NJ Transit contingency plan available online
NJ Transit rail operations face the prospect of a system-wide shutdown beginning this weekend, if the membership of the rail union opts to participate in a work stoppage. This would result in the complete suspension of NJ Transit rail service, affecting more than 160,000 customers who ride the system on a typical weekday. In the event of such a stoppage, NJ Transit has developed a contingency plan that would accommodate up to about 38 percent, or about 40,000 seats, of the existing New York-bound customer base.
To view the details of the plan or for more information visit http://www.njtransit.com/var/var_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=RailStopTo.
Legislation introduced for minimum survivor benefit to families of fallen public safety employees
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto this week announced he will sponsor legislation to establish a minimum survivor benefit for families of police officers, firefighters, and other public safety employees killed while on active duty. The bill seeks to address a gap in coverage for recent hires whose introductory salaries do not leave their families with a sufficient benefit in the event they are killed while serving the public and performing their duty. Prieto plans to introduce the legislation next Monday. The bills will be sponsored by the speaker and Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez in the Assembly and by Sen. Nicholas Sacco in the State Senate.
“Public Safety workers who run into danger when the rest of us run away are deserving of our respect and admiration, but there are also specific areas of public policy where we can show that we understand the sacrifices they make every day,” said Prieto. “This bill would close a gap in coverage that could leave families in dire financial straits if their loved one is killed pursuing a criminal or fighting a fire and they have not built up enough years on the job to earn a higher salary. This is common sense legislation that I am proud to support and I expect it to move quickly in the legislature.”
Current law allows that if a first responder dies in the line of duty, a survivor benefit of 70 percent of the individual’s average salary in the previous 12 months be granted to immediate family members. This potentially leaves families of recently hired employees, whose starting salaries average approximately $35,000, with survivor benefits of less than $25,000. Prieto’s legislation would establish a minimum survivor benefit to give families in this unthinkable situation a living wage and a chance to rebuild their lives. The benefit would be paid out from the Police and Fireman’s Retirement System pension in the same manner that current benefits are funded.
“This bill would adjust the line of duty survivor benefit to the level it was originally intended to be at before the unforeseen impacts that arbitration reforms have had in recent years, which reduced starting salaries and led to this gap in coverage,” said North Hudson Firefighters Association President Tim Colacci.
The legislation was announced at an event held at North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Headquarters in West New York, attended by Sacco, Jimenez, Colacci, West New York Mayor Felix Roque, Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff, and numerous active firefighters and their families.
Secaucus retailers failed compliance check in selling to minors
The Secaucus Coalition for a Healthy and Drug Free Community (SCHDFC) recently conducted an undercover operation to test local businesses’ compliance with regulations that alcohol not be sold to purchasers under the age of 21. The results of this undercover operation showed a 42 percent non-compliance rate in off-premise alcohol service establishments, meaning that less than half of the businesses visited did not request ID from the undercover buyer, compared to a 66 percent non-compliance rate last year. Although that is a significant improvement, it is important to ensure a one hundred percent compliance rate.
A survey of Secaucus teens in 2014 showed that 17 percent of teens had obtained alcohol from a retail store. The undercover operation was designed to test compliance with the law. A volunteer “buyer” who was over the age of 21 but who appeared to be younger visited all off-premise alcohol service establishments in Secaucus to attempt to buy alcohol.
A server or clerk who sells to someone under 21 can be charged with a misdemeanor offense and the establishment can face fines and license suspensions, and can potentially lead to license revocation. To be safe, anyone who looks younger than 30 should be carded to ensure that alcohol is not sold to anyone under 21. Just because someone may look older than 21 does not mean vendors should rely on their word or not look carefully to confirm that they are showing a valid ID.
In order to reduce access to alcohol by minors, the SCHDFC is committed to providing resources and to working with businesses in Secaucus. With funding from the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (GCADA), the SCHDFC in collaboration with Partners in Prevention will be hosting a Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM) training session in Secaucus.
