Bayonne Briefs

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Bayonne firefighters extinguished a third-floor attic fire on Elco Court.
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Bayonne firefighters extinguished a third-floor attic fire on Elco Court.

Newspaper Media Group taps veteran editor for Hudson County papers

As part of Newspaper Media Group’s ongoing commitment to serving Hudson County’s thriving communities, NMG has tapped Bruce Moran as Department Editor. Moran, a veteran journalist, was bureau chief/editor at Dorf Feature Service/Star Ledger for 30 years and has served as news editor and sports editor for NMG since 2015.  He’s currently Department Editor for Central New Jersey as well. “Hudson County is an exciting market,” Moran said. “I look forward to working with our talented editorial and graphics staff, based in our Bayonne office.” In June, NMG, which publishes more than 50 weeklies in Southern and Central New Jersey, bought the Hudson Reporter Associates. Said Moran, “Our mission is to cover the politics, arts, news, and culture that affect the everyday lives of people in Hudson County’s diverse communities.”

Firefighters extinguish attic fire on Elco Court

Bayonne firefighters responded to a report of smoke odor at 12 Elco Court at 7 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3, according to Bayonne Fire Chief Keith Weaver. Arriving firefighters found a fire on the third floor of the building that was spreading into the attic space. Firefighters stretched one hose line to extinguish the fire on the third floor and prevented the fire from extending further into the attic space. No injuries were reported, and the building incurred minor damage. Fire investigators determined the fire to be accidental.

‘Girls Who Code’ offers free summer immersion program

Girls Who Code, a leading national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in technology, offers a free Summer Immersion Program to 10th and 11th grade girls in New Jersey. The application opens in mid-January. The first priority round closes in mid-February; the second round closes in mid-March. No computer science experience is required. The free seven-week full-time nonresidential program offers up to a $1,000 stipend for eligible girls. The program takes place at companies in Raritan, Jersey City, Hoboken, and Newark. For more information or to apply, check out www.girlswhocode.com or contact Eve Balick at eve.balick@girlswhocode.com.

Girls Who Code also offers free after-school clubs for students in grades 3-12. The clubs can be hosted at libraries, schools, and nonprofits. They offer a free online curriculum; the club members work together on a project to impact their communities. No CS experience is required to run a club. The Girls Who Code offers $300 grants to the clubs and free t-shirts for the members. To start a club, submit the online application at www.girlswhocode.com/Clubs.

NJ Transit gets $6.5 million to install positive train control

NJ Transit has been awarded a grant of more than $6.5 million from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to install Positive Train Control (PTC) equipment on 33 new multilevel cab cars. Earlier this month, NJT’s board of directors authorized the purchase of 113 multilevel III passenger vehicles, allowing the agency to replace the oldest rail cars in its fleet.

The total project to install PTC equipment on 33 multilevel cab cars will cost more than $8 million with NJT contributing 20 percent. The funding was awarded under the Positive Train Control Systems Grants under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Opportunity (CRISI) Program.

Kennedy Dancers offer exercise program for seniors and adults with disabilities

The Kennedy Dancers Inc., 79 Central Ave., Jersey City, is now offering senior citizens 60 and over free dance classes that include Yoga, Zumba Gold, and more.

For more information, contact Diane Dragone, executive and artistic director at 201-650-2190 or email kennedydancers.org.

When registering, all must sign an application providing residential, financial information, and provide I.D. Although forms must be filled out, the program is free.

The benefits of exercising and dance are essential to combating minor and major health issues such as obesity, arthritis, and diabetes, as well as essential to minimizing the effect of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. The American Journal of Medicine has recently stated, “…Ballroom dance and patterns help the brain and the body ward off many brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.”

State AG against proposed law for state probes of police-involved shootings

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has spoken out against a proposed new law that would require his office, rather than county prosecutors, to lead investigations into police-custody deaths involving municipal officers. Grewal testified in December against the pending bill, now poised for full legislative approval. The attorney general told the Assembly Appropriations Committee that the legislation would “undermine public trust in law enforcement and will replace a system that already does everything that the sponsors seek to accomplish and more.” This legislation (A3115) has been a proposal dating back to 2016, when Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, introduced a prior version in response to concerns about the often long-delayed results of county-prosecutor-led probes into several deaths in South Jersey at the hands of local police officers.

Climate report details challenges for N.J.

A federal report released in late November gives new details about the warming climate for New Jersey and the Northeast. At 1,600 pages, the Fourth National Climate Assessment is the first congressionally-mandated report to focus its climate predictions, including billions of dollars of property damage and worsening pollution leading to more deaths, state-by-state.

For the Northeast, and states like New Jersey, it means more extreme weather, more coastal flooding and rising sea levels and storm surges that could result in tens of billions of dollars in property losses in coastal communities. It will degrade air and water quality, leading to more emergency-room visits and hospitalizations, as well as additional deaths.

