Jersey City Police Department, mayor announce Shooting Response Team
The Jersey City Police Department last week debuted its new Shooting Response Team, modeled after the Operation Ceasefire program, which is aimed at curtailing gun violence in urban areas.
When a nonlethal shooting takes place, detectives assigned to the Shooting Response Team will be dedicated to that case for the first 48 hours, which law enforcement has identified as one of the key components to the success of the Operation Ceasefire program. Should a shooting occur at a time when the unit is off, two detectives will be on-call to respond and begin the investigation for the unit.
“By establishing a unit dedicated solely to investigating shootings to gather evidence and criminal intelligence, we will have a cohesive and immediate response to these violent crimes,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. ”Rather than to wait for information to come in from the different detective squads in the districts, this unit will work citywide on cases to bring closure and to prevent additional shootings.”
The Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor will still investigate homicides.
Jersey City’s Ceasefire Unit is a squad of five detectives led by a lieutenant, with the squad working from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. – the times when most shootings occur. The detectives work the non-fatal shootings to quickly gather evidence and criminal intelligence. The preservation of the crime scene by the first responding officers is vital to the collection of evidence and witness statements, as well as information regarding the suspect’s vehicle that may have fled the area after the shooting.
Another key component of the Ceasefire Unit is that the unit, according to the city, partners with patrol officers to conduct hot spot enforcement in an effort to curb street disorder and gather intelligence. In addition, the unit leader and his or her detectives will foster connections in the community to build positive relationships to enhance the unit’s mission.
In the last two months, there have been at least seven murders in Jersey City, most by gunfire.
Former Healy Chief of Staff McFadden leaving Fulop administration
Rosemary McFadden, former Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy’s ex-chief of staff who was shifted into the city’s Department of Housing, Economic Development, and Commerce last month by new Mayor Steven Fulop last month, has resigned from her new post, according to sources at City Hall.
McFadden is now the second top Healy aide to leave the Fulop administration abruptly in recent weeks. Two weeks ago, Business Administrator Jack Kelly announced his resignation. McFadden and Kelly were both expected to stay on in the Fulop administration for at least a few months to help with the transition.
An attorney by profession, McFadden worked for the New York Mercantile Exchange for several years before becoming its president and chief operating officer. Healy later selected McFadden, a longtime friend of his, to be his deputy mayor for economic development. She became Healy’s chief of staff in 2010, replacing Dominick Pandolfo.
Often referred to as the person who really ran City Hall during Healy’s later years in office, McFadden wielded formidable power and developed a reputation for being an iron lady. Some city employees said they found her difficult to work with.
Still, she was regarded as one of Healy’s most competent and professional aides and some thought her move into the Department of Housing, Economic Development, and Commerce by Fulop was a smart move that might make tap her Wall Street experience to improve the department. Some ex-Healy aides were, however, surprised that she seemed prepared to stay on to work under the new administration.
Throughout her tenure as Jersey City employee, McFadden worked for $1 a year, although she did receive health benefits.
Jersey City Medical Center to host annual public meeting this week
Jersey City Medical Center will host its annual meeting for the community on Tuesday, Aug. 13 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the auditorium at the Jersey City Museum, 350 Montgomery St.
In May, Jersey City Medical Center announced that it will join the Barnabas Health system.
“The meeting will offer a closer look at what our proposed merger with Barnabas Health will mean to the people we serve, and we will be interested in hearing the community’s input and answering any questions and concerns,” said Jersey City Medical Center President and Chief Operating Officer Joseph F. Scott. “In addition, we will review our recently completed community needs assessment, and examine the past year in review. A great deal has happened at the hospital since last year’s annual meeting and we want to share our many triumphs with members of the community.”
Barnabas Health is the largest not-for-profit integrated healthcare delivery system in New Jersey and one of the largest in the nation, annually caring for more than two million patient visits and delivering 17,600 babies. The system includes six acute care hospitals, two children’s hospitals, a free-standing behavioral health center, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the state’s largest behavioral health network and comprehensive homecare and hospice programs. Among nationally recognized services are burn treatment; adult and pediatric cardiac surgery; heart, lung, kidney and pancreas transplant; neurology and neurosurgery, reproductive medicine and science; geriatrics; oncology; pediatrics; and women’s services. Barnabas Health includes 18,500 employees (making it the second largest private employer in New Jersey); 4,600 physicians (one-fifth of the actively practicing physicians in New Jersey); and 445 residents and interns. State approval of the agreement is still pending.
Attendees at the community meeting will have the opportunity to enjoy a light dinner, talk to members of the board of trustees and hospital leaders, and participate in discussions about the hospital’s planned merger, programs, and services.
There is no cost to attend the meeting. To RSVP, call Anne McGee at (201) 377-6057. For more information, visit www.libertyhealth.org.
Federal grant enables city to increase senior farmers market vouchers
Thanks to a grant from the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which is part of the federal farm bill, Jersey City’s Department of Health and Senior Services will be able to distribute an additional 1,500 farmers market vouchers to senior residents. These 1,500 vouchers signify an additional $30,000 in economic incentives for local seniors, as well as an investment into the Farmers’ Markets in our community.
Since June, the Division of Senior Affairs has distributed 2,500 Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks to Jersey City senior citizens, which equates to $50,000 in assistance and an investment of $50,000 into New Jersey’s farm economy, according to the city.
