A Dec. 6 fire at 86 W. 26th Street temporarily displaced 13 tenants although no one was injured. The fire department responded to the report of a building fire and upon arrival, firefighters were confronted by smoke billowing down from the upper portion of a three-story frame, six-unit apartment building. Firefighters evacuated the building and advanced hose lines up the interior stairwell, and extinguished a fire that was found traveling an interior wall and partly into the cockloft. The building suffered fire damage to the interior wall on the east side of the building, with minimal extension to the cockloft. A number of apartments were impacted by varying levels of smoke and water damage.
Displaced tenants sought shelter from with Red Cross or family and friends. The fire investigator reported that the fire originated around a window near a stairwell landing between the second and third floor. The cause is under investigation. The 2-alarm fire was declared under control at shortly after midnight. There were no reported injuries.
N.J. gets extra $10 million in federal highway funding
U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez announced that an additional $10 million in emergency highway funding to help return New Jersey’s highways and roads to working condition will be granted. The funding, which will come through the U.S. Department of Transportation, will be distributed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation to restore traffic services, establish detours, and perform emergency roadway repairs on federally aided roads and bridges that were damaged by Superstorm Sandy. On Nov. 1, President Obama approved an initial $10 million in transportation aid for New Jersey after the Senators requested quick release of emergency federal funding earlier that day.
“New Jersey’s economy relies on a safe, reliable transportation system, and this federal funding will help restore our roadways and bridges,” said Sen. Lautenberg, a member of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee. “We are committed to providing New Jersey with the resources it needs to rebuild, and we will continue fighting for federal funding to ease the cost of recovery for the state and municipalities.”
“Sandy’s powerful storm surge overwhelmed our state and the resulting damage to our transportation system is unlike anything we have previously seen. From our ports to our rails to our roads, the arteries of our transportation system shut down, hurting industries, our economy and all those New Jerseyans who depend on them, “said Menendez. “I applaud the federal government for responding to our request to provide emergency resources for New Jersey’s transit agencies that oversee our roads and bridges. This funding is critical to not only help get all of New Jersey moving again, but to make improvements so that the next disaster does not cripple our transportation system as badly as this one.”
Recently, Senator Lautenberg, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, chaired a Subcommittee hearing entitled, “Superstorm Sandy: The Devastating Impact on the Nation’s Largest Transportation Systems.” The Subcommittee heard testimony from witnesses from New Jersey Transit, MTA, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Amtrak.
Ray Greaves Association holds Christmas party
This year’s Christmas party for the Ray Greaves Association will be held at the Chandelier Restaurant, located at 1081 Broadway, on Dec. 14. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45 and include hot and cold buffet, open bar, live music, dancing. Dress is casual. Call (201) 339-3885 or (973) 477-1800 for tickets and information.
Bill allows students to view prospective financial packages
A bill sponsored by Senators Barbara Buono and Sandra Bolden Cunningham that would provide prospective college students and their parents with a better understanding of the costs and debt they will inherit in order for them to make more informed college-choice decisions
The bill, S-2187, would require New Jersey four-year public and independent colleges to provide each prospective student with a standardized financial aid “shopping sheet” including information on the costs, loan options and estimated debt they will incur as part of their financial aid offer. The “shopping sheet” would be required at minimum to include:
The total cost for one year of attendance at the school, including tuition, student fees, room and board, books and materials, transportation and other personal expenses; the total amount of grants and scholarships awarded to the students; the total amount the student would owe to the school for one year of attendance, taking into account all grants and scholarships; the total amount per year of student loans and work study funds the student is eligible for, broken down by federal student loans, federal work study funds, and private student loans; the total amount the student will owe for one year of attendance at the college or university compared to the average cost per year at other four-year public institutions in New Jersey, and to the average cost per year at independent institutions; and the estimated monthly student loan payment after graduation.
New Jersey’s colleges and universities would also be required to include the school’s graduation rates, reenrollment rates, and the percentage of students who defaulted on their loans on the “shopping sheet.”
“Students who are applying to multiple colleges across the state are tasked with determining which is the best fit for their future,” said Cunningham, chairwoman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “In this day and age, financial affordability must be a major factor in that decision-making process. The financial aid ‘shopping sheet’ will help prospective college students and their parents make an informed decision in regards to the overall cost of higher education.”
The bill would require the state Secretary of Higher Education to provide a model format for the “shopping sheet,” so that prospective students and parents could easily compare costs and financial aid packages between schools. The Secretary of Higher Education would be directed to consider the sample “shopping sheet” unveiled by the Obama Administration in July 2012.
As of October, over 500 institutions across the country have adopted the federal “shopping sheet” for the 2013-2014 school year, including New Jersey City University, Everest Institute South Plainfield campus, and the University of Phoenix Jersey City campus.
The bill was approved by the Senate Higher Education Committee with a vote of 4-0. It now heads to the Senate floor for a vote.