The New Jersey Department of Transportation announced this week that the city of Hoboken will receive over $1 million in Municipal Aid grant funding – more than double the amount typically awarded annually.
“This tremendous increase in funding will help us implement important pedestrian safety improvements, road repairs, and other important transportation-related projects,” said Mayor Bhalla. “I thank Governor Murphy for his support and for understanding the importance of maintaining and improving our infrastructure.”
The city was awarded a total of $1,032,700 in aid.
“Improving our transportation infrastructure is one of my top priorities, because a robust, reliable, and efficient transportation system is the backbone of our economy,” added Mayor Bhalla. “I look forward to working with Governor Murphy, our State elected officials, and transportation agencies to renovate the Hoboken Terminal, improve bus and rail service, and provide subsidized ferry fares for commuters.”
Specific details of projects were not available last week, but will appear in future stories.
NY Waterway seeks state permission to move ferry equipment to uptown site
NY Waterway, the local private company that runs commuter ferries between Hudson County and Manhattan, has applied to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to move a travel lift and two barges to its newly-acquired land at the former Union Dry Dock site in Hoboken.
NY Waterway wants to use the land, which they bought in November, to repair its ferries, but the city of Hoboken has made it clear it would like to acquire the land for open space.
Hoboken has already attended public hearings in order to fight for that right, and the city has said it may use eminent domain to acquire the property if it’s able to.
According to a press release from NY Waterway, “approval of the permit is critical to NY Waterway’s ability to maintain its fleet of 34 ferries, which carry more than 30,000 passengers each day, including 2,000 Hoboken residents.”
According to the release, two barges moving to the site have a total area of 21,456 square feet, compared to Dry Dock’s barges with a total area of 36,414 square feet which were removed when Union Dry Dock sold the boat yard to NY Waterway last November.
“NY Waterway’s environmental impact on this site will be substantially less than the previous use, which was in full compliance with all zoning and environmental regulations and which existed on this site for 130 years,” said Arthur Imperatore, the president of NY Waterway. “It is imperative that NY Waterway have an adequate facility in which we can maintain our fleet, assuring our +99 percent reliability for our daily commuter operations and to be available in an emergency, when other transit systems are disrupted.”
In April, NY Waterway plans to vacate its current maintenance facility in Weehawken, which will be developed as residential property.
“The Union Dry Dock facility is the only location available on a move-in, ready-to-operate basis on the river from Nyack to Staten Island, NY,” states the press release.
However, officials have suggested that Waterway use other areas, perhaps building a repair facility in Bayonne.
Alleged sexual assault perpetrator trial continues
The trial against a Passaic man charged with the aggravated sexual assault of a Hoboken resident is scheduled to resume Tuesday Feb. 27.
Marcos Blandino, 52, was charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of burglary in May 2017. He has pleaded not guilty.
On April 23, 2017, Hoboken Police received a report of a sexual assault at a residence from a female victim. According to a press release from the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the victim reported she was walking home alone shortly after 6 p.m. and as she attempted to enter her apartment, she was grabbed from behind and pushed into her home where she was allegedly sexually assaulted.
The trial is before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Vincent Militello in the Hudson County Administration Building in Jersey City.
Local Hoboken officials express support for ranked choice voting bill
In a press release, Hoboken Councilwoman Emily Jabbour called on state legislative leaders to advance bill A-1801, which permits the use of instant runoff voting in local elections.
“Instant runoff voting is something we would like to explore in Hoboken in order to ensure we do not return to the days of expensive, low-voter turnout runoff elections that are historically susceptible to political gamesmanship and potential election mischief,” Jabbour said. “With the passage of A-1801, we would be allowed to offer ranked choice voting to Hoboken residents, which asks voters on Election Day to list their first, second, and even third choice of candidates, incentivizing positive campaigning and encouraging candidates to appeal to everyone.”
Instant runoff voting is a system that allows each resident to vote for a preferred candidate, as well as alternative choices in order of preference. In the event that no candidate receives a majority of the votes in an election, the people who voted for the last place candidate will have their second choice options added to the total. The process would continue until one candidate is a majority winner.
Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro of Hoboken, a sponsor of the legislation, said she supported the bill and wanted to give municipalities the option.
“Offering ranked choice voting to our municipalities would change the negative dialogue in our campaigns, save money for candidates and the government, and avoid winter runoff elections, which often result in a lower participation rate,” Chaparro said in the press release. “This bill would not force any municipalities into using ranked choice voting, but rather would permit local governments to implement this option should they see fit in their community. I was happy to discuss this important issue with Councilwoman Jabbour, and I hope this bill will move forward expeditiously.”
The bill is currently awaiting a hearing in the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.
