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Updated Forecast For Hurricanes Expected In 2019: NJ Impact?

COLLEGE PARK, MD — Weather researchers have updated their hurricane forecasts for the rest of the summer, and both say they believe there will be more of the fierce storms than originally predicted. But will they impact New Jersey?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now says that weather researchers believe there will be more hurricanes in 2019 than previously expected.

“Current and predicted oceanic and atmospheric conditions now indicate a higher likelihood — a 45 percent chance — of an above normal season — and a reduced likelihood — a 20 percent chance — of below normal activity,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

And weather researchers at Colorado State University, who once predicted a slightly below-average 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, now believe it will be “near normal.”

Here are the chances of any major hurricanes – categrories 3, 4 or 5 – having any kind of impact on the coastline, including New Jersey, according to CSU:

  • Entire U.S. coastline – 53 percent (full-season average for last century is 52 percent)
  • U.S. East Coast including Florida peninsula – 31 percent (full-season average for last century is 31 percent)
  • Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville, Texas – 31 percent (full-season average for last century is 30 percent)

While only two named storms have formed thus far this year, the peak months of hurricane season run from August through October.

NOAA earlier predicted nine to 15 named storms and two to four major hurricanes this year. The updated hurricane season outlook now predicts 10 to 17 named storms, of which five to nine are expected to become hurricanes. Two to four of those could become major hurricanes, according to NOAA.

“The total number of named storms and hurricanes has increased from the May outlook while the number of major hurricanes stays the same,” Bell said. “However, some of those hurricanes and major hurricanes could be longer and stronger than was predicted in May because atmospheric wind patterns are expected to be more hospitable to storm formation.”

Image courtesy of NOAA.

Bell cautioned that the prediction does not distinguish between storms that make landfall and those that remain at sea.

“Whether or not a storm strikes land is determined by the weather patterns that are in place as the storm approaches, and those weather patterns are generally not predictable until about five to seven days in advance,” Bell explained

The updated hurricane season outlook is based on the latest weather and climate models as well as observed atmospheric and oceanic conditions.

“The main reason is NOAA is announcing today that the El Nino which has been in place since January has now dissipated,” Bell said. “El Nino usually suppresses hurricanes, but now that it’s dissipated we’re expecting conditions to be more favorable for storm development through the rest of the season.”

Bell said related wind patterns often persist after El Nino fades. “These will at least partially offset the more enhancing conditions now in place, although not to the extent we had predicted in May,” he said.

Image courtesy of NOAA.

On average, the Atlantic hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

Bell said he does not believe that global warming is to blame for the increased potential for hurricanes.

“The global ocean temperatures have been warming through the last century, certainly the Atlantic has,” he explained. “It’s really this whole set of atmospheric conditions that we see, and global warming does not produce that set of atmospheric conditions that we see. Global warming actually — for the Atlantic — produces increased wind shear, and that’s why they think it could actually reduce the number of storms, but maybe result in fewer, stronger storms.”

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United adds service to second Tokyo airport from Newark

Call it the Olympic effect: United Airlines announced Friday that it is adding service to Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport in Japan from four U.S. hubs, including Newark Liberty International Airport, in time for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

The new nonstop flights — also originating in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. —  represent an expansion of United’s service to Haneda out of San Francisco. The new flights will begin on March 28, 2020, with tickets going on sale starting Saturday.

United also flies to Tokyo’s Narita International airport from Newark and other U.S. cities.

“Our new service to Haneda gives our customers more choice and connections to more than 65 destinations throughout Asia,” Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of international network, said in a prepared statement. “With service beginning next spring, we look forward to providing convenient service for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

“United has offered nonstop service between the U.S. and Japan for more than 40 years, and we are excited to expand our network at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and continue to be the largest U.S. carrier to Japan.”

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Murphy establishes council to design wind-power institute

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Friday to establish a Council for the Wind Innovation and New Development Institute.

“From job creation to workforce development to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, the WIND Institute and the council tasked with its development make good on our commitment to building a New Jersey economy fit for the 21st century,” Murphy said.

WIND is charged with the development and implementation of a plan that creates a regional hub for the state’s offshore wind industry. Murphy’s administration has said it is committed to making the state a national leader in offshore wind.

“Centralizing the state’s resources under one roof allows us to leverage the considerable expertise at our disposal to enhance our position as a national leader in offshore wind development,” Murphy said.

The council established through the order will recommend the institute’s governance structure and main functions, as well as identify funding sources and pre-existing flaws.

The council is cross-governmental, with representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, Economic Development Authority, Board of Public Utilities and the departments of Education, Environmental Protection and Labor & Workforce Development, in addition to the governor’s chief policy adviser and chief counsel.

