Jersey City hires lawyers to fight proposed Liberty State Park marinaLiving up to his promise to use every resource to oppose state plans for a new marina in the south part of Liberty State Park, Mayor Steven M. Fulop announced on Dec. 13 that the administration will enter into an agreement with the law firm of Riker Danzig, Scherer, Hyland, & Perretti to provide legal services in connection with protecting Liberty State Park against the development of a new marina. The proposed lease agreement between marina operators Suntex Marinas and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection is for 45-acres of land on the southern end of the public park, including a mile stretch of waterfront which will be transformed from quiet open space to a parking lot for 300 boats.“Once again, the Christie Administration has proven their utter disregard for the importance of public parks in New Jersey,” said Mayor Fulop. “This development is one that would drastically change the landscape of one of the state’s best public parks, and to add insult to injury has progressed up until this point behind closed doors. This lack of integrity has become business as usual, and this time, one of our best public assets will suffer unless we as a city fight back.”The New Jersey-based firm has been hired to pursue legal options against the proposed marina, citing a misalignment between the proposed use and the original purpose of the public park as well as safety concerns for residents and local wildlife alike.“We are immensely grateful to Mayor Fulop for delivering the legal resources necessary to protect the south side of Liberty State Park for the public to continue to picnic, fish, walk, and enjoy unblemished views of the New York Harbor freely,” said Greg Remaud, deputy director of the NY/NJ Baykeeper.The recently-released lease agreement details a development that has led residents and officials to voice strong opposition. On Dec. 2, Mayor Fulop joined the Friends of Liberty State Park to rally against the proposal.“The Friends of Liberty State Park and all supporters of the park as a local, state, and national treasure with open space and priceless open vistas, are very grateful to the Fulop Administration for his determination and dedication in stopping this destructive marina plan from going forward,” said Sam Pesin, president of the Friends of Liberty State Park and vocal advocate of preserving the park. Gabert to retire from HCCC next summerHudson County Community College Board of Trustees Chair William J. Netchert disclosed today that the college’s longtime president, Glen Gabert, told him and the board of his intention to retire at the end of June 2018.The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) has been retained to perform a national search for the new president beginning in January 2018.“We know it will be very difficult to replace Glen Gabert,” Netchert said. “I have had the honor of working in partnership with Glen Gabert for 14 years. He transformed what was a deeply distressed college into an institution of first choice for the people of Hudson County. We are looking for an individual who will help move us forward in continuing to grow the college and build upon the excellent framework that has been established.”Dr. Gabert marked his 25th anniversary as president of the college in September, making him the longest-serving president in the school’s history, and the longest serving current community college president in New Jersey.County to establish stigma free zone to combat veterans’ suicidesAt its Dec. 7 meeting the Board of Freeholders designated Hudson County as a Stigma Free Zone to combat veteran suicide.The Department of Veterans Affairs reports that an average of 20 veterans die by suicide each day. The department says it is committed to providing timely access to high quality, recovery-oriented mental health care that anticipates and responds to veteran’s needs, such as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, depression and suicidal ideation. Mental health disorders, including major depression and other mood disorders, have been associated with increased risk for suicide.The VA says it is committed to identifying and reaching all veterans who may be at risk for suicide and recognizes that eliminating the burden of suicide among veterans will require participation from a broad group of federal and local government and community partners.The VA says it has developed innovative strategies to find and help veterans at risk for suicide through community based collaborations and expanded supportive services.Catholic Charities Services is spearheading the effort in New Jersey to form community based collaborations and wishes to partner with Hudson County to create an initiative that aims to create cultures of caring wherein individuals who live with mental illness or substance use disorders feel supported in seeking treatment rather