• 15 News Stories You Missed in Hudson County This Week

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    Hey, Hudson County! Your weekly dose of all the headlines you missed has arrived. This week, so much went down it was nearly impossible to include it all. But don’t worry, we have everything curated for you in one neat little space so you don’t have to do anything but sit back with coffee {or a mimosa, no judgment}, read, and try to put off the #SundayScaries for as long as possible.

    This week, the City of Hoboken announced updates to its endeavors to enact a ban on Styrofoam throughout the Mile Square. Additionally, Mayor Bhalla also announced he has been working with the Hoboken Green Team to draft up legislation that would take the city’s plastic bag ban one step further and actually eliminate all plastic bags — even reusable ones.

    In other news, the Whole Foods Market in Weehawken officially opened its doors to the public on Friday and the Mile Square has made important changes to its Temporary No Parking Sign policy. Keep reading to discover all of the headlines you missed this week. 

    City of Hoboken Updates Styrofoam Ban + Seeks to Take Plastic Bag Ban One Step Further

    styrofoam ban city of hoboken

    Last week, Hoboken Girl announced the City of Hoboken’s next sustainable initiative: a ban on Styrofoam. In the week since, more information has become available as Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla and the Hoboken Green Team met to draft official legislation to ban styrofoam products. This legislation will be considered for final adoption and second reading at the August 7th City Council Meeting. If the legislation passes, local establishments will have six months to comply with the ban.

    “Styrofoam isn’t biodegradable, can’t be recycled, and is a threat our environment,” Mayor Bhalla says. “Hoboken is committed to environmental sustainability, and this proposed styrofoam ban will allow us to do our part to reduce harmful landfill waste and encourage the use of safer alternatives.”

    Styrofoam — also known as Expanded Polystyrene {EPS} — is typically found in consumer products such as “foam” cups, containers, and plates. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added styrene, a chemical found in styrofoam products, to its list of known or possible carcinogens. EPS is not biodegradable and lasts in landfills for 500 years or more.

    This new move to ban Styrofoam comes not long after the City also banned single-use plastic bags. Bhalla and the Hoboken Green Team have also drafted updated legislation regarding the plastic bag ban. If this legislation becomes adopted by the Council, the new regulation will be a full ban on all plastic bags, including carry-out reusable plastic bags commonly used at larger retail establishments. As the legislation currently stands, reusable plastic bags are currently exempt under the law. If it passes, all kinds of plastic bags — both single-use and reusable — will be banned from the City of Hoboken. Establishments will have six months to comply with the updated ordinance.

    “Our ban on single-use plastic bags has been widely successful, and this new legislation takes it one step further,” Bhalla says. “If the Council adopts the legislation, we will completely eliminate our dependence on all types of plastic bags which will further reduce our carbon footprint and improve our environment.”

    Both ordinances can be found in full at the beginning of page 957 in the Council agenda packet, available here.

    Whole Foods Open in Weehawken As of July 26th

    whole foods weehawken tote

    The Whole Foods Market in Weehawken has been a long time coming. Now as of last Friday, the seller of over 150 locally-sourced brands is officially open for biz.

    The new 32,0000-square-foot store is located at 1400 Waterfront Terrace in The Shops at Lincoln Harbor. The new site features a full-service coffee bar called Café Grumpy, a specialty cheeses section that features cheese from local suppliers like Valley Shepherd Creamery, and outside, electric car-charging stations.

    To check out a full walk-through of the new WF Market in Weehawken, check out our comprehensive review here.

    Makai Poke Changes Their Instagram Name to Medley

    medley hoboken

    Makai Poke no more! The once aptly-named poke place has changed their name on Instagram to Medley. While a message to Medley representatives went unanswered, it looks like the up-and-coming eatery at 521 Washington Street will be serving wraps, smoothies, and all-day breakfast. According to their IG bio, there will be greens and grains and according to their photos, there will be no shortage of dishes starring avocado.

    Jersey City Resident Publicly Makes Homophobic Comments at JCBOE Meeting

    rainbow flag gay pride lgbt month hoboken girl

    After a woman made homophobic remarks while speaking on the microphone at a recent Board of Education meeting in Jersey City, openly-gay BOE Trustee Gerald Lyons walked off the stage.

