Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

What type of offense would you prefer to run at the high school?

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2008 at 5:49 pm

What type of offense would you prefer to run at the high school? The spread? That seems to be en vogue these days, but Ridgeood doesn’t have the athletes to pull it off. It is great that the 6th graders can beat Pequannock, but last I checked, the high school plays in the NNJIL, one of the toughest leagues in the northeast. Pquannock High School is a tiny Group 2 school that finished 2-8 this year.

I have a running list of things that I wish Chuck Johnson would change, but I wholeheartedly feel that he gets as much out of his kids as anyone could. His teams have finished 50-16 over the past 6 years, including a win over Bergen Catholic the year that Bergen won the state championship. If you take out losses against the parochials, he is 50-10 during that time….with regular victories over Paramus Catholic.

Sometimes people get excited and expect bigger things of the high school team when they hear that one of the youth teams wins the Super Bowl. What they don’t realize is that a 6th grade super bowl team is nice, but not necessarily a predictor of success at the high school level. Look at the current junior class. I believe they won the super bowl in both 7th and 8th grade. However, at second glance, you see that they beat Upper Saddle River for the championship in 8th grade, which feeds into Northern Highlands (far from a football powerhouse). In the semifinals, I believe they defeated Ramsey, which is once again not a powerhouse.

If there is one thing that I am sure of, Chuck Johnson is a good football coach. I also think the wing T is well-suited for a town like Ridgewood. Chuck beats teams with considerably (and I mean CONSIDERABLY) better athletes through discipline, intelligence, and good coaching.

Gift Center


Wildes: Ensuring stable health care for our region

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Wildes: Ensuring stable health care for our region
Friday, November 28, 2008


To build a new facility at the site of the former Pascack Valley Hospital would be a mistake, one that could end up providing worse – not better – care for local residents.

AS MAYOR of Englewood, I strive continuously to ensure that my constituents receive quality services and care in all areas of life here in Bergen County. There is no area where quality is more important than in health care, and for the people of Englewood, having a hospital in our city provides a valuable facility for everyone in our community.

However, as a mayor with a hospital in my community, I can’t limit my concern to what it means to the people of Englewood. I have to look at what it means to the people who come from other parts of Bergen County. Englewood Hospital and Medical Center serves people from all over Bergen County and the financial strength of the hospital is critical to people in our neighboring towns and to Bergen County as a whole.

According to the January 2008 Final Report of the New Jersey Commission on Rationalizing Health Care Resources (also known as the Reinhardt Commission), New Jersey faces an oversupply of hospital beds, a problem that is particularly concentrated in the Hackensack-Ridgewood-Paterson area.

In part because of this oversupply, Pascack Valley Hospital suffered from low occupancy rates, filed for bankruptcy and ultimately closed in November 2007.

Upon Pascack Valley Hospital’s closing, all the hospitals in Bergen County experienced an increase in their respective occupancy rates. This increase confirmed that there had been too many acute care beds in Bergen County. But, more importantly, this change represents progress for the people in the region, as numerous studies, including one by Dr. Elliott Fisher at Dartmouth University, have shown that having an oversupply of acute care beds actually can have the effect of worsening health care.

A mistake

That’s why I believe that Hackensack University Medical Center and its for-profit Texas-based partner, Legacy Hospital Partners, should not be allowed to open a new acute care facility on the former Pascack Valley Hospital site in Westwood.

To open this facility would be a mistake, one that could end up providing worse – not better – care for local residents.

Make no mistake: Having more emergency facilities in the region is never harmful, and in this case would be a welcome addition to the region. It’s when you add the infrastructure of an acute care facility, complete with all of the administration, overhead and equipment required, that resources become redundant and health care quality can be compromised.

Recently, one of my colleagues asserted that the closing of Pascack Valley Hospital was a devastating financial loss to the town of Westwood, both in terms of commerce and jobs lost.

As a fellow mayor, I certainly understand the challenges that take place when a community faces a hospital closing. But I believe it is vital that we not exacerbate those negative effects by starting a new hospital. A new for-profit hospital in the region could destabilize the entire region’s health care system, and could cause additional hospitals to close. We’d be confronting the same issues that Westwood recently experienced, only in a different municipality.

With today’s economic conditions, we cannot afford instability; we must do everything to keep our hospitals, as well as our businesses, stable.

Additionally, the proposed facility is to be a for-profit hospital, and those types of institutions often do not have the interests of the community at heart. The non-profit hospitals in this region invest in the community and are not beholden to out-of-state investors.

Additionally, our local hospitals take all patients – including charity, Medicare and privately insured patients, which I feel is better for the community.

Replacing the old Pascack Valley Hospital with a similar institution runs counter to the Reinhardt report and could undo some of the benefits that the closing of Pascack Valley provided Bergen County’s residents.

