PSE&G want to help furloughed workers and others in financial distress

NEWARK, NJ – Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), New Jersey’s largest utility, has procedures in place to help furloughed federal employees and other customers who are facing financial difficulty during winter months. Customers having trouble paying their bills are urged to call customer service to discuss their situations. PSE&G is prepared to extend 60-day grace periods to customers seeking assistance who meet criteria, including financial hardship due to circumstances beyond their control.

“The federal government shutdown is a reminder of circumstances in which our customers can face financial hardships. During the 60-day period, customer accounts will be locked and protected from shut off,” said Greg Dunlap, PSE&G vice president of customer operations. “Our customer service representatives also are prepared to discuss procedures for establishing payment schedules, should such arrangements be needed.”

Customer service representatives also will inform customers who are under the grace period to call back if they need an extension. The PSE&G Collections Department line is 1-800-357-2262.

PSE&G also reminds customers experiencing financial hardship that there are several programs that offer support for paying utilities, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) run by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

For more information or to download a LIHEAP application or find out where to apply, visit our website or call 1-800-510-3102 or 211. Applications are also available at PSE&G’s 16 walk-in Customer Service Centers. Applications and copies of all requested documents must be submitted by mail or in person to the designated LIHEAP in-take agency by August 31, 2019.

The LIHEAP application is also an application for the Universal Service Fund (USF). USF is a program created by the State of New Jersey that can lower the amount low-income households pay for gas and electric bills with a monthly credit of $5 to $150. Applications for USF are accepted year-round.

PSE&G households who are not eligible for low income programs and are behind in their PSE&G bill should visit for other programs like the PAGE Grant or NJ SHARES. Seniors over age of 65 or disabled adults collecting Social Security Disability may be eligible for the New Jersey Lifeline Credit program. NJ Lifeline provides a $225 yearly credit on your PSE&G bill.

Join John Legend in the conversation to FreeAmerica

John Legend invites you to join Free America
John Legend invites you to join FreeAmerica
Join the conversation with John Legend on his listening tour of American prisons for the FreeAmerica project.

“FreeAmerica is a multi-year culture campaign initiated by John Legend to change the national conversation about our country’s misguided policies and transform America’s criminal justice system.”

Its ambitious goal is to end mass incarceration in the United States of America. Get involved.

Youth incarceration

Foro educativo en español Oct 28 en Rutgers Newark: logrando el grado universitario

Rutgers college forum en español

En el 28 de octubre 2017 de 3:00-9:00pm, Rutgers y El Grupo Latinoamericano de Cónsules en New Jersey (GLACO) auspiciarán su tercer foro educativo en español para informar estudiantes y sus familias sobre las vías asequibles para obtener el grado universitario en New Jersey. Asistentes aprenderán de panelistas expertos y recibirán consultas legales confidenciales acerca del estado migratorio de individuales estudiantes y sobre las nuevas políticas DACA. Consejeros de admisión y de asistencia financiera de varias universidades estatales estarán disponibles para contestar preguntas y ayudar con navegar el proceso de admisión.

Los consulados de Perú, Ecuador, Colombia, Salvador y México tendrán mesas de servicio en el evento.

El propósito de este foro es asistir a los estudiantes con matricularse en universidades como Rutgers y disfrutar experiencias universitarias exitosas.

28 octubre 2017 3-9pm | Oct 28 2017 3-9pm
Rutgers University Newark
15 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
Cerca de la estación
de tren Lacahuana en Broad St. junto a la parada de autobuses

Luz Carreño de Colombia Nos Une
Ingrid Renderos de Rutgers University Newark

On October 28 2017, Rutgers and Grupo Latino Americano de Consules en New Jersey (GLACO) will hold their third Spanish-language forum aimed to provide information to parents and prospective students about the pathways toward higher education in New Jersey. Participants will have the chance to attend information panels, receive one-on-one education-related legal advice about a student’s immigration status and DACA policies; to speak directly with admissions counselors and learn about financial aid.

