Fire chief’s son killed on Fulton Avenue

Jersey City police say Darcel Rivers, 35, of Rhode Island, the son of Jersey City Fire Chief Darren Rivers, was shot once in the back of the head at about 3:45 a.m. near Fulton Avenue during a robbery on Thursday. Rivers was found on the sidewalk and pronounced dead a half hour later at Jersey City Medical Center.
Police said Rivers was staying at his mother’s house on Fulton Avenue, but had gone out to spend time with his friends a few blocks away. Rivers was reportedly walking to his mother’s house and was near the corner of Fulton Avenue and Van Cleef Street when approached by a robber. The suspect fled the scene with money and his cellular phone. No arrests had been made as of press time Friday.

Murder on Sackett Street may be connected to other shootings

A shooting that left one man dead on May 27 in Jersey City may be connected to two other shootings that occurred in Jersey City that day. The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the fatal shooting of Larry Darnell Freeman, a 50-year-old Jersey City man who was shot dead on Sackett Street. Investigators believe that Freeman was not the target of the shooting, but was hit by a stray bullet.
An 18-year-old Jersey City man was struck by a bullet near Martin Luther King Drive a short time later, and later that same afternoon, a 45-year-old woman was struck by a bullet in the Martin Luther King Drive area.
So far, there have been no arrests in the three shootings. But police said the arrest of two men on May 29 on weapons offenses was related to guns linked to the Sackett Street homicide, an official said in court when the pair made their first court appearance on the charges.
Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to call the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office at (201) 915 -1345.
Residents have been complaining for months about the increased number of shootings along MLK Drive.
“We need more foot patrols and community policing,” said Kim Jerdio, during the public portion of the May 27 City Council meeting. “A man was shot yesterday. It’s like the Wild West with gun shootings all over and continues into the night time.”
Jerdio said there are incidents in cars that sometimes involve children.
Lack of jobs for residents of the community is one of the reasons why there is increased violence, Jerdio said.
“On some nights there are 50 people on every corner. They have nothing concrete to do.”
Bruce Alston, a candidate for the state Assembly and a community activist, said people in the neighborhood are scared.
See related story on the city’s crime rate on the cover.

Community, mayor to honor fallen officers

Redstone: The Neighborhood Association (RTNA) will honor two Jersey City police officers who died in the line of duty with a memorial dedication on Saturday, June 6, at Lt. Grover Park at the corner of Broadman Parkway and Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City.
At the dedication, which will begin at 10:30 a.m., Mayor Steven Fulop will be joined by Council President Rolando Lavarro, Ward A Councilman Frank Gajewski, and other local officials and police officers.
Police Detectives Marc DiNardo and Melvin Santiago and their families, will be honored. Detective DiNardo died as a result of injuries suffered during a shootout in July 2009. He is survived by his wife Mary and children Gwendolyn, Marc Anthony II and Ella.
Detective Santiago, a West Side resident, was killed on July 13, 2014 while responding to a robbery-in-progress at Walgreens on the corner of Communipaw Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard.
RTNA has planted two large, white dogwood trees at Lt. Grover Park in honor of Detectives DiNardo and Santiago. Plaques with the names of the detectives will be unveiled at the event, and family members of both detectives will be recognized. Additionally, a neighborhood bulletin board donated by Honeywell will be unveiled.

Teachers sought for ecosystem adventure

Honeywell and New Jersey Audubon have announced that scholarships are available for Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education (HIEE), a 4-day summer institute that combines classroom instruction with diverse outdoor experiences throughout Jersey City. HIEE will be held from Aug. 24 to 27.
HIEE will use the Eco-Schools USA framework to empower Jersey City teachers for grades 6 –12 to inspire students to identify and address local environmental issues, create more sustainable communities, and become scientists, inventors, or engineers. The goal is to provide teachers with inquiry-based techniques to encourage integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) into the classroom and to create more sustainable communities. The program utilizes local resources, technology, and other avenues to participate in a modeling-approach to education.
Upon successful completion of the four-day program, sixteen Jersey City 6–12 grade teachers will receive a full scholarship to HIEE, a $500 mini-grant to be used during the 2015-2016 school year, a Jersey City Board of Education-approved weekly stipend, and 24 professional development credits.
Jersey City teachers are encouraged to apply for this free and exciting program online no later than June 12.

Bill would allow voters to decide on casino for Jersey City and elsewhere

Legislation co-sponsored by Assemblyman Raj Mukherji would allow voters to decide if casinos could be opened in three additional counties in New Jersey, including Hudson County.
The bill would schedule a referendum in which voters would be asked to approve up to three casinos in Bergen, Essex or Hudson counties. A portion of the revenues generated would help Atlantic City which has seen more than a dozen casinos close. The bill would have to be approved by Aug. 3 to make it onto November’s general election ballot. Republican Gov. Chris Christie last week said he would support a referendum provided some of the revenue was dedicated to helping Atlantic City.
Casinos have been proposed for Jersey City as well as the Meadowlands.

