new jersey

Meaning of Friendship or Meaning of Corruption: NJ Sen. Bob Menendez faces Corruption Charges

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He says he is not going anywhere, but if charges due prove he is just another corrupt senator a New Jersey senator may not be able to stand by his words.

On Friday, controversy hit the garden state when it was revealed that the Department of Justice is planning on filing criminal corruption charges against the state’s senator Senator Bob Menendez who has been accused of using his position to promote and secure the interests of a South Florida doctor. But are the charges against Menendez purely premature since it is nothing but a friendship between a politician and a businessman?

Having served as Senator for 23 years, Menendez is recognized as one of the highest ranking Latino members in Congress and is being accused of using his Senate seat to aid the efforts of an eye doctor who lives in South Florida by the name of Doctor Salomon Melgen.

As we have said before, we believe all of the senator’s actions have been appropriate and lawful and the facts will ultimately confirm that. Any actions taken by Sen. Menendez or his office have been to appropriately address public policy issues and not for any other reason,” said Tricia Enright, Menendez’ communication director, in a statement released on Friday regarding the announcement of pending charges.

Let me be very clear—very clear—I have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law,” said Menendez at a news conference on Friday evening responded to the pending charges against him.

During an investigation led by the Associated Press, it was found that Menendez had sponsored legislation that would have provided incentives for conversions that dealt with natural gas which would have benefitted Melgen.

Melgen is a known political donor of Menendez having donation more than $700,000 to both Menendez and other Senate democrats during the 2013 election. During those elections, Menendez was seeking re-election.

In 2010, Melgen became a part of the board of directors of Gaseous Fuel Systems Corporation—or GFS for short—located in Weston, Florida. Known for its designs, GPS manufactures and sells products that aid in converting diesel-fuel fleets into natural gas. Prior to his board position, Melgen was an investor and according to the company’s chief executive was the company’s former consultant.

From 2009-2012, Menendez was a principal supporter of a natural gas bill that would permit a boost in tax credits and grants offered to truck and heavy vehicle fleets that underwent conversion into alternative fuels provided by companies like GFS. However, the bill stalled in the Senate Finance Committee in 2009 failed to win the needed 60 votes to advance in 2012 when it was revived.

In-between 2009 and 2011, the former-consultant for GFS had spent an estimated $220,000 lobbying Menendez’s staff and other congressional and federal officials who were connected to the act’s provisions as well as other regulatory issues, revealed by the AP who found interviews and Senate records.
During his press conference, Menendez stated that Melgen is nothing more than a close personal friend whom the two have said spent holidays together with family and during moments like birthdays, holidays and weddings presents were exchanged as they normally are between friends.

Anyone who knows us knows he and his family, and me and my family, have been real friends for more than two decades,” he said.

According to the AP’s investigation, there currently is no evidence that shows Menendez had offered direct help or intervened on GFS’s or Melgen’s behalf. However, they do claim it is another example on how the connection between the two men’s interests in natural gas is the latest example of the close symmetry between the senator and his millionaire backer.

So, is Menendez’s personal relationship with a known businessman just that or is there some play being had and requires some questioning because it may violate the morality of his position as a senator? Or is Menendez being sought out since he was caught or because he is Latino? Menendez is certainly not the only senator to have a close relationship to a person in a position as Melgen is.

Whatever the grounds of their relationship are, it will only be a matter of time before it is revealed. What should become more of a focus is the relationship between politicians and political candidates with lobbyists who are the very creation of what happens when politics, the interests of the people, are crushed for personal interests.

PATH, YAY; GOVS & PORT AUTHORITY, NAY: Plans to cut PATH Train overnight services stirs community outcry

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At the very start of the New Year, a proposal was announced that would address a growing issue regarding the operational services of the PATH and would save the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey an estimated $10 million a year. However, this plan it is being met with great opposition due to what will need to be sacrificed in order to save some money.

