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Personal Injury AttorneyYou Deserve with Help from William Gonzalez
William Gonzalez-Black

The Personal Injury Attorney in Guttenberg, NJ, You Can Trust

Did you know that as a state, New Jersey has the 3rd most personal injury cases per capita? In fact, personal injury cases occurred at a rate of 30.34 per 100,000 capita, which is 218% higher than the national average of 9.53%. Perhaps even more alarming, personal injury cases account for 31% of New Jersey's entire caseload - 166% higher than the U.S. average, which lies at 11.65%. One look at those stats, and it's clear that thousands of men and women in New Jersey suffer from the unfortunate negligence of others.

The truth is, when an accident happens out of nowhere, even the most prepared New Jersey native can become a victim. Imagine driving home after a tough day at work, looking forward to relaxing, but suddenly, your life takes an unexpected turn due to someone else's negligence. Coping with the aftermath of personal injury accidents is a daunting task involving long-lasting pain, concerns about work, and worries about your loved ones.

Unfortunately, victims often fall prey to lowball settlement offers and provide official statements to insurance companies without a personal injury attorney in Guttenberg, NJ. Once you accept a settlement offer or make an official statement, it becomes challenging to correct the situation. That's where William Gonzalez Law Group comes in - to protect your rights and fight on your behalf for the compensation you deserve.

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Personal Injury Attorney Guttenberg, NJ

The William Gonzalez Law Difference

William N. Gonzalez was Born in 1961 in the Bronx. He moved to Puerto Rico in 1973, where he attended Middle School, High School, and freshman year at the Catholic University of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Ultimately, he transferred to John Jay College of Criminal Justice C.U.N.Y., earning a B.A. degree in 1984.

After completing that achievement, he attended Seton Hall School of Law from 1987 through 1990, earning a J.D. and admission into the New Jersey State Bar. Shortly after, he began working for various law firms until2002, when he became a solo practitioner in the Township of West New York.

Since that time, he has dedicated his practice to serving the community with honesty, integrity, and hard work. His practice was founded with the main purpose of helping those who face crisis and are in need of a personal injury lawyer in Guttenberg, NJ, who sticks by their side.

Mr. Gonzalez focuses on a range of personal injury cases, including but not limited to.

  • Auto Accidents
  • Truck Accidents
  • Car Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Slip-and-Fall Accidents
  • Workers' Compensation Cases
  • DUI Cases
  • Municipal Court Cases

If you're looking for a fearless attorney to fully represent you and to fight the good fight on your behalf, look no further than the William Gonzalez Law Group. Now that you're up-to-date on William Gonzalez's background and accomplishments, let's dig a little deeper into the nuances of personal injury law and the areas of law in which he focuses.

Common Types of Personal Injury Cases in New Jersey

While there are many different types of personal injury cases in New Jersey, some are more common than others - especially those that involve motor vehicles and driving under the influence. Some of the most common types of personal injury cases that William Gonzalez helps clients overcome include.

Car-Accidents

Did you know that driver error is the leading cause of car accidents in New Jersey? The truth is that negligent drivers don't pay attention. They also don't adhere to traffic laws or use the right safety precautions. They often cause serious injuries by.

  • Driving Too Fast
  • Talking or Texting While Driving
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Making Improper Lane Changes
  • Running Stop Signs and Red Lights
  • Rear-Ending Other Drivers

If you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else's negligence, it is important to have a personal injury attorney in Guttenberg, NJ, whom you can rely on. Your lawyer will help protect your rights and fight for the maximum compensation possible according to local laws. Your car accident attorney will also collaborate with specialists such as investigators and accident reconstruction experts to determine the cause of your injury and establish who is responsible for any damages.

 William Gonzalez Law Guttenberg, NJ

There are more than eleven million trucks that operate daily across the United States, with drivers who work long hours and carry sensitive materials. In 2016, there were over 470,000 large truck and semi accidents, with human error accounting for 90% of those accidents. Truck accidents can cause injuries in several ways, such as if a truck carrying hazardous materials explodes or spills its contents, causing damage to surrounding drivers and property. Commercial trucks can also jackknife or lose control of their steering wheel, which can result in injuries to the driver or others involved in the accident.

