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Year in Review, July Through December 2012 in Fort Lee

A look back at the first half of the year that was in local news: Fort Lee 2012.

On Thursday, Patch reviewed the first half of 2012. Today we continue with the rest of the year.

July

Man Dies in Crash After Alleged Rape Attempt

A man who tried to sexually assault a woman in Fort Lee died in a fiery wreck after he fled on the Palisades Interstate Parkway and crashed into a tree, authorities said.

Woman is 36th Pedestrian Struck in Fort Lee

A Palisades Park woman who suffered minor injuries after getting hit by a car at Anderson Avenue and Main Street became the 36th pedestrian struck by a vehicle in Fort Lee this year alone, police said.

Runaway Dog Spooked by Fireworks Rescued on GWB

Port Authority police rescued a dog from a catwalk on the lower level of the George Washington Bridge about 12 hours after it ran away from its home in Leonia, apparently spooked by 4th of July fireworks, authorities said.

Fort Lee BOE Shuffles School Principals

The Fort Lee Board of Education approved a resolution calling for a “restructuring” of administrative staff. Several principals changed schools, but Priscilla Church, whom many people were concerned about, will stay at Fort Lee High School.

Fort Lee Home Burglars Caught in the Act

Three men wearing masks and carrying flashlights were caught after police surrounded a residence on English Street and found a pillowcase full of jewelry, authorities said.

Fort Lee police picked up an accused thief less than a half-mile from the a residence on Bridle Way, arresting and charging him with burglary and theft.

GWB Traffic Nightmare Could Last All Summer

It was thought that the summer could be remembered as a traffic hell by the millions of people who travel east over the George Washington Bridge thanks to the closure of a lane on the oft-congested Cross Bronx Expressway through at least Labor Day and likely into October.

Fort Lee Man Charged With Assault by Auto

A 52-year-old Fort Lee man was accused of hitting another driver with his van last when the man tried to stop him from fleeing the scene of a minor crash near Lemoine Avenue, police said.

Three Teens Accused In Fort Lee Car Break-Ins

An 18-year-old New York City man and two 13-year-old boys were arrested near the George Washington Bridge in connection with a series of car break-ins on 11th Street and Wilson Avenue in Fort Lee, police said.

GWB Carpool Activists Honored By Fort Lee GOP

The United Republican Club of Fort Lee invited a group who successfully fought the Port Authority for the right to carpool near the bridge to tell their stories and receive certificates of appreciation.

The Fort Lee Regional Chamber of Commerce announced its 2012-2013 “Persons of the Year.” Sharing the honor this year were Fort Lee attorney Craig Weinstein and Mike Pollotta, a retired construction professional and longtime Democratic political leader from Palisades Park.

Olympic Athlete Who Trained in Fort Lee Arrives in London

Kenneth Edwards, the first athlete from Jamaica ever to qualify for the Olympics in Taekwondo, trained at Team USA Taekwondo Fitness in Fort Lee with Master Alvin Bernard, a Taekwondo coach for the Jamaican national and Olympic teams.

Fort Lee Man Indicted In Hit-And-Run Murder of Girlfriend

A Bergen County Grand Jury handed up a two-count indictment charging Charles J. Ann with murdering Aena Hong, whom he allegedly ran over with his car multiple times outside the Fort Lee Community Center in February.

August

Two Charged In Alleged Fight Over GWB Carpool Ride

Two men were charged with disorderly conduct after an alleged struggle over a carpool ride at the George Washington Bridge, police said. The incident happened at about 9:45 a.m. at a Fort Lee bus stop on I-95 under Lemoine Avenue, where drivers looking to take advantage of the Port Authority’s discount for carpoolers typically pick up passengers.

School Board President Announces Resignation

School Board President Arthur Levine announced his resignation from the board of education. Levine, who has served on the Board since 2007 and was elected president in 2011, said that he was resigning from the board due to time constraints.

A mother and her three children were found safe a day after they were reported missing in Fort Lee, police said.

Hudson River Sewage Spill Threatens Ironman Triathlon Swim

A sewer line break in Tarrytown, New York has resulted in several million gallons of chlorinated raw sewage to be released into the Hudson River just in time for the Ironman U.S. Championship.

The Fort Lee Board of Education will fill the vacancy left by the former board president’s recent resignation through an application process, with letters and resumes due by Aug. 25. A one-year term will also be added to the November ballot. The school board also has a new president after their regular business meeting, Yusang Park, who will serve until the annual reorganization meeting in January 2013.

PHOTOS: US Ironman Championship

About 2,500 athletes from around the world competed in New York's first Ironman U.S. Championship, jumping into the Hudson to begin a 2.5-mile swim on the New Jersey side of the river, a 112-mile bike leg along the Palisades Parkway and a 26.2-mile run from Palisades State Park to Manhattan.

Ironman Competitor Dies After Swimming Portion of Race

The triathlon took a tragic turn however, when a competitor died after being pulled from the Hudson River in the morning after experiencing signs of distress. NorthJersey.com reported that the victim was 43-year-old Hong Kong police officer Andy Naylor.