In-between the years of 2004 to 2013, the PATH’s operating service’s deficit has grown an estimated 30%, according to a report released in 2014 by the Citizens Budget Commission. Because of this, in late December a panel was created consisting of Governors Andrew Cuomo & Chris Christie along with leaders of the Port Authority in order to discuss solutions to the increasing deficit of the PATH trains services.

From this meeting a proposal has been announced that claims it will save the Port Authority some money each year, but will require the cutting of overnight services—from 1 AM to 5 AM—of the PATH train.

According to the report created from the panel, eliminating overnight PATH service will not truly be an issue because at the time period mentioned above ridership “substantially falls” so ending the services between those 5 hours will achieve “operational and capital savings estimated to be at least $10 million per year.”

Also in the report, to make up for the lack of train service there would be the possibility of offering buses as alternatives for those who use the PATH within those hours.

And that is where the opposition comes in.

During the panel meeting it was determined that the hours chosen is when the PATH’s use by the public is essentially lower than any other time period, but as of yesterday—according to an online petition against the proposal—close to 3,000 supporters have to disagree.

Thousands of families depend on the PATH train: the overnight service allows residents and visitors to spend more time at their destination instead of commuting,” said Ronald Bautista of Citizens for Hoboken, a Facebook page created by Bautista and devoted to acting as a platform where members of the Hoboken community can come together and address other issues that may need solutions.

Currently, the Citizens for Hoboken have a petition addressed to Governor Christie & Port Authority Chairman John Degnan wanting the two key figures behind the proposal to see how many people are against this plan to end to the current plan to end overnight PATH services.

Thousands of families depend on the PATH train,” adds Bautista, “the overnight service allows residents and visitors to spend more time at their destination instead of commuting.

And this is actually truer than the findings within the report themselves. When people started to hear about the proposed cuts, most of the commuters on the PATH were shocked by the plan. While it may seem like the late night hour services may not be packed, they actually are. Around 2 AM you may expect to find most PATH trains crowded within New York City heading back into New Jersey.

Myself and my kids use the PATH often after hours. I am a full time working musician who plays in New York, without the PATH service, I would have to drive into NY, incurring tolls and parking fees that significantly cut into the money I make. I have two young adult sons that travel to Brooklyn and Manhattan for the night life and for work,” writes John Bauers, of Jersey City, who signed the petition, “They could not do this without PATH, as neither of them drive. We need to be forward thinking in terms of public transportation, not backward in making us more dependent on automobiles than we already are. Think of the citizens of this state, Mr. Christie.

On the weekdays it may not seem far too packed considering it is a typical weekday, and the only riders you may see on the PATH are people heading home from work or to work from home depending on their schedule.

I’ve lived in Hoboken for 20 years and 24 hour Path service is indispensable to me. I would never have moved to Hoboken if there WASN’T 24 access and I have to contemplate leaving if it will be no more,” writes another petition signer, Paul Paulson of Hoboken, “Forcing people to rely on car or bus transport at night is a horrible, short-sighted idea—easily doubling or tripling the time and cost of getting home at late night or going to work early in the morning. This proposal reflects very badly on the governors of NJ and NY and tells us that they have little understanding of their constituent’s needs and of economic reality—There is far more to be lost in closing the Path at night than will be gained in savings”.

But on the weekend, the PATH can get into a gridlock within a certain period of the night. So, if the proposed plans do go through not only are you cutting of people from commuting into NYC or NJ but you’re essentially taking profit away from both Hudson County and the city.

We’ll probably stay in Hoboken instead of going into the city,” said Eugene LaBuz from Hoboken. “There’s no way we’re getting back to Hoboken from the city before 1 a.m. on the weekend. It’s not possible.

While there is a heavy show of opposition to the proposed cuts, the Port Authority is still tightrope-walking the fence between “will they or won’t they” cut the services. In statements made regarding the cuts, there appears to be just talk to cut PATH services.

Curtailment of PATH service would be a last resort,” said Degnan, in a statement he made on January 5th regarding the proposed cut, “This is only one of several ideas being considered to get the PATH deficit under control.

