Feds drop charges against MenendezIn a surprise move, the U.S. Justice Department has dropped its corruption case against U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez.This decision came after a mistrial was declared in the proceedings against the New Jersey Democrat and co-defendant Salomon Melgen in November when the jury could not come to a verdict.The Justice Department refiled the charges earlier this month, but U.S. District Judge William Walls, who heard the original case, dismissed seven of the most serious charges against Menendez and Melgen. Walls said the trial had shown no evidence of wrongdoing in regards to Menendez accepting campaign contributions from Melgen.This left the lesser charges of Menendez accepting gifts and trips from Melgen. Menendez’s defense team was expected to request that the other charges also be dropped.But it appears the Justice Department decided the case was not worth pursuing and dropped the remaining charges against both men.“From the very beginning, I never wavered in my innocence and my belief that justice would prevail,” Menendez said in response to the decision. “I am grateful that the Department of Justice has taken the time to reevaluate its case and come to the appropriate conclusion. I thank God for hearing my prayers and for giving me strength during this difficult time. I have devoted my life to serving the people of New Jersey, and am forever thankful for all who have stood by me. No matter the challenges ahead, I will never stop fighting for New Jersey and the values we share.”The case could have had serious political implications. Republicans hold a narrow majority in the U.S. Senate and Menendez faces reelection this fall.The two men were charged in a case that claimed Melgen had given Menendez significant campaign contributions as well as gifts and trips in exchange for helping in solving problems Melgen was having with several agencies of the federal government. Menendez has said he was merely helping a constituent.A number of local officials had urged the federal government to drop the case, from Rep. Albio Sires to Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise.Suntex announces postponement of public presentationSuntex Marinas announced that in the spirit of cooperation, it has agreed to a request from New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection officials to postpone the public presentation of details surrounding its proposed marina in Liberty State Park.The presentation had been scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 30 at Liberty Landing restaurant at the park’s northern end. An alternate date will be announced once it has been confirmed.Suntex has proposed construction of a marina at the southern portion of the park. In addition to much-needed space for area boaters, the marina will include a waterfront restaurant, a boat club that will allow members to use available boats for a nominal fee, and City Sail, a sailing school that caters to teens.Along with the marina, Suntex plans to refurbish the dilapidated public boat launch as well as construct a public fishing pier at the park’s south side. Suntex also will update the popular picnic area at the south end, which over the years has fallen into some disrepair.As part of the agreement with the DEP, Suntex has agreed to maintain and repair the bulkhead at the park’s northern, where Suntex operates the Liberty Landing marina. The state had formerly been responsible for the bulkhead. Suicide attempt at charter school in Jersey CityA 13-year-old student allegedly tried to attempt suicide in the bathroom at Beloved Charter School on Jan. 21 according to Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, spokesperson for the Jersey City Department of Public Safety.Wallace-Scalcione said Jersey City police officers responded to the school at 508 Grand St. at about 2 p.m. on the report of an attempted suicide.“A school official advised police of a 13-year-old student who had attempted to harm herself in the girl’s bathroom,” she said. ”The student was conscious and talking when she was taken by ambulance to the Jersey City Medical Center.”The suicide attempt follows a series of reports concerning suicides that have taken place as the Hudson County Correctional Facility, and the murder of an 18-year-old Jersey City high school student this week.Hudson County CASA is seeking volunteersLearn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. The next information session will be held at the Hudson County Courthouse, 595 Newark Ave. Rm. 901 on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m.Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures.For further information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org .Sires explains his boycott of State of the UnionRep. Albio Sires (D-8th Dist) said he did not attend President Donald Trump’s State of the Union because he felt the president was dividing the nation with “vitriol and fear-mongering” while governing for a select group at the expense of many others.“Unfortunately, the president’s speech was more of the same misguided rhetoric and vague proposals. He touted the rushed Republican tax bill which prioritizes the wealthy and corporations over those who need tax relief the most,” Sires said. “While tax breaks for corporations were made permanent, relief for individuals is only temporary and once they sunset people will see their tax bills increase. Even with the new tax cuts, a number of companies have turned around and begun to lay off workers.”The president’s attempt at bipartisanship with a call for a $1.5 trillion investment rings hollow, Sires continued.“It does not reconcile with the fact that his administration has so far committed to no more than $200 billion in assistance from the federal government, leaving the states to find ways to raise the other $1.3 trillion,” Sires said. “President Trump should match his rhetoric with reality, and he can start by coming out in support of federal financial assistance for important national and regional infrastructure projects such as the Gateway Project. Perhaps most disturbing was how the president continued to divide the nation, conflating students and industrious young people, who were brought here not of their own volition, with criminals who have committed horrendous acts. By choosing to see the worst in our nation’s immigrant community, President Trump has turned his back on what America has stood for since it was founded – a place where hard-working people could come and build a life for themselves and their families.” “If the president was truly committed to bipartisanship and unity he would not use Dreamers as a bargaining chip or waver on his promise to help them as we approach his arbitrary deadline of March 5,” Sires said. “While I am disappointed in the message of last night, it is my hope that the president does not continue to divide our nation but instead chooses to govern for all those who call the United States of America home.”NJ Chief Justice to peak at Lincoln Association banquetNew Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner will be the featured speaker at the 153rd annual Jersey City Lincoln Association