For now, it’s curtains for Jersey City Museum

JERSEY CITY – The writing has been on the wall for some time. After cutting back hours and trimming staff, the Jersey City Museum has closed its doors for the time being.
A cutback in city funds and lack of donor dollars contributed to the demise of the popular arts institution. When it opened at its current location at 350 Montgomery in 2001, it was the site of vibrant cultural events. Its contemporary collection — by all accounts one of the best in the state — is secure, board member Ofelia Garcia told a local newspaper.
For our earlier stories about the problems in the museum, go to www.hudsonreporter.com.

A few proposed rent control changes addressed in Hoboken hearing

HOBOKEN — Now that proposed Hoboken rent control amendments were released to the public, and a hearing was held Monday night, Council President Beth Mason is hopeful that an ordinance to amend rent control will be on the council agenda at the next meeting, on Feb. 2.
“The committee will meet briefly and we’ll have some minor changes and we’ll present it at the next meeting,” Mason said. “The public comments were very good, very concise.”
Councilman Ravinder Bhalla, who also serves on the Rent Control Subcommittee of the City Council, said a city attorney will now put the public comments into a memo and prepare a second draft of the ordinance.
The proposed amendments would require landlords to inform tenants of their rights more frequently and have tenants sign a document acknowledging receipt of their rights. It would also impose a two year statute of limitations for tenants who file against their landlords for payments stemming from illegal rents, and allow alternative documents for the purpose of calculating the earliest date of a rent and determining the legal rent of a dwelling, which includes the consideration of a vacancy.
Some landlords were concerned because tenants had been finding out that the rent they were charged was illegal, and could sue landlords for years of overpayments.
Tenant advocates and landlords packed the City Hall council chambers on Monday evening. Many landlords believed the changes did not go far enough, and tenants worried that their rights will not be protected.
“I’m very concerned that you’re going to do a few things now and a few things down the road,” said Dan Thumpson, a rent control advocate. “And then step by step [you’ll] re-write the [entire] ordinance.”
Ron Simoncini, a spokesperson for Mile Square Taxpayers Association, a group of landlords in Hoboken, said “these amendments do not go far enough.”
Simoncini wants to see one to four units exempt from the rent control law, which tenant advocate Cheryl Fallick said would “basically end rent control.”

Spectra Energy fights back regarding pipeline

JERSEY CITY – Spectra Energy, the Houston-based company that wants to build a natural gas pipeline through Bayonne, downtown Jersey City, and
off the coast of Hoboken, is pushing back against opposition to the project.
The company is this week sending out a two-sided flier the states, among other things, “Spectra Energy Puts Safety First.”
The flier goes on to give the company’s spin on the pipeline project, which Spectra states on the flier “will create more than 5,000 regional
jobs…including more than 2,300 in Jersey City alone.”
Elected officials, community groups, and other residents have expressed opposition to the pipeline during several hearings – partly due to safety
reasons, and partly due to the fact that it would provide natural gas to customers in New York, not New Jersey.
Residents used the Sept. 10 natural gas explosion in San Bruno, Calif. – which killed eight people, injured dozens, and leveled an entire community – as an example of the dangers of having pipelines running through residential
neighborhoods. On the Spectra’s new mailer, however, the company writes that the pipeline “will be made of thick, modern steel [and will be] monitored 24 hours a day,
seven days a week to ensure safety.”
Spectra’s 15.5-mile pipeline is currently planned to carry 800 million cubic feet of natural gas per day through Hudson County to New York City customers
of Con Edison.
The company, which is obviously gearing up for a big public relations battle to win public support for the pipeline includes on the flier a toll-free
number so interested residents can learn about “additional information and ways to support the project.”
Although Spectra recently changed the pipeline’s route, public opposition remains high.

Anonymous tip leads to $1M worth of heroin in two-family house

WEST NEW YORK — West New York held a press conference Monday morning on the pre-dawn raid Sunday that turned out to be the largest drug seizure in the town, as well as one of the biggest heroin busts ever in the county.
Following up on an anonymous tip from a resident, the West New York Police Narcotics Unit entered a two-family house on Washington Street to find eight pounds of heroin – or $1 million in street value – as well as a sophisticated marijuana growing operation, a drug packaging facility, and $1,200 in cash.
“$1 million worth of heroin was cut, packaged, and ready to hit the streets,” town spokesperson Paul Swibinski said.
Five men, one from West New York, were charged with multiple felony charges related to manufacturing and distributing illegal drugs, and are being held at the Hudson County Correctional facility in Kearny with a bail set at $250,000 each.
Those charged were: West New York resident Alejandro Valdez, 34, of West New York; Christian Colon, 23, Victor Arias, 29, and Jose Delorbe, 25, all of the Bronx; and Jorge Guerra, 31, of Manhattan.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been contacted, and the investigation is continuing, Swibinski said.
The West New York Police Department urges residents with knowledge of potential crimes to continue to use the town’s highly publicized tip line at (201) 295-5047.
”This is another example of our police working closely with the community to increase public safety in West New York,” said Mayor Vega at the press conference. “I cannot overemphasize how proud we are of Director Al Bringa, our very fine Police Department and the citizens who provide vital information to help the police protect us all.”

Hudson County Bar Foundation to offer scholarships to law school hopefuls

The Hudson County Bar Foundation will award scholarships to students who are attending law school or who have been accepted to law school for the September 2011 – May 2012 term.
The Hudson County Bar Foundation Scholarship Fund is one of the oldest providers of financial assistance to Hudson County law students. Esteemed members and families of the Hudson County legal community have funded these 43 scholarships.
Students must be a resident of Hudson County, must demonstrate financial need, must provide two current Letters of Recommendation, and must account for appropriate academic standards.
Interested applicants can write to the Hudson County Bar Foundation Scholarship Committee, 583 Newark Ave., Jersey City, New Jersey 07306 or call (201) 798-4708 or send an e-mail to hcba.law@verizon.net to request an application. All applications must be received on or before April 15, 2011.

NJMC presents ‘Revolutionary War Re-Enactors Show and Tell’

New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and the Meadowlands Museum will present a free “Revolutionary War Re-Enactors Show and Tell” program on Sunday, Jan. 30 at 1 p.m. The program features revolutionary re-enactors dressed in period costume who will discuss Bergen County’s role in the Revolutionary War and discuss the uniforms and equipment used by Continental Army soldiers.
The program will take place at Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst. For more information, call (201) 460-8300 or go online at www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec.

NY Waterway offers traffic-free cruising to NY boat and motorcycle shows

NY Waterway now offers a traffic-free way to cruise to the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City for both the New York National Boat Show from Jan. 19 – 23, and the NY Progressive International Motorcycle Show from Jan. 21 – 23.
After parking at the Port Imperial terminal in Weehawken for $10 per day, riders take an eight-minute boat ride to the NY Waterway terminal at 39th Street and the Hudson River, across the street from the Javits Center.
During the week, boats depart Port Imperial starting at 6 a.m., with ferries returning regularly from Manhattan until 12:10 a.m. Weekend service starts at 8 a.m. in New Jersey with the New York return runs extending until 1:10 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
In addition to Port Imperial, NY Waterway also offers ferry service to the 39th Street terminal – and easy access to the Javits Center – from Hoboken 14th Street. The service is offered weekdays only from Edgewater, Paulus Hook, Newport, Lincoln Harbor, and Belford.
Parking is available at the Belford and Port Imperial ferry terminals, and NJ Transit rail and bus connections are available at Port Imperial and Paulus Hook.
For more information, call (800) 53-FERRY or click on www.nywaterway.com.


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