Chris Abel, regional manager for Frank Family Theaters, said that the loose façade that resulted in the closing of the Bayonne Cinema 12 on July 29 did not pose a threat to movie-goers.
The theater was evacuated and closed on after a patron reported seeing an 80-foot portion of the façade separating from the front of the theater. The Bayonne Fire Department secured the loose section but the city closed the theater to business until repairs could be done.
Abel said he had taken photos of the section the day before planning repairs for the following Monday, noting that the loose façade had not been evident a few days earlier.
“I happened to be there on Saturday and noticed it leaning,” he said. “This was not a danger to the public. It is aluminum, like house siding. We would have repaired it on Monday anyway.”
He said he received a call from the theater manager about the issue about 6 p.m. on Sunday, but believed that evacuation of the theater and closing of its operation was not necessary, noting that the façade was located over the unused second floor, not over any of the theaters occupied by movie-goers.
As of the morning of July 30, repairs had been done, but the theater was waiting for a clearance from the city’s construction code official.
Abel said that as soon as the building gets the paperwork to reopen, movies will resume as originally scheduled.
“We can’t turn things on early,” he said. “They will have to come back on normal schedule.”
He expected this to occur sometime in the afternoon on July 30.
Tax office employee charged with forgery
City officials said that an arrest has been made charging an employee, Audrey Pellegrini, with alleged document tampering and forgery of documents. This came after an investigation by the Bayonne police. Now, the matter has been referred to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s office.
According to an official statement issued from City Hall, “Information was brought to the administration’s attention that was turned over to the Police Department’s Detective Bureau for investigation, in consultation with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. The information involved certain documents allegedly handled by Audrey Pellegrini, an employee of the Tax Assessor’s Office.
“Ms. Pellegrini went earlier today to the Police Department, and was charged with forgery and fourth degree document tampering. The matter remains under investigation. She was released on her own recognizance on a summons.”
Pellegrini, 60, allegedly signed the tax assessor’s signature on official paperwork relating to property she allegedly represented as a private real estate agent, according to a city official.
The Hudson County Prosecutor’s office said she was charged with forging the tax assessors’ name as well as providing misleading information in the letter. Charges were brought against Pellegrini after an investigation by the Bayonne police, city officials said.
Bomb threat investigated
An employee of Radio Shack at 489 Broadway received a call from an unknown male around midday on July 25 threatening to blow up the store.
Bayonne police and fire units arrived a few minutes later, closing the street between 22nd and 23rd Streets and began to evacuate buildings on that block.
“The unknown male threatened to blow up the store,” said Police Chief Ralph Scianni. “We evacuated the Radio Shack and the adjacent stores. We cordoned off the area from vehicular and pedestrian traffic and then brought in our K-9 dog, Willie, and his handler. We also notified the Jersey City Bomb Squad which brought in their truck as well as their K-9, Rommel and his handler. An interior check of the store came up with negative results. After the area was searched with dogs and other personnel we reopened the street to vehicles and pedestrians. Officers were placed on patrol there for the remainder of the day. The store manager contacted the district manager for Radio Shack Corporation.”
Scianni said there was no device or package, just a threat. He said Bayonne detectives, who were also on the scene, are conducting an investigation.
Eight people rescued from 34th Street fire
A firefighter was injured during a fire at 16 East 34th Street on July 25 during which firefighters rescued workers from the roof and other parts of the two and half story building.
Upon arrival at about 3:22 p.m., firefighters reported seeing smoke coming from the roof in the rear of the building and also witnessed a roofer on the roof.
“Firefighters guided the roofer down from the roof, and evacuated an additional four workers from the third floor, and three youth from the second floor,” said Fire Chief Greg Rogers. “A fire hose was advanced into the building, and a fire in the cockloft area between the roof and the ceiling of the apartment below was quickly extinguished. The fire damage was confined to an area approximately four-by-four-foot in the loft. The apartment on the third floor suffered minimal smoke and water damage.”
One firefighter was transported to Bayonne Medical Center, suffering from an injury to his shoulder and arm. There were no further reports of injuries. The fire investigator is currently assessing the cause of the fire. The owner reported that Meena Construction was the contractor working at the scene. The Police Department, Building Department, EMS, and the Fire Canteen were at the scene.
Rent control proponents submit signatures
Hoping to take advantage of an alternate route to preserving rent control in Bayonne, proponents of rent control dropped off petitions on July 25.
The City Council passed an ordinance last November that would abolish rent control once current residents moved out of a currently rent controlled apartment. The rent control advocates, who failed to get enough valid signatures for a referendum earlier this year to overturn that ordinance, are now proposing their own ordinance.
Bayonne City Clerk Robert Sloan, who has 20 days to evaluate the signatures on the new move, said they need valid signatures of 10 to 15 percent of the last Assembly general election, which could be between 563 to 844, after which the question would go on the ballot in November.
But the current ordinance would remain in effect until the new ordinance is passed by the public vote in November.
Rent control advocates submitted 941 names, they said.