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COFFEE WITH A COP – Meet local officers and discuss community issues. The program on July 16 aims to advance the practice of community policing through improving relationships between police officers and community members – one cup of coffee at a time. (see BRIEF)
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Secaucus Police Dept. hosts ‘Coffee with a Cop’ on July 16

Officers from the Secaucus Police Department and community members will come together in an informal setting to discuss community issues, build relationships, and have a coffee on Wednesday, July 16. All community members are invited to attend. The event will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Natoli’s Deli, 300 Clarendon St.

The majority of contacts law enforcement has with the public happen during emergencies, or emotional situations. Those situations are not always the most effective times for relationship building with the community. “Coffee with a Cop” provides a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions in a relaxed, one-on-one atmosphere and learn more about the department’s work in Secaucus neighborhoods.

“We hope that community members will feel comfortable to ask questions, bring concerns, or simply get to know our officers,” said Acting Police Chief John Cerny. “These interactions are the foundation of community partnerships.”

Secaucus fireworks and concert to be rescheduled

The celebratory fireworks and free concert by party band Alotta Colada originally scheduled for July 2 have been postponed to a later date yet to be determined.

The original day of celebration began as scheduled on July 2 at 4 p.m. with residents gathering to enjoy free food provided by the town at the Secaucus Swim Club. When rain began to fall in the late afternoon, people huddled for shelter, hoping it would blow over. Instead the storm worsened. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning until 9:15 p.m., and the show was postponed.

The original rain date for the event was July 3; however, due to predictions of similar weather for the region, it was postponed further.

According to Mayor Michael Gonnelli, the event will likely take place on a Wednesday night in late July or August. The goal is to have the band Alotta Colada play at the pool and provide a fireworks show as planned.

The date will be announced once arrangements are finalized.

Library seminar on relaxation and stress reduction scheduled for July 15

If you are one of the growing number of people who feel as though life has gotten more stressful recently and would like to learn more about stress reduction and relaxation, join in the Secaucus Public Library’s informative discussion with local internist Dr. Robert Boyajian at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, July 15 in the second floor meeting room.

According to Library Director Jenifer May, “Dr. Boyajian will talk about not only the factors that create and contribute to everyday stress, but also how certain lifestyle changes and relaxation techniques can work for many of us. Dr. Boyajian will give tips and advice on coping and recognizing the signs of elevated stress levels.”

Dr. Boyajian is a board-certified internist with a longtime practice in Secaucus and over 32 years as a practicing physician. He received his medical degree at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara and completed his residency at St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark.

Registration is highly recommended for this program. For more information or to register, call (201) 330-2083 or sign up online using the event calendar at

Meadowlands Hospital to cut more than 100 jobs

Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center intends to cut 102 jobs, according to The Record. The paper states that newly appointed hospital CEO Thomas Considine wrote a letter to employees indicating that layoffs were necessary due to the “intolerable” staff-to-patient ratio of 17.1 employees per occupied bed. Meadowlands aims to bring the ratio down below 10. The industry average is 4.72.

Considine also stated that patient count was down by more than 30 percent since May. That would indicate the 230-bed hospital had approximately 25 patients.

In addition to the layoffs, managers will be taking one unpaid furlough day per pay period, effective immediately.

The hospital was purchased in 2010 by investment group MHA LLC for $17.5 million. As a for-profit enterprise, they reversed an operating loss of over $10 million to post an $11 million profit in their first year. However, annual audited financial reports required by the state were long delayed, with the first submitted more than a year late and the second still not submitted, although it was due more than a year ago.

According to The Record, “a report on the hospital prepared by an outside consultant showed its finances to be in complete disarray,” and the hospital operated without a budget in 2013.

Considine is quoted as saying he expects the hospital to “see an upturn in the fourth quarter of this year and that 2015 will be a great year.”

Kiwanis Open Drum & Bugle Corps competition will be on July 19

This year’s Kiwanis Open Drum & Bugle Corps competition is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Secaucus. It will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 19 at Kane Stadium. Among the competitors are the Buccaneers from Reading, PA, with eight first-place wins since 2005, and New Jersey’s own Hawthorne Caballeros, who have finished first in their last two competitions.

Also scheduled to compete are the Skyliners (PA), the Sunrisers (NY), the Hurricanes (CT), Fusion Core (NJ), and Windsor Regiment (NJ). The Saint’s Brigade and the Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni Corps will provide exhibitions.

Tickets to the event are $18. Seniors are $13 and students $10. For information, call (973) 706-7424. Tickets are also available at Marra’s Pharmacy.

Sen. Sweeney held ‘private discussions’ about bringing gambling to North Jersey

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who has been one of the most vocal opponents of bringing gambling to North Jersey, revealed to The Record this week that he has been in private discussions with officials for the past year regarding allowing casinos in the region.

Sweeney, a Democrat from South Jersey, has repeatedly stated that allowing gambling in North Jersey would further damage the already struggling Atlantic City gambling industry. Publicly he has strongly supported Gov. Christopher Christie’s five-year ban on any discussion of allowing gambling in the state outside of Atlantic City. The ban was part of a plan approved by Christie in 2011 to revitalize Atlantic City.

However, Sweeney said on July 2 that he has been in discussions privately with North Jersey officials about the possibility of adding the proposal to a November 2015 ballot, rather than waiting till November 2016. He noted that it was too late to include a referendum on the 2014 ballot.

