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School Board Elections to Move to November, Redevelopment 5 Hearings Continue

The week in review: a weekly roundup of local news on Fort Lee Patch.

The local school district joined hundreds of other districts in New Jersey Monday, when the Fort Lee Board of Education narrowly approved a resolution  that will move school board elections from April to November and remove the need to vote on the school budget provided it’s kept within the state-mandated cap.

Under the guidelines of the state's new school election law released in January, districts were given the option of moving school board elections to coincide with the general election in November and eliminating the need to hold budget votes if they keep theirs within the state’s two percent cap on property tax increases.

Fort Lee school board members largely expressed indecision on the issue at the previous week’s public hearing, and members of the public seemed equally split in their opinions about potentially making the move.

The vote at Monday’s special public work session was as close as it could possibly have been—5 to 4—with board president Arthur Levine, board members Charlie Luppino, Angela Napolitano and Peter Suh and board vice president Linda McCue voting in favor of the resolution, and board members John Bang, Yusang Park, Joseph Surace and Helen Yoon opposing it. (Full Story)

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The Fort Lee Planning board held the second in a series of special meetings Monday on Fort Lee Redevelopment Associates (FLRA)'s plans for the East Parcel of Redevelopment Area 5. The meeting provided some additional details of the proposed $500 million project, but little in the way of groundbreaking revelations, with questions about such things as traffic, parking and the impact an influx of new residents will have on local schools as yet to be fully addressed.

The planning board still has two public meetings remaining—one on Monday, Feb. 27, and another on Monday, March 5—both at 7:30 p.m. at the Fort Lee Community Center.

(See full coverage of Monday's meeting on NorthJersey.com)

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A five-month investigation resulted in the arrest of two men for allegedly distributing prescription medication and practicing medicine without a license at a Fort Lee medical clinic, police said this week.

Dr. Kamil Mustafa, 90, of Tuckahoe, NY, and Joseph Gianetti, 55, of Norwood, were arrested Thursday, Feb. 9, at Bridgeview Medical Center on Main Street in Fort Lee, both charged with conspiracy to distribute a schedule II narcotic, distribution of a schedule II narcotic and practicing medicine without a license, police said. (Full Story)

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Wednesday marked the 130th birthday of the legendary actor and former Fort Lee resident, John Barrymore. Members of the Fort Lee Film Commission, along with the Fort Lee Coalition for the Arts and the Fort Lee Historical Society, marked the occasion with the now annual John Barrymore birthday fundraiser, with proceeds going toward the Fort Lee High School spring production of the musical, "Mack & Mabel" to be performed in May. (Full Story)

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When the World Triathlon Corporation and New York City Triathlon sponsor the 2012 Ironman U.S. Championship on Aug. 11, it will be the first-ever Ironman competition to take place in the New York City/New Jersey metropolitan area, and the Borough of Fort Lee is taking on a central role, with thousands of athletes, spectators and media expected to descend upon the borough.

One athlete who won’t have far to go is Fort Lee resident Paul Mandala, 23, a product of the Fort Lee public school system—he attended Fort Lee School No. 4, Lewis F. Cole Middle School and graduated from Fort Lee High School—who will be among the competitors from all over the world participating. In Mandala’s first time competing in an Ironman competition, he will be doing so in support of a worthy cause—“putting an end to prostate cancer,” he says. (Full Story)

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Students at Fort Lee School No. 2 wanted to raise $500 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society after a recent visit to the school by representatives from the organization. But they ended up doing a lot better than that, raising more than $2,800 over about a two-week period through the “Pennies for Patients” fundraiser. (Full Story)

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And students and parents from Fort Lee, Leonia and Edgewater were treated to a complimentary screening of the Warner Bros. film Journey 2: The Mysterious Island on Feb. 9, thanks to Jacquelyn Aluotto, the founder of Break the Cycle, a non-profit organization based in Edgewater that brings awareness to battered women and children across the state. (Full Story)

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The week in review appears every Sunday on Fort Lee Patch.

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