The city council has already approved of a referendum on November’s ballot which asks the public whether or not the city should reinstate runoff elections.
The council also passed a resolution urging state legislators to consider allowing instant runoff elections in New Jersey.
See previous stories on the issue at hudsonreporter.com.
Public meeting to be held Feb. 27 for Northwest Resiliency Park
The design team for the Northwest Resiliency Park has completed a report summarizing the information gathering and community input phase of the project. The report can be viewed at: www.hobokennj.gov/nwparkreport.
Based on this information, the team is completing two preliminary concepts for the Northwest Resiliency Park. The concepts will be presented at a public meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 27, at 7 p.m. at the Wallace School Cafeteria located at 1100 Willow Ave. The entrance to the cafeteria is located behind the playground along 11th Street, mid-block between Willow Avenue and Clinton Street.
After collecting community feedback on the two preliminary concepts, the team will create a final preferred concept for the park, which will be presented at a subsequent public meeting.
For more information on the Northwest Resiliency Park Design Process, visit www.hobokennj.gov/nwpark.
Hoboken assemblywoman recognized with advocate award
Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro was recently announced by the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition as a recipient of the 2018 NJBWC Advocate of the Year – State Level Award.
“This award recognizes your excellent work as a transformative leader for biking and walking in the State of New Jersey, particularly as a sponsor of A-4165, which was signed into law on January 15, 2018,” states a letter from the Board of Directors of the NJBWC. “Bike riders and pedestrians around the state will now be safer as a result of your efforts in requiring driver’s education to include bike rider and pedestrian safety.”
The law (A-4165) requires the curriculum for driver’s education courses in New Jersey to include information on sharing the road with pedestrians, cyclists, skaters and riders of motorized scooters and other non-motorized vehicles.
“I am honored to accept this award from the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition and I thank them for their recognition,” Chaparro said in a press release. “I started seeing more people using bikes in my hometown of Hoboken, and with the introduction of bike share programs throughout my district, I thought it was time we update the driver’s education curriculum to educate the next generation of drivers about bicycle safety and sharing the road. I’m glad my colleagues agreed with this idea and that it was signed into law. I look forward to working with local organizations as well as the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition on how we can continue to make our streets safer for everyone.”
Chaparro will be presented with an award at the 2018 NJ Bike & Walk Summit, to be held on Saturday, March 24 at The Conference Center of Mercer County Community College.
Senator Nia Gill and Senator Steven Oroho will also be provided with recognition. For more information on the Summit, visit http://njbwc.org/summit-2018/.
Help fight kids’ cancer and celebrate life
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation will host its annual Hoboken fundraising event – “Kick Kids’ Cancer and Celebrate Life” – to fight kids’ cancer on Saturday, March 10, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at Northern Soul Bar at 700 First St.
“I’ve got two healthy sons, others aren’t so lucky,” said event coordinator Jim O’Brien, of Hoboken. O’Brien will shave his head for the eighth time and invites any other shavees to register and raise money by going bald with him.
Hoboken barber, Nicole Appice-Davis, returns this year and will try to help the team break its record take of $8,068. Appice-Davis has sheared dozens at the event over the years, each of whom raised money through sponsors.
Initially inspired by the story of a courageous 6 year-old boy who died of cancer seven years ago, O’Brien made it an annual event after his son’s friend also got cancer. The event is an offshoot of an annual St. Patrick’s Day party he and his buddies had hosted since college. Over $30,000 has been raised by the local event over the years.
There will be live music, food and drink specials, and crafts for the kids. There is no fee to attend, but a hat will be passed. Supporters may also make donations on-line.
The national St. Baldrick’s Foundation, established in 1999, has raised more than $200 Million to fight the scourge of kids’ cancer, and this year a collection of local businesses has joined in to support the cause.
Interested shavees or donors are invited to go to https://www.stbaldricks.org/events/kickkidscancer2018 or contact Jim O’Brien at email@example.com.
ONE ART-- HOBOKEN announces March event
On Saturday, March 3 at 8 p.m. ONE ART - HOBOKEN will present its fifth installment, “All In The Family,” at Issyra Gallery, 300 Observer Hwy.
The monthly music, poetry, and art series will feature music by local bands and poetry by local artists.
Father and Daughter Hoboken band leaders Gene Turonis and Emily Turonis will lead their respective bands and Cyndi Dawson,owner of Mulligan’s Pub, will lead her band The CYNZ.
Hudson County poets Maria Chisolm, James Ruggia, and Lynne Shapiro will recite their newest work and Café Touba will play their rhythm heavy West Indian music well into the night.