    Adela Rohena, a Jersey City resident and Republican candidate for County Sheriff, approached the mic during the meeting and communicated that she hoped her comments wouldn’t be misconstrued or labeled as homophobic. Rohena proceeded to question why the Jersey City district celebrated LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June. Rohena added that the Board doesn’t have a designated month to celebrate teachers or firefighters. Rohena reportedly would not relent after her five minutes were up and continued, asking what students would do to celebrate Pride Month for a full 30 days: “They gonna dance? What they gonna teach the kids of the public schools?” she asked.

    While Rohena spoke, Trustee Lyons walked off the stage.

    Lyons returned to address the comments, stating: “Recently, it is my opinion, that the thin skin that covers a lot of prejudice has been peeled away, and people have felt now they have the opportunity to say whatever they want about whatever group of people.”

    Lyons continued, “When you come out and you say that gays need an extra month so that they can dance, that’s offensive. As the only openly gay member on this board, possibly the only gay member, I find it very offensive that you would think that gays want a month so that we can come out and dance.”

    Other Trustee members spoke in reaction to Rohena’s comments.

    “The comments made tonight were extremely offensive, and I agree with Gerry, I hope that one day we are in a position where people aren’t saying things that are anti-Semitic, anti-homophobic and anti-Islamic and I hope we can move past that,” Trustee Mussab Ali said.

    Trustee Marilyn Roman said, “I do not want to dignify what that woman said. But I think there’s got to be more room in this country for our caring about one another and minding our own business about what a person does and how they live their life, as long as what they do is moral and doesn’t involve any criminal activity in their plans. I don’t even think it’s any of our business.”

    Rohena did not apologize.

    “Let me tell you my friend, I voted for every single member of that board, so I expect Mr. Lyons not to get mad with me because it’s my First Amendment right to express my opinion,” Rohena told HCV. “I didn’t curse at them. Why do they get mad at me? What is the message [by celebrating Pride Month] they are trying to bring to the Jersey City Public Schools. That’s my question,” Rohena added.

    City Enacts New Temporary No Parking Sign Policies in Hoboken

    temporary no parking signs

    The City of Hoboken has made changes to the city’s Temporary No Parking Sign policy. Approved by City Council this past spring, the policy change went into effect on Monday, July 22nd and seeks to “reduce the amount of on-street disruption for resident permit holders.”

    The change now enacts a fee for TNP signs:

    • 4-hour sign: $15
    • 8-hour sign: $25
    • 12-hour sign: $40
    • 24-hour sign: $60

    In addition to the fees, TNP signs must be purchased and posted further in advance. If one purchases a TNP sign for any reason other than official City business, construction, public safety, or emergencies, the TNP sign must be purchased and put up eight days in advance. People can buy a TNP sign at the HPU customer service window eight days in advance. Alternatively, if people buy through HPU online, they have to buy 10 days in advance so they can be posted on HPU a week in advance.

    View a full list of all the policy changes here.

    Celebrate Cocktails Under the Stars in Jersey City

    cocktails under the stars

    Save the date! Art House Productions and SILVERMAN are hosting Cocktails Under the Stars, a midsummer party honoring actor Matt Servitto of The SopranosSex and the City, and Brotherhood. On Thursday, August 1st at 6:00PM on the rooftop of Charles and Co. at 201 Montgomery Street in Jersey City, you can check out panoramic views of the JC skyline, enjoy cocktails, wine and beer, music, and hors d’ouevres, and participate in a 50/50 raffle. Tickets are $75 online, $85 at the door. You can purchase tickets in advance online at arthouseproductions.org.

    Hoboken Hosts Second August Week of Pride

    hoboken pride week itinerary

    Mayor Bhalla, the City of Hoboken, and the Hoboken Pride group have released Hoboken’s second annual Pride Week activities, scheduled to take place from August 8th through August 18th. All events are free of charge and open to the public. This year’s Pride Week theme is “Pride without prejudice.”

