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“Straight and Narrow” Seeks Donations Days After Devastating Fire

from Paterson NJ, from the Catholic Charities, Diocese of Paterson

Straight and Narrow Fire Update – How You Can Help

Our community has come together. We have been positively overwhelmed with requests to help, and questions about where to make both monetary and in-kind donations.

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Paterson Police Officer Allegedly Targeted, Stopped, Searched Vehicles and Stole Cash

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Paterson NJ, A federal grand jury indicted a City of Paterson, New Jersey, police officer for conspiring to violate individuals’ civil rights by stopping and searching people in their vehicles and on the street and stealing their cash, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Eudy Ramos, 28, of Paterson, was charged in a nine-count indictment with conspiring to violate, and violating, the civil rights of individuals in Paterson, and with filing multiple false reports to conceal his criminal conduct. Ramos was previously charged by criminal complaint in April 2018. He will be arraigned in federal court on a date to be determined.

Continue reading Paterson Police Officer Allegedly Targeted, Stopped, Searched Vehicles and Stole Cash
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New Jersey Issues What Can be Called the ,” Terrorism Protection Directive “

9/11 wtc

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, New Jersey Attorney General Grewal has issued a statewide directive curtailing state and local police participation in Federal Civil Immigration Enforcement – “Immigrant Trust Directive” Designed to Promote Public Safety by Building Trust Between Police and Immigrant Communities.

In November 2018, the State of New Jersey issued new rules designed to strengthen trust between law enforcement officers and immigrant communities. The rules limit the types of assistance that New Jersey state and local law enforcement officers may provide to federal immigration authorities, including ICE.

For example, under the new rules, a New Jersey police officer may not stop, question, arrest, search, or detain an individual simply because the officer thinks that the individual might be undocumented. In addition, police officers cannot ask about an individual’s immigration status except in the rare cases when that information is relevant to a specific criminal investigation.

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Citizens For Swimming 2018

August 7,2918

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Citizens For Swimming raises funds to host children from Paterson, NJ at a public pool for swim lessons and summer fun.

photo courtesy of Citizens For Swimming

Since 1968, Citizens for Swimming has hosted summer day campers from Paterson for 9 days of swim lessons and fun in the water.

The children we host have little access to swimming. C4S provides them with a few weeks respite from the summer heat, and swimming lessons that build water safety skills. Swimming is not just fun in the sun, it is a practical skill that many of these kids have limited access to. African American children ages 5-19 drown at rates more than 5 times higher than their white counterparts. YMCA swim instructors provide Citizens for Swimming kids with skills and experiences that will serve them for a lifetime.

We spend $110 per child for our 9-day swim program. This includes bus transportation to and from Paterson (by far our biggest expense), discounted Graydon Pool admission, and supplies like bathing suits and beach towels. Some of our kids arrive the first day wearing shorts instead of a bathing suit and carrying one of their mom’s good bath towels. We provide a bathing suit and a beach towel to every child who needs one.

Sign up to volunteer (even for just 1 hour)! Click here:

Make a monetary donation:

Donate supplies! We need new and gently used beach towels and suits for 90 campers, plus beach toys, goggles, and sunscreen. Why not clean out your closets or hit the sale racks for Citizens? Donations can be dropped at the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood office (yellow house), located at 113 Cottage Place, Ridgewood. We have a donation box on the porch marked “Citizens for Swimming”. Or, please bring your donations to Graydon Pool during camp hours. For your convenience you can also order from our Amazon Wish List and have your donation shipped directly to us.

Like our Facebook page, and share it with your friends!

For more information, please contact us by email at

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The Organization For Economic Development Urges Paterson Voters to Support Pedro Rodriguez In May Mayoral Election

Organization For Economic Growth

April 24,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Paterson NJ, The Organization for Economic Growth endorses Pedro Rodriguez for mayor and his at large council team of Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman and Mitch Santiago in the May 8th election, announced OEG Chairman Joseph Caruso

“We believe the Rodriguez team has the most well rounded and realistic approach to economic revitalization to one of New Jersey’s most impoverished, but important cities,” said Caruso. The endorsement is based on responses to a questionnaire on economic issues given to all the Paterson candidates

“The Rodriguez Team responded with a sensible and detailed approach to restoring the city’s economic vitality rather than the general pie-in-the sky objectives that lead nowhere,” added Caruso. “His willingness to embrace public/private partnerships and tax incentives was a major factor for our support of Mr. Rodriguez.”

The city’s next mayor will inherit a city with many economic problems, including a 7.5 percent unemployment rate, a severe lacking of economic investment in the central city and significant problems in housing and crime. Previous administrations, dating back decades have failed to attract notable development to the city.

Caruso said Rodriquez is on the right track saying he will overhaul the building department to insure that it is business friendly; hire a professional to oversee economic development and will employ the use of PILOTs (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) and encourage public private partnerships.

“The city desperately needs to be more cooperative with those willing to invest in Paterson and it needs an outside economic development professional – not a political patron – with real world experience to guide the next administration in developing a vision for where the city wants to be in a decade.” said Caruso.

