School board meeting: departures and violence report
The Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8 had a largely straightforward agenda, with Superintendent Christine Johnson detailing the district’s violence report for the 2014-2015 school year and two school board trustees stepping down from their seats following the Nov. 3 elections.
The board’s president, Ruth Tyroler, who was first elected in April 2009, and trustee Jean Marie Mitchell attended their last meeting as board members after opting not to run for reelection. Britney Montgomery and John Madigan will take their seats, with Tom Kluepfel retaining his.
“I’m proud that every decision I’ve made was framed by the code of ethics and that I abide to them in all my interactions with the schools. The most important of which is, I [made] decisions in terms of the educational welfare of children,” said Tyroler at the end of the meeting. “I am humbled that my fellow trustees chose me for this position of president. I’m excited that Jean Marie and I are stepping down with a wonderful superintendent in place.”
Johnson also touched on the annual state-sanctioned Violence and Vandalism Report.
The mile-square city, which has a total of 1,888 students in its district according to the state, had 45 cases from 2014 to 2015 that made it to the report: 30 cases of violence, one of vandalism, one of weapons-offenses, four of substance offense, and nine of HIB (harassment, intimidation, and bullying).
In the 2013-2014 school year the district had 54 cases and the school year prior to that had 70.
Among the most staggering aspects of the report, Brandt School had 0 incidents, Connors had one of HIB, and Hoboken High School had 26 violence incidents.
During the meeting trustee Leon Gold asked the superintendent if she was concerned of the violence at the high school.
“I don’t have concerns for the safety of the high school at all,” said Johnson. “As the superintendent, I always have concerns about the manner in which kids treat each other and the manner at which they handle their conflicts. Those kinds of things still exist. There’s situation that were working with that we need to rectify but [in regard to violence], no.”
Johnson also announced that the school district’s new website will be up by the first week of January.
The student’s of the month included Truman Pimsner (kindergartener from Brandt School), Henry Lobo (6th grader of Calabro School), Liania Malave (4th grader from Connors School), Samuel Tornabene (4th grader from Wallace School), and High School winners Sofia Melfi (7th grader), and Baltazar Gonzalez (8th grader).
‘A Hoboken Tale’ features local kids
Now in its fourth year, the Garden Street Children’s Musical Theatre Company will perform their traditional holiday musical, “A Hoboken Tale,” from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13.
“There’s a lot of children in the show [which] is an original musical based in Hoboken about the holidays,” said Dan McLoughlin, who wrote and composed the musical. “The show started after Hurricane Sandy, after Hoboken suffered a devastating loss to local business because of flooding. The show has a lot to do with people supporting the community and those who live and work here.”
The theater company will hold performances on Friday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m., Dec. 12 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. at Hoboken High School, 800 Clinton St.
McLoughlin said new this year to the musical, which includes former Broadway performers, is a number of new songs including an all-cast opening number. Mile Square City children and their parents also partake in the show.
“We are trying to encourage people to shop here. Instead of on the internet or malls, try to do your shopping in Hoboken,” McLoughlin said. “Of course people of all faiths are welcome.”
For tickets, which cost $10, call (201) 683-9100. To see a list of upcoming shows by the theatre company visit www.gardenstreetmusic.com.
Retired Stevens’ professor: Frank Sinatra’s honorary degree drew some controversy
A rare photo has surfaced showing Frank Sinatra, who would have turned 100 on Saturday, Dec. 12, and the Ushers at Stevens Institute of Technology’s graduation ceremony in May 1985. At that ceremony the hometown warbler received an honorary degree.
Sinatra accompanied President Ronald Reagan to the mile square city in July 1984, landing by helicopter on the Stevens athletic field, and retired Stevens Professor of History and Social Sciences Silvio Laccetti believes it was then that interest started to build to award him an honorary degree.
Laccetti recalls the day as somewhat controversial.
“Stevens ran into some opposition concerning the Honorary Ph.D. granted to Sinatra,” Laccetti told The Hoboken Reporter. “A small group of students, fueled by some stories in the media, did send a letter to the campus newspaper in protest, but the graduating class, the faculty and the general Stevens community fully supported the award to Sinatra.”
Lacetti’s recollection might come as no surprise to Hoboken residents though, who have long known of Sinatra’s ambivalent relationship with his hometown.
Laccetti says the evening following the graduating ceremony Sinatra received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan.
And by that time, the city could be nothing but proud.
Resident, 51, arrested after nine alleged burglaries in matter of months
Donald Seickendick of Hoboken was arrested on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 8 after an investigation into numerous alleged burglaries in various parts of the city, the Hoboken Police Department said in a press release.