    “We are proud to once again celebrate the contributions of our LGBTQ+ community with our second annual Pride Week,” Mayor Bhalla said in a statement. “We are committed to not only enacting policies in Hoboken that promote equality for all residents, but also showcasing events that reflect the diversity of our city. I thank the Hoboken Pride Group for organizing the week’s activities, and encourage all residents to join us.”

    Sponsors for Hoboken Pride Week include Bike Hoboken, Birch, Charrito’s, Giannone Wine & Liquor, Hair Cult Salon and Spa, the Hoboken Public Library Hudson Pride Center, La Casa Restaurante, and Print Hoboken. The Hoboken Pride Group organized the week’s activities and is led by Hoboken’s LGBTQ+ liaison, Laura Knittel, and Migdalia Pagan-Milano from Hoboken’s Office of Constituent Affairs.

    Please refer to the above image for the full list of activities.

    Lyft Announces Partnership With Enclave Luxury Rental

    lyft

    {Photo credit: Lyft Blog}

    Lyft has joined forces with Enclave luxury rental, becoming Enclave’s official transportation partner. The ride-sharing service recently expanded into bike-sharing, enabling Enclave residents to not only get picked up at designated Lyft pick-up areas but also to use the neighboring Citi Bike station. The Enclave also offers complimentary shuttle service to-and-from the Hoboken PATH.

    “We tailored every aspect of this building to suit the needs and wants of our urban renters, sparing no detail in creating a place of connection,” said Jonathan Schwartz, partner at BNE. “From our apartments to our amenities to the many transportation options offered through our newly-launched partnership with Lyft and Citi Bike, our residents are at the center of all that’s happening throughout our surrounding neighborhood.”

    Hoboken Public Library Launches ToyBrary

    hoboken public library toybrary

    {Photo credit: Hoboken Mommies Facebook}

    Thanks to generous contributions from residents, the Hoboken Public Library has officially opened the Toybrary. The Toybrary is available to all children for open play in the Library Annex at 252 5th Street. The Toybrary is open on Tuesdays from 11:00AM-2:00PM for kids ages zero to 10.

    Deadline to Apply for ‘Imagine More’ Grant: September 1st

    andco coworking space jersey city

    {Photo of Andco Coworking Space courtesy of Kiana Chan}

    Kiana Chan from Andco Coworking in Jersey City reached out to Hoboken Girl to let us know about the Imagine More Grant. The Imagine More Grant is a way to uplift an Andco member who displayed distinct value to the community with the use of imagination and innovation. Last year’s winners were Jersey City Writers and Christopher Grippo of Wabo.

    As of 2019, the grant is open to the public. One winner will be selected to receive a one-year Andco open level membership {worth $3,000}. There will be a total of 6 winners this year, 5 of which will be Andco members who can win up to $2,000 in monetary prizes.

    The deadline to apply is September 1st, 2019. Learn more about the Andco Coworking space here and apply for the grant here.

    Investigation Open Regarding President of Hoboken PBA Using Sexist Slur to Describe US Soccer Player

    marc marsi sexist slur

    {Photo credit: Facebook}

    Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante confirms that an investigation has been opened in light of Marc Marsi using a sexist slur to describe professional U.S. women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe. Marsi, the President of Hoboken Policemen’s Benevolent Association, publicly called Rapinoe a “piece of s—” and wrote on Facebook that he was glad the soccer team “benched the unpatriotic c—.”

    Marsi is a Republican candidate for Mayor in the Borough of Rutherford.

    A previously-published article in The Hudson County View cited Ferrante and claimed that no disciplinary action would be taken against Marsi because no official complaint was made. When Hoboken Girl reached out to Ferrante for comment, Ferrante clarified that an investigation has indeed been opened and at the time of his original “no discipline” comment, the extent of the incident was not clear.

