'The best thing you can do': Waldwick lights up blue for 4-year old boy battling cancer

WALDWICK — Blue ribbons hung on flag poles around town on Saturday, as volunteers handed out 1,000 blue lightbulbs to borough residents in honor of 4-year old Cole McKeon and his fight against cancer. The borough boy was placed on a ventilator last week at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he is undergoing treatment for neuroblastoma, a rare cancer of the adrenal glands. Those who picked up the

'I had no choice': COVID cost many their jobs, but pushed some into new careers

'I had no choice': COVID cost many their jobs, but pushed some into new careers When the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to switch to virtual learning, Lonniesha Hammonds of Paterson took a temporary leave from her bank job to care for her 6-year-old daughter. Hammonds, 32, who had been longing for a career change, decided that she would make the most of her leave and focus on expanding a graphics business she had started a few years earlier. When it was time for her to return to the bank, s

NJ still hasn't bridged the racial gap in COVID vaccination. Here's what's going wrong

NJ still hasn't bridged the racial gap in COVID vaccination. Here's what's going wrong Weeks after New Jersey began distributing COVID vaccines, Lynne Algrant got a call from Bergen New Bridge Medical Center. The Paramus hospital, nestled in a county where minorities make up almost half the population, was struggling to sign up nonwhite patients for the shots. At the same time, Algrant, vice president of a Hackensack nonprofit that works with low-income families, was being peppered by calls f

Immigrant families see 'light of hope' in Biden's stimulus plan after year of economic pain

Immigrant families see 'light of hope' in Biden's stimulus plan after year of economic pain Yessenia Moreno has worried every day for nearly a year about how she will pay for her rent, the groceries and other bills while her savings diminished and her debts grew. Moreno, a single mother of five, contracted COVID-19 last year and then lost her job at a Margate restaurant after it closed temporarily due to statewide shutdowns. The Mexican immigrant does not qualify for unemployment benefits or

These 90-day fiancés have been stuck in limbo for more than a year. Blame the coronavirus

These 90-day fiancés have been stuck in limbo for more than a year. Blame the coronavirus They expected to be together this Valentine’s Day, sharing a romantic meal perhaps, holding hands and planning their future as newlyweds in the United States. Instead, Jason Eidelstein of North Bergen will spend the holiday thousands of miles from his fiancée, Maira Alejandra Brandon Guerrero, who lives in Cali, Colombia. In Sierra Vista, Arizona, meanwhile, Sara Bourland plans to reminisce over old photo

Fighting racial gap, NJ towns promote COVID vaccine to Black, Asian, Latino communities

In Passaic, bilingual city workers are going door to door to Latino seniors who don't have internet access, reminding them to get the vaccine. A few miles away, Bergenfield is gearing up for a public campaign blitz in English, Spanish and Filipino and recruiting immigrant health care workers to help administer the shots. And in Palisades Park, borough receptionist Sam Choi carries a mobile phone 24 hours a day to field questions from Korean American residents about testing and inoculations. He

How promises by Biden on immigration reform are giving hope to these three NJ women

How promises by Biden on immigration reform are giving hope to these three NJ women Sayreville's Amina Nasser wants to be reunited with the 11-year-old son she hasn't seen in person since she left Kenya a decade ago. In Garfield, Sandra Brito hopes for permanent legal residency, so she won't have to worry about deportation for her family, which arrived from Mexico nearly 20 years ago. And Keturah Maingrette of West Orange dreams of one day attending medical school. For that, the Haitian nativ

With tears and pearls, NJ women celebrate Kamala Harris' barrier-breaking inauguration

ENGLEWOOD — They arrived wearing pearls, including all of the guys. Most wore matching gray T-shirts emblazoned with the name “Kamala,’’ a Secret Santa gift from a mutual friend. The women — and a few men — gathered at a party in Englewood on Wednesday evening to honor Vice President Kamala Harris, who'd broken barriers for so many of them that day when she became the first woman, first African American and first Asian American to hold America's second-highest elected office.

Jersey City honors, remembers COVID victims as part of national moment of unity

Jersey City honors, remembers COVID victims as part of national moment of unity Stefania Miklas McCall didn't get a chance to bid her father, Stanley Miklas, a proper farewell, not the one he deserved. There was no wake for family and friends to attend, no ceremony at his graveside, just a wave goodbye from the cemetery gates. Her father died in late March, among the near 18,500 who have been confirmed to have died of COVID-19 to date in New Jersey. On Tuesday, McCall was among several peopl

Why Bergen County ICE protest escalated to arrests after weeks of peaceful demonstrations

Why Bergen County ICE protest escalated to arrests after weeks of peaceful demonstrations HACKENSACK — As he peered through a small window inside his cell at the Bergen County Jail, José Suchite Salguero knew something was amiss. Protesters had been gathering outside the River Street building nightly to support the Newark man and other immigrant detainees who had been on a hunger strike. But on the evening of Dec. 12, the scene was different, more volatile. There were far more police than nor

