Ramchal wins ‘Chico’ case
Hudson County Superior Court Judge Peter Bariso Jr. ruled on March 28 that Ward B City Council Candidate Khemraj Ramchal can be listed on the upcoming May 14 ballot with the nickname he has long been known by: “Chico.” This means that under Bariso’s order Ramchal will be listed as Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal on the Ward B municipal ballot.
Fellow Ward B City Council candidate Gerald Meyers filed a civil complaint on March 22 asking the court to block the use of Ramchal’s nickname on the ballot. Attorneys for Meyers argued that state law prohibits the use of nicknames on official ballots.
But Jersey City Clerk Robert Byrne, who is charged with printing up the official ballot – and who had agreed to include Ramchal’s nickname – said a precedent has already been set allowing candidates to use non-offensive nicknames on official ballots.
“One thing you’ll find about me is I am intellectually honest,” Byrne said last week. “I have a good sense of how judges will rule on these kinds of things.”
Meyers is the Ward B City Council candidate for Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy. Ramchal is the Ward B candidate for Healy’s challenger, City Councilman Steven Fulop.
The field of candidates for Ward B also includes Esther Wintner, Jesus Tosado, and Chris Gadsden.
H&M Powerhouse to lose iconic smokestacks
Stabilization work has begun on the historic H&M Powerhouse that will ultimately lead to the removal of the building’s trio of iconic smokestacks. The removal of the smokestacks will take about six weeks to complete, according to the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA).
“Unfortunately, the removal of the smokestacks is unavoidable at this time,” said JCRA Director Robert Antonicello in a prepared statement issued last week. “The years of deterioration have undermined the stability of the stacks and…exhaustive engineering studies, including invasive testing last spring, have led to the conclusion that the smokestacks could not be saved.”
The building has, however, been stabilized, Antonicello said. The Cordish Companies, a Baltimore, Maryland-based developer, is planning to redevelop the Powerhouse and current plans call for a new set of smokestacks to be rebuilt so the structure retains its historic profile.
Antonicello said the next phase of Powerhouse stabilization will begin later this year when the building gets a temporary roof.
A renovated H&M Powerhouse is supposed to be the lynchpin of Jersey City’s Powerhouse Arts District, a vision which has been slow to get off the ground.
According to the city’s original redevelopment plans for the area, the Powerhouse building was supposed to become the anchor for an historic district that would eventually combine artist studios, galleries, and affordable residential housing units for artists. Plans for the district, which covers an eight-block area between Newport and Grove Street, called for an extended art-infused plaza and walkway. The concept was supposed to make Jersey City an arts destination that would bring in tourist dollars and create jobs.
Thus far, this dream hasn’t materialized and much of the original plan for the Powerhouse Arts District has been scaled back. For example, plans to have 50 percent of the area’s new housing designated as affordable housing for artists has been cut to 10 percent, and the city has granted variances to developers to build luxury housing in the district.
The city expects a development at 160 Morgan St. to help jumpstart the redevelopment of the Powerhouse Arts District. This mixed-use project will include, among other features, a theater space that will be able to accommodate more than 500 seats.
Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari announces re-election bid
Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari has announced that he will run for re-election as a candidate in the Democratic Primary this June. Schillari is seeking his second term as sheriff.
He was the first sheriff in the history of Hudson County to introduce a 24/7 patrol program that provides round-the-clock protection, while at the same time reducing overtime, by reassigning desk duty officers to the streets.
Two years ago, Schillari waged a bitter battle to be sheriff when the county’s Democratic establishment withdrew its support from then-Sheriff Juan Perez and decided to back Schillari instead. Perez responded by switching political parties and registering as a Republican. Each man won his party primary in June and then faced each other in the general election in November 2010.
Hudson County Democratic Chairman and Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith said he is happy to support the sheriff's re-election bid. “Sheriff Schillari has worked hard and proven his worth as a concerned and compassionate leader who cares about our citizens’ safety,” Smith said.
Schillari has also been endorsed by Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, who also serves as a state senator.
