Hudson County CASA is seeking volunteersLearn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. You may attend an information session at the Hudson County Courthouse, 595 Newark Ave. Room 901, on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures.For further information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org. Hovnanian celebrates topping out of new Port Imperial condominiumK. Hovnanian Homes recently hosted a topping-out ceremony to celebrate the construction of the final floor at Nine on the Hudson, a new 13-story building offering 278 for-sale condominiums in West New York. Construction on the new building, which is part of the Port Imperial redevelopment project, began in November 2015. The topping-out ceremony was held on Dec. 2 in an outdoor tent on the third floor of the new building, overlooking the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline.Nine on the Hudson features architectural design from the firm of Marchetto Higgins Stieve. In addition to panoramic views of New York City, Nine on the Hudson will offer a wide array of high-end, lifestyle-oriented features and amenities designed to evoke a distinct combination of community, comfort, and convenience. The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway is steps away from the building. New York Waterway offers ferry service from Port Imperial, providing an easy nine-minute ride into Midtown. Hoboken is a short ride away on the Light Rail, accessible in under 15 minutes. Port Imperial also offers a variety of grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants and other conveniences, all within an easy walking distance. State Sen. Sacco retiring from school system jobNicholas Sacco is giving up his $260,000 per year job as assistant superintendent for elementary and secondary education but will continue to serve as state senator and North Bergen’s mayor, his spokesman said last week.“Mayor Sacco will be retiring from the North Bergen Board of Education during this year,” the mayor’s spokesman, Phil Swibinski, said in an email quoted by NJ.com. “However, no retirement date has yet been set. He plans to continue serving as mayor of North Bergen and state senator representing the 32nd District.”Sacco has also worked as an elementary school principal, among other positions, over the course of a 49-year career in education.According to a survey by NJ Advance Media in June, Sacco’s school salary of $259,550 was the second highest among all public employees in Hudson County. But Sacco, a Democrat, would likely rank as Hudson’s highest paid public employee when counting his annual salaries of $15,000 as mayor and $49,000 as state senator from the 32nd Legislative, which would put his combined annual income at $323,550. He also was paid for a time to perform weddings.That kind of triple office holding would no longer be permissible for future legislators under a 2007 law barring legislators from holding another elected office, but Sacco was among 19 lawmakers who were grandfathered in when the law was passed.Swibinski said Sacco’s school pension had not been determined, but would likely be about $180,000, a figure lower than the maximum due to allocations to family members. Swibinski said Sacco’s pension was, “controlled by the exact same regulations that govern the earned retirement benefits of every other public employee in the state.”One reason Sacco is leaving is because of his success in creating a new school campus in the township, Swibinski said. “One of the primary goals that he has had—he’s been fighting for decades—is to bring a new high school to North Bergen,” Swibinski told The North Bergen Reporter. “It was just a few months ago that that finally became a reality.” Last year, Sacco announced that North Bergen High School would be replacing Hudson County’s High Tech High School on 85th Street and Tonnelle Avenue, once that school moves into a new Secaucus location. “His view—and he stated this at the press conference when we announced it—was that once that project was done, once that goal was accomplished, he felt that his work was complete and he could leave.”Swibinski said Sacco plans to seek re-election for mayor and state senator, and that he will be eligible for additional pensions once he retires from those.After starting work for the school system, Sacco was first elected mayor in 1992, then won his state Senate seat the following year. He has been re-elected by wide margins in the heavily Democratic township and legislative district ever since. Pictured are the fourth grade class from Public School #6 in West New York, The Blue Jays. Hats were donated by the Meadowlands Racetrack, LLC. Give blood in WNY or HobokenAs people travel in winter and are not as available to donate, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to make an appointment to give blood or platelets to help meet the constant need for blood this winter.In West New York, blood donations will be accepted on Jan. 9 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at St. Mary of the Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church, 6515 Polk St.In Hoboken, donations can be made on Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Saint Francis Parish Center, 308 Jefferson St.Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site. ×Pictured are the fourth grade class from Public School #6 in West New York, The Blue Jays. Hats were donated by the Meadowlands Racetrack, LLC.
