Cash for Clunkers helped sell 26,000 cars in New Jersey

22 10 2009

The Cash for Clunkers program generated nearly 26,000 new car sales in New Jersey, giving auto dealers a much-needed boost and reaping $50 million in sales tax and motor vehicle fees for the state, according to industry data released today.

New Jersey ranked ninth out of 50 states participating in the two-month government program, with car buyer rebates totaling $103.4 million, according to the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, which published the figures. Overall, dealers across the country sold more than 690,000 vehicles and claimed $2.88 billion in rebates during the program.

The program provided a lift for many of New Jersey’s 550 auto dealers, who have been struggling amid a severe downturn in the industry. New car sales had plunged 30 percent in the first half of the year, compared with the same period last year, the coalition said. Cash for Clunkers appeared to bring some relief in July and August, reflected by a less drastic sales decrease of 7.5 percent.

However, experts said the benefits from the program are just a Band-aid for the state’s auto industry, which has lost 20 percent of its dealerships over the last three years.

“It was much needed, much welcome, but not nearly enough to get the industry back to where it needs to be,” said Jim Appleton, president of the coalition.

Nevertheless, sales under the program exceeded expectations, he said. New Jersey usually ranks 15th the nation for monthly car sales, but aggressive marketing, combined with pent-up consumer demand, helped propel the state into the top 10 for Clunker sales, he said.

The most popular brand choices among local consumers were Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, General Motors and Ford, Appleton said. Luxury brands were little affected.

The federal program, which gave new car buyers $3,500 to $4,500 for trading in older gas guzzlers for newer, more fuel-efficient models, has not been without hiccups. After being introduced in early July, it became so wildly popular that the funds ran out in less than two months.

Some local dealers said they ran into headaches recouping the money from the government, with a few payments trickling in as late as a few weeks ago. Adam Kraushaar, president of Lester Glenn Auto Group, said he sold more than 500 cars through the program at his five dealerships, totaling about $2 million in rebates. Some of that money did not arrive until late September, he said, which created “some angst, sleepless nights and cash flow issues.”

But many car dealers said they are just hoping for a sequel to the Clunker program.

At Towne Hyundai in Denville, general manager Rene Cruz recalled how car buyers came rushing to his showroom. In all, he sold 230 cars under the program and claimed $800,000 in government rebates. It was a welcome boost, especially after a slow winter during which he sold on average 20 to 30 cars a month.

“It was total mayhem,” he said. “There was a line into the actual lot of the dealership.”

Now, he said, business has once again dropped off. “It was just a blessing. Now, it’s back to bad,” he said.

Laura Botsacos, vice president of James Toyota in Flemington, said her dealership sold 212 cars under the program, or about $896,000 in rebates. But what she enjoyed most, she said, was the brief escape from the gloom surrounding the industry.

“There were nights we were here well past midnight, there was a great energy in the store,” she said.

By Leslie Kwoh/The Star-Ledger


President Barack Obama wins “09 Nobel Peace Prize

9 10 2009

obamaOSLO — President Obama today won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prizey for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation.

The selection made Obama the third sitting U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize and shocked Nobel observers because Obama took office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline. Obama’s name had been mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president.

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” the committee said. “His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.”

The committee said it attached special importance to Obama’s vision of, and work for, a world without nuclear weapons.

“Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play,” the committee said.

Theodore Roosevelt won the award in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson won in 1919. Former President Jimmy Carter won the award in 2002, while former Vice President Al Gore shared the 2007 prize with the U.N. panel on climate change.

The Nobel committee received a record 205 nominations for this year’s prize.

In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”

Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which are awarded by Swedish institutions, he said the peace prize should be given out by a five-member committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament. Sweden and Norway were united under the same crown at the time of Nobel’s death.

The committee has taken a wide interpretation of Nobel’s guidelines, expanding the prize beyond peace mediation to include efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change.

Passaic News

15 12 2008

Passaic News

Experts speculate gas may drop below $1 a gallon

15 12 2008

A worker lowers the price of regular unleaded gasoline in Independence, Mo. in November
How low can the price of gas fall? With drivers paying the cheapest price to fill their tanks in nearly four years, it is a question many consumers are pondering, with some experts speculating it is possible prices could even drop below $1 per gallon.
Prices already have decreased to below $1.25 per gallon in some parts of the Midwest. With the economy in a freefall, analysts do not rule out crude oil, which traded Friday in the mid-$40 range, sinking to $20 per barrel, a price that could translate to gas at $1 per gallon.

“Right now, you look at the way demand is retreating, it tends to predict lower prices,” said John Kingston, global director of oil for Platt’s, a provider of energy information. “A drop to $20 per barrel is not out of the question.”

