JERSEY CITY BRIEFS

Bergen-Lafayette section of Jersey City is on the rise with new development.
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Bergen-Lafayette section of Jersey City is on the rise with new development.

We stand corrected

Two recent columns and one news story that appeared in The Hudson Reporter contained factual errors. The columns and story were about an alleged rape by a campaign worker in Phil Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign.

Katie Brennan has accused Albert J. Alvarez of allegedly raping her in April 2017 in Jersey City after a campaign event. Alvarez has denied the charge, claimed the encounter was consensual, and has not been charged with a crime.

The errors appeared in a news story on Jan. 24 by Al Sullivan and in his columns on Feb. 7 and 14.

The column speculated on Feb. 7, stated as fact on Feb. 14, and amplified on material reported in a Jan. 24 news article – erroneously in all cases – that someone in the office of Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez had communicated with Peter Cammarano, Gov. Murphy’s soon-to-be-chief of staff, about pending charges against Alvarez and, later, that Cammarano had a role in the decision that no charges would be filed.

Testimony by Cammarano before the Legislative Select Oversight Committee indicates this was not true. Another issue raised in the Feb. 7 column – suggesting someone in Suarez’s office kept her in the dark about the case, yet had the political savvy to communicate with the governor’s chief of staff – was based on that error of fact. Cammarano has testified he was not in contact with Suarez or anyone in her office.

His testimony was corroborated by Murphy’s Deputy Chief of Staff Justin Braz, a friend of Brennan, who also testified before the same committee that he told Cammarano about the pending charges based on information from Brennan.

Gateway will be funded under new federal budget bill passed by Congress

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, ranking member of the Senate’s transit subcommittee, applauded the inclusion of critical funding to keep the Gateway Project moving in the federal spending bill that passed Congress.

Menendez sought to secure $650 million in Amtrak Northeast Corridor funding, a portion of which will be dedicated to Gateway, and an additional $130.1 million in transit formula grants that can be used to advance the project.

“This is another major victory that keeps the Gateway Project on the right track. Despite efforts by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans to derail Gateway and slash funding for Amtrak, our delegation was able to secure the same funding levels for Amtrak as we did a year ago amid threats of shutting down the government,” Menendez said. “This funding is vital to moving this critical project forward to ensure the safety and reliability of our infrastructure and the hundreds of thousands who use it each day.”

Man allegedly found with gun during DWI arrest

Kenny Summers, 38, of Evan Mills New York, was charged with possession of a firearm, possession of hollow point bullets, and other weapons-related charges as well as DWI and motor vehicle violations after being pulled over by officers of the Hudson County Sheriff’s Department.

On Saturday, Feb. 9 at approximately 1:28 a.m., Lt. Joseph Steneck and Officer Leslie Constantine were on roving DWI patrol in the area of Kennedy Boulevard and Communipaw Avenue in Jersey City when a black Nissan Pathfinder nearly struck their marked patrol car.  The Nissan was stopped a short distance later at Kennedy Boulevard and Clinton Avenue.

A statement from the sheriff’s office said Summers appeared to have bloodshot eyes and a strong odor of alcohol. He was taken out of the car to be administered a field sobriety test, which he allegedly did not pass and was placed under arrest. As officers were securing his car they noticed a handgun in an open backpack on the front passenger seat of the Nissan. The gun was allegedly loaded and had hollow point bullets in the magazine.

“This stop shows just how dangerous a normal traffic stop can be for law enforcement officers. Officers never know what they will face on a car stop. I am glad we took an impaired driver off the road and took an unlawful weapon off the streets,” said Sheriff Schillari.

Sires reintroduces legislation to expand research for Tourette Syndrome

Rep. Albio Sires has reintroduced the Collaborative Academic Research Efforts (CARE) for Tourette Syndrome Act of 2019 to expand and increase the coordination of Tourette Syndrome research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“Expanded and collaborative research will enable us to provide greater insight into the causes of this disorder, in search of better treatments,” Sires said.

Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The NIH estimates that 200,000 Americans suffer from the most severe form of Tourette syndrome.

The CARE for Tourette Syndrome Act would seek to improve the daily life of those living with Tourette syndrome and their families by expanding and coordinating research efforts on the disorder to advance understanding of it. The bill would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a new system to collect data on Tourette syndrome and award grants to establish new Centers of Excellence focused on Tourette syndrome research. The centers would conduct research on the cause, early detection, and diagnosis along with prevention, control and treatment of Tourette syndrome.

Schnitzer appointed as executive direct of Guarini Institute

Saint Peter’s University announced that Ginger Gold Schnitzer, former director of government relations for the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), has been appointed to the position of executive director for the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership at the University, effective March 4.

Over the span of her 22-year career with the NJEA, Schnitzer helped to shape education policy in New Jersey. She worked on the current school funding formula, the Education Facilities Construction and Financing Act, and helped re-write the state’s teacher tenure law. She also developed highly successful political action training programs and worked with association members to elect NJEA political action committee-endorsed candidates.

The Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership was established in 1994 by Congressman Frank Guarini and aims to provide a non-partisan forum for discussion of key public policy issues. The Institute sponsors lectures and programs throughout the academic year to promote critical thinking, debate and careers in public service. The Institute also sponsors a number of programs with the United Nations such as the Visiting Ambassadors’ Colloquium, the High School Model UN, the Harvard Model UN and Non-Governmental Organization activities.

Metropolitan Family Health Network award to Oral Health Program Grant

Metropolitan Family Health Network (MFHN) has been awarded a $60,000, two-year grant from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey as part of the company’s Kids Oral Health Program (KOHP).

The grant, made through the company’s charitable arm of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, will fund a program entitled, “Oh Baby, What Great Teeth You’ll Have,” which addresses educating mothers-to-be about how poor oral care during pregnancy can impact not only their own overall physical health, but also the birth and subsequent oral health of their babies.

The MFHN “Oh Baby, What Great Teeth You’ll Have” program will be introduced to patients later this month. Additional information will be available online at www.MetropolitanFHN.com.

New JCTC series explores contemporary and controversial issues

Privilege, being presented by the Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC,) is the new series of visual arts, play readings and other performances that opens March 1st at Merseles Studios with an art show and artist talk and concludes March 29 with The Box: Privilege Edition, an evening of music, spoken-word, dance and other performances in JCTC’s black box theater.

“JCTC series are about asking questions of ourselves and society through art and there is probably no theme more pertinent to today than Privilege,” said Olga Levina, Artistic Director of JCTC. “By exploring what the word privilege means, we are looking at all sides of the question of privilege. The artists are not only holding up a mirror to society, but they are encouraging the viewer to question their own privilege.”

For more information go to https://www.jctcenter.org/

HC sheriff named to substance abuse task force

Hudson County Sheriff Frank X. Schillari will be named to the county’s Substance Abuse Task Force which will be established in March to help deal with opioid and other substance abuse issues.

“The opioid epidemic is a public safety crisis that is destroying the lives of millions of vulnerable individuals and devastating countless families each year,” said Hudson County Sheriff Frank X. Schillari. “Drug abuse does not discriminate and it is taking its toll on Hudson County and our nation. I am proud to be named to the Hudson County Substance Abuse Task Force on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office to help our communities put an end to this epidemic and support those battling addiction while on the road to recovery.”