The consulates of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Salvador and Mexico will have service tables at the event.

This event is designed to help bridge the educational gap and help students navigate the admissions process to matriculate into universities like Rutgers and enjoy a successful college experience.

Safe channels for giving to Hurricane Harvey victims and other help resources

Worker rescues Asian vic of Hurricane Harvey
Texas National Guardsman rescues Hurricane Harvey victim Source: US DOD

Here are organizations that reliable sources have vouched for as safe for receiving donations for Hurricane Harvey victim relief. Providers of other types of help are listed too. I’ll continue adding to this list as I find more outlets.

Safe Organizations for Financial Donations

Providers of other kinds of help

  • To find family & friends or to register yourself as safe, visit the American Red Cross Safe & Well site
  • To report a missing child, contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 1-866-908-9570
  • Get help for emotional distress from the storm at Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990. Or text TalkWithUs to 66746

Safety Tips

  • From the US CDC: The initial damage caused by a flood is not the only risk. Standing flood waters can also spread infectious diseases, bring chemical hazards and cause injuries. Learn more about staying safe following a flood

A list of excellent real news sources and tips for #Resistance

plato - the price of apathy

Add your own resource to this list in a comment!

Get inspired!

More updates to this list coming. If you have an item to share, please put it in a comment.

Two Ruiz-Madden bills that provide help and identity to the homeless are now law in New Jersey

homeless not hopeless
09 January 2017

TRENTON – Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Fred H. Madden focusing on helping the homeless in New Jersey received was signed into law today.

“It must be a top priority of government to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Providing basic government documents to those without a permanent residence free of charge is the right thing to do, since these documents are vital to accessing any number of services and to obtaining housing and employment.”

“This is a small way we can help those who have fallen on hard times and it’s the right thing to do,” said Senator Madden (D-Gloucester/Camden). “Those who are homeless may not have the ability to pay for an identification card or a copy of a birth certificate, which could potentially prevent them from getting the critical services they need.”

The first bill signed into law, S-2350, allows a homeless person to obtain, duplicate, or renew a non-driver identification card without paying fees to the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). In order for the fee to be waived, the law requires a homeless person to submit proof of temporary residence through a social worker or the coordinator of an emergency shelter for the homeless where the person is temporarily residing.

Currently, residents who are 14 years of age and older may apply to the MVC for a non-driver identification card, for a fee of $24. The card is issued solely for the purpose of providing identification and is not a license to drive.

The second law, S-2351 will permit homeless people to obtain free certified copies of their birth certificates by submitting a request for the certificate to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics through a social worker or through the coordinator of the emergency shelter for the homeless where the person is temporarily residing.

The law would also amend current law to waive any fee associated with attaining a certified copy of a birth certificate.

Both pieces of legislation cleared the Senate and the Assembly unanimously.

S-2350 takes effect in August and S-2351 takes effect immediately.

DC lawyer gives up career to live in a Louisiana tent & help her people

Colette Pichon Battle
Source: Lady
Colette Pichon Battle returned to Louisiana to help the community members who had bought fish dinners cooked by her family members in order to pay the fees that helped her become an attorney … and stayed. Pichon Battle gave up her DC career to establish the non-profit Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, that helps with a variety of life and legal issues that confront people rebuilding their lives in the wake of Katrina and the burden of generations of endemic poverty and environmental justice challenges.

CounterPunch tells the story of Ms. Pichon Battle‘s background and education, which informed her career choices. NeighborWorks America and StoryCorps’ video about Colette’s service includes images by Lady.

I come from a strong line of south Louisiana women who love the land and the water and the birds and the sky and the trees. We understand our entire existence requires a balance on this earth. I’d like to make sure that legacy is there when I’m gone.

~ Colette Pichon Battle

Hat tip to Jacqui Patterson for sharing the CounterPunch story.

New White House #DiaperGap program will cover every baby’s bottom!