TAM is a leading national education and training certification program developed in conjunction with liquor control, law enforcement, highway safety and substance abuse organizations. TAM training provides retailers and their employees with fundamental skills to recognize potential alcohol-related problems, prevent intoxication and underage drinking, and identify fake IDs while providing quality service to all customers. The training is open to all alcohol licensees.
The free TAM training will be held on Thursday, April 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center, 1379 Paterson Plank Rd. Registration is limited. To register contact (201) 552-2264. For more information about the SCHDFC visit drugfreesecaucus.org or call (201) 330 2000 ext. 3164.
SHS Students honored for perfect 800 scores on math SAT
Secaucus High School senior Vinit Parikh and junior Akash Rana were honored with standing ovations at the Secaucus Board of Education Meeting on Feb. 25 for achieving perfect scores of 800 on the mathematics section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
Parikh achieved the “hat trick” of perfect scores on three different SAT mathematics assessments, receiving perfect scores of 800 on the math portion of the SAT in both June 2014 and October 2015, as well as the Math Level Two Subject Test. At the Board of Education’s Showcase of Success, Secaucus High School Principal introduced Parikh and Rana to the gathering and congratulated them on their hard work, while highlighting what an outstanding academic student and role model they are in the school community. Board of Education President John Gerbasio presented both students with certificates of commendation on behalf of the board.
Library Baking Contest and Social rescheduled for March 19
Are you an avid baker? Can you make cakes, pies and cookies which everyone loves and praises? The Friends of the Secaucus Public Library Annual Baking Contest is your opportunity to show off your culinary skills and win prizes while also showing your support for local library services and programs. Postponed earlier this winter because of the Jan. 23 blizzard, this year’s event will now take place starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 19. The contest will be followed by a bake sale and social in the library’s second floor meeting room, which will continue until 1 p.m. and will be open to all members of the community.
All entries must arrive by 9 a.m. on Saturday morning to be eligible for the contest. The baker’s name and phone number should be clearly labeled underneath the baking pan or serving dish. Labels will be provided if needed. Judges will choose a winner in each of six categories: best cake, best pie, best cheesecake, best cookie/bar/brownie, best miscellaneous dessert and best special diet dessert. A grand prize for best overall dish will also be awarded.
Baking contest winners will be announced during the bake sale and social beginning at 10 a.m. All proceeds will benefit the Friends’ mission to provide cultural and educational programming for children and adults.
For more information contact (201) 330-2083 x4011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reserve your tickets now for ‘Fiddler on the Roof’
The mayor and Town Council invite Secaucus residents to see “Fiddler on the Roof” on Thursday, April 28. Tickets are $36 for mezzanine seats. The bus will leave at 5 p.m. from the
Tickets must be purchased by March 29. For information call Lisa Snedeker at (201) 617-5917.
Recreation summer day camp job applications available online
The Town of Secaucus’s recreation summer day camp program is looking for camp directors and counselors for the 2016 camp season. Applications are being accepted from March 15 through May 15. The summer day camp programs start July 5 and run thru Aug. 19. Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Applications and additional information about requirements and available positions are available on the town website at secaucusnj.gov.
Huber Street School students visit the State House
Fourth graders from Huber Street School visited the State House for a field trip as a tie-in to their current study of the state of New Jersey. While there, they were provided a history of government in the State of New Jersey, visited a gallery of portraits of former New Jersey governors, taken on a tour of the general assembly and senate chambers, and as a special treat, invited into the general assembly floor by their assemblyman, Speaker Vincent Prieto.
Prieto spoke to the students in the assembly chamber, highlighting the role of the general assembly and the speaker, with an emphasis on the importance of compromising and negotiating among legislators. Prieto further explained to his young charges the composition of the general assembly, how members vote, and how a bill becomes a law. He extolled the fourth graders to always work to the best of their abilities so that they can reach their future dreams. Afterwards Prieto fielded a number of questions from the fourth graders covering a variety of topics.