Degnan also added in his statement that PATH service would only be cut after the Port Authority received word from local elected-officials and public hearings that are held to discuss the matter. And so far, even if it is just talk the people are speaking out against the proposed cuts.

That idea should not even be considered,” said Bautista, in-response to the statement made by Degnan, “More than 2,300 residents have made their voices heard: we request Port Authority to take that idea off the table because it is bad for working families, bad for businesses, and affects our quality of life.

In the report created from the panel, and according to Degnan himself, the idea to cut overnight PATH services is just one idea. However, it takes just one idea that’s been repeated or talked about more which is a reason to be concerned because it could be the strongest possibility. According to the report, other ideas included increasing the advertising revenue and applying for federal subsidies that could be given by the Federal Transit Administration.

The Port Authority’s $10 million in potential savings is an extremely small percentage of its $7 billion budget. Solutions for this challenge need to start by making Port Authority more transparent and audit its efficiency,” said Bautista, commenting on “Every solution that’s considered also needs to take into consideration the economic and social impact it will have in the community.

With other plans reportedly on the table, people are pushing for the Governors and members of the Port Authority should reconvene and work on those discussed and seemingly ignored because—for them—the cutting of services offered to the people seems to be the fit in their eyes.

While there is no slated plan that the PATH services will be cut, that does not mean people will not stop being heard. So far, the petition has drawn in close to 3,000 signers from people living in New Jersey & New York City who find the proposed plan to do more harm than actual good.

To sign the petition, and have the PATH train remain in service as it is supposed to, click the link here to sign and have your voice heard.

Celebrating the 54th Annual Puerto Rican Heritage Festival and Parade

Puerto-Rican-Day-Parade-NY-latin-culture-418838_475_360Celebrating where we come from and sharing it with others is the epitome of what makes us who we are today. Seeing where we come from and hearing stories from our ancestors, brings more meaning and understanding to us.

Festivals are one way to do that. This past weekend, Jersey City, New Jersey celebrated its 54th Annual Puerto Rican Heritage Festival and Parade at Exchange Place.

Food and live music are usually the main attractions at any festival because a lot of cultures are surrounded by the food. Some of the native food that was featured included empanadas, arepas (sweet corn with mozzarella cheese) and pina coladas. This year, the festival did something different and brought in a classic car show and a Golden Gloves Boxing Event.

The classic cars featured ones from 1929 to the early 1980s. The brands included a Corvette Sting Ray, Mustangs, and Chevrolet. Some of the cars had the hoods opened so that the festival goers could see what the engines looked like.

The Golden Gloves Boxing Event “promotes and enhances physical well being, develops individual athletic skills, work ethic, discipline, sportsmanship, self-respect, and pride; and provides entertainment to citizens of the community”. Amateur boxers from around the state participated in this event.

Overall, this event celebrated Puerto Rican heritage and culture. It reminds us of where we come from and what traditions are still used in families today across the country.

JERSEY BOYS “Fan Pack” Sweepstakes Until 6/20

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Clint Eastwood’s big screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of the four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic `60s rock group The Four Seasons. Their trials and triumphs are accompanied by the hit songs that influenced a generation, and are now being embraced by a new generation of fans through the stage musical.

 

Director: Clint Eastwood
Writers: Screenplay and musical book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice
Song Music by: Bob Gaudio and Lyrics by: Bob Crewe
Producers: Clint Eastwood, Graham King, Robert Lorenz
Executive Producers: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tim Moore, Tim Headington, Brett Ratner, James Packer, Steven Mnuchin
Cast: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, and Christopher Walken

 

Enter for the chance to win a t-shirt, tote bag, 3” button, movies passes and more on behalf of the film by watching the trailer and answering the following movie question:

Jersey Boys tells the story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who joined together to form a 1960s rock group. Name this iconic group.

