North Jersey News Roundup for June 2, 2021

The first day in the month of June saw some of the lowest daily medical numbers related to the coronavirus in the last 15 months. For new daily cases, the 137 total PCR cases was the lowest since March 18, 2020 when 89 cases were reported in one day. The next lowest day recorded after the first wave was Aug. 23, 2020 with 288. The daily rate of positivity for May 27 was 1.6%, the first time it has been that low since Sept. 2, 2020. The lowest date according to the New Jersey Department of Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard was Aug. 19 at 1.2%.

Weekday restorations by NJ Transit will increase the number of trains heading in and out of both Newark Penn Station and New York Penn Station. According to agency officials, nearly 60 additional NJ Transit trains are hitting the rails throughout the Garden State as ridership has increased over the past month—an increase of 40-50% on weekends and 30% daily compared to last year.

Days before the first day of a statewide body-worn camera (BWC) mandate for all uniformed patrol officers went into effect, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal unveiled Directive 2021-5 which expands law enforcement officers required to wear body cameras. The legislative command issued in the Body Worn Camera Policy Directive extends to “all uniformed patrol officers.” BWCs will be required by a broader range of officers including law enforcement officers serving in tactical teams, proactive enforcement teams, canine units, or other teams that frequently interact with the public will be required to use BWCs. The law will not require officers operating undercover, working with confidential informants, or performing administrative duties to wear BWCs.

New Jersey City police body camera footage of the DWI arrest of State Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-31) in March shows her struggling to complete a field sobriety test and calling for Public Safety Director James Shea to come to the scene of the crash. Cunningham is seen in the video struggling to follow a police officer’s directions as he conducts a field sobriety test after striking at least two parked cars on Culver Avenue, not far from her home. The Jersey Journal

The Tenafly school board is investigating a student report on Adolf Hitler that has outraged the community. The statement from the Tenafly Board of Education describes the assignment as discussing “social norms and historical figures who personify good and evil….The assignment (which was given by a teacher who happens to be Jewish) asked students to speak from the perspective of one of these individuals and how they might have perceived and rationalized their actions,” it read. “When people saw the students’ projects, which were displayed in the school, they did not understand the assignment, resulting in justifiable concerns.” The Record

The Palestinian American Community Center in Clifton said it was bombarded with violent threats June 1 by a caller who verbally attacked them and threatened to bomb the center and physically and sexually attack the staff. The caller, who said his name was “Jebediah,” called seven times starting just before noon unleashing curse words, calling them terrorists and threatening attacks. The man was apparently agitated by recent tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and referenced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the conversation. The Record

Rep. Josh Gottheimer introduced the Alyssa’s Legacy Youth in School Safety Alert Act to require all schools to install silent panic alarms to warn of an active shooter on the premises. The bill is named after Alyssa Alhadeff, a former resident of Woodcliff Lake who was one of 17 people gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, in 2018.

Democratic legislators from North Jersey condemned the Senate’s failure to create an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol that sought to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election results. On May 28, the majority of Senate Republicans opposed the House-passed bill that would have formed a bipartisan panel to probe the siege. Though six members of the GOP broke with their party in the 54-35 vote, the measure fell short of the 60 votes needed to proceed. Sen. Bob Menendez said in a statement that Republicans “have chosen fealty to Donald Trump over their oath to uphold and defend the United States Constitution, lies over truth, party over country, authoritarianism over democracy and the self-interests of one man over the well-being of the American people.”

The U.S. Supreme Court is leaving in place a $2 billion verdict in favor of women who say they developed ovarian cancer from using Johnson & Johnson talc products. The New Jersey-based company argued it was not treated fairly in facing one trial involving 22 cancer sufferers who came from 12 states and different backgrounds. News12 New Jersey

A cyberattack on JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, forced the shutdown of nine beef plants in the United States June 1 and disrupted production at poultry and pork plants. The company said the majority of its plants would reopen on June 2. The breach at JBS was a ransomware attack, the second recent such attack to freeze up a critical U.S. business operation. The New York Times

The Superior Court of New Jersey’s Appellate Division ruled that Jersey City Public Employees Union Local 245 members were eligible for double pay for work they performed during a March 2018 nor’easter. After Jersey City did not pay union members double for their work during the storm, Local 245 filed a grievance alleging that the city had breached its contract with the union that states that employees who work during a state of emergency covering the city of Jersey City, as declared by the governor of New Jersey, will receive “double time pay for all hours worked during the state of emergency,” as quoted in the appellate judges’ ruling. The Jersey Journal

Jack Zisa won re-election as the Bergen County Republican Chairman June 1. Zisa, the former Hackensack mayor who became county chairman in 2018 after Paul DiGaetano declined to seek re-election, defeated Oradell Republican Municipal Chairman Michael Gardner by a vote of 350 to 164, a 68%-32% margin.  New Jersey Globe

And finally…Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland have opened in the American Dream Mall. The Record

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