Hurricane Irene’s devastating effects are hitting New Jersey’s blood banks and hospitals hard. Numerous blood drives had to be canceled statewide.
People who want to schedule an appointment to donate blood or locate a blood drive can find a location near them by calling 1-800-Red Cross or visiting www.redcrossblood.org/make-donation Platelet donors are especially important for cancer patients.
Platelet donors should call 1-215-451-4153 to make an appointment.
The New Jersey Workforce Coalition is asking all blood and platelet donors to contact your regional blood centers to see if you can schedule yourself to donate, or to start a life saving blood drive.
If you have never donated before, perhaps now is the time to consider becoming a part of the volunteers in your community.
To locate your regional blood center or for more information on how you can help during this critical time, please click here: http://www.nj.gov/health/njsave3lives/index.shtml
The Ocean Water Monitoring program continues in Cape May County. The monitoring sites were tested following Hurricane Irene on Monday, August 29, 2011. After reviewing the test results, all beaches in Cape May County are open and safe for bathing. County officials remind those going to the beach to only swim at guarded beaches.
Governor Chris Christie, Attorney General Paula T. Dow, and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs warned consumers to watch for home repair scams and charity scams during the post-Hurricane Irene recovery period. They noted that dishonest home improvement contractors have been known to prey on individuals seeking to repair their homes after severe flooding incidents. Offering low prices and speedy work, they may leave consumers with poor or half-finished work, and homes that remain unsafe. Fraudulent charities also solicit donations in the wake of disasters. At least one such apparent fraud began after the March 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster that affected Japan. Misusing the name of a respected charitable organization, the alleged scammer sent out emails asking consumers to send donations of no less than $300, via Western Union to a location in the Philippines. Dow and Calcagni urged consumers to call the Division of Consumer Affairs hotline, 800-242-5846, if they suspect fraud or to learn whether a contractor or purported charity is registered with the state.
A lawsuit might be coming against Sea Isle City in a wrongful-death suit. The Press of Atlantic City reports that a federal court ruled that the family could file a lawsuit regarding Tracy Hottenstein’s death. She was in town for the city’s annual Polar Bear Plunge. Hottenstein left a bar around 2:15 a.m. and was found later in the morning dead. The report says that the family would like to go after the city for not trying to revive their daughter. The cause of death was ruled as hypothermia.
There has already been some success in the “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” push in Atantic County. The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office reports that 33 arrests have already been made for driving while intoxicated. The program continues through Sept. 5. Prior to this weekend, 15 checkpoints have been conducted, 33 people have been arrested for DWI and 7,827 vehicles have entered checkpoints throughout the county. So far this year in Atlantic County, there have been 36 accident-related deaths and 29 fatal accidents, of which, 19 involved alcohol or narcotics.
Atlantic City Electric reports that 99 percent of power has been returned to its custoimers. The utility continues to ask customers to report an outage if they have one. The company continues to dispatch crews to localized outage areas in parts of southern New Jersey, where the extensive damage associated with these outages makes restoring service especially challenging. The majority of remaining outages affect individual customers. Heavily damaged areas where Atlantic City Electric continues to work on Wednesday included Glassboro, Bridgeton and Pleasantville. Atlantic City Electric expects to restore service to all of the estimated 145,000 customers who were impacted by the hurricane by midnight Thursday. However, most of the remaining customers without power will have their service restored before that time. Customers can report outages at 1-800-833-7476.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal aid has been made available to the State of New Jersey to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Hurricane Irene beginning on August 27, 2011, and continuing.
The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, and Somerset counties. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured or underinsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding also is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Hurricane Irene in the counties of Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Ask and you shall receive. Congressman Frank Pallone requested that President Barack Obama come to New Jersey and tour the damage caused by Hurricane Irene. Pallone announced on Wednesday that his request has been met. Obama will be visiting the Garden State on Sunday. The visit is scheduled to take place in Paterson. Many North Jersey towns have been dramatically impacted by flooding from rivers.
A BYOB proposal has been pulled in Ocean City. Officials there say that the City of Ocean City was advised by the Committee of Petitioners for the “BYOB” initiative that they have unanimously voted to withdraw the petition. This means the issue will not be placed on the November ballot. The committee is planning to come up with a new petition in 2012 that is much more clear. The committee is worried that a recent court decision could invalidate some of the ballot question that was being put together.
The Philadelphia Phillies made a couple of roster moves on Wednesday. The Phillies obtained outfielder John Bowker from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later. Bowker has hit .237 in his career. To make room for him on the roster, the Phillies put pitcher Jose Contreras on the 60-day disabled list.