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Report: NJ Hall Of Fame Cancels June Ceremony

The sixth annual New Jersey Hall of Fame induction ceremony will not be held as usual this June, but officials say there’s still a possibility that a Class of 2013 will be selected by year’s end.The Star-Ledger  reports a government reorganization that changed the mission of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority last summer has resulted in a complete overhaul of the Hall of Fame. The hall is a web-based organization with no permanent home that has inducted famous New Jerseyans each year since 2008.

“We are starting at ground zero, looking at all of the options,” sports authority president and CEO Wayne Hasenbalg told the newspaper.

Hasenbalg said the Hall of Fame commissioners, who are appointed by the governor, have created working committees to examine criteria for eligibility, the selection and induction process and the induction ceremony. They will make recommendations for changes, Hasenbalg said.

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, where the first five gala events were held, was holding June 8 for the event, but that hold has been canceled and no new date has been requested, NJPAC CEO John Schreiber said.

Don Jay Smith, the hall’s executive director, was laid off in October as part of a cost-savings plan. The staff of the sports authority will assume these duties and serve in “an advisory capacity” to the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame was created by law in 2005 and amended in 2008. It has been under the NJSEA since its inception, but a new law moved the NJSEA from the state Community Affairs Department to the Department of State, where it will oversee all of New Jersey’s promotional efforts.

For the first five classes of inductees, the Hall of Fame sought public nominations, which were reviewed by an expert panel. A voting academy would narrow the list to about 100 to 125, and then the commissioners would put forth 50 nominations, 10 in each of five categories: historical, arts and entertainment, sports, enterprise and general. The public would vote online, usually starting in September.

Toni Morrison, Buzz Aldrin, Bruce Springsteen, Yogi Berra, John Travolta and Queen Latifah are among those who have been inducted in previous years at star-studded performances in Newark.

NJ Hall Of Fame 2012 Inductees
NJ Hall Of Fame 2012 Inductees (Gary Gellman, Gellman Images)

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