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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The Village of Ridgewood will be allocating 55 premium parking permits to Ridgewood residents, specifically for the Hudson Street parking lot, through a random lottery. Only those with the Hudson Street parking lot permit will be able to park in this lot. This will guarantee a parking space for everyone who is a winner in the lottery and buys the Hudson Street parking lot permit for $1,300 (which is the 2019 premium parking permit price). This permit will not allow the commuter to park in any other parking lots.


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Village Council of Ridgewood Budget Hearing tonight 5:30pm Village Hal

July 9,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The Village Council is looking for residents who are interested in volunteering to serve on the following Boards and Committees: Zoning Board of Adjustment, The Ridgewood Arts Council, the Library Board of Trustees, The Ridgewood Community Center Advisory Board (this member must have a child in the Ridgewood School system), and the Shade Tree Commission. The Deadline for submissions is July 17, 2018 . 

The Zoning Board of Adjustment hears variance applications and appeals from rulings and determinations arising from the enforcement of Village zoning ordinances.

The Ridgewood Arts Council will assist in the promotion of and encourage artistic and cultural programs and will provide for educational opportunities in the areas of art and culture. The Ridgewood Arts Council will also provide advice, guidance, and recommendations to the Village Council, as needed.

The Library Board of Trustees is the governing board for the Ridgewood Public Library and its employees. The Board of Trustees works with the community to establish Library policy and secures funds to carry on services to the public, and set goals and objectives.

The Ridgewood Community Center Advisory Board develops policies and procedures for the operation of the Community Center facility and assists in the fulfillment of the County Municipal Alliance Grant requirements. The member position open is for a resident with children in the Ridgewood school system.

The Shade Tree Commission works closely with the Parks and Recreation Department, the Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Committee, and the Green Team to promote awareness and education of the residents as well as advise and provide recommendations to the Village Council in promoting and sustaining a safe and productive shade tree resource.

All interested residents should fill out a Citizen Volunteer Leadership form (found on the Village website by clicking on “Forms”, then clicking on Page 2, and then clicking on “Village Clerk”), and send it along with a cover letter indicating on which board(s) or committee(s) the resident wishes to serve, and a biography or resume to:
Donna Jackson
Deputy Village Clerk
Village of Ridgewood
131 North Maple Ave.
Ridgewood, NJ 07451
Deadline for submissions is July 17, 2018.

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Village of Ridgewood will provide radon information and test kits free of charge to Ridgewood residents


January 13,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Health Department Director, Dawn Cetrulo announced that January has been designated as National Radon Action Month in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Radon Program. During Radon Action Month, the Village of Ridgewood will provide radon information and test kits free of charge to Ridgewood residents at the Ridgewood Health Department, 131 N. Maple Ave., 5th level from 8:30 am until 4 pm.

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Ridgewood Residents are required to clear snow and ice on abutting sidewalks within 24 hours after the storm has passed

Snow Blizzard of 2016 Ridgewood CBD

December 9,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The Village has an extensive snow emergency program which helps residents travel safer and easier in snowy weather.

Before a storm begins, the main streets are pretreated with an environmentally safe solution that reduces the freezing temperature of the snow.
In the first 1-2 inches of a storm, salt spreaders are dispatched to keep the main arteries and hills clear of snow and ice.
Snow plowing will begin when there is at least two inches of snow accumulation. Snow plowing operations can vary depending on the duration and intensity of the storm. During the storm, snow plows will concentrate on keeping two lanes clear on every street.
After the storm passes, the plows will return to widen the streets curb to curb.

PLEASE wait to do your final clean-up after the streets are done. Typically, 2 to 6 hours after the storm is over.

Please do not thrown or push snow into the street. As the snow melts and refreezes, it can cause icy spots or clumps of ice which can cause accidents. If you have a contractor that is plowing the driveway, please advise him accordingly. This includes pushing the snow across the street onto someone else’s property.

Child Safety:
Please keep children out of the streets and driveway aprons while Village vehicles are snow plowing. Often children play in front of the driveway where the snow pile is the highest. The drivers cannot see children hiding and the maneuverability of the vehicles is limited due to the conditions.

When shoveling the end of your driveway during the Village’s snow plowing operations, place the snow to the right of your driveway (with your back facing your house). The snow plow will pass left to right and push the snow past the driveway. There will always be some snow accumulation after the snow plow passes. Please remember that the final pass of the snow plow will be up to the curb line. In anticipation of future storms we need to clear the road as wide as possible.

