Union City commissioners backtrack on resolution opposing North Bergen power plantThe Union City Board of Commissioners have rescinded a resolution opposing the proposed $1.8 billion North Bergen natural gas plant, according to city spokeswoman Erin Knoedler.The commissioners originally passed the resolution on July 10, arguing the plant would produce mass greenhouse gas emissions and further complicate north Jersey’s power infrastructure.“We just wanted to give North Bergen the opportunity to properly vet the project fully, before other localities weigh in,” Knoedler said, regarding the turnabout, on Tuesday, July 24. “Also we don’t know what Gov. Phil Murphy will do.”Knoedler was likely referencing Murphy’s uncertainty surrounding the controversial proposal. In May, the governor didn’t take a strong stance when a local reporter asked for his take on the plant.He was also confused as to how Jersey would benefit, because all the energy produced by the plant would go to New York City. “I have to admit I always scratch my head when something is being done here that another state will benefit from,” he said. “Beyond that I don’t have an opinion.”North Bergen Liberty Generating, the company behind the proposal, argues that natural gas gives off fewer emissions than coal or oil. They also say that natural gas can create more electricity with smaller land use than renewable options, such as wind or solar power. North Bergen officials are in support, saying the plant would generate hundreds of union jobs and millions in tax revenue for the township.Local environmentalists, however, counter that the plant is a biohazard waiting to happen.“These [officials] will tell you that this is the best deal that we can get, and it’s not,” said Hackensack Riverkeeper Bill Sheehan at a press conference denouncing the plant in May. He was joined by other advocacy groups.But regardless of the opposition, the plan proposal continues to move forward. On June 26, the state DEP issued permits authorizing a gas turbine, two storm water outfall structures, and the installation of the cables under the Hudson River.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still needs to approve the plan. ×Local officials celebrated the 208th anniversary of Colombia’s independence with a flag raising at Town Hall July 20. See briefs for more information. (Photo credit: Art Schwartz) Local officials celebrated the 208th anniversary of Colombia’s independence with a flag raising at Town Hall July 20. See briefs for more information. (Photo credit: Art Schwartz) Locals Honored at Colombian Independence Day CeremonyIn celebration of the 208th anniversary of Colombian independence, Mayor Nicholas Sacco raised the Colombian flag over town hall on Friday, July 20, 2018. Joining him were Commissioners Hugo Cabrera and Julio Marenco and a large group of residents and neighbors. Commissioner Cabrera, speaking in Spanish, noted his own Colombian heritage.The Independence Day flag-raising was preceded by festivities in town hall, including dance performances by Orquideas de Oro in colorful traditional costumes, and the singing of the American and Colombian national anthems by Michelle Galves.The mayor and commissioners then took the opportunity to present Galves with a certificate of appreciation for her musical talent and community spirit.Also receiving certificates were Fernando Escobar as Colombian Journalist of the Year; Nurys Capello for keeping Colombian culture alive in North Bergen; Gustavo A. Correa Osorio for his work as a painter and fine artist; and Gabriel Jaime Rodriguez Naranjo, the president of ARPA Marketing Inc., for being a Colombian leader.Route 495 lane closures start August 10Lincoln Tunnel-area commuters, brace yourselves. The state DOT is set to close traffic lanes on Route 495, starting Aug. 10, according to a press release.The headaches commence with the closure of the 31st Street ramp from JFK Boulevard to 495 westbound in North Bergen on the 10th. Traffic will be detoured onto Paterson Plank Road. On the 17th, one lane on 495 will be closed 24/7 in both directions. This will severely limit roadway capacity.The shutdowns are part of a massive $90.3 million, state-funded rehabilitation project on the Route 495 Bridge.Work on the span includes repairing and reconstructing the bridge deck, replacing and strengthening its deteriorated structural steel, and repairing and painting the substructure. The project’s first phase began in September of 2017 with local street improvements.The entire project is projected to finish around summer 2021. Motorists are advised to consider alternative routes during that time, such as the George Washington Bridge, Holland Tunnel, public transportation, or carpooling. For more information, email the DOT at [email protected], or call 201-408-8495.HRPAC announces August concertsThe next Wednesday night concerts set for Summer Concerts on the Hudson at Lincoln Harbor Park in Weehawken will be Ranky Tanky, on Aug. 8, and Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, on Aug. 15. Both shows start at 7 p.m.From Charleston, S.C., Ranky Tanky released its first CD in October 2017 and by December, Ranky Tanky had been profiled on NPR’s nationally syndicated radio show, “Fresh Air,” with Terry Gross. The album then soared to the No. 1 position on the Billboard, iTunes, and Amazon Jazz Charts. This group performs Gullah music from the Georgia and Carolina Sea Islands with jazz inspiration and a New Orleans twist.For nearly two decades, the Catskill Mountains hid singer and songwriter Arleigh Kincheloe, until one day she said goodbye to her hometown and moved to New York City to start the hard soul collective, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds. The group has performed more than 700 shows and made their national TV debut on NBC’s “Today Show.” They’ve released three full-length studio albums, including their most recent, the acclaimed “The Weather Below.”These free concerts will take place at Lincoln Harbor Park, located just north of the Chart House restaurant directly on the west bank of the Hudson River in Weehawken, New Jersey. Free parking is available and public transportation, including NJ Transit bus 158 from the Port Authority and Light Rail, will bring concertgoers to Lincoln Harbor. Please use 1700 Harbor Boulevard for GPS directions.For more information including the full summer concert schedule, directions, updates, and rain date info, please check the HRPAC website, www.hrpac.org, or call the concert info line at (201) 716-4540.