Friday, July 22, 2011

Don't look back in anger. It's hot out there.

From Da Horsey's stable file, the classic spat between council members Dave Mello and Mike Russo surrounding the petulant text reader Tim Occhipinti is the subject of this Friday night summer fights.

Is this a right hook or cross Mike Russo is throwing at a surprised and barely grazed Dave Mello?

Or is it just a trick of the light?

Councilman Mike Russo makes an emphatic point to colleague Dave Mello at the conclusion of the June 29th Council meeting.   While things have cooled down since, Hoboken is in a  heat wave.
What else may be heating up soon?

This photo courtesy of the June 29th City Council meeting includes the head of 4th ward politico Nick Calicchio who is usually not eager to be in pictures but wanted to be in this one even after invited not to.  He moved to block the shot at the invitation.

Who's going to be throwing the next punch and where?

NJ issues heat warning

State  of NJ announces:

 Department of Health and Senior Services
 News Releases

RELEASE: July 22, 2011

DHSS Recommends Health Precautions Due to Today's Excessive Heat

(Trenton)  With the heat index soaring to 110 degrees today, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) urges the elderly, disabled and those with chronic medical conditions to drink plenty of water and visit senior or cooling centers if they do not have air conditioning.

“These are dangerous weather conditions that can cause heat stroke and exacerbate chronic medical conditions, leading to severe complications and death,” said Acting Commissioner Dr. Tina Tan.

The risk of severe illness and death from extreme heat exposure is highest among:
• Older adults, especially those  65 years of age and older
• Adults of all ages with chronic health conditions, especially those with asthma, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity or psychiatric disorders

Residents may locate their nearest cooling center by calling their local senior center, town hall or by calling NJ EASE at 1-877-222-3737.  People may also visit the DHSS website for the locations of the nearest senior center ( or Area Agency on Aging (

“The elderly and those with disabilities are most at risk for heat related health crisis because they do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature. We urge residents to check on elderly and disabled neighbors, friends and pets to be sure they are safe over the next several days,” said Dr. Tan.

The CDC recommends the following tips for older adults and people with disabilities and/or their caregivers:

·        Visit older adults who are at risk at least twice a day and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke

·        Encourage them to drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages

·        Check with your physician if you have been told to limit fluids or if you are taking water pills

The Department recommends the following precautions for stay cool:
  • Stay indoors in air conditioning
  • If you do go outside, stay in the shade
  • If your home is not air conditioned, spend as much time as possible in an air conditioned mall, library, senior center, cooling center or pool
  • Wear sunscreen, along with loose-fitting, light-colored clothing
  • Drink water regularly even if you are not thirsty. Limit alcohol and sugary drinks which speed dehydration
  • Keep your pets out of vehicles and if you do have to travel with them, never leave them alone in the car
  • Avoid exertion during the hottest part of the day
  • Take a cool shower or bath
Residents are also urged to keep close eye on their pets by taking the following actions:
·        Make sure your pet has plenty of water; keep water bowls filled
·        Never leave your pets unattended in the car - even for a few minutes - in the heat Just a few short minutes in hot weather can lead to heat stroke or death
·        Contact your veterinarian if your pet shows signs of heatstroke
Signs of heatstroke include:
    • Increased heart rate
    • Excessive panting
    • Increased salivation
    • Bright red tongue
    • Red or pale gums
    • Vomiting
  • If you exercise with your dog, make sure you exercise in the coolest hours of the morning or evening
For more information regarding heat related emergencies, please log on, visit the National Weather Service Heat Safety Page (, or call 2-1-1 New Jersey’s toll-free, confidential help line.

The hospital's fate may now lie in the hands of the State

The hospital's public hearing at Our Lady of Grace Church last night brought out all segments of Hoboken, mostly speaking in one shape or form to keep the 150 year institution open.

The hearing a necessary ingredient before the State may consider issuing a certificate of need will determine the approval for a sale to Bayonne's Holdco.