than suffering in silence (the “Stigma Free Initiative”).The mission of Stigma Free Initiative is aligned with the VA’s goal of connecting veterans to essential mental health treatment to reduce the risk of suicide and increase quality of life.The county’s Department of Health and Human services will pursue a Stigma Free Initiative and will raise awareness of resources available to veterans through the VA and beyond in an effort to reduce the risk of suicide and enhance the quality of life of the individuals who served our country. PSE&G to inspect gas meters in Hudson CountyPublic Service Electric & Gas Company (PSE&G) will be inspecting natural gas meters in Hoboken, Weehawken and West New York to ensure the continued safety and reliability of gas services.“Customer safety is our number one priority,” said Joe Forline, vice president of gas operations for PSE&G. “It’s important for us to conduct safety inspections like these so that we can check for surface corrosion, leaks and other conditions that might require attention or repair.”If a customer’s meter is inside, someone over the age of 18 will need to give our technicians access to the meter for a visual inspection. Meters that are located outside will also be inspected. Although technicians will be on your property, customers do not need to be home for outside meter inspections.Important information about the inspection process:• The inspection is free and will take about 10 minutes.• Customers do not need to make an appointment at this time.• Unless a meter requires immediate repair, there will be no interruption to service.• Service will not be turned off during this inspection due to billing status.PSE&G reminds customers to always ask for identification when a utility worker comes to the door. Employees carry a PSE&G photo identification badge, wear PSE&G logo apparel and drive PSE&G cars or trucks. If a customer is concerned in any way, they should call PSE&G’s customer service line at 800-436-PSEG (7734) to verify the identity of an employee.Hoboken Menorah lighting at City Hall is Dec. 17Join the community and elected officials for a public display of unity as they light the grand Menorah at Hoboken City Hall this Sunday, Dec. 17 at 5 pm. Hot latkes, donuts, chocolate gelt, and Menorah kits will be distributed.This event is open and free to everyone.Prior to the lighting, at 4 p.m. there will be a children’s program inside City Hall. Ventriloquist, pizza, raffle, crafts. Tickets are $10 per child in advance; $15 at door.For more info. about this program or future events, please visit www.JewishHoboken.com or call (201) 386-5222. ×BOWLING TO HELP – St. Joseph’s Board of Trustee member Richard Gaeta recently held a fundraising event to help support St. Joseph’s School for the Blind. Rich is the owner of NJR Real Estate Group, Hoboken, and brought realtors from throughout the local area for the 1st Annual Realtors Bowling Tournament at North Arlington Lanes. Sixty bowlers hit the lanes for charity and a chance at the title. Hoboken’s Liberty Realty group, headed by president/owner Joe Covello, took 1st place; Hudson Realty, 2nd place; and Century 21 placed 3rd. The funds raised will help support specialized equipment for the children of St. Joseph’s School for the Blind. The photo is of the 1st place team, Liberty Realty group. Joe Covello is holding the trophy. City sends largest class to police academy in three decadesMayor Steven M. Fulop and public safety officials said last week that the largest police recruit class in more than thirty years entered the police academy in December as the Fulop Administration continues to expand public safety citywide. The administration has now surpassed its original goal of growing the Jersey City Police Department to 950 officers. With this latest class of 76 recruits, the department will reach a total of more than 960 officers citywide.“We inherited a police department that was at a historical low in officers, and from day one set out to expand the force,” said Mayor Fulop. “With the addition of this newest recruit class, we have now hired more than 400 officers, exceeding our goal to grow and diversify the police department and enhance public safety throughout Jersey City.“We’ve not only worked to increase the number of officers citywide, but we’ve also focused on diversifying the department to reflect Jersey City, the most diverse city in the country,” Mayor Fulop added. “These 76 recruits are reflective of that, with minorities making up nearly three-quarters of the new class. While we know there’s more work to be done, we’re proud of how far we’ve come as Jersey City continues to serve as a model for police recruitment and diversity.”The Fulop Administration set out to expand the Police Department from 769 officers in 2013 when Fulop took office. BOWLING TO HELP – St. Joseph’s Board of Trustee member Richard Gaeta recently held a fundraising event to help support St. Joseph’s School for the Blind. Rich is the owner of NJR Real Estate Group, Hoboken, and brought realtors from throughout the local area for the 1st Annual Realtors Bowling Tournament at North Arlington Lanes. Sixty bowlers hit the lanes for charity and a chance at the title. Hoboken’s Liberty Realty group, headed by president/owner Joe Covello, took 1st place; Hudson Realty, 2nd place; and Century 21 placed 3rd. The funds raised will help support specialized equipment for the children of St. Joseph’s School for the Blind. The photo is of the 1st place team, Liberty Realty group. Joe Covello is holding the trophy.
