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The Spirit of America’s Story: The Wall is a Traveling Exhibit Commemorating Our Country’s Fight for Freedom from 1775 to Present Day

June 30,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, “The Wall is a richly illustrated visual story of America’s struggles for freedom, a visual walk through our country’s history and our fight to be free. Our goal is to capture and preserve the spirit, the sacrifices and rich history of the American people. We do this by honoring those men and women in uniformed service who have and are currently serving and protecting our way of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness both here and abroad.” (Quotation excerpted from www.spiritofamericasstory.com/) Courtesy of Stanley A. Kober .

The Wall is a visual timeline of every major conflict our country has ever faced and see the challenges our military had to overcome. Students of every age were impressed as well as the adults that viewed this display. They left with a clearer understanding of our history and a heartfelt response of patriotism. I cannot believe this group came to our school and did this for such a low cost. They were with us all day, presented to every group that dropped by and then stayed for our evening band concert and presented to all parents that attended. Very professional!” —Teacher

 

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Public Hearing Notice for the Certificate of Need Application for the Relocation of Valley Hospital from Ridgewood, NJ to Paramus, NJ  

Valley_Hospital_theridgewoodblog

November 13,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The State Health Planning Board (the Board) will be holding a public hearing concerning the certificate of need application submitted to the Department of Health by Valley Hospital.  Copies of the application are available for review at the Ridgewood Public Library, the New Jersey State Library, and at the New Jersey Department of Health.    The Board invites the public to comment on the application.  All those wishing to make oral comments to the Board are invited to attend the public hearing on this application on Monday, November 13, 2017.

Comments will be limited to three minutes per person, although written comments may also be submitted at the same time.  The Board will take comments from  6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. or close of testimony, whichever is later.  The hearing will be held at the Ridgewood High School, 627 East Ridgewood Ave., Campus Center, Ridgewood, NJ.   Comments may also be submitted in writing after the hearing.  Commenters are urged to make their comments concise.  Comments must be received by the Board no later than Monday, November 27, 2017 at the following address:    New Jersey Department of Health  Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance  Market & Warren Streets  P.O. Box 360  Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0360  Attention:  Jamie Hernandez    The Board intends to review the application at an upcoming meeting.  Notice will be published as to the meeting date during which the application will be reviewed.    For further information, you may call the Department at 609-292-7874.

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IN NJ, AS IN NEARBY STATES, COMPETITIVENESS DRIVES AFFORDABILITY

for sale Ridgewood_Real_Estate_theRodgewopodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving

The only way to stem our tide of outmigration is to bring our economic policies in line with our direct regional competitors — Pennsylvania and New York

September 4,2017
written by OpportunityNJ June 26, 2017

Ridgewood NJ, New Jersey has many positive attributes. We added almost 60,000 jobs in 2016, the state’s largest gain since 2000, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. We have among the best K-12 public education systems in the nation and a highly skilled workforce including the highest concentration of scientists and engineers in the world — more than 225,000 statewide.

New Jersey also has a strong transportation network. We are home to the Port of New York and New Jersey, the third largest seaport in North America and the largest and busiest maritime cargo center on the East Coast. And we are among the national leaders in logistics and distribution. New Jersey is also a great recreation state with more than 130 miles of shoreline, beautiful parks, and mountains.

Despite these great assets, New Jersey remains a significant outlier, both nationally and regionally when comparing competitiveness and affordability including our state’s high cost of living and its heavy tax burden. New Jersey’s border states, Pennsylvania and New York, continue to be the No. 1 and No. 2 outmigration states for New Jersey residents and are challenging our competitiveness.

To reverse this trend we must examine our policies on taxation, revenue generation, and spending, and we must do so through the filter of competitiveness and affordability.

Outmigration by the numbers

In February 2016, the NJBIA issued Outmigration by the Numbers: How do we Stop the Exodus? This report found that New Jersey lost $18 billion in net-adjusted gross income over a decade. We have now updated this data to include 2015 data and have learned the loss has since grown to nearly $21 billion over 11 years (2004-2005 through 2014-2015). Further, we found the largest outmigration group continues to be millennials followed second by those nearing retirement and retirees.

Last November, New Jersey took the first step in the long road toward comprehensive tax reform by phasing out the estate tax and sharply increasing the income tax exclusion for pension and retirement income. The estate tax elimination and the pension tax reduction should help stem the outmigration of seniors and small businesses. While this is a good start, there is much more that must be done.

