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Friday, 4 December 2015










From gorgeous gowns to breathtaking fragrance, nothing is too beautiful for Christian Dior. Carlos Olmeda, make-up artist for Dior, shared his expertise with women at Lord and Taylor at the Quaker Bridge Mall today. 


Carlos shared his same passions for enhancing a women's natural beauty. He provided clients with knowledgeable advice on how they can enhance and nourish the skin, so it always looks it's best. With over a decade of working with color and known for his belief that makeup should look effortless, Carlos loves teaching women how to be even more beautiful.


Today, Carlos taught women about many of the exclusive products by Dior. Some of the products he used were:


Instant Cleansing Water with Pure Lily Extract: At the heart of Dior's cleansers performance are 3 voluptuous and tender flowers that deliver their benefits in the first step of the skincare ritual.  Dior has selected fortifying pure lily to meet the requirements of all skin types.  The instant cleansing water eliminates all types of makeup in a single step. Gently unveiled, the skin is perfectly clean, supple and smooth. 


One Essential: One Essential combats the toxins by reinvigorating the elimination process* in order to restore the skin's luminosity. A three-dimensional action: 
detoxifies: it continuously eliminates toxins* and frees the flow of energy at the heart of the skin.  It regenerates and energizes: it optimizes the correct functioning of cells. It boosts by up to 4 times the effectiveness of ingredients* of your usual, subsequently applied skincare.  This fresh, air-whipped and slightly pinkish texture revives the complexion and instantly infuses it with radiance, without a pearlescent or tightening effect, nor a greasy feel. 


City Defense: This is an invisible revolutionary shield that offers unequaled skin protection against toxins.  Thanks to a triple anti-pollution action—anti-adhesion, anti-penetration, and anti-oxidization—and powerful UVA/UVB filters, your skin is protected for up to eight hours. It works great as a makeup base, refreshes skin, and delivers youthful-looking radiance. 


Carlos also taught women how to make their eyes look more rested. By using a brow pencil lightly fill in the brow, be natural with your approach. Draw by the arch and the medial aspect of the brow (closest to the eye). Then place Dior's eye primer on the lid. This product neutralizes the veins on your lid. Next, apply Fantasie neutral eye shadow cream over the primer. This will give you eyes a very relaxed look.


Blackout Mascara: Gives your lashes a little more oomph and a lot more drama. This product is 15 times darker than other products on the market. Intensified by ultra-black, kohl pigments, the formula glides on smoothly and draws each lash out to show-stopping lengths. Wear it alone, or layer it over Diorshow to glamour-eyes in an instant! It envelopes the lash to give it more intensity.  Diorshow is a natural velvet texture mascara with a full brush. It is flake free formula allows you to use blue or purple mascara with your brown or green eyes and look magnificent.  If you eyes are blue Diorshow comes in brown. 


If one wants to add a little more sophistication to your everyday eyes use a glow maximizer around the eye contour and cheekbone. Also, by using a blue eyeliner (with brown or green eyes) with a purple shadow on top of the line, this will enhance a woman's natural features.  To add some more zest to a holiday evening, add some gold and or silver shimmer to your eyelids and lips.


Carlos shares Mr. Dior's passion to enhance a person’s natural beauty. He provides clients with knowledgeable advice on how they can enhance and nourish the skin, so it always looks it's best. With over a decade of working with color and known for his belief that makeup should look effortless, Carlos loves teaching women how to be even more beautiful.


Posted by tammyduffy at 9:39 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 5 December 2015 3:12 AM EST
Wednesday, 2 December 2015




Every second, there is an enormous number of animals suffering pain worse than you or I could ever imagine, throughout the world at the hands of humans.


Because animals do not have language that is understood by humans, they cannot make complaints, or sue anyone (they would be taken far more notice of then).  Even though animals obviously feel fear and pain, just like humans, sentences for animal abuse do not reflect that. They are extremely lenient and not at all a deterrent or just.


