North Jersey News Roundup for June 23, 2020

Indoor dining, casinos and racetracks in New Jersey closed due to the COVID-19 crisis will be allowed to open to customers starting July 2. In an immediate move, the state increased outdoor gatherings to 250 from 100 persons maximum and indoor gatherings, including banquet halls, are now limited to 25% of capacity with a cap of 100 people.

New Jersey bars and restaurants caught with big crowds violating social distancing rules can expect a heavy crackdown. Gov. Phil Murphy and acting State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan reviewed social media videos showing violations of the outdoor dining rules that went into effect last week and plan to take action. Callahan called the crowds a “tremendous cause for concern.”

Gov. Phil Murphy said with indoor gatherings limit raised, state legislatures could return to in-person voting sessions and committee hearings. Lawmakers are reportedly aiming to be back in Trenton to hold in-person voting sessions on June 29. New Jersey Globe

Three New Jersey police unions called on state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to reverse his decision to release the names of state troopers who have been disciplined in the past. The State Troopers Fraternal Association, the State Troopers NCO Association of New Jersey and the State Troopers Superior Officers Association said the order serves only to harass, embarrass, and rehash past incidents during a time of severe anti-law enforcement sentiment. New Jersey Herald

Hoboken is cracking down on night-time nuisances including fireworks, loud music, revving engines and public drinking. A quality-of-life, high-visibility deployment of police officers will be hitting the streets, supplementing regular night patrols to crack down on noises between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Hudson Reporter

Gov. Phil Murphy pledged his support for key environmental justice legislation for overburdened communities. The legislation currently in the state Senate requires the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to evaluate environmental and public health impacts of certain facilities on overburdened communities when reviewing certain permit applications.

A mail truck in Morris Township caught fire on June 20, destroying some vote-by-mail ballots. The U.S. Postal Service notified Morris County election officials an undetermined number of ballots were burned although it’s not immediately clear if the letter carrier picked up any returned ballots prior to the fire. New Jersey Globe

The Jersey City Planning Board will consider a proposal from developer LeFrak for Newport Pier Park, a 3.5-acre park on the Hudson River. Under LeFrak’s proposal, the majority of the Newport Pier Park will be available only to residents of Newport’s Ellipse apartment building. Non-residents would have access only to a walkway and public plaza along the north and east edges of the park, as well as a dog run. The Jersey Journal

The sports teams at Pascack Valley and Pascack Hills high schools will no longer be named the Indians and Cowboys. During June 22’s virtual meeting, the Pascack Valley Regional High School District Board of Education voted unanimously to remove both nicknames and logos after two hours of public comment focused on the racial undertones of Pascack Valley’s Indians nickname. The Record

Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said officials are concerned the opioid abuse epidemic has been getting worse as the pandemic shut down the state. Local health departments will now be eligible to receive grant awards of $100,000 to establish overdose fatality review teams. The grants will be used to establish multi-disciplinary county wide teams to analyze data, identify regional trends and evaluate strategies to decrease opioid deaths.

Paramus will not provide legal defense for three Republican council members in a lawsuit filed against them by the mayor’s son. A special meeting recently to review a settlement offer resolving the litigation without any cost to the borough was unsuccessful. Afterwards, the counsel designated by the Joint Insurance Fund said it would be a conflict for the attorney to represent both the borough and the individually named council members. The Record

And finally…Major League Baseball has committed to setting schedule, plowing ahead with a season after players rejected a 60-game proposal. The Daily Record

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