Saturday, May 28, 2016

President Obama's Weekly Address 5/28/16: Remembering Our Fallen Heroes

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, President Obama solemnly reflected on the meaning of Memorial Day and recognized the sacrifices made by the American warriors who never made it back home. Though the President stressed that citizens should thank active-duty troops and veterans every day of the year, he emphasized that Memorial Day is reserved for remembering the unselfish men and women who gave their lives in defense of the nation. In addition to reflecting on the unpayable debt owed to fallen servicemembers, Americans should also make an effort to offer support to the families of their countrymen who gave everything. Whether it’s hiring a veteran, reaching out to a grieving family member, or simply pausing for a moment of silent thanks, the President wants the country to join him in an act of remembrance during the Memorial weekend.

Letter: Senator Scutari Colorado Marijuana Trip

The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:

Dear Editor,

Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) announced that he plans to visit Colorado to look at the legal pot industry there. But Colorado would be a poor model for New Jersey, because their pot taxes are too high, in addition to an overly regulated licensing system that would lead to more political corruption in the Soprano State. Not to mention all the 18-20 year old adults there still face a criminal record for pot, due to a silly 21 age requirement marketing ploy, designed to make voters link pot to alcohol.

New Jersey should not rush into a "recreational" model but instead expand the medical marijuana law to cover all conditions, allow physicians to utilize telemedicine to issue cannabis recommendations, abolish the mandatory patient registry, and allow non-residents to get a recommendation in New Jersey. This would allow someone from NYC or Philly to come to New Jersey, talk to a Doctor on their iPhone like FaceTime, and head into the dispensary.

We also need public and social smoking spaces in New Jersey. While New Jersey allows medical marijuana patients to light up anywhere tobacco smokers can, Colorado went overboard and banned public consumption (in their eyes, pretty much anywhere other than a private residence). The law went largely unenforced until the "recreational" law was passed and since then, Colorado police are pot smoking ticket happy again. Colorado has also created a new ticket for an "open container" of marijuana in a car - but a homegrown plant doesn't come in a container. This kind of silly lawmaking is the result of Colorado's idea of "recreational" regulation. I call it a red tape nightmare for something that is supposed to have been legalized.

New Jersey needs to have dispensaries with relaxing smoking lounges on the boardwalk in places like Atlantic City, Asbury Park, and Sea Bright. Not silly Colorado-style laws stopping legitimate places from getting off the ground.

Dennis Peron, a co-author of Proposition 215, California's medical marijuana law passed in 1996 (largely in response to his friends and lovers dying of AIDS) has told me and stated publicly that he believes all cannabis usage is medical. I agree with this view and believe a medical framework overseen by Doctors is the best approach to cannabis for New Jersey.

Senator Scutari has never smoked pot. I believe him, but do we really want a guy who has never smoked a joint to write the law? African-American Marijuana Activist, Trenton Restaurateur, and Congressional Candidate Robert Edward Forchion aka NJ WEEDMAN is New Jersey's most high profile marijuana activist (groups like NORML are just a bunch of lawyers and limousine liberals who just sit around and get high, Ed actually makes change). As a former Hollywood dispensary operator, Forchion knows the business and the product. Did I mention he's also a Marine Corps Veteran? Let's make him New Jersey's Official Cannabis Czar, for politicians to consult with on marijuana topics.

Before running off to Colorado and talking to a bunch of equally clueless politicians and dispensary chain lobbyists, Senator Scutari should stop by NJ Weedman's Joint restaurant and Liberty Bell Temple III Rastafarian church right across from Trenton City Hall and talk to Ed Forchion.

Colorado's pot laws were designed to empower rich white businessmen, while keeping those with even minor criminal records from working in the industry, and requiring high application fees and startup requirements in order to keep people from the disability community, racial minorities, women, and LGBT people from gaining a foothold in the industry. Before thinking of profits, people need to think of patients and compassion.

The point of changing pot laws is to allow people not only to safely possess it for health, but to empower disadvantaged people and communities harmed by the racist War on Drugs to produce their own medicine, free of corporate control and profiteering. Last year, Ohio voters rejected a corporate attempt to hijack the movement with a law written by businessmen intent on creating a monopoly in their state. New Jersey should take notice.