Friends of the Library to offer scholarship for college-bound students
The Friends of the Secaucus Public Library will offer a $1,000 scholarship this year to one qualifying Secaucus resident who is planning to start college in the fall of 2016. Library Director Jenifer May noted that the goal of the Friends’ scholarship is to encourage and aid local residents in their pursuit of a college education.
Friends of the Library President Karyn Lusskin pointed out that the organization has a long-standing tradition of awarding scholarships to graduate students pursuing masters degrees in library and information science, and that the intent of this additional scholarship is to reach out to a younger and larger community of college-bound high school students. “We hope that by offering this scholarship, we are not only helping to promote higher education within our community, but also encouraging students to think of our library as a partner in achieving their academic goals,” she said. “As part of the application process, we will be asking students to reflect on the importance of the library in their own lives, and we hope that their responses become part of a larger dialogue between local students and our organization.”
A number of criteria must be met to apply for the scholarship. Applicants must be Secaucus residents eligible to start their first year at a two or four-year college in the fall of 2016. They must have a valid Secaucus Public Library card or obtain one by showing a Secaucus High School ID or any government issued photo ID and proof of Secaucus residency at the library’s first floor circulation desk. Other criteria are listed on the application forms available from the Secaucus High School guidance office, the library itself, or online at secaucuslibrary.org.
The deadline for submitting applications is Monday, April 4. For additional information, contact (201) 330-2083 x4011 or email email@example.com.
Hackensack Riverkeeper benefit dinner event is March 31
Hackensack Riverkeeper is hosting “Roast for Riverkeeper,” a beefsteak dinner fundraiser which will be held at the Englewood Field Club, 341 Engle St., Englewood beginning at 7 p.m. on March 31. The “roastee” will be Hackensack Riverkeeper Trustee and former Meadowlands Commission Executive Director Robert Ceberio.
The cost is $55 per person, $100 per couple, or $500 for a table of 10. Ticket prices include a full beefsteak dinner by Nightengale Catering, beer, wine, soda, raffles, and a silent auction. Tickets are available at hackensackriverkeeper.org or by calling (201) 968-0808.
The event is a fundraiser for Hackensack Riverkeeper, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Founded in 1997 by Captain Bill Sheehan, Hackensack Riverkeeper is the leading environmental organization working on Hackensack River issues. A founding member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, the group engages in a four-point clean water strategy (action, advocacy, education and litigation) in its ongoing work to protect, preserve and restore the Hackensack River from its headwaters in Rockland County, NY to Newark Bay.
High School to offer Summer Mathematics Academy for advance credit
In keeping with the mission of the mathematics department at Secaucus High School – to provide a program of study in which all students are inspired to achieve and excel in the highest level of mathematics possible – the school will provide a new mathematics program this summer. Under the leadership and direction of Mathematics Supervisor Amanda Trombetta, a special Summer Mathematics Academy will be offered to both middle and high school students. This new program will offer current pre-algebra (7th grade) and algebra II/trigonometry (10th/11th grade) students the opportunity to enroll in advance credit courses. The purpose of the Summer Mathematics Academy will be to offer students the opportunity to accelerate their mathematics placement through successfully performing their coursework and meeting all requirements through the academy.
The two Summer Mathematics Academy Courses will be offered over a period of 12 three-hour sessions from June 27 to July 19. Student attendance at each session will be mandatory and due to the compact nature of the program, there will be a great deal of rigor and content in the courses, necessitating students to complete additional work on their own time.
Commenting on the Summer Mathematics Academy, Secaucus Schools Interim Superintendent Kenneth Knops remarked, “I applaud Mrs. Trombetta’s proactivity and innovation in developing the Summer Mathematics Academy. This is an outstanding forum for middle and high school students who are interested in accelerating their mathematics program to have the opportunity to do so over the summer months. In most districts students don’t have the opportunity to accelerate their program once their initial placement has been established. Through Mrs. Trombetta’s creative vision, students now have a second chance through acceleration, to advance their mathematics placement. I am excited with the initiative and grateful for Amanda’s leadership in launching this program.”