Pet owners and non-pet owners alike have their dander up over a new law that went into effect in the Garden State. New Jersey police can stop a vehicle with an improperly restrained pet and issue a ticket ranging from $250-$1,000 and be subjected to a disorderly conduct offense under animal-cruelty laws. Fines for humans not being properly restrained are $46, according to a New Jersey government website.


Unrestrained pets can be a distraction to drivers, just like cell phone use, adjusting the radio, eating, applying cosmetics, and many other non-driving related activities that many of us regularly engage in.  Not only can pets distract drivers, a pet can be injured or lost during the chaos of an accident. Restraining our pet just makes sense...for pets and their people.

New Jersey takes pet restraints very seriously.   The New Jersey statute 4:22-18 as well as the statute which spells out the penalty, 4:22-17 is very specific. 


In the release by the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty, a driver can be cited for each animal that is not properly restrained. That means that if you have four dogs running loose in your car and are stopped,  it can quickly become an expensive trip or a trip to jail.


Depending on how this law is interpreted and enforced, drivers in New Jersey should be weary.  Even though police officers may not be expressly targeting drivers to cite them for a cruelty to animals offense resulting from an non-restrained animal, officers certainly may write that expensive ticket when they have you pulled over for something else.  It may end up being in your best (and money saving) interests to bite the bullet and purchase a pet restraint.


The law reads:


4:22-18. Carrying animal in cruel, inhumane manner; disorderly persons offense

4:22-18. A person who shall carry, or cause to be carried, a living animal or creature in or upon a vehicle or otherwise, in a cruel or inhumane manner, shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and punished as provided in subsection a. of R.S.4:22-17.


4:22-17. Cruelty; disorderly persons offense; certain acts, crimes; degrees.

[a person who is guilty of cruelty]… Shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense, and notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-3 to the contrary, for every such offense shall be fined not less than $250 nor more than $1,000, or be imprisoned for a term of not more than six months, or both, in the discretion of the court. A violator of this subsection shall also be subject to the provisions of subsection c. and, if appropriate, subsection d. of this section.


b.     A person who shall purposely, knowingly, or recklessly:

…Shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

If the animal or creature is cruelly killed or dies as a result of a violation of this subsection, or the person has a prior conviction for a violation of this subsection, the person shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree.

A violator of this subsection shall also be subject to the provisions of subsection c. and, if appropriate, subsection d. of this section.


c.     For a violation of subsection a. or b. of this section, in addition to imposing any other appropriate penalties established for a crime of the third degree, crime of the fourth degree, or disorderly persons offense, as the case may be, pursuant to Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, the court shall impose a term of community service of up to 30 days, and may direct that the term of community service be served in providing assistance to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other recognized organization concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals or the humane treatment and care of animals, or to a municipality’s animal control or animal population control program. The court also may require the violator to pay restitution or otherwise reimburse any costs for food, drink, shelter, or veterinary care or treatment, or other costs, incurred by any agency, entity, or organization investigating the violation, including but not limited to the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a district (county) society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, any other recognized organization concerned with the prevention of cruelty to animals or the humane treatment and care of animals, or a local or State governmental entity.


d.     If a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a disorderly persons offense pursuant to subsection a. of this section or a crime of the third degree or crime of the fourth degree pursuant to subsection b. of this section, the court also shall order the juvenile to receive mental health counseling by a licensed psychologist or therapist named by the court for a period of time to be prescribed by the licensed psychologist or therapist.


In a recent article in the Hamilton Post, Dec 2015 issue, journalist Rob Anthes, wrote an article entitled, A Day With The Mayor. This article spanned four pages of the newspaper. The Mayor of Hamilton stated to Rob that they would have a special guest on their 2 hour car ride through the township. The special guest was one of the shelter animals, Ozzie. During their two hour tour of the township, Ozzie was not restrained in the vehicle. This is against the law. It is a pure example of animal cruelty as per the NJ statutes.

It was reported in the article, "THUNK! We had hit a bump, and Ozzy-who just decided to get comfortable, flopped off the backseat onto the floor."  The dog decided to remain on the floor after being thrown from the seat.


