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1064348_1383212983(web) FINAL County Seat - November 2013 -24 pg

1064348_1383212983(web) FINAL County Seat - November 2013 -24 pg

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R S R S D U. S . O S - G
AI    D
HI   9 RMI  N O. 6  9  8 
Continued on Page 7
New Gym Takes MetLife Field
Photo Courtesy: Michael Cohen
Special push-ups were part of the Functional Movement Systems exercises on the MetLife Field in East Rutherford.
A dynamic partnership  between a hospital, a gym and the New York Giants was introduced to the pub-lic during a spectacular health and wellness fair at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Oct. 19. The new HackensackUMC Fitness & Wellness Powered  by the Giants, a state-of-the-
art tness and medical cen
-ter, is scheduled to open on Jan. 1, 2014 at 87 Route 17  North in Maywood, the for-mer home of Velocity 17.
Karen Lewis, the Middle-sex County educator who was recently selected as the Hack-ensack public school district’s new superintendent, attended the Oct. 8 school board meet-ing where she met leaders from the sending districts of South Hackensack, Rochelle Park and Maywood. Lewis, currently the assis-tant superintendent at High-land Park, was selected for Hackensack’s top post back in September and is expected to take over next month. She said she attended the joint school  boards meeting at Hackensack High School to show her sup- port for her new students. “I think education has many challenges with the mandates from the state, so I think with the world changing we have to keep the educational pro-gram focused on what the world needs,” Lewis said. Lewis will replace Interim Superintendent Joseph Abate, who has overseen plenty of  positive changes during his two-year tenure. These in-clude the stepping up of secu-rity measures at all schools.In what has become a tradi-tion at joint meetings among the districts, Hackensack showcased an innovative pro-gram that has not only piqued the interest of students, but has given them the tools to a better future. The Career Technical Education program includes courses in Web de-sign, power/auto mechanics, carpentry, computer-aided de-sign and welding. “We have to get our stu-dents to understand that they are not just competing with kids from other towns and states. They are competing in a global marketplace. There-fore, CTE courses are im- perative,Hackensack High School Principal James Mon-tesano told the audience. CTE’s goal is to arm stu-dents with professional skills so they can make an easier transition to the workplace and a successful career. With high unemployment rates across the United States, the key to resolving the nation’s woes is to hire employees with industrial skills to suc-ceed in certain businesses, Montesano said. In the past, Hackensack High School offered courses such as workshop and me-chanics as electives for se-niors. These courses are now a major part of the curriculum all four years. For example, freshmen take a daily period of a career program such as metal work/welding. By sophomore year, the students are taking two periods of ca-reer courses.At the joint meeting, stu-dents representing each of the CTE programs spoke to the audience about their proj-ects. These included building a barn that was actually pur-chased to working on cars and designing the school’s Web sites, which are student-run.“I think they have repre-sented themselves very well,” Abate said. “The purpose of these meetings is to show-case what Hackensack High School offers for students. I know that before I came, we highlighted the AP courses,
and last year, the ne arts, and
this year, the CTE program. It’s a comprehensive high school with a huge curriculum and something for everyone.Lewis was impressed with the presentation.“I’m excited to see that Hackensack High School has invested in a quality pro-gram because so many high schools have abandoned them and Hackensack continues it, which is an asset to the dis-trict.” The Hackensack City Council is exploring the idea
of closing its welfare ofce
and transferring the current cases to the county level. The shift would result in the loss of four jobs and potentially save Hackensack approxi-mately $400,000 in salaries,
 benets and related expenses.
However, Agatha Toomey, director of the city’s Human Services Department, said what the city stands to lose is worth much more than that. “You can’t make all of the social services we handle disappear from Hackensack, entirely,” said Toomey, who has spent 38 years in the de- partment and has been serv-ing as director since 1985. “We are on call 24/7, acces-sible via phone, e-mail or of-
ce walk-ins. We have been
essential in assisting the elderly and with providing relocation and food pantry services.”Toomey also addressed the amount of cases Hackensack is given because it is home to the Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center. “Many of our clients come from other towns, but end up at the BCHHHS. Typi-cally, they want to remain in Hackensack, and we have the housing for them, so they be-come part of our caseload,” she said. “If services are taken out of the city, this will
have a denite impact on our
 police, building and health departments.”Although she may be un-employed soon, Toomey said she was planning on retiring shortly any way. What both-ers her most, however, is the way the matter is being handled. Neither she, nor the Local Assistance Board, was  part of the information gath-ering that went into the de-cision to transfer services to the county. Toomey said she
rst ofcially heard about the
city council’s decision to look into closing the city’s welfare when it was discussed at the council meeting on Sept. 30.
