West New York named among safest municipalities in countryWest New York is one of the safest cities in America, according to SafeHome.org, a website that rates home security systems. From the 101 cities the website ranked in terms of safety, West New York ranked 38th overall. It also ranked 10th out of the 25 New Jersey cities that made the list.“This is a great day for the Town of West New York and for our Police Department,” said Mayor Felix Roque, in a town press release. “Being ranked among the top 10 in our state is anHonor, given how densely populated our municipality is, and I am proud that our men and women in uniform are working tirelessly to keep our residents safe.”The SafeHome study used a variety of data sources, FBI reports (from the crime trends, income, demographics, population density, and other data points.)“The recent ranking the Town of West New York received as being one of the safest municipalities based on our size and population is a credit to Mayor Roque and the Board of Commissioners for their support of the Police Department, as they strive to keep West New York as safe as possible,” said Robert Antolos, Director of the West New York Police Department. “I salute the men and women of the department who go out every day and risk their lives for the residents of West New York. I would also like to thank our partners; our eyes and ears are the residents of West New York for their trust and confidence in the Police Department.” Union City residents killed in Jersey City car crashA stretch of Tonnelle Avenue known for accidents saw the death of two Union City residents on Sunday, Feb. 11. The northbound lanes between Manhattan Avenue and North Street were closed for hours as authorities investigated the wreck.According to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the two fatalities were Mario Guevara, 25, and Heather Acosta, 24, both from Union City. They were pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the crash.The crash occurred at about 3 a.m. The Hudson County Regional Fatal Collision Unit, which was established earlier this year, responded to the scene.One car flipped over and the other jumped the curb, hitting a telephone pole and destroying the gate of a nearby building.This came two days after Mayor Steven Fulop announced the city’s adopting of a “Vision Zero” policy in an effort to eliminate deaths and serious injuries.Fulop issued an executive order that allowed Jersey City to join with more than 30 municipalities seeking to establish traffic safety strategies. The crash occurred in the same section of Tonnelle Avenue where a police chase last June resulted in a vehicle bursting into flames.NJ Transit approves proposed alignment for light rail into Bergen CountyThe Hudson-Bergen Light Rail’s (HBLR) expansion into Bergen County received a major boost last week, as NJ Transit has just approved the plan’s proposed alignment, per a press release.The approval for the project’s Locally Preferred Alternative, detailed in its 2017 Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact statement, is mandatory in the federal environmental review process.The route is a 10-mile, seven station extension from HBLR’s current Tonnelle Avenue terminus in North Bergen. It would include an additional North Bergen stop at 91st Street, and others in Ridgefield, Palisades Park, Leonia, all the way to the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.NJ Transit’s Board of Directors also authorized the route’s submission to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority Board of Trustees for designation and inclusion in their Long-Range Regional Transportation Plan.By choosing this route, NJ Transit will be able to begin design and engineering activities once they complete the Final Environmental Impact Statement, and the Federal Transit Administration grants a Record of Decision for the project.Get free income tax preparation helpUnited Way of Hudson County is teaming with the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program and HOPES to prepare and file federal and state income taxes for locals. The service runs through April 13.To be eligible, participants must have been New Jersey residents for all of last year. They must also have a Social Security number, work in New Jersey or New York (or have taxable income like pensions, IRA distributions, interest, or stock trades.), and not have an income from a rental property or a business with employees, inventory, a loss, or over $25,000 in total expenses.The AARP Foundation will be offering walk-in filings Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.The Foundation is located at 855 Bergen Ave. in Jersey CityHOPES will be offering filings Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., by appointment only.HOPES has locations in the Hoboken area, including 532 Jackson St., Unit 1B and 300 Bloomfield St.Call (201) 468-8805 for more assistance and information.West New York school board urges Congress to support DACAWest New York’s Board of Education approved a resolution supporting DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) enrollees at their Feb. 7 meeting, according to a press release. The legislation offers a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation for undocumented people who entered the country as minors. Currently, 22,000 New Jersey residents and 800,000 residents nationwide are DACA enrollees, nicknamed “Dreamers.”Board Trustee Jonathan Castaneda introduced the resolution, which asks Congress to restore DACA’s protections.“I am proud to sponsor this resolution in support of Dreamers across the country and urge our members of Congress to pass common sense legislation that will provide my friends, neighbors, and students across the country a chance at the American Dream,” Castaneda said, in the press release.“The concept of America – the continuous experiment of democracy – is not only founded and engrained in immigration, but perhaps in and of itself the sole true manifestation of what America is all about.”“I thank Trustee Castaneda for bringing this resolution forward, and I too am proud to support students across New Jersey and the United States,” added Board President Adam Parkinson. “I hope our Congressional delegation and all members of Congress heed the call to support doing what is right for the future of our nation.” Last year, the board passed a resolution making all district schools “safe zones” for students, regardless of immigration status.North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue swears in 37 firefightersOn Feb. 13, the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue made history by swearing-in 37 new firefighters, its largest hiring class ever, including Lisa Napier, the first female firefighter in the 20-year history of NHRFR. All 37 new firefighters are U.S. military veterans, showing the regional fire department’s commitment to support veterans.“Each of the 37 men and women joining our ranks have served this country, and will continue to protect their communities as members of the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue,” said NHRFR Chief Frank Montagne. “They are all extremely qualified, and I am confident they will make excellent firefighters.”