Jon Marans, director of “Art” and a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow believes that “…Reza’s play ‘Art’ even more personally explores these themes. And having the opportunity to work with three outstanding actors who are also friends and have a shared history allows this production to more deeply illuminate these off-beat characters and their precarious relationships.”
Rather than being played in a traditional theater, Mile Square Theatre`s production of “Art” will be performed in the intimacy of an art gallery (1200 Washington St.), a lounge (Kolo Klub, 1422 Grand St.), and in select private homes throughout Hoboken. These intimate venues are designed to give the audience a unique experience and draw them more personally into the story.
Performances of “Art” will be: July 24, 25, and 27 at 1200 Washington Gallery in Hoboken, and July 29 and 30 at the Kolo Klub, also in Hoboken.
Performances begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at milesquaretheatre.org or at the door. Reservations are strongly recommended. “Art” is supported by Mason Family Civic League and Accordia Realty Ventures.
Guitar Bar to attempt to break world record for most guitarists playing one song
The Guitar Bar – Hoboken’s long-standing music store – has been rocking along the Hudson for years with its All–Star shows, which bring together their staff of some of the best musicians in the country for great nights of music. This year Guitar Bar is asking everyone to come join the band and help them set a world record for the most people playing one song at one time.
The store is calling on anyone and everyone with an acoustic guitar, mandolin, or ukulele (or any other acoustic string instrument) to join them in what could be a record-setting performance of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” on July 25 at Pier A Park. (Bob Dylan is scheduled to play Pier A Park the following evening.)
Whether you’ve been playing for years or you’re just starting out, the staff will be providing tutorial videos for guitar, mandolin, and ukulele. Additional information is available on the store’s event page at Guitarbar.com/Dylan.
National Association of Professional Women holding annual school supplies drive
In August 2013, the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) will host its second annual Back to School Supplies Drive, which will include efforts to help Hoboken students who cannot afford basic school supplies and toiletries.
Every day teachers are forced to dip into their own pockets to buy classroom supplies for their neediest students, said a press release from the group. Additionally, due to home life, some children are reluctant to attend school if they do not have basic toiletries.
NAPW will be supporting the Urban League of Hudson County by collecting new school supplies and toiletries.
There are two drop-off locations: 309 -311 Newark Ave., Jersey City (drop off time Aug. 19 through 22 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and the Hoboken Business Center, 50 Harrison St., Suite 101, Hoboken (drop-off time July 15 through Aug. 22 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Please call Dolores Daniels at (201) 839-6799 for any drop-offs at the Hoboken Business Center.
The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) is an exclusive network for professional women to interact, exchange ideas, educate, and empower. NAPW members enjoy a wealth of resources, benefits, and services dedicated to enhancing their lives and promoting their businesses and careers.
NAPW also supports and endorses a diverse syndicate of charities and nonprofit organizations focused on women’s issues and child wellness.
NAPW’s mission is to provide the most advanced forum for members to connect with like-minded professional women to develop innovative business and social relationships. They continuously offer their members the resources and benefits necessary to foster professional and personal success.
Hoboken High School class of 1964 planning 50-year reunion
The Hoboken High School Class of 1964 is planning a 50th anniversary reunion to be held in Sept. 2014. The committee is still in the planning stages as to where it will be held. They have looked at several venues in and around Hudson County and will be making a final decision soon. Anyone interested should contact Joe Arlotta at email@example.com or Bobby Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or anyone you know was in the class of ’64, please let them know about the reunion and pass on the contact information for Joe and Bobby.
You can also get up-to-date information on Facebook at 64 Red Wings.
Hoboken schools to benefit from United Arab Emirates’ $4.5 million donation
The Hoboken school district will receive a portion of a $4.5 million donation to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund from the people of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a country in the Persian Gulf region that has grown to become one of the world’s richest due to its oil reserves.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Board of Education President Leon Gold attended a ceremony at Highlands Elementary School in Trenton last Monday morning, where they met and thanked UAE’s ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba.
“We are very thankful to the UAE Embassy for the generous donation that will help improve technology in our schools,” said Gold in a statement.
The donation was made to the Sandy relief fund in an effort to bolster technology in schools that had been damaged by the storm. The district will use the money to increase internet bandwidth capacity, wiring and hardware for instructional areas, and acquisition of mobile computing devices for faculty and students, according to a press release from the city.
Hoboken High School, Joseph F. Brandt School, Salvatore R. Calabro School, Thomas G. Connors School, and Wallace Elementary School will all benefit from the funds.
Hoboken is one of nine districts around the state which will benefit from the donation. The relief fund, which was founded in the aftermath of last year’s storm by Mary Pat Christie, wife of New Jersey’s governor, has so far raised about $38 million, according to a report on NJ.com.
“On behalf of the City of Hoboken, I thank Governor Chris Christie, First Lady Mary Pat Christie, and the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund for their support as we continue to rebuild our community,” said Zimmer.
The Washington Post reported in February that the UAE had pledged $5 million to New Jersey in the wake of the storm. A similar gift has been granted to New York state to assist Sandy relief in the Rockaways and other affected areas.
According to the Post, the UAE has done substantial humanitarian work in the United States, previously donating to relief funds in Joplin, Mo., in 2011, and building soccer fields in low-income neighborhoods in New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles.