In the January 17 issue of the Bayonne Community News, we mistakenly wrote that a redevelopment site on North Street was approved for two towers. The original plan calls for two towers, but only one has been approved so far.
Documentary screening on Bayonne man lynched in Georgia
“Fair Game: Surviving A 1960 Georgia Lynching,” a 65-minute documentary on the life of James Fair, Jr. is premiering in New Jersey on Feb. 3. In May 1960, the 24-year-old Bayonne navy vet joined a Newark friend on a road trip to his hometown of Blakely, Georgia, where he would face wrongful conviction for rape, and a death sentence. His mother launched a 26-month campaign to save her son’s life.
“Fair Game” will have three screenings; 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4 at Friendship Baptist Church, 41 W 20th St. in Bayonne; 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at the Bayonne Board of Education, and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at New Jersey City University’s School of Business, 200 Hudson St. in Jersey City.
The filmmaker, Clennon L. King, will introduce the documentary, before leading a post-screening discussion and audience Q&A at all three programs.
The filmmaker dedicated the documentary to the 25 known black men who were lynched in Early County, Georgia, second only to Atlanta in the number of lynching deaths statewide. King also dedicates the film to his father, Georgia’s legendary civil rights attorney C.B. King, who tried to prevent James Fair, Jr. from becoming the 25th victim.
The film features interviews with the late U.S. Representative Cornelius E. Gallagher, who, as Fair’s congressman, helped secure a stay of execution from Georgia’s governor; Manhattan-based lawyer and Clinton presidential confidante Vernon Jordan, and law clerk on the Fair case; former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, who served on the faculty at Seton Hall School of Medicine and is from the same Georgia town where Fair’s troubles began.
King spent a week in NJ in June 2017, researching and conducting multiple on-camera interviews, including with Fair’s daughter, Stacey Fair of Bayonne; Friendship Baptist Church of Bayonne pastor H. Gene Sykes, a distant relative; and childhood friends Sam Elder and Margaret Hamiel. The film also features both of Fair’s sisters, Audrey Fair Porte and Diane Fair Odom of Florida, who lived in Bayonne during the ordeal.
Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation receives $1.5 million in federal grants
The Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation received $1,529,894 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for its Head Start program.
The Head Start initiative provides comprehensive child-development programs for low-to-moderate income families. The program has been shown to improve educational outcomes for participating students, including by increasing rates of high school graduation and college attendance.
Feral cat colony behind former A&P relocated
More than two dozen cats that lived behind the former A&P supermarket in Bergen Point were relocated to a new, secret location. The cat colony has been growing since the A&P lot turned vacant in 2016, which is also when the Bayonne City Council started discussing plans to move the colony. Some of the cats are feral, while others are spayed and neutered.
The supermarket structure was demolished last month, clearing the way for a planned residential building. The city is not disclosing the new location of the colony to the public so that residents do not visit, feed, or add to the colony. The colony was created and grew, partly, from residents dropping off unwanted house cats and feeding the existing colony. A caged-in structure to house the cats was ultimately rejected in favor of allowing the cats to roam free.
Scuffle outside skate shop results in teen arrest
A Bayonne teen was arrested on Jan. 11 outside of Classic Skate Shop in an incident that involved two assaults after an argument in a line outside the store, according to the Bayonne Police Department.
A 17-year-old was charged with aggravated assault and simple assault of a 20-year-old man and another teen who came to the man’s defense.
Police said the altercation resulted in three people falling into the front window of the shop and shattering it. The 20-year-old was taken to Bayonne Medical Center to be treated for facial injuries.
Bayonne Fire Department extinguishes crawl-space fire
Bayonne firefighters extinguished a lower-level crawl space fire at 271 Avenue B at around noon Jan. 23, according to Bayonne Fire Chief Keith Weaver. The fire was moving up vertically between the crawl space and the first-floor bathroom area. Firefighters used one hose line to extinguish the fire and prevented further spread of the fire. The fire was placed under control in 15 minutes. No injuries were reported; fire investigators determined the cause to be accidental.
Bayonne man accidentally shot in face with gun
A 30-year-old man accidentally shot a 29-year-old man in the face inside an Avenue B home, according to the Bayonne Police Department. On the evening of Jan. 19., police found the victim with facial wounds, treated him on the scene, and transferred him to Jersey City Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. The firearm, a Springfield XD 9-millimeter pistol, was legally registered under the the 30-year-old’s name; he was charged with aggravated assault, according to authorities.