Eric Hafner
Toms River

Pallone Demands FEMA take Swift Action to Address Unacceptable Delays for Sandy Victims

May 25, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) demanded that FEMA take swift action to process claims for victims of Hurricane Sandy in a meeting with Roy Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in Pallone’s Washington, DC office. At the meeting Wright stated that FEMA would have the unprocessed claims finished by the end of the summer.

The members stressed that the slow pace of the claims review process is unacceptable, and that FEMA needs to act to ensure that New Jersey policy holders are treated fairly and receive just compensation. They also discussed their concerns over alleged widespread fraud perpetrated by private insurance companies servicing National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

“My constituents and I continue to be outraged by the unacceptable delays in processing claims for Sandy victims.” said Pallone. “It’s been nearly four years since Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey and there needs to be a sense of urgency about processing the claims of these victims, who have already suffered enough. FEMA has a responsibility to implement processes to ensure that disaster victims get the resources they are rightfully owed and it is imperative that it take action immediately. Next week starts Hurricane season and we need to make sure that victims of Sandy are in their homes and prepared.”

“I met with Roy Wright of FEMA to discuss improving and expediting the Hurricane Sandy Claims review process for the thousands of New Jerseyans still waiting to receive the support they are owed,” said Pascrell. “While it is upsetting to know that FEMA has only fully processed roughly half of the claims that have been associated with fraud, they are doing it as swiftly and diligently as possible. I commend FEMAs willingness to work with members of Congress and the people of New Jersey in order to address any and all issues that have arisen from flood insurance payment issues. That is why I encourage anyone in my district to let me know if they have an issue so that I can keep FEMA to their word.”

Earlier this month, Pallone led a bipartisan letter from members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation to Administrator Fugate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requesting that it take swift action on behalf of those who have suffered from documented, widespread fraud perpetrated by private insurance companies in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The lawmakers asked for an explanation of why it is taking FEMA so long to process the insurance claims of these victims and to detail the steps FEMA is taking to swiftly rectify the situation.

Last May, The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) announced that it would begin a process requested by Pallone and other New Jerseys members of Congress to review flood insurance claims filed by policyholders affected by Hurricane Sandy. FEMA did this after Pallone and other Members sent a letter to FEMA requesting that it establish a process allowing homeowners to easily file an appeal if they believe they have been a victim of an intentionally altered engineering report.

Navy Veteran To Walk From NJ Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial to D.C. to Raise Awareness, Funds for PTSD


Mike Dowens will kick off the three-day walk from the Memorial on June 2 to raise funds to send a veteran suffering from PTSD to treatment

Holmdel, NJ (May 24, 2016) — Mike Dowens, a Navy veteran, is kicking off a three-day walk from the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Holmdel, NJ, to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., on June 2, 2016. Dowens suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stemming from his time serving in the Liberia, Somalia and Haiti as a Navy search and rescue swimmer. His goal is to increase awareness about PTSD and raise money through a Go Fund Me campaign to send a veteran in need to The Refuge, a treatment center in Florida where he sought treatment for his own PTSD.

Dowens, 37, will begin his walk the morning of June 2 at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, 1 Memorial Lane, exit 116 off the Garden State Parkway at the PNC Bank Arts Center. He will then take a route on walkable roads to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., a total of 237 miles. He will be joined on his walk by another veteran and PTSD sufferer. The two will walk non-stop, pausing only for meals.

After spending four years in the Navy and being honorably discharged in 2006 for asthma he developed while overseas, Dowens felt lost. He felt severe separation from the military and suffered intense symptoms of PTSD for years before he finally sought treatment.

“I struggled with the fact that I wasn’t in the Navy any longer,” said Dowens. “I had survivor’s guilt and tried to get back into the military nine times.”

Dowens knows The Refuge, a PTSD and trauma center in Ocklawaha, Florida, saved his life. And now, he knows he wants to give back.

“While I was in treatment I realized I could serve without going back in the military,” he said. “I could raise money for a veteran to get the same help that I got.”

The walk Dowens is making draws sharp comparison to the Last Patrol, a group of New Jersey Vietnam veterans who walked from the nation's capital in 1989 to the would-be site of the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Holmdel to raise awareness, support, and funds for a memorial honoring Vietnam Veterans in New Jersey.

