By Dhiren Shah

NEWARK - Newark City Hospital opened in 1882 with 25 beds only. In the 20th Century, the college of Medicine and Dentistry known as CMDNJ took over and named it Martland Hospital. The expansion of the hospital was built in late 1972 and the early 1980s, ultimately becoming UMDNJ. In 2012, with the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act, the hospital transferred to New Jersey State University Rutgers. In 2013, University Hospital became an independent, standalone medical center.

There was talk going on for a merger of RWJ Barnabas’ affiliation with Rutgers Hospital. According to the news, RWJ Barnabas will invest $100 million initially and then $1 billion in 20 years. Governor Murphy appointed a monitor after Rutgers hospital announced the closure of their Pediatrics Department. With that, there is a huge question. Some feel the quality of Rutgers has gone down after the takeover in 2012. The community has doubts about the treatment they are receiving.

With all that was going on, Mayor Ras Baraka announced a townhall meeting at NJIT’s Jim Wise Theater at Kupfrian Hall.

Assemblyman Thomas Giblin has proposed a resolution to include three members of the board of trustees appointed by Mayor Baraka.

Giblin said, “We have responsibilities to the children and families of the surrounding communities and make sure that our health care is at the optimal best. The players should be involved, labor union community, NAACP, employees of the hospital…We have to be pushy, aggressive, demand…when the key decisions are made.”

Giblin also said that he introduced legislation in respect to the hospital that the mayor of the city of Newark should have an opportunity to have a representative at these board meetings. Also, he added that organized labor should be included in the board meetings.

There were about 20-25 speakers from the audience. Among those who spoke and/or were in attendance were former Mayor of Irvington Wayne Smith, Hillside Mayor Dahlia Vertreese, community activists Donna Jackson and Kathleen Witcher, members from labor unions, some hospital employees and the local community. However, due to the venue’s size there were about 100-150 people in the audience, rather than a standing room only as I expected.

The main concerns about the hospital was ensuring the care of children and again, the quality of service.



By Walter Elliott

NEWARK - RWJBarnabas Health Newark Beth Israel's 15th Annual Alma Beatty Health & Wellness Fair, held here on Alma Beatty Way Sept. 22, appeared to "Local Talk" as having staying power on several levels.

"Local Talk" made its debut appearance by 2:30 p.m. Saturday, some two-and-a-half hours after its kickoff.

Visitors coming from Lyons Avenue and Osborne Terrace Noon-4 p.m. actually had two paths to the fair's registration tent. One could walk directly to the tent or walk through a 10-foot diameter inflatable colon.

"Local Talk" went straight for the tent for sign-in and receive a passport card. One is to take at least one health class and visit at least six exhibit tables. The visitor is to then return to the registration tent and show the stamped card to get an end-of-fair raffle ticket.

A quick scan and walk along Alma Beatty Way/Osborne Terrace between Lyons and Lehigh avenues, however, showed that all the classes were held. The box lunches were also all gone.

One would think that many people and exhibitors in the fair's final hour would start drifting away.

"Local Talk," however, counted 335 men, women and children still on that block. Some may have lingered for the concluding raffle drawing and a few of the 32 exhibition tables were cleared or folded up.

There were far more people than the 33 midblock seats who were watching a dance demonstration.

Some younger people playing ping-pong or one-on-one basketball by the YMCA's portable hoop and van. Others were trying out a nearby obstacle course or a gym's pull rope.

People still stood in lines five-deep for face or plate swirl painting or fresh juice samples. Some others were waiting to try the massage chairs along the hospital's ABC Lobby.

Some others still were visiting the 27 exhibitors’ tables. One could pick up information on matters running from personal affairs forum folders to home safety to organ donation. "Local Talk," thinking of a parishioner, picked up a sickle cell trait and disease handbook before taking a sleep deprivation survey.

This fair, like most, held screenings for blood pressure, diabetes and dental health. There were more screenings, either on-site or for appointment sign-up, on a wider range of conditions.

One veteran exhibitor said that the fair usually draws 600 people on its annual day. The 335 who stayed the last hour means that a majority had stayed to almost the end.

"Local Talk" was trying to remember just when the Newark Beth Israel Greenhouse was opened. The Beth Greenhouse, which was open for tours Saturday, is the fair's latest exhibit addition - a sign of the event's growth.

Saturday was the 15th annual fair - which is evidence of the hospital and its participating exhibitors' commitment.

The fair was most likely started while the late Alma Beatty was community affairs vice president of "The Beth." Beatty, 75, hailed for her long-time outreach, died Feb. 10, 2015. The city later held an honorary street renaming between Lyons and Lehigh.

"Local Talk" walked through that half-colon before leaving the fair. Thoughts of whether to call the inflatable model a hemi- or semi- colon were replaced with views of simulated polyps and tears to illustrate potential rectal problems.

There were two RWJB-Beth Israel staff members fielding questions on colon health nearby. The employees said that they and their inflatable were at the opposite corner by Osborne and Lehigh. One could sign up to have a colorectal cancer screening appointment.

Plans for the 16th Alma Beatty Health and Wellness fair are being made for the next fourth Saturday in September.


The FDA, CDC, along with state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka infections linked to Kellogg's Honey Smacks sweetened puffed wheat cereal.

All Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal was recalled in June 2018. Because the CDC has continued to receive reports of illnesses linked to this cereal, we are reminding consumers not to eat Honey Smacks cereal.

In a Sept. 5 update to the recall, the FDA reinforced its request that consumers check their homes and throw away any Honey Smacks cereal.

Additionally, the public is urged to report any product being offered for sale to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their region.

On May 17, 2018 the FDA learned about a cluster of Salmonella Mbandaka illnesses in multiple states.

