Two teenage kayakers were stranded in the middle of Newark Bay near 16th Street Park on the evening of Wednesday, May 23, after getting lodged between one of the barges off the coast of the park. They climbed onto a wooden platform next to the barge to wait for rescue.
The couple was reported missing at around 10 p.m. by one of the kayaker’s mother who said she last heard from her son at 7:50 p.m. when he told her they were on their way back to 16th Street boat ramp from where they originally departed.
The Bayonne Fire Department Marine Unit piloted a rescue boat into the bay to search for the missing teens, while police officers reached them on a cell phone after 10 p.m. The two returned safely to shore via the rescue boat.
The N.J. State Police Marine Division, U.S. Coast Guard, North Hudson Regional Task Force and the NY/NJ Port Authority Police Department assisted with the search and rescue operation.
“I would like to commend the Bayonne Fire Department for the successful rescue of the two people who went out in the kayak,” said Mayor James Davis. “I would also like to commend the parent who reported the missing kayak to the Police Department. That phone call made the rescue possible. I would also like to caution people against kayaking at night because the darkness and the strong currents can be a dangerous combination. We are fortunate to have an excellent fire department that is trained to rescue people on both land and water.”
Bayonne school district to introduce phone app and notification system in fall
A new mobile phone application and messaging system for parents of students at the Bayonne school district will be implemented in the fall after the app was tested at two schools this year. The app is designed to complement the current parent portal website.
The app will allow parents to set notification alerts to see their children’s grades, see special messages from the administration, such as inclement weather alerts and quick access to the portal. A new text message system will also be implemented in conjunction with the current phone and email system used for special alerts.
“Communication with our district parents is incredibly important,” reads a district press release. “In addition to emails and recorded phone calls, we will be introducing the text message option for parents who wish to participate. This will be used for weather alerts, school closings, and other emergency messages that may need to be sent out.”
More information on the app and text message system will be available later in the summer and early fall.
Bayonne received $3 million in HUD grants
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded more than $19 million to improve and preserve seven Hudson County housing authorities. The grants are provided through HUD’s Capital Fund Program, which provides annual funding to more than 3,000 public housing authorities across the country to build, repair, renovate and/or modernize public housing. NJ received more than $85 million overall.
“The increased capital announced today only serves to enforce how critical the preservation of affordable housing units is to low-income families in New Jersey,” said Lynne Patton, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey, in a statement.
Jersey City received one of the largest grants in the state at $6.7 million. Hoboken received $3.4 million; Bayonne received $3.02 million; West New York received $1.5 million; and Union City received $1.02 million.
Blood drive in honor of Michael Romano
New Jersey Blood Services, a division of the New York Blood Center, is hosting a blood drive on Friday, June 8 from 1 to 7 p.m. at St. Henry’s Church on 28th Street and Avenue C. The blood drive is in memory of Michael Romano, a Bayonne resident who died in 2005 at the age of 11 after a seven-year battle with neuroblastoma, a rare and incurable cancer of nerve cells.
69-year-old woman fends off purse snatcher
A 69-year-old 34th Street woman was standing outside of her home on Monday evening when a man approached her from across the street and attempted to take her purse by force, according to the Bayonne Police Department. The woman then kicked the purse snatcher multiple times, causing him to fall to the ground and flee the scene without the purse. He has not yet been caught.
U.S. urges state to add shoulder belts to school buses
In the wake of a school bus accident that killed a Paramus student and teacher, the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that New Jersey require all school buses have shoulder restraints, The Record reports. The accident on I-80 last week is not under investigation by the NTSB, but its findings from two separate school bus crashes apply to New Jersey. Meanwhile, NJ.com reports that the driver of the bus had multiple speeding violations and license suspensions.
Could NJ ban plastic bags statewide?
Legislation is pending in the Assembly that would impose a 5-cent fee on single-use plastic bags and several municipalities have already banned the bags. On Tuesday night, Monmouth Beach became the latest municipality to ban the bags, according to the Asbury Park Press. Monmouth Beach is also banning plastic straws and Styrofoam food containers.
Risk of Lyme disease on the rise in New Jersey
New Jersey’s top health official is urging residents to take precautions to help stem the spread of Lyme disease in the state, according to News 12. Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal said Monday that more than 5,000 cases of Lyme disease were reported in the state last year, the highest number in 20 years. Officials recommend tucking pants legs into socks, wearing light colors and checking for ticks immediately after being outside.
Murphy signs bills overhauling NJ energy policies
In a ceremony at a solar farm in Monmouth Junction last week, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy signed bills that dramatically alter the state’s energy policies, according to NJ Spotlight. One measure mandates that at least half of New Jersey’s electricity will come from renewable energy by 2030. Murphy signed a bill allowing PSEG to collect $300 million a year from customers to help keep nuclear power plants in South Jersey open. The governor also signed an executive order calling for a new Energy Master Plan to have the state achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
Bill would eliminate huge payouts for used sick time
When Lodi’s police chief retired in February, he was paid $232,097 for unused sick time, vacation days and holidays that he had accumulated over 28 years with the department. But legislation backed by Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin would eliminate such big payouts, The Record writes. A bill approved by an Assembly committee on Wednesday would limit such payments for all public employees to $7,500.
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 the Hudson County Courthouse, 595 Newark Ave. Rm. 901 on Tuesday, June 5 at 6:30 p.m.
CASA is a nonprofit 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.
Uber Express POOL launches in New Jersey
Uber announced last week that its new shared rides product Express POOL launched May 17 in Hudson County, Newark, Elizabeth, and parts of Essex and Bergen counties.
In Express POOL, riders wait a few minutes before their trips begin, and then walk a short distance to a nearby spot for pick up and drop off. Walking and waiting help make more optimal matches and provide better, straighter, faster routes with fewer detours.
New Jersey residents will see Express POOL next to POOL in the app. Once requested, the app spends the next few minutes selecting the most compatible co-riders and a driver nearby, and the best spot for pickup within a few blocks of your location.