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A Dream Come True

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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 registered...it 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

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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."

Orange Greets Bill Cosby

KIMG1750Around 750 men, women and children from in and around Orange came to Central Avenue Sept. 2 in part to listen to what a South Philadelphia native had to say to them.

The South Philadelphian - comedian and educator Bill Cosby - asked the younger and older males in the streetside audience to hold each other's hands a minute after being introduced by Mayor Dwayne Warren.

"I want you men to earn a living so you can support your families," said Cosby, 77, in his unique style of delivery. "I want you to teach your sons, your children, to love and to excel."

Then Cosby asked the same hand holding among the gathering's younger and older females.

"I first want to thank the older women out here," said Cosby. "Statistically, 70 percent of you are heads of your households. I say 'Thank You,' for what you do."

Cosby, in his 10-minute address, would also reach out to school teachers, librarians and police officers before leaving the covered stage in front of the Central Playground field. He stayed long enough to watch performances by 19 of the Orange High School Tornados Cheerleading team and the Demolition Highsteppers.

The crowd, who was also there to enjoy Orange's annual Back to School Rally, depending on the source, ranged from 500 to 1,000. "Local Talk," took an average of 750 on the closed avenue between Carteret Place and Lincoln Avenue.

The audience, whatever its actual size, may have been the largest in Orange to welcome a celebrity since three-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali visited the 1924-73 Orange High School building in the early 1970s.

"Local Talk" remembers Ali, in a contemporary account, telling those in the OHS auditorium that this may have been his only visit "to this one horse town."

Cosby told "Local Talk" Tuesday afternoon that he sees "hope" in Orange.
"I'm hopeful about Orange," said Cosby while looking from his on-stage chair. "I see that in the people and in the children."

Cosby, who earned an education doctorate from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, was not making an off-the-cuff remark.

First, Dr. Cosby spent the morning discussing educational topics with Warren, other city officials and educators from the Orange Public School District. Second, Cosby was here "a few years ago, talking with gang members."
"Local Talk" saw Cosby making similar appearances and presentations elsewhere - like when he was a part of a panel discussion on street violence at Newark's Weequahic High School June 24, 2006.
Finally, Cosby accepted the invitation from Mayor Warren, Deputy Police Chief and Brother Todd Warren, the Orange Police Athletic League and the Orange Public Library.

"Dr. Cosby and I met back around 2004," said T. Warren. "He was visiting a Hudson County correctional facility that I was working at. He became impressed with my work with youth and kept track."

Cosby was not the only performing arts celebrity in Orange Sept. 2.

The same Back to School Rally organizers arranged for actor Danny Glover to the Valley Arts Firehouse Gallery on Forest Street 7-9 p.m. Glover, before a reported audience of around 200 people, talked about the importance of the arts on individuals and in the community.

Back before 400 Central Ave. - now the Orange Preparatory Academy - Cosby urged the gathering to use the local library.

"The library is a wonderful place," said Cosby. "There are books to read or listen to, videos to watch. It can change your life."

Cosby spoke directly across the avenue from a VIP tent, where Orange Public Library Director Timur Davis was listening.

"Every time someone of note visits the area, we see more checkouts of that person's books, DVDs or movies," said Davis. "We're prepared for a run on Mr. Cosby."

Cosby, towards the end, thanked the police and asked the public to assist them in their work.

"I want you young people to remember that there was a time where people like us would be punished or killed for learning to read," said Cosby in his conclusion. "I want you to come back to me and tell me how far you've gone from the street corner. Our ancestors paid a price for you to ride on this bus."

East Orange General Takes Ice Bucket Challenge

rsz_1rsz_dsc_1123 On August 19, 2014, East Orange General Hospital President Kevin Slavin joined two other employees to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Greg Nkwodimmah, Director Cardiovascular & Diagnostic Imaging Services, and Guy Angelbeck, Manager of Cardiology Patient Transport Services took the Ice Bucket Challenge with Mr. Slavin to raise awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

ALS causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body due to degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons. People affected by the disorder lose their ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement. In addition to Lou Gehrig, other noted figures with the condition include physicist Stephen Hawking and People's Republic of China founder Mao Tse Tung.

The "Ice Bucket Challenge" was devised by former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who has been living with ALS since 2012. A person who is challenged has the option of either making a $100 donation to the ALS Association or dumping a bucket of water with ice on themselves. The ALS Association has reported donations of over $15 million within the last month, compared to just under $2 million during this time period last year.

In August 2014, the challenge went viral, and many celebrities and public figures have taken part. Some of the participants include current Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who was challenged by former Mayor Cory Booker. Senator Booker himself was challenged along with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg by NJ Governor Chris Christie. Other participants include the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Dr. Dre, LeBron James, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Robert Downey Jr., Lady Gaga, and Bill Gates.

Employees gathered outside to see this unusual challenge. The EOGH employees nominated three other persons each, with most of them being hospital employees.

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