North Jersey News Roundup for Nov. 20, 2020

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) announced new start dates for the Winter sport season. The official start dates, which NJSIAA said are final, for Winter sports are Dec. 14 for hockey practice and Jan. 11, 2021 for basketball, fencing and bowling. A news season, 2A, was created for swimming and winter track & field, beginning Feb. 1, 2021. Wrestling was moved to Season 3 with gymnastics and girls volleyball, with the first practice slated for March 1, 2021.

Georgia’s statewide hand recount of more than five million ballots finished on Nov. 19, reaffirming President-elect Joe Biden the victor in the state. The audit concluded that the original outcome remained “as originally reported,” as the audited vote totals showed President-elect Biden defeated President Donald Trump by 12,284 votes. Trump gained 1,872 net votes in the process. The New York Times

President Donald Trump’s legal team in a rambling presentation laid out a sprawling and unsupported allegations of a conspiracy to steal the Presidential election between Democratic officials and foreign governments. The team, lead by the President’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, aired accusations of foreign interference in the election, claiming it had been rigged by communist money from Cuba and China and through a plot concocted by Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan leader who died in 2013, and financier George Soros. Additionally, lawyers said they had affidavits that backed up allegations of election wrongdoing in Michigan and Pennsylvania the campaign has raised in its lawsuits. The Wall Street Journal

A report of voting irregularities in Essex County by Rosemary Becchi in her race against Rep. Mikie Sherrill resulted in a spirited back and forth between the two camps. Sherrill campaign manager Elizabeth Davis called the report a “publicity stunt meant to erode faith in our democracy and attack our election system,” to which Becchi responded by stating she was “shocked by the blatant disregard for the legal process” by her opponent.

State Sen. Tom Kean Jr. conceded the 7th Congressional District race to first-term Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski more than two weeks after Election Day. The incumbent’s 28,000-vote lead in the vote count shrunk to less than 4,400 votes—or a 1% margin—10 days later. Kean waited until there was no chance of him making up the difference before congratulating Malinowski on the win. NJ Spotlight News

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials urged Americans to avoid travel for Thanksgiving and to celebrate only with members of their immediate households. CDC officials offered protocols to follow if members of different households are gathering in someone’s home for the holiday, including the wearing of masks except when eating, remaining six feet apart, having only one person serving food, and overnight guests having their own bathroom. The New York Times

Pfizer plans to ask U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 20 to permit use of its COVID-19 vaccine, one the agency is expected to move quickly on. The timing of the filing is in line with industry and government officials’ projections for authorization and distribution to begin by the middle of December. The Wall Street Journal

The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund has pledged more than $2.6 million to help school districts bridge the digital divide. The funds, for school districts in Newark, Paterson, Passaic, Bridgeton, Millville, Red Bank, Old Bridge, Freehold and Trenton, can be used to purchase laptop computers, Wi-Fi hotspots and internet access needed for remote learning.

The New Jersey Education Association dedride Gov. Phil Murphy’s statement reaffirming in-person learning is safe with proper precautions. Murphy joined the governors of New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts in releasing a statement supporting in-person learning, stating in part that “Medical research … (has made) clear that in-person learning is safe when the appropriate protections are in place, even in communities with high transmission rates. In-person learning is the best possible scenario for children, especially those with special needs and from low-income families.”

The New Milford School District will transition to all-virtual learning from Nov. 30 until Feb. 1, 2021. New Milford Schools Superintendent said the decision was made based on a recommendation from the town’s Health Department due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in the town and Bergen County, not because of an increase in the schools. The Record

Newark is set to close certain streets leading into the East Ward in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus. The closures will happen from 8 p.m. through 3 a.m. Nov. 20 and 21. Residents who live in the 07105 zip code will be allowed to travel to address essential needs but will need to provide proof of residency. News12 New Jersey

The Garden State’s Assembly Democrats and GOP both called for a regional approach to instituting COVID-19 restrictions as a second surge hits the state. In the Assembly, a bill sponsored by Assemblymen Gordon Johnson (D-37), John Burzichelli (D-3), and Joe Danielsen (D-17) would require the Governor to work with the Department of Health in ranking risk for counties and municipalities passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Meanwhile, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-26) called for a regional approach to containing the disease, arguing the state needed to better support businesses that could operate safely.

Former Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia was charged for his role in a bribery scheme by the U.S. Justice Department. Garcia and former Springfield Board of Education President Irwin Sablosky are alleged to participate in a conspiracy related to the ex-legislator’s role as director of the Newark Department of Economic and Housing Development. Garcia is accused of taking cash payments from Sablosky and his partner in a Newark pawn shop and check cashing business, Frank Valvano, in a bid to help the two secure redevelopment agreements with the city. New Jersey Globe

The Lodi licensing center is the latest New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission location to close its doors, bringing the number of centers currently closed due to COVID-19 to seven. Other North Jersey locations closed include Bayonne and Wallington.

New weekly unemployment claims dropped 38% last week in New Jersey, falling to the lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic closed businesses in mid-March. For the week ending Nov. 14, 12,986 new weekly claims were filed, nearly 8,000 fewer than the week before. The slowdown in unemployment claims comes as the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics announced New Jersey’s unemployment rate increased 1.5 percentage points in October to 8.2%.

Senate and Assembly committees endorsed marijuana legalization bills with key differences that will delay full passage of the proposed laws. Among the differences between the bills are whether to cap the number of marijuana cultivators, workplace protections for employees and how far employers can go with drug testing, and what to do with proceeds from a social equity excise fee that has been added to the plan. NJ1015.COM

Edgewater voters approved a nearly $950 tax increase for the average homeowner on the school district’s $5.8 million referendum question. The increased general funds will be used to restore staff and programs, including full-day kindergarten and courtesy busing. The Record

And finally…NY Waterway founder Arthur Imperatore has died at the age of 95. News12 New Jersey

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