Elderly pedestrian hit by van on Washington Street

An 80-year-old female Hoboken resident sustained possible head trauma and was transported to Jersey City Medical Center after being hit by a van while crossing Washington Street on Friday morning, according to Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante.
The incident took place at the intersection of Fifth and Washington streets between 10 and 11 a.m. on Friday, said Ferrante. A rental van was turning left with the green light from Fifth onto Washington Street when it struck the woman, who was crossing with the light.
Based on the police report, Ferrante said, the driver stated that the woman had been in his blind spot. The driver stayed at the scene and assisted the woman until police arrived.
According to a police report, he was given a motor vehicle summons for failing to yield to a pedestrian.
Though bleeding from the back of the head, the woman was alert and responsive, according to Ferrante. She was transported to Jersey City Medical Center, where she was expected to receive a CAT scan and treatment for injuries to her head and lower extremities.

Menendez responds to Supreme Court ruling in favor of same sex marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday upholding the rights for all people to marry, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
This voids laws in 13 states that prohibit gay marriage.
The justices ruled that the right to marriage is protected under the 14th amendment, and that all states must issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, and must recognize such unions when they are performed in other states.
Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the majority opinion with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen G. Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor in the majority.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) applauded what he called a historic Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges which ruled that same sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.
“This is a tremendous day for the LGBT community, their families, and their friends who have stood beside them,” said Menendez. “The Supreme Court has ended one of the blatant forms of discrimination that keep loving families apart based solely on who they love and where they live. This decision brings us closer to our nation’s promise of equal rights for all, and this victory belongs to those who can now marry who they love across America.”
But Menendez said this does not mean the fight is over.
“Already we are seeing efforts to categorically deny LGBT individuals protections against unjust firings, unlawful evictions, or even refused service in restaurants,” he said.
Menendez is a cosigner of the Congressional brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down same-sex marriage bans as violating the equal protection guarantee. He previously cosigned the Congressional brief in U.S. v. Windsor urging the Supreme Court to strike down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. In addition, Senator Menendez has been a consistent supporter of the Respect for Marriage Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Student Non-Discrimination Act, and the Every Child Deserves a Family Act.
Rep. Donald Payne (D-10th Dist) also applauded the decision.
“I am thrilled that the Supreme Court made the correct decision in affirming the right of same-sex couples to marry,” he said. “Every person should receive equal treatment and protection no matter whom they love, and the Court’s decision is a critical step toward fulfilling our promise of fairness and equality. Today is a tremendous triumph for American families who have fought long and hard for basic civil rights and true equality.”
Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop called it a historic day for equality.
“We are proud to raise the Rainbow Flag over Jersey City’s City Hall,” he said.
The flag was also raised moments after the decision in front of Hoboken City Hall.
“Today we took another proud step towards fulfilling our nation’s founding principle that all of us are created equal,” Mayor Dawn Zimmer said in a statement. “Our communities and families are stronger when everyone is treated fairly, which is why as mayor, it was a privilege to perform Hoboken’s first marriage between a same-sex couple, and to join a friends-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to end marriage discrimination. Today we raise the rainbow flag at City Hall to celebrate with everyone who no longer faces discrimination from their government because of who they love.”
State Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia (D-33) called Friday’s Supreme Court ruling “a monumental achievement for human rights.”
“As Justice Kennedy pointed out, ‘no union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.’ It is great to see a fundamental right extended to all Americans,” he added.
Rep. Albio Sires (D-8th Dist.) also celebrated the ruling. “Today’s decision is a victory for equality and for love,” he said.

Mayor names provisional Hoboken fire chief

Fire Department Battalion Chief Anton Peskens will serve as provisional fire chief until a permanent replacement for outgoing Chief Richard Blohm is identified, Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced Monday. Peskens and the department’s six other battalion chiefs have filled the fire chief’s role on a rotating basis since Blohm retired on June 1.
Peskens is the Hoboken Fire Department’s most senior battalion chief, having joined the force in 1986 and served as battalion chief since 2011.
Zimmer interviewed all the battalion chiefs before selecting Peskens. “We are fortunate to have great talent and many qualified leaders in our Fire Department,” she said in a statement.
“I thank Chief Peskens for agreeing to take on this major responsibility for the next several months as we begin the process of identifying a permanent Chief to lead the department in the years ahead,” added Zimmer.
The process entails administering a Civil Service Fire Chief’s test to Fire Department officers and conducting a series of interviews with the highest scoring candidates. The mayor will then select a chief and the City Council will approve his contract.
Two weeks ago, Blohm said the civil service exam will probably take place in November.

