Polish American Home to celebrate 90th Anniversary
The Polish American Home on 27 West 22nd Street, founded in 1927, is preparing for its 90th Anniversary celebration on November 25th in its second-floor Polonaise Room. The celebration will involve dinner, dancing, and a cocktail hour. Tickets are $50. For more information, call the Polish American Home at (201) 339-8572. The home has been used over the decades for parties and gatherings to support the Polish-American community.
Six-story residential building gets five-year abatement
The Bayonne City Council at its October 18 meeting approved a five-year tax abatement for a six-story residential building planned for theEast Side neighborhood at 172 Avenue F, where a two-family home was demolished last year. Unlike PILOTs, tax abatements must be approved by the city council before receiving a certificate of occupancy, rather than before construction begins.
“The intrinsic tradeoff that’s believed by the council is that you have an empty lot that has been empty that doesn’t really add any value to the neighborhood in terms of aesthetically or price value or home values.” said Joe, DeMarco, Bayonne Business Administrator, in defense of the abatement.
While some residents at the meeting voiced opposition to the development for typical concerns such as traffic, the council voted 4-1 in favor, with Third Ward Councilman Gary La Pelusa objecting.
Former Doolan’s Auto Service and Bayonne Roofing site gets final site plan approval
The Bayonne Planning Board unanimously approved the final site plan for a five-story, 71-unit residential building to be constructed at 678-688 Avenue E. The developer, Pier View Lofts LLC, was granted final major site plan approval in January, but adjusted the plan to add six more apartments and 1,600 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.
The site of the development, named Pier View Lofts, has been vacant for nearly a decade, but the planning board’s approval gives the developer the go-ahead to begin construction. The former Doolan’s Auto Service was demolished last week, while the demolition of the former Bayonne Roofing structure is planned. Construction is set to begin within two months. Completion of the development is expected for the end of 2018.
Board of Education approves substitute teacher staffing agency contract
The Bayonne Board of Education once managed its list of substitute teachers itself and hired them directly, with an administrative secretary tasked with making the phone calls when a teacher calls out sick. That system is about to change after the Board of Education approved a contract at its October meeting with a company called “Source for Teachers,” which the board hopes will save up to $100,000 in administrative costs annually. Substitute teachers would technically no longer be employees of the school district, but of the staffing company. If the district is dissatisfied with the service, it has up to 60 days to cancel the agreement.
“The advantages we felt was it would be a bigger pool to work with, fill more needs,” said BBOED President Joseph Broderick. “The good thing is that we still have control of the teachers we want.”
“[The staffing company] would hire all our existing subs so we would have the pool of people already in place,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Michael A. Wanko. “The advantage would be that [the staffing company] would do all the training, interviews, and background checks,” functions the school district normally undertakes. Whether the pay for substitute teachers would decline as a result is unclear. Staffing companies take a percentage of their workers’ hourly pay. In return, less administrative work falls on the school.
Couple allegedly robbed near the 25th Street pedestrian bridge
A 21-year-old woman and 24-year-old man were robbed and assaulted shortly after midnight on Monday, Oct. 16 in the area of 25th Street and Avenue E, according to police. The couple was allegedly approached by three people, who allegedly punched the 24-year-old man and forcibly took his phone and the woman’s purse, according to police. The three men allegedly fled over the pedestrian footbridge. Both victims refused medical attention. The incident remains under investigation.
Free mentoring program for businesses to be offered
The Service Corps of retired Executives (SCORE) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will offer a free mentoring program for businesses on Oct. 25 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Bayonne Museum at 229 Broadway. Also included will be peer group sessions to discuss critical business solutions. The SBA will discuss access to capital, HUB Zone Certification, and finance. Register now at bayonnenj.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four arrested after reports of alleged shots fired on First Street
Four males were arrested after police responded to reports of an alleged fight and possible gunshots fired around First Street and Island View Court, according to a media statement from the Bayonne Police Department. The statement reported that no gun was recovered, but a 5-inch knife allegedly was. According to media reports, the incident took place on Tuesday, Oct. 17.
Captain Joe Scerbo, the Investigative Bureau Commander at the Bayonne Police Department, said the police have found no evidence of a shooting or of drug distribution.