Sweeney said his change of heart is contingent on Atlantic City receiving financial support from gaming facilities in other regions.

The Meadowlands are considered a prime location for casino gambling if it is allowed in North Jersey, with Jersey City also mentioned as a possibility.

Revenues in Atlantic City have declined by about half since their peak in 2006. One Atlantic City casino closed its doors this past January, another is scheduled to close on Aug. 31, and a third potentially could close in August if a buyer cannot be found.

Upcoming concerts in Buchmuller Park

The Secaucus 2014 Summer Concert Series continues on July 17 with Neil & the Diamonds, a tribute to the music of Neil Diamond. The show will start at 7 p.m. in Buchmuller Park.

The Summer Concert Series is co-sponsored by the Secaucus Reporter.

Also upcoming this month are The Blushing Brides, a tribute to the Rolling Stones, on July 24; and British Invasion—More than Just the Beatles! on July 31.

Library seeks public’s help to prepare for 80th Anniversary in 2015

The Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center will mark its 80th Anniversary on March 18, 2015. “The Friends of the Library has commissioned a digital history of the library, which will begin with its first home in a small room on the top floor of the old Town Hall building that was demolished to make way for the present Municipal Government Center,” said Library Director Jenifer May. “Retired Library Director Katherine Steffens has taken on the arduous task of researching and coordinating historical facts surrounding the birth of the library nearly 80 years ago in a building that no longer exists, to its present size and scope at its third home in town.”

Steffens has spent considerable time poring over minutes of meetings that began in 1934 to establish an early timeline regarding how the library came to be a reality. “It appears that the first meeting to discuss the possibility of a library was held Aug. 23, 1934,” said Steffens.

Town officials subsequently decided to construct a library building on Plaza Center Road connected to a fire house and then built its new home on Paterson Plank Road when Secaucus’ population growth and today’s fast paced technology demanded it.

To aid her in collecting information, Steffens is asking anyone who remembers climbing the circular stairs to Secaucus’ first library in the old Town Hall and who has a particular memory of the experience or a story to tell or a photo taken during a program held there to contact her via email at, or to contact May at the library at (201) 330-2083.

“Any photos that residents agree to share for this project will be scanned and returned unharmed. I urge former library employees, even those who worked as ‘summer pages,’ former library trustees and people who attended events and programs to share their memories of the early days at the former libraries,” Steffens said.

Realtor purchases commercial property for leasing to corporate tenants

Rugby Realty, based in New Rochelle, has purchased a seven-story property at 300 Lighting Way. The company plans to lease at least a portion of the space to a large corporate tenant.

Extensive renovations are planned for the 300,000 square foot property, including a new fitness center, café and conference center, and a renovated lobby.

Rugby Realty purchased a 135,400 square foot property in Lyndhurst in December of last year and also owns an industrial site in Teterboro.

Zombie fan convention coming to Expo Center in December

Walker Stalker Con, a zombie and horror-themed convention, will be held at the Meadowlands Exposition Center on Dec. 13 and 14.

Walker Stalker Con made its debut in Atlanta, Ga. in November 2013, assembling more of “The Walking Dead” cast members than any convention ever before. Since its debut, Walker Stalker Con has also traveled to Chicago and Boston.

With cast members from “The Walking Dead” returning to the upcoming convention along with stars from other zombie and horror films, Walker Stalker Con ensures that fan access to celebrity guests is a primary focus during two days of events and panels.

DOT looks at deadly stretch of road

The NJ Department of Transportation is planning changes to the section of road in North Bergen where Route 3 eastbound meets Route 495, the scene of a deadly crash on July 3.

Three people died in the crash, at the same location where three people died in an accident last August.

A DOT spokesman indicated that the deadly section of roadway, where Route 3 curves and merges with the 495 approach to the Lincoln Tunnel, would be addressed as part of a larger project involving the 495 viaduct.

The driver of the car, a white Mercedes station wagon, was allegedly under the influence of alcohol. Authorities believe that speed was a factor in the crash.

Close encounters with birds of prey – seniors event on July 17

Join Bill Streeter, director of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center, on Thursday, July 17 at 1 p.m. for this free educational event at the Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst. You’ll see six live raptors, including falcons, and spend a magical hour gaining a greater knowledge and appreciation of these awesome creatures of the northeast. Streeter will entertain and educate with the knowledge he has accumulated through more than 30 years of studying and rehabilitating raptors. Bring your grandchildren. Registration is recommended and appreciated. (201) 777-2431

NJMC fifth annual Butterfly Day set for Sunday, July 27

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) is pleased to announce it will host its Fifth Annual Butterfly Day at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst on Sunday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The very popular, family-friendly event includes frequent butterfly walks led by butterfly experts, short talks and slide shows, a scavenger hunt and butterfly costume contest for kids, and information tables. Last year more than 600 people attended Butterfly Day.

Butterflies commonly seen in DeKorte Park at this time of year include Black Swallowtails, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and Pearl Crescents.

Butterfly Day is co-sponsored by the Bergen County Audubon Society (BCAS) and the North Jersey Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association. The BCAS will have tables set up with information on butterfly identification, binoculars and gardening to attract butterflies. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunches. Food will not be sold at Butterfly Day. The rain date is Sunday, Aug. 3. For more information, contact Jim Wright at (201) 460-2002.

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