Anti-abortion activists hold vigil in Hackensack

8 10 2009

anti-abortion-activistsHACKENSACK – Dozens of protesters are holding a round-the-clock vigil in front of a women’s health clinic as part of a 40-day campaign aimed at preventing abortions.

The anti-abortion activists, made up of local religious groups and volunteers, are participating in “40 Days for Life,” a nationwide campaign in which protesters hold peaceful vigils in front of abortion clinics, Hackensack coordinator Lorraine Logerfo said.

Hackensack is one of more than 200 cities participating across the country.

The effort kicked off Sept. 23 with a Mass at Holy Trinity Church in Hackensack, followed by a procession to the Women’s Choice Medical Center on Zabriskie Street.

Volunteers take turns at the vigil, according to a schedule that ensures people will be present for 24 hours until the campaign ends Nov. 1, Logerfo said.

On Saturday, around 11:30 a.m., five women and a man with a young child stood in a line across the street from the clinic, holding rosaries. They did carry signs, but some wore t-shirts that read, “Say yes to Life.” A wooden cross was mounted to a nearby telephone pole.

Representatives of the Women’s Choice Medical Center could not be reached for comment. A secretary at the clinic deferred comment to the clinic’s owner, but the owner did not return a call seeking comment Saturday.

A patient entering the clinic also declined comment.

Across the country, pro-choice groups have countered with protests of their own at abortion clinics. A pro-choice rally organized by New York City Abortion Clinic Defense was scheduled to be held Saturday in front of the Dr. Emily clinic in the Bronx, where anti-abortion protesters were participating in “40 Days for Life.”

Suzanne Alexander, of Teaneck, one of the protesters in Hackensack, said the volunteers are there to pray, and typically, do not approach patients.

“We would like people to see us and change their minds,” Alexander said.

But the novices of the Franciscans of the Renewal from the Most Blessed Sacrament Friary in Newark, who participated early Saturday, approached patients and handed out literature, she said.

Lucy Meagher, a mother of seven from Dumont, said she is participating in the vigil every Saturday.

“We’re not here to judge them, we’re here to love them and tell them there are options,” she said.

Teaneck to give vets parking-lot perks

4 08 2008

TEANECK – The township will establish courtesy parking spaces for veterans in two of its municipal lots. (Former Mayor) Councilman Elie Katz , who came up with the idea, said the gesture is a way of thanking veterans for their service.

“It is because of our veterans that we as Americans can enjoy all of our rights and liberties,” he said. Signs will ask drivers to reserve the spaces for veterans.

Squad leader claims ‘harassment’

22 05 2008

Letter says Jewish group not up to code

PASSAIC — The city has told one of two Passaic-based Orthodox Jewish volunteer ambulance squads that it must shut down because the squad isn’t up to city code.

But the squad’s founder called the city’s action “harassment” and questioned why the other Jewish squad wasn’t scrutinized.

On Monday, the city sent a letter signed by its law firm, Scarinci & Hollenbeck, to David Kaplan, 26, founder of Hatzolah EMS of North Jersey, saying the squad wasn’t in compliance with city law.

The letter said Hatzolah must shut down operations by the end of the day on May 19 if it did not fulfill the requirements of proving that all volunteers are qualified and that the squad has insurance that covers any legal action against the city up to $2 million. The requirements are outlined in a 2004 ordinance.

Kaplan said his squad does meet city requirements and showed necessary proof to the city last September. A letter to Kaplan from former Mayor Samuel Rivera, dated Sept. 12, states that Hatzolah is qualified to provide emergency medical services in Passaic and that a certificate remains in effect for two years from that date.

But Acting Mayor Gary Schaer said to the best of his knowledge Hatzolah had not met all the city’s requirements.

Hatzolah is licensed to operate by the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services, although a license is not necessary to operate, said spokeswoman Marilyn Riley.

As of Wednesday, Hatzolah had not provided documentation to the city, Kaplan said. But Hatzolah is continuing operations anyway, he said, because Kaplan believes the city’s letter is unfair and unfounded.

To complicate matters, a second Hatzolah ambulance service with a similar name — Hatzolah of Passaic/Clifton — has never been used informally by the city and is not on the list of squads the city uses. Hatzolah means “rescue” in Hebrew. The squads are local chapters of a worldwide organization that has volunteer ambulance squads in Jewish neighborhoods.

Greg Hill, the business administrator, said the city has not checked whether the second Jewish squad is violating city law. Schaer, an Orthodox Jew, said he asked Hill on Tuesday to verify that all private ambulance squads comply with city law. Passaic has only the two Hatzolahs as private squads.

The city’s paid squad, which has two ambulances, is overseen by the Police Department. When both vehicles are in use, the city calls other municipalities and private squads to ask if they can dispatch an ambulance immediately. Andy White, police spokesman, said Kaplan’s Hatzolah has been called in recent months after the Clifton squad and a private company based at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Last week, the City Council entertained a resolution that would formally add Kaplan’s Hatzolah to the city’s list of mutual aid services. But the resolution was defeated by a 3-3 tie vote. A tie means the measure is rejected.

The three Orthodox Jewish council members voted against the resolution, while the three Hispanic members voted in favor.

Schaer, who proposed the resolution, said he voted against it because he believes Hatzolah was stoking ethnic divide in the city.

“Picking up an ambulance group that’s working primarily in one part of town — I don’t think it’s a good idea, if we’re continuing our fight to unite Passaic,” Schaer said.

Kaplan said Hatzolah serves the entire city, not just Jews.

