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 town 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.

HoLA gets approval for low-income lottery

Students that fall within the low-income status are now twice as likely to gain admittance to the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (HoLa) following approval from the Department of Education, the school announced Wednesday morning, Dec. 16.
“Every December and January when we go knocking on doors to tell families about our upcoming lottery, we still meet Hoboken residents who have never heard of HoLa and don’t know that it’s an option,” said Barbara Martinez, president of HoLa’s board and a co-founder. “We are hoping that our new preference will help raise awareness among families that might not know about all of their options, and then give them an increased chance in the lottery once they apply.”
Although the school says its low-income student population has grown since it first opened in 2010, a weighted lottery makes the enterprise explicit by doubling the qualifying chances for less well-off children like those in public housing.
“Already boasting a beautifully diverse student demographic that mirrors the city of Hoboken, HoLa wants to ensure that all families in Hoboken have equal access to its very successful dual language educational model,” said school officials in a statement.
Martinez said this is the third time the charter school, which teaches students in both Spanish and English, has sought approval for the lottery.
In the past two years, the school made headlines after attempts by the Hoboken Board of Education to bar HoLa’s state-approved expansion to seventh and eighth grades.
Board members complained that the charter schools in Hoboken took too much money away from Hoboken’s public schools. Some blamed the state’s funding formula. Others made critical comments about the charter schools, including complaining that the schools didn’t attract a diverse enough population (however, Hoboken’s public schools also suffer from de facto segregation, with a higher minority population at the downtown Connors school than at the other elementary schools).
The lawsuit to block HoLa’s expansion, put forth by the “Kids First” board majority, split many in the community. Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who had endorsed the political group in past school board elections, did not endorse the suit. Two of her children formerly attended Elysian Charter School.
Last year on Dec. 10, the HoLa board unanimously authorized Martinez to apply for a weighted lottery for 2015-16. She submitted her application to the state on Dec. 23, requesting a determination by Dec. 31 which was not approved. Martinez told the Hoboken Reporter around the time of the decision that HoLa wanted to institute the lottery but could not because of the ongoing legal battle which ultimately failed, allowing the school to expand.
A letter from the Department of Education Commissioner David C. Hespe following HoLa’s subsequent Sept. 21, 2015 application (dated Dec. 1) says the charter school is now allowed “to establish admissions policies including weighted lotteries that favor educationally disadvantaged students in an effort to better represent a cross section of their school-age community population.”
HoLa typically has 22 available spots in Kindergarten every year and over 220 applicants for those spots.
In an April 2015 article in The Hoboken Reporter, City University of New York urban studies professor Molly Vollman Makris spoke toward the perceived “segregation” of charter schools. In that story (titled “Too much choice”) Makris reportedly encountered only a handful of HHA parents who had applied to HoLa or any other charter.

Blue Christmas discussion

For those who connect the holidays with a tragic period of their life, Our Lady of Grace church will hold a “Blue Christmas Discussion” on Monday, Dec. 21.
“It might be the loss of a loved one, memory of a tragedy that occurred around Christmas, or simply the shorter days of autumn that can depressing,” said organizers in an announcement. “Whatever the reason, if you feel blue this season, you are invited.”
The church, which will hold the discussion from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., is located at 400 Willow Ave. For information call 201-659-0369.

Search at Clinton Street home leads to nearly $6K in drugs

Anti-Vice and Hoboken Detective Bureau members arrested a local 23-year-old man on Tuesday, Dec. 15 following a search at his Clinton Street home, said a press release from the Hoboken Police Department.
“Based on [an initial] arrest that occurred on Dec. 8 at 915 Clinton Street… [Detectives] gained enough information to apply for a search warrant of the premises,” reads an excerpt from the release.
According to police officials, during the search detectives found several packages of marijuana and cocaine, and $3,000 in cash “believed to be proceeds from the sale of CDS along with paraphernalia used to cut, package and distribute” drugs.
Bryant Mellado was charged with distribution of drugs, two counts of distribution of drugs within 500 feet of a public park, and two county of distribution of drugs within 1,000 feet of a school zone.
In all, officers seized over 70 grams of cocaine (street value $4,000) and over 89 grams of marijuana (street value $1,800), the release stated.
Mellado, who was still at the county correction facility at the time of the arrest due to charges on Dec. 8, was transported to the Hoboken Police Department to be processed for additional complaints.

Prove your Frank Sinatra fanaticism by buying his birthplace

How much of a Frank Sinatra fan are you? Enough to buy the place where he was born 100 years ago?
Days after Ol’ Blue Eyes’ centennial, the owner of 415 Monroe St. — the site of the apartment building where Frank Sinatra was born — told NJ.com that the family is selling the property.
Although Frank Palmisano, 82, and former Hoboken police officer, was not available for comment, he told NJ.com that the family uses the lot to park their cars. He added that his family pays taxes on the land, and he would like to see his family reap the benefits of the sale while he’s still alive.
A Hollywood Blvd-type bronze star is located on the sidewalk adjacent to the site. The town also has a Sinatra museum exhibit that’s looking for a permanent home (hint hint) and a post office named after the crooner. The owner purchased the home from the city with his brother after a fire in 1967 that killed six people, four of them children. Following the fire, the city condemned the four-story unit.

Shelter receives holiday ‘angel boxes’

Following the All Saints Episcopal Day School’s holiday assembly, they carried “angel boxes” to the homeless shelter, as they sang carols.
“Christmas is a time for giving,” said second-grader Kate Robimon. “You should sacrifice for others.”
Each gift box – created in shoeboxes with custom wrapping paper – contains a pocket angel, tooth brush, toothpaste, a candy cane, scarf, hat, and a packet of hot chocolate.

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