Noting that PILOTs are sometimes criticized as sops to businesses, Caruso said they are a necessary tool to incentivize developers to invest in areas that offer marginal return and significant risk. Rodriguez also said he wants to develop a grant application program to help spur redevelopment and embrace incentives for mixed use development to encourage construction of new housing. Paterson’s housing conditions, particularly in the North and Central wards, are in bad shape and must be addressed, says the OEG executive.

In his responses to the OEG questionnaire, Rodriguez said: “I have a comprehensive plan to place vacant and dilapidated properties into the hands of Patersonians. I vow to reduce the number of abandoned properties by introducing programs such as the 203K loan which will ease the ability for our residents to not only purchase a home but also renovate it. We must provide easier pathways for our residents to achieve the American dream of owning a home which has been statistically proven to ensure proper maintenance and upkeep.”

Rodriguez also recognized the city’s crime problem as a major stumbling block to investment and to attracting people to shop in and visit the city. To help combat crime, Rodriguez said he will commission an independent audit of the city’s budget to identify wasteful spending and redirect those resources into hiring more police officers and to take more cops from behind desks and put them out on the street. He also said he wants to invest in repairing existing — and installing — new surveillance cameras to protect the city’s residents.

“Mr. Rodriguez and his running mates Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman and Mitch Santiago provided thoughtful, well rounded responses to our questionnaire, showing that they have put in the time to consider the problems Paterson must overcome and formulated a way to overcome them,” said Caruso.

“Paterson doesn’t need a cheerleader for mayor; it needs someone who will roll up his sleeves and provide the hands on, serious leadership that will lead to investments, jobs and better housing. We are hopeful that Mr. Rodriguez may be that person.” added Caruso.

The NJOEG was founded to support candidates and policies that improve the state and regional economies. To learn more about the NJ OEG visit our website; or visit us on Facebook

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Former Democrat mayor of Paterson, N.J, was sentenced to 5 Years in prison

Senator Bob Menendez, Nellie Pou, and Jose "Joey" Torres

photo Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr.,Senator Bob Menendez, Nellie Pou, and Jose “Joey” Torres.

November 15,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Paterson NJ,  Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that Jose “Joey” Torres, the former mayor of Paterson, N.J, was sentenced to prison today for directing that city employees perform work at a private warehouse leased by his daughter and nephew while the employees were being paid by the city. Three former supervisors in the Paterson Department of Public Works also were sentenced today.

Torres, 59, of Paterson, N.J., was sentenced today to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Sheila Venable in Hudson County. Torres pleaded guilty on Sept. 22 to a charge of second-degree conspiracy to commit official misconduct. As a result of his guilty plea, he forfeited his position as mayor and is permanently barred from public office and public employment in New Jersey. He is jointly and severally liable with his co-defendants for paying restitution of $10,000 to the City of Paterson for payments, including overtime payments, made to city workers for the time they spent working at the private warehouse.

The following three co-defendants pleaded guilty on Sept. 22 to third-degree conspiracy charges and each was sentenced today by Judge Venable to a three-year term of probation:

Joseph Mania, 51, of Randolph, N.J., Supervisor, Paterson DPW Facilities Division;
Imad Mowaswes, 53, of Clifton, N.J., Supervisor, Paterson DPW Traffic Division; and
Timothy Hanlon, 31, of Woodland Park, N.J., Assistant Supervisor, Paterson DPW Facilities Division.

Those men also forfeited their jobs with the city and are permanently barred from public employment.

Deputy Bureau Chief Jeffrey Manis and Deputy Attorneys General Cynthia Vazquez and Peter Baker prosecuted the case and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. The defendants were indicted in an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau and the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Bureau North Squad.

“Joey Torres corruptly used his vast power as mayor of New Jersey’s third-largest city to serve his own selfish ends, when he should have been serving the residents of Paterson,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Torres thought he was above the law and is now on his way to prison. This prison sentence demonstrates that nobody is above the law, least of all public officials who brazenly abuse the authority entrusted to them.”

“By unlawfully using on-the-clock city workers to assist with a family business, Mayor Torres put his own interests ahead of the interests of city residents and compromised the integrity of his office,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Public corruption takes many forms, but it always has the corrosive impact of undermining good government and public trust. We will continue to make these cases a top priority.”

“Torres betrayed many staff and colleagues who unknowingly believed in him, but his betrayal of the residents of Paterson, whom he was entrusted to serve, is by far the worst of all,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “I commend the State Police Official Corruption North Bureau and their partners for bringing justice to the people of Paterson.”

The investigation revealed that, at Mayor Torres’ behest and under his supervision, Mania, Mowaswes and Hanlon performed work and/or assigned subordinate employees of the Department of Public Works (DPW) to perform work at a private warehouse facility at 82 East 15th St. in Paterson. The facility was leased by “Quality Beer,” a limited liability company formed by Torres’ daughter and his nephew. The tasks performed by the DPW workers included renovation, painting, carpentry, and electrical work. The work was performed on various dates between July 2014 and April 2015, while the three supervisors and other DPW workers were “on the clock” working for and being paid by the City of Paterson. The daughter and nephew intended to use the warehouse as a wholesale liquor distribution facility, but they ultimately terminated the lease after failing to obtain the necessary permits and license from the state.

