LADIES and GENTLEMEN
Make your appointment for you or a loved one.
Carlos Olmeda from DIOR will be coming to the Quaker Bridge Mall on Friday, Dec 4, 2015.
Get your new holiday look and learn about some of the new products by Dior.
You can make an appointment by calling 609 -799-9500 or by going to the LORD and TAYLOR Dior cosmetics counter.
Ask for Luna Jones to make your appointment. Carlos will be on site from 11am to 7pm.
When you make your appointment tell Luna your learned about this from me. ENJOY!!!!
By Tammy Duffy
It was that time today, for the areas favorite cosmetics event-Trend Show, at Lord and Taylor, Quaker Bridge Mall, Lawrenceville, N.J. This event happens twice a year at the QB Mall store. The next event is March 12, 2016. General Manager, Garth Simpson and Candy David (Area Sales Manager for Cosmetics) coordinated yet another successful event for the ladies of Lawrenceville.
There were over 275 customers who prepaid for their $25 tickets for this event. The event commenced at 8am this morning. The women who attended this event, were educated by 14 different cosmetic industry experts. The likes of Dior, Laura Mercier, Estee Lauder,Clinque, Coty perfume brands and many others were on hand to speak about the new trends. The patrons got to see the newest makeup, skincare, and fragrance trends during a high-energy event. Afterwards, they enjoyed a free makeup or skincare consultation with an industry expert. The attendees also received a gift for attending the show.
The attendees tickets were redeemable toward a Cosmetics Department purchase of $25 or more on the day of the event. We spoke to company experts from the brands of Clinque, Chanel, Clarins and Dior. Each had their own ideas of what was trending in the world of cosmetics.
Clinque: Trends: Sculpting products, numerous deep colors and cleansing products.
Chanel: Skin products, Gold and smoothing and lifting the eye products. Their new Rouge Allure line allows women to create that vamped looked. The Rouge Noir is one of their best sellers.
Dior: They had NY famous, Nick Caridi on hand beautifying women. Dior has launched a line of products that Stephen Hawkins would be mesmerized by. The science behind these products is quite interesting. Their new Dior Addict Lip glow, color reviver balm, it the first customized balm that lastingly enhances and embellishes the natural color of the lips. This technology reacts directly with the unique chemistry of each woman's lips before releasing its color ingredient. Ones lips are revived from within, amazingly fresh, full and radiant. The product is enriched with wild mango and luffa cylindrica. It stays intact all day. This product can launch 7 different colors onto the lips.
Dior also had another new product on hand, Cheek and Lip Glow. This products instantly interacts to the moisture in the skin and lips of each woman to give a delicate flush of color, in a custom radiant glow. Its ultralight and fresh glow formula blends seamlessly with the skin leaving nothing but the weightless veil of a healthy glow. There was also a self adjusting powder shown by Dior.
Clarins: Their company expert, Account Executive, Klaudia Harris was at the event. She shared with us that Clarins is still a private, family owned business, even after 60 years. There are over 400 products world wide that Clarins manufactures. They have had a presence here in the United States for the past 30 years.
The Double Serum product they demonstrated is transformational to a woman's skin. It essentially is a multivitamin for the skin comprised of 20 different plant extracts. One of Clarin's earliest products is still sold today, Huile tonic body oil. This oils is made from a combination of mint, rosemary, geranium, and hazelnuts. There are many pregnant clients buying this product due to its amazing way of eliminating/decreasing stretch marks. Their light lip oils are also something we recommend trying. They are not like a gloss but light and have a small tint to add a iridescent glow to ones lips.
The ladies who attended this event discovered the season’s hottest trends and colors, learned the latest techniques and experimented with new products. They go to find their new signature look. Sign up for the events at the mall at the link below, so not to miss the next event in March 2016.
Sign up at: https://www.simon.com/mall-insider.
Click this link below to see photos by DUFFY from the event:
There are 43.6 million adult readers of AARP magazine in the United States. This is according to top-line readership data from Mediamark Research Inc.’s spring 2009 report. Better Homes & Gardens was number two on the list with 39 million readers. They are followed by Reader's Digest (8.6 million).
The U.S. has no national reporting mechanism to track the financial exploitation of elders, but in a 1998 study by the National Center on Elder Abuse, financial abuse accounted for about 12 percent of all elder abuse reported nationally in 1993 and 1994 and 30 percent of substantiated elder abuse reported submitted to adult protective services in 1996, after reports of self-neglect were excluded.
According to the National Institute of Justice website, a national 2007 study of more than 7,000 community residing elders estimated that 1 in 10 senior citizens reported experiencing at least one form of elder mistreatment in the past year. And the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging reported $40 billion in losses in telemarketing fraud—and that was back in 2000. The statistics on this topic are quite sparse. Crime against senior citizens is so pervasive that over the years, elder crime units have cropped up throughout the country in police bureaus, aimed solely at protecting senior citizens.
Duffy Cultural Couture has uncovered a nationwide scam that is targeting the elderly. These criminals are using the AARP magazine and their associated print media supplements to feed their crimes. They are placing fake ads, with fake phone numbers (the ads appear real), they are stealing from the elderly. This is not limited to AARP's magazines. This is widespread. The other magazines hit by this are: Spry magazine, TV Guide and Great Call (both their magazine and newspaper). These are the ones we know of. There is no doubt in my mind there are more.
I have an elderly relative who recently began investigating the possibility of getting a wireless emergency response device that they could wear. They had received their latest AARP magazine. This particular issue has the actor, Tom Selleck, on the front cover. We learned from AARP, this is a special edition that was printed for the 70 Plus demographic. It's an irony that Magnum P.I., the character Selleck played from 1980-1988 on CBS was on this cover. A cover of a magazine that encloses advertisements for Life Alert. (page 39)
My elderly relative used the Life Alert ad in the AARP magazine to call to get information about the product. When they called the number a woman answered the phone and they got put on hold. A gentleman then got onto the phone, he said his name was Richard Wolf. He began asking my relative for all their information, was very aggressive. This made my relative very uncomfortable. He wanted their credit card information. My relative hung up the phone. Their phone rang a minute later (an odd number they did not know) and the caller, turned out was "Mr. Wolf". He began to leave a message. His message was loud and angry, he said, " Why did you hang up on me, do you have dementia or Alzheimer's?'"
