NORTH BERGEN BRIEFS
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BRIEFS
More than 200 kids received free Halloween costumes at a town giveaway on Oct. 4. (See brief)
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Over 200 kids get free costumes at Halloween giveaway

The group NB C.A.R.E.S. held their annual Halloween costume giveaway for families in need on Tuesday, Oct. 4. More than 200 kids happily dug through the piles of costumes inside the Recreation Center to find the perfect outfit for this year’s holiday. One young local, Laila, was looking for a white dress so she could celebrate Halloween as a zombie bridesmaid. “It’s going to be ripped up and bloody,” she said.

Nearby, another local student named Angie was searching for bows for her zombie cheerleader costume.

She said she was going to combine it with the “Bob’s Burgers” character Louise’s hat.

More than 400 costumes were donated to the township by Walmart with additional donations from Walgreen’s.

In addition there were wigs, hats, accessories, trick-or-treat bags, Halloween decorations, candy, baking supplies, and more, all available to residents for free. Commissioner Julio Marenco visited the event to meet with families as they tried on costumes and geared up for the Halloween season.

Suspect in North Bergen hit-and-run turns himself in

The suspect in last week's fatal hit and run outside North Bergen's Palisades Medical Center turned himself in to authorities Monday, according to a press release from the Hudson County Sheriff's Office.

Olvy R. Torres, 36, appeared at the Sheriff's Office Division in Jersey City at 10:30 a.m that day, the release said. He turned himself in with his attorney.

He was set to be arraigned at Central Judicial Processing Court Tuesday. Torres is charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. Additional charges may soon follow, according to the release.

Bayonne resident Luisa Valdes, 59, who worked at the hospital, died in the incident.

“This suspect’s identification and arrest was an excellent display of inter-agency cooperation by our three law enforcement agencies,” Sheriff Frank Schillari said. “There were about two dozen officers working around the clock last week to identify and locate the driver of that vehicle.”

Extensive news and social media coverage played a role in Torres coming forward, according to North Bergen Police Chief Robert Dowd.

“We had over 150,000 hits on just our NBPD social media outlets after his photograph was posted last week,” Dowd said in the release.

“The arrest of this suspect was the direct result of investigative collaboration of multiple law enforcement agencies and I am proud of our efforts,” added Prosecutor Esther Suarez. “My heart goes out to the family and co-workers of Luisa Valdes, and I hope that this arrest will help in some way to ease their sorrow and help to eventually bring this matter to a just conclusion.”

State indicts three men in large North Bergen fentanyl bust

On Friday, Atty. Gen. Christopher Porrino announced the indictment of three men in connection with a massive fentanyl bust in North Bergen this summer, said a press release from the state Attorney General's office.

"While it has been spotlighted for killing Prince and other celebrities, fentanyl also is responsible for a growing death toll in New Jersey," says the release, "where there were 417 overdose deaths from fentanyl in 2015, and 394 overdose deaths from fentanyl and fentanyl analogs in just the first six months of 2016."

According to the release, Jesus Carrillo-Pineda, 31, Jesus Yanez-Martinez, 22, and Daniel Vasquez, 28 are charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl (2nd degree), possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute (2nd degree), and possession of fentanyl (3rd degree).

Yanez-Martinez and Vasquez are also individually charged with distribution of fentanyl (2nd degree).

Carrillo-Pineda faces a charge of possession of heroin (3rd degree).

The indictment also charges Carrillo-Pineda and Omar Zeus Rodriguez, 38, in connection to a separate seizure in Willingboro of five fentanyl kilos, almost 40 kilos of heroin, and a smaller quantity of methamphetamine.

On Jun. 28, New Jersey State Police, along with members of the North Bergen Police Department, arrested the three men in a North Bergen parking lot.

Allegedly, the officers witnessed an alleged transfer of fentanyl from a tractor trailer occupied by Yanez-Martinez and Vasquez to a Mercedes Benz driven by Carrillo-Pineda.

The arrests seized 40 kilograms of fentanyl, allegedly wrapped and held in two black duffel bags, transferred to the Mercedes Benz's trunk.

Officers searching the Benz also allegedly found a handbag with $1,050 and a small quantity of heroin.

The kilos seized could have yielded over 18 million lethal doses, destroying the largest state record for a fentanyl seizure by law enforcement, the office said.

The first-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while the third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $35,000, the release said.

Second weekend for Hudson County Fair

The third annual Hudson County Fair launched its two-weekend stay in North Bergen with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Sept. 29, followed by three days of exciting rides, entertainment, and food galore. Mayor Sacco was joined by Freeholder Anthony Vainieri – who brought the fair to North Bergen three years ago – to cut the ribbon officially opening the event.

Also helping to kick off the festivities were Commissioners Hugo Cabrera, Julio Marenco, Allen Pascual, Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez, Guttenberg Council Members Monica Fundora and John Habermann, fair owner Dan McCafferty, and numerous other local officials.

The fair opened for business again on Thursday, Oct. 5 and will run through Columbus Day, Oct. 9. Festivities begin at 5 p.m. on Friday in Braddock Park across from the tennis courts, and at noon from Saturday through Monday. This weekend will see even more vendors and rides, including the 90-foot Ferris wheel with its breathtaking views.

