Eat a hearty breakfast and support a good cause on Feb. 14
The Secaucus Fire Department Exempt Ladies’ Auxiliary is holding their sixth annual Valentine’s Day Breakfast event from 8 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Feb. 14 at the Secaucus Senior Center, 101 Centre Ave. The event will raise funds for several charitable causes.
A grand buffet will be available to attendees, including pancakes, eggs, bacon, ham, orange juice, coffee, and all the regular breakfast treats, along with load of special baked goods. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children under 12.
“Every year we make a donation to the New Jersey Retired Firemen’s Home in Boonton, New Jersey,” said Vickie Cieciuch, one of the event organizers. The event, the only fundraiser held each year by the Ladies’ Auxiliary, also benefits the Secaucus Emergency Fund and the Secaucus Food Pantry. Items are donated by local vendors in town. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance. For tickets and information call Cieciuch at (201) 388-1058 or Alexis Leppin at (201) 723-5521.
Secaucus police arrest four women in prostitution stings
The Secaucus Police Department continues to crack down on prostitution in the region. Four women were arrested in an undercover sting operation recently at several Secaucus hotels and motels.
Arrested were a 43-year-old woman from Flushing and three women in their twenties from California, in three separate incidents, according to NJ.com. Two of the women also allegedly had failure to appear warrants and one was additionally charged for alleged possession of marijuana.
NYC cop accused of transporting prostitutes to Secaucus, Fort Lee
A former New York City police officer who was fired last month has been accused of transporting women between New York and New Jersey to engage in prostitution.
The 33-year-old officer, an 11-year veteran of the department, was fired from the NYPD on Jan. 16 after failing a random drug test, according to the New York Times. He was subsequently charged with transporting women across state lines to engage in prostitution. An anonymous tip alleging that the officer acted as a pimp for at least one woman led to a joint investigation by the FBI and the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.
The Times went on say that the officer employed at least 10 prostitutes. He was followed to numerous motels in New Jersey, Staten Island, and Long Island, often beginning his travels as soon as he ended his shift with the police department. An article on NJ.com stated that the women had posted their phone numbers in ads for escort services in Secaucus.
Police seize $2.4M in heroin at Secaucus hotel
Based on information gathered as a result of a three-month investigation, police executed a search warrant on Monday, Feb. 1 for a hotel room at the Extended Stay America at 1 Plaza Drive in Secaucus. As result of the search, investigators seized 31 kilograms (more than 68 pounds) of heroin valued at $2.4 million, along with more than $14,000 cash, and arrested four men.
The heroin was stashed inside duffel bags, divided into sealed packaged labeled with what appeared to be the letters “LL” or the number “77.”
The anti-drug operation was carried out by New Jersey State Police Trafficking North Unit and the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (DETF), which is comprised of agents and officers from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York City Police Department, and New York State Police. The police and the DETF were investigating members of a Mexican drug trafficking organization based in the New Jersey/New York area.
Newsday reported that the heroin was thought to have originated in Mexico and passed through California en route to the Bronx.
According to a posting on the New York State Police Facebook page, Oscar Rene Felix, 38, of Menifee, Calif., was charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin with bail set at $1 million, full cash. John Ulloa, 35, of Bronx, N.Y., was charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin with bail set at $750,000, full cash. Anthony Ross Koon, 54, of Pueblo, Colo., was charged with possession of heroin, and possession with intent to distribute with bail set at $1 million, full cash. Alan Martin Alderman, 71, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was charged with possession of heroin and possession with intent to distribute with bail set at $750,000, full cash. All suspects were lodged in the Hudson County Jail.
This case will be prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice under the Office of the Attorney General. This was the second major heroin bust in a week for the DETF. On Jan. 26, they arrested two men after finding 48 kilos (more than 100 pounds) of heroin hidden inside car parts on a truck in Elmhurst, Queens.
Charges are merely accusations and the suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Law scholarships available to Hudson County residents
The Hudson County Bar Foundation will award scholarships to students who are attending law school or who have been accepted to law school for the September 2016 to May 2017 term.
The Hudson County Bar Foundation Scholarship Fund is one of the oldest providers of financial assistance to Hudson County law students. Esteemed members and families of the Hudson County legal community have funded these 46 scholarships.
Students must be bona fide residents of Hudson County, must demonstrate financial need, must provide two current letters of recommendation, and must account for appropriate academic standards.
Interested applicants can write to the Hudson County Bar Foundation Scholarship Committee, 583 Newark Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07306 or call (201) 798-4708, send an email to email@example.com, or visit the website at hcbalaw.com for an application. All applications must be received on or before April 29.