I was traveling for work and my relative called me with this information. I immediately looked up who the CEO of Life Alert was to speak to him about what happened. This is not appropriate behavior for any company's employees. I was able to leave a message for Mr. Isaac Shepher , CEO of Life Alert.
The next day I received a phone call from his assistant, Michael Christian. He was outstanding. We learned that Life Alert does not employee any consultants to cold call people and won't continue to call them, the way my relative was experiencing. He immediately tried to find Richard Wolf in their employee list. There was no Richard Wolf in their employee roster. Christian then took it a step further and researched the times "Mr. Wolf" had called my relative. All of the phone calls are logged and taped. I was able to give him all the times. There was nothing available on this either. We took the step to Google the number "Mr. Wolf" called my relative on. This turned out to be a phone number that was a spoofing #, a scam number.
Life Alert continued to investigate on their end and have since placed a large FRAUD button on their website warning patrons of this fraud. Their company reacted immediately to this issue.
The brochure that "Mr. Wolf" mailed to my relative also has a "fake scamming phone number" on it. A different phone number than is on the Life Alert ad in the AARP magazine. This story does not end at this one ad. The AARP also has a Bulletin that comes out in Oct/Nov. This had another add for Life Alert. It had a different number and is also a scamming phone number.
There are many victims in this story that I am about to tell you. Life Alert, AARP, TV Guide, Great Call, Spry Living, all victims. The readership of AARP and others are all victims.
I wish the story ended here. It does not.
I took the time to call AARP (from the number in the AARP magazine) and spoke to a person named Tiffany in the NY office. I shared my story and asked to speak to the person in charge of Ad placements for the magazine. She transferred me to "Wilson". Wilson informed me that is he THE person in charge for editing and approving all ad placements for AARP in NY. I then asked him, "What due diligence do you go through to ensure that the ads that are placed do not have scamming phone numbers in them to dupe the public." He said," I call the numbers."
If you call the numbers, it will say they are Life Alert. But, they are not Life Alert. The assistant to the CEO at Life Alert confirmed this. I then asked "Wilson", "Why did you not just simply Google the numbers to see what they showed?" He said to me," I will take care of this."
As I hung up the phone, I did not think he would take care of it. My gut was correct. When I called the NY office back, Tiffany answered and I asked to be connected to the editor. She connected me to someone named Diane. She was supposed to be the Brand manager for AARP. I left a message with her. I still felt like something was not right. I called again. Tiffany was not at her desk, I spoke to Martha Kroche from AARP instead. I shared this story with her, she was stunned. She informed me that there was no one named Wilson who worked in the office or in ad placements for AARP. She also seemed suspect of "Diane, the brand manager". She put me on hold to see who Tiffany had forwarded my calls to. Martha came back and then instructed to call the AARP Ad policy department in Washington DC immediately. I did that and left a message, I await a call back. She gave me the phone number.
Martha Kroche also educated me that AARP has a Fraud alert hotline. She asked that I call the national hotline and the local chapter in NJ. Within 30 minutes someone from the national center called me back and said they were sending this story up the food chain to hopefully do what Life Alert did and place a FRAUD alert on their sites and in the magazines.
There are many victims in this story. This is a very clever, awful,deceptive scheme that has been put together by someone or some group. It is targeting the elderly population in the United States. My relative received numerous calls after "Mr. Wolf", all claiming to be from Life Alert. All of those numbers are also scamming phone numbers. A simple Google search demonstrates that. One sees all the complaints associated with the phone numbers.
Please use this article as a way to educate yourselves and loved ones. Always keep your eyes wide open. Do not be afraid to call a CEO of a company, AARP, etc to share something like this. I have always gotten responses from CEO's and their team on critical issues that I uncover. Everyone has been extremely responsive and quick to act in this instance.
Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. The criminals are very clever. I can only hope that this event changes the course of history. My hope is that the vetting process of publications changes immediately. The print media must immediately establish a vigilant vetting process for advertisements that they publish. If they do not have a policy and something happens to one of our elderly in America, they should be held liable for the damages.
See something, Say something!! I suggest always Googling a phone number you do not know before calling it back, before you order something, see it in an ad. One cannot assume it's real.
Life Alert is a device (there are many on the market) that has the purpose of saving the life of the person who wears the device. It will automatically call emergency services in the event a catastrophic event occurs to the wearer.
The Webster's dictionary definition of Poverty is, a general scarcity, dearth, or the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. It is a multifaceted concept, which includes social, economic, and political elements.
The nation’s official poverty rate in 2014 was 14.8 percent, (US Census bureau) which means there were 46.7 million people in poverty. Median household income in the United States in 2014 was $53,657, not statistically different in real terms from the 2013 median income.
About 21,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations. This is one person every four seconds, as you can see on this display. Sadly, it is children who die most often. There are homeless, hungry and poverty stricken residents in Hamilton, Mercer County.
Yet, there is plenty of food in the world for everyone. The problem is that hungry people are trapped in severe poverty. They lack the money to buy enough food to nourish themselves. Being constantly malnourished, they become weaker and often sick. This makes them increasingly less able to work, which then makes them even poorer and hungrier. This downward spiral often continues until death for them and their families. This also is an economic drain on communities when community health spirals in the wrong direction.
Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson made a move that was unprecedented at the time and remains unmatched by succeeding administrations. He announced a War on Poverty, saying that its “chief weapons” would be “better schools, and better health, and better homes, and better training, and better job opportunities.”
