Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall along the Jersey Shore Oct. 29, was still very much in the news in the early part of November, as residents in Nutley and Belleville contended with a variety of problems arising in the wake of the hybrid superstorm.
Power restoration was a chief concern, as people throughout the communities waited several days to a few weeks for the lights to come back on.
Another side-effect of the storm was gas shortages. With power out at several gas stations, those able to remain open were mobbed by both motorists and those seeking fuel for private generators. The shortages prompted state officials to institute even-odd rationing in Essex and several other counties in order to reduce the massive queues at the pumps.
Towards the middle of the month, as New Jersey slowly rose from the knockout blow dealt by the hurricane, Gov. Chris Christie urged a return to normalcy in the less-affected areas of the state.
In the midst of the storm’s aftermath, Americans also headed to the polls for the presidential election. Fortunately for voters in Belleville and Nutley, normal polling places were up and running in both towns. Elsewhere in the state, voters were forced to cast their ballots electronically or at alternate locations due to storm damage at their local polling places.
In other top news, another lawsuit was filed against Belleville’s Superintendent of Schools Joseph Picardo. A former secretary accused Picardo of gender discrimination for referring to women with gender-specific slurs and for other behavior. Picardo, who is on paid administrative leave, was already facing a lawsuit by a former district employee who accused Picardo of making unwanted sexual advances.
A Valley National bank in Belleville located near the borders of Bloomfield and Newark was robbed, the second time since 2011 the branch was hit. Police later released an image of a suspect captured on the bank’s security camera.
Belleville was plagued by a succession of water main breaks in November, including one that briefly disrupted service along Washington Avenue and another affecting homes and businesses in the Valley section of town.
Nutley police arrested a Newark woman following a brief car chase through Belleville and Nutley.
A Sussex County man who once taught music to youth in Belleville appeared in federal court Nov. 21 on charges he lured a teenaged boy to his home and had sex with him. Authorities said the man also chatted online about his sexual fantasies, which allegedly included abducting, raping and eating children.
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