This may sound way out there but I can totally relate to the difficulty 1 in 3 families have with the expense of diapering their babies, because I had it too when my kids were diaper age – a couple of decades ago. Tomorrow at SXSW, President Obama will announce the new ublic-private-donation partnership the White House is brokering called The Community Diaper Program, which is designed to bring a comfy diaper to every baby’s bottom.

The combination of these efforts created the Community Diaper Program, launching today, and available to any 501(c)(3) organization in the United States. Now, any non-profit (whether or not they currently provide diapers to families they serve) will able to purchase diapers as much as 25 percent cheaper than the current available price, with no minimum order and 48 hour shipping. This process addresses head on the storage and timing challenges expressed by non-profits in the field. The National Diaper Bank Network, which nationwide operates over 280 diaper banks (similar to food banks), estimates that their members will order more than 15 million diapers through this program in 2016 alone. Best of all, the Community Diaper Program is sustainable, fiscally and organizationally, and will continue to benefit families for years to come…

We the People
We are a country built on the idea that every person deserves a fair shot, yet even basic baby essentials are more expensive for our neighbors working hard to make ends meet. We must do more to afford every American a great start in life?—?and by investing in early education, summer nutrition assistance, and other essentials of early childhood, President Obama’s budget sets us on that path. But today’s announcements demonstrate the tremendous power of Americans responding to the President’s call to action, and using their talents and expertise to meet the needs of working families. That commitment to civic collaboration and active citizenship will help us solve the challenges of the 21st century, in the land of opportunity for all.

Find out how you can get involved today:

  • Spread the word using #DiaperGap on your social media channels
  • Find a diaper bank near you and get involved
  • Sign up to become a diaper distributor

Hundreds of Jews break the sanctity of the Sabbath to save a life – that couldn’t be saved

Deborah Stubin missing flyer
Source: Passaic Police Department

The Daily Mail covers the discovery of Devorah Stubin’s car and body: a 22 year old woman who suffered from occasional seizures and became lost in Maywood, NJ last Thursday night after exiting the Garden State Parkway. reports on the community turn-out to search for Devorah and bring her home:

Hundreds of members of the Orthodox Jewish community from around the tri-state area flocked to Passaic Friday as news surfaced of the missing 22-year-old.

“It’s amazing how many people gave up their Sabbath to come help in the search,” said Leat Kuzinar, a family friend. “There were 200 to 300 people, more than what we needed.”

On Saturday Wallington police said a car found submerged in the water matched the description and license plate of Stubin’s, who was driving a gray, four-door 1998 Mitsubishi Galant.

On Sunday, authorities confirmed the body had been identified as Stubin.

Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman of Congregation Ahavas Israel in Passaic, NJ writes:

Today is Motzei Shabbos the 6th of Shevat 5776 and January 16, 2016

True Chessed

Shocked, stunned, numbed, and speechless; these are just a few of the words which describe our feelings this Motzei Shabbos.

As Shabbos came to a close all of us were informed that the massive search for the safe return of Devorah bas Shoshanah Rus and the Tefillos which were being said on her behalf have been halted.

As Shabbos ended the news travelled quickly that Devorah Stubin was not coming home.

Our hopes for her safe return were dashed as news of her demise was quickly disseminated in the Jewish world and beyond.

Plans for a celebration when she would be found were now replaced with arraignments for a funeral.

I did not know Devorah bas Shoshanah Rus; many who did tell me she was indeed a special Neshama.

I did not know her; however, I do know many of those who sacrificed Shabbos with their families to spend Shabbos in Maywood, New Jersey in the cold and in the rain.

Jews from Brooklyn, Lakewood, Monsey, Teaneck, Elizabeth, Passaic, Clifton and other places all joined together through their hearts and hands left the comfort of their homes and their families to search and attempt to find a young woman whom they never had met.

They survived on an hour of sleep here and there and on high energy caffeinated beverages throughout the day.

