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SPRING CLEANUP – Workers spruce up one of the high rises along Jersey City’s waterfront on the first warm day in spring.

Jersey City to hold 2nd annual cleanup

Mayor Steven M. Fulop has announced that Jersey City’s Department of Public Works in partnership with Keep America Beautiful will host the second annual Great Jersey City Clean Up at locations citywide from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29.

Jersey City is the first Keep America Beautiful (KAB) affiliate in New Jersey, and last year held a citywide clean up in which over 1,000 volunteers removed 14 tons of litter, one ton of e-waste and 780 pounds of recyclables. KAB is the Nation’s longest running non-profit devoted to litter reduction, increasing recycling and greening initiatives, and neighborhood beautification through civic engagement, volunteerism and building partnerships between the public and private sectors. 

The cleanup will be held as part of the city’s Earth Day activities, hoping to mobilize residents, civic organizations, community leaders, and elected officials to roll up their sleeves and help clean Jersey City on a single day.

The cleanup is part of a nationwide effort in 20,000 communities including 4 million volunteers.  The initiative is spearheaded locally by the Department of Public Works and Keep Jersey City Beautiful, the local affiliate of the national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful.

Volunteers will gather in Colombia Park, Lincoln Park, Belmont and Westside avenues, Dickinson High School,  Leonard Gordon Park, Mary Benson Park, and Berry Lane Park.

A pre-event planning meeting for Clean Up team captains will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 1 at the Mary McLeod Bethune Center, 140 MLK Drive to discuss clean up logistics and event details.

To register as an individual or organization please visit the Serve JC website: https://volunteer.jerseycitynj.gov/opportunities/4556. Email us at KJCB@JCNJ.Org.  

Jersey City postal employee charged with fraud

Kayson Allen, 33, of Jersey City, and an employee of the U.S. Postal Service, was charged with insurance fraud and identity theft this week, according to Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP).

Allen was also charged with trafficking in stolen identities for allegedly obtaining the personal information of others and using it to manufacture phony identification cards and file four fraudulent insurance claims totaling more than $14,000.

Allen, a janitor who worked in the Trenton Processing and Distribution Center, allegedly manufactured a cache of fraudulent identities using information stolen from personnel records at the Trenton facility.

An investigation into Allen’s alleged criminal activities began when he was stopped by US Customs and Border Protection officers while trying to re-enter the United States after a one-day trip to Canada in September 2013. The investigation revealed that allegedly Allen possessed more than 50 documents containing personal identifying information of other individuals without authorization, including Social Security numbers, falsified drivers licenses, insurance policy applications, bills and bank account information,. The case was referred to the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor early last year.

Aetna may split from Jersey City Medical Center

The contract between RWJBarnabas Health, which includes Jersey City Medical Center, and insurance carrier Aetna will expire April 22, according to the March 17 letter the company sent to its subscribers who had been treated at a Barnabas hospital in the past year. 

The disagreement is over reimbursement rates, Aetna spokesman Walter Cherniak Jr. said Monday, as reported in NJ Advance Media.

Aetna is the second-largest health insurance company in New Jersey. The carrier notified 45,000 policy holders that contract negotiations will have to improve soon with Barnabas, the state’s largest hospital network, or else patients will have to pay more expensive out-of-network rates or select another hospital.

Cherniak claimed that RWJBarnabas, which is affiliated with 11 acute care hospitals, wants “a significant rate increase we do not believe can be supported in the market.” 

Cherniak said the 1,267 doctors who hold admitting privileges exclusively at RWJBarnabas hospitals are also affected. Patients requiring hospital care would have to find another doctor if their physicians could not quickly obtain admitting privileges at other hospitals.

RWJ Barnabas Health’s spokeswoman Ellen Greene, called Cherniak’s letter a “routine communication that HMOs and insurers must send to participants 30 days before the contract expires.”  

“RWJBarnabas Health and Aetna continue to negotiate with the desire to create a new contractual agreement,” Greene’s statement said. “It is our goal and expectation that a new agreement will be reached with Aetna before our current contract expires on April 22. Aetna patients can still receive services at all RWJBarnabas Health facilities as contract negotiations continue.”

Aetna and Barnabas Health reached an impasse over contract negotiations two years ago, but the two sides reached a deal three days before the contract expired.

HCCC to hold conference on sustainability

Hudson County Community College (HCCC) has scheduled a special conference for restaurateurs, as well as culinary, food service and hospitality management professionals for Wednesday, April 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The “Food for Thought” conference, which will explore sustainability, community gardening and farm-to-table, will be held in the college’s Culinary Arts Institute, 161 Newkirk St., Jersey City, two blocks from the Journal Square PATH Transportation Center.

There is no charge for admission. The event will begin with a panel discussion moderated by Paul Dillon, the HCCC Associate Dean of Business, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management. The panel discussion will be followed by a series of three demonstrations and food tastings of artisanal bread, sous vide (cooking food in vacuum-sealed pouches that are placed in water baths or temperature-controlled steam environments) and SparCs (creative applications for food trims and peelings).

Registration for attendance is required and may be made online at www.tinyurl.com/foodforthought2017.

Help clean up Liberty State Park

On Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Liberty State Park Salt Marsh Natural Area will hold a clean-up. Volunteers are needed and welcomed at the Friends of LSP’s 22nd annual salt marsh cleanup. Enter at the fence gate at the end of flag-lined Pesin Drive at LSP’s South End adjacent to Visitor Center. The GPS is 200 Morris Pesin Drive. There are plastics and other debris that have come in with the tides. For more info, please call (201) 792-1993 or see www.folsp.org.

Hudson County CASA is seeking volunteers

Learn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. You may attend an information session at the Hudson County Courthouse, 595 Newark Ave. Rm 901 on Tuesday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m.

Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures. 

For further information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org.

Emergency regulation limits acute pain drug prescriptions

The state Attorney General and the Board of Medical Examiners, New Jersey State Board of Dentistry, New Jersey Board of Nursing, and New Jersey State Board of Optometrists, have adopted emergency amendments and new rules that prohibit a prescriber from issuing an initial prescription for the treatment of acute pain for an opioid drug in a quantity exceeding a five-day supply.

The rules require the prescription to be for the lowest effective dose of an immediate-release opioid drug. Concurrently, the provisions of these emergency rules are proposed for re-adoption.

The emergency adopted amendments and new rules, and the proposed re-adoption of these rules impose limitations on prescribing, administering, or dispensing of controlled dangerous substances, with specific limitations for opioid drugs, and establish special requirements for the management of acute and chronic pain.

The emergency adopted amendments and new rules, the proposed re-adoption of the regulations, and information on how to submit a comment by April 19 can be viewed at www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Proposals/Pages/default.aspx

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