Public hearing on the potential hospital sale last night included many hospital professionals both local and regional.  Most spoke strongly in favor of approving the sale to Bayonne's Holdco.

Mayor Zimmer again repeated her insistence the clock has run out on any additional negotiations and the offer of $92 million is the best solution to keep the doors open.  She's repeatedly said in recent weeks, should the sale not be approved, the hospital will close.

Dozens of members of the public spoke in an audience of about 200 people expressing various perspectives on the hospital sale, but most spoke in favor of the sale, including many physicians. One who is also a Hoboken resident thanked the taxpayers of Hoboken for answering the call back in 2007 when the hospital was in danger of closing.

Freeholder Anthony Romano made an impassioned plea to consider the jobs of the employees of the hospital in any sale and received loud support from the nurse's unions and their supporters.

On balance, the citizenry of Hoboken was well represented.  On the whole it became clear the opposition to the sale was limited and perhaps dispirited.  There was not any attempt to line up speakers against the sale.  A competitor stood up and referenced their willingness to make a bid. Totaling those figures, it was oddly less than the current one.  Later MSV was told by various independent observers, the bid lacked adequate financing.

That Connecticut based firm was rumored to have been working with local groups and elected officials to undermine the hospital sale over recent months and believed behind a local telephone push poll.

In the end, the public comments go to the State for their final review in a process to determine whether the doors of what many call by its original name St. Mary's, remains open.

In attendance many notables. Speaking on behalf of the sale included City Council President Ravi Bhalla and Councilwoman Jen Giattino.  Also in attendance were council members Councilwoman Terry Castellano who elected not to speak when called, Councilman Mike Russo, Councilwoman Beth Mason, Assemblyman Ruben Ramo and former City Councilman Mike Lenz.

Talking Ed Note:  This is it.  Most people seemed resigned to the fact the hospital has reached the end of life support after suffering heavy losses since 2007.  Stemming the tide of red ink has been overcome with State aid in consecutive years, an unusual occurrence.

Hoboken is fortunate an option remains.  The hospital is barely making it to the finish line.
Now the State will make the decision and final call on its future.

Mayor's comment on Thursday public hearing on pending hospital sale


Mayor Dawn Zimmer is providing comment regarding tonight’s public hearing held by the State Health Planning Board (the Board) concerning the certificate of need application submitted to the Department of Health and Senior Services for the Transfer of Ownership of Hoboken University Medical Center to HUMC Holdco, under common ownership of the principals of Bayonne Medical Center.

“It was important that the Board heard directly from the citizens of Hoboken. There have been so many rumors about the needs of the community and the future of the hospital that this type of discussion was paramount. What Board members heard is that HUMC is essential to Hoboken. It has served our community for 150 years and without it, the future for healthcare in our City is bleak.”

“The Board also heard that the proposed sale of the hospital to the principal owners of Bayonne Medical Center is a huge opportunity for our City, an enormous win for all of our residents. The transaction will achieve two objectives few thought possible – it both saves the hospital and relieves the City of its potentially crippling $52 million loan guaranty. Our hospital cannot survive as a stand-alone community facility. The financial challenges are simply not sustainable.  If the sale doesn’t go through, our hospital will close. That is unacceptable.”

“Because public debate on this issue is important, the Board also heard from opponents of this transaction. Unfortunately for everyone, these groups voiced their opposition based on their own personal agendas and did not reflect the best interests of Hoboken’s residents. Their claim that HUMC can survive even if the transaction fails is just wrong. What they didn’t tell the Board is that it’s the citizens of Hoboken who will pay the price if these groups are successful in sabotaging the process.”

“The reality of HUMC ‘s financial situation is that there is simply no other choice. If the proposed sale does not succeed and the hospital is forced to close, the City will not only lose a vital institution, we will face the financially crippling reality of having to satisfy our $52 million obligation, as well as millions of additional costs associated with closing the hospital. This will likely result in higher taxes and reduced city services, damaging both the finances and quality of life of Hoboken’s residents.”