They did not care about hot Chulent or warm beds; they did not think about what Shul they should go to or not go to; their focus was singularly on the finding of Devorah bas Shoshanah Rus.

No one cared if you were Chassidish or Litvish, Modern or Open Orthodox; if you wear a hat or if you wife wears a Shaitel or a Tichel, all they cared about was Devorah bas Shoshanah Rus.

Dozens and dozens and volunteers left their warm beds this Shabbos to help find a young woman whose name most had never heard of before Thursday evening.

The togetherness and the unity allow me to feel consoled and that is good.

The outcome was not what he davened or hoped for; however, the display of unity is what we daven for.

I was privileged to count among the many volunteers who gave up their Shabbos for Devorah’s sake two of my own sons.

Both of them spent hours and hours searching and looking for Devorah bas Shoshanah Rus.

This morning at 7 o’clock my son and I left the house together.

He was on his to search for Devorah and I was on my way to search for Hashem.

Before I headed to Shul I walked him to his car.

I proudly stood by as he entered the car and gave him a brocha for success.

As I watched him pull away from the curb, I thanked Hashem for giving me children who care enough about His children to know that sometimes serving Him means even driving on Shabbos.

As Shaya turned the corner, I turned to Shul.

As I walked I wondered which one of us was the one to emulate: the rabbi on his way to Shul or the rabbi’s son on his way to find a lost Jew.

If Not Now, Then When? ~ Hillel

Indeed. It was clearly Rachel’s time to reunite with Hashem, but even many who did not have the chance to know her – like me – are feeling her loss. RIP, Miss Rachel … May your family and friends find comfort in the loving embrace of Our Creator and may you find eternal joy at Hashem’s right hand.

ICE agents are out in huge numbers all over the US and in New Jersey, detaining immigrants

women protest immigration policies
Source: Michael Democker/Times-Picayune/Landov
It’s like a page out of Donald Trump’s agenda: US officials began harassing and detaining immigrants under the guise of protecting US citizens from foreign criminals. This week, ICE (Federal immigration service) agents have detained undocumented immigrants all over the country and arrests have been made in New Jersey, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina and other places. Personal reports have surfaced of agents entering homes and even churches to seize women and children away from their families. Constructions vans that may contain undocumented day laborers are being stopped on highways and ICE agents have been spotted patrolling in front of downtown restaurants.

If this initiative were meant to demoralize the US Latino community, it couldn’t have come at a better time: Latinos celebrate Christmas from the evening of December 24 through January 6, known as Three Kings Day. These are days when low-income members of a hard-working community put aside the stresses of poverty, menial labor and living far from home in a country of foreign language and customs, to enjoy relaxed social visits with family and friends. This year, that satisfaction and peace were shattered.

Homeland Security reports that only 121 people were taken into custody whose immigration extensions had expired but that number may be much higher. For one thing, personal statements oppose ICE claims that there were no raids in New Jersey, with reports coming in of arrests in Hightstown, Princeton, Perth Amboy, Elizabeth and other municipalities throughout the state. Second, if the 121 targeted detainees in two states were already arrested, why do the raids continue? Also, the sheer number of raids points to a very different and much broader goal.

There will be time enough to figure out why these raids are happening and whether they are the handiwork of Republicans who pledged to destroy the protections Pres. Obama put in place for immigrants. For now, we need to offer the undocumented immigrant community whatever help and guidance we can – starting with spreading the word about what is happening to them.

Una amiga que trabaja con familias inmigrantes me contó esta tarde:

Tengo el corazon en cantitos. La migra esta en New Jersey deportando. Una familia Mexicana con la cuál trabajo por las tardes en Perth Amboy me lo dijo hoy. Están asustados. El señor de la casa no fue a trabajar. Se llevaron 14 de Elizabeth. Están merodeando Perth Amboy. Por favor difundan entre sus contactos que no abran puertas si no conocen la persona y urgirles a informarse sobre otras medidas de orientación…

Han deportado personas de Perth Amboy. Andan vestidos de civil. La señora de la casa tiene miedo a salir a recoger sus niños a la escuela. El señor me dijo que la migra esta deteniendo camiones de construcción en las autopistas Turnpike y Parkway porque saben que ahí viajan los jornaleros.

