Explosion At Clifton Business Injures Three Workers

18 04 2010

Clifton— Fire officials said an explosion at a conveyor business in Clifton seriously injured three workers this morning, according to a report by northjersey.com

Deputy Chief Norman Tahan of the Clifton Fire Department said gasoline fumes were ignited by a furnace inside the Huron Avenue business, the report said. Gasoline streamed into the building from a leaky tank on a truck in the loading dock just after 10 a.m.

The injured workers included two men inside the truck, who had gone to Clifton from a Paterson business, and one inside the building, according to the report.

(News Source NJ .com)

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Northern Jersey Tax Filing Delay Hampers State Budget Forecast

9 04 2010

TRENTON (AP) — An income tax filing extension granted to millions of residents who live in flood-prone areas of New Jersey could leave state budget officials scrambling to close the books on this fiscal year.

Treasury officials completing their records on the budget year that ends June 30 typically revise their end-of-year revenue forecasts in mid-May, after April’s income tax receipts are tallied.

But residents who live in heavily populated Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Passaic and seven other counties this week were granted a four-week extension to file their federal and New Jersey tax returns.

That means state analysts won’t be able to forecast year-end revenues until the end of May at the earliest, legislative budget officer David Rosen told a Senate budget panel.

State Treasurer Andrew Eristoff is facing the same situation.

“We won’t know by the end of April how we did on final payments,” Rosen told the panel Thursday. “That obviously is unfortunate for the budget process because the uncertainty is going to linger longer than we are accustomed to having it linger.”

If less revenue than anticipated is collected, Gov. Chris Christie could be forced to make additional late-year budget cuts to keep the budget in balance. Earlier this year, Christie carved out $1.6 billion from 375 programs in the budget he inherited from former Gov. Jon Corzine, including cuts to schools, mass transit and higher
education.

But even the governor’s revised budget estimates may prove too optimistic.

The Office of Legislative Services has revised its revenue outlook downward for the final three months of the current fiscal year and for fiscal year 2011, which starts July 1. The analysis presented to lawmakers this week shows tax revenues could be $82 million shy of projections this year and $168 million less than the governor projected for his first full budget year.

The projections show much of the revenue shortfall from continuing weak sales tax collections, coming off a historic multiyear decline. Between June 2008 and December 2009, sales tax collections declined for 19 straight months, Rosen said. The worst 10 months — between November ’08 and last August — the average monthly decline was nearly 12 percent.

Eristoff told the Senate panel that it’s unlikely the state will meets its sales tax target for the year. That target assumed a 5.1 percent sales tax growth for the rest of the year.

“We’ve seen results from the sales tax that have been disappointing since then,” Eristoff said. “My assumption is that we will have to revise the numbers downward at the close of the fiscal year.”

In a terse exchange with Eristoff, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo accused the Christie administration of criticizing Corzine’s sales tax estimates then adopting the same numbers.

“There’s a lot of hypocrisy here,” said Sarlo. “I think we all want to move beyond the fairy tales and get to the real numbers.”

“Please don’t call me a hypocrite,” Eristoff shot back.

New Jersey’s budget relies on taxes — corporate business taxes, personal income taxes, sales and cigarette taxes, among others — to fund programs and services. When revenue declines, as it has during the recession, there is less money for the state to spend. The state Constitution requires the governor to maintain a balanced budget.

Even without the tax filing extension, April is such a volatile month for tax collections that budget officials refer to the revenue numbers as the “April surprise.”

(News Source: NJ Herald.com)





Gov. Christie Backs Tuition Cap For Public Colleges

9 04 2010

TRENTON — New Jersey’s public colleges and universities might be forced to keep tuition increases in check.

Gov. Chris Christie has proposed a 4 percent cap. Schools that exceed it would lose more state aid.

Tuition and fees at the state’s four-year schools average about $11,000, one of the highest public rates in the nation.

Spokesman Michael Drewniak says tells The Record of Bergen County the governor also is considering reopening union contracts to try to get salary concessions at the institutes of higher learning.

Unionized employees at the schools deferred a 3.5 percent increase last year when former Gov. Jon Corzine reopened their contracts.

College and university officials are considering cuts to staff and programs to offset a $173 million cut to higher education in Christie’s proposed budget.

