Board of Education election to be held Tuesday

On Tuesday, Nov. 5 voters will go to the polls to select four trustees for the Jersey City School Board.
The top three candidates to receive the most number of votes will each serve regular three-year terms on the board. There are 12 candidates running for these three full-term seats on the board: Ellen Simon, Micheline Amy, Jessica Daye, current trustee Gerald Lyons, Lorenzo Richardson, Gina Verdibello, Denise Davis, Telissa Dowling, Carol Gabriel, Susan Harbace, DeJon Morris, and Kevaan Walton.
In addition to selecting three candidates for full terms, there will also be a special election to fill the school board seat vacated last year by former trustee Marvin Adames. The winner of this race will serve out the remainder of Adames’ term, which ends Dec. 31, 2014. Two candidates, Carol Lester and Angel Valentin, are running for this seat. Lester and Valentin are both current school board members.
A few residents have launched a write-in campaign to elect Ward C activist John Hanussak for this one-year seat instead of Lester or Valentin.
Of the candidates running, there are two slates. Jessica Daye, Micheline Amy, Ellen Simon, and Carol Lester are running under the Candidates for Excellence slate, which has been endorsed by Mayor Steven Fulop.
Candidates Gerald Lyons, Lorenzo Richardson, Gina Verdibello, and Angel Valentin are running together under the Children First banner. The Children First candidates have been endorsed by the Jersey City Education Association, the union that represents 3,800 teachers, teacher assistants, paraprofessionals, secretaries, and noncertified administrators in the Jersey City school district.
The remaining School Board candidates are running independently.
In addition to selecting candidates for the Board of Education, residents will also vote for governor/lieutenant governor, state senator, and state assembly seats.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Van Vorst Park-area residents raising money to hire attorney for legal fight against micro-unit development

The Van Vorst Park Neighborhood Association is trying to raise at least $10,000 to hire an attorney to represent property owners in a possible lawsuit against the city.
The owners are trying to block the construction of a new 87-unit residential development at the corner of Varick and Bright streets. Until recently, the site of the project, 268 Varick St., was used for classroom trailers for the Frank R. Conwell School (PS 3). Students who were using those trailers have been moved to other schools in preparation for groundbreaking on the residential development next year.
But if residents have their way, there not be a groundbreaking at all. Residents in the area have opposed the project, which according to the city’s redevelopment plan for the area, does not require and new parking to be created. They also oppose the developer’s plan to build micro-units at the site that would be 325 to 350 square feet in size, according to Michael Rushman, a principal with Rushman Dillon, the project developer.
In fliers and online postings to residents in the Van Vorst Park neighborhood, the group has stated: “The Van Vorst Park Neighborhood Association is organizing against this poorly thought out project…City Hall needs to know we’re not backing down! We need to apply pressure everyday!”
Residents allege that the city’s Planning Board failed to adequately solicit input from residents before approving the project. In a tense meeting held last month with Rushman and a representative from the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, residents threatened to file a lawsuit to block the project.
In the meantime, the Van Vorst Park Neighborhood Association is asking property owners in the area to make daily calls to Mayor Steven Fulop, Ward F City Councilwoman Diane Coleman, and Ward E City Councilwoman Candice Osborne.

Activist collecting winter supplies for homeless

Activist and resident Riaz Wahid, a founding member of the Jersey City Homeless Advocacy Group, is collecting winter goods, personal hygiene, and toiletry items for the homeless people living around Journal Square. He is asking for donations of sleeping bags, hats, gloves, socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, lotion, lip balm, sanitary napkins and other items. Anyone who wants to donate items can contact him by phone at (201) 669 7608 or by e-mail,

