Dear Editor:This letter is being written to inform you about our city being put at risk due to insufficient man power and the browning out of fire companies. It has been the practice of a current administration to simply close fire companies when manpower reaches a certain number rather than call additional personnel to maintain the integrity of six fire companies.Over the last nine years, the city has reduced the Hoboken fire department’s manpower from a high of 132 members and 7 fire companies in 2008, to the current total of 113 and 6 fire companies ( 5 companies when the decision is made to “brown out” a company). Over the same period of time, the population in Hoboken went from 38,000+ people to approximately 56,000 people now.Along with the population increase, there has been an increase in the number of newly constructed building throughout town, and in areas that never had residential buildings in the past. Rather than maintain a fire department with sufficient manpower and resources, the city’s answer was to reduce the total manpower and occasionally drop to five fire companies. There are times when there are only 18 fire department personnel on duty to protect 56,000 people. That is preposterous. It puts the citizens at risk and puts the fire department personnel at increased risk.To illustrate, on July 12 the Hoboken fire department browned out an engine company and only had fivecompanies covering the city. During the day, there was a fire in Jersey City and the department sent a truck and engine to Jersey City on mutual aid for five hours. The city was left with THREE fire companies protecting the entire city until the Battalion Chief was able to get a sufficient amount of personnel to come in and open up companies to backfill while the other two companies were at mutual aid, once again, we have 56,000 people in the city of Hoboken.Both the firefighters union and the fire officer union along with the chief of the department ask the city to apply for a SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant. The purpose of a SAFER grant is to enhance the local fire departments abilities to comply the staffing, response and operational standards established by NFPA 1710 ( National Fire Protection Association) which establishes the minimum personnel per apparatus. (The city has not been compliant since 2009).The union asked the city to apply for 24 firefighters, the chief recommended and ask for 16, and the city only authorized 4 ( as of yet the administration hasn’t accepted it ). Although appreciated, that is not nearly enough for what the department needs we hope that the city administration will finally start increasing the department’s manpower so you the citizens, will have the properly sized fire department to best serve you in the safest and most efficient way. Until that day, please be aware that the members of Hoboken fire department will continue to serve you the citizens as best we can. Sincerely,Michael StefanoHoboken Fire Officer- Local 1076Thomas AligoHoboken Firefighter- Local 1078
Drew Yurko is showcased in Persinger’s latest film, Where?Bruce Persinger has been involved with the Southern snowboard scene for the last 20 years, first as a rider, then as a team manager. Now, he’s producing ski flicks from the Mid-Atlantic that people actually want to watch. Persinger, who lives at the base of Timberline Resort in West Virginia, documented the record-breaking snow season two years ago with Right Coast, Right Time, and just released a full-length video from last season that showcases who he thinks is the best boarder in our region, Drew Yurko. The film, just released, is called Where? BRO asked Persinger to dish about filming snow flicks in the South, trespassing, and getting older.On filming ski porn in the SouthThe biggest challenge, obviously, with shooting snowboarding films in the Mid-Atlantic is the conditions. You can’t just pick your days. You have to be available to shoot powder when it snows. Then you have to shoot the park scenes when it’s 35 and sunny. I missed a few storms, but if there’s six inches on the ground, chances are I’m out there riding and filming.On local talentThere’s always been an assumption that there’s no way anyone from our region will turn pro. But I had Tom Wallisch on a team I managed here and he’s one of the biggest skiers in the country now. We’re starting to get athletes of national caliber talent, which is why we named this latest film Where? We film with Drew Yurko, who won the Eastern Snowboard Championships at Seven Springs last season. It was the biggest, best park contest of the year in the Mid-Atlantic. He’s an amazing athlete. In 2008, he was the Maryland State Running Back of the year and he comes from a gymnastics background. Filming with Drew is like playing a video game. We’re out there in the park and I tell him to hit a jump a certain way, and he just does it.On equipmentWhere? just went up today. It’s a 10-minute road trip video from last year. I think it’s some of our best work. It’s not just park riding. There’s some decent powder in there too. The Go Pro really opened up what we could film. I’m willing to put that little camera into a lot of places that I’m just not willing to put the $4,000 camera. This winter, I’m excited about doing some 3D film of some of the area’s best runs. I can get out there with the ski patrol before they open the lifts and get these runs in their pure state.On powder daysThe best powder shot I got in Where? was actually two weeks after the resort was closed. We hiked up the entire mountain. It’s a good hike to the top, at least 45 minutes. But then you’ve got two feet of snow in every direction, and it’s all pristine, no tracks. I went halfway down and shot one of the boarders coming all the way down a nice, clean run. Timberline is a small, family-run mountain. It’s no frills, but we can hike up it in the spring without getting slapped with trespassing. There were days well into May that we were setting up shots and hits on our own in the park.On riding backcountryThis year, my plan is to get more into the backcountry. I’ve ordered split boards, which a lot of people are getting into around here. I’m hoping to do some filming at Whitegrass and some of the pipelines. There are three new pipelines on my list right now. They’re similar to the pipeline coming off of Weiss Knob [above Canaan Valley], but they aren’t as grown up. They’ve been freshly cleared, as wide as a two-lane road with rolling grass. There’s even a gas line that runs straight down the mountain where I live, on the side of Timberline that most locals have never ridden.On the importance of videoOne of my projects this year is to shoot the film that will help Drew Yurko get to the Dew Tour next year. The film means so much to boarders and sponsors and fans. That’s how Tom Wallisch became known. He won the Level1 Super Unknown video contest with a film he shot and edited himself. That’s how he got his name.On getting olderI’m 36 now. I was a first generation park rat. I can’t take the beating anymore. I no longer bounce. I just splat. These kids I’m filming surpassed my level of riding when they were 16 years old. A Frontside Rodeo 540 (see below) is as far as I’ll ever go. Now, I’m more interested in the backcountry and powder.A Front What?Don’t speak snowboard? A Front Rodeo 540 is when a snowboarder launches from a jump, performing a backward flip while spinning with a 540-degree rotation. It’s impressive, no matter how humble Persinger sounds. But what’s the hardest snowboard trick? It could be the Double McTwist 1260, a half-pipe trick that Shaun White debuted for the world during the 2010 Olympics that includes three twists and two flips before landing.