New Jersey ranks in the bottom six of every single tax category — income, property, sales, corporate, and inheritance. And we are in the bottom 10 of all states in combined state and local debt. Further, New Jersey residents pay the fifth-highest percentage of their household income on rent of any state and pay the fourth-highest median monthly rent of any state.

New Jersey’s top income tax rate is 8.97 percent and ranks as the sixth highest in the country. Our neighbors to the north and the west offer a better income tax rate than we do, with New York’s top income tax rate at 8.82 percent and Pennsylvania’s income tax rate flat at 3.07 percent.

Out-of-control property taxes

New Jersey has an average property tax bill of $8,549 and collects $2,924 per capita in property taxes, both of which are the highest in the nation. New York at $2,435 and Pennsylvania at $1,338 per capita are considerably lower than New Jersey, as is the national per capita of $1,300.

New Jersey has the fifth-highest corporate income tax (9 percent) in the nation. New York ranks 24th, offering a lower corporate tax rate of 6.5 percent. While Pennsylvania has a higher corporate income tax rate at 9.9 percent, it has a much more favorable personal income, property, and inheritance tax climate that offsets this tax impact.

While New Jersey is in the process of eliminating the estate tax by 2018, we still have an inheritance tax. Only five other states — Nebraska, Kentucky, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Maryland — even have an inheritance tax. Further, while Pennsylvania has an inheritance tax, the state mitigates the impact of this tax on small businesses.

New Jersey’s debt picture is no different than its tax climate. We are near the bottom of the national rankings in every debt category. Overall, as of June 30, 2015 the state had more than $153 billion in bonded and nonbonded indebtedness according to the fiscal year 2015 state debt report.

The state’s high level of debt and the need to generate revenue to pay off the debt is a major factor that affects the ability to lower the state’s tax burden to improve the level of affordability for individuals, families, and businesses. However, we can no longer increase our tax burden in order to raise revenue to pay down this enormous debt. This would only make New Jersey even less competitive and would surely feed into an exit strategy for New Jersey businesses and residents.

The time is now to revisit and completely review our economic policies on taxation, revenue generation, and spending and we must do so with a sense of urgency. We must look at how we spend our tax dollars and be honest about the fact that our current economic paradigm is just not sustainable. Failing to do so now will compound the problem for the generations to come.

The only way to stem our tide of outmigration is to bring our economic policies in line with our direct regional competitors — Pennsylvania and New York. Becoming more competitive means becoming more affordable so that businesses will want to locate here and taxpayers will want to live here.

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How soft corruption works in New Jersey

How soft corruption works in New Jersey,

NJ Spotlight is continuing its annual summer reading series. Every day the news website features an excerpt from a recent book — from nonfiction to novels to poetry – with a New Jersey connection.

Soft corruption is the type of influence peddling that’s perfectly legal – but unethical. And New Jersey politicians are masters of it. Former state Sen. Bill Schluter, well-known as an ethics crusader, explains what every New Jersey politician knows but you probably don’t: how to have money change hands for political benefit without breaking laws. Schluter even offers a solution for it, for those that want to take up the crusade. In this excerpt, Schluter gets into the details of the many ways New Jerseyans have bought influence while skirting the law.

Excerpt from Soft Corruption: How Unethical Conduct Undermines Good Government and What To Do About It, published February 24, 2017 by Rutgers University Press.

A wealthy sculptor with family problems makes generous campaign contributions in the hope of influencing legislators to enact a law that will help him stop his daughter from receiving a share of the family inheritance. He nearly succeeds. A state legislator dips into his publicly funded office budget to pay the assistant editor of his district’s largest newspaper $2,000 for unspecified general services. The speaker of the state assembly invites lobbyists to contribute $1,500 to her reelection campaign in exchange for the opportunity to talk with her about “your concerns and those of your clients.” Employing an unwritten but tradition-honored practice, a senator single-handedly blocks the governor’s highly qualified nominee for commissioner of education from even coming up for a confirmation vote. A longtime legislator, defeated on Election Day, is handed a position at the state’s parole board, at more than double his legislative salary. He leaves the job a year later, as soon as the resulting 78 percent bump to his state pension takes effect. His response to critics: “If anybody don’t like it, that’s too bad. Let them go spend thirty-three years in office.”

http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/106683-book-highlights-how-easy-it-is-for-politicians-to-steal-money-legally-

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Chef Danny is launching his new menu at Radicchio Pasta and Risotto Co

Radicchio Pasta and Risotto Co

August 21,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, at Radicchio Pasta and Risotto Co. in Ridgewood ,Chef Danny is launching his new menu this weekend, stop by to try it or order in.

