Repairs to begin this weekend on Route 495 into NYC

After closing temporarily for repairs earlier this week, the Route 495 approach to the Lincoln Tunnel will undergo permanent repairs beginning this weekend, resulting in commuter delays.
The two right lanes on the I-495 east bridge in North Bergen were closed on Wednesday as crews began repairs on a damaged bridge deck joint. The work resulted in major commuter delays on Wednesday evening. All lanes reopened on Thursday morning.
The two lanes will be shut down again beginning Friday at 9 p.m. as permanent repairs commence. According to the Department of Transportation, work will continue until the repairs are complete. Commuters are advised to find alternative routes into New York City.

See ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ for free outdoors at the Kennedy Library on Aug. 18

Cinema under the Stars continues with “Guardians of the Galaxy” at the Kennedy Branch Library at 8 p.m. on Aug. 18. Bring a chair, blanket, and snacks, and enjoy the movie for free in the parking lot of the Kennedy Branch Library, 2123 Kennedy Blvd.

Next Guttenberg summer concert is David Cedeno on Aug. 19

The next Guttenberg Free Summer Concert will feature David Cedeno and his Orchestra on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Cedeno is one of the top Latin performers in the tri-state area. His exciting band has created a salsa style that sets them apart from the rest, playing a variety of music with a Latin beat and English vocals. The concert takes place on Boulevard East between 70th and 71st Streets. Entertainment starts at 6 p.m. with the main event at 7:30 p.m.
Also upcoming in Guttenberg are The Infernos on Aug. 26. The crowd will be dancing to three decades of musical magic, from Barry White to Sinatra to today’s hot sounds, including Taylor Swift.
The David Cedeno Latin Orchestra concert was originally scheduled for July 29 and postponed due to county road construction.

North Bergen 9th Annual Pool Party is Aug. 21

Residents are invited to the 9th annual North Bergen Pool Party on Friday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. There will be blow-up games, water slides, a variety of foods, and entertainment.
Advanced ticket prices are $15 for members, $20 for nonmembers. Door prices will be $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers. Children under 10 are $5 in advance, $10 at the door. The rain date is Saturday, Aug. 22. The North Bergen Municipal Pool is at 2111 – 91st St.

Library provides free backpacks to 200 students in need

The North Bergen Free Public Library is partnering with the Henry Schein Back to School Program to provide 200 students in need from grades K through 12 with free backpacks filled with school supplies. The event will take place Saturday, Aug. 22 at 11 a.m. at the Kennedy Branch Library located at 2123 Kennedy Blvd. Backpacks will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis but the event is open for all children to enjoy. There will be cotton candy, snow cones, a face painter, and more. For more information please contact the library at (201) 869-4715.

Swim and Spin with a live DJ on Aug. 24

Enjoy Swim and Spin with a live DJ on Monday, Aug. 24 at 5 p.m. at the North Bergen Municipal Pool Complex, 2111 – 91st St. Transportation will be provided at both library locations and the Recreation Center. The cost is $5 for non-members and free admission for pool members and individuals with a North Bergen library card. Sign up for membership at the door.

‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign comes to Guttenberg

Law enforcement officers from the Guttenberg Police Department will crack down on drunk drivers as part of the statewide 2015 Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. Beginning Aug. 21 and running through Sept. 7, local and state law enforcement officers will conduct sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols, looking for motorists who may be driving while intoxicated.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is a national campaign designed to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving through high-visibility enforcement and public education tools, including posters, banners and mobile video display signs. Launched across the U.S. in 1999, the program works to combat drunk driving during the busy summer travel season, including the Labor Day holiday period.
“More than 10,000 people are killed in the United States each year in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, and these crashes cost our society nearly $50 billion annually,” said Gary Poedubicky, acting director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “There is a zero tolerance message for this campaign. If drivers are caught operating their vehicle while impaired they will be arrested.”
In 2013 alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 27 percent of New Jersey’s motor vehicle fatalities. As part of the initiative, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety provides grants to local law enforcement agencies throughout the state to run the two-week campaign.
Law enforcement agencies participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2015 crackdown offer the following advice:
– If you plan to drink, designate a driver, someone who will not drink alcohol, before going out.
– Take mass transit, a taxi, or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
– Spend the night where the activity is held.
– Report impaired drivers to law enforcement. In New Jersey, drivers may dial #77 to report a drunk or aggressive driver.
– Always buckle up, every ride, regardless of your seating position in the vehicle. It’s your best defense against an impaired driver.
– If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member drive you to your doorstep.