The administration says the WIND institute, which first surfaced in Murphy’s 2018 economic plan, will position the state as a leader in the industry through job creation, workforce development, research and development, and capital investment.

The council will issue a final report to the governor with recommendations on creating the WIND institute within four months of the council’s creation.

To read Executive Order No. 79, click here.

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Wanaque Fatal Virus Outbreak Prompts New NJ Law

PASSAIC COUNTY, NJ – In response to last year’s virus outbreak at a Wanaque pediatric facility that led to 11 deaths and 36 illnesses, the state has put new measures into place to prevent similar incidents from occurring at long-term care locations.

On Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law requiring long-term care facilities to put infection control plans in place and allow the state Department of Health to mandate the development and submission of those plans.

“Although nearly a year has passed since the tragic outbreak in Wanaque, we have not forgotten about the 11 children who were taken from us far too soon,” Murphy said in a statement. “I am proud to sign legislation today requiring long-term care facilities to have outbreak plans in place to reduce the chances of a similar tragedy from ever happening again.”

The legislation was sponsored by Assembly Members Herb Conaway Jr., D-Burlington, Christopher P. Tully, D-Bergen; and Lisa Swain, D-Bergen, and Sens. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, and Troy Singleton, D-Burlington.

The requirements reflect recommendations delivered in a new state Department of Health report that seeks to improve infection control at all long-term facilities with pediatric and adult ventilator beds.

Acting Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said, “Breaches in infection control practices are a major contributing factor in the spread of disease in health care facilities. Outbreak response plans help facilities remain aware of the need to contact and work with public health to implement practices to minimize further spread of disease.”

The state also recommends:

  • Policies for patient and staff notification;
  • Availability of lab testing;
  • Protocols to assess if visitors are ill;
  • Protocols to identify/exclude sick staff from the facility;
  • Separation of sick and well patients at the outset of an outbreak to prevent spread of illness
  • More involvement from local health departments when outbreaks occur.

The report also recommends amending state regulations to require long-term care facilities with ventilator beds to implement protocols to ensure that parents and guardians of residents are immediately notified of outbreaks; hire a full-time infection control professional; and have an agreement in place to consult with an infectious disease specialist during an outbreak. In addition, all staff would have to be trained in infection control policies every six months—including protocols for identifying employees and visitors who display signs of illness.

The Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation is under state and federal investigation in the wake of last fall’s deadly adenovirus outbreak.

In June, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services added nine New Jersey nursing facilities, including the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation to a list of “Special Focus Facilities” across the country.

The federal agency said in February it found the Wanaque facility wasn’t adequately prepared to react to the virus andfined the facility nearly $600,000 for several violations.

Its report cited factors including poor infection controls, a lack of administrative oversight and delays in seeking treatment of sick pediatric patients.

Adenovirus type 7, which is the strain that infected patients in Wanaque, causes a mild cold or flu symptoms and usually poses little risk for healthy people but can have a severe outcome especially in people with weakened immune systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

JLL arranges financing for transit-oriented community in Englewood

JLL announced Friday it has arranged financing for the development of an multifamily property in Englewood.

Englewood Circle, JLL said, is a 220-unit, transit-oriented community being constructed on 2.54 acres at 40 Bennett Road. It is within close access to Interstate 95, Route 4 and the Palisades Parkway.

JLL’s Capital Markets team of Jon Mikula, senior managing director; Michael Klein, managing director; and Andrew Zilenziger, analyst; worked on behalf of the developers, a joint venture between The Claremont Companies and Cypress Equity Investments, to secure a five-year construction loan through Principal Real Estate Investors.

“We are excited to be a part of Claremont’s foray into Englewood, a town that has seen tremendous growth, specifically in the luxury multi-housing space,” Mikula said. “Englewood Circle will provide the newest and most amenity intensive project in Englewood.”

Financial terms were not disclosed.

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Delaware River




Growing up in Phillipsburg, Frank Harris Moyer learned the advantages of living near the Delaware River. “My father was a sportsman—hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing,” says Moyer, 76 and a retired educator. “He started taking me along when I was young.”

Moyer turned his interest in the waterway into his newly published first book, The Delaware River: History, Traditions and Legends (The History Press).

Here are 10 facts about the river from his book.