So, starting in 1964 and for almost a decade, the federal government poured at least some of its resources in the direction they should have been going all along: toward those who were most in need. Longstanding programs like Head Start, Legal Services, and the Job Corps were created. Medicaid was established. Poverty among seniors was significantly reduced by improvements in Social Security.
Johnson seemed to have established the principle that it is the responsibility of government to intervene on behalf of the disadvantaged and deprived. But there was never enough money for the fight against poverty, and Johnson found himself increasingly distracted by another and deadlier war—the one in Vietnam. Although underfunded, the War on Poverty still managed to provoke an intense backlash from conservative intellectuals and politicians.
For most women in poverty, in both good times and bad, the shortage of money arises largely from inadequate wages. Lets look at jobs as a waitress, nursing-home aide, hotel housekeeper, Wal-Mart associate, or a maid with a house-cleaning service, which are entry level jobs. I did not choose these jobs because they were low-paying. I chose them because these are the entry-level jobs most readily available to the residents of Hamilton township.
What you will discover is that in many ways, these jobs are a trap: They pay so little that you cannot accumulate even a couple of hundred dollars to help you make the transition to a better-paying job. They often give you no control over your work schedule, making it impossible to arrange for child care or take a second job. And in many of these jobs, even young women soon begin to experience the physical deterioration—especially knee and back problems—that can bring a painful end to their work life.
It is actually more expensive to be poor than not poor. If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience store food, which—in addition to its nutritional deficits—is also alarmingly overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower would be charged. To be poor—especially with children to support and care for—is a perpetual high-wire act.
The criminalization of poverty has accelerated since the recession. There has been a significant rise in aggravated assaults, burglary, rape and murder in Hamilton. Yet, there is a constant message from the administration that crime is the lowest since 1977. This drives the wrong behavior for those who commit crimes. It sends the message that its okay to come to Hamilton and commit aggravated assault, burglary, etc because we are okay with it. The Mayor of Trenton has a very different strategy. He flat out tells the criminals we will catch you, you will go to jail.
I recently watched a Trenton police officer who was part of the bicycle detail in the city. I watched her in her police vest ride her police bicycle near the Trenton train station. All of the motorists were very aware of her. The people on the street walking were also very aware of her presence. She said not one word, just road her bike and looked everywhere. One would have thought she was in the popemobile. People slowed up, people drove very carefully around her. She had a commanding presence on that street. This strategy used by the city of Trenton is excellent and should be duplicated in surrounding areas.
Most private-sector employers offer no sick days, and many will fire a person who misses a day of work, even to stay home with a sick child. A nonfunctioning car can also mean lost pay and sudden expenses. A broken headlight invites a ticket, plus a fine greater than the cost of a new headlight, and possible court costs. If a creditor decides to get nasty, a court summons may be issued, often leading to an arrest warrant. No amount of training in financial literacy can prepare someone for such exigencies—or make up for an income that is impossibly low to start with. Instead of treating low-wage mothers as the struggling heroines they are, our political culture still tends to view them as miscreants and contributors to the “cycle of poverty.”
If anything, the criminalization of poverty has accelerated since the recession, with growing numbers of states drug testing applicants for temporary assistance, imposing steep fines for school truancy, and imprisoning people for debt. Such measures constitute a cruel inversion of the Johnson-era principle that it is the responsibility of government to extend a helping hand to the poor. Sadly, this has become the means by which the wealthiest country in the world manages to remain complacent in the face of alarmingly high levels of poverty: by continuing to blame poverty not on the economy or inadequate social supports, but on the poor themselves.
It’s time to revive the notion of a collective national responsibility to the poorest among us, who are disproportionately women and especially women of color. Until that happens, we need to wake up to the fact that the underpaid women who clean your homes and offices, prepare and serve our meals, and care for our elderly—earning wages that do not provide enough to live on—are the true philanthropists of our society. Minimum-wage jobs are physically demanding, have unpredictable schedules, and pay so meagerly that workers can't save up enough to move on.
In 2012, the developer, Development LLC of Elkins Park,PA submitted plans to build a Walmart in Hamilton. This was part of a plan to revitalize the abandoned Suburban Plaza. This property has been 98% vacant for more than a decade.
One main part of this plan is to build a new Walmart with a drive-thru pharmacy can be built. The township of Hamilton already has a large Walmart. Do they need more? The Hamilton administration and Walmart think so. Its interesting what one finds when you review the campaign contributions of candidates as it pertains to Walmart, makes for an interesting read.
In Aug 2015, Duffy's Cultural Couture reported on the analysis that the Walmart corporation does to evaluate the placement of their new stores. This is a very interesting read. (see link below)
During the submission process, there were comments made by the developer promising this new development could create an estimated 350 ongoing jobs, in addition to jobs related to demolition and construction. What is the salary of these jobs? Is the Hamilton township administration at all concerned about that?
At that time, the townships Director of Economic Development said, "This is the first of what we believe will be several, exciting economic development announcements that will be made this summer,” said Hamilton Director of Economic Development Michael Angarone. “Our economic development and revitalization efforts have targeted long-vacant or underutilized properties; and we are beginning to see positive results, such as with ‘The Court at Hamilton,’ after months, and in some cases, even years of hard-work and focus.”
There was an additional comment made in an Aug 2015 issue of the Hamilton Community gazette by Mayor Yaede. She said, " This component (meaning the Super Walmart), will not just help fill a food desert, but build on the economy of our residents." She continues to say," It will bring food access to portions of the town that previously lacked access to food."
There has been a rapid increase in the number of residents living in poverty in Hamilton, Mercer County. This rural poverty has a direct effect on a towns ability to succeed. It effects the health outcomes and well being of its residents. This also significantly limits economic development for companies with more than Walmart salaries to want to come to Hamilton to establish their businesses.