Chef Daniel Montoya has over 18 years of experience and oversees the kitchen at the Ridgewood location for Radicchio. He will prepare classic home style Italian dishes for your enjoyment.

There is so much more to Radicchio then fresh Pasta and signature Risottos, chef Danny is prepping up some great meat and seafood as well.

Radicchio Pasta and Risotto Co
34 Franklin Ave
Ridgewood, New Jersey
@radicchionj
Call (201) 670-7311

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Field Station: Dinosaurs : Meet This Week’s Super Star of Science -“Dino” Don Lessem! Adventurer, Paleontologist, Storyteller and Advisor to Steven Spielberg!

Dino Don, Jurassic Park Official Dinosaur Adviser

Here comes Dino Don – one of the few living people with a dinosaur named after him!

July 28,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Leonia, NJ , This week’s Super Star of Science is “Dino” Don Lessem, the world’s leading popular presenter of dinosaurs– via his movie and theme park collaborations, exhibitions, expeditions, books, and television documentaries. Don will share the stories of his adventures and dinosaur excavations from around the world! From Mongolia, China to the Arctic Circle, Don has explored for dinosaurs and made major discoveries. In Patagonia, he dug up and reconstructed the world’s record-sized plant-eating and meat-eating dinosaurs!

In recognition of his support of paleontology, “Dino” Don had a giant plant-eating dinosaur named after him —Lessemsaurus. “It has a huge belly and a tiny brain, like its namesake,” says Lessem.

Don will also share the story of his experiences as an advisor to Steven Spielberg on the film Jurassic Park, to Universal Studios for its Jurassic Park ride and to Walt Disney Productions for its Animal Kingdom Dinoland attraction and Dinosaurs film.

In addition to his more than 50 books for adults and children ,“Dino” Don has answered more than 11,000 letters to his “Ask Dino Don” column in Highlights Magazine, the nation’s largest-circulation children’s magazine. He’s hosted and written NOVA and Discovery Channel documentaries and his pioneering Microsoft CD,Dinosaurs sold 1 million copies.

“Dino” Don will be wowing the crowds at Field Station: Dinosaurs this Saturday, 7/29/17 at 11:30am, 1:15pm and 2:30pm. His presentations are included in the price of park admission.

Field Station: Dinosaurs
Overpeck County Park  | Leonia, NJ
Phone 855.999.9010  | Fax 973.748.3010 | groups@fieldstationdinosaurs.com |
FieldStationDinosaurs.com

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MONEY STILL MAKES BIGGEST DIFFERENCE TO KIDS’ WELLBEING IN NJ

school kids

COLLEEN O’DEA | JULY 10, 2017

But even wealthiest counties can improve in some ways while the poorest do surprisingly well in some aspects of education, health, and safety

Advocates for Children of New Jersey’s annual Kids Count report on the state’s counties has a different look, but the same basic message: wealth makes a difference when it comes to the education, health, and safety of children.

The organization released today its 2017 profiles and rankings based on a dozen measures of child wellbeing. Rather than give each county an overall rank, ACNJ rated the counties in four areas: economics, health, safety, and education.

There is no top-ranked county this year — last year, Morris took that spot. But the three counties with the best ratings in all those areas were also the counties with the highest median incomes for families with children: Morris, Somerset, and Hunterdon. Meanwhile, Cumberland, Essex, and Camden counties had the three lowest ratings, and all have median incomes below the state average, with Cumberland’s being the lowest at about $52,600. Cumberland had been ranked last in the recent past.

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/17/07/09/money-still-makes-big-difference-when-it-comes-to-kids-wellbeing-in-nj-advocates-report/

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The State of New Jersey is Closed ,but Does Anyone Really Care?

gone fishing

July 3,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  is it just us or does no one really care that the State of New Jersey is closed? Yes there is lot of sreaming from the media and some politicians looking to blame someone else and sure a couple of beaches are closed , Motor vehicle is closed and state courts are closed but on the flip side Municipal parks are still open and the New Jersey transit system is still running. On the bright side  no one can raise your taxes or fleece you out of your hard earned money.

So whats the skinny on whats closed and whats not ;

All state-run parks, recreational areas, forests, camping areas, historic sites, and beaches are now closed. That includes the two state beaches Cheesequake and Island Beach and Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

If the shutdown continues into the business week, many state offices will close starting Monday, and thousands of state workers are expected be furloughed. That excludes staff deemed essential, like State Police troopers and state correctional and hospital employees. About 45,000 state workers in all were furloughed during the last shutdown, in 2006. They later received back pay.