    Here’s what Ferrante said via email:

    The headline to The Hudson County View article was inaccurate and the body of the article covered two separate interviews. On the first interview, I explained that the only thing I knew about the matter was seeing the Bergen Record article which only vaguely described that Marsi had made a sexist remark and I stated to John Heinis that without evidence or a complainant, there would not be an investigation started. I did state in the first interview that we have a strong social media policy that Capt Tory Pasculli and I brought to the department soon after I became Chief in 2014.
    The next day, John Heinis sent me an email with a screenshot of an exchange between two individuals. I explained that at that moment that I forwarded that email to our Internal Affairs Bureau which is mentioned in the second half of the article. The headline appears to have suited day 1’s interview, not day 2.
    At this time, I can say upon the second email from Hudson County View, an investigation is opened. As per New Jersey Attorney General Internal Affairs Guidelines, those investigations, just like criminal investigations are confidential. I, as Chief am not aware of the details of the ongoing investigation as per AG Guidelines. On all investigations, I may receive updates, but the Internal Affairs/Professional Standards Bureau perform their investigation and then present their findings to me at the investigation’s culmination, and discipline is then decided and determined.

    Marsi’s Facebook post has since been deleted.

    Mayor Bhalla Announces Settlement Preserving Monarch Site

    judge hotel givebacks

    Mayor Bhalla has been on a mission to protect Hoboken’s waterfront from development and to preserve the Monarch site. Bhalla’s most recent announcement suggests a settlement has been reached in the ongoing Monarch case.

    According to the announcement, the City of Hoboken and Applied Development Company have reached a settlement as negotiated by Bhalla’s administration. It temporarily prevents any development by Applied of two 11-story high-rise residential buildings along the Uptown waterfront and also presents the opportunity for the City and Applied to negotiate a Redevelopment Agreement to officially transfer the Monarch site to the City.

    The settlement is expected to be presented to the Hoboken City Council for approval at a meeting in August.

    “This settlement is a win for the City of Hoboken,” said Mayor Bhalla. “Not only does it protect our precious waterfront from development and preserve the site for open space, but it also presents an opportunity to revitalize an area in downtown Hoboken. And, a new, state-of-the-art municipal garage will facilitate improved public works services. While we have work to do over the next several months to finalize this proposed deal with a Redevelopment Agreement, this settlement is a critical step forward.”

    The settlement allows the City to negotiate the terms of a Redevelopment Agreement over the next several months, which will also be presented to the City Council. The transfer of the Monarch site to the City for the purposes of open space will occur only if the Redevelopment Agreement is agreed to and approved by the City Council at a later date.

    The main terms of the proposed settlement agreed to by Mayor Bhalla and Applied are as follows:

    Applied Development Company gives up the right to develop on the Monarch site, a parcel of land along the Hoboken waterfront directly in front of the Hudson Tea Buildings. In exchange, the City of Hoboken will grant Applied Development Company an opportunity to redevelop the Public Works Garage site located at 256 Observer Highway, pending the passage of a Redevelopment Agreement.

    Upon execution of a Redevelopment Agreement with Applied for the development of the Municipal Garage site, the City of Hoboken may take ownership of the Monarch site for the purpose of creating open space.

    Applied Development Company will pay the City of Hoboken up to $1 million for the removal of debris or other public improvements related to this settlement.

    Redevelopment of the Public Works Garage site, pending a Redevelopment Agreement, will include:

    • A state of the art facility for the Department of Public Works, paid for and built by Applied Development Company.
    • 4,000 square feet of retail along Observer Highway.
    • 264,000 square feet of a transit-oriented rental building, in scale with the neighboring buildings with zero density above what is provided for in the Municipal Garage Redevelopment Plan.
    • At least 11% of all housing units mandated as affordable housing.

    Updates will be provided to residents on an August meeting date the Monarch settlement will be voted on by the City Council.

    Visionaries Film Festival Celebrates Young Filmmakers

    visionaries film festival

    On July 26th and 27th, the Visionaries Film Festival took place at the Hudson School in Hoboken, honoring the creative efforts of young filmmakers. At least one of the films shown at the international film festival — which reviews submissions from high school and college-aged filmmakers — was shot in the Mile Square.

    Categories include Short, Feature, Documentary, Television Pilot, Web Series, Screenplay, and Microfilm.

