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Editor's Note 09/18/2014

Hello Readers,

President Barack Obama is sending 3,000 workers and necessary medicine and equipment to fight Ebola, after 2,200 deaths were caused by this deadly disease. It is very good that Obama has done this.

Also, Obama ordered an airstrike in Iraq. Although U.S. Generals suggested ground troops in Iraq, Obama declined the option, saying that he wouldn't engage in another ground war in Iraq. Obama clearly gave the right order to have an airstrike, which reduces the chances of fatalities.

After ISIS/ISIL beheaded two American journalists, they beheaded one British aid worker. They are trying to scare us. We are nice, but we do not take hostility. We are strong and try not to use our power wrongly, but when there is a crisis, we stand behind each other. We are citizens of United States, and we are proud of our country. We all are behind our President, as we have chosen him to lead us in good times and crises as well.

I am not fully committed to Obama, but what Obama has done is right, and we should give him credit for it. The Dow Jones Industrial Index was around 7,700, the unemployment rate was about 7.3 percent, and it went up to 10 percent in October 2009. Everyone was talking against him. He did not have any backing from the Senate. But then, slowly and gradually the market started turning around and went at a very slow pace until September 2011, when the unemployment rate was about 9 percent.

Since then, we have seen a reduced unemployment rate, which is now at 6.1 percent. Besides the reduced unemployment rate, we have not seen a good economy as far as the smaller and urban businesses are concerned. I think the President and local businesses must come up with programs that will boost the economy of mom and pop stores. We want to save those businesses that are the backbone of the economy.

The City of Orange's council is trying to open talk about making businesses pay sick days to the employees. The idea is not bad, as employees do need sick days. Local Talk does give sick days. When I ask Councilman Elroy Corbitt about how many sick days city employees are getting, he said that it is under their contract. First, we should keep it all equal. Second, I do not agree that the city will decide the number of sick days for Orange businesses. Businesses are not doing great in many cities. The city has already raised taxes on businesses through real estate taxes. Taxes are paid by every business (directly or indirectly), whether they rent or are a landlord. Now they are trying to open talk about enforcing how businesses are run. I do not agree. The councilman says that it is for discussion only. But as you all know, if it comes on the floor and the council passes the resolution or ordinance, they will pass it on to the businesses. I think they should request input from the businesses and not the chamber of commerce, who is not very active with all of the businesses.

We've talked about Newark, but before we can talk to our friends and family, we must make some changes. Those friends and family members can become visitors of Newark. But we do need some places that visitors can visit and remember for the rest of their lives. If someone goes to New York, they talk about the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park, theatres district, Central Post Office, Fifth Avenue Shopping area, Madison Square Garden and so on. We have places, but nothing visitors would have a lot of interest in.

There is a perception that Newark is a not a place for visiting. Now, we have Riverfront Park we can be proud of, along with the Prudential Center, Symphony Hall, NJPAC, and buildings like Prudential and Panasonic. We have modes of transit such as Newark Penn Station and even an international airport. Lately, the Highline Walk in New York City has become a major attraction. We should collect ideas from people in order to make some unique attraction to attract visitors here.

On Wednesday in Kano, Nigeria, a terrorist group attacked a western style school, killing 15 and injuring 35. Boko Haram is the main suspect in this attack. Boko Haram's movement is in Northern Nigeria so far. Even though Kano is in southern Nigeria, the style of shooting, firing on fleeing students and using explosives, makes them the prime suspect as reports say.

Have a wonderful week. I'll talk to you next week.

Editor's Note 09/11/2014

DHIRENHello Readers,

Newark's schools have opened for students. According to Superintendent Cami Anderson, everything went smoothly and the schools are back in action. At the beginning of school on Thursday, Anderson indicated, there were under 200 students that had not been enrolled in school. However, according to parents associations, there were about 1,000 students who had not been enrolled yet. Furthermore, there is a gap between enrolled and satisfied. The students, especially the younger ones, have to listen to their parents. Therefore, they are forced to attend a school per allotment by the administration.

"One death is too many," as many politicians and leaders say. In the same way, injustice to one student is too much. Several students protested the One Newark Plan, but many others did not have the courage to come out and express their feelings on the injustice. This is not just a selfish motto as the governor said, but this is a reality when students have to suffer and the administration is not ready to hear them. I do however understand the governor's intention not to hype up the situation and make it worse than it is.

