The 35th annual ‘World Series of Birding’ comes to New Jersey on May 12. (See brief.) ×The 35th annual ‘World Series of Birding’ comes to New Jersey on May 12. (See brief.) Distracted driving enforcement and education campaign continuesThe Hudson County Sheriff’s Office continues to down on distracted drivers during April as part of New Jersey’s UDrive UText UPay enforcement campaign.Until April 21, the high visibility law enforcement initiative will target motorists who engage in dangerous distracted driving behaviors such as talking on hand-held cell phones and sending text messages while driving. Federal grant money will allow the Sheriff’s Office to put extra officers on the road to target distracted drivers.“Distracted driving is a serious issue on our roadways and has become one of the major contributing factors in motor vehicle crashes over the past several years” said Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed and over 390,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.”Despite the fact that using a hand held cell phone or texting while driving is illegal in New Jersey, the practice appears to be widespread.The campaign is being carried out during the month of April, which the National Safety Council has designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The New Jersey campaign is modeled after similar successful high visibility enforcement programs such as Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.Company seeks to build $1.5B power plant in North BergenLos Angeles-based company Diamond Generating Corp – a subsidiary of Mitsubishi – is seeking to build a power plant in North Bergen, according to a spokesman. The plant would send its electricity to New York City.The company has been meeting for several months with elected officials, state agencies, and community stake holders in both New York and New Jersey to determine if the project is environmentally and economically feasible.If approved by the state, the North Bergen Liberty Generating Project would be located at an industrial site at 94th Street and Railroad Avenue.Currently, the space is used for a construction demolition recycling company, according to Diamond, but is zoned for an electric plant.Local officials are onboard with the plans because the proposed location is isolated from residential spaces, and could be a tax boon to the town.The proposed project would cost $1.5 billion. It would consist of multiple components, according to an economic and fiscal analysis. They include the 1,200 mega watt combined cycle electric power generating facility itself; and a 6.5-mile, 345 kilovolt underground and submarine lead cable, which would traverse North Bergen and Bergen County and ultimately connect to a substation in Manhattan.The plant would mitigate the need to run a new gas pipeline under the Hudson River, according to Diamond spokesman Brian Hague. He said the plant would be the “cleanest” electric-generating facility in the region. The plant would also “utilize the latest combustion turbine technology, which is 34 percent more efficient than the average existing power plant serving New York City,” Hague said in a statement.It would bring in $53 million in tax revenue for both states, according to the economic analysis.“While this project is still in the planning stages, we believe it represents a tremendous opportunity to secure the township’s tax base in the coming decades and continue to keep property taxes stable,” North Bergen spokesman Phil Swibinski said, in a statement.New Jersey Audubon to celebrate 35 years of the ‘World Series of Birding’Anyone involved in the “World Series of Birding” agrees: It’s an exhilarating way to spend 24 hours. At the stroke of midnight, participants begin an all-night, all-day journey to see or hear as many bird species as possible within the 8,732 square miles of New Jersey.This treasure hunt of sorts, which serves as a key fundraiser for New Jersey Audubon, happens every year, this year on May 12, rain or shine. That’s when the last of the wintering birds are still here, and when new migrating and breeding birds arrive.The World Series of Birding is open to anyone, at any age or skill level. Participants can join contest categories that would prompt them to travel up to 300 miles around the state in 24 hours.Or, for a completely different experience, participants can join categories in which they are restricted to a county, or even within a 17-foot circle. You can be part of a car full of fellow birders, out on your own, or with others on bikes, on foot or by boat.There are obvious and non-bending rules. For example, only birds found in New Jersey can be counted.Great local spots are the Cape May Bird Observatory, Cape May Point State Park, or the NJ Audubon Hoffman Sanctuary in Bernardsville, or Sandy Hook, Armstrong noted. There is also a separate competition for children, from grades 1-5, grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. For a full list of competitions, and for further information, visit http://worldseriesofbirding.org/. WNY Mayor Roque’s son gets $75K job in town clerk’s officeJoseph Roque, son of West New York Mayor Felix Roque, was given a clerk position in the town clerk’s office in February at an annual salary of $75,000.Joseph, 27, previously worked for the Hudson County Department of Roads at an annual salary of $27,000.Joseph Roque was convicted Oct. 1, 2013 of a misdemeanor, hacking into a political website run by one of his father’s political opponents. (Felix Roque was acquitted of a related charge.) Nevertheless, the younger Roque was also chosen as the chair of the town’s local Democratic party last year.Mayor Roque said his son was qualified for the job and applied when the position opened.“My son is a good worker, and someone who I know will do a good job,” Mayor Roque said. “I have every confidence in him.”Mayor Roque said he did not believe that the public should be concerned since he believes his son will provide good service to the town.Although a municipal clerk can be removed without cause, a person in the position can gain tenure after three years, at which time he cannot be fired without some dereliction of duty.“We all want to see what’s best for our children,” Mayor Roque said, seeing nothing wrong about hiring his son for what is considered an extremely powerful job with the town.Hiring of family members of elected officials is not unusual. The current town clerk of Secaucus was hired at a time when his brother served on town council there.