Won’t benefit the people

The introduction of new hospital beds at a location where hospital beds were removed less than nine months ago does not seem to benefit the people of this region. There are seven full-service hospitals less than 15 miles from that site.

All the hospitals in Bergen County support the new emergency facility opened by Hackensack Medical Center at the Pascack Valley site. To add a full-service acute care hospital might be detrimental to the care of the region’s residents and could greatly diminish the continued operational effectiveness and quality of northern New Jersey’s hospitals.

The Reinhardt report should be given a chance to work, to show that the public policies in place are correct and that financially stable hospitals are good for all the people of Bergen County, not just Englewood.

Michael J. Wildes, mayor of Englewood, is an immigration attorney and has been an emergency medical technician for more than 15 years.


Stroller accident highlights danger for pedestrians

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Letter to the Editor

The Ridgewood News

November 28, 2008


I was disheartened to read Michael Giardina’s impassive article “Local priest cited in pedestrian mishap” (The Ridgewood News; Nov. 21). The article did not convey the seriousness of the incident and seemed to dismiss what, for many of us, is a great fear when strolling the streets of Ridgewood.

I am a friend and neighbor of the Semenchenko family who were involved in the accident at the intersection of Godwin and Sherman place. My understanding of what happened is very different from what was reported in the paper. It was not a “mishap,” but nearly a major tragedy. I would also like to point out that it is a common practice for a person to “push a stroller out in front of them.” Indeed, if there is another method for using a stroller, I’ve not heard of one.

Our small neighborhood is extremely distraught; neighbors are rallying to support the Semenchenko family and wondering what Village of Ridgewood officials will do to remedy the poorly lit, minimally marked crosswalk to prevent a real catastrophe from occurring in the future. Two years ago, at my request, yellow diamond pedestrian crossing signs were installed, but strangely, only at one crosswalk, not both. Obviously, this is insufficient. With frustrated drivers accelerating quickly as they leave the Whole Foods driveway bottleneck going downhill, and equally exasperated drivers coming in the opposite direction from the Monroe/Ackerman/Godwin tangle, those of us who use that crosswalk regularly with our children must be extremely cautious.

Ridgewood is a lovely place to live and one of the finest features is that it is a pedestrian town. We encourage our children to walk to school because it is healthy and good for the environment. We should also encourage our residents and those from neighboring towns to walk around and enjoy our stores and restaurants with well-orchestrated crosswalks, signals and laws. A reputation for ticketing speeders and those who do not stop for pedestrians in crosswalks would send a clear message to walkers and poor drivers alike

I strongly encourage the village council, the police department and the safety committee to enforce existing speeding and crosswalk laws and to increase safety standards for pedestrians before a major disaster occurs. I also implore Ridgewood residents to do their part by slowing down, driving 25 mph (the speed limit on most major roads and side streets), refraining from using their cell phones when driving and stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalks, as is the state law.

Christa Leonard


Note from The Fly: S. Elizabeth Searle, the local minister cited by traffic summons in this accident, has publicly announced her intention to contest the charge that she failed to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.


Fight at Brooklyn Pizza

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 2:56 am

I will post a detail article as soon as I get back from the holidays

An Elmwood Park man was charged with making terrorist threats to the pizzeria manager at Brooklyn Pizza.We also were very disappointed with the service and the food at Brooklyn Pizza but stopped short of terroristic threats and just told the manager the place sucks . It is not clear if Mr.Ruzhdi Aliu the man charged will be sent to Gitmo or not for crimes against Pizza .His companion must have thought he was in a Greek restaurant and threw a plate and threatened bodily harm to the same manager. Plates are traditionally thrown at Greek restaurants .Perhaps he’ll be sent to geography classes.

Again hope your having a very nice thanksgiving !
GigaGolf, Inc.

Dispute at Brooklyn Pizza results in multiple arrests

Alleged restaurant row brings charge

November 27, 2008
Evonne Coutros

RIDGEWOOD — An Elmwood Park man was charged with making terroristic threats to a pizzeria manager in the central business district after he was told that the food he ordered was not available, police said.
Ruzhdi Aliu, 30, was inside Brooklyn’s Brick Oven Pizza on Oak Street around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday when he threatened the restaurant manager with bodily harm, said Ridgewood Police Detective Douglas Williams. His companion, Stephanie Colon, 18, of Bayonne, threw a plate, Williams said.

The manager called police to report two unruly customers. When police caught up with the couple, they were walking down the street. Police charged Colon with giving them a fictitious identity.

Both parties were transported to police headquarters where criminal complaints were signed, police said.

Maple-Roasted Turkey-Food Network

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2008 at 3:09 am

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2008 at 2:45 am

Wishing Our Readers
a Happy and Healthy

Ridgewood Blog Poll : What type of dog should President Elect Obama pick for the White house?