The most dire effects of a warming planet will likely impact the most disadvantaged populations in the Northeast’s urban areas, including lower-income communities and those already burdened with pollution problems.

Hackensack Riverkeeper now accepting scholarship applications

Hackensack Riverkeeper, the citizen-steward of the Hackensack River watershed, is pleased to announce it is accepting applications for the 2019 Ron Vellekamp Environmental Scholarship. The program is named in honor of the late Ridgefield science teacher and founding Riverkeeper Trustee, and helps support college-bound high school seniors who excel academically and who have a strong commitment to environmental protection.

Seniors at 66 high schools in Bergen, Hudson, and Rockland Counties are eligible to be nominated by a teacher or guidance counselor for the award. Applications must be postmarked no later than Earth Day, April 22, 2019. A panel of Hackensack Riverkeeper Trustees and staffers led by Captains Bill Sheehan and Hugh Carola will review each application and consider the students’ academic achievements, environmental extracurricular activities, and future plans. The winner of the $1,000 unrestricted award will be announced by June 1, 2019.

Additional information and full application criteria are available at www.hackensackriverkeeper.org by emailing Carola at Hugh@hackensackriverkeeper.org; or calling him at 201-968-0808 ext. 102.

Appellate court strikes down PARCC test requirement

In a unanimous opinion, a three-judge panel of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of N.J. struck down the N.J. Department of Education’s (DOE) regulations designating the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) end-of-course exams as the requirement for obtaining a high school diploma.

The court held that the current rules violated provisions of the Proficiency Standards and Assessments Act. This statute, enacted by the Legislature in 1979 and amended in 1988, authorizes the DOE to administer a single, eleventh-grade test in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics to determine proficiency under state curriculum standards for graduation.

The current rules violate the act because they require PARCC ELA 10, administered in tenth grade, and Algebra I, which may be taken in any high school grade or earlier, instead of an eleventh-grade graduation test.  The court held that “to the extent the regulations required testing of non-eleventh-grade students, they are contrary to the Act and are invalid.”

The act requires the DOE to give students access to a non-standardized test as a graduation alternative. The court ruled the act “compels DOE to provide for alternative methods of assessing proficiency other than through PARCC testing or any other standardized testing process.”

The court made clear that while the DOE may decide what test to use, “the regulations violate the Act to the extent they specifically authorize multiple tests administered in grades other than the eleventh grade.” The Court stayed its judgment for 30 days to permit the DOE to seek further review by the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The lawsuit challenging the regulations was brought by the Latino Action Network, the Latino Coalition of New Jersey, the Paterson Education Fund, the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, and Education Law Center (ELC). The groups are represented by ELC and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ).

Ray Greaves appointed to NJ Transit Board of Directors

Bayonne resident and Amalgamated Transit Union President Ray Greaves was appointed to NJ Transit’s Board of Directors after the NJ Transit Reform Act increased the number of board members from 8 to 13.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman John McKeon, was signed into law last week and calls for night meetings, more transparency, and more accountability.

“It was an honor working with transit advocates, legislators and the governor to give NJ Transit’s riders a much needed voice and now I will use my position with the Amalgamated Transit Union and as a member of NJ Transit’s Board of Directors to fight for dedicated revenues from both the state and federal governments,” said Greaves in a statement. “The more than 1 million daily riders who depend on NJ Transit must join in the fight and demand that our elected officials find a way to deliver the resources NJ Transit so desperately needs. If we do that we can reclaim the title as having the best transit agency in the country.”

Cow escaped slaughter, was rescued, and gave birth to calf

A cow named Briana that avoided the slaughterhouse by jumping off a truck on Route 80 while en route to a slaughterhouse in Paterson gave birth to a female calf at Skylands Animal Sanctuary Rescue in Wantague last week, according to the NY Post. The cow was corralled by police and animal control workers as it snarled traffic on the highway. After the ordeal, Mike Stura, the founder of the sanctuary, adopted the cow, which suffered minor injuries.

“Brianna is now the proud mother of a beautiful baby girl named, Winter,” sanctuary founder Mike Stura wrote on Facebook. “You can hear my voice change when I say ‘Hi baby,’ that is because I saw Winter open her eyes for the first time and look right at me.”

NJ DEP awards $14 million in statewide recycling grants

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has announced $14.3 million in grants to cities across the state in order to boost local recycling. In Hudson County, Jersey City received $423,248 and Secaucus received $156,353.

New Jerseyans recycled 44 percent, or 4.26 million tons, of 9.7 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2016, according to the DEP.  The state’s recycling rate of 44 percent in 2016 exceeds the national average of 34 percent. Still, a 44 percent recycling rate is below the state’s overall goal of 50 percent, according to the DEP.

That 44 percent does not include construction debris and other types of non-municipal waste. When including all forms of waste, the overall number of solid waste generated in NJ in 2016 is 22.6 million. Of that total, 13.9 million tons were recycled for an overall rate of 61 percent, which is slightly lower than 2015’s rate of 63 percent.