Banquet commemorating Lincoln’s birthday on Feb. 12.The Lincoln Association of Jersey City traces its lineage back to April of 1865 when a small group of business and civic leaders in Jersey City met after hearing word of the President’s assassination. They gathered to mourn the nation’s loss; a loss that each felt very personally. That night they vowed to meet each year on the anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, Feb. 12, to celebrate his vision and courage, his firm but fair philosophy and his many laudable achievements. For over one and half centuries, despite the Great Depression, two World Wars, and various incidents of inclement weather too numerous to count, the successors of that first group of civic leaders have never failed to meet on President Lincoln’s birthday to celebrate his life. No other organization in the country has a longer record of honoring the Great Emancipator.This year’s festivities begin at noon. Lincoln Association vice-president Michael Ricciardone of Jersey City will preside at the 89th annual wreath laying ceremony at the statue of Lincoln at the entrance to Lincoln Park at Kennedy Boulevard and Belmont Avenue. Past president of the Association Dr. Jules Ladenheim, M.D. will recite Lincoln’s famous “Letter to Mrs. Bixby,” who reportedly lost five sons in battle during the Civil War. The wreath laying is free and open to the public.The 153rd annual Banquet will begin at 5 p.m. at the Gallery at Liberty Prime Steakhouse, 111 Montgomery St., Jersey City, with a cocktail hour followed by the official program at 6 p.m. Dr. Ladenheim will recite Lincoln’s Farewell Address to the residents of his hometown, Springfield, Ill. President-elect Lincoln delivered these remarks on Feb. 15, 1861, just before he left for Washington, D.C. for his inauguration. Chief Justice Rabner’s remarks will follow. At the conclusion of the banquet, incoming officers for the new year will be installed, including Michael Ricciadone, who will assume the presidency of the association.Tickets for the banquet may be purchased for $100 each through the website www.thelincolnassociationofjerseycity.com, by e-mail from [email protected], or by mail to 111 Gifford Ave., Jersey City, New Jersey 07304.Christ Hospital holds seminar on managing heart or lung diseaseFebruary is American Heart Month and as a way to help individuals who are living with heart or lung disease lead more active, healthier lives, CarePoint Health-Christ Hospital is holding a free seminar as part of its Lunch & Learn Series on Wednesday, Feb. 14 from noon to 1:30 p.m.The seminar, which is free and open to the public, includes a heart-healthy lunch and will feature medical experts in the heart, lung and nutrition fields discussing ways to better manage congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as other related topics.According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, with approximately 2,200 Americans dying of cardiovascular disease each day. Cardiovascular diseases, which includes stroke, claim the lives of about one woman every 80 seconds.“A significant amount of the population suffers from heart or lung disease,” said Marie Duffy, chief hospital executive at Christ Hospital. “It is important to educate the population in managing their heart or lung disease, so they can understand the disease process and learn to manage living with the disease. Patient education and information help people to be proactive participants in their care so they can manage their daily lives with the disease and symptoms and live longer.”Additional topics to be discussed will include proper nutrition and use of inhalers. The event will include hands-on demonstrations and a question-and-answer period.“February is American Heart Month and the perfect time to remind people that you only get one heart and you want to take care of it,” said Dr. Tucker Woods, chief medical officer at Christ Hospital. “Our Lunch and Learn Series will help patients learn about heart disease and how to better manage themselves for a healthier living.”Those interested in attending should preregister by emailing [email protected] or [email protected] RSVPS are requested by Feb. 7.Anyone seeking additional information may call Nancy Aleman at (201) 341-1310.The seminar will be held at Christ Hospital, 176 Palisade Ave., in Staff Rooms A and B.CarePoint partners with NJ Sharing for Valentine’s Day donor eventWhile most people will celebrate Valentine’s Day in the arms of their loved one, CarePoint Health is teaming up with the NJ Sharing Network to help raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and to help bring the gift of life (and love) to hundreds of New Jerseyans.In addition to Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 is also National Donor Day, a day established to increase awareness about organ donation and the lives that can be saved through this important initiative. In the United States, there are more than 115,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ donation.On Feb. 6th, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Hoboken University Medical Center and Christ Hospital in Jersey City, representatives of the NJ Sharing Network will be joined by an organ donor or recipient, at an organ donation registration drive in each of the hospitals’ lobbies. The drive will also take place on Feb. 8th, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Bayonne Medical Center.One organ donor can save eight lives by donating the following organs: heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and intestines.Last year, NJ Sharing Network honored all three CarePoint Health hospitals for the work they are doing to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation. Both Hoboken University Medical Center and Christ Hospital received the platinum award, the highest honor, and Bayonne Medical Center received the gold award, the second highest honor. Man charged in murder of JC high school studentKahsaun Bell, 29, of Roselle, has been charged with murder of an 18-year-old Jersey City man.Detectives from the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit arrested Bell on Monday evening on Rose Avenue in Jersey City in connection with the shooting death of Angel Cruz, 18, of Jersey City, who died Jan. 30 from gunshot wounds he sustained from a shooting that took place on Jan. 29. Cruz was a student at Lincoln High School.Bell appeared in court and pled not guilty to the charge.Prosecutor Esther Suarez credited the Jersey City Police Department for assisting with the arrest.On Jan. 29, at approximately 9:35 p.m., Jersey City Police Officers responded to a report of possible gunshots in the area of Rose Avenue in Jersey City. Upon arrival to a home located on Rose Avenue, responding officers found Cruz inside the home with multiple gunshot wounds to his torso.The victim was transported to Jersey City Medical Center by Emergency Medical Services where he was treated for his injuries. Cruz was pronounced dead shortly after 3:20 a.m. on Jan. 30.The Regional Medical Examiner’s Office has determined the cause of death to be gunshot wounds to his torso and extremities, and the manner of death to be homicide.