In the following weeks, the FDA, CDC, and state partners worked together to collect additional information to identify a food item of interest. Interviews with ill people allowed health partners to identify Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal as a possible source of the illnesses.

As a result of discussions with the Kellogg company and the contract manufacturer, on June 14, 2018, The Kellogg Company voluntarily recalled Honey Smacks cereal.

On June 14, 2018 the FDA began collecting environmental and product samples from the contract manufacturer's facility. On June 15, 2018 the FDA updated its web posting to include a list of known countries where the recalled product was distributed and to advise that consumers not eat and discard any Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal.

On July 12, 2018 the FDA and CDC updated their web posting to include additional cases linked to this outbreak. The FDA also reminded consumers and retailers that the cereal has been recalled and should not be consumed or sold.

The recall notice accounts for all Honey Smacks cereal on the market within the cereal's estimated one-year shelf-life. However, Honey Smacks products with earlier dates could also potentially be contaminated.

Description (Retail)                                                 Size           BEST if Used By Date
Honey Smacks (limited international dist.)   15.3 oz.     JUN 14, 2018 - JUN 14, 2019
Honey Smacks                                                            23 oz.        JUN 14, 2018 - JUN 14, 2019

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment. Most people nfected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.

In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is higher than the rate in all other people. Children younger than five, the elderly, and those people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections. It is estimated that approximately 400 persons in the United States die each year with acute salmonellosis.

Retailers should not sell and should discard all recalled products. The recalled products were distributed across the United States including Guam and Saipan, and internationally in: Aruba/Curaçao/Saint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles), the Bahamas, Barbados, Tortola (British Virgin Islands), Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, and Tahiti (French Polynesia).

Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures. It is recommended that they wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.

The FDA is advising consumers to not eat and discard any Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal. This is regardless of size or “best if used by” dates. If already purchased, consumers should throw it away or return to the place of purchase for a refund. The FDA continues to collect information to determine any additional sources. The FDA will update this posting as soon as more information becomes available.

Consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures. It is recommended that they wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.


By Thomas Ellis II   OP/ED

With marijuana laws changing across the country, and the state of New Jersey in the fight to legalize or decriminalize marijuana, there was a discussion about cannabis on July 31 at Bethany Baptist Church with advocates for decriminalizing and how to look at the business side of the issue. 

I have known people who have been smoking marijuana for 50 years or more, and with the current climate changing on the position of marijuana, and hundreds of millions of dollars generated for taxes, my, how times have changed.

Many people still believe that weed is bad for you because of the myths and stories that were created during the war on drugs about marijuana. But in today's world, researchers have found several medicinal uses for the so-called drug.

The myth about cannabis being labeled a class drug, and that it is the gateway to stronger drugs is what fueled many heated debates over the years about the plant. Again, I know people who have been smoking pot for many years and never graduated to crack, cocaine, heroin, or even pills. All they wanted to do was smoke their joint and be happy.

Jails are filled with nonviolent offenders who was caught with a dime bag, nickel bag, half an ounce of marijuana and serving time with violent offenders because of the law. However, now in those states where pot have been legalized for recreational use, what do the cities 

and states do?

Thousands of lives have been ruined, with many people labeled addicts and dealers for a plant that the U.S. Government is now growing, selling, and making millions of dollars from. How do those people restore their lives? That is the question.

Now let’s look at some pros and cons of marijuana from the information I gathered from the meeting, internet and other sources. I have tried my best, but make your judgement after you investigate and find out for yourself.

Here are a few pros:


- Marijuana helps with glaucoma

- It can help control epileptic seizures

- A chemical found in marijuana called CBD stops cancer from spreading

- THC slows the progression of Alzheimer's disease

- It relieves arthritis discomfort

- Marijuana spurs creativity in the brain

- Cannabis protects the brain after a stoke

- Weed soothes tremors for people with Parkinson's disease

- Marijuana helps veterans suffering from PTSD

It is truly amazing the medical benefits of this product, but because it is deemed illegal many were unable to reap the benefits.

Now let's look at some of the cons:

- It is addictive, and 10% of users will develop a dependence

- Marijuana is a drug, and a drug changes the way the body works

- Users of pot experience a high that alters the way they perceive things while under the influence

- Marijuana cause brain problems and effect the memory

- Smoking reefer raises the heart rate from 20% to 100% for up to 3 hours after it's been smoked. This increase boosts the risk of several problems including heart palpitations, arrhythmias, and heart attack

- There are also many who believe there is a link between marijuana use and mental illnesses, like depression, and schizophrenia. Researchers aren't sure if the marijuana triggers these conditions, or if people smoking it turn to the drug to self-medicate their symptoms.

Several cities and states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana and in return, it has been a cash cow in generating monies for their state. Colorado, the first state to allow the sale of recreational marijuana, is expected to take in $60 to $70 million in a years’ time in taxes from legal pot sales.

California is another state that will gain a lot of money in taxes from legalizing pot. They can raise millions of dollars just from the sale alone, not to mention the monies raised from growing the plant.

Washington passed initiative 502 in 2012 which legalized small amounts of marijuana related products for adults over the age of 21. The revenue Washington earns in taxing these products is designated for health care and substance-abuse prevention and education.

There is a lot of money to be made and that's why the states are legalizing this so-called drug all of a sudden. Once the politicians and states found out about the money they could make off marijuana and how they can use those monies to fix infrastructure, pay off city and state budget debts, create jobs, lower taxes, and increase revenue, they were all for it - no matter if it was labeled a drug or not.

The state of New Jersey elected a new governor in Phil Murphy last year, and he took office January 16, 2018. One of his campaign promises was to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. Many are for it, but many are against it. Some detractors think it will create more criminal activity in the community, more addicts, and that legalizing pot would be a great disservice to the state.