One can only question how an elected official, who is a pet owner; and claims to be a lover of pets, would not be aware of the laws that exist in the State of New Jersey.  However, this is the same elected official who nicknamed their town the Big H when simultaneously a heroin epidemic has been running occuring.  The Big H as everyone knows is the street name for heroin. We will give the journalist a pass for his lack of knowledge on this very important law. However, he has been educated on the statute now. The elected official should not be given a pass.  

When we contacted the Hamilton Animal shelter a representative at the shelter said," I saw OZZIE today, he is fine."  Did Ozzie speak and tell the shelter representative that he did not get hurt, that he was not bruised or upset by the event. Ozzie cannot speak, That is why as adults we must protect our furry friends from those who could do them hard. For anyone to think this is appropriate to do to any animal, yet a shelter animal is just criminal. Many municipalities in the county and elsewhere, as well as rescue non profits,  mandate that a restraining device must be present in order to take an animal from the facility. The township could not share their policy on this matter. This is the same animal shelter that has the highest death/kill rate in the county.


Any pet owner that allows their pets to have free rein inside their vehicle can be dangerous to them, the pet, and everyone else on the road. As a responsible owner, it’s best to restrain them in the car. Hence, why the state of NJ has expanded on their animal cruelty laws.


The logic behind the laws are as follows:


Your dog becomes a projectile in a car accident: The sad truth is that your 60-pound best friend basically becomes a 2,100 pound wrecking ball if you have a collision at 35 miles per hour, and their momentum can injure anyone around. What’s worse is that the higher the speed or the heavier your dog, the worse the impact would be for them, for you, or for your passengers.


A loose pet is dangerously distracting: Fido, Kitty or any other critter running loose in your vehicle is as dangerous as texting while driving. And their adorable (but unrestrained) antics could subject you to the law for distracted driving – which can be pretty harsh in some states. A dog in your lap can cause interference with your steering or block your vision. And, if she crawls under the pedals, she could hinder your ability to apply the gas or hit the brakes.


Pets may pose a threat to first responders: In a car wreck, injured or frightened pets may lash out and bite people that approach the car – including paramedics. Their instincts may drive them to protect themselves and you, hindering emergency personnel from helping anyone inside the vehicle – especially if they’re loose and snapping at anyone that comes close. If your dog bites emergency personnel, the protocol is for first responders to tend to their colleagues’ injury before anyone else, which could leave you in the lurch for some time if you’re also injured.


Your dog is a legal (and financial) responsibility: Dogs act unpredictably when they’re frightened or injured, and it’s possible that they could escape the car and bite someone attempting to rescue them. Even in an accident, you could be held responsible under the strict liability statutes imposed by many states that say owners are responsible for injuries caused by their dog, whether or not the owner knew or had reason to know the dog was dangerous.


They can cause secondary injuries: If your dog is unrestrained, they can escape after a car wreck and cause a secondary accident when a car tries to swerve to keep from striking them – making a horrible situation worse. And, the damages from this type of accident may not be covered by your insurance carrier.


Several states, N. J. being one of them, have enacted laws that require pets to be restrained when riding in vehicles. The goal of these laws aren’t to save pet’s lives, but it will have a happy result – the pet owners, the pets, and everyone else on the road will be safer. Lawmakers put them in place because they consider driving with a pet on your lap or with them unrestrained in the car to be similar to texting and driving or driving while intoxicated.


New Jersey – New Jersey police officers can stop drivers anytime they believe that an animal is being improperly transported. The law forbids dogs from hanging out of windows (and also riding in the beds of pickup trucks). Motorists are required to properly restrain their pets, which in the state of New Jersey means that they need to be buckled up with restraints specifically designed for pets, or safely stowed in a pet crate. The fines are steep, too, with a price tag of $250 to $1,000 – and drivers could potentially face charges under animal cruelty laws.


Arizona, Connecticut and Maine – distracted driving statutes can be used to charge drivers who are observed driving with pets in their laps.