In New Jersey, the price of unleaded regular fell to $1.60 Friday, the lowest it has been since March 2004, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for Oil Price Information Services in Wall Township. In July, the state recorded its highest ever average price for unleaded at $3.99.

“I’m not in the camp where we’ll see prices fall to $1 per gallon or less,” said Kloza, who thinks crude could dip below $40 per barrel, but if so, only briefly. “Here, (in New Jersey), we will see some numbers below $1.50 per gallon.” Read the rest of this entry »

Ex-Mayor of Passaic Gets Nearly 2 Years in Prison

17 08 2008

TRENTON (AP) — Samuel Rivera, the former mayor of Passaic, N.J., was sentenced on Friday to nearly two years in prison and fined $4,000 for accepting cash bribes in exchange for influencing city contracts.

Mr. Rivera, who was caught in a corruption scheme that netted 11 public officials, resigned last year after pleading guilty to attempted extortion.

Mr. Rivera, 61, admitted taking $5,000 in exchange for using his official influence to help a company become the city’s insurance broker. The company turned out to be an F.B.I. front.

The only explanation Mr. Rivera offered on Friday for his role in the scheme was “poor judgment.”

A former police officer, Mr. Rivera is among nearly two dozen New Jersey mayors charged with corruption since 2000.

Among the most well known is Sharpe James, the former mayor of Newark, who is set to surrender to prison officials next month. Mr. James was ordered to serve a 27-month sentence and pay a $100,000 fine for his role in the sale of city-owned properties at a discount.

We at PCJN wish our former Mayor the best of luck. And we acknowledge all the great things he has done for our city.

THE KOSHER PHONE: The Yeshivas want them. Does your child have one?

13 08 2008

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(We also ship anywhere in the continental US.)

Finally, a Phone that is Kosher enough for you and your family!

Many Yeshivas are taking cautionary measures to ensure their students stay in Yeshiva is safeguarded from outside disturbances. Parents are encouraged to ensure their children only carry the Kosher Phone to eliminate the use of the internet and messaging. Various Yeshivas are implementing a KOSHER PHONE ONLY POLICY so check with your child’s school before the school year begins.

The Kosher Phone has competitive plans to choose from including Family Plans, and a free phone is provided with all two year activations. Additional discounts are available for students. At “One Hour Cellular” we are committed to serving the needs of the community. Stop in or call for more information on the “Kosher Phone.” Take control of your child’s cell phone experience.

Wishing you a very healthy and safe summer, we look forward to speaking with you soon. 

We at PCJN highly recommend this phone for the safety of your children’s neshamas. Also note this is not a paid advertisement.          News Source

FBI (New York) #1 most wanted female in the world in custody

13 08 2008

NEW YORK– Michael J. Garcia, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mark J. Mershon, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, announced today the arrest of Aafia Siddiqui on charges related to her attempted murder and assault of United States officers and employees in Afghanistan. Siddiqui arrived in New York this evening and will be presented tomorrow before a United States Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. According to the Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court:

On July 17, 2008, officers of the Ghazni Province Afghanistan National Police (“ANP”) observed Siddiqui outside the Ghazni governor’s compound. ANP officers questioned Siddiqui, regarded her as suspicious, and searched her handbag. In it, they found numerous documents describing the creation of explosives, as well as excerpts from the Anarchist’s Arsenal. Siddiqui’s papers included descriptions of various landmarks in the United States, including in New York City. Siddiqui was also in possession of substances that were sealed in bottles and glass jars.

On July 18, 2008, a party of United States personnel, including two FBI special agents, a United States Army Warrant Officer, a United States Army Captain, and United States military interpreters, arrived at the Afghan facility where Siddiqui was being held. The personnel entered a second floor meeting room — unaware that Siddiqui was being held there, unsecured, behind a curtain.

The Warrant Officer took a seat and placed his United States Army M-4 rifle on the floor next to the curtain. Shortly after the meeting began, the Captain heard a woman yell from the curtain and, when he turned, saw Siddiqui holding the Warrant Officer’s rifle and pointing it directly at the Captain. Siddiqui said, “May the blood of [unintelligible] be directly on your [unintelligible, possibly head or hands].” The interpreter seated closest to Siddiqui lunged at her and pushed the rifle away as Siddiqui pulled the trigger. Siddiqui fired at least two shots but no one was hit. The Warrant Officer returned fire with a 9 mm service pistol and fired approximately two rounds at Siddiqui’s torso, hitting her at least once.

Despite being shot, Siddiqui struggled with the officers when they tried to subdue her; she struck and kicked them while shouting in English that she wanted to kill Americans. After being subdued, Siddiqui temporarily lost consciousness. The agents and officers then rendered medical aid to Siddiqui.

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