“Today we are proud to welcome 37 brave men and women to the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue, and wish them luck as they begin their important work protecting the community,” said Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner. “I would like to thank Senator Menendez, Senator Booker, and Congressman Sires for helping secure a Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) federal grant which will fully pay the salaries of 35 of these new firefighters. Federal funding this year also enabled the purchase of state-of-the-art cameras which detect body heat and can save precious time when fire crews are in dangerous situations.” Food and Shelter Coalition Meeting set for March 13All interested person are invited to attend a Tuesday, March 13 meeting of the Food and Shelter Coalition to discuss food and shelter concerns and share ideas. The meeting is an opportunity to advocate to state and federal lawmakers to promote responsible public policies to improve quality and access to food for thousands of people. The National Law Center on Homeless and Poverty currently estimates that each year at least 2.5 to 3.5 million Americans sleep in shelters, transitional housing, and public places not meant for human habitation. At least 7.4 million have lost their own homes and are doubled-up with others due to economic necessity.The meeting will take place at 10 a.m. at Old Bergen Church, 1 Highland Ave., Jersey City (take the elevator and press 1).For more information contact chairperson La-Trenda Ross at (201) 618-5745 or (201) 420-3000 ext. 2543, or email [email protected] Upcoming schedule for parenting classes at Palisades Medical CenterPalisades Medical Center has announced its upcoming schedule for parenting classes for new moms, and moms to be.The hospital will hold its Childbirth Education Series two day courses on March 17 and 24, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Additional courses will follow, at the same times, on May 5 and 12, then June 9 and 16. Cost is $125 per couple if delivering at Palisades Medical Center; $150 if delivering elsewhere.The class covers topics such as understanding the labor process, breathing and relaxation techniques to work with your body, the role of the support person.Newborn Baby Care classes will run on Feb. 24, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; March 27, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; May 19, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and June 12, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. These classes cover basics of newborn care, starting with the appearance and characteristics of a newborn. Cost is $35 per couple if delivering at Palisades Medical Center; $50 if delivering elsewhere.Key to Successful Breastfeeding classes will run on Feb. 27, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; April 7, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; May 8, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and June 23, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Topics include the importance of skin-to-skin contact, latching techniques, supply and demand as it relates to breastfeeding, positioning for breastfeeding, indications for breast pumps.Dads are encouraged to attend. Cost is $35 per couple if delivering at Palisades Medical Center; $50 if delivering elsewhere.There will also be Sibling Preparation for Birth Classes, $25 per family. Contact Robin Petrick for more info on this class at (201) 295-4823. For more information in general, please call (201) 854-5000 or visit palisadesmedical.org. Trump administration deals ‘serious jeopardy’ to Gateway Tunnel projectFederal transportation officials have assigned the Gateway rail tunnel and other components of the massive infrastructure project a new rating that further jeopardizes the chances of winning grant money from Washington.A story on Politico.com says the Federal Transit Administration sent an annual funding report to Congress on Monday for its Capital Investment Grants Program that assigned a “Medium-Low“ rating to the proposed $13 billion Hudson River tunnel, the second-lowest on a five-point scale. It was the first time the grant application had received a formal rating. The FTA also reduced the rating of the Portal Bridge North project from “Medium-High“ to “Medium-Low.” That bridge replacement that would fix one of the single-greatest bottlenecks on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line.Those involved in the Gateway Program said the change was likely to put chances of receiving federal funding under the New Starts program in serious jeopardy.The Trump administration rejected an Obama-era agreement to cover half the cost of the broader $30 billion Gateway Program, which calls for constructing two new tubes connecting New Jersey to midtown Manhattan and repairing the existing tunnel that is now falling apart. The White House has also proposed ending the New Starts program, but Congress has so far protected the funding source.“In case it wasn’t clear before, President Trump today tried to land another death blow to Gateway by having his Federal Transit Administration (FTA) vindictively and inexplicably downgrade the project in order to cut off critical federal funding,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a statement on Monday.In the case of the Portal Bridge project, which previously received a rating in February 2017 and was estimated to cost $1.6 billion, the FTA is taking the position that the amount of committed or budgeted funding from other sources had fallen from 57 percent to 21 percent of the total cost. The FTA said that is a primary reason the rating was reduced. The new ratings were issued in November and, according to a person familiar with the Gateway application, did not factor in any information received in October, when new details had become available.John D. Porcari, the interim executive director of Gateway Program Development Corp., said the ratings fail to take into account the commitments from New York and New Jersey. The states have agreed to split half the cost of the tunnel project, putting up $5.5 billion, though they’ll need federal loans in order to do so. The grant application asks the federal government to cover the remaining costs.Porcari said the Portal Bridge application, in which local agencies would also cover about half the total cost, “has only been improved with each updated submittal” since the first rating was issued. He noted early construction work has been underway for several months.“We are surprised and disappointed by the sudden downgrade based on what appears to be changing evaluation criteria,” Porcari said. “We continue to work closely with USDOT to strengthen our funding applications and remain confident that the merits of the projects warrant significant federal investment.”
A Northern Irish bakery has extended its range with retail group Musgrave SuperValu- Centra (MSVC).Graham’s Home Bakery, based in Dromore, is to supply its ’Pick Me’ brand to all of Northern Ireland’s SuperValu and Centra stores. The range includes tray bakes, small cakes and muffins and it is estimated the value of the new order will initially be £250,000.Graham’s has supplied MSVC and its 121 independent SuperValu and Centra stores with a variety of other products since 2003.Alistair Toal, marketing mana-ger, said the deal was an opportunity to expand the brand into SuperValu and Centra stores in the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the UK through the Budgens and Londis stores owned by the Musgrave Group.”Over the past four years our business with MSVC has grown by more than 70%, making them one of our most important customers,” said Toal.