Attend the Summer Theater Workshop Showcase on Aug. 21-23

Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the North Bergen Players will present a free Summer Theater Workshop Showcase at the North Bergen Theater, 8411 Bergenline Ave. Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 21 and 22, and at 5 p.m. on Aug. 23.
The show is produced and directed by Maurena Luzzi, with guest accompanist Fred Fochesato.

8th NoHu International Short Film Festival seeks entries

The Eighth Annual NoHu International Short Film Festival, to be held Oct. 19 to 24, is seeking entries. This year’s six-day festival will include two evenings of feature films, three evenings of screening for the finalists of the short film competing category, and a red carpet awards ceremony on the sixth day.
Submissions are being accepted in all categories. (No pornography.) Films should be no longer than fifteen minutes in length. Those interested may submit their film in DVD format, along with a cover letter, synopsis, film credits, awards if any, and contact information, to Commissioner Lucio P. Fernandez, Department of Public Affairs, 3715 Palisade Ave., Union City, NJ 07087, Attn: Film Entry.
Include in the cover letter that the entry is being submitted by the property owner or licensee, and giving the City of Union City the right to publicly screen the film as part of the NoHu International Film Festival. Include if this is a world premiere, USA premiere, New Jersey premiere, or Union City premiere. DVDs will not be returned.
Please write on the DVD cover the contact name, email, and genre. All entries will be considered. Finalists will be notified via e-mail. Entry deadline is Monday, Oct. 5. No exceptions. No fee. No application form required. Foreign language films accepted. This is a juried festival.
The red carpet awards presentation for the festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. in the William Musto Cultural Center, 420 – 15th St. Admission is free.

Hundreds of millions spent on scrapped ARC tunnel may go to waste

Nearly $1.2 billion from New Jersey taxpayers, users of the Port Authority’s toll roads, bridges, tunnels and airports, and from the federal government, has been spent on the so-far failed effort to expand rail access across the Hudson, and according to a story in The Record, hundreds of millions of dollars will be lost forever, spent on lawyers, environmental studies and other costs that will never be recovered.
The paper based its story on “new information obtained from the Port Authority, NJ Transit and other government agencies.”
Gov. Christopher Christie canceled a planned new rail tunnel known as Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) in October 2010, claiming New Jersey taxpayers would be unduly burdened with the cost of its construction. The project would have doubled train service between New Jersey and New York after it was to open in 2018.
So far, commuters and taxpayers have little to show for the expenditures except a fleet of new NJ Transit trains and the rights to property that may become useful in the future. But that potential hinges on the fate of Amtrak’s unfunded plan to build its own tunnel under the Hudson.
The long-term effect of Christie’s cancellation became clear in recent weeks as a series of breakdowns and electrical failures near New York Penn Station repeatedly crippled train service in New Jersey at the height of rush hour.
Experts predict failures of this sort are likely to continue and worsen until new tunnels are built. The existing tunnels are 105 years old, and are deteriorating rapidly due to flooding from Superstorm Sandy, the story quotes Amtrak as saying.
New Jersey forfeited $3.3 billion in federal support for the ARC tunnel, money that was spent instead on transit projects in California and other states. Under the leadership of Christie appointees, the Port Authority redirected another $3 billion from ARC to road projects in New Jersey, including $1.8 billion to rebuild the Pulaski Skyway.
That decision is under investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the federal Securities and Exchange Commission as to whether bondholders were misled when told the New Jersey road projects would benefit the Lincoln Tunnel.
The roads in question are miles away from the tunnel.
Amtrak has proposed a project called Gateway that calls for a tunnel, a new train station next to Penn Station, a new rail yard in New Jersey, new bridges over the Hackensack River, and two new tracks between Newark and New York Penn Station.
But Amtrak must get financing for the project approved by the Republican-led Congress, which just passed a bill to cut Amtrak’s funding by $242 million.
Then Amtrak must start planning the tunnel almost from scratch, beginning with an environmental review that could take years.

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