Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Stories of 2014

What a year it has been in the City of Hackensack.  As we get ready to ring in a new year--hopefully filled with redevelopment and progress--let's take a minute to look back at the top ten stories of 2014 (as ranked by readership).

Number 10- Political Consultant Escapes Potential Criminal Prosecution

Thom Ammirato, the campaign manager for the sitting council, was rewarded with a $78,000 per year consulting contract after the election.  Hackensack Scoop uncovered that he also held a full-time position with the County of Bergen which posed not only a potential conflict of interest but peaked the interest of the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.  After an investigation, Ammirato resigned from his position with the County of Bergen in exchange for an agreement not to prosecute.

 

Number 9- City of Hackensack to Pay Resident's Attorney Fees After Improper Denial of OPRA Request

The City of Hackensack has a history when it comes to improperly denying OPRA requests.  Despite promises to reign in legal bills, Tom Scrivo and his firm have been (metaphorically) backing up their armored truck to the rear of City Hall.  This council also promised transparency, yet those bills have been the subject of a number of denied OPRA requests.  In an apparent attempt to scare off residents seeking those bills, the city attempted to institute a "special service charge" for reviewing and redacting those legal bills prior to releasing them to residents.  Jason Nunnermacker sued citing the requests violated the Open Public Records Act, won, and the city had to pay his legal fees.

 

Number 8- Judge Issues Order Ending Harassment, Intimidation, and Civil Rights Deprivations by Bergen County Police

In a hotly contested race for County Executive, the merger of the Bergen County Sheriff's Department and Bergen County Police Department was made the face of the election.  Due to politically charged comments that the Sheriff's Officers are not police officers and actions taken to withhold the acquisition of equipment by the Sheriff's Department by incumbent Kathleen Donovan, the two departments were pitted against each other.  When Sheriff's Officers wore shirts expressing their support of challenger James Tedesco, they were denied access to the county administration building by the County Security and County Police.

 

Number 7- Rottino Presumably Enrolls Buddy in City Health Insurance

Anthony Rottino, the sitting council slate's political fundraiser, was rewarded with a created position (complete with health insurance and a city car).  That position quickly translated into Interim City Manager.  As the Interim City Manager, one of Rottino's first actions was to award health insurance benefits to his long time friend and business partner-- Frank Catania, Jr. Catania holds the part time post of Municipal Prosecutor.

 

Number 6- Suspect Allegedly Disarms and Assaults Hackensack Police Captain

This summer, Captain Foley of the Hackensack Police Department was attempting to question an individual napping in his car.  A struggle ensued and the suspect disarmed Captain Foley.  A big shout out to Officers Ghirardi and Koenig for saving the day.

 

Number 5- Department of Public Works Requests an End to Threats of Retaliation

The Departments of Parks and Public Works have been complaining of Councilmen Battaglia and Sims overstepping their bounds, since they have been elected.  These oversteps escalated into alleged harassment, threats of firings, and threats of consolidation of their departments.

 

Number 4- Hackensack's Municipal Prosecutor Facing Complaint by New Jersey Supreme Court's Office of Attorney Ethics

The same politically connected Frank Catania, Jr. who was given health insurance as the Municipal Prosecutor is facing strict penalties (which can include disbarment) by the New Jersey Supreme Court's Office of Attorney Ethics.  The investigation stems from an allegedly improper loan being made to Catania by a client through the use of client funds held in Catania's trust account.  Catania allegedly improperly borrowed client funds to pay personal legal bills and business expenses.  Catania continues to remain the prosecutor despite the charges (and his reportedly expunged history of drug charges) not being disclosed to the City of Hackensack.

 

Number 3- Anti-Donovan Facebook Page Gains Traction as Donovan's Power Struggle Intensifies

In the hotly debated County Executive race, the wives of the maligned Bergen County Sheriff's Officers started a facebook page against the reelection of Kathleen Donovan.  The group quickly gained traction growing to nearly 10,000 members.

 

Number 2- Donovan's Army Continues to Attempt to Violate Citizens' Civil Rights

When Sheriff's Officers wore shirts expressing their support of challenger James Tedesco, they were denied access to the county administration building by the County Security and County Police (see number 8).  Bill Brennan, community activist, said not on my watch and challenged the Bergen County Police Department.



 

Number 1- Police Officer Leaves Complaint Against "Commissioner" Sims

Another story first broke by Hackensack Scoop, this one received attention up to an including nationally syndicated radio shows.  Councilman Sims, an African American, allegedly told a police officer that he was the "Head Nigga," which the African American officer found offensive and out of line.