 

 

Grand prize includes:
• 1 – JERSEY BOYS One Sheet
• 1 – JERSEY BOYS T-shirt
• 1 – JERSEY BOYS Tote Bag
• 1 – JERSEY BOYS 3” Round Button
• 1 (Admit Two) – JERSEY BOYS Hollywood Movie Money
o Hollywood Movie Money is a free admission voucher to see a predetermined film (JERSEY BOYS) redeemable nationwide starting 06/20/14 and valid for a limited time for use in any theater excluding AMC Theaters.

Next Level “4 Vintage Mics” Black T-Shirt

Magazine Tote Bag

3” Round Button

 

www.jerseyboysmovie.com

McDonald’s New York Tri-State Area Promotes and Supports the Practice of Soccer among Children

 

Claudio Reyna Check Presentation

 

This past weekend, McDonald’s New York Tri-State area restaurants gave 100 young soccer enthusiasts and their families an experience they’ll never forget at a soccer clinic at the Indoor Sports Pavilion in Randolph, New Jersey. During the event, 100 local children aged 6 to 10 practiced their favorite sport and received tips from soccer professionals. All participants received three tickets to attended the USA vs Turkey soccer match the next day at the Red Bull Arena.

As part of McDonald’s ongoing commitment to the communities where they do business, Ana Madan and Celeste Quintana, local McDonald’s owners, made a $5,000 donation to the Claudio Reyna Foundation, which promotes an active lifestyle and education through soccer among the children in our region. Josh Morgan and former USA World Cup soccer player, Jimmy Conrad, representing the Claudio Reyna Foundation also attended the event.

 

Nutrionist McD Soccer Clinic

 

In addition at the soccer clinic, McDonald’s conducted a series of workshops for the attendees led by certified nutritionist Sandra Arévalo, who provided some helpful tips for healthy living, including how to mix and match different McDonald’s menu options. For instance, Happy Meal choices such as the apple slices, the low fat milk, or the upcoming arrival of, Strawberry Go-Gurt (low fat yogurt) available in restaurants beginning next month.

Twenty-two of the children who participated in the soccer clinic were selected to be part of the McDonald’s Player Escort program during the USA vs Turkey match that took place the following day (Sunday, June 1). The Player Escorts had the chance to walk hand in hand with the biggest soccer figures from the United States and Turkey, as they entered to the soccer field at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.

 

To learn more about the nutritional value of McDonald’s menu and how to pair them the best, visit www.sabiasquemcdny.com

Runway Fashion Show

Greetings amigos and amigas! Naisha here writing to you from the beautiful sunshine state in Miami Florida! I’m planning a destination wedding in Miami; although I’m here on business I wanted to inform you about this awesome event happening tomorrow night. It’s fashion week this weekend in Miami but don’t fret “Sisters on the Runway” is hosting a fashion show tomorrow starting at 7:00 PM sharp at The Loft in Montclair NJ. Sisters on the Runway are a non-profit club that raises awareness with club activities and community outreach. Sisters on the Runway also host fundraisers with the goal of supporting shelters who house victims and families affected by Domestic Violence. Besides enjoying a beautiful fashion runway show you’ll also help support an amazing cause! Get your tickets now and be sure to rock your best outfit; you never know who might be there!

Sisters on the runway

Bringing Awarness to Autism

The Word Autism On Blank Puzzle PiecesArguably, people help out each other for one reason, because it feels good. They don’t because they have to, they do it out of the kindness of their heart. We are so grateful to have people like this in the world who are willing to take an extra few minutes out of their day to help others. For one person, they did not even leave their name, but paid their lunch bill of $485. This was done because she had a grandson with special needs.

The group was made up of 25 students, that attended classes on autism at the Matthew Jago School in Sewaren and teachers, and faculty members accompanied them. They went out to lunch at Jose Tejas Restaurant in Iselin, NJ, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Each of the attendees brought money to chip in for the bill, but when the waiter came back with it, they stated that it was paid for by an anonymous person.

To honor the person, the students made a huge thank you card that was displayed in the restaurant as well as a note that was put on the website.

