The Art in the Park series returns to Dennis Collins Park on May 9.
The Art in the Park series returns to Dennis Collins Park on May 9.

Italian shipping company lied to the Coast Guard in Bayonne and covered up pollution

An Italy-based shipping company admitted to discharging oil waste and other pollutants into the ocean and lying about it, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office. According to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, during a Coast Guard inspection of the vessel in Bayonne in January 2015, the chief engineer and second engineer lied to inspectors and told lower-level crew members to lie as well. After the Coast Guard departed the vessel, the chief engineer destroyed a notebook containing tank soundings by burning the pages in the vessel’s boiler flame in order to conceal the notebook from the Coast Guard.

From August 2014 through January 2015, the M/T Cielo di Milano used two different methods to illegally dispose of oily waste, both of which involved discharging it from the vessel’s sewage holding tank into the ocean, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office. Some of the discharges took place within the exclusive economic zone, that is, within 200 nautical miles of the United States. Two chief engineers were involved in the illegal discharges and the intentional falsification of the Oil Record Book to cover up those discharges. One chief engineer falsified the Oil Record Book to state that bilge water had been processed through the vessel’s pollution control equipment when, in fact, it had not. The crew routinely hid equipment used to conduct the discharges when the vessel entered port, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s office.

The company, d’Amico Shipping Italia S.p.A., pleaded guilty in April before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court and was charged with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. Under terms of the plea agreement, d’Amico will pay a $4 million penalty and be placed on probation for four years. During probation, the company will be subject to the terms of an environmental compliance program that requires outside audits by an independent company and oversight by a court-appointed monitor

Census bureau job fair

The U.S. Census Bureau will hold a job fair at the Bayonne Public Library for Census 2020 on Tuesday, May 14, from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Art and Music Room on the second floor of the library, at 31st Street and Avenue C.

People interested in working for the Census Bureau can apply for office or field positions for Census 2020. Hours are flexible. Job-seekers can indicate a preference for working mornings, afternoons, evenings, or weekends.

At the job fair, applicants can apply for employment on computers provided by the Bayonne Public Library.

The Census Bureau will offer paid training to new employees. Any transportation costs to training sessions will be reimbursed. Those hired will be paid weekly by the Census Bureau.

The first operations for Census 2020 will address canvassing in August 2019. At that time, census workers will double-check the existence of various addresses to prepare for next year’s population count. The Census Bureau will contact some applicants about taking part in the address canvassing program. Other employees will be hired later in the process.

Middle school siblings inadvertently pepper-sprayed during attack

A 12-year-old girl and her brother were inadvertently pepper-sprayed by a federal law enforcement officer last week in an effort to protect them from an alleged assault by fellow classmates. The girl was allegedly on the ground while being kicked repeatedly by a group of girls in the area of 18th Street and Kennedy Boulevard when an off-duty officer passing by stopped to intervene, according to Bayonne police. The officer used pepper spray to disperse the group. The girl and her brother, along with a few of their alleged assailants, were inadvertently exposed.

The incident remains under investigation and no charges were brought on any of the girls, who were all middle-school age.

Art in the Park series starts again on May 9

The Art in the Park weekly series at Dennis Collins Park, organized by the Bridge Arts Festival, is back this year. The series, which features dance, music, theater, and poetry performances, is held every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. This week’s entertainment includes the Henry E. Harris Community School Jazz Band and the Bayonne Big Band and a popup shop by Bake n’ Brew Homestyle Bakery and Café. The following week, on May 16, the Bayonne High School Latin Jazz and Bayonne High School Jazz Ensemble will perform.

The series continues every Thursday through August 29.

The program is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a division of the Department of State, and administered by the Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs.

Check out the full summer schedule at

BHS pranksters distribute letter for mandatory ‘penis inspection’

A group of Bayonne High School pranksters distributed a hoax letter around campus that said New Jersey health code required all male students to participate in a “penis inspection.” School officials notified parents of the prank and that no such inspection is taking place. The letter is the beginning of senior prank season. The class of 2019 graduates on June 24.

BHS history teacher nominated for National History Day award

Dr. John Bransfield , a history teacher at Bayonne High School, was nominated for the Hannah E. (Liz) MacGregor Teacher of the Year History Teacher Award, which is awarded to one middle and high school teacher annually.

The two national winners will be chosen by a team of teachers and historians. Nominees’ work illustrates the development and use of creative teaching methods that interest students in history.

National History Day is a nonprofit education organization headquartered in College Park, MD. Established in 1974, NHD promotes an appreciation for historical research among middle and high school students through multiple annual programs.

“Dr. Bransfield is more than deserving of this honor; he truly brings history alive for all his students,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Michael A. Wanko.

State budget diverts $33 million from firefighters’ fund

A careful review of Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed 2020 budget has revealed a one-sentence “under-the-radar maneuver,” a diversion of $33 million from the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association (NJSFA) to the state’s general fund. The NJSFA’s president told that “he has no doubt the comptroller’s report put a target on the organization’s back.” A December 2018 report of the state comptroller’s investigation recommended lawmakers act to ensure “appropriate oversight to guard against fraud, waste and abuse.”

Jersey City finalizes four-year teacher contract

In a five-hour meeting in Jersey City last Monday, the school board ushered in a new contract for teachers. It also made deals with the supervisors’ union and non-certified employees. In total, about 75 percent of the district’s employees are now covered. Sen. Pres. Steve Sweeney sharply criticized the deal as a “giveaway” that “will take money out of the classrooms.”