Newark, NJ - March 2, 2010 - Mayor Cory A. Booker and Director of Neighborhood and Recreational Services Melvin L. Waldrop announced today that the City of Newark is currently registering runners for its 35th Annual Distance Classic, which will take place on Sunday, March 21, 2010. The annual 5K and 20K run will tip off at 9:30 a.m. This is the first distance event of the 2010 running season.
“The Newark Distance Classic attracts runners from throughout the world who want to test their strength, dedication, and commitment upon the streets and hills of Newark,” Mayor Booker said. “I urge all of our residents to extend a warm welcome to all of the runners who compete in this event, and manifest the greatness of Newark by cheering them on as they race across our City.”
Cash awards will be given out for the top three male and female 20K overall finishers, as well as the top three USA Track Federation for New Jersey -certified male and female finishers, and the top three Masters USATF-New Jersey male and female finishers. First place-winners will receive $2,500, Second place gets $1,500, while third-place earns $1,000.
Awards will also go to 5K winners and 20K winners in various age groups. Businesses, schools, colleges, and other groups may compete with male, female, or co-ed teams for top three finishers in the “team” categories. All pre-registered runners will receive a souvenir t-shirt.
The Division of Recreation/Cultural Affairs is also recruiting volunteers to serve on race day to register runners, to man water stops, and act as race marshals.
The Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation, founded by the four-time Olympian and New Jersey native, is joining to co-sponsor the race for the first time this year. The Foundation has partnered with the City to support other youth fitness and sports program. Joetta Clark Diggs will make a personal appearance at the race to greet the competitors.
The race is the first of the nation’s distance running season, and is considered a warm-up for events like the Boston Marathon and other major marathons. USA Track & Field New Jersey and New Balance North Jersey are co-sponsoring the race. The challenging route takes runners through Newark’s downtown and Branch Brook Park, and will be held rain or shine.
Race award categories are as follows: 20K Age Division Awards: 19 and under; 20-29; 30-39; and all Masters’ five-year age divisions. 5K Awards: Top three Male and Female Overall; Top three in the following Age Divisions: 14-under; 15-19; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60-69; 70-79; 80 and over.
The race is certified by the USA Track Federation for New Jersey. All registrations postmarked before March 15, are $20. Registrations postmarked after that cost $25. USATF-NJ members get a $2.00 discount off the registration fee. Registration closes at 9 a.m. on race day, Sunday, March 21, 2010. Everyone competing in the run will receive a race souvenir t-shirt. Runners muster for the race by 9 a.m. at Rutgers University Gymnasium (Golden Dome), located at 42 Warren Street, Newark, New Jersey. Support Volunteers should arrive earlier.
“The Newark Distance Classic has been a signature athletic event for the City of Newark for 35 years,” Director Waldrop said. “I am proud of how our residents turn out to participate, to support the runners, or to serve as volunteers, showing our City’s great hospitality and warmth. We want to continue to grow and strengthen this event so that it becomes one of the major running events in the nation. It is a great opportunity to showcase our City.”
The race will be preceded by the Mighty Milers Run, in which Newark youth aged 6-15 from all six of the City’s Recreation Centers will compete in a co-ed race over a one-mile route. The youth runners will join in the race as a celebration of their participation in the Mighty Milers, a New York Road Runners Foundation Program that strives to make running a part of every child’s school day. Winners in various age categories, the overall winning runner and recreation center team will receive awards presented by a representative from the Mighty Miler Corporate office.
Creating a healthier Newark is a priority for the Booker administration. At his Fourth Annual State of the City Address on February 9, 2010, the Mayor announced that he will serve as National Co-Chair of First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to fight childhood obesity.
Since 2006, the Booker administration has made the comprehensive rehabilitation of each of the City’s recreation centers a priority to improve the quality of life for Newark's residents. After millions of dollars of capital investment, every city Recreation facility and pool has been successfully upgraded and is now open for expanded programs and community use. In addition, City programming at recreation centers has been thoroughly enriched. Residents can now access a full catalogue of recreation and cultural programs and services.
For more information on competing or volunteering, contact Miriam Santiago at (973) 733-3749. For information about any City of Newark program or policy, contact the Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.
Newark, NJ - March 1, 2010 - Mayor Cory A. Booker, the Newark Municipal Council, Police Director Garry F. McCarthy, and other Newark dignitaries swore in the 54 members of the 115th Newark Police Recruit Class as members of “Newark’s Finest” at a Metropolitan Baptist Church ceremony today, capping 23 weeks of training for the 45 males and nine female members of the class. The ceremony kicked off with all 54 police recruits marching in cadence from the Oscar Miles Complex on Court Street up Broome Street to the church entrance on Springfield Avenue.