Garbage Cans:
Place your garbage cans behind the sidewalk on your property or in your driveway and NOT in the street. The snowplows can throw the snow up to ten feet knocking over the cans. Objects in the roadway are our biggest deterrent in efficient plowing operations.

There is no parking allowed on any Village street during a snow emergency. Village CBD parking lots must be cleared by 1 AM unless designated an overnight resident permit lot.

Fire Hydrants:
In the event of deep snow, please shovel around fire hydrants near your house – for your safety and your neighbors’.

Residents are required to clear snow and ice on abutting sidewalks within 24 hours after the storm has passed. CBD sidewalk must be kept clear during business hours and completely cleared by 9 AM the following morning. Please remember that children are walking to schools and bus stops. Residents with corner properties are asked to provide pedestrian crossing access.

State Roads:
The New Jersey Department of Transportation is responsible for plowing Route 17 and all ramps to the highway.

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Reader says There is a tremendous undercurrent of anger among Ridgewood residents

CBD Ridgewood by ArtChick

file photo by ArtChick

I have written in this Blog before about this: There is a tremendous undercurrent of anger among Ridgewood residents. It comes out in how they drive , even speeding in supermarket parking lots, speeding down local streets AND in the temperment of their dogs who try to lunge after you when you walk on sidewalk. The dog walkers do not guide their dogs away from other walkers.
And, as you all know , their have been a number of dog bitings recently in the neighborhood.
Now, I visit another state frequently and the atmosphere is people friendly, and people are considerate of others and you do not experience an undercurrent of anger. Dogs are not a problem when walking.
Just face it, the kids are reflecting their parents as dogs reflect their owners.
Deny what happened , make excuses for it , call it and “incident” instead of a brutal beating.
You are revealing your attitude toward other people. Any decent person, and those are hard to find here, would just say any beating is unjustified. Let alone a “brutal beating.”

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Reader says Ridgewood Residents have never had a tax increase they didn’t like


Yes , everyone payes taxes but it is the long time residents who are burdened with the annual tax increases. Were you around when Ridgewood had the bright idea of adding a pool to the high school so the snowflakes did not have to travel to the YMCA? Fortunately, common sense prevailed and the pool was voted down. Not everyone has a bottomless bank account.
Take a look at the curriculum and see where some non-essential classes could be eliminated.
The all-knowing Board of Education eliminated shop class and an auto mechanic class a number of years ago because the residents thought these classes were below “Ridgewood educational standards ” and “decreasing enrollment”. These career paths can lead to financial independence as young adults. But I digress…

Final thoughts…Ridgewood never had a tax increase they didn’t like and they definitely don’t believe in the term ” budget neutral”.

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Reader says Ridgewood Residents should share in all money generated as ‘fines’

Return all the money generated as ‘fines’ in a year as equal cash payment annually to all residents in that municipality instead of keeping it in the black hole called the municipal budget. It should be a separate equal cash payment and municipalities should not be able to call it a ‘rebate’ against property taxes or tie them together in any way.
When you take away the ability of those in power to benefit from their misbehavior, the abuses will stop!

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Ridgewood Residents Raise Concerns Over Shabby Condition of Wild Duck Pond

Duck Pond

July 24,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Saddle River County Park is a 577-acre linear park that meanders with the Saddle River and its tributary brooks. It consists of five park areas that are linked by a multi-use path, including circular paths around some ponds.

Multi-use pathway/Bicycle-Pedestrian Path: This bike and pedestrian path travels from Ridgewood to Rochelle Park and is approximately 6 miles in length. This continuous path runs through Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Fair Lawn, Paramus, Saddle Brook and Rochelle Park and under Route 4. This path also follows the Saddle River and Ho-Ho-Kus Brook and passes by the Historic Easton Tower at Route 4. The path features a scenic waterfall at Dunkerhook Park, and there are three ponds, tree shaded picnic areas, pavilions, playgrounds, tennis courts and athletic fields accessible along the path.

Readers have often commented on the poor shape of some of the recreation areas as well as the actual duck pond it self .

One read asks ,”So why does the Duck Pond look like such sh$t! It is the first thing you see when you come into Ridgewood and it looks horrible. When are they going to fix it once and for all!