Hoboken adds stop signs, expands traffic enforcement to improve pedestrian safety

The city of Hoboken is implementing a variety of engineering and enforcement measures to improve pedestrian and traffic safety. Drivers should note that the corners of Ninth Street and Willow Avenue as well as Fifteenth Street and Bloomfield Street are now all-way stop intersections.
In addition, as part of the annual complete streets resurfacing project, curb ramps and crosswalks are being upgraded to be safer and compliant with modern Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Numerous other safety improvements include curb bump-outs at intersections to improve pedestrian safety by reducing crossing distances and physically preventing illegal parking in crosswalks, bike lanes designed to reduce speeding by narrowing excessively wide travel lanes, “Don’t block the box” treatments at Jackson Street and Observer Highway and Monroe Street and Observer Highway to keep cars from blocking intersections and crosswalks, and special symbols in the street to help firefighters quickly identify the locations of fire hydrants.
“I lost my father-in-law to a hit-and-run in Hoboken, so the issue of pedestrian and public safety is very personal and extremely important to me,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Hoboken is already a great walking city, and we’re focused on making sure our most vulnerable residents, including the elderly, those with disabilities, and our children, feel safe and are safe as they walk around town.”
Understanding the high importance of traffic and pedestrian safety, Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante has expanded the size and hours of operation of the Traffic and Transportation Bureau since taking over the Police Department in late 2014.
“Mayor Zimmer stepped in as mayor in 2009 with a commitment to provide better pedestrian safety for our residents and visitors, and the results speak volumes about the improved conditions” said Ferrante. “I wanted to build upon that commitment, so I doubled the size of our traffic bureau and doubled their hours of operation. I commend Lieutenant Petrosino and his team who have done an exemplary job.”
The Traffic and Transportation Bureau is also conducting a traffic assessment for each elementary school and reevaluating the locations of the school crossing guards for the upcoming school year. All school crossing guards will also receive up-to-date training from the unit’s six newly trained state certified school crossing guard instructors.

Esther Suarez nominated to be Hudson County Prosecutor

Superior Court Judge Esther Suarez has been nominated as the new Hudson County prosecutor on Wednesday by Gov. Christopher Christie.
Suarez, a native of Bayonne, served as counsel for the city of Hoboken before moving on to become a Superior Court judge in Passaic County. She will serve a five-year term as prosecutor.
Hudson County has been without a permanent prosecutor since early June 2012, when two-term prosecutor Ed DeFazio was appointed as a judge. Gaetano Gregory has filled the position on a acting basis.
“I am proud to support Esther Suarez’s nomination to become the next Hudson County Prosecutor because she is not only eminently qualified, but also because her confirmation will be a historic moment as she will become both the first woman and the first person of Hispanic heritage to serve in the position,” said North Bergen Mayor and State Senator Nick Sacco (D-32nd.) “Esther is a Hudson County native and a Superior Court Judge with an impeccable record and unimpeachable integrity. She will bring a strong background of legal experience to the office and will ably represent the diversity that makes Hudson County great.”

Hoboken Charter Upper School students receive $13,000 in academic scholarships

On June 12, Brandon Gaskins, Fernando Rosen, Jonathan Peluyera, Dynah Polanco, and Kimani Brown, all students at the Hoboken Charter Upper School, received $13,000 in academic scholarships at the conclusion of a Youth Leadership Program sponsored by CarePoint Health Medical Group.
The nine-month program required students to attend two meetings a month for a total of 36 hours. Last October, it was kicked off with a presentation by Administrative Director Maireni C.Gomez and Program Coordinator Joel Delgado.
CarePoint’s Youth Leadership program incorporated and inculcated leadership skills, empowering students to understand their ability and more importantly, their responsibility in making mindful choices in all aspects of their lives.
“As an educator, there are a limited amount of hours in the day,” said Mira Septimus, an art teacher and service learning coordinator. “The needs of our students sometimes get overlooked by the curriculum being taught with the time provided. This program extended our lessons and classroom beyond schools wall, with original and fresh approaches that captivated and engaged our students.”

Grand finale of lecture series to feature great-great-great-great-grandson of Stevens sire

This Sunday, June 28, at 4 p.m., the Hoboken Historical Museum will hold the final installment of the lecture series it organized to accompany its spring 2015 main exhibition, “The Extraordinary Stevens Family, A New Jersey Legacy: 1776-1911.”
Samuel P. Reckford, the great-great-great-great-grandson of Stevens family forefather Colonel John Stevens III, and the great-great-great-grandson of Stevens Institute of Technology founder Edwin A. Stevens, will speak on the extended Stevens family tree, a topic to which he has devoted many hours to researching. In addition, Reckford will share family lore he’s gathered since childhood.
The lecture will take place at DeBaun Auditorium on Stevens campus, located at Fifth and Hudson streets, to accommodate strong interest. Admission is $10, $5 for Hoboken Historical Museum members.

Hudson County has youngest population in the state

In a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau detailing the counties with youngest and oldest population, Hudson County is rated as the youngest population with a median age of 34.8.
Based on median age, the U.S. Census Bureau reported on which counties in New Jersey had the oldest populations and which had the youngest. The U.S. median age ticked up from 37.6 on July 1, 2013, to 37.7 on July 1, 2014.
These estimates examine population changes among groups by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin nationally, as well as in all states and counties, between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2014.
The counties in New Jersey with the highest median age on July 1, 2014, were Cape May at 48.6, Hunterdon at 45.5 and Sussex at 43.9. This means that half the population was older than this age and half younger.

Writers tell tales of Middle East

Jon Papernick and Jessamyn Hope will be at Little City Books this Sunday, June 28 at 7 p.m., to discuss their new novels that are both about Israel and the Middle East.
Jonathan Papernick is the author of the story collections “The Ascent of Eli Israel” and “There Is No Other.” His fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. Jessamyn Hope is the author of the novel “Safekeeping,” released this summer from Fig Tree Books.
Bestselling novelist Caroline Leavitt will moderate a conversation with the audience about writing and Middle Eastern affairs. Little City Books is located at 100 Bloomfield St.

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