Hasbrouck Heights in 2012: A Look Back From January to June

Patch brings readers its annual Year in Review, a look back on some of the bigger news items from the first half of the year.


Man Accused of Firebombing Jewish Temples Pleads Not Guilty

Hasbrouck Heights High School graduate Anthony Graziano, who was charged with setting fire to synagogues in Rutherford and Paramus, pled not guilty in Superior Court. He was charged with nine counts of attempted murder and one count each of bias intimidation and aggravated arson in connection with the Rutherford incident at Beth El Temple. Prosecutors also believed Graziano responsible for arson at Congregation K'Hal Adath Jeshurun in Paramus. 

The majority of Board of Education members voted in favor of moving the school elections from April to November. The vote to change the election also eliminated the need for a public vote on the annual school budget.

Property reassessment process continues as new year begins

Hasbrouck Heights property owners learned of their new property assessments at the start of the year and the borough began to learn how the new assessments would affect property taxes going forward. It was learned later that a decrease in what most homeowners pay could be expected a shift in the market put more tax burden on the commercial properties.

Hook and Ladder Truck Back in Service

Hasbrouck Heights volunteer fire department's hook and ladder truck was  officially back in service after a more than one-year absence. A lengthy insurance claim in addition to needed repairs kept the truck out of service for about 14 months.


Police and Fire Departments Investigate Fatal Woodside Avenue Accident

A Hasbrouck Heights man died in a fatal accident on Woodside Avenue on the border of Lodi and Hasbrouck Heights on Feb. 3. The man, who was later indentified as Jon Perconti, had crashed the vehicle he was driving into a Woodside Avenue house.

Whitney Houston's Body Arrives At Teterboro Airport

A private jet carrying the body of pop superstar Whitney Houston arrived at Teterboro Airport shortly after 10:30 p.m. Monday. A wake and funeral for the Newark native is tentatively scheduled for Friday and will be held at the Prudential Center, NJ.com reported.

Desiree Polakowski, a Hasbrouck Heights mom of two youngsters, shared her personal tale of heartbreak over the sudden loss of her husband and her battle against stage four breast cancer as friends, family and the whole community prepared a fundraiser to be held in her honor.

Castellanos Reaches Thousand-Point Mark

Daniella Castellanos became the first Hasbrouck Heights basketball player (boys or girls team) to reach thousand points in her career for the first time in 10 years. With a basket in the fourth quarter against rival Wood-Ridge on Friday night, the senior guard hit the mark, the first for the school since Maria Copell did it in 2002. Copell finished with 1,275 points at Heights.


Hasbrouck Heights Man Charged In Fatal Route 208 Crash

Lukisz Skibicki, 22, of Hasbrouck Heights man was charged with vehicular homicide after his passenger died in an early morning drunk driving crash on Route 208, authorities said. Skibicki was driving a 2002 Ford Taurus northbound on the highway when he failed to negotiate a bend in the road and crashed into a tree according to the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

Hasbrouck Heights Police reminded residents to always secure their vehicles when unoccupied as a string of burglaries to unlocked cars took place occured in parts of the borough. 

School Taxes Rise As Curriculum Expands

The board of education approved a 2012-2013 budget which was expected to cost the average homeowner an extra $127 in taxes. School officails said the budget expands the curriculum and would pay for upgrades to security and labs.


RHoNJ's Teresa Guidice Greets Fans in Hasbrouck Heights

People came from all areas of Bergen and Passaic counties, filing into Heights Beer & Wine Emporium to meet reality TV star Teresa Guidice who made the special appearance Saturday to sign copies of her new Fabellini and meet and greet fans.

HS English Teacher Resigns Before Finishing School Year

Parents and students reacted to the news that Hasbrouck Heights High School English teacher Ryan Smith resigned before finishig out the school year. Board of Education members were not able to comment as to the reason given. Students came forward at a Board of Education meeting to express Smith would be greatly missed.

Hasbrouck Heights police broke up a party with numerous underage drinkers at the Hilton Hotel. Police officials said a noise complaint from the front desk of the hotel regarding a party on the second party led police to find numerous underage drinkers, from 18 to 20 years old.

Heights Fire Fighters Assisted with Meadowlands Blaze

Hasbrouck Heights firefighters joined others from all over Bergen County  fighting the blaze in the Meadowlands that burned through 60 acres.  


Hasbrouck Heights Board of Education voted 7 to 2 in favor of transferring Lincoln School Principal Lesa Brinker from her helm at the school back to the art classrooms after hearing 90-minutes of testimony from parents on her behalf. The board also approved the transfer of Peter O'Hare, Euclid School principal, into a new position of assistant superintendent.

Council Votes 5 to 1 in Favor of Budget

Hasbrouck Heights council voted 5 to 1 in favor of the 2012 municipal budget in the amount of $18,281,943 with a tax levy of $14,419,262 that amounts to about a 1 point tax increase. The tax levy meant the average homeowner would pay an additional $35 towards the municipal portion of his or her tax bill. 

Thousands Enjoyed Annual Heights Street Fair

The fourth annual Hasbrouck Heights street fair once again attracted thousands to the Boulevard taking in a day of fun rides, food, music, games and more.

Fans Flocked to Heights to Meet Real Housewives' Kathy Wakile

Fans came from all over the area, even as far as Brooklyn, to meet Real Housewives of New Jersey star Kathy Wakile who was at Heights Beer & Wine Emporium to sign bottles of her new Red Velvet Cosmo. The star spent time interacting with each fan, signing autographs and posing for photos.  Fans were excited to also meet Kathy’s husband Richie and cousin Rosie who also appear on the show.


Police Chase Ends in Heights, Results in DWI Arrest

A police chase ended in Hasbrouck Heights after county and local police caught up with a man police said had fled his vehicle at the 24 Hour Fitness parking lot and ran into the nearby residential neighborhood.

Erin Bischoff is 'Police Chief' For a Day

Euclid School fifth grade student Erin Bischoff was chosen by Hasbrouck Heights Police Chief Michael Colaneri as 'Chief for A Day." Bischoff got to ride around in the patrol car, tour the police facility, was sworn in officially by Mayor Rose Heck and got to attend a luncheon for all the other junior chiefs around the county.

People came together under a beautiful night sky the first weekend in June  to walk around the track at Depken Field in the second annual Relay for Life, in support of the American Cancer Society, helping it get closer to finding a cure.

HHHS Class of 2012 Graduation

Hasbrouck Heights families filed into the auditorium at Bergen Academies in Hackensack to witness the Class of 2012 commencement ceremony. Among everyone who spoke the message was clear that one thing may be ending but many new things will begin. Class valedictorian Jennifer Cheng said, “With every end comes a new beginning and with every new beginning a new doorway.”


Be sure to check back tomorrow to see the recap on the rest of the year from July to December.


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