Rescuers at NJ Animal Control and Rescue saved a snowy owl stuck in an industrial chimney at a power plant in Bayonne on Jan. 8. Likely trying to escape the bitter cold, the owl became trapped when workers at the plant spotted it and contacted animal control.
The bird was diagnosed as healthy, but undernourished and dehydrated. On Jan. 15, after a week of rehabilitation at The Raptor Trust, it was released at Island Beach State Park.
The snowy owl, with yellow eyes and spotted plumage, is about two feet tall with a wingspan of about five feet. Other than its striking appearance, the snowy owl is known for its silent bursts of flight.
Holy Family to house BEOF
In what could become a windfall for the City of Bayonne, the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation (BEOF) will likely consolidate three of its four sites in the city onto the campus of the former Holy Family Academy on Avenue A.
The city purchased Holy Family, which closed in 2013, from Sisters of Saint Joseph Academy last year with the intention of relocating most of the operations of BEOF to the site.
Three of the properties used for various programs such as Head Start would be deeded over to the city for $1 each.
Several of the properties are very close to the Hudson Bergen Light Rail and are seen as having a potentially lucrative resale value for future redevelopment.
While the city estimates the value of these properties at $1.5 million, their proximity to transportation could allow the city to market them for more.
City officials have eyed these properties as a potential revenue source for several years, but were blocked partly by the fact that several programs run by the BEOF received federal funding and the lack of alternative locations.
The city faces a serious budget shortfall, and the sale of the three sites has the potential to fill a sizeable portion of this shortfall.
The announcement this week that the BEOF would likely make a move into the Holy Family site by September puts to rest a number of rumors such as the site being sold off for use as an Islamic Center or as a headquarters for the Police Athletic League.
The Holy Family site would also allow BEOF to increase its enrollment in various programs.
Along with Head Start, the site is expected to host BEOF’s Meals on Wheels program as well as host BEOF’s administrative offices, which are currently run out of cramped space at a site on JFK Boulevard.
Sharma Montgomery to run for Bayonne City Council
Former Board of Education candidate and Air Force veteran, Sharma Montgomery, will run for the First Ward Bayonne City Council seat on mayoral candidate Jason O’Donnell’s ticket in the municipal elections in May. The First Ward Councilperson represents residents living south of 17th Street and 16th Street Park, including the Bergen Point neighborhood. The First Ward Council seat is currently held by Tommy Cotter.
Montgomery was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force from 1992 to 1997, then pursued a career in communications. In the Bayonne community, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Bayonne Jewish Community Center and on the board of the BHS Band Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the high school marching band.
“All across our city, people are clamoring for change because they know that Jimmy Davis has used the last four years to line the pockets of rich, out of town developers at the expense of Bayonne taxpayers,” said Montgomery in a press release. “Jason believes as I do that service to our community is an investment in the future and that sitting on the sidelines while this Administration and Council continue making decisions that hurt taxpayers is simply not an option. Jason has put together a great team and I am looking forward to joining them as we knock on doors and speak to residents throughout the city about our plans for Bayonne’s future.”
“Sharma Montgomery’s service to our country and dedication to our community is indicative of her tremendous character and her commitment to serving the public,” said O’Donnell in the release.
Previously announced council candidates on O’Donnell’s ticket include Daniel Ward and Melissa Enriquez-Rada, who will run for the two at-large council seats, and Kevin Kuhl for Second Ward. Daniel Ward is Director of the Social Studies and Library/Media Science Programs at the Bayonne School District, and Enriquez-Rada is a local real estate agent and president of the Rotary Club of Bayonne. Kevin Kuhl is the proprietor of Kuhl’s Tavern and on the Board of Directors for the Bayonne Friends of Special Children and the Don and Arlene Ahern Foundation.
Sal Gullace to run for City Council re-election on Davis ticket
Second Ward Councilman Sal Gullace announced that he will run for another term on Mayor James Davis’s ticket. Gullace will face Kevin Kuhl, who will be running for the second ward city council seat on Jason O’Donnell’s ticket. A contractor by trade, Gullace was elected in 2014 and prides himself on being highly accessible to constituents.
"I'm excited to run with Mayor Davis again because of all the great advances our team has made for our city," said Gullace, whose voting record has largely supported the goals of the Davis Administration. "Bayonne is finally moving forward with a city government that is responsive, proactive and effective and the proof is in the new developments that are generating new tax revenue and jobs."
