Secaucus Reporter to go biweekly; also catch breaking news on the web

As of this month, the print edition of the Secaucus Reporter has shifted to a biweekly publication, coming out every other Sunday. However, we are constantly updating our website,, with Secaucus breaking news – and you can also read the weekly columns by Al Sullivan (politics) and Jim Hague (sports) on the web, as well as news from all of our towns in Hudson County.
To read Al Sullivan, go to and click the Opinion tab on top. For Jim Hague, click Sports. For breaking news, simply look at the top of the page any time of day. For Secaucus specific news from the weekly editions, scroll down to Secaucus News.
The next print edition after this one will be Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. If you have a calendar item or timely letter, please be sure to submit it several weeks in advance so there is time to get it into the print edition. You can send it to and please make sure to put Secaucus in the subject head so we can find it easily.

Mayor Gonnelli injured helping fight fire at Harmon Cove

Mayor Michael Gonnelli and several other members of the town’s volunteer firefighting squad were treated for injuries after a fire broke out at the Harmon Cove condo complex. Gonnelli, a former fire chief, sustained burns on his face, arm and back. He was treated at Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center and released.
The Secaucus Fire Dept was called to Sunset Key in the Harmon Cove complex at 9:14 p.m. on Sept. 26 for a reported structure fire. Upon arrival they discovered heavy fire already showing through the roof. The fire was on all floors of four residential units, traveling behind the common walls. It took two hours and 15 minutes to place the fire under control.
Firefighters removed one occupant from the first floor. All other occupants escaped prior to their arrival. The Office of Emergency Management relocated one family of three people; the other seven families stayed with relatives. A total four units (containing seven people) are uninhabitable due to heavy fire and water damage. Four other adjoining units were evacuated as a precaution. They sustained no damage and the residents were allowed to return by the morning.
A total of 43 firefighters fought the fire. The North Arlington Fire Department assisted at the scene while Kearny and Jersey City Fire Departments covered Secaucus.
The Secaucus Fire Prevention Bureau and the Secaucus Police Department are investigating the cause of the fire. The investigation will also determine if the units had working smoke detectors.

Live music and salsa dancing coming to library on Oct. 15

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center is partnering with the Goya corporation to host “A Celebration of Hispanic Music and Dance” on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.
According to Library Event Coordinator Lee Penna, the evening will include a variety of popular Latin dance music, as well as an opportunity to learn the basics of salsa, meringue, and bachata. “Renowned dancer and choreographer Desiree Godsell will provide dance lessons for all who attend,” said Penna. “No experience is necessary, and you do not have to bring a partner.”
The event is cosponsored by Goya and Noches de Colombia, which is soon to be opening a restaurant in Secaucus and will provide traditional Hispanic refreshments for everyone to sample.
“Part of the library’s core mission is to provide cultural and educational programming for the community, and this definitely fits that mission, albeit in lighter way,” said Library Directory Jenifer May. “I’m hoping that many members of our community, young and old, join us on Thursday night when we transform our normally quiet meeting room into a dance venue. I promise that the music is going to make everyone who attends want to get up and dance, but we will also have seating available for those who wish to watch and listen.”
Registration for the event is recommended but not mandatory. To register, call (201) 330-2083 or visit

Secaucus High holds annual open house on Oct. 20

Secaucus High School will hold its annual open house on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. for all students and their families in the Arthur F. Couch Performing Arts Center. This is an event that the staff puts together each year in October, after the annual college fair, to show the Secaucus community why Secaucus High School should be the high school choice for their children.
Dr. Bob Berckes, principal, will have staff members, as well as students, former students, and administrators present to show off Secaucus High School. Residents can see and hear why, according to a release, it is an outstanding secondary educational institution and a worthwhile investment for college and career readiness.
The Middle States Commission found Secaucus High School to be a diversified, heterogeneous population of students. The team from the commission determined that SHS offers a highly qualified education, and has a curriculum that’s challenging. Every Middle State evaluator said they would send their children there.
Secaucus High School offers over 11 AP courses, math and science, social studies, physical education, driver’s ed, and health, fine and performing arts, culinary sciences that include sewing and cooking, as well as the STEM and media academies. Seniors are also able to take part in the Career Exploration Internship Program (CEIP), where they leave campus in the late morning to serve as interns in their fields of interest.
Student surveys and interviews indicated that students feel there is no bullying and that they are confident their needs are being met. In the class of 2014, 94 percent of graduates planned to attend college and the rest intended to go to trade schools, military, or the work force. Last year’s class received $11.9 million in scholarships and grants. Students wear uniforms to promote school unity.