A career law enforcement officer, Schillari is a U.S. Navy veteran and retired Secaucus Police Sergeant. Before being elected sheriff he served as an undersheriff for 13 years. Schillari, a native of Jersey City, currently lives with his wife in Secaucus.
Syed withdraws from Jersey City council race
Ward C City Council candidate Imtiaz Syed announced last week that he is withdrawing from the upcoming race to accept a new work assignment.
In a press statement released to the local media this morning, Syed said: “I have taken up an important community development project relating to [the] health care field in Jersey City that will necessitate my full time involvement, including travel, both domestic and abroad in the next 6 to 8 weeks…Owing to this hectic schedule, I will be withdrawing my name from running as a candidate for Ward C and would like to thank all my supporters who signed my petitions to get on the ballot.”
Syed’s departure from the field of candidates leaves Councilwoman Nidia Lopez, Janet Chevres, Richard Boggiano, and Adela Rohena still in the race for the Ward C seat.
Jersey City Medical Center to offer free diabetes education program
On Thursday, April 4 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Jersey City Medical Center will host a class on the safe use of diabetes medications at the hospital’s campus, located at 355 Grand Street. The presenter will be Dr. Michelle Centrella, a registered pharmacist at the hospital.
“All patients with diabetes and their families have questions regarding medications, which is why attendance at this class should be of particular interest,” said Nancy Rodrigues, RN and certified diabetes educator at Jersey City Medical Center, who facilitates the program. “A diagnosis of diabetes can be scary and overwhelming, as it’s an insidious disease that contributes to cardiovascular disease, loss of vision, nerve damage or amputation if not managed properly. Our intention in offering the program is to educate and empower our patients with diabetes and their family members on how to manage the condition effectively.”
The primary goal of diabetes self-care management education is to provide knowledge and skills training, and to help individuals identify barriers, facilitate problem-solving and develop coping skills.
Family members of diabetics are also encouraged to attend.
To register for the free class, contact Corraine Lisio at Clisio@libertyhcs.org or (201) 915-2948. Space is limited. Attendees must pre-register to participate in the class.
West Side Community Alliance launches website
The West Side Community Alliance (WSCA), the largest civic association on the West Side of Jersey City, has established a community web page to better inform Jersey City residents and merchants about what’s happening on the city’s West Side. The new web address is www.wscajc.org. The group plans to use the site to bring together volunteers and community leaders to better inform local elected officials about the needs of the diverse and long-neglected West Side community.
“For the first time activities on and news about the West Side of the city will be easily available to West Side neighbors, as well as all Jersey City residents and elected officials,” said WSCA president Charlene Burke. “News, upcoming events and dynamic information about the West Side past, present and future will be available in one easily-accessible place.”
WSCA’s mission is to help shape progress and drive change on the West Side of Jersey City, and to represent and advocate for the residents and merchants who live and work on the West Side.
For more information on WSCA please visit the web site at: www.wscajc.org. Or call (201) 737-7269.
Hoboken Grace expands to Jersey City with the opening of Hamilton Grace
Hoboken Grace recently announced that the contemporary, non-denominational church has opened a sister church in Jersey City. On Easter Sunday at 10:30 a.m. the church will celebrate the opening of Hamilton Grace, at 158 Erie St. in Jersey City. Grace kids will be offered at the new location, although there will be no clubhouse.
Hoboken Grace already has two locations in Hoboken.
“Our goal has always been to have service within walking distance of everyone from Paulus Hook to Edgewater,” said Chris High, teaching pastor at Hoboken Grace. “To see this happen is incredible and I am excited for what is yet to come.”
In addition to the 10:30 a.m. service at Hamilton Grace, there will also be services in Hoboken at 9:30 a.m. and noon at 301 Garden St. and at 10:30 a.m. at 800 Clinton St.
To learn more about Hamilton Grace and Hoboken Grace, visit hobokengrace.com.
Sunday jazz brunch with Waterfront Community Church
Waterfront Community Church will host an Easter Sunday jazz resurrection service at 11 a.m. at Boca Grande, 564 Washington Blvd., one block from the Newport PATH Station.
Seating is limited.