"Bayonne residents know that they can count on Sal Gullace to be an advocate for them and their families and that's why I'm excited that he's once again running on our team," said Davis. "Councilman Gullace is always working to improve quality of life for the Second Ward and that's why he's the best choice to continue serving on the Council."
Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski was the first announced member of the Davis ticket, followed by Councilman at-Large Juan Perez and Councilman Gary La Pelusa.
Animal control contract tabled, PLA ordinance introduced at city council
The city council is deciding between awarding Bayonne’s animal control contract to Jersey City’s animal control provider, Liberty Humane Society (LHS), or Bayonne’s current provider, NJ Animal Control and Rescue. LHS returned a lower bid in its response to the city’s RFP, but the city council said they are seeking more information from both companies for “clarification on some of their responses,” according to Bayonne City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski. “There are things we’re still fleshing out. It’s unclear from both of them if all the services we requested can be met.”
The council tabled the vote on an animal control provider at its meeting on Wednesday, January 17.
An ordinance requiring development projects that cost more than $15 million to use at least 20 percent local union labor was introduced at the meeting with local union members coming out to show support.
“We have a tremendous amount of union people in the city,” said Patrick Kelleher, president of the Hudson County Building and Construction Trades Council. “If these gentlemen live in Bayonne, they should have the opportunity to work here.”
United Nations Ambassador Michael Ten-Pow to speak at Wallace Temple on Jan. 28
In celebration of Wallace Temple AME Zion Church’s 7th anniversary of its Moving for Missions Day, U.N. Ambassador to Guayana Michael Ten-Pow will give a talk. For Moving for Missions Day, the church partners with agencies for religious missions throughout the world. Wallace Temple AME Zion Church is on 392 Avenue C. The talk begins at 4 p.m.
Some North Jersey schools cracking down on vaping
In some school districts, the use of electronic cigarettes, known as vaping, is a violation of substance abuse rules, according to The Record, and schools are cracking down. School officials say they are concerned about a rise in the nicotine-delivery devices by teenagers. Students caught vaping are subject to drug testing in some districts.
Vaping is also popular in Bayonne, where there are at least three shops specializing in selling electronic cigarettes. Some argue that vaping should not be penalized because it is the carcinogens in tobacco smoke that lead to cancer. If school districts consider nicotine to be in violation of substance abuse rules, then the delivery method will not matter. Recent studies have called into question vaping's perceived neutral affect on health.
Fire on West 10th Street takes life of dog, displaces six
An accidental kitchen fire at an apartment on West 10th Street displaced six people and killed a dog on the evening of Friday, January 19, according to Bayonne Fire Chief Keith Weaver. Firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the kitchen of a second story apartment in a three-family home at 9 p.m. Firefighters deployed two hose lines into the building to control the fire by 9:30 p.m. The firefighters removed a family pet from the apartment when they arrived, and efforts to resuscitate it were unsuccessful, according to Weaver. One resident suffered minor smoke inhalation, while another was treated for minor injuries.
The building sustained smoke damage, which displaced the three families living in the building. Two displaced residents are being assisted by the Red Cross, while the others are being assisted by relatives.
Gov. Murphy orders audit of tax incentive program
Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Friday calling on the Office of the State Comptroller to conduct full-scale performance reviews of tax-incentive programs to determine their effectiveness in bringing jobs and economic growth to the state, NJ Spotlight reports. Murphy’s order requires reviews of two programs administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority over the eight years of Gov. Chris Christie’s tenure.
Leonia bans nonresident drivers during rush hour
Starting last week, out-of-towners who drive on the streets of Leonia in Bergen County between 6 and 10 a.m. or 4 and 9 p.m. will be subject to $200 fines, WCBS reports. The borough passed an ordinance banning nonresident drivers last month in an effort to keep commuters from using its streets as shortcuts to get to and from the world’s busiest bridge, the George Washington Bridge, in the neighboring town of Fort Lee. Navigation apps, like Waze and Google Maps, make matters worse by having caused huge traffic tie-ups in the community. As a result of bridge-related through traffic, some streets are reported to swell from 4,000 daily drivers to 12,000. Those accustomed to that shortcut might want to steer clear.