Nearly one million people live in poverty in New Jersey, an increase of just short of 250,000 people in the past 10 years, according to 2014 Census data. The rate of state residents living in poverty dropped slightly between 2013 and 2014, from 11.4 percent to 11.1 percent, though an estimated 973,000 people live below the federal poverty line. However, this is not what is happening in Mercer county, specifically Hamilton township.
In the past decade, the poverty rate in New Jersey has jumped from 8.7 percent to 11.1 percent, according to the Census data. There were about 739,000 New Jersey residents living in poverty in 2005.
Mercer County, for example, jumped from a poverty rate of 8.5 percent in 2005 to more than 11.9 percent of residents living in poverty in 2014.
New Jersey County Poverty Rates: Then & Now
Poverty Levels Hamilton Twp. Mercer County New Jersey Population Below Poverty: Hamilton Township
Residents with income below the poverty level in 2013:
Residents with income below 50% of the poverty level in 2013:
In 2014, the poverty level is now 6.0% Hamilton.
Renting rate in this place among poor and not poor residents:
Residents below poverty level:
Residents above poverty level:
There is a direct correlation between education and poverty. Mercer County alone has six colleges or universities. Focus group members and interviewees additionally shared that, beyond formal institutions, there are substantial opportunities for continued learning through community educational and cultural events, many of which are free.
However, while quality education was seen as a tremendous asset in the region, several respondents reported that not everyone has equal access. They commented that poorer communities lack basic supplies and poorer families in more affluent school districts cannot afford some things, such as tutors, needed to succeed in school. Several parent and youth focus group participants remarked that the system works well for “super achievers” or those “who know how to play the system”, but may be less effective for others. In contrast to the rest of the region, Trenton schools were reported to be poor; as one focus group member from a social service agency commented, “there are kids [in Trenton] that want to learn, and the community fails them.”
Quantitative results show high educational attainment among Mercer County’s adults ages 25 years or older, although some variation across municipalities. While the overall proportion of the Mercer County adult population with a college degree or more is higher than the state as a whole (38.2% vs. 34.6%), this figure varies by municipality. For communities such a West Windsor, Princeton Borough, Princeton Township, and Pennington, more than 70% of adult residents have a college degree or higher, whereas these rates are much lower in other communities such as Hamilton (26.0%) and Trenton (11.0%).
How many times have you been to a store in Hamilton and the kid behind the counter cannot count your change. They are lost in the worlds of math and science. This is clearly evident in their national test scores as well. The decrease in high school graduation status in some of the towns high schools, also speaks volumes.
GRADUATION RATES IN HAMILTON MERCER COUNTY
HAMILTON EAST - STEINERT
Currently today only 35% of students in NJ go to college according to the US Census. In Mercer County it is 38% in Hamilton only 26% have degrees.
Broad economic stability, competitive markets, and public investment in physical and social infrastructure are widely recognized as important requirements for achieving sustained economic growth and a reduction in rural poverty. In addition, because the rural poor's links to the economy vary considerably, public policy should focus on issues such as their access to land and credit, education and health care, support services, and entitlements to food through well-designed public works programs and other transfer mechanisms. Upon reviewing the Hamilton township Master plan, we found that there nothing focused on optimzing poverty. The plan that is on the townships website is actually the plan developed by the Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo. He was convicted of accepting $12,400 in bribes from a health insurance broker in exchange for his influence over a lucrative school board contract. That is not a good sign for the town.
The links between poverty, economic growth, and income distribution have been studied quite extensively in recent literature on economic development. Absolute poverty can be alleviated if at least two conditions are met: economic growth must occur—or mean income must rise—on a sustained basis; and economic growth must be neutral with respect to income distribution or reduce income inequality.
Generally, poverty cannot be reduced if economic growth does not occur. In fact, the persistent poverty of a substantial portion of the population can dampen the prospects for economic growth. Also, the initial distribution of income (and wealth) can greatly affect the prospects for growth and alleviation of mass poverty. Substantial evidence suggests that a highly unequal distribution of income is not conducive to either economic growth or poverty reduction. Experience has shown that if towns put in place incentive structures and complementary investments to ensure that better health and education lead to higher incomes, the poor will benefit doubly through increased current consumption and higher future incomes.
The pattern and stability of economic growth also matter. On the one hand, traditional capital-intensive, import-substituting, and urban-biased growth—induced by government policies on pricing, trade, and public expenditure—has generally not helped alleviate poverty. On the other hand, agricultural growth—where there is a low concentration of land ownership and labor-intensive technologies are used—has almost always helped reduce poverty. Finally, sharp drops in economic growth—resulting from shocks and economic adjustments—may increase the incidence of poverty. Even when growth resumes, the incidence of poverty may not improve if inequality has been worsened by the crisis.
While Mercer County is an area of stark contrasts by income with both very wealthy and much less affluent municipalities, pockets of residents struggling during the economic recession can be found throughout the region. New Jersey has many strengths, and Mercer County is among one of the most resourced communities. Residents can point to expensive housing and the large number of parks and public tennis courts, basketball courts, skating rinks, and ball fields in the region. Yet, while the communities of Hopewell, Pennington and Princeton were singled out for their affluence, not all communities or community members have high incomes. Communities immediately outside Trenton, such as Hamilton and Ewing, are described as more blue collar and middle class.
Overall, however, Mercer County ranks 9th for median household income among NJ’s 21 counties. According to the 2006-2010 U.S. Census American Community Survey, household median income in Mercer County was about $1,400 higher than that for New Jersey as a whole which was almost $18,000 higher than for the US as a whole. Six Mercer County communities had a median household income of greater than $100,000, with the highest in West Windsor ($137,625) and Hopewell Township ($132,813). The towns of Hamilton ($72,026), Ewing ($69,716), and Hightstown ($66,250) had among the lowest median household incomes in Mercer County. Trenton’s median household income in 2010 was $36,601, far lower than that of Mercer County and New Jersey.