Due to the massive size of semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles, accidents involving these vehicles often result in catastrophic injuries. If you have been injured due to a negligent truck driver who was speeding, distracted, impaired, or whose vehicle was poorly maintained, it's time to hire a trucks accident lawyer. Doing so quickly after your accident will help protect your rights against insurers and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

 Auto Accidents Guttenberg, NJ

If you ride a motorcycle in New Jersey, you are at a higher risk of dying in an accident compared to other drivers. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are on the rise. The good news? William Gonzalez is highly skilled when it comes to representing motorcycle accident clients and the injuries they sustain, including.

  • Injury from negligent drivers who are reckless, distracted, or are involved in blind-spot wrecks
  • Injury due to serious road defects such as unsafe intersections, potholes, and more

If you were recently involved in a motorcycle accident because of another party's negligence, you can count on William Gonzalez as your advocate. It all starts with an initial consultation with a motorcycle injury attorney who truly understands New Jersey injury law.

 Truck Accidents Guttenberg, NJ

If you have been injured while working, it can be a painful, confusing, and emotional experience. It can also be financially devastating for you and your family. Therefore, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and seek the guidance of a qualified workers' compensation lawyer in New Jersey. The William Gonzalez Law Group has been successfully assisting injured workers for years. Mr. Gonzalez's goal is to get the full compensation you need to cover your medical bills and take care of your family while you recover. If you've suffered an injury while on the job that resulted in lost wages or ongoing pain and suffering, it's time to fight for financial compensation.

 Car Accidents Guttenberg, NJ

Injuries resulting from trips, slips, and falls can be severe and may include fractures, brain trauma, neck, and back injuries, among others. Recovering from a serious fall can take months, and the victim may experience lifelong health issues and incur substantial medical bills.

However, in New Jersey, property owners have a legal obligation to maintain their property in a safe manner. If someone gets injured on their premises or property due to their negligence, the owner can be held liable. The victim has the right to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for the cost of medical treatment, lost income, and pain and suffering caused by the injuries.

Some of the most common contributors to slip-and-fall accidents in New Jersey include.

  • Poor Lighting
  • Narrow Stairs
  • Wet Floors
  • Missing Handrails
  • Uneven Flooring
  • Defective Sidewalks

 Motorcycle Accidents Guttenberg, NJ

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a drunk driving accident, a personal injury lawyer in Guttenberg, NJ, can provide assistance. Despite decades-long efforts by civic organizations to curb drunk driving, it remains a problem throughout the United States, including in New Jersey, which has strict DUI laws and enforcement.

William Gonzalez believes that prosecuting drunk driving accidents not only helps clients recover compensation for their injuries but also serves as a warning to others who may consider driving under the influence.

What are Personal Injuries in New Jersey?

When an accident, incident, or illness causes you physical injury or emotional pain and suffering, it is referred to as personal injury. For example, suppose you are involved in a car accident and experience a traumatic brain injury. In that case, you have the right to seek compensation for the expenses related to treating and recovering from your physical injuries. You're also entitled to financial compensation for the emotional distress you may have suffered as a result of the injury.

There are three general terms you should be familiar with as it relates to personal injury law in New Jersey:

  • Pain and Suffering
  • Bodily Harm
  • Emotional Distress

Pain and Suffering in New Jersey

Experiencing pain and suffering is not always limited to physical injuries. It can also affect one's emotional well-being, which may require the help of a mental health professional to properly document. Consulting with a mental health professional can help determine the extent of any potential psychological issues that may have arisen from your incident.

To provide accurate documentation of your emotional pain and suffering, it is important to record how your daily activities have been impacted and how you may no longer be able to participate in activities that you once enjoyed. This might include difficulties in communication or the inability to enjoy outings that were once pleasurable.

