Protecting Our Best Friends

tt106.jpgWe’re not the first, but this is one time New Jersey should be an enthusiastic follower.

I’m referring to Tennessee, which recently launched the country’s first animal abuse registry.

The approach is very simple. In Tennessee, if you are convicted of animal abuse, your name appears on a registry for two years. If you are convicted of animal abuse a second time, your name appears on the registry for five years.

The idea is particularly pertinent if someone plans on working with animals. Just as we place extra trust in teachers and law enforcement, so too should we ensure that those engaged in the handling of animals have a spotless record.

Read more

Deborah Heart and Lung Center conducting free screenings for veterans Saturday

Changes in how health care is delivered has prompted the Deborah Heart and Lung Center to go out into the community and offer free screening services to Burlington County veterans.

Using a $50,000 grant from the New Jersey Department Of Health's Division of Health and Family Services, the nonprofit township hospital is gearing up to provide dozens of veterans screenings for cardiovascular disease and for pulmonary and lung disease at the Medford VFW Post 7677 at 317 Church Road on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Read more

COMMENTARY: Reducing health care costs

We have all sustained an injury or illness at one time in our life, but when the moment strikes, not all of us are fortunate enough to have access to quality health care services that we can afford.

In 2010, President Barack Obama sought to tackle this issue head-on through the Affordable Care Act. While Congress continues to bicker over a law that is now six years old, the rest of the country has moved on because they have seen the benefits firsthand. Over 20 million Americans are now insured thanks to “Obamacare.”

Read more

Environmental group, farming advocates up in arms about Christie open space diversion

When New Jersey voters went to the polls two years ago and overwhelmingly voted in favor of dedicating a share of corporate business taxes for open space, farmland and historic preservation, advocates cheered the outcome as finally providing long-sought-after dedicated funding for those preservation programs.

Read more

Gov. Christie's Shifting of $20M in open space funds call unconsitutional

Governor Christie’s decision to take nearly $20 million in state tax revenue dedicated to open space preservation and use it instead to cover parks management in his state budget was unconstitutional, according to a legal opinion issued by a non-partisan arm of the legislature.

But the governor’s office disputes the opinion laid out by the Office of Legislative Services, which had issued its opinion at the request of state Sen. Bob Smith, D-Middlesex, who chairs the Senate environment and energy committee.A state environmental group, meanwhile, says taking the money for other purposes jeopardizes the chance to protect sensitive land in North Jersey and elsewhere that should be preserved.

Read more

Business Lobby Sounded Alarm on Minimum-Wage Increase-Back in 2013

Jobless rate has actually dropped 3 percent since previous hike to $8.25 – but is $15 too high?

While Democratic legislative leaders and labor advocates want to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15, business-lobbying groups warn that such a change would crush the state economy.

It wouldn’t be the big corporations that would feel the most pain, they say, but the downtown pizzeria and other small businesses throughout the state.

Read more

Why some N.J. schools could get less state aid in 2017

When New Jersey established a new school funding formula in 2008, state lawmakers promised that no school district would lose money right away.

The concept, known as hold harmless, ensured that every school district received increased state aid in the first year before potentially seeing a decline in funding based on future enrollment and demographic changes.

Read more


Outlaw inhumane leg-hold traps in N.J. for real


When the state attorney general, in 1985, said that the state's ban on hunters' and trappers' use of leghold traps on small animals was  "absolute," "unambiguous," and applied to all "technical modifications," he meant it. Unfortunately, last year, council authorized the use of "enclosed foothold trap," which goes against the 1985 policy as well as the legislative intent of a 1984 law. These are still leghold traps.

Read more

Poverty, the Numbers and the Real Deal

tt105.jpgThe Numbers

I told a friend that my next blog was going to be about poverty in America. He blinked rapidly in succession. “Big topic,” he said.

“Important topic,” I replied.

But he had a point. The immensity of the poverty issue continues to be nothing short of stunning. I confirmed this belief when I learned about the numbers.

Read more

Still Recovering, Three Years After Hurricane Sandy

Brian and Marian Salkin have always lived on the lower floors of their three-story home. Their daughter lived on the upper floors.

After the storm, the couple used their life savings and insurance money to repair their basement dwelling

But new elevation requirements are forcing them out of those lower levels. And they blame project delays on the very program New Jersey set up to help Sandy victims: the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation Program, or RREM.

Read more