City ofcials had already
met with the Bergen County Board of Social Services in Rochelle Park about the pos-sibly of transferring the city’s general assistance cases.“Why were the statistics of the Human Services Depart-ment acquired through other sources and not through me, at least to verify their valid-ity and correctness?” Toomey asked in a report she provided the council at its Oct. 8 meet-ing. “The fact that the discus-sions between the city and the county were held in secrecy, informally and behind closed doors, is indicative that this decision would not be made in the best interest of the city and its residents.”In September 2013, there were 90 open cases; 39 new applications accepted; six approvals; 16 denials; and 17 pending cases in Hacken-sack.Alex Morales, interim management consultant for the BCBSS, said that the Hackensack cases would not
have a signicant impact on
the workload already being handled at the county level. He explained that if the services were transferred to the county, clients would no longer have to go from place to place for what they need. Most of Hackensack’s clients already go to the Rochelle
Park ofce for assistance
with food stamps and Medic-aid. This service would be at no cost to Hackensack.“It would enable families to go to one place for all of their services,” he said. According to Hackensack City Manager Stephen Lo
Iacono, there is no ofcial
date for shutting down the
Human Services ofce, but
council has asked him to be-gin the process of exploring the civil service procedures required for closing the of-
“We shouldn’t lose all control of these services. It doesn’t do our residents jus-tice,” Toomey said. “Did they even explore sharing these services with a neighboring town instead of handing them over to the county, which is already overburdened? I don’t see how our clients would get equal or better ser-vice from there.”Dawn Chaplain, senior welfare investigator in the Hackensack Human Service Department, said her clients
 benet from the personal at
-tention the Department of-fers and in having one group handle their cases from start
to nish.
“At the county level, you
can have ve different peo
- ple working on one case, handling different aspects and certain details may fall through the cracks,” Toomey added. Hackensack is one of the 12 municipalities in Bergen County with its own local
welfare ofce. The others
are Edgewater, Fairview, Fort Lee, Hillsdale, Mont-
vale, Park Ridge, Ridgeeld
Park, Rutherford, Westwood, Woodcliff and Wood-Ridge.In addition to Toomey and Chaplain, the other two posi-tions on the chopping block are a secretary and a welfare investigator.
Gail Marie Zisa
Lauren Zisa
Art Director
Donald Hatcher 
Deputy Editor
Melody Travisano
Sales Managers
Karen BurkeAvis LoVecchio
Joy BelgiovineJason CohenMichael CohenPaul HummelGloria JohnsonKathleen KaneLaura Knipping Patti McNamaraGail VachonJuliann Weston
The County Seat 
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We welcome the submission of manuscripts,  photographs, art and poetry for editorial consideration. Photographs will not be returned unless arrangements are made. All submissions must have your name, address, and telephone number on it or it will not be considered. All material supplied shall  become the property of
The County Seat. The County Seat 
, L.L.C. assumes no nancial responsibility
for typographical errors in advertisements if it is our error. Advertisers must notify the editor within seven days of publication of any error.
77 Hudson StreetHackensack, NJ 07601www.cntyseat.com
Tel: 201-488-5795 • Fax: 201-343-8720
Volume 10 Issue 3
Serving Hackensack, South Hackensack, Maywood, Rochelle Park, Paramus, Teaneck, Teterboro and Little Ferry
The County Seat 
 is now on Facebook. We regularly post updates on local news, features and events. Please visit our page and help us get going by liking, posting, getting involved and joining in the local con-versation. Check out www.facebook.com and search for
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County Seat 
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Community Calendar ............15Dining Out...............................6Games ................................. 18Health .....................................7Main Street .............................8Meet Maywood......................10Obits .....................................19Real Estate ...........................23Home Improvement...............21Police Briefs...........................18Town News..............................2
To advertise call
The County Seat 
(201) 488-5795
Hackensack Schools Update
Welfare Ofce May Shut
Before a large audience gathered at the Oct. 22 Hackensack City Coun-cil meeting, school board members, parents and stu-dents complained about the absence of a school
resource ofcer at Hack 
-ensack High School. The group demanded a speedy resolution as the school has been without an of-
cer since the beginning
of the school term in Sep-tember.The lack of a resource
ofcer is the result of a
disagreement between the council and the Hacken-sack Board of Education over whose responsibility
it is to pay the ofcer’s salary and benets.