According to the BPD statement, Jeremia Mauricio, 31, of Jersey City; Christopher Nunez, 24, of Bayonne; and Adanis Espejo, 38, of Bayonne were charged with possession of narcotics with intent, possession of marijuana under 50 grams with intent, possession of marijuana with intent within 500 ft. of a park, and possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with intent less than ½ oz. Jesus M. Baret, 28, of Bayonne, was charged with possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of a prohibited weapon. A gray Nissan Maxima was stopped at First and Broadway, allegedly occupied by Nunez, Espejo, and Mauricio, according to the BPD statement. Marijuana, cocaine, and paraphernalia, including a scale and powder mixing agent were allegedly found in the vehicle. A white Mazda was found parked at First St. and Island View Court and allegedly occupied by Beret. Marijuana and a five-inch dagger-style knife were allegedly found in the vehicle. A white Honda Accord was impounded from Lord Ave. for investigation, and no gun was recovered, according to the statement. The case remains under investigation.
In an unrelated incident on the evening of Oct. 18, a loud booming sound was reported by residents throughout the city. The Bayonne Office of Emergency Management responded on social media, “We can only assume that it was possibly noise from the container port across Newark Bay, as that work sometimes creates banging noises that echo pretty loudly. There is no cause for concern in Bayonne.”
Horizon, AmeriHealth raise NJ health insurance marketplace prices after executive order
Two of the state’s largest insurers will increase premiums for the individual market by at least 16 percent for the year 2018 after the Trump administration issued an executive order cutting subsidies to insurers under the Affordable Care Act, the two companies announced last week.
Both Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and AmeriHealth New Jersey filed for higher rates after the Trump Administration’s executive order threatened to leave them with an older, less healthy customer base that they will need to cover.
A new report released last Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that New Jersey will lose more than 60 percent of the federal funding it expected to receive this year to help enroll vulnerable people in insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. The cuts are part of $26 million in reductions at the national level that are scheduled to go into effect in September, 2018.
Open enrollment for the individual marketplace is scheduled to begin Nov. 1.
NJ Transit rail system breaking down more often this year
NJ Transit trains broke down more often in 2017 than they did in 2016, and are running fewer miles between breakdowns than trains on the Long Island Rail Road or on Metro North, according to an NJ Transit report. The agency’s train, bus, and light rail fleet were already traveling fewer miles than they did in 2013 before breaking down, according to the report.
Meanwhile, NJ Transit has received conditional approval from federal regulators to begin testing its train collision avoidance system, known as “positive train control,” on the Morristown Line. The Record reports that the testing will begin on about 10 miles of track between Madison and Denville, and will not involve trains carrying passengers.
Mega Millions to raise ticket prices
The price of a New Jersey Mega Millions ticket will double at the end of the month from $1 to $2. The Record reports that the decision is in response to years of declining revenue from the agency running the lottery. Players will also see changes to the design of the game.
Voters to decide whether libraries will get $125 million cash infusion; Bayonne Public Library needs the cash
A proposed ballot question seeking voter approval for the state to borrow $125 million for capital projects at local libraries has overwhelming bipartisan support, but the fate of the library-bond issue now lies in the hands of just one person – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. NJ Spotlight reports that advocates are arguing that Garden State libraries need to improve their technology, but opponents claim the state is already drowning in debt.
Sneh Bains, Director of the Bayonne Public Library, said the funds would “help tremendously.” Bains said the Bayonne Public Library has invested as much as they can in new technology, but admits that the library needs more funding if it is to continue investing in programming and new computers. When the housing and stock market collapsed in 2009, libraries were among the first institutions that politicians gutted. The Bayonne Public Library once received nearly $90,000 in state funding before 2009. Since then, it has received only $27,000 annually.
“Just imagine if we approved this ballot question, we could go back to 90,000, the way it used to be before 2009,” said Bains, who wants to invest in programs for young adults to learn coding. “I started the technology program with state money, so this would help a great deal.”
Chamber seeking nonperishable donations and gift cards for Thanksgiving food drive
The Bayonne Chamber of Commerce is enlisting the help of city residents and visitors for its annual “Give Thanks” food drive.
The drive runs from now through Oct. 30.
“We’re proud to be one of the 25-strong partners working with the Bayonne Chamber of Commerce to help feed our neighbors in need this Thanksgiving,” said Catherine Shull Fernald, Chief Operating Officer of CarePoint Health-Bayonne Medical Center, a chamber member.
