On Tuesday Sep. 9 at about 3:30 p.m., the Bayonne Fire Department responded to
41 East 16th Street for a structure fire. Units confronted heavy smoke in the street and fire coming from the roof and the attic of the two-and-a half-story wood-frame building on the corner of 16th Street and Trembley Court.
Firefighters used heavy water streams to extinguish the fire that extended from the roof and attic down to the second floor. The structure suffered significant damage to the roof and attic, with water and smoke damage throughout. Two tenants, who fled the building, were reported to be home at the time of the fire. The tenants were displaced and provided shelter with the Red Cross.
A propane tank and torch were found on the roof, where a worker was reportedly doing a repair. The worker was not identified, and the fire is currently under investigation.
There were no reported injuries, and the two-alarm fire was declared under control at
4:18 p.m. Bayonne Police Department, EMS, Building Department, and the Fire Canteen were at the scene.
Cunningham and Stack-sponsored privacy bill becomes law
In response to the discovery of the New York City Police Department (NYPD)’s surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey as a part of secret counter-terrorism efforts, Senators Sandra Bolden Cunningham and Brian Stack sponsored legislation that would protect the privacy of the public by setting forth guidelines related to out-of-state law enforcement conducting counter-terrorism activities in New Jersey. The bill has been signed into law.
“Monitoring legitimate terrorist threats is necessary for national security, but this can be done without discriminating against specific ethnic groups and jeopardizing the public’s trust in law enforcement,” said Cunningham. “With this law, our goal is to protect the privacy of all New Jersey residents and avoid the slippery slope of unfettered government surveillance.”
The law, S-2311/A-2948, requires a New Jersey law enforcement agency or officer who acquires knowledge that an out-of-state law enforcement agency intends to enter or has entered New Jersey for purposes of conducting counter-terrorism investigations to notify the county prosecutor. The legislation also requires that out-of-state law enforcement entities inform the county prosecutor 24 hours before entering the borders of the county in New Jersey to conduct counter-terrorism activities.
Within the 24 hour period established under the new law, the county prosecutor will be required to report the out-of-state law enforcement agency’s activity to the counter-terrorism watch within the Division of State Police. Upon receiving this information, the counter-terrorism watch will notify the Superintendent of State Police, the Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, and the designated staff of the Joint Terrorism Task Force within the Division of State Police.
Under provisions of the law, the Attorney General or a county prosecutor can seek a temporary permanent injunction in a summary proceeding in Superior Court upon finding that an out-of-state law-enforcement agency has not complied with notification requirements pursuant to the law. Last, the legislation will allow the court to enter an order to prevent the out-of-state law enforcement entity from conducting the counter-terrorism activity or require compliance with the provisions of the bill.
“While some level of surveillance is needed to monitor known terrorists and affiliates, law-abiding residents in New Jersey should not fall under the purview of limitless investigation,” said Stack. “By establishing a clear channel of disclosure between out-of-state agencies and local officials, we can ensure that all parties respect certain standards of privacy and accountability. As we continue to face threats both at home and abroad, transparency of government and law enforcement needs to remain a priority.”
In June 2009, a building superintendent during a regularly scheduled inspection discovered a secret command center set up by a team of NYPD intelligence officers in an apartment complex in New Brunswick near the Rutgers University campus. No local law-enforcement officers or agents were informed that the New York City Police Department was conducting counter-terrorism activities outside their jurisdiction and on New Jersey soil. This discovery set off public outrage about the privacy concerns of secret surveillance and led to further investigations about the out-of-state operations of the NYPD.
Since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the NYPD, with training and guidance from the CIA, has monitored the activities of Muslims across the Northeast and as far away as New Orleans, according to an Associated Press report. Investigations conducted in early 2012 revealed that the NYPD infiltrated and photographed Muslim businesses and mosques in New Jersey, as well as monitoring the Internet postings of Muslim college students, including student groups at Rutgers. According to court testimony from last August, no terrorist leads were generated by NYPD’s secret Demographics Unit in over six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations, and cataloguing mosques.
The Senate approved the legislation in June by a vote of 39-0. The bill cleared the General Assembly last October with a vote of 76-3. The law goes into effect immediately.
Grace Church to hold open house and blessing of animals
Grace Lutheran Church, 836 Avenue C, will hold an open house on Sept. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. to show off its newly renovated building and church. Called a Post 9/11 Reflection, guests are also invited to pray.
On Sunday, Sept. 29, the church will hold a Blessing of Animals during morning services at 8 and 10 a.m. For more information call (201) 339-3685.
POW/MIA ceremony slated for Sept. 22
American Legion Post 19 will hold its annual MIA/POW ceremony in Fitzpatrick Park (near 26th Street and Avenue C) on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 2 p.m.
Elks Lodge to hold dance party
On Sept. 26, from 7 to 9 p.m. the Bayonne Elks Lodge, 364 Broadway, will hold a dance party for "Special Friends" 18 and over. There will be light snacks and soft beverages served while a DJ inspires some dance moves. This is a free event and a chance to have our "friends" enjoy an evening out and a few hours of "me time" for their caregivers. (who of course are welcome to stay). The Elks will provide chaperones. For more information call Tiffany at (201) 779-5213, Kathy (551) 655-5286, or Ronnie at (201) 376-1793.