Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hackensack Rotary feeds more than 200 hungry in annual holiday luncheon

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, this event has continued to grow.  Today, more than 200 were provided with a hot meal.

Michele Hart-Loughin, Michael Loughlin, Susin Christador, and John McCarthy
Thanks to the annual event, many members of the community, who would otherwise go without, are given a hot meal.  Hats, scarves, and warm clothing are also distributed to those in need.  Many attendees stay for the entire two hour sitting to listen to the band, stay out of the cold, and simply to enjoy the company of others. To-go containers are also packaged for attendees.

For the past several years, the Hackensack Rotary has been the lead sponsor of this annual luncheon which is held at the Christ Church on State Street.  Organizing this annual event, however, is no small feat:
  • Judy Banes of the On Our Own Self Help Center (179 Main Street) spreads the word to those in need.  
  • Lou Knaub, a Teaneck Rotarian and Churchwarden for the Christ Church, arranges for the use of the church hall.  
  • Meals are provided by the Hackensack Rotary. 
  • The Hackensack Golf Club assisted with the donation of hams.  
  • Members of the Hackensack Rotary, their families, and many local volunteers serve meals.
  • More than a dozen local volunteers assemble, instruments in hand, to provide entertainment.  
  • Michele, Susin, and John prepare and coordinate the service of each meal.












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 Sharon Bregman @ sharonbregman@hotmail.com.

Friday, December 20, 2013

HFD supports YCS children with toy drive

VIA HFD:

On Tuesday, December 17, 2013, members of the Hackensack Fire Department IAFF locals 2081 & 3172 purchased gifts for 75 children, ranging in age from 3 months to 17 years.  They are all part of the Youth Consultation Services (YCS) of Bergen County which is located in Hackensack.  Most, if not all, of these children do not have parents and are all residents of a youth group home.

Members of the department wanted the children to be in the holiday spirit and were glad to assist (YCS) with this toy drive. "Without our drive, many of these kids would not have received presents for Christmas," said Roberto Burgos of IAFF local 2081, he went on that "the look on the kids faces when they received their gifts was priceless."

Photo credit: HFD Facebook page
YCS, a 501(C)3 organization, was founded in 1918 to help the women and children left alone and/or abandoned by the aftermath of World War I. Programs and services grew from this beginning and today YCS maintains programs throughout the state for children with special needs, from birth to 25 years of age. Programs include: educational, psycho-therapeutic and psychiatric services in home and in our residential facilities, crisis intervention, foster care and treatment home placements, as well as our newest in home and residential programs for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. If you, your company, or organization would like to make a donation to or get involved with the YCS Foundation you can contact Kathy Mongon at KMongon@ycs.org.

Monday, December 9, 2013

City Council executes shared services agreement, but did they understand it?

At the October 22, 2013 meeting of the City Council residents came by the dozens to plead with the Council regarding the placement of a Student Resource Officer at the high school, see Misguided residents fire at City Council.

The room was divided.  Many wanted to put the nearly $1,000,000 the Board of Education knowingly did not reimburse the City behind them and move forward.  Others wanted the Council to demand payment.  I for one gave this new Council their first thumbs up as they identified the problem and indicated that they were going to pursue reimbursement.  Unfortunately, I must withdraw my metaphorical tip of the hat (as seen in the video below from that meeting).


On November 25, 2013 the City Council voted to approve a shared services agreement agreeing to terms and conditions for the 2013-2014 school year and they reinstated a Student Resource Office in the Hackensack High School.

I addressed the Council in an effort to ensure they had not laid down on the nearly $1,000,000 in payments that the Board of Education knowingly did not pay to (or bring to the attention of) the City.  Mayor LaBrosse and City Manager LoIacono emphatically answered "no" when asked if the shared service agreement addressed the payments that were not made up to the 2013-2014 school year.


The agreement fully releases the BOE of any arrears billings

Mayor LaBrosse signed this agreement


My question was clear, as were the Mayor and City Manager's answers of "NO."  Given the answer received, and the lack of correction from the rest of the Council, I can only assume that the City Manager, Mayor, and Council did not understand the agreement as written.  What is even scarier is that the City Attorney did not step in and correct the Mayor or City Manager.

As before this meeting the City Council had already began to back pedal from their early position demanding payment, I had researched the remedies available to the residents and tax payers.  Under NJSA 2A:15-18 a resident has the right to bring an action on behalf of a municipality in the event the governing body fails to do so.  The City Council has not only (apparently unknowingly) walked away from a potential $1,000,000 reimbursement from the Board of Education but closed the door for any tax payer wishing to explore the potential of taking action.

