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Events & Calendar / Meet the Leaders
« on: April 13, 2004, 05:30:27 PM »
FRIDAY: United States Small Business Administration, "Meet the Lenders," 9 a.m., Ciarco Learning Center, 355 Main St., Hackensack. On hand will be counselors from the Bergen Small Business Development Center and the Service Corps of Retired Executives. Free. Call (201) 489-8670.

Hackensack Discussion / Candidates Debate - Results, summary, photo.
« on: April 12, 2004, 10:49:22 PM »
I went to what was supposed to be a School Board Meeting Monday night at 7:30 at 355 State Street and find out it was postponed until tomorrow night at 7:30.

I find out through a posting on "Save Hackensack" that there was a debate scheduled for 4/12/04 (same night) at Nellie K. Parker.  I get there an hour late and  the debate is in progress.  Apparently, it was two hours long , moderated with questions, with a 2 minute summary for each candidate.  

I asked people how they knew about the meeting and they said someone simply told them. As far as I know, there was NO PUBLIC NOTIFICATION of the debate.  Someone please correct me if I am wrong.  Moreover, THERE WAS NO OPPORTUNITY TO QUESTION THE CANDIDATES.  

Below is a summary of the questions and answers I had an opportunity to hear.  I did my best to "get the gist" of the question and answer.  


Topic:    Out of town children attending Hackensack Schools and what to do about it:

Walter H. Carroll:    Three pieces of proof are required for registration, currently.  Over 100 illegal students were discovered this year.  Parents were charged tuition, so the taxpayers get some of that back.

Francis W. Albolino:   Hackensack Youth Police currently try to discovery illegal students and wait outside the registered home to see if students come out for school.  This should continue.

Jorge E. Meneses:    All children should be registered.  (with better system of proof?)
Rhonda Williams-Bembry: Incumbents are not doing a good enough to combat illegal students from coming to Hackensack Schools.  An outside agency should be used to combat illegal students.

Junemarie Ramp:    Incumbents are not doing a good enough to combat illegal students from coming to Hackensack Schools.

Jenny Marin:      Incumbents are not doing a good enough to combat illegal students from coming to Hackensack Schools.  An outside agency should be used to combat illegal students.

Topic:    Student Achievement: How to improve it.

Walter H. Carroll:    Parents and teachers should communicate more with their children.

Francis W. Albolino:   Parents need to be more involved.

Jorge E. Meneses:    Listen to the experiences of the student.
Rhonda Williams-Bembry: Extra-curricular activities need to be increased.

Junemarie Ramp:    Students need to feel like they are part of the programs designed to help them.

Jenny Marin:      Students should be challenged and rewarded.

Topic:    Why is a "D" a passing grade.  Should children with straight D’s be passed.

Walter H. Carroll:    Something about "no child left behind".  This was not clear to me.

Francis W. Albolino:   This should be explored and can always be changed (I think).

Jorge E. Meneses:    Response was  not clear to me
Rhonda Williams-Bembry:  When children reach a certain point in failing to turn in homework, teachers need to call parents sooner, rather than later.

Junemarie Ramp:    Something about social promotion being wrong. ??

Jenny Marin:      Passing D’s should be changed.

Topic:    Failing Test Scores and how to correct the problem

Walter H. Carroll:    Before and after school programs should be employed.  One hour extra can do a lot to improve test scores.

Francis W. Albolino:   Test scores are increasing city-wide.  Middle school remains a problem, but "we’re working on it".    We need to start at the bottom (elementary and middle) before we try to improve high school test scores.

Jorge E. Meneses:    A better curriculum may be needed.  
Rhonda Williams-Bembry: Incumbents are not doing a good enough job to improve test scores.  No adequate progress, according to prior reports (from State?).

Junemarie Ramp:    Teachers need to work on improving test scores in September, not 7 weeks before the state/fed tests are administered.

Jenny Marin:      A better curriculum may be needed.

Topic:    Laptops, computers, books and supplies in school.

Walter H. Carroll:    We have them in schools already.  We have a complex budget.  Special Education is great in Hackensack and accounts for 25% of budget.  

