Local pastors, congregation, and community members gather at Weehawken’s 9/11 memorial for day of prayer
Event Director James “Brian” Hernandez from the West New York Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ brought several church leaders, politicians, and guest speakers to pray in the shadow of the 9/11 memorial last week. Hernandez had approached the Mayor Richard F. Turner for the second year about the “National Day of Prayer” event, and the mayor felt the 9/11 memorial was a fitting location.
The two beams that held up the World Trade Center on that infamous day stood tall as Pastor Saul Gomez lead the service with an opening prayer. Mayor Richard Turner, who was among the attendees, spoke highly of the importance of the day for the nation.
The ceremony took place simultaneously across the U.S. Every year, the acting president signs a proclamation encouraging citizens to pray on the first Thursday of every May.
33rd District Assembly candidate drops out
Hoboken Councilman Ravi Bhalla, a candidate for the 33rd District Assembly race, has dropped out. The 33rd District includes Union City, Weehawken, Hoboken, and part of Jersey City.
Bhalla would have faced candidates endorsed by State Sen. Brian Stack in the June Democratic primary. It appeared as though he might get a better chance when five Hoboken residents filed a lawsuit to remove one of Stack’s Assembly candidates, Carmelo Garcia, from the race – but the state Supreme Court refused to hear the suit on Tuesday (see links below to prior stories about this controversy).
Late on Wednesday, Bhalla sent out a release announcing his decision, and dropping out of the race. He had harsh words for Garcia, but said nothing about Stack in the release.
He wrote, “My decision is driven by yesterday's refusal by the New Jersey Supreme Court to consider a challenge to Hoboken Housing Authority Director Carmelo Garcia's candidacy to serve in the State Assembly, while simultaneously serving as Executive Director of the HHA. As a result, it is not prudent to expend substantial resources in continuing my candidacy now. At a minimum, Director Garcia's candidacy is a blatant violation of the spirit of both federal and state laws intended to address the kind of conflict of interest represented by Mr. Garcia's candidacy. The residents of the HHA are completely dependent on the federal program administered by Mr. Garcia, leaving them particularly vulnerable to the consequences of the conflict of interest created by Mr. Garcia's candidacy, and ultimately his dual office holding since Mr. Garcia has stated that he intends to retain both positions.”
He added, “Mr. Garcia holds a highly paid, full-time public position running the Hoboken Housing Authority with a current salary of $157,500, increasing to over $172,500 over the next two years. In addition, he would receive a $49,000 salary as an Assemblyman and receives a $5,000 stipend as an aide to another elected official. … His contract with the HHA already provides him with a staggering 44 paid days off per year (almost 9 weeks - 21 vacation days, 21 sick days and 2 personal days). It is hard to fathom how he can take additional paid time off to perform his legislative responsibilities while also performing his full time responsibilities to the HHA.
He said he wants to focus on remaining a councilman and helping his ally, Mayor Dawn Zimmer, get re-elected.
N.J. Grand Prix race will get no state subsidies
The proposed 2014 Formula One Grand Prix race, set to take place on the streets of Weehawken and West New York in June of that year, will not get any state subsidies, according to news reports published Tuesday.
The race might generate upwards of $100 million for the region’s economy. But Gov. Chris Christie said on Tuesday that the state of New Jersey will not contribute funds toward the event.
"The guy in charge of the race, he's told me that he doesn't need [funding from the taxpayers]," Christie was quoted as saying in an article on NJ.com. "I told him we're not giving them. So there's really not a discussion."
Some have speculated that the race can't go forward without such subsidies. But organizers said this is not true.
"Race progress, including permitting and course construction, continues to move forward and we are on pace for a world-class race in 2014," a race spokesman said in the NJ.com story. “America is a big country and we have always believed there can be multiple successful races here. There is something special about racing in New Jersey with the New York City skyline in the background that we know will make for an unforgettable Formula 1 experience.”
Free UBS Atrium Series finale this Wednesday
The UBS Atrium Series, a free, indoor concert series curated by the Hudson River Performing Arts Center (HRPAC), will hold its final show of the season this Wednesday, May 15 at 12:30 p.m. The concert, featuring the string quartet Sybarite 5, will take place in the atrium of the UBS Building, located at 1000 Harbor Boulevard in Weehawken.
From Mozart to Radiohead, Sybarite 5’s eclectic repertoire and dynamic performance style is turning heads throughout the music world. From the moment their bows hit the strings, this quintet of talented, diverse musicians takes the audience on an exciting ride that engages the senses and redefines the rules.
Originally formed at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, Sybarite 5 was the first strong quintet admitted to the Aspen Advance String Quartet Studies program, where they worked with noted musicians Earl Carlyss of the Julliard Quartet and bassist Edgar Meyer. It was also the first string quartet to win the Concert Artists Guild International Competition in that esteemed organization’s 60 year history.
The group has performed at the Library of Congress, Lincoln Center, the Tishman Auditorium, Bohemian National Hall, and on CBS’ “The Early Show.” Sybarite 5’s debut release, “Disturb the Silence” made its debut at #11 on Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart.
HRPAC’s UBS Atrium Series is sponsored in part by The Hudson Reporter. For more information, visit www.hrpac.org.
UC homeless shelter to hold annual gala
On Tuesday, May 21, the Palisades Emergency Residential Corporation (PERC) is hosting its annual gala. This year’s gala theme, “You Change Lives,” honors Bruce J. Markowitz and Palisades Medical Center for their continued commitment and support to all residents of Hudson County. The event is being held at the Waterside Restaurant in North Bergen.
The evening will include a reception, dinner and awards, plus a silent auction and raffle. Tickets will cost $125. For more information on the event, visit http://www.percshelter.org/gala-2013.php
Free community health fair in WNY
The Dvine Konektion Community Development Corporation is offering a free Community Fair on Saturday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 5516 Jefferson St. in West New York. Residents of West New York, North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken and Guttenberg are welcome to attend. During the fair free bags of groceries and baby supplies such as diapers and wipes will be distributed. There will also be free blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol screenings, information about health insurance, vouchers for free mammograms and prostate exams, and more. For additional information, please call (201) 617-4484 or visit www.dvinek.org.