West Bergen Branch Library to reopen on June 29

The West Bergen Branch Library, 476 West Side Ave., will hold a grand reopening on Monday, June 29 at 11 a.m., after a two-and-a half-month closure for major renovations.
“I am elated to bring a brand new West Bergen Branch Library to our loyal patrons, who, I’m certain, will be happy with all the changes,” said Library Director Priscilla Gardner. “This may be one of our three smaller branches, but the amount of people that call it ‘home’ is much larger than one would think!”
West Bergen received a full upgrade, starting with new floor tiles, painting, an air conditioning system, windows, restrooms, screen in back of branch (to keep pigeons out), and a cleaned backyard of debris (for elimination of rodents).
However, the greatest of the brand new renovations is added space, library officials said. With the addition of space next door, the West Bergen Branch received new shelving for that new space, which will be the new separate Children’s Room.

City accepting application for AmeriCorps VISTA Program projects

Jersey City is accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Jersey City AmeriCorps VISTA Program. JC VISTA is a federally-funded volunteer project that addresses the needs of low-income residents and is the city’s first municipal VISTA program. Team members will serve for a one-year period on projects to advance economic development, youth development and community revitalization.
Jersey City’s team of VISTAs will perform interdepartmental support through various divisions of city government. Their projects will focus on anti-poverty initiatives through the Resident Response Center (RRC), the Mayor’s Quality of Life Task Force (MQLTF) and the Division of Community Development (DCD) and will also engage employers to better connect residents with job opportunities, as well as expanding employment and enrichment opportunities for youth.
VISTA volunteers will help create, manage and sustain systems for collecting data through focus groups, surveys, interviews, legislative reviews, research, analysis, and other activities. Their work will largely involve outreach to key community stakeholders, including non-profit leaders, advocates, clergy, businesses, faith-based leaders, and other key components of anti-poverty programs in the community.
Additionally, volunteers will be actively communicating with local businesses, small and large, to encourage buy-in and investment in the local workforce by supporting training for current and future labor force needs and playing an active role in job placement. VISTA volunteers will be critical to establishing these connections with community partners from various sectors, helping to facilitate the connection between the needs of low-income residents, the prescriptions employed to address those needs, and the goals and objectives for individuals in poverty and the program as a whole.
JC VISTA is currently seeking applicants interested in positions within the Jersey City Resident Response Center, the Mayor’s Quality of Life Task Force, the Jersey City Hudson Workforce Partnership, the Jersey City Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Jersey City Division of Community Development-Youth Services and Jersey City Cities of Service Office.
It is preferred that candidates have a bachelor’s degree in Communications, Marketing, Social Work, Sociology, Public Policy, or Political Science. Candidates must be team oriented, organized, and flexible. Prior experience in organizing community outreach programs is preferred, however it is not required.
JC VISTA members will receive an annual living allowance of $13,296 before taxes. They will also be given the opportunity to enroll in the VISTA Health Benefits Program. After completing one full year of service, JC VISTA members can choose to receive an Education Award of $5,730 or an End of Service Stipend of $1,500.
Applications are currently being accepted at the Jersey City Resident Response Center for the June, July and August commissions and will remain open until positions are filled.
To apply or for more information on JC VISTA please visit:

Learning Community Charter School holds its June fundraiser

June-A-Palooza, Learning Community Charter School’s annual spring street fair, will be held on Saturday, June 6 from 12 to 5 p.m. at Hamilton Square in downtown Jersey City. This is the tenth year the school has hosted the fair, which is its biggest fundraiser of the year.
June-A-Palooza features events for the whole family, including games, bounce houses, arts and crafts, live music, raffles, a cake walk, cupcake decorating, face painting, henna design and a flea market. Fairgoers also can look forward to special guest, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, as well as the ever-popular dunk tank, where students can dunk their teachers and principal. Other special guests include the Snyder High School dancers and the Bacher Boys (puppet shows).
For more info, visit or contact Anne Marusic,

North River Sing Community Chorus to hold spring concert

North River Sing Community Chorus, a Jersey City-based group devoted to The Great American Songbook, will host its second-ever concert on Friday, June 12 at 8 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 83 Wayne Street (between Jersey and Barrow) in Downtown Jersey City. The program will include works by Stephen Sondheim, Fats Waller, George and Ira Gershwin, and Jersey City native Jerry Herman, among other twentieth century songwriting greats. A coffee and pastries reception will follow the hour-long performance. Admission is free and open to the public (with a requested donation of $20 per person).
For more information on the chorus, please visit

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