(News Source: My CentralJersey.com)





Disgraced Former Newark Mayor Out Of Jail

8 04 2010

Disgraced Former Mayor Sharpe James

Editors Note: Maybe its because I don’t know Sharpe James on a personal level, but I found it down right disgraceful, that the people of Newark have turned this man into a hero. Sharpe James stole from the very throngs people who were out there welcoming him “back home”. I would think that the people would let him know that he was not welcome in the city he ran to the ground for 2 decades. After all isn’t the Mayor’s job to be “By the people, for the people”?

NEWARK — The disgraced Sharpe James is back. The bombastic, fiery former mayor, 18 months of prison behind him, stepped off a Greyhound bus tonight and into a throng of cheering supporters, four television crews and signs reading “Sharpe’s City USA” and “Welcome home.”

Dressed in a pinstripe suit and blue tie, and looking fit and happy, the man who ran the state’s largest city for two decades greeted several hundred people at Newark Penn Station, blowing kisses to the crowd before being whisked away in a white SUV.

“He looks great,” said Porscha Fleming, 22, of Newark. “He looks so happy. It was worth waiting three hours to see him.”

James, 74, who will serve the rest of his sentence at a halfway house in the South Ward, returned to a city run by the man who defeated him in the mayoral elections, Cory Booker, and a state governed by the man who sent him to prison, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie.

His journey home had begun more than 12 hours earlier. At 8:45 a.m., under a sweltering Virginia sky.

James walked out of the Petersburg Correctional Complex — where he did clerical work and made beds, coached high school dropouts and wrote a 17-chapter memoir — and was driven to the Richmond bus station in a white Chevy prison van.

As he waited for his bus to depart, the former mayor walked around the Greyhound terminal carrying three cardboard boxes. They contained binders with the early chapters of “A Sharpe View,” the tentative title for his prison-written memoirs — recollections of some of the state’s biggest political names, including former Sen. Bill Bradley, and governors Richard Codey and James E. McGreevey.

At a diner inside the bus station, where he ate eggs, hash browns, beef bacon and a biscuit, he reminisced about the “good old days” of Newark politics with Jose Godinez, a 46-year-old fellow prisoner headed to another correctional facility.

“It wasn’t about money then, it was about issues,” said James, who was not accompanied by prison officials. “What are you going to do for me, Sharpe?”

Passenger Paul Kearse, on his way home to New York, recognized the former mayor while boarding and asked to shake his hand.

“He was one of my political idols, going back many years,” Kearse said.

THE JOURNEY HOME

Throughout the day, James was upbeat as he discussed politics and his future with friends and strangers. The Federal Bureau of Prisons barred him from speaking directly with reporters until he had been transferred to Logan Hall, a halfway house in Newark’s South Ward.

“Sharpe James wants to see Newark grow and prosper,” he said to another passenger. “Beyond that, I want to help young people grow and prosper.”

James’ foes are still smarting from his 27-month sentence, which barely scratched the 20 years Christie wanted. “I think he should still be in jail,” Christie said today. “The judge made an awful mistake.”

James remains fiercely popular in Newark. His supporters remember the booming economy during his tenure and brush off his crime — selling city property for $46,000 to his former girlfriend, who flipped it for about $660,000.

“I feel as though he did nothing wrong, so God gave him a chance to return home again,” said Clarence Hodge, 49, of Newark, who compared the mayor’s return to the resurrection of Christ. “He showed me when he was mayor what he was capable of.”

During a short stop in Baltimore, James ordered lunch — a leg and thigh combo at KFC — and fretted he wouldn’t make it back to the bus before it pulled out of the station.

But the driver assured him, “We’re not going to leave behind no mayor.”

James said he has no designs for elected office. Instead, he said, he wants to advocate for non-violent prisoners incarcerated on drug charges and speak out against harsh sentences he says ensnare young black men.

“I know what everybody thinks: Marion Barry,” James said, referring to the former mayor of Washington, D.C., elected to city council after convictions. “It comes time you pass the baton. I want to work with Cory Booker.”

Carolyn Newell, a passenger heading back to Huntington, N.Y., asked James why he felt so strongly about helping young, non-violent offenders.

“People say I was incarcerated for a reason,” James said. “It changed my way of looking at life. It put me in a population that needed help and needed guidance. I’ve been on both sides now and you can’t testify unless you’ve suffered the consequences.”

(News Source: NJ.com)





Gatorade Officially Goes Kosher

8 04 2010

Kosher Gaterade

Please Note: Only Gatorade bottles containing the OU Kosher Seal are Kosher. Please check your bottles before drinking.

