The state DOT was set to close traffic lanes on Route 495 starting Aug. 10, according to a press release. The shutdowns are part of a massive $90.3 million, state-funded rehabilitation project on the Route 495 Bridge.
The 31st Street ramp from JFK Boulevard to 495 westbound in North Bergen will be closed on some days. Traffic will be detoured onto Paterson Plank Road. On the 17th, one lane on 495 will be closed 24/7 in both directions. This will severely limit roadway capacity.
Work on the span includes repairing and reconstructing the bridge deck, replacing and strengthening its deteriorated structural steel, and repairing and painting the substructure. The project's first phase began in September of 2017 with local street improvements.
The entire project is projected to finish around summer 2021. Motorists are advised to consider alternative routes during that time, such as the George Washington Bridge, Holland Tunnel, public transportation, or carpooling. For more information, email the DOT at DOTOutreachRT495@dot.nj.gov, or call (201) 408-8495.
79-year-old man arrested for alleged stabbing near homeless encampment
Verdejo Cruz, 79, of Union City, has been arrested in connection with the alleged stabbing death of an apparently homeless man on July 13 in the area of Third Street and Manhattan Avenue in Union City.
Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said on July 13 at around 7:40 p.m., Union City Police, responding to a report, found a male victim by the makeshift homes near Third Street and Manhattan Avenue. The man, who has not been positively identified, was unresponsive with multiple wounds to his upper torso. He was pronounced dead at Jersey City Medical Center at approximately 8:55 p.m.
Cruz, who was located at the scene, has been charged with aggravated manslaughter and weapons charges. Suarez credited the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Unit and the Union City Police Department for the arrest.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office at (201) 915-1345 or leave an anonymous tip on the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office website at http://www.hudsoncountyprosecutorsofficenj.org/homicide-tip/.
Want to become a NHRFR firefighter?
The state Civil Service Commission is accepting applications for eligibility tests to join the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue, a press release said.
Those interested must register at https://info.csc.state.nj.us/oas/Applicant_Login.aspx?Symbol=M9999W&Form_ID=FF by Aug. 31. The testing fee is $35. Testing dates will be announced after the application process closes.
The NHRFR is a regional fire squad that handles North Bergen, Union City, West New York, Guttenberg, and Weehawken. It was formed by combining those town's individual fire departments in 1999. The squad has firehouses throughout those towns.
County holds off on federal grant for immigration enforcement
Honoring a request made by state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Hudson County has put a hold on spending of a $237,449 federal grant that would have forced the county to assist in immigration enforcement. This comes in conjunction with a lawsuit New Jersey and five other states has filed against U.S. Justice Department tying federal aid to help with immigration enforcement.
The funds were scheduled to be distributed to Bayonne, North Bergen, and West New York for various enforcement activities.
Freeholder Bill O’Dea said the Board of Freeholders will review the situation “but it is my understanding everything is on hold,” he said.
Also, along with Freeholder Joel Torres, last month, O’Dea voted against renewing the county’s contract for housing immigration detainees at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, a 10-year, $10 million contract renewal. It has drawn fire from activists throughout the county and the state.
For instance, the Hoboken City Council unanimously approved a last-minute resolution on Aug 1 urging the county Board of Freeholders to terminate that $10 million contract.
Many of the 800 detainees held at the jail are not there because of crimes or immigration violations, but because they’re being detained by ICE for confirmation or legal status or other matters. The jail also has approximately 400 traditional prisoners held on criminal charges.
Under the new contract, the county will receive $120 per day per detainee held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny. This is a $10 increase from the previous contract.
The Hoboken resolution also cited six deaths that had occurred at the Hudson County Correction facility in the past two years, including four suicides. It also mentions visits and detainee interviews conducted by nonprofit Human Rights First, who labeled the facility as “inhumane.”
Deadline is Sept. 7 for Kennedy Dancers Inner City Youth Scholarship
Sept. 7 is the deadline for Kennedy Dancers afterschool scholarships for students ages 13-18 years old. This scholarship provides unlimited dance classes at no cost for up to two years.
All applicants must provide proof of residency in the following places: Jersey City, East Newark, Guttenberg, Harrison, Kearny, Weehawken, West New York, and Secaucus. Applicants must also provide a complete ICY intake form, proof of identification (parent and student) and proof of income.
Those accepted must purchase a “Dance Essentials” package ($100): Kennedy Dancers shorts, one pair of tan tights, one pair of pink tights, one dance skirt, and one pair of tan jazz shoes. They must also go through a scheduled dance evaluation appointment to determine their skill level.
For more information, go to http://www.kennedydancers.org/.
Public invited to program on depression and bipolar disorder
On Wednesday evening, Aug. 29, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) will feature at its monthly meeting Lily Arora, M.D. to conduct a “real life” diagnostic interview on one of the DBSA’s predesignated members as an educational tool for the audience. She won’t know the person beforehand and it will be unrehearsed. She will also discuss all areas of interest to the audience regarding mood disorders.
The event will take place at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Road (about one block east of the Morris Museum), in Morristown. The public is invited; a nominal donation is requested from non-members, when possible. Free literature is available to all attendees and there is an extensive lending library of educational audiotapes, CD’s and videotapes, also free.
Dr. Arora is board certified in psychiatry and addiction psychiatry. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Rutgers University where she teaches and supervises residents in psychiatry, and is in solo private practice in Morristown treating all psychiatric disorders in addition to substance and alcohol addiction.
In addition to the monthly Wednesday night lecture series, peer group support sessions led by experienced facilitators are held every Tuesday evening of the month, also using the facilities of the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship at 7:30 p.m. Separate groups for young adults are held every Tuesday evening and separate groups for friends and family are held periodically. All are always welcomed. Visit the website of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance/Morristown Area at http://dbsanewjersey.org/morristownarea to learn more about the support group and to view links to other sources of helpful information. For further local information, call (973) 994-1143.