1. The river is named for Thomas West, the third Baron De La Warr and Virginia’s first royal governor.

2. It flows more than 330 miles, from the Catskill Mountains in New York to Cape May.

3. The Delaware is one of the nation’s last major rivers without a dam.

4. The Delaware River Watershed provides water to nearly 8 percent of the U.S. population.

5. The Riverton Yacht Club in Burlington County, founded in 1865, is the oldest yacht club on the river.

6. More than 20 islands in the river are on the New Jersey side.

7. Constructed in 1806, the Lower Trenton Bridge is the first recorded span across the river.

8. Later that year, the Northampton Street Bridge, the first span between Phillipsburg and Easton, Pennsylvania, opened to traffic.

9. The Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants use more than 3 billion gallons of cooling water per day from the Delaware River estuary.

10. The first summertime visitors to the Delaware Water Gap arrived in 1820. It is now part of a national recreation area.

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Godiva Café Coming To The Shops At Riverside

HACKENSACK, NJ – Godiva at The Shops at Riverside is set to unveil a new look and a new menu.

On Aug. 23, Godiva will open a café and will debut a menu full of Belgian-inspired creations, as well as the brand’s world famous classic treats.

The mall’s Godiva location was previously just a store and had no seating.

New items include Belgian Liege waffles, a selection of coffee beverages featuring Godiva’s signature blend and other freshly baked treats.

The café will also offer Godiva’s exclusive “croiffle,” which is a buttery croissant pressed into a hot waffle. The item is available in six flavors including three cheese, egg & gouda and Godiva chocolate.

To celebrate the opening, the café will offer a free 12 oz. coffee, iced or hot, with a $10 purchase from Aug. 23 through Sept. 4.

The café is on level one, near Lilly Pulitzer, and is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.

The mall is currently undergoing the final face of a multi-million dollar luxury makeover, which, Simon Property Group said should be complete by the holiday season.

During the first and second phases of the mall’s multi-year renovation, renovation, an AMC Dine-In Theatre was added, and The Cheesecake Factory, as well as Barnes & Noble, were relocated and redesigned.

According to Simon, additional dining and shopping options are still to come, along with a concierge lounge and enhanced valet parking.

Checking Out Jersey City’s Darke Pines Butcher Shop


Inside Darke Pines, a sustainable butcher shop in Jersey City. Photo courtesy of Amber Breitenberg



When Will and Erica Messmer ended up in downtown Jersey City, burnt out from nine-to-five office jobs in Manhattan and eager to open a food business of some sort, a butcher shop was not the obvious choice.

But as the couple threw out possibilities—from a Southern-style eatery in Copenhagen to a bed and breakfast in Portland, Maine to heading back to Erica’s hometown in Huntsville, Alabama—over home-cooked meals, they realized they hadn’t been able to find a place for quality meats in the neighborhood. There was an independent cheese shop, a seafood stand and a plethora of farmers markets, but nowhere for choosy and environmentally conscious shoppers to buy locally sourced, responsibly raised meat.

Owners of Darke Pines butcher shop in Jersey City

Erica and Will Messmer. Photo courtesy of Amber Breitenberg

Will, the grandson of a butcher, started working on a business plan, visiting butcher shops and researching farms. Soon after, he left the corporate world and the couple started a Kickstarter campaign for Darke Pines, which opened in April 2018. Named for the town in Ohio where Will’s grandparents retired, Darke Pines is now where the Messmers, and their team of butchers and cooks, sell grass-fed, hormone- and- antibiotic-free beef and lamb, pastured pork and free-range poultry from small, local farms.

Versus butcher shops that exclusively buy and sell popular cuts like a rib-eye steak or lamb chop, Darke Pines’ aim is to use the entire animal, or as much of it as possible, Will says. At the sleek shop, with its whitewashed brick walls and rustic wooden accents (a far cry from a fluorescent-lit supermarket meat counter), using the entire animal speaks to the couple’s, and consumers’, “growing concern around climate change and environment and how meat fits into that,” says Will. “We provide customers the opportunity to buy meat they can feel good about, so they don’t have to buy four chicken breasts wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam. They can buy one and we can tell them where it was sourced, how it was raised and be totally transparent about it,” he explains.

“There’s not a lot of whole animal butchers anymore,” Erica adds. “But it’s really a craft,” and, she says, a better way to shop and consume, connecting people to farmers.

“Doing justice to the animal by using as much of it as we can,” including trying to sell lesser-known or less popular cuts—in addition to steaks, chops and roasts—requires some creativity, Will admits. Luckily for them, when the Messmers got into their more than 2,000-square-foot space, a former music venue they mostly renovated themselves, it came with a sizeable kitchen.

