×CHAMPIONS – The 2017 Hoboken Little League Minor League playoffs are complete, and “The Mighty, Mighty Hammers” emerged victorious in the League Championship by a score of 7 to 4. The undefeated team, sponsored and managed by Marty Anderson and Associates, display their trophies after the big game. Hoboken Vape Van owner arrested for drug possessionOn July 6, 27-year-old Hoboken resident Joseph Ruggiero, the owner of the Hoboken “Vape Van” who was accused of hate speech in May, was arrested for drug possession. Ruggiero was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, distribution of marijuana within 500 feet of a public park, and distribution of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, according to a press release from the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.The release says he was arrested “after a court authorized search of his residence on Garden Street in Hoboken led to the recovery of marijuana.”Prosecutor Esther Suarez credited the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Narcotics Task Force and the K-9 Unit of the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office with the arrest.Ruggiero did not return a message by press time. CHAMPIONS – The 2017 Hoboken Little League Minor League playoffs are complete, and “The Mighty, Mighty Hammers” emerged victorious in the League Championship by a score of 7 to 4. The undefeated team, sponsored and managed by Marty Anderson and Associates, display their trophies after the big game. City may reach new agreement with SUEZ WaterMayor Dawn Zimmer announced on Wednesday, July 12 that Suez Water and her administration have agreed on terms of a renegotiated water service contract that would provide more than $31 million in infrastructure investments and $10 million in liability forgiveness for a total of over $40 million in benefits to the city through 2034.The agreement requires City Council approval and is expected to be presented to the council on Aug. 2.The agreement would extend the contract from 2024 to 2034.If the new agreement is not approved, the city will remain under the terms of the existing agreement. Under those terms, Suez will be required to make only $350,000 per year in emergency repairs for the next seven years, while the city would continue to be responsible for all repair costs over $350,000. The city would receive no funds for the needed modernization of the water main system and the city would be responsible for the approximately $10 million that would be forgiven in the renegotiated agreement for excess bulk water and repair costs.“Our aging water system is in need of expensive capital upgrades, yet the $350,000 provided annually by our existing water agreement from 1994 is not even enough for emergency repairs,” said Zimmer. “I am thrilled that our proposed agreement would provide on average over $1.8 million per year for capital investments. The city has already begun the process to invest $12 million in water main improvements, and this agreement will allow us to make the investments we need to modernize our water system.”In addition to the investment capital for water main upgrades, the renegotiated agreement will forgive $10 million owed by the city to Suez under the terms of the existing agreement for excess repair and bulk water costs.In a statement last week, mayoral hopeful and current Councilman Michael DeFusco said the agreement “deserves serious scrutiny.”“Mayor Zimmer has had nine years in office to reach this agreement and announcing it now shortly before an election to succeed her as mayor is troubling, especially given that if approved this contact would be in effect for decades,” he said. “The proposed agreement deserves serious scrutiny from both the council and the community to ensure that it’s the best possible deal for the city. It’s particularly concerning that the contract would include an annual rate increase of at least 2 percent, which would amount to yet another hidden tax on Hoboken residents that many will struggle to afford.” ‘Summer of hell’ doesn’t look so hellish in local train stationsVarious news outlets including Reuters dubbed this summer the “Summer of Hell” for New York City-area commuters, as repairs to the Amtrak tracks mean many will be rerouted, some through Hoboken. However, in the PATH stations in New York City, Hoboken, and Jersey City last Monday morning, as well as the rest of the Hoboken train station, the situation seemed crowded but calm.Hoboken Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher emailed some observations out on Monday:“I was at the Hoboken Terminal this morning from about 7:45 to about 9 just to see how things were going and to see if I could glean any information that may benefit Hoboken commuters. I think the single biggest takeaway is that there is a tidal wave of NJ Transit commuters that begins right at 8:00 and the wave continues until 8:45….Today may not be fully representative of what to expect for the next 45 days, as Monday mornings in the summer are often lighter due to people being away for long weekends. But…if you can get to the station either before 8:00 or after 8:45 I think your commute disruption will be less. Also, I would encourage you to buy your tickets/ refill your