Bodily Harm in New Jersey

When someone experiences physical injury as a result of an accident, such as a car accident, they may sue for compensation for the harm done to their body. This compensation can help cover the costs of medical bills, surgeries, physical therapy, home care equipment, or any other expenses needed to aid in their recovery from the injury.

Emotional Distress in New Jersey

Emotional distress can be difficult to prove, especially when it involves defamation of character or threats to one's physical safety. It's important to understand, however, that emotional distress is valid. You have the right to seek compensation for any fear or trauma you have experienced and should not hesitate to fight for what you deserve.

If you have suffered a serious injury due to an accident, it's time to protect yourself and your family with the help of a personal injury attorney in Guttenberg, NJ. Unlike your lawyer, the insurance companies involved in your personal injury case are not on your side and are known for presenting offers that don't fairly compensate you for your losses.

How Negligence Affects Your Personal Injury Case in New Jersey

In New Jersey, determining who is legally responsible for an accident usually involves assessing the negligence of the person at fault. Proving negligence or negligent acts as the cause of serious injuries and damages can be one of the most challenging aspects of a personal injury case. While some accidents are just that - accidents - in other cases, such as drunk driving car accidents, it is clear that the act of criminal negligence caused the accident, and the person responsible should be held liable for the damages.

According to New Jersey law, there are four elements that must be covered when trying to prove negligence in personal injury cases. Those elements include the following.

Personal Injury Attorney Guttenberg, NJ

In New Jersey, determining who is legally responsible for an accident usually involves assessing the negligence of the person at fault. Proving negligence or negligent acts as the cause of serious injuries and damages can be one of the most challenging aspects of a personal injury case. While some accidents are just that - accidents - in other cases, such as drunk driving car accidents, it is clear that the act of criminal negligence caused the accident, and the person responsible should be held liable for the damages.

Legal Duty

According to legal duty, the defendant has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the victim and prevent harm. In New Jersey, drivers have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles safely in regard to other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. Businesses are legally obliged to maintain their premises in a safe manner, ensuring there are no hazards such as ice, snow, or slippery floors.

Breach of Duty

To prove that the defendant is responsible for an accident, it must be shown that they behaved in a way that they knew could cause harm to others. Additionally, it must be demonstrated that a reasonable person in the same situation would have acted differently. For instance, it is common knowledge that driving a car, truck, or motorcycle under the influence can lead to an accident.

Causation

One of the biggest reasons to hire a personal injury lawyer in Guttenberg, NJ, is so they can prove that your injuries are a direct result of the other party's breach of duty. This means that you need to demonstrate that your injuries occurred due to the defendant's actions. To do so, it is recommended that you seek medical attention from a physician who can document your injuries and confirm that they were caused or worsened by the defendant's negligence. It is crucial to document your injuries with a doctor, as it can be difficult to obtain compensation for injuries that were not properly documented.

Damages

When filing a claim, you must show proof of loss, which may include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering compensation.

William Gonzalez Law Pro Tip

If you've been injured due to someone else's negligence, you should act fast to file a claim and hire a lawyer. In New Jersey, you only have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit or claim. If you fail to file a claim within the time frame set by the statute of limitations, you will lose your opportunity to do so. In most cases, if you attempt to file a claim after the two-year deadline, the defendant will file a motion to dismiss. There are very few exceptions where a personal injury claim may be filed beyond the two-year mark.

A Personal Injury Attorney in Guttenberg, NJ, You Can Count On

The William Gonzalez Law Group specializes in helping you get back on track after a setback. With decades of experience in personal injury law, Mr. Gonzalez can assist you in cases such as car crashes, truck accidents, slip and fall incidents, motorcycle accidents, DUI accidents, workers' compensation cases, and more.

When you are unable to work, have mounting bills and medical expenses, and your quality of life is affected, you need a strong and reliable advocate on your side, and William Gonzalez is the man to call for help. Whether you need assistance with a complex personal injury case or need trustworthy, easy-to-understand legal advice, contact the William Gonzalez Law Group today.