Food Pantry seeking canned vegetables and soups in February
For the month of February the Food Pantry is looking for donations of canned vegetables and soups. Items can be dropped at the Senior Center, 101 Centre Ave., Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call Patt or Eileen at (201) 330-2014 with any questions. The Food Pantry is always looking for donations of $10 gift cards to Walmart or ShopRite.
Secaucus kids can register for free classes in the performing arts in Union City
The Grace Theatre Workshop, Inc. is currently holding registration for its professional theatre training program for children ages eight and up on Mondays through Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. at Jose Marti Freshman Academy, 1800 Summit Ave., Union City.
Classes are open to all residents of Hudson County. Unlimited free classes will be held in ballet, hip hop, salsa, singing, and acting. To register, kids must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. No special clothing or equipment are needed. The registration fee is $30 per student. All of the instructors are professional performers.
For information, log on to GraceTheatre.com. The Grace Theatre Workshop, Inc. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.
Courtyard by Marriott holds fundraiser for charity on Feb. 14
The Courtyard by Marriott is holding a “Hotels with a Heart” fundraiser on Feb. 14. For every room booked that night, they will donate $5 to Meals with a Mission.
Meals with a Mission is a nonprofit that prepares, cooks, and delivers meals to homeless shelters, pantries, soup kitchens, housing authorities, senior citizens, veterans, disabled vets, the home-bound and children’s programs. With over 150 volunteers and donated product they provide services in Essex, Passaic, Bergen, and Hudson Counties, supplying food for the Secaucus Food Pantry, St. Lucy’s Shelter, PERC, Hoboken Shelter, Self Help in Jersey City, Good Shepherd Church in Weehawken, and Our Lady of Fatima in North Bergen.
Meals with a Mission also just started offering culinary classes for special needs students. Visit mealswithamissionnj.org or call (201) 986-6325 for more information or to donate.
Library presents Book Folding Art on Feb. 18
Learn the art of book origami with Earl Hicks on Feb. 18. All who attend this free event at the Secaucus Public Library will learn the folding techniques needed to make a fun creation. Books will be provided by the library or you may bring your own (90 pages or more).
The program will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 in the second floor Panasonic Room.
Register at Secaucus.bccls.org for this adult program, 18 years and older.
See Earl’s display between Feb.1 and 29 in the library, 1379 Paterson Plank Rd.
Comedy showcase to support St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital on Feb. 19
Come enjoy a terrific comedy showcase while supporting St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital on Friday, Feb. 19 at the Meadowlands Comedy Club in the Meadowlands Plaza Hotel, 40 Wood Ave. Doors open at 8 p.m. and show time is 9 p.m. for the Stand Up 4 a Cure fundraiser, presented by Joe Loesner and hosted by Laz Vic. Performers include headliner Angel Salazar with featured acts Hubert Howard, Janet Regensburg, Mario Gentile, and Gregory Korostishevsky from the hit TV show “Orange is the New Black.” Tickets are available at meadowlandscomedyclub.com. Call (201) 893-9777 for table reservations.
CAST Cabaret Series debuts Feb. 20 at the Senior Center
CAST (Community Arts Scholarship Theater) recently announced its newest program, the CAST Cabaret Series, which will debut at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20 in a one-night-only performance taking place at the Senior Center, 101 Centre Avenue. The continuing showcase of cabarets will feature individuals and groups interested in sharing their talents with the community in an intimate setting. Tickets for the event will be sold at the door on the day of the performance at $8 general admission and $5 for seniors.
“CAST aims to develop and showcase the inner performer in all of us by providing an informal and relaxed setting for those who wish to share their talents,” explained CAST Executive Producer Joan Kashuba.
CAST Board Member Don Caputo added, “The idea is for CAST to sponsor individual singers/dancers/actors or groups who have a concept in mind for a small cabaret style show and provide a forum to help get it off the ground while, at the same time, providing quality entertainment at a very reasonable price.”
The first cabaret, “A Concert at Home: Then & Now,” will feature Michael Griffo, a CAST veteran who currently serves as the community theater’s Artistic Director. Griffo is a seasoned performer who is no stranger to Secaucus and no newcomer to cabarets. He has performed solo shows at such celebrated venues as “Don’t Tell Mama” and The Duplex in New York City, as well as in various cabaret spaces throughout the country.