cards at a time other than the morning rush.”Hoboken council people urge school board not to continue litigation against HOLAAccording to a press release from the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School, several members of the council have released statements urging the Hoboken Board of Education not to continue litigation against the charter school. The board has already lost several court battles to try to take away the school’s new eighth grade class.Last month the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court affirmed the decision of the state Commissioner of Education granting HoLa’s application to expand the school to include seventh and eighth grades. The eighth grade has already started this year.One day after the ruling, a lawyer for the school board told the Wall Street Journal they “would discuss whether to seek a review from the state Supreme Court.”The fight, many say, is really with a state funding formula that directs too many funds to the charter schools – but the Hoboken board has focused for now on trying to reverse the school’s expansion.The town has three charter schools, one of which was founded by Tom Kluepfel, who nevertheless was among the school board supporters of the suit against HoLa.In response to HoLa parent advocacy, seven members of the council released statements urging the Board of Education not to continue the suit.“The division this lawsuit has caused in our community has thankfully come to a close. I am a strong supporter of our traditional public and charter schools equally,” said Councilman Peter Cunningham, as quoted in a HoLa press release. “I encourage both sides to demonstrate leadership and empathy to and among themselves, our children and their parents in an effort to heal our community so we can all move forward together.”“I’m glad this lawsuit is finally over,” said Councilman Ruben Ramos. “Litigation is never how we should be spending precious educational resources. I hope that the Board of Ed can now move on and focus on student achievement for all kids in Hoboken.”“It’s about time we end this senseless lawsuit and start worrying about educating our children as our top priority!,” said councilman Michael Russo. “I am calling for the superintendent of our schools, the school administrators throughout our district, the members of the BOE and the city of Hoboken as a whole to all move forward. Let’s focus on providing our teachers the tools to make our public school system, which include our charter schools, the best in the state.”“As one who disagreed with the divisive nature of this lawsuit from day one, I firmly believe that the resolution of the litigation presents a real opportunity for all of Hoboken’s families and residents,” said Councilman David Mello. “It offers an opening to work together to uplift our entire array of K-8 school options; whether traditional public, charter public, parochial or private. It also presents an opportunity to shape and support Hoboken High School so that it will become an even more attractive option for all Hoboken based eighth graders.”“What everyone involved wanted was good schools for all the children of Hoboken,” said Councilwoman Jen Giattino via Facebook. “This fight occurred because the state funding formula pits district schools and charter schools against each other. Now we must all move on. And if we must still fight, we should fight for a more equitable funding formula.”“With the appellate court ruling, our community can begin to heal the divide that this two and a half year lawsuit created in our community,” said Councilman Michael DeFusco. “A major asset of Hoboken is the wide range of school options that we offer families. I look forward to working with both the district and HoLa to ensure we are working together collaboratively and avoid costly, contentious situations like these in the future.”“Now is the time to focus our energy on making all of our schools even better, said Councilman Ravi Bhalla. “We should celebrate the parents and educators that work hard every day for our children. As a parent who has witnessed firsthand the excellence of both charter and traditional public schools, I appreciate the valuable contributions of all the schools in our community. While the issues raised in the lawsuit around school funding and demographics are important ones for us all to seriously consider, now that the Appellate Division has ruled on the merits, it’s time to move on. I look forward to working with all of our parents and educators in the years ahead.”Councilman Jim Doyle and Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher did not provide the school with a statement as of press time.Former Hudson Reporter building in Hoboken to get cycling gym and juice barThere’s some juicy news to report. A plan was approved by the Hoboken Zoning Board recently that will allow a gym and a juice store to come into the former Hudson Reporter building at 14th and Washington streets in Hoboken, Jersey Digs reported.The one-time bank building at the head of the city’s main thoroughfare will someday see a SoulCycle and a Juice Press. Both companies started in New York.The two-story Beau-Arts building originally held the Hoboken Trust Company. From 1999 until last year, it was occupied by the Hudson Reporter chain of eight newspapers and three magazines, but the building was sold and the Hudson Reporter moved to renovated quarters on Broadway in Bayonne in May of 2016.Hoboken mayoral candidate Ravi Bhalla unveils council slateHoboken mayoral candidate and Councilman Ravi Bhalla announced his slate of at-large council candidates on Wednesday July 12.