A friend who works with immigrant families told me this afternoon:

My heart is shattered. Immigration is in New Jersey deporting people. A Mexican family in Perth Amboy that I work with in the afternoon told me about it. They are frightened. The father of the family did not go to work. 14 were arrested in Elizabeth. They are hanging around Perth Amboy. Please share with your contacts: not to open doors if they don’t know the person who’s knocking and to inform themselves about additional protective measures.

People in Perth Amboy have been deported. The ICE agents are dressed in civilian clothing. The lady of the house is afraid to go out to pick her children up from school. The husband told me that Immigration is stopping construction trucks on the Turnpike and Parkway, as they know day workers are transported via those routes.

Fausto Giovanny Pinto of reports:

“These are the worst raids ever,” said Rita Dentino, director of Casa Freehold. “The target is woman and children … (we) received calls early Thursday regarding an early morning raid where two U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers broke down the door of a Freehold home and took two adults without arrest warrants.

…Another woman said that on Monday morning, her daughter had seen agents wearing ICE jackets interrogating employees outside of the McDonald’s she works at in Bloomfield.

Alex Garcia shares a video by Pepe Gonzalez showing ICE vehicles parked in Elizabeth and writes on Facebook:

No es por alarmar a la población, la migra ya visitó muchas casas, locales, negocios, y rutas aca en NJ. Yo soy un voluntario de una organización que se llama New Jersey Communities United con sede en Newark, NJ. Nosotros estamos empezando a documentar las acciones ilegales que utiliza ICE cuando arrestan sin una orden de deportación, ya son varios casos hasta Ahora.

Translation: Not meaning to alarm anyone, Immigration has visited many homes, places, businesses and routes here in NJ. I am a volunteer with an organization called New Jersey Communities United with headquarters in Newark, NJ. We are beginning to document the illegal actions ICE is using when they make arrests without an order of deportation, of which there have already been various cases reported.

Updates on locations where ICE agents are spotted is being reported by Unidad Latina en Acción NJ on their Facebook page, so undocumented individuals can avoid those spots. Still, many individuals are opting to skip work and performing family errands, feeling safer at home than outside.

Senator Bob Menendez denounced the raids:

These raids illustrate the many painful aspects of a system that has failed, including harsh tactics facing undocumented mothers and children whose only mistake was to escape a certain death in their native countries. The Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have the highest murder rates in the world. We must recognize that these families are fleeing escalating violence and address the root causes of this humanitarian crisis.

Democratic Congressman Luís Gutierrez of Illinois joined protestors outside the White House on Friday and met with Cecilia Munoz, director of the Domestic Policy Council to point out:

…GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, running on an anti-immigrant platform, has praised the raids — and taken credit for them.

“Look, what I said to her is, I said, ‘Think about it a moment. Donald Trump is praising your public policy on immigration. You should need no further evidence of how wrong it is,’” Gutierrez said.

This is a good time for America to raise our voice and insist that families and individuals seeking escape from persecution in their own countries, be welcomed in ours with kindness and inclusion. Surely we can offer at least warm beds and hot meals to those seeking sanctuary from death and destruction … especially if they’re willing to work for what they receive.

Teen acts quickly and subtly to save woman from kidnapper

Malyk Bonnet with Laval Police
(Laval Police foto)
Feeling that a woman he observed was in danger, teen Malyk Bonnet offered to buy bus tickets and then lunch for the woman and her kidnapper – a former boyfriend the police were already looking for. Acting like a friendly guy with time on his hands and some money to burn, Bonnet stayed close to the couple until he could phone the police, who arrived tout suite and arrested the guy.