On May 27, 1989, The Last Patrol was greeted with welcome arms by members of the community who had come to pay respect to the efforts of these men as well as to honor the fallen. The message was simple — Welcome Home.

That message spoke volumes to a group of veterans who hadn’t been welcomed home with such open arms. The Vietnam War was unpopular in the United States, and the soldiers felt the brunt of that unpopularity when they returned home. Adjusting to life at home was difficult, and things like PTSD and other health issues were largely ignored. Veterans felt isolated and alone and often didn’t seek treatment.

Veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan and other recent conflicts have had similar experiences when coming home. PTSD and its treatment are major issues with this group of military veterans, and something difficult to seek help for. It’s something they share with Vietnam Veterans.

“Not all wounds are visible,” said Dowens.

And it’s those invisible wounds Dowens is trying to raise awareness for with his walk. His mission, named Unbroken Warriors, has raised more than $6,000 to date with a goal of $10,000. The funds will send a veteran for PTSD treatment at The Refuge. To donate, click here.

Dowens, who has been a police officer in Holmdel for eight years, will wear a full pack weighing 70 pounds on his walk. He hopes this trek calls attention to the issues that veterans, past and present, are dealing with.

“You don’t have to wear a uniform to serve,” said Dowens.

About New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation

The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, dedicated May 7, 1995, strives to encourage and foster patriotism and provide for recognition of the sacrifices, courage and valor of the New Jersey Veterans of the Vietnam Era. The Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center, dedicated in September 1998, strives to encourage and foster a thorough understanding of the Vietnam era, including the political, historical, social, cultural and military aspects that affected the United States, especially New Jersey. For more information, visit

NJVVMF Memorial Day Ceremony, May 30

The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation will honor veterans with a Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 30, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 1 Memorial Lane, Holmdel, Exit 116 off the Garden State Parkway. The Vietnam Era Museum and Educational Center will be open to the public free of charge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

NJVVMF Board of Directors Trustee and Camden County Sheriff Gilbert (Whip) Wilson will preside over the Ceremony and the Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey Kim Guadagno is the Special Guest Speaker. The program will include a presentation of wreaths by various area organizations, music by The Rock N’ Roll Chorus; a presentation of colors by the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Naval Weapons Station Earle; and an invocation by Joe Formola, Chaplain of the New Jersey State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America.

During the ceremony, the New Jersey Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Foundation will award two scholarships to high school seniors from New Jersey who plan to further their education either at a college, university or trade/technical school. This year’s scholarship recipients are Matthew Falco of Cranford High School and Teresa Ngo of Biotechnology High School.

An “In Memory” program will honor those who served in Vietnam and returned home, but later died as a result of their tour. This year, five names will be inducted.

We invite you to attend the ceremony.

Pallone’s SANDy Act Passes House of Representatives

May 24, 2016

Legislation will help Improve Communications during Disasters

WASHINGTON, DC – Last night, the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act – or the SANDy Act, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 389-2. Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the legislation last year to help ensure the resiliency of the nation’s communications networks during emergencies. During and after Sandy there was a major breakdown of communications networks, including cellular and home telephones, television, and internet services. This created a dangerous barrier to emergency response and recovery for residents and towns.

“I am proud that the SANDy Act can now help first responders, businesses and private citizens communicate during disasters,” said Pallone. “In New Jersey, we learned firsthand during Hurricane Sandy the importance of communications during an emergency. Broadcasters and cable providers give us the critical information we need to stay out of harm’s way. Making a call for help is difficult when the power is out, and when the cell towers are also down, it can be nearly impossible. We must do everything we can to be better prepared for the next time disaster strikes”

Before the bill passed the Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this month, Pallone and CTIA, together with wireless providers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon announced an agreement that wireless providers will share information and advance wireless network resiliency before, during and after disasters and emergencies.

APCO International, the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the enhancement of public safety communications, has voiced its support for the legislation stating that “it contains a number of provisions that would be helpful to 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) facing future large-scale disasters, and would generally lead to improvements in emergency communications in such situations.”

Since he became the top Democrat on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, Pallone has redoubled his efforts to make sure that never happens again. As part of his effort, Pallone held a Superstorm Sandy Field Forum with local officials, industry leaders and senior FirstNet representatives to take a critical look at lessons learned and progress made with public safety telecommunications since the hurricane. Pallone used those lessons to craft the bill and improve the resiliency of our communications systems.