HONORABLE MENTION OF 2014


Officer Moise Flanagan attempts to jump on the law suit bandwagon citing retaliation.

Interim City Manager Anthony Rottino, run out of town by vocal residents, says he was harassed and intimidated by anti-Rottino stickers.  He says they caused him and his family to fear for their safety.

City Clerk Debra Heck was forced to resign by the sitting council.  She files suit claiming that she was retaliated against for her romantic relationship with political foe, Rick Salkin. 

Hackensack Scoop challenges Hackensack leaders to take part on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  They gratuitously accept and so goes the City of Hackensack's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. 

Don't listen to Crazy Councilwoman Greenman and her minions, the police got a fair contract in which they gave back more than they received!

Shout out to DPW workers who come to the aid of a woman and her baby in a motor vehicle accident which caused their vehicle to be overturned.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Hackensack Rotary Hosts Annual Holiday Luncheon for the Hungry

For over twenty years, Michele Hart-Loughin, Susin Christador, and John McCarthy have been feeding the hungry a holiday feast during the week between Christmas and New Years.

With the assistance of local charitable organizations, the holiday luncheon has continued to grow. Yesterday, more than 250 people in need were provided with a hot meal, a hat and scarf, and a to-go container with a second helping.

Hosting this annual event is no small feat.  Many volunteers and organizations contribute to its success.  Judy Banes of the On Our Own self help center (179 Main Street) spreads the word to those in need.  The Christ Church donates the use of their hall and kitchen.  The Hackensack Rotary sponsors the event through the donation of the turkeys and vegetables.  The Hackensack Golf Club donates hams.  Michele, Susin, and John prepare the meals and coordinate the event with the assistance of the Hackensack Rotarians and their families.






























Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. There are 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.

Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to call 201-490-6285 or email: membership@hackensackrotary.org.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

HHS Choir Performs for Local Rotary Club

The Hackensack Rotary Club was joined by the Maywood Rotary Club at their holiday luncheon on December 18th at Rudy’s Restaurant on Anderson Street Hackensack. In keeping with tradition, a special Thank You to the Hackensack High School Choir, who stopped by to perform a variety of holiday medleys and helped get everyone in the holiday spirit. Listening to these wonderfully talented students has become an annual tradition and is truly enjoyed by everyone.


Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. There are 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.

Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to call 201-490-6285 or email: membership@hackensackrotary.org .

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

SCOOP SHOUT OUT: Hackensack Police Officers DeLeon, Meneses, and Jacobsen Receive Commendations

Tonight, the residents of Hackensack are reminded what a wonderful Police Department we have. Officers Allan Deleon, Edmund Meneses, and Matthew Jacobsen received commendations for their heroism and courageous actions.  

On November 5th, Officers DeLeon and Meneses responded to a report of a man breaking into cars on the Esplanade near Heath Place.  When arriving on scene, the officers were faced with a 6 foot 5 inch and 250 pound man wielding a knife.  It was later learned that the suspect was attempting to commit "suicide by cop."  Officer DeLeon distracted the man and deployed OC spray while Officer Meneses subdued and handcuffed the man.  The officers received commendations for their courageous acts and quick thinking which allowed them to avoid the use of lethal force.  

Officer Jacobsen was recognized for his heroism in coming to the aid of an unconscious victim.  Jacobsen saved the victim's life by performing CPR until the arrival of EMS.  

Congratulations to Officers Deleon, Meneses, and Jacobsen! 





Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hackensack Rotary Holds Annual Food Drive

Center for Food Action (CFA) has a goal of delivering 11,200 Thanksgiving meals.  Today, the Hackensack Rotary was proud to help CFA get closer to that goal.

The Hackensack Rotary held their annual Thanksgiving food drive from October 15th through November 12th.  Today, a trailer load of food was delivered to CFA's Englewood facility.


For a list of CFA locations and their hours, please click here.  If you have not participated in a local food drive, please consider making a donation at one of CFA's locations.



Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

There are 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.

Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to contact Rich Gelber @ rich@gelber.net.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

SCOOP SHOUT OUT: Hackensack Rotary holds annual dictionary distribution

Every year, the Hackensack Rotary distributes dictionaries to every third grader in the City of Hackensack.  This week, the Hackensack Rotary held their annual dictionary distribution to promote literacy.  Below, please find a few pictures of this wonderful project.





























Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

There are 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.

Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to contact Rich Gelber @ email: rich@gelber.net.