NJ Transit contingency plan available online
NJ Transit rail operations face the prospect of a system-wide shutdown beginning this weekend, if the membership of the rail union opts to participate in a work stoppage. This would result in the complete suspension of NJ Transit rail service, affecting more than 160,000 customers who ride the system on a typical weekday. In the event of such a stoppage, NJ Transit has developed a contingency plan that would accommodate up to about 38 percent, or about 40,000 seats, of the existing New York-bound customer base.
To view the details of the plan or for more information visit http://www.njtransit.com/var/var_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=RailStopTo.
Anti-mosquito pesticides may be applied throughout Hudson County
Information regarding the Hudson Regional Health Commission’s Mosquito Control Program is available online. Pesticides for the control of adult mosquitoes may be applied on an area-wide basis throughout Hudson County, as needed, during the period of April 1 to Nov. 30.
For updated information on time and location of adult mosquito control application, call (201) 223-1133 or visit the Health Commission website at http://www.hudsonregional.org/mosquito/.
Legislation introduced for minimum survivor benefit to families of fallen public safety employees
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto this week announced he will sponsor legislation to establish a minimum survivor benefit for families of police officers, firefighters, and other public safety employees killed while on active duty. The bill seeks to address a gap in coverage for recent hires whose introductory salaries do not leave their families with a sufficient benefit in the event they are killed while serving the public and performing their duty. Prieto plans to introduce the legislation next Monday. The bills will be sponsored by the speaker and Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez in the Assembly and by Sen. Nicholas Sacco in the State Senate.
“Public Safety workers who run into danger when the rest of us run away are deserving of our respect and admiration, but there are also specific areas of public policy where we can show that we understand the sacrifices they make every day,” said Prieto. “This bill would close a gap in coverage that could leave families in dire financial straits if their loved one is killed pursuing a criminal or fighting a fire and they have not built up enough years on the job to earn a higher salary. This is common sense legislation that I am proud to support and I expect it to move quickly in the legislature.”
Current law allows that if a first responder dies in the line of duty, a survivor benefit of 70 percent of the individual’s average salary in the previous 12 months be granted to immediate family members. This potentially leaves families of recently hired employees, whose starting salaries average approximately $35,000, with survivor benefits of less than $25,000. Prieto’s legislation would establish a minimum survivor benefit to give families in this unthinkable situation a living wage and a chance to rebuild their lives. The benefit would be paid out from the Police and Fireman’s Retirement System pension in the same manner that current benefits are funded.
“This bill would adjust the line of duty survivor benefit to the level it was originally intended to be at before the unforeseen impacts that arbitration reforms have had in recent years, which reduced starting salaries and led to this gap in coverage,” said North Hudson Firefighters Association President Tim Colacci.
The legislation was announced at an event held at North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Headquarters in West New York, attended by Sacco, Jimenez, Colacci, West New York Mayor Felix Roque, Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff, and numerous active firefighters and their families.
‘High School Game Night with a Cop’ is March 18
The North Bergen Public Library in conjunction with North Bergen Community Policing will hold a “High School Game Night with a Cop” on Friday, March 18 at 4 p.m. The event is open to all high school students in North Bergen. The main library is located at 8411 Bergenline Ave. For more information contact the library at (201) 869-4715 or visit nbpl.org.
Learn how to audition with confidence on March 19
Calling all community theater lovers. Ghostlight Productions in North Bergen is holding an acting and music master class with award-winning, internationally acclaimed singer/actor Adria Firestone from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 19 at the North Bergen Nutrition Center, 1441 45th St.
Learn how to control your fear. Learn how to quickly connect to your character. Learn how to harness the power of your body and voice. The cost is $25 including light refreshments and goodie bags. All funds will be used to put on more musical productions for Hudson County.
For more information call (973) 937-8343 or visit ghostlightcompany.com.
Come to the 2nd annual Makers Day on March 19
The North Bergen Public Library is hosting its second annual Makers Day on Saturday, March 19 at 12:30 p.m. Makers Day is all about celebrating the use of traditional tools as well as technology, promoting learning through doing. There will be activities such as knitting, origami, 3D printing, Legos, and much more. This event is open to all ages. The main library is located at 8411 Bergenline Ave. For more information contact the library at (201) 869-4715 or visit nbpl.org.
Palisades Medical Center to hold community health screenings
Throughout the year, Palisades Medical Center’s staff takes an active role in local communities to provide free health screenings and education programs. The following is a schedule of free health screenings that will be held in the coming months. For more information, call Joanne Riggs at (201) 854-5793.
– March 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Grove Reformed Church, 46th Street and JFK Blvd., North Bergen
– April 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel, 7615 Broadway, North Bergen
– April 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 407 23rd Street, Union City
Registration Extended for Guttenberg spring soccer
Registration for Guttenberg’s New Youth Soccer Program for boys and girls ages 5 to 14 has been extended through March 19 at the Anna L. Klein Gym or New Community Reading Center. Register on Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m., or Saturdays from 12 to 2 p.m. Player must be present at time of registration for uniform fitting. Soccer registration forms are available online at guttenbergnj.org.
