Monthly Archives: January 2011

BILL TO HELP SENIORS AVOID SCAM SIGNED BY CHRISTIE

vandrewLegislation sponsored by Senators Loretta Weinberg, Jeff Van Drew and Jim Whelan to close a loophole in state law that a company used to scam residents out of their life savings has been signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.

“This company’s business model was built entirely around bilking senior citizens out of their personal savings. Their actions are absolutely indefensible,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). “This law will ensure that when companies tell residents they can stay in a facility, even if they utilize Medicaid, they are forced to keep their promise or pay a hefty price for their residents’ future care.”

The law (S-2284) was prompted by a matter involving Assisted Living Concepts Inc., which promised prospective residents that once they had spent down their private resources on facility living expenses, they would be permitted to convert to Medicaid. An investigation launched by the Public Advocate’s Office in 2007 found that when the time came for residents to switch to Medicaid, the company – then operating eight assisted living facilities in southern New Jersey – moved to involuntarily discharge them.

The state filed a complaint in Superior Court to halt one discharge in particular, that of an 83-year-old resident, Betty Merklinger, who had spent down more than $300,000 in private funds at Chapin House in Rio Grande, Cape May County before becoming eligible for Medicaid, according to the Public Advocate’s Office. Last April, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court upheld a Department of Health and Senior Services decision that the facility was in violation of its certificate of need application – part of the state licensing process – that said it would not discharge private pay residents who spend down their savings and become eligible for the Medicaid program. Rather than comply with the court order, the company in June announced its intent to surrender the licenses of four of seven existing facilities it owns in southern New Jersey, and essentially convert them to apartments. According to published reports, more than a dozen residents of the company’s facilities received notification that month that they would be evicted because they qualified for Medicaid.

The law would address the issue directly, by requiring an assisted living residence or comprehensive personal care home that opts to surrender its license after having promised not to discharge residents who become Medicaid-eligible to escrow sufficient funds to pay for the care of the residents in an alternate facility for as long as needed. This law is intended to ensure that Medicaid-eligible residents can reside in another State-licensed assisted living residence.

The Wisconsin-based company operates seven facilities in southern New Jersey, and over 200 facilities in 20 states. The facilities in New Jersey include: Baker House in Vineland, Goldfinch House in Bridgeton and Maurice House in Millville, all in Cumberland County; Lindsay House in Pennsville, Salem County; Mey House in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County; Granville House in Burlington, Burlington County; and Post House in Glassboro, Gloucester County. Chapin House in Rio Grande, Cape May County, has since closed.

The bill passed the Assembly in November by a vote of 79-0. It was approved in the Senate in December by a vote of 39-0.

SEA ISLE POLICE ARREST ARMED ROBBERY SUSPECTS

On January 30, 2011 at 3:12 am, an officer of the Sea Isle police department was flagged down by a citizen reporting that two assailants had robbed him at gun point while inside his residence.  According to the complainant, the assailants used a ruse to get him to open the door, at which point one of the subjects, brandishing a handgun, forced his way into the residence and demanded money.  At one point during the attack, the homeowner was struck in the head with the handgun and forced into a closet by one of the attackers while the other searched the residence for money.  The two attackers eventually left the residence with two LCD TV’S a DVD player and the victim’s cell phone.  The homeowner was eventually able to free himself and reported the attack to police.  During the resulting investigation, two suspects identified as James Schneider and Mark Ferrari were subsequently arrested and charged with Robbery, Burglary, Theft and Conspiracy.   Both were lodged in the Cape May County Jail in lieu of $200,000.00 bail.  The investigation continues to be investigated by members of the Sea Isle City Police Detective Division and members of the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office.  Anyone having information regarding this case can contact the Sea Isle City Detective Bureau at (609)263-7132 or Cape May County Crime Stoppers at (609)465-2800.

PLATTERS COMING TO MIDDLE PAC CENTER

The Platters will be bringing their smooth sophisticated sound of the 50’s to the Middle Township Performing Arts Center Sunday, February 13th, 2011 with a performance beginning at 4 PM.

With the superb lead tenor of Tony Williams; the Platters were among the most successful black vocal groups of the 50’s.  One of the first such groups regularly to ascend the pop charts.   The Platters helped in launching doo wop music and influences generations of vocal groups with their harmonies and arrangements. Expect tunes like, “ Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” ”The Great Pretender,” and “Only You.”

Tickets are on sale now at the Middle Township Performing Arts Center.  They are $25.00 for per person. Call 609-463-1924 or visit the Middle Township Performing Arts Box Office Monday thru Friday from 9 am to 4 PM at 1 Penkethman Way, Cape May Court House.  Additional Information on Middle Township Performing Art Center’s event calendar can be found on the web at www.middlepac.com <http://www.middlepac.com> .

SURVEY SHOWS GANG ACTIVITY REMAINS CONSTANT

The New Jersey State Police today released the 2010 Street Gang Survey, the fourth such survey during the last nine years. Street gang investigators from around the state were queried to provide a broad spectrum of knowledge which goes well beyond census data for street gangs. It sheds light on the influence gangs have on the community around them, looks at questions of size, organization, patterns of criminality, and examines indicators of gang cohesion.

“I am proud of our talented analysts and Street Gang Unit members that have honed this intelligence product to a razor’s edge. This survey probes the collective law enforcement knowledge to cut to the core of what gangs mean to us all; what threats they pose and how their behavior is trending,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Its contents are requisite information for any police agency forming anti-gang strategy, but accessible enough for any citizen concerned about the phenomenon of street gangs,” he added.

According to the latest findings, gangs do not appear to have spread significantly throughout the state, maintaining a presence in roughly the same number of municipalities as they did in the 2007 survey. The 2010 survey revealed that gangs were present in both urban and suburban municipalities, were relatively small and that few gangs engaged in the dramatic and violent crime which frequently brings them to the attention of the public.

DATING VIOLENCE MAY BE TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS

A new bill is being considered in Trenton today that would require schools to teach age-appropriate information regarding dating violence. The measure has bi-partisan support. The Department of Education would have to develop information to be posted on its website as well. The legislation has made it through an Assembly committee, but will be looked at in a Senate committee today.

REPORT: RED LIGHT CAMERAS COULD BE COMING TO BRIDGETON

Another South Jersey community is reportedly looking into red light cameras. The News of Cumberland County reports that red light cameras could be brought into Bridgeton. Police there are looking into which cross streets could be good to put them into to. A first reading on an ordinance has already passed. Deptford and Glassboro are both using the cameras and have had success reducing accidents and traffic violations.