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Bergen Women Who Joined ISIS Denied Request to Return to the US

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Hackensack NJ, the Trump administration has denied a New Jersey-born woman’s request to return to the United States after she left to join the Islamic State group.

In a brief statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave no details as to how the administration made their determination.

“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,” he said. “She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport nor any visa to travel to the United States.”

Hoda Muthana was born in Hackensack and raised in Alabama. She left the United States in 2014 to join the Islamic State in Syria after becoming radicalized.

Muthana wants to return to the U.S. with her young son, but that request was denied.

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Disbarred Bergen Attorney Caught Using Clients Funds for the Second time

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Paramus NJ, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo announced the arrest of ALFREDO RAMOS (DOB: 07/19/1980; single; self-employed as an attorney) of 102 Belmont Avenue, Garfield, NJ on additional charges of Misapplication Of Entrusted Funds and Unauthorized Practice Of Law. RAMOS was previously arrested on December 18, 2018 by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and charged with one count of Misapplication Of Entrusted Funds. The new arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti.

In January 2019, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Financial Crimes Unit received complaints from two clients of Alfredo RAMOS, Esq., regarding his failure to disburse to them over $90,000.00 each, which RAMOS had received in trust as the result of two real estate transactions.

Continue reading Disbarred Bergen Attorney Caught Using Clients Funds for the Second time
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SUEZ: High Lead Levels Detected in Drinking Water Puts Some Bergen County Households At Risk


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Westwood NJ,108 homes were sampled with 16 across Bergen and Hudson counties showing higher levels of lead than the federal standard. SUEZ, serves 53 municipalities in Bergen County and six in Hudson County .NJDEP records show that the SUEZ water system serves nearly 800,000 people in North Jersey.

Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi commented:

 I just had a conference call with executives at SUEZ water regarding a report today that elevated lead levels were found in the drinking water of some homes in Bergen county. Out of 108 homes tested, higher than permissible lead levels were found in 16 homes. The elevated lead levels likely came either from older lead pipes that extend from water mains under the street into homes or from older lead fixtures in the homes. If you have a newer home or a new built construction you will not be impacted as lead products were no longer used in newer construction.

If you are a customer of Suez in an older home you can find out if you are served by a lead line by checking your account online at, visiting or calling or emailing the customer service center at 1-800-422-5987 and [email protected],

Suez will test homes that are served by a company-owned lead service line for free.

In the event your home tests positive for lead above the acceptable government standards a water filter that removes lead will be provided free of charge.

Ridgewood water was effected by similar issues with some older homes in town.

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Off-duty NJ State Trooper Helps Save Choking Man on New Year’s Day in Westwood

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Westwood NJ, New Jersey State Troopers need to be ready for the unexpected and to always be prepared to act on or off-duty. Major Michael Rinaldi, Commanding Officer of the Office of Drug Monitoring and Analysis, showed how these moments can happen at any given time.

On Tuesday, January 1, Major Rinaldi was enjoying the holiday with his family at the Westwood Diner and Pancake House in Westwood, Bergen County, when something went wrong.

Shortly after finishing lunch with his wife and son, Major Rinaldi noticed commotion on the dining room floor and immediately realized there was a man who was conscious but exhibiting signs of an obstructed airway. Recognizing that the man was choking, he immediately began the Heimlich Maneuver.

While performing the Heimlich Maneuver, Westwood Police Officers Greg Dorfman and Stephanie Laurent along with EMS arrived on scene to assist in clearing the patron’s airway. Major Rinaldi’s quick and decisive actions undoubtedly prevented a New Year’s Day tragedy. Phenomenal job, Major Rinaldi!

