High school marching band wins state championship

The Weehawken High School Marching Band won the 2015 US Bands New Jersey State Championship in Group 1 Open Class, with precision footwork and musical mastery. The competition was held at Rutgers University in New Brunswick on Oct. 31.
“We’re very proud of the hard work, dedication, and commitment of our students, and they should be very proud of themselves as well,” said Band Director Natalie Kerr of the band’s victory over competitors from across the state. “They have worked very hard, and being number one in the state is a tremendous accomplishment.”
Band instructors include Drill Designer and Show Coordinator George LaVelle, Assistant Band Director Michael Fatouros, Percussion Instructor Tom Mulvaney, and Color Guard Instructors Lori Law and Elizabeth Jessen. Volunteer instructors included Stephanie Macas, Rachel Mazzarella, and Kaitlyn Turner.
The band also competed in the USBANDS 2015 National Championship competition held on Nov. 7 in Met-Life Stadium against several high schools throughout the country, and Nov. 1 at the Seventh Annual Weehawken High School Band Festival, where Weehawken’s band served as the grand finale for performances by 10 New Jersey high school marching bands at Louis A. Ferullo Stadium in Weehawken.
The band in a statement thanked Superintendent Dr. John Fitzsimons, President Richard Barsa and the Board of Education, Mayor Richard F. Turner and the Township Council, the WHS administration, and band parents for all their support.

New business: Barquin Funeral Home opens

A new business has come to Guttenberg. Barquin Funeral Home, located at 7101 Broadway, opened its doors this month.
With members of the Barquin family and the City Council of Guttenberg standing by, Mayor Gerald Drasheff of Guttenberg cut the ribbon Dec. 5 at the grand opening. He had Mario A. Barquin to his right and his father Mario E. Barquin to his left, plus council members Alfonso Caso, Donna Florio, Monica Fundora, and John D. Haberman.
The owners describe the facility as “an elegant and traditional facility with a modern look.” Call 201-869-3000 for more information.

West New York Cubans Lions play Santa at School for the Blind

The West New York Cubans Lions Club, among its many Christmas celebrations, visited the school of Saint Joseph for The Blind in Jersey City and brought gifts, toys, and clothing.
The event was held Dec. 18 at 10 in the morning, and gifts were distributed by Manny Reyes dressed as Santas Claus, as well as Marie Nieto, Vivian González, and Sandra Paz. The occasion featured a visit by the Three Kings. This year the Lions were accompanied by the Club of the LEOS, 22 students from local high schools.
The new Saint Joseph School for the Blind in Jersey City now has more space for disabled children and the partially blind, and is free to the community. There are only 70 students at the school. It’s located at 761 Summit Ave., Jersey City.

MetLife Stadium to host three matches in historic international soccer centennial

MetLife Stadium will host three matches in the historic Copa America Centenario, announced the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) last week. The eyes of the world will focus on the Meadowlands for a first-round match (June 12), quarterfinal (June 17) and the final (June 26) of the 2016 Copa America.
The 2016 Copa America Centenario is the historic centennial edition of Copa America – the South American championship – and will be staged outside of South America for the first time. The tournament will feature six teams from CONCACAF and all 10 teams from CONMEBOL and will feature some of the world’s best teams and players competing from June 3-26, 2016 in the United States.
Due to the magnitude of this event, the State of New Jersey and the City of New York have joined forces to form a Host Committee, creating a network of local and state agencies, working together to provide tourism, marketing, and governmental support on both sides of the Hudson River. The Host Committee will support the efforts of the Local Organizing Committee, formed by tournament host U.S. Soccer, who are responsible for certain logistical and organizational facets of the competition.
Tickets will be available through CA2016.com. Due to the expected high demand for the tournament, fans are urged to register early. More ticketing information will be released in the coming weeks. Follow the tournament news at the event’s official Twitter account and Facebook page.

Miracle on the Hudson survivor to sign new book on Jan. 19

Miracle on the Hudson flight survivor, inspirational speaker, and author Dave Sanderson will participate in a special book-signing event at Palisades Medical Center, 7600 River Rd., North Bergen on Tuesday, Jan. 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. to celebrate the release of “Moments Matter,” written by Sanderson with Cindy Wrightson. Refreshments will be served and attendees can get a signed copy of the book for a $20 donation to the Palisades Medical Center Foundation.
The book signing event coincides with the seven-year anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson, when birds struck US Airways Flight 1549 and the crew was forced to ditch and land the plane in the Hudson River.
The last passenger off the flight that day was Dave Sanderson. He was responsible for helping many of his fellow passengers to safety, risking his own life in frigid water to help others off the plane. Sanderson and many other passengers were treated at Palisades Medical Center following the emergency landing.
Despite the hazards to himself, Sanderson thought only of helping others and emerged from the wreckage with a mission: to encourage others to do the right thing. “Moments Matter” details his close encounter with death and how one defining moment can create a lifetime of purpose. The book’s inspirational message focuses on positive thinking, teamwork, and leadership. Readers will find the book to be helpful and inspirational in their own struggles for resilience and purpose. To RSVP or for more information call (201) 854-5008.

Kids ride the ferry free through Jan. 3

NY Waterway is letting “Kids Ride Free” from now until Jan. 3. Children under 12 can ride free at the Port Imperial, Lincoln Harbor, Hoboken/14th St., Edgewater, and Belford terminals. There is a two child limit with each paying adult fare. No physical tickets are required for a child. Families can also purchase tickets to select shows in New York and ride the ferry for free. Visit nywaterway.com and enter code NYW while purchasing tickets to Elf or the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes. Buyers must enter NYW upon checkout to receive ferry pass vouchers.

First Sunday of the Month Nature Walk will be Sunday, Jan. 3

Join the Bergen County Audubon Society at Mill Creek Marsh and ring in the New Year with the first nature walk of 2016. They will be looking for winter waterfowl and other birds of interest. You’ll see the dozens of stumps of Atlantic White Cedars in the marsh, the last vestiges of a primeval forest that once covered a third of the Meadowlands for hundreds of years. The walk begins at the entrance to Mill Creek Marsh Trail. Parking is available in Mill Creek Mall next to Bob’s Discount Furniture. For information call (201) 230-4983 or email greatauk4@gmail.com.

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