Eight days after construction workers in Union City found a homeless man’s body in a local port-o-potty, the county’s homeless hotline again was not working. Two reporters called the number for several hours on Wednesday afternoon -- a cold, snowy day -- and listened to the phone ring more than eight times with each call.
This is the third time in two years that the Hudson Reporter – in the course of routine reporting on the homeless situation – tried the 24-hour emergency line and got no answer.
Each time, county officials gave apologetic responses and promises to fix the line, which homeless people are supposed to call in winter if they need shelter and the three local shelters are backed up. The county runs an overflow shelter in Kearny.
The hotline is 800-624-0287.
Stories by The Reporter (hudsonreporter.com) back to 2016 showed problems with the line, with various county officials saying it was another department’s responsibility.
On Friday, county spokesman James Kennelly said the line was working again and that the county would try to find out why it was not working on Wednesday afternoon.
On Jan. 9, local workers discovered a homeless man’s body in a port-o-potty at a construction site near a church in Union City, according to Police Chief Richard Molinari. The construction site is the location for the Sts. Joseph and Michael Church, severely damaged in a fire last March.
A company is currently performing repairs to the church, located at 1314 Central Ave.
According to Molinari, the man was Hispanic and in his late 20s. The chief believes that he used the port-o-potty to escape the freezing temperatures.
“The weather was certainly a factor in causing his death,” Molinari said. “If someone’s going to seek refuge in a port-o-john, that does not protect you from the low temperatures.”
Council passes resolution urging city to implement market at train station
The City Council passed a resolution last week sponsored by Councilman Mike DeFusco that formally urges Mayor Ravi Bhalla to take all necessary steps to implement a plan to activate Warrington Plaza, an open space adjacent to Hoboken Terminal, as an outdoor French Market experience.
DeFusco has pushed for it since he was first elected to represent the 1st Ward, and the designated redeveloper of the terminal property has previously agreed to open the market in 2018, pending city approval.
The council resolution urges Bhalla to “immediately begin planning on activating Warrington Plaza to ensure the 2018 opening that has been communicated as being possible.”
According to the resolution, The Warrington Plaza French Market plan conforms to the city’s 2014 Hoboken Yards Redevelopment Plan, which calls for a “Terminal District” where retail and cultural uses are encouraged to create an enhanced pedestrian-friendly plaza.
It also states that the current site is commonly subject to vagrancy and panhandling, and the fenced-off site received Green Acres Funding and should therefore not be closed to the public.
Under the plan, existing city businesses and new entrepreneurs would have the opportunity to open kiosks serving food and drink, as well as small retail.
DeFusco described it as “Repurposing a fenced-in, underutilized piece of land right next to Hoboken Terminal into a place where residents and commuters can enjoy gourmet food and drink and where local businesses can have a new opportunity to thrive.” He said, “I met with Mayor Bhalla on Tuesday and he affirmed his support of the market and trust that he will work with me and the entire council to deliver this plan to residents in 2018.”
Time to sign up for Hoboken’s Little League and recreation baseball
Registration for the Hoboken Little League is now open on a Little League website. All players must register for the 2018 season, including returning players.
Those with younger children who want to sign up for recreation baseball have to use a separate website.
The Instruction League to be run by the Recreation Department is for children 4 years old to 6 years old. Coach Pitch League is for ages 7 and 8. Minor League is for ages 8 to 11 years old.
All players that are not selected to play in the Major League will be returned to the Minor League. Major League is for ages 9 to 12, Junior League is for ages 13 and 14, and Senior League is for age 15 and 16.
An age chart can be found at leaguelineup.com/hobll to help determine which league a child is eligible to play in. Kids signing up for Minor League and up can use that site, and younger kids can use the city website.
The try-out schedule will also be posted on that site, and tryouts will be for children who are 8 years old and 9 years old who wish to play in the major league. If a child was on a major league team last year they do not need to try out again.
Listen to Argentinean guitar at the library
On Saturday, Jan. 20 at 12 p.m. the Hoboken Public Library at 500 Park Ave. will host guitarist Carlos Paven. Paven will perform a new wave of modern classical guitar music.
With a mix of tradition and versatile influences he blends Tango/ folklore rhythms from his native Argentina with New York jazz harmonies and classical technique/ forms.
To RSVP for adult events call (201) 420-2347, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Museum to host Black Maria Film Festival 2018 tour
On Saturday, Feb. 10, at 7 pm, the Hoboken Historical Museum will welcome back Hudson County’s own Black Maria Film Festival for the debut of the 2018 Festival Tour.
Since 1981, the Black Maria Film Festival has celebrated and preserved the diversity, invention, and vitality of the short film. The Festival’s home is New Jersey City University in Jersey City and is named after Thomas Edison’s original West Orange film studio dubbed the “Black Maria” because of its resemblance to the black-box police paddy wagons of the same name.
Black Maria is an international-juried film competition, focusing on short films including those that shine a light on issues and struggles within contemporary society. Its touring programs always include provocative works by diverse filmmakers from across the US and around the world. These artists often represent an under-served constituency who might not otherwise have the opportunity for live public exhibition nationwide or abroad.
The festival welcomes all genres including narrative, experimental, animation, and documentary that push the boundaries of film. The festival’s touring collection addresses topics such as the environment, public health, climate change, substance abuse, gun violence, sustainability, immigration, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ issues. Short films are celebrated as central to the festival – not as a sidebar to feature length films.
Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Seating is limited. To RSVP go to https://tinyurl.com/y88hq3lk.