By Donald WittkowskiIf Domino’s can deliver freshly made pizza to your house, why can’t fresh seafood straight off the docks be delivered to your door, too?That’s the concept behind a new web-based business called Dock to Door Seafood Delivery that is launching Saturday at www.dock2doorseafood.com. Customers entering the promo code OCNJDAILY will get $5 off their first order.Dock to Door owner Hank Rydecki, who jokes that he is “a terrible fisherman, but a good businessman,” believes he has discovered a niche market that combines the convenience of home delivery service with the freshest seafood.“I have never heard of anything similar to it,” said Rydecki, of Ocean City.Rydecki explained that he came up with the idea for his business when friends and relatives would often ask him to pick them up some seafood when he went out to buy some.He promised that his Dock to Door seafood will be of the highest quality bought from wholesalers at the Jersey Shore, including Atlantic City, Pleasantville and Cape May. In some cases, he’ll buy it from “guys right on the boat,” he said.Dock to Door will make deliveries to the towns of Ocean City, Somers Point, Linwood, Longport and Margate. There will be a $40 minimum for orders.Dock to Door uses re-usable environmentally friendly cold pack technology that is very effective, while being socially responsibleIn addition to making home deliveries, Rydecki plans to specialize in serving large parties, clam bakes and catered affairs.He will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through the third week of June. Then he will add Mondays. He will be closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.“I’m a one-man band,” he said. “I’ll be taking calls, taking orders and making deliveries.”Rydecki stressed that when he delivers seafood, it will always arrive fresh at his customers’ homes – much fresher than the seafood sold at supermarkets.“The quality is three or four times better and fresher,” he said.He has devised recyclable and environmentally friendly packaging to keep the seafood chilled and fresh at all times.Rydecki said his delivery service will capitalize on the Jersey Shore’s rich history as a seafood haven.“We live in the best area for seafood, in my opinion,” he said. “We are trying to bring more seafood to the area so that people can enjoy what we have to offer, not just the Boardwalk and the beaches.”Although he considers himself a terrible fisherman, Rydecki noted that his wife, Melissa Kopp, who is from Egg Harbor Township, comes from a family of commercial fishermen and lobstermen.Now a stay-at-home dad, Rydecki’s business background included working 10 years as a sales representative at General Electric.He hopes to parlay his business experience into a venture that turns out to be, well, a good catch.“At the end of the day, we’re really excited,” he said. “We’re optimistic it’s going to be something that is very successful.” Dock to Door is a family owned and operated Seafood Concierge Service. They deliver locally harvested clams and restaurant quality seafood direct to your door.