We are a democratic country and there should be a democratic process. In the process, there are many occasions where the government is not transparent. Under OPRA (Open Public Records Act) we can get information, but it is time consuming and requires money. So many citizens do not even try to get the information they need. The process should be short and simple for the students and parents. NPS has tried, but did not include the parents and students concerning its major change to the students' lives. These changes can impact their future lives, so they should be included along with their parents. The protests are not over yet. However, Governor Christie's comments along with calling the parents selfish made many unhappy.

On Sept. 10, the Newark Students Union held a protest where they came out of school and blocked Broad Street. It is good that the students and police were both peaceful and respectful to one another. There have been no incidents so far, and hopefully both sides will continue doing that. However, as the protests progressing, the patience of students will evaporate, so the administration must act fast to talk with the students' representatives.

Mayor Baraka told the people before he was elected that the violence was not just in one individual city, but a regional problem. He work to make a plan with other big cities Jersey City and Paterson. The cities do not share borders, but do share a common goal to tackle the violence issue. Baraka invited the two mayors of those towns to a round table discussion, and on Sept. 10, involved educational leaders at Rutgers University with many towns and other mayors. The discussion also included police chiefs, county prosecutors, leaders and experts in the field. They discussed various ideas and concepts, including the "Broken Window Theory" to tackle crime, which changed attitudes toward crime by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in New York City. However, some of the panelists did not agree with the Broken Window Theory.

I commend the effort by Baraka. However, the problem is not an easy one. Mayor Baraka agreed with my point of educating students at an early age in elementary and middle schools on the matter. However, he emphasized the importance of curbing the violence immediately and finding a solution to reduce gun violence. Baraka further added that he is looking into the program of hiring people to work with the students at an early age.

Ray Rice is all over the media right now. Video has surfaced showing him punching his then-fiancée (now wife) in the elevator and dragging her out to the floor. There has been outrage against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his handling of the situation, initially giving just a two game suspension before extending it after the Baltimore Ravens released Rice. Although it was not handled cleanly on Goodell's part, this is the first time an NFL commissioner ever dealt with a case like this. His predecessors did not. He had no clue about just how horrible domestic violence is. Now that he does, he has implemented a stronger policy against it. He should at least get some credit for learning from his mistake. The real villain in this is the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office, who basically let Rice off with a slap on the wrist. They are certainly far worse than Goodell and the NFL.

Have a wonderful week. I'll talk to you next week.

Editor's Note 09/04/2014

DHIRENHello Readers,

By the time you read this, schools will be open in Newark and many surrounding cities. Hopefully, there won't be any disturbance on opening day in Newark. I don't know that the adjustment will be good or bad for the students. However, it is very difficult to adjust anytime in a new environment. Most of the time, a new school may have some old friends going along with a student, but this may be different.

We received phone calls from parents about the mismanagement of the school system reform. Obviously, it is hard to make reform. Anyone claiming that they can do it easily is dreaming. Cami Anderson has the courage to take this task. However, she did not take the parents into account and truly inform them of her plan. Most of it was not transparent, so people were not confident in it, and with the way the plan was laid out, it is very hard to understand. Some students were allotted to schools out of their ward, which became a huge concern. Also, one parent's organization has informed us that the principals of the schools were not aware of their budget and the test scores of the students. I think to make reform, there should be easy instructions for the students and parents, which currently does not exist. As the process goes on, the administration will rectify some of the problems. But for those who did not get the choice of their school and were allocated to different wards, they will have a tougher time. They will have to spend a lot of time every day for travelling, which is less time for study and play. On the first day of school, I hope Anderson and her administration distributes easy instructions to make an easy transition for the students and the parents.

The groups that are protesting the One Newark Plan are not united. The smaller groups are on their own. According to one group, the parents have not been given choices as promised. Anderson has charter schools for choice, and choices have made for the parents under a secret method called an "algorithm" which Anderson refuses to make public. On September 1, parent organizations have announced that there will be a boycott of the schools starting on the first day of school on Thursday, September 4, 2014. We will find out the effectiveness of the boycott on Thursday. I have not heard from any Newark city officials or elected officials in favor of the One Newark Plan.