 William Gonzalez Law Guttenberg, NJ

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Latest News in Guttenberg, NJ

We all know Steve Guttenberg. But his new play in New Brunswick takes you inside

Young man moves to big city.Adventures ensure.It's a tale as old as time.But when the young man in question is Steve Guttenberg and the city with the bright lights is Los Angeles, you know it's going to be far from an ordinary story."It's an everyday man coming out into an atmosphere with all these really exotic characters who are so far removed from his upbringing," Guttenberg says of "Tales From the Guttenberg Bible," now playing at ...

Young man moves to big city.

Adventures ensure.

It's a tale as old as time.

But when the young man in question is Steve Guttenberg and the city with the bright lights is Los Angeles, you know it's going to be far from an ordinary story.

"It's an everyday man coming out into an atmosphere with all these really exotic characters who are so far removed from his upbringing," Guttenberg says of "Tales From the Guttenberg Bible," now playing at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick. "How he navigates the waters and tries to make a career for himself while keeping his values − and not getting into trouble."

While Guttenberg hopes audiences will walk away touched by the story of a young man striving toward his goals, he also says they should prepare to laugh − a lot − "because situations are pretty extraordinary."

Guttenberg, 64, has a film and TV career spanning nearly a half-century and is known for his work in "Three Men and a Baby," "Police Academy," "Cocoon" and so many more cultural touchstones.

More:In Andrew Lloyd Webber's new Broadway musical, Cinderella has some badass attitude

"Tales from the Guttenberg Bible"also stars Arnie Burton, Dan Domingues and Carine Montreband, playing scores of characters of who shaped Guttenberg's early career.

Despite the sliver of Guttenberg's career that the play focuses on, it was a period packed with potential material. In fact, his first draft was 300 pages. It's since been whittled down to 68 or so, with the help of George Street Artistic Director David Saint, who also directs the show.

"What I really love is how open Steve is," Saint said. "I told him first, write me everything, write me anything you want to write. What I love doing is editing and cutting and shaping a script and giving you the shape and the dramatic form."

Saint says he learned his love of editing from playwright Arthur Laurents, who he calls his mentor. "He used to say everything needs cuts, even Shakespeare," Saint said. Fittingly, "Tales from the Guttenberg Bible" will be performed in the Arthur Laurents Theater at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center.

More:Curtain up! Here are the plays, musicals opening soon on Broadway

Saint says it's Guttenberg's likability and innocence that will make audiences root for him from the outset.

"Then you see all the remarkable people that he has met in his lifetime. I mean, can you imagine being 17 years old and getting on a private plane with Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier, to go make the movie 'The Boys From Brazil' and having your mother and father bring some salami and hard candy to the jet to give to them, because as his mother says, 'the food on airplanes is terrible?' I mean, the amount of innocence is so astonishing, and yet, he landed on his feet every time and people just liked him."

It's intimidating though, Guttenberg says, to let people peek into such a personal tale.

"Your life is intimate, and private. So when you bring other people into it and allow people to see your life, I had to let things go and open the doors and trust that people would understand my life. And I also understand that there are going to be judgments. Some people are going to like it and some people aren't," he said.

For that reason, and more, it was important to separate the actor Steve Guttenberg from the character Steve Guttenberg, both Saint and Guttenberg said.

More:How did a giant teddy bear costume help this Broadway legend after COVID?

This is the first time Guttenberg has worked with George Street Playhouse.

"It's a beautiful theater," he said. "And David Saint and the board have made a great contribution, not only to New Brunswick, New Jersey, but to the arts."

Go: "Tales From the Guttenberg Bible," tickets $25 to $70, through May 21; George Street Playhouse, at the Arthur Laurents Theater at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, 11 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick. GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org.