“Join us by dropping off non-perishable food items or food gift cards at one of the many participating locations,” she added.
Food and gift card dropoff sites are the 8th Street Diner & Bistro, A Plus Personnel, Allstate, Amobelge Shipping, Bayonne Community Bank, Bayonne Exterminating Co., Bayonne Public Library, Broadway Diner, CarePoint Health-Bayonne Medical Center and Delta Holdings.
Also, European Day Spa, Exit on the Hudson Realty, Hendrickson’s Corner, the Bayonne Community News, Little Family Dentistry, Midtown Auto Repair, Nutrition Health Restoration, Planet Wings, Provident Bank, Suez Environmental, Triangle TV and Winners.
Mayor Davis’s Tuesday evening office hours suspended for November
Tuesday evening office hours at the mayor’s office will be suspended for the month of November due to holidays and conflicting events. On Tuesday, November 7, City Hall offices are closed for Election Day. On Tuesday, November 14, Mayor Davis and other officials will be attending the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Conference. During the last two weeks of November, the schedule is crowded with various events related to Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season.
Anyone requesting a meeting with Mayor Davis in November should ask for an appointment during daytime business hours by calling (201) 858-6010.
Mayor Davis’s evening office hours will take place again on Tuesday, December 5, at the special time of 5:30 p.m., following the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Fitzpatrick Park.
Hudson County CASA is seeking volunteers
Learn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. The next information session will be held at Little City Books at 100 Bloomfield St, Hoboken, NJ on Wednesday, October 25th at 7:00 p.m. Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures. For further information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org.
Menendez trial will continue, judge rules
In a decision that could have an impact on the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, U.S. District Judge William Walls has refused to dismiss the most serious corruption charges against U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez.
After six weeks of trial, the prosecution rested its case against Menendez, who faces more than a dozen charges of fraud and bribery.
Prosecutors have accused Menendez, a Democrat, of taking bribes from Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen in exchange for using his office to help the doctor in a number of ways. Both men denied wrong doing, and that Melgen was merely giving gifts to Menendez out of friendship.
After prosecutors rested their case on last week, defense lawyers asked Judge Walls to throw out the charges, based on the Supreme Court’s decision last year vacating the corruption conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.
In the McDonnell decision, the high court found that political activities such as arranging meetings or making calls to officials do not qualify as “official acts” as defined by bribery statutes.
The McDonnell decision has figured into overturning of other corruption convictions including those of former top New York state lawmakers Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos.
But the Silver conviction was largely overturned based on mistaken instruction from the judge in that case the jury, and is expected to go back to trial. Other factors also figured into the Skelos case as well.
The defense in the Menendez trial argued that the allegations against Menendez do not meet that narrower definition.
Last March, the defense team attempted to get the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss the charges prior to the case going to court. But the Supreme Court refused to intervene.
Walls considered invalidating the charges, but after additional filings and arguments, he ruled that the trial would continue.
The Menendez case could have national implications. His conviction could force him to resign from the U.S. Senate. If this occurs prior to a Democrat becoming governor next January, the current GOP Gov. Christopher Christie would name a temporary replacement until the election in November 2018.
This could change the makeup of the senate, giving Republicans a 53 to 47 majority over the Democrats. Since a number of pieces of legislation have failed to pass by a little as one vote, a Republican in Menendez’s seat could result in passage of number of bills, including a change in healthcare.
Premium wine business opening
A premium wine business is opening in one of Bayonne’s old industrial buildings on October 25 at 3 p.m. The Alessi Organization and Duraport Marine and Rail Terminals are holding a grand opening of “Filling Station East,” a 12,000 square-foot facility, which will be a joint venture between the Gotham Project and Free Flow Wines. The Alessi Organization acquired the brownfield site from Rollins Terminal and salvaged it after two decades lying dormant.
“This site, which was the home of the former EMD Chemical facility, part of the original Merck Family Holdings, was also home to an almost forgotten chapter in history, as a WWII POW camp, which housed thousands of Italian POWs,” according to a press release from the Alessi Organization. “This goes back to the history of New York, Staten Island, and New Jersey as the sites of Navy bases for the larger part of the 20th century.”