Essex County's Top Stories Of 2020: COVID, Protests, Election

Eric Kiefer

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Take a look back on a year nobody in Essex County will forget. See our collected top news stories of 2020 below (click headlines to read articles).


First COVID-19 Vaccines Given In New Jersey At Newark Hospital

Watch history being made as the first coronavirus vaccines are administered in NJ. Who will get it next?

COVID-19 Vaccines Begin In Essex County: What You Need To Know

The first wave of COVID-19 vaccines has begun at sites in Livingston, Newark, West Caldwell and West Orange.

Coronavirus Cases Rise In Essex County: 'Our 2nd Wave Has Begun'

Case spikes and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported across Essex County. "Our second wave has begun," a top hospital executive said.

Belleville Mayor Has Coronavirus Antibodies; Here's What It Means

Was Belleville Mayor Michael Melham among the first COVID-19 cases in the United States? There's a good chance of it, he says.

Newark Hospital Saves 'Coding' Girl Who Has Virus Antibodies

A 12-year old New Jersey girl almost lost her life to a blood clot. It may have been caused by the coronavirus, the hospital says. (VIDEOS)

Nursing Homes Skew Livingston Coronavirus Death Rate, Officials Say

Livingston is likely seeing a "disproportionately high" COVID-19 mortality rate because of its long-term care facilities, officials say.

NJIT Finds Coronavirus In Sewage As Entire Dorm Quarantined

NJIT in Newark quarantined hundreds of students after finding traces of the virus in their fecal matter.

United Airlines May Lay Off 36K Despite $5 Billion In Federal Aid

Tens of thousands of United Airlines employees could soon find themselves out of a job due to the financial impact of the coronavirus.

Popular Maplewood Bar Closes With Note: 'The Pandemic Killed Us'

After closing due to coronavirus, owners of The Cassidy in NJ encouraged fans to visit their other eatery in an 1847 farmhouse in Gladstone.

School Reopening Is 'Unsafe,' Essex County Teachers Union Says

"The risk to the health and safety of our students and staff is too high," the 12,000 members of the Essex County Education Association say.

Evictions Continue In Newark Despite COVID Freeze, Advocates Say

"I was grossly unprepared for this," a longtime Newark resident said. "I feel like I whacked a tree at 70 mph."

Fed-Up NJ Hairdressers, Barbers Rally In Verona: 'Let Us Reopen'

It wasn't about politics, organizers say. Here's their proposal to "safely and legally" reopen salons and barbershops amid the COVID crisis.

People Are Leaving Coronavirus Garbage All Over Essex County

Towns including Bloomfield, Montclair and Cedar Grove say people aren't throwing away face masks, gloves and other COVID-19 trash properly.

Tales Of Human Kindness Flood Essex County Amid Coronavirus

A rising tide of compassion is helping Essex County cope with the chaos of COVID-19.


Newark's Cory Booker Wins 2020 NJ Senate Election: Results

Cory Booker faced challenges from Rik Mehta, Madelyn Hoffman, Daniel Burke and Veronica Fernandez. See unofficial results here.

Payne Wins, AP Says: NJ 10th Congressional Election In 2020

US Rep. Donald Payne Jr., the incumbent Democrat in the 10th district, has defeated four other candidates.

Sherrill, Becchi: NJ 11th Congressional Election Results For 2020

U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill took on Republican challenger Rosemary Becchi.

Astronaut From West Orange Wins Arizona Senate Election

Outer space wasn't the final frontier for West Orange native and local hero Mark Kelly, according to early election results.

NJ Halts 'Internet Voting' Experiment After Court Challenge From Rutgers Prof.

New Jersey is among a handful of states that's been experimenting with app-based election technology amid the coronavirus crisis.

West Orange Election Mail Found In North Arlington Dumpster: Feds

A U.S. Postal Service carrier has been accused of throwing away 1,875 pieces of mail, including election ballots and campaign flyers.

NJ Conservative Group To GOP Leaders: 'We're Tired Of Losing'

A hardline conservative group based in Nutley is trying to shake up Republican Party politics in New Jersey.

Inspiring Videos From NJ Ex-Inmates: 'Voting Changed Our Lives'

New Jersey restored voting rights for 83,000 people on probation or parole, just in time for the 2020 election.