To be eligible to receive a voucher, seniors must be 60 years of age or older and must have an annual income no more than $21,257 for an individual or $28,694 for a couple. Applications are available at the Department of Health and Human Services/Division of Senior Affairs, 1 Journal Square, 2nd floor. Residents can also call (201) 547-4361.
The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program was created more than 20 years ago to ensure that seniors had access to healthier food and were getting proper nutrition. The farmers market vouchers must be used at farmers markets and cannot be used in supermarkets.
The Barclays returns to Jersey City next week
As the 2013 PGA Tour Season winds down, players continue to look to secure positions in the top 125 on the FedExCup points list and earn a trip to the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs, The Barclays, scheduled for Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, on Aug. 19-25, the tournament’s first return to Liberty National since 2009.
The final two opportunities for players to earn FedExCup points prior to the FedExCup Playoffs are this week’s PGA Championship and the last event of the PGA TOUR Season in Greensboro, N.C., the Wyndham Championship.
The Barclays is the first of four events in the FedExCup Playoffs, culminating with the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Ga., where the 2013 FedExCup champion will be determined.
“The Barclays is thrilled to welcome fans back to Liberty National Golf Course, and to once again host some of the most talented golfers from around the world,” said Peter Mele, executive director of The Barclays. “We’re excited to see how the field shapes up over the next two weeks, and know it will be a dramatic week of golf in Jersey City.”
Amongst the players still fighting to make it to The Barclays are notables such as Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, Louis Oosthuizen and Vijay Singh. All currently are ranked between No. 120-150 on the FedExCup points list. A strong performance in the next two weeks could move any of those names into position for a spot at The Barclays.
Tickets to The Barclays are available via www.TheBarclaysGolf.com and at the Paramus PGA TOUR Superstore.
Each year, fans 18 and younger are admitted free of charge to The Barclays when accompanied by a ticketed adult, and up to three 18 and younger fans can attend with a ticketed adult.
For more information, visit TheBarclaysGolf.com.
Shakespeare at the ‘beach’
The Hip to Hip Theater Company will give a performance at Newport Green, Hudson County’s largest “urban beach,” on Wednesday, Aug. 14. Starting at 7:30 p.m., the Queens-based theater company will perform William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Thirty minutes before this performance there will be an interactive children’s program, Kids and the Classics, as well.
Kids & the Classics is a hands-on theatre experience that introduces kids to the words and imaginative stories of William Shakespeare’s plays through a series of improv games and creative exercises. All ages will love laughing and learning before the show.
Newport Green is located on Washington Blvd. and 14 Street.
This event is free and open to the public.
Ashes of Richie Havens to be scattered over Woodstock
The ashes of folk musician and longtime Jersey City Heights resident Richie Havens will be scattered in Bethel, N.Y., at the site of the historic outdoor concert that Havens opened in 1969. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m., at which the ashes will be scattered. (Seating begins at 2 p.m., according to a posting on Havens’ Facebook page.)
Havens died in his Jersey City home in April at the age of 72.
Although he had a long career, it was his memorable two-hour opening set at the original 1969 Woodstock Festival for which Havens is best remembered. According to several news accounts, Havens had been slated to take the stage as the festival’s fifth act, but was bumped up in the performance lineup after scheduled opening act Sweetwater got stuck in traffic. When other bands were similarly delayed, Havens just continued playing.
The 11-song set included “Handsome Johnny,” “Minstrel from Gault,” and “Hey Jude,” among other tunes. But it was Havens’ Woodstock encore – a blending of his original protest song “Freedom” and the black spiritual “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” – that would become one of the most enduring signature moments of the three-day music festival.
For more information regarding the memorial service next week, visit www.BethelWoodsCenter.org.
Jersey City book store supplies books for ‘Orange is the New Black’
The Netflix TV series “Orange Is the New Black,” about a woman who ends up in prison, has a Jersey City connection. The producers contacted the local independent book vendor Jersey City Free Books for books to use as props, and the store complied.
“A member of the production staff…came to the shop and selected books,” said owner Anthony Olszewski. “As luck would have it, another person from the show emailed [recently]. He wants to stop by to get more books. A truck and driver is outside right now… Though Jersey City Free Books does provide animators and other artists with books (nearly all of which would not be used by others), the primary goal is enabling reading. At first, I was uncertain about releasing numbers of general books for props. After I researched the show, I was eager to help. I grew up in Jersey City [pregentrification]. Incarceration was a common experience then. For many, many people in the United States, prison is a very harsh reality. I’m glad that “Orange Is the New Black” – even maybe just a little – is giving the general population a chance to glance in that window.
Police officer indicted in death of pedestrian in April incident
A grand jury has indicted Jersey City police officer Michael Spolizino who alleged hit pedestrian Stephen Clifford with his car in April. Clifford died as a result of his injuries. The officer was indicted on aggravated manslaughter and death by auto charges.
Clifford was struck as he tried to cross Kennedy Boulevard near the intersection of Fairmount Avenue. Spolizino was off-duty at the time. News stories said that a witness and the officer indicated that the victim tried to beat a traffic light that had just turned green, and Spolizino said he did not see him until it was too late.
But other witnesses at the scene, some of whom made 911 calls, initially questioned the police investigation of Clifford’s death since several of them were not interviewed or contacted by police until after they began raising questions in the local media and at City Council meetings.