Brooklyn Man Killed in Fall From Palisades Cliff

A 26-year-old Brooklyn man was found dead after witnesses say he went beyond a marked safety barrier and fell off a cliff at Rockefeller Lookout in Englewood Cliffs, police said.

State Senator Says Red Light Cameras Should be Banned

Speaking at the United Republican Club of Fort Lee’s Monthly meeting, State Sen. Michael Doherty (R-23) discussed legislation he introduced “to outright ban” red light cameras in New Jersey.

Doherty Criticizes Fort Lee Mayor For Red Light Camera Comments

Doherty two days after speaking at the meeting about his legislation to ban red light cameras in New Jersey released a statement blasting Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for comments he made in an article published on NorthJersey.com saying he wants to install red light cameras in the borough “for money reasons.”

Fort Lee High School once again ranked among the state’s top 100 high schools, according to New Jersey Monthly’s biennial report, but the local school dropped from 72 in 2010 to 97, according to a formula based on state Department of Education (DOE) data for the 2010-2011 school year.

A 16-year-old boy from Sayreville riding on a bus full of teenagers heading to a Sweet 16 was killed after he stuck his head out of a roof hatch on the bus and hit an overpass as the vehicle drove on Interstate 95 southbound, near the George Washington Bridge, an official said.

Officials Explain Fort Lee High School’s Drop in Rankings

Assistant Superintendent Sharon Amato said opening up AP classes to all students and changes in the way the state looks at dropout rates and students attending four-year versus two-year colleges impacted the school’s ranking in New Jersey Monthly’s biennial report released the previous week.

September

The Fort Lee Board of Education announced that it had only one candidate who will appear on the November ballot to fill the remainder of former board president Arthur Levine’s unexpired term, that two of the six candidates for three three-year terms on the board have withdrawn their names from the November ballot and that one of two people will fill Levine’s seat until the board’s reorganization meeting in January 2013.

Fort Lee Man Gets 174 Years for Shooting Wayne Cop

A Fort Lee man who shot a Wayne police officer during a Route 23 gas station robbery in 2010 was sentenced to more than 170 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler in Newark Federal Court sentenced Nelson Otero, 48, of Fort Lee, to 174 years. His accomplice, Maxcine Cagan, 48, of Floral Park, NY, was also sentenced Monday to 172 years in prison.

Mayor: Fort Lee Not Reason Ironman Won’t Be Back in 2013

Just a day after the Fort Lee Mayor and Council issued proclamations recognizing competitors and the many volunteers who played an integral role in making the New York City area’s first Ironman U.S. Championship a local success, the Ironman organization dropped the bombshell, announcing that the competition would not be returning to the New York City metropolitan area next year.

Police Arrest Brooklyn Man in Alleged Parking Lot Theft

A Brooklyn man was charged with theft and resisting arrest after he allegedly grabbed a woman’s purse in the Linwood Plaza parking lot and tried to make a run for it, police said. But it was thanks to the to the vigilance of two people who saw something and said something and called the police, as well as some nifty police and K-9 work, that Eliano Auborg was arrested.

October

More than 50 people, including colleagues, friends and family, attended the Maria Pulice Memorial Service at Fort Lee School No. 1 in what turned out to be a moving tribute to longtime educator and union leader.

With Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas O. Ripoli reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65, Fort Lee is about to get a new police chief and a new deputy police chief in the process, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich said in October.

Ground Broken at Fort Lee’s ‘Redevelopment Area 5’

The long-awaited groundbreaking on the long-vacant, 16-acre property just south of the George Washington Bridge known most recently as Redevelopment Area 5 took place in October, as local and county officials joined SJP Residential Properties for an event they hope will mark the beginning of what Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich called a “Renaissance” for the borough.

Fort Lee BOE Candidate Calls Out Incumbent For Challenging Petition

First-time Fort Lee Board of Education candidate David Sarnoff said at a United Homeowners of Fort Lee-sponsored debate that incumbent John Bang challenged his petition to run for the school board based on a technicality. Bang, an attorney, said it wasn’t personal.

Fort Lee Man Charged With Threatening to Shoot Police

Police responded to the same address on Hudson Terrace twice on noise complaints. The resident allegedly said he'd shoot the next officers who came to the house, according to Fort Lee police.

Luring Attempt of 10-Year-Old Girl in Inwood Terrace Park Reported

An unknown man in a dark blue sedan attempted to lure a 10-year-old girl at Inwood Terrace Park by asking her to get into the vehicle and help him look for his dog, Detective Sergeant Ken Porrino said.

Port Authority electrician Chris Bonanno, whose sister has breast cancer, had the idea to light up the New York/New Jersey span with pink necklace lights every night in October.

Although borough officials and the Fort Lee Police Department asked people to stay home, many were out trying to find a place and waiting in long lines to gas up their cars or fill their gas cans, as extra police patrols tried to maintain order.

Fort Lee Cop Assaulted at Gas Station as Tempers Flare over Long Lines

A New York man allegedly assaulted a Fort Lee police officer at a gas station on Bergen Boulevard early, becoming "enraged" after learning the station might be out of gas by the time he made it to the front of the line.