TRUE Mentors announces Hoboken Chili Cook Off & Homebrew Contest
TRUE Mentors announced the 9th Annual Hoboken Chili Cook Off & Homebrew Contest which will take place on Saturday, March 10, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Our Lady of Grace, Fourth Street and Willow Avenue.
The local nonprofit is Hoboken’s only one-to-one mentoring program in which children ages 7 to 17 are paired with an adult from the community.
The Hoboken Chili Cook Off & Homebrew Contest will host live music by local band Gravy Train, tasty homemade chili and amazing small batch beer, both crafted with love by friends and neighbors in Hoboken.
Prizes will be awarded to the top chili and homebrew entries by a panel of judges.
100 percent of the proceeds go towards supporting the children of Hoboken.
For more information on how to enter, or to purchase tickets, visit www.hobokenchilicookoff.com
For more ways to get involved or to volunteer with TRUE Mentors, visit www.truementors.org.
Choc-o-pain opens uptown Hoboken location
Uptown Hoboken hasn’t been this excited since Trader Joe’s came to town. As of Tuesday Feb. 13, a small group of eateries that started in Hudson County has opened a new location. Choc-o-pain, which started in downtown Hoboken, has a new base in the Tea Building on 15th Street. It also has a small kids’ room/reading room, just like the downtown location, with a window overlooking the street.
The store opened at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and was bustling on Valentine’s Day, selling coffee, croissants, and cakes. They also have a relatively new location in Jersey City Heights on Palisade Avenue.
The bakery and café will be open daily Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with delivery available via postmates.com.
Upcoming author readings at Little City Books
Little City Books, Hoboken’s independent book store at Second and Bloomfield streets, has two appearances by authors coming up next week. Both events are free.
On Sunday Feb. 25 at 4 p.m., Mark Mehler, author of “Madness: The 10 Most Memorable NCAA Finals,” will read from his work, sign copies, and answer audience questions.
Mark Mehler tells the stories behind the ten most memorable championship games in tournament history, from North Carolina’s triple-overtime victory over Wilt Chamberlain’s Kansas Wildcats in 1957 to Duke’s heart stopping victory over underdog Butler in 2010.
Then on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m., Hoboken resident and award-winning journalist Diana Henriques will read from “A First-Class Catastrophe: The Road to Black Monday, the Worst Day in Wall Street History.”
Henriques tells the story of Black Monday, Oct. 19. 1987, the worst day in Wall Street history. The market fell 22.6 percent — equal to a one-day loss of nearly 5,000 points today. It’s a tale of missed opportunities, market delusions, and destructive actions that stretched from the “silver crisis” of 1980 to turf battles in Washington, a poisonous rivalry between the New York Stock Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and the almost-fatal success of two California professors whose idea for reducing market risk spun terribly out of control.
Henriquez will also sign books and answer audience questions.
New exhibit in honor of Black History Month
Hob’art cooperative gallery presents UNITED its latest exhibit and group tribute show to Edla Cusick in honor of Black History Month.
Edla Cusick was a long time supporter of the arts and hob’art cooperative gallery.
“We dedicate our show celebrating the accomplishments, contributions, and struggles of the African American community to Edla because she dedicated her life to the causes of equal rights and justice for all,” states the press release. “It is fitting to give homage to this great fellow artist through our works on a theme that was so very important to her.”
The exhibit will be on display until March 3.
Participating artists include Tom Egan, Jean Paul Picard, Don Sichler, Alberte Bernier, Carla Cubit, Piper Smith, Miriam Untoria, Ibou Ndoye, France Garrido, Jim Fallon, and Liz Ndoye.
The exhibit attempts to share a visual tribute to the richness and importance of African American life.
Gallery information can be obtained on the website www.hob-art.org and via France Garrido (201) 319-1504 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The gallery is located at the Monroe Center at 720 Monroe St.
NJ Transit approves proposed alignment for light rail expansion into Bergen County
The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail’s (HBLR) expansion into Bergen County received a major boost this week, as NJ Transit has just approved the plan’s proposed alignment, per a press release.
The approval for the project’s Locally Preferred Alternative, detailed in its 2017 Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact statement, is mandatory in the federal environmental review process.
The route is a 10-mile, seven station extension from HBLR’s current Tonnelle Avenue terminus in North Bergen. It would include an additional North Bergen stop at 91st Street, and others in Ridgefield, Palisades Park, Leonia, all the way to the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.
NJ Transit’s Board of Directors also authorized the route’s submission to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority Board of Trustees for designation and inclusion in their Long-Range Regional Transportation Plan.
By choosing this route, NJ Transit will be able to begin design and engineering activities once they complete the Final Environmental Impact Statement, and the Federal Transit Administration grants a Record of Decision for the project.