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DEP First Clean Water Rule Doesn’t Make Our Water Cleaner

photo courtesy of Derek Michalski

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Upper Saddle River NJ, The Department of Environmental Protection NJ Department of Environmental Protection is proposing amendments, repeals, and new rules to the Stormwater Management rules, N.J.A.C. 7:8. This is the first rule under the DEP have proposed under the Murphy Administration.  A public hearing on the proposal will be Tuesday January 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Department of Environmental Protection

“New Jersey has serious problems with flooding and water quality from runoff. DEP’s new rule is a step backwards and not forward when it comes to dealing with stormwater. It does not deal with climate change, flooding, combined sewer overflows, and would make it easier to build pipelines. The new the rule has too many exemptions and furthers Christie’s rollbacks on protections to our waterways. It allows for green infrastructure which is good however it says to the maximum extension practice which is a loophole big enough to fit a bulldozer through,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We have waited almost a year for a new Murphy DEP rule to be proposed. The rule is not only a disappointment, but we have to actually oppose it. This rule was worked by the Christie Administration and proposed by Murphy Administration went forward with this anyway.”

The DEP is proposing to replace the current requirement that major developments incorporate nonstructural stormwater management strategies to the “maximum extent practicable” to meet groundwater recharge standards, stormwater runoff quantity standards, and stormwater runoff quality standards, with a requirement that green infrastructure be utilized to meet these same standards.

“The rule has major flaws in it. The model is based on dealing 100-year storm events that we are having every year. It doesn’t really change the flood system. The rule does not look at climate change or the frequency and intensity of storms. This means if you leave along the Passaic or the Raritan River, your going to need snorkels.  Instead of moving us forward it keeps the status quo. It exempts existing development which is already the largest source of non-pollution in our state. Which means a box store being built on a former shopping center or a high rise in New Brunswick will be exempted. Roofs and sidewalks are also not included under the rules, even though they contribute to extra pollution,” said Tittel.  

The NJDEP looks to incorporate green infrastructure to be utilized to meet the same standards groundwater recharge standards, stormwater runoff quantity standards, and stormwater runoff quality standards.

“The rule calls for green infrastructure but keeps the current standards that do not work. It also keeps in place Christie’s rollbacks of the 300 foot buffers, SWARPA, revegetating stream buffers or riparian corridors as a way of dealing with non-point pollution. The amended stormwater rules does nothing to retrofit our stormwater retention and detention basin systems that don’t work that break up impervious cover to absorb more water. This rule is a continuation of Christie’s rollbacks on wetlands, flood hazard, and stormwater that does not protect stream buffers or C1 streams,” said Tittel.  DEP’s proposal for green infrastructure in the new rule is with just an added green veneer.”

New Jersey need at least $14 billion just to fix our combined sewer overflow systems, but overall we need more than $45 billion to fix our water and sewage infrastructure. We’ve been kicking the can down the road for so long that now the road is underwater and the can is clogging a storm drain. The biggest source of pollution we face is nonpoint pollution and we need to retrofit our stormwater basins to protect our waterways, while revitalizing our waterfront neighborhoods and communities.

“The rule does not really deal with address combined sewer overflow. CSOs are a health hazard, especially when concerned with sea level rise. The rule does not require any restrictions on holding back on water on ground or near properties. It also has no language that would clean up nitrogen and phosphorous in our water. Dilapidated storm water systems exacerbate the problem by increasing the water in combined sewers and we need funding to reduce the amount of water in sewers during major storm events. Only 5% of streams in New Jersey meet standards for being fishable, swimable, and drinkable, mostly because of non-point solution. 65% of our streams are impacted by phosphorus,” said Tittel. “We have to retrofit urban areas for stormwater management. Things like green roofs, wet gardens can help and prevent combined sewer overflow however these methods are exempted because the rule exempts redevelopment.”

Over ten percent of the land in New Jersey is impervious surface, making us prone to flooding and pollution problems. The Christie Administration has weakened our coastal areas to more flooding and pollution. Their Flood Hazard rules add more development to environmentally sensitive areas, getting rid of stream buffers, and eliminating protections for headwaters. Then in a one-two punch for water quality, the Administration increased sewer hook-ups in the Water Quality Management Planning rules, which will have a major impact to open space and nearby reservoirs and streams throughout the state. This will especially impact the most environmentally sensitive areas of the Highlands and Pinelands that contain the water supply for millions of people.