After weeks of anticipation, insect watchers are getting the show of a lifetime as the Brood II periodical cicadas emerge from the soil in the north Georgia mountains. University of Georgia entomologists are hoping to use the public’s interest in this year’s emergence as a chance to research and better map the range of the cicadas. The undulating, seven-kilohertz song of thousands of 17-year cicadas has been reported in Cleveland, Helen and Georgia’s Unicoi State Park as well as in wooded areas from the southern Appalachia to Connecticut. “If you’ve never been to an area where they are emerging, it is something to see,” said Richard Hoebeke, an associate curator for arthropods at the State of Georgia Museum of Natural History. “These things are flying everywhere, and the noise they make is just terrific.” UGA entomologists are asking Georgians to collect any intact cicada bodies they find on the ground and send them to the museum. The Georgia Museum of Natural History has an international collection of cicadas ranging in size from smaller than a pinkie fingernail to some Southeast Asian species that are the size of the palm of a hand, all in a rainbow of colors. They also have representatives of several of the broods of 13- and 17-year periodical cicadas, including specimens dating back to the 1930s. However, they don’t have any Brood II cicadas from Georgia. Having specimens from this brood “would help us document this emergence in Georgia,” Hoebeke said. When people find a cicada carcass, they should take note of where and when they found it. Whole specimens will be included in the museum’s collection of arthropods, which now spans hundreds of thousands of individual insects and spiders. While there were reports of isolated populations of past Brood II cicadas showing up in the 1970s, some entomologists were initially unsure whether Brood II cicadas would emerge in Georgia, said Nancy Hinkle, a professor of entomology with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Georgians are more accustomed to looking for members of the Great Southern Brood, which emerges every 13 years and last put on its show in 2011. Each brood of cicadas is made up of multiple species of cicadas. All the members of the species in the brood emerge when the soil temperatures in their geographic area reach the mid-60s. Brood II cicadas spend their first 17 years underground, sucking nutrients from tree roots. They exit the soil as nymphs and shed their skin within about 48 hours, transforming into their rigid adult stage. Once they emerge and shed, their only goal is to meet other cicadas and mate. That’s where their tremendous noise-making capabilities come in handy. Only the male cicadas can vibrate their tymbals—thin membranes on the sides of their abdomens—to make the signature cicada buzz. “The females comment on the sound of the male cicadas by clicking their wings,” Hinkle said. “But, it’s hard to hear.” Cicadas pose no threat to humans, crops or other animals. They don’t bite, and they’re not poisonous. Pet dogs and cats, as well as birds and raccoons, usually gorge themselves on the insects as they start to emerge. Scientists have seen, in extreme cases, the insects damage trees when they insert their eggs into the bark of a tree’s twigs and branches. This damage is usually only seen in young trees playing hosts to hundreds of cicadas and is not typical. Georgians can recognize periodical cicadas from the annual cicadas that fill the days with buzzing each summer by looking at the insects’ eyes. Annual and periodical cicadas look similar, but periodical cicadas have characteristic red eyes. Annual cicadas all emerge later in the summer and peak in August and September. The periodical cicadas usually are only around until the beginning of July in Georgia. “To think that someone who is a child now will be an adult and maybe have children of their own the next time these cicadas emerge is pretty special,” Hinkle said. “You only get maybe a half dozen chances in your life to see these creatures.” Members of the public who find cicada bodies should send them to Richard Hoebeke, Georgia Museum of Natural History, Natural History Building, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-7882. For more information on the museum, see naturalhistory.uga.edu.