Bayonne Briefs

A new kayak launch was installed at 16th Street Park for easier access to the shoreline. Be cautious of kayaking at night. Two teenagers were stranded on a barge in June after taking a late-night kayak trip.
A new kayak launch was installed at 16th Street Park for easier access to the shoreline. Be cautious of kayaking at night. Two teenagers were stranded on a barge in June after taking a late-night kayak trip.

Bayonne Energy Center to be sold

Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. (MIC), which acquired the Bayonne Energy Center in 2015, plans to sell the 644-MW gas-fired generation plant by the end of this year.
The Bayonne Energy Center was built in 2012 as a joint venture between the Hess Corp. and ArcLight Capital Partners.
MIC is asking $900 million for the Bayonne Energy Center, and it hopes to use about $650 million to reduce debt, according to a report from Seeking Alpha. The transaction values the energy center at about $1,400 per kilowatt of generating capacity.
“Having completed various capacity and capability expansion projects at BEC, we concluded that this was an appropriate time to sell the facility and redeploy the proceeds to address strategic priorities including strengthening our balance sheet,” said Christopher Frost, chief executive officer of MIC, in a statement.
Bayonne Energy Center is operated by EthosEnergy and connects to the grid via 6.5-mile, 345-kV submarine transmission line under the New York Bay to Brooklyn. In 2012, ABB completed what it called the world’s first cross-linked polyethylene cable system linking the power plant to a substation.

Route 495 lane closures start Aug. 10

Lincoln Tunnel-area commuters, brace yourselves. The state Department of Transportation is set to close traffic lanes on Route 495, starting Aug. 10, according to a press release.
The headaches start with the closure of the 31st Street ramp from JFK Boulevard to 495 westbound in North Bergen on the 10th. 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.
The shutdowns are part of a massive $90.3 million, state-funded rehabilitation project on the Route 495 Bridge.
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 the week, such as the George Washington Bridge, Holland Tunnel, public transportation, or carpooling. For more information, email the DOT at, or call (201) 408-8495.

Bayonne’s Polish community watches as petition drive fails to keep Polish statue in place

Bayonne’s sizable Polish community has been watching with interest the controversy over Jersey City’s Katyn monument. An effort to halt Jersey City’s plans to move the Katyn monument from Exchange Place came up short this week as the city clerk ruled that less than half of the total petition signatures submitted were valid.
Those who opposed a plan to move the statue from Exchange Place to York Street submitted 9,471 signatures, but the clerk said only about 3,833 were valid New Jersey voters. Those who submitted the petition signatures had until Aug. 1 to get the remaining 2,881 needed to put the question on the ballot in November – allowing voters throughout Jersey City to decide whether or not the statue should remain where it is.
The City Council voted last month to support an effort by the Exchange Place Special Improvement District to relocate the statue to make way for a public park and play area, part of an overall redevelopment of the waterfront area to accommodate residential development and establish neighborhood accommodations similar to those found in areas such as the Grove Street area.
Supporters of the move claim the statue does not fit in with the overall theme proposed and believe relocating the statue to York Street would still provide it with the prominence the statue had while at its current location.

Murphy launches free community college plan

Tuition-free community college will be available for several thousand low-income students in the spring, Gov. Phil Murphy’s office announced Tuesday. The Community College Innovation Challenge will cover tuition and mandatory fees for students who earn less than $45,000 a year. New Jersey’s 19 county colleges can apply for limited spots in the pilot program. This is a first step toward fulfilling Murphy’s campaign promise to make community college tuition-free for all students within four years.

Lawmakers want to codify NJ’s donated-leave policy

The donated-leave policy allows state workers to donate unused leave time to coworkers who have exhausted their own. Now some lawmakers want to codify the policy as state law, according to NJ Spotlight. The donated-leave policy has won praise for fostering teamwork among state employees because it gives coworkers a way to help colleagues who are facing serious illness or who have family members who are ill. The legislation won unanimous approval in the Senate last week and awaits action in the Assembly.

Should ‘seeing eye’ be NJ’s official state dog?

State Sen. Anthony Bucco, a Republican, thinks New Jersey should have an official state dog, joining the 13 U.S. states that have such designations, according to The Record. He is proposing that New Jersey adopt the “Seeing Eye” dog as the official state dog. “Seeing Eye,” based in Morris County, trains dogs to assist visually impaired people.
Before state representatives can decide on whether to create a state dog, the State Senate voted to make Streptomyces griseus the official state microbe of New Jersey. The microbe was discovered in 1916 by Dr. Selman Waksman and Dr. Roland Curtis. In 1943, it was used by a team of Rutgers scientists to create streptomycin, the first antibiotic for tuberculosis.

ACLU-NJ sues schools over immigration questions

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey announced Thursday that it has filed suit against 11 districts and a charter school, contending that they have created obstacles to prevent immigrant families from registering their children. In some instances, the schools require parents to show state driver’s licenses or identification cards, even though requesting such IDs is illegal. One of the districts named in the suit is West New York.

Freeholders oppose new Census guidelines

A proposal to include a question about immigration status on the upcoming 2020 census has raised concerns from the Hudson County Board of Freeholders. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has agreed to a request by the U.S. Department of Justice to add the question, claiming it is needed for better voting rights enforcement.
But the freeholders passed a resolution opposing the question, saying the current long form used by the Census Bureau is more than sufficient to allow for civil right and voting rights enforcement.
The census has not included a citizenship question since 1950, prior to the enactment of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
“Census Bureau representatives have already reported widespread and unprecedented fear among respondents to other surveys, with respondents being reluctant to participate fully and provide accurate information,” the freeholder resolution said. “If Latinos and other residents do not initially respond to the census questionnaire, the bureau will follow up by sending enumerators to their homes, and the costs will increase exponentially.”
The freeholders believe the citizenship question will lead to inaccurate data about Latinos and all residents of Hudson County.
The 2020 Census is used to help each community get its fair share of government funds for highways, schools, health facilities, and numerous other programs.