North Jersey News Roundup for Oct. 8, 2020

Rep. Josh Gottheimer is urging leaders on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to return to the bargaining table in order to pass a COVID-19 stimulus bill. “It is absolutely inexcusable that any party would walk away from the negotiating table right now, as we’re working overtime to pass a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package,” said Gottheimer. “I urge all the negotiators—including the President—to stay at the table. Do not quit on the American people.”

Vice President Mike Pence and Democrat nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) turned the vice presidential debate Oct. 7 into a dissection of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Harris labeling it “the greatest failure of any presidential administration.” Pence, who leads the president’s coronavirus task force, vigorously defended the administration’s overall response to a pandemic that has killed 210,000 Americans and has infected 34 people at the White House in the last week. Other topics the candidates sparred over included taxes, the economy, climate change and the Supreme Court during the 90 minute debate. The New York Times

Gov. Phil Murphy and GOP U.S. Senate candidate Rik Mehta are trading barbs over protocols that are to be followed for attendees of President Donald Trump’s fundraiser in Bedminster Oct. 1. When Murphy was questioned at a recent press briefing on Mehta’s statement that there was no need for him to quarantine after attending Trump’s event, Murphy said “I think that statement should disqualify him from seeking public office.” Mehta retorted, calling for Murphy to stop the “melodramatics” and “fear-mongering” when it comes to the coronavirus.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent his fifth day in the hospital after contracting COVID-19, reportedly in good spirits. Rumors that Christie was on a ventilator are untrue, according to various media reports. 

The Sussex-Wantage School District, serving pre-K through eighth-grade, is the latest to switch to all remote learning following a staff member’s positive COVID-19 test. The closure applies to all three district schools, with in-person classes set to resume Oct. 19. New Jersey Herald

The National Education Association recently launched a website for educators around the nation to report when there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in their schools. As of Oct. 7, there were 130 New Jersey schools on the list, though a few are of reported cases from over the summer before the start of the current school year. All had links to news stories, school websites or other documents reporting the positive cases.

This year, New Jersey voters will have several options for casting their ballot in the upcoming General Election. Voters have four options for returning their mail-in ballots: mailing it back to the county board of elections using the postage-paid return envelope; placing it into one of the secure drop boxes set up around each county; bringing it in person on Election Day to your local county board of elections office; or submitting in person on Election Day at your designated polling place.

A U.S. Postal Service mail carrier has been charged by federal authorities for allegedly discarding bundles of mail, including 99 general election ballots that were supposed to be delivered to Essex County residents. The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged the postal worker with one count of delay, secretion, or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail. According to the criminal complaint, nearly 2,000 pieces of mail, including 99 general election ballots destined for residents in West Orange and hundreds of campaign flyers for local elections, were recovered from dumpsters in North Arlington and West Orange on Oct. 2 and Oct. 5. News12 New Jersey

Crime was down again in New Jersey in 2019, according to data in a recently released annual FBI report, and early figures for this year suggest the trend may continue amid the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Violent crimes dropped slightly in 2019, to 206.9 per 100,000 residents from 208.6 in 2018, according to the federal report. The state data through July has total crime at 58% of the 2019 total, while the number of assaults was 59% of last year’s total. But the overall crime total for the state was 50% of the previous year’s total, with car thefts the only category over 50%.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced he will propose changes to the state’s Game Code to effectively end bear hunting in New Jersey after 2020. The changes give authority to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to engage in a review of current scientific data to both protect public safety and wildlife across the state. Murphy noted other states had found non-lethal ways to control bear populations.

The owner of Cuban Pete’s in Montclair said he will continue to defy state restrictions for indoor dining. The restaurant’s proprietor stated Gov. Phil Murphy’s order to restrict indoor dining to 25% capacity and keep tables 6 feet apart does not allow him to make enough money when his dining room is limited but fully staffed. The Record

Outdoor dining on the streets of Morristown has been extended for two more weeks. The state’s Department of Transportation approved an extension of dining on sections of South Street and Speedwell Avenue where outdoor dining permits were set to expire on Oct. 15. The expiration date is now Nov. 1. The Daily Record

And finally…The New York Yankees are on the brink of elimination after losing to the Tampa Bay Rays 8-4 last night.

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