“Playing against him is fun because of his size,” Bryant said of James’ 6-8, 250-pound frame. “It was always fun to bump with him and have that physicality and backing him down and him driving and bumping and all this stuff.”So after hugging each other at mid-court, it did not take long for Bryant and James to bump. The endless images included Bryant posting up on James and nailing countless baseline fadeaways from him. Soon enough, Scott remarked to one of his assistant coaches, “The guy hasn’t played but one game in the last four or five days, and he’s been out here making shots like he’s been playing every day.”“I just expected him to come out there and battle and play,” Scott said. “I know he was looking forward to the matchup. That’s probably what conjured up this type of game.”But Bryant suggested otherwise. He described his right shoulder as “all right.” Bryant added “it’s not too bad right now.” But Bryant argued his strong game had more to do with his approach than his health. That explains why Bryant warned James, “‘If you let me catch on the post, I’ll score when I’m 80.’”“That’s an old-man’s game,” Bryant said. “I catch it in the post, it doesn’t matter. I don’t have to be loose or anything like that. I’m just going to bump, turn fade, bump, turn fade.”Bryant also performed another predictable move that still worked. James fell for Bryant’s pump fake before he converted on an up-and-under at the rim. “It just looks too realistic,” Bryant said, chuckling. You make a couple and then you get them hedging a little bit. That one for big guys tends to work a lot. The feel like the can really block the shot because of how big they are. It tends to work on big guys in the post pretty often.”After James made a 24-foot 3-pointer over Bryant late in the second quarter, Bryant responded on the next possession with a 12-foot jumper. After James drove into the lane for an open dunk, Bryant answered on the next play with a 24-foot 3-pointer. Bryant often marked James when both he ran the offense from the perimeter and when he posted up to score.“The times he was trying to post up, I was waving to my teammates to get the hell away and do not double,” Bryant said. “This is fun. I don’t want doubles ever.”Yet, those moments never translated into an NBA Finals matchup despite both Bryant and James appearing separately in the last nine championship series. That explains why Scott argued Bryant and James did not have a rivalry. Scott added that Bryant and James have “a healthy relationship” and “love each other” after winning two gold medals together on the U.S. Olympic team in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London).“It’s not a rivalry I wouldn’t say because we like each other too much. I don’t like anybody that much,” said Bryant, who then attributed Cleveland’s initial struggles when James entered the NBA in 2003. “A real rivalry never developed. To me, rivalries are never made in the regular season no matter how much people try to hype it up. You have to to duke it out when it really matters.”But it still spanned 22 regular-season games that James surpassed Bryant in both wins (16-6) and scoring average (28.4, 24.6)“It never registered. My mind with all those matchups were always long term,” Bryant said. “Me playing LeBron on Christmas Day or on a Tuesday in Cleveland meant zero to me. It may be hard for people to understand that. But it meant zero to me. There was so much pressure I put on myself to get this team to a championship that I was always looking at where we were going to end up. Now it’s different.”Now, these games fuel Bryant’s return.“He feels better,” Scott said of Bryant. “But it’s also special to go against a great friend of his and a great player.”If only Bryant’s availability hinged on that one variable. “It’s tough for him at times. There’s a lot of things that he goes through throughout the day to get ready for the game,” Scott said. “He realizes that this is the last month of his career that he’ll ever play this beautiful game of basketball.”Bryant provided more beauty against James, as every fadeaway and defensive stop reminded the Lakers one more time of his greatness that has lasted two decades. The two NBA stars seemingly traveled back in time as they performed highlight reels by the play.The 37-year-old Kobe Bryant sank countless fadeaway jumpers against LeBron James as if the Lakers’ legend had found a cure for his ailments. James, 31, threw down a lob off the backboard and converted off a tomahawk as if he still remained a fresh phenom out of high school. Those developments took center stage in the Lakers’ 120-108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday at Staples Center. It overshadowed the Lakers (14-52) ending a two-game winning streak against Cleveland (46-18) despite Cavaliers forward Kevin Love sitting out with a sore left knee. It caught more attention than D’Angelo Russell’s continued emergence (24 points, five assists) and Julius Randle’s physical dominance (15 points, nine rebounds). And it trumped Jordan Clarkson’s rare off night (five points on 2-of-12 shooting) and Marcelo Huertas’ career night (13 points). The reasons for Bryant reclaiming center stage went beyond playing in his last game against James. It also involved how Bryant wrote his final chapter.“It was fun to watch. At times, even myself, stood there being a fan,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “It was an epic matchup of two of the best ever.”After missing four of the past six contests because of a sore right shoulder, Bryant posted a team-leading 32 points on 11-of-16 shooting in 32 minutes in what Scott described as a “flashback.” Unsurprisingly, Bryant received a standing ovation when he walked off the floor with 2:10 remaining. James offered just as compelling theater with 24 points on a 9-of-18 clip, seven assists and five rebounds. “It was everything,” James said. “I know he was not taking his game off for sure and I definitely wasn’t taking it off.”Hence, James said afterwards, “I wish I could play against him every single night.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error