Ilana Keller is an award-winning journalist and lifelong New Jersey resident who loves Broadway and really bad puns. Reach out on Twitter: @ilanakeller; [email protected]

Actor Steve Guttenberg Visits TD Bank Ballpark April 18

Actor Steve Guttenberg will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and hang out with fans at the Somerset Patriots April 18 game.Photo Credit: Courtesy Somerset Patriots By Marc RussinoffPublishedApril 14, 2023 at 6:50 PMBRIDGEWATER, NJ – The Somerset Patriots, the New York Yankees Double-A affiliate, will host actor Steve Guttenberg at their Tuesday, April 18 game at TD Bank Ballpark.The Patriots take on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto...

Actor Steve Guttenberg will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and hang out with fans at the Somerset Patriots April 18 game.Photo Credit: Courtesy Somerset Patriots

By Marc Russinoff

PublishedApril 14, 2023 at 6:50 PM

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – The Somerset Patriots, the New York Yankees Double-A affiliate, will host actor Steve Guttenberg at their Tuesday, April 18 game at TD Bank Ballpark.

The Patriots take on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays) at 6:35 pm.

Guttenberg will be starring in a new show, "Tales from the Guttenberg Bible," playing at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick from April 25 through May 21.

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Guttenberg will throw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of the game and also meet fans on the main concourse for pictures and autographs at the George Street Playhouse table.

"Tales from the Guttenberg Bible" is a farcical, laugh-out-loud story written by and starring Guttenberg. The show is a hilarious journey from the Guttenberg’s family home on Long Island to the glamour of Hollywood as Guttenberg himself tells all.

The versatile actor made a name for himself in leading roles in films like Diner (1983), Police Academy (1984), Cocoon (1985), Short Circuit (1986), Bedroom Window (1986) and Three Men and a Baby (1987).

On stage, Guttenberg appeared in The Boys Next Door (1993) in London's West End, Prelude to a Kiss (1995) on Broadway, and Furthest From The Sun (2000) at the June Lune Theatre in Minneapolis. Guttenberg also played Henry Percy in 20150 The Hudson Warehouse Theatre's production of Henry IV.

He has produced an Emmy-nominated television special, Gangs, performed in the original Miracle On Ice, and also ABC's The Day After, which is still one of the most watched television events of this century.

Guttenberg has the record for most original films to go to franchises in film history, and appearing in the most films in The Screen Actors Guild from 1980-1990, tying Gene Hackman.

He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

More information about Tales from the Guttenberg Bible, or to purchase tickets, please visit georgestreetplayhouse.org.

The Somerset Patriots are the New York Yankees Double-A Affiliate and develop today’s top minor league talent into the pinstriped superstars of tomorrow for MLB’s winningest team. The Patriots are the reigning Eastern League Champions and play their home games at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ, where fans get to enjoy the unique experience that is minor league baseball. To learn more, visit: somersetpatriots.com.

Stubborn Guttenberg (NJ) Fire Keeps Firefighters Busy

A fire involving a remodeled three-story wood-frame, mixed-occupancy building resulted in a labor-intensive battle by firefighters from the North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue that protects five Hudson County (NJ) municipalities.Shortly after 9 p.m., on November 19, 2021, an AFA assignment of three engines, one truck and a battalion chief were dispatched to 201-70th Street in the town of Guttenberg, New Jersey. Police Officer Jabber arrived and reported smoke in the rear of the first-floor restaurant. Upon arrival of th...

A fire involving a remodeled three-story wood-frame, mixed-occupancy building resulted in a labor-intensive battle by firefighters from the North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue that protects five Hudson County (NJ) municipalities.

Shortly after 9 p.m., on November 19, 2021, an AFA assignment of three engines, one truck and a battalion chief were dispatched to 201-70th Street in the town of Guttenberg, New Jersey. Police Officer Jabber arrived and reported smoke in the rear of the first-floor restaurant. Upon arrival of the first fire companies, the assignment was filled out, dispatching another engine, truck, rescue, safety officer, rapid intervention team, and Deputy 1.

