Puggle rescued after being trapped in underground tank at pump station
Bayonne firefighters rescued a small dog from an underground holding tank at a pump station on 5th Street on Wednesday, October 3. The dog, a beagle-pug mix, or “puggle,” named Roscoe was trapped 10 feet below ground in a water-filled tank, clinging to a large pipe flange extension. Firefighters used specialized equipment to perform a confined-space entry to perform the rescue, according to Bayonne Fire Chief Keith Weaver. Roscoe, who was reported missing from his nearby home several days earlier, was transported to a local veterinarian and reunited with his family in Bergen Point.
Latest opioid data shows good and bad news for NJ communities
The newest data on opioids in New Jersey is a mixed bag, according to NJ Spotlight. On one hand, the number of legal opioid prescriptions issued in 2017 in New Jersey has gone down since 2016, but the number of overdose deaths has continued to climb. In 2016, an average of six people died every day from overdoses, but that number climbed to eight people per day in 2017.
Murphy unveils tuition-free community college pilot
NJ Gov. Phil Murphy has announced a list of 13 community colleges that have been selected for a tuition-free pilot program for the spring semester starting in January. All of the state’s 19 community colleges applied to participate in the Community College Innovation Challenge, and all will receive a $250,000 grant for student outreach and capacity building. The 13 colleges selected for the tuition-free part of the pilot program will be able to offer free attendance to students from families with adjusted gross incomes of $45,000 or less. At Hudson County Community College (HCCC), the policy can make a big difference.
“On behalf of our Trustees, administration, and, most especially, our students, I want to thank Governor Murphy and the State legislators for working to remove the financial barriers that restrict members of our community from obtaining a college education,” said HCCC President Dr. Chris Reber in a press release. “A college education has become essential to establishing a career and earning family sustaining wages. We are honored to have been chosen to pilot the Community College Opportunity Grant during the Spring 2019 semester. This program will benefit families seeking opportunities that might have been impossible before.”
Minimum wage hike coming for airport workers
After battling for six years, airport workers in New York and New Jersey have secured a $19-an-hour minimum wage, according to WNYC. The increase was unanimously approved by the Port Authority board, which will phase in the increase over the next five years. The first pay increase will take effect on Nov. 1 and will bump workers’ pay from $10.45 to $12.45 an hour.
EPA announces $332M cleanup of Meadowlands Creek
After a seven-year investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it has approved a massive cleanup of Berry’s Creek in the Meadowlands. CBS New York reports that the $332 million project will attempt to remove mercury, PCBs, and chromium waste; it will take five years to complete. The six-mile waterway wends its way through several towns and flows into the Hackensack River, which in turn flows into Bayonne.
Gov. Murphy proposes ‘master plan’ to revive economy
NJ Gov. Phil Murphy has announced a list of six economic goals he wants to accomplish by 2025. He said these goals “will not be easy, but they are achievable.” Murphy’s plan hopes to add 400,000 jobs to the state’s economy; drive 4 percent wage growth or a $1,500 increase in the median wage; increase the number of women and minorities in STEM by 40,000; see $625 million in new venture capital investment; increase employment of women and minorities by 42,000; and reduce the poverty rate in cities to match the statewide average.
Sweeney proposes changes to state pension system
State Senate President Steve Sweeney’s proposal to move some state and local employees to a new 401(k)-like pension system has the potential to save the state billions of dollars, according to NJ Spotlight, but it’s also likely to prompt strong backlash from public workers’ unions. Sweeny’s panel recommends that new hires and employees with less than five years of service should be moved out of the defined-benefit pension system.
PSE&G proposes $4 billion plan to advance state’s clean energy goals
PSE&G has proposed a $4 billion investment to help reduce the state’s energy use and carbon emissions. Most of the investment would go to energy efficiency programs, with additional investment in electric vehicle infrastructure, energy storage and “smart” meters. PSE&G says the plan would save customers $7.4 billion, though some rate payers could see their electric bill tick higher.