Rising poverty among the elderly and vulnerable was particularly noted as a concern. Seniors have difficulties with living on fixed incomes as costs for housing, health care, and food rise. A comment by a Hamilton senior was, “people here might make decisions like paying their taxes so they can stay and have a place to live, rather than paying for their prescriptions.”
There are also challenges as it pertains to employment and the ability to access services, particularly among undocumented workers. There as a recent initiative by that Hamilton administration to remove the ability for Hamilton senior residents to get free permits. Every penny counts for Mercer County seniors. They wait till the last minute to make repairs to their homes. The Mayors initiative to make seniors pay for their permits was disheartening for many. Many are already living in poverty, or fixed incomes, this did not gone over well with the senior community.
As elsewhere, the economic downturn has been felt in Mercer County. The rising unemployment, small business closures, high taxes, rising gasoline prices, and few job prospects for new graduates as economic concerns for the region. There are many Hamilton students who attend college, but never return home. There are no jobs that pay what they need in their home town.
There are multiple ways this changing economic picture has had a negative impact on communities and the individual residents of the town. It is reported that long-standing residents have been forced to move out of the region, individual and family stress has increased, and a growing number of people now lack health insurance or the ability pay for health care. Stakeholders working with disadvantaged groups (e.g., veterans, minorities, disabled) pointed to the lack of employment opportunities, struggles of minimum wage jobs, and the growing economic stresses for their constituencies.
There are many families in the region have experienced a decline in their standards of living as previously high-wage professionals have become unemployed or now work part-time or as consultants with less pay and no benefits. While not poverty in the true economic sense, respondents stated that these families experience hardship and substantial stress as they see their standards of living decline. One resident explained, “I have heard stories from people about losing their jobs…and they are used to living a certain way and are expected to be living a certain way but cannot do that any longer.” This situation has many implications for communities. Some reported less volunteerism and involvement in civic and social service events, as typically active residents struggle themselves in the declining economy. As one focus group member shared, “these people have helped to build this community, but now they do not have the resources anymore.”
Numerous characteristics of a country's economy and society, as well as some external influences, create and perpetuate rural poverty: political instability and civil strife.
The attitude of local politicians is also important. There are three possible strategies for local politicians seeking re-election. The minimalist is to limit taxation by giving away the tax base through exemptions to gain support. This has the great advantage that it is easy to implement. An alternative is to use the municipality as a source of direct patronage in term of employment and as a means of delivering projects to supporters. The final model is to gain support through the general development of the local economy. Unfortunately, the experience of small and medium towns has often highlighted the first case where support is gained through giving away the tax base.
There are local municipalities in Ghana, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Philippines that are making strides to move their towns into the right direction. Maybe the administration of Hamilton can research what is happening in other towns and countries so they can make a positive impact in their community. When Walmart becomes a towns major employer, that is not a good sign.
When a municipality adopts a laissez faire approach towards development, poverty will continue to rise. Is Hamilton's leaders reading their own document? (see link)
"The key to Hamilton’s economic prosperity lies in its strategic advantages: central location within a populous state, an educated workforce, a higher than median income residential base, a superior regional transportation network, a high quality of life offered to its residents and the availability of convenient public and private services." (source: page 130)
Is the township administration really looking at what is happening in their own town? There is a playground literally across the street from the municipal building where they all work, that since the first day of school this year, the playground is closed. A vast majority of the playgrounds are still closed with no date when they will al reopen. (There are also municipal parks closed due to this same issue. How did they miss what was going on right outside their own windows?
Another paragraph from the master plan....
"The Township has a history of promoting economic development opportunities. The Township routinely works cooperatively with organizations whose mission is consistent with the Township’s economic development goals, such as the Hamilton Partnership and the Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, the Hamilton Township Economic Development Advisory Commission plays a positive role in advancing economic development efforts."
Every year the townships Economic Development board has a dinner that gives out awards to local businesses in Hamilton. Three years ago the net loss of that event was $500. Two years ago the net loss from the event was $1500. It would have been a $3000, but one of the local banks coughed up $1500 at the last minute as a donation. They should not be losing money on these events.
The Director of Economic Development for the township is the township liaison for this board. During the planning of this dinner they did a postcard mailing, a "save the date" for the event. They printed several thousand cards to mail to residents and businesses. It was decided to use an oversized card due to the fact the township required numerous amounts of information on the card.
One of the board members was coordinating with the ARC to do the mailing for the postcards. It would have been cheaper than sending it out via the township. They were doing it as a bulk mail and it would give the children at the Arc a cool project to work on.
However, the township demanded that the cards be mailed by the township. So the township mailed the cards. In a few days there was slip in the PO BOX for the economic board at the post office to pick up a large package. Unfortunately, every single card got returned.The township director and assistant did not use the correct postage for an oversize card. They used the rate for a regular size card. So this cost more money to send the cards out with the correct postage.
This level of dysfunction is epic in the Hamilton administration. There needs to be a serious revision to the way economic development is managed in Hamilton. The residents deserve better. The open door policy the mayor touts is maddening. Her door is not open. It is locked so tight it might as well be a vault. The residents complain about her complete lack of response as well as the complete lack of response of her directors. Again, the residents deserve better.
As American's we watched during the World Series and we saw that Walmart spend millions of dollars. They focused on advertising aimed at getting Americans to display green outdoor lights to honor Veterans.
So, how much money will Walmart make by selling green outdoor lights? And, of course, how much did that commercial cost? I apologize if I appear to be too cynical.
If you read Walmart’s press release about the initiative it actually has less emphasis on the “display a green light” and more emphasis on their support for many Veteran related charitable organizations. And, Walmart has hired some retired General to be in charge of the program so it must be in touch with Veterans, right? Why is it that a phone call to two Hamilton Walmart's yielded employees with no idea what the Greenlight for Veterans Project was? How can this be?
Watching the commercial, however, many Americans would be right to conclude that they are doing their part or just doing “good” by merely displaying a green light.