Firefighters made an interior attack as smoke continued to thicken. All occupants of the restaurant and apartments were removed and a second alarm was transmitted. Interior units reported fire traveling “voids on the ‘C’ side,” and a third alarm was struck by Deputy Chief Mike Falco.

Inside the building, firefighters were compelled to pull tin ceilings to find hidden fire, a labor-intensive operation. Heavy smoke rolled out of the building and covered the neighborhood. Fire eventually broke through the roof of the structure located at the corner of Broadway. Flames attracted a New York TV station news helicopter that flew overhead to cover the story.

Numerous handlines were used along with a lot of “truck work.” The first two ladder companies on the assignment were aerial ladders. The second alarm truck, Tower Ladder 3, was a block away due to the narrow and congested streets that are common in this area. Truckies used an aerial ladder and saws to open up the top-floor sidings on Broadway, where firefighters had difficulty gaining access to flames from the interior. After the heavy fire was knocked down, apparatus was moved from the Broadway side of the building and Tower Ladder 3was placed into position. Firefighters opened up the space along the “B” side of the building to expose the hidden flames and knocked them out with a tower monitor.

One firefighter suffered nonlife-threatening injuries and was taken to Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, where he was treated and released.

The main body of fire was was knocked down around 10:40 p.m. Weary firefighters took breaks outside of the building and walked a block away from the scene to the Gong Club canteen truck for bottled water, hot chocolate, or coffee.

  • MORE RON JEFFERS

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    Photos: Firefighters Battle Stubborn Fort Lee (NJ) Apartment Fire

    Ex-Guttenberg mayor’s work on YouTube includes film co-starring Oscar-nominated actress

    Peter LaVilla is many things – a Jersey City native, the former mayor of Guttenberg, and a former Jersey Journal reporter. LaVilla is also a playwright and filmmaker whose offerings including “Mollie and Friends,” starring an Oscar nominee, are available on YouTube. And as LaVilla, 80, is holed up in his place in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida due to the pandemic, he’d like people to know his work is among their free vie...

    Peter LaVilla is many things – a Jersey City native, the former mayor of Guttenberg, and a former Jersey Journal reporter. LaVilla is also a playwright and filmmaker whose offerings including “Mollie and Friends,” starring an Oscar nominee, are available on YouTube. And as LaVilla, 80, is holed up in his place in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida due to the pandemic, he’d like people to know his work is among their free viewing options as something different.

    Included among his work is the aforementioned “Mollie and Friends,” which stars Rosemary Gore, Jeannie Evans, and Academy Award-nominee for Best Actress Sally Kirkland.

    Kirkland specifically was nominated for her role in “Anna” (1987). Even if you don’t know her by name, her face has the kind of familiarity that comes from having been in everything – from “The Way We Were” to “Bruce Almighty” and recurring roles on TV on shows like “Roseanne.”

    “Mollie and Friends” (also known as “Oak Hill” when it was originally released in 2008) is about the eponymous Mollie (Gore), a comedian in the Fozzie Bear tradition working at a shelter where she’s caught between trying to help two substance abusers, Madison and former actress Elizabeth St. James, played respectively by Evans and by Kirkland.

    Kirkland’s role in LaVilla’s film is one of the rare times LaVilla doesn’t use local talent in his work. His former Journal colleague Ron Leir does appear in the film, as Leir does in more work available on LaVilla’s YouTube page.

    “The only movie where I did not (use local talent) was ‘Mollie and Friends’ because that was a SAG movie, and most of the people that I hire locally are non-union, so that was a no-no with SAG.”

    “Mollie and Friends” is unique among LaVilla’s film work for being a drama.

    “(My films) are all to make people happy and make them laugh and feel good about themselves – not that ‘Mollie and Friends’ doesn’t make people feel good. It makes you look at times inward, rather than outward.”

    The way LaVilla became a journalist in the first place seems to to speak to the way he’s approached much of his creative work.