Hawaii – Laws strictly forbids individuals from holding a pet in their lap while driving.

Rhode Island – State Representative (D) Peter Palumbo introduced legislation in 2013 that he hopes will make driving with a pet in your lap a distracted driving violation in Rhode Island.


The rest of the family wears a seat belt, and this family member needs one, too! A  good fitting seat belt can restrain your pup and keep him from hitting his head or body on the hard interior of the car, or from flying out of the car if there is a collision or you have to slam on your brakes. Also, it may be fun to watch your dog stick its head out the window–not so fun when his eyes or face are hit by debris or insects. The seat belt will keep them secure and you can crack the window, so they can still see the sights and smell all that amazing “stuff.”


A dog seat belt is made of adjustable straps that fit all varieties of dogs. Owners can purchase different types of seat belt harnesses that wrap around a dog’s body and attach to the seat belt in your car. The safest place for a seat belted dog is in the middle back seat, so be sure to put her there. Animals in the front seat can be crushed by the airbag if it deploys in a collision.


As a responsible pet owner, you want to make sure that you restrain your animal whenever you drive – even for short trips. Unrestrained dogs can cause injuries to you and others, and can even cause secondary car accidents if your dog escapes from the car. Dogs and cats roaming loose in your car or sitting in your lap can cause you to become distracted, which can lead to a ticket or legal issues in some states such as New Jersey. You don’t want to open yourself up to the hassles of any legal liabilities or cause anyone to get hurt when you are driving with your pet, so be sure you buckle up that dog!


Do not be irresponsible and not restrain your furry loved ones. If you are an elected official, you are not above the law, you also need to abide by the laws and statutes of the state.


The FBI Just Made Animal Cruelty A Top-Tier Felony and the Reason Isn’t What You Think.  Now animal abusers could potentially face jail-time in order to set a deterrent against future like offenses.


Previously, animal cruelty was classified as “other,” making it a difficult crime to track, find and statistically count. Now, animal cruelty will be listed in a similar manner to major crimes such as assault, homicide and arson. It will divide the crime into four categories: intentional abuse and torture, simple or gross neglect, organized abuse (like dog fighting and cockfighting) and animal sexual abuse.


How does the FBI define animal cruelty?


“Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment. Included are instances of duty to provide care, e.g., shelter, food, water, care if sick or injured; transporting or confining an animal in a manner likely to cause injury or death; causing an animal to fight with another; inflicting excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering, e.g., uses objects to beat or injure an animal. This definition does not include proper maintenance of animals for show or sport; use of animals for food, lawful hunting, fishing or trapping.”


The National Sherriff's Association was a primary force behind the change, as they are firm believers that animal cruelty is a key behavioral indicator of other crimes. Pawtner-in-advocacy Animal Welface Institute, succinctly stated the benefits: “Collecting this data will enable law enforcement agencies and researchers to understand the factors associated with animal abuse.”


Additionally, this information could provide the FBI a better understanding of the factors that create violent crimes. For example, various studies have shown the link between animal cruelty and serial killers, as well as domestic abusers.  Infamous serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert De Salvo (the Boston Strangler) and David Berkowitz (the Son of Sam) notoriously all tortured and killed animals before moving on to humans.


The violent crime rates in Hamilton township have risen to record numbers in the past two years. Is one of the reasons that this is occurring because there is a complacent attitude to animal cruelty? We can only hope the Mayor is not allowed to continue to demonstrate animal cruelty to the shelter animals in the town or to her own pet that she frequently drives to the municipial building in the township. 


