A Hudson County grand jury has returned an indictment against Michael J. Hansen, 38, of North Bergen, charging him with four counts related to the deaths of Russell Maffei and Marie Tauro, Jersey City residents, in a North Bergen fatal collision that occurred on April 2.
Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said the indictment charged Hansen with two counts of death by auto and two other charges.
Maffei and Tauro were walking across the street near the intersection of Paterson Plank Road and Kennedy Boulevard in North Bergen when they were stuck by a car allegedly driven by Hansen.
The vehicle suspected in the crash allegedly left the scene and was subsequently located in North Bergen. Hansen, who was identified as the owner of the suspected vehicle, was arrested shortly before 4 a.m. at a residence in North Bergen.
Ward E council pick will deal with heavy issues
The five candidates seeking to replace Candice Osborne on the City Council from Ward E will face serious issues. Voters on Nov. 7 will have to decide which of the candidates will be best poised to handle the issues facing the ward next year.
This includes the impact of the reevaluation of property (“reval”) that is scheduled to affect taxes in the second two quarters of next year. Although it is not possible to predict the impact on individual homeowners yet, most officials believe Ward E residences will likely see a significant increase in assessments, and an increase in taxes.
A proposed new school facility slated for 100 Montgomery St. has been on the way due to school overcrowding, but it may be in jeopardy. The candidate elected to Ward E will have to take on the role of bringing the developer back to the bargaining table or helping to find another location.
With five candidates seeking the seat, the election is too close to call. Mayor Steven Fulop has not endorsed any of the candidates, although Nicholas Grillo and Rebecca Symes appear to be favored by the administration.
Jake Hudnut, who is running on the Bill Matsikoudis for Mayor ticket against Fulop, seems to be attractive to both progressive and fiscally-minded voters. Hudnut would be the first openly gay person to serve on the council.
Madeleine Giansanti Cag and James Solomon are both seen as dark horse candidates in this campaign, candidates that are many voters’ second choice. Solomon, however, appears to also have strong support from progressives in a very progressive ward in the city. As an independent, his vote on the council would not likely automatically align with whoever is elected mayor.
Yun yanks ordinance that would require developers to pay for schools
An ordinance that would have required an additional 2.5 percent fee to fund schools to developers receiving abatements was withdrawn before the Oct. 25 meeting of the Jersey City Council.
Councilman Michael Yun withdrew the ordinance after city officials said it would conflict with an executive order issued by Mayor Steven Fulop this year.
Fulop ordered that 10 percent of all revenue from abatements to the city be redirected to pay for schools. The executive order came at a time when critics claimed the cost of schools was being borne by unabated property owners, and also at a time when state aid was cut by $8.5 million.
Fulop’s order had the city giving the 10 percent from its share of payments in lieu of taxes. Yun’s proposal would have mandated an additional 2.5 percent from the developer on each abated project.
City officials said the city could not implement both, and that the Yun plan would create an accounting nightmare. City officials question both plans because they fear the state will simply cut aid to the schools to match what the city gives. Also, they said, with both plans, there is no precedent for how the city under its current form of government can actually give money to the schools.
Yun said he would likely revise his ordinance for the future.
$230 million federal anti-flooding ‘Rebuild by Design’ project officially approved
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer released a statement Oct. 25 explaining that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released $230 million in funding for the design and construction of the Hudson River Rebuild by Design (RBD) project. The long-awaited federally funded project aims to protect Hoboken and parts of Weehawken and Jersey City from superstorms, rising sea levels, and the impact of climate change.
“This is a major milestone for the long-term resiliency of our city,” said Zimmer in the press release. “Thanks to strong community support, Hoboken is now on track to work with the state of New Jersey, Weehawken, and Jersey City towards the final design of this project over approximately the next 18 months. These federal funds are dedicated specifically for the Hudson River RBD project and are no longer at risk of being repurposed by the federal government for any reason.”
Last year the city chose a final alternative after months of community meetings. The plan, also known as the “Alleyway Alignment,” calls for construction of a “flood resistance structure” beginning at the Lincoln Harbor light rail station and following the rail track south, down along Weehawken Cove and into Harborside Park. It then turns east up the alleyway located between 14th and 15th streets and turns south on Washington Street for about one block. The southern end of the resist structure has two options either running west along Observer Highway or West through the New Jersey Transit rail yard.
For more information on the project see our past article at Hudsonreporter.com
Route 139 will see repairs from fire
Permanent repairs to Route 139 west damaged in a fire last month will be begin in Jersey City, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT).