“Easter is a wonderful time for Christians to come home and renew their faith,” said Waterfront Community Church Pastor Don Egan in a prepared statement. “Waterfront Community Church is a mobile church on the waterfront in Jersey City. We are very unique among local churches. We meet in public spaces and eat, sing, pray, worship and serve together – a church for the 21st Century…Many folks are searching for a local church that keeps Christian tradition, but is also rooted in the modern world. Waterfront Community Church is for the person who has not been to church in a long time, or has been seeking for a church home or might be looking to belong to a progressive community of faith. Waterfront Community Church just might fit their needs! Come and experience the groove of Easter! ”
For more information, visit www.waterfrontcommunitychurch.com or call (201) 388-1081.
Disaster recovery group to sponsor Red Cross readiness group
SERVPRO, a disaster recovery and cleanup company based in Hoboken that has additional offices in Union City, signed on as a national sponsor of the American Red Cross Ready Rating program, it was announced this week. The program, a free, self-guided tutorial for businesses, organizations and schools become better prepared for emergencies, according to Lance Harvey, owner of SERVPRO of Hoboken/Union City in Hoboken.
“This partnership just makes perfect sense,” said Harvey, “and truly completes the readiness equation for businesses and other property owners in the Hoboken area. The American Red Cross Ready Rating Program allows individuals to assess their readiness for a disaster, so they can take all necessary steps before disaster strikes to protect their property from damage and loss.
“But, when disaster does strike, knowing what to do and who to call saves time – and fast response is key to minimizing damage and downtime,” he continued. “That’s where SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Program can help. Together, these two programs offer maximum peace of mind to businesses and other organizations.”
Tom Henegan, the Red Cross’ manager of business continuity programs, said that the partnership will allow businesses to take recovery efforts into their own hands.
“Through the generosity of SERVPRO, the Red Cross will be empowering workplaces to re-open more quickly after natural or man-made disasters such as water main breaks, medical emergencies, power outages, tornados, floods and hurricanes through the Ready Rating Program,” he said.
With the approaching spring season comes the threat of severe weather, such as high winds, downpours, flash flooding, fires caused by lightning strikes and even tornadoes spawned by thunderstorms – SERVPRO urges all Hoboken property owners to visit the American Red Cross Ready Rating website now at http://readyrating.org to complete a 123-point self-assessment of their level of preparedness for weather-related or other emergencies. Aligned with the federal government's Private Sector Preparedness standards, the Ready Rating assessment offers businesses, organizations and schools access to tools, tips and best practices to help improve their level of preparedness.
Rug store to go out of business
Overstock Rugs, a 10,000 square foot warehouse located at 20 Wood Ave. in Secaucus is holding a huge “Going Out of Business Forever Sale” starting March 28. Due to challenging economic conditions, the store will close its doors and must sell off all its remaining thousands of decorative and antique Oriental rugs. They say they are offering up to 75 percent off of many rugs. They say that interior designers and decorators will get even bigger discounts on multiple rugs. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 noon to 5 p.m. For directions and more information, call (201) 330-1212 or visit www.overstockrugs.us.
Stage adaptation of Fitzgerald’s ‘Gatsby’ gets NJ Premiere in Hoboken
The Hudson Theatre Ensemble presents award-winning playwright Simon Levy’s stage adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel masterpiece “The Great Gatsby.” Levy’s adaptation has provoked historic excitement and is a powerful realization of the acclaimed novel’s Roaring Twenties, Jazz Age world of Prohibition, wealth, privilege, social worlds colliding, and the irreconcilable contradictions within the American Dream and ultimately the ideal quest itself.
Show dates and times are Fridays at 8 p.m. on April 5 and April 12; Saturdays at 8 p.m. on April 6 and April 13, and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. on April 7 and April 14.
The theater is located in the Hudson School Performance Space, 601 Park Ave. between 6th Street and Park Avenue in Hoboken. Visit the theater’s website at www.hudsontheatreensemble.com/directions.html
The ground-floor theater is completely barrier-free and accessible to persons with disabilities. Tickets are $20, General Admission, $15 for seniors and students. Reservation information can be obtained at (201) 377-7014 or at firstname.lastname@example.org