Bayonne Briefs

Tackle ALS

In July 2015, Brandon Smith started showing symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function. The cause is unknown, and there is no cure yet.
Smith is a basketball coach, football coach, and security guard at Bayonne High School. His wife, Christyann Altamirano, says that since his diagnosis, “he’s been the same old Brandon, happy and always smiling.” A Bayonne native who attended BHS, Smith coached basketball at the high school for eight years and football for four. Later this year, he plans to coach the Bayonne Renegade, a youth football program for kids ages 6-14.
So, come out and support Brandon Smith: Tackle ALS this Saturday, May 21 at 1 p.m. at Veterans Stadium, 198 West 25th Street and Parks Road. The entrance fee is $5 and is free for kids. The event will feature Smitty’s Alumni All-Stars. There will be 50/50 raffles, basket raffles, shirts for $15, a $2 Ice Bucket Challenge and a donation table. DJ Tony Mariano will perform at the halftime show.

School budget passes

After failing to pass a week earlier by a vote of 4-3, the $129.9 million school budget was unanimously adoptedat an emergency meeting held Thursday, May 12. The four board members who voted against the budget last week did so in favor of addressing the pending teacher contracts. Despite the sentiment behind last week’s vote, it was already too late to amend the budget, County Superintendent of Schools, Monica Tone, told the board. If the BOE did not adopt the budget, the county would have taken over, and that would not have been good for anyone involved, according to board member Chris Munoz. The budget includes a 2.78 percent increase in school tax, totaling a $1.7 million raise in revenue from last year’s budget.

State Senators visit Bayonne, advocate for all-day Pre-K

State Senator Sandra Cunningham and State Senate President Stephen Sweeney visited Mary J. Donohue Elementary School for a roundtable discussion about full-day pre-school funding. The state senators both advocated for increased funding in early childhood education. “It’s something we’re all in agreement with one-hundred percent,” said Cunningham.“Early childhood education is a necessity.”
“Early childhood education absolutely works,” said Sweeney. “Eighty-five percent of the brain develops between birth and five years old.” He assured the crowd that pre-k is an important issue in the state senate. “We’re going to make this an absolute priority because it saves you money by investing upfront because children are learning faster and they’re learning better. And they’re learning with new technology at this school…Our goal is to have the most educated workforce in the nation.”
School Superintendent Patricia McGeehan said that the Bayonne School District has half-day pre-K programs in all of the city’s elementary schools, but full-day programs in only two schools, and one of those will close next year. The full-day programs cost $425 per child, whereas the half-day programs are free. “What we need in Bayonne is to have full funding, to make pre-k all-day a dream come true for our children,” she said.

796K worth of improvements for Clark Park

City officials broke ground on the renovation of Clark Park last week. A combination of tax dollars and a $400,000 grant from the county is funding the renovation. New playground equipment arrived over the weekend to replace the old park’s worn aesthetic along with new fencing and landscaping. Construction is scheduled for completion by July 4.

Elementary student art exhibit at Bayonne Museum

The Bayonne School District Art Department will be at the Bayonne Museum at 229 Broadway this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to host the 2016 Elementary Art Exhibit titled “Our Colorful Community.” The event will showcase artwork by Bayonne students from pre-k through 8th grade. The exhibit will take place Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday from 6 to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Gifts will be given out to the first 100 students at the opening reception on Thursday. Raffle tickets will be sold for art supplies, gift certificates, and a bicycle.

Carroll honored for public service

Two former governors, one former U.S. Senator, the former chairman of the State Democratic Party, former mayors of Bayonne and West New York, former Freeholders, and perhaps the most powerful former member of the House of Representatives came together to pay tribute to former Freeholder Neil Carroll at a ceremony at Stephen R. Gregg Park in Hudson County on May 14.Along with numerous other Hudson County dignitaries, Hudson County officials dedicated a monument and a bench to Carroll, citing him as one of the most influential but previously largely unrecognized officials on the local, state and federal level over the last eight decades.
A 95-year old former Representative Cornelius E. “Neil” Gallagher, a one-time confidant for President John F. Kennedy, celebrated the 89-year-old Carroll as a man who gave but rarely claimed credit.Others that came to honor Carroll were former New Jersey governors Jim Florio and Jim McGreevey; and former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli.Former state Sen. James P. Dugan as well as former state chairman for the Democratic Party, gave Carroll credit for helping other people throughout his life.The dedication ceremony took place in a portion of the park where there are monuments to veterans from the Civil War and the Spanish American War, an area restored under Carroll’s watch as a freeholder in the 1990s. A native of Bayonne, Carroll, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and later Korea before going on to become chief of staff to four Congressmen between 1963 and 1989: Cornelius E. “Neil” Gallagher, Dominick V. Daniels, Joseph A. Lefante and Frank J. Guarini. Guarini, who was in Rome attending a graduation, sent a video message that was played at the dedication of the monument called “Carroll Cove.”Carroll also served as chief of staff for the Hudson County Freeholder Board, and later, for West New York Mayor Sal Vega.“Neil was always there for me,” Vega said. “He was like a father to me. His family is my family.”Freeholders Bill O’Dea and Ken Kopacz along with County Roads Supervisor Harold Demellier helped create the tribute to Carroll.Bayonne Council President Sharon Nadrowski, spoke on behalf of Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis. Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti of the 31st District that includes Bayonne and Jersey City also spoke along with former Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, who is also Carroll’s son-in-law.

Special Zoning Board meeting to address Muslim Community Center

Bayonne Muslims, the nonprofit group that has been renting the basement of St. Henry’s School for prayer services and community gatherings for 6 years, has been seeking a larger, permanent property on the east end of 24th Street and Avenue F to serve as a mosque and community center. The group’s request for building permits will be addressed at 6 p.m. on May 25 at the City Council Chambers at 630 Avenue C.

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