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TOP LINE—Hoboken Junior Police Academy recruits drill on Tuesday.
TOP LINE—Hoboken Junior Police Academy recruits drill on Tuesday.

New Jersey officials call for ban on tourist helicopters over Hudson

Sen. Robert Menendez gathered with a united front of New Jersey public officials in Hoboken’s Pier A Park Friday to call for a ban on tourist helicopters over the Hudson River.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer said, “New York doesn’t want these helicopters, and New Jersey doesn’t want them either.

Menendez said the noise produced the choppers is intolerable for residents and businesses.

“I’ve lived here,” said Menendez. “I’ve heard it and it is as constant and as drumming and as consequential in its daily reality as anyone can possibly imagine.”

The helicopters are a potential safety issue as well as a noise issue. Menendez mentioned three crashes involving choppers in recent years, including one collision between a tourist helicopter and small plane over the Hudson near Hoboken in 2009 that left nine people dead.

The incessant drone of rotors was no mere theoretical concept. At least 12 flew by during the first 40 minutes of the press conference.

“It’s nice to see they’re cooperating,” joked Menendez.

He was joined by an assemblage of leaders from New Jersey’s Gold Coast, including Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, West New York Mayor Dr. Felix Roque, Bayonne Mayor Jim Davis, Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drascheff, and Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano.

Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-West New York), Cosmo Cirillo, Chief of Staff to Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus), and Mark Albiez, Deputy Chief of Staff to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, were also on hand.

Robert Gottheim, the District Director for Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), was the only New York representative. Nadler’s district includes the Manhattan waterfront across from Hoboken.

Mayor Zimmer said it was important to work with New York representatives to coordinate an end to the tour helicopters.

Willow Avenue repaving brings safety improvements

Willow Avenue between Eleventh and Thirteenth Streets in Hoboken now features fresh ideas in addition to fresh asphalt. When Hudson County repaved the northern section of the well-trafficked boulevard two weeks ago, it added brand new traffic and pedestrian safety measures designed to improve the flow of the neighborhood, according to a city press release.

The two-block stretch was the site of over 60 accidents between 2008 and 2013. When the county decided to repave the area, the city of Hoboken advocated that the project include new safety features.

The most notable of the new designs is reverse angle parking on the eastern side of the street. According to the city, this system is better because it allows for increased visibility when departing parking spots.

The two blocks in question are home to an elementary school, a large senior housing population, and a pocket park. To protect those who use these facilities, the county painted straighter and more visible crosswalks, reducing crossing distances. Curb extensions with flexible posts were also added, increasing the amount of safe space for pedestrians.

On the western side of the street next to a traditional parallel parking lane, a ridged buffer zone now encourages bicyclists to ride in the middle of the lane rather than next to cars, where they are under threat of hastily opened doors. “Sharrows” or shared arrows in the street reinforce this, informing drivers that they must share the road.

Hoboken Catholic Academy nets $1.2M Sandy relief for repairs

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will award Hoboken Catholic Academy $1,198,993.50 for repairs related to Superstorm Sandy, Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker (D-NJ) announced on Friday.

The funding will be used to pay for emergency measures of oil decontamination and asbestos removal needed after the parochial school was flooded in the aftermath of Sandy. The school is located on Seventh Street between Madison and Monroe Streets in the western area of town most prone to flooding.

“This funding will allow Hoboken Catholic Academy to ensure it is a healthy and safe environment for its students and faculty,” said Menendez. “I will continue to fight for all of those still impacted by the storm as we continue to work toward full recovery in New Jersey,” he added.

Senator Booker echoed Menendez’s comments, expressing his commitment to “ensuring all of our communities have the funding needed to recover and rebuild.”

Last year, President Obama signed a $50.5 billion Superstorm Sandy Supplemental Appropriations bill. According to Menendez spokesman Steven Sandberg, the legislation covered “federal aid to help homeowners, businesses, and communities recover, and resources to rebuild coastal, transportation, and water infrastructure.”

National Night Out highlights anti-crime initiatives

Kids and parents flocked to Church Square Park Tuesday evening for the National Night Out against crime. Attendees enjoyed bouncy castles, raffles, football throwing contests, mini golf, a rope pull, and free Rita’s Water Ice and hot dogs from Love’s Full of Shish.

Cities around the country mark National Night Out annually to raise awareness about crime prevention programs. This year, Hoboken dedicated its Night Out to the memory of Detective Madhu Chohan, who died of an inoperable brain tumor on October 30, 2013. A plaque was presented to Chohan’s family at the event.

A perfect example of such an anti-crime program is the Hoboken Junior Police Academy. This year’s edition, which lasted from July 28 to Aug. 8, gave local youths the opportunity to train with the New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit, FBI, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Unit, and the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps. The 2014 class at the Academy led a parade from City Hall to Church Square Park on Tuesday, then performed drills on the main stage.

Alessa Ortiz said she enjoyed Junior Police Academy because the officers taught her how to drive cars and shoot firearms. She also said the program has taught her a lot about respect. Isaiah Ayala, another Academy recruit, said he wanted to follow in his uncle’s footsteps and become a cop.

Later in the night, performances by the Fire Dance Squad and Preschool of Rock were scheduled, along with a watermelon eating contest featuring surprise guest judges.

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August 10, 2014
Thanks Senator Menendez for bringing more strife to our city. We have very serious problems of the law being broken in Hoboken by officials and you want to pull a Zimmer stunt with the media. Can you guys actually serve your constituents. Bullying the media with lies because you want air rights to your property is crazy. Please go and negotiate with them and come to some workable consus. This din of politicians on the own agendas is much more a distraction than any helicopters.