In addition the SANDy Act would:

· Make sure all communication providers—radio, TV, and phone—can fix outages faster, even across state lines.

· Begin a process to provide 911 services over Wi-Fi hotspots during emergencies.

Pallone spoke on the House floor urging passage of the bill yesterday. The video can be found here.

Lagerkvist: Golden parachutes of NJ public college presidents cost millions

From Mark Lagerkvist

For departing New Jersey public college presidents, their farewell payments, perks and positions can resemble lottery jackpots. Not left to chance, these windfalls are carefully crafted into their employment contracts.

George Pruitt of Thomas Edison State University in Trenton is slated to receive $1.7 million in payouts after his presidency ends. It begins with a one-year paid sabbatical leave at his presidential salary, currently $337,000 – and a new title, president emeritus.

When he returns from sabbatical, Pruitt will begin a five-year fellowship to conduct research at TESU’s John S. Watson School of Public Service. He’ll get 80 percent of his former salary – another $1.348 million or more. To top it off, the university will pay a $10,000 lump sum to cover Pruitt’s relocation expenses.

At least 13 current presidents have an express option to work in other six-figure positons at their institutions when they step down. Nine of those chief executives can begin their post-presidential careers with generous paid sabbaticals, according to a NJ Spotlight analysis of employment contracts obtained under the Open Public Records Act.

The full story is now online at NJ Spotlight –

# # #

Mark Lagerkvist is a veteran investigative reporter who has worked for CNBC, News 12, Asbury Park Press, New Jersey Watchdog and other newspaper, television and online news outlets. His work has won more than 60 journalism awards, including honors from National Press Club, Scripps Howard Foundation, and Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE). He can be reached at

Monday, May 23, 2016

Letter: Women In The 4th Congressional District Deserve Better

The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:

As a District 4 constituent, I have contacted Congressman Chris Smith’s office on two issues that affect women in New Jersey. Statistics show that 52 women a month are killed due to domestic abuse in America (more than any other developed nation), but Smith, along with many other congressmen, has refused to support expanded national universal background checks that would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. He has also voted against the Violence Against Women Act.

Smith’s voting record on women’s health care has resulted in the shuttering of accessible neighborhood health care clinics, necessitating expensive, long-distance travel for women who care for sick children, elderly parents or themselves. Turning the clock back on reproductive rights increases the suffering of women when access to a safe abortion is removed, especially in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

Smith’s bill to block private insurance and flexible spending money from paying for birth control also affects a couple’s right to plan for their family’s future and again causes undue financial burden.

In this election season, we have an opportunity to choose a forward-thinking candidate who will stand firm to help women on these issues, as well as increase aid in areas such as education, income equality, child welfare and social justice. After 36 years, District 4 deserves a representative who is interested in tackling head on all the issues that pose a threat to our health and well-being.

Rosalind Ressner
Millstone Township

Democratic Committee Investigation Finds NFL Improperly Attempted to Influence NIH on Brain Injury Research

May 23, 2016

Report Concludes NIH Maintained the Integrity of the Grant Review Process But FNIH Did Not Properly Serve Its Role As Intermediary

Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a report today concluding that the National Football League (NFL) improperly attempted to influence the grant review process for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) brain injury study that the NFL had agreed to fund as part of a $30 million donation.

Despite the NFL’s attempts to influence the applicant selection process, the report states that the integrity of NIH’s grant review process was preserved. The report also concludes the Foundation for NIH (FNIH), a non-profit charitable organization whose mission it is to direct funding from public and private donors to NIH projects, did not adequately fulfill its role of serving as an intermediary between NIH and the NFL.

The report is the result of an ongoing Democratic Committee staff investigation, which began shortly after ESPN published an article in December 2015 alleging that the NFL had backed out of funding a NIH study due to the League’s objections to the grantee selected by NIH to conduct the study.

“This investigation confirms the NFL inappropriately attempted to use its unrestricted gift as leverage to steer funding away from one of its critics,” Pallone said. “Since its research agreement with NIH was clear that it could not weigh in on the grant selection process, the NFL should never have tried to influence that process.”