Like any disease, many ethnicities can be affected by it but it is often misdiagnosed, diagnosed later than it should be, or not diagnosed at all. Once people are aware of the disease, many step forward to show unity and support one another. No one group or person can do it alone; it is simply impossible. But one person can start the journey and by human nature, many more will follow.

More on autism can be found in the April issue of the magazine and many events about autism can be found here.

JERSEY BOYS In theaters on June 20

JERSEY.BOYS_OneSheetPoster

 

Director: Clint Eastwood

Writers: Screenplay and musical book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice

Song Music by: Bob Gaudio and Lyrics by Bob Crewe

Producers: Clint Eastwood, Graham King, Robert Lorenz

Executive Producers: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tim Moore, Tim Headington, Brett Ratner, James Packer, Steven Mnuchin

Cast: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, and Christopher Walken

 

Musical. Clint Eastwood’s big screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of the four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic `60s rock group The Four Seasons. Their trials and triumphs are accompanied by the hit songs that influenced a generation, and are now being embraced by a new generation of fans through the stage musical.

 

MCDONALD’S MEET AND GREET WITH ACTOR JORGE VEGA FROM THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

 

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McDonald’s NY Metro will bring excitement to their local restaurants by hosting a series of Meet and Greet events with actor Jorge Vega from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on April 29th and 30th at four selected restaurants in the region. McDonald’s guests will have the opportunity to meet Jorge Vega, take pictures and enjoy a fun afternoon full of surprises.

On April 29th, Jorge Vega will be visiting the McDonald’s Times Square restaurant located at 220 west 42nd street New York, NY 10036, from 2 to 3pm ET. The second stop will be at the Paterson, NJ –McDonald’s restaurant located at 485-497 Broadway, Paterson, NJ 07514 from 4:30 to 6pm ET.

On April 30th, Brooklyn fans will be able to meet Jorge Vega at the McDonald’s restaurant located at 968 4th Ave & 37th street Brooklyn, NY 11232 from 2 to 3pm ET. Jorge will be then visiting his neighborhood McDonald’s in the Bronx, located at 1982 Westchester Ave. Bronx, NY 10462 from 4 to 6pm ET. For more information visit: mcdonaldsnytristate.com/en/community-amazing-spider-man-2

McDonald’s is a proud partner of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and we are excited to be introducing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Happy Meal®,” said Ken Ebo, Director, US Marketing- New York. “We are really happy to offer our customers and their children in the NY metro area the exclusive opportunity to meet the talented Jorge Vega and enjoy a fun-filled family afternoon at our restaurants.”

I am from the Bronx and love the McDonald’s Happy Meal®, so I am super excited to be able to visit some McDonald’s restaurants and meet some of my fans”, said 9 year-old, actor, Jorge Vega. “It’s incredible to be part of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie and to get to wear the Spider-Man suit”, added Vega.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Happy Meal® will be available starting April 25th at participating McDonald’s, while supplies last. For even more fun, kids can use McPlay™ Power and scan The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Happy Meal toy to unlock an exciting game in McPlay, the Happy Meal app.

State Facts That You May Not Already Know

Map of United StatesEvery state is so unique by having its own identity and lingo to it, only the people from that state may understand it. Since we have readers all over the country, it is only fitting that we give you one fact of many that are weird but true to that state. Did you know about the fact from your state?

