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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.

Editor's Note 08/14/2014

DHIREN Hello Readers,

We think rich and powerful people are happy. The answer to that statement is not always. On Monday, the great comedian Robin Williams committed suicide. I was shocked like most people. Local Talk and I pray for his soul and send condolences to his family, friends and fans. For years, he had fought addictions to drugs and alcohol. Why? He had everything: money, fame, power. He could go anyplace he wished. He could spend money at his leisure and make plans his way. He was beloved among the young and old. But still, he took his life. So money and power is not the only thing in the life, but we need peace. A person earning minimum wage can be happier than a person earning over hundreds of thousands a year. It is a state of mind.

The rich are getting richer. The government is getting stronger. The government affiliates are getting stronger. The middle class and working class are getting weaker. How can we change that trend? It is not an easy answer. We are sucking into the system. We accept the trend as is, we accept society as is, and we are becoming self-centered rather than righteousness. We give importance to the rich and powerful, rather than the right people. If we want to change it, we must change it from the top. It is very difficult but not impossible. We the people must unite and ask for our rights and righteousness. Those who do not support this simple rule, we should not support them. This is not a clear message, but I think you all are bright to understand my message. One day the people's anger will be out in the open. Wait and watch.

Ukraine stopped 280 trucks sent by Russia for humanitarian reasons. Russia did not go through the Red Cross, but decided to send the trucks with food, medicine and supplies. The rebels stopped them, as they do not have faith in Russia, thinking they could have sent military or spies.

Some Newark students will have a tough time starting the new semester in September. Under the One Newark Plan, students have to find out which school they can attend. The Newark School system has been a problematic for many decades. The result has made grades among the lowest, while the cost is among the highest per student. Something has to be done.

The One Newark Plan implemented by Superintendent Cami Anderson has met with many reviews from many committees and town hall meetings. The Superintendent has worked to the best of her ability, but has failed to win the confidence of the parents and students. The One Newark Plan is under investigation for discrimination, as claimed by the parents and parent-led groups. According to the claim, 86% of African American students are affected by this plan, where only 51% are African Americans, while 1% of white students are affected out of 8% white students.

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating these allegations, whether any wrongdoing took place or not. This comes as the Newark Police is being monitored by the U.S. Justice Department for violation of civil rights against minorities.

I think the problem is severe, but the Board of Education, Schools Superintendent, along with parents and students should find out a solution. This country is based on democracy. After repeated protests, Governor Chris Christie did not remove Cami Anderson and gave her a one-year extension contract. I hope somehow the people can benefit during this power struggle.

On August 12, I had a talk with a prominent figure in the East Orange Chamber of Commerce. He mentioned that he is receiving at least 5 calls a week about the excessive code enforcement to businesses in East Orange. According to him, many businesses have to go to court and pay fines. It is good to improve the businesses, from whom the city is collecting taxes, by working with them. There should not be harassment for the businesses, as the code has been made for their benefit and safety, not their burden.

In Orange, the revaluation of the businesses has bumped up the tax burden to many businesses by double, triple or sometimes quadruple as I heard. All of a sudden, this will finally trickle down to consumers as the additional taxes will increase the prices of the products. This will certainly not attract new businesses in town. The towns are working on increasing their revenue, rather than increasing the services. New school buildings, new police buildings, new vehicles, new library, new parking meters, new equipment for the city and more. All this adds up to the citizens, and whether the funds come from the federal government or state government, the burden is on the citizens. If the burden becomes an overburden, than the people may start protesting, as it happened in Missouri in the shooting of a teenager. The government policy should be pro-people, rather than pro-rich people or powerful people.

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

Editor's Note 08/07/2014

DHIREN Hello Readers,

Enough is enough. I agree with the republicans when they put a stop to illegal immigrants getting work permits, and worked to have them deported. This is not about simply deporting a foreign national who came to this country; this about them not following the system and laws of the United States. A person can wait over 15 years to enter in the United States, and finally enter after following the rules, but, someone else can come without following the laws and system, and have equal rights? It boggles me. If that is the case, then why should they have to follow the laws of the U.S.?

We should set an example for our future. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act. By that act, certain illegal immigrants who worked in certain seasonal agricultures were allowed to be legalized. Also, those who entered before January 1, 1982 and have not been found guilty of any crime and had a minimal knowledge of U.S. history and the English language could be granted legal status.

Now, the situation is different and Spanish has become a second language in the United States. So in my opinion, those who came before December 2010 and filed two previous years of Internal Revenue Service income tax forms (941 or 941E) by declaring their income and paying income tax (minimum tax of about $500) can be granted temporary legal status, pending verification and with the condition that they must work with the system legally. Those who came after these dates should be deported immediately (by the end of 2014). This will make for new legal immigrants competing with residents at the minimum legal wages. We should be very strict on the employers, making sure there are no loopholes where they can hire illegal immigrants then onwards.

Africa is a growing economy market that will explode in the near future. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry invited leaders of African Countries for a three-day summit. As Joe Biden correctly said, “It's a cancer on Africa as well as around the world, widespread corruption is an affront to the dignity of its people and a direct threat to each of your nation's stability.”

