Jersey City man accused of five murders hears charges
Shiquan Bellamy, the Jersey City resident accused of killing five people last year – including an engaged couple on Easter Sunday – was arraigned on Monday in Hudson County Superior Court on his third murder charge, according to Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio.
DeFazio said Bellamy, 19, was in court to hear the reading of the murder charge against him regarding the March 27 death of Lamonte Wright. Wright, 20, of Woodlawn Avenue, was shot in the back with a shotgun while walking his girlfriend to her car at about 6 a.m. on Clerk Street near Myrtle Avenue.
DeFazio said Bellamy is also accused of the April 4 murders of Michael Muchioki, 27, and Nia Haqq, 25, the Jersey City couple shot outside their Randolph Avenue home after they returned from their engagement party. DeFazio said their case is scheduled to be heard by a grand jury next month.
He is the prime suspect in the murders of Lester Thompson, 26, and Mileak Richardson, 17, both of Van Nostrand Avenue in Jersey City, who were shot in the head at about 4 a.m. at Woodlawn Avenue and Corcoran Street in Jersey City on Feb. 2, 2010. DeFazio said Bellamy has already appeared in court to hear the charges against him in the murders of Thompson and Richardson.
DeFazio said Bellamy’s lawyer entered a “not guilty” plea on behalf of his client.
Bellamy allegedly was involved in five of the 25 murders that occurred in Jersey City in 2010. DeFazio said a $6 million bail is still set on him.
JCIA to rehire employees with state funds
Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy and State Sen. Sandra Bolden-Cunningham announced Wednesday that Jersey City has been awarded $310,000 in Community Service Block Grant funds through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to re-hire approximately 30 employees of the Jersey City Incinerator Authority’s “Second Chance Maintenance Program.”
The Second Chance program, which was formerly funded by the Urban Enterprise Zone, allows individuals with a non-violent criminal record an opportunity to return to the workforce and learn valuable skills. In September, the JCIA was forced to terminate 42 “Second Chance” employees who handled litter patrol, after Urban Enterprise Zone funding was no longer available for the program.
“We are grateful that Senator Cunningham was able to secure these important state funds for our city and for this valuable program, which not only creates job opportunities, but also provides a valuable service for the taxpayers of the city,” said Mayor Healy. “We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Cunningham on securing additional state funds for vital programs and services such as this.”
“The ‘Second Chance’ program is one that I have been supportive of since it was created in 2001 by my late husband, Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham,” said Sen. Cunningham. “When I saw the opportunity to secure funds for this program in Jersey City I did not hesitate. I am proud to say that Jersey City will once again have an active ‘Second Chance’ program.”
Oren K. Dabney, Sr., chief executive officer of the JCIA, said that those employees who were terminated in September would have first preference to be re-hired. He expects the crews will work Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to handle litter patrol, as well as snow removal from crosswalks and other areas.
Christie: Transfer tunnel $ to local infrastructure
HUDSON COUNTY AND BEYOND – Gov. Christopher Christie announced Thursday that he would rather have $8 billion in transportation funds, some of which would have helped build the cancelled Access to the Regions Core Tunnel, put toward aging infrastructure of Hudson County.
Christie announced a five-year plan that would use cash contributions from the state’s General Fund and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, bonding, and $1.8 billion to complete various projects. He would ask the Port Authority for some of the funding.
This plan would have the state spend $1.6 billion a year for transportation projects across the state, including $672 million for New Jersey Transit capital needs and $200 million a year on local government projects.
The $8.7 billion ARC Tunnel plan originally called for $2.7 billion contribution from New Jersey, with the federal contribution of $3 billion matched with an additional $3 billion from the Port Authority. It was cancelled around 10 weeks ago.
The projects include major roadways and bridges in or near Jersey City, Hoboken, and Secaucus, such as:
• The Route 7 Wittpenn Bridge, which links Route 139 with Route 1&9 East and the New Jersey Turnpike Interchange 15W;
• Route 139, which bridges the Holland Tunnel with Route 1&9, the I-78 New Jersey Turnpike extension, and local roadways of Jersey City and Hoboken;
• And the Portway New Road, a proposed roadway that would connect St. Paul’s Avenue along the CSX railroad crossing over to New County Road, finally terminating at Secaucus Road in Jersey City.
“Most importantly, ensuring these critical transportation projects move forward will create thousands of Jersey jobs. By responsibly investing in projects over the next five years, we’re putting New Jerseyans to work now and in the future,” said Christie.
Christie said that these projects would allow the state to get on a “path towards fiscal health and proposing a sensible and responsible plan that prioritizes vital transportation projects,” but would still allow the taxpayers to carry the “already-heavy debt burden” of the state.
Christie said that over five years, 37 percent of the project would be paid “as you go,” with the rest throw borrowing.
This plan will be the sixth reauthorization of the State’s Transportation Trust Fund, which is funded by state appropriations from the Motor Fuels Tax, the Petroleum Products Gross Receipts Tax, and Sales and Use Tax. There is no legal requirement for additional voter approval for his plan.
According to published reports, Christie has refused to consider raising New Jersey’s gas tax, which is one of the three lowest in the United States.
Hudson County Community College holds Welcome Center grand opening
Hudson County Community College will officially open its new Welcome Center on Tuesday, Jan. 11 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. The new facility is located at One PATH Plaza — just up the escalator from the Journal Square PATH Station in Jersey City. Elected officials, HCCC administrators, and staff and representatives from the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey are among the invited guests.
The totally renovated 1,900-square-foot masonry-and-glass facility was developed as part of the college’s capital expansion plan. Rivardo Schnitzer Capazzi was the architect for the project, and MAST Construction Services served as the construction manager.
The Welcome Center was also developed to better meet the technological needs of the college’s growing student population. The $780,744 facility will also house a 29-station computer lab for students that include Wi-Fi Internet access, a host of computer programs, a support desk and Smart Board.
Hudson County Community College has experienced exceptional growth, with fall 2010 enrollments exceeding 9,300 students. The college had the largest per-credit enrollment increase of any New Jersey college.
Screening of documentary on Honduras is Jan. 10
The Latin America-Caribbean Solidarity Committee of the International Action Center and the Jersey City Peace Movement are co-sponsoring the screening of the documentary, “Quien Dijo Miedo” (We Are Not Afraid) on Monday, Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at NJ ACTION 21, 107-B Hutton St. (between Central and Summit Avenues.)
The film was made in Honduras in 2010 and explains what has happened since a coup on June 28, 2009 forced democratically-elected President Jose Manuel Zelaya into exile. It also covers the rise of the Honduran Resistance, which is among the most important social and political movements in Latin America today.
The film is in Spanish with English subtitles and is 108 minutes long. Q & A session will follow. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.JCPM.org, and www.IACenter.org.
Temple Beth-El schedules annual Martin Luther King service
Temple Beth-El in Jersey City will hold their annual Sabbath service honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King on Friday, Jan. 14 at 7:45 p.m.
This year’s featured speaker will be Rep. Donald Payne (D-10th), whose district which encompasses portions of Hudson, Union and Essex counties.
Refreshments will be served following the service. Parking is available at the Bank of America lot across from the temple. For more information, call (201) 333-4229.