During his remarks, Mayor Booker noted that this graduation class has doubled the number of recruits compared to the previous administration. Some 304 police recruits have gone through the Academy, including this class, under the Booker Administration. The force now has 1,337 officers.
“A lot of sacrifices went into getting more police officers on our streets. While other municipalities are laying off police officers, my administration has remained committed to the mission of public safety,” said Mayor Booker. “Today we rejoice. We graduated a class of more than 50 officers from our community, and they have dedicated their lives to our safety. They will go into high-crime areas right away, where the narcotics trade is going on, so we as a City should be very proud,” Mayor Booker said.
Of the 54 recruits in the class, 45 are male and nine female. They break down ethnically as follows: Males: 17 Latino, 10 African-American, 18 Caucasian. Females: six African-American and three Latina.
Police Director McCarthy reminisced about his own graduation from the New York City Police Academy in 1981. “Days like today take me back to the early, defining moments of my Police career,” he said. “The world of policing has changed dramatically since I graduated from the academy, and the mission was not half as difficult as today. Today police officers no longer solve crimes. They prevent crimes. You will save lives. You will make a difference. Every single day, you make a difference when you walk out the door.”
Twelve of the new officers have family connections on the Department. In addition, two new officers, Sasskayo T. Palmer and Jimmy Rodriguez, worked for the City before entering the Academy. A list of the names and family connections of all recruits is attached.
At the ceremony, City Clerk Robert Marasco and Deputy City Clerk Kenneth Louis administered the oaths of office to the recruits who were individually congratulated after being sworn in by Mayor Booker and Director McCarthy. Recruits who excelled in various phases of the 23-week training program, such as firearms, academics, physical fitness, and character, were given awards for their achievements. A list of awardees is attached.
“I thank you for answering the call of duty to keep our City streets safe,” said South Ward Council Member Oscar James II, on behalf of his Council colleagues. “These young men and women have stepped up to the plate to make a difference and make life better for others in a role where they will be saving lives. I challenge other members in the audience today to step up to answer the call to community service.”
“I was inspired by the words that Mayor Booker and Director McCarthy had to say. They made me even prouder to be a member of the Newark Police Department,” said newly-graduated Police Officer Kenneth L. Poggi, who won the Academic Award for the highest academic average. “While the Police Academy was very challenging, the task ahead is even more challenging, but I am committed to the City and making it safer for residents.
“I was surprised when they called my name to receive my award,” said Officer Sasskayo Palmer, who topped the nine female recruits by earning the highest Physical Training score. “The training was very rigorous, but I’m very competitive. I was aiming to get the highest score. I will continue to do the same when I’m out in the field.”
Police service is in the blood for Officer Jose Padilla, who received the Clarence Cook Award for marksmanship. His sister is 17-year veteran Officer Roxanne Rivera, and their father is Essex County Undersheriff Jessie Padilla. “I’m a proud father,” said Jessie Padilla. “We’re all doing our part as a family to make Newark a safer City.”
“My father inspired me to be a police officer,” said Officer Padilla. “I hope to live up to my father’s achievements.”
For Newark Detective Brian Logan, Sr., the graduation of his son, Brian Logan, Jr., was the continuation of a family history of service with the Newark Police Department. Detective Logan’s father was one of the earliest African-Americans to serve in the Department. “I am proud that my son decided to continue the family legacy. My father would be very proud of his grandson today.”
“I was inspired by what the Mayor and Police Director McCarthy said,” Officer Logan, Jr., said. “I will do my part to both keep Newark safe and uphold our family legacy.”
Under the Booker Administration, the City of Newark has formed several new partnerships and launched numerous new initiatives and policing strategies. Since 2006, the Newark Police Foundation has raised thousands of dollars in philanthropic donations to support the purchase and deployment of new crime-fighting technology, including the deployment of more than one hundred wireless video surveillance cameras, a sonic gunshot detection system, a new state-of-the-art emergency services vehicle and the operation of the City’s “Crime Stopper” and “Gun Stopper” anonymous tip lines. The City is now building a new 5th Precinct in the South Ward, and moving to build other new station houses.
Anyone with information about any crime in Newark is urged to call the Department’s 24-hour “Crime Stoppers” anonymous tip line at 877 NWK-TIPS (877 695-8477) or 877 NWK-GUNS (877 695-4867). Tips leading to arrests and indictments could result in cash rewards of up to $2,000 to the person who provides the information or $1,000 per gun for calls into the gun hot line. Since the program began police have received more the 3,190 calls and paid out more than $70,000 in reward money resulting in more than 220 arrests, the recovery of 94 guns, and the confiscation of more than $245,000 worth of illegal narcotics.
For more information about all City of Newark programs, policies, and initiatives, contact the Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.