Twelve High Tech students receive Letter of Commendation from National Merit Scholarship Program

A Letter of Commendation from High Tech High School and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) will be presented by Dr. Joseph Giammarella, principal of High Tech, to twelve outstanding scholars.
Commended students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2016 competition by taking the PSAT/NMSQT last year. NMSC has recognized approximately 34,000 commended students across the country, although they will not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships in 2016.
The twelve HTHS seniors are Amina and Sara Bendaoud, George Iskander, and Hayoung Park of Bayonne; Harrison resident Rora Cai; Jack Tisdell of Hoboken; Kearny resident Sabina Ohkawa; Nicholas Palmer and Jennifer Tu of North Bergen; Secaucus residents Ryan Gulati and Justin Luh; and Emory Kemph of Weehawken, all of whom have met the qualifications for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
The young men and women being named commended students have shown outstanding potential for academic success, according to Eileen Artemakis and Matthew Budreau, spokespersons for NMSC.
High Tech High School accepts students from throughout Hudson County.

Financial Aid workshop held for parents of students heading to college

Hudson County Vocational Technical Education Association (HCVTEA) sponsored a financial aid workshop for the parents and/or guardians of 12th grade students from High Tech High School and County Prep. Kimber Decker of the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA.ORG) spoke to 90 parents about topics like preparing to pay for their children’s college tuition and filling out the new online FAFSA form. Chef Peter Turro and the High Tech High School Culinary Arts Department treated parents to a full-course dinner, also sponsored by the HCVTEA. The group is discussing the possibility of another financial aid workshop later this school year, according to HCVTEA Vice President Daniel Greco.

Home Energy Assistance and Weatherization Assistance Programs available

The Home Energy Assistance Program helps low income residents with their heating and cooling bills, and makes provisions for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance within the Home Energy Assistance Program.
The Weatherization Assistance Program enables low income families, particularly the elderly, people with disabilities, and children, to permanently reduce the energy bills and make homes more energy efficient by using the most advanced technologies and testing protocols available in the industry.
These programs are free if you qualify. A representative from PACO, Inc. will be available to assist with applications. Office hours are Wednesdays only from noon to 7 p.m. starting Oct. 7 at the Secaucus Senior Center, 101 Centre Ave.

October Food Pantry collection

For the month of October, the Food Pantry is looking for donations of pasta and pasta sauce. Items can be dropped at the Senior Center, 101 Centre Ave., Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Call Patt or Eileen with any questions at (201) 330-2014. The shelter is always looking for donations of $10 gift cards to Walmart or ShopRite.

Attend the Animal Shelter’s 5th annual Halloween Costume Dinner Dance

Get your tickets for the exciting and entertaining Halloween party at La Reggia on Oct. 30 for just $55 per person. The price includes dinner, beer, wine, a DJ, raffles, and a costume contest. All proceeds benefit the Secaucus Animal Shelter. For tickets, call Sue at (201) 563-2161. Make checks payable to Friends of the Secaucus Animal Shelter. All ticket purchases are tax deductible.
The town has many other Halloween events on the calendar. Check out the full list on the website at and be sure to save the dates.

Enjoy Halloween in the Meadowlands on Oct. 29

Celebrate this ghoulish time of year at DeKorte Park on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. There will be games, crafts, and activities throughout the evening, including hayrides and Halloween stories in the Witch’s Den. The guided “Creepy Creatures of Halloween and Why They’re Not So Bad Once You Get to Know Them” spooky walk is suitable for kids ages 5-12, when accompanied by an adult. Throughout the walk, kids will meet bats, cats, spiders, and other spooky creatures. This guided walk lasts about 40 minutes.
Registration and advance payment of $8 per person are required and online only. Sign-up for a Spooky Walk time slot and come early to enjoy all the fun. Space is limited so register early at

Grants will fund plantings in Meadowlands

The Bergen County Audubon Society awarded the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority with two grants totaling $3,500 to fund plantings at the Lyndhurst Nature Reserve in DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst. The grants will supplement existing plantings by adding new species to increase foraging, cover, and nesting for a variety of songbirds, and to provide nectar and larvae plants for butterflies. Site preparation work will begin this fall, with planting scheduled for spring. Approximately 2,000 plugs of native grasses and herbaceous perennials and 200 native shrubs will be planted.

Celebrate Durga Puja Utsav on Oct. 17

Everyone in the community is invited to participate in the Durga Puja Festival Celebration beginning at 11 a.m. on Oct. 17 at the Harmon Cove Clubhouse, 1 Harmon Blvd. In the Hindu religion Goddess Durga is known as the divine feminine force that governs all cosmic creation, existence, and change. Come with family and friends to receive her divine blessings and enjoy her mystic grandeur. To volunteer or for more information email

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