Francis W. Albolino:   We don’t have laptops yet, but plenty of computers.  Each lasts 3-5 years. Mr. Albolino asked people to see the computers for themselves.  Teachers are getting the books and supplies they need.

Jorge E. Meneses:    I missed the response (Sorry).  
Rhonda Williams-Bembry: She reviewed budget and was angered for having to pay for a copy of it ($27).  She was unable to reconcile certain expenditures and promised to "find our money".  

Junemarie Ramp:     I missed the response (Sorry).

Jenny Marin:      More computers are needed.

Topic:    Goals of School Board: What should they be?

Walter H. Carroll:    School board devises and implements policy.    

Francis W. Albolino:   School board devises and implements policy and should not "micro-manage" teachers and classrooms.

Jorge E. Meneses:    The School Board should provide a better education for the children.    
Rhonda Williams-Bembry: The School Board should provide a better education, more efficiently.

Junemarie Ramp:    The School Board should stabilize taxes and hire teachers based on qualifications, not political connections. The School Board should provide the best possible education.

Jenny Marin:      The School Board should stabilize taxes and hire teaches based on qualifications, not political connections. The School Board should provide the best possible education.

Topic:    Students opportunity for college.

Walter H. Carroll:    We should not pressure students to go to college, but the opportunity should be there.      

Francis W. Albolino:   Many students should be commended for military services, trade schools, etc.  But, the opportunity for college should be available.  

Jorge E. Meneses:    85% of students go on to college.  This is good.  
Rhonda Williams-Bembry: 100% of students should be going to college (or at least have opportunity).

Junemarie Ramp:    100% of students should be going to college (or at least have opportunity).  

Jenny Marin:      100% of students should be going to college (or at least have opportunity).


Walter H. Carroll:    As far as hiring practices go, some students eventually want to be teachers.  Board hires people it knows because it understands the background of the applicant (I think).  

Francis W. Albolino:   As far as test scores go, tests should not dictate all policy.  We must "do right by the student".  When we do, we do right for the taxpayer as well.  

Jorge E. Meneses:    We should provide students with the necessary programs and technology to do well in school.    
Rhonda Williams-Bembry: When you consider the economic costs and the children, the "Better Education Team" is the better choice.

Junemarie Ramp:    It is unacceptable that education has become so political and that politics dictates the job market in Hackensack Schools. High taxes for property owners are not fair

Jenny Marin:   Tired of negative comments.  Wants to focus on what can be done.  

Events & Calendar / School Board Election
« on: April 12, 2004, 07:49:01 PM »
School Board Election

Polls are open from 2pm - 9pm.

Events & Calendar / School Board Meeting
« on: April 12, 2004, 07:46:02 PM »
The School Board meets at 355 State Street at 7:30.  

Meetings are open to the public.

Events & Calendar / 4/17/04 River Cleanup
« on: April 12, 2004, 06:55:08 PM »
River Cleanup at Losen Slote
This Saturday
Little Ferry event to kick off ambitious schedule of watershed cleanups in 2004
Little Ferry, NJ – Beginning this Saturday Hackensack Riverkeeper, the citizen-steward of the Hackensack River watershed, will commence its 2004 River Cleanups at Losen Slote Park in the northern Meadowlands town of Little Ferry. The Park is located off of Mehrhof Road and is named for the tributary of the Hackensack River that runs through it. Volunteers will work on foot and in canoes to collect trash and other debris that has accumulated along the banks of the creek and in the adjacent wooded wetlands. The particulars are:

What: Hackensack Riverkeeper’s first scheduled river cleanup of 2004. Twelve additional cleanups are scheduled through October. All cleanups are held RAIN or SHINE.

When: Saturday, April 17, beginning at 9:00 AM and running until 1:00 PM. Tools, gloves and trash bags will be provided. Refreshments and lunch will be served to all volunteers.

Where: Losen Slote Park, Little Ferry, NJ  Take Liberty Street from Route 46 or Moonachie Road to Eckel Road in Little Ferry. Proceed south on Eckel Road and make a right onto Birch Street. There is a small, unused park nestled between two residences on the left hand side of Birch Street. Park on Birch Street, and walk between the two houses into the park. We will have signs hung along the way. Look for the Hackensack Riverkeeper tent.