“Councilman Jim Doyle, Emily Ball Jabbour and John Allen are joining Bhalla in his fight to keep Hoboken moving forward,” stated the press release. “Together, [they] combine proven experience with new ideas and energy. That’s the right combination to keep Hoboken moving forward.”Doyle was elected to the council in 2013. He serves as chair of the Masterplan/Zoning Ordinance Committee. He is an environmental attorney with more than 29 years of experience, working for both the US Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice.Jabbour is a senior social science research analyst for the Administration for Children and Families, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. According to the press release, she also founded the Hudson County Chapter for the national grassroots organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. In this capacity, Jabbour has worked with local law enforcement to distribute gun safety materials across Hudson County and provide 200 gun locks to the Hoboken Police Department for distribution. Jabbour has also served as the HOPES Liaison for the Brandt Parent Consortium for the 2016 to 2017 school year. Allen is an attorney at the law firm of Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP, where he specializes in the representation of governmental bodies, including boards of education and municipalities. He serves as a Hoboken Democratic Committeeman and is on the Board of Directors of Easter Seals New Jersey, a charitable organization dedicated to empowering individuals with disabilities.“Jim Doyle has been an outstanding and invaluable member of the City Council with an impressive record of accomplishment,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer in the press release. “Emily Jabbour and John Allen bring the skills, smarts and fresh approaches we need. They will be great additions to the council.”After the slate was announced, mayoral candidate and Councilman DeFusco released a statement saying “It was difficult to contain my shock at hearing that Ravi Bhalla, a politically connected insider lawyer at one of New Jersey’s most powerful law firms, made the stunning choice to select a fellow political establishment attorney in John P. Allen for his council slate. Who could have ever guessed that a lawyer like Ravi, whose law firm was paid over $3.8 million in government contracts in 2016, would decide to run with a lawyer whose firm was also paid over $3.8 million in government contacts? A truly inspired, outside-the-box pick.”State election finance reports confirmed the number.Rob Horowitz, spokesperson for Bhalla and his slate responded via email stating “Once again Mike DeFusco is showing his true colors putting his naked ambition ahead of principle. DeFusco neglected to mention that two days ago he solicited the support of John Allen and his fiancée Tara Mullins for his campaign, asking them to host a meet and greet, and even going so far as dangling the prospect of a board appointment. Class is welcoming opponents into the race, not hypocritically attacking them on day one.”DeFusco said he had not approached Allen for his slate.“Neither myself or anyone from my campaign ever approached John Allen about running for council on our ticket,” wrote DeFusco in an email, “John’s fiancee, who is a personal friend, had contacted me several months ago about John’s interest in serving on a volunteer board. I inquired about potentially hosting a meet and greet event for our campaign. However once I became aware that John was running on Councilman Bhalla’s ticket I wished her well and ended the conversation. It’s disappointing to see false rumors like this being spread.” DeFusco announces new slate-mate, answers questionsCouncilman and mayoral candidate Michael DeFusco announced via his website last week that Andrew Impostato, who has lived in Hoboken for 10 years, will join him on his ticket for councilman-at-large. He had already announced his first slate-mate, Michael Flett, last month.According to DeFusco’s website, Impostato resides in mid-town in Hoboken’s 3rd Ward with his wife Kristen and 1-year-old daughter Kiley.Impostato worked for six years on Wall Street as a commodities futures and options salesman before he decided to follow his passion and pursue a career coaching basketball.He has worked for the NBA coordinating community outreach and events, and coached varsity basketball at Hoboken High School and Pace University. He currently coaches at nationally-ranked Hudson Catholic High School.In 2013, Impastato founded Next Basket Wins, an adult basketball league with more than 300 players and 200 youth participants.DeFusco also answered some questions about his slate last week. Among them, some residents have voiced concerns because Flett voted for and donated money to the campaign of Donald Trump last year. Current Mayor Dawn Zimmer has fought aspects of Trump’s agenda that are harmful to area residents.DeFusco responded to questions by email.