Report: 37% of working families in NJ struggled to make ends meet before COVID pandemic

Report: 37% of working families in NJ struggled to make ends meet before COVID pandemic Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit this year, 37% of New Jersey households were struggling to make ends meet, and continued unemployment could threaten to send more of the state's low-income workers into poverty, according to an economic study by the United Way released Sunday. The study, known as the United Way ALICE Report, found that in 2018, while the stock market was booming and the GDP was growi

A holiday in 'limbo': NJ immigrant families face uncertain Thanksgiving as jobs dry up

A holiday in 'limbo': NJ immigrant families face uncertain Thanksgiving as jobs dry up Just a year ago, Thanksgiving was a time for Felipe Contreras to celebrate his good fortune – and the achievements of generations of American immigrants like him. Contreras entered the U.S. illegally 28 years ago, but this has long since become home. The Passaic man would gather with 20 friends and family or more. There'd be a turkey and plenty of sides, some with roots in his Mexican culture. He'd count his

Latinos have growing influence on politics, but complex views cause divide among voters

Latinos have growing influence on politics, but complex views cause divide among voters Kattia Burgos was frustrated with President Donald Trump. She didn't approve of his response to the pandemic and felt that his recent Supreme Court pick made the court more conservative, putting gay rights and women’s reproductive rights at risk. So she voted for Vice President Joe Biden. “I never voted for Trump," said Burgos, a real estate appraiser who lives in Waldwick. "But this time around I also wor

Passaic Day of the Dead memorial has more meaning in 2020, honors immigrants lost to COVID

Passaic Day of the Dead memorial has more meaning in 2020, honors immigrants lost to COVID PASSAIC — The altar seems too colorful, too festive, to be a reminder of so much loss. A fiery red backdrop and gauzy white satin frame the three-tiered display. Auburn marigolds form a cross on the floor. There are oranges and apples, bread, roasted peanuts, refried beans on soft tortillas and a can of Coors beer – "ofrendas," or offerings, lovingly left for the departed. Most importantly, there are th

In wake of NJ shop's polarizing 'Speak English' sign, experts weigh in on language learning

In wake of NJ shop's polarizing 'Speak English' sign, experts weigh in on language learning It’s a complaint heard often in the U.S. these days — most recently from a shopkeeper with a now-notorious sign in Clifton. It’s also a criticism older than the country itself. Years before the United States declared its independence from Great Britain, Benjamin Franklin criticized German immigrants for not teaching their children English and for erecting German street signs in Philadelphia. The linguis

Black and South Asian-American women embrace Joe Biden's choice of Kamala Harris as VP pick

Joyce Wilson Harley had been waiting for Joe Biden to announce his female running mate for weeks, hoping he would choose a Black woman who would help the Democrats' presidential campaign. Wilson Harley, a member of the West Orange Democratic County Committee, was not disappointed when she heard Tuesday afternoon that Sen. Kamala Harris was Biden's pick. Harris would be the first Black woman and first South Asian woman nominated for vice president in a major party. "I was so glad to see a Black

No work and no relief in federal stimulus package increases anxiety for immigrant laborers

Lorena Duarte of Palisades Park hasn't cleaned houses in more than two weeks. She's afraid to go to work and bring the COVID-19 virus home to a daughter who had a lung operation a few years ago. Javier Martinez of Kearny said all his landscaping jobs have dried up. He has searched for other work but hasn't been successful. "The clients that give us work, they have closed their businesses and stopped their projects, and they left us up in the air,'' said Martinez, who works in Montclair, Verona

Foreign-trained doctors in NJ are ready and willing to help fight coronavirus crisis

Nelson Blanco graduated from medical school in El Salvador and worked for years in his homeland before moving to the United States three years ago. Blanco, 37, who recently became a permanent legal resident, is now working as a medical assistant for a doctor's office in Union. But if he could be on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus working as a physician, he would. "As a doctor, we believe in being humanitarians who want to serve the population in terms of their health,'' he

Married 44 years, 'inseparable' Palisades Park couple die of coronavirus just days apart

Their love story is the stuff of movies. Alfredo Pabatao was the son of a successful clothing retailer, Susana Galapate the daughter of a stableman who tended horses. Both grew up in the Santa Mesa Heights neighborhood in Quezon City, the Philippines' largest city. She lived in a modest, middle-class home, he in an ornate house that stood out with its marble accents. They fell in love, against his parent's wishes, married in 1976 and later became the parents of five children. The couple and t

As Supreme Court considers end to DACA, some Dreamers are already leaving U.S. behind

Born in South Korea but raised in Montclair, New Jersey, Eun Suk "Jason" Hong seemed on the cusp of another American success story when he graduated from college in 2015. Hong, whose mother brought him to the U.S. at age 10, landed a job as a financial planner and was looking forward to starting a career. But in 2017, President Donald Trump moved to do away with DACA, the program that allowed him to work legally in the U.S., and Hong's outlook began to change. In August, he quit his job and mo
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