Secaucus Police Make Another Prostitution Arrest At AJ’s

Secaucus Police Chief Dennis Miller has announced that another prostitution arrest at AJ’s Go-Go Bar has taken place.

Back in April 2024, the Secaucus Police Department received a “tip” that prostitution was still ongoing at AJ’s Go-Go Bar.  The establishment is located at 201 Secaucus Road.  During the week of June 10, according to Chief Miller, undercover police officers from the Department’s Anti-Crime Unit were inside the bar investigating the “tip.”  An arrest was made after an undercover officer was offered sexual favors in exchange for money.  

The arrest follows nine separate arrests that were made at AJ’s on December 14, 2021 for charges ranging from promoting prostitution to distribution of cocaine after a six-month long investigation that culminated on December 14, 2021.  Chief Miller says an additional three, separate arrests were made at AJ’s in November of 2022 for prostitution and drug offenses.  

“The State Alcohol and Beverage Control Board continues to allow AJ’s to operate, despite my plea to them to revoke their license,” Chief Miller .  “I commend the efforts of our investigative personnel for their continued hard work, but I feel like my police department is working alone.  The inaction of the State Alcohol Beverage Control Board continues to allow vice crimes to flourish at AJ’s.”  

36=year old Belleville Dilcia Nunez Gomez, 36, of Bellville was charged with engaging in prostitution and promoting prostitution.  These charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

27-Year Old Man Charged With Sexually Assaulting WNY Juvenile Female

Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez has announced the arrest of a 27-year old male for sexually assaulting a 15-year old girl from West New York.  Suarez reports that on  Wednesday, June 12, 2024, members of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit arrested Christian Felipe of West New York.  The sex crimes, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, occurred on multiple occasions between May 22, 2024 and May 31, 2024. Felipe is charged with sexual, a crime of the second degree; endangering the welfare of a child, a crime of the third degree; and criminal sexual contact, a crime of the fourth degree.   Felipe was arrested at his home and taken to the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny pending his first court appearance.  According to Suarez, the investigation revealed that the defendant met the victim in a West New York park prior to the assault. Prosecutor Suarez credited the Special Victims Unit with the investigation and arrest, with assistance from the West New York Police Department. If you wish to report a sex crime, Suarez says you should call the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit (SVU) at 201-915-1234. The charges against Felipe are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Taxes Down In Jersey City, Up Significantly In Union City, Bayonne & Harrison

The Hudson County Board of Commissioners this week approved a $674 million budget for 2024.  The spending plan is $14 million less than last year’s expenditures.  It cuts taxes in Jersey City by $66, but sharply increases them for residents living in Union City, Bayonne and Harrison.  Property owners in Weehawken and Secaucus will see a minimal tax increase. Last year, the budget increased to $735 million after additional grants were factored in following the budget’s approval by the Board of Commissioners. The 2024 budget increases the tax levy countywide by approximately 3.6-percent. Hudson County Executive Craig Guy issued the following statement regarding the Board of Commissioners passage of the budget: “This budget fulfills many of my priorities while maintaining fiscal responsibility.  When I took office, I made it a goal to combat food insecurity in our county, upgrade our parks and green spaces, and continue providing high quality services to our seniors, veterans, and Hudson County’s most vulnerable residents. This budget accomplishes these goals while at the same time making responsible choices that prioritize the taxpayers of our county. I’d like to thank the Board of County Commissioners that voted for the budget and recognize that this budget enables the administration to move forward in maintaining the services we offer while at the same time being fiscally responsible.”              

Hoboken Wins Library Champion Award; Director Jennie Pu named NJLA Librarian of the Year