The truth is we have seen this before. It is nothing new. Years ago displaying yellow ribbons was a very nice gesture. Then it was magnetic yellow ribbons on cars. It used to be that just displaying the American Flag was all that was needed and for me that remains true. To make an impact on veterans it takes more than a green light or yellow ribbon.
To be clear, there are many people doing great things for Veterans. Many people do and will give large amounts to many great Veterans causes and organizations. I expect this will happen regardless of the number of green lights that are turned on. And, Walmart is indeed doing good things for Veterans.
The bottom line is that I am indeed skeptical about the motivations of Walmart and others. Here is why:
The one thing I can say with certainty is that displaying a green light outside my home will not help to solve the problems. If anything it will provide many ordinary Americans – even many well intentioned ones – with the message that by displaying that green light they have helped to solve the problems. So it all stops right there or maybe it starts a conversation.
If you display the light as a government official, and do nothing to start the conversation in your own administration to implement job programs that focus on veterans, then don't bother. It will be viewed as just another gimmick. This was the word used by the mayor during the elections as it pertained to debates, they were just gimmicks. So we will use her word, don't put up green bulbs as a gimmick.
Hamilton, NJ is going “green”, they state it is for more than environmental reasons. This environmental comment is quite perplexing. This is the same administration that destroyed wetlands with the expansion of a private police gun range in a residential area. An administration that is negligent in recycling in the parks and government buildings.
The Township stated that they will join in the ‘Greenlight A Vet’ campaign. They will do so by displaying green lights at the Municipal Building, Health Division Building and Recreation Division Building.
This is the same administration during the Memorial Day parade, pushed veterans aside to be the lead in the town parade because it was an election year. They walked with their backs to the American flag the entire parade length. Its incomprehensible that any elected official would behave in this manner. To be this disrespectful of verterans is outrageous.
Hamilton will soon be home to two Walmart locations, including a Super Walmart that the administrations feels will help revitalize the town’s former Suburban Plaza retail center and become known as the Court at Hamilton. Walmart has pledged to hire 250,000 veterans by the year 2020.
How many vets has Mayor Yaede hired since her inception into municipal government? What policies has she written to ensure she and her hiring managers are actively pursuing veterans in their hiring practices? One will find this initiative has been developed as well as a representation of diversity in her cabinet. The Hamilton municipal government is quite white, lacking diversity.
Duffy's Cultural Couture recently did a story focused on Walmart and their selection process for implementation of new stores. Neighborhoods that gain Super Walmart stores end up with more poverty and food-stamp usage than communities where the retailer does not open, a Walmart’s arrival leads to a net loss of jobs and lowers wages, according to research by economists at the University of California-Irvine and Cornell. Is this where we want our veterans working, to strive for poverty level jobs?
No one believes Veterans should be “offended” by people putting up green lights and we are not questioning the fact that Walmart does give a considerable amount of money for Veteran issues. They are hiring veterans.
However, unfortunately, the problem of Veteran Unemployment will not be resolved by re-branding the yellow ribbon campaign or by coining a new phrase such as “greenlighting.”
The Reality – There are many Veterans who find themselves unemployed despite the numerous programs that corporate America and the VA have initiated to address the problem. Somewhere there is a very large disconnect. A central “portal” or registry for Veterans who are unemployed does NOT exist.
Young Vets Get Help – Many corporate efforts and VA programs use Veterans to fill their most basic, entry level, ground floor positions. This is a good as it provides opportunity for those young Veterans who leave the military after their first tour. And, it is well deserved since it is the young men and women who enlist that face the greatest hardship and challenges among those who serve in harm’s way. From a private sector perspective, it is also a “no-brainer” for companies to recruit and hire these younger veterans because they are often far more qualified for just about any entry level position than their civilian counterparts.
But, Let’s Be Real — These young Veterans account for only a small segment of the total Veteran group in the US. This is because we are a Nation with an all-volunteer force that relies on high levels of retention to maintain a high level of professionalism. As a result, a large number of “Veterans” do not leave the service until they have attained a higher level of seniority and experience. So, those Veterans are not in a position to re-start their lives with entry level positions.
Defense Sector Downsizing – Perhaps the most “Veteran” friendly sector within corporate America has traditionally been the Defense & Aerospace industry which has always welcomed and recruited senior level military professionals. However, that market has been extremely hard hit with layoffs and reductions in force over the past five years. Those Veterans who had spent their entire non-military professional career in that sector can find it very challenging to transition to new industries. None of the VA programs or corporate efforts that I am aware of are focused on this part of the problem.
Misperceptions – It is impossible to say how much the perceptions within “civilian” worlds about PTSD or the adaptability of the “warrior” culture into their workforce play into the problems facing Veterans seeking employment. Nobody wants to believe that these are actually significant factors. But, the reality is that most Veterans have too many stories about ridiculous interview questions and even instances of blatant discrimination. At a minimum, while all Americans are impacted by the subtle yet real issue of “age discrimination” in our workforce, Veterans ages 40-60 years are particularly at risk.
No More Pandering – Ultimately, it is extremely frustrating for Veterans to hear about all the programs, sponsorships and money being spent to help solve these problems while still being unable to find meaningful employment. Veterans do not expect any special hand-outs. But, Veterans do expect that if companies and organizations are going to talk the talk, at some point they should actually walk the walk instead of just saying great things or making heart throbbing commercials. Executive leaders should look at their hiring practices and question hiring managers to ensure that Veterans are indeed being “greenlighted” before they hold themselves out as being supportive of Veterans.
Hamilton township, under the Yaede administration has not demonstrated an active focus on the hiring of veterans. We have not been able to obtain any policy written that focuses on this type of initiative either. We only hope that these green light bulbs turn other light bulbs on in the heads of the administration to really focus on the needs of the veterans in Hamilton, NJ. A green light bulb cannot do that. Walk the Walk Hamilton, not just talk the talk.