New York – The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (PEP), is strengthening its category-leading portfolio of sports performance beverages in 2010 by announcing the kosher-certification of Gatorade Thirst Quencher and G2. In partnership with the Orthodox Union (OU), Gatorade completed the kosher-certification process and certified kosher Gatorade Thirst Quencher and G2. Kosher product, which will bear the OU symbol, will begin appearing in stores this spring with a full rollout expected by summer 2010.

“Gatorade understands that different athletes have different needs, and providing sports performance beverages that adhere to kosher standards is important for us,” said Andrea Fairchild, vice president of brand marketing for Gatorade. “We’re proud to make these offerings available to help meet the needs of athletes who maintain kosher diets, so they can perform at their best.”

Rabbi Menachem Genack, OU Kosher’s CEO expressed his “great satisfaction that the iconic Gatorade products will now bear the OU symbol allowing the kosher community to benefit from these important products.”

Gatorade Thirst Quencher is the most thoroughly researched sports beverage in the world and is scientifically formulated and athletically proven to quench thirst, replace fluids and electrolytes, and provide carbohydrate energy to enhance athletic performance. By offering a scientifically proven blend of carbohydrates and key electrolytes, Gatorade Thirst Quencher is designed for use in the moment of activity to help athletes and active people hydrate, refuel and push through. G2 is a low-calorie option that delivers functional hydration to active people, but with less than half the calories of Gatorade Thirst Quencher.

To maintain kosher-certification, Gatorade will continue to undergo regular inspections by OU rabbinic representatives to ensure ingredients, formulas, processes and manufacturing plants comply with the guidelines for manufacturing kosher products. Throughout this process Gatorade has ensured the ingredients, efficacy and taste would not be altered. Gatorade Thirst Quencher and G2 will feature new packaging that includes the Orthodox Union certified kosher symbol, ,which identifies products that may be consumed by those who maintain a kosher diet.

“It was gratifying for us to partner with Gatorade through the certification process and bring these much sought after sports drinks to the ever-growing kosher market place,” said Rabbi Eliyahu Safran, OU Kosher’s Vice President of Communications and Marketing. “It is most rewarding for OU Kosher’s team, headed by Rabbis David Jenkins, Yaakov Mendelson and Abraham Juravel, as well as Phyllis Koegel, OU Marketing Associate, to cooperate with Gatorade’s team and bring the Gatorade products to eagerly-awaiting kosher consumers.”

Consumers who maintain a kosher diet will be able to purchase kosher-certified Gatorade at retail locations where Gatorade Thirst Quenches and G2 ready-to-drink beverages are currently available. Kosher-certified Gatorade will be available in all Gatorade Thirst Quenches and G2 flavors by summer 2010.

(News Source: OU Press Release)





Near Record Temperatures Across New York & New Jersey

8 04 2010

N.Y. N.J. – Unseasonably warm temperatures have spread across the eastern seaboard and extended into areas all the way to the Mississippi River. The temperatures are typical of early July rather than early April.

Records were broken Tuesday in the New York City region and those same areas might see broken records on Wednesday with temperatures nearing 90 degrees.

The April 7th record temperature of 89 degrees in New York City was set in 1929.

Because of the rapidly rising temperatures and low humidity, fire watches and red flag warnings were up across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and areas of New York state.

Gusty winds hitting 15-25 miles per hour could spread spark driven fires across fields and into wooded areas.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection had already issued air quality alerts in the cities of Newark and Elizabeth on Wednesday morning.

Many of New York’s apartment buildings have not had their air conditioning systems turned on for the season yet. City cooling centers were not expected to be open.

The record temperatures were not expected to be around very long. The New York Weather Authority was forecasting a cold front by the end of the week that would drop high temperatures into the 50s and 60s.

(News Source: My FoxNY.com)





Obama Approves Federal Aid For Passaic County Flooding

8 04 2010

Washinton D.C.-President Barack Obama has approved federal aid for 12 New Jersey counties hardest hit by last month’s flooding.

The disaster declaration issued Friday makes funding available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for people and business owners in Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union counties.

That aid can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the March 12 nor’easter.

In a statement Saturday, the state’s two senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, applauded the president’s quick response to the devastating flooding throughout the state, calling it “an important step” toward recovery from the recent storms that destroyed roadways, closed businesses and damaged homes.

Residents an business owners who sustained damage during the storm can begin applying for assistance immediately.

Federal funding also will be available to state and eligible local governments and also some private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storm and flooding.

(News Source: NJ. com)