The city contends that the board has failed to  pay the $1 million owed in back salary and bene-fits since 2006. However, the board maintains that city officials had never sent the school district an invoice or any type of bill for the past seven years.Tensions ran high as some residents suspected that the large contingent of students at the meet-
ing was the result of y
-ers distributed at the high school suggesting that the school was unsafe. In the words of resident Steven Gilroy, the students were  being used as “political  props.”Two Hackensack High School students, Ryan Cloughley and Alexandria Kowal, urged both parties to resolve the situation as soon as possible. While each one spoke, the other held up a poster which read, “Our safety isn’t about dollars and cents, it’s common sense.”Kowal put to rest the notion that she was some-how politically motivated.“I’m here by my own free will about the respon-sibility for the issues go-ing on guarding the school and the safety of my peers. Safety, rather than money, should be your top prior-ity.”The board has offered to pay 66 percent of the future bills, arguing that other school districts do not contribute at all for
a resource ofcer. Both
sides plan to meet in the near future to try to re-solve the situation but the stumbling block may be the $1 million the council says the board owes the city.“Everybody’s in favor of a SRO. The question is, who pays for it?” said Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse. “Millions of dollars for an SRO were never invoiced. It’s to-tally irresponsible,” citing neglect on the part of the  previous administration.There was a little give and take between Labrosse and school board Trustee Frank Albolino, who asked why the school can’t have an SRO imme-diately. Labrosse said that
a resource ofcer needs to
 be trained and he wasn’t
sure if there were any of
-cers currently available on the force who are trained. Albolino said that Detec-tive Luis Furcal was the
resource ofcer last year
at the high school and was still on the force.Police Director Michael Mordaga tried to allay some fears by reminding the public that while the school has not had an of-
cer inside the building,
outside police patrols have been beefed up since September.
“Since the rst day of
school, there has been
a police ofcer at the
school,” he said. “Our of-
cers are equipped to step
in from the outside in the event they are needed.”The irony of the situ-ation is that the Hacken-
sack district was the rst
in New Jersey to have an SRO in 1982 and retired Detective Kenneth Mar-tin, the longtime SRO, was nationally recog-nized.Martin attended the council meeting to urge  both sides to be reason-able and come to a swift resolution of the problem.“I’m asking for the SRO to be put back in the school,” he said. “The in-side of the school is more important than the out-side.”
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Hackensack Merchants Socialize Over Breakfast
Photos Courtesy: Gail Vachon
Hackensack Chamber President Anthony Ursillo with guest speaker Dave Farrow; Farrow with Wendy Richmond and Ursillo with outgoing president Donald Perlman.
The Hackensack Region-al Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Member-ship Breakfast on Oct. 16 at Maggiano’s Little Italy at the Shops at Riverside. “The General Member-ship Breakfast is held in order to provide informa-tion to businesses and cre-ates an atmosphere where  business leaders can make new contacts,” said Dar-lene Damstrom, executive director.The morning included the installation of the or-
ganization’s ofcers by
Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse. This year’s in-coming president is Antho-ny Ursillo of Ursillo Real-ty. Joining him on the board are First Vice President Diane Some (represented at the breakfast by her son, Jason); Second Vice Presi-dent Paul Ragusa; Record-ing Secretary Meryl Sur-gan; and Treasurer Larry Eisen. Damstrom will con-tinue leading the club for another year. The outgoing  president, Donald Perlman, was presented a plaque in appreciation of his service to the organization. Guests heard presenta-tions by guest speakers in-cluding Wendy Richmond, a chamber member and chairwoman of the Mar-keting Committee, who spoke about memory and later quizzed the audience on what she had just said. Dave Farrow, who holds a Guinness World Record for memory, discussed recent changes in the advertising
and marketing elds. He
spoke about social media and Web sites as well as traditional marketing tech-niques. The breakfast was co-sponsored by Hilton Has- brouck Heights and Mag-giano’s.
High School Students Demand
Resource Ofcer
To advertise call
The County Seat 
(201) 488-5795

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