The "Week in Review" is a weekly roundup of top local news stories on Fort Lee Patch. But for one week, it was all about Sandy.

November

Fort Lee Voters Elect Four New School Board Members

Challengers Esther Han Silver, David Sarnoff and Holly Morell easily defeated John Bang, the only incumbent running for reelection to the Fort Lee Board of Education. Candace Romba was the only candidate running for a one-year unexpired term.

Fort Lee Democrats Retain Seats on Borough Council

The Fort Lee Borough Council will once again remain the same, all Democratic, after both incumbents won reelection

Fort Lee Superintendent to Take Leave of Absence Until January

The Fort Lee Board of Education approved a nearly two-month leave of absence for Superintendent Steven Engravalle for medical reasons and appointed Sharon Amato Interim Superintendent of Schools during his absence.

Man Charged In Nightclub Beer Bottle Brawl

A Bayonne man was charged in connection with an incident at a Fort Lee nightclub in which he allegedly smashed a beer bottle in the face of another club patron and then fled the scene, authorities said.

Fort Lee Storm Relief Drive Nets Two Vanloads of Donations

The Fort Lee Lady Bridgemen volleyball team held its first home state playoff match since 1996, beating Lakeland, 2-1, even after dropping the first game. But the event was more than just a volleyball match; it doubled as a disaster relief drive in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Fort Lee Celebrates Veterans Day

With Veterans Day 2012 falling on a Sunday, the federal holiday was technically Monday this year. But Fort Lee, like most places, celebrated on the actual holiday, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012.

Fort Lee Film Takes Top Honors at Annual Student Film Fest

For the first time ever a film made by Fort Lee High School students won “Best of the Fest” at the Jersey Filmmakers of Tomorrow Bergen County High School Student Film Festival. Also for the first time, there was a tie for the honor.

Fort Lee Assistant Superintendent Resigns

The Fort Lee Board of Education voted unanimously to accept the resignation effective Nov. 26, 2012, of Keith Lockwood from his positions as Assistant Superintendent, Anti-Bullying Coordinator and Affirmative Action Officer.

Fort Lee Elementary School Celebrates Opening of New Wing

The Fort Lee School No. 1 annex comprises four new classrooms and was one of the referendum-approved projects started over the summer. After lengthy construction delays, the wing officially opened in November.

December

Fort Lee to Acquire Main Street Property for $2M for Park

The Mayor and Council passed a resolution settling a lawsuit and an ordinance financing the acquisition of land at 183 Main St., the current location of Woori Bank, for a park on the West parcel of Redevelopment Area 5.

The borough’s annual community tree lighting celebration was Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 at the Jack Alter Fort Lee Community Center, and the mayor said Fort Lee outdid itself this year, especially after the devastating storm.

Port Authority police have charged more truck drivers with toll evasion at the George Washington Bridge so far this year than they did all of last year, as the agency continues what officials with the agency have described as a "crackdown," according to authorities. The number of drivers charged reached 104 the same day the Port Authority’s latest round of toll hikes went into effect, and climbed yet again Monday, authorities said.

An Englewood Cliffs man was charged with drunk driving after allegedly crashing into a telephone pole and bringing down live wires across Lemoine Avenue at Hoym Street in Fort Lee, police said. Lemoine remained closed between Main and Whiteman Streets until about 4 p.m. the next afternoon.

Two New York Men Charged in Fort Lee Undercover Drug Sting

A month-long investigation led to the arrest of two New York City men on drug distribution charges in Fort Lee, the prosecutor’s office announced.

Fort Lee Community Menorah Lit on First Night of Hanukkah

Congregation Gesher Shalom, the Jewish Community Center of Fort Lee, with Rabbi Kenneth Stern, Cantor Paul Zim and Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, among others, celebrated the first night of Hanukkah, hosting their annual Menorah lighting.

Four men were charged after police found them in a Fort Lee hotel parking lot allegedly in possession of two stolen cars, a loaded handgun and more than $30,000 in cash, authorities said.

Fort Lee Police Cars Rammed In Chase of Stolen BMW to Newark

Fort Lee police are investigated an incident that started with a stolen car in Englewood Cliffs and ended with a chase all the way to Newark. Two police units were rammed and a loaded gun recovered in the process, authorities said.

Fort Lee Residents Hold Candlelight Vigil in Wake of Newtown Massacre

Dozens of Fort Lee residents joined local clergy and community leaders at Monument Park for a candlelight vigil for the victims, family and community members of Newtown, Conn., where a school shooting Friday claimed the lives of 20 children—six- and seven-year-olds—and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

With Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas Ripoli set to retire Dec. 31, Capt. Keith Bendul and Capt. Timothy Ford will assume their duties as Chief and Deputy Chief, respectively, of the Fort Lee Police Department on Jan. 1. They were sworn in by the Fort Lee Mayor and Council on Dec. 20.

Two Bergen County men, including one from Fort Lee, were charged in a scheme to sell guns believed to have belonged to the family of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

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