A fire on Sept. 29 underneath the ramp for Route 139 westbound near Coles Street in Jersey City caused substantial structural damage to six longitudinal beams and the underside of the bridge deck, which is made up of steel and concrete. NJDOT and contractor crews completed emergency repairs and were able to have four lanes of traffic open by Oct. 2. Since that time a team of structural engineers conducted in-depth inspections and assessments and completed the permanent repair design.
The permanent repairs will require the complete reconstruction of the portion of the structure damaged by the fire, which includes replacing nearly all of the beams under three spans of the bridge deck from the left shoulder through the second lane, as well as replacing the bridge deck in that section. The permanent repair work will not require any additional lane closures and is expected to be completed in December.
NJDOT and contractor crews will work 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week until the repairs are complete. Demolition work began on Saturday, Oct. 21. Route 139 eastbound toward downtown Jersey City and the Holland Tunnel is not affected.
Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website www.511nj.org for real-time travel information and for NJDOT news follow us on Twitter @NJDOT_info.
Jersey City wins award for tree planting
Mayor Steven Fulop and the Jersey City Office of Innovation announced last week that Jersey City was selected for a $3,000 national award from the American Association of Retired People (AARP) for a tree-planting project with senior citizens at the Marion Gardens Public Housing Complex. The project aims to engage senior residents to partake in the project to help beautify under-utilized outdoor space, encourage green infrastructure, and create ownership of tree maintenance. The program is part of a larger effort to preserve and expand the tree canopy as part of the City of Jersey City’s continued focus on improving our ability to capture storm water and protect against major storm. Participants will learn about tree planting and maintenance through training sessions to be managed through a partnership with the Jersey City Americorp Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA).
CarePoint Hosting Lunch on Managing Heart or Lung Disease
CarePoint Health-Christ Hospital will host “Managing Heart or Lung Disease” on Tuesday, Oct. 31 from noon to 1:30 p.m. as part of its Lunch & Learn series.
Medical professionals will talk about how to better manage congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Dietitians will provide information to help participants understand their nutritional needs.
A free, healthy lunch will be served.
The event will be held at Christ Hospital, 176 Palisade Ave., Jersey City, and is open to all.
To register, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Nancy.email@example.com.
Pop singer Giselle to release new song at Nimbus Dance Works
New Jersey indie pop singer Giselle’s mixtape, “Not Ready To Grow Up” is set to release on Nov. 17. To celebrate, Giselle and her team will be having a mixtape release party (also on Nov. 17) at Nimbus Dance Works, 165 Newark Ave., Jersey City. The event runs from 8 to 11 p.m.
Giselle’s local performances have included the Freedom Fireworks Festival 2017, New York Red Bulls Arena, Loew’s Jersey Theatre, The ALZ NJ Jersey City Walk, and Art House Productions’ 2016 Snow Ball Gala. She quickly gained recognition after writing and singing for Season 5 of FX’s “Louie,” most notably the viral hit “diarreah song” which has collectively garnered nearly 500,000 views on YouTube. She also recorded the title song for Louis C.K.’s upcoming film “I Love You, Daddy” (which you can hear a snippet of in the film’s newly-released trailer).
Guests will get an exclusive first look at Giselle’s upcoming music videos, in addition to food and drinks at no cost. The event is free and open to the public.
Menendez calls for investigation into reversal of EPA chemical safety standards
Following a report by the New York Times which exposed the Trump administration’s efforts to revise the way the federal government evaluates the health and environmental risks of hazardous chemicals to prioritize the wishes of industry over health and safety, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez has called on the EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins, Jr. to immediately investigate political interference and scientific suppression in EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.
“I am writing to request that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of the Inspector General initiate an investigation into a recent New York Times report detailing political interference, suppression of science, and prioritization of industry recommendations over public health in EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, and throughout the agency at large,” Sen Menendez’s letter said.
He asked for an investigation into the alleged suppression of science relating to the public health impacts of toxic and dangerous chemicals; the use of “administratively determined” hiring practices, and the extent to which these practices are used to circumvent EPA’s ethics or conflict of interest standards; and deference to industry requests, rather than scientific and technical analysis, in the context of the agency’s rulemaking process.
“EPA’s chemical safety work is essential to protecting human health in a society where interaction with chemicals is both pervasive and unavoidable,” Menendez said. “The public has the right to know whether EPA employees are working on their behalf, or the behalf of industries the agency purports to regulate.”