Bloomfield Woman Killed in Car Crash on Garden State Parkway

BY  |  Tuesday, May 24, 2016 3:45pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

New Jersey State Police identified the woman killed in a crash last Sunday morning on the Garden State Parkway as Alexis Simpkins, a 25-year-old Bloomfield resident, reports.

Simpkins lost control of her car while driving northbound early on Sunday morning on the Garden State Parkway, state police Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Williams said. Simpkins was not wearing a seat belt and the road was wet from rain.



Bloomfield Township Council Passes “Historic” Rent-Control Ordinance

BY  |  Tuesday, May 17, 2016 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

In a move that rent-control activist Kevin Lindahl called “historic,” the Bloomfield Township Council passed a new rent-control ordinance on second reading at its May 16 meeting.  The ordinance, which was the result of months of negotiations involving landlords, tenants, and civic leaders, passed with the votes of Mayor Michael Venezia and for of the six council members present.  (First Ward Councilman Elias Chalet and Third Ward Councilman Carlos Bernard were both absent.)

The new rent-control rules, designed to help residents stay in place at a time of numerous redevelopment projects producing high-rent apartments, caps annual rent increases at 3 percent for an available apartment or at the percentage or difference between the Consumer Price Index (CPI) three months before the end of a lease and three months before the commitment to the lease term, whichever is greater but not to exceed 5 percent.   It also penalizes landlords who are caught harassing or deceiving tenants to get higher rents from more lucrative tenants.

The Bloomfield Township Council

The Bloomfield Township Council

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Lost Rembrandt Painting Found In Bloomfield, Headed For Getty Museum

BY  |  Thursday, May 12, 2016 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (5)


Self-Portrait of the artist

When the small, slightly damaged painting showed up at an auction house at Nye & Co. auction House in Bloomfield, NJ, no one expected that it would be worth over $1 million, reports The LA Times. In fact, the auction house estimated that the work would sell for $500 to $800.

The painting came from an Essex County estate and had been stored in a basement with other items that had been passed over by the heirs. After the painting was put up for sale at the auction, a bidding war erupted among three in-the-know art dealers. It turns out, the painting is believed to be part of a series done by the 17th century Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn when he was a teenage student around 1625. “The Unconscious Patient (An Allegory of Smell)” sold for nearly $1.1 million. Continue Reading

Bloomfield to Celebrate Opening of Township’s Newest Park, Morris Canal Park at Oak Tree Lane

BY  |  Monday, May 09, 2016 12:45pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Morris Canal Park at Oak Tree Lane

The Township of Bloomfield along with the Recreation Department and the Bloomfield Morris Canal Greenway Committee will celebrate the Twonship’s newest park, Morris Canal Park at Oak Tree Lane, with a ribbon‐cutting ceremony on Saturday, May 14.

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Bloomfield Council Moves Rent Control Ordinance, Animal Welfare Forward

BY  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2016 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The Bloomfield Township Council held its May 2 conference meeting in the chambers room in anticipation of receiving a large amount of residents to offer  public comment on either side of the rent control ordinance scheduled for a vote.  The ordinance allows a landlord, at the expiration or termination of a lease, to request or receive an increase in up to three percent a year over and above the rent previously charged, or the percentage difference between the consumer price index three months before the lease is ended, and but not to exceed five percent.  Several residents appeared, ready with protest signs, to urge mayor Michael Venezia and the council to pass it.  The resident’s concerns were unfounded – it passed on first reading, 6-0, with First Ward Councilman Elias Chalet absent.

The Bloomfield Township Council

The Bloomfield Township Council

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Bloomfield PD to Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

BY  |  Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Drugs-Dispose-12The Bloomfield Police Department will take part in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 30, to provide a venue for people to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs.

This program is anonymous and all efforts will be made to protect the anonymity of individuals disposing of medications. No questions or requests for identification will be made. Individuals will be allowed to deposit medication freely and independently.

Individuals may dispose of medication either in its original container or by removing medication from its container and disposing directly into the drug disposal box at Bloomfield Police Department, Front Desk, 1 Municipal Plaza.





More Discussion Into Doc Report on Bloomfield PD And Racial Profiling

BY  |  Friday, Apr 22, 2016 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

After Seton Hall Law School Center for Policy & Research created a VICE documentary film based on its report that concludes racial profiling and targeting of non-residents is occurring at traffic stops in Bloomfield, community leaders have been discussing the findings.

The Bloomfield Police Department — which has begun collecting data on the race of drivers in traffic stops as of January 2016 — rejects the report’s findings. They released a statement taking issue with elements of the report. Police Director Samuel DeMaio has denied his department racially profiles. “Basic police personnel deployment requires us to deploy our resources accordingly, meaning 75 to 80 percent of our manpower is dedicated to this area [the southern part of the township]. To do otherwise would be irresponsible,” DeMaio said in a statement. “Naturally, greater deployment of Officers to the area means a greater number of summonses issued there.”