“To say I am excited to bring my new cabaret to my home town is an understatement. It’s been over ten years since I last did my own show. When I thought about doing one again, I immediately knew it had to be done right here in Secaucus,” Griffo said. “The show is going to be a reflection of my past, as well as a nod to the future. I’ll be doing some old songs that I treasure mixed in with new material. And I’m thrilled to have Jordan Addison, the musical director for several past CAST shows, accompany me on the piano.”
CAST will serve as sponsor for each cabaret and will provide a venue, lighting and sound, publicity and general artistic and production oversight, including scheduling. The concept, staging, rehearsals and musician(s) will be the sole responsibility of the performer or group.
CAST is a non-profit community theater program sponsored by the Town of Secaucus in cooperation with the mayor and Town Council. It offers scholarships to students pursuing the arts. Performers or groups interested in future cabarets should contact CAST at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Fitness Fun Day is Feb. 21
The mayor and Town Council invite residents to attend Family Fitness Fun Day at the Recreation Center, 1200 Koelle Blvd., from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 21. This isn’t your typical workout. Come enjoy a fun filled day focusing on fitness and smart food choices to keep adults and children healthy and moving throughout the cold winter months.
Adult programs, running at 30 minute intervals, include yoga, zumba, karate, kickboxing army workout, swing, salsa, ballet fitness, spin class, water aerobics with dumbbells, pilates/sculpt, and stroller workout. Children’s programs include ballet (ages 4-6 and 7+), youth yoga (6+), zumba, karate, polka (6+), swing (6+), hip hop (6 +), teen yoga (10-14), urban youth challenge (6-14), tiny tot aerobics (2-4), boys hip hop (6-14).
There will also be a healthy eating discussion on topics such as how to lower blood pressure and eat great; quick and easy recipes for a healthy weight and heart; and how to cook and eat to save money, time, and your waistline.
There will be giveaways and Meadowlands Hospital will provide free blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol screenings. Please bring water, a yoga mat, and towel.
High school to host Day of Respect and Reflection on Feb. 23
Secaucus High School will host their first annual Day of Respect and Reflection on Feb. 23. On this date high school students will be exposed to a variety of motivational speakers, each of whom overcame personal adversity to ultimately make the world a better place through their actions.
Among the guest speakers is Mark Barden, parent of victim Daniel Barden, who was one of the 20 first graders murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School along with six educators. Barden has dedicated his life to finding sensible solutions that will prevent future tragedies and spare other families the pain of losing a child to gun violence.
Also on the speaking roster will be Alan Moskin, who served in the United States Army during World War II as part of General George Patton’s 3rd Army. On May 4, 1945, his company participated in the liberation of the Gunskirchen Concentration Camp.
Dave Stevens, who was born in 1966 without legs, later attended Wickenburg High School in Arizona where he was a three sport athlete, starring in football, baseball, and wrestling. He set three Arizona State records, in baseball and wrestling. After high school Stevens went on to become the first congenital amputee to ever play both college football and minor league baseball.
As a New York City fireman, Gary Smiley rescued 97 people during the World Trade Center bombings. On 9/11 he was caught in the collapse of the north tower after rescuing numerous people. Today he serves as a docent at the National September 11th Memorial Museum as well as an advocate for the Feel Good Foundation. Fellow speaker Brian Branco also had a harrowing escape from the 9/11 bombings and today works in museums dedicated to the memory of the 9/11 victims.
During the Day of Respect and Remembrance, students will gain valuable insight into how these remarkable people overcame great odds in facing adversity and ultimately dedicated their lives to making the world a better place for all.
National safe driving advocate Jacy Good hosts ‘Hang Up and Drive’ presentation on Feb. 23
As part of the high school’s Day of Respect and Reflection (see above), Jacy Good will present a “Hang Up and Drive” program at the Performing Arts Center on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. All members of the school and town communities are cordially invited to attend. Parents are encouraged to bring their high school students.
Good’s last memory of May 18, 2008 was when she and her parents stopped for gas and coffee. She was later told a teenager, driving and talking on his cell phone, turned left through a red light, thereby causing a fully loaded tractor-trailer to swerve and hit the family’s station wagon head on. Good’s parents were pronounced dead at the scene. The next two months are essentially erased from her memory. She dealt with broken bones, lacerations, and internal injuries from head to toe. Most critically, she had a traumatic brain injury which left her chances of survival at 10 percent.
After years of rehab, outpatient, and private therapy, Good has made progress although she still has a permanent brain injury resulting in her not having a functioning left arm and a capable left leg. Her memory isn’t stellar and she seldom gets a restful sleep.