Posted by tammyduffy at 8:35 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 3 December 2015 6:41 AM EST
Wednesday, 25 November 2015


 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' Is First Up in December at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre;
Two Other Shows Add to Merriment


Three family shows are coming to Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre in December that will add to the festive holiday season. The month kicks off with a Kelsey holiday tradition. "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" embraces the joy of the long-awaited midnight visit by none other than Santa. Family audiences will delight in the Kelsey Players' musical adaptation of the famous poem by Clement Moore, originally penned as a Christmas present for his children.
The show features Kris Kringle, along with his eight tiny reindeer, some remarkably talented sugar plums, and the cutest mouse in New York City. The Moore family and their neighbors will create a magical winter wonderland circa 1822 New York for audiences of all ages to enjoy. 
Performance dates and times are Friday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 5 at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 6 at 2 and 4 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors, students and children. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. The theater is an official drop-off site for the Marine's Toys for Tots annual holiday drive.  Patrons are encouraged to donate a new, unwrapped toy in the drop box located in the Kelsey Theatre lobby.  Donations will be accepted through Monday, Dec. 14. 
The "Twas" cast stars Ken Ambs of Newtown, Pa., as Clement Moore; Diane Wargo of Ewing as Eliza Moore; Carter Erickson of Yardley, Pa., as William Moore; Abby Scatena of Robbinsville as Charity Moore; and John Costello of Hamilton Square as Mr. Kringle. 
Also featured are Jillian Ambs of Newtown, Pa., Logan Ambs of Newtown, Pa, Mason Ambs of Newtown, Pa., Jayden Anderson of Trenton, Taylor Bell of Hightstown, Alex Bischoff of Hamilton Square, Aimee Clark of Lawrenceville, Hayden Clark of Lawrenceville, Melissa Clark of Lawrenceville, Charlotte Erickson of Yardley, Pa., Bridget Godfrey of Robbinsville, Alexa Hunt of Manahawkin, Freddie Iezzo of Hamilton, Luddy Iezzo of Hamilton, Marla Iezzo of Hamilton, Mateo Iezzo of Hamilton, Makenzie Ivey of Lawrenceville, Peyton Ivey of Lawrenceville, Alexander Johnson of Hamilton, Christian Johnson of Hamilton, Quinzy McCallum of Ewing, Cameron Miller of Morrisville, Pa., Chandler Miller of Morrisville, Pa., Cameron Reardon of Cream Ridge, Leif Simonelli of Hamilton, Rilyn Szabo of Monmouth Junction, Isabel Urban of West Windsor, Tobias Urban of West Windsor, and Zachary Urban of West Windsor.
The production team includes Director Diane Wargo, Musical Director Pat Masterson, Choreographer Chelsea Wargo, Stage Manager Ginny McGowen and Assistant Stage Manager Tara Simonelli. Lighting and sound design is by Bernie McGowen and costumes are by Kate Pinner.
Next up, for two shows only, is “A Very Kelsey Christmas,” a premiere performance presented by Forté Dramatic Productions, on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. Musical Director Peter de Mets presents an all-star cast of Kelsey performers in the style of a 1950s television variety show. It’s a mix of traditional, Broadway and pop favorites, plus skits and lots of cheer. Tickets are $18 for adults; $16 for seniors, and $14 for children/students.
Capping off the season is the New Jersey Youth Ballet’s original hour-long, narrated adaptation of "The Nutcracker" on Friday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 20 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Dancers in full costume will perform to the famous Tchaikovsky score as they transport audiences to The Land of the Sweets. Tickets are $16 for adults, and $14 for seniors, students and children.
Tickets for all shows may be purchased by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333 or online at www.kelseytheatre.net  Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Free parking is available next to the theater. 

Posted by tammyduffy at 4:26 PM EST
Dior Event at Lord and Taylor Quakerbridge Mall







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!!!!


Posted by tammyduffy at 3:52 PM EST
Saturday, 21 November 2015
Lord and Taylor Cosmetic Trend Event


 Lord and Taylor Cosmetic Trend Event


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:




Posted by tammyduffy at 4:36 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 22 November 2015 6:45 AM EST
Friday, 20 November 2015


By Tammy Duffy 






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.



