Sacco legislation passed into law; will permit schools to charge for summer classes

On Sept. 14 legislation that was sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-Hudson), allowing school districts to charge for children’s summer school costs was signed into law by Gov. Christopher Christie. It will become effective after the 2010-2011 school year.
The legislation was a result of school districts across the state facing decreasing revenues and losing state education and aid, said Sacco. This forced some districts to eliminate their summer remediation and advanced coursework programs all together.
Districts that choose to charge summer tuitions will be allowed to focus their budgets on essential programs during the year.
Under the law, student’s parents will be charged on a sliding tuition scale in line with federal poverty guidelines. The average student would be charged roughly $200, but lower-income students would be charged a lower fee or made exempt.
“Charging tuition for summer school is not the ideal, but it certainly is better than the alternative of no summer school,” said Sacco, who is also the mayor and assistant superintendent of North Bergen. “For struggling students, summer school is necessary for them to get back on pace with their peers. For students at the top of their class, an enrichment course can provide opportunities not available during the regular school year. At a time when administrators are coping the best they can with drastic state aid and budget cuts, this is a fair proposal that will benefit schools and students alike.”
Sacco said that the funding will not only help school districts, but will invest parents into their children’s education. He said that charging for summer school will be reevaluated on a continual basis.

UC sues landlord and ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ imam

Union City found its way into the national media spotlight this week after filing a lawsuit on Monday in state Superior Court against Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a resident of North Bergen and local landlord, for alleged code violations in two apartment buildings he owns in Union City.
Rauf is the imam at the center of the controversy over plans to build an Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.
According to several published reports, the lawsuit charges that Rauf hasn’t addressed complaints by tenants and orders from the city to correct the alleged violations.
The suit identifies Rauf as sole officer of building owner Sage Development LLC. One building has been vacant since a 2008 fire. The other contains 16 apartments.
According to published reports, during a court hearing on Wednesday it was revealed that after a Sept. 7 inspection which determined imminent hazards, cops have been paid overtime to monitor two of the buildings owned by Rauf in the event of fire because the alarms and sprinklers are inoperable and Rauf did not respond to an order to hire a private fire patrol.
Union City lawyers asked the court to place the two buildings into receivership so that rents could be used to fix dozens of violations, including inoperable alarms and sprinklers. However, Judge Thomas Olivieri gave Rauf’s lawyers until Sept. 23 to produce plans and evidence of the landlord’s efforts to address all building violations.
If they do not comply, Rauf would then face possible loss of control over the apartment buildings.
In an article last week, The Reporter spoke with Union City officials about their recently formed Quality of Life Task Force which was created to investigate and identify apartment buildings whose owners have not dealt with repeated complaints about code violations from tenants.
However, this week, Union City spokesman Mark Albiez did not return numerous calls for comment on the lawsuit.
Some Union City residents have questioned why the timing of this action against Rauf’s properties has not become an issue in several of the published reports in New York and national media.
One resident told The Reporter that problems in Rauf’s buildings have existed for over 10 years and Mayor Brian P. Stack has been in office since 2000, and questioned why the lawsuit is only being brought now that the larger controversy of the mosque at Ground Zero is looming.

Job fair at North Bergen Library

The North Bergen Urban Enterprise Zone, in conjunction with Burlington Coat Factory, will host a job fair on Monday Tuesday at the North Bergen Free Public Library.
The fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 20 and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 21.
All positions are for Burlington Coat Factory’s new location at 8101 Tonnelle Ave. in North Bergen.
Positions include sales, receiving, markdowns, cashier, customer service, and team leads.

Realty board fund-raiser benefits hospital, scholarships

The Liberty Board of Realtors will hold “Who Wants to be a Liberty Idol?” finals on Saturday Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at The Elks Club, 48 Ames Ave, Rutherford. The two largest recipients from the community service fund-raiser are Hoboken University Medical Center’s Pediatrics Ward and a scholarship at Hudson County Community College. The $45 per person includes buffet, beer, wine and soda. Contact Margaret Watson (201) 970-4593 or Carolyn Cavallaro at (201) 851-3012, or to attend, or offer your sponsorship. No donation is too small to help make a difference

Hudson Regional Health Commission MRC in search of volunteers

September is Emergency Preparedness Month, a great time to consider becoming a medical reserve corps volunteer, according to the Hudson Regional Health Commission Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).
Medical Reserve Corps units are made of locally based volunteers (with and without a medical background) who can assist their communities during emergencies, such as an influenza epidemic, a chemical spill, or an act of terrorism.
MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, mental health professionals, dentists, veterinarians, and epidemiologists. Other community members, such as interpreters, chaplains, office workers and legal advisors, can fill other vital support positions.
Hudson Regional Health Commission MRC volunteers share a minimal amount of time attending meetings and free trainings. They are also invited to participate in local public health exercises to practice their knowledge and skills.
Hudson County’s Emergency Management, police, fire, EMS and public health professionals are working hard to identify, train and respond to emergencies that could impact those who live and work here, but more help is needed.
For more information on the Hudson Regional Health Commission, visit the Hudson Regional Health Commission website at and click on “Medical Reserve Corps” on the menu bar on the left. Interested individuals can also contact Annie McNair, Hudson County MRC Coordinator, at (201) 223-1133 or

Bayonne Town Center to host 3rd Annual Art Show

On Saturday, Sept. 25, the Bayonne Town Center will host the 3rd Annual Outdoor Art Show on 23rd Street between Broadway and Church Lane. Local artists as well as the Hudson Artists of NJ will display their work from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you would like to display your art work, please submit the following information to the Bayonne Town Center at 8 East 22nd St., Bayonne, NJ 07002: Name, Address, Type of Artwork, Telephone number and if you need a table to set up your work. Also submit a refundable deposit of $10. Please register before Sept. 20. In case of rain, the art show will be held in St. Michael’s Parish Hall. For more info, please call the Bayonne Town Center at (201)-339-9409.

PMC releases dates for October health screenings

Throughout the year, Palisades Medical Center’s staff takes an active role in local communities by partnering with North Hudson Community Action Corporation, Christ Hospital School of Nursing, and Hudson Perinatal Consortium, Inc. to provide free health screenings and education programs. Free blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, heart rate, body mass index/BMI, peak flow and pulse oximetery screenings will be offered on the following dates at the following locations in October:
Oct. 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Holy Family Church, 530 35th Street in Union City; Oct. 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Assembly of God Church, 51st and JFK Blvd., in North Bergen; Oct. 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at St. Joseph/St. Michael Church, 1314 Central Ave. in Union City; Oct. 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at St. Anthony Church, 615 8th St., in Union City.
For more information, please call Joanne Riggs at 201-854-5793.

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