Good has dedicated her life to being a safe driving advocate. She lobbies for laws banning cell phones behind the wheel and has traveled to 32 states and made at total of 571 presentations in her ongoing effort to promote her theme, “Hang Up and Drive.”
12th annual Guma Foundation Casino Night is Feb. 27
The Guma Foundation will host its 12th annual Casino Night on Saturday, Feb. 27 at LaReggia’s Restaurant in the Meadowlands Plaza Hotel, 40 Wood Ave. Tickets to the event, which starts at 7 p.m., are $125 per person and include an evening of casino-style gaming with casino chips, live music by The Fez, an open bar and buffet, and numerous prizes. Attire is business casual with jacket optional.
The Guma Foundation honors the lives of the late Ralph Guma Sr. and Ralph Guma Jr. Diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of nine, Ralph Guma Jr. survived to age 33, attended local schools and earned a college degree. The foundation’s mission began in 1991with the awarding of the RMG Scholarship that resulted in more than $30,000 over the years being given to deserving high school graduates to help defray the costs of their post-high school educations.
“The Guma Foundation eventually changed its mission and we redirected our energies,” explained Pat Guma, president of the foundation. Youngsters with brain tumors are now the main recipients of The Guma Foundation’s donations. “To date we have contributed over $100,000 to the Tomorrows Children’s Fund at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC),” said Guma. The foundation is committed to providing at least $10,000 annually to the Tomorrows Children’s Fund, and since 2000 has donated more than $10,000 directly to the families of sick children to help support their needs and fulfill some of their dreams.
To purchase tickets and pay online or for further information about the foundation, visit gumafoundationinc.org.
Winter baseball camp begins Feb. 28
Come and get ready for the upcoming baseball season by joining the 120-minute “winter workouts” sessions beginning on Sunday, Feb. 28. Sessions will run for four consecutive weeks for Secaucus residents only at the Humboldt St. Gym, 123 Center Ave.
Times for children ages 9, 10, 11, and 12 are from noon to 2 p.m., and for children ages 13, 14, and 15 from 3 to 5 p.m. Topics covered with the coaches are hitting, fielding, throwing, pitching, base running, and having fun. The fee is $50.
Arbor Day tree appreciation campaign needs your support
Secaucus is proud to have been a Tree City USA participant since 1993. This past year’s drought has caused many of Secaucus’ trees to die and has stressed and damaged many more.
The town is hoping to plant 100 new trees by the first week in April to coincide with the communitywide Arbor Day celebration on April 29. At $200 per tree, $20,000 is needed to reach the goal. The town is asking the local business and resident community to help in this effort.
Why are trees important? Trees produce oxygen. Trees clean the soil. Trees control noise pollution. Trees slow storm water runoff. Trees clean the air. Trees shade and cool. Trees act as windbreaks. Trees fight soil erosion. Trees increase property values.
Please make check payable to the Town of Secaucus. Put “Arbor Day Campaign” in the memo line and mail to Secaucus Town Hall, Amanda Nesheiwat, 1203 Paterson Plank Rd., Secaucus, NJ 07094.
Parents of elementary students receive evening math training
Parents of elementary aged students in the Secaucus school district attended a special evening parent training program on the district’s new mathematics series, Go Math. The training was facilitated by the district’s mathematics supervisor, Amanda Trombetta, with assistance from math coaches Zaida Couto and Kristin Backiel and teacher Tammy Hennessey.
Trombetta’s informative presentation highlighted standards for mathematical practice, a history of the district’s adoption of the Go Math program, program components, the delivery of the program in the classroom, and tips and strategies including technical resources for parents to work with their children at home. At the conclusion of the hour and one-half presentation, Trombetta and her presentation team fielded questions from the approximate 70 parents and guardians in attendance.
“I am most appreciative of Amanda and her team for providing this in-service evening to the parents and guardians of our elementary school students,” said Interim Superintendent Kenneth Knops. “As is the case with any new program, there were questions about how the program operates, its components, and how parents can work with their children at home. The presenters disseminated a good deal of information that was both timely and informative.”
Temporary commuter parking available at Laurel Hill
Secaucus residents now have the opportunity to park in the lot at the entrance to Laurel Hill Park, previously occupied by Field Station: Dinosaurs. The cost is $100 per month. There is a shuttle to Frank Lautenberg Train Station between the hours of 5:30 and 8:30 a.m. and 5 and 8 p.m. Residents can sign up in the Town Clerk’s office. Bring proof of residency and vehicle registration. This is only temporary and will be stopped when construction begins on High Tech High School. For more information call (201) 330-2008.