Jersey City Police Officers Rodney Clark and Courtney Solomon have been charged with making terrorist threats for allegedly attacking a Domino’s Pizza manager on March 27.
Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said the two officers were charged on March 28 following an investigation by the Internal Affairs Unit of the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor.
Both officers were on-duty at the time.
The incident was reported to the Jersey City Police Department. JCPD then reported the incident to the Prosecutor’s Internal Affairs Unit. After a preliminary investigation, the Jersey City Police Department suspended the officers without pay.
“The Prosecutor’s Office will fully investigate the allegations against these officers and prosecute in accordance with the law to ensure that justice is served,” said Suarez. “Officers who abuse their power and break the law must be held accountable for their actions.”
According to published reports, the officers were allegedly upset that delivery of a pizza from the store on Communipaw Avenue was late. They allegedly came into the shop, grabbed the employee and dragged him out of the building, threatening to lock him up. The store manager called 911 to complain.
City Council introduces recreational marijuana ordinance
On Wednesday, March 28, the Jersey City Council introduced amendments to the City’s Land Development Ordinance which will serve as the first steps to assure that any future legalization within the city is done in a strategic and equitable way, said Mayor Steven Fulop.
Gov. Phil Murphy took office promising to legalize marijuana for recreational use, but his plan has been put on hold indefinitely as Democrats in the legislature undertake a months-long study of the issue.
In addition to the amendments, the City Council will also review a memo prepared by the Division of City Planning which outlines both short-term and long-term strategies to prepare for possible statewide legalization.
These recommendations include strategies to ensure that the residents have a voice as to the location of marijuana dispensaries in Jersey City. Additionally, City Planning has recommended several regulations and zoning changes that can be made to allow possible future dispensaries to operate in a strategic and thoughtful way.
“I am supporter of legalization, but it is important that Jersey City takes a proactive approach to prepare for the possible legalization of marijuana in New Jersey,” said Mayor Fulop. “The outlined changes to our zoning laws will help ensure that residents will be part of the process of where dispensaries and grow facilities will be permitted, and will guarantee that Jersey City will have the ability to chart its own course once legalization occurs. Our goal is to be ahead of the conversation so that we don’t find ourselves in costly legal battles defending the city in the case we hadn’t prepared properly. This will ensure that residents are protected.”
Currently, the City’s Land Development Ordinance does not expressly prohibit the cultivation, manufacture, warehousing, distribution and sale of Cannabis as a matter of land use and it would be permitted citywide per our current zoning ordinances. The amendments that will go before the City Council on Wednesday will proactively restrict these uses so that upon legalization, the location of warehouse and distribution centers would not be allowed in places that are not aligned with the community’s wishes.
Once prohibited in all areas, the Division of City Planning recommends the creation of an overlay zone that lifts this restriction in designated zones. Public input will be a critical part of the process to decide these overlay zones, and public meetings will be held to help define these areas throughout the city.
The division also recommended that the city create a license requirement for all establishments seeking to conduct Commercial Cannabis Activity and parse out those licenses to include cultivation, manufacture, warehousing, distribution, research/development and sale of Cannabis and Cannabis Products. Regulations within the license requirement would provide guidance as to their location in order to restrict their establishment from a specific distance of schools, public parks, day care centers, and other licensed cannabis establishments.
Street crimes unit bust nets weapons and drugs
According to a press release from the city, after a long-term investigation, Jersey City Police Department Street Crimes Unit executed a search warrant at 100 Glenwood Ave. on Tuesday, March 27 at approximately 8 p.m. As a result, four illegal handguns and an illegal shotgun were confiscated as well as ammunition, Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) and $5,729.00 in cash. Seven people have been arrested.
The ammunition included several kinds of hollow point bullets, marijuana, heroin, several types of cocaine, and assorted other drugs.
Hudson police participate in texting while driving ticket blitz
Several Hudson County police departments and the county sheriff’s office plan to join a state-wide crackdown beginning Sunday on motorists who text while driving, according to local media reports.