Journal Square area becomes target of focused TNR program for stray cats

Things are looking up for feral cats in Jersey City’s 07306 zip code, which covers the Journal Square and Marion neighborhoods. As anyone who lives there knows, this area is currently overrun with stray cats. Thus, the area has been selected as the focus of an effort to spay or neuter 250 homeless cats. The effort is a joint project between the Liberty Humane Society and Neighborhood Cats and was made possible with a grant from PetSmart Charities.
In the coming months cats in the target area will be humanely trapped, spayed/neutered, and returned to their original locations. Spay/neuter services will be provided by the People for Animals clinic in Hillside, New Jersey. The cats will also be vaccinated against rabies and “ear tipped.”
During ear tipping, the point of a cat’s left ear is sliced away while the animal is under anesthesia. This lets animal advocates know the animal has already been spayed or neutered.
The whole process is known as “trap-neuter-return,” or TNR, and is the best way to gradually reduce the number of homeless cats while improving overall health and eliminating the mating behaviors that create public nuisances, like pungent tomcat spray and late-night caterwauling.
At present, the city’s 07306 zip code accounts for one of Liberty Humane Society’s highest intake rates of feral and stray cats, with 143 kittens and adults turned in over the past year. TNR for this targeted project will be concentrated in the area’s northeast section as far west as Tonnelle Avenue and with Lincoln Highway marking the southern border.
Residents in the target area can report the locations of unneutered colonies by contacting our Jersey City Feral Cat Hotline, (201) 351-7772 or by e-mailing Community members can also receive training from Neighborhood Cats to become feral cat caretakers to make sure their colonies are properly fed and sheltered.
Anyone interested in fostering a kitten or friendly cat rescued from outdoors during the TNR project can contact Liberty Humane Society’s foster care program at or 235 Jersey City Blvd.

No ticket, but click it: Jersey City cracks down on drivers without seatbelts

Did you know that wearing a seatbelt increases the odds of surviving a crash by as much as 75 percent?
This is but one of the interesting statistics a driver will learn if stopped by a member of the Jersey City Police Department (JCPD), which has set up a road checkpoint at the corner of Marin Boulevard and Grand Street. This checkpoint is one of three sites where the JCPD is staging a public education campaign on the importance of always wearing a seatbelt.
As part of the campaign, drivers without belts are forced to pull over and are given a brochure titled “Crash Protection,” issued by the American Automobile Association, and a one-page handout from the JCPD that reads in part, “You have just violated a traffic safety regulation. Buckle up. It’s the law.”
Mayor Steven Fulop said the seatbelt education campaign is part of a larger initiative that will be unveiled in the coming weeks. He declined to elaborate further.

Child advocate group holding informational session on Nov. 12

Are you interested in helping children in the foster care system? If so, Hudson County’s Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program is recruiting volunteers to advance the best interests of abused and neglected children.
An informational session, addressing the program and the role of its volunteers, will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 6 to 7 p.m. in Room 400 of the Hudson County Administration Building, 595 Newark Ave., Jersey City.
CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Its volunteers speak for children in court, serve as fact finders for judges, and safeguard children’s interests while they are in the foster care system.
Hudson County has nearly 700 children in foster care; most have been removed from their homes for abuse or neglect.
For more information, call (201) 795-9855, e-mail or visit

CarePoint offers six-week anti-arthritis exercise program

CarePoint Health Hoboken University Medical Center and the Arthritis Foundation will provide a six-week exercise program for people living with arthritis. Each hour-long exercise session provides participants with improved joint mobility, muscle strength, and endurance through various exercises lead by certified Arthritis Foundation Exercise Trainer, Kathy Geller. Additionally, participants also learned pain and stress management strategies, facts about arthritis, medications, and current treatments. Through this program, participants learned techniques on to how to stay active with arthritis by enabling them to improve their performance in daily activities.
The program takes place at CarePoint Health – Hoboken University Medical Center, Assumption Hall, 308 Willow Ave., Hoboken, throughout October from 2 to 3 p.m., and Nov. 5 from 2:45-3:45 p.m.
For more information, please contact CarePoint Health Public Relations Department at 201-418-2335.

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