The color green can mean, jealously, possessiveness, or materialistic, a need to own people or objects. Without a plan in the Yaede administration, then the only meaning residents can see is the one stated here in this paragraph. This is not what veterans want, need or deserve.
“Serious challenges must be addressed through collaboration and effective partnerships,” said Mayor Jackson. “Ending veteran homelessness is a critical issue that requires human-centered problem solving and a coordinated approach. I accept the First Lady’s “Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness,” and I underscore its important mission. No veteran in America should have to face homelessness."
Through Trenton’s Coordinated Entry and Assessment Services Center (CEAS), a comprehensive one-stop initiative for homeless adults launched last April, Mayor Jackson is committing resources and personnel to execute the “Plan to End Veteran Homelessness in 2015” in partnership with Mercer County, Soldier On, the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness and other nonprofit and veteran-services organizations.
Accompanying Mayor Eric E. Jackson, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes also signed on to the challenge.
“We have shown that we can rapidly house families once we have a focused effort. We can and will do the same for veterans. We will house every homeless veteran before the end of 2015,” Hughes said. Mercer County has received national recognition for its Family Rapid Rehousing program, which follows the Housing First approach that centers on quickly providing homeless people with housing and then providing services.
Frank Cirillo, Executive Director of the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness, a strategic partner, said that the commitment to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 is simply not realistic without strong partnerships with nonprofit organizations and veteran-services providers in our area, such as Soldier On and Community Hope. He added that the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness has been at the forefront of the issue of homelessness and has played an important role in developing the “Plan to End Veteran Homelessness in 2015.”
Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson and Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes Announce Their Participation in First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in 2015”
“The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness is joining with Mayor Jackson and Mercer County Executive Hughes in the “Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by 2015” because to end homelessness we know that it takes a multipronged effort supported by committed partners," said Cirillo. "We have these elements in place and will meet our target goal."
“The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness” is part of the “Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness,” which works to solidify partnerships and secure commitments to end Veteran homelessness from mayors across the country. Specifically, the call to action – announced by First Lady Michelle Obama and amplified by the HUD Secretary, by leaders across HUD, VA, USICH, and by the National League of Cities – is for mayors to make a commitment to ending veteran homelessness in their cities in 2015.
To date, the area partners have identified 79 homeless veterans in Mercer County. Through various efforts and resources, 61 homeless veterans have been housed and the partners are confident that by the end of 2015, the remaining 18 veterans will be housed. Additionally, the city's CEAS Center has assisted 90 adults with various social services, including finding temporary and permanent housing.
By Tammy Duffy
In December 2013, Kelly Yaede was sworn in as Mayor of Hamilton by Senator Jennifer Beck. On that day, Mayor Yaede pledged to a crowd over 100 supporters that she was “aware of the responsibilities” of the office and ready to take them on.
“When facing any challenges or setbacks, my pledge to you is that I will not sugarcoat the realities that we face,” Yaede said. “I will not push off the problems of today and I will not shortchange the investments that we must make in order to provide the same quality of life and the same opportunities to proud Hamiltonians," she said.
Did she live up to her pledge? No, things have been sugarcoated so much in Hamilton, the town is suffering from severe tooth decay. Decaying infrastructure, decaying schools and decaying school and municipal playgrounds, etc are evident in Hamilton.
As we approach November 3rd, it is important that the residents of Hamilton get out and vote. I spent time this weekend going door to door reminding people to vote on Tuesday. I was happy to see that the doors I knocked on 90% of the people intended to vote. One can only hope we see all neighborhoods demonstrating the same.
We got to speak to a first time voter in Hamilton who's major concern was," I want Hamilton to be a safe place for my 2 year old sister. A place where I can bring up my family. I am concerned with this." This first time voter was only 18 years old. He was wise beyond his years. An 18 year old young man can see through the propaganda the media and town's leadership are feeding its residents.
What are we voting for? Why has this voting right given to us by some very brave Americans?
We have all gotten the political propaganda mailed to us, placed on our porch, doors and in some cases in my mailbox without a postmark (when we all know that is not allowed my dear republicans) What choice we make on Tuesday is a personal choice. It may be made due to a party alliance or what we believe in our hearts to be the right person for the job. The residents of Hamilton need to go and make their choice on November 3rd.
During my volunteer efforts this weekend I got to speak to some current Hamilton township employees. They shared with me that the morale is at an all time low in the Public Works Department and elsewhere in the township. The people who work within Public Works hate (this was their word, hate) going to work. The morale is at an all time low due to the current administration they said.
They also shared with me that at the senior center the employees there have not been given a raise in three years. Yet, the mayor and her directors have all gotten raises. They went on to state that the mayor comes to every event at the senior center. The speech she gives is the same each time she visits. The seniors at the center have memorized it and mouth the words as if to be at a Brittney Spears concert, lip synching the repetitive words of their town leader. During these visits Mayor Yaede never acknowledges her own township staff according to the township employees. She never thanks them, she completely ignores their presence. The township employees find this demoralizing.
While more traditional managers tend to see low morale as intangible, its importance and impact on profits, productivity and financial competitiveness are measurable and affect organizational objectives. The Gallup Organization estimated that there are 22 million actively disengaged employees costing the economy as much as $350 billion dollars per year in lost productivity including absenteeism, illness and other low morale issues.
Less engaged teams are less productive, less customer-focused and prone to withdrawing their efforts and adopting counterproductive behavior. This occurs when management is unclear about expectations, employees have not been effectively trained or do not feel a sense of ownership over their work. Low morale causes employees to lose interest in going the extra mile, especially when they do not feel valued by managers or care about the projects assigned. They do not trust their leaders. They see directors who are not allowed to have paying jobs outside of their township roles, holding other jobs as well. The employees in Hamilton are demoralized and have lost trust and faith in the administration. They see directors carrying on via social media inappropriately, when clearly the township policies forbid it. There are no reprecussions to the directors who do this. It just sinks morale even lower. The directors should be setting an example.
