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Orange Library Facing Budgetary Deadline

The City Council has invited Orange Public Library Director Timur Davis - and asked city CFO Joy Lascari - to appear before them at their Dec. 16 meeting.

Council President Donna K. Williams and her colleagues are inviting Davis in case he and the OPL Board of Trustees want to ask for part or all of the $200,000 city elders had set aside as a reserve in the Calendar Year 2014 Municipal Budget.

Lascari is to meanwhile show whether the $200,000 OPL reserve remains intact, has been partially tapped into - or if it still exists at all.

The council, by ratifying the CY 2014 budget, approved the allocation of an overall $703,000 for OPL operations and some capital spending. The first $503,000, by state law, is the calculated minimum a municipality of Orange's size needs to keep its public library open.

Council members set aside an additional $200,000 which Davis and the trustees said is need to meet its payroll and make needed repairs. A majority of the council was left with the impression that Davis was to come before them to demonstrate a need to tap into that reserve. The allocation, if given council permission, would be disbursed monthly.

"It was last summer when the director came her and said he needed the $200,000 to run the library," said Councilman At-Large Elroy Corbitt. "I want to know if the money is there - either it's there or we'll have to raise property taxes."

Corbitt broached the subject in response to South Ward Councilwoman Jamie Summers-Johnson's OPL report on the trustees' Dec. 2 meeting. Summers-Johnson, who presents monthly library updates, follows predecessor Edward Marable, Jr. as the council's liaison to the trustees.

Council members had meanwhile received a report from their budget consultant, Dieter Lerch, CPA, stating that, as of Sept. 30, both library line items have been spent. Lascari - in place of the absent Lerch and Mayor Dwayne Warren-appointed Finance Director Adrian Mapp - rose to the public speakers' podium to explain.

"What the budget consultant report was a projection of budget expenditures among all departments," said Lascari. "He took the expenditures and balances as of Sept. 30 and projected them to Dec. 31."

Williams has asked Lascari to have a budget report - including the $200,000 OPL supplementary fund's status, ready for Dec. 5 delivery to the City Clerk's office.

Lascari, responding to Williams' question on the status of preparing next year's municipal budget, said that she has not received proposed budgets from all department heads. The Warren-appointed CFO did not indicate whether she had received or not OPL's proposed 2015 budget.

Corbitt, in his questioning Summers-Johnson, said he was favoring the proposed funds transfer from unspent funds to expended line-items. That comment brought challenges from public speakers Jeff Feld and Bruce Meyer.

"I respectfully suggest that Councilman Corbitt reconsider his support of transferring CY2014 appropriated money," said hardware store owner Feld. "How a prudent fiduciary of a public trust can announce his support of legislation that hasn't been yet drafted is outrageous."

Meyer, a six-year Citizens Budget Advisory Committee member, urged the council to not tap into the supplemental fund until the library trustees have shown what he considers as fiscal restraint. The retired airline pilot presented how the trustees' choice of a roofer earlier this year behaved as a caution for prudence."

The trustees chose, out of three bidders for the roof and rotunda work, a contractor, who was not qualified, who said he would patch the roof," said Meyer. "He then put in a $1.1 million change order to replace the slate roof tiles with another material when the slate tiles last 100 years. He tried to stick the library, the city and the taxpayers."

Meyer added that, early in his time on the CBAC, the library trustees presented a budget "for the first time in six or seven years.

"What is going on is malfeasance," added Meyers, "illegal and borderline criminal."

Summers-Johnson's report noted that the $750,000 matching grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust would be used for the $1.2 million roof and rotunda repair. The grant, which OPL and/or its partners are to make a dollar-for-dollar match, has been extended into May 2016.

Another $100,000 in grants are being used away from OPL operations. A $48,000 Community Development Block Grant from Essex County is pending to repair the High Volume Air Conditioning and chiller system. A U.S. Department of Education Full Services Community Schools Grant - $52,563 to be spent over five years, will be applied to an OPL-Montclair State University partnership for student Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program.

The council's Dec. 2 and Nov. 17 meetings video may be available by the time you read this. The council has hired a camera operator to record and transfer the video onto YouTube since Oct. 21. Access may be had through

Family Intervention Services' Annual Holiday Food Drive Proves to Be a Huge Success

Photo_1_3Members of the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders pose with local union leaders and staff and volunteers of Family Intervention Services (FIS), which accepted donations of turkeys and gift cards to be distributed to the local needy. The event was part of FIS's annual holiday food drive, in which area families receive all the ingredients of a full holiday meal, courtesy of the generosity of donors. FIS provides approximately 200 holiday meals each year. FIS extends its gratitude to the Passaic Central Labor Council Business Agent Turnpike Local 194 and the Passaic Central Labor Council ADBR Machinist Union, District 15.

From Left to Right:


Photo 1:

Bruce James, Freeholder of Passaic County

Lori Henry, Director of Community Development, Family Intervention Services, Inc.

William F. Mullins, Sergeant-At-Arms, Passaic Central Labor Council
Business Agent Turnpike Local 194

Jeanne M. Warnock, President/CEO of Family Intervention Services, Inc.

Juan Negron, President, Passaic Central Labor Council
ADBR Machinist Union, District 15

Karen Zaledzleski, FIS Board Member

Gino Arevalo, Family intervention Services, Passaic County Office Director

Hector Lora, Freeholder of Passaic County


A Dream Come True


Aminata Dukuray lives in East Orange, NJ. She is a hardworking, humble, calm, and family-oriented lady, devout in her Muslim faith. Over ten years ago, she achieved her dream and started her own business, buying and mixing Shea butter for a nice cosmetic product.

