Hoboken plan will keep energy on during blackouts
Thursday morning, an agreement was signed by Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Rob Gorur of the Department of Energy, Ralph LaRossa (president of PSE &G), Robert Hannah (president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities), and a representative from Sandia National Laboratories. The agreement will entail the creation of a smart grid energy project in Hoboken that will make Hoboken’s energy sources more dependable during a blackout.
Mayor Zimmer spoke about the Department of Energy’s visit to Hoboken after Hurricane Sandy, and how she offered Hoboken to be an energy learning city, to help the DOE learn about what they can do to help prevent cities in easily-floodable areas from losing their power when storms and floods occur.
The Smart Grid project will keep power on during storms for people that can’t afford to lose power, such as first responders, firefighters, medical centers, and senior centers, all of which lost power during Hurricane Sandy.
The city also expects to add pumps and a green infrastructure that will collect as much rain water as possible to deal with flooding during storms.
During Hurricane Sandy, one of Hoboken’s substations that provides a lot of the city’s energy was submerged in four feet of water. PSE &G’s Energy Strong Program, currently being reviewed by the Board of Public Utilities, would protect such stations from situations like that in the future, by combining substations, rising them up, and making sure that they are more resilient.
Although the energy agreement and new additions will be costly, Mayor Zimmer said that “it’s worth it to make this investment” because of all the residents and businesses that were, and are, so greatly affected by flooding, economically-wise. As of now, there is no definite time frame of when the Smart Grid, or any of the other additions, will be finished. – Katherine Desimine
Zimmer wants Hoboken exempted from state legislation that would allow coastal development on piers
As reported in a recent edition of The Hoboken Reporter, there is a bill in the state legislature sponsored by two Hudson County legislators, Vincent Prieto (D–32nd Dist.) and Angelica Jimenez (D–33rd Dist.), designed to allow development on piers in coastal high hazard areas in certain urban municipalities in order to encourage economic growth. It is complemented by a similar bill in the state Senate, S-260, backed by State Sen. Nicholas Sacco. If written into law, it would supersede local ordinances, like those in Hoboken, that bar development on piers.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer expressed her hopes on Monday that Hoboken would be exempted from potential legislation that would allow development on urban coastal piers due to worries about flooding. She sent a letter addressed to the General Assembly’s Environmental and Solid Waste Committee.
“While I cannot speak for other communities, I can assure you that Hoboken does not need this legislation to expand its future growth, and the residents of Hoboken are strongly against development on waterfront piers for numerous reasons,” wrote Zimmer.
Zimmer said that her opposition to the legislation was three-fold, based on Hoboken’s past difficulties with waterfront development, the already-existent interest of developers looking to build in Hoboken (and not only on the waterfront, she noted), and the city’s propensity to flood.
“We know firsthand that federal policies do not at this time support urban areas,” she said. “For example, this legislation will potentially result in unwary buyers purchasing property only to find out that the flood insurance they were required to purchase does not cover their buildings and they cannot get other assistance.”
She also noted that past waterfront development, though not residential development, has resulted in significant costs to taxpayers. The Sinatra Drive athletic field, for instance, has already cost taxpayers around $12 million, said Zimmer.
The legislation was considered before the Assembly committee in Trenton on Monday, and though Zimmer was unable to attend the hearings, the letter was read out loud during the proceedings, according to city spokesman Juan Melli.
State Sen. Stack, Carmelo Garcia endorse Christie in governor’s race
Union City Mayor and 33rd District State Sen. Brian Stack endorsed Gov. Chris Christie for re-election at a rally in Union City on Wednesday afternoon. Stack is a Democrat and Christie is a Republican, but Stack has worked with Christie before.
Stack’s ticket mates in the November legislative elections, Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Carmelo Garcia and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Raj Mukherjee, also appeared at the rally and endorsed Christie.
Stack is also up for re-election in November, and is favored to win in predominantly Democratic Hudson County.
In the past, sources have alleged that Union City got extra state aid and other special treatment because of Stack’s relationship with Christie.
Two other Democratic Hudson County mayors – Mayor Dawn Zimmer and West New York Mayor Felix Roque – have shown signs of being allied with Christie or working with him in the past, but neither has made a recent endorsement.
At the rally, Stack said, “Governor Christie has set an example of what it means to be bipartisan for the good of the people.” He spoke of Christie’s work with President Barack Obama in bringing federal aid to his area for Hurricane Sandy.
Stack also called Christie a friend. “I get more sleep every night knowing I have a governor who cares about the people of New Jersey,” he said.
Christie faces Democratic challenger Senator Barbara Buono in November.
Stack’s state Senate district includes Union City, Hoboken, Weehawken, and part of Jersey City.