The state Division of Highway Traffic Safety has awarded 211 local departments, sheriff’s departments and other agencies a total of $1,401,830 in grant money to participate in the “UDrive. UText UPay”enforcement campaign to start April 1.
Officers plan to use undisclosed special strategies to catch motorists who use their cell phones behind the wheel, a campaign that resulted in over 15,000 summonses last year.
Distracted drivers could face fines of up to $400, according to the attorney general’s office.
The local departments participating in this year’s crackdown include Jersey City, North Bergen Township, Secaucus, Union City, and West New York.
Fulop orders creation of Veterans Advisory Task Force
Mayor Steven M. Fulop signed an executive order on March 28 creating the Veterans Advisory Task Force in anticipation of the new Division of Veterans Affairs. Both the new Division and the Advisory Task Force will reinforce the city’s ongoing commitment to providing services and assistance to veterans, while developing new ways to support these individuals and their families.
“As a veteran myself, I am proud of the work we have done to take care of our city’s veterans, and this executive order is yet another step in ensuring that we are doing all we can to continue to help those that have served our country,” said Mayor Fulop.
The upcoming ordinance establishes this new Division under the Health and Human Services Department, whereas it had previously been known as the Bureau of Veterans Affairs within the Resident Response Center. The revamped division will be responsible for developing forward-thinking opportunities and partnerships to improve quality of life and establishing health and wellness programs for veterans, military personnel, and families, by collaborating across both private and public sectors.
The task force will be charged with enhancing capacities to best address the needs of Jersey City’s veterans, military personnel, and families to guide the new division. This includes needs in the areas of health and wellness, housing, education and vocational training, employment and career transition, community integration and service, transportation and quality of life, and benefits, celebrations, and memorials. The Task Force will also work with outside veteran’s service organizations, other community associations, and nonprofit organizations, who continue to play a large role in helping to provide services to veterans within Jersey City and throughout New Jersey.
The task force will consist of seven voting members, as well as the Director of Veterans Affairs. Four members will be appointed by the council and three members will be appointed by the mayor. Each member of the task force will be required to meet specific criteria to ensure diverse perspectives and areas of functional expertise.
These members include a veteran discharged no more than ten years, a veteran discharged no less than ten years, a veteran who possesses demonstrable and substantive experience, influence, and relationships in Jersey City’s business community and private sector, a City Councilmember, an educational professional, a healthcare professional, and a business professional who all have demonstrable, substantive expertise relevant to veterans’ affairs.
Second Sunday song writer event
A series of appearances called the 2nd Sunday Songwriters, with a focus on licensing for TV and film, will feature Al Griggs, Steven Backer, Chrissy Roberts and Carol Lester at the Atlas Public House on April 8 from 1 to 4 p.m.
“This is a Songwriter Series on the 2nd Sunday of every month to feature writers who live locally but sing globally,” Lester said. “Each month brings in a new style of writers as well as some trending and timely song placement opportunities.”
Atlas Public House is located at 130 Newark Ave., Jersey City.
Meet the curators
Pro Arts creates professional development opportunities for local area artists and builds community around art in Jersey City and beyond on Saturday, April 7. Nearly 40 visual artists will take time to meet with curators in the council chambers.
Pro Arts invites visual artists to gain valuable feedback on their portfolios with 20-minute, one-on-one review sessions from prominent gallerists and curators at its Portfolio Review this year 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Jersey City’s City Hall, located at 280 Grove St. in Downtown Jersey City.
Meet the curators presents artists with an opportunity to connect with industry professionals and gain constructive insight on their work in a supportive environment.
The cost to participate as a Pro Arts member is $15 for the first review and $30 for each additional review. Members of the public are invited to register for $45 per review. Non-members who register for two or three reviews get one-year free Pro Arts membership (artist membership subject to approval from membership committee). Artists can register for up to three reviews. Participating artists also have an opportunity to be selected for the Curator’s Choice exhibition in May 2018. For additional information on this event and membership opportunities, please visit the Pro Arts Jersey City website at: www.proartsjerseycity.org.
