Infuriating: Ironbound school uses playground for teacher parking lot

Newark children share school playground with teachers’ parking lot
A couple of parents quoted in this piece are friends, but any parent should find this practice infuriating. The school facilities paid for by Newark taxpayers should support the needs of children in the community, not the convenience of staff and administration.

The principal, Maria Merlo, continues a long-standing practice of turning the Ironbound grammar school’s playground into a parking lot for teachers and staff. With the cars there, about 34 of them, students get shortchanged because their play area is cut in half and they can’t stretch out and run as they should for recess and gym outdoors.

It’s been this way for reasons that don’t make sense to parents, who’ve been trying since last year to stop the practice of turning a playground into a parking lot.

“The cars don’t belong there — no ifs, ands or buts,” said Madeline Ruiz. “There’s no reason that can satisfy taking away this privilege from children.”


How to eat healthier and support local farmers for Newarkers

Power in Numbers: Newarkers Choose to Expand Community Health & Wealth through Group Food Purchasing
Inspired by a series of tweets started by your humble author, Newark’s Office of Sustainability has compiled a list of resources for Newarkers interested in finding fresh food that supports local agriculture. Take a look!

In Newark there are traditional buying clubs where members can purchase pre-selected “menus” or food packages from food distributors. There are also groups of individuals who form a membership to purchase directly from a farmer or a group of farmers who deliver to a host location.

And there is a combination of both: groups that form to buy food from both farmers and distributors. Most of these groups rely on the initiative of a volunteer or volunteers who work directly with farmers and/or distributors to increase their food options in the city.

Contact these groups to join their efforts or get inspired yourself to develop a relationship with our food system and volunteer to host or start a group. If you know of more examples, please share them with us!


Parents, take note: the city has issued a health alert about West Nile found in Newark and Irvington mosquitos. Preventative measures are listed in the press release after the jump.

The West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. The virus is not transmitted from birds to humans or from person to person. Symptoms of mild West Nile infection include fever, headache, and body aches, often with skin and swollen lymph glands. More severe infection is marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, and paralysis.


Newark EMS answers calls, and questions

Newark EMS answers calls, and questions
Following the hazing controversy at UMDNJ which caused the dismissal of three EMTs, the Ledger meets with some of their staff to discuss the incident and its impact on the community.

Mendez, who expresses anger at what transpired, is from Puerto Rico and said he was unaware of any hazing. He discounted any undercurrent of racism in the department. Still, he said, responding to life-and-death situations in the state’s largest city can be a hard job with the kind of stress many would never understand.

“A lot of people can’t take it,” he said, as he drove a white Dodge Durango carrying the orange-and-yellow livery of University Hospital’s EMS. “They work one day, two days, and they’re out.”

Mendez has seen it all.

“You get burn victims and kids struck by cars. When you see someone burned to a certain degree …” he said, his voice trailing off. “Yeah,” he finally says. “It’s stressful. Some people cope with it. Some people, they can’t get used to it.”

Report finds Newark one of 13 cities hit hard by health care woes

Report finds Newark one of 13 cities hit hard by health care woes
Newark is the canary in the coal mine in the national heath care crisis. The struggles Newarkers experience now will be felt across the nation as rising costs and a growing number of uninsured weigh on the current infrastructure.

Newark, which has seen two acute-care hospitals close this year alone, is one of 13 cities included in the report, which is likely to be used as a rallying cry for help to the new administration in Washington, D.C. City mayors want major health care reform to be a top priority of the new president, saying they will otherwise be forced to make cuts in other basic city services, such as police and fire protection, schools and parks.

Newark has been affected by the closing this year of Columbus and Saint James hospitals, which has put a strain on city clinics that offer services ranging from pediatrics and infectious disease treatment to dental care, officials said.

“We’re very stretched,” said Maria Vizcarrondo, director of the city’s Department of Child and Family Well-Being. She said the city is looking for alternative funding sources to keep afloat a voucher program that helps residents who cannot afford their prescriptions.

A Trip to the Newark Veterinary Hospital

Guest blogger, Paul J. Mason, a local artist here in the Ironbound, shared his very positive experience at the Newark Veterinary Hospital. Here’s a sneak preview:

Enter the Newark Veterinary Hospital. Some of you who have been here longer than I may remember Dr. Ehren Yablon from the large mobile home he used to park at the five corners and practice from. I didn’t know about this myself, I found him in his new digs online. I made an appointment as soon as I could.

Now mind you, the trip there was in itself making me nervous. Babaloo is an old cat (he’s 12), and the trip in the box made him cry in a very sad way most of the way there. I live on the far side of Independence Park, so it’s not at all a short walk — and on the way there begins to turn from the Ironbound to the area we refer to as ‘Thunderdome’. So as the neighborhood got shadier, I began to worry just where I was taking my cat.

When we arrived, I was very happy to be proven wrong. It was a completely new space, clean, and well lit. He was seen to immediately (after forms of course, but they only take a moment), and treated with care. Dr. Yablon is considerate, kind, informed, and (unlike most vets) explains everything he’s doing.

Check out the full post after the jump.

Continue reading “A Trip to the Newark Veterinary Hospital”

Star Ledger: Needle exchange puts focus on safety

Needle exchange puts focus on safety

More than two months after Newark started a needle exchange program, 78 clients have taken advantage of the new services North Jersey Community Research Initiative offers at its facility on Central Avenue. Hidalgo, 38, and Gunter, 31, recruiters for NJCRI, are doing their best to increase that number.

“We try to help people out,” Hidalgo said. “We can’t make them stop using, but at least we’re getting out the message.”