Fourth graders at Hoboken Charter holding benefit for the homeless next Saturday
Hoboken Charter School’s fourth grade class, which has spent much of the year learning about homelessness and displacement, will be putting on its annual Filling Empty Bowls event at the Hoboken Homeless Shelter on Sat. May 4 at noon. The shelter is located at 300 Bloomfield St. Tickets for the Empty Bowls event can be purchased at the door for $10 per person or $25 per family. You can also contact the school if you are interested in purchasing tickets in advance or making a donation.
The theme for this year’s event is “Homelessness caused by natural disasters.” Due to Hurricane Sandy, over 3,500 families in New York and New Jersey are still displaced and do not have a home to return to. Many of these families live in Hoboken. There will be musical entertainment, a puppet show, informative speeches and poems, as well as a delicious, homemade lunch.
Currently the Hoboken Shelter provides several services and programs to the local homeless such as drug and alcohol counseling, job and life skills, mentoring and tutoring and emergency clothing. The day of the Empty Bowls event, Hoboken Charter School faculty and families will be stationed outside of the local supermarkets, accepting a variety of donations. They will provide shoppers with lists of things to buy inside of the stores. If you can’t make it to the event, try to go to one of the supermarkets to make a donation.
Donate bikes for a good cause
Bike Hoboken, a community group of biking enthusiasts, is collecting bikes for its second annual bike drive. Last year the group collected seven bicycles starting with the April Hoboken Green Fair, including a bicycle donated by Mayor Dawn Zimmer's son. This year, Bike Hoboken is accepting adult bicycle donations.
The Hudson TMA takes the donated bikes, a mechanic checks them over and your donation is then given to a Hudson County adult resident to use to commute to work. You'd be doing a great service to someone who needs help commuting to work plus you give a bicycle a second lease on life.
The goal is 12 bikes, and they currently have three.
Please contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Special council meeting canceled as anti-Zimmer members decline to attend; Zimmer responds
Hoboken City Council members Theresa Castellano, Michael Russo, Tim Occhipinti and Beth Mason sent out a press release on Thursday saying they would not attend the emergency City Council meeting scheduled for the evening of Thursday, April 25.
The meeting was meant to appropriate funds to give retroactive pension pay to 14 firefighters who said they were owed the back pay.
According to the release, "The council members are concerned that the meeting prevents public inclusion" by not being scheduled for a regular meeting date. The four also said that the meeting was an attempt to conceal what they say are financial problems caused by the Zimmer Administration.
The four are frequent critics of Zimmer, who is running for re-election in November. The council presesntly has four members allied with Zimmer as well.
Since the council can not vote with only four members, the meeting had to be canceled.
The release alleged that, "Zimmer is asking the City Council to approve $700,000 in retroactive pay for 14 fire fighters. At the last City Council meeting the mayor asked the council to approve $1.5 million in appropriations, but after being questioned by the Council, it turned out that only $700,000 was needed."
The members said that firefighters deserve fair compensation, but that the matter should be voted on at a regular meeting.
The day before, Vision for Hoboken, a slate comprised of Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr. for mayor, and Eduardo Gonzalez, Laura Miani and Joe Mindak for City Council at large, issued a joint statement about the decision to bond for the money.
Their statement said, “This pension expense was imminently foreseeable and an emergency bond should not be necessary to pay for it. The Vision for Hoboken slate believes it's time to stop misrepresenting the city's finances to score cheap political points, and start doing what's right for families in Hoboken.”
Zimmer responded with a release on Thursday, saying, ““Tonight’s council meeting was the second opportunity for the City Council to vote on two different alternatives for paying our firefighters the terminal leave they have earned and we have an obligation to pay. Terminal leave is not salary, nor is it pension cost, as it has been incorrectly described. It is a retirement benefit based upon number of years of service. It is not a current operating cost attributable to the year in which it is paid and therefore the state permits for this cost to be spread out over five years for budget purposes. Taking advantage of this option requires the city to finance the cost with the use of short term five year notes so that the firefighters can be paid immediately upon retirement. Spreading the cost out in this way protects taxpayers from the unfair burden that would otherwise result when, as this year, an exceptionally large number of retirements occur in one year.
The City Council was fully aware when they voted to introduce the budget that terminal leave would be financed using the legally available five-year option.”
She added, “council members Castellano, Mason, Occhipinti, and Russo have indicated that they believe that the decision not to burden taxpayers unnecessarily this year causes the budget to be ‘underfunded.’ While this is not correct, the budget is now in the hands of the City Council, and it is within their power to include the amounts in full in this year's budget. Doing so will require an otherwise unnecessary increase in the tax levy.”
She said that at the next meeting, “We will once again for the third time be presenting an emergency appropriation that fully funds the terminal leave costs in this year's budget. The terminal leave ordinance passed at the last meeting makes no fiscal sense without the corresponding notes that the council failed to pass. As a result, I will be vetoing the terminal leave ordinance tomorrow morning. Once again, the budget is in the council’s hands, and it is their responsibility to fully fund it. I assume, given the public statements of Council Members Castellano, Mason, Occhipinti, and Russo, that they will pass the emergency appropriation so that our firefighters can be paid immediately. It is unfortunate that their choice will also result in an entirely unnecessary burden on Hoboken’s taxpayers."
Local resident at receiving end of national text/phone scam targeting Spanish speakers
The Hoboken Police Department sent out an alert Wednesday to warn residents of a nationwide phone extortion scam that has recently targeted members of the local community.
A Hoboken resident recently received a text message in Spanish stating that a relative had been in an accident and asking that they call a phone number immediately. When they called the number, the caller stated that they had a close relative of the targeted victim captive and demanded money in exchange for their release.
Several similar incidents have taken in place in Hudson County. In these cases, an unknown male attempted to extort money from a female via telephone by making false claims that he had a family member captive.
Residents who believe they are the target of the scam should report the incident to the Hoboken Police Department by calling 201-420-2100.
Teen Relationship IQ Parent Workshop Series at HHS
Hoboken High School, in conjunction with the Institute for Relationship Intelligence, Linda Haft, and the Jubilee Center, started holding a series of workshops from Friday, April 12 to Thursday, May 30. All workshops are held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will focus on topics like teen sex, healthy and unhealthy relationships, psychological effects of teen sex, physical effects including substance abuse and cutting and more. Certificates of completion will be awarded for participation in the full program. Light refreshments will be served.
For more information call (201) 356-2774.
Eight High Tech students qualify to enter 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program
Director of High Tech High School Dr. Joseph Giammarella announced that eight High Tech juniors have met the qualifications to enter the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program this year.
High Tech is a countywide public high school.
The designation is based on PSAT scores and other factors. With a Selection Index score of 203 or above, each of these students—Harrison residents Mark Ma and Toshi Piazza; Sam Jacobs of Hoboken; Jersey City resident Jenny Doyle; Maximilian Ashkenazi, Dina-Simran Chotrani, and Eileen Gao of Secaucus; and Weehawken resident Kyra Baker—ranked among the 50,000 highest-scoring participants of some 1.5 million program entrants.
Semifinalists, representing the top scorers in each state, will be the only students who will have the opportunity to continue in the competition for about 8,300 National Merit Scholarships offered in 2014.