Another reader commented , the “Water flow at duck pond should be fixed ..the active Brook river water flows and curves through the south side of the park..creativity please

Save the Pond from its stagnant phases create a conduit into and out of the Brook with Storm shut off valves to protect the ADJOINING properties on the north side of the Pond..storm water discharges into the pond in heavy rail..but not enough through volumes to keep the pond alive.”

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Five More Defendants Plead Guilty for Their Roles in Multimillion Dollar India-Based Call Center IRS Scam Targeting U.S. Victims

IRS Scam
file photo by Boyd Loving
June 6,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Five men, including two individuals who formerly worked at scam call centers in India, each pleaded guilty within the past two weeks for their respective roles in a massive telephone impersonation fraud and money laundering scheme perpetrated by India-based call centers.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez of the Southern District of Texas, Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Inspector General J. Russell George of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and Inspector General John Roth of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG) made the announcement.

From May 26 to June 6, Rajubhai Patel, 32, an Indian national most recently residing in Willowbrook, Illinois; Viraj Patel, 33, an Indian national most recently residing in Anaheim, California; Dilipkumar Ambal Patel, 53, an Indian national most recently residing in Corona, California; and Fahad Ali, 25, a Pakistani national and permanent U.S. resident most recently residing in Dyer, Indiana, each pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy before U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner of the Southern District of Texas. Hardik Patel, 31, an Indian national most recently residing in Arlington Heights, Illinois, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy before the same court on June 2. Sentencing dates are pending for all five defendants.

According to admissions made in connection with the plea agreements, the five men and their co-conspirators perpetrated a complex scheme in which individuals from call centers located in Ahmedabad, India, impersonated officials from the IRS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and engaged in other telephone call scams, in a ruse designed to defraud victims in the U.S. Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call center operators targeted U.S. victims, who were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay alleged monies owed to the government. Victims who agreed to pay the scammers were instructed how to provide payment, including by purchasing stored value cards or wiring money. Upon payment, the call centers would immediately turn to a network of “runners” based in the U.S. to liquidate and launder the fraudulently obtained funds.

Based on the statements in his June 2 guilty plea, beginning in August 2012, Hardik Patel owned and managed the day-to-day operations of an India-based scam call center before later leaving for the U.S. While in India, in his capacity as a manager, Hardik Patel communicated extensively via email, text, and other means with various India-based co-defendants to operate the scheme and exchange scripts used in the scheme, coordinate the processing of payments from scammed victims, obtain and exchange lead lists used by callers to target U.S. victims, and exchange spreadsheets containing the personal identifying information (PII) of U.S. persons misappropriated by the scammers to register reloadable cards used in the scheme. Hardik Patel also managed worker payroll and kept detailed records of profits and expenses for various associated scam call centers. Hardik Patel continued to communicate with India-based co-defendants about the scheme and assist with the conspiracy after he moved to the U.S.

According to his June 6 guilty plea, Rajubhai Patel operated as a runner and assisted a co-defendant in managing the activities of a crew of other runners, based primarily out of Illinois, who liquidated victim funds in various locales in the U.S. for conspirators from India-based call centers. Rajubhai Patel communicated about the liquidation of scam funds via electronic WhatsApp communications with domestic and India-based co-defendants, purchased reloadable cards registered using the misappropriated PII of U.S. citizens that were later used to receive victims’ funds, and used those cards to purchase money orders and deposit them into various bank accounts of co-defendants and others as directed. Rajubhai Patel also admitted to creating and maintaining spreadsheets that detailed deposits, payments to co-conspirators, expenses and profits from the scheme.

According to admissions made in his June 2 guilty plea, Viraj Patel first became involved in the conspiracy between April and September 2013, prior to entering the U.S., when he worked at and assisted with overseeing the operations of a call center in India engaging in scam activity at the behest of a co-defendant. After entering the U.S., beginning in December 2014 Viraj Patel engaged in additional activities in support of the scheme in exchange for a cut of the profits, including serving as a processor of scam victim payments and as a runner engaging in the purchase and liquidation of cards loaded with victim scam funds. Viraj Patel communicated with various India-and U.S.-based co-defendants in furtherance of the conspiracy, and also obtained and circulated lead lists to his co-conspirators containing the PII of U.S. citizens for use by the call centers in targeting victims of the various fraud schemes and to register reloadable cards used to launder the proceeds of the schemes.

