Debate videos now online
Debates the Hudson Reporter held with candidates from Secaucus, Hoboken, and Bayonne have been posted to www.HudsonReporter.com and can now be viewed by the public. Technical difficulties the site had last Monday have been resolved.
In Secaucus, all six Town Council candidates answered questions regarding Recreation Center, overdevelopment, cooperation on the council, and other issues. Mayoral candidate Michael Gonnelli also answered a number of questions during a separate candidate forum the Hudson Reporter held with him.
For Hoboken, the seven mayoral candidates addressed their views on parking, development, and abatements.
In Bayonne, the feisty and colorful candidates running for Anthony Chiappone’s vacant council-at-large seat addressed abatements, the need for more jobs, and strategies to revitalize the town’s business districts.
This being New Jersey, property taxes and budgets naturally came up in every debate.
Before heading to the polls on Nov. 3, residents of these towns should be sure to log on and check out their options: www.hudsonreporter.com.
A letter in last week’s edition of the Hoboken Reporter misstated that Peter Cammarano was indicted in July. Actually, he was arrested in July, but he has not been indicted on any charges. An indictment is a jury decision that there is enough evidence to proceed to a trial. It sometimes precedes an arrest, and sometimes comes subsequently.
Prescription drug bust
Last week, State Attorney General Anne Milgram announced the arrests of 13 people, including doctors and pharmacists, in the “takedown of an [alleged] major criminal narcotics network in Hudson County that was responsible for the black market distribution of thousands of prescription pain pills such as OxyContin and Percocet.”
According to a release, the arrests stem from Operation MedScam, a year-long investigation by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Division of Criminal Justice’s Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and the Jersey City Police Department’s Special Investigation Unit.
The ongoing investigation uncovered a network that allegedly obtaining fraudulent narcotics prescriptions from doctors and filled them at various pharmacies. Medicaid and private insurers were billed for phony prescriptions and doctor visits.
The leaders allegedly paid Medicaid beneficiaries to obtain fake prescriptions for painkillers and other drugs from two doctors, Dr. Clifton Howell, 53, of West Orange, whose medical practice is at 550 Newark Ave., Jersey City, and Dr. Magdy Elamir, 56, of North Saddle Brook, whose practice is at 550 Summit Ave., Jersey City. Both of those doctors were arrested.
Two pharmacists were arrested as well: Babak Bamdad, 41, pharmacist in charge at Tucker Drug, 1000 Washington St., Hoboken, and Amir Tadros, 32, pharmacist in charge at Five Corners Pharmacy, 591 Summit Ave., Jersey City.
Six other individuals were arrested as alleged street-level distributors for the narcotics rings. They are Joseph Burkhardt, 50, of Jersey City; Michele J. Oliver, 41, of Wallington; John Bussanich, 23, of Cliffside Park; Danny Reed, 25, of Toms River; Marty Taraboccia, 25 of Fairview; and Jack Kennedy, 28, of Keyport.
For more information on the charges, visit www.nj.gov/oag.
Hate group to protest
An anti-Semitic, anti-homosexual, anti-Catholic, and apparently anti-New Jersey group from Kansas called the Westboro Baptist Church is planning protests throughout New Jersey on Oct. 27 and 28, including in Secaucus, Hoboken, and Jersey City.
They say they are going to stop at Hoboken’s City Hall on Oct. 27 at 4:45 p.m. to raise awareness about the arrests of 44 political and religious leaders in July. They then plan to protest outside the United Synagogue of Hoboken at 7 p.m., calling it a “Synagogue of Satan.”
The synagogue had no connection with the corruption sting, but the group creating an association based on the fact that others arrested were of Jewish faith.
On Oct. 28, they’ll protest outside the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus at 10:15 a.m. because Secaucus mayor Dennis Elwell was among those arrested. Then at 2:55 p.m., they stop at Dickinson High School in Jersey City (several arrested officials came from Jersey City).
Various news organizations have said that this “church,” which is not affiliated with regular Baptist churches, contains only 70-150 members, many of whom are related to its founder, Fred Phelps.
A Hudson County tolerance organization, the Diversity Council, originally planned to protest against the group in front of Dickinson High School, then decided against it, as many have said it is better to ignore them than to give them attention.
Veterans’ homefront issues forum
The city, Board of Education, and American Legion Post 107 are sponsoring a Veterans Day Town Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 11 beginning at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) at Hoboken High School, 800 Clinton St. Admission is free.
The meeting includes a showing of “Leave No Soldier,” an award-winning documentary about veterans helping one another deal with troubling war memories by Donna Bassin; a staged reading from a new play, “Flashback,” based on the 2006 book by Penny Coleman, which explores issues of post-traumatic stress injuries from the point of view of widows of Vietnam veterans who committed suicide, presented by actress Anne O’Sullivan; and a panel discussion with the audience, focusing on ideas and programs for helping veterans and their families handle war-related problems.
Health fair postponed again
The Health, Fitness, and Nutrition Fair scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 25 in the Housing Authority has been postponed because of conflicting schedules with the Clearview Cinema grand opening family event.
The event will now take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1 at the Multi-Service Center, 124 Grand St.
This will be the second in a series of monthly health fairs geared toward promoting healthy eating and exercise, co-sponsored by the United Synagogue of Hoboken and the Hoboken Housing Authority.
Habitat for Humanity fundraiser
Habitat for Humanity of Hudson County invites all comers for cocktails, camaraderie, and raffle prizes on Thursday, Oct. 29 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Oddfellows Restaurant, 80 River St., Hoboken.
All proceeds from the $10 donation cover charge will benefit Habitat for Humanity builds in Hudson County. Oddfellows is offering one free drink and specials include $2.50 pints and $5 Hurricanes. Enter to win raffle prizes. For more information or to volunteer on a Habitat site, call (201) 209-9002.
Hoboken House Tour
The Hoboken Historical Museum is also hosting the Annual Hoboken House Tour on Sunday, Oct. 25. Tickets are $30 the day of the tour ($25 for museum members). For a preview of this year’s selection of homes, please visit www.hobokenhousetour.com. For more information, call (201) 656-2240.