SECAUCUS BRIEFS

Elementary students in Secaucus welcomed participants in this year’s Law Enforcement Torch Run to raise funds for the Special Olympics on June 7. Pictured here: police officer Mark Shock and Mayor Michael Gonnelli.
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Elementary students in Secaucus welcomed participants in this year’s Law Enforcement Torch Run to raise funds for the Special Olympics on June 7. Pictured here: police officer Mark Shock and Mayor Michael Gonnelli.

Woman convicted of enslaving another woman

Alia Imad Faleh Al Hunaity, 43, was convicted on Friday June 7 of charges of forced labor, alien harboring for financial gain, and marriage fraud, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito and Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division announced.

Hunaity, who owns a home in Secaucus, was found guilty on all counts of the indictment against her following a six-day trial before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court.

“The defendant in this case treated the victim as a slave,” Carpenito said. “Hunaity kept the victim in this country illegally and hid her away, in order to force her to perform household work without pay, privacy, or the ability to move about freely. Through the guilty verdicts in this case and other prosecutions like it, this office continues to work to ensure that the evil of human trafficking is brought out from hiding and into the light so that it may be punished appropriately.”

“The defendant took advantage of the victim for years, forcing her to live in terrible conditions, work without pay, and then enter into a fraudulent marriage to continue the cycle of abuse,” Dreiband said. “The Department of Justice will continue to investigate and vigorously prosecute forced labor cases so that victims can obtain justice.”

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial, Hunaity brought the victim, a Sri Lankan national, to the United States on a temporary visa in 2009 to perform domestic work. Hunaity caused the victim to overstay her visa and remain in the United States illegally for over nine years.

The trial also revealed that Hunaity forced the victim to cook and clean her homes in Woodland Park and Secaucus, and to care for her three children, all without pay. She limited the victim’s interactions with the world outside of Hunaity’s homes.

The prosecution charged that during this time, Hunaity required the victim to sleep on a bed in a public space in Hunaity’s homes, including in the kitchen. In 2018, Hunaity forced the victim to marry her so that the victim could obtain legal residence and Hunaity could continue to force her to work without fear of the victim being deported.

Paterson Plank Road Bridge replacement project is underway

New Jersey Department of Transportation officials have announced a lane closure and traffic shift on Paterson Plank Road over Route 3 as the bridge replacement project begins in Secaucus.

The work started on May 31 and will close lanes on Paterson Plank Road from Maple Street to First Street with a single lane of alternating traffic in order to establish a traffic shift.

Motorists will be able to access Route 3 westbound but should use caution when merging onto the roadway.

During this stage of the $8.7 million federally funded project, the bridge superstructure on the southbound side will be replaced. When this stage is completed, traffic will be shifted onto the newly-reconstructed southbound side of the bridge to allow for replacement of the northbound side.  The first stage of the project is anticipated to be complete by early next year, with overall completion expected by fall 2020.

The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website www.511nj.org for real-time travel information and for NJDOT news follow on Twitter @NJDOT_info or on the NJDOT Facebook page.

Seeking to halt underage drinking on private property

In a push to get more towns to adopt ordinances to control underage drinking, the Hudson County Coalition for a Drug Free Community said a number of Hudson County communities have put preventive measures in place to deter the many consequences that alcohol consumption by minors can generate.

Secaucus, Bayonne, Jersey City, Guttenberg, Kearny, North Bergen, West New York and Union City have already adopted ordinances making underage drinking on private property illegal.

To report underage drinking parties, call your local police department.

For more information on Hudson County Coalition for a Drug Free Community, please visit:

http://hudsoncountycoalition.org/about-hccdfc/areas-of-focus/

Hudson County CASA is seeking volunteers

Learn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. The next information session will be held at Little City Books at 100 Bloomfield St, Hoboken, on Wednesday, June 19 at 7 p.m.

Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes.

Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures.

For further information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org

Pascrell-authored bulletproof vests grant legislation becomes law

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), co-chair of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus, celebrated the signing into law of H.R. 2379, which will permanently authorize the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, a federal program that helps state and local law enforcement agencies purchase bulletproof vests for officers working in the field.

Sponsored by Reps. Pascrell and Peter King (R-NY-02), H.R. 2379 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 400 – 9 earlier this month. The Senate version of the bill was sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

“After our bulletproof vest legislation swiftly passed in both the House and the Senate, permanent reauthorization of this lifesaving program has now become the law of the land,” said Rep. Pascrell. “We worked vigorously to pass our legislation through Congress during National Police Week so that our brave law enforcement officers could access these lifesaving resources. As co-chair of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus, I could not be more proud to have helped shepherd this bill through the Congress and I will continue to push for similar legislation that keeps our first responders safe. God bless them.”

In 2018, the grant program allotted $29,876,699 for 4470 jurisdictions to purchase body armor for police officers across the country. Of that, there were 257 New Jersey jurisdictions that received $1,327,919 in BVP grants. Since 1999, the BVP program has awarded more than 13,000 jurisdictions a total of $467 million in federal funds for the purchase of over one million vests.

Italian dinner fundraiser

Instead of holding its best meatball contest, The Knights of Columbus Mary Immaculate Council No. 12769 in Secaucus will hold an Italian Dinner fundraiser for CURE Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

The event will be held in the Immaculate Conception Church Auditorium, 760 Post Place on Saturday, June 15 starting at 6:30 p.m.

The menu includes salad, meatballs, sausage, pasta, deserts and beverage.

Music will be by DJ Chris.

The cost of tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children under 13. Ticket sales benefit charities including SMA research.

Tickets are available at the parish gift shop or by contacting Chairman Giovanni Recalde at 201-417-2619 or giorecalde@yahoo.com.