“The NFL’s troublesome interactions with NIH fit a longstanding pattern of attempts to influence the scientific understanding of degenerative diseases and sports-related head trauma. The NFL must recognize the importance of this ongoing, impartial research, and live up to its funding commitments to NIH,” Pallone concluded.

The investigation found that:

1. The NFL improperly attempted to influence the grant selection process at NIH.
2. The NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee members played an inappropriate role in attempting to influence the outcome of the grant selection process.
3. The NFL’s rationalization that the Boston University study did not match their request for a longitudinal study is unfounded.
4. FNIH did not adequately fulfill its role of serving as an intermediary between NIH and the NFL.
5. NIH leadership maintained the integrity of the science and the grant review process.
6. The NFL did not carry out its commitment to respect the science and prioritize health and safety.

The Democratic Committee staff offered several recommendations to address the investigation’s findings:

1. FNIH must establish clearer guidelines regarding donor communications with NIH.
2. FNIH must come to a mutual understanding with donors at the beginning of the process regarding their degree of influence over the research they are funding and remind donors that NIH policy prohibits them from exerting influence at any point in the grant decision-making process.
3. FNIH should provide donors with the clear, unambiguous language from the NIH Policy Manual, which states that a donor may not dictate terms that include “any delegation of NIH’s inherently governmental responsibilities or decision-making,” or “participation in peer review or otherwise exert real or potential influence in grant or contract decision-making.”

4. NIH and FNIH should jointly develop a process to address concerns about donors acting improperly.
5. The NFL, FNIH, and NIH should amend their current agreements to ensure that each party has a clear understanding of its role for the remainder of this partnership.

In September 2012, FNIH announced that the NFL had pledged $30 million in support of research on “serious medical conditions prominent in athletes” that are also relevant to the general population. The program involved agreements between NIH, the NFL, and FNIH, which made clear that NIH retained responsibility and control over the scientific aspects of the program, including the review and awarding of scientific grants. Over the course of the following year, NIH moved forward with four research plans funded by the NFL.

In 2014, NIH recommended a fifth study of high-risk adults to characterize Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in individuals with a history of repetitive head impacts over a three- to five-year period. The study was expected to cost about $17.5 million, with $16.3 million coming from the NFL. The NFL agreed to the plan in July 2014.

In May 2015, after a grant review process, NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) determined that Dr. Robert Stern of Boston University, had the highest ranked proposal. The report details an attempt over three months by both the NFL and members of the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee to argue that Dr. Stern was biased, and that the grant application process had been tainted by conflicts of interest.

At a September meeting, NIH decided to move forward with the BU proposal. NIH concluded that the CTE study was vitally important to public health and safety, and if necessary, NIH would fund it in its entirety using NINDS funds. Ultimately, NFL did not fund the study.

The Democratic Committee staff’s review included requests for information from NINDS at NIH, FNIH, and the NFL, briefings with staff from NIH, FNIH, and the NFL, as well as a review of relevant documents and communications.

Lagerkvist: NJIT President's $5.3M Contract Tops New Jersey's Pay and Perks for College Chiefs

By Mark Lagerkvist

At $555,000 a year, Joel Bloom does not have the highest salary among New Jersey public college presidents. But counting his extra benefits and perks from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Bloom has a taxpayer-supported deal that’s second to none.

Bloom’s five-year contract with NJIT is worth roughly $5.3 million. And that doesn’t count the cost of his pension, health insurance, vacation time, sick leave and expense account – not to mention the car and driver provided by the Newark-based research university.

No other public officials in New Jersey receive the levels of compensation that many college presidents enjoy – not even Gov. Chris Christie or state Supreme Court justices, according to a NJ Spotlight analysis.

The little-known cornucopia of extras is detailed in employment contracts obtained by NJ Spotlight under the Open Public Records Act. For example, Bloom’s deal with NJIT includes:

  • Performance bonus of up to 25 percent of his salary. Last year, it was $130,000.
  • Annual “retention incentive” bonus of $120,000 to help ensure his loyalty to NJIT.
  • Housing allowance of $85,000 a year
  • Three-fourths of his salary for two years – $825,000 based on his current pay – as an advisor and figurehead with the title of president emeritus after he retires or resigns.