The Hoboken Public Library has reason to celebrate.  The City has announced that the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) has awarded the City the prestigious Library Champion Award for its unwavering support of public libraries and intellectual freedom. According to a press release from City Hall, Hoboken earned the award following the unanimous adoption of a resolution declaring the City as a Book Sanctuary City in September 2023.   In addition, Hoboken Public Library Director Jennie Pu has also been named the NJLA 2024 Librarian of the Year.  Pu is the first recipient from Hudson County to receive the distinguished accolade.  The Library Board of Trustees also won the Trustee Service Award.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla stated, “Being recognized as a Library Champion is a testament to Hoboken’s commitment to fostering a culture of learning and inclusivity.  Jennie Pu’s leadership has been instrumental in making our public library a beacon of knowledge and a sanctuary for diverse voices. This honor underscores the hard work and dedication of Jennie and the entire Hoboken Public Library team, and I offer them my sincere congratulations!”
Councilwoman At Large Emiy Jabbour, the sponsor of the book sanctuary resolution, added, “I am proud to have attended this year’s New Jersey Library Association Awards Ceremony to receive the Champion Award on behalf of the City of Hoboken for being the first municipality in the state to declare itself a Book Sanctuary CitySince Mayor Bhalla signed an Executive Order declaring Hoboken a Fair and Welcoming City in 2017, this declaration is an extension of these values to ensure that no book will be banned or censored; in fact, our community celebrates diverse voices and stories to continue to enforce the message that we are a welcoming and inclusive community. Thank you to Hoboken Public Library Director Jennie Pu and the Hoboken Public Library Board of Trustees for being diligent stewards of these values.”
Upon learning she had been selected as Librarian of the Year, Director Pu stated, “I am honored to be the first from Hudson County to be named Librarian of the Year by the New Jersey Library Association and could not have done this without the support of an incredible library board and strong city leaders.  This award rightfully belongs to the dedicated and talented Hoboken Public Library team who faithfully serve all members of our community day in, day out.”
“I’m so proud of all the hard work the Library has done to ensure it is a welcoming place for everyone,” said Library Board President Jerome Abernathy.  “It is indeed a sanctuary in every sense of the word.”
Pu, who has been the director of the Hoboken Public Library since 2021, has revitalized the library, enhancing its profile both locally and nationally. She has implemented several community-focused initiatives, including pop-up libraries in schools and the installation of book lockers in collaboration with the Hoboken Historical Museum. Under her guidance, Hoboken’s first maker space was incorporated within the sustainably restored Hoboken Main Library, blending the library’s historic charm with modern functionality.
Her commitment to intellectual freedom led to the declaration of Hoboken as New Jersey’s first book sanctuary, a model that has been replicated by more than 24 libraries and four municipalities across the state. Her contributions to the field of librarianship and her advocacy for the right to read have earned her the American Library Association’s 2024 Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession.

Armed Robbery Spree Ends with Arrests of Two Hudson County Men

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Two Hudson County men have admitted to a string of armed robberies at gas stations across northern New Jersey earlier this year, as well as an attempted carjacking, according to federal prosecutors.Wendell Bradley Jr., 27, of Bayonne, and Joseph Brown, 26, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to charges related to the robbery spree that took place between January 3 and February 4, 2022.During the robberies, Bradley and Brown would drive up to gas stations, ask attendants to fill their vehicle’s gas tank, and then pull guns on the attendants while demanding money, prosecutors said. In one incident on January 20 in Union, Brown pointed a gun at a gas station employee, demanded cash, and threatened to kill him. Bradley grabbed the attendant from behind, but the employee was able to break free and escape before any money was taken.The robbery spree came to an end on February 4 after Bradley and Brown robbed a gas station attendant at gunpoint in Secaucus. The two men fled the scene, leading police on a chase from Secaucus to Newark, where Bradley crashed his vehicle. Bradley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, Hobbs Act robbery, attempted carjacking, and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Brown admitted to attempted Hobbs Act robbery and Hobbs Act robbery.The conspiracy, robbery, and attempted robbery charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. The carjacking charge has a maximum 15-year sentence, while the firearm charge carries a mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison and a maximum life sentence.Bradley is scheduled to be sentenced on October 10, 2024, while Brown’s sentencing is set for October 3, 2024.U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger credited multiple law enforcement agencies for their work in the investigation, including the ATF, police departments in Clifton, Hillside, Jersey City, Newark, North Bergen, Secaucus, and Union.

Driver Charged In Connection To Kearny Hit-And-Run Two Weeks Ago

The Hudson County Regional Collision Investigation Unit has charged a Newark woman in connection with a hit-and-run collision that seriously injured a pedestrian in Kearny on Thursday, May 30, 2024. Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez reported this afternoon that 63-year old, Sonia Salazar, has been charged with knowingly leaving the scene of a motor vehicle collision resulting in serious bodily injury; endangering an injured victim; and causing serious injury while driving on a revoked/suspended license.  Prosecutor Suarez says Salazar was arrested at the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office in Secaucus on Thursday, June 6, 2024. She was released pending her first court appearance, which is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2024. According to the Prosecutor, the series of events unfolded as follows on May 30th.  Shortly after 7 a.m., the Kearny Police Department was notified of a pedestrian struck at the intersection of Kearny Avenue and Columbia Avenue. Responding police officers found a male victim, later identified as a 76-year-old Kearny resident, with serious injuries. The striking vehicle fled the scene. The victim was transported by Emergency Medical Services to University Hospital in Newark for treatment. The above charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Real Madrid’s Goalkeeping Coach Visits Union City After Winning Champions League Title

A week after winning the Champions League title in London, Real Madrid’s goalkeeping coach Luis Llopis came to Union City on Monday to meet Mayor Brian Stack and other officials. With Union City having a growing soccer community, having a championship coach come to meet Mayor Brian Stack and the Board of Commissioners was quite the achievement.               Llopis handed out jerseys, signed autographs and took photos with those in attendance.               The city presented the coach with a proclamation to mark his visit.  The Mayor, also a New Jersey State Senator, presented Llopis with a Senate resolution. All in all, it was an exciting afternoon arranged through Commissioner Lucio Fernandez’s office.