Based on the admissions made in his May 26 guilty plea, since late 2013, Dilipkumar A. Patel operated as a runner in and around Southern California, along with other co-defendants based in the region. At the direction of India-based co-conspirators, often via electronic WhatsApp communications, Patel admitted to participating in the purchase of reloadable cards registered with the PII of U.S. citizens, and the subsequent liquidation of victim scam funds loaded to those cards by co-conspirators, while keeping a percentage of the victim funds on the cards for himself.

According to his guilty plea, also on May 26, beginning in or around 2013, Fahad Ali worked as a member of a crew of runners operating in the Chicago, Illinois area, the Southern District of Texas and elsewhere throughout the country. Ali admitted that he first served as a driver for an Illinois-based co-defendant engaging in activities in furtherance of the conspiracy. Ali later operated at the direction of that co-defendant and others, via various means of communication, including text messages, to purchase reloadable cards, and then liquidate victim scam proceeds placed on those cards by India-based co-conspirators, in exchange for recurring payments. Ali also admitted to using false identification documents to receive wire transfers from victims of the fraud.

To date, Hardik Patel, Rajubhai Patel, Viraj Patel, Dilipkumar A. Patel, Fahad Ali, 51 other individuals and five India-based call centers have been charged for their roles in the fraud and money laundering scheme in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Texas on Oct. 19, 2016. Including the most recent pleas, a total of nine defendants have pleaded guilty thus far in this case. Co-defendants Bharatkumar Patel, Ashvinbhai Chaudhari, Harsh Patel and Nilam Parikh previously pleaded guilty on April 13; April 26; May 11; and May 18, respectively.

The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

HSI, DHS-OIG and TIGTA led the investigation of this case. Also providing significant support were: the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs; Ft. Bend County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; police departments in Hoffman Estates and Naperville, Illinois, and in Leonia, New Jersey; San Diego County District Attorney’s Office Family Protection and Elder Abuse Unit; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General; IOC-2; INTERPOL Washington; USCIS; U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service; and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in Northern District of Alabama, District of Arizona, Central District of California, Northern District of California, District of Colorado, Northern District of Florida, Middle District of Florida, Northern District of Illinois, Northern District of Indiana, District of Nevada and District of New Jersey. The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau also provided assistance in TIGTA’s investigation.

Senior Trial Attorney Michael Sheckels and Trial Attorney Mona Sahaf of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, Trial Attorney Robert Stapleton of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Mark McIntyre and Craig M. Feazel of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.

A Department of Justice website has been established to provide information about the case to already identified and potential victims and the public. Anyone who believes they may be a victim of fraud or identity theft in relation to this investigation or other telefraud scam phone calls may contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) via this website.

Anyone who wants additional information about telefraud scams generally, or preventing identity theft or fraudulent use of their identity information, may obtain helpful information on the IRS tax scams website, the FTC phone scam website and the FTC identity theft website.

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It Begins Ridgewood Residents Begin Canceling Bergen Record Subscriptions

Bergen record Newspaper-vending-machine2

file photo by Boyd Loving

Thanks to Dublin I’ll be saving more than $300 year by canceling my subscription to the Record. His two oped pieces are offensive and obviously distorted. As a longtime resident of Ridgewood I’ve been following village council for many years. It’s clear that Jeff Voigt is grandstanding. If he were really interested in the Village he would have sat with other council and discussed instead of spoon-feeding Doblin such drivel.
Doblin commenting on the pride flag shows how little he knows about the facts. Then I’d like to know exactly what is “the plight of the LGBT community in Ridgewood.” He goes onto to say “at a public meeting the mayor and two other council members showed reluctance to fly the gay pride flag in ridgewood, that’s what happened in the public meeting, the part the public sees.” Watching from home that’s not what I saw or heard. I thought the discussion was where to have the flag and the request to put on the flag pole at village hall. I heard Councilwoman Walsh say the gay pride flag should not be on the pole with the American flag and she offer to put the flag inside village hall. Doblins comment about what happened in the public meeting, ” the part the public sees” is funny coming from the editor of a newspaper. it’s all supposed to be seen by the public and the only person who seems to be hiding anything is councilman Voigt.