Local non-profit to enroll needy residents in affordable health insurance program
To encourage as many eligible persons as possible to enroll in affordable health insurance, the Obama administration is sending money to existing health centers for outreach. Funds were awarded to organizations based on their potential for increasing enrollment, including the local North Hudson Community Action Corporation, which provides health care for needy patients in Union City, West New York, North Bergen, Weehawken, Jersey City, and other Hudson County towns on a sliding scale.
Twenty health centers in New Jersey are splitting $3.4 million with NHCAC. NHCAC is the largest health center system in New Jersey receiving the largest share, $484,000.
NHCAC hopes to put 10 employees into the field later this month to begin the outreach process. Six current employees have been transferred to the new program and one new employee was hired so far. They began training on July first.
Tommy Chin, Director of Human Resources for NHCAC, said there will be sweeping changes to health care in January and the enrollment specialists had to learn about eligibility rules, so he was glad he could reassign current employees who had a head start because they were already somewhat familiar with health care.
The federal government intends to set up a national hotline and a website to answer questions about health insurance, but often low-income people do not have access to computers and are not fluent enough in spoken or written English to ask the right questions and understand the answers.
Only persons living in this country legally are eligible to enroll in the insurance programs.
Christina Hernandez, one of the newly trained enrollment specialists, said she is excited to be able to tell people about the new opportunity to become insured.
She recalled when she was a newcomer to America from El Salvador, she was attending New Jersey City University seeking her BA, and was advised by a friend to get her primary health care at NHCAC's West New York health center. She loved the program and decided she wanted to align herself with the organization and its mission.
"I am committed to working with the community, to helping people become more informed because being informed will enable them to improve the quality of their lives,” she said. – Al Sullvian
NBC reports on Stack’s confrontation with federal agent
What apparently started out as a misunderstanding last December became fodder for the North Hudson political gossip network this week. NBC reported on Monday that an off-duty federal agent for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency told police in December that State Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack threatened him in the street during a confrontation.
Stack, sources said, received a call from his girlfriend, who claimed that an ICE agent had blocked her in and appeared to be carrying a gun, and would not identify himself.
The ICE officer apparently lives near Stack on New York Avenue. He had a card in his windshield that said “official business.” The incident occurred shortly after federal agents had taken records from Union City City Hall, reportedly investigating Community Development Block Grant funds.
Apparently, Stack went to his girlfriend's aid, and both sides called police.
Stack said that he asked, the ICE agent did not identify himself. Stack said he was only helping his girlfriend.
A lieutenant from the Union City Police Department, along with a number of other officers, responded to the scene, where apparently, both Stack and the ICE officer had been involved a heated exchange.
Stack denied threatening the federal officer. The matter was investigated by the FBI, but no charges were filed against Stack.
Those close to Stack call it a misunderstanding.
According to NBC, Stack already believed that federal agents were harassing him. NBC reported that Stack's attorney, Dennis McAlevy, had sent letters to the FBI complaining that agents were parked near Stack’s house to unnerve him. In fact, the agent who lived on the street was parked there, and he was letting another agent sleep on his couch because the other agent's home was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Thus, there were two cars with official placards parking on that street, but it was unrelated to the FBI investigation.
Federal officials commenting for the NBC report criticized Stack’s comments and behavior toward the agent. The news report can be found on line.
Union City awarded $650,000 infrastructure grant from state
The Christie Administration announced on July 11 the award of $5 million in grants to 64 municipalities to promote safety along designated Safe Corridor highway segments and to advance local street rehabilitation projects.
Eight municipalities will share $2.15 million in Fiscal Year 2013 Local Aid Infrastructure Fund (LAIF) grants. Union City will receive a LAIF grant of $650,000.
The grants are administered by the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Division of Local Aid and Economic Development.
“The New Jersey Department of Transportation’s top priority is safety, and these grants fund local enforcement and capital improvement projects that help make our roads safer,” said DOT Commissioner James Simpson. “The funding helps local governments achieve their objectives without burdening local property taxpayers.”
The LAIF grants address emergencies and regional needs throughout the state. Grants are awarded to municipalities and counties based on a careful evaluation of the project importance and need.
Union City may get large tax incentives for development
Assemblyman Vincent Prieto of Secaucus (D-Hudson) may have benefited a town in his home district and two in his county with last-minute wording changes to a bill that could eventually bring millions of dollars in tax breaks, according to a report in The Star-Ledger.
Prieto made a small amendment to the huge bill, which made changes to the way the state gives out economic incentives to businesses, the report said.
The minor adjustments could result in Harrison and Union City getting a portion of $250 million in tax incentives targeted at luring high-scale residential projects, the report continued. The changes were made to the “New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act,” which transforms the method in which New Jersey deals out incentives to entice developers and businesses.
Prieto, Assembly Budget Committee chairman, explained that he acted because it was his impression that Harrison has long been held back from receiving tax credits that comparable towns have benefited from through economic development programs in New Jersey.
The legislation provides for $250 million to stimulate development near train stations, in places destroyed or damaged by federally declared disasters, and in the working class, urban centers of Paterson, Passaic, and Trenton.
Charity accepting used coats through September
The Orlando Bru association is collecting used coats again this year.
You can bring your coats to 2112 Bergenline Ave. in Union City or call 201-865-0383 for a pickup.
All donations will be accepted until Sept. 13 and coats will be given out Saturday, Sept. 21 at 10:30 a.m. at the Federacion Mercantil Hispana 4113 Palisade Ave., Union City, and Sunday Sept. 22 at 185 Monticello Ave., Jersey City from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Senator unveils legislation to aid adults affected by autism
In an effort to expand the nation’s understanding of – and services for – young adults and their families living with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez on Monday, July 15, unveiled legislation that would provide federal funding to research and evaluate services currently available for young people “aging out” of existing education and support systems, develop a national strategic action plan, and provide training grants to initiate action in helping to transition youth to lead independent lives.
“For too many young people with autism spectrum disorders, the end of high school means the end of the support and skills training they need to succeed in the new world of adulthood,” said Menendez. “We need a national response to ensure that resources are available to enable these young adults to lead the productive, fulfilling lives they deserve.”
The Assistance in Gaining Experience, Independence and Navigation Act of 2013 will address the needs of aging-out youth with ASD in two phases: The first is designed to identify the most effective interventions and existing support service infrastructure to develop a comprehensive training plan. The second phase puts this plan to action by providing grants to existing entities.
Each year, nearly 50,000 children with an ASD reach adulthood with few opportunities for continuing their education or finding employment. Less than half of transitioning youth are participating in either secondary education or employment within the two years after leaving high school, and only 35 percent receive any additional education within six years.