“This stormwater rule codifies and will further Christie’s rollbacks. DEP still have not reversed rollbacks on the wetlands and stormwater rules from the Christie Administration but still allows for outfall structure called scours, causing more erosion. DEP’s new Stormwater Management rule does not replace the nonstructural point system and requires most of BMP. Most of BMPs only work 50% of the time in ultimate situations. They do not work in areas with steep slopes or high groundwater. The green infrastructure standards also only deal with total suspended solids, not other pollutants that come off of stormwater runoff like nitrogen or phosphorous,” said Tittel.

The Barnegat Bay is turning into New Jersey’s largest stormwater detention basin and its whole ecology is changing. DEP must control development and sprawl near the bay and prevent massive projects like development in Lakewood that will add more pollution to the Bay.

“This rule does not change the basic standard of the amount of water that can be adsorbed into the ground or clean up of non-point pollution. It still has the same standards that do not work in New Jersey in the last 40 years. New Jersey has serious water problems because of non point pollution. That is our largest source of pollution mostly because of runoff. We are seeing Barnegat Bay dying because of non point pollution and runoff. Dissolved oxygen levels are dropping due to high levels of nutrients from stormwater, resulting in algae blooms,” said Tittel.  “We have to address the stormwater management and nonpoint source pollution issues in the Bay otherwise we are going to turn the Barnegat Bay into the state’s largest stormwater detention basin as the Bay continues to die.”

An important way to improve our stormwater management is to reverse Christie’s rollbacks and put in place stronger protections. The DEP have to address the stormwater management and nonpoint source pollution issues.

“DEP is just taking the broken current system and adding some green amendments. This is really green cover for a rule that will cause more flooding and water pollution. The rule has a few positives but overall does nothing to change the status quo of pointless non-pollution.  It also does not deal or address storm impacts from pipelines or industrial compressor stations. The biggest source of pollution we face is nonpoint pollution and we need to retrofit our stormwater basins to protect our waterways, while revitalizing our waterfront neighborhoods and communities,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “DEP’s first rule is still a Christie rule that also has nothing to do with climate change, sea level rise, and will add just add more flooding.”

A public hearing on the proposal will be Tuesday January 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Department of Environmental Protection, 1st floor Public Hearing Room, 401 East State Street Trenton, NJ 08625

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New PSEG Scams Reported in Bergen

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Teaneck NJ, Teaneck Police Department is warning residents of new PSEG scams .

Residents Be on the ALERT ! Recent Report in Teaneck!

Imposters At Your Door

If anyone comes to your door looking like, or claiming to be, a PSE&G employee, ask for ID. All PSE&G employees must carry ID and present it when requested. If you are not convinced, do not let the person in your house. Call us at 1-800-436-PSEG (7734). A Customer Service Representative will gladly verify if a technician has been dispatched to your location.

Things to know:

If the person at your door gives you a different phone number to verify his/her presence, do not call it. Only call 1-800-436-PSEG (7734). PSE&G will never send employees to your home or small business offering cash refunds on deposits or utility charges. We will only either credit your account or mail a check to your service address.

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Apple Ridge Environmental Tragedy Continues

the staff of the Ridgewood blog 

Upper Saddle River NJ, Derek Michalski repots again on the runoff from the Toll Brother site at Apple Ridge, “Dark and Stormy in USR today on this gloomy Friday December 28, 2018. We are experiencing heavy rain and another storm water violation on the part of Toll Brothers in Upper Saddle River. This time laden with arsenic and lead mud (sorry “colloidal clay” as NJDEP wants us to call this 12th month long pollution) is allowed to being discharged directly into our public drains. And not even one Toll Brothers employee or USR town zoning officer on the site paying attention to lack of silt barriers and even the cheepest hay barriers. Truly pathetic how this site is being overseen. Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi documented it already with her contact at the governor’s office but I am afraid our Governor Phil Murphy is not much concerned with this part of New Jersey. Perhaps maybe because we’re on the boarder with already polluted waters in Rockland County, NY. Who knows but something is very wrong when construction company is “allowed” to divert polluted mud into our rivers and down to Atlantic Ocean through system of public drains. Several similar storm water violations were also documented in the past by our Assemblywoman but the outcome of investigation (if any) is unknown. Last report one was published on these pages on August 11, 2018.

Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi said , “I will reach out again on Monday to DEP. So far every time I have reached out to both the Governor’s office and DEP I have been assured everything is “compliant” after their independent tests. I will again ask them to come up and evaluate the situation.” 

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Bergen SWAT Takes Down Armed Robbery Suspect

file photo

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgefield Park NJ, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo announced the arrests of JULIAN MANGAL (DOB: 4/26/2000; single; unemployed) of 53 Maple Street, Richland Town, PA, on charges of Robbery, Burglary, Aggravated Assault, Possession Of A Weapon For An Unlawful Purpose, Assault By Pointing A Firearm, Theft, and Resisting Arrest; RYAN BLAKE (DOB: 7/28/1999; single; unemployed) of 223 Third Street, Ridgefield Park, NJ, on a charge of Resisting Arrest; and TYSHEEM CLINTON-MCQUEEN (DOB: 3/8/1996; single; unemployed) of 28 Franklin Street, Little Ferry, NJ, a charge of Supplying A Handgun. The arrests are the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti and the Ridgefield Park Police Department under the direction of Chief Edward Rose.

On Tuesday, December 18, 2018, the Ridgefield Park Police Department contacted the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Squad about an armed home invasion robbery. In the course of the robbery, the homeowner was slashed by a knife and hit in the head with a gun by an intruder. The intruder, who was later identified as Julian MANGAL, fled after taking the homeowner’s wallet and cellular telephone. As a result of the investigation, an arrest warrant for MANGAL was issued.

The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ridgefield Park Police Department located Julian MANGAL at the Knights Inn Motel on Route 46 in South Hackensack, NJ. The Bergen County Regional SWAT team assisted in the response and ultimately arrested MANGAL and another individual, Ryan BLAKE, who had attempted to flee through a crawl space in one of the hotel rooms.

On December 19, 2018, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the residence of Tysheem CLINTON-MCQUEEN in Little Ferry, NJ. Tysheem CLINTON-MCQUEEN was arrested and charged with Possession Of A Weapon For An Unlawful Purpose, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4A(2), a 2nd degree crime. He was remanded to the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack pending a detention hearing scheduled for Monday, December 24, 2018, at 9:00 a.m.

Julian MANGAL was charged with three counts of Robbery, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1A(2), a 1st degree crime; four counts of Possession Of A Weapon For An Unlawful Purpose, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4A(1), a 2nd degree crime; three counts of Aggravated Assault, by pointing a firearm, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1B(4), a 2nd degree crime; two counts of Aggravated Assault, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1B(2), a 2nd degree crime; two counts of Burglary, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2A(1), a 3rd degree crime; three counts of Theft, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3, a 4th degree crime; and one count of Resisting Arrest, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2A(2), a 4th degree crime. He was remanded to the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack pending a detention hearing scheduled for Monday, December 24, 2018.

Ryan BLAKE was charged with one count of Resisting Arrest, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2A(2), a 4th degree crime. He was released on a summons and is scheduled for an appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack on January 3, 2019.

Acting Prosecutor Calo states that the charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He would also like to thank the Ridgefield Park Police Department, South Hackensack Police Department, and Little Ferry Police Department for their assistance in this investigation.

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Christmas traditions are truly American, taken from different cultures and blended together

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

New Bridge Landing NJ, according to the Bergen County Historical Society , “When we look at Christmas traditions we know today, they are truly American, taken from different cultures and blended together for the celebration that we know of today. Sinterklaas comes to us from the Netherlands, leaving gifts in the shoes of good children on Saint Nicholas Day. We can see how this became Santa Claus and the tradition of gift giving. It was Washington Irving who would take the different stories of how people celebrated this time of year and set the foundation we know today. You also can’t have a cookie exchange if it wasn’t for the Dutch. The word is Dutch in origin was originally spelled koekje. Many other regions and groups have contributed to the celebration and you may celebrate your own way with traditions or not at all. Either way, the NY/NJ contributed greatly to the traditions we know today.”

