Rat-tainted chicken was sold in Newark store

Rat-tainted chicken was sold in Newark store
This is just horrifying.

A Newark man pleaded guilty in federal court today to wholesaling poultry from a store in the city’s Ironbound section that had been gnawed on by rats and tainted with rodent feces, urine and hair, authorities said.

Ben A. Abit, the owner of Triple A Foods and Cosmetics, an African specialty wholesaler and retailer on Joseph Street, admitted that on Aug. 8, 2006, he had 6,600 pounds of frozen chicken in his cooler that had visibly been picked over by rats.

Amador, East Ward Democrats, feel dissed by Booker on Election Day

Amador, East Ward Democrats, feel dissed by Booker on Election Day
I absolutely must hand it to blogger Max Pizzaro at Politicker NJ. He has just brought his A-game to our fair city, scratching together a story from the hard nosed, bare-knuckle politics in this local election.

The videos he’s put together are just priceless — click play below to see some wonderfully awkward moments of a very pissed-off Augusto Amador. Politicker NJ, the Daily Newarker salutes you!

“The mayor told me he wouldn’t run against me, and here we wake up today and these knuckleheads are running around promoting the mayor’s candidates,” says the veteran councilman, who was an ally of Mayor Sharpe James before making the transition to the new Booker era.

“What it tells me is they’re trying to build county committee support here to get me off the ticket in 2010,” Amador says.

Politicker NJ: Corzine presses for statewide schools construction funds in the Ironbound

Corzine presses for statewide schools construction funds in the Ironbound

Gov. Jon Corzine stood with Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Newark), Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-Newark) and other lawmakers in the East Ward today and promised to back legislation to pay for new urban schools construction.

“We need action before June 30th, so that we can fulfill our Constitutional obligation to provide our children with a thorough and efficient education,” said the governor, moments after taking a tour of the Oliver Street Elementary School.

“What we saw today were tremendously energetic teachers teaching a special education class in a closet,” said Coutinho, in an address to students and reporters in the school parking lot following the governor’s tour. “What we saw was a school that is 40% over the student population limit, which is the average in the East Ward.

Corzine said Coutinho’s legislation would carve $2.5 billion out of income tax receipts to replace schools such as the Oliver Street School.

“Let’s put the pressure on Trenton to fight to get these schools built,” Corzine said to applause.

Star Ledger: Newark has haven in East Ward office

Newark has haven in East Ward office
The Ledger profiles “Little City Hall” — Augusto Amador’s office on Monroe Street in the Ironbound, which provides services to the community you might otherwise get at City Hall downtown.

Like old friends, Gloria Feijo and Rosa Tavares chatted in Portuguese about the weather, family and the traditional Portuguese pastries Feijo bakes.

Before leaving, Feijo handed Tavares a check for her water bill, then walked the three blocks home.

“We speak her language,” Tavares said as Feijo walked out of Little City Hall on Monroe Street in the Ironbound section of Newark.

Feijo and many others consider it a blessing to have a local office to pay bills, request permits and conduct other business instead of having to stand in long lines, deal with strangers or — more significantly — try to find parking near Broad Street’s City Hall.

It also makes life easier that Feijo can communicate in Portuguese.

“Even if I spoke English, I would still come here,” Feijo said before she left.

Liveblogging a Visit to the St. James Emergency Room

I was bit by a stray dog last night; it was one of those things. I was walking my dog down the alley between our house and the building next door, and there he was: a big, red lug of a mastiff mutt, about 100 lbs and suddenly interested in us.
I spun my dog — who is unfriendly to most other dogs — right around, but the stray followed us to the back yard. Long story short, I found myself trying to separate the two. My wife, a dog trainer, came out and helped me get the dogs under control, but not before I was bitten by the stray.

She waited for Animal Control while I walked a few blocks to St. James. When I arrived, the waiting room was nearly empty; one person was seated among the 30 seats, all facing an old color TV blaring America’s Next Top Model.

I waited at the triage window for two or three minutes before the woman waiting gestured me towards Registration. Two women in their twenties were there chatting, saw me, and asked me to wait as they called the triage nurse. It was about 7:45 PM.

Ten minutes went by before the triage nurse called me into the office, glanced at my wounds (which weren’t superficial) and filled out a stack of paperwork. I was sent back out to wait for registration.

After another few minutes, I was offering my ID and insurance card to one of the twenty-somethings who was now peppering me with questions. I waited for an opening while she typed.

“Is it usually this quiet?” I had only seen one other family enter the waiting room.

“Yeah. Lately.”

“You mean since the hospital was sold?” She nods.

Back to the waiting room. It’s now 8:30 PM, and it would be another hour before I would see the doctor. No one else has entered the hospital. Whitney, however, is thrilled to be America’s Next Top Model.

“Mr. Walker?” I’m called and escorted into the emergency room. The nurse asks someone with a white coat, “Did you know the dog bite was waiting?” and I’m sent to bed six. I regret not eating dinner.