Posted by tammyduffy at 7:27 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 21 November 2015 5:49 AM EST
Sunday, 15 November 2015
Poverty in Hamilton Stifles Any Chance For Real Economic Development


 Poverty in Hamilton Stifles Any Chance For Real Economic Development



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





















Cape May










































Poverty Levels Hamilton Twp. Mercer County New Jersey Population Below Poverty: Hamilton Township


Residents with income below the poverty level in 2013:


Hamilton Square:


Whole state:


Residents with income below 50% of the poverty level in 2013:


Hamilton Square:


Whole state:



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:



Source: http://www.city-data.com/poverty/poverty-Hamilton-Square-New-Jersey.html#ixzz3rZRAlqGS




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.

































Source: http://www.state.nj.us/education/data/grate/




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.





Posted by tammyduffy at 12:38 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 15 November 2015 7:20 PM EST
Wednesday, 11 November 2015
Hamilton Greenlighting Just For Show


 Hamilton Greenlighting Just For Show




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 VA is still broken and dysfunctional.  And, now, some Presidential candidates have made it acceptable to accuse the press and anybody else who makes that statement of being politically partisan just for stating that fact.


  • Are all these Veteran programs really helping to provide Veterans with a voice?  Are people spending more time listening to and understanding the concerns of Veterans?    


  • There is a great deal of focus on the “returning Veteran” but in the year 2015 what does that term even mean?  Veterans have been “returning” for 15 years ….       


  • Is hiring a Veteran for an entry level position something that deserves recognition and praise from the rest of America, like at Walmart? Should Companies be boasting about hiring people who are qualified?  Are these marketing campaigns or are they public service initiatives?         


  • PTSD is indeed a problem, and for many, now overcoming the “stigma” and “label” is as much of a problem as the symptoms themselves.      


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. 


Posted by tammyduffy at 8:27 PM EST


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
 Joined by Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes and key nonprofits, including Soldier On and the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness, Mayor Eric E. Jackson on Tuesday accepted First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by the end of 2015.”


“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.

Posted by tammyduffy at 7:30 PM EST
HAM’s Member Highlight Show Features Work of Arturo Cabrera


 HAM’s Member Highlight Show
Features Work of Arturo Cabrera

 About two years ago, Arturo Cabrera was a familiar face at the Hunterdon Art Museum as a summer camp coordinator overseeing volunteers and managing supplies.
But when Cabrera returns to the Museum this month, his visit will be for an entirely different purpose. Cabrera was chosen last year from the Museum’s Members Exhibition for a solo show, which will run until Jan. 3, 2016. Juror Darren McManus, a painter and educator at Raritan Valley Community College, selected Cabrera to be featured in the 2015 Members Highlight exhibition. The opening reception for the Member Highlight show is Sunday, Nov. 15 from 2 to 4 p.m.
“I am very humbled, grateful and happy to have this opportunity,” said the Ecuadorean-born painter, who graduated from Lehigh Valley Charter High School of the Performing Arts in 2012. “I still can't believe it to be honest. I have such respect for the Museum and what they do for the community. Their shows are always so inspiring, interesting and beautiful.”

Since spending his summer days at HAM, Cabrera has immersed himself in the arts, working as a color mixer in the studio of renowned artist Jeff Koons. 

Cabrera’s work employs portraiture to reveal larger themes such as his concerns for social justice or more private, intimate moments. “I hope the exhibition helps viewers see that a painting can be more than just a pretty picture, but can be more expressive and thoughtful,” he said.

Cabrera said he is drawn to the primitive power of paint, and how our ancestors painted with different marks and colors to determine what shapes best represented the human form.

“It is this kind of thinking that interests me when I paint,” Cabrera said. “Creatively pushing paint around to create living breathing forms. When to brighten a color versus when to let one fade away into the background. 

“The eye has to travel. How will I waltz my viewer around and around the surface of a painting? How will I create a rhythm – a pulse – in my work to bring it to life? These are the questions I seek to answer when painting,” he added.

The former Lehigh Valley area resident now resides in the Bronx.
The Museum is at 7 Lower Center St. in Clinton, New Jersey, 08809. Our website is www.hunterdonartmuseum.org and our telephone number is 908-735-8415. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm and suggested admission is $5.

Posted by tammyduffy at 7:26 PM EST

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