The investigation further revealed that Mania, in his capacity as a DPW supervisor, caused false time-keeping records to be submitted to the city, including overtime verification forms and bi-weekly timesheets. These records falsely stated that Mania and other DPW employees were working overtime details on legitimate city projects, when, in fact, Mania knew that he and the other employees spent at least part of these overtime shifts working at the private warehouse. By submitting and signing off on these timekeeping records and authorizing the overtime details, Mania caused the city to make overtime payments to himself and other employees for hours spent performing private work for the mayor and his relatives, with no connection to any legitimate city business. Mania’s co-defendants, including the mayor, also were charged with falsifying these records as accomplices and co-conspirators.

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November 7,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, If you have not heard, fire destroyed the Fr. English Food Pantry in Paterson last Thursday.
OLMC has had a long working relationship with this food pantry. Our pans of food are sent here, the youth group has volunteered here for over ten years and last Lent, we were able to donate over $9,000 from our “Meals in Motion” service project. The pantry feeds approximately 4,500 families each MONTH.
In speaking to Carlos today, ALL food in the pantry must be destroyed due to smoke and water damage and it will take over two months to rebuild.
With three weeks until Thanksgiving, Carlos is worried for these families.
Some good news, Eva’s Kitchen, a few blocks from the current pantry site, has agreed to rent space for a temporary pantry until the new one is built.
OUR FROZEN TURKEY DRIVE THIS WEEKEND WILL TAKE PLACE!!! But we are expanding it to ALL nonperishable food items. Items can be dropped off SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11TH FROM 9AM TO 12 NOON.
We know that many families will be leaving town for the long weekend with schools being closed. If you wish to drop off nonperishable food TO THE YOUTH CENTER IN THE SCHOOL BUILDING YOU CAN DO SO NOW THROUGH THURSDAY 5PM. PLEASE NO FROZEN TURKEYS UNTIL SATURDAY SINCE WE DO NOT HAVE FREEZER SPACE FOR THEM.
Any questions, please call Glen Mc Call at the Youth Center (201-444-9302). If you need to drop off nonperishable food items because will be out of town on Saturday, you can bring them to the youth center located in the school building through Thursday 5pm (youth center is closed on Fridays.) You can also bring nonperishable items on Saturday between 9am and 12 noon.

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Beloved orchestra teacher dies in cycling crash

Jocelyn Gertel

Updated on June 13, 2017 at 5:17 PMPosted on June 13, 2017 at 4:37 PM


NJ Advance Media for

PARAMUS – The public school district was devastated this week by news of the sudden death of Jocelyn Gertel, a long-time middle-school orchestra teacher, a school administrator said Tuesday.

Gertel, who lived in Ridgewood, died last week following a bicycling accident in Hawthorne.

A spokesman for the Hawthorne Police Department was not available to comment Tuesday on details of the accident.

According to online tributes from friends, Gertel was riding her bike downhill when she lost control and pitched over the handlebars. She was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson, where she later died.

“The school community is very devastated by her loss,” said Michele Robinson, superintendent of schools. “She was very well-respected, very well-liked and she will be greatly missed.”

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Sordid high school basketball scandal now in ICE’s crosshairs


By Brian Lewis

June 7, 2017 | 3:22pm

High school coach crams house with foreign ringers in squalid scandal

What started as a few probing questions about a suspicious New Jersey high school basketball program has become an investigation by federal immigration authorities.

New Jersey’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement office — a division of the Department of Homeland Security — has opened a new investigation of Paterson Eastside’s hoops programs, according to NJ Advance Media. ICE officials are concentrating on how the program has been fed international players over the past six years and how the teenagers came — or were trafficked — to New Jersey.

Four months ago, NJ Advance Media reported players from Africa, South America and Puerto Rico had been brought stateside to play for Eastside’s teams since at least 2011, and that boys coach Juan Griles was housing — but apparently barely feeding — at least six of them. With the school district unable to issue proper immigration documents, they’re all at risk of deportation.

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Paterson Falls


A new ‘manufacturing caucus’ looks to explore what companies need in terms of employees, education, training, and business opportunities — and help make sure they get it

Although not as dominant an industry as it was several decades ago, manufacturing is still a major part of the New Jersey economy, and a sector where a majority of employers have indicated they’re still looking to hire.

To help foster what could be a manufacturing renaissance in New Jersey — a state with a rich industrial history that dates to colonial days — state lawmakers are launching a new “manufacturing caucus” that will focus specifically on figuring out ways to craft policies that lead to increased productivity and growth for manufacturing.

The formation of the new caucus, which will involve lawmakers from both the Assembly and Senate, and from both political parties, was announced last week by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester). The panel will hold a series of hearings this summer to help inform a legislative agenda that will be pursued in the fall as lawmakers return to the State House following this year’s legislative elections. The effort will be led by state Sen. Robert Gordon, whose own background includes working in his family’s yarn mill in Paterson.

“I think (manufacturing) is critically important to the state,” said Gordon (D-Bergen) in an interview with NJ Spotlight. “Manufacturing is still a very important component of our economy.”