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Archive for March 25th, 2009

Vas Collaborators

One Admits Guilt…

PERTH AMBOY — Jeffrey D. Gumbs, who was a top city administrator under former Mayor Joseph Vas, pleaded guilty Monday to theft, tampering with public records and the misapplication of the city’s property between April 2004 and November 2005.

Gumbs, who was the city’s director of human resources and supervisor of recreation for many years, pleaded guilty to stealing about $2,500 from taxpayers in the New Brunswick courtroom of Judge Frederick DeVesa.

Under the plea bargain, the state will recommend that Gumbs be sentenced on June 26 to probation, he must pay restitution to the city and he will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.

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STATE – Gov. Jon Corzine’s draconian budget proposal has drawn a lot of criticism, but the most controversial component was the plan to eliminate the property tax deduction on the state income tax for most New Jersey residents.

Realizing that his budget had little chance of passing with that proposal intact, last week the Governor announced that he’d restore the tax deduction for residents earning less than $150,000 per year. 

“Given the circumstances, allowing people to maintain their property-tax deduction is the right thing to do and will help ease the pain for those being squeezed the most,” Senate President Richard J. Codey (D-Essex) said.

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MIDDLESEX COUNTY—A coalition of faith-based and social service agencies kicked off this afternoon a massive food drive to meet escalating demands for emergency food in Middlesex County.

The Middlesex County Coalition to Combat Poverty and Hunger is appealing to residents – especially through houses of worship – to donate non-perishable food and personal items. The event is timed to coincide with the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter holidays.

The idea was the brainchild of a handful of groups looking for ways to help those in need, especially since the economic downturn began to grip the nation and the area. The group also hopes to help families in need enjoy a Passover Seder or Easter dinner.

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CLARK—Want to learn how you and your family can go “green?”  Temple Beth O’r / Beth Torah, in conjunction with Temple Beth Israel in Scotch Plains and United Synagogue Youth, are bringing together community organizations, local merchants, university professors and other experts for a free to the public environmental fair on Sunday, March 29, from 1 to 4 p.m. at 111 Valley Road in Clark.

“Green Footsteps to the Future” will feature:

• ShopRite of Clark, New Jersey American Water Co., and Parker’s Greenhouse of Scotch Plains, each of which will present ways to “green” your lifestyle through environmental home cleaning, non-toxic gardening, and energy conservation.

• Barnes & Noble of Clark, which will host an environmental arts and crafts and environmental story hour.

• Webelos II Dean Cub Pack #98 in Scotch Plains, which will lead a neighborhood clean-up project.

• Professor Hazem Tawfik, director of the Institute for Research and Technology Transfer at State University of New York at Farmingdale, who will exhibit a battery and bio-diesel-powered go-kart and motorcycle designed at the school.

• Transatlantic Electric Conversions, which will display hybrid automobile technology.

• Sierra Club, Audubon Society, and Great Swamp Watershed Association, each of which will present information on their respective environmental initiatives.

• Rabbi Akiva Lubow of Temple Beth El-Mekor Chayim of Cranford and Cantor Steven Stern of Temple Beth O’r / Beth Torah, who will lead a discussion on the religious sources of environmental ethics.

For more information, call 732-381-8403.

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EDISON—A literary festival celebrating the work of contemporary immigration writing will be held at Middlesex County College on Saturday, March 28. Admission is free and it is open to the public.

“My New Life, My New Poem: A Festival of Contemporary Immigration Writing” features a veritable United Nations of writers specializing in poetry, fiction and essays. Twenty-two award-winning authors will be gathering for public readings, workshops, panel discussions, book signings and open mic events.

The festival will include creative writing workshops and panel discussions on immigration, American literature and the humanities; a book fair; an open mic program for writers from the community to read and perform, and readings by guest authors.

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CRANFORD – On Thursday, April 2, Union County College’s Division of Counseling Services will be hosting a job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on its Plainfield Campus in the cafeteria at 232 East Second Street. As well, there will be a transfer fair, where current students can learn about transferring from UCC to four-year colleges and universities.

On Wednesday, April 8, the college will be hosting a job fair at its Cranford campus located at 1033 Springfield Avenue. The event will be held in the Victor M. Richel Student Commons from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This fair is open to all those currently seeking employment, including students and members of the public. Anyone planning on attending should come dressed in the proper business attire and have a resume available that is complete and ready to hand out.

In addition, tables are still available to area business owners who may be interested in attending the job fair to recruit new employees. The table fee is $50. For more information, contact May Kortbaoui at (908) 709-9495 or email kortbaoui@ucc.edu.

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By Jason Alderman

The 2009 economic stimulus bill President Barack Obama signed into law on Feb. 17, is a whopper, not only in cost ($787 billion) and length (1,070 pages), but also in terms of the vast number of spending and tax-relief programs it touches – everything from multi-billion dollar infrastructure investments to business tax cuts to small increases in unemployment benefits.

Some provisions will take years to trickle down; others take effect almost immediately. Here are highlights of a few programs that could impact you directly:

Payroll tax credit. Workers will receive $400 tax credits for both 2009 and 2010 ($800 for married couples, filing jointly). Unlike last year’s tax rebates that were distributed in lump sums, these credits will probably appear as reduced tax withholding on paychecks, starting around June.

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