North Jersey News Roundup for Jan. 4, 2021

OPINION: The Rise of The Political Middle in 2021. The year 2020 will be remembered for the drudgery where death and illness that isolated us from our loved ones and friends for stretches previously unimaginable in the midst of a Presidential election that too often looked to divide us more than bring us together. There are many proclamations and hopes of what 2021 will bring. Let us add ours: the rise of the political center in both parties to unite us again as a nation.

President Donald Trump pressured Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to “find” him enough votes to overturn the presidential election and vaguely threatened him with “a criminal offense” on Jan, 2 according to an audio recording of the conversation. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” said President Trump during his conversation with Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s top elections official, in an attempt to have the vote recalculated so he, and not President-elect Joe Biden, would end up winning the state’s 16 electoral votes. The New York Times

For the second time when given the opportunity, Rep. Mikie Sherrrill did not vote to elect Rep. Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Sherill was one of five Democrats to vote “present” while Reps. Josh Gottheimer, Albio Sires, Donald Payne, Jr., and Bill Pascrell backed Pelosi for the position. The 80-year-old California Democrat won in a 216-209 vote to be Speaker for a fourth time. The Wall Street Journal

Sen. Cory Booker recently unveiled a College Athletes Bill of Rights. The legislation is designed to guarantee fair and equitable compensation for college athletes, in addition to enforceable health and safety standards. “The College Athletes Bill of Rights will set a new baseline standard to expand protections and opportunities for all college athletes by providing fair and equitable compensation, ensure comprehensive health and safety standards, and improve education outcomes for college athletes,” said Booker.

Frontline healthcare workers at Newark’s University Hospital are set to receive their second doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 4. It’s been exactly three weeks since the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given out to front-line workers at the hospital. When scientists were studying Pfizer’s vaccine, two doses were found to be 95% protected. News 12 New Jersey

The final coronavirus 2020 count in New Jersey was 19,042 dead and 477,360 cases. “The scale of infection and death in 2020 that it would bring is not anything any of us could have imagined at this time a year ago,” said Gov. Phil Murphy at a press briefing Dec. 30. “Slowly but surely, particularly with a robust federal partnership going over the next number of months, we’re going to get this resolved. We’re going to do that together.”

Bergenfield will open its own coronavirus testing site for residents inside a former Payless Shoes store. The testing will be overseen by the Bergenfield Board of Health by appointment only. Additionally, the borough is working with the Bergenfield Board of Education to provide designated testing options to both borough and school employees and their families. The Record

An Englewood Cliffs recently admitted to paying an official of the South Korean Navy $100,000 in bribes to secure an improper business advantage and to obtain and retain business contracts. Deck Won Kang pleaded guilty Dec. 17, 2020, in Federal court to the charge of violating the anti-bribery provision of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. From January 2009 to February 2013, Kang’s two New Jersey companies obtained and retained contracts with DAPA, the state-owned and state-controlled agency within South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense.

New Jersey law enforcement officials are opposing a plan to release hundreds of people from jail who are awaiting trial, reducing the chances the state’s top court will fast-track a mass release as the pandemic continues to delay new juries. Anyone who can safely await trial at home has already been released and letting more out would be both dangerous and illegal, the state attorney general’s office and the county prosecutors association argued in filed court documents.

The Sussex County Board of Commissioners will hold its reorganization meeting in person on Jan. 6 at Sussex County Community College. The meeting was moved this year from the Historic Courthouse on the Newton Green to accommodate social distancing guidelines. The first 70 attendees will be allowed into the Performing Arts Center. New Jersey Herald

The hourly minimum wage in New Jersey increased by $1 for most low-income workers starting Jan. 1, bringing it to $12. The mandatory pay increase is the latest installment in the state’s ongoing ramp-up to a $15 hourly minimum wage. Other minimum-wage workers in New Jersey, including those employed by farmers and seasonal and small businesses, will get modest raises as this year. NJ Spotlight News

New Jersey legislators in the State Senate advanced legislation to help the Garden State’s first responders and their families. A bill backed by State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-36) would provide benefits to the families of police officers who volunteered in the aftermath of 9/11. The bill would provide accidental death benefits to a surviving spouse or child of a retiree of the State Police Retirement System who participated in 9/11 World Trade Center rescue operations.

Maywood Mayor Richard Bolan filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Elmwood Park, alleging he was removed from his job as building department because he refused to overlook violations. Bolan alleges he was fired at the end of 2019 in retaliation for refusing to follow orders from his superiors and “turn a blind eye” to administrative code violations while serving as zoning officer, construction official and building subcode official. The Record

And finally…State police respond to over 100 crashes on slickened New Jersey roads on Jan. 3.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.