NJ Spotlight’s analysis of the contracts of New Jersey’s 30 public college presidents found:

  • 20 have contracts that provide for annual bonuses based on performance or longevity
  • 17 receive deferred compensation or contributions to annuities to supplement the public pensions.
  • 17 receive free use of college-owned residences or housing allowances as part of their compensation packages.
  • 23 are provided with the use of college cars or an allowance to cover the cost of their own automobiles.

The story is now online at NJ Spotlight – Details on each college president – with links to their contracts – is posted at

Letter: Parents of NJ K-12 Students Being Mislead On Enrollment

The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:

Dear Editor,

Many small-minded people who work inside of New Jersey's K-12 education system mislead parents of children registering for school, by claiming that there are required documents to register a child in school.

State law says a school district is required to register any student of school age who says they live within the district. Even if the child and parent lack any form of ID or other official documentation, the child still must be registered and allowed to attend school.

Districts must admit the student and then the parent may provide whatever documents they can get together. It is the "totality" of those documents that can prove residency.

For example, a birth certificate and a piece of mail would more than be sufficient ID under the law.

To protect your child from identity theft, you should NEVER provide a social security number to a school district or your drivers license. They have no legitimate use for this information.

A K-12 School is not the IRS, an employer, or a bank. How dare they demand a SSN?

Eric Hafner
Toms River

Memorial Day Parade Monday, May 30

Middletown Public Info:

The Middletown Memorial Day Parade will be held on Monday, May 30th The parade begins at 10am at Bayshore Middle School located at 834 Leonardville Road. The route is as follows: Leonardvile Road to Appleton Ave. to Center Ave. to Brevent Ave. Turn right onto Highland Ave.; left on Leonard Avenue and right on Viola Ave. to the Post Home on Route 36. Parade ends at approximately 11:30am. This annual event is hosted by American Legion Post #338 in cooperation with Middletown Township.

President Obama's Weekly Address 5/21/16:Expanding Overtime Pay

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week's address, President Obama discussed one of the single most important steps to help grow middle-class wages – expanding the number of workers who are eligible for the overtime that they have earned. Every week, millions of Americans work more than 40 hours but do not receive the overtime pay they deserve. This week, the Department of Labor finalized a rule to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans, which will boost wages for working Americans by $12 billion over the next 10 years. This action will not only mean a better life for more American families, but will also strengthen our economy across the board. The President emphasized that he will continue to build an economy where everyone gets a fair shot to get ahead.

Middletown Land Development Forum Wednesday, May 25

Middletown Public Info:

One of the most important issues facing towns throughout New Jersey is how to prevent overdevelopment while encouraging sensible growth. Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, Ph.D. will explore this issue at the 2016 Land Development Forum on Wednesday, May 25th at 7:00pm at the Middletown Arts Center, 36 Church Street. Township Administrator Anthony P. Mercantante is also scheduled to participate in the forum. Among the topics to be addressed are what the township has done to control growth and how Middletown encourages healthy expansion of the commercial tax base and the redevelopment of underutilized or vacant sites. Real estate professionals, business and community associations, business owners and residents are encouraged to attend. The session is held in partnership with the Middletown Economic Development Committee, a volunteer advisory body committee dedicated to the promotion of economic growth. Free event parking is available at the train station.

May 25, 2016

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Middletown Arts Center
36 Church Street
Middletown, NJ 07748

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pallone Praises Rule to Extend Overtime Pay for Millions of Americans

May 18, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) praised the Obama Administration’s announcement that the Department of Labor has updated overtime protections for nearly 5 million more workers. The rule makes more than 130,000 additional New Jersey workers eligible for extra pay by guaranteeing overtime pay to most salaried workers earning less than an estimated $47,476 a year.

“Today, too many Americans are working longer and harder, with less to show for their efforts partly because very few workers are eligible for overtime pay,” said Congressman Pallone. “Raising the overtime threshold to better reflect current economic realities and bring an important measure of economic fairness is a tremendous victory for working families. This decision brings us closer to an economy that works for all Americans – one that fairly pays workers for the work they do.”

When the proposal was in its final stages, Pallone wrote to President Obama urging decisive action to significantly raise the income threshold for overtime pay, which currently stands at $23,600.