James Foley was the first American beheaded by a militant group in Syria on August 19, 2014. The government verified the authenticity of the tape circulated on the Internet by the group known as ISIS or ISIL. President Obama said that justice will be served. However, nothing has been done. Foley delivered a statement condemning the U.S. and stating that his real killers were the U.S. Government. That statement may be real or forced by the militant, which only God knows.

U.S. action in Iraq instigated the militants to kill another innocent journalist. Steven Sotloff was beheaded, and the process was shown on the Internet. Obviously, due to the U.S. government's new rules, the beheadings were not showed to the general public, as the majority of social media and search engines blocked the live video. Obama has already sent another 350 soldiers to Iraq. Mr. President, to capture/destroy those inhumane militants, we are with you.

CVS and its 7,700 drug chain stores will stop selling tobacco products sooner than they announced originally for October 1, 2014. Instead of tobacco, they will sell nicotine gum and other products to help people quit cigarettes and tobacco. The big money through thousands of newly covered healthcare clients and billions of dollars pouring into the health care industry is the main attraction for CVS. CVS is the leader of changing the habit of selling products. I think many others will follow in the near future.
Major cities in the Local Talk area has new administrations. Newark - Mayor Ras Baraka, East Orange - Mayor Lester Taylor, Orange - Mayor Dwayne Warren, Irvington - Mayor Tony Vauss, Bloomfield - Mayor Michael J. Venezia, Montclair - Mayor Robert D. Jackson. All were elected for the first time within less than fifteen months. They have new ideas and new plans. Some new programs may be successful and some may backfire. But all are trying different avenues and all are watching each other for proposals of any new programs.

Crime and school systems are the backbone of the development of any city or township. All the residents of the United States are paying hefty money for their children's education. Whether you own a home or you rent a place, you are paying hefty money. So we all should be careful about the budget of the school system. Sometimes we have to answer on the referendum, and the majority of the time, voters do not even look at the question and answer "yes" anyway. That money is coming out of our pockets, so we all should be very careful at the time of voting, like many towns have turned down referendum questions. I appeal to you to be informed about your local town or city.

Have a wonderful week. I'll talk to you next week.

Editor's Note 08/28/2014

DHIRENHello Readers,

As it looks, the Newark school system is in jeopardy right now. Hundreds of parents, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, and the majority of the City Council - if not all - do not agree with the One Newark Plan. It is a trial and error system, and has not been proven anywhere. I don't have a lot of knowledge about the One Newark Plan, but from what I've heard from parents, organizations, city leaders and city officials, this is the biggest challenge the Newark school system has faced.

Many parents and many students are unhappy with the way it was done. The education system should be cooperative, with each student and parent understanding the process, having confidence in the system, making a smooth transition from one grade to another or from one school to another, knowing the teacher, and knowing the school (building and administration). This way, they can take pride in their school for life.

The problems for families might be very tough. If a parent has 3 children in the system, and if the children are in 3 different schools, then there will be 3 uniforms, 3 sets of administrations to deal with, 3 set of rules from schools, and in case of a family emergency, the parent has to travel to 3 schools to pick them up. In another type of emergency, they have to request a neighbor to pick them up from 3 different places, which is very hard to do. Also, they have to give 3 permission slips to the neighbor, for allowing their children to be excused.

For younger brothers or sisters that may want to see their siblings in the same school, they might not be possible. That may be a psychological problem for the development of a child. Also, older siblings can help to prevent bullying.

If the One Newark plan succeeds, the Newark real estate properties will jump up in price. If it does not succeed, then real estate prices may go down, as buyers usually have a first look at the school system before they decide to move.

I don't' think the committee who made One Newark Plan, have consider many scenarios. This is a trial and error plan. If it works, it works. Officials must have work hard to put the plan in place, but as I heard from the community they have not considered the opinion of the parents and students as well. They have not considered the opinion of the city of Newark, who is paying some part of their fair share to the school system.

The burden will be on the shoulders of Newark's Mayor for the safety of his residents and students. But when it comes to his administration, the council's opinion and his own were not taken into consideration by the Newark Public Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson.