    “Back in the day I sent a letter to the guy who was the editor (of the Hudson Dispatch, later folded into The Jersey Journal) at the time … ‘You know, you do all this stuff about people from out of town and from New York, but what about the locals down here? You never do any work (on them), you never do any reviews.’ And then the guy called me and said, ‘Would you like a job doing it?’”

    LaVilla reflected on his starting salary and being fortunate that rent at the Jersey City public housing he lived in at the time was according to how much you your salary was. He also reflected on later doing three one-act plays called “The 99 Cents Special” – “two of which were mine and one was one of the editors at The Jersey Journal,” he said.

    The play was performed in the backroom of a Hoboken bar.

    “We got a review in The New York Times. (The reviewer) called (one of the plays) ‘beyond gross.’ I took out an ad in The Journal, quoted the guy. I ran the show for eight more weeks. It was only 99 cents to get in.”

    LaVilla can recall talking to people in the long line to see the play, finding out that many of them came from NYC because of that review.

    “We know what gross is, but we don’t know what ‘beyond gross’ is,” one guy said, according to LaVilla.

    The camaraderie of making something with friends, and of trying to make people laugh in a way that’s not unlike the vaudeville-like character he plays in “Mr. Las Vegas,” is something LaVilla built off of creatively.

    “Mollie and Friends” star Gore co-starred with LaVilla in “Oil and Water,” where he played a veteran news man paired with Gore’s young gossip columnist character.

    Gore had moved out to LA and became friendly with Kirkland, LaVilla said. She’s the one who suggested he reach out to Kirkland for the part in “Mollie and Friends.”

    “I said (to her), you want me to call an A-list star?’ She said, ‘Call her.’ I gave her a call, I said, ‘Sally my name is blah blah blah. Rosemary told me to give you a shout. I got this script, would you be interested in reading it?’ I mailed it to her, about a week later she says, ‘Peter, I love the character, I want to make the movie.’”

    In addition to having written the script, LaVilla has a role in the film as the director of the Oak Hill shelter.

    Filmed at Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation (PERC) Soup Kitchen, in Union City, “Mollie and Friends” is a mixed bag bolstered by particularly endearing performances from Gore and Kirkland. It’s a film where you laugh and feel for the characters, but by virtue of the melodrama, you sometimes laugh a little at it.

    Thematically it relies on stereotypes a little too much, and sometimes you wish for something more in tune with the energy of one of the most affecting scenes – where two quiet, emotive characters often in the background are having a meal together in the shelter and talking wistfully about where they came from originally, before their lives brought them there.

    Like LaVilla – who still performs locally in Sunny Isles Beach and has made some his creative writing available on Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, it’s a little all over the place but not without its charms.

    LaVilla’s work as a filmmaker also has a particular distinction as part of Netflix’s transition from DVD-mailers to streaming. “Mr. Las Vegas,” a feature film which he wrote and stars in,” was among Netflix’s original DVD offerings.

    “What happened was, a friend of mine said call this distributor up in Los Angeles. ‘They’re just getting started and they need talent.’ So I sent them a copy and the guy loved it. I signed a 7-year contract.”

    LaVilla later got an email about Netflix trying out something called “streaming,” he said.

    Its gist: “Netflix said they’re taking 100 films to test this thing called streaming, and ‘Mr. Las Vegas’ is among the hundred films.”

    “Mr. Las Vegas” was joined by “Oil and Water” for a long streaming stint on the platform, but the shuffling of new content has pared them down to being available for Netflix’s still available mail-in option. And now, for something different, you can see them on YouTube. Just search “Peter LaVilla” on YouTube.

    Guttenberg weighs sending 7th and 8th graders to North Bergen

    GUTTENBERG -- Wednesday night's meeting of the Guttenberg Board of Education drew an unusually large crowd for the modest district of 1,015 students in grade pre-K though 8.And while the main order of business was a public hearing on the district's $18 million budget for the 2017-18 school year, that's not what drew most of the 30 attendees to the cafeteria of the ...