Please contact Kathy Urffer at 201-968-0808 or via e-mail at for any additional information.

Hackensack Discussion / Historic Buildings - Where were they?
« on: April 11, 2004, 11:13:03 PM »
I will supplement this message from time to time.  Please let me know if you recognize these buildings or can tell me where they stood.

Elks Club House:

Bergen County Children's Home:

You can find other images like this here: Historic Images of Hackensack

Events & Calendar / 4/10/04 Jazz at the Restaurant
« on: April 09, 2004, 11:06:17 AM »
The Restaurant, 160 Prospect Ave. Vickie Smith and Her Jazz Duo, Saturday. (201) 678-1100.

Events & Calendar / 4/16/04 Comedy Night - Rudy's Restaurant
« on: April 09, 2004, 01:29:43 AM »
Rudy's Restaurant
107 Anderson Street


Comedy Night

All-You-Can-Eat Dinner Buffet, Served at 8:00PM Show Starts at 9:30 PM
Buffet & Show Combo: $25 in advance, $30 at the door
Comedy Only: $10 (or $8.00 if dining a la carte)
(tax and tip not included)

 :) :D ;D :o

Headliner: Dennis Ross (Writer for "National Lampoon's Magazine")
Feature: John Larrochia (NYFD & Comedy Central)
Host: Anthony "The Toz" Tozzi: (New York Comedy Club)

Hackensack Discussion / Re:School Board Election Poll (Participate!)
« on: April 08, 2004, 02:38:59 PM »
There is a school board meeting on April 12, 2004 at 7:30 p.m. at 355 State Street.

This may be the last opportunity to hear some debate.  

I reiterate my prior complaint that the public has largely been left out of any meaningful participation in a debate of the issues.  

I'm told that out of approximately 17,000 registered voters, less than 4,000 vote in school board elections in Hackensack.  I'm surprised the numbers are that high.

Events & Calendar / Board of Education - Reorganization
« on: April 08, 2004, 01:56:18 PM »
Newly elected school board members take their seats and their oath of office.

355 State Street?  7:30?

School Board: 201-646-8000

Events & Calendar / 4/11/04 Easter Sunrise Service
« on: April 08, 2004, 11:11:13 AM »
Easter Sunrise Service

6:30 at the Church on the Green, 42 Court St.

Call the Rev. Fred VanderMeer, (201) 342-7050.

Events & Calendar / 4/9/04 "Colors of Grace" - Lessons of Lent
« on: April 08, 2004, 11:08:46 AM »
"Colors of Grace ... Lessons of Lent"

a Good Friday service, will begin at 8 p.m. Friday at Hackensack United Methodist Church, 400 Summit Ave. A musical presentation with dramatic narration follows.

Call (201) 487-0811

Hackensack Discussion / Results of City Council Meeting - 4/7/04
« on: April 08, 2004, 12:17:32 AM »
Wednesday, April 7,  2004 8:00 P.M

1.   Roll Call
2.   Flag Salute

All of the following Resolutions were unanimously approved.