Kids invited to the annual Easter Show on March 24
Mayor Nicholas Sacco and Commissioner Hugo Cabrera join the Easter Bunny in inviting boys and girls ages infant through 9 years of age to the Easter Show on Thursday, March 24 at the Recreation Center, 6300 Meadowview Ave. Doors open at 5 p.m. There will be face painting and Easter bags filled with goodies.
Amnesty for overdue library books in March
The North Bergen Free Public Library is offering amnesty to library patrons during the month of March. Return all North Bergen overdue items in March and the fines will be forgiven for the items returned. Visit the main library at 8411 Bergenline Ave. or the Kennedy Branch at 2123 Kennedy Blvd. to return your overdue items. For more information call (201) 869-4715 or visit nbpl.org.
‘Kill Your Idols’ exhibition runs through April 2
Guttenberg Arts Gallery presents “Kill Your Idols,” a solo exhibition of works by Chris Bors, on view through April 2. Bors’s solo exhibition of new paintings includes his series using logos from hardcore punk bands, as well as several relying on text only. Influenced by underground comics, punk and metal music, fanzines, and graphic design, Bors’s work is a post-pop amalgamation of politics, cultural references, and appropriated and drawn visuals. Bors coined the term “virtual dumpster diving” to describe the practice of taking images and videos from the web.
Titled after the New York City-based hardcore punk band Kill Your Idols, the exhibition includes figures representing rapper Easy E, Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, and Saddam Hussein, the latter taken from a drawing by the D.C. sniper John Lee Malvo.
Bors was born in Ithaca, N.Y. and received his MFA from School of Visual Arts. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog featuring an essay by photographer Carl Gunhouse. Guttenberg Arts Gallery is at 6903 Jackson St. Call (201) 868-8585 or visit guttenbergarts.org for more information.
Free income tax preparation available
North Bergen residents age 55 or over, or in possession of proof of disability, with a yearly income below $55,000 are eligible for free income tax preparation. Preparation is by appointment only. Call (551) 262-0843 between Feb. 6 and April 13. Must bring identification, Social Security card, tax documents and 2014 tax return (first-time participants only).
For details on appointment times and locations, visit the town website at northbergen.org.
2nd Annual Lupus Walk will be May 1
The Second Annual Hudson County Lupus Walk, including a day of family-friendly activities, will take place May 1 in Lincoln Park, Jersey City, beginning at 8 a.m. Donations for individual walkers are $10 and you can sign up for the walk or simply to donate at daddysunshine.com or at hudsoncountylupusdwalk.org. For more information call (551) 689-0500.
Hackensack Riverkeeper launches 2016 Eco-Program season
The clean water advocacy group Hackensack Riverkeeper is poised to provide thousands of people with an enjoyable and educational experience of the river, its watershed, and wildlife. Riverkeeper’s eco-cruises, guided paddles, boat rentals, river cleanups, bird-walks, and indoor presentations combine environmental education with public service and fun. The new season begins Earth Day Weekend (April 23-24) with the re-opening of the organization’s Paddling Center at Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus and Overpeck Park Kayak Center in Teaneck. The Eco-Program season runs through the end of October.
Forty Open Eco-Cruises are scheduled from May 1 through Oct. 15 aboard the 30-foot research vessels Geraldine Theresa and Robert H. Boyle II, which joined the fleet last year. This is Hackensack Riverkeeper’s signature environmental education program. Open trips are great for individuals, couples and families and can be had for a program donation of $25-$30 per person for adults, or $10 for kids ages 4-12. Three distinct Eco-Cruise itineraries are offered, including Meadowlands Discovery, which explores the wetlands and creeks of the river’s estuary. Charter Eco-Cruises can also be arranged for groups of up to 28 adults for any available date/time from May 2 through Oct. 31. Call Capt. Hugh Carola at (201) 968-0808 x102 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org more info or to book a trip.
Located on the river at Laurel Hill County Park in Secaucus, the Paddling Center is open weekends from Saturday, April 23 through Sunday, Oct. 30, weather permitting. It offers the use of canoes and kayaks for a donation of $25 per paddler (two-paddler minimum) for up to four hours for independent exploration. Eleven scheduled guided paddles will be conducted by center staff including nine popular full (and near-full) moon paddles. Program donation is $30 per paddler, or $15 per paddler for those their own boat(s). Private group paddle tours can be arranged by contacting Capt. Hugh Carola at the number above.
River cleanups give people of all ages the opportunity to give back to the environment and their communities. These active conservation events are scheduled at 11 different waterside locations within the Hackensack River Watershed from April 23 through Nov. 6. Riverkeeper provides cleanup tools and supplies as well as refreshments for all volunteers. All they ask is that everyone pitch in and help rid local waterways of litter and other debris. For more information about river cleanups including group participation and the organization’s Corporate River Stewardship Program, call Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator Caitlin Doran at (201) 968-0808 x105 or e-mail Outreach@HackensackRiverkeeper.org.
Information on all Hackensack Riverkeeper Eco-Programs, including descriptions and schedules, is available at hackensackriverkeeper.org.