UNION CITY/ WEST NEW YORK BRIEFS

NY Waterway mariners rescued the pilot, who was the sole occupant of the aircraft. Photo courtesy NY Waterway.
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NY Waterway mariners rescued the pilot, who was the sole occupant of the aircraft. Photo courtesy NY Waterway.

NY Waterway crew rescues helicopter pilot

A NY Waterway ferry crew member aboard the “Gov. Thomas Kean” rescued a helicopter pilot from a crash landing in the Hudson River on May 15.

Captain Adam Sciaino was carrying passengers between West 39th Street in Manhattan and 14th Street in Hoboken when he saw the helicopter go down at about 1:20 p.m. This is the second rescue performed by Sciaino during his ten-year career with the company.

Deckhand Edwin Montoya deployed a rescue device called the “Jason’s Cradle,” off the bow of the ferry and pulled the pilot aboard. No one else was in the helicopter.

“It was just instinct,” Sciaino said. “Just another day for NY Waterway rescues. We’re right here. Edwin Montoya is an outstanding deckhand. He moved instantly to the rescue.”

In 32 years, NY Waterway crews have rescued almost 300 people from the waters of the Hudson River, including 143 people who were rescued from U.S. Airways Flight 1549, dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson,” in the most successful marine rescue in aviation history.

Roque mulls challenging the West New York election results

Dr. Felix Roque, who was voted out of mayoral office in the May 14 municipal election, isn’t looking to throw in the towel just yet.

Roque said he is mulling an official challenge to the results of the vote. He was 656 votes short of landing a commissioner seat, and believes that result to be “dramatically inconsistent” with polls and discussions his team had with voters over the course of the campaign season.

On election day, Roque told The Hudson Reporter that he was confident his team would win by a large margin.

Roque was voted out in a clean sweep by the “New Beginnings West New York” slate, made up of incumbents Gabriel Rodriguez, Cosmo Cirillo, Margarita Guzman, along with Yoleisy Yanez and Victor Barrera. The “New Beginnings” team said it will name Rodriguez mayor of West New York in Town Hall on May 21.

“I am proud of my 36 years of service in the U.S. Army, proud of my service to my patients as a medical doctor, and proud of my eight years of service to the citizens of West New York as their mayor,” Roque said.

Roque came in sixth, according to the vote count, falling several hundred votes short of Yoleisy Yanez, according to the Hudson County Clerk’s Office.

“The results of the election are dramatically inconsistent with my contact with voters on Election Day, and polling data that we have accumulated,” Roque said. “We are investigating numerous irregularities and will evaluate in the near future whether to officially challenge the election. Should these results stand I am concerned about future tax increases and mismanagement by my opponents who have made many false promises without telling us how they will pay for them.”

Despite a faltering faith in some who conducted the polls, Roque nonetheless expressed gratitude to his running mates and supporters.

Summer camp registration is open

West New York’s 2019 Summer Day Camp is now open. The program is available to all West New York boys and girls, ages 5-14. The deadline to register is June 28.

This free seven-week camp will start on July 1 and end on Aug. 17. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and there will be multiple indoor and outdoor activities along with weekly pool trips, pending parental permission. Camp will take place at the West New York middle school, starting at 8:15 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m.

A valid birth certificate or US passport, recently mailed proof of address, and West New York School District verification letter or report card are all required in order to register. Parents and Guardians must present a valid NJ MVC identification with a West New York address, if the child does not attend a West New York school.

All applications are being accepted at the Town Hall recreation office, at 428 60th St., Monday-Friday, from noon to 7 p.m. For more information, call 201-295-5120.

North Hudson lawyer’s club is accepting scholarship applications

The North Hudson Lawyers’ Club Foundation is accepting applications for the 2019 North Hudson Lawyers’ Club Foundation Scholarship. The purpose of the scholarship is to encourage and advance the next generation of leaders of North Hudson County by providing financial assistance to motivated high school seniors intent on pursuing a college degree.

Applicants must account for appropriate academic standards (submit high school transcript), demonstrate financial need (submit FAFSA & College Award Letter) and be a bona fide residents of Guttenberg, North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken, and West New York attending Hudson County Schools of Technology, Memorial High School, North Bergen High School, Union City High School, or Weehawken High School.

Applicants must plan to attend college for the upcoming academic year commencing September 2019 (Fall Semester) and provide two (2) current Letters of Recommendation.