County clerk launches social media campaign
Hudson County Clerk Junior Maldonado has launch of a social media campaign which includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn to have more outreach to the public.
The roll out is meant to highlight the many services of the County Clerk’s Office to make services more accessible to the people. It will include a list of services such as passports, naturalization records, public records, identification, construction and other information.
Computers are also available for members of the public to research through microfilmed records, and recording ledgers, which date back to the 1940s.
This will include election filings and other related election activities. You can download the mobile app: Hudson County Votes now available on Android & Apple.
For more information please visit: www.hudsoncountyclerk.org.
HCCC to host NJPAC dance theater workshop
The Hudson County Community College (HCCC) Department of Cultural Affairs continues its year-long partnership with New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) Department of Community Engagement with a special “Twilight Tuesdays” event. The NJPAC Alvin Ailey Presentation is free of charge and open to the public, will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10 in the Atrium of the College’s Dineen Hull Gallery.
The gallery is located on the sixth floor at 71 Sip Ave. just one block from the Journal Square PATH Transportation Center in Jersey City. Children under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by an adult.
NJPAC teaching artist Theara Ward will present a short film and talk on the Alvin Ailey Dance Company followed by a dance demonstration featuring trademark movements from Ailey’s signature ballet, “Revelations.”
Information about the HCCC Department of Cultural Affairs Spring 2018 programs and events is available at www.hccc.edu/cultural-affairs or by contacting Michelle Vitale at (201) 360-4176, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senate approves bill to diversify construction industry
Legislation sponsored by state Senators Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Sandra Bolden Cunningham that would allocate funds for training of minorities and women in the construction industry has cleared the Senate.
“Our cities are currently going through a bit of a construction boom. We need to do more to have workers hired from cities where projects are located, which will promote job growth and skills training,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson). “This will be helpful for those who live in the cities, as they could become employed to become a part of the construction projects that are changing their skylines.”
The second bill, S-347, would reconcile two laws that have similar purposes revolving around the training of women and minorities in the construction industry for projects costing $1 million or more. The projects would have to be funded wholly or in part by the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009”.
The bill was released from the Senate with a vote of 35-0, and next heads to the Assembly for further consideration.
Free diabetes self-management workshops offered in Jersey City
Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, supported locally by Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc., is partnering with Triangle Park Community Center to provide free diabetes workshops as part of the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program. The program is funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and it offers free self-management workshops that are open to people with Medicare who have diabetes, their family members and caregivers.
The workshops are designed to educate individuals about diabetes and help them learn how to manage it and take control of their health through various tools, behavior modification and coping techniques. Participants will learn about preventing complications, healthy eating, exercise, how to deal with stress and difficult emotions, managing medications, effective communication with healthcare providers, and much more.
This free six-week workshop will be offered at Triangle Park Community Center on 247 Old Bergen Road in Jersey City. Workshops are on Tuesdays from April 17 to May 22 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. All attendees must register by the second workshop session. Each participant (one per household) will receive complimentary literature and resources.
Support for healthy refreshments at this workshop is provided by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and the United Health Foundation. The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute runs a project called Healthy Communities Create Healthy Citizens as part of its Mayors Wellness Campaign program to work with community partners in Jersey City, Trenton, and Cumberland County to improve health literacy, access to healthy lifestyle initiatives, and chronic disease management. Healthy Communities Create Healthy Citizens is funded by the United Health Foundation.
For more information or to register for this free workshop, contact Devin Monserrate at (201) 994-4302 or email EJCChurch@gmail.com. Visit www.qualityinsights-qin.org to learn more about Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, or to read real success stories about people with diabetes in New Jersey who have completed this program and made motivational improvements to their health and lives.