Were they advised?  Did they understand?  There are too many big question marks left open for a group that is managing OUR $92 million budget.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Elks Host Annual Hoop Shoot

This Saturday, the Elks hosted their annual Hoop Shoot.  The Hoop Shoot, a free throw competition for children from ages 8-13, is one of the Elks' many programs designed for youth.  Students compete by age group and gender in a 25 basket free throw contest.  The boy and girl winners of each age group go on to district, state and national competition.

The Hoop Shoot National Finals are held annually in Springfield, Massachusetts, home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  Finalists compete on the campus of Western New England University.  In the end, one boy and one girl from each age group will win a national title and have their names permanently inscribed at the Basketball Hall of Fame.









The Elks is a national service organization with a 140+ year history and nearly one million members in 2,000 lodges around the country. Local lodges invests in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, by undertaking projects that address unmet needs, and by honoring the service and sacrifice of our veterans. The Order of Elks spends more than $80,000,000 per year in charitable programs. If you are interested in becoming an Elk you can contact the Hackensack Lodge at 201-487-0658.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hackensack Elks and Rotary team up to feed veteran families

"So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them."  This is the Elks National Veterans Service pledge, and it is something that has always stuck with Leonard Agrusti, an Elk and current Governor of Rotary District 7490 (Bergen, Hudson, and Passaic Counties).

Elks give generously of their time, energy, and resources to assist in veteran causes.  In each of the 172 VA Medical Centers nationwide, there is an Elks Committee at work.  Elks also run the Army of Hope which offers assistance to families of active duty servicemen, the adopt-a-veteran program, the veterans leather program, among others.  Click here to learn more about the Elks commitment to our veterans.

The Rotary Clubs of District 7490 have joined together to open the Rotary Military Family Assistance Center (Rotary MFAC), a regional food pantry to support the families of active duty reservists and military members, veterans with a medical discharge and the families of military personnel that lost their lives during active service.

In Governor Lenny's year serving, one of his major initiatives has been the opening of a veteran family food pantry in each county within the District.  With office space just secured in Paterson, and shelving units assembled, the Passaic County food pantry is nearly ready to be opened.  Hearing this news, the Hackensack Elks and Rotary teamed up to ensure that the shelves were stocked for families in need.  Both clubs donated the funds necessary to deliver a trailer full of food and stock the food pantry shelves.  Thanks to their efforts, food baskets will be delivered to many area veteran families in time for the holidays.

Anyone interested in donating to the veteran family food pantry can contact your local Rotary Club or  Steve Jarahian at svjarahian@aol.com for more information.



These recently assembled shelves are now filled for Veteran families

The Elks is a national service organization with a 140+ year history and nearly one million members in 2,000 lodges around the country. Local lodges invests in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, by undertaking projects that address unmet needs, and by honoring the service and sacrifice of our veterans. The Order of Elks spends more than $80,000,000 per year in charitable programs. If you are interested in becoming an Elk you can contact the Hackensack Lodge at 201-487-0658.

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 Club President Sharon Bregman: sharonbregman@hotmail.com.

PBA holding annual toy drive

The Hackensack PBA Local #9 is hosting their annual toy drive.  New, unwrapped, toys for children can be donated at headquarters (225 State Street).  Toys collected will benefit the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, New Hope, Shelter our Sisters, Tomorrow's Children, and the Wounded Warrior Project.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Elks play Secret Santa to the children of YCS

This year, the Hackensack Elks have played Secret Santa to many children of the Holley Child Care and Development Center in Hackensack.  The Holley Center is a long-term intensive residence of Youth Consultation Services (YCS) for 45 children between ages 6 and 13.  The Elks filled the Christmas lists of ten children and donated an additional fifteen gift certificates to Target for the children.

Popular gift requests included Skull Candy headphones, Bath and Body Works gift sets, Nike Snap Back hats, books, Nike Elite athletic socks, and drawing supplies.


Members Barbara Weronko and Steve Gelber wrap presents

YCS, a 501(C)3 organization, was founded in 1918 to help the women and children left alone and/or abandoned by the aftermath of World War I. Programs and services grew from this beginning and today YCS maintains programs throughout the state for children with special needs, from birth to 25 years of age. Programs include: educational, psycho-therapeutic and psychiatric services in home and in our residential facilities, crisis intervention, foster care and treatment home placements, as well as our newest in home and residential programs for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. If you, your company, or organization would like to make a donation to or get involved with the YCS Foundation you can contact Kathy Mongon at KMongon@ycs.org.

The Elks is a national service organization with a 140+ year history and nearly one million members in 2,000 lodges around the country. Local lodges invests in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, by undertaking projects that address unmet needs, and by honoring the service and sacrifice of our veterans. The Order of Elks spends more than $80,000,000 per year in charitable programs. If you are interested in becoming an Elk you can contact the Hackensack Lodge at 201-487-0658.