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.
Medeama clinched the Ghana Super Cup with a 1-0 victory over Ashantigold. Striker Benard Ofori fired in the only goal with few minutes remaining.What are the talking points of the 2015/2016 football season opener?1. LOW TURN-OUT A BOTHER?In my few years of existence, the word “free” for Ghanaians is often characterized by large crowds or patronage. Be it free food, free credit or free drinks, a whole host of people swamp over to enjoy the freebies. This is directly the opposite when it comes to Ghana football at the moment. The word “free” could not even entice football loving fans to the stadium. The Accra Sports was close to empty. I might dare to say the journalists at the stadium including their technicians to cover the game were more than the fans at the stadium. The indication is that more and more people were glued to their TV sets as Chelsea and Manchester United battled it out at Stamford Bridge. Another school of thought believes both Ashantigold and Medeama do not have a large following and a venue closer to both teams might have increased patronage. Others were simply not interested in the game (as pictured from a tweet below on our social media platform). All in all, we hope this game was just a case of poor publicity and not a case of Ghana football dying.2. TOM STRAND VARIES TACTICS Swede Tom Strand is fast cementing his place as one of the finest tactical brains in the country after leading his side to produce a tactical masterclass yesterday. The Yellow and Mauves caught Ashantigold off guard in the first half of the game with a 3-4-3 (3-4-2-1) formation reminiscent of Brendan Rodger’s system used at Liverpool some point last season. The Tarkwa side started with the ever reliable Malik Akowuah in an unusual center back position alongside Paul Aidoo and Daniel Amoah. Full backs Moses Sarpong and Samuel Addae provided the width in midfield while Kwasi Donsu and Kwame Boahene run the show from midfield. New signing Enoch Atta Agyei, Benjamin Bature and Abass Mohammed provided the ammunition with a three prong attack running rings around the Ashgold backline. As a result Augustine Sefa and Joshua Tijani were forced to stay narrow as they failed to provide any attacking outlet for the Miners. The second half saw Strand switch to a more traditional 4-4-2 with Akowuah stepping up into midfield. While this change saw Medeama lost total control of the game, they were still a threat anytime they went forward. Ashantigold simply did not have much solutions to the questions posed by Tom Strand and his charges.3. ASHANTIGOLD SAVING THEIR LEGS FOR BEJAIACoach Bashir Hayford has over the years built teams that have played attractive football with heavy emphasis on passing and movement but this was not evident in the Super Cup game. However, the Miners played within themselves for large portions of the game. Midfield generals Joseph Ato Bissah and Eric Opoku were pedestrians for large portions of the game as they watched Medeama ran rings around them. Their best threat came from defender Kadri Mohammed who picked the ball from his own half and run through midfield. New signing Isaac Amoah showed some promise with his pace but fizzled out after a few runs. The often reliable Nuhu Fuseini was lacking in confidence and fluffed a few half chances he would generally have converted if he was still in an Edubiase jersey. In general, the Miners feared to go in for challenges gifting the Yellow and Mauves all the 50 50 balls. This assertion was confirmed by Coach Bashir Hayford who confirmed to Asempa FM the players were saving their legs for the Algerians. Let’s hope the Miners save their best for this weekend as they provided their Algerian scouts in the stands little or nothing to report on. 4. REFEREES ARE HUMANThe act of refeering is no easy work as they are tasked to basically do much running for the entire duration of the game. In addition to this, they are entitled to make decisions within a split second. Offside, penalty, corner and throw-in calls are all border line decisions which must be decided by the man at center alongside his assistant. In the Super Cup game, the game was virtually decided by refeering decisions at both sides of the field. While Ashantigold’s goal was disallowed for offside, Medeama’s stood. To add to this, the Miners believe the build up to Medeama’s goal was preceded by their striker Mumuni Shafiu’s perceived injury which Daniel Laryea blatantly ignored. In the law books, the referee has the discretion to stop or continue the game if a player lies on the ground injured. The referee is only obliged to stop the game if a player is carrying a head injury. In yesterday’s game it was a case of the former. TV replays show Ashantigold’s goal was wrongly ruled out, but the referee and his assistants do not have the privilege to that and hence must make a decision on the spot. It is not easy to officiate hence they should be cut some slack.5. ASHANTIGOLD NEED TO PUT UP A BETTER SHOWAshantigold have every right to be aggrieved for their disallowed goal but their boycotting of the medal ceremony is totally unacceptable. The hours spent to prepare and money used for the tie cannot be overlooked but their act was simply out of place. The Miners quickly left the pitch after a team prayer straight into the tunnel and into their team bus. Head coach Bashir Hayford told Asempa FM the team was not informed about medals at the press launching but were told on pitch side on matchday. The decision not to take the medal only adds to the dented image of the league which has been ridiculed by many. While the FA have to take part of the blame for their poor organization and administration of the state of the league, the clubs will also have to be blamed. Such poor showing by one of the oldest clubs in the league is inflicting more wounds to the image of Ghana football. Will they walk off the pitch if they feel robbed in their Champions League encounter in Algeria? The institutions governing football in the country have subjected themselves to low standards hence this show of attitude. A heavy fine or ban would have been slapped on the Miners in a normal instance. Ashantigold is not and will not be the first team to feel robbed in a cup final and they must be off better behavior in subsequent Ghanaian competitions. –Follow Kweku on Twitter: @nana_odum. Get more updates on Facebook/Twitter with the #JoySports hashtag