“No dinero? None?” At the bed next to mine, two staff struggled with discussing travel plans in Spanish with a patient, who apparently was on her way to visit a friend in Kearny. They were astonished that the friend had no phone and no car. They call for the help of a translator and suggest that the patient take a cab out to her friend’s place and ask the friend to pay. After some discussion, they relent, agreeing to charge the hospital for the cab ride.

Staff are moving with a purpose, but are not in a hurry. Somewhere behind the nursing station, a couple discusses gas prices.

The doctor introduces herself at 9:42 PM and asks about my penicillin allergy. She’s not quite sure what antibiotic to give me and has to look it up. My tetanus isn’t up-to-date, either — whose is? — so she tells me I’m in for a long night.

The RN comes back to clean the wounds, so I ask how things have been since the hospital was sold.

“Like this,” and gestures over her shoulder. Work is steady, she says, but manageable.

“Well, sure, you’re still an emergency room here, right?”

“Yeah, but some things we don’t do anymore.” Major trauma, CAT scans, ultrasounds — they all go to St. Michael’s now. “The hospital’s closed: the only thing we’ve got here is the Psych cases, drug addicts and such. But it’s all empty on the upper floors. It’s kind of creepy.”

She finishes and tells me it will be a while before I can get the rabies shots. “They’re sending it from St. Michael’s.”

10:44PM. A boy is carried into the room after having taken a baseball to the temple. He’s been vomiting. The same doctor inspects him and says he looks okay, but is concerned about the vomiting. She walks away announcing, “I have to call the other hospital.”

The nurse comes by to ask some questions and tells me that she called ten minutes ago about my antibiotics and shots. “They said it would be another half-hour.”

I see the triage nurse passing by and ask if there’s coffee around (the coffee at the suburban hospital where my daughter was born was good and free). He shakes his head, “No, nothing like that here.”

11:10 PM, I’m told the meds are here, but the nurse needs to tend to an emergency.

Ten minutes later, the triage nurse does me a solid and comes back with a cup of coffee. Another nurse gives me my second shot, then comes back to do the third, which, she warns, has to be done in the wound. That hurts — a lot — and draws an “ouch!” from the doc walking past looking at my grimace. That shot is followed by a fourth and a fifth.

Returning to my senses, I ask this nurse if things have been slow.

“Yeah,” she makes a face, “we don’t get many ambulances any more. They have a list of things we can’t do and take those cases to St. Michael’s.”

My antibiotics hadn’t come with my shots, so I’m still waiting at 12:17 AM. With iPod Touch in hand, I take a few minutes to reflect on how the sale of St. James affected my care today, and how my experience translates to the community at large.

Before tonight, I had only been to this hospital once before. This was in no way a controlled study, but the day-to-day operations at St. James seem to have taken a turn for the worse, and many of the staff seemed to feel that way, too.

The staff was professional, courteous, and good at their jobs, but it was clear that the process of waiting for supplies and calling for advice from St. Michael’s has taken its toll on their ability to deliver quality care. It wouldn’t be difficult to overwhelm the skeleton crew left to run the emergency room. In the dead of night, the hospital felt like a remote outpost rather than a community service surrounded by thousands of residents.

When the hospital was sold, I thought the worst impact would be some slightly longer ambulance rides for a small group of cases. It’s clear now that what was lost was actually much more dear: that Ironbound residents no longer have a neighborhood hospital they can trust. If they walk in the door here, they’ll wonder whether they’ll be packed up in an ambulance and sent off to someplace else.

It’s an under-reported story that’s not likely to change without some drastic reform — perhaps like another private investor. As residents who are seriously considering a longer stay in the Ironbound, we can only hope that change will come soon.

At 1:44 AM, the nurse wakes me (I had dozed off while waiting): my meds finally showed up from St. Michael’s. She gave me the two pills.

“That’s it?” She seems surprised, and explains that I would need to fill the prescription to get the remaining doses.

I had waited two more hours for two pills when I could have been filling my prescription at Walgreens up on Ferry Street. No one had bothered to explain this to me.

I left my community hospital and walked home.

Ironbound Community Corporation Receives Funding for Major Family and Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives

Ironbound Community Corporation Receives Funding for Major Family and Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives
The ICC receives a $750,000 grant from the Wachovia Regional Foundation for its East Ferry Neighborhood Revitalization Plan. This is fantastic news for an organization that does great work to strengthen the community.

More details about the grant and the ICC after the jump.

Continue reading “Ironbound Community Corporation Receives Funding for Major Family and Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives”

Portugal Day Festival 2008

It’s true, despite rumors to the contrary, the Portugal Day Festival and Parade will take place on the weekend of June 7th — mark your calendars. This is one of the biggest cultural festivals in the state, drawing a half-a-million people to Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood for music, food, drinks and great times.
New to the festival? Don’t worry: we’ve put together a survival guide for you below and some directions to help you find it. All roads (and planes and rails) lead to Newark in this state, so you’ve got plenty of options on how to get here — but, really, the train is your best bet.