NJ Green Party Has Inspiring 2020: 'We Can Create A Better World'

Madelyn Hoffman got the second-highest vote total in NJ Green Party history. Only Ralph Nader's 2000 presidential run saw more.

Two Millburn Committee Candidates Concede Election

Residents in the Short Hills zip code had raised the second-highest amount of funds for Biden in New Jersey.

NJ Karate Guru Beats COVID, Runs For Congress As Libertarian

John Mirrione can be described in two words, he says: "independent thinker." He ran for Congress in New Jersey's 10th District.


5 Inspiring Glimpses Into Newark's Peaceful George Floyd Protest

"Put THIS on the news," a protester wrote, sharing a video of people dancing in unity amid a massive rally in New Jersey's largest city.

Hundreds Flood Streets At George Floyd Protests In Nutley, Belleville: WATCH

Video showed peaceful-but-powerful gatherings in Nutley and Belleville. Many residents were happy to see protesters. Others were not.

This Is What West Orange's Youth BLM Movement Looks Like

A Black Lives Matter protest in West Orange drew a diverse crowd of supporters. "I'm not Black, but I will fight for you," a sign read.

Essex County Man Boycotts Whole Foods After He's Accused Of Shoplifting

A man says he was falsely accused of shoplifting. Now he's leading a boycott against Whole Foods AND Prudential – here's why.

Black Students At Caldwell Prep School Demand Change – And Get It

Here's a small taste of what it's like to be a Black student at Mount Saint Dominic Academy in Caldwell, dozens of female alumni say.

Trump Is So Bad It Made Me Stop Eating: NJ Man On Hunger Strike

The 2020 election is giving people stomachaches across the United States. This Bloomfield resident is taking things a step further.


See How Essex County's Congress Members Voted On US Military Spending Bill

A massive, $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act got a thumbs-up from almost every member of the U.S. House in New Jersey.

NJ Releases Average Tax Bills For Essex County Towns

Which municipality had the highest tax bill in Essex County? See where your town ranks.

Essex County Has Most Homeless In NJ; Evictions Played A Big Role

Essex County has the most homeless residents in New Jersey yet again, a report says. See statewide totals here.

NJ Supreme Court Limits Newark's Power To Probe Police Abuse

New Jersey's high court dealt a serious blow to a civilian board that investigates alleged police abuse in Newark.

Turtle Back Zoo Amphitheater Project 'On Hold,' Official Says

A controversial plan to build an $8 million "conservation pavilion" at the Essex County-run zoo has been put on ice amid the COVID crisis.

The Color Purple: Newark Residents Fed Up With Incinerator Smoke

In the Ironbound section of Newark, where an incinerator burns trash from 22 nearby Essex County towns, purple is the color of desperation.

Saint Barnabas Hospital Breaks Own Record For Kidney Transplants

Saint Barnabas performed 159 "living donor kidney transplants" last year, making it one of the largest such programs in the United States.

Twin Teen Girls From Millburn Among First Female Eagle Scouts

Part of the 'inaugural' class, one brought music to isolated seniors in nursing homes, while another undertook a project with bats.

Entire Town Of Belleville 'In Need Of Rehab?' It Could Happen

Some Belleville officials want to designate the entire town as an "area in need of rehabilitation." Here's what it could mean for taxes.

2 Pot Dispensaries In Montclair? Bob Marley's Son Wants Permit

"It's joyful to see a new day of positive change," said Rohan Marley, son of the legendary musician and marijuana activist.

NJ Launches Suits Vs. 'Polluters' In Orange, South Orange, Newark

The locations include a former pharmaceutical production site and three gas stations in Essex County, prosecutors said.

Plan To Build Hike, Bike Path Through 8 NJ Towns Picks Up Steam

PHOTOS: A proposed "greenway" would cross through Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville, Newark, Kearny, Secaucus and Jersey City.

Newark Reaches Big Turning Point With Its Lead Water Crisis

Newark's lead water levels have fallen below the EPA benchmark. It's a moment the city has eagerly been working toward, Mayor Baraka said.

It All Adds Up For Essex County's Teacher Of The Year

A math teacher who "fell in love with the classroom" earned a nod from state officials as the 2020-2021 teacher of the year in Essex County.

Essex County's School Superintendent Of Year Is From Belleville

Richard Tomko of the Belleville Public School District earned the 2020-2021 Essex County Superintendent of the Year award.

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This article originally appeared on the Belleville-Nutley Patch