To obtain a copy of the application, students can email the North Hudson Lawyers’ Club Foundation Scholarship Committee at northhudsonlawyersfoundation@gmail.com or seek a copy from their high school counselor. All applicants must scan and email applications on or before June 1, 2019. For questions, please email us or contact Eloisa V. Castillo, Esq. at 2006 Kennedy Blvd., Suite 201, Union City, New Jersey 07087

Legalized recreational marijuana will be put to a vote 

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney has announced that after months of struggling to reach an agreement on the legalization of recreational marijuana he is ending efforts to pass such a bill through New Jersey’s legislature. Legislators supporting legalization failed to secure enough votes for any hope of the bill to pass.

Sweeney announced that a referendum will be cast in November 2020, which will effectively leave the fate of legalization in the hands of voters over a year from now.
Sweeney also said that he would be moving forward with two related bills. One bill, which currently has bipartisan support, aims to expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program.

According to this bill, patients would be able to receive medical marijuana in topical, edibles, and oils. Currently, only minors can receive marijuana in concentrated forms, whereas adult patients can only buy the drug in its raw form.

This bill also removes the two-ounce limit on 30-day supplies that patients can receive for their conditions. Instead, patients would be able to receive marijuana at any quantity prescribed by a physician; if they don’t get a quantity prescribed, their supply could be given at the discretion of a treatment center.

The other proposed bill is aimed at expunging criminal records of individuals found guilty of marijuana possession charges in quantities up to five pounds. What’s unclear about the proposed expungement bill is how it can be worded to clear the names of those convicted of possession and distribution charges, given that possession and distribution of marijuana will be considered crimes until recreational marijuana is legalized.

Before Sweeney’s announcement, the state Department of Health announced it has amended New Jersey’s medical marijuana rules, reducing registration fees, adding new medical conditions to qualify, and expanding the forms for consuming medical marijuana.

“These rules solidify key program reforms to ensure greater patient access to this effective therapy,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said. “With these changes, the department will be able to add conditions more rapidly, remove barriers for minors and increase supply of product available.”

The rule reduces the registration fee for qualifying patients and their caregivers from $200 to $100, and adds seniors and military veterans to those eligible for the reduced registration fee of $20. It authorizes qualifying patients to designate up to two primary caregivers instead of just one.

The new rules, which will appear in the New Jersey Register on May 20, add seven “debilitating medical conditions” including PTSD, by statutory enactment; and six new conditions that include anxiety, chronic pain of visceral origin, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders, migraines, Tourette syndrome, and Opioid Use Disorder. The rules also expand the forms of medical marijuana available in New Jersey to include oil-based formulations, like vape cartridges.

Additionally, the rule includes the following changes that will go into effect upon publication:
• Creating a separate permitting system for cultivation, manufacturing and dispensing marijuana for medical purposes, which would increase the available supply of, and patient access to, usable marijuana and allow for specialization in the market
• Streamlining the process to petition for the addition of “debilitating medical conditions” by removing the requirement that petitions first be referred to the Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel
• Emphasizing the advisory role of the Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel to include the provision of guidance and recommendations to the State Health Commissioner regarding the medical use of marijuana
• Removing the requirement of psychiatric evaluation as a condition of physician certification of minors as qualifying patients

There are currently 46,300 patients, 950 doctors and 1,850 caregivers participating in the program.

Patients and caregivers can visit the Medicinal Marijuana Program’s website and refer to the FAQ section for additional information. An unofficial copy of the rules is available on the Department’s website: https://nj.gov/health/medicalmarijuana/program-rules/.

NJ extends statute of limitations for sexual abuse

The statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases in New Jersey has received a major extension. Victims of sexual abuse will now have a much broader ability to sue those who assault them and seek damages from any institutions that assisted sexual abusers in keeping any form of abuse under wraps.

Prior to the passing of this bill, New Jersey granted survivors of sexual abuse two years to pursue litigation. Victims who were sexually abused as children could only file a lawsuit two years after their 18th birthday.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill on May 13, granting victims of child sexual abuse the ability to have their day in court up until they turn 55, or within a seven-year window of when they first realized they were abused as children.

The bill also has a retroactive component. Any victims who were denied the ability to sue their abusers based on the former statute of limitations will have a two-year window to seek damages once the bill goes into effect on Dec. 1, 2019.

While advocates for victims of child abuse at SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests) sang the new law praises, the Catholic Church has been a steadfast opponent of this bill.

“While we disagreed on specific elements of this legislation, the Catholic community, the legislature, and the Governor sincerely agree on one key position- the need to restore justice for the victims of sexual abuse in New Jersey,” Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of the Newark Archdiocese said. “The Catholic community is confident that the Independent Victims Compensation Program established by the five dioceses in New Jersey is a significant step towards restoring justice for those who, as minors, were abused by ministers of the Church.”

In February, all Catholic Dioceses in New Jersey released the names of 188 clergymen who were “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children that were in their records since the 1940s.