Low morale can in fact be controlled. Leaders must possess the vision and understanding of their employees’ potential and their core work processes. They must ensure employees are being effectively utilized through job enrichment. It includes understanding employees’ abilities and ensuring jobs provide a challenge to utilize their full capacity, recognizing achievement and giving employees an opportunity to grow and learn new things.
Leaders/managers also need to create a culture of trust as they can shape and influence, through role modeling, the way resources are allocated, how employees are rewarded, and the criteria used for recruitment, promotions, and terminations. A climate of trust exists in organizations when managers do what they say they are going to do and are consistent in their actions. Managers can earn trust and improve employee morale by being accessible, authentic and fostering openness.
Public service is not glamorous work, its not supposed to be. It is a job where you are in the trenches everyday, serving your community.
Many public servants, and Hamilton officials, have turn this calling into a double-dipping greed festival. They have found a loophole in the law that in their mind justifies their double dipping ways.
There are hundreds of state employees and Hamilton township employees simultaneously collecting high salaries and retirement pay. They are playing with the N.J. pension system.
Senator Jennifer Beck is on a mission to change this. She says,"Legal or not, it's an outrage, and a slap in the face to every taxpayer in the state. Retirement income should not be collected until you're not working anymore – that's the premise of a pension – and the fact that public employees exploit it is unconscionable. Worst of all, they brazenly brag about it."
Senator Jennifer Beck of N.J. did the swearing in of office for Mayor Yaede in 2013. The Senator has been actively pursuing a bill that would end N.J. state employees from double dipping.
How would Senator Beck feel if she knew that at the time she swore in Mayor Yaede into office, that Yaede was allowing her team to double dip. The townships own business administrator, John Ricci is collecting his $117,000 a year salary on top of a $65,000 a year pension from the township. This has been going on for years.
As residents of Hamilton how does that make you feel? Would we not all love to get a salary and our pensions simultaneously? How may other township employees are doing this? Why is Mayor Yaede condoning this behavior? If Senator Beck's bill passes, how fast will Mr. Ricci be out of his double dipping ways? This gross abuse or power demonstrated by the Hamilton leadership has to change. This is only one aspect of what is driving the low morale in the township.
These double dippers have no shame. They want to challenge the courts on their double dipping ways. As for those pensioners who think about challenging it in court, they'll have two choices: They can cease their double-dipping voluntarily, or they can prepare for it to be a campaign issue.
The state employees are entitled to their retirement, just as any employee at any company who pays into it. The New Jersey pension deficit continues to grow more and more each year. Is it fair that the state employees who are not double dipping have to make sacrifices due to the utter greed of others? Why are elected officials allowing this to go on?
There have been numerous studies and articles written on how productivity affects a companies bottom line. The Township of Hamilton has a real moral problem. The old saying, "a happy wife makes for a happy life", holds true in business and towns. If your employees are not happy, they see people literally breaking the law and getting away with it, they see this double dipping, it drives the wrong behaviors. These wrong behaviors cost the residents of Hamilton. It shows up by way of their ever increasing tax payments, closed playground with costly remediation and many other costly issues. These same employees also are not responsive to residents in their times of need or when they have questions. Why should they respond, no one will follow up and make them follow up and there are no repercussions for not doing so.
Being elected to a public office is a privilege. If you abuse this privilege, break the law, decide that dating a married coworker (which is against the NJ statues) who is a township employee; is a good idea, then come election time, voters have a choice. A choice to be accepting of these bad behaviors or not. They have a choice to be accepting of illegal acts by the destruction of public records with no certification of the destruction of the public records as well.
One can only question how Hamilton townships director of IT and the Municipal clerk have allowed this to go on. (the destruction of public records) Every township employee has the responsibility to ensure that all government records are properly archived and or destroyed appropriately. The interim attorney general is aware of these record destruction issues without certification. What happens next is up to him. The residents of Hamilton can only hope for justice in this matter.
The residents of Hamilton have a choice to be accepting of how the existing leadership has created a demoralizing workplace (according to the employees) for employees. If you are accepting of all of this, you know what to do on Nov 3rd. If you are not, you also know what to do as well on November 3rd.
When a town's leadership is accepting of these types of behaviors it drives the town into the wrong direction. The current administration has touted we have the lowest crime since 1977. This statement is true for the petty crimes occurring in Hamilton. However, if you look at the NJ State police reports for aggravated assault, murder, rape and burglary, the numbers tell a much different story. Do these vicious crimes not matter as it pertains to the residents? Obviously not. Yet, Mayor Yaede had one person stalk her and she has a 24/7 security detail. What about the residents? Do the residents not matter? Many of the runners in the township will not run in Veteran's Park anymore due to the incidents that have occurred. I personally have been harassed, grabbed and bothered by suspicious people in the park. I have chosen to stay out of the park for this reason.
It appears from the administrations communications on crime that they want to minimize what is really happening in Hamilton. This drives the wrong behavior for criminals as well. Are we seeing this increase in vicious crime because criminals know they can get away with things in Hamilton? You decide.
In a recent Hamilton Post story, an interview of the candidates, Mayor Yaede said, "I stand behind calling Hamilton the Big H." How can anyone, especially in Hamilton who has the highest deployments of Narcan in the county, make this statement. The big H is the street name for heroin as we all know. The mayor has been educated on this fact many months ago, when she was completely oblivious to this fact, and she continues to want to name the town "The Big H". It is incomprehensible that the Mayor of Hamilton continues to make this statement. It is a smack in the face to every person and family battling heroin addictions or who have lost a loved one to this epidemic. There was yet another heroin death to a Hamiltonian this past week.
Public officials must lead, rally their teams every day, be honest, be responsive to residents, and not abuse their power. When they forget and ignore these attributes, it's time for change.
Vote on November 3rd, make your decision based on facts, do your research and choose wisely.