Official Program of Events

Ironman at the Ironbound Newark Blog was kind enough to post the full schedule of events for the Portugal Day celebration. Here are the details excerpted for Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, June 7

  • 12:00 pm: Ferry Street is closed to vehicles
  • 2:00 pm: Festival on Ferry Street aka Portugal Avenue – music, folklore, and more…
  • 6:00 pm: Theatre at Sport Club Português. Coordinated by “Proverbo.”
  • 7:30 pm: Our Lady of Fatima Church band of Newark, and Lady of Conception Mosteirense band of Fall River, on stage on Portugal Avenue (Ferry Street).
  • 8:00 pm: Initiation of Monumental Music Festival in Portuguese on Ferry St.
  • 11:35 pm: Fireworks at Riverbank Park, near the Passaic River.

Sunday, June 8

  • 8:00 am: Ferry Street is closed to vehicles
  • 9:00 am: Start of marathon on Portugal Avenue (Ferry St.), next to the Iberia Peninsula restaurant. The races are of 5 km, 1 miles, and a race for children. This event is organized by the Den of Lions of New Jersey.
  • 12:00 pm: Reception of the guests of honor at the Sport Club Português of Newark following the award ceremony honoring the following people:
    • Jon Corzine, Honorable Governor of the State of New Jersey
    • Dr. Jorge Lacão, Secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
    • Grand Marshal Anthony Matinho, Director of the Luso-Americano, and Grand Marshal Dr. Fatima Campos Ferreira, RTP presenter (Portuguese television)
  • 2:30 pm: Portugal Day Parade commencement in Newark located in the “five corners” (Ferry St. with Wilson Ave). National anthems of Portugal and the United States and there will be speeches depicting Portugal Day, Luis Camoes and Portuguese Communities.
  • 3:00 pm: Grand Parade with more than 150 cultural offices, and recreational associations – Portuguese and American. Various bands.
  • 5:30 pm: Continuation of the great and popular outdoor festival in Portugal Avenue (Ferry st.), Until 11:00 pm.
  • 5:30 pm: Catholic Mass thanks to the Church of Our Lady of Fatima, Elizabeth, NJ.
  • 10:00 pm: End of celebration. Opening of Ferry St. to vehicles.

Go to the Ironbound Blog to check out the full week of events.

Festival Organizers

Want to get in touch with the festival organizers? Contact information is below — calling or coming to the Ferry Street office are more likely to get a fast response than email.

Couthinho Foundation

Business: (973) 344-0123
Fax: (973) 344-0638

296 Ferry Street
Newark, NJ 07105

Previous Coverage

Local Investor Seeks Partners to Buy St. James Hospital

TDN received a tip from a reader that a local investor is looking to buy out St. James Hospital from Cathedral Health Systems. Readers might recall that the hospital shut down acute care services as a result of the sale from Cathedral Health Systems to Catholic Health East.
The article appears a bit misinformed, however, as St. James continues to offer services as a satellite of St. Michael’s Hospital, including a 24-hour satellite emergency room, prenatal clinic and mental health. Only patients needing acute services will have to go to Saint Michael’s.

Robert G Schooley is forming an Investment Group to purchase St. James Hospital in Ironbound section of Newark.

The Hospital was closed several months ago which has caused a loss of jobs and an additional slow down in the economy in the Ironbound and the surrounding areas in Newark, NJ.

The plan for the facility is to have an Emergency Room, Clinic, Surgical Center and other Medical services.

Mr. Schooley is in the process of scheduling meetings to meet with local, state and federal officials to include offices of Mayor Booker, Governor Corzine and Senator Lautenberg as well as Cathedral Health Systems.

Mr. Schooley is also trying to meet with doctors and community groups in the area.

If interested in finding out more contact Mr. Schooley at stjames.ironbound@yahoo.com or (201) 391-7444.

New York Times: 5 Arrested in Newark Raids Against Large Drug Ring

5 Arrested in Newark Raids Against Large Drug Ring

His gun at his side, a helmet pulled low over his head, Police Officer Carlos Orbe wrestled a drug suspect to the floor of a darkened apartment in this city’s East Ward on Friday morning and felt something being driven into his stomach repeatedly.

“I thought he was punching me,” said Officer Orbe, a member of the department’s emergency response team. “Then, I looked down and I saw he had a gun and he was pulling the trigger.”

The weapon had jammed. After a few moments that Officer Orbe said felt like an eternity, another officer helped pull the suspect away from him, and the Newark police had made what the authorities said was one of the largest drug seizures here in memory.

In a series of early-morning raids, the Newark police arrested five people and seized drugs with an estimated value of $500,000, plus cash and goods they say they believe are stolen. The police called it a major cocaine-and-heroin delivery operation and fencing ring in the city’s Ironbound section.

NJ.com: Man shot, killed in Newark’s Ironbound

Man shot, killed in Newark’s Ironbound

The victim, Delvisson F. Campos, 25, of Newark, was shot once in the chest and once in the chin at about 3:20 a.m., near 270 Ferry St., authorities said. A man he was walking with escaped unharmed, said Essex County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Paul Loriquet.

This incident occurred right across the street from the Ironbound Pathmark — the biggest grocery store in the area. Investigators believe that the shooting at 3 AM was the result of a robbery attempt.