License home improvement contractors

Home improvement contractors registered with the state of New Jersey should first be subjected to background checks, as nurses and teachers already are. I was shocked to read the article in the Sunday Record of Oct. 29 that reports on the cheating of such contractors, especially following Hurricane Sandy.

One of them has been accused of cheating a dozen homeowners of more than $1.5 million by taking money from them and then not following through. He had done this in other states before being registered in New Jersey, having moved from one state to another after natural disasters, cheating victims in many states. He had faced dozens of suits and had been convicted of fraud three times. Nevertheless, he was granted a home improvement contractor’s license in New Jersey with no background check.

The article says his situation is far from unique. In 2016, 136 home improvement contractors had violations resulting in fines and restitution totaling about $1.9 million. The article reports that there are over 48,000 home improvement contracting businesses registered in New Jersey with Consumer Affairs, so homeowners would have plenty of options if only those with clean records were registered.

I have emailed state Sen. Nia Gill at and assemblypeople Thomas P. Giblin at and Sheila Oliver at, urging them to pass legislation requiring home contractors to pass criminal background checks before licensing them. Please do so too.

Pat Kenschaft



Some step up, some step away

I believe that most people living with a chronic health condition will probably relate to what I’m about to write.

I’m 73, and up until six years ago I felt relatively healthy. Always able to function independently. Though I’m not bedridden, there are a lot of things that I won’t attempt to do anymore without “a little help from my friends,” to quote the Beatles.

Throughout my healthier years I always believed that I could tell the difference between someone who is a true friend and someone who is simply friendly with a smile and a warm hello.

Well I’ve found out what I’m sure so many others have, that some people who I always believed were real friends, stepped up, but it hurts to know that few others have chosen to step away.

Fortunately one person that I always felt would be there for me was, big time. Unfortunately he’s uncomfortable with praise so I’ll just give you his initials. Ready? ... Peter Giuffra, oops!

I’m really happy to say that there are some friendly people that have helped when they can. A very pleasant surprise. One lady in particular, her first name is Artie-Lee, is well known to others living here in the First Montclair House for her kindness. I now know that she is not only friendly, she’s a friend.

Thankfully there are a some others, my pal Anthony for one, who will always ask if there is anything I need from the store and I can’t forget Bruno’s grandma Barbara who is sure to gently rub my back when she notices me having a breathing problem.

Yep! Some folks do step up. I’m a lucky guy.

Vincent Tango