FEMA extends deadline for disaster assistance from Hurricane

FEMA extends deadline for disaster assistance from Hurricane Ida. Officials on Friday said the deadline for New Jersey residents to register for disaster assistance related to Hurricane Ida has been extended into next year. Homeowners and renters can apply for FEMA individual assistance for damage and losses from the deadly storm until Jan. 5, 2022, FEMA announced.

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers in Essex and Union counties will stay open “until further notice,” the agency said. The centers were slated to close Saturday.

“The extension provides more time for survivors living in counties designated for individual assistance including: Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union and Warren,” FEMA said in a news release.

“Federal disaster assistance for individuals and families can include money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal property losses, and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance,” officials said in the release.

More information was posted on the FEMA website and

The remnants of Hurricane Ida brought tornadoes and devastating flooding, leaving at least 30 people dead in New Jersey.

FEMA centers are located at:

Essex County: Kmart, 235 Prospect Ave., #9413, West Orange.

Union County: O’Donnell Dempsey Senior Community Center, 618 Salem Ave., Elizabeth.

Officials said hours at both centers are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

A 79-year-old woman was struck and killed by a van Friday morning in Ridgefield Park, authorities said.

Sima Nightingale was hit by a Ford van as it turned left near Main and Mount Vernon streets as she tried to cross in the crosswalk around 9:30 a.m., according to police Lt. Art Jensen.

Nightingale was rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center, where she succumbed to her injuries, according to the lieutenant.

Health officials reported the first confirmed case of the omicron variant in Pennsylvania on Friday, a man in his 30s from Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced the case in a news release. No other details were immediately available, including whether the man was vaccinated against COVID-19 or if he had been traveling. Health officials said contact tracing was underway.

The health department said residents should “seriously reconsider” plans for indoor holiday gatherings.

“A new variant, especially one that may be more transmissible, means that we have to stay vigilant about taking steps to protect ourselves and everyone around us,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a written statement. “I know that this news is especially discouraging as we enter the holiday season, but we can get through this together.”

He urged residents to get vaccinated and take additional precautions in public.

Much remains unknown about the new omicron variant of the coronavirus, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it can thwart vaccines and whether it makes people as sick as the original strain.

People in at least five other states have tested positive for omicron, including California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota and New York.

A Long Island man was arrested Thursday after he was accused of picking up a 13-year-old girl in New Jersey and having sex with her, authorities said.

Floiran Langumas-Montero, 24, of Farmingdale, New York was charged with kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, luring, sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, according to a statement from the Prospect Park Police Department and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.

An investigation by the agencies alleged Langumas-Montero traveled from Long Island to Paterson to pick up the teen and took her to an undisclosed location where he had sex with her, the office said. The two met online and communicated for several months before he met up with her, authorities alleged.

Langumas-Montero is being held at the Passaic County Jail and prosecutors had filed for a motion for pretrial detention, authorities said.

Anyone with additional information about the case or any other possible incidents related to Langumas-Montero is asked to contact the office’s tips line at 1-877-370-PCPO.

It was a striking statement, said through sobs as the mother of one of the 9-year-old cousins killed in a wrong-way Thanksgiving crash begged the court to release the woman charged with their deaths.

“As a family we need to lay our babies to rest, we need to do that collectively, as a whole,” the mother said, as family and friends viewing the hearing from an overflow courtroom audibly cried.

Yokauri Batista-Alcantara sat behind the defense table, her eyes hidden behind tissues balled up in her fists, crying. Batista-Alcantara, whom family members said was a devoted mother and nurse, is charged with two counts each of aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide, endangering the welfare of a child, and aggravated assault, and one count of assault by auto, in the death of her son and his cousin in a wrong-way crash on Thanksgiving night.

It was an unusually emotional hearing to determine if Batista-Alcantara should remain in jail as the charges against her were pending, as the family members of the victims and the accused were largely the same. As the prosecutor described a reckless, uncaring person, those sitting in an overflow viewing area weeped, shaking their heads in disagreement and dabbing their eyes with tissues handed to them by the sheriff’s officers.

Ultimately, the seriousness of and the recklessness behind the crash, which also injured two police officers and a detainee in addition to killing the two children, was too great to allow Batista-Alcantara to return home, Judge Benjamin Bucca said.

But to allow the family to grieve together together, Batista-Alcantara will be allowed released for the several days surrounding her son’s funeral, Bucca said. She will be on home detention during that time, and only allowed to leave her mother’s New Brunswick home to attend services.

Batista-Alcantara is accused of leaving a North Brunswick home late on Thanksgiving night, her son and his cousin in the backseat of the car, to head home to her apartment. But instead of turning onto the correct side of Route 130, Batista-Alcantara is accused of driving onto the wrong side of the highway and traveling up an on-ramp, nearly hitting a car head-on before colliding directly with an Old Bridge police car transporting an arrestee to the county jail.

One officer and the detainee sustained serious injuries that required several surgeries, assistant prosecutor Keith L. Abrams said. The officers both objected to Batista-Alcantara’s release, he said. It did not appear that any of the officers’ or detainee’s family members were in court.

“It’s easy to forget about the officers and the passenger, but there’s another car, innocent people, going about their business, and their lives are so altered,” Abrams said, speaking forcefully.

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