“The suspect would [allegedly] damage the front door to the business, enter, then smash the cash register and leave with what he found,” the press release provided by St. Edgardo Cruz said. “[Members of the detective bureau] worked tirelessly to find a suspect by canvassing the area and following their leads.”
The detectives efforts led them to an arrest of the suspect at an alleged burglary several weeks ago, at which time “a surveillance of the suspected locations where [Seickendick] may frequent was conducted in order to conduct the arrest on the new charge,” the press release said.
On Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 10:37 a.m., Detective Charles Kucz saw Seickendick leave his residence and he was placed under arrest “without incident,” the press release said. Edgardo later clarified via email to the Reporter that “without incident” means he did not resist arrest.
According to the release, while under arrest Seickendick confessed to seven more burglaries he committed in the city in a two month period. He was charged with nine counts of burglary, theft, and criminal mischief. The burglaries totaled over $2,100 and damage to properties were several thousand dollars. Seickendick was remanded to the Hudson County Correctional Facility on a $120,000 bail for all complaints with a 10 percent option.
WNY man allegedly drove while intoxicated in school zone
A West New York man was hit with a slew of charges after allegedly driving while intoxicated in a school zone causing a three-car accident on Saturday, Dec. 5, according to a press release from the Hoboken Police Department.
Jonathan Salazar, 31, of West New York was charged with driving while intoxicated/open container, failure to provide documents, reckless driving, driving in a school zone, and driving while suspended. He was also charged with two counts of assault by auto.
According to the press release, officers were dispatched to 615 Bloomfield – near both The Hudson School and Calabro Elementary School – around 7 p.m. on reports of an accident.
“Officers observed three vehicles involved in an accident with several injuries. [They] spoke with the driver who had caused the accident and noticed him swaying and could not stand without assistance,” reads the press release.
The officers also noticed the smell of alcohol emanating from Salazar and discovered the vehicle had an open container of medicine, an empty bottle of vodka, and a can of beer, the release from police officials said. Salazar later failed a B.A.C. (Blood Alcohol Content) test at police headquarters.
The victims of the car accident were transported to the Hoboken University Medical Center for treatment, and Salazar was issued summonses.
Traffic bureau to conduct DWI checkpoint in Hoboken
In efforts to reduce safety hazards connected to DWI-related accidents, the Hoboken Police Department’s Traffic Bureau will conduct a checkpoint on the south end of Hoboken on Saturday, Dec. 19. The checkpoint will run from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and pamphlets will be provided to drivers on site. For information on the initiative call (201) 420-5109.
Hoboken honors Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra, who would have turned 100 on Saturday, Dec. 12, was always known to inspire a cultish response from his fans. With a myriad of events, biography readings, a birthday bash, and museum exhibition, it seems those from his hometown have the “Sinatra bug” too.
The hometown heroes’ centennial will mark the release of “This Is My Way,” a tribute album from Hoboken resident Angelo Cerrone. The album, which includes 18 tracks covering a gamut of Sinatra classics, was recorded between 1996-1998. Among the standout tracks is a peculiar recording of “My Way” which Cerrone performed during Sinatra’s private funeral.
During the service at St. Francis Church, where a young Sinatra once attended, Cerrone was the bandleader and was selected to sing “My Way.”
St. Francis Church will dedicate a mass on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. to Frank Sinatra, who was baptized there in 1916. The church is located at 308 Jefferson St.
Even after Sinatra’s birthday, the celebrations will continue with a free author talk at the Hoboken Historical museum on Sunday, Dec. 13 and the opening of the “Sinatra Centennial Art Exhibition” on Saturday, Dec. 19.
David Lehman will discuss “Sinatra’s Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World” at 4 p.m. at the museum, 1301 Hudson St.
“The longtime editor of The Best American Poetry series, and the author of “A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs,” Lehman devotes each of these short pieces to one facet of the Sinatra story,” museum organizers said in an announcement. “From the singer’s origins on the streets of Hoboken, to his emergence as “The Voice” in the 1940s, to the wild ebb and flow of his career in the decades that followed.”
The exhibition was made possible through a partnership between the city and Tresorie Framing/ French Mats. An artist’s reception will be held on the day of the opening from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring work from Peggy McGeary, Jane Sklar, Geula Vardi, lilly Person, Max Jersey, Micheal Malizia, Alex Morales, Danielle Furman and Franck de las Mercedes.
AAA hails police department’s traffic program
In recognition of their traffic safety programs, the Hoboken Police Department was recently honored with an AAA Outstanding Achievement Award.
“The Hoboken Police conduct aggressive enforcement for pedestrian safety and are active in the schools,” reads an announcement from AAA North Jersey.
Vice President of AAA North Jersey, James Dugan presented the award to Officer Frank Rosa and Sgt. William Montanez.