By the way the registration process was done, it seems like they are pushing for charter schools. Also, some of the charter school do not have better grading than the schools have been closed by Anderson.

Communications Director Valerie Merritt left a few months ago, for unknown reasons. There is a vacancy for this position. I don't say that NPS did not follow the required registration process, but the way they did it has made many parents unhappy.

I called the Communications Department of Newark Public Schools requesting: 1. What is the procedure of registration 2. If there is a boycott, then how they will handle the situation 3. Who will be responsible for the safety of the students; the city or the board of education?

What a tragedy. A 9 year old girl shot her instructor by accident while training with a gun called an Uzi in Arizona. The question remains, why are children being training at this early age to use guns? We are quick to criticize when terrorist organizations train young children, but we are doing the same thing here. What purpose is there in the United States to train a 9 year old child to shoot? This should be stopped by the federal government. Stop supporting gun lobbyists.

Have a wonderful week. I'll talk to you next week.

Editor's Note 08/21/2014

DHIREN Hello Readers,

People ask, "Why do we need to read every day and watch our community every day? With digital technology, we get news from all over the world. Even large media give world news more and more."

We are connecting more to the world but disconnecting to our family and friends. We think by WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook we can get the news we need or news we like! We do have to have news we like, but at the same time we don't want our brain controlled by commercialism.

We should want to be a family person with the same emotion and connection with family members. When we see a person face to face, our feeling is different than when we are talking on the phone, as we cannot see each other's expression. You might argue that we can Skype and Facebook with each other. Yes, that is better than talking over the phone as far as the connection is concerned. But still, in person is the best feeling we can get in my opinion.

We might write or talk very good on the phone, but we might actually be hating the person and hiding it with this new technology information age. The hatred may go away over time. So in that way, information technology is good. But still, I am in favor of an in person environment to bring family and friends together. This interaction is also why local news and being in touch is very important in your life.

Our life has direct connection with local information. Is our city administration doing the job that is supposed to be done? Is our councilperson helping the community as they should? Does our police department interact with courtesy as they are supposed to? Do our landlords correct problems or supply heat like they are supposed to? With many of the problems we are facing, we should know our community and get local news.

As U.S. citizens, we have heard of night time curfews for the youth. That is mainly for the safety of our youth as well as ourselves. However, there was recently a curfew made in Ferguson, Missouri, due to protests against police brutality. 18-year-old Michael Brown was the victim of excessive use of power by police, and was an unarmed suspect shot to death by a police officer. The police department and county and state should have taken immediate action against the police officer. But that did not happen in the small city of just over 21,000 people, where two-thirds of the population is African-American. The momentum started, and the protest started in at the local level, soon going to the national level. The governor of Missouri called the curfew, which I heard for the first time since I came to the U.S. 36 years ago.

James Foley, a U.S. Journalist, was beheaded by the Islamic State Extremists, known as ISIS or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), shown in the video. Not only was it a brutal beheading, but they sent the video to the U.S. government, showing that they do not care about the U.S. or the World. The video was verified by U.S. intelligence and declared authentic. This is a merciless killing of a hostage. They have already announced their intent to kill another journalist hostage, and waiting for the reply of U.S. President Barack Obama. This was their move against a U.S. air strike in Iraq.

The Ice Bucket Challenge to support the cause of ALS has spread virally. Last year, the ALS Association raised $1.8 million, and this year they have already raised $16 million. We should ask the organizers to show how they are spending the huge amount raised by the challenge. In this, you accept the challenge or pay $100 to ALS. On Monday, East Orange General Hospital's President took the challenge, and on Wednesday Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo did so as well. Every time they take the challenge, they nominate three other people. It is like a pyramid, and a nonprofit organization should declare their financial info and their goal, as the fundraising is more than 10 fold.

At the age of 20, Mike Zhang became a millionaire. When Zhang sold his company, Airsoft Megastore in 2011, the annual revenue was $20 million. He started his company at the age of 14, when he visited China and convinced his parents to import airsoft guns and gadgets from China, which was much cheaper there. Everything is possible in the world with hard work, honest risk, and some luck at your end.

Have a wonderful week. I'll talk to you next week.

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