“Michael Flett has supported both Democrats, including Dawn Zimmer, and Republicans, who he believed would work to change the status quo and deliver better results on the issues he is most passionate about — like improving the economy and protecting our environment,” wrote DeFusco. “Anyone who knows Michael understands that he is a dedicated community leader and someone who is always working to give back to our city. As the first openly gay candidate for Mayor of Hoboken and a progressive Democrat, I know that just because Michael and I disagreed on a federal election that doesn’t change the fact that he would make an excellent council member and he is someone who I am excited to work closely with.”DeFusco did not respond to a question of whether Flett still supports Trump, by press time.Three at-large council seats are up for election in November along with the office of mayor.“I’m very excited to announce Andrew Impastato as the latest addition to our council slate,” said DeFusco on Twitter July 6.“Both Michael Flett and Andrew Impastato fit perfectly with our campaign’s mission of bringing new energy and new ideas to Hoboken,” DeFusco wrote. “They’re both deeply involved in our community and have shown the ability to create innovative solutions to challenging problems, from Michael Flett’s advocacy for renewable solar energy production to Andrew Impastato’s creation of a popular app that helps thousands of residents find parking.”In 2016 Impastato created The Parking Dude LLC, a Hoboken based company and app that helps inform and notify residents and visitors to Hoboken of parking regulations to avoid tickets and help them park and maintain their car while in Hoboken.DeFusco still has a third seat available on his ticket. Rumor was that seat may go to Councilman David Mello but DeFusco and Mello both denied this.“We expect to announce our third council candidate in the coming weeks and Councilman Mello is not among the people being considered,” said DeFusco. “I believe that this election is about Hoboken’s future and I want our campaign to reflect that by advancing new leaders who will bring the energy and ideas our city needs, not the status quo approach that members of the current administration represent.”Mello said last week that he plans to run for reelection but is still weighing his options.He referenced his work for the southwest park and the open space amenities as part of the development at Seventh and Jackson streets.Join a Healthcare Reform study that assesses job stress and organizational readinessJoin a unique PhD research study assessing the human impact of Healthcare Reform. 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The assessments only take minutes to complete.Register and participate to receive a free workbook and a raffle for one $500 gift certificate to an Apple store.To find out if you qualify answer yes or no to the screening questions.Go to:www.organizationalreadinessresearch.net to learn more and registerHobokenites win medals after racing for a causeTwo Hoboken runners took home medals for the 5K USATF Timed Race at the 10th Annual Komen North Jersey Race for the Cure at Liberty State Park.Lauren Bottitta, 28, finished in 21 minutes and 37 seconds to win First Place in the Women’s Division and Ben Dobson, 46, crossed the finish line with a time of 21:15.9, taking Third Place in the Men’s Division.More than 2,000 people came out to Liberty State Park in Jersey City to attend the May 21 fundraiser, which raised more than $600,000 for the fight against breast cancer—an increase of $100,000 over the previous year. Hob’art Gallery welcomes new exhibit“Piece by Piece,” is a new exhibition by three artists which will open at the hob’art Gallery at 720 Monroe St on July 21.The exhibit includes work from artists Lily Zane, France Garrido, and Steve Zane.Lily Zane creates eerie and evocative collages and mixed media works of stitched silk organza and paper. Steve Zane uses a camera to piece together and illuminate the qualities of light, shade, and volume. Garrido executes mosaics that are rich in color, intention, and design using ceramic tile, glass, stone, and picassiette.The opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Sunday July 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.For more information on the gallery, go to www.hob-art.org or email [email protected] Hoboken master tailor receives visit from county executiveHudson County Executive Tom DeGise stopped by Genuardi Master Tailor in Hoboken following the closing of a $20,000 working capital loan to the company under the Hudson County Economic Development Corporation’s Million Dollar Challenge program.Genuardi is a recent graduate of the Hudson County Entrepreneurship training program and winner of the Investors Bank/UCEDC quick pitch competition. His business is located on Observer Highway in Hoboken, and specializes in hand tailored, custom clothing.Genuardi has dressed two U.S. presidents and a number of CEO’s in his career as a bespoke suit maker and master tailor. The HCEDC Million Dollar Challenge is designed to help small businesses flourish in Hudson County.