Enjoy a performance of ‘Almost, Maine’ on April 1 at the library
Come see a theatrical performance of “Almost, Maine,” presented by the Hudson County Shakespeare Company on Friday, April 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Secaucus Library’s second floor Panasonic Room. ”Almost, Maine” is a play by John Cariani, comprising nine short plays that explore love and loss in a remote, mythical almost-town called Almost, Maine. It premiered at the Portland Stage Company in Portland, Maine in 2004 where it broke box office records and garnered critical acclaim. There are eleven short scenes: Her Heart, Sad & Glad, Getting It Back, Seeing the Thing, Story of Hope, Where It Went, This Hurts, They Fell, Epilogue, and Prologue, and Interlogue. Registration is highly recommended.
Celebrate Holi on April 3
The Town of Secaucus and the Indian Caucus of Secaucus invite all to attend Holi – The Festival of Colors on April 3 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Mill Creek Point on Mill Creek Road. The event is co-sponsored by the Sindhi Association of New Jersey. “Like” the Indian Caucus of Secaucus Facebook page for updates.
Registration opens for Take Control of Your Life series at library
Are you an adult age 18 or older with an ongoing health condition, or a caregiver for someone with a chronic disease? If so, then the free six-week Take Control of Your Health workshop series may be for you. Starting on Wednesday, April 6, the Secaucus Public Library will be partnering with the Bergen-Hudson Chronic Disease Coalition to offer a free series aimed at helping residents manage life with a chronic disease or other chronic health condition.
If you have conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, or addictions, this workshop can help you take charge of your life. “Participants will get the support they need, find practical ways to deal with pain and fatigue, discover better nutrition and exercise choices, understand new treatment choices, and learn better ways to talk with their doctors and family about their health,” said Albert Ferrara, who is coordinating the program on behalf of the Bergen-Hudson Chronic Disease Coalition. “The workshops are led by trained volunteers who have chronic conditions themselves and can share first-hand knowledge of the challenges of managing these conditions.”
Workshops will take place at the library from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the following Wednesdays: April 6, 13, 20, 27 and May 4 and 11. Enrollment is mandatory and limited to the first 20 registrants. “In order to get the full benefit of the series,” explained Library Director Jenifer May, “registrants are asked to commit to attending all six classes. All participants who complete the series will receive a free book and a certificate of completion. Refreshments will be provided at each workshop as well.”
For more information or to register, contact May at (201) 330-2083 x4011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
East Coast Comicon returns to Secaucus
After rocking the Jersey Shore with the Asbury Park Comicon, comics artist and promoter Cliff Galbraith created the first East Coast Comicon at the Meadowlands Exposition Center last year. This year the event is even bigger and better, with a host of comic creators and media personalities from the mainstream to the deep underground.
While many conventions have drifted away from comics and focused on other media, East Coast Comicon keeps the emphasis on the original medium and the artists who create it. The event runs Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17 at the Meadowlands Expo Center, with panels each day on topics like “Art and Comic Book Art,” “Making Comics,” and a discussion on Harvey Kurtzman, the legendary creator of Mad Magazine. Over 60 comics creators are scheduled to attend, including some of the best-known and most-revered personalities from the 1960s to today. Come get your items signed or find a treasure from any of the hundreds of exhibitors.
Tickets and information are available online at eastcoastcomicon.com.
2nd Annual Lupus Walk will be May 1
The Second Annual Hudson County Lupus Walk, including a day of family-friendly activities, will take place May 1 in Lincoln Park, Jersey City, beginning at 8 a.m. Donations for individual walkers are $10 and you can sign up for the walk or simply to donate at daddysunshine.com or at hudsoncountylupusdwalk.org. For more information call (551) 689-0500.