Bonnet undoubtedly saved the woman from physical harm and perhaps, even death. Bonnet is a hero, and Twitter loves him!Here’s what the Laval, Quebec police say:

Guérin of the Laval police said that in 24 years of policing he’s never seen anything quite like what Bonnet did. “He managed the situation very well and took good decisions that probably saved the life of this woman.”

Police officers were so impressed with Bonnet that they took up a collection to reimburse the ($120) he had spent for bus fare and food that night. They came up with $255 … Guérin said Laval police intend to nominate Bonnet for a provincial award for bravery.

Men like this awesome young fellow make up very nicely, thank you, for the losers out there who mistreat their wives and girlfriends. Thank you, Malyk Bonnet!

White House & famous actors take stand against sexual assault (1 min video)

1 is 2 manyThe White House just released a very well-done video with major actors, President Obama and Vice-Prez Biden taking a stand against sexual assault. They say men need to be part of the solution to stop it from ever happening, “Because 1 is 2 many.” reports, “Vice President Biden introduced the PSA during the official release of “The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault” Tuesday afternoon in Washington.” Biden tells us, “This is about respect. It’s about responsibility.”

Couples can buy Newark land for $1000 on V-Day 2015

Valentine's HouseI guess this isn’t as good a deal as Chicago selling off land at $1 a lot but Newark’s Valentine’s Day land sale still seems pretty darn good to me. According to the city’s website, Couples only can purchase a Newark land lot for $1000 from the city if they can afford to build a dwelling on it and are willing to live there for 5 years.

Take a look at the terms and tell me what you think …

A special land sale that Economic and Housing Development has organized for St. Valentine’s Day – Saturday, 14 February 2015, 9:00AM – 12:00PM at Newark City Hall (920 Broad Street). In the spirit of St. Valentine’s Day, we are doing a sale of city lots exclusively to COUPLES. Transforming non-tax producing city owned lots to occupied, tax producing properties with new homes built on them. We will be selling 100 lots at $1,000 a lot. This sale is NOT for developers or investors. The sale is exclusively for couples who are looking to live in Newark.

The rules are as follows:

  • You must be a couple (straight or LGBT)
  • Only one lot per couple
  • Lots will be awarded on a “first come, first served” basis
  • Lots will be sold for $1,000 each
  • All final sales are subject to Municipal Council approval
  • Buyers will be required to make a $500 down payment
  • Buyers will be required to pay an additional $500 at closing
  • Buyer is responsible for all closing costs
  • Buyer must submit a City Planning Board approved site plan to close on the property
  • Buyer must have a commitment letter from a financial institution AND/OR proof of cash to cover the cost of the infill new construction to close on the property
  • Construction must be completed within 18 months of closing
  • Buyer must reside in the property for 5 years after issuance of C.O.
  • Anyone from anywhere is eligible to participate except employees of the EHD Property Management Division

French woman thinks Richard Gere is homeless & gives him leftover pizza

Richard Gere gets leftover pizza from French tourist
The Guardian reports on this truly funny story:

When a bunch of people emerged from subway tunnels and told this lady’s husband to stop filming his wife and surroundings with his little camera, the couple understood that something strange was going on. Two days later the French tourist learned what, when she spotted her photo in a newspaper! The homeless man to whom she had given her left-over pizza was actually actor Richard Gere, who was preparing for an upcoming movie role by walking around the streets of Manhattan in character as a homeless man, rummaging through garbage cans for scraps of food.

‘I said “Je suis désolée [I am sorry], but the pizza is cold”‘ Gombeau told the NY Post, who approached the 62 year-old actor with the remnants of an ‘enormous’ pizza her family had shared but was unable to finish. The pizza was carried in a plastic ‘I Love NY’ bag.

‘He said “Thank you so much. God bless you.”‘ recalled Gombeau.

I’d love to know if they’re going to cameo her in the movie. Don’t you think this would make a really nice vignette?