    Construction on Hudson Street and Hudson Place Begins July 29th

    construction

     On Monday, July 29th, construction will begin at the intersection of Hudson Street and Hudson Place. The following intersection to undergo construction will be 14th and Garden Streets. The project is expected to last anywhere between four to six weeks and will include new traffic signals, new pedestrian sign signals with countdown timers, and other additional improvements to pedestrian safety.

    “Safer streets and pedestrian safety is a priority for my administration,” said Mayor Bhalla in a statement. “These traffic signals, pedestrian countdown timers, and other major improvements will provide major upgrades to these two heavily-trafficked areas.”

    The comprehensive upgrades to the intersections of Hudson Street and Hudson Place include:

    • New traffic signals to improve traffic flow and reduce intersection conflicts;
    • New pedestrian signals with countdown timers that will provide a dedicated pedestrian crossing phase, making it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross the street;
    • An expanded sidewalk on the west side of the intersection to improve accessibility by shortening crossing distances and safety for pedestrians and improving intersection visibility;
    • New sidewalks and ADA-compliant curb ramps;
    • High-visibility crosswalks at all approaches;
    • Additional space for bicycle and electric scooter parking along Hudson Street;
    • A new loading zone to provide dedicated curbside space for deliveries and loading activities;
    • A dedicated left turn space for Hudson Place-bound bicyclists and e-scooter riders through a new “jughandle” turning configuration on the west side of the intersection. Southbound bicyclists and e-scooter riders will be able to make left turns onto Hudson Place in two stages using the jughandle and then crossing during the pedestrian crossing phase. This will help reduce the crash risk caused by exposure to vehicles during conventional left-turn phasing.

    Both construction projects are direct outcomes of Bhalla’s Vision Zero Initiative for Hoboken. Vision Zero has the goal of eliminating all traffic-related deaths and injuries by the year 2030 and seeks to prioritize the safety of Mile Square’s pedestrians. Next month, Hoboken will form a Vision Zero task force to begin creating and enacting a Vision Zero Action Plan to develop standards and recommendations to make Vision Zero become a reality.

    Bhalla added, “Hoboken is committed to the goal of zero pedestrian injuries or fatalities by 2030 as a part of our comprehensive Vision Zero initiative, and I thank Hudson County for their partnership in constructing these upgrades.”

    Mile Square Releases E-Scooter Statistics

    hoboken scooter statisticshoboken scooter statistics 2

     

    The Hoboken Department of Transportation and Parking has released official statistics on Mile Square’s new e-scooter pilot program. From May 20th to June 19th, approximately 110,000 e-scooter trips were made over 116,800 miles {the equivalent to scooting from Hoboken to Hong Kong more than 13 times}.

    The statistics reveal even more information: that the typical trip duration lasts seven minutes on Lime, 20 minutes on Ojo. It also provides information on the scooting demographic: 76 percent of Lime riders were Hoboken residents and 67 percent of Ojo riders were Hoboken residents.

    According to City Councilperson Emily Ball Jabbour, over 100 accounts have already been terminated due to irresponsible riding.

    Wee Babe Not Closing Its Doors After All

    wee babe hoboken

    Great news for Wee Babe’s shoppers — the baby apparel and items store is not closing after all. Hoboken Girl reported back in June that the shop’s owner Beau Kuhn announced in a Facebook post in the group Hoboken Mommies that she would be likely closing up shop. A new post to the Facebook Group — this time from Amy Christine Marby — announced that Wee Babe will be remaining open.

    “Hi Moms, exciting news. Wee Babe is not closing!” Marby wrote. “It’s staying open and will continue to be a part of Hoboken and the community! If there are ideas you have, items you want to see in the store, please feel free to PM me. Stop by the store and say hi! The story will be open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from now until Labor Day. Starting September 3rd, it will be open all week Tuesday-Sunday!”

    The post garnered 155+ likes and over 15 comments. Needless to say, many parents seem excited that Wee Babe found a will and a way to stay open.

    Got a news tip? Let us know — email us at hello@hobokengirl.com!


    Written by:

    Steph Osmanski is a freelance writer who specializes in sustainability and health and wellness content. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton.


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