For over 10 years, I had the honor of printing the labels for her fine products. In the beginning, she was selling her products to local stores like Olive May Health Food stores. She was innovative. Her popular product was 100% organic Shea Butter and Super Hair Grow. Slowly and gradually, she improved and introduced more products in the market.

Now, she has Products like Mango Shea Butter, Shea Butter, Super Hair Grow, Shea Butter Lotion, Shea Cocoa Butter, Lavender Lotion, different Body Washes, and over 10 varieties of Black Soaps. She also produces natural Shea Butter shampoos as well.

Ms. Dukuray was born in Sierra Leone. One day, her daughter developed an aggressive ringworm that resulted in baldness on the top of her head. Traditional physicians prescribed a myriad of topical ointments and shampoos that did nothing to eradicate the condition. Out of desperation, Aminata created an ointment with shea butter and an assortment of herbs that she began using on her child. She also created a shampoo using these ingredients and a number of minerals as well. Within days, Ms. Dukuray noticed significant hair growth in her daughter's bald spot. Within days the skin condition was cleared up, and within weeks the bald spot was replaced by healthy growing hair.

Desperately in need of working capital and guidance, Aminata turned to the New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Rutgers-Newark for help. She attended the Center's Introduction to Entrepreneurship Q&A, which she says, "It helped me to understand how to start a business and get really helped me a lot. They made it so easy because my English was not very good at the time."

Thereafter, the Director referred her to one of the business counselors who assisted her with the development of a business plan as well as assistance in the development of additional business skills and expertise. Upon completion of the business plan, Ms. Dukuray was able to secure a microloan from a lender. With this early success, African Secret financed initial inventory development and product promotion. She was able to convince the buyer at one Walmart store to carry a couple of her products on a trial basis. Today, she is in 9 Walmart stores in Northern New Jersey and is looking to expand into the tri-state area. The NJSBDC at Rutgers-Newark is currently working with her on developing her distribution channel in order to expand her operations.

Two years ago, she came in contact with Paul Profeta, head of the Profeta Foundation. He came into her life and tried to change a simple vision into a business empire. He helped her to acquire a lease on a prominent spot on Halsey Street in Newark, across from the Federal Building between Warren Street and Raymond Boulevard. He also helped her to redesign the look and presentation of the store and her products. From Africa Secret, they now will be running under the name of Ancient.
This is a good story of a local woman and role model in our area. Local Talk congratulates Aminata Dukuray and wishes her much success.

East Orange General Hospital Names Martin A. Bieber Interim President and CEO

Bieber_jpegBrings nearly 40 years experience, skill and talent to the position

The Board of Trustees of East Orange General Hospital has named Martin A. Bieber as Interim President and CEO. With nearly 40 years of hospital and healthcare management experience, Mr. Bieber brings a wealth of skill, talent and proven performance to East Orange General. He began his duties on November 18, providing for a seamless transition before Kevin Slavin leaves EOGH to take on the role of President and CEO of St. Joseph's Healthcare System in Paterson.

Most recently, Mr. Bieber served as President and CEO of the three-hospital, 614-bed Kennedy Health System in South Jersey. There he oversaw all clinical and related services of the system while also building strong relations with physicians and the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. Among his numerous accomplishments, Mr. Bieber grew the hospital's financial performance, created a climate of patient safety and performance improvement and implemented electronic health record programs to provide financial incentives for the meaningful use of certified technology to improve patient care.

"We are very confident that Mr. Bieber's experience in all aspects of hospital management, combined with his understanding of the New Jersey healthcare landscape, will serve us well in the months ahead," said Leonard Murray, EOGH Board Chairman. "He will also provide us with critical leadership as we enter our anticipated partnership with Prospect Medical Holdings and transition into the next phase of our proud history." Murray added that EOGH will continue its recruitment efforts for a permanent President and CEO.

Prior to his experience at Kennedy, Mr. Bieber served in a number of executive and administrative positions at various hospitals including Mercy Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital on Long Island and Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. A certified public accountant, he holds a master's degree in health services administration from the New School for Social Research and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Baruch College in New York. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. In 2011, he was named Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Bancroft, a South Jersey-based leading non-profit organization serving people with neurological challenges and developmental disabilities.

Mr. Bieber and his wife, Michele, reside in Monroe Township, NJ.

City of East Orange Honors Victims & Heroes of September 11, 2001

Thirteen years ago on September 11th, Mayor Lester Taylor was a young Howard University Law School graduate who had returned home to New Jersey from Washington, D.C. He said he remembers being excited because he and his friends were planning to fly to Jamaica on September 13, 2001.

But then September 11, 2001 happened and both his plans and his life - like the lives of most Americans - were changed forever. Every September 11th since then, Americans are constantly reminded that life can change in an instant. We are also reminded of the overwhelming sense of pride and community that brought people together in the wake of such tragedy.

On the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took the lives of more than 3,000 people and affected countless others, the City of East Orange commemorated the events of September 11th in honor of the victims and the valiant men and women in East Orange who responded to the call.

Mayor Taylor, East Orange Council President Quilla Talmadge, Fire Chief Charles Salley, Police Chief William Robinson, firefighters, police officers, emergency personnel, and other city employees gathered on the north lawn at City Hall Plaza shortly before 10 a.m., about the same time that the first tower of the World Trade Center fell.

Led by Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Hooper, Pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church in East Orange, the group participated in a collective moment of silence and the ceremonial tree planting of a weeping cherry tree.

Selected for its beautiful spring blossoms, "the tree symbolizes peace, hope and new beginnings," said the Mayor. "We must always remember to never forget."

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