“It’s ludicrous, because the whole point of doing 911 is we service anybody. We don’t ask them, ‘Are you Jewish? Are you Orthodox?’ when someone calls,” Kaplan said. “Gary Schaer has furthered the stereotype that we only want to help ourselves.”

Hatzolah gets an average of 600 calls a year to its direct line, Kaplan said. He did not know what percentage was Jewish.

Councilman Gerardo Fernandez said he supports the squad.

“We never had a problem before. We voted for it. I voted ‘yes’ because they’re providing a service with the community. They’ve been doing it all along,” Fernandez said.

On Tuesday, Schaer said that the letter sent to Kaplan was purely out of concern for public safety.

“It’s not my personal feelings at play here. This affects the health and welfare of city residents,” he said. “What’s relevant is what’s in compliance.”

Reach Karen Keller at 973-569-7158 or

Hackensack University And 2 other hospitals earn top ratings in nationwide health study

1 02 2008

Three North Jersey hospitals rank among the top 5 percent of nearly 5,000 hospitals nationwide for patient outcomes, a leading health-care rating service said Thursday.

Hackensack University Medical Center, The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood and Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck received the 2008 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence from HealthGrades Inc.

Patients admitted to these hospitals are, on average, 27 percent less likely to face mortality, and 5 percent less likely to suffer from a major complication, according to an independent study released by HealthGrades.

Hackensack, Valley and Holy Name were among 269 of 4,971 non-federal hospitals to receive the top award. Hospitals in the study were graded on 27 procedures and diagnoses, based on millions of hospitalization records from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In addition to overall quality, Hackensack received 2008 specialty excellence awards from HealthGrades for bariatric, cardiac and general surgery; and for care of cardiac, gastrointestinal, orthopedic, pulmonary, stroke and women’s health patients.

Holy Name was cited for excellence in 2008 for gastrointestinal, pulmonary and stroke care; and Valley for joint replacement and maternity care.

Hackensack has won the Distinguished Hospital Award for the past six years, and Holy Name for the past four years.

St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, Mountainside Hospital in Montclair and Clara Maas Medical Center in Belleville also were among the top 5 percent of facilities to win overall excellence awards.

You Can Save A Life ; Just take a fiew minutes and wipe the Ice/Snow off your car

13 01 2008


Above is a picture of a car that was smashed from falling ice. Please be considerate for your fellow freinds. Please take the extra fiew minutes to clear snow or ice off your car. Please use caution when driving leave extra time.

It was unseasonably warm last week, but it didn’t keep me from encountering people who sympathized — just barely — with this column’s call to ban the kind of road hazard that we call the Snow and Ice That Fall Twice.

That’s the kind of white junk that leaves the other guy’s car or truck, hits your windshield and makes your whole life flash in front of you. You know the kind:

* The Route 17 kind that killed Ridgewood’s Michael Eastman nearly 12 years ago.

* The Route 287 kind that caused Hawthorne’s Bob and Mary Mahon to chase after the car whose icy load smashed their windshield last year.

* The Route 80 kind that ran Kinnelon’s Tara Varner and her 2-year-old off the road last month.

Shouldn’t New Jersey fine drivers whose vehicles carry snow? Currently, statute 39:4-77.1 makes it illegal only when it causes damage or injury.

Cathy Eastman understands this because the vehicle whose icy load crushed her husband’s skull was long gone by the time police arrived. Tara, Bob, Mary and most of the 2,000 readers who sent me petitions early this year also get it.

But not some folks I’ve encountered. “There are thousands of SUVs, many driven by women,” said Pequannock’s E.L. Quigley. “They can’t clean ice off the tops of their vehicles.”

Ray R. also sympathizes, but:

“Do you have suggestions for clearing … snow from an SUV that’s been out overnight WITHOUT damaging the hood, roof rack or moon roof?” asked the Fair Lawn man. “Pushing snow off is easy, but after past storms, thick solid ice and packed snow didn’t budge after the car’s heater was on for 20 minutes.”

* Run a garden hose over the car with the heater running, but do this for short periods to avoid cracking the windshield.

* Put old cardboard, canvas or a rug over the vehicle before it snows, and yank it off after the storm.

* Run the engine for an hour, long enough to free frozen snow, or at least to help clear it.

Some consider all this unnecessary. One woman, 72, said: “If I can clean my SUV, so can anybody.” Cathy Eastman, who’s 5 feet 1, says she does it. And Passaic News.

13 01 2008


Snow is on the way

13 01 2008

A snowstorm expected to cross New Jersey tonight might make tomorrow’s morning commute a little messy for some travelers but carries the potential for significant snow in other areas.

Anticipated to hit the state around 9 p.m., it could last until noon tomorrow, said Valerie Meola, meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

“The storm is over the Southeastern states, and it’s moving up the coast,” Meola said. “How far the storm lands off the coast will determine how much snow falls on our area.”

Depending on the track of the storm, weather officials said Essex, Union, Hudson, Bergen and Passaic counties could see between 6 and 12 inches. Sussex and Morris counties could see between four to seven inches.

Middlesex, western Monmouth and Mercer counties could experience 2 to 4 inches, beginning first as rain.

Warren, Hunterdon and Somerset counties could see nearly 2 inches as well, Meola said.

Temperatures tonight will plummet below freezing for most of the state, Meola said.

Tomorrow, temperatures will hover around the high 30s in the northern part of the state and in the 40s farther south.

Nawal Qarooni may be reached at or (732) 404-8082.