Observer Highway repaving update

The city announced this past week that the repaving of Observer Highway has been completed, with ongoing work continuing through April.
Repaving began in December from Hudson Street to the firehouse east of Madison Street, as well as a section of Henderson Street. According to a prior press release from the city, funding for the project is provided through a $2 million Congressional earmark.
“Between 2010 and 2012, there [was] an average of 37 crashes per year along Observer Highway, making it one of the most dangerous roads in Hoboken. The project is designed to reduce the high crash rate, improve traffic conditions, and improve pedestrian safety,” city officials said in an email.
As part of the project, new traffic signals with timers have been installed with activation expected in the next four weeks. Striping, which includes crosswalks, parking lanes, and dedicated turning lanes, is expected to be complete by the end of this week.
“Once the new traffic signals are activated and the old signals are deactivated and removed, the timing of all signals will be optimized and coordinated to improve traffic conditions, particularly during peak hours,” read the announcement from City Spokesman Juan Melli.
The city hopes to alleviate traffic in the area during rush hour with dedicated left turn lanes and other efforts they say will reduce wait times by 78 percent during the morning peak hours and 59 percent in the evening.
Vezzetti Way, the street behind Observer Highway closer to the rail yards, has been partially paved, which needs to be completed before pedestrian/bicycle path striping. A 25 foot portion of Bloomfield Street also remains unpaved. The project is scheduled to be finished by April 2016.

Grandson of famous ‘Trees’ poet dies at 77

Former Hoboken resident Hugh Frederick Kilmer, the grandson of famous poet Joyce Kilmer who wrote “Trees,” died Dec. 17 in Pensacola, Fla.
Kilmer, an artist in his own right, spent two decades in Hoboken at a brownstone on Bloomfield Street. During his time in the city he drew murals, hosted a life drawing workshop, and launched a mural project for the youth. He also wrote letters to the Reporter.
Despite not living in Hoboken in recent times, a funeral was held for Kilmer, who died at age 77, on Dec. 21 at Our Lady of Grace Church on Willow Avenue.
He earned a master’s degree in communication at Fairfield University and taught English, philosophy, and theology at Salve Regina University where he met the love of his life, Elizabeth Hines.
The two became active community organizers and raised five children together. Kilmer published work with the Hoboken Arts Council, United Child Services, Hoboken Community Development Agency and Accountants for the Public Interest, as well as developed arts grant programs with Citibank.
He is survived by his wife Beth, five children (Michael Hugh, Benjamin Edward, Caroline Francis Kilmer-Setrakian, Anna Dwyer Skinner and Daniel Tobias), ten grandchildren, five brothers, and five sisters.
Kilmer was laid to rest at Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah, where his grandfather was living when he composed his signature poem, “Trees,” in 1913. The famous opening and closing couplets of the poem read: “I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree…Poems are made by fools like me/ But only God can make a tree.”

Hoboken Green Team to screen ‘Bag It’

The Hoboken Green Team, which was formed in 2011 as part of the nationwide Sustainable Jersey Program, will host a screening of the award-winning environmental documentary “Bag It” on Jan. 25 at Willie McBride’s, 616 Grand St.
The free screening, which is about an hour and a half, follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he navigates our culture’s obsession with plastics; evident from the fact Americans use 60,000 plastic bags every five minutes. The evening will kick off with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. followed by the screening at 7 p.m.

Watercolor paintings of the mile-square city

The Hoboken Historical Museum will open an exhibit in their upper gallery on Sunday, Jan. 10 of watercolor paintings of Hoboken scenes from Uruguayan artist Alex Morales.
Morales will be on hand at the opening reception for an artist talk from 4 to 6 p.m.
The exhibition will remain on view for six weeks through Feb. 14. The museum is located at 1301 Hudson St. For more details call (201) 656-2240 or visit www.hobokenmuseum.org.

Alleged smooth criminal nabbed at ShopRite

A 29 year-old man allegedly attempting to make for the exit with skin cream was caught at the Hoboken Shoprite on Tuesday, Jan. 5, a press release from the Hoboken Police Department said.
The Loss Prevention Office at the ShopRite said they observed Mark Magnotta of Hoboken, via surveillance video around 9 p.m., allegedly ”open the packet [of cream] and hide it inside his jacket,” the press release said.
Magnotta paid for the other items but was confronted at the door of the supermarket for the allegedly unpaid item. “Inside the office, while waiting for police to respond, the defendant [allegedly] began to shove the Loss Prevention Office in an attempt to leave,” the press release says.
Hoboken Police Officer Ramon Estrella was dispatched to the scene, where Magnotta was arrested and charged with shoplifting and harassment. He was given summonses.
Police estimate the cost of the item at $18.99.

HOPES receives $20k grant

HOPES Community Action Partnership Inc., which aims to provide social and educational services to those in need, received a $20,000 grant from the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey to carry out health literacy activities.
The mobile outreach program funded by the award is called “On the Road for Healthier Homes Initiative.”
“The program bundles health services offered by HOPES to holistically and proactively improve health literacy and access among economically disadvantaged communities, where large disparities exist with respect to health coverage, literacy, wellness, fitness and nutrition,” HOPES officials said in a press release.

Body of missing 23-year-old found off Pier C

The body of Anthony Urena, a Lehman College student who was last seen on Nov. 14, was recovered from the Hudson River near Pier C in Hoboken on Christmas Day.
Gene Rubino, the acting chief of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, told The Hoboken Reporter on Monday, Jan. 4 that the body was recovered by the NYPD Harbor Patrol and “there were no visible signs of trauma from any foul play.”
Three days after the 23-year-old’s disappearance, his mother Judith Lopez created a GoFundMe Page to raise money in efforts to hire a private investigator to seek answers in hopes of finding him.
The fundraiser was met with overwhelming feedback from the community, raising $3,000 over its $15,000 goal from over 400 people.
The last time Urena was seen alive was Nov. 14 around 5 a.m. leaving the Cliff Lounge at 440 W. 202nd St. near Tenth Ave. in Inwood, media outlets report. He was the youngest of Lopez’ four children and was studying at Lehman College to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
“I still don’t believe it,” Lopez told DNAinfo this past Wednesday. “I’m still expecting him to walk through the door.”
Additional information, including his cause of death, is still under investigation by the Medical Examiner’s Office.
“God said that they need[ed] an angel up there and without my permission came down and took him away from me,” reads update by Lopez on the GoFundMe page from Dec. 31. She goes on to thank family, friends and the community for their support during this challenging time.

Stevens pioneered simulator to help health field

A policy flight simulator created by Stevens Institute of Technology will help decision makers in the health field make tough choices as to how to provide health services to patients.
The simulator, made up of floor-to-ceiling surround screens, provides visualizations of the combination of multiple scientific disciplines in a single presentation.
The project was possible through a partnership between Stevens and the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Nursing, as well as funding by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“Our modeling and simulation methods will enable payers to fly the future before they invest,” said William Rouse, the director of the Center for Complex Systems and Enterprises at Stevens. “Our experience has been that once decision makers get to ‘live’ the capabilities of TCM, they will willingly participate in the program, resulting in enormous healthcare benefits.”

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