Evacuation, Graffiti at High School, Alleged Assault On Jitney Driver Top Local News
The Week in Review: a weekly roundup of some of the top local stories on Fort Lee Patch
A “suspicious odor” that turned out to be fumes from the auto shop forced evacuation of about 1,000 students from Fort Lee High School Thursday morning, while on the same day, a student arrived at the school to find graffiti—described by Acting Superintendent Steven Engravalle as a “religiously biased symbol”—on his locker. (Full Story)
Two New York City men were arrested in Fort Lee late Sunday night, after they allegedly assaulted a jitney bus driver—punching him in the eye—in an apparent dispute over bus fare, and then ran away from an eastbound Bridge Plaza bus stop near the George Washington Bridge, police said. (Full Story)
The Fort Lee Planning Board held a special meeting and public hearing Wednesday on a preliminary investigation to determine whether five parcels of land qualify as an “Area in Need of Improvement” in accordance with the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, thereby expanding roughly 16-acre Redevelopment Area 5 by about two-thirds of an acre. (Full Story)
A co-owner of Cosmos Boutique at 179 Main St., one of the parcels and the only privately owned property within the study area, told The Record this week that the partners may be willing to sell, thereby avoiding any need on the borough's part to seize the land using eminent domain.
Fort Lee’s annual holiday tree lighting ceremony will take place Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Jack Alter Fort Lee Community Center. This year’s holiday celebration promises to be a true community event and one to rival last year’s, when attendance was estimated at more than 400 people who braved frigid temperatures and turned out for hot chocolate and other treats, music, “snow,” a visit from Santa and, of course, the lighting of Fort Lee’s holiday tree.
The brainchild of Fort Lee attorney Marc Macri, who plans the annual event with a small group that also includes Mike Maresca of the Fort Lee DPW, Cheryl Weston of the community center, Borough Administrator Peggy Thomas and borough technician Sam Ghali, the outdoor tree lighting ceremony is now in its third year. (Full Story)
The Fort Lee Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) Local #245 is once again asking for the public’s assistance as the organization begins its annual “Holiday Season Toy Drive.”
Each year, the PBA collects toys donated by residents and distributes them—dressed as Santa Clause and other characters like Winnie the Pooh, Elmo or Mickey Mouse—to children in pediatric units at area hospitals and to local children in need of a little holiday cheer through the Fort Lee Department of Human Services.
Starting Dec. 5, the PBA will be picking up toys each day from the lobbies of some of Fort Lee’s high-rise buildings, including the Mediterranean Towers (North, South and West), Northbridge, the Colony and all six Horizon House buildings. (Full Story)
The Fort Lee School District’s loss will soon become another Bergen County school district’s gain, when Fort Lee Director of School Counseling Services Jamie E. Ciofalo takes his talents to Lodi.
On the surface it would seem like a puzzling move on Ciofalo’s part, given some of the exciting changes going on with Fort Lee’s guidance programs and initiatives he played a big role in developing just coming to fruition—initiatives like restructuring guidance counselor assignments to maximize student/counselor contact time; developing a new, comprehensive Postsecondary Planning Guide and a new Postsecondary Planning Curriculum for grades six through 12.
But for Ciofalo, who wraps up slightly more than two years with the district on Dec. 9 and starts in Lodi on Dec. 12, the move is more of a homecoming than anything else. (Full Story)
Students at Fort Lee School No. 1 collected about 700 non-perishable food items during the month of November and donated them this week to an Englewood food pantry for Bergen County families in need. (Full Story)
Fort Lee High School's peer mediators, the Peer Outreach Service Team (POST), recently went into every English class to conduct workshops on respect.
“They had discussions with the students; they had the students make a body outline where they filled out all the things that promote respect and all of the barriers to respect—all of the obstacles that we have to respect,” said school psychologist and POST sponsor Reina Sandouk.
The POST kids also had their peers write journal entries and write on or decorate individual squares of paper to convey their idea of respect.
The result is a giant collage now on display in the high school’s hallway that spells out “Fort Lee High School Cares.” (Full Story)
The Fort Lee Board of Education began lobbying efforts in earnest this week, or what it’s calling "community engagement," for a roughly $30.2 million school bond referendum—the fate of which Fort Lee voters will determine on Jan. 24—by offering the first of five walking tours of the schools Wednesday with three community forums to follow. (Full Story)
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said this week that it won't be using toll money to pay for non-transportation projections, including the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, according to NorthJersey.com. (Full Story)
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) called on the Port Authority to explain the apparent about-face, as AAA and others joined her in criticizing the agency, NJ.com reported. (Full Story)
The Fort Lee Suburbanite reported that Fort Lee is in the process of constructing a dog part at the end of Central Road near the Palisades Interstate Parkway. (Full Story)
And the Associated Press reported that a Cliffside Park truck driver was charged for allegedly hiding his license plate to evade a toll at the George Washington Bridge, becoming just the latest driver to be caught using "trickery" in attempting to avoid paying. (Full Story)
The week in review appears every Sunday on Fort Lee Patch.