North Jersey News Roundup for Jan. 25, 2021

OPINION: Unity Can Not Be Achieved Until Justice is Served. The calls for unity on American soil as the Biden Administration begins would be welcomed from those that fueled divisions over the last four years if not for their lack of self awareness. President Joe Biden was right when he said, “This is a great nation and we are a good people” in his Inauguration speech. This is not a condemnation of everyone proud to call themselves Republicans. But now is the time for GOP centrists to disavow the extremists in their party and make their message the ones their fellow Americans hear again.

Opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial for Donald Trump on the charge of incitement of insurrection for the Capitol riot will begin the week of Feb. 8. Under the timeline, the House will transmit the impeachment article against the former President Jan. 25, with initial proceedings Jan. 26. But opening arguments will be pushed to February, allowing the Trump team to prepare a defense, the Senate time to confirm President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominations and consider the COVID relief bill. The New York Times

A Sussex County gym owner was arrested for allegedly shoving and punching a police officer while participating in the attack on the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, authorities said. Four people tipped of FBI agents that Scott Fairlamb, of Sussex, could be seen on videos at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 allegedly assaulting a police office, carrying a baton around Capitol grounds and standing on scaffolding outside the building, New Jersey Herald

President Joe Biden will sign an executive order imposing tougher rules on government procurement practices to increase purchases of products made in the U.S. The new policies will include tightening the government procurement rules to make it harder for federal agencies to purchase imported products, revising the definition of American-made products and raising local-content requirements as well as ensuring small and midsize businesses have better access to information needed to bid for government contracts. The Wall Street Journal

Gov. Phil Murphy expressed support for the day one actions of the Biden Administration in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic even as the state confirmed the first two cases of a coronavirus mutation first identified in the United Kingdom. “I welcome President (Joe) Biden’s focus on a strong and truly national coronavirus response plan,” said Murphy at his press briefing on Jan. 22. “From a commitment to masking, to using the Defense Production Act to getting more vaccines out, to a basic commitment to facts and science—we finally have the real leadership we need in Washington.”

Residents searching for a COVID-19 vaccination will soon have 12 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores to choose from. When the company gets the vaccine, in conjunction with New Jersey health authorities, North Jersey locations administering the vaccine will include Garfield, North Bergen and Boonton. The Record

State officials released new guidelines redefining rules on whether schools should close during the coronavirus pandemic. Schools in orange zones should now consider closing certain classrooms or entire schools if two or more students or teachers test positive for COVID-19; previously the guidelines said schools should consider closing even if students or teachers showed symptoms. And if a region moves to red, indicating a “very high risk” of COVID-19 transmission, the new guidelines “recommend” implementing all-remote learning for all schools, changing previous guidelines where districts were told to implement fully remote learning immediately once their region turned red.

While the number of schools in all of New Jersey increased in-school learning, the story in North Jersey is a mixed bag. In the first update since Jan. 4, Gov. Phil Murphy reported schools offering full in-person instruction increased by three for a total of 80 and those now offering a hybrid of in-person and remote grew by 12 to 360. The number of districts all remote declined by 14 to 325, while 46 districts are offering a combination of all three, a decrease of one.

A toll-free phone line went live Jan. 25 to help New Jerseyans who don’t have a computer make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. The call center’s number, 855-568-0545, will have 250 live agents speaking both English and Spanish, providing key information to New Jersey residents on how to register for the COVID-19 vaccine as well as how to schedule vaccination appointments as people become eligible. The Daily Record

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) was one of sixteen new members joining the Problem Solvers Caucus.  The Rep. Josh Gottheimer-lead group now has 28 members from each political party, including Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ). New Jersey Globe

Rep. Josh Gottheimer recently outlined what the new round of COVID-19 aid is available to residents of the 5th Congressional District. The aid, which is part of a $900 billion federal stimulus package and a $1.4 trillion deal, includes a one-time $600 payment to individuals, 11 additional weeks of unemployment benefits and more help for small businesses.

The City of Newark wants the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision that stripped the city’s local police oversight board of subpoena power. The state Supreme Court in August 2020 ruled state lawmakers would have to change the law if a civilian complaint review board wanted subpoena power, a tool the city has argued is necessary to investigate allegations of police misconduct. Newark Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 12 challenged the city’s 2016 ordinance that created the review board.

Teaneck Democratic Municipal Chair Alexandra Soriano-Taveras will seek an open State Assembly seat in the 37th legislative district as both incumbents, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Gordon Johnson are seeking party support to run for the State Senate seat of Loretta Weinberg. Soriano-Taveras joins Paul K. Yoon, a Fort Lee councilman, in seeking the Assembly nomination in the party. New Jersey Globe

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle worked with the newly-created New Jersey Disability Action Committee providing recommendations on how to better support this community during public health emergencies. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the vulnerability of the disability community, and the many ways in which the State must better serve our disabled residents,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-37). This comprehensive legislative package creates reporting requirements, addresses the importance of clear masks and establishes committees to further advocate for the community.

Hoboken released a draft version of its Vision Zero Action Plan, an 81-page strategy to make the tightly packed streets safer and meet that ambitious goal by 2030. Among the dozens of proposed changes are a citywide 20 mile per hour speed limit, equitable ticketing strategies, as well as crash and victim response teams. The Jersey Journal

Mahwah’s Planning Board will hold a hearing Jan. 25 on a proposed $25 million DPW complex on Micik Lane. The RSC Architects design would increase office, storage and locker space for the department’s 46 employees. The plan offers repair bays, 85 protected parking spaces and an additional 61 outdoor parking slots. The salt shed currently on the site would be moved to the north end of the property and a drive-thru wash bay and filling station are proposed. The Record

And finally….The Collins Pub in Morris Plains will permanently close Feb. 15, just days before its 50th Anniversary. The Daily Record

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