Gun accidentally discharges into neighbor’s apartment
A 39-year-old Bayonne man was charged on Jan. 16 after his gun accidentally discharged, firing a bullet into a neighbor’s apartment on Kennedy Boulevard on Jan. 13, according to the Bayonne Police Department. The man was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun. The gun discharged while being moved from one location of the apartment to another. The gun was not stolen or registered.
Amy DeGise resigns from Jersey City school board
In a move that may be a prelude to her running for mayor of Jersey City in 2021, Amy DeGise announced that she will step down from her position as trustee on the Jersey City Board of Education on Feb. 1 to focus her attention on her role as chair of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, to which she was appointed last June.
The move comes after Chairwoman DeGise and the HCDO delivered a massive turnout in the November election, helping propel U.S. Senator Bob Menendez to victory with an 85,000-vote plurality.
Many believe DeGise’s move will be a prelude to an attempt to unseat Mayor Steven Fulop in the 2021 election.
“My focus will be on developing new ways for Hudson residents to get involved in our party through caucuses and committees, with a goal of harnessing the unprecedented levels of activism and civic engagement we’re seeing into meaningful progressive change,” she said.
Thousands eligible for free community college
This week marks the beginning of the spring semester at many New Jersey colleges. It’s also the first time that about 13,000 students will be eligible to attend tuition- and fee-free, thanks to a pilot of the Community College Opportunity Grant program. Thirteen of the state’s 19 community colleges are participating.
Hudson County Community College (HCCC) is one of 13 community colleges across New Jersey selected to participate in the state’s Community College Innovation Challenge, a pilot program that will distribute $20 million worth of grants, called the New Jersey Community College Opportunity Grant. Thirteen thousand students across the state will be eligible for free tuition beginning in the spring of 2019.
To qualify, students will need to take six credits or more and have a household income of $45,000 or less. In a county with a median household income of about $63,000, the grants may go a long way. Eighty-three percent of HCCC students already receive financial assistance, while the County of Hudson and the HCCC Foundation already provide more than $500,000 in scholarships each year.
The cost of tuition for a full-time student living in Hudson County taking 12 credits is $1,704 before fees. An associate’s degree, the highest degree offered at the college, requires 60 credits.
Jersey shore residents fret over new rental tax
Many rentals along the Jersey Shore are locked up in January, but this year, some homeowners worry that tourists will take their dollars elsewhere. The issue: a new 11.625 percent rental tax. Thirty-nine states collect short-term rental taxes, according to a 2018 National Conference of State Legislatures’ report, according to the Associated Press.
Murphy pushes for $2.1 billion AirTrain replacement
Gov. Phil Murphy has called for Port Authority’s board to approve a $2.1 billion project: replacing the AirTrain at Newark Airport. Patching it up would cost $400 million. In 2017, the board approved a capital plan for the next 10 years; the AirTrain is on it.
Lawmakers outline how to improve maternal care
In a recent joint Assembly meeting, lawmakers approved several maternal health bills, including doula care, patient-safety bundles, maternity-care data, a maternity health campaign, “respectful” birth standards, care for between pregnancies, perinatal-care curriculum for community health workers, the “My Life, My Plan” program, and the Listening to Mothers Survey Act, according to NJ Spotlight.
Murphy announces new plan to combat opioid crisis
At Cooper University Medical Center, Gov. Phil Murphy recently unveiled a new plan to spend the state’s $100 million investment to fight the opioid crisis.
Effective immediately, opioid use disorder will be covered as an eligible condition under the state’s medical marijuana program. Beginning April 1, Medicaid recipients will no longer need to secure a prior authorization for medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Through the Office Based Addiction Treatment program, doctors will receive Medicaid reimbursement incentives to administer MAT. Four million dollars will support two new Centers of Excellence for opioid treatment: Cooper Medical School in Camden, and Rutgers Medical School in Newark. The state will improve and expand its syringe access programs and devote $3.9 million to a new pathway to recovery program.
Public health advocates have been calling on state government to take more action as 3,163 overdose deaths in 2018 broke states records.
The state reported in January that drug overdose deaths passed the 3,000 mark in 2018. At 3,163, it’s higher than it’s ever been, and 15 percent more than in 2017. The counties that experienced the worst (highest) rate of growth: Salem (60%, 32 deaths); Passaic (54%, 206 deaths); Cumberland (49%, 113 deaths); Mercer (40%, 148 deaths); and Monmouth (30%, 223 deaths). Hudson County had 187 suspected overdose deaths, its highest since recording 127 in 2016.
The newest data on opioids in the state 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.