North Bergen 5th Grader Wins National Kindness Speech Competition

5th grader Warren Pinnawalage studies at John F. Kennedy Elementary (STEM/STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) School in North Bergen.  Warren was born in New York.  His parents came to the United States from Sri Lanka.  His father is Dr. Ron, a civil engineer, and his mother is Dr. Sugi, a licensed psychotherapist.  Warren is a boy scout and can speak Sinhala, the official Sri Lankan language.  Warren has received many accolades in his young life, the most recent being winning the 5th annual, National Kindness Speech Contest.
At the age of 10, Warren achieved his Presidential Volunteer Gold Service Award, presented by President Joe Biden.  When he was 9, he did his 1st TEDxTalk on Bullying. Here is the link.
Warren completed the Animal Psychology/Pets Behavior course with Udemy. He earned many badges from Home Depot and Lowes from participating in free building workshops.
His public speaking journey started when he was four years old, and his first presentation was in front of more than 500 people at a cultural show in Staten Island, New York. After that, he was involved in many speaking activities in English and Sinhala. He has volunteered at 2 TEDx events in Texas and Staten Island. Warren did multiple international TV programs, and one of them reached over 1.6 million people (Talk with Chatura) in Facebook views. He is a two-time Boy Scout Pinewood Derby car winner (2nd Place) and the “Coolest car” category 1st Place: 2024. Also, he was invited to deliver a motivational speech during the Sri Lankan festival in New York in 2024 in front of more than 1000 Sri Lankan community members.
He is highly involved with VFW (Veterans of Foreign Affairs) and is a regular volunteer. Warren won the Patriotic Pen Essay competition from Post 2648 and was recognized by Post 2294. Also, he received an Award of Honor (Citizenship, Scholarship & Attendance) from VFW Post 2648 in May 2024. Recently, he was able to share a breathing exercise with other kids in the community and STEM/STEAM summer camp under the supervision of his mother.  The US embassy in Colombo invited Dr. Sugi to present Mental Health Awareness and Resilience. Warren also met with Her Excellency Ambassador, Mrs. Julie Chung, and shared his growth and progress in life, educational journey, and social services.
Warren has received recognition from North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners.
At the Kennedy School he is in the choir and band, playing drums and piano, and has been involved in two recitals. Also, he is a member of the school climate committee. His cultural drum activity was also featured in an international children’s TV program. He is a gardener and has been featured in international newspapers and TV. He was a member of “Muthuhara” (Children’s Talent showcase group) and Sunday school.
Congratulations to Warren on all of his success.  He undoubtedly is a young man to keep an eye on in the future.

Union City High School Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary

It was a special day for Union City High School on Saturday afternoon, as the Board of Education and local community celebrated the school’s 15th anniversary with an outdoor festival. Located on Kennedy Boulevard on the former site of the old Roosevelt Stadium, the high school was born out of necessity some two decades ago.  No longer could the district’s two high schools, Emerson downtown and Union Hill uptown, handle the growing student enrollment of the early 2000s.  So, with major assistance from the New Jersey Schools Development Authority and Governor Jim McGreevey at the time, the Board of Education and the Administration of Mayor Brian Stack broke ground on a new, state of the art high school. The days of the Emerson Bulldogs and the Union Hill Hillers came to an end, at least at the high school level, as both schools remain in use as middle schools.  Born was Union City High School, the Soaring Eagles, and downtown and uptown merged into one. On Saturday afternoon, on the rooftop field, a community celebration was held, marking 15 years for the new high school.  Many of the schools’ clubs participated.  The festival featured musical performances, games and plenty of food. It was an afternoon to celebrate the high school’s marvelous 15 year history.

Retired Harrison Police Chief John Trucillo Laid to Rest

Former Harrison Police Chief John Trucillo, who retired in 2003, was laid to rest on Thursday following his passing at the age of 82 on May 19th.  The former Chief was a lifelong resident of Harrison. A proud veteran, John honorably served his country before dedicating his life to public service. After his discharge from the army in 1962, he joined the Harrison Police Department in 1964. His distinguished career culminated in his retirement as Chief in 2003. John also contributed profoundly as a child psychologist within the public school systems of Harrison, Kearny, and East Newark. Chief Trucillo was a devoted husband to his wife, Carole for 60 years.  He was a beloved father, survived by his children, John (married to Dawn) and Mario (married to Allison), and was predeceased by his daughter, Gina Pintar (married to Matthew). His legacy continues through his adored grandchildren: Ava, Matthew, John Jr., Andrea, and Penelope, who knew him affectionately as “Pop Pop.” The Chief was laid to rest in Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington.