Assemblywoman Jimenez introduces tough gun control bill
West New York Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez introduced a bill in the state legislature Wednesday that would require New Jersey residents seeking gun permits to submit to psychological evaluations before being allowed to purchase a weapon. Furthermore, the bill would require that potential gun owners allow authorities to evaluate the safety practices of their home before being allowed to keep a weapon there.
“This is an attempt to protect the public from individuals who could pose a safety threat if allowed to purchase firearms,” said Jimenez. “This bill adds a layer of protection to the process to help keep guns away from people who have no business carrying them.”
The bill was introduced amongst a wave of pro-gun control bills submitted by lawmakers from all over the state. Eighteen bills were introduced in the Senate and Assembly yesterday, most of which aim to tighten the state’s already strict gun laws.
Under current state law, an applicant for a gun permit must consent to a mental health background check, but Jimenez said that her new legislation would take it one step further by requiring an examination at the time the application is submitted. She said the bill was inspired by the Newtown school shooting, which claimed the lives of 20 children.
She said, “Let’s make sure we are not arming individuals who have serious mental health issues and can end up hurting themselves, as well as innocent others.”
Obama taps former West New York student to be next CIA director
President Obama nominated John O. Brennan, a career Central Intelligence Agency officer and close aide to the president, to be the nation’s next top spy on Monday. Brennan, a North Bergen native, attended the St. Joseph’s of the Palisades school in West New York before graduating with a degree in political science from Fordham University.
After obtaining a Master’s degree in government with a concentration in Middle Eastern from the University of Texas, Brennan joined the CIA and rose to become one of the agency’s highest ranking officers before being named Obama’s homeland security advisor. He was heavily involved in the Navy SEAL mission which resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Brennan’s former teacher and current Commissioner of Public Works in North Bergen Frank Gargiulo told NJ.com he was more than confident in Brennan’s ability to lead the CIA.
"Just hearing about [his nomination] is a thrill and I know that he is going to do a terrific job,” said Gargiulo.
Coincidentally, the former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louis Freeh, was also a graduate of St. Joseph’s.
Mayor Stack’s hearing postponed to Jan. 28
A hearing of the simple assault claim by a Secaucus man against Union City Mayor Brian Stack, which was previously scheduled for Monday, has been postponed until Jan. 28 at 5:30 p.m., according to a municipal court official.
The mayor was accused by Raymond Mitchell, 33, of assaulting him at the mayor’s holiday party in North Bergen on Dec. 14.
Stack’s lawyer, Dennis McAlevy, told NJ.com that the hearing was postponed because he was still waiting for discovery documents, including security camera footage from the evening of the alleged incident.
Stack denied that the alleged incident took place, accusing North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco of orchestrating the event in an attempt to discredit Stack. A spokesman for Sacco denied the allegation.
Sources: Pulaski Skyway to close for two years in 2014
The Pulaski Skyway in Jersey City will be closed to New-York bound motorists for two years beginning in 2014 after Super Bowl XLVIII, according to a report by NBC 4 New York. The bridge serves as a major thoroughfare for drivers heading to Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel.
Unnamed sources were attributed as saying that the 80-year-old structure is, “massively used, massively worn out.” NBC 4 New York declined to name the sources.
A $1 billion restoration project, which could take several years overall, was to be announced Thursday in Newark. The project that affects New York-bound commuters will last about two years. According to the news report, two of the bridge's four lanes will be “redecked” at a time, but only outbound traffic will be allowed, no matter which lanes are under construction.
Hudson County executive Tom DeGise was quoted as saying the closure would present a "horrible, horrible predicament,” and that there are no good alternatives for work on a bridge that was built with the same truss construction as an interstate highway span that collapsed in Minnesota several years ago, killing several motorists.
Commuters will likely face challenges finding alternate routes.
The work will not begin until after the Super Bowl is over, since the game will be held nearby in the Meadowlands.
West New York Police PBA to host community blood drive
The West New York PBA Local 361 and the West New York Police Supervisors Association will host a blood drive at the town’s recreation center on Wednesday, Jan. 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The drive is being held in memory of Otilio Leon, a lifelong town resident and father of West New York police officer, Detective Robert Leon.
The event will be run by Community Blood Services. One out of three people will require the blood collected during donations such as these – donations that save lives on a daily basis.
Those who plan to donate should bring an I.D. with a signature. Social security number is not required. Donors must weigh over 110 pounds and be in general good health. Donors will receive a free non-fasting cholesterol and glucose screening.
Mayor Felix Roque and several of the town’s commissioners are expected to participate in the event.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Community Blood Services at (201) 251-3703.
Rough flu season underway; 18 children have died nationally
According to a report from the Center for Disease Control, this year flu season started about five weeks earlier than usual, hospitalizing 2,257 people and causing the deaths of 18 children.
Although no fatalities have yet been recorded in Hudson County, local hospitals have begun to see a surge in flu cases in the past few weeks, said Dr. Susan Walsh, the accountable care medical director at Jersey City Medical Center.
Walsh, a former deputy commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Health, stressed that a flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent the disease, but that other precautions should be taken as well.
“The most important thing is to wash your hands as much as possible,” she said. Walsh also said that coughs and sneezes should be covered, and that people should avoid using others’ electronics and phones.
Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is usually most common in the winter months.
On average, three out of four people who experience flu symptoms have not been vaccinated, according to John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston.
Walsh said people often mistake the flu for the common cold, a misconception which could potentially cost them dearly.
“The defining difference is that a severe headache is almost always more indicative of the flu than with the common cold,” she said.
The New Jersey Dept. of Health is operating a website dedicated to flu awareness and prevention, at www.nj.gov/health/flu. On the website, there is a link for finding the closest flu shot provider nearest to you. Some may be able to provide the shot at a low cost or free.