3.   Approval of Minutes - March 15 & 29, 2004
4.   Resolution #089 - Approval of Refunds
5.   Resolution #090 - Change Order #1 - DMR Architects
6.   Resolution #091 - Reappointment of Louis J. Dinice, Esq. as Hackensack Municipal Judge.  Term to expire in December, 2006.
7.   Resolution #092 - Extraordinary Services - DMA Data Industries. ($15,132)
8.   Resolution #093 - Emergency — Sanitary Sewer Line Collapse Atlantic Street. (J. Fletcher - $3,387)
9.   Resolution #094 - Emergency - Sanitary Sewer Line Collapse — Passaic Street (J. Fletcher - $11,761)
10.   Resolution #095 - Authorization of Application - Tobacco Age of Sale Program.  (Granting authority to make application for the program)
11.   Resolution #096 - Authorization to Sign Teamsters Local 97 Contract (Traffic Guards Union.  Agreement expires 6/06)
12.   Resolution #097 - Introduction of Ordinance 2-2004 — Salary Ordinance Certain Contractual Employees of the Police Department (All interested parties will have an opportunity to be heared on April 19, 2004.  Tonight’s resolution was for introductory purposes only).
13.   Resolution #098 - Appointment of Peter Capone as Deputy City Manager (Mr. Capone expressed his gratitude to the Mayor and Council and looks forward to serving as City Manager.)  Click HERE for more information. (Requires free registratin with The Record).
14.   Resolution #099 - Professional Service - Jerry LaGuardia Productions & Entertainment, Inc. (Not sure what this is about.  Anyone know?  The contract is for $16,950).
15.   Resolution #100 - Cancellation of Tax Overpayments/Transfer to Surplus (Routine).
16.   Resolution #101 - Authorization to Transfer Overpayment of Taxes — Block 238, Lot 5
17.   Resolution #102 -  Authorization to Transfer Overpayment of Taxes — Block 74, Lot 12 (Routine).
18.   Resolution #103 - Payment of Bills (Routine).
19.   Resolution #104 - $767K Temp. Appropriation (Routine).
20.   Resolution #105 - Joseph Pizza appointed as Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Economic Development Commission.  Mr. Pizza was away on business and offered to return for the meeting.  The Council persuaded him that his attendance was not necessary.  He conveyed his appreciation for the post and his eagerness to start.

In addition, Mr. Peter Tucci was acknowledged for his efforts as Chairman of the Economic Development Commission and was applauded for his years of service.

The Mayor and Council presented the Main Street Business Alliance with a check in the amount of $9000.  These funds are part of the "Special Improvement District" program.  To learn more about this, click HERE.

The Mayor thanked members of the public for their attendance at the Johnson Park Revitalization Groundbreaking held earlier that day.  Click HERE for more information.

Members of the public commented on the role of the Economic Development Commission, the appointment of Judge Dinise who, according to one member of the public, was "too harsh".  The same resident also complained of mistreatment by Hackensack Police.  He sought an explanation from the City Manager.  The details were not clear.

Mr. Eric Martindale urged the city to look into temporary structures (storage sheds) that were placed on a property on DeWitt Street.  Apparently, these structures are not permitted.  Mr. Martindale also complained of illegal dumping near his residence and for the protection of an environmentally sensitive area bordering Coles Brook near Route 4. (Eric - feel free to elaborate.)  

Finally, Mr. Martindale expressed to the Council the need for greater involvement in the "homeless" shelter issue before the County Freeholders.  He conveyed his notion of varying types of "homelessness" and stressed the idea that each type requires different services which are already provided by the County at Bergen Regional Medical Center.  The "band aid" solutions of a shelter in Hackensack, he argued, do not go far enough.  Mr. Martindale received applause form both sides of the podium for his comments.  You may read more about Mr. Martindale's opinion HERE. (Scoll down).

Mayor Zisa agreed with Mr. Martindale’s comments and opined that many recent articles that appeared in The Record do not adequately address the complexity of the issue.  These stories (and others on the topic) may be found under "Community Outreach News" on the following page: Community Outreach

The Mayor reiterated his desire to more fully discuss these issues with the Freeholders.      

As always, I invite other attendees to correct mistakes and add information I missed in follow-up posts.

City officials launched what they're calling the "Johnson Park Revitalization Project."

Click HERE to see a small movie and photos.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place on April 7, 2004 in the Park. The $1.3 million project will include the construction of an artificial-turf soccer field.

"We're very proud of this project," Mayor John "Jack" Zisa said in a news release. "This project will expand the recreational facilities of Hackensack, providing a place for residents to play soccer, enjoy the river, or just relax at the park."

Construction is expected to be completed by July.

[Adapted from a story in The Record, 4/5/04, by Tom Davis]

Hackensack Discussion / Re:Historic District
« on: April 07, 2004, 12:45:57 AM »
I'll look into further but, in the meantime, answer me this:

Would you consent to having your home declared "historic" if it meant that you could never sell it to a developer at top dollar?

Should people be prevented from maximizing profits on their investment?

I hate to see older homes destroyed, but I would also hate any restrictions being placed on the use of my property without adequate compensation.

Ultimately, I think the fate of the Fairmount section will rest on the values of the homeowners that live here.  Who will sell out and who will remain?

More on this as it comes to me...

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