The Bergen County Historical Society (BCHS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization founded in 1902, promotes preservation, study and appreciation of local history.

The Bergen County Historical Society was instrumental in saving the historic Steuben House in River Edge in 1928. The Society established its museum headquarters there in September 1939 and promoted the establishment of the Historic New Bridge Landing Park Commission by legislation in 1995. The purpose of the Commission is to unify and coordinate governmental and private efforts not only to preserve the three Bergen Dutch sandstone houses and their unique cultural contents, presently standing on the Revolutionary War battleground at New Bridge, but also to develop the necessary visitor facilities and amenities commensurate with the significance of the site, its importance to Bergen County and the promotion of public enjoyment and appreciation for the lessons of history.

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Bergen County Historical Society : While it has been nearly a month since Washington and his army left Bergen County, with Crown forces in hot pursuit

photo and post from the Bergen County Historical Society

River Edge NJ, from the Bergen County Historical Society ,While it has been nearly a month since Washington and his army left Bergen County, with Crown forces in hot pursuit, war continues to be brought to Bergen County and New Bridge..

To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 15 December 1776
From Major General William Heath

Hackensack [N.J.] Decr 15th 1776

Dear General

On the 12th Instant I reached Tapan, and Yesterday made a Forced march to this Place, with so much Secrecy and Dispatch that the Inhabitants had no Knowledge of my Coming, The Enemy had left the Town Some Days Since Except five whom we took, Two of them sick, we have taken about 50 of the Disaffected, and about 50 or 60 Muskets the greater part of which had been taken from the Whigs as is Supposed and Stored—at the Dock we found One Sloop Loaded with Hay, House Furniture, Some Spirits &c. which we have this Day unloaded, A Brig Loaded Run Down the River about 7 miles and got a Ground, I am afraid that we shall not be able to Secure the Effects[.] a Schooner loaded with Hay, Furniture &c. which had Sailed from the Dock ran on the Bank of the River the wind being very Fresh, and in the night over Set by which the Goods were Damaged if not lost—Two or three Companies have been raising Here and in the vicinity, and Field officers appointed, one Buskark Colo., at his House we found 50 bbls of Flour a number of Hogsheds of Rum &c. and at one Browns who is Lieut. Colo. about 1000 lb. of Cheese &c., one Ten Penny is Major, they are all gone Down to York to have matters Properly Settled, get ammunition arms &c. and were to have returnd on yesterday, I Beleive we have Luckily Disconcerted them,1 Such of the Inhabitants as are Friendly receive us with Joy, but are almost afraid to Speak their Sentiments, and Indeed Little or no Intelligence can be got from the Inhabitants—The Disaffected have Sent Down a Petition for Troops to protect them, and Expect them every moment (as they say) and by Some reports from New york Several regiments are in motion, and there Destination Said to be up by the north River—This report is So much Credited that I think it will be rather Hazardous to move the Troops which I have in this neighbourhood much more to the westward, as I shall thereby leave the Passage on the Back of Fort montgomery too much Exposed[.] I think therefore after having Secured every thing Here to move to Paramus, at least for a few Days as I can from that place Protect this Part of the Country, and Should they attempt the Pass in the mountains be beforehand of them.

Colo. Vose, with the Three Regiments from Ticonderoga have marched to the Neighbourhood of Chatham, where they will arrive I suppose this night or to morrow, I shall move in Such manner as best to Protect the Country and Harrass the Enemy—your Excellency is Sensible That General Wadsworth Brigade goes Home in a few Days, and I cannot learn that any militia are Coming from Connecticut—I should be glad to Know if your Excellency has wrote to the State of Massachusetts Bay for any number of their militia and whether they are Expected, I regret the loss of the Brave General Lee; and much more the manner in which He was Taken.

If the Enemy Should not be able to pass the Delaware, I think they will take a Turn this way—Several Thousands Landed at Elizabeth Town on Yesterday or the Day before, and General How has lately Gone after the army to your Quarter. I have the Honor to be with great respect your Excellencys most Humble Servt

W. Heath