Jersey City Briefs

New Jersey’s tallest building at 99 Hudson St. officially topped off at 889 feet in September.
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New Jersey’s tallest building at 99 Hudson St. officially topped off at 889 feet in September.

Brennan may sue state over handling of rape charge

Katie Brennan of Jersey City was a Phil Murphy campaign supporter when she claims to have been sexually assaulted by Al Alvarez, who worked for the campaign.

Brennan testified before a Legislative Select Oversight Committee on Dec. 4. While much of what she said was previously reported, her testimony appears to show a pattern of bungled handling by law enforcement on every level of government, and insensitivity by Jersey City police on how to deal with rape allegations.

Brennan claimed that Alvarez allegedly raped her after following her home after a campaign gathering on April 27 when Murphy was running for governor. Alvarez was a key figure in the campaign and later was given a position in the Murphy Administration.

Alvarez, through his attorney, has denied the charges. Brennan, according to published sources, is considering suing the state of New Jersey over how the situation was handled.

Brennan, who currently serves as chief of staff at the state’s Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, testified for several hours in front of the committee investigating the Murphy administration’s screening and procedures for hiring.

Brennan told the legislative committee that the Jersey City police report was “biased” and that the officer who took the report did not have much training working with survivors.

A high ranking police official, however, said Jersey City police do not deal with sex crimes and that they simply take the report and then sends it to the county sex crime unit – a division of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

The prosecutor’s office apparently did investigate the allegations, but chose not to prosecute.

Brennan testified that she attempted to get Murphy’s office to look into the situation, but was unsuccessful.

In October, 2018, Brennan contacted The Wall Street Journal.

Alvarez, who was then employed by the Murphy Administration, resigned his position.

Complicating the situation is that Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez withdrew from the case when she realized that she knew both Brennan and Alvarez.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal notified lawmakers that his newly formed Office of Public Integrity and Accountability “found no evidence” that Suarez had acted inappropriately in the handling of Brennan’s case.

Grewal, however, did authorize the Middlesex Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the allegations independently of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s office. That investigation is still pending.

PATH WTC station will be closed most weekends during 2019-2020

Beginning in January 2019 and running through December 2020, PATH’s World Trade Center Station will be closing each weekend, except for holiday weekends, to replace equipment and rebuild tunnels severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy. The station will close at 12:01 a.m. on Saturdays, starting Jan.5, 2019, and will reopen the following Monday at 5 a.m. after each weekend of work.

During repairs, which include replacing PATH track, third rail, electrical, signal and communications infrastructure in the tunnels below the Hudson River, PATH weekend service to World Trade Center will terminate at the Exchange Place Station.

Free transfers for ferry service to and from Brookfield Place Ferry Terminal will be available for affected customers at the nearby Harborside Ferry Landing in Jersey City each Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Service on the Journal Square-33rd Street line via Hoboken will follow a regular weekend schedule, with additional service provided during the overnight hours when the ferry is not in operation.

Customers should visit www.panynj.gov/StayOnTrack  or download the RidePATH app for train and ferry schedules and updates.

Bills to ease student loan repayment clears senate committee

Two bills sponsored by Senate Higher Education Chair Sandra Cunningham and Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz which would assist those struggling to repay NJCLASS loans cleared the Senate Higher Education Committee on Dec. 6.

One bill, S-3125, would establish two income based repayment options under the NJCLASS loan program, a repayment assistance program (RAP) and a household income affordable repayment plan (HAIRP) for borrowers. These programs would assist borrowers facing economic hardships.

Another bill, S-3149, would establish a process for NJCLASS loans to be declared in default or rehabilitated. Under the bill, the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority could declare a loan in default when the borrowers have failed to meet certain terms of the loan and it is reasonable to determine they no longer intend to repay the loan. They could also declare a loan in default when the borrower has failed to make payments for six months, when payments are due monthly, or eight months, when payments are due less frequently.

JCMC announces December community events

Jersey City Medical Center has announced the following community events calendar for December:

Prenatal breastfeeding class on Dec. 18, from 6  to 8 p.m.;  Let’s Talk Nutrition Healthy Shopping Support Group (Bilingual,  Dec. 19  from noon to  1 p.m. (3rd Wednesday of Every Month);  Cancer Support Group, Dec. 19  from 1  to 2 p.m. (3rd Wednesday of every Month); Stop the Bleed Training, Dec. 20  from 5  to 6 p.m.;  Bingo Night Social, Dec. 27 from 4  to 6 p.m. (4th Thursday of Every Month);  and Prenatal Infant Care Class, Dec. 29  from 9  to 11 a.m.

For more information visit https://www.rwjbh.org/jersey-city-medical-center/.

JC native brings urgent care to West Side

NOWmed Walk-In Urgent Care was expected on Dec. 12 to open its first location in the West Side community of Jersey City. This new center, founded by a Jersey City native, will provide immediate care, screening and diagnostic services, with 365 days of walk-in access for acute illnesses and injury care for those who reside, work and attend schools in Jersey City.

Onsite services include common conditions such as fevers, sprains and strains, upper respiratory infections, lacerations, contusions, back pain and fractures, vaccinations, immigration physicals, Department of Transportation (DOT) physicals, school/camp physicals, occupational medicine services, workplace injury care, travel medicine, x-rays and laboratory testing.

The facility is located at 555 Westside Ave. in Jersey City.