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NJ Residents Question Senator's Priorities As He Pushes For Flying Beach Umbrella Safety

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez is facing questions about his latest call for action from the federal government.

He wants the feds to better protect beachgoers from flying beach umbrellas, but with other challenges facing New Jersey, some residents are wondering about the senator's priorities, CBS2's Meg Baker reports.

At a press conference Monday, Menendez called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to develop an aggressive public safety and awareness campaign to educate beachgoers on the dangers and remind people to properly stake it in the sand.

"Surely this agency can help educate consumers about how to protect themselves from projectile beach umbrellas that injure hundreds each year," he said.

In July 2018, a woman was impaled by a flying umbrella pole in Seaside Heights. The loose umbrella speared London resident Margaret Reynolds in the ankle.

FLASHBACK: Woman Impaled By Beach Umbrella On Jersey Shore

The umbrella was flying around with such force the pole reportedly went straight through the 67-year-old's leg.

Woman Impaled By Beach Umbrella
Police say a woman was impaled by a beach umbrella at the Jersey shore on July 16, 2018. (credit: Instagram @inster4coins/CBS2)

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 31,000 people have been treated for umbrella-related injuries since 2008.

"Between 2010 and 2018, an estimated 2,800 people were rushed to emergency rooms with with injuries sustained from beach umbrellas," Menendez said.

Manasquan residents and beachgoers had other things on their minds, however.

"They're really worried about beach umbrellas flying around, with all the other problems we got in the state?" John Frize, of Manasquan, said.

"Well, occasionally you do see a loose umbrella attacking people, but I wouldn't really worry that much about that. There's bigger things to fry right now," Freehold resident Mark Hayden said.

"The property taxes where I am are insanely high for small pieces of property. I think we should get more out of what we pay," Shannon Scanio, of Kenilworth, said.

New Jersey residents say they're more concerned about taxes and infrastructure, particularly the Gateway Tunnel.

"One of the reasons that I retired is because I can't handle the commuting," Hayden said.

Baker: "I spoke to beachgoers here, and they were talking about the priorities that benefit them here in New Jersey. They hoped that you were focusing on taxes and also on infrastructure. Beach umbrella safety was lower on their list."
Menendez: "I guess beach umbrella safety is always low on anybody's list until you get impaled by one."

Menendez, who sits on the Senate finance committee, has been working to restore salt tax deductions and infrastructure.

"There's no one who has done more on infrastructure in our state ... Unfortunately, the president is not supportive of those efforts," he said.

The senator's staff insists he's a multi-tasker, working on issues large and small on behalf of New Jerseyans. Residents tell CBS2 they hope he gets their top issues resolved sooner rather than later.

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