Alabama Audemus jura nostra defendere is the official state motto; translated it means “we dare defend our rights”.
Alaska The state of Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times.
ArizonaThe original London Bridge was shipped stone-by-stone and reconstructed in Lake Havasu City.
Arkansas Pine Bluff is known as the world center of archery bow production.
California Alpine County is the eighth smallest of California’s 58 counties. It has no high school, ATMs, dentists, banks, or traffic lights.
ColoradoThe 13th step of the state capital building in Denver is exactly one mile high above sea level.
Connecticut PEZ® Candy is made in the city of Orange.
Delaware The 87-foot Fenwick Island Lighthouse was painted in 1880 for a total cost of about $5.00.
Florida The Florida Museum of Hispanic and Latin American Art in Coral Gables, is the first and only museum in the United States dedicated to the preservation, diffusion, and promotion of Hispanic and Latin American Art.
Georgia is the nation’s number one producer of the three Ps–peanuts, pecans, and peaches.
Hawaii There are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet. The vowels: A, E, I, O, U and the consonants: H, K, L, M, N, P, W.
Idaho The Lewis & Clark Highway (United State Highway 12), is the shortest route from the Midwest to the Pacific Coast and the longest highway within a national forest in the nation.
Illinois’ state dance is square dancing.
Indiana’s shoreline with Lake Michigan is only 40 miles long, but Indiana is still considered a Great Lakes State.
Iowa is the only state name that starts with two vowels.
Kansas won the award for most beautiful license plate for the wheat plate design issued in 1981.
Kentucky’s Chevrolet Corvettes are manufactured in Bowling Green.
Louisiana is the only state in the union that does not have counties; its political subdivisions are called parishes.
Maine is the only state that shares its border with only one other state.
Maryland 16 of the 23 Maryland counties border on tidal water. The combined length of tidal shoreline, including islands, is 4,431 miles.
Massachusetts The first U.S. Postal zip code in Massachusetts is 01001 at Agawam.
Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline in the world.
Minnesota The Mall of America in Bloomington is the size of 78 football fields — 9.5 million square feet.
Mississippi Root beer was invented in Biloxi in 1898 by Edward Adolf Barq, Sr.
Missouri Kansas City has more miles of boulevards than Paris and more fountains than any city except Rome.
Montana In Montana, the elk, deer and antelope populations outnumber the humans.
Nebraska The largest porch swing in the world is located in Hebron, Nebraska and it can seat 25 adults.
Nevada The state’s Highway 50, known as the Loneliest Highway in America, received its name from “Life” magazine in 1986. There are a few road stops in the 287 mile stretch between Ely and Fernley.
New Hampshire It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make approximately one gallon of maple syrup.
New Mexico has far more sheep and cattle than people. There are only about 12 people per square mile.
New YorkNew York City has 722 miles of subway track.
New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the diner capital of the world.
North Carolina The State Motto is Esse quam videri (To be rather than to seem).
North Dakota When Dakota Territory was created in 1861 it was named for the Dakota Indian tribe. Dakota is a Sioux word meaning friends or allies.
Ohio Some well-known personalities were born in Ohio including Steven Spielberg, Paul Newman, Annie Oakley, Arsenio Hall and Clark Gable.
Oklahoma is one of only two states whose capital cities name includes the state name. The other is Indianapolis, Indiana.
Oregon’s state birthday is on February 14th, Valentine’s Day.
Pennsylvania Hershey is considered the Chocolate Capital of the United States.
Rhode Island shares a state water border with New York.
South Carolina The Upper Whitewater Falls is the highest cascade in eastern America; it descends for nearly 411 feet.
South Dakota The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are sculpted into Mount Rushmore the world’s greatest mountain carving.
Tennessee The name “Tennessee” originated from the old Yuchi Indian word, “Tana-see,” meaning “The Meeting Place.”
Texas Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. The Dublin Dr Pepper, 85 miles west of Waco, still uses pure imperial cane sugar in its product. There is no period after the Dr in Dr Pepper.
Utah is the only state whose capital’s name is made of three words. All three words in Salt Lake City have four letters each.
Vermont Montpelier, Vermont is the only U.S. state capital without a McDonalds.
VirginiaThe state motto is “Sic Semper Tyrannis”. (Thus always to tyrants)
Washington Popular games Pictionary, Pickle-ball, and Cranium were all invented in Washington.
West Virginia has the oldest population of any state. The median age is 40.
Wisconsin The falls in Niagara has the same geological feature as Niagara Falls, New York.
Wyoming has the lowest population of all 50 United States.