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2008 at 5:32 pm

German Sheppard
6 (6%)

Golden Retriever
14 (14%)

Irish wolfhound
4 (4%)

12 (12%)

a Mutt
51 (51%)

a player to be named later
12 (12%)

Playboy Custom Gear

The Great Thanksgiving Hoax

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2008 at 5:29 pm

Daily Article by Richard J. Maybury Posted on 11/20/1999

Each year at this time school children all over America are taught the official Thanksgiving story, and newspapers, radio, TV, and magazines devote vast amounts of time and space to it. It is all very colorful and fascinating.

It is also very deceiving. This official story is nothing like what really happened. It is a fairy tale, a whitewashed and sanitized collection of half-truths which divert attention away from Thanksgiving’s real meaning.

The official story has the pilgrims boarding the Mayflower, coming to America and establishing the Plymouth colony in the winter of 1620-21. This first winter is hard, and half the colonists die. But the survivors are hard working and tenacious, and they learn new farming techniques from the Indians. The harvest of 1621 is bountiful. The Pilgrims hold a celebration, and give thanks to God. They are grateful for the wonderful new abundant land He has given them.

The official story then has the Pilgrims living more or less happily ever after, each year repeating the first Thanksgiving. Other early colonies also have hard times at first, but they soon prosper and adopt the annual tradition of giving thanks for this prosperous new land called America.

The problem with this official story is that the harvest of 1621 was not bountiful, nor were the colonists hardworking or tenacious. 1621 was a famine year and many of the colonists were lazy thieves.

In his ‘History of Plymouth Plantation,’ the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported that the colonists went hungry for years, because they refused to work in the fields. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with “corruption,” and with “confusion and discontent.” The crops were small because “much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable.”

In the harvest feasts of 1621 and 1622, “all had their hungry bellies filled,” but only briefly. The prevailing condition during those years was not the abundance the official story claims, it was famine and death. The first “Thanksgiving” was not so much a celebration as it was the last meal of condemned men.

But in subsequent years something changes. The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, “instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” Thereafter, he wrote, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.” In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.

What happened?

After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, “they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop.” They began to question their form of economic organization.

This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.

This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that are most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.

Many early groups of colonists set up socialist states, all with the same terrible results. At Jamestown, established in 1607, out of every shipload of settlers that arrived, less than half would survive their first twelve months in America. Most of the work was being done by only one-fifth of the men, the other four-fifths choosing to be parasites. In the winter of 1609-10, called “The Starving Time,” the population fell from five-hundred to sixty.

Then the Jamestown colony was converted to a free market, and the results were every bit as dramatic as those at Plymouth. In 1614, Colony Secretary Ralph Hamor wrote that after the switch there was “plenty of food, which every man by his own industry may easily and doth procure.” He said that when the socialist system had prevailed, “we reaped not so much corn from the labors of thirty men as three men have done for themselves now.”

Before these free markets were established, the colonists had nothing for which to be thankful. They were in the same situation as Ethiopians are today, and for the same reasons. But after free markets were established, the resulting abundance was so dramatic that the annual Thanksgiving celebrations became common throughout the colonies, and in 1863, Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

Thus the real reason for Thanksgiving, deleted from the official story, is: Socialism does not work; the one and only source of abundance is free markets, and we thank God we live in a country where we can have them.

* * * * *
Mr. Maybury writes on investments.

This article originally appeared in The Free Market, November 1985.


For Garden State ,going green seen as natural

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 at 1:04 pm


Friday, November 21, 2008
Last updated: Saturday November 22, 2008, EST 2:48 PM
ATLANTIC CITY — For local officials looking to go green, products or advice are in sight everywhere these days.

From a dealer selling 100-percent electric, zero emissions, low-speed vehicles, to manufactures of environmentally friendly office furniture, to PSE&G promoting green energy programs, more green vendors than ever are trying to sell to municipal officials.

They were in particular abundance at this week’s Annual League of Municipalities Conference. And they are an increasingly common sign of a statewide movement gaining momentum.

“More officials have concerns about the environment, and their constituents have concerns about the environment,” said Brian Law, a dealer for electric Tiger Truck vehicles, who said he has noticed more interest than ever in his energy-efficient products.

Representatives from PSE&G promoted a wind project off the coast of Cape May and Atlantic counties to provide energy to 250,000 homes. The power company also shared information about financing help available to towns and businesses for solar projects.

“It’s a wave of the future,” said a PSE&G representative at the company booth.

Hundreds of municipal officials packed conference rooms to learn how to make their town more energy efficient and economically viable while protecting the environment through better land use.

“I would love for Fair Lawn to be one of the first in Bergen County to be a sustainable community,” said the borough’s Deputy Mayor Lisa Swain. “It’s the only way to have a good, clean future for our kids, and economically, it’s the only way to survive.”

