City spokesperson to leave
Saying he has been approached with an offer he could not pass up, city spokesperson Ryan Jacobs, 28, will leave Jersey City government after only five months. Jacobs said he has an opportunity to author a political analysis book at a key time before the presidential elections next year, and could not pass up the opportunity.
Jacobs will co-author a book about Republican and Democratic policies ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
“I didn’t plan this,” Jacobs said. “This just came up. I’ve always wanted to be a published author.”
He said he was approached by a prominent Democrat and that the book will have “a policy tilt.”
Because the time frame is so short with the upcoming presidential primaries, Jacobs said he could not do this on the side.
“I have to do this full time,” he said.
While he will remain living in Jersey City, he will no longer be involved with the Fulop administration.
“But I learned more in five months than in any other job in my career,” Jacobs said. “The mayor is the real deal, and I’ve worked on high levels.”
Jacobs came to Jersey City after serving a speech writer for the U.S. transportation secretary under President Barak Obama. Fulop is considered to be a gubernatorial candidate in the next election, and was seen by some as having transferred here to help with the campaign when the time came.
Lyles to get four more years
Unable to argue with Schools Superintendent Dr. Marcia Lyles’ record of success, the Jersey City School Board has given her a four-year contract. But the measure passed with only four of the nine members voting for it at the Dec. 17 meeting.
Under a recent change in state law, board members with family employed in the school district are disqualified from voting on the superintendent’s contract.
Details of the contract were not available by press time.
Casino expansion bill advances in the state Senate
A key state Senate committee gave its blessing this week to legislation that could result in the expansion of casinos beyond the borders of Atlantic City for the first time.
The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved the measure that would allow a question to be put on next November’s ballot that could result in two additional casinos being built in North Jersey, one of which would be in Jersey City. The vote is needed because the state’s constitution limits gaming in New Jersey to Atlantic City.
Approval by a committee is only the start. To place a question on the ballot, a resolution needs to pass both houses of the Legislature by a simple majority in two consecutive legislative years. Failing that, they need a three-fifths majority in one legislative year.
Nimbus Dance works to put on Nutcracker
Nimbus Dance Works, Jersey City’s professional dance company, will take the stage this weekend with four performances of its production Jersey City Nutcracker, a unique retelling of the classic tale that illustrates two children’s urban holiday adventures filled with fantasy, adversity and celebration, with underlying themes of community and friendship.
Choreographed and directed by Nimbus Artistic Director Samuel Pott, the adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s renowned holiday ballet will be performed by a cast of professional dancers from Nimbus Dance Works who portray familiar characters such as the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Rat King, the Arabian Princess and Drosselmeyer. They will be joined by youth and adults from the community.
New for 2015 is the “Waltz of the Flowers…Or Whatever” section featuring Nimbus Youth Ensemble pre-professional students, with colorful life-size sets designed by Jersey City artist Irene Borngraeber, costumes by Jennifer Bentley, and a glittering tree.
Sponsored by Goldman Sachs, Jersey City Nutcracker will be one of the largest annual performing arts events in the region. The presentation will include youth performers drawn from the school of Nimbus Dance Works and the dance programs of the Jersey City public schools.
Jersey City’s Department of Health and Human Services will provide tickets to 300 local senior citizens. Jersey City public school students will perform important roles in the production and will gain real-world experience assisting with backstage, front-of-house, and set construction work.
For last minute holiday shoppers a pop-up gift boutique in the lobby of the performance will feature unique, handmade items, and gifts for sale made by local artists and craftspeople.
Saturday, Dec. 19, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Public Performance
Sunday, Dec. 20, 1 p.m. Public Performance
Performances take place at the Frank R. Conwell MS4 Auditorium, 107 Bright St., Jersey City. Tickets range from $6 – $27 with group discounts available.
Tickets are available at: www.nimbusdanceworks.org. For Information call (201) 377-0718 or email email@example.com.
The performance length is approximately 90 minutes, and the presentation is appropriate for all ages. This is a barrier-free event.
App contest for high school students
Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-10th Dist.) announced this week that New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District will participate in the 2015 Congressional App Challenge (CAC), a nationwide event that gives high school students an opportunity to build software applications, or apps, for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice.
“This competition showcases the innovation and technical skills of our students, the tech leaders of tomorrow,” said Rep. Payne. “I encourage students to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity to demonstrate and hone their skills in a competitive but fun competition designed to enhance youth engagement in STEM.”
The challenge submission period will run until Jan. 15, 2016. Winners will be selected by a panel of local judges, and be honored by the congressman. Their apps will be featured on a display in the state capitol building.
The 10th District includes portions of Bayonne and Jersey City.
The CAC was created because Congress recognized that STEM skills are essential for economic growth and innovation and that the U.S. has been falling behind on these fronts. To maintain American competitiveness, it is crucial that the United States invests in its youth now, and helps them acquire these necessary STEM-based skills. The CAC highlights and encourages students to pursue those skills.
Students can find additional information on the Congressional App Challenge at http://payne.house.gov/serving-you/congressional-app-challenge.
Assembly Speaker Prieto Named 2015 BAYADA ‘Champion’
State Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto was one of three New Jersey leaders recognized for their unwavering dedication to home health care advocacy. The BAYADA Home Health Care Champion Awards are presented annually to honor those who have taken significant strides to advocate for medically fragile children, adults, and seniors who benefit from care in the home, and the professionals who provide that care.
Prieto, who represents the 32nd Legislative District including areas of Bergen and Hudson counties, received the Champion Award for his efforts in helping to increase state reimbursement rates for both home health aides and nurses. He was moved to action after personal visits with BAYADA clients where he witnessed, firsthand, how important it is for providers like BAYADA to continue to hire and retain skilled nurses and home health aides to care for people at home, where they want to be.
During the BAYADA Champion Awards ceremony on Dec. 1 at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, Speaker Prieto thanked BAYADA for opening his eyes to the critical role home health care professionals play in helping people in need remain in their homes.
“It is so important to take care of the people who take care of the most vulnerable in our state,” he told the crowd of over 100 people. “You inspired and helped me understand what an incredible service this is, and you have a friend and advocate in me to help however I can.”
During the event, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle of the 37th legislative district, and Jean Alan Bestafka, past president and CEO of the Home Health Services Association were also honored as BAYADA Home Health Care Champions.
BAYADA Chief Marketing and Government Affairs Officer David J. Totaro ended the evening by underscoring the need for continued advocacy and grassroots efforts to spread the message of the enormous value that home health care brings – both financially and in quality of life.
Mayor Steven Fulop is presenting a Christmas concert featuring The Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, Saturday, Dec. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Landmark Loew’s Theatre, 54 Journal Square Plaza in Jersey City. The concert is free, however, organizers ask those attending to consider donating an unwrapped gift to help a family in need during the holiday season.