    GUTTENBERG -- Wednesday night's meeting of the Guttenberg Board of Education drew an unusually large crowd for the modest district of 1,015 students in grade pre-K though 8.

    And while the main order of business was a public hearing on the district's $18 million budget for the 2017-18 school year, that's not what drew most of the 30 attendees to the cafeteria of the Anna L. Klein School, the district's one and only building.

    Rather, several people in the crowd were opponents of a proposal now being weighed by the board to send the district's 7th and 8th graders to North Bergen, at a cost of about $2 million a year in tuition.

    "Don't do it," former student Diana Sanchez, a 31-year-old molecular biologist at Montclair State University, urged the board, recalling the middle school science teacher who inspired her to become a scientist.

    The proposal came from North Bergen school officials, and would correspond to a district-wide reconfiguration in North Bergen scheduled to take effect in September 2019. That reconfiguration includes a move into a new North Bergen High School, configured for students in grades 10-12, and the creation of a new junior high school for grades 7-9.

    North Bergen's new high school will be housed in the old Hudson County High Tech High School, which the township will purchase for about $20 million, reimbursed by the school district.

    Guttenberg students already end up in North Bergen, though not until high school, under a sending-receiving relationship that dates back to the 1960's. The current proposal amounts to an expansion of that relationship by two additional grades.

    But the proposal is opposed by some members of the Guttenberg school community, including the Guttenberg Federation of Teachers union, whose membership could lose a dozen jobs or more under the plan.

    "We are concerned about how economically feasible this is to pay tuition to North Bergen to send our middle schoolers and pay for the addition to the Anna L. Klein School," the union's president, Elaine Heflich, said in a statement.

    Heflich added that parents were concerned about the prospect of their middle school-age children having to cross Kennedy Boulevard.

    Opponents include Guttenberg's own superintedent of schools, Michelle Rosenberg, who questioned why the district would want to shed about 225 students -- and pay North Bergen millions to do it -- just as the Klein school is nearing completion of a $20 million addition that contains a new gym and a dozen new classrooms, including three science labs specifically for 7th and 8th graders.

    The board was not scheduled for any action on the proposal Wednesday night, and none was taken. But its president, William Holkien, read a statement he had prepared in order to "clarify" opponents' concerns.

    "We were approached by North Bergen regarding the possibilities about moving our 7th and 8th graders to their school system. This is why I formed a committee to gather all the information and analyze what would be in the best interest academically and the fiscal impact on our school and the town."

    North Bergen's director of elementary and secondary education, Nicholas Sacco, who also serves as the township's mayor and state senator, said his district would have been "remiss" not to have made the offer, which he believes makes sense educationally and financially for Guttenberg.

    Sacco said Guttenberg students would benefit from enhanced facilities and broader opportunities at the newly created North Bergen Junior High School. And, Sacco said, Guttenberg taxpayers would save on the high cost of special education services, which Guttenberg contracts for, but which North Bergen provides in-house.

    "We made the offer," Sacco said, adding that North Bergen would not see a net benefit from Guttenberg's tuition money. "It's their decision whether the want to come here."

    With a total of 7,800 students in grades pre-K through 12, the North Bergen school district is huge compared to Guttenberg's. And the proposal has been opposed by fans of the Klein school's family-like atmosphere, who say many of Guttenberg's teenage students already complain of feeling lost at North Bergen High School. They say sending students to the larger district at an even younger age would be more traumatic.

    Jenna Lanzaro, an 8th grade language arts teacher who spoke at Wednesday's board meeting, recalled her first year on the job, when she was watching some of her students play in a youth soccer game on a weekend, an entirely unofficial activity she did on her own time, but one common among Guttenberg teachers. While at the game, Lanzaro said she got a call from her surprised mother.

    "'It's Saturday. Is that normal?'" Lanzaro, who lives in Jersey City, recalled her mother asking. And it was, Lanzaro said, at least in Guttenberg.

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