Fifty African countries were invited to the summit. Zimbabwe, Sudan, the Central African Republic and Eritrea were left off the guest list. Western Sahara, which is not recognized by the United States, was also not included. China is a huge competitor in the African Market, as they have spread their wings and acquired their share already. China knows how to deal with this corrupted market. It is very difficult to remove corruption from the market. So by inviting U.S. businesses for investment, that may not be enough. The U.S. Government should deal directly through the higher levels of leadership to find the solution of dealing with corruption and enter the African market.

Ebola disease has spread in Western Africa, especially Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Over 1,600 cases and over 875 deaths have been reported. A man who came from one of these countries has been reported as a suspicious Ebola case at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. He has been kept in isolation. Also, the hospital is taking care that the disease does not spread amongst the staff and visitors. According to Huffington Post Health Living, “Ebola is not known to infect people through the air - you must come into contact with the virus somehow in order to be at risk for infection, Bhadelia said. It's transmitted through exposure to an animal that carries the virus (such as a bat or primate), through exposure to the bodily fluids of a human who is infected and symptomatic, and through exposure to items that have been contaminated with the virus. People who are ‘providing care for a household member’ ... when they're cleaning up vomit or diarrhea, they come into contact [with the virus], and the way it's transmitted is there's virus in the fluids," she said. “That virus gets into your own body through the nose, mouth and such.”

Another news item will awaken many people at least temporarily. Last Saturday, Toledo, Ohio announced that people should not use their water, supplied from Lake Erie, even for washing hands or making ice. There was blue-green giant size algae in the water. It will cost over $200,000 for the city, but there is no guarantee that it won’t happen again. The toxin can affect the nervous system, liver, and skin according to the EPA. No restaurants without water can operate. After mediation, the ban was lifted on August 4.

We have done articles on the One Newark program. However, we have been made aware of even more widespread problems. More details to come next week.

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

Editor's Note 07/31/2014

DHIRENHello Readers,

Gov. Chris Christie on bail bond issue

Recently, Israeli troops shot a suicide bomber. The Palestinians took his body and walked with cheering and shouting against the Israelis, but they did not take off the bomb, which exploded and injured bystanders, possibly killing some in the procession of a dead suicide bomber. This information surfaced from a video on the Web.

The Israeli Military was told 17 times by the United Nations that Gaza's refugee camp is at the UN School for Palestinian civilians, but Israel overlooked the warnings and attacked the United Nations school, where over 10 civilians were killed and over 100 wounded. I understand Israel is our ally, but they have a deaf ear and this is not first time, but one of many times they have ignored our warnings. The US Congress formally condemned the act.

An Israeli spokesperson said that militants fired mortars and they fired in response. However, this statement is way before their investigation is over. Israel is the only democratic nation in the region, but the US should respect human lives not allow our allies - using our money - to attack civilians. More and more countries are asking for a truce due to the overwhelming violence between Israel and Palestine.

In India, torrential rain killed over 580 people in a monsoon. A mudslide in Pune District in the state of Maharashtra killed at least 17 people. In some places the rain was so heavy - 15 inches in 5 hours - that it disrupted the life of the whole area.

South Africa's great cricketer Jacques Kallis announced his retirement from international cricket. In a statement he said, "I am not retiring from all cricket as I have a two-year contract with the Sydney Thunder and, if possible, to help the Kolkata Knight Riders defend the IPL title we won earlier this year."

Warren Buffett, the investor king, said that if someone invested in Coca-Cola just $40 in 2012 has a value of $10.8 million dollars as of today. However, it takes a centuries worth of patience to keep those stocks and make money. Today, $40 is worth $540...so the profit is still enormous.

The United States and some of the educated countries are doing something about global warming. However, many countries are ignoring it. According to Global Post, the death toll of different countries due to natural disasters are shocking; 1983 Ethiopia - 300,000, 1970 Bangladesh - 300,000, 1984 Sudan - 150,000, 1991 Bangladesh - 138,866, and 2008 Myanmar - 138,366. The total disaster toll was 8,835 and the total deaths were 1,944,653 (almost 2 million). The country affected most by disasters is Ethiopia in Africa, Honduras in North America, Venezuela in South America, Russia, Bangladesh in Asia, and Philippines in South West Pacific.

Still, we are not awake. The governments are not united. The majority of the pollution producing countries are; China at #1 with 2,395 million tons CO2 emissions, and in five years the pollution increased by 44 percent, United States at #2 with 1,402 million tons CO2 emissions, and in five years the pollution decreased by 11 percent, India at #3 with 596 million tons CO2 emissions, and in five years the pollution increased by 43 percent, Russia at #4 with 449 million tons of CO2 emissions, and in five years the pollution increased by 2 percent and Japan at #5 with 336 million tons of CO2 emissions, and in five years the pollution increased by 1 percent. China and India are in the danger zone, increasing the pollution of the world. We must put pressure to both countries to reduce the pollution by half in 1 year and in 5 years they should be in the decreased column.

Perception affects the growth of a town, city, county, state or the country. A leader can work hard, but if he/she does not have support due to a negative performance perception, nothing can be done. Since its inception, Local Talk has tried to publicize positive news as well as negative stories, so it can be balanced. A newspaper is a mirror as I have said before, and Local Talk will continue to stay that way. The reason why I mentioned this again, is that I had a conversation with one of the local leaders and I told him my belief. I want to help the community as a whole to change their spirit, so they should be proud of their community.

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

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