Live music is on the bill with bands playing every day on the big Palisades stage, including The Nerds, Under Pressure, and Men of Horses.

For more information visit hudsoncountyfair.org/.

Latin Music Night takes over Waterfront Park

Mayor Nicholas Sacco welcomed residents of North Bergen and Guttenberg to Waterfront Park for a free night of fun Latin Music on Friday, Sept. 29. A live DJ provided the tunes, engaging kids in the audience to put their sneakers to the pavement and dance the night away under the stars. Freshly-popped popcorn was given out free, along with water.

Also joining the mayor in opening the festivities were Commissioners Hugo Cabrera and Julio Marenco, Freeholder Angelica Jimenez, as well as Guttenberg Council Members Monica Fundora and John Habermann and Town Administrator Cosmo Cirillo.

Meet the North Bergen P.D. in meetings through October

The North Bergen Police Department will host community meetings throughout the township in October.

These informal sessions are a forum for North Bergen residents to voice any concerns and discuss issues in person with members of the police department.

The program, known as N.B. TAPS (North Bergen Township Alternative Policing Strategy), was initiated last year by Chief of Police Robert Dowd in order to enhance police-community relations.

Residents get to meet the officers who patrol their neighborhoods, and the officers get to learn about any matters of concern directly from the residents.

All meetings will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. The dates and locations are as follows: Thursday, Oct. 12: Our Lady of Fatima Church, Lower Level, 8011 Kennedy Blvd; Tuesday, Oct. 24: North Bergen Town Hall Chambers, Lower Level, 4233 Kennedy Blvd; and Thursday, Oct. 26: Uptown Public Library, 8411 Bergenline Ave.

Free health fair at the library Oct. 7

The North Bergen Free Public Library is hosting a free Community Health Fair on Saturday, Oct. 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free medical screenings and services, open to anyone who registers, will be available including blood test screening for diabetes, and pulmonary functions tests. Vision screening will also be available for those who register.

This event is offered by Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center and the North Bergen Library. Free refreshments and giveaways will be provided.

Call (201) 854-5702 to register for vision testing. The library is at located 8411 Bergenline Ave.

North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue accepting donations for hurricane victims

North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue (NHRFR) is doing its part to help the millions affected by the devastating impacts of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Hurricane Maria. NHRFR is teaming up with the mayors of Guttenberg, North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken and West New York, as well as the North Hudson Firefighters and Fire Officers unions in collecting emergency supplies for all victims.

“Like most Americans, our hearts were broken when we saw the footage of the destruction caused by these hurricanes,” said Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, who also serves as chairman of NHRFR’s Management Committee. “It’s hard to imagine a more worthy cause than this and all of the other mayors and I are honored to participate in this effort. We encourage all residents to participate along with us and contribute as much as they can. Donated items being sought include: bottled water, nonperishable foods, baby food, diapers (baby and adult), baby wipes, and shampoo. NO clothing, shoes or blankets can be accepted.

Collections will be accepted every day of the week between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. NHRFR asks those dropping off donations to ring the bell to the firehouse and wait for a firefighter to greet them and accept the donations. In the event that the event that firefighters are out on a call, they will provide a box outside in which supplies may be left. The firehouses accepting donations are as follows:

Safety 1: 6801 Madison St. Guttenberg, Engine 13: 7507 Hudson Ave., North Bergen, Engine 4: 541 29th St. Union City, Engine 5: 4610 Park Ave., Weehawken, and Squad 7: 11 Port Imperial Blvd, West New York.

Residents seeking more information on donating can contact NHRFR Battalion Chief Alider Platts at 201-601-3542.

For any additional information please contact Philip Swibinski at 201-864-0600 or philip.swibinski@vmmi.net.

Union City teenager dies, three officers in the hospital after multiple vehicle crashes

A local student has died and three local police officers are in the hospital after multiple vehicle crashes in that town on Wednesday evening.

Earlier in the evening, a 16-year-old Union City High School student on a bicycle crashed with a garbage truck at Palisade Avenue and 31st Street, killing the boy, the outlet reported.

Three responding officers were reportedly struck by one of two motorcycles that police said were allegedly through the intersection. The bike then reportedly slammed into the garbage truck that was involved in the initial investigation.

The other motorcyclist allegedly sped away, according to NJ.com. It is unclear if that motorcyclist has been found or not, NJ.com said. The motorcyclist who struck the officers is reportedly in custody and facing numerous charges.

Capt. Joseph Botti, Lt. Michael Bergbauer, and Officer Nick Alverez were injured in the crash, media reports said. They are reportedly expected to survive their injuries.

"Please pray for all the officers injured in Union City incident tonight. Officers have been taken to area hospitals," the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association said on Twitter. One of the officers was listed in critical condition, according to NBC New York.

"Prayers for three Union City, NJ, police officers struck by hit & run motorcyclist Wed., 10/4/17, serious - critical #THESACRIFICECONTINUES," the Port Authority Police Department Tweeted after the incident.

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