I know this is a pain ,all Motor Vehicle Commission agencies and inspection stations will close starting Saturday. That means you won’t be able to get a driver’s license or renew your registration.

Most state courts would close beginning Monday, except for emergency cases. Municipal courts would remain open.

Taxation call centers and walk-in facilities would close starting Monday. Frankly the Jersey ones are terrible and they take hours to answer a phone call.

The state Division of Pensions and Benefits for public workers. Never fear the department would continue payment of health provider claims and life claims, as well as processing changes to family status for health benefits.

You would not be able to obtain copies of birth and marriage certificates from the state Department of Health starting Monday, no problem if you are an illegal .

Travel and tourism welcome centers are closed , ok Ill get over that.

Neither temporary disability claims nor family leave insurance claims will be processed, and people will not be able to see the status of their claims , but Disability designation services through Social Security is open through its hotline.

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Fair Share Housing admits its own numbers are “a lie” yet continue to use those numbers to attack every suburban municipality in NJ.

CBD high density housing

June 21,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  The Fair Share Housing Center expected the Mercer County Superior Court to affirm it’s projected affordable housing obligations; but are now saying those numbers are a lie after Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi used them to paint a picture of over-development.

Fair Share, which has taken towns to court to enforce its calculations, said in April that the state needed 146,000 units to cover a 16-year gap period when the state failed to calculate obligations, and another 140,000 to fulfill housing quotas from 2015 to 2025.

The group submitted those figures to Mercer County Superior Court to help determine the housing obligations of five municipalities that have not reached settlements. Its executive director Kevin Walsh said at the time, “We expect the courts to affirm this study.”

However, contrary to positions taken before the courts, Walsh reversed course and called Fair Share’s housing numbers a lie in his letter to Schepisi.

In a letter Thursday, Walsh wrote, “our organization is not taking the position that municipalities must develop hundreds of thousands of new affordable homes by 2025.” He further argued that any claim “that municipalities are being required to provide 280,000 affordable homes is a lie.”

For decades state courts have relied upon Fair Share’s methodology to establish municipal obligations under the Mount Laurel doctrine. Cases involving more than 350 municipalities are either currently before the courts or have been settled. Most of the disputes between municipalities and Fair Share have been over the size of prospective need.

“Their deceptive practices are similar to certain retail clothing stores that used to raise their prices by 40 percent immediately before a 30 percent sale,” Schepisi (R-Bergen) said. “Towns I represent in Bergen and Passaic counties have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on professional fees just trying to comply with Fair Share’s mandates that they now admit should be significantly less.”

The center is seeking a court order blocking Edgewater from issuing occupancy certificates for non-affordable housing units, as well as a mandate that any construction related to non-affordable housing cease until it completes building 75 promised affordable housing units.

Econsult Solutions, a Philadelphia consulting firm hired by more than 200 municipalities, issued a report in 2016 setting the current need statewide at 33,140, with a prospective need for the next decade of 36,494.

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IN NJ, AS IN NEARBY STATES, COMPETITIVENESS DRIVES AFFORDABILITY

for sale Ridgewood_Real_Estate_theRodgewopodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving

MICHELE SIEKERKA | MAY 30, 2017

The only way to stem our tide of outmigration is to bring our economic policies in line with our direct regional competitors — Pennsylvania and New York

NJBIA president and CEO Michele Siekerka

New Jersey has many positive attributes. We added almost 60,000 jobs in 2016, the state’s largest gain since 2000, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. We have among the best K-12 public education systems in the nation and a highly skilled workforce including the highest concentration of scientists and engineers in the world — more than 225,000 statewide.

New Jersey also has a strong transportation network. We are home to the Port of New York and New Jersey, the third largest seaport in North America and the largest and busiest maritime cargo center on the East Coast. And we are among the national leaders in logistics and distribution. New Jersey is also a great recreation state with more than 130 miles of shoreline, beautiful parks, and mountains.

Despite these great assets, New Jersey remains a significant outlier, both nationally and regionally when comparing competitiveness and affordability including our state’s high cost of living and its heavy tax burden. New Jersey’s border states, Pennsylvania and New York, continue to be the No. 1 and No. 2 outmigration states for New Jersey residents and are challenging our competitiveness.

To reverse this trend we must examine our policies on taxation, revenue generation, and spending, and we must do so through the filter of competitiveness and affordability.

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/17/05/25/op-ed-in-nj-as-in-neighboring-states-competitiveness-drives-affordability/