Read more about whole-animal butchery in NJ:

And luckily for locals, this has spawned cases of ready-to-eat prepared foods, frozen soups and stews and, recently, a growing menu of hearty sandwiches. Extra cuts of beef have become the popular meatballs with marinara sauce ($11.99), for example, while trying to make use of organs, a tough sell for home cooks, created the bestselling chicken liver mousse and a duck pâté ($12.99), great on a cheese plate; Bones and scraps, often throwaways, became bases for bone broths and stocks ($6.99 to $12.99), gumbos and chicken soup ($15.99), available in the shop’s freezer case. They even sell goods for canine diners, with raw dog food ($9.99/quart) and bones.

There are burger blends (short rib brisket has been a summer phenom, Will says; $14.99 a pound) and sausages (from Italian to lamb merguez to breakfast varieties, $12.99 to $13.99 a pound), plus housemade deli meats—roast beef, guanciale, smoked pastrami, smoked ham and smoked bacon ($13.99 to $15.99 a pound).

Smoked ham sandwich at Darke Pines. Photo courtesy of Amber Breitenberg

Pastrami sandwich at Darke Pines. Photo courtesy of Amber Breitenberg

Darke Pines also offers what’s probably the neighborhood’s best-kept lunch secret: the sandwich menu, which launched this past spring. The simple but solid selection, Erica’s domain, includes options like smoked ham with pimento cheese and dill pickles; roast beef with horseradish cream, braised shallots and fresh basil; chicken salad with red grapes and romaine; pastrami with coleslaw and Swiss cheese; and mortadella with pickled mustard seeds and cornichons—all are stacked high, tucked into Balthazar bread and cost $10.

Sandwich fixings, from the chicken salad (Erica’s grandmother’s recipe) to the tangy pickled mustard seeds to the rich, juicy braised shallots, have become so popular they’ve also migrated to the prepared foods case ($8.99 for a jar of mustard seeds, $6.99 for a container of shallots), Will says, joining grilling accoutrements such as rolls, the preservative-free house barbecue sauce ($10.99) and a selection of local goods, from seasonal produce to hot sauce to gourmet spreads and spice blends.

Yet even with all these options for quicker bites, customers seek advice on how to master their meals at home. The Messmers and their team—head butcher Giancarlo Sbarbaro, production lead Caroline Phillipuk, butcher Ted Rosen and apprentice butcher T. Jay Macek—say they’re happy to dole out cooking and preparation advice. For those in search of a more formal education, once a month Darke Pines hosts monthly butchering “classes,” more of a demonstration where a butcher will break down beef or pork and explain the different cuts while another team member cooks for attendees. Besides a tasting, Will says the classes give people a “holistic look—a sense of the work and effort that goes into this stuff, from information about the farms to taking care of your knives.” (A beef class costs $115, pork is $95.)

The Messmers are planning on renovating, adding seating, and maybe coffee, pastries and breakfast foods, plus teaching more classes and expanding their catering offerings. And if word keeps getting out, definitely making more sandwiches.

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NJ Family Attacked By Wolf In ‘Something Out Of A Horror Movie’

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Woman Armed With Paintball Gun Causes Scare At NJ Bar: Prosecutor

Patrons were seen running from the sports bar and grill on Route 22 East and hiding behind vehicles on Monday night, authorities said.

NJ Walmart Evacuated After ‘Unfounded’ Shooter Report: Police

A Walmart was evacuated after police say they got what turned out to be an “unfounded” threat.

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Woman Armed With Paintball Gun Causes Scare At Rt. 22 Bar: SCPO

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ — A Perth Amboy woman is wanted after she caused a scare when she went into a sports bar on Route 22 East armed with a paintball gun on Monday night, authorities said.

The woman, later identified as Bryanna Gomez-Vanwyk, 26, of Perth Amboy, walked into the sports bar and grill (which was not named by police), started yelling and cursing and demanded to see a male employee, Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson said.

Numerous 911 calls reported the domestic incident at about 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 12 and when North Plainfield Police arrived they saw patrons running from the restaurant and hiding behind vehicles.

Gomez-Vanwyk had left the restaurant just before police arrived. Witnesses and employees said she entered through the front door of the restaurant and pointed the weapon directly at them while yelling, according to the report.

A large knife and several paint balls were found in the restaurant. A video surveillance showed that the weapon was a paint ball gun which appeared to not work, Robertson said.

The incident was found to be a domestic dispute between the Gomez-Vanwyk and the male employee.

Charges of third-degree aggravated assault, third-degree terroristic threats, and third-degree unlawful possession of weapon were filed against Gomez-Vanwyk.

Anyone with information relating to this incident or who has information regarding Gomez- Vanwyk’s location, is asked to contact the North Plainfield Police Department at 908-769-2937 or via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ.

Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.