Democrat Councilman Joseph Lopez, who is currently running for Mayor against incumbent Mayor Michael Venezia, called a meeting at Carteret School in Bloomfield last week to “foster and open and honest discussion and re-establish trust between the police and minority communities.” reports Also in attendance was Senator Ronald Rice (D-28).

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Bloomfield PD Searching For Man Suspected of Trying to Lure a Group of Children

BY  |  Monday, Apr 18, 2016 1:19pm  |  COMMENTS (3)

rp_alert1-e1295547120319.jpgBloomfield Police are searching for a man accused of attempting to lure a group of children on Sunday evening in Bloomfield, reports

According to the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, a man on foot who said he was a police officer approached a group of children, three 12-year-olds and two 11-year-olds, at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday in Bloomfield. He was in civilian clothing, not a uniform.

Investigators canvassed the area and will be trying to put together a sketch of the suspect.

Massive Charles Street Fire in Bloomfield Leaves Six Families Displaced (Updated)

BY  |  Sunday, Apr 17, 2016 8:47am  |  COMMENTS (0)

UPDATE: Mayor Venezia says Bloomfield Fire Head Quarters (corner Franklin and Montgomery) is accepting donations and starting tomorrow (Monday) and this week, there will be boxes in the Mayor’s office and Civic Center to donate items for the families.

A massive four-alarm fire at 44 Charles Street in Bloomfield last night has displaced six families. The blaze, which started around 6 p.m. Saturday, filled the sky with black smoke visible from the Garden State Parkway.

CBS reports that a good Samaritan, Roy Campbell, ran into the burning building when he noticed the roof beginning to collapse, to help get people out. The fire may have started on the second floor of a vacant apartment. By 9 p.m., the fire was under control.

GoFundMe pages was started for the Cruz family and the Ramirez family. Continue Reading

Bloomfield Subject of “Driving While Black” Report on Vice News (Updated)

BY  |  Monday, Apr 11, 2016 2:38pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Driving While Black

Update 4/12 at 11:45 am: Bloomfield Mayor, Michael Venezia posted the following message on the film on his Facebook page:

You may have seen a story in the paper or online about a report alleging racial profiling by Bloomfield Police, and I think it’s important for you to hear directly from me as your Mayor about these allegations. First, let me say that the men and women of the Bloomfield Police Department work extremely hard every day and do an outstanding job of keeping our community safe. When I became Mayor we instituted new procedures, reforms and technologies that have contributed to a 28% overall reduction in crime — a statistic we can all be very proud of — as well as measures designed to enhance community policing and build trust between officers and residents of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

We are disappointed in the study for a few reasons: we believe the methodology behind it is incomplete, and we did not have the opportunity to work with the authors to provide data and information that could have helped it be a more accurate reflection of the department. However, given the painful history of racially charged incidents between police and people of color both in New Jersey and across the country, our entire team is very sensitive to the issues raised by the study and we will be looking into best practices and potential reforms to ensure that our police officers are treating everyone fairly while still continuing to do an incredible job keeping Bloomfield safe.

Over the past few years Bloomfield has become a progressive leader among New Jersey municipalities in several ways — we were one of the first to pass an Earned Sick Days ordinance, we increased our minimum wage for municipal workers to $15/hour and we have balanced the need for new developments with open space and environmentally-friendly planning. Our police department is no different, as we have installed dashboard cameras on all of our police vehicles and we are in the process of implementing body cameras for our officers. Our police department is only the second in New Jersey to implement a system of tracking race in all police interactions and using the data to inform policy and public safety strategy. Thanks to this, we have a tremendous amount of information to work with to help us determine if there is a problem, and if so what the steps are to fix it.

We would welcome the authors of the study to meet with members of our local government, police department and our African American and Hispanic communities to discuss their findings and look for common ground and opportunities to keep improving and will be reaching out via letter to Seton Hall and the ACLU to attend a meeting and discuss these issues. Thank you for taking the time to read this — if you would like to help spread the word, please share this with your friends.

Vice News is airing a documentary report conducted by Seton Hall Law students that concludes racial profiling and targeting of non-residents is occurring at traffic stops in Bloomfield. The film is based on a new report from Seton Hall Law’s Center for Policy & Research. The study entailed hundreds of observations of court appearances for traffic offenses and a small number of other minor offenses in Bloomfield Municipal Court, conducted by a team of trained Seton Hall Law School students for 70 hours over the course of a month.

In the trailer, Bloomfield Police Director Samuel DeMaio says the department does not engage in racial profiling.

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