Assembly panel approves Ramos-sponsored bill to finance storm-resistant homes
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Ruben J. Ramos, Jr., Grace L. Spencer, and Timothy J. Eustace to assist homeowners in building stronger, smarter, more storm-resistant homes was released by an Assembly panel on Monday.
“Sandy was a wakeup call for many residents, underscoring the fact that climate change, development, and other factors have rendered the current construction and layout of many homes impractical,” said Ramos (D-Hudson). “This bill would help provide public financing for homeowners to renovate or build structures that are far more flood and hurricane-resistant.”
Currently, a municipality may undertake the financing of the purchase and installation of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements made by property owners, upon application to and approval by the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs. By ordinance, the municipality may provide for a “clean energy special assessment” to be imposed on those properties when the property owner has requested the assessment in exchange for receiving assistance with the initial financing.
Other legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Peter J. Barnes III, Ramos, Ralph Caputo, Gordon Johnson, John Wisniewski, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and John Burzichelli authorizes the Supreme Court to increase or add new court filing fees to help fund the modernization of the state’s court information system, as well as the work of Legal Services of New Jersey, a nonprofit that provides free legal assistance in civil matters to individuals living below the poverty line, was released Monday by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Jersey City man wins $850K with Hoboken-bought lottery ticket
A Jersey City man won $850,000 on a scratch-off lottery ticket in a Hoboken convenience store last week, according to a story on NJ.com.
“I’m happy for the person [who won],” Hitesh Raval, the owner of the Hoboken Mini-Mart, told NJ.com. “People come in every day in hopes of winning something and usually win small amounts but it’s never been as big as this.”
According to Raval, lottery ticket sales have soared through the roof since news of the winning ticket broke.
Raval has owned the Hoboken Mini-Mart since 2003 and said that, in return for selling the winning ticket, he received around $20,000.
Hob’Art and ‘One Love’ team up for fundraiser
The Hob’Art gallery in Hoboken will be transformed into a zen retreat in support of a local volunteer group which calls themselves “One Love.” The partnership will raise funds for Mustard Seed Communities, a nonprofit organization that cares for orphaned and abandoned children.
Hob’art is teaming up with One Love to host a yoga, art and wine-tasting fundraiser from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday June 19 at the Hob’Art gallery space, 720 Monroe St., second floor, room E208, in Hoboken. The event called “Come To Your Senses” will feature a brief artists’ talk, followed by a 1-hour vinyasa yoga session led by talented yoga-instructor Toni Porrello. Following the yoga session, Porrello, who is also a wine sommelier, will present wine and chocolate pairings in a one-hour tasting.
The idea to combine the yoga and wine events and host them at the gallery space was the brain-child of photographer Andrea Milo, a member and former vice president of Hob’Art, who is also a co-leader of the One Love team and a long-time volunteer with Mustard Seed Communities.
The suggested donation for the event is $30 per person, 100 percent of which will go to support Mustard Seed Communities and the Hob’Art gallery (which is a cooperative and also a nonprofit organization). Space is limited so advance purchase is suggested. All the wines sampled will also be available for purchase.
Tickets for the event can be purchased here: http://www.mustardseed.com/goto/OneLove or email Andrea at email@example.com.
For more information call Andrea Milo at (201) 240-9874, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hoboken PD accepting applications for summer junior police academy
Applications for the Hoboken Police Department’s 2013 Junior Police Academy are now available in schools around town and at police headquarters at 106 Hudson St. The Academy, which will take place from July 29 to Aug. 9, is open to residents aged 12 through 15. Of all the received applications, which police will start to collect on June 24, 40 young residents will be chosen to participate.
The Academy will be held at Stevens Institute of Technology from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., five days a week.
The goal of Junior Police Academy is to familiarize children with the role of a police officer. Participants should be prepared for a hands-on experience of a wide variety of Law Enforcement techniques and training.
The Junior Police Academy consists of various activities to prepare youths for future entry into the law enforcement field. Several neighboring agencies including New Jersey State Police and Customs and Immigration will be coming in to teach the participants the many different aspects of law enforcement. There will be one hour of physical training per day. Lunch will be provided daily.
Children are required to wear sneakers along with the issued t-shirt, shorts, baseball cap, gym bag, and water bottle (items provided at orientation).
All instruction, demonstrations and presentations will be administered and supervised by the men and women of the Hoboken Police Department.
Waivers MUST be completed for participation in this program if selected for the program.
Frozen yogurt fundraiser to benefit children in foster care
Hoboken’s newest frozen yogurt store, 16 Handles, will hold a benefit for Hudson County CASA on Thursday, June 20 at its store at 1185 Maxwell Place from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. During that time, 25 percent of sales will be donated to the non-profit organization, which finds safe and permanent homes for Hudson County children in foster care.
For more information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org.