North Jersey News Roundup for July 28, 2020

With oversized house parties causing coronavirus flare ups around New Jersey, state officials pleaded with parents and young adults to follow COVID-19 protocols. “We continue to see outbreaks coming from gatherings of young people,” said Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “We must take all precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. (Young people) need to take this public health threat seriously.”

Gov. Phil Murphy anticipates schools will reopen in the fall. The governor stated education experts confirmed in-person education is critical and remote learning is an acceptable substitute only when necessary. “If done safely, I believe we must try to include at least an aspect of in-person education for our children this fall,” he said.

New Jersey has started deploying saliva-based coronavirus tests developed at Rutgers University to the state’s testing initiatives, increase testing capacity by 30,000 a day with results within 48 hours. The tests, from RUCDR Infinite Biologics, will go first to front-line responders and vulnerable residents. News12 New Jersey

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Hirsh Singh filed civil suits seeking recounts in at least four counties. Singh, who trails rival candidate Rik Mehta by roughly 8,000 votes, filed for recounts in Camden, Burlington, Morris and Passaic Counties. Mehta leads over Singh in those counties totals a little more than 13,000 votes. New Jersey Globe

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce wants registered voters to cast ballots in person as a way to ensure the November election goes smoothly. “New Jersey cannot conduct a proper Presidential Election that will have the confidence of the voters if the state insists on banning voters from the polling booth,” said DeCroce. 

Gov. Phil Murphy said job cuts for public workers on the front lines of the coronavirus battle is likely to occur if the Senate Republicans’ $1 trillion stimulus bill is approved without extra direct cash aid for states. “Our expenses are skyrocketing…to deal with this pandemic, to deal with unemployed folks (and) to deal with small businesses that have been crushed — our revenues have fallen off the table,” Murphy said. “The one smart thing we could do as a country right now is to inject a lot of cash into states to keep frontline workers employed at the very moment we may need them the most.”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer led a bipartisan coalition to allow small businesses to apply for a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program’s (PPP) forgivable loans. In a letter to House leaders, the representatives lobbied for small businesses to be allowed to apply for continued funding through PPP to mitigate the damage to themselves and their employees with the coronavirus continuing to spread.

NJ Transit officials approved an agreement to replace the Portal North Bridge, leading to construction starting as early as next spring. NJ Transit’s board unanimously approved entering into a project development contract agreement with Amtrak, one of the criteria needed for a full funding agreement from the Federal Transit Administration.

Three more New Jersey colleges canceled their fall sports. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Council of Presidents voted to cancel fall sports for the league that includes Saint Peter’s University, Monmouth University and Rider University. The sports affected include cross country, field hockey, football, golf, soccer, tennis and volleyball. Players will be allowed to train upon their return to campus.

Samplings taken by the state Department of Environment Protection confirmed elevated levels of the blue-green algae in two spots at Lake Hopatcong. The elevated levels triggered a blue “watch” advisory for the beach areas of Lake Forest Yacht Club and Mt. Arlington Beach. New Jersey Herald

A teenage bicyclist who authorities say ignored a Ridgewood police officer’s instructions was yanked to the ground by his neck, arrested and issued four summonses. A video widely circulated on social media shows the bicyclist attempting to pull his bicycle away from a police officer on East Ridgewood Avenue, which was closed to cars. As the teen tried to wheel his bicycle backward, a second officer approached and placed two hands on the back of the boy’s neck and wrestled him to the ground. The Record

And finally…The upcoming remembrance of the September 11th terror attacks will not include a live reading of the victims’ names, due to the ongoing pandemic. 

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