Green leaders gave tips Thursday on how to cut costs and protect the environment by purchasing energy-efficient appliances for town hall, installing low-flow plumbing, using recycled toner cartridges when possible and reducing municipal car use.

In Ocean City, officials agreed to lease roof space for solar panels to an energy broker in exchange for less-costly power, Joseph Clark, the city’s purchasing manager told some 200 municipal officials.

Encouraging residents to recycle grass clipping and leaves, Clark also told officials, could reduce waste by up to 20 percent and lower disposal fees.

Ridgewood Councilwoman Anne Zusy was eager to embrace green initiatives after listening to presenters.

“It’s ridiculous not to do it,” Zusy said. “You don’t have to be a tree hugger to feel that way.”The prominence of green vendors and programs at the league conference marked a significant shift from recent years. Highland Park Mayor Meryl Frank, a statewide leader helping towns go green, gave a presentation five years ago on such efforts.

“Fifteen people showed up,” she said.

This year, more than 350 municipal officials were there to listen to Frank and others talk about Sustainable Jersey, a new program to provide resources and grant money for towns to go green.

“In the beginning, people were laughing at us,” Frank said. “Now everyone wants to know how we do this and how to get on board.”

Paterson Councilman Andre Sayegh falls into the category of officials who want to know more. He said he plans to press city officials to investigate more green initiatives. He was inspired after listing to Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer talk about efforts to green the state capitol. The city saved $120,000 a year by switching to energy-efficient lights for traffic signals.

“Trenton has done it; why not Paterson?” Sayegh said. “You’d save money. We are a cash-strapped city.”

Palmer, past president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said green initiatives are here to stay.

“Some people think going green is a fad, like the Hula Hoop,” Palmer said. “This is no fad. &hellip it’s going to be a priority for this nation for generations to come.”

“You can do this,” he encouraged officials.

“It’s not hard. It’s not rocket science. It’s just having a commitment and reaching out to others to do it.”

E-mail: alexandera@northjersey.com

Tracking Math Students in Elementary School

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 at 12:57 pm

I am not philosophically opposed to “tracking” in the elementary schools, provided it does not occur too early.

I am aware, for example, that in Singapore, each student whose individual performance in a math test administered at the end of the third grade reveals an insufficient grasp of mathematical concepts and basic skills for that level is identified and subsequently “tracked” during fourth and fifth grade. This ensures that by the time the tracked students reach the end of fifth grade, they are on par with their non-tracked classmates in math. In other words, when the whole class moves on to sixth grade, virtually nobody is suffering from a deficit of knowledge or skills. Everyone has an opportunity to move forward with confidence and pride.

Admittedly, the questions naturally arise: 1) How is such “tracking” handled?, and 2)Won’t “tracked” students miss out on certain things that non-tracked students receive in terms of non-math instruction?

In answer to the first question, I understand that the “tracked” students experience a 4th and 5th grade math curriculum that involves a relatively heavier emphasis on repeating and reinforcing math concepts, both with respect to such concepts as are covered in earlier grades, as well as new math concepts that are appropriate to the grade they are currently in. By contrast, the non-tracked students spend a proportionally smaller amount of their time in math instruction. The net result is that by the end of 5th grade, the tracked students have completely caught up to their non-tracked classmates in math.

The answer to the second question is apparently “yes”. But since the remedial program experienced by the “tracked” students is spread out over two years, the differential in terms of exposure to non-math subject matter is kept to a minimum. The people of Singapore have clearly decided that the most costly deficit from which a child at the elementary school level can suffer is in math conceptual knowledge and basic math skills. They have molded and shaped their overall elementary school instructional program accordingly.

In my view, Singapore was particularly wise to do this. It has set itself up for success by taking the early steps necessary to provide as many students as possible with the valid option to pursue educational paths leading to financially rewarding and intellectually stimulating careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Most of us in the U.S. who never opted to pursue a STEM career are easily convinced that early preparation and diligent practice is essential for musicians who will eventually seek a fine arts degree in instrumental performance, just as much as such behavior is critical for the success of budding professional dancers, or for aspiring collegiate athletes. Why it it that so many in this country resist coming to a similar concluson when it comes to students who will eventually pursue STEM careers? This is a problem that only time and patient argumentation can overcome.

The challenge faced by elementary students worldwide in aquiring critical mathematics concepts, and in developing automaticity with important math facts and processes (like the Standard Algorithm), is well documented. At the same time, premiere public school districts in the U.S. seem particularly unwilling to address this problem head-on. I am beginning to view this as a dysfunction that has its origins in a misplaced concern for egalitarianism. Administrators seem loathe to take specific action to address deficiencies in math instruction, fearing that if they do so, they will be seen by district parents and teachers as regarding non-math subjects as less important than math. Based on my experience thus far, I would say that the Ridgewood administrators are suffering from this syndrome in spades.