The body of a 50-year-old boat operator was discovered on a small workboat near First Street by the Bayonne Bridge at around 8:40 a.m. on Thursday, March 9, according to the New Jersey State Police. Trooper Lawrence Peele identified the man as Joseph Turi, of West Milford. According to Peele, Turi died of blunt force trauma, and his death has been determined an accident by the medical examiner.
The boat, a 25-foot Parker 2520, was being used to transport workers in and around the Newark/NY Bay harbor. Turi was the only person aboard when it was discovered by the Coast Guard on the rocky shores of the Kill Van Kull waterway near First Street.
The NJ State Police are now handling the ongoing investigation. The circumstances of the crash have not yet been released.
Fallout from the mosque
In the week following the Bayonne Zoning Board’s controversial rejection of a Muslim Community Center on March 6, one Planning Board commissioner resigned, the mayor of Hoboken tweeted “I would welcome a mosque in Hoboken,” and the U.S. Department of Justice contacted the President of Bayonne Muslims, the group that was prevented from building a mosque due to concerns over parking.
Waheed Akbar, President of Bayonne Muslims, told the NY Times last week that the Justice Department contacted the group and “plans to investigate the matter.” In the same article, Akbar said that the group is planning its own lawsuit.
After the meeting, Akbarsaid, “I’m very disappointed. I thought we would have had a positive result. We’re going to sit down with our lawyers and community members and come up with a plan on how to move forward.”
Planning Board commissioner resigns
Planning Board Commissioner Laura Marsella resigned from her post on Thursday, March 9, after criticizing a mother who spoke out against the mosque at the Zoning Board meeting on March 6. Marsella publicly advocated for the Muslim Community Center at January’s Zoning Board meeting.
On Facebook, Marsella called the woman, whose child has cancer, “the cancer mother” after she spoke out against the mosque for fear that construction will release carcinogens in the neighborhood.
"I found recently while on the [Planning] Board, we were faced with, not just contentiousness, but being cursed at, accused of being corrupt and being called names, such as 'traitor,'"Marsella wrote in an apology posted on Facebook. "Unfortunately, those things hurt me personally. My building frustration came out just as unkindly as those words leveled at us. I feel ashamed and embarrassed. I am sincerely sorry."
On Thursday morning, Marsella officially resigned. "I've decided my best course of action is to offer a heartfelt apology for a sadly human moment," she wrote on Facebook. Marsella also will no longer serve on the Bayonne Historic Preservation Commission.
In the Briefs section of the March 8 Bayonne Community News, we incorrectly stated that Joe Ryan, Public Information Officer, was taking the place of former Chief-of-Staff Andrew Casais. We regret the error.