Some charges dropped against Manzo brothers
Four counts against former state Assemblyman Louis Manzo and his brother, Ron, were dismissed by U. S District Judge Jose Linares Tuesday, saying that they did not apply because neither man held public office at the time of the alleged crime.
While both Manzos still face bribery and wire fraud charges in connection with a federal sting operation last summer, which could end them up in federal prison for 20 years, the charges claiming they extorted illegal campaign contributions from a federal informant were dropped, according to press accounts.
Manzo was one of the few officials arrested last July who has fought back against the FBI investigation of political corruption. He filed suit against the U.S. Attorney office six weeks ago claiming that the original charges including bribery and wire fraud were invalid because some federal investigators involved with the case had contributed money to the gubernatorial campaign for former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie. – Al Sullivan Landlord of JC Heights building arrested for homemade bomb found by police
Jersey City police Monday night arrested the owner of a building in the Jersey City Heights section in connection with a homemade explosive device found earlier that morning inside the building.
The owner of 451 Palisade Ave. was arrested and charged with aggravated arson, risking widespread injury, and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose. He allegedly placed a homemade bomb inside Willie Joe's Pizzeria, located on the ground floor of the building. The bomb, apparently a gas can rigged with a wire placed inside the pizzeria's front door, was dismantled by the Jersey City Bomb Squad Monday morning after police responded to a call around 6 a.m. about a gas leak and found the homemade device, which was set up to detonate if someone had opened the front door.
According to authorities, the bomb was believed to have been created as the result of a dispute between the landlord and his tenant, the owner of the pizzeria. The arrest came several hours after the landlord and the tenant were both interviewed by police. – RK Residents concerned Hoboken may move garage to Jackson and Sixth
Now that a developer will soon be building on the site of Hoboken's municipal garage on Observer Highway, the city must find a place to build a new garage for its vehicles. The current garage site, located in a pricey area not far from the train station, was sold under the administration of Mayor David Roberts in order to get millions of dollars for the city budget.
Residents of the area near Jackson and Sixth streets are concerned that the city is quietly planning to move the facility to the open plot of land on Jackson and Monroe between Sixth and Seventh streets.
A note e-mailed to neighbors says: “This Wednesday's (May 19, 7pm - 10pm located at 94 Washington St) City Council agenda includes a public hearing and final vote on the relocation of a municipal waste garage to the open plot of land on Jackson and Monroe between 6th and 7th streets.”
New city spokesman Juan Melli responded, “The mayor is proposing a Bond Ordinance for $1,980,000 for the environmental review of potential sites and the building of a public works garage to replace the existing location on Observer Highway. Numerous sites have been proposed, and we are investigating locations in the city. The city is under no contract to acquire properties at this point. Putting this process in place will allow the City to move quickly to acquire property if a location is determined.”
Residents were planning to attend the meeting to find out more. – CM Gov. Christie unveils tax-cutting plan in Hoboken
Gov. Chris Christie presented a three-point plan to alleviate local property taxes in New Jersey, a state that he said has seen a 70 percent jump in property taxes over the last decade, in a meeting in Hoboken on Monday morning.
With the Garden State facing a $10 billion deficit, municipalities and local school districts have gotten massive cuts in state aid from Christie's administration this year.
Some towns have reacted by filling the revenue gap by increasing property taxes, rather than (or in addition to) making tough layoffs and other cuts. Christie, however, said he wants to end the trend of raising property taxes by curbing the percentage by which municipalities can raise them to a few percent a year.
The centerpiece of the governor's plan, which he calls a “toolkit,” is a constitutional amendment that would cap annual municipal property taxes at 2.5 percent. Any municipality that wanted to raise taxes above 2.5 percent would have to get voter approval to do so. He would also push labor unions to get less generous benefits packages, including police, firefighters, and teachers.
The 90-minute event was billed as a public “town hall meeting,” although most of those in attendance where elected officials and Republican political activists. Officials included Democratic Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
Christie's staff said the governor plans to hold at least three or four similar “town hall” meetings across the state before the end of June to build support for the toolkit.
Christie is asking the state legislature to pass the proposal next month. If approved in Trenton, voters would be given the opportunity to approve or reject the proposal in the November general election.
For more on this story, see your print edition this weekend, or www.hudsonreporter.com starting Sunday. – Assata Wright Yeshiva to open in WNY
According to a Chabad Jewish website, a new Yeshiva -- an academy for the advanced study of Jewish texts -- will be opening in West New York for the upcoming school year.
The announcement was made on Monday but does not state where exactly in West New York the academy will be located. It said that it will be situated in a “spacious building that boasts many Shiur rooms, a dormitory, and a nice size Zal.” It is expected that the academy will be able to house hundreds of students at full capacity.
Although West New York is known for its high Cuban population, it also has a small Jewish population, and contains both a nearly 100-year-old Orthodox synagogue and a school for Jewish children. – LRD Cake Boss and Mayor Healy at opening of 225 Grand
A host of municipal officials including Mayor Jerramiah Healy planned to join other VIP’s and developers Ironstate Development Company and Kushner Real Estate Group on Tuesday, May 18 from to celebrate the opening of 225 Grand (www.225grand.net), a new, 15-story rental building featuring 348 residences, an enclosed parking garage with up to 350 spaces, and 1,700 square feet of retail space in downtown Jersey City at 225 Grand St.
The Grand Opening roof deck party was to include tours of the new building’s furnished model residences and comprehensive amenity spaces. TLC reality star Buddy Valastro, a.k.a. The Cake Boss, of Carlo's City Hall Bake Shop in Hoboken, created a cake exclusively for the party. – RK UC site considered ‘endangered’ by Preservation NJ
A Union City site was included on this year’s “10 Most Endangered Historic Sites” list, released on Tuesday by Preservation New Jersey. The annual list is meant to draw attention to “remarkable sites” and the preservation challenges they face.
This year the Monastery of the Perpetual Rosary (commonly referred to as the Blue Chapel) on 14th Street in Union City, which was constructed between 1912 and 1914, was included on the list after being nominated by a local resident.
It was the first monastery dedicated to the recitation of the Perpetual Rosary in the United States. Although the monastery was well maintained for many decades, after the number of resident nuns and finances dwindled, the chapel deteriorated and was vacated in summer of 2009.
Plans were announced later that year to renovate and expand the monastery for approximately 100 housing units and underground parking. However, following negative public reaction, the plans were put on hold.
Caretakers have previously indicated that the building will likely be abandoned or sold, but the future of the vacant Blue Chapel is uncertain.
Founded in 1978, Preservation New Jersey advocates for and promotes historic preservation as a sustainable strategy to protect and enhance the vitality and heritage of New Jersey’s richly diverse communities. It is the only statewide private membership-supported historic preservation organization in New Jersey.
The organization puts out the 10 Most Endangered List annually with the hope that inclusion on the list will be a catalyst for positive change and creative solutions for the locations’ preservation. – LRD